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Drupal 9 is Coming: Are You Ready?

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the Drupal community about Drupal 9. The plans for launching Drupal 9 as well as for supporting Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 have come into focus. With every release of a new major version of Drupal, there is anxiety about how challenging the upgrading process will be. With Drupal 9, there is no reason to be anxious.

Alongside the release of Drupal 9, there has been a change in the philosophy of how Drupal is developed. In the past, each new major version of Drupal was seen as a break from the last major version. The Drupal community did not guarantee compatibility between the new major version and the old major versions. This had some benefits but caused major disruption because of the compatibility issues, upgrading was not an easy process.

Upgrading to the latest Drupal core was just part of the process. Most sites use contributed modules and themes and those modules and themes needed to be upgraded to be compatible. Many of these contributed modules lagged for years (if they were ever ported) providing uncertainty if your site depended on those modules. You also needed to migrate the content to the new version of Drupal. There were upgrade paths for the content, but they were not always robust or ready when the new major version of Drupal was shipped.

There had to be a better way to upgrade Drupal and with the shift in philosophy for Drupal 9, there is! The new philosophy makes it easier to plan for, prepare for, and upgrade your Drupal 8 site. Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 will be easy, if you are prepared.

Acquia recently hosted a webinar: “Drupal 9 is coming. How should you prepare?” During the presentation Dries Buytaert and Gabor Hojtsy provided an update on Drupal 9. Here are the key things to consider as you think about upgrading.

What’s New With Drupal 9?

One of the primary reasons for a major release is code clean-up. Drupal 8 came with a new innovation model where minor releases occur every six months. This has accelerated the number of new features being added to Drupal. As features are added, new and improved ways to solve problems are being implemented and code is deprecated. The deprecated code is needed for backward compatibility but a major release of Drupal 9 provides an opportunity to remove this code and anything else that is no longer needed.

The second reason for a major release relates to third-party dependencies. Now that Drupal integrates with common PHP projects like Twig and Symfony, it needs to adhere to the vendor support lifecycles for these projects. With the release of Drupal 9, we’ll have supported versions of software that will be around for a long time such as Twig 2 and Symfony 4/5.

When Do I Need To Upgrade To Drupal 9?

This visual from the presentation provides a timeline for the future releases of Drupal 8/9. Drupal 8.8 is set to be released in December 2019 and will be the last minor release with features. Drupal 8.9 and 9.0 will be released in June 2020 and will contain the same features. The difference will be that Drupal 9 will have deprecated code removed. Drupal 8 will reach the end of life at the same time as Symfony 3 which will be November 2021. Existing Drupal 8 sites will have a year and a half to upgrade to Drupal 9.

visual of timeline Timeline for the Future Releases of Drupal 8 and 9

How to Prepare for Drupal 8 Upgrade?

If you are running Drupal 8 already, the best way to prepare is to keep your site up to date. Essentially, Drupal 9 will become the latest version of Drupal 8 with updates for third-party dependencies and deprecated code removed. When Drupal 8.7 is released in December 2019, it will optionally support Twig 2 so developers can begin testing their code against this version of Twig. Drupal 8.8 will optionally support the latest version of Symfony. Ideally, the Drupal community would like to release Drupal 9 with support for Symfony 5 which will be released in November 2019.

If your site is using contributed modules, just keep them up to date and work with module maintainers to help remove the deprecated code.

Since Drupal 9 is being built within version 8, developers will have an opportunity to test their code and make updates before the release of Drupal 9. This is awesome and isn’t something that has been possible with past versions of Drupal!

How to Know If You Are Using Deprecated Code?

There are a few tools that can be used to help identify deprecated code. The first one is drupal-check. This is a command-line utility that you can run against your modules and alert you to instances of deprecated code. Another tool will be a “Drupal 9 Readiness,” contributed module expected to ship with Drupal 8.8. This will be a GUI-based tool users and developers can run from within the Drupal user interface to easily determine what it will take to prepare their site for Drupal 9.

What About Drupal 7?

The end of life for Drupal 7 will be November 2021. After this date, support will be available from vendors like Acquia. If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 you can do so now. There is really no benefit in waiting for the release of Drupal 9.

Unlike upgrading from past versions of Drupal, upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be simple. Provided your Drupal 8 codebase isn’t using any deprecated code, upgrading will be as easy as getting the latest version and running update.php.

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How to Power Up Magento 2 Marketplace With Modules?

The Magento Marketplace Multi Vendor Extension by CreativeMinds transforms your B2B or B2C online store into a thriving Ecommerce. But it can go even beyond with the right Magento 2 Marketplace modules!

Automatically send PayPal payments, charge vendors for selling on your store, allow multiple suppliers to sell the same product, manage return requests… and much more with modules.

Magento 2 Marketplace modules can add that extra edge you might need to crush competition.

Check below all the ways you can power up the Magento 2 Marketplace extension.

1) M2 Marketplace PayPal Vendor Payments

Let the admin and managers transfer funds to the vendors by using the PayPal Integration module. The vendors will receive admin payments after associating their PayPal emails with their supplier accounts.

Using the PayPal Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module

  • Process small transaction automatically
  • Send payments to vendors through PayPal anywhere in the world
  • Build vendors loyalty through a quick and easy payment process
  • Reduce many of the risks in your current payment system such as fraud by automating vendors payments

2) M2 Marketplace Vendor Subscription

Create different subscription plans to your vendors, restricting how many products they can upload every month.

Vendor Subscription Marketplace Multi-Vendor Module Use Cases

  • Create Different Plans – Add any number of subscription plans and turn the vendors into your loyal customers.
  • Improve Store Quality – Get full control over defining the number of products and product images the vendors can add within a certain subscription plan.
  • Adapt – At any time, configure subscription plans to find the best combinations of the price a vendor pays and the features he gets. Let vendors move to another plan with no investment loss.

3) M2 Marketplace RMA

Easily handle RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) requests on your Magento stores. RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) requests are often time-consuming and costly to manage. The Marketplace RMA module is designed to streamline requests, ease support and improve customer satisfaction.

The RMA module works in three easy steps:

  • Configure RMA statuses, types and reasons
  • Let customers send RMA requests
  • Handle RMA requests via admin panel or give permissions to vendors

4) M2 Marketplace Questions and Answers

Let customers submit product questions, and store admins or suppliers answer them! Visitors will trust more your brand if they perceive it as engaged and informative.

Vendor Questions and Answers Module Admin Options

  • Answer Questions – Easy backend option of replying to customers
  • Questions Limiting – Prevent overload of information, and display only the important questions
  • Hiding Q&A – Simple on / off switch to hide or display Q&A form
  • Delete Questions – Trash a question if it is not suitable for the product

5) M2 Marketplace Multiple Vendors Per Product

Allow different vendors to list the same product with different price and description. The customer sees a table with all options and can add them to the cart directly from the product page.

