How we designed Yoast SEO for Gutenberg

With the launch of Yoast SEO 8.0, we’re revealing our first real integration with Gutenberg. We’ve been working on this for a long time, and it hasn’t always been easy. Today, we’d like to take you behind the scenes of what it took to bring Yoast SEO to Gutenberg, why we took the approach we did, and how you can follow in our footsteps. Find out how we designed Yoast SEO for Gutenberg.

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Don’t know what Gutenberg is? Catch up by reading our Gutenberg explainer article.

The long road

Before we get to the juicy details, a little history (feel free to skip ahead):

Around this time last year, I was made aware of the Gutenberg project by the Yoast leadership. My task was to envision how Yoast SEO could best integrate with this new editor experience. I spent some time playing around with it, and I was impressed by the new UI. The concept of blocks is really cool, both in design as well as functionality. Our conclusion at the end, however, was: this is nowhere near ready for any plugin to integrate with it.

The problem was two-fold:

  • Gutenberg was in its early stages, with layout and functionality changing every week.
  • It seemed as if minimal effort was put into thinking about how plugins should integrate.

It was understandable; the Gutenberg team was still prototyping. But their planning suggested it would launch by the end of the year, so we immediately treated it as an MVP that wasn’t ready.

Over the course of the next few months, we created a project team and started participating in the Gutenberg GitHub repo. We helped out in architecture discussions, made designs, and took the lead on building an API that allows plugins to register their sidebar, as well as building a modal component for when you need more space.

It took us a while to align our internal processes with that of the Gutenberg team. Over time we’ve become better at working together with them, and we’re still working side-by-side to improve the UI, UX and accessibility of Gutenberg to great effect.

We also started the Gut Guys video series, to inform people about this coming change to WordPress.

Best laid plans…

So how do you adapt a plugin as big as Yoast SEO to this entirely new environment?

Our initial plan was to integrate everywhere. Instead of being contained in a single metabox, could we break our plugin apart and put all the pieces in context? Maybe even some kind of SEO mode revealed at the flip of a switch like the gadgets in a James Bond car. This was a fascinating idea; it would mean we could give feedback exactly where it was relevant. Unfortunately, to date, this is still a bit difficult. We expect this will improve as Gutenberg gets closer to its release date.

So instead, we came up with a different solution: if every plugin has to integrate into the sidebar, the least we can do is give them their space, right? The sidebar isn’t very wide, and on small screens the default sections already fill the entire screen, let alone if you imagine a dozen plugins piling up in there, fighting for the top spot.

So we built the sidebar API. This gives you an entire blank sidebar to play with. You can pin it to the interface for quick access, and it puts your plugin in the spotlight.

After that, we began to adapt each feature of the Yoast SEO metabox to work in the sidebar.

Remastering Yoast SEO

We wanted to stick as close to the Gutenberg design language as we could so that the integration would appear seamless. Fortunately, Gutenberg uses a lot of modern design patterns and these mirrored things we were already doing in MyYoast. So merely by modernizing the UI and choosing JavaScript as the base, Gutenberg gave us the opportunity to unify our design across platforms much easier than we could before.

metaboxNeedless to say though, having to fit a 640px metabox into a 280px sidebar isn’t easy. But it did force us to cut away a lot of the cruft. We used to have tabs above the metabox, tabs on the side of the metabox, sections within sections – it was a lot. When moving things to the sidebar, we had to be as economical with space as we could.

Collapsible headers

For the analysis, we introduced collapsible headers for each section. This vertical design helps keep things organized and focused. It’s also a much nicer pattern to work with in an increasingly mobile world. Similarly, Readability is no longer a separate tab but appears right above the focus keyword analysis.headers in gutenberg

And even when collapsed, you can see your focus keyword and the resulting SEO score at a glance. We hope to bring this back to the publish box again too, so you can always keep an eye on your SEO.

Because some of these sections have a lot of features, we had to bump the font size of the headings up to 16px (from the default 13px for sidebar text and headings). That was one of the details where we intentionally departed from Gutenberg’s design language to improve the clarity of our interface.

The toggle and the input fields, too, are little details where we chose to use our version instead of the default Gutenberg one to give things a bit more depth and usability.

New smileys

We also introduced smileys to the bullets, to improve the clarity for people with visual impairments. Our accessibility expert Andrea is very pleased with those.

Multiple focus keywords

Since we can’t do horizontal tabs anymore in the sidebar, we’ve made adding multiple focus keywords an inline action. Whenever you’ve added a keyword, the option to add another one appears just below it. It only shows precisely what is needed, and that saves space.additional keyword

Cornerstone content

You’ll find the cornerstone content setting in its own section, with some extra explanation text. We’ve added this kind of context to every section so you can get a quick idea about what each section does, and a link to learn more if you want.

cornerstone content toggle

Internal linking

Internal linking is now also integrated into the meta box instead of being a separate section. We have a lot of exciting ideas with this feature in the future.

gutenberg sidebar internal linking

Snippet and social previews

The snippet and social previews present a unique challenge because you cannot reduce these to 280px. If we want to give you an accurate preview of a post on Facebook or Twitter, you have to see it exactly as it will appear. Therefore these functions are still in our ‘old’ meta box format. But we’ve got a plan for this in Yoast SEO 8.1 – which brings us to the next section:

What’s next

This new version of the Yoast SEO meta box is a big step forward in design, but you could argue that regarding functionality it hasn’t changed all that much, and you’d be right. But just as the Marvel Cinematic Universe operates in phases, so too is this just Phase One of our Gutenberg integration timeline.

The first thing we’ll be doing for Yoast SEO 8.1 (regarding our Gutenberg integration) is introducing modals.

New modal in GutenbergThis will put Google, Facebook, Twitter et al. into one convenient box that will appear over the content. This will provide plenty of space to house everything, and it will all be presented with the new UI and template variables introduced in Yoast SEO 7.7.

dockWith these modals in place, we can entirely switch from our classic metabox to our new sidebar – that is, if you want, because we’ll offer the ability to toggle between the two. And that includes the classic editor. All of the above design improvements will come to the current WordPress editing experience too, so even if you decide not to use Gutenberg, you will still be able to enjoy our improved interface.

We’re also updating our extensions like News SEO and Local SEO to work with Gutenberg. These settings will soon also be available in the sidebar, and come with some accessibility improvements too.

howto structured data with yoast seoAnother thing we’re working on are some blocks that make it easy to add Schema support for specific types of content. The how-to block above is one of the first but we’ve got more planned, stay tuned.

What you can do now

You may not have a whole team of developers at your disposal, but you can still do a few things to prepare your plugin or theme for Gutenberg.

First of all, check if your plugin works well with Gutenberg

Like we said, plugins will by default appear as a classic metabox in Gutenberg, and should still work if they don’t do too many fancy things. But check that. Install the Gutenberg plugin right now and see how your plugin or theme handles it.

Learn how you can make your plugin or theme compatible with Gutenberg

Basic compatibility with Gutenberg shouldn’t be a lot of work. There isn’t a ton of official documentation yet, but here are a few helpful links:

If you want to get a bit more technical:

Start thinking in blocks

Not everything about a plugin needs to be put in the sidebar. You can solve a lot of things with custom blocks. We’re building a few too for specific Schemas and Local SEO widgets. So spend some time using Gutenberg and building different things with it, so you get a feel for how blocks work. It might give you some unexpected ideas.

As a designer, take advantage of this Sketch template for WordPress mockups by 10up. It already includes Gutenberg interface elements to get creative within your mockups.

For developers, there is a great block starter kit by Ahmad Awais, and Atomic Blocks has some fun custom blocks to look at for inspiration. Shortcodes too are an excellent fit for blocks. Gary Pendergast wrote a useful script that shows how you can convert shortcodes into blocks.

Start small

Above all, start small. If your plugin or theme isn’t broken, don’t go crazy rebuilding it in React. Try making a custom block, and play around with the sidebar elements until you are comfortable with this new design language. That design language is still evolving every day, so stick with the basics. Use what there is and see what you can build with it.

Dream big

The future of Gutenberg goes well beyond just text editing. Eventually blocks will also be available in sidebars and maybe even directly in the WordPress customizer. If you’re a little creative, you can already use Gutenberg for page layouts now. Atomic Blocks offers some useful layout blocks for example and a theme that goes with it. And heck, look at what XWP made with a few custom blocks. If you’re up for it, this could be a chance to pave the way for modern design in WordPress.

The future of WordPress is exciting. We can’t wait to see what you make with it.

Read more: What is Gutenberg? »

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Yoast SEO 8.0: Introducing the Yoast SEO Gutenberg sidebar & a revamped meta box

Please welcome the Yoast SEO Gutenberg sidebar! Update to Yoast SEO 8.0 and you’ll see our first steps to the – Gutenberg – future. If you’ve activated the Gutenberg plugin you’ll find a brand new version of the Yoast SEO meta box, in the sidebar! Not on Gutenberg yet? We’ve got good news for you too: we gave the existing Yoast SEO meta box a more intuitive design and a cleaner appearance so it’s easier to use for everyone. Here, we’ll explain everything: what you’ll encounter in this update if you’re on Gutenberg and what if you’re not. On top of that, we’ll share a glimpse of what you can expect from us shortly! 

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Why a Gutenberg sidebar?

Gutenberg is coming. Step one of Gutenberg is a new WordPress editor. This new editor gives you a brand new writing and editing experience;  you’ll be editing your content in blocks, instead of the one big field you’re used to. In the classic editor you’ve always found the Yoast SEO meta box below the post editor. But because of the block design in Gutenberg, most meta boxes will fit best in the sidebar. To make our meta box fit and work in the sidebar, we had to completely rethink and redesign it. The result of that we’re presenting you today!

While we were at it, we applied some of the changes required for the move to the sidebar onto the existing Yoast SEO meta box as well. These changes improve the usability and accessibility of our meta box and give it a cleaner and more organized look.

What happens if you run the Gutenberg plugin?

Are you using the Gutenberg plugin already? If you update to Yoast SEO 8.0 you’ll see two meta boxes: one below your post and one in the sidebar. This is not a bug, but our first move to a future where you can choose between showing one of the two. For now, we’re showing you the sidebar and the meta box below your post, as not all optimization options are available in both yet.

What happens if you don’t run the Gutenberg plugin?

You won’t see Yoast SEO in the sidebar if you don’t activate the Gutenberg plugin on your website. What you will see is a revamped, collapsible meta box below your post. We’ll get back to you on the revamped meta box further down this post. First, Yoast SEO in the Gutenberg sidebar!

So let’s dive in! If you run Yoast SEO and Gutenberg, you’ll now see collapsible Yoast SEO items in the sidebar. It’ll show a selection of the optimization areas you’re used to, nicely arranged next to your post. This will give you a convenient overview, in which the green smileys for Readability and Focus keyword will confirm if you’ve done a good job optimizing:

gutenberg sidebar yoast seo premium

The Gutenberg sidebar with collapsible sections. Please note that Add additional focus keywords, Internal linking suggestions and Insights are premium features.

Let’s go through the sections one by one!

Readability

As you probably know, Yoast SEO assesses the readability of your copy by checking your text for use of passive voice, sentence length, paragraph length and more. If you click on Readability in the sidebar, this section will unfold and you’ll see the assessments you’re used to, right there, next to the copy you’re creating. This prevents you from scrolling up and down a lot and makes reading and implementing the feedback on your writing much easier.

Focus keyword

If you click on Focus keyword in the sidebar the SEO analysis of your text will unfold. Here you can enter your focus keyword and Yoast SEO will analyze your content for those terms:

Are you using your keyword often enough and in the right places? Like your title, alt text and a heading? Have you added internal links? You can find these assessment here, conveniently placed next to the text you’re writing. 

Are you using Yoast SEO Premium? Then you can add possible synonyms and up to 5 related keywords! Just click on + Add synonyms or + Add another keyword, if you’d like to add them.

Cornerstone content

The next section of the Gutenberg sidebar is Cornerstone content. Here you can indicate if the post you’re working on is one of your most important articles. Marking your content as cornerstone content will help you create the best content for these posts and link often enough to them. Just move the toggle to the right if your post is cornerstone content.

If you use Yoast SEO premium, you’ll find two more sections in the sidebar: Internal linking and Insights. 

Internal linking

Internal linking can help you create an awesome site structure, which is indispensable if you want to rank high. Yoast SEO premium’s internal linking tool makes linking to your (best) posts as easy as pie! This internal linking tool used to be in the sidebar already, but now it’s integrated into a collapsable section of the Gutenberg sidebar. So all your post optimization to do’s are in one place!

gutenberg sidebar internal linking

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Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Insights

Our insights tool runs through your copy and finds the most prominent words. If you’ve written a text and you want to make sure it stays on topic, you can check that with this tool. Do you see a lot of words that you don’t want to rank for with this post? Take another look at your post, because you might have lost focus somewhere along the way!

Insights in Yoast SEO Premium in the Gutenberg sidebar

The snippet preview and social previews

We hear you think: “So where can I find the snippet preview and my social previews now?” Well, those you can still find in the Yoast SEO meta box below your post, just like the advanced and video settings of Yoast SEO. Integrating those functionalities in the Gutenberg editor will require some more development work and will therefore be a second step.

The revamped Yoast SEO meta box

If you’re not using the Gutenberg plugin you’ll notice some significant changes too. While redesigning various sections of our meta box to fit into the sidebar, we realized the usability of the existing meta box would benefit from some of these changes too. So we applied some of the sidebar principles to the meta box as well. This resulted in a meta box with organized, collapsible sections where you can find the Yoast SEO tools you’re used to. When collapsed, they’ll provide a clear overview of the various optimization functionalities we provide for a post. Plus, the green smileys show you at a glance if you’ve done a good job optimizing:

collapsible yoast seo meta box

When you unfold one, it’s easier to stay focused on the optimization area you’re working on.

So, let’s unfold them one by one:

The snippet preview

The section on top is the snippet preview, where you can see what your post might look like in the search results. Not much changed here! You can still edit the SEO title, meta description and slug. It’s unfolded by default, so when you scroll down from your post you’ll directly see its most likely appearance in the search results:

snippet preview collapsible

Readability

Instead of finding the readability analysis in a separate tab, you’ll now encounter it as the second collapsible section. Check whether you’ve written a post that’s easy to read here:

collapsible readability meta box

Focus keyword

Where to add your focus keyword? In the third collapsible section you’ll find the field to enter the term you’d like your post to rank for. You’ll find your scores in the analysis results below the field, the way you’re used to.

focus keyword collapsible meta box

The next collapsible section is Add additional focus keyword. This is a feature that is only available to premium users. You can add up to five related keywords in this section. In addition to this, premium will enable you to add synonyms of your focus keyword too.

Cornerstone content

Have you written a post on your most essential topic, covering the core elements of your business? Make it your best post with our cornerstone analysis and don’t forget to link to it. Marking it as cornerstone content in the fifth collapsible section of the meta box will help you do so. Move the toggle to the right and give it a little extra!

cornerstone content collapsible

Insights

The last section we’d like to mention is Insights. Unfold it and find the most prominent words that you used in your copy. Check if you’ve stayed on topic or digressed!

If you want to read more about the design choices we made check this post by our UX designer Tim.

What’s ahead?

Modals

As explained above we haven’t been able to move all sections of the Yoast SEO meta box to the sidebar yet. Some elements, like the snippet and social previews, require some additional development work. At the moment we’re, for instance, working on modals to be able to display accurate previews for snippets and social posts directly from the sidebar.

