WordPress 4.8.1 Adds a Dedicated Custom HTML Widget

When WordPress 4.8 was released last month, it introduced TinyMCE functionality to the Text widget. Unfortunately, this caused issues for those who use Custom HTML as the Visual editor often strips out portions of the code.

WordPress 4.8.1 Beta 1 is available for testing and addresses this problem by including a dedicated Custom HTML widget.

“For advanced users or any user who needs to paste in HTML snippets, there is now a dedicated ‘Custom HTML’ widget that is specifically for adding arbitrary HTML to your sidebar,” Weston Ruter, said.

“This widget will retain the application of the widget_text filters, in addition to having a new dedicated widget_custom_html_content filter.

“For use cases that involve adding content to your sidebar, the Text widget will continue to feature the same Visual editing interface that the post editor has (TinyMCE).”

Users who access Text widgets that have Custom HTML in WordPress 4.8.1, will see a note at the top of the widget that suggests using the Custom HTML widget.

TextWidgetNotification

If a user pastes or types HTML into a text widget with the Visual editor active, WordPress displays an Admin Pointer suggesting that they use the Text tab instead or use the Custom HTML widget.

TextWidgetAdminPointer
Text Widget Admin Pointer

The Custom HTML widget works similar to the Text widget in WordPress 4.7 and below.

CustomHTMLWidget
Custom HTML Widget

Sites that have existing Text widgets containing custom HTML that may be modified by the Visual editor, are opened in a legacy mode.

Legacy mode retains the old Text widget interface, including the checkbox on whether or not to automatically add paragraphs. This change prevents the Visual editor from altering code.

Ruter says the ideal way to test these improvements is to install it on a staging site that has Text widgets containing HTML and are known to be problematic in WordPress 4.8. After upgrading, check to see if the widgets open in legacy mode.

WordPress 4.8.1 is scheduled to be released on August 1st. Please report any bugs or errors you encounter in as much detail as possible to the WordPress Alpha/Beta section of the support forums.

How to Limit the Number of Archive Months Displayed in WordPress

Do you want to display the number of archive months displayed in WordPress? If you have been blogging for years, you will notice that your archives list will become too long. In this article, we will show you how to limit the number of archive months displayed in WordPress.

How to limit number of archive months in WordPress

Method 1. Limit Number of Archive Months with Plugin

This method is easier and it is recommended for all users.

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Widgets page and add the Collapsing Archives widget to your sidebar.

Collapse archives

The widget menu will expand to show its settings.

The Collapsing Archives widget uses JavaScript to collapse your archive links into collapsible yearly links. Your users can click on years to expand them to view monthly archives. You can even make monthly archives collapsible and allow users to see post titles underneath.

Review the widget settings to suit your needs and then click on the Save button to store your settings.

You can now visit your website to see the widget in action.

Collapsing archives

Method 2. Replace Default Archives with Compact Archives

This method provides a cleaner alternative to the default archives widget by beautifully displaying them in a compact more presentable way.

First, you need to install and activate the Compact Archives plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Widgets page and add the ‘Compact Archives’ widget to your sidebar.

Compact Archives settings

Compact Archives plugin comes in three styles. You can choose from block, initials, or numeric.

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

You can now visit your website to see the compact archives in action.

Compact Archives preview

You can also use Compact Archives plugin to create a custom archives page on your site. For more details see our guide on how to create compact archives in WordPress

Method 3. Manually Limit Number of Archive Months in WordPress

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

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


// Function to get archives list with limited months
function wpb_limit_archives() { 

$my_archives = wp_get_archives(array(
	'type'=>'monthly', 
	'limit'=>6,
	'echo'=>0
));
	
return $my_archives; 

} 

// Create a shortcode
add_shortcode('wpb_custom_archives', 'wpb_limit_archives'); 

// Enable shortcode execution in text widget
add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode'); 

This code fetches the archives list and limits it to past 6 months only. It then creates a shortcode and enables shortcode in text widgets.

You can now go to Appearance » Widgets page and add a ‘Text’ widget to your sidebar. Switch to the text mode and add your shortcode like this:

<ul>
[wpb_custom_archives]
</ul>

Don’t forget to save your widget settings.

You can now visit your website to see your custom archives list in action.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to limit the number of archive months displayed in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of these most useful tricks for the WordPress functions file.

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 Limit the Number of Archive Months Displayed in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

5 WordPress-Friendly Internet Marketing Tools You Need

For over a decade, WordPress has been the platform of choice for internet marketers: it’s free, customizable, and loved by Google.

WordPress makes it easy for affiliate marketers to craft sales pages, squeeze pages, and capture leads through web forms. Adding these five WordPress-friendly tools to your toolbox will make internet marketing even easier.

1. A code validator

Your website might look good on a couple browsers, but it may not on others. Some browsers let you get away with invalid code and you’d never know it.

According to the W3C, “Different browsers can and do display the same page very differently. This is deliberate, and doesn’t imply any kind of browser bug. A term sometimes used for this is WYSINWOG – What You See Is Not What Others Get (unless by coincidence). It is indeed one of the principal strengths of the web, that (for example) a visually impaired user can select very large print or text-to-speech without a publisher having to go to the trouble and expense of preparing a separate edition.”

Validating a WordPress website takes a little effort. Don’t run WordPress URLs through an HTML validator because WordPress uses PHP, which registers as invalid code. To validate your website, validate the HTML/XHTML and CSS separately before adding it to your site’s files.

HTML isn’t the only validation you need to complete. Your website should also meet Section 508 and WAI accessibility standards.

Here’s a great tool from the W3C for validating multiple aspects of your website including broken links, mobile-friendly status, RSS and Atom feeds, RDF documents, and more.

2. A mobile device suitable for managing tasks

Have you ever tried to edit your blog on an older smartphone because that’s all you could access?

It’s usually the screen size that makes editing difficult. Login areas disappear or rearrange for mobile compatibility and it’s hard to see what you’re doing, but sometimes it has to be done. Managing your marketing tasks requires lots of clicking, logging in, typing, and analyzing. When you’re away from your computer, you need a pocket-sized device with a big screen to make it easy.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with a 5.7” screen, a 32GB hard drive, and 3GB of RAM. Combined with a screen resolution of 1440×2560, these features make it a perfect choice for managing your daily internet marketing tasks.

3. Cross browser compatibility tester

If you attempt customization outside of what your theme has been designed for, you could end up with misaligned graphics, stretched borders, and broken mobile layouts. It’s impossible for one person to access all possible devices and browsers to test customizations, so BrowserStack does it for you.

With BrowserStack, you can enter a URL and generate screen shots for virtually any device, operating system and browser combination (including Amazon’s Kindle).

4. Photoshop is your best friend

If you’ve never used Photoshop, you need to. You can use free programs to accomplish simple tasks, but Photoshop is the ultimate tool, used by top photographers across the world. Even if you aren’t planning on becoming a graphic designer, Photoshop still outperforms free programs on simple tasks like cropping, resizing, and batch resizing because of its intuitive interface.

As an internet marketer, Photoshop will make you independent; you’ll never have to wait for someone else to make quick edits. For example, if you’re looking at a “buy now” button you just uploaded and want to adjust the hue for your split testing campaign, you can do that quickly in Photoshop.

5. Optimizely for split testing

Every part of your website influences visitors either consciously or subconsciously. Everything from the color and size of buttons to the placement of signup forms matters.

You’re probably familiar with split testing – the method that uses randomized experiments to test what aspects of a web page are most effective. For example, during a split testing campaign, you might find that a blue “buy now” button isn’t as effective as a red one, or a signup form in the upper right corner works better than in the left.

Without a program to run the tests for you, you’ll never know which elements of your page are successful and what needs to change. If you’re not split testing yet, Optimizely will do it for you.

While it takes effort to create an empire, internet marketing is made easier with the right tools.

WP Super Cache 1.5.0

WP Super Cache is a fast full-page caching plugin for WordPress. Download it from your dashboard or get it here.

Version 1.5.0 has been in development for some time. It has a ton of bug fixes and new features.

REST API

The headline new feature is REST API access to the settings. This will allow developers to create their own interface to the settings of the plugin. Unfortunately it isn’t yet documented but you can see the code in the rest directory. Start with load.php where you’ll find the code that registers all the endpoints. Users who access the API must be logged in as admin users. If you want to test the API, see the end of this post.

Settings Page

We have also simplified the settings page to make it easier to choose which caching method is used.

Instead of maybe confusing the user with technical words like PHP, mod_rewrite and WP-Cache we have split them up into “Simple” and “Expert” delivery methods, and done away with mentioning WP-Cache completely. Simple delivery uses PHP, expert uses mod_rewrite and well, WP-Cache got the boot because it’s always active anyway.

WP-Cache caching is always active, but it can be disabled in different ways.

  • Disable caching for known users.
  • Don’t cache pages with GET parameters
  • Disable caching of feeds

Headers

We expanded the number of headers cached by the plugin. The list of headers was borrowed from Comet Cache. However, anonymous users will still only see the bare minimum like content-length, content-type, gzip, etc. If you need to use security headers like “X-Frame-Options” or “Content-Security-Policy” you should enable caching of HTTP headers. This unfortunately disables super caching so only WP-Caching is used but it’s still very fast (and faster in this release than before which I will get to below). You can also use the “wpsc_known_headers” filter to modify the list of recognised headers.

WP-Cache Reorganisation

WP-Cache cache files are split into two files – one holds the page content, the other (meta file) holds information about the page such as cookies, headers and url. In the past these files were stored in two directories which could become a problem if there were many thousands of those files. Even with only a few hundred files, maintenance could be an issue as deleting related files (like page archives, or copies of the front page) needed every meta file to be inspected.
Now the files are stored in the supercache directory structure that mirrors your permalink structure. Deleting related files is is simpler and serving files will be faster as the operating system won’t need to open a directory of thousands of files.
If you currently rely on WP-Cache files, the plugin will still look for them where they are, but new WP-Cache files will be created in cache/supercache/example.com/ (where example.com is your hostname).

Sitemaps

We added support for caching sitemaps, but your sitemap plugin will need to cooperate to get it to work. The sitemap plugin needs to identify the sitemap request as a feed. Jetpack 5.1 now supports this since #7397. You can disable the caching by excluding feeds from caching.

Debugging Improved

The debug log is now protected by a username/password. For convenience, the username and password are the same but they are a long md5 string:

Deleting the log file clears it and resets it ready for more logging. Before, toggling debugging would create a new debug log and the old one would be kept around, but not linked, until deleted by garbage collection, and of course they were text files anyone could access.

This release includes lots of other small bug fixes and changes. Take a look at the number of closed PRs for an exhaustive list of those changes!

