Redirecting Hash Fragments with .htaccess

During this year’s site redesigns, I noticed in the server logs some 404 errors for various WordPress comments. These 404 requests each involved a fragment identifier (i.e., character string beginning with a pound sign, #) being interpreted as its HTML entity hex equivalent, %23. It may not seem like a big deal, but these days every detail counts, so it’s wise to clean up as many 404 errors as possible. Thus, here is a simple .htaccess technique for redirecting hash-fragment requests to their proper destination.

WordPress Example

The logs were showing numerous requests where the hash symbol # was replaced with its HTML character code, %23. These were interpreted literally, such that the requested URLs were recorded as such:

https://example.com/some-path/%23comment-61814

To fix this with .htaccess, we can do this:

RewriteRule ^/(.*)%23comment-(.*)$ /$1#comment-$2 [R=301,L,NE]

Here we are rewriting the request such that the correct path and comment number are specified in the redirect URL. So the first (.*) is used to replace the $1, and the second (.*) is used to replace the $2. The key here is the NE flag, which prevents # from being converted to its hex code equivalent %23 during the rewrite.

General Example

This technique can be applied to the general case. Let’s say you want to redirect /example/%23identifier to /example/#identifier. It’s as easy as adding this to your .htaccess file:

RewriteRule ^/example/%23identifier /example/#identifier [R=301,L,NE]

Or let’s say that we want to redirect such that a part of the URL is appended as a hash fragment:

RewriteRule ^/some-path/(.*)/?$ /some-path/#$1 [R=301,L,NE]

So for example, if the request is for /some-path/whatever/, it will be redirected to /some-path/#whatever.

Again, the NE flag is instrumental to making this happen.

Plugin Translations on WordPress.org

Howdy plugin authors!

In case you haven’t heard, WordPress.org will be expanding the services we provide to you, offering language packs to all plugins. This post is to outline exactly what the plan is and when your plugin will take part.

For a bit of background, see this post on make/meta and this one on make/themes.

Over the past few months, the meta team has been working behind the scenes to enable language packs for themes and plugins, just like the ones core has. Language packs on WordPress.org are powered by translate.wordpress.org and the polyglots team, who translate WordPress.

As of today, all themes have been imported into translate.wordpress.org and can take advantage of language packs (see also). We chose to import themes first to work out any weirdness with translate.wordpress.org, which has never seen this many projects. There were a few bumps along the way, but language packs are now flowing for themes and we’ve added a number of improvements to translate.wordpress.org to make it the process easier for translators.

Now, it’s time to do the same for plugins.

The gist of plugin translations are as follows (see the FAQ below for more information):

  1. Eventually, all active plugins will be imported into translate.wordpress.org and made available for translation. However, we will import them in phases.
  2. Upon import, if you have any translations, we will import them into translate.wordpress.org. This only happens during initial import.
  3. Before importing your plugin, we will email you when your plugin is in the next “batch” of imports. You should ensure that all translations are up-to-date.
  4. If you do not wish to use language packs, you may continue to ship translations with your plugin.

I am sure there are some questions. Let me try and address them:

Why do I want WordPress.org managing translations for my plugin?

WordPress.org provides translations in dozens of languages and is ever expanding as new contributors join. (There are currently 140 locales on translate.wordpress.org, but not all are active.) While you may have translated your plugin into a few languages (or none at all), there are likely more translators on WordPress.org in more languages.

But that’s not all! Plugins in the WordPress.org directory will be able to take advantage of language packs! That means smaller download sizes for users, because plugins will no longer need to ship translations. Eventually, we also plan to give priority to localized plugins in localized directories; e.g., someone searching the Romanian plugin directory will see Romanian plugins prioritized over English-only plugins.

A great example of what your plugin will look like in a translated directory is Akismet.

When will you import my plugin into translate.wordpress.org?

We will import plugins in order, by the number of active installs they have, starting with the most active installs and working down to the least active installs. You will be emailed when your plugin is in the next batch of imports. Be sure to keep translations up-to-date.

Will you import my plugin ahead of time?

We’re importing in stages to monitor our systems and ensure the entire site does not break. We will not import your plugin out of order.

How do you define “active” plugins?

Plugins are considered “active” if they have been updated in the last two years. This is the same standard that the plugin directory uses when showing plugins in the search results.

My plugin doesn’t have any strings to translate. Does this apply to me?

Yes! Translators have the ability to translate your plugin’s readme.txt file and even its name.

What if my plugin already ships translations?

Translations that are already shipped in plugins will be initially imported into translate.wordpress.org. Again: we’ll import the strings and the translations on the initial import. We won’t continue to do that because the end goal would be for plugin authors to remove the translations from their download, allowing language packs to fill the void.

What if I don’t want language packs?

As mentioned, you can opt out of language packs and plugin translations on WordPress.org, by shipping translations in your plugin, just as you do now.

I currently ship translations with my plugin. How do I enable language packs?

WordPress ships with a mechanism that gives priority to shipped translations over language packs. If you wish to take advantage of language packs, you must remove the languages from your plugin zip.

How do I add support for translations and language packs?

@Otto42 wrote up a great post on the topic back in 2013. (Wow, it’s been a long time!) There’s also a great page in the plugin developer handbook which walks through how to internationalize your plugin.

Keep in mind, your plugin’s textdomain must match its slug and, as mentioned above, to fully support language packs, you’ll want to remove translations from your plugin after the import, when language packs are going out (language packs go out as soon as a translation is at 100%).

What if I want my translators to approve translations on WordPress.org?

Many plugins already have their own translators and will want to bring them over to translate.wordpress.org. We’ve written up a plan for working with the polyglots team to enable this. There will be some initial pain in adding new, project-specific (aka plugin-specific) translation editors, but afterwards, your translators will join a growing group of WordPress translators and help make the entire ecosystem better.


If you have any other questions, you’re probably not the only one, so leave them in the comments below.

Cheers!

How to Block WordPress Referrer Spam in Google Analytics

Are you getting a lot of referrer spam in your Google analytics? Referrer spam is a way to pass fake referer information to websites. These spammy links then appear in a users analytics and can lead you to click on malicious websites. In this article, we will show you how to effectively block WordPress referrer spam in Google Analytics.

Getting Started With Google Analytics

If you are not using Google Analytics on your WordPress site, then you should check out our guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.

Google Analytics is an awesome free tool that allows you to see how users interact with your website. You can see which pages users are visiting, track clicks on links, run split tests, and much more. See this beginner’s guide on how to use Google Analytics for your WordPress site.

For those of you who are already using Google Analytics, let’s fix the referrer spam problem in your Google Analytics reports.

What is Referrer Spam?

We all want our websites to be noticed. It makes us happy when other websites link to our articles. Referral spammers take advantage of this desire by sending fake referer URL with automated scripts to thousands of websites.

This URL then appears in your Google analytics or any other stats service you are using as referrers. Considering the fact that they affect millions of websites, it is likely that many users may want to explore these sites when they see them in their referral reports.

Referral Spam

Why You Need to Worry About Referer Spam

Some might say that referrer spam is quite harmless unless you click on the links. Well let’s assume that you won’t click on those links, there are still other downsides.

If you are small or medium sized website, then referer spam can ruin your sites analytics reports.

If you decide to sell your website and share this report with interested buyers, these spam links can leave a bad impression on them.

How We Deal With Referrer Spam?

We use Sucuri to monitor our website’s security. Sucuri not only only protects our website against malware and trojans, it also blocks referrer spam.

Sucuri Website Firewall blocks most known bad referrals by default. Their team is always adding new referral spammers to the list and actively monitoring their behavior.

Blocking Referrer Spam in WordPress Using Plugin

There are several WordPress plugins that can help you keep referrer spam to a bare minimum. These plugins use web services that are actively monitoring referral spam websites and use that list to block referral spam.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the SpamReferrerBlock plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Spam Referrer Block to configure the plugin.

Custom Blacklist

On the plugin’s settings page, you will see a text area to create your own custom blocking lists. Below that you will see the list of sites this plugin is actively monitoring and blocking. You can update this list with the most up to date version by clicking on the download from server button.

Download blacklist or upload yours

If you see a referrer spam link in your Analytics account that is not listed on this page, then you can add it to the custom blacklist. Click on the save button and plugin will start blocking it.

You can also share your custom blacklist with the rest of the internet community by clicking on the upload to server button at the bottom of the page.

Block Ghost Referrals Using Google Analytics Filtering

Despite implementing these solutions, you will still see some referrer spam in your Analytics reports. These websites are not visiting your site at all, so Sucuri or any other tool cannot block them.

They are sending their requests directly to Google Analytics using your UA Tracking code. This tracking code is used by Google Analytics to identify your website. Most site owners add it to their WordPress site’s footer or header section. Anyone can look at this code and use the UA tracking id to generate referrer spam.

Here is how you can block such websites in Google Analytics itself. Login to the Google Analytics account and then click on Admin link at the top.

Google Analytics admin

This will bring you to the admin section of Google Analytics.

First you need to select the account from the left hand column. After that you need to click on Tracking Info to expand it.

Finally, you will see the Referral Exclusion List option.

Referral exclusion list

Clicking on it will show you the referral exclusion list. Click on the add referral exclusion button and start adding domain names that you want to block.

Add domains to your referral exclusion list

We hope this article helped you learn how to block WordPress referrer spam in Google Analytics. You may also want to see our list of 7 best analytics solutions for WordPress users.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit How to Block WordPress Referrer Spam in Google Analytics on WPBeginner.

Google Analytics by Yoast: Free vs Premium

GA free vs premiumWe have two versions of our Google Analytics by Yoast plugin: a free and a premium version. We’ve had some questions about the difference between the two. And while we can mention the additional features the premium version offers, this doesn’t explain how those premium features could benefit you.

