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How to Find and Fix Broken Links in WordPress

When you create a website your focus surely is to attract and engage your visitors by providing them useful links on your WordPress website. This is the easiest way to grow your business and keep your users engaged. But what if there are broken links on your site? They will not only annoy your users but will also affect the SEO of your site. Therefore, you should know the ways to find out and fix the broken links present on your WordPress site.

What are Broken Links?

Broken links also known as dead links. They are the links on the web page that no longer exists. When a user clicks on a broken link an error message saying “404 page not found” will display on the page. These broken links can cause serious damage to your WordPress website as well as your business reputation.

However, broken links are a common problem that almost every website faces. Therefore, fixing these broken links strengthen your relationship with your customers and give positive signal to search engines. In order to avoid these potential pitfalls, you should regularly check for broken links on your WordPress site.

What are the Potential Causes of Broken Links?

Broken links happen to be there for multiple reasons.

  • Your user has mis-typed the URL. For instance, the user has typed www.wesbite.com instead of www.website.com and they are now seeing ‘404 page not found’ error.
  • The website’s permalink structure has now been changed.
  • The referenced page has been removed.
  • If you by any chance have forgotten to fix links after converting your site from HTML to WordPress, it will cause broken links.
  • External links from your website have gone dead.
  • You might have changed the location of the old page of your site.

However, it is always a good practice to keep a check on all links present on your WordPress website and if you find anything wrong, fix it quickly. Doing so will enhance the user experience on your site.

Why Finding Broken Links in WordPress Manually is Not a Practical Solution

There are several tools available that can help you find broken links on your site. You also have manual option to find the broken links. However, the manual method is not a very realistic approach to deal with this issue.

Moreover, if you have a multipage website, then it will take a lot of time to scan for broken links manually. As it doesn’t seem practical to manually check every single page of your website for broken links. Rather I would suggest you make use of tools to do this job. Let’s take a closer look at tools and services that allow you to scan your website for broken links and ways to fix them.

How to Fix Broken Links in WordPress Using Plugins?

There are various plugins and third party online services available but I will list down some cherry-pick tools here. That will give you amazing results with an easy installation process. However, this list includes several different category tools.

  1. SEMrush
  2. Broken Link checker Plugin
  3. Small SEO Tools
  4. Broken Link Checker Google Chrome Browser Extension
  5. Finding and Fixing broken links with Ahref

I will start with the first tool first and as we will move I will show how easily you can include these plugins to your WordPress website. So, here we go.

Finding broken links with SEMrush

SEMrush is a web-based SEO tool. It will not only help with the broken links but also with the overall SEO health of your website. You can use SEMrush to check for the broken links. Follow the below-given steps to use SEMrush.

Step 1: First off, log in to the SEMrush account. Then select ‘Site Audit’ from the menu.

site audit in semrush

Step 2: Now click on the ‘New Site Audit’ button. And enter your site URL to configure new settings.

adding a new site

Step 3: This audit may take some time to audit your site. Now click on the ‘Broken’ link that might have popped up during the audit.

site audit settings

broken links

broken links report

This is how you can use SEMrush to keep an eye on the broken links of your WordPress site.

Finding broken links in WordPress with Broken Link Checker plugin

This WordPress Broken Link Checker plugin is an extremely popular plugin. It can help you eliminate the 404 error. It’s an incredibly effective and efficient plugin that will crawl and scan every link on your site and make sure that each link is pointing to a correct URL. If it encounters any problem that will be shown in the broken links list. Let’s see how it works on your WordPress website.

Here are the steps to check broken links using Broken Link Checker Plugin.

Step 1: Install the Broken Link Checker plugin by following a simple process to install a WordPress plugin.

Step 2: After installing this plugin, it will scan your posts, pages, bookmarks, and other content on your WordPress website and search for links. However, the time it consumes depends on the size of your site. And it can be from minutes to hours. You can check the process by navigating to

Setting → Link Checker.

broken link checker options

Step 3: Soon after the analysis is completed if it finds any broken link that will be shown in the WordPress dashboard. You can easily find the notification in the ‘Broken Link Checker’ widget in the Admin panel.

WP Admin Panel → Tools → Broken Links.

Step 4: The ‘Broken Links’ tab will show the list of broken links found so far.

broken links report in WordPress

Step 5: There are certain actions related to each link to perform. They are

broken links options

  • Edit URL – It lets you change the URL of that link.
  • Unlink – It enables you to remove the link but keep the text unharmed.
  • Not Broken – You can manually mark a broken link working.
  • Dismiss – This will hide the broken links and it helps you acknowledge the broken link.
  • Status – This gives you information about the status of each link.

Finding broken links with Small SEO Tool

The Small SEO Tool is a free online broken link checker solution. It is a very user-friendly tool to detect broken links on your WordPress site and fix them. It supports multiple languages. Here are the steps to check broken links with a Small SEO Tool.

Step 1: Enter your URL and click on the ‘Check’ button. The Small SEO Tool uses its algorithm to check for the broken links.

smallseo tools broken link checker

Step 2: Since it is an online tool, you will get the result right away.

broken link checker result report

This online tool is not only simple to use but gives you amazing results that you can use to improve your site’s performance as well as SEO.

Finding broken links in WordPress with Broken Link Checker Chrome extension

This Broken Link Checker is not any online solution rather it’s an extension to be downloaded on your browser. And this Broken Link Checker I am talking about is a Chrome extension. It is one of the best Chrome extensions. It will watch for backlinks and also, automatically monitors the links daily. Here are the steps to check broken links using Broken Link Checker.

Step 1: In order to check the broken links this will directly install and run any additional program files. The report is generated directly without having to install any external plugin to your WP site.

install broken link checker chrome extension

Step 2: If any broken link is found on your site, it will highlight the broken and not working links.

broken link checker report

Step 3: If in case there’s an external link found broken, that will be shown in the report.

Finding and Fixing broken links with Ahref

Ahref broken link checker tool helps you fix your broken link and improve the site performance. You can use Ahref Audit Tool to check for broken links. Check out the steps to use Ahref for a broken link check.

Step 1: First, set up a project, enter your site URL, and run a scan. However, the time taken depends on your size site.

ahrefs broken link checker

Step 2: Once the scan is completed, head to the reports segment and there you will find a list including 404 errors on your WordPress site. You can now fix the links and make them work.

ahrefs broken link checker report

So, Which is Best Tool to Find Broken Links in WordPress Site

Each tool described in this post is capable of finding and fixing broken links on your WordPress website. Every broken link needs to be either removed, replaced, or fixed. However, removing the links may lead to losing the site traffic. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you should not fix these broken links. Which tool is suitable for your project depends on you. If you want to go for some premium plans then you may choose between the web-based tools such as SEMrush. And if you want a simple and free solution then you may choose the Broker Links Checker WordPress Plugin or Chrome extension or Small SEO Tool. They are equally capable and efficient when it comes to finding the broken links.

Happy Finding and Fixing!

How to Fix Broken Links in WordPress

If you wish to fix the broken links on your WordPress site, then the most convincing way is to redirect the broken links to another pages using 301 redirects. You can easily find broken links in WordPress using the Broken inks Checker plugin. For instance, say you have shifted the entire content to an all-new address. Of course, it makes sense to redirect the link to a new location.

Easy Way to Manually Backup Your WordPress Website

If you’re new to WordPress you’re probably unfamiliar with the process of backing up a website.

Even if you’re a bit overwhelmed at the task or confused as to what to do, backups are one of the most crucial aspects of owning and/or managing a website, so be sure to pay attention in this area.

In the following blog post, we discuss the process of manually backing up a WordPress website. This process entails backing up the MySQL database as well as the site files.

There are a number of automated backup options – plugins, tools, and solutions – available, but beyond setting up an automated backup process, it’s important to know how to manually backup your website should the need arise.

As mentioned above, manually backing up a website will require you to log into the server and export the two core components (site files and database) from two different locations.

The site files will be located within the File Manager console of your server, while your database can be accessed through phpMyAdmin.