A sidebar for everyone!

Once all optimization functionalities are available in both the sidebar and current meta box, it’s up to you! Choose where you’d like to find Yoast SEO: below your post or in the sidebar? With a toggle you can select which interface you prefer. And by everyone we mean everyone, it doesn’t matter if you’re on Gutenberg, or not.

Gutenblocks

Now this is exciting! We’re working on our own Gutenblocks, something you’ll definitely hear more about soon. As we’ve explained Gutenberg uses blocks to build pages. A block can have its own styling, but also its own meta data, like structured data. So how awesome would it be if you could create a block with the correct structured data attached to it automatically? So Google will know instantly if your block is about a book, a recipe or a certain product?  You won’t need a developer anymore to add your schema.org data. If you think about this, the possibilities seem endless and opportunities are omnipresent. You can expect more from us on this soon. So keep a keen eye on our updates!

But first, update! Or check the changelog here.

Read on: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

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How to Exclude a Category From Your WordPress Homepage

Do you want to exclude a specific category from your website’s homepage? By default, WordPress displays posts from all categories on your homepage. In some cases, you may not want that. In this article, we will show you how to easily exclude a category from your WordPress homepage.

Exclude Category from WordPress Homepage

Why Exclude a Category from WordPress Homepage?

WordPress allows you to sort content into categories and tags. Now sometimes you may want to use a category for posts that are not part of your normal blog entries.

By default, WordPress does not allow you to hide posts in specific categories from homepage or archives. This leaves you with unwanted posts appearing on your homepage.

That being said, let’s see how you can easily exclude a specific category from your WordPress homepage. We will show you two different methods, and you can choose the one that best fits your need.

Method 1: Exclude a Category from WordPress Using Plugin

First thing you need to do is to install and activate the Ultimate Category Excluder plugin. For more details, you should follow our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you’ll need to go to Settings » Category Excluder page. It will display all the categories that are available on your WordPress blog.

Category excluder settings

From here, you can simply check one or multiple categories under the ‘Exclude from front page’ column. If you want, then you can also exclude the category from RSS feeds, archives, or even from WordPress search.

Exclude category

Don’t forget to click on the Update button to store these settings.

Now you can visit your website to see that the posts from the selected categories are excluded from the front page.

Method 2: Exclude a Category from WordPress Homepage Using Code

This method requires you to add code to your WordPress files. If you haven’t done this before, then see our guide on how to copy and paste code snippets in WordPress.

You will need to add following code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.


function exclude_category_home( $query ) {
if ( $query->is_home ) {
$query->set( 'cat', '-5' );
}
return $query;
}

add_filter( 'pre_get_posts', 'exclude_category_home' );

Don’t forget to replace ID (-5) with your category ID. It will hide all blog posts from homepage belonging to the category that matches this ID.

Note: Make sure to add a minus (-) sign with the category ID.

Not sure how to find the category ID? See our guide on how to find category IDs in WordPress.

If you want to exclude multiple categories, then you can change the code like this:


function exclude_category_home( $query ) {
if ( $query->is_home ) {
$query->set( 'cat', '-5, -9, -23' );
}
return $query;
}

add_filter( 'pre_get_posts', 'exclude_category_home' );

Simply replace the IDs (-5, -9, -23) with your category IDs to exclude them from your WordPress homepage.

We hope this article helped you learn how to exclude a category from your WordPress homepage. You may also want to see these most wanted category hacks and plugins for WordPress that will help you use categories more efficiently.

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.

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How to Create an Etsy-Like Store with WordPress (Step by Step)

Do you want to build an Etsy-like store with WordPress? Etsy is an online marketplace for creative folks who want to sell hand-made goods, artwork, and other unique items. However, it is a bit limited in terms of what you can do with your Etsy store. In this article, we will show you how to create an Etsy-like store with WordPress, and how to properly move an existing Etsy store to WordPress.

How to Create an Etsy-Like Store with WordPress

Here is what you will learn in this article.

  • Etsy vs WordPress – Comparison of both platforms with pros and cons
  • What you need to create a Etsy-like WordPress website
  • Getting started with your own Etsy-like WordPress store
  • Installing WooCommerce
  • Moving an existing Etsy store to WordPress
  • Choosing an Etsy-like theme
  • Extending your store with extensions
  • Mastering WordPress

Etsy vs WordPress – Which one is better?

Etsy is an online marketplace for creative folks. It allows you to sell unique, handmade, or custom-made products to a targeted audience.

On the other hand, WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder. It allows you to create almost any kind of website imaginable, including full-fledged eCommerce stores.

There are two different types of WordPress platform. WordPress.com which is a hosted platform and WordPress.org which also called self-hosted WordPress. See the difference in our WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.

Throughout this article, when we say WordPress, we are talking about the more popular, self-hosted WordPress.org platform. We recommend using WordPress.org because it gives you access to all WordPress features out of the box.

Etsy and WordPress both enable you to sell products online but which one you should choose? Here are some pros and cons of both platforms.

Pros and Cons of Setting up an Etsy Shop

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using Etsy to sell your products online.

Pros of Using Etsy

  • Ease of Use – Setting up an Etsy store is very easy and does not require any technical skills. Simply upload your product listings, add your payment information, and you are good to go.
  • Targetted Audience – Etsy has a large customer base of users interested in unique hand-made products, gift items, artistic and creative products, and more. Opening up a shop on Etsy gives you access to a marketplace with interested buyers.
  • Security and Trust – Etsy takes care of payments and ensures product delivery. This has helped them build trust among both buyers and sellers.

Cons of Using Etsy

  • Higher Fees – Etsy charges $0.20 per listing and 5% transaction fee on the sale price (not including shipping costs). They have increased transaction fee from 3.5% to 5% starting July 16th, 2018. If you are using PayPal, then there is also a payment processing fees.
  • Lack of Control – You have no control on the platform, and how your products are featured. Etsy can remove a seller if they feel that seller’s products don’t meet their policies or seller fails to satisfy a customer.
  • Limited Growth Options – As your business grows, you will be paying a lot more to Etsy with limited options to grow your own brand and business.

Pros and Cons of Using WordPress

WordPress is the best platform to build any kind of website. However, it has its own pros and cons that you would want to consider.

Pros of Using WordPress

  • Complete Control – You have complete ownership and full control of your website.
  • Unlimited Features – You can add any feature to your website by installing extensions. There are more than 55,000 free WordPress plugins that you can install.
  • Unlimited Listings – You can add as many items to your shop as you want. There is no listing fees because you own and manage the platform yourself.
  • Low Costs – There is no comission and no transaction fee on each sale. You will only pay a small fee to your payment gateway.

Cons of Using WordPress

  • Website Management – You are responsible for managing updates and making backups. There are plugins that help you automate those tasks.
  • Learning Curve – WordPress is fairly easy to use. However, from time to time you may need some help. There are plenty of WordPress resources to help you out.

To learn more about WordPress, see our complete WordPress review with detailed pros and cons of the platform.

That being said let’s take a look at how to create an Etsy-like store with WordPress.

Requirements for Creating an Etsy-like Store with WordPress?

Here are the things you will need to build your own Etsy-like store with WordPress.

  1. A domain name (This will be your shop’s address on the internet i.e wpbeginner.com)
  2. A website hosting account (This will be shop’s home and where all your files will be stored)
  3. SSL Certificate (You need this to accept payments)
  4. Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.

Ready? let’s get started.

Getting Started with Your Etsy-Like Shop in WordPress

Normally, a domain name will cost you $14.99 / year, website hosting $7.99 per month, and an SSL certificate around $69.99 per year.

This is a lot of money if you are just getting started.

Thankfully, the folks at Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name + free SSL certificate, and a 60% discount on hosting. They are also an officially recommended WordPress and WooCommerce hosting provider, and one of the largest hosting companies in the world.

Basically, you can get started for $2.75 / month.

→ Click Here to Claim This ExcLusive Bluehost Offer ←

Let’s go ahead and purchase your domain + hosting + SSL.

First, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.

Get started with Bluehost

On the next screen, select the plan that you need (basic and plus plans are the most popular among WPBeginner users).

After that, you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.

Choose domain name

Need help choosing a domain name? See our beginner’s guide on how to choose the perfect domain name for your website.

Lastly, you will need to add account information and finalize the package info to complete the process. On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase.

We don’t recommend purchasing these items because they will increase your hosting bill. You can always add them later if you think these are needed.

Package extras

You can now go ahead and enter your payment information to complete the purchase.

After that, you will receive an email with instructions to login to your hosting control panel.

Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you, and you will be able to login to your WordPress site directly from the hosting dashboard.

Bluehost hosting dashboard

Once logged in, you will see the WordPress admin area. This is where you will manage your online shop, change settings, and add new items.

Installing WooCommerce on Your Website

Now that you have purchased hosting and installed WordPress, the next step is to turn your website into an online shop.

To do this, you need to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, click on ‘Run the setup wizard’ button to quickly set up your WooCommerce store.

Run WooCommerce set up wizard

The setup wizard will guide you through the basic setup, installing pages, choosing payment services, and more.

Adding Items to Sell in WooCommerce

After setting up WooCommerce, let’s add a few items to sell on your online store.

Simply go to Products » Add New page to add your first item.

Add new product

First, provide a title for your product and then some detailed description. On the right-hand column, you can add product category, tags, featured image, and gallery.

Add product category and images

Below the description area, you will see ‘Product Data’ box. From here you can set product price, inventory, shipping, and other attributes.

Adding product data

Once you are satisfied with all the product information you have added, you can click on the Publish button to make it live on your website.

Repeat the process to add more products as needed.

Importing an existing Etsy Store to WordPress

Do you already have an Etsy store that you want to move to WordPress? In this section, we will show you how to easily import your Etsy shop to WordPress.

First, thing you need to do is install and activate the Easy Esty Importer plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled ‘Etsy Importer’ to your WordPress admin sidebar. Clicking on it will take you to the plugin’s settings page.

Etsy importer license key

You will be asked to provide your license key. You can find this information under your account on plugin’s website.

After activation, the settings page will ask you to provide the following information.

  • Etsy API Key
  • Etsy Secret Key
  • Your Etsy Shop Name

Enter Etsy app keys

To get these API keys, you need to visit Etsy Developers website and then click on ‘Create a new app’ link.

Create new Etsy app

This will bring you to a new page where you will be asked to provide a name for your app. You need to select that you are creating the app for yourself, and it will not be used for commercial purposes.

New app settings

After that, click on ‘Agree to terms and create app’ button.

You will now see your app information page. From here you need to copy the Keystring and Shared Secret keys.

Copy your API keys

Now, switch back to the Easy Etsy Importer plugin’s settings page. After entering your API keys, click on the ‘Save & Verify’ button to continue.

This will take you to the Etsy website where you will be asked to allow access to the app. Click on the ‘Allow’ button to continue.

Allow app to access your Etsy shop

The plugin will now try to connect to your Etsy shop, and it will show a success message.

Etsy shop connected

Next, you need to switch to the settings tab. The default settings will work for most websites, but you can still review and change them as needed.

Importer settings

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your settings.

Now you can move to the ‘Import’ tab. The plugin provides you options to selectively import item or import all listings. The default settings will work for most websites, so you can just go ahead and click on the ‘Import’ button.

Import listings

The plugin will now start importing your Etsy listings to WooCommerce. Once finished, you will see a success message, and you will be able to see the imported products under Products » All Products page.

Next, you can switch to the reviews tab to import your Etsy reviews to WooCommerce.

Import Etsy reviews

Congratulations, you have successfully imported your Etsy store listings to your WooCommerce website.

Choosing an Etsy-like WordPress Theme for Your Store

WordPress gives you access to thousands of free and paid website designs that you can use. These designs are called WordPress themes.

Choosing a theme

Each WordPress theme contains various template files to give your website a beautiful design. Using WordPress themes requires no coding or programming skills, and each of them comes with different options that you can use to customize your theme.

Due to such large variety of WordPress themes available, often users feel overwhelmed by the choices. To make it easier, we have hand-picked the best WooCommerce WordPress themes that you can use on your website.

The list contains both free and paid WordPress themes and all of them are mobile ready.

You may not a find a theme that looks exactly like the Etsy website, however you can find a theme with the same design qualities and then use theme’s settings to make it look more similar.

Need more help? See our beginner’s guide on how to choose the perfect WordPress theme for your website.

Extending Your Store with WordPress Plugins

Unlike Etsy, you have full control of your WordPress store. You can modify it in any way you want with the help of thousands of WordPress plugins.

Plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. You can install them to add new features to your website like contact forms, Google Analytics, and more.

With more than 55,000 plugins, you can easily find a plugin for almost anything.

Here are some of the plugins that we use on all our websites.

There are also tons of plugins made specifically for WooCommerce. See our list of the best free WooCommerce plugins. You can also use drag & drop page builder plugins to further customize your website look.

Mastering WordPress Skills

Now that you have a WordPress powered online store, you may want to expand your website by adding new features and growing your business.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site in the world. We have tons of articles, videos, and step by step tutorials to help you take your website to the next level.

Here are some of the handy resources you will find on WPBeginner, all of them are completely free.

  • WPBeginner Blog – This is where we publish our WordPress tutorials, how-tos, and step by step guides.
  • WPBeginner Videos – These step by step videos will help you learn WordPress FAST.
  • WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 102,000 subscribers and 10 Million+ views.
  • WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo.
  • WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
  • WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.

You can also use Google to find tutorials on WPBeginner. Simply add ‘wpbeginner’ next to your search term, and you will find answers to all your WordPress questions.

We hope this article helped you move away from Etsy and create an Etsy-like store with WordPress. You may also want to checkout our list of the must have WordPress plugins for business websites.

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.

The post How to Create an Etsy-Like Store with WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Fix Common SSL Issues in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide)

Moving a WordPress site to SSL can sometime result in unexpected issues. If you’re adding SSL to an existing WordPress site and are running into errors, then you’re in luck. In this guide, we will cover how to fix the most common issues with SSL / HTTPs in WordPress.

Fixing common HTTPS / SSL issues in WordPress

What is SSL / HTTPS and Why You Should Start Using it Right Away?

SSL / HTTPS is an encryption method that secures the connection between users’ browser and your WordPress hosting server. This makes it harder for hackers to eavesdrop on the connection.

Each SSL / HTTPS enabled site is issued a unique SSL certificate for identification purposes. If a server is pretending to be on HTTPS, and its certificate doesn’t match, then most modern browsers will warn the user from connecting to the website.

Insecure connection warning

Last year, Google announced plans to improve overall web security by encouraging website owners to start using SSL / HTTPS.

As part of this plan, Google’s Chrome web browser now marks all websites without an SSL certificate as “Not Secure”.

Chrome HTTP not secure

The ‘Not Secure’ label in the browser’s address bar gives a bad impression to your customers about your business.

Aside from that, you also need SSL / HTTPS enabled if you want to make an online store or want to use payment services like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, etc.

Considering the pros and cons, all websites need to switch to SSL / HTTPS. If you haven’t already done that, then head over to our guide on how to properly move WordPress from HTTP to HTTPs for step by step instructions.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the common issues with SSL/HTTPS in WordPress and how to fix them.

1. Fix NET::ERR_CERT_INVALID Error

This error message appears in Google Chrome. Other browsers display this error with a slightly different message, but it basically warn users that their connection to your website is insecure.