So in this post I’ll explain the difference between the free and the premium version of our Google Analytics plugin.

Features

Let me first tell you what the difference in features between the free and premium Google Analytics by Yoast plugin is:

 
Free Premium
Adds tracking code vinkje x2 vinkje x2
Tracking of 404 and search result pages vinkje x2 vinkje x2
Dashboards vinkje x2 vinkje x2
Specific reports vinkje x2 vinkje x2
Custom dimensions vinkje x2
Adsense tracking vinkje x2
24/7 support vinkje x2

You see that Google Analytics by Yoast Premium comes with some extra features compared to the free version. Let me explain what each of these features does.

Adds tracking code

This is really as simple as that: our Google Analytics plugin adds the Google Analytics tracking code, enabling you to start tracking the traffic on your site. This tracking code is also automatically altered when you check certain options within our plugin. So you won’t ever have to look at that tracking code!

Available for: free and premium

Tracking of 404 and search result pages

After you’ve installed our Google Analytics by Yoast plugin, within Google Analytics you’ll be able to find 404 pages that people have visited on your site. Also, if you have a search functionality on your site and you’ve enabled your site search, you’ll be able to see what people have searched for.

Available for: free and premium

Dashboards

This is a relatively new feature. It enables you to see the sessions to your website of the last month, and your site’s bounce rate for the last month. Just to give you an idea, the sessions graph looks like this:

Yoast Google Analytics Dashboard ‹ Yoast — WordPress

This will give you the ability to get a general overview of how your site’s doing, directly from your WordPress install. You won’t have to go to Google Analytics anymore to see what’s going on.

Available for: free and premium

Specific reports

Next to the dashboards, there are also specific reports that you can take a look at without ever going to Google Analytics. You can see your most important traffic sources, your site’s most popular pages, and countries that get you the most traffic from, all ordered by sessions:

Yoast_Google_Analytics__Dashboard_‹_Yoast_—_WordPress

Available for: free and premium

Custom dimensions

Custom dimensions are quite a powerful tool, but also require a pretty lengthy explanation. I’ve written a post about custom dimensions and what you can do with them. We now support 8 different custom dimensions:

  1. Logged In
  2. Post type
  3. Author
  4. Category
  5. Published at
  6. SEO Score (only when combined with our Yoast SEO plugin)
  7. Focus Keyword (only when combined with our Yoast SEO plugin)
  8. Tags

Let me take the custom dimension “Author” as an example to explain what it can do. It shows you how much traffic each specific author has generated over the period of time you select. Especially when you have multiple authors it comes in handy to see which one gets you the most traffic.

These custom dimensions can be viewed in Google Analytics, but also within your WordPress install:

Yoast_Google_Analytics__Dashboard_‹_Yoast_—_WordPress

Available for: premium

Adsense tracking

To be able to see Adsense reports within your Google Analytics, you need to add a specific tracking code to your site. If you have Google Analytics by Yoast Premium, you can do this by checking a box. If you’re a regular user of Google Adsense, this is something you’ll want (and need).

Available for: premium

24/7 support

Alongside those premium features, the premium version of Google Analytics by Yoast will also give you access to our 24/7 support team. If you have any trouble with your plugin or need help installing it, or anything like that, our support team is always ready to help you out!

Available for: premium

Concluding

Both our free and our premium Google Analytics plugins offer you great tracking and easily accessible insights. If you want to get the most out of your tracking and make money from your website, our premium version is the one for you. If you’re looking for more basic tracking features, the free version will probably be enough.

What about you? What do you use our Google Analytics plugin for? Let me know in the comments!

This post first appeared as Google Analytics by Yoast: Free vs Premium on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Announcing: Yoast Academy

In a few weeks, Yoast.com will get a major make-over! We are currently working on the last details of our redesign. Alongside our new appearance, we will also launch a new section on Yoast.com: Yoast Academy. Yoast Academy will become the SEO library of Yoast.com. It will become the place to be if you want to learn about optimizing your website.

Why Yoast Academy?

In the past few years, we have been blogging quite a lot. Most of the content of our blog posts is created after extensive reading and research. We have lots and lots of information about SEO, usability, conversion and content writing. In the present form, it is quite hard to navigate through all our information, because it is all captured and fragmented in blog posts. Our eBooks, however, do bundle and combine the information in an insightful manner. Nevertheless, we felt more and more as though we were wasting much of the articles and knowledge we so carefully created. Our content could be used in a better and more efficient way, making it possible for our audience to learn about SEO and website optimization. Therefore, we decided to create Yoast Academy!

What is Yoast Academy?

Yoast Academy aims to make all of our knowledge more accessible to our audience. We want to make Academy into a learning center, a place you can go if you want to learn about every aspect of SEO. We will offer our learning material in different formats: blog posts, eBooks, videos and online courses. Yoast Academy will contain both free and premium (paid) products.

Academy on the new Yoast.com

screenshot

As you can see, in the new design of Yoast.com, Academy will have its own place in the main menu. Our posts will appear in the Academy section of the website (and will no longer be as prominent on the homepage). Although captured in a different section, the blog in itself will remain the same. Joost, Thijs, Michiel, and Marieke will remain the main authors, we will continue to write both state-of-the-art blog posts as well as in-depth articles and posts containing practical tips. Joost will also continue his weekly SEO updates.

We aim to make the information of our posts and articles on Yoast Academy into a solid SEO library in which people can easily search and find information about SEO and website optimization. We are working on updating the information in our posts, improving the internal structure of the massive amount of posts we produced and creating more insightful tag and category pages.

More new learning products

Next to updating our articles and posts, we will also be adding new products which will make it easier to learn from Yoast. In the beginning of October, we will offer a new eBook about Usability and Conversion (from an SEO perspective). We plan to write a few more eBooks (about technical SEO and Blog SEO) in the following months. On October 12th, we will launch our first online Basic SEO course (with video’s, questions and lots of reading materials). We are already working on more online courses on Technical SEO, Usability and Blog SEO. Also this fall, we will be experimenting with making our own video-blogs.

Yoast Academy in the long run

In the long run, we aim to make Yoast Academy a complete learning center for SEO and website optimization. Yoast Academy will offer learning material in different formats and for any audience (both beginner as well as experts). With the launch of the new design of Yoast.com in just a few weeks, Yoast Academy will be born. We are looking forward to making it grow into something really awesome!

This post first appeared as Announcing: Yoast Academy on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Forks and Copies

This has come up recently. What happens when someone submits a plugin that’s a copy of another?

The tl;dr here is this: Please email us at plugins@wordpress.org if you find someone has slipped an uncredited fork or identical copy of another plugin into the repository.

In general, we spot these before they ever get published. We rejected 10s of plugins a month for being identical copies. That said, we also approve double that for being legitimate forks.

While the GPL and it’s compatible licenses allow for forking, we have an ‘above and beyond’ rule for hosting here, that means your plugin must be a substantial change of the original. We do not allow direct copies of other plugins to be re-listed under somebody else’s name, we allow changed forks.

What does that mean? It’s very simple. You have to add new features, remove features, modernize, fix, clean up, or otherwise make a change to the plugin that differentiates it from the original. In rare cases, a simple clean-up will be accepted, but normally we try to get a hold of the original authors and have the fixes folded in to the original plugin. If you have a fork, we require you to retain all credit and/or copyright information.

That’s all well and good. What happens when we miss one?

Contact us. Email us at plugins@wordpress.org and tell us “Plugin A is a copy of Plugin B.” If both plugins are on the WordPress.org repository, provide links — there are 45k plugins in our repository, no links means it takes us an extra email or three to sort out which plugin you were talking about. Anyone can report this, though we ask you be reasonable and not accusatory. We are real humans who will read your emails. Treat us like that :)

We’ll open up both plugins, the current versions and the originals, and run a diff between them to see what’s different. If it’s just renaming plugin functions, we’re going to close the copy. If it’s clearly a full rewrite, with moving functions to namespaces etc, we’re likely to keep both versions open. A full modernized rewrite is a legit fork. We will go back and ask them to put credits and copyright info back in, but rarely more.

If the original plugin is NOT hosted on WordPress.org, then it’s more complicated because we need to see them to compare. This means if you, as a user, see a copy of a premium plugin, you need to ask the original developers to contact us. Why? Well, have you ever tried, as a non-paying customer, to contact some of these folks? It’s an uphill battle. It’s worse when they’re hosted on places which protect their email addresses. That’s great, we totally get why you do that, but we have no way to contact them. Many times we’ve reached out and gotten auto-replies that take weeks to get back to us with a real human.

If you’re the original developer, email us a copy of your plugin (we promise not to steal it) and if you can, explain how you know it’s a copy and not a fork.

But whatever you do, please, please, please, don’t take all this to the forums and post complaints that the forked plugin authors are evil or what have you. That doesn’t make for a happy community. Report things properly. Let us know. We’ll take the angry hit from them for you.

If you’ve written a fork or a copy? Please make sure you’re really making a fork! Just slapping on your name and changing function names isn’t enough of a fork for us to host it here. We don’t want to have 100 plugins that are the same, save the credits. We want to have plugins that do different things.

Yoast SEO: announcing breaking API Changes

As we announced a while back, we’re working on real time content analysis functionality for Yoast SEO. While we wanted to preserve backwards compatibility, we’ve come to the conclusion that we won’t be able to for some filters. This means that some themes and plugins, who integrate with our page analysis functionality, will need to be updated. We will be releasing this update on November 2nd, 2015, so get ready!

Warning upfront: this post is geekier than the average post on yoast.com and doesn’t contain tips for your site.