The Marketplace Multiple Vendors Per Product Module works in two easy steps:

  • The admin creates the main product
  • The suppliers create variations with individual prices, description and quantity

6) M2 Marketplace Inventory Updater

Update the inventory automatically! The Marketplace Inventory Updater Module fetches a spreadsheet daily to update the quantity, stock status or price of the products that are available in the store.

Marketplace Inventory Updater Module Detailed Features

  • CSV Synchronization – Bulletproof inventory updating via CSV file to your Magento Store.
  • Configuration Options – Modify the delimiter, columns, product attribute, quantity and options for products that are not in the feed.
  • Vendor / Admin Configuration – Both the vendor and the admin have the ability to configure automatic inventory updating options.
  • Easy Setup – Fill a few required fields and the sync can begin.

7) M2 Marketplace Dropship Notification

The Marketplace Dropship Notification module allows the admin to send e-mails to the suppliers notifying that their orders are ready to be dropshipped.

Marketplace Dropship Notification Module Detailed Features

  • Supplier Notification – Automatically notify the vendors about dropshipping.
  • Email Template – Choose the default one, or create your own that matches the store design.
  • Rich Email – Display all relevant data such as shipping info, item names, SKU, quantity, price, date, order number and shipping method.
  • Item Status – The admin dashboard shows pending orders and the ones that were successfully dropshipped.

8) M2 Supplier Redirection

Add a SEO-Friendly URL for each supplier profile page in your Magento Marketplace by using the Supplier Redirection Module. Turn an ugly default generated Magento Supplier URL into branded store links.

Marketplace Dropship Notification Module Detailed Features

  • URL Branding – Brand your vendor store with a recognizable URL.
  • Automatic Redirection – Only the last redirect applies.
  • SEO-Friendly – URL with keywords can boost search engine ranking.
  • Vendor / Admin Configuration – Both can configure the supplier URL.
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How to Setup CloudFlare Free CDN in WordPress

Do you want to use Cloudflare CDN on your WordPress site?

Cloudflare is one of the best WordPress CDN and firewall services available in the market. They offer a free CDN that speeds up your website along with a suite of powerful security features for small business websites.

The challenge is that many entry-level users are not able to utilize Cloudflare because they think it is hard to set up.

In this guide, we will walk you through a complete Cloudflare setup in WordPress to help you improve your website speed.

What is CDN? Why You Need a CDN for Your Site?

A CDN or Content Delivery Network is a system of distributed servers which helps deliver your website files faster to the users based on their geographic location.

Typically, a web hosting service serves your website visitors from a single location. All the users access the same server, no matter where they are located. This can result in a delay in content delivery for users living further away from your website’s central hosting server.

CDN solves this problem by setting up multiple edge servers in different locations around the globe. These CDN servers cache static content from your site’s origin/central server, store, and present them to the users after they request for it.

When there is a user request, the CDN server closest from the user’s location will handle it. For example, if someone in the USA wants to access a UK-hosted website, then a CDN server in the USA will serve that request, not the main sever in the UK.

With CDN, all the user requests are handled by the nearest CDN servers. This mitigates the physical distance between the visitors and your website’s server. As a result, your website loads faster for all users regardless of their geographic location.

A faster website also improves user experience and gives your website a slight boost in SEO rankings.

Using a CDN also reduces the load on your primary server and protects it from crashing during traffic spikes.

What Is Cloudflare CDN?

Cloudflare is the most popular free CDN provider available on the internet. It is a large network of globally distributed servers which automatically cache static content and deliver dynamic content swiftly.

On top of a CDN service, Cloudflare is also a cloud-based website firewall and a distributed proxy server. It monitors all incoming traffic to your website and blocks suspicious traffic even before it reaches your server.

They offer a free basic plan that’s suitable for small business websites and blogs. They also offer paid plans starting at $20 per month.

Cloudflare is an excellent choice for small businesses looking for a free CDN. However, if you want to fully utilize all Cloudflare features, then you will need the Business plan which costs $200 / month.

Editor’s note: We do not use Cloudflare on WPBeginner. Instead we use MaxCDN (now part of StackPath) for our CDN service. They do not force you to use their DNS and offer more reasonable pricing at scale.

MaxCDN vs. Cloudflare – What’s the Difference?

MaxCDN and Cloudflare are both quite different services actually. While MaxCDN is focused on serving your content through their CDN, Cloudflare is more focused on security and spam control.

They both use different technologies to serve content through their networks. MaxCDN serves content from your website’s DNS using pullzones, simply put they mirror your website. Cloudflare, on the other hand, serves content through their own DNS, and you are asked to change your website’s DNS to point to their servers.

Cloudflare acts as a proxy between you and your website’s visitors, which means you give up a lot of control. Whereas MaxCDN acts as a reverse proxy, which means you have all the control.

Cloudflare is better at optimizing your page speeds by preventing your site from malicious bots, attackers, and suspicious crawlers. MaxCDN is better at improving your website speed by serving your static content through their servers located around the world.

Cons of Using Cloudflare

The biggest user complaint with Cloudflare is that while it speeds up your website, sometimes it will add a second loading screen for security verification purposes which defeats the purpose of speed because users often have to wait 5 seconds before they can see your website.

Sometimes it can also display a CAPTCHA page asking users to prove that they are human. This creates a bad experience for first-time visitors who may never revisit the site.

Setting Up Cloudflare on Your WordPress Site

Setting up Cloudflare on a WordPress site is quite easy. There are two different methods:

  1. By using a single-click Cloudflare setup option in your host’s control panel
  2. By signing up manually on Cloudflare website

The first method is the easiest way to enable Cloudflare CDN on your WordPress blog. Some of the top WordPress hosting services like ASPHostPortal have partnered with Cloudflare to offer an easy setup option through their control panel.

If your web host doesn’t offer a built-in Cloudflare setup option, then you can manually add the service on your site. We will show both of these methods in details below.

Method 1: Setting up Cloudflare CDN with One-Click Setup Option in cPanel

As we mentioned earlier that some WordPress hosting providers like ASPHostPortal offer an easy option to configure Cloudflare CDN in WordPress.

These web hosts provide a built-in Cloudflare integration app in your hosting cPanel to enable the service with just a few clicks.

Method 2: Setting up Cloudflare CDN in WordPress Manually

If your web hosting doesn’t have a single click Cloudflare configuration option, then you can use this method. It can take a few more minutes, but it is also easy and user-friendly.