For the below guide, we’ll be using cPanel as the server reference. If in the event your server is set up using a different platform, look for the same or similarly worded areas – File Manager and phpMyAdmin – in your user dashboard.

Before you begin, a good practice for this process is to create a folder on your computer and rename it as either your or your client’s business name and follow the name with the date of the backup. Within this folder, create two subfolders called “Site Files” and “Database”.

How to Manually Export Your WordPress Website’s Database

To begin, log in to the admin interface of your website’s cPanel using either your chosen login details or those shared with you by your client.

WordPress uses a MySQL database system to operate. Web developers can interact with the website’s database through the phpMyAdmin console. The database stores a number of indexes, users, tables and more, each which contain various systems and processes relating to the functioning of the website.

To export the database, click on the Databases dropdown and select phpMyAdmin. Once selected, the phpMyAdmin console will open in a new browser tab.

Once you’re inside phpMyAdmin, look on the left-hand side panel and select the database of the website. If the server itself is hosting a number of websites, you’ll see a list of available, linked websites. Once you’ve selected the correct database, the right-hand panel will display all of the tables associated with the site.

Now, click on the tab that says “Export”. Note, in other servers it may be required to scroll down to the bottom of the table list and click a checkbox that says ‘Select All’ before clicking on the “Export” tab.

Once you’re in the Export console, you’ll be met with a few input options:

  1. Select Quick as the Export method
  2. Select SQL as the Format option
  3. Click Go

A file should automatically start downloading and will save to either your Downloads folder or similar. Once the download has completed you should see a file with the suffix .sql saved on your computer. Move this file to the subfolder named “Database”.

For whatever reason, should the database not automatically download, it may display directly within in your phpMyAdmin console. If this happens, simply copy everything in the display box and paste it into a new IDE file (Sublime, Brackets or your computer’s default TextEdit). Once pasted, save the file as db.sql, companyname.sql or similar, and move it to the relevant folder.

Great!

You’ve successfully exported your website’s database. The next step is to export the site files.

How to Manually Export Your WordPress Website’s Site Files

When exporting your website’s site files, the most common route is simply to use CPanel itself. In some cases, users may need to export the site files by using FTP.

Both of these methods are explained below.

Exporting Your WordPress Website’s Site Files Using CPanel

Once you’ve logged into CPanel, navigate to the dashboard and select the File Manager option.

In the File Manager, navigate to the right-hand column and select the folder named ‘public_html’. Note, you may have to move around between folders. Once you’ve located public_html, click on the folder name (not double clicking on it as this will open the folder) and click Compress.

A pop up will appear. Select .zip Archive then click Compress File(s).

Once the files have been compressed, click on the ‘public_html.zip’ folder and click Download.

Once the download is complete, remember to delete the .zip file as it’ll take up unnecessary space on your server. To do this, click on the ‘public_html.zip’ folder and click Delete.

At this point, locate the .zip file and move it to the Site Files folder.

Great! You’ve successfully exported your website’s site files!

If you are unable to export the site files directly from the CPanel, you’ll need to use an FTP client to connect to your website’s server.

What is FTP?

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This useful piece of software allows you to make a connection between a live website’s server and your computer.

With an FTP client, you’re able to access the live server, export and save the site files, and/or move the website’s files onto your desktop, and vice versa. A bit of a confusing interface at first contact, using the FTP client will become second nature with practice.

Two of the leading FTP clients are FileZilla and Cyberduck. Simply visit either of the respective websites, download the latest version of the software and install it on your device.

Once your FTP client has been downloaded and is up and running, you can connect to your website’s server in a few easy steps. For this demonstration, we’ll be using FileZilla.

How To Use FTP To Connect To Your Website’s Server

To connect to your website’s server, you’ll need the FTP login credentials. To locate these details, log into cPanel, navigate to Files and click on FTP Accounts.

If you can’t find the correct login details, contact your hosting service provider.

Once you open up FileZilla, you’ll see two panels:

  • The left-hand side (the local site) is your computer
  • The right-hand side (the remote site) is the server you will be connecting to.

Now, navigate to File > Site Manager.

Next, a window will pop up. Click on ‘New Site’ and give the website a name.

In the right-hand panel, you’ll be asked to specify a number of details:

  • Host is usually the domain name of the website in question
  • Select Normal as the Logon Type
  • Enter the relevant details for the Username and Password

When you’ve entered all of the above, click Connect. FileZilla will save all of these settings so you won’t have to re-enter all of the information the next time you connect to the server.

Once you connect to the server, look under the “Remote Site” panel and you’ll see a list of your website’s files and folders. Click on the dropdown arrow and scroll until you see a folder named “public_html”. This folder is also called the root folder and it is the entire collection of your website’s site files.

If you’ve previously set up local sites or created a child theme, you’ll see that some of these files and folders look quite familiar.

This folder, the public_html folder, is what we’ll export for the backup.

How to Manually Export Your WordPress Website’s Site Files

Remember the folder on your desktop called “Website Name” with the subfolders “Site Files” and “Database”? Well, we’ll be transferring the contents of the public_html folder into the Site Files folder

In the FTP client, head to the left-hand panel and sort through the Local site (your computer) until you find the backup folder.

Next, go to the right-hand side panel and locate the public_html folder of the website you’d like to back up.

Now, click and hold on the public_html folder on the right-hand panel and drag it across to the Site Files folder in the left-hand panel.

Let the transfer/export process run until complete (how long the process takes depends on your internet speed).

Finally, head on over to the “Website Name + Backup Date” folder. You’ll see that the entire public_html folder is there, as well as the SQL database in the Database folder.

Now that you’ve backed up the website’s database and it’s site files, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve safeguarded yourself and your client’s website.

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Everything You Need to Know About Pageless Web Design

Pageless Web design is a design technique that concentrates everything on a single page. All the information on the site is presented on that page and therefore it is also known as single page design. Some of its best features include guided narrative that evolves like a story, use of responsive elements and an intuitive scrolling experience for the users.

Pageless design can be the future of web design. Quite often it is used to upgrade an old site and make it look like new. It is perhaps the best design technique available today. Most of the web designers for hire have already opted for pageless web design.

What Makes Pageless Web Design Suitable for All Websites?

It uses stories as its most important feature to inspire and captivate the users and motivate them to action. Stories tend to have a long-lasting impression in the minds of the users. When it is used in the design, it is presented in proper order so that one thing connects to another. It is not a set of information displayed haphazardly on the screen. The information that requires the highest priority appears first followed by something that falls next in the list of priorities. The user or the visitor cannot help but make a natural, uncontrolled progress to the end of the site. He/She is able to absorb the message that the site is trying to convey, and it has a powerful impact on the person. The action is seamless and whole.

Pageless design is highly responsive. It uses responsive elements on the screen, such as fluid grids, flexible frameworks, and so on. It works seamlessly across all devices. Pageless web design is extremely mobile-friendly because it does not question the importance of the mobile user; instead, it goes straight into creating websites that can be marketed effectively to such users. It ensures that the site generates as much traffic from mobile phone users as it does from desktop users.

The effective use of intuitive scrolling is another factor that makes pageless web design a satisfying experience for users. It creates websites that have a linear scrolling pattern and viewers have to scroll down to view all the elements on the page. These days, with so many popular social media platforms such as Facebook users, have adopted more naturally to scrolling in a page. Therefore, when they find the same features on a website, they tend to connect more with the experience. Moreover, they do not have to click on different elements to view them. Clicking is not only time consuming, but it also involves a conscious decision on their part. And they can avoid this by scrolling. Scrolling is also faster and can provide more information at once than a single click can. The page-load is less likely to slow down. The best thing about it is that it works perfectly on mobile phones as well.

Pageless web design goes beyond traditional design techniques. It integrates within itself certain “bubble wrap” techniques to captivate the users. Some of these techniques include creative animation, chiming buttons, boxes flipping on the screen, and so on. These interactive elements on the screen are fun and engaging for the users, and they are bound to create a positive impact on them. They help to create an emotional connect with the users.