Certificate authority invalid error

This error message indicates that users’ browser didn’t accept the certificate presented by the website. This could happen due to a number of reasons:

  • The SSL certificate is issued to a different domain name or subdomain.
  • The certificate has expired.
  • Your browser doesn’t recognize certificate issuing authority.

If you purchased an SSL certificate and asked your WordPress hosting provider to install it for you, then you can contact them to fix it for you.

If you manually installed SSL certificate, then try reinstalling it or contact your SSL certificate provider for support.

2. Fix Mixed Content Errors After Moving WordPress to SSL / HTTPS

Mixed content errors are caused by sources (images, scripts, or stylesheets) that are still loading using the insecure HTTP protocol in the URLs.

If that is the case, then you will not be able to see a secure padlock icon in your website’s address bar.

Not secure

There are two ways to fix SSL / HTTPS mixed content errors in WordPress. We will show you both of them and then you can pick one that works best for you.

1. Fixed mixed content errors in WordPress using a Plugin

This method is easier and is recommended for beginners.

Simply install and activate the Really Simple SSL plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » SSL page to review plugin settings. Really Simple SSL works out of the box and will automatically take care of SSL / HTTPS settings and fix mixed content errors.

Really Simple SSL settings

Note: The plugin attempts to fix mixed content errors by using output buffering technique. This can have a negative performance impact on your site. However, if you are using a caching plugin, then it will only impact the first page load.

2. Manually Fixed Mixed Content Errors in WordPress

This method requires manual troubleshooting, but it is more effective and better for performance.

First, you need to make sure that you are using HTTPS in WordPress settings. Go to Settings » General page and make sure that WordPress Address and Site Address options have HTTPS URLs.

WordPress URL settings

If you see URLs starting with HTTP, then you need to go ahead and change them to HTTPS. Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Next, you need to find old HTTP URLs in your WordPress database and replace them with the new HTTPS URLs.

You can easily do that by installing and activating the Better Search Replace plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Tools » Better Search Replace page. In the ‘Search’ field, you need to add your website URL with HTTP. After that, add your website URL with https in the ‘Replace’ field.

Search and replace URLs in database

The plugin will now update URLs in your WordPress database.

If you are still seeing mixed content errors, then the next step is to troubleshoot URLs in your WordPress theme and plugins.

Using your browser’s Inspect tool, you will need to locate the resources causing the errors and where they are loading from.

Using inspect tool to locate mixed content errors

For theme resources, you will need to find them in your WordPress theme and replace HTTP with HTTPS.

This part can be a bit difficult for beginners as they will have to look for the URLs in all theme files.

If you are unable to find them yourself, then you can also reach out to theme developer and request them to update their theme. They will need to use WordPress best practices to load files, which will fix the HTTP/HTTPS issue.

Same goes for the mixed content loaded by a WordPress plugin. We don’t recommend editing plugin files yourself to change the URLs. You should notify the plugin developer and request them for an update. Meanwhile, you can disable the plugin on your site or find an alternative plugin.

3. Fix Too Many Redirects Errors After Moving to SSL / HTTPS

WordPress allows you to enforce SSL / HTTPS for the admin area by entering the following line into your wp-config.php file.

define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);

However, in some scenarios this setting alone would cause ‘Too many redirects‘ error. To fix this, you will need to add the following code to your wp-config.php file just before the line that says ‘That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging.’.

define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);
// in some setups HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO might contain 
// a comma-separated list e.g. http,https
// so check for https existence
if (strpos($_SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO'], 'https') !== false)
       $_SERVER['HTTPS']='on';

4. Fix WordPress HTTP to HTTPS Redirect

WordPress will not automatically redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS unless you tell it to do so. If you are using a plugin like Really Simple SSL, then it would take care of redirects. Otherwise, you will have to manually set up redirects.

To set up HTTP to HTTPS redirect, you need to add the following code to your .htaccess file.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
</IfModule>

We hope this article helped you fix some common issues with SSL / HTTPS in WordPress. If you run into an issue that’s not covered in this article, then please leave a comment to let us know. We will update the article with the solution. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress security guide with step by step instructions for beginners to secure their WordPress websites.

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.

The post How to Fix Common SSL Issues in WordPress (Beginner’s Guide) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Yoast SEO 7.9.1: Dutch checks complete & improved keyword recognition

At Yoast we’re convinced readability is essential if you want to rank high and give users a pleasant experience on your website. That’s why we’re so happy we’re now capable of fully analyzing content in yet another language: Dutch! Plus, if you write in a language with diacritics, i.e. marks on a letter that indicate the pronunciation, like in mot-clé in French, we have some good news for you:  Yoast SEO is now able to identify those keywords too.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Leesbare teksten in het Nederlands

In Yoast SEO 7.9.1 we’ve completed all Yoast SEO content checks for Dutch. By adding the final assessment: the passive voice check, we’re now able to fully check all assessments that belong to the readability and SEO analysis. We’ve added Dutch to the list of completed languages, as we’ve already did for English, Spanish, French, Russian, German an Italian. Dutch might not be the most-used language on the planet, but it’s dear to our heart being the native language of most Yoasters. We’re so glad we can now ban passiveness from our mother tongue too!

Improved keyword recognition

In addition to the above language enhancement, we’ve smashed some linguistic bugs. Our content analysis sometimes had trouble recognizing the keyword while it was there, leading to some frustration among users. For instance, if it was present in possessive form (e.g. `Natalia` in `Natalia’s fix`) or if it had special diacritics in the URL (e.g. mañana in Spanish) Yoast SEO would fail to recognize it. Also, it would have difficulties to find the keyword if it was flanked by a Spanish inverted exclamation and question mark. All these issues are solved now: ¡Con mucho gusto!

Contributions

Together with some skilled developers of our beloved WordPress community we’ve also took on some performance issues and other bugs to make our plugin run smoother. We humbly thank Piero Bellomo and Jaska120 for contributing to the quality of Yoast SEO.

What’s ahead?

As we’ve already mentioned, exciting times are coming. Soon you’ll see how Yoast SEO will evolve thanks to Gutenberg. On top of that, we’re working hard to make Yoast SEO analyze your text the way Google does. Not something you’d want to miss. Stay tuned!

But for now, go update! Want to check the details first? Go read our changelog.

P.s. Did you know claiming your website on Pinterest is super easy with Yoast SEO?

Pinterest is one of the bigger – visual – search engines in the world. So as a blogger or online shop owner, promoting your imagery on Pinterest can bear fruit. If you prove to Pinterest that your website is yours by claiming it, this will give you added benefits. Pinterest will show your profile picture on your Pins and, most importantly, you’ll get access to Pinterest Analytics. This will give you lots of insights and ways to use this tool more effectively.

It can be a hassle to verify your website on Pinterest if you’re not a developer though, because you’d need to add the verification code to the <head> section of your site. But with Yoast SEO everyone can do it! We’ve updated the link to Pinterest’s guidelines on the Pinterest tab in the social section of Yoast SEO. Just follow those and you’re all set!

Read more: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

The post Yoast SEO 7.9.1: Dutch checks complete & improved keyword recognition appeared first on Yoast.

How to Protect Your WordPress Site from Brute Force Attacks (Step by Step)

Do you want to protect your WordPress site from brute force attacks? These attacks can slow down your website, make it inaccessible, and even crack your passwords to install malware on your website. In this article, we will show you how to protect your WordPress site from brute force attacks.

protecting WordPress from brute force attacks

What is a Brute Force Attack?

Brute Force Attack is a hacking method which utilizes trial and error techniques to break into a website, a network or a computer system.

Hackers use automated software to send a large number of requests to the target system. With each request, these software attempt to guess the information needed to gain access, like passwords or pin codes.

These tools can also disguise themselves by using different IP addresses and locations, which makes it harder for the targeted system to identify and block these suspicious activities.

A successful brute force attack can give hackers access to your website’s admin area. They can install backdoor, malware, steal user information, and delete everything on your site.

Even unsuccessful brute force attacks can wreak havoc by sending too many requests which slows down your WordPress hosting servers and even crash them.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to protect your WordPress site from brute force attacks.

Step 1. Install a WordPress Firewall Plugin

Brute force attacks put a lot of load on your servers. Even the unsuccessful ones can slow down your website or completely crash the server. This is why it’s important to block them before they get to your server.

To do that, you’ll need a website firewall solution. A firewall filters out bad traffic and blocks it from accessing your site.

How website firewall works

There are two types of website firewalls that you can use.

Application Level Firewall – These firewall plugins examine the traffic once it reaches your server but before loading most WordPress scripts. This method is not as efficient because a brute force attack can still affect your server load.

DNS Level Website Firewall – These firewall route your website traffic through their cloud proxy servers. This allows them to only send genuine traffic to your main web hosting server while giving a boost to your WordPress speed and performance.

We recommend using Sucuri. It is the industry leader in website security and the best WordPress firewall in the market. Since it’s a DNS level website firewall, it means all your website traffic goes through their proxy where bad traffic is filtered out.

We use Sucuri on our website, and you can read our complete Sucuri review to learn more.

Step 2. Install WordPress Updates

Some common brute force attacks actively target known vulnerabilities in older versions of WordPress, popular WordPress plugins, or themes.

WordPress core and most popular WordPress plugins are open source and vulnerabilities are often fixed very quickly with an update. However if you fail to install updates, then you leave your website vulnerable to those old threats.

Simply go to Dashboard » Updates page in WordPress admin area to check for available updates. This page will show all updates for your WordPress core, plugins, and themes.

Updates page in WordPress admin area

For more details, see our guide on how to properly update WordPress plugins.

Step 3. Protect WordPress Admin Directory

Most brute force attacks on a WordPress site are trying to get access to the WordPress admin area. You can add password protection on your WordPress admin directory on a server level. This would block unauthorized access to your WordPress admin area.

Simply login to your WordPress hosting control panel (cPanel) and click on the ‘Directory Privacy’ icon under Files section.

Note: We’re using Bluehost in our screenshot but similar settings are available on other top hosting companies as well like SiteGround, HostGator, etc.

Directory privacy in cPanel

Next, you need to locate the wp-admin folder and click on the folder name.

Browse and locate the wp-admin folder

cPanel will now ask you to provide a name for the restricted folder, username, and password. After entering this information click on the save button to store your settings.

Password protect WordPress admin directory

Your WordPress admin directory is now password protected. You will see a new login prompt when you visit your WordPress admin area.

Login prompt

If you run into a 404 error or error too many redirects message, then you need to add the following line to your WordPress .htaccess file.

ErrorDocument 401 default

For more details, see our article on how to password protect WordPress admin directory.

Step 4. Add Two-Factor Authentication in WordPress

Two-Factor authentication adds an additional security layer to your WordPress login screen. Basically, users will need their phones to generate a one-time passcode along with their login credentials to access the WordPress admin area.

Enter two-step authentication code

Adding two-factor authentication will make it harder for hackers to gain access even if they are able to crack your WordPress password.

For detailed step by step instructions, see our guide on how to how to add two-factor authentication in WordPress

Step 5. Use Unique Strong Passwords

Passwords are the keys to gain access to your WordPress site. You need to use unique strong passwords for all your accounts. A strong password is a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.

It’s important that you use strong passwords for not just your WordPress user accounts but also for FTP, web hosting control panel, and your WordPress database.

Most beginners ask us how to remember all these unique passwords? Well, you don’t need to. There are excellent password manager apps available that will securely store your passwords and automatically fill them in for you.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on best way to manage passwords for WordPress.

Step 6. Disable Directory Browsing

By default, when your web server does not find an index file (i.e. a file like index.php or index.html), it automatically displays an index page showing the contents of the directory.

Directory index

During a brute force attack, hackers can use directory browsing to look for vulnerable files. To fix this, you need to add the following line at the bottom of your WordPress .htaccess file.

Options -Indexes

For more details, see our article on how to disable directory browsing in WordPress.

Step 7. Disable PHP File Execution in Specific WordPress Folders

Hackers may want to install and execute a PHP script in your WordPress folders. WordPress is written mainly in PHP, which means you cannot disable that in all WordPress folders.

However, there are some folders that don’t need any PHP scripts. For example, your WordPress uploads folder located at /wp-content/uploads.

You can safely disable PHP execution in the uploads folder which is a common place hackers use to hide backdoor files.

First, you need to open a text editor like Notepad on your computer and paste the following code:

<Files *.php>
deny from all
</Files>

Now, save this file as .htaccess and upload it to /wp-content/uploads/ folders on your website using an FTP client.

Step 8. Install and Setup a WordPress Backup Plugin

WordPress backup plugins

Backups are the most important tool in your WordPress security arsenal. If all else fails, then backups will allow you to easily restore your website.

Most WordPress hosting companies offer limited backup options. However, these backups are not guaranteed, and you are solely responsible for making your own backups.

There are several great WordPress backup plugins, which allow you to schedule automatic backups.

We recommend using UpdraftPlus. It is beginner friendly and allows you to quickly setup automatic backups and store them on remote locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and more.

For step by step instructions, see our guide on how to how to backup and restore your WordPress site with UpdraftPlus

All above-mentioned tips will help you protect your WordPress site against brute force attacks. For a more comprehensive security setup, you should follow the instructions in our ultimate WordPress security guide for beginners.

We hope this article helped you learn how to protect your WordPress site from brute force attacks. You may also want to look out for the signs that your WordPress is hacked and how to fix a hacked WordPress site.

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.

The post How to Protect Your WordPress Site from Brute Force Attacks (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Gutenberg Plugin Garners Mixed Reactions from New Wave of Testers

photo credit: KaylaKandzorra i miss you grampa.(license)

WordPress 4.9.8 was released as an automatic update last week, featuring the “Try Gutenberg” callout. The goal of the prompt is to get more users testing the new editor and to raise awareness. Within the first 72 hours of the prompt going into user dashboards, sites with Gutenberg installed have shot up to more than 80,000, a 300% increase. The plugin has been downloaded more than 147,000 times in the past week.

Gutenberg feedback is pouring in from a wave of new testers, most of whom are finding out about the new editor for the first time. Reactions have varied widely across multiple social networks. The announcement on WordPress’ official Facebook account attracted many drive-by style comments that included negative reactions, confusion, and questions, with a few positive comments peppered in between.

Blocks aren’t doing it for me. Will classic continue to be available permanently? If I want a block visual editor I promise I will install one voluntarily.

I’m hoping gutenberg will be totally optional.

I see only few users who are exited from Gutenberg. The rest is for leaving as it is. Why the guys from WP still want to implement it in the core? Make it a plugin. Why not a plugin whyyyyyy?

Twitter users trying Gutenberg for the first time were more enthusiastic about the potential of the new editor.

While some testers are quietly reporting issues on GitHub, others have written long missives in the plugin’s reviews, begging WordPress not to force the new editor on users. Gutenberg reviews are currently at a 2.4-star average, slipping from the 2.7-star average it held prior to the 4.9.8 release. Those who have written reviews tend to have reactions at both ends of the spectrum.

At this point in the testing phase, the reviews in the official directory paint a grim picture of WordPress dragging its users kicking and screaming into the Gutenberg era. However, there are many reasons why a tester might be motivated to write a negative review. Some may have ignored the advice not to use it in production, some may be testing it with incompatible plugins, some may not want any changes to their established workflow, and some may simply not like the interface.