To begin, you need to visit CloudFlare website and click on the ‘Sign Up’ button.

Sign Up on Cloudflare Website

On the next page, you need to enter your email address and password to create a Cloudflare account. Simply enter the information required, and then click on the ‘Create Account’ button.

Create Account Page in Cloudflare

After that, you need to enter your website’s URL.

Add Site to Cloudflare

On the next screen, you will be asked to choose a plan. For the sake of this tutorial, we will select a free plan.

Select a Cloudflare Plan

After that, Cloudflare will show you a list of all DNS records their systems found. This will include your subdomains as well.

The DNS records you want to be passed through Cloudflare will have orange cloud icon. The DNS records that will bypass Cloudflare will have a gray cloud icon.

You need to review the list to make sure that your primary domain is active on Cloudflare with an orange cloud icon.

Verify DNS Records to Set up Cloudflare

Once you verify your DNS records, click on the Continue option at the bottom.

On the next and the final step of your setup, Cloudflare will ask you to update your nameservers. You will be asked to change your name servers and point them to Cloudflare nameservers.

Cloudflare Nameservers page

Notice: Changing name server can take some time to propagate through all over the internet. During this time, your website may become inaccessible for some users.

Next, you need to select ‘Custom’ and enter the nameservers provided by Cloudflare.

After that, you need to go back to Cloudflare setup page, and click on ‘Done, check nameservers’ button to finish the setup.

Custom DNS Namesers Added - Check nameservers

That’s it! Now it will take a few minutes to update your domain nameservers and activate Cloudflare.

Once activated, you will see the success message on your Cloudflare dashboard.

Cloudflare Activated Success Message

You can now customize your Cloudflare settings from this dashboard. We will show you the most critical settings in the next section.

Configuring Most Important Cloudflare Settings

Your basic Cloudflare set up is complete, but there are a few essential settings you need to configure to keep your WordPress site secure.

1. Configure WordPress Specific Page Rules

By setting up page rules, you can customize how Cloudflare works on specific pages on your site. It is especially useful in securing critical pages like login page, wp-admin area, etc.

Cloudflare free account allows you to set up three page-rules. If you want to add more page rules, then you need to pay $5 per month for five additional rules.

First, you need to click on the Page Rules option at the top and then click on the Create Page Rule button.

Create a Page Rule in Cloudflare

After that, you can set up the following three page-rules.

a) Secure your WordPress login page

Page URL: example.com/wp-login.php*
Setting: Security Level; High

Create a Page Rule to Secure WordPress Login Page on Cloudflare

b) Exclude WordPress Dashboard from Cloudflare and Enable High Security

Page URL: example.com/wp-admin*
Settings: Security Level; High
Cache Level; Bypass
Disable Performance
Disable Apps

Create a Page Rule to Secure WordPress Dashnboard on Cloudflare

c) Force HTTPS

Page URL: http://*example.com/*
Setting: Always use HTTPS

Create Page Rule to Use HTTPS in WordPress

2. Configure SSL Certificate Settings

Another important setting is the SSL certificate available in the ‘SSL/TSL’ menu at the top.

Cloudflare SSL Settings

Make sure to choose ‘Full’ if you are already using SSL.

Once done, Cloudflare will provide a coveted green padlock to signify that your website is secure.

Optimizing Cloudflare for WordPress Using a Plugin

Cloudflare offers a dedicated WordPress plugin for one-click WordPress-optimized settings. The plugin lets you quickly set up Cloudflare on your WordPress site, add web application firewall (WAF) rulesets, automatically purge the cache, and more.

Once done, you need to visit Settings » Cloudflare from your admin panel to configure Cloudflare settings.

On the settings page, you will see a Create Your Free Account button and Sign-in option for already existing accounts. Simply click on the sign-in option.

Sign in to Cloudflare Account with WordPress

On the next screen, you will need to enter your Cloudflare email and API key.

Enter Cloudflare API credentials Form

You can find your API key in your account area on the Cloudflare website.

Simply open the ‘My Profile’ page and then click on the API tokens. After that, go to the Global API Key section and click on the View button.

View Cloudflare API Key

This will open a popup and display your API key. You need to copy the key.

Copy Cloudflare API Key

Next, come back to your WordPress dashboard and enter your email address and API key.

Save Cloudflare API Credentials in WordPress

After that, Cloudflare home page will appear on your dashboard. From there, you can apply a single-click WordPress optimization, purge cache, enable automatic cache, etc.

Optimize Cloudflare for WordPress

You can find more Cloudflare options by clicking on the Settings option.

Cloudflare for WordPress Settings

It also shows stats such as visitors, bandwidth saved, threats blocked, etc. from the Analytics option.

Cloudflare Analytics in WordPress

We hope this article helped you to learn how to set up Cloudflare free CDN in WordPress.

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Top 7 Live Chat Plugins for WordPress

If you want to know how to add live chat to a WordPress website, read on. Today, I’ll be introducing you to seven of the best live chat plugins for WordPress. Enjoy!

1. LiveChat

LiveChat is a very handy live chat solution – as the name implies – and it’s geared at providing everybody in the picture with something that’s really easy to use. This goes both for your website visitors/customers and you (your agents).

On the customer side, LiveChat greets people with a nice chat box at the bottom of the page. That box always remains in sight and can be accessed with just a single click. Then, after the conversation is done, your customers can leave feedback and grade their experience with your agent. They can also give you a shout-out on social media through the share buttons embedded in the chat box itself.

However, where LiveChat really shines is the amount of cool features that it gives to you and your support agents.

  • For instance, you can engage customers directly (instead of waiting for them to contact you). By making the first step towards a conversation, you’re increasing the likelihood that the customer is going to walk out with a positive experience.
  • You can customize the chat window.
  • You get to control all conversations from a single dashboard – even if you have LiveChat set on more than one site.
  • Each customer interaction is marked with colorful circles indicating how long the person has been waiting (this allows you to react faster).
  • You get full history of the previous chats.

LiveChat’s WordPress plugin allows you to integrate your site with their solution easily. The chat window is also friendly and simple.

2. Olark

Olark is a fully-featured live chat solution. While it’s not an ideal example of WordPress live chat plugins per se, it can be easily integrated with your WordPress website through a handy widget.

Basically, you get a piece of code directly from Olark, which you can then embed wherever you wish. Simple stuff.