Should You Opt for Pageless Web Design?

Perhaps, the most crucial reason why you should opt for pageless design is that it leads to higher conversion rates. Due to the simplicity of the design, its storytelling aspect and its high level of interactions it allows users to focus and ultimately generate new leads. They are less likely to be confused or mislead. With such a design, it is easier to promote a brand and its products, to improve its sales and to grow its online community. Automatically, it reduces the chances of bounce rates and encourages people to share the website with others.

Choosing a pageless design for your site can be the best option for your business. Unlike traditional websites that required a large sum of money to be customised, pageless design is highly cost-effective. It enables you to create the best user experience across all devices at an affordable price. Getting the best results for your site is at your fingertips. All you need to do is make the most of it.

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What is SQLite and How to Use?

SQLite is a light (lite) weight software library that can be used to perform database operations. It provides a small, fast, contained, reliable, SQL database engine that can be used on devices with low power like Mobile or PC with low RAM. Remember it’s not SQL.
Here are a few differences between SQL and SQLite,
  • SQL is server based whereas SQLite is files based
  • SQLite does not support all features  of SQL like stored procedures.
  • SQL is standard that specifies how data can be stored whereas SQLite is a set of libraries

Here are few major features that makes SQLite unique and very popular,

  • Zero configuration — that means there is no need to setup anything. Just install and use.
  • Self contained, that means no external dependency
  • Cross platform means it can be used on Linux, Mac, Andriod
  • Serverless – that means no separate server is required. SQLite directly communicates with database file of application.
  • SQLite supports dynamic types; i.e. in tables any value can be stored irrespective of column data type.

How to use SQLite (using Nuget)

SQLite comes as a Nuget package so it can be used very easily
  1. Create a Visual Studio Project
  2. In Nuget Manager Search/Select ‘SQLite’
  3. Install it.
Done !! Very easy.
You are done ?? Now you could start coding as you used to do with SQL in C#.
While writing the code use reference of ‘System.Data.SQLite’ .
While making the connection string use path of dbFile so full connection string would be like
String conStrng = @”Data Source = ” + dbFilePath + “;” + “Password=” + “ABCD”;
After that create connection using SQLiteConnectionObject and then you could do Insert/Update/Delete etc operations using various Api’s available like SQLiteDataReader, SQLiteCommand
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What’s New in Joomla 4?

Joomla’s next major version, the Joomla 4.0 along with its 2.0 Framework has gone through a lot of development so far, so we can expect a lot of improvements in the platform once it comes out. Some of these improvements include a brand new Media Manager, an even better event dispatcher than before, and support for prepared SQL statements.

In addition, the developers have gone through the system searching for deprecated code. These will all be changed as a maintenance procedure until Joomla 4.0 comes out. It was also announced that PHP 7 will be a main requirement for the new Joomla and they are willing to support it for a longer time than Joomla 3.x.

Why Did They Choose PHP 7?

It is always important to choose a PHP version that is fully supported for an amount of time that enables the new Joomla version to run for years. Currently, the only version that meets this requirement is PHP 7. The current list of supported versions goes back to PHP 5 which won’t be supported for much longer. There is no point in choosing a version that’s only supported for the first few months after Joomla 4.0 comes out.

There are huge benefits of using PHP 7 instead of PHP 5 anyway. The PHP 7 version is 50% more powerful when it comes to memory consumption. Its overall performance has gone through a lot of improvements. As a result, Joomla websites will be much faster with PHP 7 than with PHP 5.

Let’s take a look at the current supported versions of PHP. Every time a version is fully released, it gets two years of full support from then on. The support includes fixing security issues and bugs based on reports. These fixes come out as updates quite regularly, so that you can apply them and rest assured that it runs fine.

After two years, the particular PHP branch only gets partial support for one additional year. This is only limited to fixing critical security issues, nothing more. After that additional year, the branch is considered as outdated so you better pick a newer version because it becomes more and more vulnerable over time.

Now let’s see the list of PHP versions that are currently supported:

  • PHP 5.6 – Came out in Aug 2014, actively supported until Jan 2017, only security support until Dec 2018
  • PHP 7.0 – Came out in Dec 2015, actively supported until Dec 2017, only security support until Dec 2018
  • PHP 7.1 – Came out in Dec 2016, still gets active support until Dec 2018 and only security support until Dec 2019
  • PHP 7.2 – Came out in Nov 2017, still gets active support until Nov 2019 and security support lasts until Nov 2020

As you can see, they extended both the active and security support for the 5.6 version of PHP. However, the newer versions don’t follow the same practice.

Joomla 4.0 Comes with New Features

Joomla 4.0 comes with plenty of improvements and new features that will completely change the user-experience. It will have better design and performance, while the whole dashboard will be neatly organized. We made you a list of some of the mentionable features just to give you a feel about how different Joomla 4.0 will be:

  • Bootstrap 4 Integration – The previous version in Joomla was Bootstrap 2, but they are finally going to upgrade it to Bootstrap 4, the newest one. This is a key requirement that will help you to create mobile-ready websites in the future. It’s not only a powerful tool for websites, but Joomla also wants to make sure that there will be no compatibility issues.
  • Pages will Load Faster – We already mentioned that the developer team is getting rid of deprecated code. This maintenance process is also about improving the code, using better technologies. This is a huge step forward, as it will significantly improves Joomla’s page load times.
  • Framework 2.x – The 1.x framework for Joomla is also going to be outdated soon. Time to switch to the new one, as the framework 2.x is already released. We can expect big changes in the library packages and PHP 7 will be the bare minimum version that is going to be supported.

In the 1.x framework, there were numerous functionalities that weren’t really useful or straight up bad. These all going to be removed and the Joomla Framework 2.0 will come back in a much better form.

  • SEO Improvements – We don’t know much about this one, but at least it’s clear that developers want to work on the SEO before they release Joomla 4.0. SEO was always an essential part of Joomla, as the platform provided numerous features just to ensure a top-notch SEO for the users. In the new version, we can expect new SEO features to come out as they already have a detailed plan for it.
  • No More jQuery – Joomla 3.x uses jQuery as the main library for JavaScript. It is now clear that this solution is very problematic. To make it work seamlessly, there are certain plugins that need to be applied to it. However, there will be no jQuery in Joomla 4.x. Instead of depending on jQuery, they are simply going to remove it from Joomla’s core.js and then change it to plain JavaScript.

New Joomla, New Backend

The first thing you will see in Joomla 4.0 is a redesigned login screen which is more flexible and attractive than the older one. You will be able to customize your login screen by adding a background image to it. There will be major changes applied to the dashboard as well. Since the Joomla dashboard represents the backend of your website giving you access to a wide range of functionalities, it needs to be as straightforward and flexible as possible.

joomla 4 backend

There were lots of negative reviews of the older dashboard, explaining how confusing it is sometimes. It was often cluttered and hard to work with, but the new dashboard will be a lot more user-friendly. In 4.0, you will be able to arrange the shortcuts and modules in a way that suits your workflow the best. All in all, there will be no countless options all around the place, only the options you really need in the right places.

Besides the dashboard, there is a smart little menu on the top of the screen that can also be personalized. You can put your most used menu items there like Media, New Article and so on. But there are even more functionalities that are simplified or moved to a better place and the overall picture will be pretty impressive.

Still, the part that got the most negative reviews in the older version is definitely the Media Manager. The community pointed out so many nerve-racking details that it simply had to be changed. They are currently working on improving this part as well, while giving the whole CMS a clean, user-friendly design overall.

Re-evaluating Software Support for Joomla 4.0

The 3.x version of Joomla was released back in September 2012 and if we add up all the support scheduled for the version, it sums up to more than eight years. It will soon reach its end date, but it was quite a lot of time and soon, Joomla 4.0 will need full attention. We can expect a similar lifetime for the new version as well, meaning that Joomla 4.0 will be supported from 2018 to 2025 at least.

For this time period, developers need to regularly work on fixes and improvements. Joomla is still one of the most popular CMS out there and people need it to be a reliable platform for building and managing websites. But there is no need to worry because Joomla’s developer team is already prepared for the future support needs of Joomla 4.0.