While it may seem that the plugin has been widely panned by new testers, those who are the most critical tend to be more motivated to write a review. Those who are pleasantly surprised at something that works for them don’t tend to comment publicly. Reviews cannot possibly tell the whole tale, but they are important to monitor for feedback that could help Gutenberg succeed.

“Try Gutenberg” Callout Succeeds at Bringing More Testers and Feedback

WordPress 4.9.8’s “Gutenprompt” is doing exactly what it was intended to do – bring out more testers. The invitation has already succeeded at pulling out some quality feedback if you can sort through all the casual, angry one-liners.

Steven Peters opened a lengthy review with the following observations about the more cumbersome and unintuitive aspects of Gutenberg’s interface:

The interface is not cohesive in its design. For example, To place a block of a paragraph, a heading, a subheading, a bullet list and every other block, the user must click the + sign every single time, making it that much harder to ‘go with the flow’ of writing, and is cumbersome and time-consuming. Time-consuming: a click for each block instead of just writing. More clicks equal wasted time.

In a review titled “Lots of potential but too soon for core,” Mark Wilkinson details several specific usability issues:

The interface I find confusing – I think it is because it is too minimal. I found that it was all too easy to add a block by mistake and then not knowing what the block was or why it was there.

There is too much reliance on hover effects, with things appearing and disappearing all the time. I also find it hard to know where the focus is on the screen as it just uses a faint grey border.

Several reviewers were candid about their distaste for the concept of putting content into blocks. The Gutenberg team has readily communicated its vision for the block-based editor, but this tends to speak more to developers.

“Why does every little thing have to be in a separate block?” one reviewer asked before describing multiple usability issues with current block behavior. “That is a feature I think I actually detest. I do not want 50 zillion little fussy blocks on a page. I had entire blocks just disappear on me and a lot of the time, I was initially unsure of exactly what I did to make them disappear. This is bad. Some of the time it was placing a block, like an image block, and then deleting the image … the entire block went, which meant I had to go through the motions to add the block, then add an image block again, and then add my image again. Lame.”

Multiple reviewers commented that previously simple tasks are much more complicated in Gutenberg. Others said after reading official replies to reviews, they felt that leaving specific feedback was a waste of time. Canned responses from the Gutenberg team gave some the impression that their feedback wasn’t heard or valued.

My feeling while reading the WordPress developer responses is that that they have no intention of either stopping or postponing Gutenberg no matter what bug or problem is given to their attention. – @lauritasita

I have read all the reviews (and also the Gutenberg-lovers’ replies) and it seems that it is not really a discussion. The question on what is missing in this editor is useless if people simply do not want such a feature in their install. All you do is trying to convince people that it would only take time to get used to a modern technology. In my eyes this is bullshit. I myself love new features – if they are useful. – @peg20

Based on the responses to reviews, it isn’t clear to testers whether the Gutenberg team is willing to make major changes to re-design features that are not easy to use or whether they are simply combing the reviews for feedback on bugs with the existing interface.

Classic Editor Plugin Installations are on the Rise as Users Prepare for WordPress 5.0

In the days following WordPress 4.9.8’s release, active installations of the Classic Editor plugin have jumped from 7,000 to 60,000, a 757% increase. However, none of these figures in isolation can tell the whole story of users’ experience with the new editor.

In response to criticism on the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, Gutenberg contributor Gary Pendergast said he doesn’t see users installing the Classic Editor plugin as a negative reaction. “People ensuring that their site is ready for WordPress 5.0 is absolutely a good thing,” Pendergast said. “For a lot of sites, that means sticking with their current workflows for now.”

Pendergast also said the growing number of Classic Editor installs is a good indication that WordPress users are “proactively maintaining their sites, and a reasonable indication that they intend to upgrade to WordPress 5.0.”

“People certainly have strong feelings about it, and ‘fear of change’ is absolutely a legitimate feeling: we need to provide the right tools to empower everyone who uses WordPress,” Pendergast said. “Some people will jump right into the brave new block-based world, some people will prefer to use the Classic Editor plugin as a way to keep their existing workflows. When WordPress 5.0 lands, neither way should be seen as the ‘correct’ way – they’re both entirely legitimate.”

One major theme in both positive and negative reviews of the plugin is the desire for Gutenberg to be opt-in for WordPress 5.0, instead of having it auto-enabled for all users.

Developers and agencies are expected to control that experience for their clients by installing the Classic Editor or Gutenberg Ramp for installations that may have compatibility issues. For millions of other WordPress users without their own developers or engineering teams, discovering Gutenberg auto-enabled after updating to WordPress 5.0 will be a moment of reckoning. On the other hand, phasing the new editor in over time may severely limit adoption and extinguish the ecosystem’s impetus to offer Gutenberg-compatible products.

The development community, along with thousands of WordPress users who now have Gutenberg on their radar, will be watching to see how the team evaluates feedback from this new wave of testing. Up until this point, only the most curious and motivated WordPress users have taken Gutenberg for a spin. Widespread testing has just begun and we’re not yet seeing a complete picture of how well the new editor will be received.

My initial impression, after first trying it a year ago, was that Gutenberg is the most exciting thing to happen to WordPress in a long time. After reading hundreds of negative reviews, I still believe in the block concept but am convinced that Gutenberg needs to deliver a beautiful writing experience in order to win people over.

If WordPress is my home for writing on the web, I want to feel at home in the interface. I don’t want to have to hunt for actions buried two-clicks deep. When I use the editor I want have the feeling of “I love writing here.” Gutenberg doesn’t deliver that yet.

WordPress has an opportunity to provide the best writing experience on the web, instead of relegating it to the myriad of dedicated writing apps that don’t have publishing capabilities. A supremely well-designed editor for writing posts, in recognition of the platform’s blogging roots, would be the promise that hooks users to willingly sign on for years of dealing with Gutenberg’s shortcomings as it matures into a full-fledged site builder.

Metamorphosis

After 9 grueling weeks, I am happy to say that the 2018 Perishable Press redesign is complete. There are still a few small details that I am contemplating, but overall the work is finished and the site is back to full production capacity. From the old Wire theme rolled out in 2013 (five years ago!), to the minimalist, lightweight X Theme, Perishable Press has metamorphosed into a lean, mean, content sharing machine. This is the 24th time Perishable Press has been redesigned, and I couldn’t be more inspired with the results.

Vision

Going into the new design, my vision was clear. The next evolution of the site would culminate from a core set of principles:

  • Minimalist design: less is more
  • Focus on content and usability
  • Best possible performance

In other words, I wanted the next theme design to be as lightweight and fast as possible, with a strong focus on content and usability. Then for the “look and feel” of the site, I wanted something that would inspire me to write more and spend more time with the site in general. So I went back. Way back to around 10 years ago, when I was first really getting into it. Back then, I was using one of my favorite themes, named Perishable.

[ Perishable Theme (from 2008) ]2008 “Perishable” theme. Warning: “Light on dark” themes may trigger certain visitors

The 2008 Perishable theme is a minimalist, black-&-white theme. So when someone visited the site, they got light text on a dark background, as shown in the previous screenshot. From there, one of three scenarios would unfold:

  • User likes the dark theme and uses it
  • User clicks the “switch theme” button to use the “lite” theme
  • User absolutely hates the dark theme and immediately sends hate mail

In retrospect, serving visitors a dark theme with small, grey text is borderline masochistic, but back 10 years ago it was just cool. I thought the design was awesome, and it inspired me to write and share content. Despite having to endure the occasional “what are you thinking, your design sucks, nobody can read it, I hate you forever, blah blah blah”, finding a design that resonates is huge when it comes to expressing yourself and sharing content.

With great power..

So the new X Theme basically is a “reboot” of the 2008 Perishable theme. Same look, feel, and experience, but completely reimagined with new code and enhanced functionality. Features include:

  • Mega menu via hamburger icon (upper-left corner of screen)
  • Switch between light and dark UI (upper-right corner of screen)
  • Show/Hide sidebar for 1-column or 2-column layout (zen mode)

These three features enable me to return to the classic, 2008 Perishable theme without scaring away regular visitors. It takes three clicks to get there:

  1. Click “Night Mode” icon to switch to the dark theme
  2. Click the hamburger icon
  3. Click “Zen Mode” icon to hide the sidebar

Those three clicks take me from the user-friendly design that’s served to all visitors by default (click images for full-size view):

[ X Theme : Light Mode ]2018 “X” theme (two-column, light mode)

..to the single-column dark theme that’s my personal favorite:

[ X Theme : Dark Mode ]2018 “X” theme (one-column, dark mode)

So up front, serving a traditional dark-text-on-light-background design, I am behaving like a responsible web developer slash designer who understands the importance of usability and accessibility. Most visitors never will know that behind the scenes, I’m “breaking all the rules” working with small, grey text on a dark background. So it’s a “win-win” for everyone. Moral of the story? A fundamental design problem was solved with a few extra clicks.

Details

The X theme marks the 24th (official) redesign of Perishable Press. I liked the previous theme a lot. But after using it for five years, realized that I no longer want the following things:

  • Too many advertisements
  • Too much social media stuff
  • Too “boxy” looking layout
  • Too many WordPress plugins
  • Too many creeping PHP errors/warnings/notices
  • Too many custom theme functions
  • Too many dependencies

How I let things get as bad as they were.. I guess when you get busy time flies and you gotta keep on going. Fortunately this year, I found the time to get it done. Before the renovation, the site figuratively was like an old caterpillar. Working on the site from late Spring into the Summer was like crawling into a virtual cocoon, slowly changing from the inside out. Eventually the renovated site emerged from the crumbling facade of the previous design.

I want simple. I want fast. I want awesome.

Some details of the new design:

Clean Code
All theme code is clean, lightweight and minimal. Also refactored all code for my Demos and Tools. Everything under my purview is kept as simple as possible. Just makes it easier to maintain, update, extend, port, and so forth. Also cleaned up a bunch of creeping PHP errors, warnings, and notices. So everything “under the hood” is in tippy top shape ;)
Consistency
The X theme is built from my free shapeSpace starter theme. So all template code is DRY, modular, and consistent. Also refactored all post markup with consistent UI patterns. For example, all captions, image galleries, and download links use the same HTML and CSS. Basically I spent a lot of time in the ’ol WP database synchronizing markup, deep-linking content, and cleaning things up. Overall added about 5MB to the database, but trimmed about 10MB.
Simplicity
The new design is kept simple. This brings nice intrinsic benefits: focus on content, easier to navigate, better performance, and easier to maintain. Most web pages these days are either too boxy looking, too cluttered with useless crap, or both. Visiting some sites feels like getting punched in the face with a pile of garbage. So the new design takes things in the opposite direction. Back to basics. Back to roots.
Zero Dependency
Or as close to it as possible. The previous theme made quite a few requests, for things like background images, icons, banners, ads, social media, and so forth. Plus many of my posts include images, so in general performance was not optimal and maintenance was time-consuming. By vigorously eliminating as many dependencies as possible, the new theme boosts performance, decreases time spent on maintenance, and reduces overall liability. For example, all JavaScript is 100% library-free.
WordPress
Specifically WordPress-related, the new design enabled me to remove the following plugins: Akismet, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, Subscribe to Comments, and Art Directed Styles. So now running only 13 plugins. I also replaced my contact form plugin with my latest creation, Contact Form X. Also installed Disable Gutenberg to make sure that my precious post content is not disturbed by teh whole Gutenberg thing. I prefer the plain-text editor for muh 800+ carefully formatted WordPress posts.
Social Media
For reasons that grow more clear every day, all social media scripts have been removed from this site. Five years ago, the pros may have outweighed the cons. But these days? I know better. The rewards simply are not worth the costs. For example, recently visitors started reporting that there was some weird JavaScript error on most of my websites. Turns out the JavaScript used to load the Facebook “like” box was blowing up my web pages. So yeah, after realizing that my pristine code was at the mercy of random Facebook developers, I made the final decision to remove all social media scripts entirely. Just not worth it.
Advertisements
Someday soon, I hope to remove all 3rd-party advertisements from Perishable Press. Currently running a set of BSA ads in the sidebar, but that’s just to help pay for the server. Once I can remove the BSA script from the site, the pages will load even faster. But for now, a few ads are necessary. Any other ads you see around the site are for my own products (like my books and plugins), and should be displayed with appropriate levels of contextual discretion.
Performance
As mentioned, one of the primary goals of this redesign is to further improve site performance. My strategy for this mostly happens at the theme level, where everything is minimized and optimized as much as possible. Also cleaned up the database and resolved a bunch of creeping PHP warnings. And on the front-end, I want to keep things nice and snappy, so did not implement smooth scrolling in this theme. Actual before/after performance test results provided below.

Better Performance

Faster, better, stronger. That is what I strive for when building sites. And Perishable Press is my baby, so obviously want it to be as freaking fast as possible. The results of the new theme/design? Well, the site is pretty fast. See for yourself with these screenshots (click images to view full-size results).

[ Performance results via gtmetrix.com (2013 Wire theme) ]BEFORE: 2013 Wire theme holds up well enough (tested @ gtmetrix.com)
[ Performance results via gtmetrix.com (2018 X theme) ]AFTER: 2018 X theme performs much better (tested @ gtmetrix.com)

And those results are fresh out the box: I ran the Wire test before starting the new theme, and ran the X theme test almost immediately after the site went live. So the results shown in these screenshots are before any specific performance-boosting tweaks. And given the high scores, most likely I won’t bother with any additional performance tuning. Fast enough just the way it is :)

Test/Service Before After
gtmetrix.com before after
pingdom.com not available after
google pagespeed before after
thinkwithgoogle.com before after
uptrends.com before after
webpagetest.org before after

Methodology

For anyone who may be wondering about the methodology behind redesigning a site with lots of traffic and over 1,000 pages, tools, demos, and resources: it was all done live right on the server. How? Using my free plugin, Theme Switcha. That’s it. When working on the site, I simply switched to my new X theme privately, while all regular visitors continued to get the old Wire theme.

So there was no need for replicating sites offline, database synchronization, redundant testing, or any of that. The simplicity is almost silly. Just jumped on, switched themes, and went to town.

Unsolved Mysteries

While I have your attention, allow me to ask a couple of questions. The first is, why does transform: translate(-50%, -50%); interfere with the element’s text-decoration color? Is it because of dithering or something? I was trying to absolutely center a div (the mega menu) with text-decoration set to #eee, but after applying the transform property, the color displayed like #777. Any clues or infos welcome on this.

And the other question I have is, for the post navigation on archive pages, do the “next” and “previous” buttons seem backward? I could just be overthinking things, but when displayed adjacent to the page numbers, the Next and Previous links seem backward. To see what I am talking about, try just clicking Next or Previous a few times, and watch the “current” page number change along with the other numbers. Now imagine it with the Next and Previous links reversed. Seems to make more sense, right? Or am I just crazy?

T0D0 List

Despite the progress made during this round of redesign and cleanup, there remain some things for which time was just too limited. This is a fairly large site with lots of diversely formatted and technical content, and some tasks require significant amounts of time. And I’ve already used up my quota of time allotted for the 2018 Perishable Press redesign. So, the following tasks are offloaded until the next redesign (or whenever I can find time before then).

  • Replace Feedburner (before Google kills the service)
  • Replace all rel="external" with target="_blank"
  • Replace all <acronym> tags with <abbr> tags
  • Clean up extra/loose images
  • Sync/update all tools and demos
  • Go thru comments (clean up code, fix order, et al)
  • Upscale deep content images
  • Update deep content 404s

Until then, the current design is complete and frankly has me pumped up tuff. Once again, going through and updating my old content (nearly 13 years worth!) reminds me of how much I value my audience. You fine folks are the best. I want to THANK YOU for your generous attention, participation, and support.