From serverside to your browser

When Yoast SEO ran a page analysis on your content, this was all done on the server, not in your browser. This meant that when you had a plugin that added a block of text, the plugin would need to register with one of our filters and add that text to the analysis. Our move to a real time analysis means that we’re moving the entire analysis to your browser, instead of the server. This will probably make it easier for most of these plugins to interact with our analysis, but they’ll have to make changes.

The filters that will be removed are described in this GitHub issue. The most important filter, that most plugins and themes use, is wpseo_pre_analysis_post_content. If you use that filter, you will need to make changes as that filter is going away entirely.

We’ve devised a JavaScript plugin system, which we’ve described here. Other plugins can register with our plugin and modify the content and a few other variables. It’s important that you know the basic principles we had in mind when building this system so you understand why we did what we did.

Core requirements to the analysis

We want to make our analysis fast. Super fast. The main requirement we have is simple: when you go into the edit post or edit page screen, you usually have one main objective: editing content. Optimizing content, which is what you’d use our plugin for, is a secondary objective. So we want to make sure that A we don’t slow you down in reaching your primary objective and B we’re making the secondary objective accessible as quickly as possible after that.

Because of how a developer will need to “register” his plugin, the user will be able to see which plugin is causing the long load time. Also, if your plugin takes more than 5 seconds to get “ready”, we’ll ignore it.

The second requirement we have is consistency. For both speed and consistency reasons, we only allow synchronous modifications; if you need to fetch data from the server, we suggest you do it only once and cache the result. You can reload data in the background, and then trigger a reloaded event, which will reload the analysis. This makes sure the analysis continues to be real time and the results are consistent.

Register modifications

The modifications system we’ve defined is a lot like filters in WordPress, so you can think of it that way. It all happens purely in JavaScript space though. We’ve documented how these modifications work in the YoastSEO.js repo’s readme. We’ve also included an example plugin in the same readme.

Shortcodes

If you have a shortcodes plugin, you need not worry. We will make a plugin ourselves and ship it with the first release that handles all (properly registered) shortcodes. This will actually be an improvement over how we currently handle shortcodes (right now we ignore them).

To sum it up

  • Real time page analysis is coming to Yoast SEO for WordPress on November 2nd.
  • wpseo_pre_analysis_post_content and a few other filters are going away, if you use that filter, update your code.
  • We will have a working beta on September 9th that you can test your code against. We might have it earlier, follow @YoastDev on Twitter for updates. Feel free to tweet your questions there too.
  • Make sure you follow the guidelines above as otherwise it might not work.

Start developing! If you run into issues, feel free to either open an issue on the YoastSEO.js repository or tweet at @YoastDev. We will try to help as best as we can.

This post first appeared as Yoast SEO: announcing breaking API Changes on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

How to Create a Welcome Gate in WordPress

Are you looking to add a Welcome Gate on your WordPress site? Welcome Gates are one of the highest converting list building techniques in the market. Recently one of our users asked us for the best Welcome Gate plugins for WordPress. In this article, we will show you how to create a welcome gate in WordPress without affecting SEO.

Full screen welcome gate or interstitial ad  on a WordPress site

What is a Welcome Gate?

A welcome gate is a full screen call to action that appears before a user can see any content. Often website owners use it to quickly grab user’s attention and display a targeted offer to build their email list.

Traditional Welcome Gate techniques simply redirected users to a new page. Since the user does not see anything else on the screen except for a call to action or an advertisement, this ensures maximum conversion. Sounds great right? But here is the catch.

Redirecting users to a page they didn’t request is bad for your site’s SEO and user experience. Google is actively penalizing websites redirecting users instead of showing them the content they requested.

However there are modern WordPress welcome gate plugins that allow you to maximize your conversions without affecting your site’s SEO.

Adding a Welcome Gate in WordPress

We will be using OptinMonster to create a welcome gate. It is the best lead generation solution in the market, and we use it on WPBeginner. It allows you to create high-converting optin forms such as welcome gates, exit-intent lightbox popups, scroll-triggered slide-ins, floating bars, etc along with doing A/B testing, page level targeting, and gathering conversion analytics.

OptinMonster is a paid service, but WPBeginner users get an exclusive 10% off with the OptinMonster Coupon code: WPB10.

Once you have purchased OptinMonster, you need to install and activate the OptinMonster WordPress API plugin.

Upon activation, you will be asked to add your API credentials which can be found in your OptinMonster account.

OptinMonster API Credentials

Once you have connected your account with your site, you need to click on create new optin button.

Create new welcome gate optin

This will take you to OptinMonster app where you will select and design your fullscreen welcome gate.

Creating fullscreen welcome gate optin in  OptinMonster

First you need to enter a title for your optin and select your website. If you have not added your website yet, then you can click on add a website to add it now.

Click on fullscreen under ‘Select your design’ column. This will show you a welcome gate theme. Clicking on the theme will launch the OptinMonster design builder.

Customizing your welcome gate

In the builder, you will see the live preview of the welcome gate. You can change colors, text, add buttons, and fully customize your welcome gate here.

When to Display Welcome Gate?

Timing is crucial when you want to display a full screen welcome gate or interstitial. Unlike other solutions available in the market, OptinMonster provides you with a wide range of behavioral controls that helps you boost your conversion rates.

While we’re using the OptinMonster Fullscreen as a welcome gate, you can actually turn it into an interstitial ad and even exit gate.

OptinMonster allows you to set time and scroll-based delays. You can choose to load the Fullscreen optin at 0 seconds which means it’s a Welcome Gate. You can delay it by XX seconds, and it becomes an interstitial. Or you can select exit-intent which triggers the full screen optin when the user is about to leave turning it into an exit gate.

All of this can be selected from the OptinMonster design builder.

Choose when to show the welcome gate

OptinMonster also comes with referrer detection. This allows you to show or hide welcome gate for users coming from a certain domain. You can explicitly show your full screen welcome gate to users coming through search or social media.

Referer detection

Once you are done configuring your optin, you can simply click on the save button and exit the customizer.

Going Live With Your Full Screen Welcome Gate

After designing your welcome gate, there is just one more step to make it live on your WordPress website. Simply click on the OptinMonster icon in your WordPress admin area and then click on refresh optins button.

You will see the optin you just created in the list. Click on edit output settings link below your optin.

Edit output settings

This will show you the output settings for your welcome gate. Simply check enable this optin option and choose one of the display settings (such as load globally, load on specific posts, load on specific categories, etc).

Enable full screen welcome gate on your site

Once you are done, click on save settings button.

Your full screen welcome gate is now live on your website. You can check it by opening a new window under incognito mode and visit your website.

We hope this article helped you create a welcome gate in WordPress. You may also want to take a look at our guide on how to add a YouTube video as fullscreen background in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Full disclosure: WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, is the co-founder of OptinMonster.

To leave a comment please visit How to Create a Welcome Gate in WordPress on WPBeginner.

SEO changes, and so do our site reviews

SEO changes, and so do our site reviewsYoast has three main product lines. You all know our plugins, which are the main part of our business. Next to that, we have written a number of eBooks (the third one is actually coming out soon!) and we perform website reviews on a daily basis.

All three product lines are related: they’re all about optimizing your website for both Google and your visitors. From our site reviews, we learn the issues webmasters or website owners are struggling with. Both from the intake forms that we send before the review, as from the six weeks of email support we provide with our reviews. The things we learn provide valuable input to improve our plugins, and provide ideas for our eBooks and the upcoming Yoast Academy we’ll be launching later this year.

This coherence in our products makes that we can stay on top of our game.

Ever changing website reviews

Our website reviews help you to optimize your website the best way possible. In our Gold Review, we check your website for over 300 possible issues, depending on the type of website you have. Obviously, we focus on the issues that matter most.

These checks sometimes change on a weekly basis, and a lot of these changes are triggered by market developments or Google algorithm changes. Sometimes new checks are ‘inspired’ by the blog posts or the eBooks we write. Let me give you an example. Over the last year, the importance of headings for SEO has decreased a lot. It’s more and more a user-friendly way to mark up your articles, instead of headings having any SEO value for your page. In our reviews, we do a number of checks for headings, but with more and more UX focus. I can imagine we will eventually check for instance the design and how font sizes of H2 and H3 relate to each other, as Google is better and better at analyzing the design of a website, regardless of the markup itself.

Another example. Authorship markup isn’t important anymore for your rankings. That doesn’t mean the author isn’t either. In our reviews, we removed the check for authorship, but there should still be attention for the author, so we do check for that.

All kinds of customers

Our Gold Reviews consist of a number of checks that apply to all websites, but a number of checks is tailored to specific types of sites.

If a site for instance is an online shop, we check how customer support is integrated into the website. If you want to increase trust, and thus lower the barriers to purchase a product in your web store, you want to make sure there is an obvious way to contact you. That could be by displaying a phone number in your header. With more and more live chats on eCommerce websites, this might become a substitute for that phone number. But as long as not all your customers are used to live chat, you really need that phone number.

We also encounter photography websites on a regular basis. These websites are usually about photos, photos and nothing but photos. You really want text to go along with these, and you also want to use schema.org data to make sure Google can ‘read’ these images as good as possible as well.

Magazine websites or blogs require a different focus than purely informative websites. There is more user interaction and archives play a huge role. In our reviews, we will pay extra attention to these specific issues, where we might focus more on a menu and search option for the informative websites.

User experience is related to all kind of things, one of them being theme color. We have seen dentist websites that were going against the stream with green and orange color schemes. If you Google ‘dentist website’ in image search, your screen will turn blue. Only a few, specialized dentist websites can pull off a different color scheme than that. In our reviews, we try to take the business type and branding into account when advising on user experience.

That’s just a tip of the iceberg. Our Gold Reviews help all kind of websites, from large, well-known sites to the grocery next door.

Gold review: value for money

We have to adjust our reviews on a regular basis to match up to latest developments in the SEO world. As our reviews change, we always keep a keen eye on the value for money as well. It’s a combination of time spent, euro-dollar rate and capacity. We have hired more consultants, have upgraded our tools and accordingly, permanently lowered the price for our Gold Review.