They already made the right choice with PHP 7 which will provide long-lasting support. However, the web industry is evolving in many different ways and there are plenty of technologies that Joomla fundamentally depends on. In order to function properly, all its building blocks need to be up to date. With these rapid changes, the Joomla 4.0 and its 2.0 Framework will be a great opportunity for Joomla developers to re-evaluate the system and provide regular fixes, updates and extensive support.

Become a Joomla 4.0 Tester

Joomla is now starting to follow WordPress by greatly improving their installation process. It becomes much simpler and faster to install the new version. With WordPress, it takes 3-5 minutes to fully install and try the platform and we can expect something similar in Joomla 4.0.

You will be able to choose the “Customize installation” option. This will allow you to change the language of the setup and demo data will be also available. In the same installation process, you will be able to add extensions that you want to be available once the setup is finished.

Joomla 4.0 still doesn’t have a specified release date, but at least you can try it out. Simply install the alpha version, log in and start testing. It will be a version that changes the whole experience, so it’s definitely worth to try it out. If you are curious about Joomla 4.0 but you don’t want to install the real thing, there is also a prototype version that can be checked online.

joomla 4 templates

It is basically an online app simulating the experience. We have used the previous version for quite a long time, but finally Joomla comes up with something new and up-to-date. Clean design, well-organized dashboard, smart menus, top performance and it will be all beginner-friendly. This will be the new age of Joomla, the CMS in its modern form.

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How To Connect SQL Server Database Using C# and Perform CRUD Operation

In this tutorial I will teach you how to connect to SQL Server using C# and perform a basic CRUD operation in object oriented manner.

You will also learn how to use DataGridView to display data from the database and how to get the data from the selected row of the data grid.

For this project, you need to have a SQL Management Studio to create a database.

You also need a Visual Studio. Currently the latest version of Visual Studio is 2019.

After installing SQL Management Studio and Visual Studio. We can now start with our project.

Open your SQL Management Studio to connect to you Database server.

Server Name

If you install Visual Studio 2019 in your machine then you can enter (LocalDb)\MSSQLLocalDB for your server name.

Then Create new database and name it EmployeeDb.

In EmployeeDb create a new table called Employees.

Add IdFirstNameLastName columns in your table.

employees table

Then add some data in your employees table.

table data

Now we are done with our database.

Open your Visual Studio and create a new Windows Forms App and name it SQLCSHARPCRUD.

To make cleaner and reusable code instead of directly accessing the database in our form we will create a class that will be responsible for connecting to database and performing our CRUD operation.

Add new class in our project and name it Employee.cs. This class is a representation of our Employees table in our code. Add properties Id, FirstName and LastName in our Employee class.

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namespace SQLCSHARPCRUD
{
    public class Employee
    {
        public int Id { get; set; }
        public string FirstName { get; set; }
        public string LastName { get; set; }
        public string FullName
        {
            get
            {
                return $"{FirstName} {LastName}";
            }
        }
    }
}

I added a new property called FullName. It is a read only property and will have a value of a combination of FirstName and LastName.

Then open app.config then add app settings for provider and connectionString inside the configuration tag.

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<appSettings>
    <add key="provider" value="System.Data.SqlClient"/>
    <add key="connectionString" value="Data Source=(LocalDb)\MSSQLLOCALDB;Initial Catalog=EmployeeDb;Integrated Security=True"/>
  </appSettings>

To access the data in app.config we need to add a reference for System.Configuration.

system config

Now add a new class and name it EmployeeRepository.cs. Copy and paste the code below to your EmployeeRepository class.

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using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Configuration;
using System.Data.Common;
namespace SQLCSHARPCRUD
{
    public class EmployeeRepository
    {
        DbProviderFactory factory;
        string provider;
        string connectionString;
        public EmployeeRepository()
        {
            provider = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["provider"];
            connectionString = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["connectionString"];
            factory = DbProviderFactories.GetFactory(provider);
        }
        public List<Employee> GetAll()
        {
            var employees = new List<Employee>();
            using(var connection = factory.CreateConnection())
            {
                connection.ConnectionString = connectionString;
                connection.Open();
                var command = factory.CreateCommand();
                command.Connection = connection;
                command.CommandText = "Select * From Employees;";
                using (DbDataReader reader = command.ExecuteReader())
                {
                    while (reader.Read())
                    {
                        employees.Add(new Employee
                        {
                            Id = (int)reader["Id"],
                            FirstName = (string)reader["FirstName"],
                            LastName = (string)reader["LastName"]
                        });
                    }
                }
            }
            return employees;
        }
    }
}

In this code we used DbProviderFactory to create connection and execute command in our database.

In our GetAll Method. We executed the Select Query and store the data in employee list then return it, so other part of the program that will call GetAll method will get all the data from our Employees table.

Now go to Form1 and add a datagrid view.

datagridview

Click the arrow in upper right corner of datagridView then click Edit Columns. Then add columns Id, FirstName, LastName and Name.

To bind the columns in a property of our Employee class. Change the value of DataPropertyName to match the name of the property in our Employee class.

Set DataPropertyName of Id to Id. Then for the FirstName set to FirstName. LastName to LastName and for Name set the DataPropetyName to FullName.

Then I don’t want the FirstName and LastName to be visible in our gridView, so set FirstName and LastName visible property to False.

edit columns

Run your program and if everything works well you should the same output as mine.

output readOnly

In this post you will learn how to insert, update and delete data in the database using C#.

Let’s start by adding form controls to enter data.

Add two textboxes in the form and name it txtAddFN and txtAddLN. Then add a button and name it btnSave and change the text to Save.

add form

Then add controls for details. txtIdtxtFNtxtLNbtnUpdatebtnDelete. Change the value of ReadOnly property of txtId to true.

detailsForm

Now open your EmployeeRepository class. We will Add, Update and Delete methods here to support CRUD operation of our application.

Copy and paste the code below inside your  EmployeeRepository class.

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public void Add(Employee employee)
        {
            using (var connection = factory.CreateConnection())
            {
                connection.ConnectionString = connectionString;
                connection.Open();
                var command = factory.CreateCommand();
                command.Connection = connection;
                command.CommandText = $"Insert Into Employees (FirstName, LastName) Values ('{employee.FirstName}', '{employee.LastName}');";
                command.ExecuteNonQuery();
            }
        }
        public void Update(Employee employee)
        {
            using (var connection = factory.CreateConnection())
            {
                connection.ConnectionString = connectionString;
                connection.Open();
                var command = factory.CreateCommand();
                command.Connection = connection;
                command.CommandText = $"Update Employees Set FirstName = '{employee.FirstName}', LastName = '{employee.LastName}' Where Id = {employee.Id};";
                command.ExecuteNonQuery();
            }
        }
        public void Delete(int id)
        {
            using (var connection = factory.CreateConnection())
            {
                connection.ConnectionString = connectionString;
                connection.Open();
                var command = factory.CreateCommand();
                command.Connection = connection;
                command.CommandText = $"Delete From Employees Where Id = {id};";
                command.ExecuteNonQuery();
            }
        }

Now select your datagridView then click events. Double click in the event name CellClick. Write this code inside your CellClick event.

Here we check if there is a selected row in our datagridView. If there is a selected row we will get the first row the convert it to object type Employee. Then display the employee details in the detail textboxes.

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private void DataGridView1_CellClick(object sender, DataGridViewCellEventArgs e)
        {
            if(dataGridView1.SelectedRows.Count > 0)
            {
                var row = dataGridView1.SelectedRows[0];
                var employee = (Employee)row.DataBoundItem;
                txtId.Text = employee.Id.ToString();
                txtFN.Text = employee.FirstName;
                txtLN.Text = employee.LastName;
            }
        }

Then in the form, double click the btnSave and change the code to look like this code.