More importantly, Olark offers really a lot … with many of the features quite advanced:

  • First off, you get chat reports – you can track chat frequency, operator responsiveness, and customer satisfaction.
  • There’s CRM Integration – with Salesforce, Highrise, Nutshell, and many more CRMs.
  • You can set rules to hide and show the chat box, automatically send messages, and assign chats to specific departments.
  • Helpdesk integration – with Groove, Desk.com, Zendesk, and more.
  • You can group your operators by team, like a sales team and support team.
  • You can search through the chat history and detailed transcripts of the talks.
  • See what visitors have in their shopping carts to give more informed answers and close sales faster.
  • White label feature – remove Olark’s branding.

Each chat conversation box gets a detailed breakdown of the person’s (your customer’s) activity on your site. You can see which pages they’ve been to and what they did on those pages. And once the talk is done, the customer can leave their feedback and rating. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as Olark has really a lot to offer, and particularly if your live chat needs are slightly more advanced, so to speak.

3. Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim Live Chat)

Zendesk Chat is one of the most popular live chat services available to WordPress users. It is easily installed thanks to a dedicated WordPress plugin, available for free from the official repository. Zopim’s chat boxes are among the most stylish you will find, with beautiful, customizable layouts and themes.

To respond to visitor messages, simply access the external Zopim Dashboard – if you want to access chats on the go, you can install a dedicated Android or iPhone app, too. The dashboard is crammed with vital metrics that let you review chat performances, track chat history, and learn about your visitors in real-time.

A free subscription with Zendesk Chat allows one chat agent to handle unlimited chats, though restricted to one at a time. If your website is small, this live chat plugin may well suffice.

If, however, you want to upgrade, premium access starts at $14/month. This also unlocks cool additional features like chat triggers – chat triggers let you specify certain conditions for the chat box to auto-launch, such as if a visitor is stuck on a page for more than a minute.

4. Tidio Live Chat

Tidio Live Chat is one of the easiest live chat plugins to get up and running – simply activate the plugin, and you’re ready to go. The chat boxes come in three designs, which can be fully color customized to fit your branding.

Chats are handled from a Tidio Chat tab, which is accessed right from your WordPress dashboard. You can also manage chats by installing a dedicated desktop, iOS, or Android app.

If you’re unable to chat for any reason, offline messages are sent direct to your inbox. Similarly, if a visitor leaves the chat, you can continue the conversation via email.

The free version of Tidio allows you to have one agent and one chat open, with no other restrictions. Additional agents are added from $16.80/month, which also enables unlimited concurrent chats and automatic messages.

5. Live Chat Unlimited

If you find monthly fees off-putting with live chat plugins, look no further than the Live Chat Unlimited. It’s available from CodeCanyon for a fee of $75.

Chats are handled entirely from the WordPress dashboard – ideal if you spend most of the day logged in. The chat boxes are simple but effective, with two colors for you to customize.

You can handle an unlimited number of conversations at any given time, plus multiple operators can respond to the same query. If all operators are offline, the chat box is replaced by a contact form, so that visitors can email their questions directly.

6. Formilla Live Chat

Formilla is an excellent freemium live chat solution. If your website has modest traffic figures, you can try Formilla for free – the free package allows one agent, one concurrent chat, and up to 30 total chats/month, all handled via Formilla’s bespoke interface.

For those looking for live chat plugins that can handle the volume, 30 chats/month won’t be enough for everyone, though, so most of you will need to upgrade. For one agent handling unlimited chats, you’ll have to fork out an affordable $11.99/month.

Premium users can access chats via Android or iOS apps, as well as the Formilla interface. Premium users can also benefit from customizable chat boxes and real-time visitor monitoring.

Other impressive features include proactive chat, offline email forms, and chat queues for when operators are busy handling other queries.

7. Pure Chat

Pure Chat is one of my favorite live chat plugins because of the beautiful chat boxes it builds. Any part of the chat box can be customized, with unlimited colors, eye-catching animations, and custom images available.

Beyond the eye candy, Pure Chat is also a very capable live chat tool. Functionality includes powerful analytics, multi-chat management, and proactive chat triggers.

You can also schedule when the live chat function is online – and when offline, your live chat box converts into an opt-in form for any MailChimp email list.

The free version of Pure Chat grants up to 15 chats/month. If you want more than this, plans start from $39/month, which includes four users and unlimited chats. Chats are handled via the Pure Chat dashboard or mobile apps.

Final thoughts on WordPress live chat

That concludes our roundup of seven of the best live chat plugins for WordPress. And because most of the live chat plugins featured include some form of free plan, you have no excuse not to give one a try!

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Meet The 7 Most Popular Search Engines in The World

While we battle daily to create an uptick in our analytics when we’re reviewing our “google / organic” or “google / cpc traffic, there can be a lot of missed opportunities.

Sometimes it pays to take our blinders off and look at the myriad of other opportunities around us that can create bigger improvements in traffic and/or conversions with less work.

Here’s a look at seven of the top search engines (that’s right, there’s more than one), a brief exploration of the ins-and-outs of each, and some links to some of the best articles on how to market to and monetize them.

1. Google

What Is Google

With over 75 percent of the search market share, one hardly needs to introduce readers to Google. However, it clearly needs to head up any list of search engines.

Created as a research project in 1996 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, they offered to sell their engine in 1999 to Excite for a whopping $750,000. The offer was rejected putting Google at the top of my list of “bad business calls” as well. Google’s parent company Alphabet is now worth about $650 billion.

Apart from powering their own search results, Google also provides the search results for a wide array of other engines, including the old favorite Ask.com.

Pros & Cons

The big appeal to ranking on Google is clearly the massive potential traffic. The downside is that everyone else wants this traffic, making organic search the most competitive and paid search often more expensive than on other sites.

Further, many argue that Google is moving searchers away from clicking through to websites and toward fulfilling their needs and intents directly on the Google website via featured snippets, reduced numbers of organic results on the first page, increases in paid search results, etc. making the competition more costly with less potential reward.

2. YouTube

Youtube

YouTube was founded in 2005 by veterans of PayPal and was purchased just over a year later by none other than Google, giving it control over the top two search engines on this list.

YouTube receives more than 1.5 billion logged in users per month and feeds over 1 billion hours of video each day to users (that’s right… billion).

If you’re curious about the first video uploaded (which has over 41 million views) it’s a 19-second clip of co-founder Jawed Karim at the zoo. Not exactly MTV playing “Video Killed The Radio Star”, but it got the job done.

Pros & Cons

As with Google, it’s easy to see the allure of such massive traffic but that’s also the pitfall for marketers.

Using YouTube as a vehicle for traffic cannot be underestimated in its impact if successful. However, considering that over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it can be challenging to stand out.

With paid opportunities under the Google AdWords system, it can also get pricey to compete on that front.

That said, if you can get the attention of your target demographic on YouTube with amazing campaigns such as those by GoPro or Blendtec, you can get incredible exposure inexpensively.