Needless to say, more fresh content on the way. Stay tuned for more exciting web-development adventures :)


WordPress 4.9.8 Released

WordPress 4.9.8 is available for download and is a maintenance release. Headlining this version is the “Try Gutenberg” callout. Note that not everyone will see the callout. Its visibility is determined based on certain criteria.

Gutenberg Callout in WordPress 4.9.8

WordPress 4.9.8 continues to improve the foundation set forth by the privacy improvements that went into core earlier this year. For example, the type of request that is being confirmed is now included in the subject line for privacy confirmation emails.

In total, this release has 46 bug fixes from more than 50 contributors. It was lead by Paul Biron and Joshua Wold. Since 4.9.8 is a maintenance release, sites that are able will update automatically. To see a full list of changes, check out the detailed changelog.

Official Gutenberg Information Site Updated with Interactive Frontend Demo

The official Gutenberg information site has been updated to feature an interactive demo that can be manipulated on the frontend. It is based on Frontenberg, a site created by Tom Nowell, VIP Wrangler at Automattic. It loads an instance of WordPress with Gutenberg on the frontend so visitors don’t have to login or create a test site to try it.

Gutenberg’s new demo replaces the walls of text that were there previously, which described the vision and approach for the new editor and explained blocks in depth with screenshots. Instead, the updated page features shorter, more succinct explanations of the new editor as an interactive part of demo.

The demo is also live on all Rosetta sites, like fr.wordpress.org/gutenberg, so WordPress users from around the world can view it in their own languages.

WordPress contributors are feverishly working to prepare for the “Try Gutenberg” callout that will ship with WordPress 4.9.8, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 2nd. It will be many users’ first exposure to the new editor and the demo gives them a chance to experience it in a hands-on way before making a decision about installing it. Instead of dismissing Gutenberg out of hand based on a quick glance at the screenshots and text, users have the opportunity to test drive it without breaking anything.

Gutenberg 3.4 Adds New Warning to Classic Editor When Editing Posts Containing Blocks

Gutenberg 3.4 was released yesterday with fixes intended to prepare the plugin for converting existing content to blocks. A wave of new users will soon be testing the new plugin as the result of the “Try Gutenberg” prompt in WordPress 4.9.8. The release date has been pushed back to Thursday, August 2nd.

In early July, the Gutenberg team froze new features on the plugin and shifted to focus on bugs, enhancements, compatibility, and API stability. An overview of the major functionality shipping in Gutenberg is available as a list on GitHub. Gutenberg 3.4 continues refinements on these features.

In preparation for users switching back and forth between the new and old editors, this release adds a warning in the classic editor when users attempt to edit posts that contain blocks.

Shared blocks have been renamed to “Reusable blocks” to better convey their function.

Theme developers can now configure font sizes that show in the editor.

This release also adds other little enhancements, including an edit button for embed blocks, the ability to create a video block by dropping a video on an insertion point, RTL CSS, and accessibility improvements.

Check out the release post for a full list of all the enhancements and bugs fixes in Gutenberg 3.4.

How to Create an IDX Real Estate Website using WordPress

Do you want to create an IDX real estate website using WordPress? A real estate website requires specific features that are not normally available in ready-made websites, but don’t worry we got you covered. In this article, we will show you how to easily create an IDX real estate website using WordPress.

How to create IDX real estate website using WordPress

What is IDX?

IDX or Internet Data Exchange is a software standard used by realtors, brokers, and their teams to display frequently updated listings from MLS (multiple listing services).

Why is IDX Important for Real Estate Websites?

Real estate websites use IDX to showcase property listings with up-to-date information that’s pulled directly from MLS. IDX allows you to showcase a wide range of properties, so you can generate more leads for your business.

How to Make an IDX Real Estate Website?

Typically you would have to hire a developer to build an IDX real estate website which would cost you thousands of dollars.

But that’s not ideal if you’re just starting out.

Luckily there is an easier solution that you can use to make an IDX real estate website by yourself (without any coding knowledge).

We’re going to walk you through each step, one by one. But before we do, you will need the following things to get started.

  • A domain name (This will be your website’s address that your users will type in their browsers to visit your website i.e wpbeginner.com)
  • A web hosting account (This is where your website’s files will be stored)
  • A real estate website template
  • An IDX WordPress plugin

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1. Getting Started with Your Real Estate Website

First, you need to choose the right platform for your website. WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder used by tens of thousands of real estate websites.

When we refer to WordPress, we’re referring to WordPress.org (software), not the WordPress.com (hosting service). Often beginners confuse these two due to the name. See our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for a side-by-side comparison.

We recommend using self-hosted WordPress.org because it gives you access to all the WordPress features out of the box.

To get started with WordPress, you will need to register a domain name and get a WordPress hosting account.

Normally, a domain name costs $14.99 / year and website hosting costs $7.99 / month.

This is a lot for small business owners who’re just starting out.

This is why we convinced Bluehost to offer WPBeginner users a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and 60% discount on hosting.

Basically, you can get started for as low as $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Note: Bluehost is an officially recommended hosting provider of WordPress, and we also use Bluehost for several of our own websites.

Once you have signed up for hosting, you will get an email with a link to your hosting dashboard.

Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you, and you will be able to login to your WordPress site directly from the hosting dashboard.

Bluehost hosting dashboard

Once logged in, you will see the WordPress admin area. This is where you will manage your website, change settings, and add new content.

WordPress admin area

Step 2. Choose a Real Estate WordPress Theme

The best thing about WordPress is that it gives you access to thousands of pre-made templates also known as WordPress themes. However, a real estate website has different needs than a regular business website.

Luckily, there are tons of beautiful WordPress themes that you can use to make a real estate website. See our expert pick of the best real estate WordPress themes.

Finding a real estate theme

Some tips on choosing a theme for your real estate website.

  • Strive for simplicity in design.
  • Keep in mind that theme demos use a lot of images that don’t come pre-installed. You will have to replace them with your own.
  • Make sure the theme works on all screen sizes and devices.
  • Look for IDX / MLS integration and compatible themes with your IDX plugin.
  • Check for theme reviews and performance.

For more details, see our guide on how to choose the perfect WordPress theme for your website.

After choosing a real estate theme for your website, you can go ahead and install it. For detailed instructions, see our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Step 3. Choose an IDX WordPress Plugin

There are plenty of WordPress IDX plugins on the market. You will need to carefully choose the plugin that works with your MLS provider.

We recommend using the dsIDXpress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled ‘IDX’ to your WordPress admin bar. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

IDX activation key

You will need to enter your activation key. You can find this information on the plugin’s website or the email they sent you when you registered the plugin.

After activation, the plugin offers multiple ways to add MLS content to your website. If you are using the demo version of the plugin, then you get access to fictional MLS listings. Paid users will be able to select their MLS provider from the plugin’s website.

Once you have added your MLS provider, you can go ahead and start adding MLS content. The easiest way to do this is by using the IDX widgets.

Head over to Appearance » Widgets page, and you will see multiple IDX widgets that you can add to your website. This includes IDX listings, IDX area, IDX search, and IDX single listing widgets.

IDX widgets

You can also add MLS content to your WordPress posts or pages. Simply create a new post or page, and you will notice the IDX listings button in the Visual Editor.

IDX shortcode buttons

Another way to generate content from your MLS listings is by visiting IDX Pages page and clicking on the ‘Add New’ button.

IDX Pages work just like regular WordPress pages, except that they will display your MLS listings. To choose what you want to show on the page, you can use the IDX Data Filters section at the bottom of the page.

IDX data filters

Don’t worry if your listings don’t look aesthetically pleasing in the beginning. Just focus on adding the listings you want to display at first.

Once you are done setting up your MLS content, you may need your theme’s support team to help you tightly integrate it using custom CSS.

Preview of IDX listings displayed on a real estate website

Step 4. Promoting Your Real Estate Website

You WordPress real estate theme and your IDX plugin provide you plenty of options to create targetted content for search engines.

For example, if you want to target a specific neighborhood, city, or housing community, then you can create specific pages for their listings.

Apart from displaying the listings, you can further optimize that page by adding useful information about that particular area.

Next, you would need to learn some basic WordPress SEO skills. We have a complete WordPress SEO guide with step by step instructions for beginners which will walk you through it.

Step 5. Capturing Leads from Your Real Estate Website

Lead generation

Did you know that almost 75% of visitors who see your website will never see it again? It is not your fault, it is just that the internet is huge and more websites are joining each day to increase competition.

Instead of letting those potential buyers slip away, you need to get their information.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. It is the best lead generation software in the world and helps you convert casual visitors into leads and then clients.

See how WoodSide Communities made $249,435 in less than 2 months using OptinMonster.

To get started, you may want to see these practical lead generation tips for those in real estate.

Another useful tool you need in your arsenal is WPForms. It is the best WordPress contact form plugin and will allow you to easily add contact forms for each listing on your site.

Step 6. Mastering WordPress Skills

WordPress is quite easy to use but from time to time you will need help. Luckily, there is plenty of help available online for free.

WPBeginner itself is the largest WordPress resource site in the world. We offer tons of beginner’s guides, how-tos, tutorials, and videos (all of them are totally free).

Here are some handy WPBeginner resources that you should bookmark to continue learning WordPress.

  • WPBeginner Blog – This is where we publish our WordPress tutorials, how tos, and step by step guides.
  • WPBeginner Videos – These step by step videos will help you learn WordPress FAST.
  • WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 52,000 subscribers and 7 Million+ views.
  • WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo.
  • WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
  • WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.

Many of our users use Google to find answers on WPBeginner by simply adding ‘wpbeginner’ at the end of their search term.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create an IDX real estate website using WordPress. You may also want to see our list of essential WordPress plugins for business websites.

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.

The post How to Create an IDX Real Estate Website using WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test

If you’re serious about your WordPress website, you have run a page speed test at some point. There are many variations of these tests out there. Some more convenient and true to your target audience than others. But they all will give you a pretty decent idea of where you can still improve your site. 

Certain speed optimizations may come across as “technically challenging” for some of you. Luckily, you have set up a WordPress website. And one of the things that make WordPress so awesome is the availability of WordPress plugins. Some free, some paid, but they all will help you to simplify difficult tasks. In this article, we’ll first show you a couple of page speed tests so you can check your page speed yourself. After that, we’ll go into a number of speed optimization recommendations. And show you how to solve these using just plugins.

Running a page speed test

Running a page speed test is as simple as inserting your website’s URL into a form on a website. That website then analyzes your website and comes up with recommendations. I’d like to mention two of those, but there are much more tests available.

  1. Pingdom provides a tool for speed testing. The nice thing is that you can test from different servers. For instance, from a server that is relatively close to you. Especially if you are targeting a local audience, this is a nice way to see how fast your website for them is.
  2. Google Lighthouse is a performance tool that lives in your browser. Click right on a page, choose Inspect and check the Audits tab in the new window that opens in your browser. Here, you can test speed for mobile device or desktop, and on different bandwidths for example. The test result looks like this:
    Google Lighthouse test result
    Small remark: most sites appear slower in Lighthouse. This is because Lighthouse emulates a number of devices, for instance, a slow mobile/3g connection. (see the second bar in the screenshot above). With mobile first, this is actually a good thing, right?

Before Lighthouse, Google PageSpeed Insights already showed us a lot of speed improvements. They even let you download of optimized images, CSS and JS files. As you are working with WordPress, it might be a hard task to replace your files with these optimized ones though. Luckily, WordPress has plugins.

There are many, many more speed testing tools available online. These are just a few that I wanted to mention before going into WordPress solutions that will help you improve speed.

Optimizing your page speed using WordPress plugins

After running a page speed test, I am pretty sure that most website owners feel they should invest some time into optimizing that speed for their website. You will have a dozen recommendations. These recommendations differ from things you can do yourselves and some things that you might need technical help for.

Image optimization

Your speed test might return this recommendation:image optimization for speed
Images usually play a large part in speed optimization, especially if you use large header images. Or if your site is image-heavy overall. It’s always a good idea to optimize these images. And it can be done with little quality loss these days. One of the things to look for is, like in the page speed test example above, images that are in fact larger than they are shown on your screen. If you have an image that covers your entire screen, and squeeze that into a 300 x 200 pixels spot on your website, you might be using an image of several MB’s. Instead, you could also change the dimensions of your image before uploading. And serve the image in the right dimensions and at a file size of some KB’s instead. By reducing the file size, you are speeding up your website.

Setting image dimensions in WordPress

WordPress comes with a handy default feature, where every image you upload is stored in several dimensions:Settings > Media
So if you want all the images in your posts to be the same width, pick one of the predefined ones or set your custom dimensions here. Images that you upload scale accordingly to these dimensions and the image in the original dimensions will also be available for you.

If you load, for instance, the medium size image instead of the much larger original, this will serve an image in a smaller file size, and this will be faster.

Image optimization plugins

There are also a number of image optimization plugins (paid and free) for WordPress available, like Kraken.io, Smush or Imagify. These might, for instance, remove so-called Exif data from the image. That is data that is really interesting for a photographer and will contain information about what settings the camera used to make that photo. Not really something you need for the image in your blog post, unless perhaps if you are in fact a photographer. Depending on your settings, you could also have these plugins replace your image with an image that is slightly lower in quality, for instance.

Some of these aforementioned plugins can also help you resize your images, by the way. Test these plugins for yourself and see which one is most convenient to work with and minifies your image files the best way. For further reading about image optimization, be sure to check this post about image SEO.

Browser cache

Another issue that comes across a lot in page speed tests is browser cache optimization.
Pingdom browser cache recommendation
Browser cache is about storing website files, like JS and CSS, in your local temporary internet files folder, so that they can be retrieved quickly on your next visit. Or, as Mozilla puts it:

The Firefox cache temporarily stores images, scripts, and other parts of websites you visit in order to speed up your browsing experience.

Caching in WP Super Cache

Most speed optimization plugins help you to optimize this caching. Sometimes as simple as this:
WP Super Cache
The Advanced tab of WP Super Cache here has a lot of more in-depth configuration for that, but starting out with the set defaults of a plugin is usually a good start. After that, start tweaking these advanced settings and see what they do.

Note that WP Super Cache has an option to disable cache for what they call “known users”. These are logged in users (and commenters), which allows for development (or commenting) without caching. That means for every refresh of the website in the browser window, you will get the latest state of that website instead of a cached version. That last one might be older because of that expiration time. If you set that expiration time to say 3600 seconds, a browser will only check for changes of the cached website after an hour. You see how that can be annoying if you want to see, for instance, design changes right away while developing.

Other WordPress caching plugins

I mention WP Super Cache here because it’s free and easy to use for most users. But there are alternatives. WP Fastest Cache is popular as well, with over 600K+ active installs. It has similar features to optimize caching:
WP Fastest Cache
A paid plugin that I also like is WP Rocket. It’s so easy to configure, that you’ll wonder if you have done things right. But your page speed test will tell you that it works pretty much immediately straight out-of-the-box. Let me explain something about compression and show you WP Rockets settings for that.