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private void BtnSave_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            if(!string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtAddFN.Text) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtAddLN.Text))
            {
                employeeRepository.Add(new Employee
                {
                    FirstName = txtAddFN.Text,
                    LastName = txtAddLN.Text,
                });
                txtAddFN.Text = string.Empty;
                txtAddLN.Text = string.Empty;
                dataGridView1.DataSource = employeeRepository.GetAll();
            }
        }

What we did here was check if txtAddFN and txtAddLN has a value then call the Add method of EmployeeRepository.

Now double click your btnUpdate and put this code.

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private void BtnUpdate_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            if(!string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtId.Text) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtFN.Text) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtLN.Text))
            {
                employeeRepository.Update(new Employee
                {
                    Id = int.Parse(txtId.Text),
                    FirstName = txtFN.Text,
                    LastName = txtLN.Text
                });
                dataGridView1.DataSource = employeeRepository.GetAll();
            }
        }

Then double click your btnDelete and copy this code.

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private void BtnDelete_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        {
            if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtId.Text) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtFN.Text) && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(txtLN.Text))
            {
                employeeRepository.Delete(int.Parse(txtId.Text));
                txtId.Text = string.Empty;
                txtFN.Text = string.Empty;
                txtLN.Text = string.Empty;
                dataGridView1.DataSource = employeeRepository.GetAll();
            }
        }

Now run your application and if everything went well. You should be able to Create, Update and Delete data using C#.

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Some Concepts Before You Start Coding Node.JS

This article will help you grasp different concepts behind Node.js and will empower you to create production-ready applications.

Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient.

We have all read the above statement, but what does it really mean? Let us understand how traditional server models used to work.

In a traditional server model, for each request to the server, a thread is spawned to handle the same request. This type of implementation doesn’t scale much, as the number of multiple requests your server can handle is directly proportional to the number of threads your machine can spawn.

In Node, a process consists of one main thread of execution, and a myriad of background threads (typically performing I/O work). Coordination between the background threads and the main thread is performed using a queue. The main thread pulls tasks from the queue (enqueued in the order they were received) and executes them.

In short, some of the few benefits of using Node.js are listed below:

  • Reduces development time.

But there are some cases where you shouldn’t use Node.js.

Before actually coding in Node.js, I would like to mention some of the core concepts of Javascript which allow Node.js to work the way it does.


1. Higher Order Functions

This might be a very common thing for any JS developer, but someone who is new to JS might find this weird. In JS, you can pass a function as a parameter to another function. Let us understand this with a simple example.

function speak(name, callback) {
  alert(`${name} threw a boomerang few years ago`);
  callback();
}
function sayWhat(){
  alert('Now he lives in fear!');
}
speak('Pankaj', sayWhat);

In the above example, the function sayWhat was passed to speak function.


2. Callbacks

In the above example we already saw callback in use. The following statement halts the code execution.

alert(`${name} threw a boomerang few years ago`);

Once you close the alert, the method which was passed is being called. This is called a callback.


3. Event Loop

All the function calls are put into a call stack on LIFO basis. The event loop continuously checks the call stack to see if there’s any function that needs to run. While doing so, it adds any function call it finds to the call stack and executes each one in order.

Let us take a practical approach to understanding event loop. First run the code below.

function first(){
  console.log('First Function, So Wow!!'); // 1
}
function second(){
  console.log('Second Function, So Wow Wow!!'); //2
}
console.log('Hello World!'); // 3
first();
second();
console.log('Callbacks are cool '); // 4

The above code will work as expected. 3 → 1 → 2 → 4

function first(){
  console.log('First callback, So Wow!!'); // 1
}
function second(){
  console.log('Second callback, So Wow Wow!!'); // 2
}
console.log('Welcome to the meetup'); // 3
setTimeout(first,0);
second();
console.log('Callbacks are cool'); //4

The result for a minimum setTimeout calls the function which is passed as a parameter after the time mentioned in the second parameter. As the time is mentioned as 0, you might think the output to be 3 → 1 → 2 → 4. But because of the way event loops work, it is actually 3 → 2→ 4 → 1.

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Step-By-Step SEO for Ecommerce Websites

Why is SEO Important for E-Commerce?

Gaining new customers can be hard, especially if you’re not being found by search engines. And, with 44% of online shoppers beginning their search with a search engine,  you’re going to want to hop on the SEO bandwagon. Why? Well, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales in 2015 were $341.7 billion for the year. That’s a 14.6% increase compared to 2014s $298.3 billion. The report went on further to note that online sales were 7.3% of total retail sales in 2015, versus 6.4% in 2014.

Still not convinced to use SEO for e-commerce? Kissmetrics saw that 30.5% of all traffic to Yotpo’s database was coming from organic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Or, check out Ahrefs case study on Australia-based toy company, ToyUniverse. Ahrefs saw an increase in organic traffic by 116% through SEO efforts. And, let’s not forget about SEMrush’s double jeopardy technique to increase site traffic by 1780%.

1. Keyword Research

Every 60 seconds, 700,000 Google searches are performed. That’s a lot. And, want to hear something even crazier? The average consumer processes 100,500 digital words on a daily basis. So, with all this information, how do you make sure customers find you in the search engines?

To reach your consumers, you must start with a targeted keyword list.

As you may expect, creating keyword lists are a must-have when getting any new client or preparing your site. I admit I’m overjoyed that keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and I fully support long-tail keyword terms and writing high-quality content surrounding those long-tail terms.

2. Site Architecture

Ecommerce brands, listen up: If you’ve been looking for an excuse to revamp your website, this may be it. Site architecture (or how you organize your site) is crucial for all e-commerce sites. Mostly due to the fact most e-commerce websites have millions of product pages.

The site architecture allows you to map out how the user flows through your website. As the website owner, you want the user to be able to quickly identify key pages and the relationships between the pages.

Before building your navigation and site structure, walk-through this mind-mapping process.

Step one: Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What search queries do consumers use before they get to your site?
  2. What search queries do consumers use once they’re on your site?
  3. What pages on your website get the most traffic?
  4. What are your top exit pages?

Step two: Decide if the drop-down menus are something you’d like to incorporate in your navigation bar.

If you decide to move forward with the drop down menu (as most sites do) make sure you’re using HTML. This is a common mistake I see when working on e-commerce sites. Search engines cannot find your navigation unless it’s written in HTML. Also, keep in mind you don’t want to go link crazy. Moz recommends 100 links per page max.

Step three: Use your head keyword terms (as discussed above) to decide what you want to name your category pages.

I would recommend using this head keyword term in your page title, header, and include it in the top 200-word paragraph.

Step four: If you’re using filters (as most e-commerce sites with 20 products or more on a page do), pay close attention to your URL parameters.

Funky URL parameters can cause duplicate content.

Step five: Add breadcrumbs to your product pages to give users and the search engines another opportunity to see where your product fits on your site.

Another cool thing about breadcrumbs? Sometimes Google will show your breadcrumbs instead of your URL.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO will forever be in my heart (and web redesign queues). And if you’re an e-commerce business, technical SEO will forever be on your marketing calendar. The technical SEO is no longer simply about sitemaps and meta tags. As the lines between technical SEO and on-site SEO continue to blur, it’s easier than ever to build a website with clean URLs, correct internal linking, and most importantly, without any stacked redirects.

If you’ve found your website is lacking in the technical SEO department, you’ll be surprised at just how far a few simple updates can go. By inserting canonical tags and switching up homepage internal links for the right content, you’ll realize that technical SEO can improve just about any site, e-commerce or not.

Let’s dive into some of the technical SEO ideas that will you bring your site from sad-face to smiley-face emoji in 😍 no time.

Step One: Implement Schema Markup

Wouldn’t life be great if Google solved our daily “my site isn’t getting found” dilemma? Well, with rich snippets or schema markup, you’re able to highlight specific pieces of information for Google and other search engines.

There are two types of schema markup you’re going to want to add to your e-commerce website. Each of these has their attributes.