Testing the REST API

There are a number of ways to send POST requests to a web server but one I like is using curl in a shell script. You’ll need two bits of information from the website:

  1. The “wordpress_logged_in” cookie from your browser.
  2. The wp_rest nonce which you can get by adding `echo wp_create_nonce( ‘wp_rest’ );` somewhere on your site where you’re logged in. It’s good for 24 hours.

My test script looks something like this:
export NONCE='1234567890'
export COOKIE='wordpress_logged_in_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx=1234567890'
curl -v -X "GET" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "X-WP-Nonce: $NONCE" -H "Cache-Control: no-cache" -H "Cookie: wordpress_test_cookie=WP+Cookie+check; $COOKIE"
-d '{}' "https://example.com/wp-json/wp-super-cache/v1/settings/"

Related Posts

Source

How to Display Recent Posts From A Specific Category In WordPress

Do you want to display recent posts from a specific category in WordPress? The default recent posts widget shows posts from all categories, and there is no option to filter them by category. In this article, we will show you how to easily display recent posts from a specific category in WordPress.

Display recent posts from specific category in WordPress

Filtering Posts by Category in WordPress

If you just want to create a page to display recent posts from a particular category, then your WordPress site already has separate pages for each category.

You can add links to all your category pages by visiting Appearance » Widgets page and adding the ‘Categories’ widget to your sidebar. You can also add categories in your navigation menus.

On the other hand, if you want to show recent posts from a specific category in your sidebar, then there is no default widget for that. The default recent posts widget does not allow you to filter posts by category or tags.

Thankfully there is another way. Let’s take a look at how to easily display recent posts from specific category in WordPress.

Method 1. Show Recent Posts from a Category Using Plugin

This method is easier, and it is recommended for most users.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Recent Posts Widget Extended plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Appearance » Widgets page and add ‘Recent Posts Extended’ widget to your sidebar.

Limit recent posts by category

The widget menu will expand to show its settings. You need to select the category or categories that you want to display under the ‘Limit to Category’ option.

The widget comes with a lot of options that you can customize. You can show post thumbnail, date, relative date, post summary / excerpts, and more.

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

You can now visit your website to see the recent posts displayed by category.

Recent posts from specific category

Display Recent Posts by Category Using Shortcode

The Recent Posts Extended Widget also allows you to use shortcode to display recent posts anywhere on your site including posts and pages.

You will need to edit the post or page where you want to display the recent posts from a specific category. In the post editor, you will need to add the following shortcode:

[rpwe limit="5" excerpt="true" cat="72" ]

This shortcode displays 5 recent posts from a specific category with the post excerpt. You will need to replace the cat value with the ID of the category that you want to display. See our article on how to find category ID in WordPress.

After adding the shortcode, you can save your post or page to view your changes.

Posts by category displayed using shortcode

Method 2. Display Recent Posts From Specific Category using Code Snippet

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

You will need to add the following code in your WordPress theme files where you want to display recent posts from a specific category.

<?php $catquery = new WP_Query( 'cat=72&posts_per_page=5' ); ?>
<ul>

<?php while($catquery->have_posts()) : $catquery->the_post(); ?>

<li><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark"><?php the_title(); ?></a></li>
<?php endwhile;
	wp_reset_postdata();
?>

The first line of this code creates a new WordPress query with a specific category ID. You need to replace it with your own category ID. It only shows post title in a list.

You can change it to display full content by adding the following code:

<?php $catquery = new WP_Query( 'cat=72&posts_per_page=5' ); ?>
<ul>
<?php while($catquery->have_posts()) : $catquery->the_post(); ?>
<li><h3><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark"><?php the_title(); ?></a></h3>
<ul><li><?php the_content(); ?></li>
</ul>
</li>
<?php endwhile; ?> 
</ul>
<?php wp_reset_postdata(); ?>

You can also replace the the_content with the_excerpt to display post excerpts instead of full article.

We hope this article showed you how to easily display recent posts from a specific category in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of most wanted category hacks and plugins for WordPress.

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

The post How to Display Recent Posts From A Specific Category In WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

New WordPress Contributors Meeting Provides Opportunities to Ask Questions and Learn the Ropes

Contributing to WordPress or other open source projects can be intimidating for first-time contributors. Sometimes, all you need is a helping hand to overcome fear, intimidation, or other barriers.

In 2013, with the help of Konstantin Obenland, a WordPress core developer, I overcame my fear and contributed my first patch to WordPress.

This is one of the principles behind a new weekly meeting that is geared towards new contributors.

“The new contributors meeting is the perfect place to come if you are new to contributing to WordPress core and have questions,Adam Silverstein, WordPress core contributor, said.

Every Wednesday at 3PM Eastern Daylight Time, users can visit the #core WordPress Slack channel and ask questions related to patches, tickets, and review the good-first-bugs report on Trac.

The first meeting was held on July 5th where participants asked questions about working with Git in WordPress core, applying patches, and unit testing. In the second meeting, participants discussed whether or not new contributors are allowed to make changes to tickets.

Other topics mentioned include, which repositories to use, clarification on contributing to core versus updating the WordPress Developer’s site, and which tickets to select for review.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, July 19th at 3PM Eastern. If you have any questions on how to contribute to WordPress, be sure to join the WordPress #core Slack channel at that time and ask away.

Meeting notes with links to discussions, tickets mentioned, and other resources are published on the Make WordPress Core blog under the #new-contributors tag

Gutenberg Boilerplate Demonstrates How to Build Custom Blocks

Gutenberg is still in beta but developers are already getting ready for creating their own custom blocks. Over the weekend Ahmad Awais released a new project called Gutenberg Boilerplate For Third-Party Custom Blocks. Awais’ introductory post includes a rundown of his thoughts on the current pros and cons of developing for the Gutenberg project. Although he appreciates the technology behind Gutenberg and the improvements over shortcodes, he is not fully sold on the concept of putting everything into blocks. To learn more, he decided to jump into the code.

“I am still making up my mind with how Gutenberg will fit in the WordPress core,” Awais said. “There are so many things which are both good and bad about it. So, instead of ranting about it, I wanted to do something more productive. I went ahead, studied the source code and received a lot of help from Gutenberg contributors (Matias Ventura, James Nylen, Riad Benguella, Andrew Duthie, Joen, etc.) to finally build a Gutenberg Boilerplate project.”

Awais’ Gutenberg Boilerplate is a good starting place for learning more of the basics about developing for the editor. It comes in the form of a plugin that offers four examples of how to build different kinds of custom Gutenberg blocks, with and without a build process:

  • A block with custom CSS for editor and front end
  • A block with ES6 or ESNext and a Webpack build process
  • A block with editable content
  • A block to click Tweet the contents of that block

For example, the tweet block, which is something that might previously been handled with a shortcode, is an example that includes four files: block.js to register the custom Gutenberg block, editor.css, style.css, and index.php.

Awais noticed that many developers were wanting to try building third-party blocks, but Gutenberg’s documentation for this was outdated and/or non-existent. He got involved in contributing to the project’s documentation after discovering the docs describing how to enqueue block and block editor assets were not available. This gave him the inspiration to create a boilerplate.

“Both as a theme/plugin developer, I think there’s going to be a steep learning curve here for just about everyone – users as well as developers,” Awais said. “WordPress development just became very complicated with the Gutenberg project. I’m also not sure how devs will start writing extensions. Some users might expect them to keep the shortcodes for the old editor. Some might ask for blocks in the new one. Is there an API or back-compat? In short everything is changing and this change has both pros and cons.”

These concerns also tie into the larger discussion around how Gutenberg can support legacy metaboxes that use the old PHP framework, instead of updating to the new JS.

“New metaboxes should be written in JS, and will appear in the Post Settings sidebar alongside the stock ones,” Gutenberg contributor Joen Asmussen said. “Metaboxes written in PHP should ideally be upgraded to be JS, but should continue to work in their PHP form also.” Asmussen has proposed an “Extended Settings” panel to house legacy metaboxes in a section below the editor. It would appear only when legacy plugins and metaboxes are enabled, as shown in the mockup below.

Discussion regarding how to support metaboxes is still ongoing. With so many important issues like this up in the air, it’s too early to know what the future of extending Gutenberg will look like. At the moment, the project is undergoing rapid development and changes, so extending Gutenberg may evolve drastically over a short period of time. If the editor is to preserve the same flexibility and customization opportunities of its predecessor, the project will need to ensure that it is easy to create custom blocks and extensions while continuing to support older PHP metabox infrastructure that is currently widely used.

The Definitive Sales and Business Development Process For an Outsourced WordPress Company

We’ve sold several 6-figure projects over the past few years remotely. I have never met some of our customers, and others we’ve met later on (8–12 months after we’ve already started the business relationship).

Selling expensive software remotely is a challenging endeavor. It requires a good amount of reputability in the industry, a terrific track record of successful projects, a portfolio of respectable companies, good reviews and testimonials, great folks running the project, and ongoing marketing activities.

And yes, we’ve lost a number of projects simply because we are not a local agency with an office next street, but that attitude is gradually changing thanks to the growing percentage of freelancers and telecommuters in the US, together with the lack of talent or availability by the well-known companies in the industry.

Since we’re one of the leading service providers in the WordPress space, our client had conducted a 4-month detailed background research on us and our competitors and reached out to some of us. We were proactive and understood the business problem well enough to execute on time without any downtime or notable regressions.

In terms of our process and ongoing activities that allow us to close higher cost contracts, here are the main ones we focus on.

Active Presales Engagement and Vetting Prospects

Once we get in touch with a prospect, we communicate proactively. We schedule a few calls, draft down the technical assignment, and dig deep into the business model. We identify possible challenges related to high traffic, a large volume of users or content, and alternative monetization opportunities that we could implement.

Moreover, we don’t compromise when it comes to our workflow and business model. We know what works best for us, and the more we try to be flexible, the lower quality we will produce. Therefore we’re incredibly transparent as to who’s working on the project, what roles are involved (project manager and QA involved in prioritizing and validating the work), and why cutting corners will not help the business in the long run.

More often than not we have to decline participation in RFPs or reducing timelines and budget. It’s more effective to focus on delivering the best quality possible with the right focus than trying to find workarounds that are potentially dangerous.

Customer Satisfaction

It sounds like common sense, but more often than not, it isn’t. We do strive to provide outstanding customer service through availability, regular communication and reporting, and a lot of time educating our customers on why we’re doing something, what would be its impact in the long run and how will it affect the business over the next 6, 12, 24 months.

Since we’re vetting our prospects, the business relationship usually starts as an agreement that we’re an industry expert and will provide the best possible options for each and every feature. We stress on the fact that quality is a priority, and it entails stability, backward compatibility, performance, and security. We can’t scale by growing technical debt, which is why we need a stable foundation from day one.