If you have ever considered ordering a Gold Review, but decided not to at that time, you might want to reconsider now. Our Gold Review is now available for only $899 $799. Go and order your review. Or visit that same page for more information, of course.

Marita Meegan Fundraisingip.com“If you need in-depth on-page and off-page SEO analysis, their customized Website Review analyses about 200 factors on your website. In other words, Yoast stays on top of not just Google’s updates but also new opportunities for SEO in order to provide a first class review.”
Marita Meegan, founder of FundraisingIP.com

We’re happy to help you improve your website!

This post first appeared as SEO changes, and so do our site reviews on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Step Up Your Game: How to Work With Successful WordPress Clients


Mario Y. PeshevThis post was contributed by Mario Peshev. Mario is the founder and WordPress Architect at DevriX building and maintaining large WordPress-driven platforms. With over 10,000 hours of consulting and training, Mario’s Yin and Yang is his Open Source advocacy and business growth strategy.


Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning – Benjamin Franklin

Step up your game featured image
photo credit: Stairwell(license)

I’ve been a learnaholic for as long as I can remember and when I read the aforementioned quote, it resonates strongly with me. My prelude to WordPress years ago was one of the steps toward improvement and success and I’ve developed a special love-hate relationship with WordPress.

Utmost admiration about its influence over the world in terms of Open Source and opportunities for various people in different niches, and its plague of being diminished and depreciated by professional developers and successful businesses.

There are ways to solve these issues as long as the inner circle works towards the same goal.

Note: If you are happy building lego type websites with random ThemeForest themes and you see that as your future, this post is not for you. If you love doing the same repeatedly for mom and pop shops, this may not resonate with you. This is applicable to people who want to get better at what they do, be more professional, and make some impact by solving complex problems for larger customers.

WordPress For a Better Future

In May, I presented at a conference focused on kids and teenagers to motivate them, prepare them for the adult life, and nurture their creativity. Kids these days hardly think about their future, between their teenage emotional dramas and boring homework assignments. If you think about it, how can they be passionate about becoming someone if they have no real idea what they need to know and do on a daily basis?

I used WordPress as an example of a platform that children can use, one that provides them with the opportunity to develop a talent or passion.

Using WordPress for homework and general notes (or a diary) could indicate interest in several areas:

  • Young bloggers can potentially do creative writing or copywriting.
  • Constantly switching themes and playing with colors might open the room to design.
  • Adding plugins and trying to implement complex combinations is the first step to programming.
  • Sharing posts, looking at analytics and comparing different titles or photos is the way to marketing.

There are other potential areas of course, but as long as kids can associate with an activity, become passionate about it, and start digging into it, they can save years of slacking, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars on college degrees for specialties they couldn’t care less about.

This is one of the reasons why more and more people join the WordPress industry and switch boring jobs in order to make a living off of WordPress.

What Types Of WordPress Services Exist?

The amount of opportunities for WordPress work is incredible but the vast pool of WordPress jobs is so vague and blurry, that hiring and educating talent is out of control.

I keep an eye on dozens of job boards, portals, and freelance networks. Clients look for Virtual Assistants to get their websites built. They look for expert WordPress developers to apply content changes to their site or web designers to develop complex plugins.

On a weekly basis I see references to WordPress administrators, programmers, developers, designers, marketers, digital artists, webmasters, VAs, and plenty of other job titles used improperly. As a matter of fact, I’m now fascinated when I see a WordPress related job post or an offer looking for the right type of candidate.

The great news is that you can do anything with WordPress. The caveat here is that WordPress itself is not a skill. You don’t ask for an Internet expert nowadays and you don’t go to the same doctor when you have a headache or you’ve injured your leg.

The wide industry of innocent clients and amateur service providers have made it nearly impossible to tell a developer from a marketer, or from a general user who has installed WordPress with an auto-installer twice.

The Indecent World of WordPress Experts

Job Titles Featured Image
photo credit: I love ’84(license)

I’ve read a lot about impostor syndrome in several reputable WordPress blogs, and people keep identifying themselves in the comments. In my opinion, this is a problem so insignificant as compared to the ever-growing pool of people claiming to be WordPress Experts.

In the last several years, I’ve interacted with people all around the world working with WordPress. From freelancers to successful business owners at conferences, and from beginner virtual assistants to full-stack consultants in social media, blogs and job networks.

The largest group of service providers that I’ve found is the one of WordPress experts. You can easily substitute expert with specialist, guru, master, ninja and rockstar. Just open a new tab and do a few quick searches in Google, job networks, social media and view the large number of results.

Next on the list are WordPress developers. A WordPress developer is often described as people who install plugins. There are various possible scenarios, but this is rarely the definition of an actual developer proficient in WordPress.

Some boards or blogs list specific skills that let you filter by programming language or a separate tool. My latest research with 200 contractors with WordPress developer titles led to 170 people who rate themselves with 4 or 5 out of 5 stars in PHP proficiency, and 30 with 3 stars.

Out of the 170 people in the first group, 150 were college students, Internet marketers, VAs, and people who have substituted strings in WordPress themes thanks to support forums or help from the Codex. Not a single line of code was written from scratch, let alone building anything, and 4 out of 5 or higher self-assessed their level of PHP experience.

Tom McFarlin published a post on the difference between a developer and implementer and I wrote an overview defining various technical skills in the WordPress context. Due to the lack of proper training, any official educational resource or meaningful set of skills per role, both finding talent and improving one’s skills is being challenged.

I challenge you to interview several successful clients around you who looked for skillful WordPress folks. They either happened to know the right people, were recommended someone, ended up with several freelancers who messed up big time, went AWOL and suddenly took the cash and disappeared, couldn’t deliver, or they did and the site is incredibly slow and/or got hacked soon thereafter.

That’s sending serious businesses away and I won’t touch the topic of under pricing services and products which brings the quality and support way down.

What motivates people to use a reliable resource in order to grow? The WordPress Foundation, nor any of the big players provide official training curriculum, and a definition for formal roles. There is no WordPress certification program (I won’t get into that to avoid unnecessary discussions), and there are no clear paths for requirements.

The WordPress Community is Filled with Amateurs

As a result, our community is a large group mostly composed of amateurs who started using WordPress one way or another. These people started earning money and reached a point where they don’t know where they stand, what they’re proficient in, if they’re doing fine, whether they’re experts, impostors, or somewhere in the middle, and what would be helpful to them?

We still use FTP and work with PHP 5.2-supported hosts. The most popular theme marketplaces provide products with broken and inconsistent code. The WordPress.org plugin repository accepts plenty of plugins with suspicious consistency and compatibility.

None of these issues are recognized publicly in the WordPress community. Some hosts prohibit SSH and allow solely FTP. PHP 5.2 will be supported by Core for a while, which doesn’t motivate hosts to upgrade. Marketplaces earn millions from their top sellers, so they’re not interested in quickly bringing up quality as long as poorly coded themes sell well. There’s also no formal constantly reviewed plugin repository for high quality plugins and no one is actively backing this idea up.

If you read the last paragraph as a rant, it’s because it is. It’s meant to be a “wake up call” to clients who don’t know better and service providers who want to become better. While the WordPress Core itself is incredibly stable and flexible, the rest of the infrastructure is mostly poorly coded due to under pricing, lack of skills, and lack of more successful clients interested in backing up WordPress teams and consultants.

There are different kinds of people and plenty of applications of WordPress. Whatever you do, it’s your professional duty to offer the right type of service instead of misleading your clients, and be aware of the other pertinent verticals. Moreover, it’s the only way forward working with reputable organizations and large profitable corporations.

What is a Successful Client?

Success Featured Image
photo credit: seeveeaarcc

Prestige Conference happened a few weeks ago, and Shane Pearlman from Modern Tribe shared his experience in a presentation entitled, Land the Big Fish: Strategies Acquiring Larger Clients. It’s a motivational talk that outlines different strategies on negotiating and landing larger customers.

During the Q&A at the end of the session, Pearlman is asked, “What’s in it for me to go through all of that headache to procure bigger brand names?”

As I stated at the beginning, working with successful clients is not for everyone. Some people are afraid to leave their comfort zone. Others are too lazy to learn new skills or sometimes doing the same thing repeatedly may be their perfect job. For every other entrepreneur or business player, successful clients are exciting.

Each small change is magnified when working with successful clients. Usually, they have a lot of employees, a solid budget for marketing and advertising, a lot of traffic, and various complex requirements that help them attract more leads or automate their processes. T

hey are often respectable and have access to more capital. This allows them to invest more since their return of investment is worth it; while taking a risk due to saving a few bucks could very well ruin their reputation and harm their business. There are several examples of products or companies in the WordPress community that were hacked or where updates caused major issues.

Working with successful clients is extremely rewarding and exciting, but getting there requires ace skills and solid experience, as well as the right mindset.

How to Target Successful Clients

Based on my experience with banks, telecoms, automotive, airline brands, large educational institutions and media outlets over the last 12 years as a developer and a technical lead, there are several specific areas where courageous WordPress freelancers and small business owners can focus on if they are aiming for growth and successful clients, but aren’t there yet.

I have identified some steps for moving from a freelancer to a successful company. Here is what we should focus on in the WordPress context in order to step up our game, understand our industry better, and start acting professionally if we want to be taken seriously.

WordPress is a Vague Term

Being a WordPress Expert says nothing. You may be a lead developer of WordPress or someone who can memorize the order of all submenus under Settings in the admin dashboard. Both are classified as WordPress experts and that’s what many people don’t realize.