Step Two: Clean Up URLs

Visualize the pages of your website. Now think about how much of it your users actually navigate to. For many of us, the discrepancy between pretty, clean URL structures and dynamic URLs is extreme. It’s hardly surprising, considering how quickly we assign a sentimental value to our URL structure — and forget about what’s best for our site. But having a disorganized URL structure can be a major pain to your consumers, especially when you have hoards of product pages and categories.

Step Three: Switch to HTTPS if You’re Still an HTTP

With so much private information like credit card numbers, passwords, and home addresses at their disposal, e-commerce website owners have become the forefront for HTTPS. It’s so important for e-commerce that Shopify allowed users to activate their SSL certifications at no additional charge.

So, what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?

HTTPS (Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol) is essentially HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). It’s just a more secure version. Like HTTP, HTTPS allows the browser to begin a connection to the server on a standard port. However, HTTPS then adds a layer of security using SSL (Secure Socket Layers) to transfer data. This helps to avoid damages by third parties and keeps data encrypted.

On top of the bonus security features that HTTPS offers, HTTPS is also a ranking factor. Google announced in 2014 that sites offering a secure site through HTTPS would experience higher ranking benefits.

Step Four: Redirect 404 Pages

Even if you’re not the type to work up to your zero 404 errors in Google Search Console (or know what that means—no shame), it’s still a great idea to do some cleaning and redirecting of your dead pages. After all, Google is all about user experience.

If a product is no longer available and you delete that page, your potential consumer might receive a 404 page. Not cool. Redirecting users with a 301 redirect—or, permanent redirect—is the best route to go. This 301 redirect passes around 90% of link love. So, for example, if your old product was ranking well for specific keyword terms, 90% of that will pass to the new page.

I try to steer clear of 302 redirects—temporary redirects—mostly because it sends us 0% link love.

If you do get stuck with a large amount of 404 errors, I recommend creating a custom 404 page. This will create a better user experience and contain a link to the previous page the user was on. You can also add a fun message.

Step Five: Implement Pagination

You’ve heard it time and again: Infinite scrolling equals a better user experience. And it’s true. However, infinite scrolling is not ideal for usability and negatively affects your search results on desktop and mobile.  But, as simple as it seems, there are a lot of opinions out there on what works best for e-commerce.

In a recent study by the Baymard Institute, they break down pagination vs. the “load more” button vs. infinite scrolling. In my eyes, this seems to be SEO (Team Pagination) vs. UX designer (Team Infinite Scrolling).

Step Six: Canonicalize Products

Figuring out what and how to canonicalize your e-commerce site is one of those mundane parts of maintaining a website that no one warns you about. Sure, you can publish a new product any time (and sometimes you do!), but being in charge of your canonicalization every day can get overwhelming.

Step Seven: Cross-link your top pages.

Chances are, unless you’ve spent time googling how to internal link as an e-commerce site, you’ve seen the power internal linking can have on your website. While this process is quite common among SEOs, it can often be forgotten for newbies.

When you think of internal linking, you probably think of hyperlinking a keyword term to some slightly relevant page on your website or excessively linking to too many pages on your site. That’s not what I’m talking about. Internal linking allows you to guide the user from one page on your site to another. This improves user engagement and navigation.

Step Eight: Create a sitemap.

An XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap creates a readable format of your site for search engines. XML sitemaps are a list of the URLs on your website.

If you’re an e-commerce site with lots of pages, it’s time to get familiar with XML sitemaps. Google states you can list up to 50,000 files in one sitemap. So, unless you’re Amazon or Microsoft, you might be able to get away with just one sitemap. However, when I’m working on e-commerce sites, I like to break down my sitemaps into different sections.

Step Nine: Optimize for mobile.

With the launch of Google AMP pages and Google announcing mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re not on board with mobile optimization by now, then you’ll be left on page 50 of Google’s search results. And, you’ve probably noticed a trend on your site with mobile driving more traffic to your site than other avenues.

Step Ten: Page speed.

If you manage a website, you know that improving page speed can be difficult to crack down. In fact, every website owner you know can probably recall an instance (or ten) when your site wasn’t loading fast enough. Luckily, there are tools you can use now to help guide us through this process.

4. On-Site SEO

I don’t know about you, but when I get to on-page SEO, I tend to optimize a full product category (or two) with a whole lot more than just the title tag and description tag. In fact, there’s a whole land of overlooked potential in the on-site SEO section—it’s just taken me a while to tap into it. But, I’m majorly glad I did. If you’re living in the ’90s, you may think that long-tail keyword terms and on-site SEO don’t mix, but I’m here to prove otherwise.

Let’s take a look at what I see as a fully on-site SEO optimized e-commerce page. As Beyonce would say, flawless.

Sure, it may sound simple. I searched near and far and narrowed it down to these essential on-page SEO elements that never disappoint. And, if you have a favorite that didn’t make the list, let me know in the comments — I’m always looking for an excuse to meta-tag-stalk brands.

URL

We’ve all heard the same URL advice over and over again: A keyword-rich URL and a unique, clean, short structure will get you far. True, but what happens when your site gets so big you have to add parameters? Search engines do have the ability to ignore these ugly parameters (ex:?%20), but having a descriptive URL gives you yet another opportunity to improve user experience and increase rankings.

Meta Title

I love nothing more than when my meta titles increase my click-through rate. It could be something as (not-so) subtle as my keyword placement or simply reinforcing brand value. But one of my favorite talking points speaks to the idea of adding action words to our meta titles. These action words can help you target more long-tail keyword terms, which is always a bonus.

Meta Description

As click-through rate becomes an increasingly important factor in SEO (as Paul Haahr, Google Ranking Engineer stated at SMX West) it’s vital that e-commerce brands learn how to optimize their title tags to boost CTR. Let me be clear; your meta description may not improve your search rankings alone, but it will earn you more clicks when optimized correctly.

Body Copy

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As heart-rending as that thought is, as an SEO consultant, I happen to believe there’s truth to this adage. And, it couldn’t be more applicable than with SEO—the land of competing keywords, A/B targeting headline titles, high-stake conversions, and impressionable consumers.

Internal Links

A show of hands: Who’s already putting internal links on their product pages? Yes, friends, it’s true: Internal linking on your product pages is necessary.  Strategically linking from high-authority pages to high-priority product and category pages are typically already done on your homepage and blog page.

Social Media Share Buttons

We all know you need to be active on social media for your business. But, do you need social media share buttons on your product pages? The short answer: Yes. Social media share buttons give you the potential for free promotion on social channels. And, while social media doesn’t directly affect your rankings in the search engines, having a product that is often shared and an engaging page does help your rankings.

Images

I’m going to say it: A beautiful image is nothing without ALT tags. There it is. Just because you spent $20k on a photo shoot with a world-renowned photographer doesn’t mean anything if you don’t properly tag your images. Your images will never appear in search.

Product Videos

You click on the tees category on your favorite store’s website. You keep scrolling. You get to the product you’ve been looking for, and you can see your soon-to-be-new-favorite tee in video format. You are living it before you buy it. Awesome, right?

Animoto found that 73% of consumers were more likely to buy a product or sign up for a service if they watch a branded video that explains the product. Quicksprout discovered that video could drive 12% of users to buy the product. And Digiday stated that 52% of consumers said watching videos makes them more confident about their purchase decisions. Think video is worth an investment yet?

In addition to increasing conversion rates, adding product videos to your website can help improve search engine rankings. Video increases engagement and time on-site, therefore increasing your chances for ranking your product pages higher in the SERPs.  Videos also give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Conclusion

Now it’s time for you to implement the tactics from this step-by-step guide.

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Is Joomla Beginner Friendly?

When taking one’s first tentative steps into the world of CMSs, there’s a commonly-held belief that WordPress is the best option; it’s simple design philosophy and blog-building origins make it the clear solution for someone trying to get to grips with what is a vast, complex area of modern tech. But is that belief an absolute truth? I’m not so sure, and in my experience Joomla! can be just as viable for the right kind of beginner.

What makes a beginner a beginner?