If anything seems to be derailing outside of our process, I schedule a call with our client and explain the consequences. We put the effort to get back on track and resolve any communication or planning changes that have been introduced.

Moreover, happy clients send testimonials and can serve as a validation for your work by prospects who want to ensure the quality of your service.

Ongoing Retainer Contracts

We have coined the term “WordPress Retainers” and 90% of our business revolves after this model.

Since “waterfall” is a controversial model for building successful applications, we push for “agile” every single time. I’ve been discussing the value of our retainers plenty of times online:

I share those links over the first couple of emails while initiating a contact with a client.

If I have to sum it up, retainers allow us to understand the business model better as we go, focus on an MVP (minimum viable product), built the foundation, and increment. We go live sooner rather than later and work on basic features which are iterated over and over until we reach to the right combination of features and lightweight core software.

We do insist on building a long-term relationship as releasing the software itself is one of the easiest parts of the process. Scaling it and responding to user requirements once the application is life is what we really focus on – building the right value for the right target audience.

Industry Expertise

Obviously, industry expertise is crucial for high-end projects. If you can find a contractor that would quote you $2K or $6K for a project, why pay $50K instead?

We often get those questions and are used to covering the standard problems with DIY or low-cost solutions on the market. Most low-cost service providers are not engineers, and usually bundle several components or plugins that do the “heavy lifting” for them. That comes at a price in terms of stability, flexibility, performance, and security – and inevitably leads to a clumsy and unstable project that is of no use, and cannot be extended further on.

I wrote another guide going over the challenges that an experienced agency or a software engineer takes into account while building an application – The Disconnect Between a WordPress Install and Developed Solutions – WP Elevation . Some of those include database optimization or denormalization, caching layers, accounting for the best server configuration and other fine tuning activities that really make the difference.

We have 5 WordPress Core contributors in our team and have been profiling in high-scale WordPress applications receiving 10M+ monthly views. This expertise is different than the theoretical knowledge of “how to scale an application” and is something that most clients trust. Especially when we’re still working with many of those customers on a retainer basis, and they keep paying for our services.

We have also released free software and educational content that helps out and confirms our industry know-how (you can’t educate publicly without getting backlash if you really know your craft well).

Community Involvement

I’ve been an active member of several communities and most active in the WordPress ecosystem over the past years. Many of our team members have submitted free plugins/themes, reviewed themes, contributed to Core, helped out in support forums, presented at meetings or events and so forth.

That community involvement is important since an experienced service provider should always follow the latest innovations in the technical stack, what’s coming next, and what is currently in the works. Helping out improves your skills first, and builds a valuable network of partners and other service providers, as well as hosting vendors, plugin developers, journalists, and key people in your industry.

I probably have to “pull strings” at least a few times a month – reaching out for advice if we’re using a 3rd party solution, or ensuring that we have priority support access for a hosting provider that we’re partnering with. This ensures guaranteed stability and personal access to vendors, which is important whenever you rely on external services or products.

Partnerships

Building partnerships with other industry peers is also crucial. You get preferential terms for services and products, together with marketing exposure for both parties once you collaborate on an eBook, a webinar, or share a booth at an event.

I find that extremely helpful for very small businesses (1–3 people) or larger companies (50–100 people).

Solo entrepreneurs and small teams are often fully booked with a backlog of a hundred things they should do today. They prioritize 5 or 10 and push back the rest down the line. Having a person of contact there will allow for faster response times or better terms.

Large teams, on the other hand, employ a lot of people that are not necessarily aware with all of the company terms or processes. They may mislead a client and lose a deal, or cause a regression, or decline a feature request. Those could become a deal breaker for a business, and having someone to email instead will reduce the risk and get the work done.

Partners can often refer leads to you as well. If you offer development services, you can partner up with designers, hosting companies, or plugin developers that don’t do services for their users. Collaborating with other agencies is also helpful – there are high seasons for certain companies that can’t handle all incoming leads, and they need additional manpower in order to cope with all inquiries.

You can be an upsold white-labeled service provider for them, or pay them a referral fee if they send the client over and don’t want to deal with PM. It’s a win-win.

Ongoing Marketing Collateral

We do rely on inbound marketing which involves content marketing, email marketing, building landing pages, SEO, conversion rate optimization and the like.

In order to continue ranking well, we do publish a lot of content in our blog and craft designated landing pages for our services. For example, we rank in top 5 for several “WordPress SaaS” variations thanks to our landing page which includes a conference video where I talk about building a SaaS business, a portfolio of our SaaS projects, and a breakdown of our development process when working with SaaS providers.

All of those are tailored to our preferable audience – being entrepreneurs, startups, and reputable companies who want to enter the SaaS space, and need a reputable and experienced vendor.

We do maintain our social media accounts, accept guest submissions and cross-promote services whenever applicable.

We’ve noticed that customers do a detailed background research before committing to a large amount of money, which is why we try to cover all areas and be active. If you’re spending $100K on a project, you want to be absolutely sure that the team knows their stuff, and is not endangered from bankruptcy anytime soon. Being active online, publishing regular updates and stressing on your engagement helps out.

Guest Posting and Interviews

Our SEO and community activities help a lot, but most of that content comes as our own view on the market, tailored to our current visitors, and seems… subjective.

Of course, I’ll say that we’re the best provider that ever existed in the industry. I read that every single time for every single product out there. That’s what converts people at the last phase of the sales process.

But that’s not necessarily true (more often than not) and numbers are twisted. Service providers excel in different activities. For example, we can’t do low-cost projects and have a good amount of overhead due to accounting, paying for marketing or ads, office rentals and what not. What a consultant can do in 3 hours we can probably do in 15, but we don’t take on projects under 70–80 hours anyway.

We also can’t allocate 40 developers on a project simply because we don’t have that much.

Which is why we need to address the problems that we solve, and do that through our partnerships and submitting content elsewhere.

We do guest post at industry blogs and with our partners, which brings fresh traffic from people who don’t follow us, and increases our exposure. With time (all things combined) we get featured by various magazines and service experts, who reach out for interviews or podcast participation.

Which helps us get more traffic and reputability, and also helps prospects validate our process and company culture better while looking us up.

Events

We do sponsor, speak at, organize and volunteer at events in our industry. It’s a way of contributing back to the industry and helping out smaller communities.

It’s also some exposure that we can list on our end. Lower end service providers can probably gather leads there as well, given the large amount of people at a conference and the fact that they’re looking for cost-effective solutions.


That’s not the extensive overview of selling to enterprises, but covers a good percentage of the marketing and community engagement activities, as well as the quality of work required in order to close deals, execute, complete them with 5-star ratings, and get enough referrals and support in order to get to the next one.

The post The Definitive Sales and Business Development Process For an Outsourced WordPress Company appeared first on Mario Peshev.

Favicons and your online brand

Those used to tabbed browsing know why favicons are important. Your site will stand out from the rest if your favicon is recognizable. After all, a picture says more than a thousand words. Personally, I often find myself pinning websites in Google Chrome, still my browser of choice. As a to-do list, or simply because I want Gmail at hand anytime. Or that specific spreadsheet in Sheets. Or Facebook. That little favicon is the only reference to what site is hidden in that tab. You simply need a good favicon for your website.

For good SEO, you need a good user experience. Learn about UX & Conversion! »

UX & Conversion from a holistic SEO perspective$ 19 - Buy now » Info

Make your favicon stand out

You should make sure your favicon stands out from that long list of tabs. Check if it matches your logo and website well. Especially when you are not one of the big brands, you want people to recognize your favicon. Two tips directly related to that are:

  • avoid too many details in your favicon,
  • and please use the right colors, so the favicon doesn’t blend in with the gray of your browser tab.

Both are closely related to branding. Your brand should be recognizable in your favicon. Although we’re able to use more colors and more depth in our favicons nowadays, the fact is that the space available on that browser still hasn’t improved from the small 16×16 pixels it used to be in the early days. It doesn’t look like 16×16 pixels anymore, but that’s because we have better screens, not because that space increased. The main improvement is that lines are sharper and you can use all the colors you want.

Proper branding is making sure people will relate your favicon to your website immediately. I listed a number of favicons for you to test. Drop me a line in the comments about what favicon belongs to what brand:

favicons quiz

Too easy? In that case, these brands did a good job on translating their brand to their favicon.

SEO benefits of favicons

Are there real SEO benefits to favicons? Tough one. Besides branding, probably not, though opinions may differ on this a bit. One might argue that you can now add an image of 1MB as a favicon and that this will slow down loading times. You could say that a proper favicon highlights a bookmark and might increase return visitors. I have even found a story where someone stated that some browsers automatically look for a favicon and return a 404 if it’s not there.

My 2 cents? If there is an SEO benefit, it’s so small that all other optimization, like proper site structure or great copy, should always have priority. Does that mean you don’t need that favicon? Hey, didn’t you read that part about browser tabs? You do need it, even if it’s just to stand out.

WordPress just made your day: favicons in the Customizer

If you use WordPress, you might already know that there’s been a favicon functionality in WordPress core since version 4.3. So you can use this default functionality, without hassle. It’s located in the Customizer and is called Site Icon. In fact, WordPress recommends using this option to add a favicon. You don’t even need to create a favicon.ico file, like you used to, years ago. Just use a square image, preferably at least 512 pixels wide and tall. That seems to contradict with the recommendation to keep it as small as possible. But if you optimize your image, it won’t slow down your site :)

More information on how to go about this in WordPress is in the WordPress Codex. Go read and add a nice favicon to your own site!

Read more: ‘5 tips on branding’ »

The Best 21 Web Tools & Services in 2017

We continue our series of showcases that contain the best web tools and services. This one contains the best of the best WordPress themes, plugins for signing online documents and contracts, website builder and many others. These solutions were compared with many others and have better functionalities, are faster, more secure and are budget friendly.

1. Approveme.com

If you need a powerful WordPress plugin to sign your contracts and documents, look no further. WP Esignature is not only the most powerful solution, it’s also the most secure on the market. This plugin can be used to automate user onboarding and create legally binding documents including terms of service agreements, NDAs, waivers, proposals, and much more. Every document created with ApproveMe is fully UETA/ESIGN compliant, meaning they are secure under the strictest and most up-to-date esigning laws and regulations.

Where this plugin shines in security, it shines just as brightly with all its integrations and contract automations. Right out of the box, you can easily pair it with your existing plugins like Woo Commerce, Dropbox, and WordPress forms like WPForms, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, Formidable Forms, Contact Form 7, Caldera Forms, and more.