3. Amazon

Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World

Amazon was launched in 1995 and, thus, is considered as one of the first large companies to sell goods online. They started out selling books online but expanded rapidly. In 1999, founder Jeff Bezos won Time’s Person Of The Year for making online shopping popular and accessible.

So successful is Amazon, that last year more than half of all online shopping searches began not at Google but at Amazon. Combine this with their acquisition of Whole Foods, which gives them access to fresh foods, and one can be pretty sure we’ll see this number continue to climb.

Anyone want a Bluetooth adapter with their organic avocado?

Pros & Cons

The positives, like on Google, are obvious – scale. If you sell blue widgets and you want to be where people search for them, then you want to be on Amazon.

In fact, some can argue based on the numbers that having a ton of great and useful content might help you rank on Google and get all those folks trying to figure out what blue widgets are and which one they need, but unless you’re on Amazon, you won’t be where they are when they’re actually looking to convert.

The downside is that the competition is fierce, the pricing and other details are easy to compare vs. competing products, and the cost for selling there can get pretty costly at times.

Entering early can be difficult if you don’t have a unique product as sales and reviews are important for rankings. For the same reason, well-established companies with good products and reputations can hold their placements well.

There are also CPC options for product promotion. It can be pricey, but you’re also getting the searcher at the buy end of the cycle, so what engine isn’t?

It’s too early to tell right now how Alexa will impact searches and sales but this is an area to watch. To prepare yourself for the possible scenario where Amazon wins (or at least does well in the personal assistant race), the third article below discusses it further.

4. Facebook

Facebook

In 2006, Facebook (as we know it) was born. From 2004 until then, it was accessible only by students and in 2006, it was opened up to the world.

It’s not a natural go-to when thinking of search engines, however, last year it surpassed 2 billion searches/day putting it ahead of Bing.

With more than 1.5 billion logged in visitors per month, Facebook also gives businesses and advertisers incredible market access and tends to be where people are when they’re not working (present company excluded obviously), meaning they may be in a better situation to follow their nose and get side-tracked by your offering if it’s of interest.

Pros & Cons

It’s probably becoming pretty obvious how this story plays out, the biggest “pro” is the user base but as is true with almost all platforms. With that user base comes the biggest “con” – the price.

Depending on your target demographic, the price can run up to many dollars per click making it cheaper than Google AdWords but still pricey. Some can argue that the traffic isn’t as targeted.

Therein is another pro-and-con: while traffic via the AdWords search system revolves around search queries (on Google at least) lending an inherent relevancy, a lot of Facebook advertising revolves around job titles, locations, interests, and other demographic data. You tend to lose a bit on relevancy, however, it’s a great medium for getting in front of people when they aren’t looking for you.

Want to launch a new product? Get your new e-book in front of a bunch of SEO professionals who might not be searching for “seo ebook”? Facebook lends a lot of flexibility in this area.

While their organic reach has tended to drop dramatically in the past few years, Facebook also can be a solid source of unpaid traffic. This involves ensuring you have brand loyalty and are consistently producing good content as consistent engagement is the key to ranking organically.

5. Bing

Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World

Bing replaced MSN Search as Microsoft’s answer to Google in 2009. Launching with just 8.4 percent of the search market share, they quickly crossed 10 percent, and in a deal later that year to power Yahoo search, rose to 28.1 percent. In 2016, they added AOL to the sites they provide search results for.

These additions made them a real contender and the latest data from Microsoft indicates they are now powering 33 percent of U.S. searches.

Bing has been making a lot of plays recently in the advertising space in their effort to catch up with Google, adding a number of features to Bing Ads – ranging from improving their AdWords import functionality to keyword match changes, as well as reporting improvement to bring their systems up-to-standard and help managers already familiar with AdWords to work in their system.

Pros & Cons

While Bing doesn’t have the market share that Google has, it is respectable in many markets including the U.S. and U.K.

Organically their algorithms aren’t as sophisticated as Google’s, making them easier to understand, predict, and optimize for. While this won’t be an indefinite state, it’s likely to be true for the next couple years.

Due to the lower traffic, there are less SEO pros vying for the top 10 positions and studying the algorithms providing good ROI for those who do.

On the ad side, there are less sophisticated systems to work with, however, Bing is clearly catching up quickly. Due to the lower volume and ease of setup from existing AdWords campaigns, the lower traffic can easily be made up for by the lower CPC.

Note: This isn’t to say to simply copy your AdWords campaigns into Bing and be done with it. Each engine needs to be managed individually for its CPC and demographics (resulting in different conversion rates, etc.). However, copying campaigns can greatly speed up the setup process.

6. Baidu

What is Baidu

Baidu was founded in 2000 and is the dominant search engine in China with over 82 percent market share where Google comes in at 0.61 percent and Bing at 0.37 percent.

They’re making huge investments into AI and setting the structure many others will have to follow or at least contend with in regards to deciding which companies (like NVIDIA) will have the monetary and competitive advantages.

Outside of China, Baidu holds little influence. Within the country, Baidu powers 3.3 billion searches per day.

Pros & Cons

The downside to Baidu is that it only gives access to one market. The upside is that the market it gives access to is huge.

That said, it’s critical to understand that accessing the Chinese market is not like accessing any other (such is the curse of international SEO). The visuals, verbiage, and customs are entirely different and Google Translate isn’t going to help you win any customers over.

To access the Chinese market via Baidu, you need someone on staff who speaks the language and understands marketing to the culture (not just “someone on my team who took two years of Mandarin in high school”).

Overall, the organic algorithms are more simplistic than Google’s and their paid systems can be easier once you’re setup but that setup is more difficult if you reside outside China.

7. Yandex

What Is Yandex

Yandex has its roots in a project started by two Russian developers to aid in the classification of patents in 1990 under the company Arkadia.

The term Yandex was adopted in 1993 standing for “Yet Another iNDEXer.” The Yandex.ru domain was launched in 1997.

In 2011, they went public on the New York Stock Exchange with an IPO of $1.3 billion making it the second largest at the time (right after Google). Yandex currently powers more than half of all searches in Russia.

Pros & Cons

As with most smaller engines (compared to Google at least), there is less traffic on Yandex but the competition is lower both organically and in paid. The algorithms used by Yandex are less sophisticated than Google’s and thus, easier to assess and optimize for.

Now the bad news: While Yandex’s algorithms are less sophisticated than Google, they have elements that make it difficult for outsiders – including a higher weighting on geolocation.