I know this might seem like a redundant question; a beginner is somebody who knows little to nothing about the subject matter and is starting their journey into the world of web development. While that’s true, we must also consider where a beginner is coming from; that is, what type of beginner are they? Everybody that makes the jump to WordPress, Joomla or any other CMS is doing so for a reason, and what that reason is can have quite a major influence in what CMS would be the best option. At its most basic, there’s two core reasons for someone to start looking at a WordPress or Joomla solution:

  • They’ve got a clear idea for a website, and they want a way to create it quickly and easily, with a focus on content.
  • They’ve got a general idea for a website, but they’re interested in developing their web-development knowledge while building it.

Of course there’s a lot of other factors that might influence one’s decision, but the core motivations generally fall into those two categories. For example, a beginner of the first type might want to start their own online ecommerce store; their primary focus is on the acquisition and distribution of their products, and the website is simply another tool to that end. So, rather than wasting time trying to gain in-depth knowledge of web-development when marketing will be their priority, they can just grab WordPress, a template like our recent Box ecommerce theme that provides the aesthetics, and a plugin like WooCommerce to handle the sales end of things, and they’ve got a good-looking, fully-functional site pretty much out of the box.

The second type of beginner may also have a desire to create a particular type of website, but their primary interest is in learning the skills needed to tailor whatever website they go on to make exactly to their needs. Alternatively, they might be running a basic site already, but have a grand vision of the direction they want it to move in. In their case a ready-made solution isn’t as necessary; the journey is just as important as the final product. As you might have guessed, the second type of beginner is the one we’ll be focusing on in this article.

Making the case for Joomla

Let’s get something out of the way here; though I believe that Joomla! is the better option for the second type of beginner, that does not mean that WordPress isn’t viable if you want to learn about web development. In fact, I would place myself somewhere between beginner and intermediate in terms of knowledge, and I got started with WordPress before Joomla. But as time has gone on I’ve found that while WordPress has the advantage in intuitiveness in regards to creating content, Joomla! has been a much better tool when it came to deepening my knowledge, such as gaining some rudimentary understanding of CSS and HTML and how they interact. If you’re starting out and find yourself gravitating towards WordPress, by all means go for it; you’re still going to be able to learn everything in time, and there’s a huge amount of info in the WordPress codex to help you along. With that said, let’s take a look at why I recommend Joomla.

The frame’s the thing

There’s something to be said for intuitive, user-friendly UI design, and it’s hard to argue that the Joomla! interface surpasses the comfortable layout on offer with WordPress. But still, I’m going to try! The thing is, I’ve always found the WordPress layout to be great as long as you want to create content. Things like posts, pages and menus have their own sections clearly labelled on the sidebar, so getting around is fast and easy. Joomla’s layout is…not so intuitive. At least at first. Buuuuuuut…

The Joomla! backend layout is more logical than it first appears. Sure, the menu options are not as clearly defined and there’s a lot of additional stuff to wade through, but, crucially for those who are interested in how it works, it separates its individual parts into entire subsections. Let me show you what I mean; If I install a plugin into WordPress, what happens? Where does it go? Depending on the scope and function of the plugin, I might find an additional section added to the sidebar, or a new widget added to the widget screen, or sometimes just a few new options added to the ‘Settings’ section. The functionality of the plugin is easy to access, but it doesn’t provide any insight into how it achieves it.

Why is this important? One of the big stumbling blocks with expanding one’s knowledge beyond the basics is finding a solid foothold to build from. We start by learning basic functions, then later, as our experience grows, we come to understand those functions’ place in the wider CMS ecosystem. Joomla’s backend is initially more confusing because it splits its various elements into subsections; one for extensions, one for content, one for components etc…plus many sections, such as modules, are switchable between frontend and backend sections. However, once a user is ready to progress beyond the basics this distinct categorization allows for a more fundamental understanding of the separate parts of the CMS, and how they fit together to form a whole.

Without that guide, the experience gain required to jump from beginner to intermediate (in terms of development, rather than content creation) in WordPress can be more daunting, and requires more self-motivation to find the information required.

First steps with CSS

Once a user decides to start making their own changes beyond the content, the first thing they’ll probably look to mess around with is CSS. There’s a ton of different options available for making changes, but for a beginner just testing the waters and seeing what’s possible a good starting point is the built-in CSS editor that both Joomla! and WordPress offer:

editing css in the wordpress file editor

There are plugins and FTP options available of course, and if you’re on a localhost you can just edit files without any hassle, but when getting to grips with something new I’m much more in favor of taking baby steps; edit CSS in the built in editor first, and worry about things like understanding FTP later, when it’s relevant. There’s virtually no difference in the functionality of the WordPress and Joomla!; both allow for the editing of files directly in the backend, but there’s an important difference that I feel gives Joomla! the edge:

modifying template files in the joomla file editor

Remember the point about structure? In the WordPress version of the editor the list of files that can be changed are on the right sidebar, with the location of each file listed underneath. In Joomla!, the editor instead displays the file structure of the template on the left sidebar. It’s more intuitive for one, and more importantly being able to see the folder and file structure as you select files to view and edit helps to form a template map in your mind; knowing what file contains the information is one thing, but knowing where that file is stored in the overall structure reinforces the frame concept discussed in the last section.

Making changes made easy

To finish, I’d like to bring up what, for me, was the biggest boon in trying to understand how CSS works. Sure, being able to edit files in the admin area of my CMS was helpful, and distinct subsections aided my understanding of the differences between modules, extensions and components, but the biggest tool for learning in any beginner’s arsenal is the ability to experiment.

One of the challenges for WordPress is that it is extremely popular, especially with people who want to run a simple blog or other basic site. It’s the go-to solution for people who aren’t tech-savvy, or those that don’t really need to learn (who needs to learn about CSS, JavaScript and HTML when you’re just posting random thoughts a few times a month?). It’s popularity means it boasts a huge number of people willing to contribute in some way; look at the sheer number of themes and plugins out in the world, both free and paid for, for example.

When a product boasts a user base as large as WordPress’, there inevitably comes a need to ensure the layout and functionality fit to a wide audience. That means that every layout decision must bear in mind that there’s a higher chance of people who know little about web-development using the product. That’s not a knock against WordPress or their users, it’s simply a fact; more popularity means more laymen. For this reason the contributors must be very wary of implementing major backend features that could cause confusion in an inexperienced user base.

Joomla! doesn’t suffer from this issue quite as heavily; there are still plenty of new, inexperienced users jumping in, but the overall impression many people get from Joomla! is that it is for more intermediate users, with greater flexibility than WordPress when going big.

Where this comes into play is with widgets. In WordPress, widgets can be used for a variety of functions, but what you can do with them out of the box is limited. Any widget you add to a position will appear on all pages, requiring an addition such as our Widget Rules plugin that we include with our themes to provide the function. In Joomla!, its use of menu assignments allows greater flexibility for placing modules around the site and controlling when they appear.

Then comes the feature that really made it for me; Module Class Suffixes.

assigning class suffixes to modules for easy css targeting

CSS is hard. I’m sure there’s quite a few of you reading this just bursting with knowledge who’ll argue that CSS is a breeze, but that’s your experience talking; trust me, from someone without much knowledge, it’s hard. It’s hard to get to grips with, once you’ve learned a few tricks it’s still hard to get it to do what you want without a lot of trial and error, and that’s all assuming that you’re even able to target the right element in the first place.

Oh yeah, targeting is REALLY hard. In a complex site they’ll be containers within containers, classes, irregular HTML tags and all sorts of things that confuse things for a newbie who just wants to play around a bit. Module class suffixes take care of all that, especially with our templates.

Consider this; most of our Joomla! templates are built on modules. There’s the Gavern Framework running things under the hood, but the frontpage content and the like is usually built with modules. With module class suffixes, I can take a blank module, slap it into the frontpage using one of the many module positions, and then add a module class suffix that allows me to target this section specifically with CSS, allowing for easy testing of different commands and settings without worrying about nesting or struggling to find a pre-existing bit of code in one of the template files.