Compression

Regardless of whether your page speed test tool tells you to:

  • Try to minify your CSS files,
  • minify the JS files of your site,
  • minify your HTML files or
  • enable (GZIP) compression

These recommendations are all compression related. It’s about making your files as small as possible before sending them to a browser. It’s like reducing the file size of your images, but for JavaScript or CSS files, or for instance your HTML file itself. GZIP compression is about sending a zipped file to your browser, that your browser can unzip and read. Recommendations may look like this:
Minify recommendation Lightspeed
In WP Rocket, the settings for compression look like this:
WP Rocket - Compression
Again, a lot is set to the right settings by default, as we do in Yoast SEO, but even more can be configured to your needs. How well compression works, might depend on your server settings as well.

If you feel like the compression optimization that is done with any of the plugins mentioned above fails, contact your hosting company and see if and how they can help you configure compression for your website. They will surely be able to help you out, especially when you are using one of these WordPress hosting companies.

Serving CSS and JS files

One more thing that speed tests will tell you, is to combine (external) CSS or JavaScript files or defer parsing scripts. These recommendations are about the way these files are served to the website.

The combine option for these files is, like you can see in the WP Rocket screenshot above, not recommended for HTTP/2 websites. For these websites, multiple script files can be loaded at the same time. For non-HTTP/2 sites, combining these files will lower the number of server requests, which again makes your site faster.

Deferring scripts or recommendations like “Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content” are about the way these scripts are loaded in your template files. If all of these are served from the top section of your template, your browser will wait to show (certain elements of) your page until these files are fully loaded. Sometimes it pays to transfer less-relevant scripts to the footer of your template, so your browser will first show your website. It can add the enhancements that these JavaScripts or CSS files make later. A plugin that can help you with this is Scripts-to-Footer. Warning: test this carefully. If you change the way that these files load, this can impact your website. Things may all of a sudden stop working or look different.

We have to mention CDNs

A Content Delivery Network caches static content. With static content, we mean files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and image files. These files don’t change that often, so we can serve them from a CDN with many servers that are located near your visitors, so you can get them to your visitors super fast. It’s like traveling: the shorter the trip, the faster you get to your destination. Common sense, right? The same goes for these files. If the server that is serving the static file is located near your visitor (and servers are equally fast, obviously), the site will load faster for that visitor. Please read this post if you want to know more about CDNs.

There are many ways to optimize page speed in WordPress

Page speed tests will give you even more recommendations. Again, you might not be able to follow up on all of these yourself. Be sure to ask your expert in that case, like your web developer or agency, or your hosting company. But in the end, it’s good that you are using WordPress. There are many decent plugins that can help you optimize the speed of your website after a page speed test!

Read more: Site speed: tools and suggestions »

The post How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test appeared first on Yoast.

WordPress Core Fields API Project is Seeking New Leadership

In 2014, Pods lead developer, Scott Kingsley Clark, took over the primary lead role for the Metadata UI project. In 2015, the Metadata UI project was reborn as the Fields API.

The Fields API was developed to allow registering fields to different screens in the admin area through a single API. New meta boxes and fields within them could be added to posts while new sections and fields could be added to the profile screen.

The goal of the API is to integrate with all of the various admin screens including, Posts, Terms, Users, Media, and Comments and provide standardization.

Clark has been leading the project for three years and despite seeing renewed interest last year, announced in the project’s Slack channel that he is stepping down.

It is with a heavy heart that I must pass the torch on this project. After hundreds of hours of my time, I no longer believe I can effect change within WordPress core.

The Fields API vision was too big, too much of an undertaking for any one person. I believe so deeply that WordPress needs a Fields API, but the journey to where we are at with the Fields API has been long and arduous.

The truth is, I burned out years ago while building the first and second prototypes. Not everyone agreed on how to architect the code, it went through many revisions based on core contributor feedback. I just couldn’t get enough people excited about it, I couldn’t get enough companies and people interested in supporting it.

I need to let someone else have their chance, I am dragging it down. If someone steps up to lead in the future, then I would be happy to assist where I am able to. But I am unable to continue leading the Fields API proposal/project. I am sorry, please accept my apology and I hope you can forgive me for failing to take this project over the finish line. I still believe to be such a vital part of WordPress’ future success.

Scott Kingsley Clark

The Trials and Tribulations of Leading an Open Source Project

In the following interview, Clark explains why he feels personally responsible for the project’s lack of progress, why the API is important for WordPress’ future, and reflects on what he could have done differently.

Are you looking to pass the torch on to anyone in particular?

No, I’m not sure who would have the drive and the clout to see the project through. It’s a large scale project that should be approached with a long-term vision but in small enough increments to make it into WordPress core. It’s a lot to ask of somebody, it’s also not a priority for people right now since they are distracted by Gutenberg being released in the near future.

Why is the Fields API a vital part of WordPress’ future?

People look at WordPress today and wonder how they ever survived without the REST API. Well, at least I know I do! The same thing can be said about the Fields API even though it’s not there yet. There are so many cases where it’s frustrating to build solutions for WordPress across all of the different hooks.

For consistency, it’s the wild west out there. You get a meta box registered and you fill it with whatever you want. You need your own CSS to style the form fields and everyone has their own idea of how this interface should look. You are in charge of your own responsive layouts that are mobile-friendly, there’s just so much you have to handle on your own. You should be able to customize appearances, but every place you want to add a field or form to should really have a proper API.

Long-term, imagine registering fields to WordPress like you register post types. Imagine fields and their configurations being available to the REST API and accessible through the WordPress App or other custom apps.

The whole world opens up because you have a consistent API, the whole world make sense because you have a consistent interface for those fields across the various edit screens. Posts, terms, comments, users, media, even the Customizer would all have the same underlying API to add groups, panels, and fields to their screens.

If Gutenberg was done after the Fields API was in, migration for folks wouldn’t have been as difficult. Gutenberg could have automatically shown all of the Fields API interfaces like it does for the meta box backward compatibility. It would have looked so much nicer too.

Taking some time to reflect, what could you have done differently to get more core contributors to buy into the project and turn it into a higher priority?

I’m not sure, it’s a delicate balance of taking input and being confident in the end result. At first, the feedback was about how the API was foreign for WordPress, they asked if it could be similar in structure to other APIs such as the Customizer.

We scrapped the code and rebuilt from the ground up as a fork of the Customizer, it even supported having the Customizer utilizing the Fields API too. At the height of development, we had all areas of the Fields API implemented.

Core releases were moving pretty fast, there was a lot of code changes from WordPress release to release that we had to keep up with because we had essentially created a project that was a giant patch for WordPress.

There weren’t enough hooks in place to do what we needed to do, and many sections were not extensible because of code decisions that marked themselves as ‘final’, which means you can’t extend a specific class to customize how it works.

I wish I could have been at all the big WordCamps in the US and Europe, essentially lobbying for this feature. Gathering supporters and such, it feels like politics in a way. I hung around in Core dev meetings, trying to bring it up. I tried to legitimize the feature by having a dedicated channel in the official WordPress Slack, posting updates on https://make.wordpress.org/core/, and holding weekly meetings.

Ultimately, I prioritized my time for development over the time to gather the troops. That was the downfall, I began to burn out quickly after the first few rewrites as I had many other responsibilities elsewhere on top of Fields API.

It’s not like companies will easily want to pay you to work on a project like this indefinitely, even though both WebDevStudios and 10up gave me time to push it forward. It wasn’t a blank check, at some point I had to get back to billable work. From then on, it was all in my free time and that was difficult to manage during times of financial stress and house selling/buying.

There’s demand for a Fields API in core but not enough hands to build it. Why do you think that is?

Everyone is focused elsewhere. There’s a lot of areas of WordPress that need people’s attention. There are things like Accessibility that deserve a lot more attention than it gets. But the focus to me, seems to be on Gutenberg and REST API.

Gutenberg especially has been a huge time sink for people contributing and people implementing. It’s a really large feature. It’s definitely larger in scale than Fields API, it’s like a whole new app that lives in WordPress. Integration with it has required a lot of education and trial/error. People’s focus is where it needs to be right now. It’s just unfortunate that Gutenberg came before Fields API in terms of priority and interest level.

What advice would you give to the next Fields API project leader?

This is a big project, everyone will want to say it should be a certain way. You have to evaluate the options and put forth something bite sized for core to start with. Build upon that, but never lose sight of the long-term goal of integration across all of the WordPress screens. Even the front-end comment forms could thrive with the Fields API.

Why do you feel personally responsible for the project not being a core priority?

At one point, we had momentum. We had at least three to four people who were active. It fell apart because I ran out of time. It’s my shortsightedness, it’s my fault. I spent hundreds of hours developing the project over a couple of years. I should have left myself much more time for organizing the feature proposal text and keeping the fires burning in our contributors’ hearts.

Considering the time and effort you’ve put into the project the last few years, do you feel any sense of relief passing the torch on?

If the torch gets passed or picked up, I will feel a ton better. The main relief is that it’s officially not a weight I have to carry alone any longer. It’s okay to try and fail, it’s still sad though.

I hope that someone or some company steps up and puts time into this. They could even reignite the fire in my own heart that burned itself out. For now, I have one less major to-do item. I still have a hefty plate but it’s no longer as heavy of a burden.


While the immediate future of the project is unclear, those interested in taking it over are encouraged to read posts marked with the Fields API tag on Make.WordPress.Core to learn about its history. You can also check out the project’s Github page.

If you’re interested in taking over the project, you can contact Clark on Twitter, Slack, or through his website.

How to Fix the 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress

Do you want to fix the 502 bad gateway error on your site? This error is quite annoying because it can be caused by a lot of different things. This means troubleshooting the 502 bad gateway error can take some time. In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress.

How to fix the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress

What is a 502 Bad Gateway Error?

A 502 bad gateway error is triggered when your WordPress hosting server gets an invalid response for the requested page.

Bad gateway error is one of the common WordPress errors that you may encounter on your site. It can be caused by a number of reasons and depending on your server the error message may also differ in looks slightly.

502 bad gateway in browser

When you visit a website your browser sends a request to the hosting server. The hosting server then finds the page and sends it back to your browser with the status code.

Normally, you wouldn’t see this status code. However, in case of an error the status code is displayed with an error message. Examples of such errors include 404 not found, 503 service unavailable, 403 forbidden error, and more.

The most common reason for a 502 bad gateway error is when your request takes too long for the server to respond. This delay can be a temporary glitch caused by high traffic. It could also be a glitch caused by a poorly coded WordPress theme or plugin. Last but not least, it can also happen due to a server misconfiguration.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily fix the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress.

Fixing the 502 Bad Gateway Error

This error is usually caused when your server is unable to find the cause of the invalid response. This means that we will try different troubleshooting steps until we find the problem.

Ready, let’s get started.

Step 1: Reload Your Website

Sometimes your server may take longer to respond due to increased traffic or low server resources. In that case, the problem may automatically disappear in a few minutes. You should try reloading the web page that you are viewing to see if this was the cause.

If this fixed your problem, then you do not need to read any further. However, if you see this error frequently, then you need to continue reading as there may be something else that needs fixing.

Step 2: Clear Browser Cache

Your browser may be showing you the error page from the cache. Even after the issue is fixed, you would see the 502 error because the browser is loading your website from cache.

To fix this, users with Windows/Linux operating systems can press Ctrl + F5 buttons and Mac OS users can press CMD + Shift + R buttons on their keyboards to refresh the page. You can also remove the cache manually from your browser settings.

Clear browser cache

Once you clear your WordPress cache, try loading the website again.

You can use a different browser to troubleshoot if the problem is occurring because of browser cache. If you see the error on all browsers, then continue reading.

Step 3: Disable the CDN or Firewall

If you are using a CDN service or website firewall on your website, then it is possible that their servers are acting up. To check this, you will need to temporarily disable CDN.

Once disabled, it will remove the additional layer that has been created between your browser and the hosting server. Your website will now load entirely from your server and if the issue was caused by the CDN / firewall service, then it will get resolved now.

You can then contact your CDN service provider for support. Once the issue is resolved, you can go ahead and enable the CDN again.

Step 4: Update WordPress Themes and Plugins

If the error is still there, then the next step is to check your theme or plugins.

First, you will need to deactivate all WordPress plugins via FTP. After that, visit your website to see if the error has resolved.

If it is, then one of your plugins was causing the issue. You now need to activate all plugins one by one until you can reproduce the error. This will help you locate the plugin responsible for the error.

You can find an alternative plugin or contact the plugin author for support.

If deactivating plugins didn’t solve your issue, then you would want to check your WordPress theme. You will need to switch WordPress theme via phpMyAdmin.

After switching your theme to the default WordPress theme, visit your website to see if it’s working. If you are still seeing the error, then continue reading.

Step 5: Check the Hosting Server

If all above-mentioned troubleshooting steps failed, then it is likely an issue with your hosting server.

You need to contact your hosting provider’s support team and let them know the issue. You can also mention all the troubleshooting steps you have taken.

All good WordPress hosting companies will be able to quickly fix the issue if it is caused by a server misconfiguration.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you learn how to fix the 502 bad gateway error in WordPress. You may also want to see our complete WordPress troubleshooting guide for step by step instructions on fixing your WordPress issues.

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.

The post How to Fix the 502 Bad Gateway Error in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Yoast SEO 7.9: Getting rid of bugs in the summer

Say hi to a brand new version of Yoast SEO! As it’s summertime, our hard-working developers went out on a collective bug hunt. Together with the community – we’re so happy to be part of – they’re giving their all to make our plugin work better for everyone using it. For instance, to make the various sections of all Search Appearance tabs collapsible, so they’re easier to scan and edit. On top of that, we’re preparing for exciting times to come! What about Gutenberg? And further development of our best-known feature, the content analysis? 

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

Less scrolling in Search Appearance

The Search Appearance section of Yoast SEO is a true power tool. It allows you to control which sections of your site should appear in the search results and what they will look like. For instance, you can choose to hide certain archives from the search results or to set a template for SEO titles for your product pages. If you have an extensive website though, all different sections and options could create a long list on a tab. On the content types tab, you could already collapse the various content types. Now, we added this functionality to the other tabs as well, for example the archives tab:collapsible sections yoast seo search appearance

This way you’ll have a better overview, making it easier to select and edit the section you want to work on. Also, we’ve improved the accessibility of these collapsible sections, as they should work for everyone.

Bugs killed

When working on this release, we again realized how fortunate we are to be part of the WordPress community. No fewer than 4 voluntary contributors went together on this bug hunt with us. A big thanks to schurigbainternetdawnbirthmikeschinkel to help us fix stuff. Mad props to all of you!

One of the issues we fixed was a residue of our 7.7 release. In that update we introduced the new snippet variables in the snippet preview and templates of the Search appearance tab. In some instances, templates would not be saved correctly though, causing the default template to show under a post or page. This is one of the issues we resolved in Yoast SEO 7.9. Did this bug – or any of these annoy you? Update and get rid of them now!

Preparing for Gutenberg

Slowly but surely Gutenberg is heading our way. Not sure what Gutenberg was again? Check Edwin’s post about Gutenberg here. Gutenberg will have an impact on everyone using WordPress. Whether you’re a copywriter, editor or plugin developer.

Of course our own plugins need to be ready to integrate seamlessly with the Gutenberg editor when it’s there. Not something to take lightly! So we have a special team that’s fully dedicated to make sure we’re ready when Gutenberg is. They’re completely rebuilding all parts of the Yoast SEO plugin in the JavaScript library React, amongst others. Soon we’ll be able to tell and show you more on this. So make sure to keep an eye on our updates.