Specialize in a given niche and polish your skills. Focus on a specific group of projects – membership websites, eCommerce stores, multisite installs. Become a know-it-all professional for an extensible plugin such as, BuddyPress, Gravity Forms, or Easy Digital Downloads.

Understand the value you are providing and what it corresponds to. Be respectful to the broad community of professionals in your area, learn from them, ask them to be your mentors. Even the best athletes and CEOs have coaches, business mentors, and boards of directors. Find out what it is that you do whether it’s design, development, marketing, or something else and learn the skill inside and out.

WordPress Installments Don’t Matter

Plenty of people offer WordPress services as an add-on to their portfolio of other services without realizing the impact it has on the business. While WordPress is used for plenty of purposes, it’s still a technical platform that comes with its own specific set of requirements.

Imagine what will happen if:

  • You set up a vulnerable plugin that is exploited and your client’s password is stolen, along with their private details.
  • You forget to protect the media uploader and the client uploads sensitive data. Scanned images of contracts and ID cards end up in the public space.
  • Your sitemap plugin indexes protected data since you used a plugin that doesn’t work.
  • You set up a site and sell it to a client, and due to the terrible choice of plugins, the site crashes miserably and kills the server during a demonstration in front of their big clients.

Its a small list of what ifs, but they happen all the time. If you don’t possess the skills or offer the wrong service, this could damage your client’s business. Upping your game and providing solutions instead of websites allows you to take care of the infrastructure, maintenance work, support, development, security, marketing of the project.

At the very least, be aware of the consequences and partner up with other agencies and consultants. Complete packages are what successful clients look for and inexperienced people often mess up what others have built.

WordPress Expert Skills Won’t Cut It

Successful clients look for professional skills. They have real problems that can’t be solved with yet another plugin, and they are smart enough to know that.

If you are in the business of configuring themes and installing a few plugins for clients, that won’t do it for successful customers. You need to specialize in code, design, user experience, marketing, or something else that brings real value to them.

Large clients are looking for state of the art designs, performant and secure code, brilliant marketing skills, and growth hacking strategy. Large clients are successful because they are outstanding at what they do, the services they offer, and they appreciate high quality.

Context-Specific WordPress Solutions

Large organizations take their marketing presence and technical stack seriously. They carefully delegate based on multiple factors. Being in a meeting with a large client typically means discussing a use case together with several people such as, a creative director, VP of marketing, network engineer, and project manager.

In addition to being skillful in your niche and ready to provide value, you have to learn the business processes of your target client. Your idea of a solution may be applicable for small sites, but it may very well be a bad fit based on the company policy or the variety of services used by the team.

As an example, a creative director may require you to prepare your theme to be ADA Section 508 compliant, which is an accessibility standard required by certain organizations. The VP of marketing may ask for a Hubspot integration with Cvent within your website for proper CRM and meeting request management.

The network engineer could outline that they need to host the solution on-site, and set up a specific set of web application firewalls and internal web server security rules restricting certain process callbacks. The project manager might share a complicated timeline based on the organization load, holiday schedule, decision maker’s availability, conferences, and various deliverables that need to be presented by different people and other third-parties.

All of the above are things that we’ve been asked for over the past few months. If you are used to working with a specific host using Apache, prepare for writing documentation and shipping to a restricted server running HHVM. If you use a framework that isn’t accessible, you will need to step back, explore the Section 508 standards, and build something compatible.

Generic solutions are often not the right fit for large clients. But if you’re determined to learn more and become a better professional, that’s the perfect challenge for you.

Solving More Complex Problems

In addition to being able to adjust to different environments, working with large clients means solving more complex problems.

If a mom and pop shop is somewhat broken or down, it’s probably not a big deal if their site receives 100 visits per month. But for a project with tens of millions of views a month and thousands of concurrent users, it is unacceptable.

Working on larger and heavy platforms often means dealing with a lot of data, complex relationships, and solid traffic. This means that every single line of your code and business decision will inevitably impact the entire system in a way visible to hundreds of thousands of people.

In order to be able to cope with these, you should study your specialty in detail and understand what the impact is of every single change. These skills increase your value and let you face similar challenges and solve problems that the majority of beginners can’t even imagine.

You will learn a lot about the entire stack, and get to know hundreds of different rules. At some point you will voluntarily violate those rules, being aware of the fact that some design patterns and best practices don’t solve specific problems. It’s better to denormalize a database or minify a compression algorithm in order to solve a business problem for a large platform.

It’s just as they say at a music college – you learn the music theory for three years, and then you throw everything away and start playing jazz. You need to know the entire architecture and strategy first in order to decide how to optimize it in the best possible manner, whether it’s using a best practice or violating one for a specific purpose.

Teaming Up

If you have worked solo or in a small team, you will eventually need to partner up or grow. Either way, large projects are time consuming and require different expertise, and it’s unthinkable for one to know it all. Therefore, you will work with other professionals from more industries, team up and solve more complex problems together, and learn more about their challenges.

If you have thought about mastering a single skill, teaming up with the right people will add a few more skills as an extra perk, which will increase the potential of your main skill as well. Working with financial analysts on a project for a bank helped me to understand the entire model of loans and mortgages, as well as the internal banking policy.

This allowed me to learn how loans and interests work in different cases and get acquainted with standardized security regulations at companies in the financial field.

Security Concerns

Hello Security Featured Image
photo credit: Two Locks(license)

Data privacy and security are important topics that people often misjudge. Working with large clients means more responsibility and higher impact in case of a problem. In the process of building a solution or consulting a reputable organization, you will most likely have to comply with various security policies.

While some of them may seem unnecessary, there is a reason they exist. The more familiar you are with them, the better it is for you, your clients, and future endeavors. If you’re not using VPNs, SSH keys, two-factor authentication, or voice recognition IDS, this may be a good lesson for you. Why are they needed, what problems do they solve, and how can you apply them to your personal data and existing set of clients?

Organization and Accountability

BrainyQuote
BrainyQuote

In order to be helpful to large businesses as a consultant, or an agency, you need to be reliable. This may be a result of a number of testimonials, successful track record at previous companies or a good portfolio. It’s always challenging to start with large customers, so improving your skills and working hard in order to become valuable is important.

Being organized and process-oriented is essential to most reputable organizations. The majority of them are more conservative and operate slowly, since a minor mistake could cost them millions or more.

They rely on detailed specifications, scope of work documents, use case diagrams, UX mockups/wireframes, E/R diagrams, and a large list of documents. They include every single detail in their planning – from holidays for each member of their team, to different dependencies from other service providers and third-party members.

Successful clients have managed to build a process and scale it in a way that grows their revenue in a predictable way. In order to be able to handle large projects, you need to treat them as a small project that takes longer to complete.

Learn how to use a project management system and version control properly, define your pricing strategy, make sure to predict all of the delays for both communication and payments. Learn how large organizations operate and do your due diligence upfront in order to avoid surprises.

Don’t take anything for granted and don’t assume anything. The more confident you are, the higher the possibility of making a major mistake. There are always new automatic deployment strategies or a DevOps service you haven’t heard of, another massive CSS3 grid, or a growth hacking strategy that you haven’t explored.

The more challenges you face, the more you’ll learn, and be able to solve complex problems.

How to Disable Visual Editor Formatting Shortcuts in WordPress 4.3

Don’t like the formatting shortcuts that were introduced in WordPress 4.3? Find it a bit distracting? Recently, one of our users asked us how to disable visual editor formatting shortcuts in WordPress. In this article, we will show you how to disable visual editor formatting shortcuts in WordPress 4.3.

Formatting shortcuts in WordPress visual editor

What are Formatting Shortcuts and How to Use Them?

WordPress 4.3 came with a new feature called formatting shortcuts. It allows users to quickly add common text formatting without removing their hands from the keyboard and without writing any HTML.

  • Using * or will start an unordered list.
  • Using 1. or 1) will start an ordered list.
  • Using # will transform into h1. ## for h2, ### for h3 and so on.
  • Using > will transform into blockquote.

Editor shortcuts

Disabling Visual Editor Formatting Shortcuts

While we think that formatting shortcuts are awesome, some users are finding this feature a bit confusing and distracting.

If you want to disable the formatting shortcuts in WordPress, then follow the instructions below:

Copy and paste this code in your theme’s functions.php file or in a site-specific plugin.

function disable_mce_wptextpattern( $opt ) {

	if ( isset( $opt['plugins'] ) && $opt['plugins'] ) {
		$opt['plugins'] = explode( ',', $opt['plugins'] );
		$opt['plugins'] = array_diff( $opt['plugins'] , array( 'wptextpattern' ) );
		$opt['plugins'] = implode( ',', $opt['plugins'] );
	}

	return $opt;
}

add_filter( 'tiny_mce_before_init', 'disable_mce_wptextpattern' );

This code simply removes text formatting shortcuts from your WordPress visual editor. Your other WordPress keyboard shortcuts will work as usual.

We hope this article helped you disable visual editor formatting shortcuts in WordPress 4.3 and later versions. You may also want to see these 14 tips for mastering the WordPress visual editor.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit How to Disable Visual Editor Formatting Shortcuts in WordPress 4.3 on WPBeginner.

Fall Conferences – PHP Madison and WordCamp NYC

Today I get to announce two conferences that I’m speaking at this fall. The first is here in NYC and is the 2015 WordCamp NYC.  I’ll be giving a talk entitled:
Lessons from Science Fiction and Fantasy we can use in Creating Websites.  Here is a short synopsis.

Science Fiction and Fantasy can teach web creators many valuable lessons. From seeing how Daleks with too narrow of a goal always fail to understanding the Klingons value of honor, to hundreds of other we can become better web creators by borrowing lessons from Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Next, I’ll be traveling to Madison, Wisconsin for the first time in almost 10 years to present “How Not To Build A WordPress Plugin” at Madison PHP.  A short synopsis of this talk is

WordPress has a powerful plugin architecture that enables you to build almost anything on top of WordPress. This power though can lead to anti-patterns that slow down sites, confuse users, and make it hard to scale. Let’s look at the wrong way of building plugins so you can avoid these traps.