While most signature services get you for a bunch of monthly fees per user and upgrades, ApproveMe keeps it simple. For the premium version of their plugin that includes unlimited users, access to all the premium features, and full email support, the price starts at just $177/year. That’s it.

They put together an awesome demo that gives you an idea of the power of the plugin. Go check it out and see what you can start doing to automate your contracts and super-charging your business!

2. Zedity.com

Zedity is a highly appreciated visual editor plugin, very popular among the WordPress community. People using it are very happy because with no coding skills required (yes, forget about getting your hands into CSS, Javascript or HTML, unless you want to), Zedity lets you design your content visually, dragging and dropping the boxes with total freedom, so you can get your pages and posts exactly as you want. It’s simple to use and is currently available in two versions: free and premium (with also a dedicated version for Signage coming soon). The free version has all you need to get started, whereas the premium version includes many useful features, e.g. touchscreen support, advanced responsive design, support for Facebook and Instagram videos, possibility to add your real signature and draw shapes to highlight sections, and much more (the complete list of feature is available on their website). To get the premium version you pay on $39, with a a life-time license, i.e. you pay only once and can use it forever, with 12 months of free updates and technical support. Download Zedity now and start getting better results in a fraction of the time!

3. Xfive.co

Xfive is well-known full-service web development agency founded in 2006 when they were delivering outstanding results as a different brand, named XHTMLIZED. In 2016, they have rebranded as Xfive as they needed a new name to better represent them. Since the beginning X was part of their identity. X as being an eXperienced, eXtraordinary, eXclusive partner to their clients. Five comes from high five, which happens from ongoing great work and small wins – which ultimately leads to success. Their services range starts with front-end and back-end development, eCommerce, CMS, WordPress and ends with Sketch to HTML and others. Even if you need something that is not listed, you can ask them to help you. The process is simple, you start by telling them about your project, you receive a quote and if you approve it, you pay and these professional and friendly developers start the work. Get your quote.

4. UptimeRobot.com

UptimeRobot is an outstanding website monitoring services that works brilliant. The free forever plan has 50 monitors that will verify your website every 5 minute. If needed, you can upgrade to a pro plan that can be customized after your needs. Notifications are coming via e-mail, SMS, Twitter, push, Slack, HipChat, web-hooks etc. Keep in mind that can be easily integrated with HipChat, Pushover, Boxcar and others. Get your free plan, 0 cost with many features included.

5. Themify.me

Ultra Theme is the most powerful WordPress theme made by the well-know Themify team. They have an excellent track record in building gorgeous and professional WP themes. Ultra has the best drag-and-drop builder, it’s fully responsive and mobile friendly and comes with many things included, also a bonus theme. Check the demo and all the functionalities, the price starts from $49.

6. WPForms.com

WP Forms is an excellent drag-and-drop WordPress form builder plugin that is super-simple to use, even for beginners and people with 0 skills. Forget spending hours to have beautiful and workings forms, now with WPForms takes you only minutes.

7. Codester.com

Codester is a great marketplace for web designers, developers and everybody who is looking to buy and sell graphic items, web scripts, plugins, apps and website themes (WordPress, Joomla, Prestashop and others). If you decide to sell your items via Codester, you can start your own store in a couple of minutes and start earning a commission. Codester is not requesting an exclusivity on your items, that means that you can use also other platforms to sell them.

8. MonsterInsights.com

Trusted by more than 1 million businesses in the wide world, Monster Insights is considered to be the best Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress. It is super-simple to use, yet ultra complex, being a complete solution that will show you exactly how your visitors are finding your website, what they are doing there and how you can make them come back.

9. OptinMonster.com

Building traffic to your website costs a lot of money and sometimes it takes years to have some decent numbers. That’s why is important that every visitor to be treated perfectly. 70% of the abandoning visitors are not coming back. OptinMonster is the leading software that will help you convert visitors into subscribers and customers. How? Easy, use their powerful builder to make forms, popups and others that convert.

10. Colorlib.com

Newspaper X is another wonderful WordPress theme created by Colorlib. This theme is responsive, easy to setup and customize and it fits perfectly any kind of online magazine or blog. It is offered for free and can be used both for personal and commercial scopes. Check it.

11. FreelanceLogoDesign.com

Looking for a fresh new logo and your budget is tight? FreelanceLogoDesign is an excellent platform on which you can lauch a logo design contest and let freelancers compete for you. You will receive gorgeous logo designs and you decide which one is best for you. Give it a try.

12. MeridianThemes.net

At MeridianThemes you will find beautiful and fast WordPress themes. These guys have a good track record and they building their trust from one month to another. Their themes are easy to setup and customize and can fit almost any kind of project. Check their portfolio.

13. TOP Website Builder Reviews

SuperbWebsiteBuilders.com is a trusted website, the major goal of which is to test and compare the features, advantages and disadvantages of contemporary website builders and publish this information in the form of reviews. The website is owned by Howard Steele, who personally compares the systems and writes the reviews. The website contains only trustworthy information people can use to make the best choice of a website builder with regard to their web building needs. There are also ratings of the top website builders, which contributes to the ease of search.

14. RumbleTalk.com

RumbleTalk is one of the best web tools in 2017. Using it, you can easily chat online with your customers, users, a community, or team using a single, public chat room or in one-on-one private rooms. Having such a solution, your company will increase the number of conversions and subscribers and will make your visitors happy that they can discuss with you fast. Keep in mind that very chat starts with a 7 days trial with basic features — no credit card required. After your trial ends, choose a plan that best fits your needs.

15. SiteGround

SiteGround is one of the best hosting solutions on the market and they have also the managed WordPress hosting. They are having more than 500,000 hosted websites and they are well-known for being fast and using the latest security protocols. WPKube is offering a 60% discount coupon for this service, for free.

16. WPEngine

WPEngine is a managed WordPress hosting that will make your website load fast and secure. They are considered as one of the best solutions on the market. Ecommercebooth is offering a 30% discount coupon that you should get.

17. 40DollarLogo.com

Many times we need a beautiful and professional logo design but we don’t have the time and money to work with the biggest web design agencies. With only $40 you will get 2 custom logo design concepts made by 1 experienced designer and 14 days unlimited revisions. Get your logo.

18. InvoiceBerry.com

InvoiceBerry is professional, yet simple to use invoicing platform that was built as a complete, fast solution for small and medium businesses. All their plans include the same features and they have even a forever free plan. Check it.

19. EvergreenFeed.com

With Twitter automation tools you can save a lot of time. EvergreenFeed automatically posts tweets based on your schedule and category. It has a simple and user-friendly interface and is well built for small personal use or for large agency use. They have got a free package and the paid plan starts at only $9.99/month.

20. Host-tracker.com – Check website status

With Host-Tracker, a top website monitoring service, you will be notified fast via SMS, Email, Hangouts and others if your website is down or are problems. The cost is budget friendly, it stats from $3.25 / month. Check it.

21. SnapPages.com

SnapPages is one of the most respected website builders on the market. Pages are built by stacking sections on top of one another. Sections hold blocks— for example, text, images or forms. Snappages includes 13 section templates to get you started. Give it a try.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that we spent almost 3 months to build this showcase and we used several methods to get the best 21 web tools & services in 2017. We discussed with experts, we tested on our own these solutions and we searched the internet.

Gutenberg 0.5.0 Adds New Verse Block for Poetry and a New Display for Recent Blocks

Another round of Gutenberg updates was released today. Last weekend brought version 0.4.0, which didn’t have too many noteworthy visible changes on the frontend but introduced an API for handling pasted content. Gutenberg developers are aiming to have specific handling for converting pasted content from applications like Word, Markdown, and Google Docs to native WordPress blocks. Version 0.4.0 also added navigation between blocks using arrow keys and included a new approach for rendering embed frames.

Gutenberg 0.5.0 hit dashboards today. One major improvement to the writing flow is that the editor will now avoid showing block UI while the user is typing and/or starting a new paragraph in a text block. You can test this by typing and pressing enter twice to begin a new text block. No UI should be visible during this process. Small improvements like this one are gradually bringing a bit more zen to the editor, which is still full of confusing and surprising experiences.

Version 0.5.0 adds the ability to upload images via drag-and-drop onto image block placeholders. The example below shows one of my tests. While the image is uploading, it fades in and out. This experience is a bit disconcerting, especially if the upload never resolves. I’m not certain this UI provides the best communication for the status of the image upload.

This version also introduces a new Verse block, which is intended for poetry. It has a slight indent, as compared to a plain text block, but it doesn’t yet work well with copy and paste. Unless you are a poet composing in WordPress, it’s far more likely that you will be pasting in poetry content from somewhere else on the web. Other than the initial bugs, it’s a useful block for those who often post verse.

With the growing number of block types, it can be cumbersome to sort through all of them when adding a new block. Gutenberg 0.5.0 implements a new display for recent blocks. A maximum of eight are shown and the most recently used ones are displayed at the top. It does not yet persist between editor sessions, but Gutenberg contributors plan to add that in the future.

Other notable improvements in this release include the following:

Writing Long-Form Content with Gutenberg is Still a Frustrating Experience

Gutenberg in its current state is a long way away from being an editor that users would embrace for long-form writing. It still contains many unnerving bugs that steal user confidence. For example, when pasting in multiple paragraphs from a lorem ipsum generator, the editor gave me a white screen and I lost all of the content in my post. After a bit of testing I found that pasting in paragraphs one at a time worked.

This kind of frustrating and unexpected behavior has caused many testers to wonder why it isn’t being referred to as alpha software instead of beta. WordPress contributor Jon Brown summed up this common sentiment in a comment on the 0.4.0 release post.

“It’s getting better, but it honestly still feels more like a 0.0.4 alpha than a 0.4.0 beta,” Brown said. “I’ve tried writing long form content several times with each version since 0.1.0 and each time I’m quickly frustrated by the lack of flow between blocks. It’s more frustrating than TinyMCE.”

Gutenberg needs to make significant progress before it can be suitable for writing anything more than a few short paragraphs. It’s nearly impossible to get into the flow of creating long-form content with the prominence of the block UI. Right now, the editor just gets in the way. The current UI is skewed heavily towards frequent block creation. It is clutter-some and distracting for pure writing tasks. Following the evolution of the editor, with its fast-paced development cycle, is exhilarating after years of stagnation. But the project is sorely in need of a breakthrough where the Gutenberg UI finally gets out of the way of writing.

Thank you Translators!

Well, well. WP Super Cache translations are coming along well. 100% of strings in the development version are translated into Canadian English and Romanian! (That might change over the next few days as I have a couple of UI changes in mind, sorry!)

