Making Your WordPress Site Work Harder…

In this post we are going to go over five simple tips to help make your WordPress site more functional.

Over the years, WordPress has slowly built a good reputation ease of use. Currently, almost 20% of the web is dominated by WordPress what with thousands of WP powered websites from hosted blog site to e-commerce websites.

While a WordPress is already functional by itself, there are additional tasks that you can do to make it more functional.

– Do half of the SEO

Most WordPress sites have built-in SEO-friendly programs that aims to have your site indexed automatically once it goes up. However, this is part of the on-site search engine optimization. There is still one fragment of the whole package that you should take care of and this is called off-site search engine optimization.

Yes, making it more functional is in your hands now and you can add more traffic and exposure to your website by performing extra tasks like link-building, article directory submissions, blog commenting, etc. At the same time, you can add supplementary SEO plug-ins to make intensify

your website’s performance.

– Provide added convenience

Adding custom contact forms is fancy but very convenient for your site visitors, members, or customers. WordPress does have built-in contact forms which you can also customize but if you are meticulous, you can always install special plug-ins that lets you design your own contact forms. How does it make your site more functional? Attractive designs always leave a good impression on your visitors, credibility- and sophistication- wise. This would make them want to come back.

– Do not overcrowd plug-ins with low ratings

Although plug-ins do not generally slow down the loading time of your website, they do mess up your site one way or another, especially the ones with very poor rating. If you must install certain plug-in for security and SEO, choose only the ones that have mass appeal. This way you can be sure that they are from credible authors and your site would work the way you want them to, and then some.

– Mind the tags, taxonomies, and descriptions

This is actually supposed to be part of the SEO work but most site owners regard these small details irrelevant, which is actually not true.

Tags, taxonomies, and descriptions are the windows to your site. Major search engines depend their indexing methods through these. For example, title tags and descriptions with related keywords will be easily found and indexed by Google increasing your page rank and traffic.

– Regular updates

Many website owners hope to generate profit from their website without sitting for long hours in front of the computer. Setting up an SEO-friendly WordPress website often gives them the impression that it would run on auto-pilot so they sit around the whole day and still expect a substantial amount of check at the end of the month.

Wrong! Constant updating is needed to make the WordPress site more functional. Sure, WP does its part but it only makes things more convenient for you. That does not mean it would work for you. You still have to take over the important functions that will make it more profitable.

Many things can be done in order to make your site more functional and these are just some of the few suggestions. In time, you will be able to discover them one by one as you spend time with it.

Looking at Plug Ins

In this post we are going to talk about choosing the perfect plug-ins for your WordPress site.

Plug-Ins are a WordPress users best friend, because of their ease of use and functionality. Without them, a WordPress site will be relatively empty, unprotected, lack functionality, and require much more maintenance.

Currently, there are over 40,000 available plug-ins in WordPress’s directory that free and easy to use. Generally, these plug-ins are created for a specific purpose and can be used to enhance the look and function of your site quickly and easily.

The way WordPress is designed (open source) allows people to create plug-ins or add-ons that improve the interface or provide more control over how your site looks and functions. The right plug-ins give you the ability to shape your site into just about anything you want.

However, there are useless plug-ins and plug-ins that don’t function well together. So you need to choose carefully, because the wrong plug-ins can slow down the load speed of your site and even stop it from functioning completely. That is why it’s important to think before you activate. It’s also a good idea to limit the amount of plug-ins you install on your site to only the most beneficial and necessary.

When choosing which plug-ins to install you should start by making a list of the features you would like to include in your site design. Then only choose plug-ins that will help you achieve those goals and work to enhance the function of your site.

In order to use a plugin, you simply have log into your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the add new section under “Plugins” on your sidebar and begin searching for the plug-ins you would like to install.

From within the dashboard installing a plug-in is as easy as clicking on install now next to the plug-in you’ve chosen and then activating it.

Alternatively you can download, unzip and upload your new plug-in to your server under the public_html/yourblogdirectory/wp-content/plugins directory. Then you log into your dashboard and activate the plugin from there.

Now let’s go over three simple guidelines that will help you identify which plug-in’s will work best for your site….

– Know what you really need

Sort out the ideal-plug-ins according to necessity. If you are running an online store and financial transactions take place all the time, your website will be a sitting duck for hackers, so you might want to install a plug- in that prevents hackers from getting through and stealing the credit card details of your customers or one that detects suspicious log-ins.

– Check the credibility of the plug-in author

While, it is not hard to trust a person or a group that obviously has an established reputation on the web. Before installing any plug-in it’s a good idea to investigate its author, check out its reviews and make sure there aren’t any complaints from other users. This way you can be sure that you’re installing a plug-in that will not damage your site.

– Compare quality and ratings

Product comparison is the key to determining which plug-ins will work best for your site. Usually, you can narrow down your choices by comparing ratings and feedback that are provided in the plug- in directory. These ratings will help you gauge the credibility and popularity of the plug-in and it’s author.