The paid system is obviously more flexible in this regard and compared to Google, Facebook, and Bing it tends to be less expensive per click. For example, ranking #1 for “casino” would cost over $55 per click in the U.S. and only $0.80 on Yandex. Of course, that’s an English word but even the Russian “казино” is only $1.02.

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Best WordPress SEO Tools for 2019

Most site owners strive to increase their organic traffic – i.e. visitors who arrive via unpaid search results through sites such as Google and Bing. However, with so many web pages competing for coveted spots on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it can be extremely difficult to boost your ranking.

The entire goal of WordPress SEO (search engine optimization) is to refine your web pages so they rank higher in SERPs. Thankfully, there are lots of tools available to help you execute your SEO strategy, and as a result boost your search engine rankings.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best WordPress tools and plugins to help you optimize your web pages in 2019. Let’s get started!

1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO plugin

With millions of downloads, Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It comes packed with easy to use functionality to help you with your SEO strategies. It’s well known for its page analysis feature, which helps you to improve keyword usage, content length, readability, and more. Other handy options include XML sitemap creation and notifications, breadcrumbs, and social media integration. If you’re an SEO beginner, this plugin is a fantastic place to start.

2. SEOPress

SEOPress for WordPress

Another great option to optimize your WordPress site is with SEOPress. This SEO plugin offer everything you need to improve your rankings such as XML and HTML sitemaps, content keyword analysis, Open Graph settings, Google Local Business data, redirects and more. Plus SEOPress features a white labeled backend and a useful broken link scanner built-in. (even in the free version).

While there is a free version on WordPress.org, which is a great way to give the plugin a try, SEOPress Pro offers loads more. When you upgrade to a Pro plan you get even more powerful features such as support for breadcrumbs, advanced sitemaps for Google News or Video XML, structured data types markup, easy editing tools for your robots.txt and htaccess files, WooCommerce integration and more. For just $39 (which you can use on unlimited sites) it’s well worth the investment in your site’s SEO.

3. All in One SEO Pack

All In One SEO Plugin

All in One SEO Pack is another hugely popular free WordPress plugin, with over 30 million downloads. It’s often pegged as an alternative to Yoast SEO, although it doesn’t offer the same depth when it comes to on-page analysis. However, it does have many other similar features such as meta tags, XML sitemaps, and social media integration. One unique feature of All in One SEO Pack is that it’s the only free plugin to provide SEO integration for e-commerce sites – including those using WooCommerce.

4. BAVOKO SEO Tools

BAVOKO Free WordPress Plugin

BAVOKO SEO Tools is a great alternative to the 2 previously mentioned plugins. Offering standard features for on page SEO (XML sitemaps, meta titles, descriptions, content length, keyword optimization etc) in addition to useful SEO performance monitoring (keywords, backlinks and competitor analysis) and a report generation tool really set BAVOKO apart. It’s like getting multiple SEO services plus a plugin for one low price. You can try BAVOKO SEO Tools for free, but to get all the features you’ll need to upgrade to premium (starting at $19.99 per month).

5. Rank Math

Rank Math SEO WordPress Plugin

Rank Math is another great plugin option to manage your WordPress SEO. The plugin add easy options to help improve your content such as focus keyword tips, content length monitor, permalink evaluation and more. Rank Math is also integrated with Google Webmasters so you can track site stats and performance right from your WordPress dashboard. Other plugin features include Google crawl error monitoring, contextual tooltips, automated image SEO options, XML sitemap generator, rich snippets (including for custom post types), and tons more.

6. Premium SEO Pack

A Premium SEO Pack dashboard screenshot

Premium SEO Pack is a WordPress plugin that is jam-packed with features. This premium plugin combines the best of both SEO and social optimization to limit the need for multiple plugins.

It includes on-page optimization, rank tracking, XML sitemaps, and competitive analysis. Premium SEO Pack also offers features to optimize your images, link profiles, and page speed. This plugin also has plenty of social options such as social statistic reporting, rich snippets, a Facebook planner module, and Twitter cards.

7. SEOPressor

The SEOPressor homepage

SEOPressor is a premium WordPress plugin designed to give you maximum control of your website’s SEO in an easy to use interface. The developers claims the plugin’s advanced algorithm emulates that of Google, so you get accurate suggestions for optimizing your pages. SEOPressor gathers all of the essential SEO data for your site, and presents it in one place – alerting you to any issues.

The plugin also incorporates semantic analytics and the relevant associated markup standards. It offers you complete control over how search engines crawl your site, and also optimizes your link profile. At $9 per month for full use of the tool, SEOPressor seems like a pretty great deal.

8. Moz Pro

The Moz Pro homepage

Moz Pro offers a collection of tools and features to help you manage your website’s SEO strategy. It tracks weekly ranking for your site and your competitors, and discovers and prioritizes keywords using its Keyword Explorer tool. It also uses Open Site Explorer to help with link building, and crawls your site to search for any relevant issues.

If you need further persuasion, Moz Pro also provides features to help you with your on-page SEO, and offers a suite of reporting and analytics options. Starting at $79 per month (for an annual subscription) the price is definitely steep compared to others. However, if you think you will use all of its offerings, it might be worth it.

9. ahrefs SEO Tools & Resources

ahrefs SEO Tools & Resources Premium Subscription

If you’re looking for a way to monitor your site’s SEO performance ahrefs is a great option. This premium service includes tools for competitor analysis, keyword research, backlink monitoring, content gaps, rank tracking and more. Best of all you can setup automatic alerts and reports to be email to you at regular intervals (such as once per week) to keep track of specific SEO factors you’re focusing on.

10. Rankie

The Rankie homepage header

Rankie is a premium WordPress plugin that has been designed specifically to help you keep track of your web page’s Google rankings. You enter the keywords you want to rank for in the dashboard, and the plugin monitors your Google results page position for all of those keywords. It can update rankings daily, or you can choose to update a particular keyword in real time.

For progress tracking, you can easily generate reports and optionally download them as PDF files. Rankie also has an integrated tool that suggests lists of keywords you may want to target.

11. Google Keyword Planner Free SEO Tool

The Google Keyword Planner homepage

Google Keyword Planner is a tool for AdWords subscribers that suggests keywords to try to rank for. You can enter information about your product and site, and target your search with various parameters. For every suggested keyword you can view historical data including average monthly searches, the level of competition, and a suggested AdWords bid.

12. Keyword Tool Free Planner

The Keyword Tool homepage showing the search bar

Keyword Tool is pegged as an alternative to Google Keyword Planner. It has a simple interface, and uses Google’s autocomplete feature to generate hundreds of long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term you enter. However, unlike Google Keyword Planner, the free version of Keyword Tool lists only the keywords and not the accompanying data such as search volume, cost per click, and competition. This information can be unlocked if you opt to pay for the higher tier premium versions.