Tickets for both events are on sale.  If you are either one, make sure to say hi!

The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

This year has seen a lot of positive change in the WordPress contributor community, especially in the area of accessibility.

Take for instance, the appearance this year of two new faces on the credits screen as of WordPress 4.3:

Source: The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

Drew is completely on target here. The WordPress Accessibility team has been rocking it lately. It wasn’t long ago that the question of if the Accessibility team should exist was floating around. They were the only team without a product, but instead focused on things across many teams. Since then, the team has stepped up big time and really is making WordPress better for everyone.  While Drew highlights the work they do for core in his post, they also have:

  • Created the Accessibility Ready guidlines and tag for themes
  • Helped to improve the accessibility of wordpress.org
  • Helped WordCamps have more accessible sites
  • much much more

Kudos to the WordPressAccessibility Team.  WordPress, and thus the web, is better because of the work they do.

What Do You Want to See in WordPress 4.4?

Scott Taylor, who is leading the development cycle for WordPress 4.4, published a post on the Make WordPress Core site asking people what they’d like to see in WordPress 4.4. The post has generated a number of comments from the community. Some of the most popular suggestions include:

  • REST API
  • Fields API
  • Term Meta
  • Shortcake UI
  • Ticket 31467 Images should default to not linking
  • RICG Responsive Images
  • Posts 2 Posts

Most of the items suggested are at various stages of development and there’s no guarantee any of them will make it into WordPress 4.4. However, the comments provide insight into what a lot of developers want in WordPress.

If there’s a ticket, feature, or plugin you’d like to see in WordPress 4.4, please leave a comment on the post.

WordCamp Russia 2015 Recap

We did it.

WordCamp Russia 2015

WordCamp Russia 2015 was held last weekend in the amazing Digital October Center in Moscow. Attendance didn’t change much from last year — we saw about 200 people in person, but a lot of them (~ 60%) were folks who never attended a WordCamp before.

The attendees survey showed great results, pretty much in line with last year and with what we expected overall. The pizza was good, the lounge music was praised, the presentations were terrific.

One thing that stood out was a gentleman, who for some reason decided that it was okay to jump up on stage during a presentation, and point out some (supposedly) mistakes that the speaker had made in their code. Awkward. I guess we’re going to have to hire a bouncer next year.

Here are some other things we learned this year:

  • Some communities don’t care about Wapuu and friends, they’d rather have a t-shirt with a W logo instead
  • If you’re playing music in the hallway during breaks and lunch, make sure you normalize all the tracks
  • Lights, shooting video and a projector don’t go well together, luckily inverting some slides helps
  • With two tracks available perhaps it’s a better idea to split presentations by popularity, rather than just user/dev
  • Launching a screen recording on the presenter’s laptop during their talk is a great idea, video production goes much faster

Big thanks to the organizing team, all the volunteers, speakers and sponsors who made WordCamp Russia a success!

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More from Konstantin Kovshenin

Apply for the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship to attend WordCamp US 2015

I’d like to ask everyone reading this to take a moment to remember Kim, and to remember that it’s up to all of us to make people with different backgrounds feel welcome and included at events like these. Let’s do her proud. Apply for the Kim Parsell Memorial Travel Scholarship

Source: Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship | WordCamp US 2015

 

Kim Parsell was a friend of mine even though we only met in person twice. Seeing her at WordCamp San Francisco last year, she was happier than nearly anyone I’ve ever met. Especially after Matt highlighted the work she had done for WordPress over the last year. At the contributor work days, she made a little office for herself on a couch and held court, bringing contributor after contributor over to discuss documentation, though I think the two of us spent almost as much time chatting about photography and how much she was enjoying WCSF.

This way of remembering Kim is one that I know she will be proud of and one I hope continues. Kim knew that WordPress benefits from having a diverse group of contributors, and that diversity comes in many ways. Let’s keep Kim’s spirit alive. If you are a woman who never attended WCSF, is an active WordPress contributor and needs help in order to attend WordCamp US, please apply for this scholarship.  WordPress needs your voice.

Plugin Submission ZIP files

This comes up now and then so I thought we should have a quick post about what your plugin zip should be when you submit.

Keep in mind, if we email you and tell you we cannot download or open your zip, please don’t just say “Well it works for me!” The fact is, we’re smart people. If we cannot get the zip to open, there actually is a problem. Check the link and check the zip. Attach the zip to your email reply.

It should be a zip file

I know, that’s obvious, but we actually force you to send a zip for a number of reasons. I strongly urge you NOT to use anything fancy like winrar to compress it, because that can make your zip un-openable on Mac or Linux boxes. Protip? We all use Mac or Linux.

Use a real URL

Don’t use localhost. Don’t use your dev environment. Don’t try to upload the zip. It’s a link to where your zip is publicly accessible. No more, no less.

Be very careful when you use ‘free’ upload sites. If they open up a dozen popups, we’re not going to risk them. We don’t like viruses.

Speaking of…

The link should be one that’s accessible to NON-logged in users

Bitbucket folks, this means you, eh? If you’re using GitHub, you can link us to the zip they make UNLESS you’re including submodules. Surprise! Github’s autogenerated zips don’t include that. Drives me nuts. I know.

Test the URL in an incognito window, just to be sure. It takes a second and you’ll see exactly what we see.

The zip should be only the plugin

It should be exactly what you would upload manually to WordPress to test (which you did test, right?) because that’s what we are going to do! Don’t include themes or other zips or required plugins. All of those requirements should be accounted for in your plugin by making checks and properly informing users as to what they need to do.

By the way, please don’t nest your zips. Seriously. We see a lot of zips that have a readme.txt and then a second zip file. That means we have to open the zip, extract the other zip, check that it’s right, and then upload it.

Following up on WordPress in a Next Generation PHP World

In April, just as WordPress 4.3 was beginning development, I started a conversation about WordPress, PHP7, and HHVM. Now that WordPress 4.3 has been released, I’m glad to say WordPress is looking great as far as PHP7 goes.

I’m planning on spending some time during the 4.3 development cycle focused on these next generation platforms.

The PHP core team did a solid job of not introducing many breaking changes with this release, which really helped to make the transition easier. The two major changes that WordPress needed to make in order to have passing unit tests on PHP7 were to deprecate PHP4 style constructors and updating some variable variables.

Screenshot of Travis-CI showing WordPress tests passing on PHP7
The final commit of WordPress 4.3 has PHP7 tests passing and running faster then any of the other PHP versions.

In 4.4, I intend to continue to focus on PHP7.  The release schedule targets Mid October 2015. I hope to move PHP7 out of the Allowed Failures bucket on Travis-CI the day it is released.

Next up is getting the unit tests passing on HHVM. Onward!

WordPress 4.3 “Billie” Named After Jazz Singer Billie Holiday Is Available for Download

After four months of development led by Konstantin Obenland, WordPress 4.3 “Billie” named after jazz singer Billie Holiday, is available for download. This release features menus in the customizer, strong passwords by default, site icons, and variety of other improvements.

Menus in the Customizer

You can now create, add, and edit menus in the customizer while previewing changes to your site in real-time. Unlike other parts of the customizer, previewing menus should be fast as it uses a new hybrid transport layer. Weston Ruter, who contributed to fast previews in the customizer explains the approach.

We also wanted to enable fast previewing of menu changes by default. So we implemented a postMessage/refresh hybrid approach which uses postMessage to sync the menus settings to the preview, and then the preview does an Ajax request to render just the contents of the menu container, and this Ajax response is then inserted into the DOM to replace the previous menu container. The technical name for this approach we have been calling ‘partial refresh’, but you can call it fast preview.

In general, previewing menus in most themes should be a fast experience.

Menu Customizer
Menu Customizer

Strong Passwords by Default

Mark Jaquith led the effort to improve the way passwords are chosen and changed in WordPress. On the account management page, clicking the Generate Password button generates a strong password by default. The password strength meter is better integrated into the password field which lets users know immediately when their password is weak.

Better Passwords in WordPress
Better Passwords in WordPress

The same interface is on the add new user screen, the password reset screen, and the WordPress install screen. While WordPress doesn’t require users to have a strong password, it does everything it can to encourage users to choose one.

In addition, WordPress no longer emails passwords and password reset links expire after 24 hours. When your password or e-mail changes, WordPress sends you an email so if someone hijacks your browser session and changes these items, you’ll be notified that it happened, and you can take action. You can disable these e-mails via the send_pass_change_email and send_email_change_email filters by setting them to false.

Site Icons

Site Icons are images that represent a website across multiple platforms. You can configure your Site Icon in the Site Identity panel within the customizer where you can upload a 512X512 sized image. This image will be used for browsers, iOS, Android, and Microsoft devices when a visitor bookmarks your site.

Site Icons in The Customizer
Site Icons in The Customizer

Text Patterns, Quick Link Toolbar, and Word Count Changes

The editor in WordPress 4.3 has undergone more improvements with text shortcuts, a quick link toolbar, and word count changes. Text patterns or text shortcuts allow you to quickly add unordered lists, ordered lists, headers, and blockquotes without having to use a mouse.

When starting a new paragraph with one of these formatting shortcuts followed by a space, the formatting will be applied automatically. Press Backspace or Escape to undo.

In the visual editor in WordPress 4.3, typing * or - and hitting the space bar will generate a bulleted list. Typing 1.  or  1) and hitting space will generate a numbered list. If you don’t want to create these lists or do so in error, clicking the undo button or hitting ctrl/cmd+z or esc will undo the text pattern.

