I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that WordPress is huge. Let’s look at the statistics – at the time of writing, there were just under 65 million WordPress sites in the world, and over 371 million people view more than 4.1 billion WordPress pages every month.
That’s just for WordPress.com – self-hosted WordPress.org sites are arguably even more popular, thanks to their adaptability and the ease of use that the CMS offers. In fact, TechCrunch, CNN and the NFL all use WordPress sites, and it’s likely that WordPress as a CMS will continue to see dramatic growth.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love third-party plugins, they can offer a whole host of new functionality to your website and enable you to do things that you never even dreamed of. But they can also cause problems, particularly if you’re plugin happy and install everything that you can find.
Here are some of the most common problems that WordPress plugins cause, along with a few hints on what you can do to avoid them.
Let’s jump in at the deep-end – the worst-case scenario is that you’ll install a plugin which opens up a huge security vulnerability, allowing hackers or even the plugin’s developer to access the back-end of your website.
And it’s not always because of a malicious developer, too – take this case from a couple of years ago, when three popular plugins had unwanted backdoors added to them. Luckily, in this case, WordPress reacted quickly to reset all users’ passwords as a precaution and no lasting damage was done.
Of course, some other plugins are designed specifically to try and catch an unsuspecting admin out, and you need to look out for the warning signs. But don’t worry, help is at hand!
What to do: Change your password regularly, and use a separate password for your WordPress site than you do for all of the other sites that you frequent. Also, consider using a .htaccess file that blocks anyone from accessing your admin panel unless they’re logging in from your IP address(es). Make sure that you update your plugins whenever new versions are released (checking several times a week), so that you’re not running outdated software that might not have been patched. And finally, always take a look at the rating of the plug-in on the WordPress.org website – if it has a low rating, other admins have probably experienced problems.
Clashes with other plugins
Unfortunately, not all plugins were created equal – a quick Google search turns up over 550,000 results for ‘WordPress plugin clash’. The sad fact is that, on the odd occasion, two different plugins are completely incompatible, often due to duplicate variables, or two lines of code that get stuck in a loop.
Worse still, many developers aren’t aware of these clashes – there are just too many plugins out there for even the most dedicated development teams to test their work against every other plugin on the market.
What to do: If you can track them down, report the problem to the developers – if they’re still supporting the plugin, they’ll probably fix the bug for future releases. If you can’t find them, or if the plugin is no longer supported, you’re just going to have to avoid using whichever plugin you value the least. To make matters worse, if you really need the new plugin and you’re not sure which of your existing plugins it’s crashing with, you’re just going to have to try deactivating plugins in batches of three to try and narrow down which one is causing the problem. Oh, and have a look around online first to make sure that it is a clash, and that it’s not just a plugin that doesn’t work.
As we’ve just established, not every plugin works first time, and quite a few of them no longer work at all. In these circumstances, you’ll find that you’ve installed and activated the plugin, but it’s not having the desired effect. Now what can you do?
What to do: Unfortunately, if the plugin doesn’t work, all you can do is report it to the developers, give the plugin a poor rating on WordPress.org to warn other admins, and move on. See if you can find another plugin that does the same thing, and try that instead.
Let’s presume that you’ve pinpointed a problem and you want to report it to the developers. How do you go about doing that? Well, the first step is to find the plugin’s page on WordPress.org and click on the ‘support’ tab – with a bit of luck, you’ll be shown a list of recent posts about the plugin, and you’ll be able to raise your own issue here.
Alternatively, most plugins have either an author bio alongside them, and you’ll be able to find more information about the developers here. It’s also worth checking any documentation that came with the plugin.
But if you use enough plugins, you’ll eventually find a plugin that doesn’t include any developer information or documentation, and you’ll be left scratching your head and wondering what to do next.
What to do: Have a look around on Google and see if you can find someone else that’s had a similar problem. If it’s a popular plugin, you might well find that someone has already encountered and solved the problem, documenting the process along the way. If not, you’re out of luck – you’ll just have to remove the plugin and move on.