Working towards a more complete content analysis

Our 7.8 release was all about adding synonyms and keyword distribution in Yoast SEO Premium. Our plugin is now able to recognize synonyms of your focus keyword in English and sees how you’ve distributed them throughout your copy. This was just the first step to a more complete content analysis and understanding of the topic of a text. Apart from identification of synonyms we’re working on morphology (other forms of the same word) and related words recognition and an entire recalibration of our SEO analysis. Curious about the changes that lie ahead? Marieke sheds light on them here.

Read more: Why every website needs Yoast SEO »

The post Yoast SEO 7.9: Getting rid of bugs in the summer appeared first on Yoast.

Page Links To v3.0

Today I pushed an update to my redirect and repointing plugin, Page Links To. Tomorrow, this plugin will have been in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory for 13 years (it was the 339th plugin in the WordPress plugin repository; there are now over 75,000!).

To celebrate its transition to a teenager, I’ve added some new features and UI enhancements.

Last month, I received survey responses from over 800 Page Links To users and learned a lot about how it’s being put to work. One of the most interesting things I found was how many people are using it for URL redirects. For example, they might have a really long URL on their own site or someone else’s site that they want to be nice. example.com/summer-sale instead of example.com/store/specials.aspx?season=summer&_utm_source=internal. But in order to create these redirects, you have to go through the cluttered and sometimes slow post creation screen. All you really need to create a redirect is a title, a destination URL, and a local short URL.

You’ll now find a menu item “Add Page Link” that will allow you to quickly add a redirected Page without having to wait for the entire WordPress post editing interface to load. It’s super fast, and it doesn’t redirect you away from the screen you’re on.

Since short URLs are better for sharing (and remembering), the UI will give you a little push to shorten the URL if the one generated from your title is too long. From there, you can Save Draft or Publish.

Hey, that URL is getting a bit long
Custom slug, for a better short URL

Additionally, this release includes a “link” indicator on post and page list screens, so you can easily see what items have been re-pointed with Page Links To. When hovered, the link icon will reveal the destination URL for a quick view.

The “link” icon means that this item has been pointed elsewhere.

If you want to grab the “local” short URL (which will be redirected to your chosen URL when someone visits it), just click “Copy Short URL” from the actions, and it’ll be in your clipboard.

Hover the “link” icon to see where it’s pointing.

That’s it for version 3.0, but I’ll have more to announce soon — stay tuned!

WordPress 4.9.8 Will Significantly Reduce Memory Leak

WordPress 4.9.8 Beta two recently shipped and although much of the focus will be on the “Try Gutenberg” call-out, there’s a patch included that addresses a memory leak that was quite a problem for some users.

When WordPress 4.9.7 shipped, the WordPress.org support forums saw an increase in reports of memory exhausted errors due to the wp_is_stream function.

The bug is actually in PHP and is related to the stream-get-wrappers function. WordPress 4.9.7 increased the number of times it calls the wp_is_stream() function generating the error more often.

After thoughtful conversations within the trac ticket, a patch was created that after further testing, was committed to core. According to Gary Pendergast, the patch does the following.

Bailing if the path isn’t a stream. This isn’t perfect: it’s still possible to trigger the PHP bug, but it does significantly reduce the chances of the bug being encountered. For many WordPress sites (those that don’t have plugins that use streams), it reduces the chance to zero.

If you encountered memory exhaustion errors after installing or upgrading to WordPress 4.9.7, try WordPress 4.9.8 Beta 2 to see if it fixes the issue.

Aside from coming up with a solution, Trac ticket #44532 is a bit refreshing to see. In open source, tickets or issues can get bogged down with suggestions, hypothetical scenarios, and bike-shed commentary.

In this instance, the issue was identified and folks from the community along with core contributors worked together in a focused fashion to create a fix in time for the next point release. The ticket is a good example of what it’s like when open source is firing on all cylinders. 

WP Super Cache and Cookie Banners

More sites use cookie banners now that the GDPR is active but some are finding that their banners are misbehaving once they enable caching.

This is a similar issue to the one that happened to some page counter plugins in the past. The page counter wouldn’t increment.

When a cookie banner is clicked a cookie is set in the browser so the website knows this visitor has agreed to accept cookies. If the cookie is set then the cookie banner html is not sent to the browser.

I suspect the main issue is that the code that sets and checks if the cookie is set is PHP. Unfortunately because the page is cached then no PHP code is executed, and the cookie banner is displayed because it was originally cached that way.

Since WP Super Cache only knows about certain WordPress cookies it assumes everyone who doesn’t have those cookies is a first time “anonymous” visitor. It doesn’t know about your cookie banner cookie.

You have two options:

  1. Rewrite your cookie banner so it’s completely in Javascript. Do the cookie detection in Javascript and also set the cookie in Javascript. If the cookie banner has been clicked then you need to trigger an action, and other Javascript that is hooked on to that trigger will run and load the tracking cookies.
  2. Modify WP Super Cache so it knows about the cookie your cookie banner uses. Caching won’t work quite as well as before as it’ll be split between visitors who have clicked the cookie banner and those that haven’t. One cached file will display the cookie banner, and the other will not but it will have ad tracking Javascript.

Using Javascript completely is a better solution because it runs in the browser on every page load but that might not be possible every time.

Otherwise, use PHP to get WP Super Cache to play nicely with your existing code:

  1. You’ll need to write a WP Super Cache plugin.
  2. You need to hook into the wp_cache_get_cookies_values cacheaction and add the value of the cookie banner cookie to the end of that string.
  3. Caching can only be performed by simple caching now, unless you’re willing to edit mod_rewrite rules in your .htaccess file.

Something like this will do. Make sure you note the warning about $wp_cache_plugins_dir in the link above about writing these plugins.

function add_cookie_banner_to_cache_cookie( $string ) {
    if ( isset( $_COOKIE['cookie_banner'] ) ) {
        $string .= 'cb,';
    }
    return $string
}
add_cacheaction( 'wp_cache_get_cookies_values', 'add_cookie_banner_to_cache_cookie' );

Substitute the name of the cookie for your cookie name, change the name of the function, and the text it adds to the string. There is an intentional PHP fatal error in the code above to discourage copy/pasting.

Your cookie banner plugin could automate setting this up, but it may have unforeseen consequences if not done correctly. It should check if $wp_cache_plugins_dir is set already, and use that location, otherwise it will have to make a directory and update the WP Super Cache configuration, where ABC is the new location for the plugins.

wp_cache_setting( 'wp_cache_plugins_dir', ABSPATH . 'wp-content/ABC' );

The new code can be copied into a file in that directory. The files in the original WP Super Cache plugins directory (found at WPCACHEHOME . 'plugins') should be copied into that directory too and a warning shown to the user. They may need to set up one of those plugins again.

The reason it is this convoluted is because this code will run before all of WordPress loads. You can’t rely on blog options or most of the nice configuration tools WordPress provides.

When your plugin is uninstalled it should of course restore the plugins directory to the way it was before.

For future reference, since cookie banners will hopefully not be around forever, here’s what they looked like in the deep, distant past of 2018. 🙂

The LA Times just gave up and don’t show anything to EU visitors.

Related Posts

Source

First Look at “Try Gutenberg” Prompt in WordPress 4.9.8 Beta 2

WordPress 4.9.8 Beta 2 was released today, featuring the new “Try Gutenberg” prompt that will appear in user dashboards when the official release drops at the end of the month.

The prompt invites users to install Gutenberg if they want to try the new editor or install the Classic Editor to keep using the current editor until they are ready to make the change. WordPress contributors discussed variations on the design and wording of the callout and finally settled on what you see in 4.9.8 Beta 2.

Even if users don’t get involved in Gutenberg testing, the callout serves to inform them that the new editor will be enabled by default in the next major release of WordPress. It includes a link to the Gutenberg information page so users can learn more about the project.

Contributors agreed that they wanted to clearly communicate three important points in the callout, as per designer @kjellr’s suggestions on trac:

  1. Gutenberg is coming in the next major release.
  2. If you’re worried about compatibility, there’s a plugin to help ease the transition.
  3. The plugin lets you use the editor you’re used to until you’re ready to switch.

The prompt is clearly geared towards encouraging users to test Gutenberg, as that section has a more prominent, colored button. If your clients’ installations are not ready for users to act on the “Try Gutenberg” prompt, now is the time to install a plugin that will disable it. Clients with free-range of the WordPress admin, in sites that are running Gutenberg-compatible extensions, are better candidates for testing the new editor.

The Classic Editor Addon is one option that will suppress the prompt and automatically suppress Gutenberg when it ships in WordPress 5.0. It was also recently updated to auto-install the Classic Editor plugin as a dependency so users don’t have to install two plugins as part of the process.

A release candidate is slated for July 24, and the official 4.9.8 release is scheduled for July 31st. The Gutenberg plugin is currently sitting at 10,000+ active installations and the Classic Editor at 5,000+. After 4.9.8 is released, changes in these numbers will demonstrate how WordPress users across the globe are responding to the call for testing.

How to Create a BuzzFeed Like Website Using WordPress

Recently one of our readers asked if it was possible to create a BuzzFeed like website using WordPress? BuzzFeed is one of the most popular websites on the internet known primarily for its viral content. Its success has inspired many bloggers to follow the same model. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a BuzzFeed like website using WordPress.

Making a BuzzFeed like website using WordPress

Why Start a BuzzFeed Like Website?

BuzzFeed is one of the most popular websites on the internet. Popular for its quizzes, listicles, and pop-culture commentary, the website has grown into a massive media company with annual revenue of $250 Million in 2016.

BuzzFeed represents a successful business model that many aspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs can follow. It allows you to make money online while showcasing your creativity and offering value to your users.

What Do You Need to Build a BuzzFeed Like Website?

First, you will need to choose the right platform. There are plenty of blogging platforms that you can choose from, but we recommend using WordPress because it is the world’s most popular website builder and content management system.

Fun fact: WordPress powers over 30% of all websites on the internet.

When we say WordPress, we are talking about self-hosted WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. They are two different platforms. See our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for a side by side comparison of two platforms.

We recommend using WordPress.org because it gives you full control, ownership, and freedom to build your own BuzzFeed like website. To learn more, see our complete WordPress review.

There are three things you will need to make a website like Buzzfeed:

  • A domain name – This will be your website’s address and what users will type in their browsers to see your blog. (For example, wpbeginner.com)
  • Web hosting – This will be your website’s home and where you will store all your website files
  • Your undivided attention for 40 mins

Yes, you can make a BuzzFeed like website in 40 minutes, and we will walk you through it every step of the way.

In this tutorial, we will cover the following:

  • How to Register a Domain Name for Free
  • How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
  • How to Install WordPress
  • How to Find the Perfect BuzzFeed like Theme (website design)
  • How to Add BuzzFeed Like Content to Your Blog
  • How to Get More Visitors to Your Viral Blog
  • How to Make Money from Your Viral Blog
  • Resources to Learn WordPress Grow your Blog

Ready? Let’s get started.

Setting up a BuzzFeed Like Website Using WordPress

First, you will need to register a domain name and purchase hosting.

Normally, a domain name costs $14.99 / year and website hosting $7.99 per month which is usually paid annually.

If you are just starting out, then this is quite a lot of money.

Thankfully, Bluehost has agreed to offer WPBeginner readers a free domain name, free SSL certificate, and a 60% discount on hosting.

Basically, you can get started for $2.75 per month.

→ Click Here to Claim This Exclusive Bluehost Offer ←

Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and they are an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Note: At WPBeginner we believe in transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

That being said, let’s move on to setting up your domain name and hosting, so you can start building your website.

First, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the ‘Get Started Now’ button.

Get started with Bluehost

Next, you will be asked to select a plan. Basic and Plus plans are popular among our users.

After that, you will need to choose a domain name for your website.

Choose domain name for your website

Some tips on choosing the best domain name for a BuzzFeed like website.

Need more advice? See our guide on how to choose the perfect domain name for your website.

After choosing your domain name, you will enter your account information such as name, address, email, etc.

Below that, you will see some extra hosting options that you can purchase. We don’t recommend purchasing these extras because they will increase your hosting bill. You can always add them later if needed.

Hosting extras

Next, you will need to add your payment information to finish the purchase.

After that, you will receive an email with a link to your hosting control panel and login details.

Installing WordPress

Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you, and you will be able to login to your WordPress site directly from the hosting dashboard.

Bluehost dashboard

Once logged in, you will see the WordPress admin area. From here you will manage your website, change content, and add content.

WordPress dashboard

Choose a BuzzFeed Like Design for Your Website

By default, WordPress comes with a very basic theme which doesn’t look anything like BuzzFeed.

Default WordPress theme

Luckily there are thousands of pre-made WordPress multi-purpose themes that you can choose from. We have hand-picked a few WordPress themes designed for viral content and BuzzFeed like websites.

1. Doberman

Doberman

Doberman is the perfect WordPress theme for BuzzFeed like viral content websites. It boosts user engagement with techniques used by viral content websites like social counts, trending content, popular posts, custom reactions, social sharing prompts, and more.

It has over 80 customization options allowing you to use your own colors, layouts, and styles. You can make it uniquely yours without writing any code. It also includes 1-click installation of demo content, after which you can simply go ahead and replace content with your own.

2. SociallyViral

SociallyViral

SociallyViral is another excellent WordPress theme designed specifically for viral magazine websites. It includes social shares, social media icons, trending posts, social integrations, Google AdSense placements, and more.

It has built-in ‘load more posts’ function with 4 different styles, email subscription box, and a featured post section on the top. It is highly optimized for SEO with Schema rich snippets support.

3. Noozbeat

Noozbeat

Noozbeat is a beautifully designed WordPress theme made for content-rich websites like online magazines and newspapers. It comes with dedicated spots to display ads on your website.

It also includes multiple layouts for homepage, categories, and single articles. It is easy to use with tons of customization options and unlimited color choices.

4. Snapse (Free)

Synapse

Synapse is a free WordPress theme for viral magazines and newspaper websites. It features a multi-color design with a full-width layout which gives it a trendy look.

It includes simple customization options which make it easy to use and quick to set up. Synapse is light-weight and compatible with all popular WordPress plugins.

5. TruePixel

TruePixel

TruePixel is another modern WordPress theme designed for content-rich websites. It is designed to reduce bounce rate and boost user engagement which means more page views for your website.

It is also advertisement ready which allows you to start monetizing your website right away. It comes with a custom theme options panel which will help you easily set up your website.

6. BuzzMag (Free)

BuzzMag

BuzzMag is a free WordPress theme designed for online magazines. It comes with a featured posts section on top, a modern homepage design that puts your content in front and center. It has ready-to-use advertising areas, multiple-sidebars, and easy to use theme options.

Want to look at more themes? See our expert pick of the best WordPress magazine themes that can be used to build a BuzzFeed like website.

Creating Viral Content for Your Website

BuzzFeed started out with viral content like personality quizzes, memes, listicles, and pop-culture commentary. It has now evolved into a large media company publishing different types of content.

You will need to decide what type of content you want to publish on your website.

WordPress makes it easy to add any type of content to your website. You can create listicles, articles, upload images, embed videos and audio, create photo galleries and more.

To learn more, see our beginner’s guide on how to add a new post in WordPress and utilize all its features.

Here are some of our guides that will help you create content similar to BuzzFeed and other viral magazines.

While you are building a website similar to BuzzFeed, it is important to make it your own by giving it a unique voice and style. This will help your brand stand out and capture a loyal audience.