13. LinkPatrol Premium Service

The LinkPatrol homepage

LinkPatrol is a premium WordPress plugin that is focused on helping you clean up your outgoing link profile. It takes just seconds to scan your entire site for links, and provides you with a list of all of the authors, domains, and anchor text associated with them. If you notice bad links, it’s quick and simple to add a nofollow tag or strip the link of the URL. Pricing starts at $50 per year.

14. GTmetrix Free Site Speed Analyzer

The GTmetrix homepage

GTmetrix is a tool designed to help with site speed, a factor that search engines consider in ranking algorithms. It offers you insights into how quickly your site loads, then helps you to improve its performance. It analyzes your pages with Google Page Speed and Yahoo YSlow rulesets, and delivers results including page load time and total page size. You can also see how your site stacks up against other GTmetrix monitored sites.

The tool also enables you to track performance, analyze site speed through a mobile device, and test your page in multiple regions. Finally, you’re also able to record page loads and play the results back to pinpoint performance issues.

New SharePoint 2019 Features That Make the Move Worthwhile

Organizing, sharing and tracking down documents is a constant headache for most businesses and employees. Microsoft SharePoint makes it easy to organize, share and manage documents and streamline business processes.

Microsoft’s latest iteration, SharePoint 2019, aims to improve the SharePoint experience for on-premises and hybrid users.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the new SharePoint 2019 features so you know what to expect and how to prepare, including:

  • New UX features
  • Team site updates
  • Communication site improvements
  • Hybrid OneDrive environments
  • IT administration & infrastructure updates
  • Integration with hybrid environments
  • SharePoint training courses

About SharePoint 2019

It’s easy to assume that most businesses have moved to the cloud. But in truth, many organizations are still running on-premises environments in some capacity. In fact, 65 percent of enterprise workloads are still running in company-owned data centers, according to a recent study.

With the release of SharePoint 2019, Microsoft proves it’s still committed to customers who operate within on-premises and hybrid scenarios.

SharePoint 2019 offers a new, modern design that’s optimized to work across any screen, whether you’re working on a tablet, phone, laptop or desktop. The new iteration aims to help users spend less time searching for content and configuring settings and more time working on productive tasks.

New SharePoint 2019 Features

SharePoint 2019 supports increasingly common hybrid IT environments. It includes many of the features that users felt SharePoint 2016 lacked. Here’s a breakdown of the most anticipated new features.

Modern User Experience Improvements

SharePoint 2019 includes new UX enhancements that are in line with the SharePoint Online experience, including better communication and collaborative capabilities. These features include:

  • SharePoint Home: The new home screen will offer all the sites and news you care about in one central dashboard. If you’re familiar with Office 365, you will recognize the SharePoint home screen.
  • Modern team and communication sites: Likely one of the most anticipated features of SharePoint 2019, appealing to cloud users through Office 365.
  • Lists and libraries: Modern lists and libraries are also available in SharePoint 2019.
  • User-friendly pages, web parts and authoring: Human error is common when creating and editing pages in older versions of SharePoint. With new user-friendly improvements in SharePoint 2019, anyone can quickly and easily create content.
  • Suite Navigation and App Launcher: The popular Office 365 “waffle” menu is now available.
  • Simplified sharing experience: Previously, you could only let outside users access your SharePoint on-premises content by giving them a SharePoint license or anonymous access. Now you can enjoy the flexible sharing capabilities offered in Office 365.

Team Site Improvements

SharePoint 2019 makes it easier to integrate your Office 365 group content, SharePoint team sites and Microsoft Teams.

You can connect an existing SharePoint team site to a new group in Office 365, giving you access to a group calendar, shared document library and planner to manage tasks. You also have the option to add a team in Microsoft Teams as a hub for collaboration.

In addition, Microsoft Teams now lets you access and share SharePoint pages and news articles, not just documents stored in SharePoint libraries.

Communication Site Improvements

New and improved communication sites are available in SharePoint 2019.

Communication sites dynamically pull content from Office 365 using SharePoint web parts.

The modernized communication sites feature new web parts that simplify the process of creating and sharing important updates and announcements. These web parts include Planner, Microsoft Forms, Group Calendar, File Viewer and Twitter.

OneDrive

Organizations with large on-premises libraries will be pleased to know that SharePoint 2019 brings a significantly improved OneDrive Sync Client.

The new iteration features OneDrive Sync Client support for personal and team sites, including files on demand. It also includes push notifications to help create a fast, reliable synchronization experience.

Previously, these features were only available in the cloud. Now on-premises users can access them in hybrid environments.

Improved Support for Business Processes

Businesses rely on SharePoint to support collaboration, business process automation and custom business applications.

Moving complex workloads to the cloud can get messy. Fortunately, SharePoint 2019 includes process automation and forms technologies like PowerApps and Flow to connect with your on-premises data.

Administration/Infrastructure Improvements

There are quite a few SharePoint 2019 features aimed at improving administration and infrastructure, including:

  • Direct links to SharePoint documentation: You’ll no longer need to search far and wide for documents. You can now use direct go-to links in Central Administration.
  • SMTP authentication for sending emails: You’ll be able to use actual authenticated SMTP (including Office 365) to send your emails.
  • Workflow Manager 2019: Workflows are not going away any time soon. This new version replaces Workflow Manager 1.0 with new and improved features.
  • Integration with PowerApps and Flow: With SharePoint 2019, you can expect some deeper integrations with Flow and PowerApps. The new features have improved performance and fewer restrictions than before.

Hybrid Environments

SharePoint 2019 advances upon many previous features to make SharePoint easier to configure and manage in hybrid environments.

Here are some examples:

  • New Hybrid Status Bar: Monitor the status of your hybrid configuration in one view with this new feature.
  • Holistic Search: SharePoint 2019 includes a modern search feature for hybrid environments.
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How to Enable Theme Customization Dynamically in ASP.NET MVC?

Introduction for Theme Customization in ASP.NET MVC

In ASP.NET MVC Theme Customization Dynamically, User able to customize the theme on the website through custom theme’s settings from the admin panel to change the theme color, backgrounds, side panels, custom menus, portfolios and more functionality of the website using LESS file in ASP.NET MVC.

For example:
To set two types of colors, one is a light colored theme and another is a dark colored theme. User able to change theme color using LESS file and it will be reflected in the whole theme in ASP.NET MVC.

Here we are using LESS file for theme customization in ASP.NET MVC.

LESS is a dynamic cascading style sheet (CSS). It can be compiled and converted into CSS and run on the client side or server side.