Other languages like Persian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian and Italian are roaring along and sometimes only need a handful of words or sentences translated to hit that magic 100% too. The next version of the plugin will grab translations from WordPress.org if they’re available which is awesome for users around the world. We’re still shipping translation files but I think the release after that may ship without and rely entirely on the up-to-date online translations.

So, thank you so much to the translators. Code is nigh on useless if the user and developer don’t speak the same language and the interface is incomprehensible. WP Super Cache has lots of technical language which must be a pain to translate. Your work is invaluable!

Mulțumesc! متشکرم! ありがとうございました!¡Gracias! Спасибо! Grazie! Hvala ti! 谢谢!Vielen Dank!

Related Posts

  • No related posts

Source

Practical Tips for Selling a WordPress Website to SMBs

Selling a WordPress website to small or medium-sized businesses (SMB) is a major challenge for freelancers and small businesses. During my last research, there are over 2 million freelancers offering WordPress development services on major freelancer portals. That doesn’t include tens of thousands of agencies selling through different channels.

Websites Are Solving Business Problems

First off, building a WordPress website or redesigning an existing solution is all about solving a business problem.

Small and medium-sized businesses usually ask for a new website for the following reasons:

  1. Better positioning online
  2. Keeping all company data in one place (instead of distributing to 3rd party channels)
  3. Providing additional solutions that are not supported by other platforms (eCommerce, membership, discount codes, something else)
  4. A new product or a solution that is a platform by itself
  5. Integration with CRMs or other services that the business utilizes

Frankly, the first two reasons seem to be most common among starting businesses. Being “online” itself is expected. Visitors looking for the primary website for more information is also quite common.

Not having an official website is often considered odd, if not concerning. Especially for service providers who may be more phantom and less trustworthy.

In fact, one of the best practices for small businesses is putting a face to their name. Or rather listing their team members, including photos from different events and showing some personal attitude that showcases the company culture.

Your Key WordPress Development Selling Point

The first thing to keep into account is your key selling point when offering WordPress development solutions.

Even for site builders who don’t offer development, it’s important to outline what is the value that you offer which would position you higher as compared to other agencies and freelancers.

Consultants and freelancers could specialize in an area which would be helpful to a small business. For WordPress developers, the technical expertise and proven track record of building custom plugins, integrating 3rd party services, offering performance optimizations or conducting security code reviews is a key strategy. For site builders, building a new platform that would convert better and present a better user experience may help out as well.

Along with some marketing consulting or whatever else you would bundle in a proposal.

Prepare a Professional Proposal

Contracts and specifications aren’t that common in the WordPress space. To some extent, that’s understandable for site builders working on small fixes or setting up WordPress websites for a few hours or over the weekend.

However, we’ve all seen the thousands of threads from freelancers complaining that a client hadn’t paid for a job done.

Depending on the duration of the project, scope of work and the quote, you can go for a simple 2-page proposal or a lengthy specification that may be 20–50 pages long. We’ve received some RFPs with over 100 pages + a branding style guide that was 160 pages alone for every single UI aspect (admittedly, that was for an enterprise automotive provider).

Essentially, you may want to list down several essential things:

  • A brief intro for both businesses and the type of relationship
  • Services to be provided (1–2 paragraphs for each)
  • A timeline for the proposed solution (a Gantt chart is helpful here)
  • Proposed budget (you could go with 2 to 3 plans with extra bonus features as an upsell)
  • Payment details and milestones
  • Legal part (could be a completely separate set of documents)

Some vendors create mockups, wireframes, or sketches that briefly explain what would be delivered – however, this may be delivered during a paid discovery phase with the client unless you’re aiming for a large B2B that gets impressed by extra work done upfront.

You can sign up for some of the established proposal solutions that provide shiny templates, boilerplate text for proposals, tracking stats and other handy features that may increase the odds for landing a deal:

Pitching a WordPress Rebuild or a Migration

The approach of pointing out UX, design, performance, navigation issues is certainly legit. It’s worth noting that customers can’t gauge how crucial that is for their website.

Let’s review some additional ideas that you can include in your pitch to a customer who would benefit from a well designed and professionally developed website.

Prepare trustworthy data

Prepare a list of the challenges that you see both as a user, and an industry expert while browsing the website. Then look for reliable research studies and stats explaining what is the impact of poor UX, slow performance and the like.

One helpful list of UX statistics provided by Experience Dynamics:

Click the screenshot for the complete infographic

Sharing some random suggestions is one thing, but backing these up with industry data builds some trust between you and your prospect. They are not deeply involved with web design or development and the job of a consultant/freelancer is to explain their review, suggested strategy, expected impact and how would that translate to the business lead generation process.

Showcase competitor analysis

Are you confident that your suggestions are applicable in the field of your client?

What would work for a WordPress-driven fashion store for teenagers would not resonate with B2B enterprise clients, and vice versa. Often times, trends differ depending on the context, and it’s important to be able to indicate that with success stories from other market leaders.

One viable approach would be identifying the competitors of your client and finding more successful businesses with more interactive online presence. This would let you point out specific areas that these competitors leverage in order to generate more traffic or convert customers better – especially if you can apply these in the new website that you’re pitching.

Some of those competitors are probably running on WordPress. Make sure that you point out the pros and cons and what best practices you can incorporate for your customer. It would be more visual and easier to replicate as well.

Bring case studies

If you have successful projects in the same field or relevant industries that explain how you’ve transformed one’s business through bringing that level of innovation, don’t hesitate to share that with your prospect (as long as it’s not NDA-protected).

Being able to tell stories and go walk your prospect through the process that a fellow business owner went through in order to improve their business online is really helpful.

For example, one of our new clients approached us a couple months back with a number of problems regarding their business. We’ve started with performance optimization since the site was loading for over 15 seconds at times due to background images that were 8MB heavy. This was the very first step that reduced their contact form bounce rate from 80% to 45% hence bringing plenty of fresh leads to their sales team and increasing their revenue accordingly.

Discuss ROI

Talking about selling WordPress websites, discussing ROI is one of the main things clients focus on. Being able to relate a suggestion with an estimated return of investment would let them assess the risks and the potential opportunities and decide on whether it’s worth paying for a redesign.

While Google Analytics data is not public, you can use tools such as BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Moz in order to identify the top keywords that your customers rank for, most shared articles, or anything along those lines – together with finding out competitors and other key players listed in review cases on various blogs.

When combined with Google PageSpeed and other automated tools testing usability, speed, performance or so, this would add up to your review and focus on certain areas that would yield a higher ROI and thus ranking the website higher, generating more shares, contact form inquiries or overall increased brand awareness.

Always Bring Value

Whenever you’re pitching a new WordPress website or a website redesign, make sure that you’re clear on your product offering and you can deliver value to the business.

Customers want to work with reliable service providers and generate some sort of ROI when investing money for a website. A 5-page business website will likely not generate a ton of profit but it still can convert well with a fast, secure, and user-friendly landing page combined with some key points and well-defined services or products.

Focus on showcasing the importance of your work and how it would impact the business in the long run.

Moreover, always keep learning. If you haven’t been proficient in programming, don’t say you are a WordPress developer.

If you are a site builder, state it clearly as your customer may need a lot of custom work that you would not be able to deliver. Your options are specializing in marketing and site building while partnering up with a developer or spending the time and effort to learn actual web development.

If you are a web developer, discuss the importance of code quality for backward compatibility, performance, and security. Review possible plugins that you may need to use and ensure that they won’t cause regressions for your customers. When building something from scratch, notify your clients for the areas that you need to cover which would take up some extra time in order to make it right.

As a result, selling a new proposal for a WordPress website or migrating a project could be systematized and processed in a semi-automated manner, professionally, and leading to a successful launch for you and your customers.

The post Practical Tips for Selling a WordPress Website to SMBs appeared first on Mario Peshev.

What are breadcrumbs and why are they important for SEO?

Breadcrumbs are an important part of almost any good website. These little navigational aides not just help people visualize where they are on your site, but also help Google determine how your site is structured. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to add these helpful little pointers. Let’s see how breadcrumbs work.

Want rich snippets for your site? Try our Structured data training »

Structured data training$ 149 - Buy now » Info

What are breadcrumbs?

When Hansel and Gretel went into the woods, Hansel dropped pieces of bread on the ground so they could find their way home if the two of them ever got lost. These breadcrumbs eventually became the model for the breadcrumbs we see on websites nowadays. A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page. On yoast.com, for instance, the path to our Yoast SEO plugin page is Home > Software > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress. This breadcrumb immediately shows you where you are. Every part of that path is clickable, all the way to the homepage.

Breadcrumbs also appear in Google. If you use Yoast SEO or add the correct form of structured data to your site, search engines can pick up this data and could show your breadcrumbs in the search results. These provide users an easy to understand overview of where the page sits on your site.

Different kinds

Looking closely, we can distinguish different types of breadcrumbs. These are the three most common types of breadcrumbs you will find on sites:

Hierarchy based breadcrumbs

These will pop up most often. We use them on our site as well. Breadcrumbs like this will tell you where you are in a site structure and how many steps you can take to get back to the homepage. Something like Home > Blog > Category > Post name.

breadcrumbs hierarchy

Attribute based breadcrumbs

Attribute based breadcrumbs appear after a certain selection has been made, for instance, while searching for a product on an e-commerce site. Maybe, Home > Product category > Gender > Size > Color.

breadcrumbs attribute

History based breadcrumbs

History based breadcrumbs do what it says on the tin; they are ordered according to what you have been doing on the site. Think of these as a replacement for your internet history bar. These would appear like this: Home >  Previous page > Previous page > Previous page > Current page. It’s also possible to combine these like Macy’s does in the screenshot below.

breadcrumbs history

Advantages to using breadcrumbs

There are a couple of advantages to using breadcrumbs on your site. Let’s go over them quickly:

1. Google loves them

Your visitors like breadcrumbs, but Google likes them as well. Breadcrumbs give Google another way of figuring out how your website is structured. In addition to that, Google might use your breadcrumbs to show these in the search results. This way, your search result will at one become much more enticing to users. To increase the chance to get these breadcrumbs in Google, you need to add structured data or use Yoast SEO.

2. They enhance the user experience

People hate to get lost. When confronted with a new location, people often look around in search of recognizable objects or landmarks. The same goes for websites. You need to keep visitors happy and reduce as much friction as possible. Breadcrumbs can help your user experience since it is a well-known interface element that instantly shows people a way out. No need to click the back button!

3. They lower bounce rates

Hardly anyone comes in via the homepage anymore. It’s all organic search nowadays. That means every part of your site could be an entry point. You must come up with a way to guide these visitors to other parts of your site if the selected page does not meet their expectations. Breadcrumbs can lower bounce rates because you’re offering visitors an alternative means of browsing your site. Don’t you think it’s better to send a visitor to your homepage than back to Google?