Not specifically designed for the site
Even if you find that your plugin is working correctly, it might not fit the look and theme of your website. This is quite a common pitfall, and one that’s impossible for developers to predict – they design their plugins to work on as many themes as possible, paying particular attention to the most popular ones during their testing, but it’s just not possible for them to guarantee that their plugin will display correctly on whatever theme that you’re using.
What to do: Learn how to use CSS and play around with the plugin’s stylesheets – you might find that you’re able to correct the issue yourself. Depending upon your budget, it’s also worth looking for a freelance developer who may be able to come up with a fix. If all else fails, report the bug to the developers, but they’re less likely to correct an issue with how the plugin displays than they are to correct a problem that stops it from working altogether.
Slowing the load time
Let’s presume that everything is working correctly, that it all displays fine on your modified template and that the plugin does everything you were hoping for. But then you load up your website and spot a noticeable difference in the amount of time that it takes for your pages to load.
This is even more important in the age of Google – they found that when they ranked slow websites in their results pages, people actually used the search engine less frequently. Because of this, they now take loading times into account when they generate their results. It’s not just Google, either – Shopzilla shaved three seconds off their loading time, and experienced a 25% increase in page views and an increase in revenue of up to 12%.
What to do: Deactivate any plugins that you aren’t using, and investigate Google’s Webmaster Tools – they can increase your loading speed by up to 60%, by using a couple of innovative techniques. First off, they’ll pre-load information in anticipation of a user clicking through to the most popular pages. Secondly, they’ll defer the less important information and get it to load after everything else on the page has displayed.
As long as you’re sensible and look out for the warning signs, there’s no reason that you can’t add plugins safely and securely to your WordPress website. There are also other things that you can do, like backing up your database and your website files, to ensure that even if there is a problem, it won’t knock your site out of commission for good.
What WordPress plugins do you use? Have you ever experienced a problem? Let me know with a comment!
Dane Cobain is a social media specialist for UK-based creative agency fst the Group. He’s also a gadget-lover and tech fanatic, as well as an internet addict.
The Top 10 Best Free Android Retro Games of all time
Retro games are games that usually refer to 80’s and early 90’s games that have been endeared into the heart and souls of people growing up during that time period. Back when a certain Italian Plumber dominated the game market and names like Link, Sonic, and PAC Man was on the tips of every one’s tongue. The fact that these games can be played in the palm of your hand still astounds me – these games originally came out in the arcade, and required an entire large cabinet to house the electronics just to play this game.
Why play them at all? Retro games are still played because the people that grew up with them have fond memories of playing on a lazy Saturday or Sunday with their friends. It represented the dawn of the hand held game, the beginning of an age where you didn’t have to go spend a load of quarters at the arcade to have the most awesome fun.
Ping Pong –
The original game. Back on the Atari 2600, this bad boy of the simplistic game world was based on a simple concept – table tennis, or ping pong, but virtually. What a bold idea, right?
PAC Man –
Likely the most recognizable arcade name out there, PAC Man has come in various forms – Mrs. Pac Man, Baby Pac Man, and Professor Pac Man – but the original still stands strong and proud as the original classic that released in 1980.
Frogger – The dodge the cars –
And get to the other side of the road game (I wonder if this had anything to do with a chicken?) is back on Android with the Frogger ad supported version, or you can purchase the app for an ad free jumping experience.
Probably more spin offs from this than any other game, the Russian Computer Engineer who developed this has also gone on to create other works, including some Xbox titles, but none so influential as this puzzle masterpiece. With 20 Versions across multiple platforms, you can choose whatever you like, but we suggest Android free play.
Boulder Dash –
It came out the same year as Tetris, 1984, but not nearly as popular. Still, there have been 5 versions of this game since its original release date, and it seems that it will remain in our memory banks for at least a few more years to come.
We all remember the Nokia phone in the 90’s right? That all familiar ring tone? What about the game ‘Snake’ where you use the buttons of the phone to control the snake while it tries to get the stars, while avoiding hitting any walls. While it wasn’t completely high tech, few of these games rarely are.
Commander Genius aka Commander Keen –
This spawned a number of series (or episodes) that was favored by many in the 90’s, including episodes on the famous game boy, the earliest release of hand held gaming.