With this method, a beginner can get to the fun part of experimenting with CSS without the hassle of learning all about CSS targeting beyond the basics, and can see the results of their CSS on a fully-designed frontpage. Think how much difference an easily-understood challenge can make; if a user is editing CSS on a basic, empty site, then there’s little they can do except try to apply their imagination to it, which isn’t easy if you aren’t clued up on what functions CSS includes. With a module-based frontpage, users can instead insert their own content into the frontpage, give it a suffix to make it easy to target, then try to blend the new addition into the existing style. It’s like the difference between playing Pac-Man with one ghost vs. Pac-Man with four ghosts; one is barely a challenge, whereas the other offers a clear barrier to conquer and the tools to do it.

Rounding Up

Look, I’m not saying that Joomla is better than WordPress; I’ve used them both relatively regularly and can say that, ultimately, you’ll be fine no matter what CMS you go with. The Joomla! features I discussed here are possible to add to WordPress via the use of plugins, but if you’re going in barebones, then Joomla! is, to my eyes, a good choice. So if you’re really into the idea of developing your CSS skills and knowledge rather than getting a website up as soon as possible, then I implore you to give Joomla! a chance!

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How to Start an Online Store With WordPress in 7 Easy Steps

More than a quarter of the web runs on WordPress. There’s good reason for this – WordPress is easy to use and free. Plus, there’s a ton of free information for novice users to get up and running online in a matter of minutes.

If you’re wondering how to start an online store, you need to read this guide. It will walk you through how to create a powerful e-commerce site with the world’s most popular web platform.

1. Use Personal Passion To Fuel Niche Selection

Almost every successful entrepreneur I’ve crossed paths with attests to the fact that passion is the secret ingredient to the high-roller lifestyle they enjoy. And building an online store takes a lot of passion – with years of effort required (in many cases) before you’ll make enough to pay yourself a meaningful salary.

To find a product that overlaps with your personal passion:

  • Analyze your past shopping habits. Why do you purchase the items that you do, and which ones excited you the most?
  • Sample a few different product categories. Is there something in your local department store that lights you up?
  • How do you want to impact people’s lives? Which products can you sell to help impact others in this way?
  • What do you find yourself doing in your free time? How can you monetize these hobbies with your online store?

The more specific your niche, the more you’ll be able to let your passion shine through online and offline.

2. Catchy Domain Name

Your domain name is how your customers find your website. If they hear about you somewhere, will it be easy for them to remember your name? Will it be easy for Google to use your domain to identify what your site sell?

Here’s how I recommend picking a domain name:

  1. Do keyword research. Domains that include these will be helpful for ranking on Google.
  2. Keep your domain short to minimize mistypes by customers.
  3. Secure all domain extensions (.com.net, etc.) to keep copycats at bay.
  4. Avoid words with multiple spellings. For example, “site” and “sight” sound the same over the phone.
  5. Avoid hyphenated domain names. Your customers will forget the hyphen.
  6. Consider alternate meanings or interpretations. Think about goofy, or immature interpretations of your domain name. You don’t want to be the butt of a joke.
  7. Make it easy to say. If a toddler can’t say it, it’s no good.

3. Nail Down Your Business Plan

When learning how to start an online store with WordPress, you need to create a comprehensive business plan for your company that lays out exactly how you envision:

  • selecting products to sell,
  • acquiring inventory,
  • creating your website,
  • marketing your website,
  • growing your market share,
  • remaining compliant with legal requirements,
  • handling taxes and other operating costs.

Even if you don’t need an outside investor to fund your dream, a plan will help you stay on track and focus your efforts. You’ll also find that as you write your business plan, other problems and ideas that hadn’t occurred to you will help focus your efforts in a more productive way.

4. Set up WooCommerce

WordPress creates a powerful foundation for your site. WooCommerce transforms your WordPress site into an e-commerce powerhouse – and the base package is free. Even without paid plugins, you can implement the best elements of e-commerce design on all of your most important pages.

Setting up WooCommerce and listing your first product for sale isn’t complicated:

  1. Select a host for your site that offers a package designed for WordPress (the foundation of WooCommerce). Pay attention to their security and performance metrics – if you can’t find them, it’s time to look at a different host. And don’t forget about customer service – if something goes wrong, you need fast, competent help.
  2. Download and install the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress. Answer the questions in the setup wizard to get your site up and running in less than 5 minutes.
  3. Select, install and customize a WordPress theme that’s fully compatible with WooCommerce.
  4. Use the Product Tab in your WordPress Admin center to add your first product. It will guide you through the process, step-by-step.

5. Selecting a WooCommerce Friendly Theme for WordPress

Your theme decides the entire layout and feel of your site. Finding a great theme that invites browsers to become buyers is worth taking a little extra time.

ShopIsle

ShopIsle is a powerful WordPress theme because it is clean and clearly features products in a way that scores engagements. A grid of large pictures, with core information below, encourages customers to quickly browse and click on what interests them.

And, it’s fully compatible with WooCommerce, right out of the box. The responsive design is fully compatible with screens of all sizes – letting your customers shop how and where they feel most comfortable.

Storefront

Storefront is the official WooCommerce theme. It’s optimized to work with the platform out the box and provides you with some nice presentation and design choices. Storefront itself is free, but there are also loads of other paid add-ons and customizations.

Perhaps the only downside with this one is that of originality – when using it, you’re making your store look like many other e-commerce stores running the same theme.

Congratulations, at this stage you’ve selected a host, installed WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin. Now it’s time to really unlock the potential of your store with some additional plugins. Here are the ones I always use:

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO helps me to understand whether the content on my WordPress site is easy to read – for both humans and search engines.

It tells me this with a simple red, orange or green dot in my “Posts” page.

I can also set specific parameters for how my content shows up in search results – with quick edits to the slug, meta description and content title. This is powerful for keyword purposes. Oh, and for the content within a post, the tool grades my writing and provides specific recommendations at the bottom of the page.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is like a steroid shot in the arm of your email marketing campaign. As visitors browse your site, you can prompt them to sign-up for your newsletter. This gives you their contact information, and an opportunity to build a relationship with them.

Some sites report anywhere from a 600% to 1613% growth in new subscriber acquisition rates by using this tool.

If you have the ability to directly communicate with a target customer, on-demand, without having to pay for a PPC or retargeting campaign, you’ve got a serious opportunity to score future sales.

Freshdesk

As you build up your customer base, it’s important that you provide them with amazing online customer service.

Freshdesk allows you to create searchable knowledge bases where customers can help themselves. And, if they need to reach you, Freshdesk’s ticketing system helps you keep customer requests organized, and helps your customer feel like their questions are being attended to.

The annual cost for Freshdesk ranges from $79 to $199, depending on your needs.

6. Attract With Content and SEO

“If you build it, they will come.” Field of Dreams was an excellent movie, but if they were talking about e-commerce, they would have changed the catch-phrase to: “If you write a lot, in an SEO-friendly way, they will come.”

You need search engines to send motivated customers, ready to make a buying decision to your online store. The way that you do this is with content – lots of content.

7. Grow Traffic with Facebook Ads

When you are shopping for a product or service, who do you trust? Chances are, you’ll ask a few of your friends what they own, and whether or not they love their products. Social selling is a way to cash-in on a shopper’s instinct to trust their friends and family.

Advertising your brand’s Facebook Page, or promoting a Facebook ad for a particular page of your website is an excellent way to inject your brand into your customer’s newsfeed.

For example, this Facebook event listing has been promoted by a website attempting to sell tickets to a show. The ad, which appeared at the top of my newsfeed, tells me that one of my friends is already interested in the show, and is probably going to go.

Instantly, this brand and entertainment product has more relevance, and I can trust that it’s probably a cool way to spend an evening.

Create targeted Facebook ads to engage the ideal customers for your products. And, as you post on your blog, you can share links with catchy Facebook posts to help drive traffic. Just make sure your list is targeted.

You can start your own online store using WordPress and WooCommerce, it’s easy!

I hope you enjoyed my post, and feel confident that launching your own e-commerce store isn’t rocket science. It takes a lot of time and trial and error, but if you follow the steps I outlined, you’ll be up and running in no time!

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