How to add breadcrumbs

There are several ways of adding breadcrumbs to your site. Firstly, if you use a WordPress site, you can use one of the many breadcrumb plugins or just use Yoast SEO. If you use a different CMS the process might be different. It is also possible to add them by hand. If you want them to appear in Google as well, you need to use structured data in a way that Google understands. You can find more information on this in Google’s developer documentation on breadcrumbs.

Yoast SEO offers an easy way to add breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. It will add everything necessary to add them not just visible on your site, but get them ready for Google as well. To add breadcrumbs to your site, you need to add the following piece of code to your theme where you want them to appear:

<?php
if ( function_exists('yoast_breadcrumb') ) {
yoast_breadcrumb('


','

');
}
?>

This code can often be placed inside the single.php or page.php files, just above the title of the page. Some themes want it at the end of the header.php file. Try not to add it to functions.php since this could create problems.

After adding the code, you can go to the advanced settings of Yoast SEO and switch on breadcrumb support. Here, you can also determine how the breadcrumb structure will look and what prefixes will be used. Find out more on our Knowledge Base page on implementing breadcrumbs with Yoast SEO.

Conclusion

While using breadcrumbs, Hansel and Gretel still got lost in the woods. Don’t let that happen to your visitor. Breadcrumbs provide an easy to grasp way of navigating for users. Visitors instantly understand how the site structure works. For the same reason, Google loves them as well. Use Yoast SEO to add breadcrumbs to your site easily.

Read more: ‘Site structure: the ultimate guide’ »

Ask Yoast: Meta descriptions and excerpts

When you’re running a large and busy website, it’s practical and time-saving if you can reuse some of your material. Both meta descriptions and excerpts use a brief passage to summarize the content of a web page. So, it could be handy to use the same text for both. But how do you do that? In this video, Joost explains the easiest way to reuse your text for both meta descriptions and excerpts, and whether Google approves of this reuse.

Renee Lodens sent us an email with the following question:

“Is there a way to bulk copy the Yoast SEO meta descriptions to the excerpt field? Also, is this considered duplicate content?”

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page! 

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

Yoast SEO for WordPress pluginBuy now » Info

Meta descriptions and excerpts

So, what to do if you want to save time and use the same passages for meta descriptions and excerpts?

“Well, let’s start with the first thing. It’s probably easier to do it the other way around. If you put the description that you want in the excerpt field, and then in the back end, in the Yoast SEO Titles & Meta section, you can use the excerpt short code for meta descriptions. We will automatically put your excerpt in your meta description. That’s easier. You can do it the other way around too, but then you’d have to code a bit.

Is this considered duplicate content? No, it’s not. Because they are different things used for different purposes. Your meta description will only show up in the metadata, which will not be shown on the page. And Google considers these two separate things.

So this might actually work well for you if you write really good short excerpts that fit well into your meta description.

Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from followers. Need some advice about SEO? Let us help you out! Send your question to ask@yoast.com.

Read more: ‘How to create the right meta descriptions’ »

Gutenberg Contributors Explore Adding Drag-and-Drop and Multi-Column Support for Blocks

photo credit: ruudgreven DSC_0012(license)

The new Gutenberg editor has an open ticket for allowing users to sort blocks via drag and drop. Blocks can currently be sorted with up and down arrows located to the left of the content but the beta only allows for single-column stacking.

One of the goals for Gutenberg is to provide “a page building experience that makes it easy to create rich post layouts.” As far as layout building goes, the first planned versions of the new editor are very primitive as compared to Wix and Weebly’s drag and drop website builders where nearly every element on the page can be easily moved to a different position.

Contributors have been discussing the intricacies of adding this feature to Gutenberg since February. James Nylen summarized some of the challenges that make drag and drop more complicated to implement:

Dragging and dropping a block is not really a one-step operation. It is more like 3:

  1. Press and hold mouse button or screen
  2. Move to desired location
  3. Release

Step 2 is incredibly difficult to get right, and requires a lot of complicated behaviors like duplicating an item (or at least its general shape and size), scroll handling, and determining the intended new location, especially at the beginning and end of the content. We have all used bad drag-and-drop experiences, and I would argue they are worse than not having it at all.

That said, for two-dimensional movement with columns, I agree that arrows alone are probably not a good solution. Though mobile support for that is going to be very tricky no matter how it works.

Several commenters on the ticket agree that repeatedly clicking arrows to move blocks is cumbersome and will become untenable in the future when multi-column support is added. This would require up, down, right, and left arrows to rearrange content. Users have come to expect a drag-and-drop interface, because nearly every page builder application offers it.

“We are thinking of drag and drop as a progressive enhancement for desktops,” Joen Asmussen said. “One that would be great to have, but we should build it after we have explicit button actions in place for doing the same, including splitting into columns in the future. This decision is based on a desire to ensure accessibility as well as mobile devices can play the same game.”

Asmussen marked the ticket priority as low in May and removed it from the beta milestone. At this point, users are not likely to see drag and drop in the first release that ships with WordPress core.

Multi-Column Layouts Planned for Gutenberg V2

The discussion surrounding adding drag-and-drop to the editor naturally leads into adding multi-column support. Limiting users to a single column is a one-dimensional approach to designing pages, but contributors don’t plan to leave Gutenberg without multi-column support for long.

Geoarge Olaru, a designer at PixelGrade, shared a prototype for adding a simple two or three-grid column layout to Gutenberg.

“Extending WordPress further from the default Blog Posts automatically implies the need of multi-column layouts for presentation pages,” Olaru said. “I would prefer to tackle this feature upfront, rather than letting every developer do it on his own (see the multitude of page builders plugins).”

“For the V1 editor, I’m afraid columns like this is out of scope,” Asmussen said in reply to a Olaru’s ticket with mockups and a prototype for multi-column support. “That’s not a ‘no’ — rather, we need some technical foundations to be solid first, before we commit to the really interesting stuff. But it might be a V1.1, or at the very least something for the customization folks later on in the year. Even before that, it would be good to keep this UI in mind, so that perhaps a plugin can add this even earlier.”

Other commenters on the ticket feel more urgency about getting multi-column support into the first version of the editor. One of the concerns is that plugin developers will rush to add columns immediately based on demands from users, who will then have to migrate once core adds support.

“Multi column layouts are a must-have,” Anthony Hortin commented on the ticket. “At the moment, Gutenberg isn’t solving any issue. You still end up with one long column of content. The whole reason page builders are so popular, and why hundreds of thousands of people are using them, is because they provide the ability to easily make multi-column layouts. Without this functionality, you’re not providing any reason to use Gutenberg over a page builder plugin.”

One of the main challenges of adding multi-column support is figuring out what type of grid system to use and making sure that it scales from mobile to desktop. Weston Ruter joined the discussion to say that the foundational work for nested block support is being done now in version 1, but the UI for displaying them hasn’t been implemented yet.

“I appreciate the excitement and urgency to wanting columns,” Asmussen said. “We feel the same urgency. It’s not about not wanting columns, it’s purely about managing resources at this point.”

The good news is if you’ve been testing Gutenberg and wondering where some of these features are on the roadmap, they will be coming in later versions. While there may be disagreements about how much of a priority drag-and-drop and multi-column support should have for version 1, contributors agree that laying a solid technical foundation for these features is crucial for future extensibility.

Gutenberg 0.3.0 Adds Front-End Styles for Core Blocks, Notices Framework, and Text and Image Quick Inserts

Gutenberg development is marching ahead with version 0.3.0 released today. New releases are shipping out on a weekly basis, so testers will get to discover another round of new additions after updating to the latest. The changelog has a full list of the 50 additions and improvements included in this release, but here’s a quick visual tour of a few of the most interesting user-facing features added this week.

Gutenberg developers have added front-end styles for core blocks, which means that content like cover images will now appear the same as they look in the admin in the editor. The demo content in the plugin has also been updated to display a full-width cover image. Below is an example of a standard width cover image on the front-end.

Version 3.0 also includes new text and image quick inserts, which appear when hovering over the blank space beneath the post content. This makes it faster to add the types of content that are used most frequently.

This release adds a framework for notices, which provides developers with reusable notices components, showing how to trigger notices and where they will show up. Gutenberg now displays notices on post save, schedule, and update.

Version 0.3.0 adds a new block descriptions component to blocks with inspector controls. Several of the core blocks now display descriptions. These will be especially useful when plugin developers begin adding their own custom blocks, offering users a quick way to see the purpose of the block.

This release adds more placeholder text to various blocks, as “placeholders are key,” according to the newly added design blueprints and principles included in Gutenberg’s documentation:

If your block can have a neutral placeholder state, it should. An image placeholder block shows a button to open the media library, a text placeholder block shows a writing prompt. By embracing placeholders we can predefine editable layouts, so all you have to do is fill out the blanks.

Version 0.3.0 also adds several enhancements that make it easier to edit and customize the image-oriented blocks with more options and settings:

  • Added “edit image” button to image and cover image blocks
  • Added option to visually crop images in galleries for nicer alignment
  • Added option to disable dimming the background in cover images
  • Added option to display date and to configure number of posts in LatestPosts block
  • Added text formatting to CoverImage block
  • Added toggle option for fixed background in CoverImage
  • Added placeholder for all text blocks
  • Added placeholder text for headings, quotes, etc

Active installs for the Gutenberg plugin have nearly doubled since last week and are at more than 900 sites. This is roughly 1% of the goal Matt Mullenweg set for testing on 100,000 sites before replacing the edit screen. The plugin may also be advertised in the dashboard in a future release, possibly 4.8.1, which is slated for the end of July.

How Does WordPress Maintain Backward Compatibility Over Time?

Backward compatibility is one of the pillars of the platform that comes with the highest priority. Over the past ten years, the technological progress in WordPress has been moving somewhat slowly, but that ensures that no WordPress website would be left behind.

For quite some time now, WordPress is officially supporting all PHP versions starting from PHP 5.2.4. Of course, PHP 7 is the recommended version for all hosts, but it would be unfair to bump it up to 5.6 and screw tens of millions of websites that still run on low-quality hosting infrastructures.

Stats gathered by all websites running WordPress to date are publicly available as well. Approximately half of these websites run PHP 5.2 through 5.5:

WordPress Compatibility For The Majority

Instead of ruining an entire empire of small businesses who have no clue about PHP versions and technical jibber-jabber, the WordPress leadership team (and all of us, contributors to the platform and the community) advocate PHP 7 and push for its support with every hosting provider that we have to work with. This naturally increases the adoption and upgrades business owners to the latest and greatest (well, at least 5.6 which is still awesome).