To achieve this, you will need to regularly publish new content. You will notice that larger websites publish a lot of content each day. This is very difficult to do in the beginning, so you need to choose your own frequency.

We recommend starting with three articles a week and then increasing your pace to publish daily.

Now you may think, how would you come up with new ideas for blog posts on a regular basis? See these 73 types of blog posts that are engaging and can easily be used on a viral content website.

Need even more ideas? Make it a habit of visiting websites similar to BuzzFeed for inspiration. We are not saying that you should steal or copy their content.

Instead, collect ideas /topics, get inspired, and learn. Use these ideas with your own blog posts to create something new and original.

Getting More Visitors to Your Viral Blog

Viral content websites like BuzzFeed rely on traffic and user engagement for success. More people visiting your website means more pageviews and higher advertising revenue.

However, most beginners don’t know where to start and how to get more traffic to their website.

Optimize your website for SEO

Most popular websites on the internet get majority of their traffic from search engines like Google. Experienced website owners use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to improve their websites for search engines.

WordPress is built to be an SEO friendly platform out of the box. However, there is still a lot you can do to make sure your content is found by search engines and is displayed higher in search rankings.

For complete setup, follow the step by step instructions in our WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

Improve your website speed and performance

You will notice that BuzzFeed loads extremely fast and works well even on slower internet connections. A faster website offers users a better user experience, and it also improves your SEO.

You can make your website fast by implementing some best practices to fine-tune its performance.

We have a complete guide on improving WordPress speed and performance with step by step instructions for beginners.

Learn from your users

To make your website popular, you need to know what your users prefer. Most beginners try to make educated guesses instead of getting the actual data.

Simply install Google Analytics on your website, and it will tell you which pages are popular on your site, where users are coming from, how much time they spend, and more.

You can also track user engagement on your website with Google Analytics. This allows you to see exactly what users do when they are on your website and what you can do to increase their engagement.

Making Money From Your BuzzFeed Like Website

BuzzFeed not only has a large audience, it also makes a lot of money. Their primary source of revenue is from online advertisements and selling marketing solutions to businesses and advertisers.

As a beginner, you may not get as high paying advertisers as BuzzFeed, but there are plenty of ways to generate a steady income from your website.

1. Displaying Ads on Your Website Using Google AdSense

Millions of websites on the internet rely on ads to make money. Google AdSense makes it super easy for bloggers to display ads on their websites.

You don’t have to worry about finding advertisers and collecting money. Google deals with advertisers, collects money, and sends it to you after taking a small cut.

For detailed instructions, see our step by step guide on how to properly add Google AdSense in WordPress.

2. Build Social Media Following

Viral content platforms like BuzzFeed have huge social media following, which has made them even more attractive to top brands. These brands approach them for collaboration, brand placement, and other deals to reach their massive social media audience.

However, for this, you need to start building a following on select social media platforms. Instagram and YouTube are the two platforms that attract a lot of big and small businesses.

An easy way to build a social following is by sharing posts on your website. You can share your Instagram posts on your blog and embed your videos in your blog posts.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to recommend products and get a referral commission when your users purchase a product after clicking on your link.

You will need to find products that compliment your website’s topics and have an affiliate program. The biggest affiliate network you can join is Amazon Affiliates. It has thousands of products that you can choose from.

To get started, see our guide on how to manage affiliate links in WordPress.

There are plenty of other ways to generate revenue from your viral content blog. Take a look at our guide on different ways to make money from your blog for some more ideas.

Resources to Learn WordPress and Grow Your Blog

Building a magazine website like BuzzFeed allows you to experiment with different ways to add content, engage audiences, and grow your business. As you work on your website, you will realize that there is so much more you can do with WordPress.

WordPress is quite easy to use, but from time to time you will come up with questions. Good news is that there is plenty of help available online.

WPBeginner itself is the largest free WordPress resource site in the world. We have tons of helpful resources, guides, and how-tos, written specifically for beginners, bloggers, and business owners.

Following are a few handy WPBeginner resources that you should check out. All of them are completely free.

  • WPBeginner Blog – This is where we publish our WordPress tutorials, how tos, and step by step guides.
  • WPBeginner Videos – These step by step videos will help you learn WordPress FAST.
  • WPBeginner on YouTube – Need more video instructions? Subscribe to our YouTube channel with more than 52,000 subscribers and 7 Million+ views.
  • WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo.
  • WPBeginner Blueprint – Check out plugins, tools, and services we use on WPBeginner.
  • WPBeginner Deals – Exclusive discounts on WordPress products and services for WPBeginner users.

Many of our users use Google to find answers on WPBeginner by simply adding wpbeginner after their search term.

We hope this article helped you create a BuzzFeed like website using WordPress. You may also want to see these practical tips to drive traffic to your new website. free

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.

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New WordPress Feature Plugin Adds Support for Progressive Web Apps

WordPress contributors are working on getting support for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) into core. A new PWA feature plugin is now available on WordPress.org, spearheaded by the teams at XWP, Google, and Automattic.

Progressive Web Apps are applications that run on the web but provide a speedy app-like experience inside a mobile browser. Google describes them as having the following three qualities:

  • Reliable – Load instantly and never show the downasaur, even in uncertain network conditions
  • Fast – Respond quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling
  • Engaging – Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience

The plugin adds support for technologies that PWAs require, including Service Workers, a Web App Manifest, and HTTPS. These technologies support functions like background syncing, offline content, push notifications, mobile home screen icon, and other PWA features.

XWP CTO Weston Ruter said the purpose of the feature plugin is to curate PWA capabilities for proposed merging into core. The idea is to merge them piece by piece. Core tickets are already in process for adding support for web app manifests and support for service workers, as well as bringing improvements to HTTPS.

“This PWA feature plugin is intended to equip and facilitate other plugins which implement PWA features,” Ruter said. “It’s not intended to negate any existing plugins with these features, but rather to allow such plugins (and themes) to work together seamlessly and expand upon them.”

The first release of the plugin on WordPress.org (v0.1.0) adds support for web app manifests and initial support for allowing theme and plugin developers to register scripts for service workers via wp_register_service_worker(). It also includes an API for detecting whether HTTPS is available.

“A next step for service workers in the PWA feature plugin is to integrate Workbox to provide a declarative WordPress PHP abstraction for managing the caching strategies for routes, with support for detecting conflicts,” Ruter said. Anyone who is interested to contribute to PWA support for WordPress can check out the discussions and plugin on GitHub.

In the past, app-like experiences were only available for sites and services that had their own native mobile apps, but native apps can be costly to develop and maintain. Progressive web apps use the greater web as their platform and are quick to spin up. They make content easier to access on mobile even without an internet connection. It’s also far easier to tap a home screen icon than to enter a URL on mobile, and this makes users more likely to engage with their favorite sites.

PWA Stats is a site that features case studies of progressive web apps that have significantly increased performance, engagement, and conversion. A few compelling examples include:

PWA support in WordPress will enable the plugin and theme ecosystems to work together in providing site owners with more engaging ways to connect with their visitors. Once the market starts building on core support, site owners should soon be able to offer better experiences for mobile users without having to become experts in the technologies that power progressive web apps.

Synonyms and keyword distribution in Yoast SEO Premium

In the latest version of Yoast SEO Premium, we’ve released a new feature: synonyms. In the next months, you can expect even more updates making our SEO analysis smarter and more advanced. These changes will help you to write awesome, engaging content that’ll rank in the search engines. In this post, I’ll explain to you why we added synonyms to Yoast SEO and what changes lie ahead.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

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Why you should use synonyms

Google is getting really good at understanding what texts are about. If you want to rank for a certain term, for example for ‘SEO’, Google will know that ‘Search Engine Optimization’ is pretty much the same thing. It makes sense to use them both. Synonyms make sure a text is nice and easy to read.

A few years ago, we added the multiple focus keyword functionality to Yoast SEO. Multiple focus keywords were often used to optimize for synonyms as well. We feel that the new synonym-functionality is a better solution to optimize for synonyms. Read my post about the difference between multiple focus keywords and synonyms if you want to know more.

Why is the exact match focus keyword still important?

Google understands synonyms, but that does not mean that focus keywords are not important anymore. Every SEO strategy should start with keyword research. You should know what words your audience is using when they are searching. The exact match keyword should be the keyword or keyphrase that your audience is using most often. That’s also the thing they expect to find. The exact match is always a little bit more important than the synonyms, just because your audience uses these words instead of others.

Vocabulary people are using is important. If people are searching for volunteering, they’ll probably not click on civic participation, although the two are supposed to be synonyms. Some words are more high-end than others and might not fit your audience as well. In your keyword research, you should take this into account. What words are your audience using?

In our SEO analysis, we’ll treat the exact match focus keyword different from the synonyms. Read more about that in our release post.

Keyword distribution

Along with the new support for synonyms, we’ve added a new keyword distribution check. Before, we would just count how often you used the keyword with our keyword density check. If you used it 4 or 5 times in the first paragraph and then never again, you could have gotten all green bullets from us. That’s no longer true.

We now have a check to see whether you’ve distributed your use of your focus keyword (or its synonyms) evenly across the text. This makes sure you stay on topic throughout your text, which will increase your chance of ranking.

Roadmap for the SEO analysis

Context is the SEO word of 2018. Google is getting really good at determining what a text is about. Google understands plurals and singulars. It has a related entities database. We’re working hard to make Yoast just as smart as Google is.

Embed synonyms in our SEO analysis

We now released our keyword distribution check in which synonyms are taken into account. We’re currently determining in which other checks we should take synonyms into account as well. Of course, we’re open for suggestions and opinions.

Morphology: plurals and more

In the past weeks, our awesome developers have built morphology recognition. This enables our analysis to recognize singulars, plurals, and other forms of the same word. So, if you want to rank for the focus keyword ‘link’, Yoast SEO will (in the near future) recognize ‘links’ and ‘linking’ as a similar keyword. We’ve built this for English and are planning to do so for more languages. We’re currently testing how to integrate this new morphology recognition into our SEO analysis.

Related keywords

The multiple focus keyword functionality is not optimal yet. In the near future, we’ll change this functionality into related keywords. You can optimize your post for a specific keyword and take synonyms into account. Next to that, you can optimize for related keywords. These are not your main keywords and not exact synonyms, but you still want to use them regularly.

We know that Google has a related entities database. If you’re searching for ‘tagliatelli’, results with the words ‘spaghetti’ and ‘pasta’ could also turn up. It’s smart to focus on related keywords when you’re writing a post. So, if your post is about ‘tagliatelli’, including ‘pasta’ and ‘spaghetti’ will probably help in your ranking as well.

We are currently working on modifying our multiple focus keyword functionality into related keyword functionality.

Recalibration of the SEO analysis

In the past year, we’ve been working on a recalibration of our SEO analysis. Many of the checks in our SEO-analysis were established based on our own experience in the SEO industry.  We wanted to be able to account for every check in our analysis more thoroughly. A team of linguists, developers, and SEO-experts dove into scientific literature and SEO blogs in order to re-assess all of our checks. The recalibration resulted in some changes in the checks of our analysis. For instance: the keyword distribution check was added as a result of it. We’re planning to release the new SEO analysis in September of this year.

Big improvements in our SEO analysis are coming

Context is gaining importance in 2018. That’s why we invest heavily in improving our SEO analysis. At the end of this year, we can really account for context in your blog posts and articles. This could mean that some of your articles that get green bullets now, will have orange or red bullets later on. That does not mean that your content became worse. It only means that we’re able to give you better, smarter feedback on your writing.

Read more: ‘Keyword research: the ultimate guide’ »

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Yoast SEO 7.8: Synonyms and keyword distribution

Semantics is hard. What does a certain word mean in a specific situation? Which ‘mars’ are you talking about? Have you ever tried to discover all definitions of ‘run’? In most cases, context is everything. You can help humans and machines understand a text better by adding context. This is one of the reasons Yoast SEO is now adding support for synonyms and related keywords, giving you more flexibility to improve your text! Now available for Premium users of Yoast SEO 7.8.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

New Premium feature: Synonyms

Content SEO has long been about finding out what your main keyword was and adding that focus keyword in a couple of places in your text. While that worked pretty well, there’s a lot more going on at the moment. Not only is search intent more important than ever, but search engines get smarter and smarter every day. They increasingly ‘know’ what a text is about by looking at the context in which these focus keywords appear. This context is what makes or breaks a text.

Yoast SEO always worked by a single focus keyword or multiple focus keywords in our Premium plugin. We understand this can be a bit restrictive; we’re not even looking at plural instances of the keyword. Luckily, that’s about to change!

We’re working on some very nice new language-based SEO checks, and we’re presenting the first updates today: synonyms and keyword distribution! Yes, you read that right: Premium users can now add synonyms and related terms to check. Writing about bikes? Your synonyms will probably include ‘bicycle, cycle, ride, two-wheeler,’ and now you can add those terms. The Yoast SEO plugin will check how you use these terms in your article.synonyms in Yoast SEO 7.8

New Premium feature: keyword distribution

The new synonym feature also works in conjunction with another new feature in Yoast SEO Premium: keyword distribution. If you added a couple of synonyms for your focus keyword, Yoast SEO now checks to see if these are distributed well throughout the text. Before you could add your focus keyword in the intro a couple of times and that would be fine by us. That’s over. We’re taking the complete text in regard and want you to evenly and realistically distribute your focus keyword and synonyms. The gif below shows what the highlighting of keywords and synonyms looks like.
keyword synonyms yoast seo premium 7.8
We keep using the focus keyword exclusively to determine keyword density. In our opinion, optimizing your post for the most common keyword — the one that your keyword research uncovered as being most used by your audience — continues to be imperative. 

More on the way

This is just the start. At the moment, we’re hard at work to improve the language capabilities of Yoast SEO. Marieke wrote a post describing what you can expect from Yoast SEO in the coming months. Read about morphology, related keywords and the upcoming recalibration of the SEO analyses in Yoast SEO.

Feedback welcome!

We’ve added these new checks for you to try out. We’re very much looking forward to your feedback. How are you using synonyms and related topics in your texts? What do you want Yoast SEO to do with your synonyms? Are there ways to improve how we handle the analyses of your text? As we’ve said, this is the first step to a Yoast SEO that is far more capable of understanding language and using that knowledge to provide you with the best possible feedback. Help us get there! You can either add an issue to GitHub or comment on this post. We’re looking forward to your help!

Language improvements for French, Spanish and Italian

Yoast SEO 7.8 has turned out to be a release focused on language because we’ve also expanded the language functionality for French, Spanish and Italian. Users writing French and Spanish can now use the Flesch Reading Ease assessment to check the perceived difficulty of their texts. Users writing Italian can now improve their texts using the new passive voice assessment. French, Spanish and Italian now fully support all Yoast SEO features.

Other improvements and fixes

As always, we’ve fixed loads of bugs and improved various parts of the plugin. For instance, we’ve improved the way we determine the OpenGraph for front pages, especially in the case of static front pages. We’ve also fixed several bugs regarding the look and feel of the new snippet variables that we introduced in Yoast SEO 7.7.

Update now to Yoast SEO 7.8

Yoast SEO 7.8 is an exciting new release, one that marks a new direction for us. We’re giving you much more flexibility to enhance your articles by using synonyms and providing you with more tools to determine how well you present your keywords. This is the first step to an even more relevant, useful and indispensable Yoast SEO!

Read on: ‘Why every website needs Yoast SEO’ »

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