So let me get this straight, we want a hedgehog that runs really fast, collects coins, and spins around loops, and fights other animals. Sounds great! While I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that board meeting, I cannot deny the hours of fun this game will bring you. The challenges are still quite formidable, and the action is still fun.
Avid retro-gamers shouldn’t miss out on these 3 fabulous games in the LCD Retro Games Collection application that really capture the whole feels older games, back when graphics were simple and steering your character was a cakewalk. These games come in many titles, and will keep you entertained for hours so that you can relive your glory days as an 8 year old playing hand held games.
Space Invaders –
The classic battle to save earth from invaders from – well, space. You are armed with a laser cannon that you can move from left to right to shoot down the aliens, and go on to the next level. This was released in 1978, and still rocks today.
Overall, the best way to relive the good old days is to get a few of these free applications on your android phone – and spend an afternoon reminiscing.
Author Bio: Jason Phillips is the writer of this article. He provides his suggestion about the latest video games and technology through his articles. Even he has worked with a gaming site for Sniper Games 365 as an advisor.
Guest Blogging Do’s and Don’ts
In the world of Penguin, link building has become a sophisticated science. Getting links to your blog or website is harder than ever. One of the most effective ways to build solid and high quality links is through guest blogging. When done in moderation, blogging as a guest could provide a number of advantages, particularly in terms of the links you will be able to generate. However, overdoing it could make it counterproductive than getting the results you are looking for.
Yet, writing too many guest blog posts is just one of the mistakes you can make. There are many other guest blogging dos and don’ts you have to be wary of if you are to make the most of it. The interesting thing is that there are many bloggers and marketers who don’t yet gauge the importance of guest posts. In the current year, the happening trend in online marketing is content marketing. Guest blogging is one of the best ways in which you can get your content published and read by your target audience.
This is why you need to pay special attention to the choices you make when deciding to become a guest blogger. The key is to select the best possible blog or website and there are a number of criteria that can help you do so. At the same time, you have to make sure your choice of blog doesn’t end up hurting your own blog. So, without further ado, here are the dos and don’ts of guest blogging.
Dos of Guest Blogging
The first thing you need to consider when deciding to write a guest blog is the website it will be published on. There are several factors that make a website or blog a perfect fit for the type of content you want to share with the world. Here are some of the most important dos of guest blogging.
Theme of the Website
Relevance is crucial to success in online marketing today. Google pays a lot of attention to relevance and it is the name of the game as things stand. Your choice of blog has to depend on its relevance to what your website is about. This is important in terms of link building as well. A link will only be considered valid and high quality if it emerges from a website similar in theme to yours. Of course, you can be flexible regarding the theme and even subtle similarities work. This also ensures some level of reader overlap, meaning more people get to read what you post.
Ranking is also a crucial thing you need to consider when selecting a platform for a guest blog post. The two things you need to keep at the forefront are the Domain Authority and PageRank. A high score on both is imperative for a website to be considered worthy of guest posting. Otherwise, keep looking.
You should make sure the website you are posting your content on has a large reader base. Otherwise, there is no use for you to make the effort. If your content is not going to get more people to read your content and visit your website, the endeavor is worthless. You can do this by checking the number of subscribers and also the social media activity of the blog. This way you have a clear idea of the number of readers you can expect to gain.
Frequency of Posting
Will the blog allow you to post regularly and how frequently do they expect new posts? These are important considerations. You need to know if you have enough time to keep coming up with quality content for your guest blog posts. Don’t take on a responsibility that make become very difficult to fulfill in the long run. This will only divert your attention from your own content marketing efforts.
Number of Guest Posters
This one is not commonly cited as an important tip for guest blogging but it could work to your advantage. You would benefit more from contributing to a website that has few guest bloggers. This is because your competitors will have a smaller chance of getting a link from that website. Also, it will be more lucrative.
Top 10 Blogs
Perhaps the biggest DO is that you should try your luck getting your post on one of the top 10 blogs on the web related to your niche. If you can manage to do so, you will be able to gain the maximum exposure and benefits from guest blogging. Else, you would have to work harder.