At some point, when there are almost no providers that still provide PHP 5.2, 5.3 or 5.4 hosting plans, the minimum supported version would be incremented as well. This would allow for refactoring iterations introducing PHP improvements such as late static binding (that is currently not supported in older PHP versions).

PHP – as a programming language – has also been very tolerant in terms of backward compatibility. You could break plenty of applications migrating across Python versions or .NET versions, but that’s (almost always) not the case with PHP or Java. Which is why WordPress is carefully designed to get rid of all deprecated snippets that were not supported in PHP 7 while maintaining complete compatibility with PHP 5.2.4 as well.

Backward Compatibility For Other CMS

Drupal has also been one of the reputable CMS in the PHP space that always carries the latest and greatest from a developer’s standpoint – being the “cool kid on the block” for geeks. But the lack of regular major versions and completely impossible update cycles have led to Dries (the platform founder) to finally adapt the safe updates model just as WordPress does, or software applications like Chrome – seamlessly and flawlessly:

One of the key reasons that Drupal has been successful is because we always made big, forward-looking changes. As a result, Drupal is one of the very few CMSes that has stayed relevant for 15+ years. The downside is that with every major release of Drupal, we’ve gone through a lot of pain adjusting to these changes. The learning curve and difficult upgrade path from one major version of Drupal to the next (e.g. from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8) have also held back Drupal’s momentum. In an ideal world, we’d be able to innovate fast yet provide a smooth learning curve and upgrade path from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9. We believe we’ve found a way to do both!

While Dries is right about the relevancy (I’m a fan of many innovations brought to Drupal), facts are that WordPress powers 28.2% of the websites online compared to 2.3% ran on Drupal. I know that those are merely stats, but from a small business’ standpoint, backward compatibility and safe maintenance are absolutely critical.

In terms of code compatibility, the architecture of the top 3 CMS in the PHP space is incredibly generic, thus flexible. It doesn’t follow the top normalization principles in the RDBMS world but instead allows for introducing new data types on top of what is already available. This means reusing the same database APIs for everything – be it products, galleries, contact forms, job offers, forums, or any other database object that can be represented as a Post.

WordPress Plugins and Hooks Consistency

Let’s touch on the plugin APIs as well – most of them are related to:

  • creating new object types – through the Custom Post Types API always saving data in the {prefix}_posts table and the {prefix}_postmeta table.
  • creating new taxonomies – other than categories or tags – stored in {prefix}_terms, {prefix}_term_taxonomy, {prefix}_term_relationships
  • saving new options, settings, widget parameters – stored in the {prefix}_options table
  • creating and managing users – {prefix}_users and {prefix}_usermeta

The generic model allows for building extremely flexible yet simple APIs. Database schema is always consistent, which makes the APIs fixed, and the plugins’ code easier for upgrades across major versions.

The hooks architecture is also massively powerful – tons of actions and hooks which can be reused for external activities without messing up with the entire life cycle. Pretty stable core infrastructure with numerous hooks for developers to use in order to extend the core platform’s behavior.

That’s quite different as compared to an MVC framework – you’ll need a set of controllers, a model, multiple views for each new data type unless you end up with the so-called God/Fat Controller that’s totally bloated and non-maintainable.

WordPress Core Life Cycle Explained

Take a look at the WordPress life cycle by Rarst – it’s fairly straightforward, with several entry points and a few major life cycle layers that could be used for everything (along with another couple thousand hooks in-between):

Props to Rarst – didn’t find it on his own blog

This has been the main flow of a WordPress request for many years now, and sticking to it prevents major regressions while introducing new enhancements to the platform.

There are several major entry points for admin callbacks, the WordPress front end, and AJAX calls triggered by a theme or the plugins. Overall, the consistency between hooks distributed across a website is fairly straight forward. For WordPress plugin developers, it’s all about studying several dozens of popular actions and filters used in most cases, and identifying the ones that would be applicable and helpful in certain situations.

That said, once your life cycle is set in stone, your database schema doesn’t need updates and you can build everything on top of the current data structure, what could possibly go wrong?

As a final note, I’ve discussed the WordPress Core architecture at a PHP conference as compared to a bunch of PHP frameworks, Django, Rails, ASP.NET MVC and a few more solutions that I’ve used over the years, it may add some extra context:

This post was originally published on Quora as an answer to “How does WordPress keep its code maintainable, tidy, and compatible (e.g., with PHP 7) while being compatible in its API with older plugins?”

The post How Does WordPress Maintain Backward Compatibility Over Time? appeared first on Mario Peshev.

WordPress Opens Up More Channels for Gutenberg Testing and Feedback

photo credit: Vojtech Okenka

Gutenberg testing is in full swing and the WordPress Testing Handbook has a new page to help users get started. It clearly defines the purpose of the new block editor as not just for writing content but also for creating layouts. Users are invited to offer general feedback or engage in specific task-based tests.

The new testing page erases boundaries for feedback by allowing users to submit their thoughts and suggestions using an online form. Previously, the only way to offer feedback was by creating an issue on GitHub or contacting the contributors on WordPress' #core-editor Slack channel. 

At this stage in Gutenberg development, it may be difficult to discern what is a bug versus what is an unpolished feature. WordPress is using Storybook, an interactive development and testing environment for React and React-Native UI components, to create Gutenberg's documentation. However, this collection of documents focuses more on technical details for developers. The plugin's changelog may provide some information about which features should be working. Before reporting an issue in the feedback form, it's a good idea to review the project's GitHub issues to see if it has already been logged.

Testing Gutenberg Outside of the WordPress' Developer Community is Critical to Its Success

A few weeks ago I helped one of my friends migrate her personal blog from Blogger to WordPress. She had put off setting up her new site for months after checking out the admin and getting overwhelmed. Getting familiar with the post editor was enough of a hurdle, without piling on the idea of widgets and shortcodes and different screens and methods for inserting different types of content. The new editor can solve this problem with a unified method of creating content and placing it on the page.

Gutenberg has the potential to make WordPress content editing and layout building more user-friendly but only if it gets into the hands of non-technical users and those who are considering a switch from other platforms. WordPress' recurring failure to collect feedback beyond its own development community needs to be addressed if Gutenberg is going to become a product that will attract non-WordPress users.

As the plugin is still in the very early beta stage, this is a crucial point in time when feedback can have a big impact on shaping Gutenberg's development. Including non-technical users as early in the process as possible, as the new testing page attempts to do, should provide a better overall picture of Gutenberg's usability.

2017 Community Summit Notes

The Plugin team is small but mighty. We had a very productive summit and contributor day this year, pushing forward some of the changes we’ve been working on for a while. The following notes are the product of the sessions as well as some hallway chats over red wine, gin, and cheese.

Notes:

  • Security issues in the new directory have to be corrected before new users can be added
  • We intend to open reviews by everyone (yes, everyone) with a .org account
  • Plugin Closures will be documented and then reported on
  • Plugin Check code revisited – What can we catch as a ‘before a human reviews’
  • Similar but not identical plugins will continue to be accepted
  • We need to allow frameworks in, but we have to do so safely to protect developers from hate-reviews when someone deletes a required framework

To Do:

  • Design a ‘dashboard’ for people to check the status of their plugins (and themes)
  • Add more stats to the plugin page (or possibly move to the future dashboard…)
  • Replace SupportPress (our email client) with something that works (possibly Support Flow?)
  • Code out a way to publicly track why a plugin was closed (see Meta #2860 and #2627)
  • Determine if we want to backfill why 6500-ish plugins are currently closed (owwwww)
  • Determine the best way to track ‘dependancies’ (in lieu of #22316 ever getting traction …) so frameworks and add-on plugins can be clearly indicated and reduce errors
  • Incorporate theme review features such as a11y and i18n ready flags
  • Make sure the VVV repo for the meta environment is sufficient for more people to contribute (see Meta Env)
  • Hold ‘open office’ hours to discuss topics like developer tools, what stats are needed, frameworks etc

Most of that to-do is on me to at least get the tickets started, but if these are things you’re interested in, then I encourage you to come to the open office hours! I’m hoping to have the first in August, as I have July Vacations 🙂 Sorry, family first!

I’ll post more about what I plan to do with the open office hours soon, including topics and schedules.

#community-summit, #contributor-day

How to Use Social Media to Boost Email Subscribers in WordPress

Do you want to use social media to increase your email subscribers? If you’re not taking advantage of your social media following to build your email list, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. In this article, we’ll discuss why email and social media integration is so important for every business, and show you how to use social media to boost email subscribers in WordPress.

Using social media to increase email subscribers

Email Marketing vs. Social Media – Which Is Better?

One of the most common questions we get asked from new business owners is which is better when it comes to email marketing vs social media?

Social media platforms offer a great opportunity to interact with your users and keep them engaged. However, nothing beats email marketing when it comes to engagement.

First, email marketing is very cost effective. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in return. On the other hand, less than half of marketers agree that social media gives them any return on investment at all.

Social platforms like Facebook tightly control your reach to your own followers. Only about 2% of your Facebook fans will see your updates. Even your tweets are visible to the user for a very short time before it gets pushed down by other tweets. Social media platforms also retain the right to block your account at any time, for any reason.

Even if social media marketing is working well for you now, that’s not guaranteed to last. Social media websites come and go (no one uses Friendster, MySpace, or Digg anymore). When they disappear, all the hard work you put into building a following is gone too.

Email gives you direct access to your subscribers. Most importantly, you own your email list and no one can take away your users.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use social media to promote your website. However, your focus should be more on building an email list for higher ROI and long term marketing goals.

Many successful website owners will tell you that not starting an email list was the biggest mistake they made when starting out. See our article on why building your email list is so important today for more on this topic.

Convinced about the importance of your email list? Let’s see how you can leverage your social media profiles to get even more email subscribers.

What Do You Need to Start Building Your Email List?

There are three things you will need to start building your email list.

  • A website or blog
  • An email marketing service
  • Lead generation software

All three of them are quite easy to set up without learning any technical skills.

If you don’t have a website or blog yet, then see our step by step guide on how to start a blog.

You will also need an email marketing service. It helps you collect email addresses, manage your email lists, and send out emails. Most importantly, using an email marketing service will help you to stay compliant with email spam laws, and ensure that your emails don’t end up in the spam folder.

We recommend using Constant Contact. It is one of the largest and most popular email marketing services in the world. For more recommendations, see our list of the best email marketing services for small business.

Lastly, you will need a lead generation software like OptinMonster. It’s the most effective way to convert website visitors and social media followers into email subscribers. See our case study of how we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster.

Once you’ve got your website, email newsletter, and lead generation software set up, you can get started with these email and social media integration techniques.

1. Collect Email Addresses From Your Facebook Page

If you have a successful Facebook page, you may have a lot of fans who have never visited your website before. An easy way to convert those fans into subscribers is by adding a prominent link right to an email signup form.