Starting a paragraph with two to six number signs # will convert the paragraph to a heading. Similarly, the greater-than symbol > will convert the paragraph to a blockquote.

  • ## = H2
  • ### = H3
  • #### = H4
  • ##### = H5
  • ###### = H6

Quick Link Preview Toolbar

When you click a link in the WordPress 4.3 visual editor, a small inline link toolbar displays the full URL with buttons to edit or remove it. This avoids having to use the Insert/edit link modal window.

Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3
Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3

Word and character counts have also changed in WordPress 4.3. Instead of updating counts when pressing enter or return, it will refresh when you stop typing. A lot more characters that shouldn’t be counted as words are excluded. Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, WordPress core contributor, lists other notable changes.

Changes to the Admin Bar

WordPress 4.3 moves the Customize link to the top-level menu of the admin bar. This link opens the customizer, allowing you to manage menus, appearance, and widgets through the customizer interface.

WordPress 4.2 Admin Bar
WordPress 4.2 Admin Bar
WP43AdminBar
WordPress 4.3 Admin Bar

The Dashboard, Themes, Widgets, and Menus links take users to their corresponding admin pages in the backend of WordPress. This makes it clear which interface users are about to enter. The enhancement is a result of ticket #32678 where Helen Hou-Sandí and other WordPress core contributors discussed ways to improve the context of each link over the course of five weeks.

Noteworthy Changes

WordPress 4.3 is the result of hundreds of paid and non-paid volunteers working tirelessly to improve the software used on more than 24% of the web. If you experience any issues with WordPress 4.3, please report them on the support forums. Volunteers are watching support threads closely and if warranted, will create a thread listing known issues.

To enjoy the full upgrade experience, I encourage you to listen to Lady sings The Blues by Billie Holiday as you upgrade your WordPress sites.

How to Fix “This site ahead contains harmful programs” Error in WordPress

Are you seeing ‘This site contains harmful programs’ error on your website? This usually means that your website is hacked and Google has marked it insecure. Sometimes even when you fix the hack, the error still shows up. In this article, we will show you how to fix this site ahead contains harmful programs error in WordPress.

Fixing the harmful programs error in Google Chrome

Reasons for This Site Contains Harmful Programs Error

The number one reason for this error is that your website is hacked and is believed to be distributing a malware. This code spreads itself from the infected website to website visitors and can even spread to other websites.

Google marks a website with this warning if they find any suspicious code that could be a malware or trojan. This warns users to be careful when visiting these sites.

This site contains harmful programs error in Google Chrome

Another common reason for this error is showing ads from low quality advertising networks. These networks may sometime display ads linking to websites distributing malicious code.

To find this malicious code on your site, take a look at our tutorial on how to scan your WordPress site for potentially malicious code.

You can also check your site using Google’s safe browsing analysis tool.

All you need to do is add your site’s domain name as the query parameter to the URL like this:

https://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=YourDomain.com

Now that you know why the error happens, let’s take a look at how to fix it.

Fix This Site Contains Harmful Program Error

Before we start, please make a complete backup of your WordPress site. If you already had a backup system in place, then keep it handy as you may need it.

Removing malware and recovering a website can become a very complicated task. Sometimes even when you clean your site thoroughly, the malicious code can keep coming back until you find and remove the backdoor placed on your site.

Backdoor is referred to a method of bypassing normal authentication and gaining the ability to remotely access the server while remaining undetected. Finding the backdoor is not an easy task either. It could be a compromised password, unsafe file permissions, or a cleverly disguised file. We have a detailed guide on how to find a backdoor in a hacked WordPress site and fix it.

Once you have successfully removed the backdoor, you will still need to thoroughly check all your files and database for any malicious code.

As you can see that cleaning up and infected WordPress site can be a very tedious task. This is why we use Sucuri on all our websites.

Sucuri

Sucuri is a website monitoring and security service for WordPress users. It monitors your site 24/7 for suspicious activity, blocks any hacking attempts on your site, and clean up your site of any malware.

It costs $199 / year which is well worth it considering a freelance security expert may charge you upwards of $250 per hour.

Save yourself the frustration and hours of cleanup, and use Sucuri.

Note: If you use our link to signup, then we will receive a small commission. However, we only recommend products that we personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

Getting The Warning Removed by Google

Once you are absolutely certain that your website is clean, then you can ask Google to remove this warning from search results.

You will need to use Google’s Webmaster tools for that. If you have not already added your site to webmaster tools, then follow our tutorial on how to add your WordPress site to Google webmaster tools.

Once there, you need to click on the security issues section in webmaster tools. This page will list any security issues Google may have found on your website. You will also see the links to resources on clean up on your site.

Once you have fixed the issues, click on the checkbox and request a review.

In case you do not see any security issues in Google Webmaster tools, then you should the following form to report incorrect phishing warning.

Incorrect phishing warning report

We hope this article helped you fix this site ahead contains harmful programs error. You may also want to see our list of 25 most common WordPress mistakes to avoid.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit How to Fix “This site ahead contains harmful programs” Error in WordPress on WPBeginner.

Text Patterns and the Quick Link Toolbar in WordPress 4.3

Quick Link Toolbar Featured Image
photo credit: metal chain(license)

WordPress 4.3 is on schedule to be released August 18th and contains a number of improvements. Among the enhancements to the visual editor are text patterns. Text patterns or text shortcuts allow you to quickly add unordered lists, ordered lists, headers, and blockquotes without having to use a mouse.

In the visual editor in WordPress 4.3, typing * or - and hitting the space bar will generate a bulleted list. Typing 1.  or  1) and hitting space will generate a numbered list. If you don’t want to create these lists or do so in error, clicking the undo button or hitting ctrl/cmd+z or esc will undo the text pattern.

Starting a paragraph with two to six number signs # will convert the paragraph to a heading. Similarly, the greater-than symbol > will convert the paragraph to a blockquote.

  • ## = H2
  • ### = H3
  • #### = H4
  • ##### = H5
  • ###### = H6

It took a few tries to figure out but once I got the hang of it, I discovered that I prefer using text patterns versus clicking the appropriate button in the editor.

For example, the blockquote text pattern places text into a blockquote and automatically closes it while also starting a new paragraph. Traditionally, I highlight text and click on the blockquote button in the editor. Often times, I have to visit the text editor and close the blockquote to start a new paragraph.

Ryan Boren, WordPress core lead developer, created the following video which shows the text patterns in action on a mobile device.

Quick Previews of Links

WordPress 4.2 included a subtle but convenient feature for adding links to text. Pasting the URL to highlighted text automatically turns it into a link. The problem is that there isn’t an easy way to preview the URL without opening it in a new browser tab.

When you click a link in the WordPress 4.3 visual editor, a small inline link toolbar displays the full URL with buttons to edit or remove it. This avoids having to use the Insert/edit link modal window.

Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3
Preview Links in The WordPress 4.3 Visual Editor

Changes to Word and Character Counts

Word and character counts have also changed in WordPress 4.3. Instead of updating counts when pressing enter or return, it will refresh when you stop typing. A lot more characters that shouldn’t be counted as words are excluded. Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, WordPress core contributor, lists other notable changes.

  • For character count, we no longer exclude any of these characters. This means that numbers and common western punctuation are no longer excluded compared to 4.2. Emoji and other astral characters are now counted as one character instead of two.
  • We added a new type all, in addition to words and characters, that will count characters including spaces. This seemed necessary for Japanese and maybe other languages. This is now character_including_spaces and character_excluding_spaces.
  • Shortcodes and HTML comments are now excluded.

To view details and a summary of all the work that went into improving word counts, check out ticket #30966 on trac. As someone who uses the WordPress content editor for a living, I’m anxiously looking forward to utilizing these enhancements on an everyday basis.

A Look at Why Some Frontend Developers are Decoupling WordPress

Decoupled WordPress Featured Image
photo credit: Coupler: Immigration Museum(license)

Emily_Miller1This post was contributed by Emily Miller. A native Hoosier, Emily now lives in San Francisco, CA, and is a content specialist at hosting platform Pantheon. She enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her dog and researching the latest trends in open source.


WordPress developers are getting serious about developing flexible, powerful websites of all sizes. One trend, started as a way to break free of the constraints of traditional WordPress theming, is using a decoupled architecture to customize the frontend.

There are certainly pros and cons to this method, and this post aims to examine the various reasons why some frontend developers are implementing a headless WordPress.

What Is Decoupled WordPress?

Decoupled WordPress is the separation of the backend from the frontend. WordPress is traditionally monolithic, giving you the dashboard, plugins and themes all-in-one. Many developers have been playing around with decoupled builds lately with the primary motivation of creating a better user experience.

Decoupling allows you to experiment with different JavaScript frameworks, such as Angular, to build a truly custom experience for users. That’s not to say everyone should go headless, but rather that decoupling is an option if your project has a set of requirements that call for a more flexible build.

In these cases, decoupling allows WordPress to do what it does best, content organization and editing while avoiding a lot of the complex custom code that goes into developing for a set CMS.

Why Are Developers Adopting It for the Frontend?

Translating modern design into a tightly coupled CMS can be tricky, so separating the UX layer of a site allows developers to leverage the tools they want, making the frontend truly agile and the end-user experience more friendly.

For the right use case it’s a win-win situation. Use the best tools for frontend development, while making the WordPress authoring experience even better to empower everyone! Quite a few developers have mentioned that decoupled projects renew their love for a chosen CMS, and that the flexibility makes it fun to work with again.

Another benefit of a decoupled architecture is the upgrade process. A headless build simplifies future updates by not requiring a CMS upgrade, ultimately saving a great deal of time and money come redesign. Frontend developers can now work at their own pace, independent of the CMS’s timeline, and focus on the best language for the task at hand.