These are the dos of guest blogging you need to keep in mind. As you can see, they will enable you to select the best possible blog for posting. That is exactly what you need to do to get started off on the right foot with regards to becoming a guest blogger. It is time to look at the don’ts now.
Don’ts of Guest Blogging
Compared to the dos, the don’ts are relatively fewer. However, they can cause the downfall of your blog so make sure you pay due important to them and try to avoid them as much as possible.
Free for All Blogs
There are many blogs online that accept content from anyone and everyone. They are simply looking to boost their content offering so there is no benefit for you of posting on them. You need to find blogs that are relevant to your own blog.
A blog that has a lot of ads is a strict no-no when it comes to guest blog posts. The intent is clear; they just want to make money.
Web Design and User Experience
Perhaps the most obvious don’t of guest blogging is that you should stay clear of blogs that are designed poorly and offer substandard user experience. Not many people will consider spending time on such a blog.
Simply avoid any website or blog that has been penalized in the past for any reason, especially low value links.
Blogs holding back their contact information are shady to say the least and should be avoided completely.
Social Media Presence
Blogs that lack a solid social media presence or have a low number of subscribers aren’t what you should be looking for to publish a guest blog post.
In addition to the don’ts mentioned here, you should also shun blogs that have a low PageRank and Domain Authority.
Keep in mind that these dos and don’ts are just the tip of iceberg. There are many other things you need to learn about guest blogging in order to become an expert. However, these will help you get started off perfectly. Best of luck!
Roman Viliavin, vice CEO at Promodo SEO Company.
Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.
Four Tips For Beginner Website Designers
Web design is a skill that many people claim to have, but few actually know how to do well. Web design is one of those fields where someone could easily teach it to themselves, or learn in a classroom setting. Even though it’s possible for people to teach themselves web design, most businesses and companies will hire a web design company or a freelance designer to handle building and designing their website. When you’re working with your design clients, be sure to keep these tips in mind.
Keep It Simple
Nothing makes a website run slower or look tackier than putting in a variety of different design elements. In the ’90s when people were first starting to explore the web, web designers would put as many different themes and elements in their websites as possible. There would be different frames on each page, moving gifs in nearly every corner, and there would be a different eye-catching background image for each page. When you’re designing a website, pick one central theme or element to design your website around. When you’re finished the entire site will look well planned out and put together, and not like a design nightmare.
Value A Well Done Website Over 100% Customer Input
When you’re designing a website you’re going to hear a lot of suggestions from the client, and not all of them are going to be good. When you’re working in web design, you’re going to have to deal with clients that want you to add elements that won’t mesh well with the overall design. Some web designers adopt an attitude that the customer is always right, and they’ll give their customers everything they ask for whether it’s a good idea or not. These clients may be happy with their website in the beginning, but once complaints from their customers and employees start to come in they’ll blame you for their shoddy website. As a web designer making a good and functional website should be your top priority. Never be afraid to tell a client that their ideas may not be the best for overall website design, but also be prepared to offer good design alternatives.
Don’t Ignore Mobile and Tablet Users
When you’re working on a law firm website design, making a separate page for mobile users may seem like it should be the last thing on your mind. A few years ago making a mobile version of a website was on the bottom of every web designer’s priority list, but today it’s essential for websites to have a mobile or tablet function for their users. Today people are used to seeing mobile-friendly alternatives to regular websites, and if they can’t easily access and navigate a website on their smartphone or tablet they’ll bounce from your website.
Talk About SEO Tools
When you’re client first talks to you about their ideas for their new website some more web-savvy clients may mention SEO, but there will be some clients who won’t have a clue about what SEO is. When you’re meeting with your client be sure to ask them if they want SEO tools. Some clients may not know what SEO tools are, but they will want a way to monitor their website’s traffic. Some may even assume that there is a way to automatically monitor web traffic without having to use SEO tools. If you bring up SEO tools when you first meet with your client you’ll be able to explain what they are and ensure that there won’t be any confusion down the line.
Mike has extensive experience in designing websites and knows all of the tools and essentials to create a successful and functional website.
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