Luckily, Facebook has made this easy by introducing call to action buttons for business pages. These buttons are prominently displayed on top of your cover image and are visible without scrolling.

Call to action button on a Facebook business page

To add a signup button to your Facebook page, you’ll need to visit your Facebook page and click the blue Add a button button.

Adding a call to action button

This will bring up a popup with multiple choices. You need to click on the Get in touch with us tab and then select Sign up.

Next, you need to provide a link to your website where users will be taken when they click signup.

Add a link to your sign up page

The link should be to a page on your website that features an email signup form. Don’t forget to click on add button to save your changes.

That’s all! Visitors to your Facebook page will now see a prominent call to action button leading them to sign up for your email list.

2. Use Facebook Retargeting/Remarketing Pixel

Facebook retargeting pixel

Have you noticed that after you visit a website, you often start seeing their ads on Facebook?

This is called retargeting or remarketing. Those websites use Facebook’s retargeting technology, commonly known as Facebook Pixel.

The retargeting pixel does not add anything visible to your website visitors. It simply sends a browser cookie to your visitors, so that Facebook can recognize them.

After your website visitors leave your site and go on Facebook, they’ll see your ads targeted just to them.

Follow our step by step guide on how to install Facebook retargeting/remarketing pixel in WordPress. Then, check out these tips for optimizing your Facebook ads for conversions.

3. Use Facebook Ads to Promote Pages with Special Offers

Often people are hesitant to give out their email addresses, but become much more willing to share when you offer them something of value in exchange.

These special offers in exchange for email addresses are also called lead magnets. Common lead magnets include e-books, cheat sheets, templates, reports, coupons, and more. The more targeted your offer is towards a specific audience, the more email addresses you’ll get.

You can create a landing page or blog post on your website that features your lead magnet, and use an OptinMonster campaign to capture email addresses. Here’s a guide on how to create your first OptinMonster campaign to build your email list.

Then, create an ad on Facebook for your free special offer that links to your landing page. This technique is even more powerful when combined with Facebook retargeting, because you’re advertising to people who have already displayed an interest in what you have to offer.

4. Add Links to Your Signup Pages in YouTube Videos

Add links to your website in YouTube videos
Do you run a YouTube channel? You can stay in touch with your viewers by adding calls to action and URLs right in your videos.

Again, it’s smart to offer an incentive for users to click on the links. Many online marketers do that by offering bonus content, learning material, coupons, and special discounts.

You can easily add a link to your video by going to your Video Manager, then clicking on Edit » Cards » Add card. Then you can add a link to your website.

Once the user lands on your website, you can use a landing page with an OptinMonster campaign to show them targeted offers. OptinMonster’s referral detection feature makes it easy to target your campaign so that only your YouTube fans will see it.

5. Run Twitter Ad Campaign

Twitter Ads

Twitter Ads is another social platform that you can use to boost your lead generation efforts.

In fact, Twitter even allows you to run lead generation campaigns directly in the user’s Tweet stream. This way users can sign up for your email list without even leaving Twitter.

You can also use Twitter Ads to drive traffic to your website landing page.

6. Promote Old Posts With Targeted Optins

Promote old posts

If you have been blogging for a while, then you already have plenty of content that your new followers may not have seen.

Sharing old posts allows you a chance to share more content with your users on social media platforms. This boosts user engagement on your social profiles, at the same time it brings more traffic to your website.

You can use the Revive Old Post plugin to automatically share your old posts on social media websites. For detailed instructions see our guide on how to automatically share your old WordPress posts.

Then, you can use targeted optins that only display to visitors who click on those older posts. You can use content upgrades, special offers, free downloads, etc.

7. Use Pinterest Boards for Lead Generation

Using Pinterest to increase email subscribers

Pinterest is another powerful social media platform that you can utilize to boost email subscriptions. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, you can offer your Pinterest followers content upgrades, coupons, and discounts.

You can also offer free downloads like ebooks, PDFs, audio or video content, and display a welcome gate to entice visitors to subscribe as soon as they visit your site.

9. Ask Influencers to Share Links to Your Special Offers

Don’t just keep your special offers limited to your own social profiles. Ask your friends, family, and followers to share your special offers.

You can also reach out to influential users that you are connected with and ask if they can help you spread the word. People love to help out, but they will not be able to do that if you don’t ask them.

Your offer becomes more valuable when it is recommended by influencers. It makes users feel that they can trust you with their information.

That’s all for now. We hope this article helped you learn how to use social media to increase email subscribers in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of the best social media plugins for WordPress, and check out this beginner’s guide on how to build an email list in WordPress for more tips.

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 Use Social Media to Boost Email Subscribers in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Reply: Handling WordPress Project Management And Sales (Video)

One of the members in my Mentorship Group group has asked me a few strategic questions regarding the way we do business at DevriX.

I’m trying to cover different areas related to running a business, handling marketing activities, becoming a better developer and solving business problems.

This time I’ve decided to record a video since the questions would have taken a good chunk of time to write down and sum up as compared to a 13min video on YouTube:

Here are the 5 questions I’ve covered in my video:

  1. How do you manage multiple client requests in a limited time frame?
  2. How do you distribute client hours for development through a single workday?
  3. How do you manage delays with client feedback?
  4. How do you charge clients – after, before, during the development or in a pre-established payment calendar before you start working?
  5. Should you put emphasis on your location (country) or it’s better to aim for a more global service worldwide?

Since we’re providing mainly WordPress Retainers as a strategic service by DevriX, I’ve shared some thoughts applicable for both one-off projects, and ongoing long-term contracts.

If you have any additional questions or remarks, add a comment below and join the conversation.

The post Reply: Handling WordPress Project Management And Sales (Video) appeared first on Mario Peshev.

Gutenberg 0.2.0 Released, Adds New Custom HTML and Cover Image Blocks

The Gutenberg plugin is moving fast with version 0.2.0 now available. This is the first release since the plugin was added to the directory last week. It includes two new block types, along with other new features, improvements, and fixes for many bugs that previously severely impaired the editor’s usability.

A new Custom HTML block allows users to add HTML and click to see a fast preview within the editor.

The new Cover Image block lets users place an image in the content with the background image fixed by default. Users can also specify text to have overlaid. Gutenberg developers emphasized that this feature should not be confused with the “Featured Image” panel which is already working in a similar way to how it has in the past.

While testing the Cover Image block with Twenty Seventeen and Twenty Fifteen, I was unable to get it working correctly on the frontend. Within the editor it works beautifully but once I launched the preview I found that, regardless of which positioning option I chose, I could not get the full image to display. The size of the image’s output was only as tall as the overlay text. If there was a right way to position it, I was unable to discover it. Bugs like these are likely to be quickly ironed out as more users begin testing.

A few of the notable fixes and improvements include the following:

  • Added button to delete a block
  • Added button to open block settings in the inspector
  • Rename “Freeform” block to “Classic Text”
  • Added support for pages and custom post types
  • Added ability to select all blocks with ctrl/command+A
  • Automatically generate wrapper class for styling blocks
  • Avoid triggering multi-select on right click
  • Avoid being keyboard trapped on editor content

As of today, Gutenberg has more than 500 active installs. The development team is planning on shipping weekly releases to the WordPress.org plugin. If you want to keep up with the releases, subscribe to the make.wordpress.org/core blog. Feedback is welcome on Gutenberg’s GitHub repository as well as in the #core-editor channel on WordPress Slack.

WordPress 4.9 to Focus on Managing Plugins and Themes, Gutenberg Targeted for 5.0

photo credit: Oli Dale

Matt Mullenweg, the overall product lead for core releases in 2017, has published an overview for what users can expect in WordPress versions 4.9 and 5.0. After the success of 4.8 and the initial release of Gutenberg last week, Mullenweg is aiming to see the plugin installed on 100K+ sites during the next few months before merging it into core. He also suggested that WordPress could put a promo for the plugin in the upcoming 4.8.1 release.

“In the meantime I think we can do another user-focused 4.9 release with the theme of editing code and managing plugins and themes, doing v2s and polishing some features we brought into WP last year,” Mullenweg said. “Weston and Mel already have some good ideas there, and we can start to discuss and brainstorm at the Dev chat next week. This will also allow the Gutenberg-driven release to be 5.0, which is a nice-to-have but not the primary driver of this decision.”

Mullenweg elaborated on changes to the release process in a post on his personal blog. The original idea was for releases to be driven by improvements to the three focus areas (the editor, customizer, and REST API), but the radical changes that Gutenberg introduces to the editing experience means that customization improvements will need to wait until the editor is a little further along:

Mel and Weston took this as an opportunity to think about not just the “Customizer”, which is a screen and code base within WP, but really thinking in a user-centric way about what it means to customize a site and they identified a number of low-hanging fruits, areas like widgets where we could have a big user impact with relatively little effort.

WordPress is littered with little inconsistencies and gaps in the user experience that aren’t hard to fix, but are hard to notice the 500th time you’re looking at a screen.

I didn’t think we’d be able to sustain the effort on the editor and still do a meaningful user release in the meantime, but we did, and I think we can do it again.

During this week’s core development meeting, contributors brainstormed more specific items for inclusion in 4.9. The ability to schedule customizer changesets is one feature they discussed as a possibility. Customizer component co-maintainer Weston Ruter described the feature as “adding statuses for changesets: being able to draft a changeset to come back to later, and then to be able to schedule it to go live.”

The Customize Snapshots feature plugin contains the UI for this and Customize Changesets, the term for the underlying infrastructure required for saving a Customizer session as a draft, was added in WordPress 4.7. Adding the UI in WordPress 4.9 would allow users to share Customizer sessions, preview them outside of the iframe, and schedule them to publish at a future date.

Andrew Roberts, a contributor to TinyMCE, said they should have a new mobile-optimized UX, which would result in a responsive toolbar, that could land within the proposed 4.9 timeframe.

“I would wonder if we couldn’t tweak the UI to be closer to Gutenberg (e.g. white toolbars),” Roberts said. “I had raised this idea before and it was thought it was better to wait until Gutenberg, but I remain of the opinion we could iterate a little bit closer to get users used to it.”

Contributors also discussed the possibility of changing the default font in the editor to ease the transition to Gutenberg in the future. Currently, Gutenberg uses system fonts for UI and Noto Serif for the editor text.

Mel Choyce, who is heading the Customizer focus with Weston Ruter, said she hopes the team can finish the Gallery Widget for 4.9. Current progress on the widget can be found on GitHub.

WordPress 4.8.1 is tentatively planned for the last week in July, and contributors anticipate including a fix for some issues with the new Text Widget stripping out code.