A good case study of a decoupled WordPress build is Pixo Tech’s project with the University of Illinois. They chose the best frontend tools for the job, understanding that frontend developers and CMS developers are not necessarily one in the same. For the nitty-gritty of the project, check out this webinar.

What’s the Catch?

As mentioned above, although a decoupled architecture may sound like that captivating and challenging project we’ve all been waiting for, it still has its pitfalls and is probably not the route for every project.

Decoupling WordPress is a more customized, complex build that could mean more time and money up front, although cost-effective in the long run. It also means losing the content previews, easy string translations and UI oriented plugins and themes we’re used to in a coupled architecture.

Additionally, decoupled WordPress is still a young concept, and best practices are still emerging. There’s no set way to do it, and you certainly won’t find a how-to tailored to your specific needs.

How Would You Approach a Decoupled Build?

The WP REST API is a great way to facilitate a decoupled build—you can download it and then decide how much of your site you want to separate. Integrated into core and available to all WordPress users, the plugin provides an easy-to-use REST API, available via HTTP.

This gives developers a great deal of flexibility for creating applications that use a WordPress backend and brings WordPress one step closer to being a complete application framework.

What Now?

Decoupled CMS is still a new concept, and as a community it is important to share our methods and what we learn as we continue to experiment with such projects, ultimately standardizing on best practices for the future.The possibilities for decoupled are endless, and it’s up to the open-source community to lead the charge and document what we learn.

Short Interview With Nikolay Bachiyski WordPress’ Security Czar

While on stage at WordCamp Europe answering a question related to WordPress’ security track record, Matt Mullenweg named Nikolay Bachiyski as the first Security Czar for the WordPress project.

I interviewed Bachiyski to learn why the role was created and what its purpose is.

What are the responsibilities of your new role?

My responsibilities are to coordinate the security efforts of WordPress.org, mostly with incident response and to make sure we respond quickly, have solid fixes, and make sure everyone involved is informed.

What circumstances led to this role’s creation?

Nothing too spicy around the creation of the role. As the volume of requests increased, we realized a bit more structure would be helpful so that we are more focused and use our resources wisely.

Will you only handle security issues for the open source project or will you also help with Automattic’s bounty program as well?

There are other colleagues at Automattic who are responsible for the bounty program.

How important are the connections and trust you’ve established over the last 11 years to your role?

Offline relationships are very important in an online community and I am lucky to know many of the members of the security team in person. This definitely makes working with them easier.

Learn More About the WordPress Security Team

If you’d like to learn more about who’s on the WordPress security team, what they do, and how they handle security releases, listen to my interview with Gary Pendergast.

Pendergast who works for Automattic, is a WordPress core contributor, and a member of the WordPress core security team. In the interview, we discuss what happened behind the scenes before 4.2.3 was released.

How to Add Email Subscriptions to Your WordPress Blog

Do you want to add email subscription to your WordPress blog? Recently, one of our users asked us what is the best way to subscribe by email option in WordPress? In this article, we will show you how to add email subscriptions to your WordPress blog and start building your email list.

WordPress Email Subscription

Why You Should Add Subscribe via Email Option to Your Site?

While social media is a great way to interact with your readers, email is the most reliable and direct way of communication. By offering email subscription on your blog, you can build a steady stream of regular visitors for your site.

Email subscription also gives your users yet another way to consume your content as some folks may not be on social media. See our complete guide on why you should start building your email list right away.

Often beginners think that adding email subscription is some complicated process. That’s not true at all.

The WordPress RSS to email subscription setup is quite straight forward, and it will take you less than 30 minutes. Once you set it up, your readers will automatically get daily or weekly emails containing your new content.

Now since there are multiple services and plugins that allow you to setup email subscriptions in WordPress, we will only cover the top 3 email subscription plugins and services.

MailChimp RSS to Email

MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing service providers. It is a paid service, but they do offer a free option for those with less than 2000 subscribers.

To quickly get started with MailChimp see our guide on using MailChimp and WordPress.

For the sake of this article, we are assuming that you have signed up for MailChimp and created your first email list. The next step is to setup an RSS to Email campaign.

Simply visit Campaigns » Create Campaign to create a new campaign.

Creating a new MailChimp Campaign

MailChimp will now show you different types of campaigns that you can create. You need to click on the RSS Driven Campaign option.

Creating RSS to email campaign in MailChimp

This will bring you to the campaign settings page where you need to provide your WordPress site’s RSS feed link. Your feed URL is yoursite.com/feed/

You will also need to choose the time and frequency of emails. You can choose to send daily, weekly, or monthly emails.

RSS to email settings

On the next page, you will have to provide campaign info. You will notice that MailChimp has already pre-filled most fields on the page. These settings should work for most blogs, but feel free to change them as needed.

Changing RSS to email campaign info

Now you need to click on the next button to select a template for your emails. MailChimp allows you to customize the template by adding your own logo, by-line, and any other elements that you may want to add.

Design your RSS to email template

When you are finished customizing, click on the next button and then click on Save and Exit.

That’s all, you have successfully created your WordPress RSS to Email newsletter using MailChimp.

To add the email subscription form to your website, simply visit the Lists page on your MailChimp account and click on the downward arrow icon next to your email list. After that select signup forms from the menu.

Creating MailChimp email signup form

MailChimp will then ask you, what kind of signup form you want to create. Select Embedded Forms.

On the next screen, you can customize your email sign up form and generate the embed code. You can then copy and paste this code in a text widget on your WordPress website.

Alternatively, you can use OptinMonster a plugin created by the WPBeginner team that will make this process a lot easier and offer you pretty signup forms, floating bars, slide-ins, exit-intent popups, and more.

Aweber RSS to Email

Aweber is another popular email marketing service provider. It’s a paid service, but they offer a 30 day free trial. A lot of bloggers and internet marketers prefer to use AWeber.

If you are just joining Aweber, then you will be directed to create your first email list when you login for the first time.

Once you are logged into your Aweber dashboard, simply visit Messages » Blog Broadcasts.

Creating blog broadcasts - RSS to email subscription in Aweber for WordPress

On the next screen, click on the green button labeled ‘Create a Blog Broadcast’.

Create a blog broadcast

This will bring you to the new page where you can setup your RSS to email campaign. First you need to enter the URL of your blog’s RSS feed. After that you need to provide a subject line for the emails.

Aweber RSS to email settings

Scroll down a little, and you can choose a template for your email. Select the one you like and then click on load template.

Choosing a template for your email

After choosing your template, scroll further down to configure time and frequency of emails. You can setup to send an email as soon as new item appears in your RSS feed. You can also send daily, weekly, or even monthly email digests.

Set email timings and frequency in Aweber

Once you are done setting up these options, you need to click on Save Blog Broadcast button.

That’s all, you have successfully set up Aweber RSS to email subscription.

If you have not already added the email signup form to your WordPress site, then the next step is to add a signup form to your WordPress sidebar. Simply click on the ‘Signup Forms’ in the Aweber dashboard to design your email signup form.

Creating Aweber Email Signup form

Follow the on screen instructions and save your form. Finally you will reach the publish section. There you need to click on the ‘I will install my form’ button and copy the form embed code.

Copy the email signup form code for your WordPress site

Now go to Appearance » Widgets on your WordPress site and paste this code in a text widget.

Alternatively, you can use OptinMonster a plugin created by the WPBeginner team that will make this process a lot easier and offer you pretty signup forms, floating bars, slide-ins, exit-intent popups, and more.

Using Jetpack Subscriptions

Jetpack is another option for users who want to add email subscriptions to their WordPress site. It is completely free, but the downside is that you don’t control your list.

Jetpack Subscriptions is not a full newsletter. For example, if you wanted to send an email apart from your daily blog posts, then you will not be able to do that using Jetpack Subscriptions. Also, if later you decide to move to a proper email marketing service which most bloggers do, then your users will have to opt-in to the email list again.

Having said that, here is how to add Jetpack email subscriptions to your self hosted WordPress site. First thing you need to do is install and activate the Jetpack plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled Jetpack to your WordPress admin bar. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s settings page.

Jetpack requires you to link your site to WordPress.com

Jetpack plugin requires you to create a WordPress.com account and link your site with it (See our guide on the difference between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress.org sites). If you have a WordPress.com account, then you can use that or you can create a free account.

Once you have connected Jetpack to WordPress.com, you need to visit Appearance » Widgets. Drag and drop Blog Subscriptions (Jetpack) widget to a sidebar and then click on Save button store your widget settings.

You can also enable subscription option below your comment form. Visit Settings » Discussion page and scroll down to the Jetpack subscription section. Check the box next to blog subspcription and comment subscription options. Click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Adding subscription options in comment form

That’s all you have successfully set up Jetpack email subscriptions on your WordPress site. If you ever want to move to another email service, here is how to switch from Jetpack subscriptions to MailChimp, Aweber, etc.

We hope this article helped you add email subscription to your WordPress blog. You may also want to check out how we increased our email subscribers by 600% using OptinMonster.

While there are dozens of other plugins and services that allow you to setup email subscriptions for your WordPress blog, above are the ones that we recommend. For those who are wondering, we use MailChimp and OptinMonster to handle WPBeginner email subscriptions. Here’s a tutorial on how to create a daily and weekly email newsletter in WordPress similar to WPBeginner.

We hope this article helped you learn how to properly add email subscriptions to your WordPress blog. You may also want to check out our email marketing 101 guide to kickstart your email list.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit How to Add Email Subscriptions to Your WordPress Blog on WPBeginner.

WordPress 4.3 Field Notes (Lots of Changes for Plugin Developers!)

Do you follow the make/core blog? If not, you should!

Over on the make/core blog, we compiled all of the developer-focused changes in WordPress 4.3 in one spot. In case you don’t want to click, here’s a reprint of those changes:

Just a week and a half left to get your plugins updated. Thanks for all your hard work!