Just think of yourself as a smart online shopper and don’t hit the ‘add to cart’ button until you have done your research and determined which product will work best for you and then remember the same caution must be practiced when ‘shopping’ for free or premium plug-ins.

How to centre an embedded YouTube video

At some time you will want to embed a Youtube video on your WordPress site.  Video can add interactivity and excitement to a blog post.  Luckily, WordPress and Youtube make this a very  easy process.  Centering your Youtube video can be a tricky process though, especially if you don’t know any coding.  There is a very simple fix though, that will ensure you can center any youtube video, or any object for that matter.

First you have to get the video into your post.  You go to Youtube, click embed (under video), choose your options and copy the code.  You then take that code and paste it into the WordPress HTML editor. Remember you have to set to HTML, using the button in top right corner.  Then you simply paste in your Youtube embed code. Now you have the video in your post or page.

Once you have that done you can switch back to the visual tab on the WordPress editor.  You will see your video (or object) as a large yellow box.  Ideally, you could simply click on that box and click the center button on the editor.  That doesn’t work.  I am not sure exactly why, but it is probably because the center command in WordPress inserts html code that the object doesn’t recognize.  Even if you wrap the object yourself in < center > tags it won’t work.

The fix is pretty simple though.  You just have to navigate back to the html part of your editor.  You won’t see the yellow box now you will see the embed code for the video.  Right before the embed code, enter: 

div (in between html brackets of course)

And then after the end of the embed code:

/div (also in html brackets)

When you switch back to your visual editor you will notice the yellow box is centered!  Now that you have learned this code you can center any youtube video or other object in each of your posts.  Use it often enough and it won’t be long until you have the code memorized. Try it on your next blog post and let me know how it works.

4 big reasons to use premium themes…

WordPress is a one of the internet’s most popular web publishing platforms. One of the biggest reasons for this are the themes.  With WordPress themes you can instantly change the style and look of your website, with literally a click of a button.  

Another great feature is that many of these themes can be found for free.  If you have been using WordPress you have probably done many Google searches for free themes.  They are out there and in some cases they are fabulous.  

What about paid themes though?  Have you ever thought of paying for a theme? Would you? 

I think in the right case, a paid theme makes a lot of sense.  What are the benefits?  

Well here are four big ones…

1. Support

When you are paying for a good WordPress theme you are also paying for support.  Any reputable dealer of WP themes will offer support, and most likely in the form of a forum. If you have any issues with your paid theme you can check out the forum and by either searching or asking you will get an answer.  The support team will be able to troubleshoot any problems you have with the theme.  They will be able to diagnose any plugin conflicts.  They may even help you with some custom coding.  On a premium theme forum I belonged to, the mods would even give me the exact code I needed to customize my site.  You will not get any or much support with a free theme.  Certainly not at the level described earlier.  For the most part you are on your own.  The time saved on troubleshooting alone will be worth the added price in no time.

2. Under The Hood Features

A lot of free themes look great, but they lack the under the hood features of paid themes.  Most paid themes will add a settings panel in your WordPress back office that is unique to that theme.  These control panels can make tasks like logo upload, favicon upload and other design features a snap.  These admin areas will also help you control what is shown on your home page and in any featured posts areas.  Sometimes you will even be able to change the color scheme of your premium theme from this area.

3. Removing Attribution

This might not be a huge deal for you, but if you are working for a client it might be to them.  Almost all free WordPress themes require you to keep a credit or attribution to them in your footer.  It isn’t a huge deal but it might mean your footer says something like; “Powered By Apple Green Designs” which is a link to the free theme home page.  If you are designing a site for a client, they might not want that.  In fact, even if it is your own site you might not want that.  Paid themes will usually offer you the chance to get rid of the attribution.  In fact some will have an option in their control panel so you can just click it off or replace it simply.

4. Subscription Opportunities

One last bonus I will mention is that many times theme developers will let you pay a cost to access all their premium themes.  This way you have access to a lot of really well designed themes.  These themes are often geared towards a different use too.  There are themes for photographers, tube themes, eShops, real estate etc…  Their will be a theme for just about any use you can think of, as well as a wide variety of style choices.  These kind of packages are great for the home based web designer.

These four reasons alone might be enough for you to make the change to a paid theme.  Free themes have come a long way and they offer some great features and design, but to really kick your site up a notch you might need to make the switch to a premium theme. 

When you want to take your WordPress site to the next level – think premium.

Emoji support from 4.2

With WordPress 4.2 comes the ability to include emojis in your blogs.

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Use a Mac?

Go up to the top menu >Edit>Emoji & Symbols

Use Windows?

  1. In Desktop mode, right-click the Taskbar
  2. Select “Toolbars”
  3. Select “Touch Keyboard”
  4. A new icon will appear in the System Tray (lower right corner of your screen) that looks like a keyboard.

You can even add emojis to your URLs, like I’ve done here!