It is basically used for theme customization which means one theme with various colors. LESS file supports variable declarations and uses that variable in CSS. We can also add CSS classes in less file. It also supports CSS classes.

Tools & Packages Needed for setting up a theme in Microsoft .NET MVC

  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • NuGet Microsoft ASP.NET Web Optimization package
  • NuGet dotless package

Implementation in ASP.NET MVC

We had implemented Theme customization in ASP.NET MVC. There are some steps for implementation using LESS file theme customization.

We need to make one variables.less file which stores all variables that are used in the lessfile. There are two kinds of color light and dark. We can also use any one of them in the LESSfile. There are many inbuilt functions for customization dynamically in .NET MVC.

For LESS File Implementation Example:

We have to declare the following variables.

[css]
@MainColor1 : #222a3c;
@MainColor2 : (lignten(@MainColor1,30%);[/css]

Need to add a custom.less file. we want above variables in the custom.less file. but we need to import variables.less file on top.

[css]
@import “variables”;
.btn-custom1 {
background-color: @MainColor1;
border-color: @MainColor1;
}
.btn-custom2 {
background-color: @MainColor2;
border-color: @MainColor2;
}[/css]

Now By changing variables value in variables file. It will reflect changes in CSS files.

But For that, we have to compile LESS file. We can compile it using visual studio feature Web Essentials.

It is not feasible for users to compile it every time in ASP.NET MVC.

There is a NuGet package called dotless. It will compile all less files dynamically and reflect changes of Theme. You need to install dotless package of Nuget in your ASP.NET MVC application.

Create LessTransform class in App_Start directory of your application.

[csharp]
public class LessTransform : IBundleTransform
{
public void Process(BundleContext context, BundleResponse response)
{
response.Content = dotless.Core.Less.Parse(response.Content);
response.ContentType = “text/css”;
}
}[/csharp]

Now, Install  Optimization package of NuGet for bundling and minifications of CSS and JS.

After installing package there will be a file called BundleConfig.cs in App_Start directory.

You need to create a bundle and add CSS, LESS file in BundleConfig like following. You need to maintain sequence here.

Add variables.less at first, thereafter add a custom.less file in the minification.

[csharp]
public class BundleConfig
{
public static void RegisterBundles(BundleCollection bundles)
{
var lessBundleBranding = new Bundle(“~/Content/CustomTheme”).Include
(
“~/Areas/Custom_Themes/css/variables.less”,
“~/Areas/Custom_Themes/css/custom.less”
);
lessBundleBranding.Transforms.Add(new LessTransform());
lessBundleBranding.Transforms.Add(new CssMinify());
bundles.Add(lessBundleBranding);
}
}[/csharp]

Now, add this bundle in MVC view.

[csharp]
@Styles.Render(“~/Content/CustomTheme”)[/csharp]

Make sure that debug tag is false in web.config file of your asp.net mvc application.

[csharp]
<compilation debug=”true”>[/csharp]

Now, To make this user-friendly we need to add customization page in admin.
It will read variables from LESS file. user can update it from customization page.

We need to update variables in LESS file When a user clicks on the save button.
By changing variables file it will automatically change colors of theme based on variables.

Issues in this approach

  • Sometimes we need to delete cache to reflect changes in the .NET application.
  • Make sure that there is no syntax error in any CSS or LESS file. It will create issues in ASP.NET MVC theme customization.
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Wix vs WordPress – Which One is Better?

Are you trying to decide between Wix vs WordPress to build your website? While WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, it is not the only option.

After seeing TV commercials for Wix, some of our users asked us to do a detailed comparison of Wix vs WordPress to find out which is the better choice.

In this article, we will compare Wix vs WordPress and highlight the pros and cons. Our hope is that with this Wix review and comparison, you will be able to decide which platform is right for your needs.

Note: This article compares Wix vs Self Hosted WordPress.org NOT WordPress.com.

Let’s see how Wix and WordPress stack up into each of these categories.

1. Pricing and Costs

The cost of building a website is an important factor when choosing your site builder platform. The total costs of developing and maintaining your site will entirely depend on your needs. Our goal is to make sure that you can do whatever you need within your budget.

Let’s compare the pricing of Wix and WordPress to find out which one gives you more bang for the buck.

Wix:

Wix offers a basic website builder for free. However, there are two major downsides to it. First, it adds Wix branded advertisements on the top and bottom of your website. Second, you cannot use a custom domain name for your site, so your website address will be: username.wix.com/sitename

Apart from that, the basic plan does not offer necessary add-ons such as Google Analytics, Favicons, eCommerce, etc. To remove ads and get additional features from their apps market, you’ll have to upgrade to one of the premium plans they offer.

Each Wix premium plan has different storage and bandwidth limitations. You can pay monthly or choose a yearly plan.

The best value plans on Wix is the Unlimited plan ($12.50 / month), and if you want an eCommerce store, then you need the eCommerce plan ($16.50 / month).

This cost does not include any apps that you later choose to buy from the Wix app market to use on your website.

WordPress:

The WordPress software is open source, and it is available for free for anyone to use.

We often get asked about why is WordPress free and what’s the catch?

Well, the biggest catch is that you need your own domain name and web hosting to install it. There are several WordPress hosting providers that you can choose from.

Depending on your budget, you can start with a basic plan with a WordPress hosting provider like ASPHostPortal that will cost you $2.75 per month and includes a free custom domain name.

The cost of a WordPress site will increase if you decide to use premium WordPress themes or plugins (similar to apps in WordPress).

However, there are thousands of free WordPress themes and plugins available that you can use to reduce costs. You can add any feature to your WordPress site using a plugin without upgrading your hosting plan.

Conclusion:

WordPress beats Wix with flexible plans available from a variety of web hosting companies. The cost depends on how much resources you use, and you are free to use your WordPress site in any way you want.

2. Ease of Use

Most beginners choose Wix or WordPress because they don’t want to hire a website designer. Both Wix and WordPress allow you to create websites without learning to code.

Wix:

Wix comes with powerful and easy to use tools to build your own website. It offers a simple drag and drop interface where you can select any element on your site and start editing it in a WYSIWYG interface.

You can drag and drop items anywhere on your site, rearrange things on your pages, write content, and add media in a user-friendly environment. Many beginners would find this feature a blessing as it saves them from dealing with code.

WordPress:

WordPress comes with a visual editor to write your content, and a theme customizer which allows you to edit your theme properties in a WYSIWYG environment. However, by default WordPress does not come with a built-in drag and drop page builder.

To get the full control of the appearance, users will have to familiarize themselves with different sections like navigation menus, customizer, visual post editor, etc. This means that WordPress requires a small learning curve for beginners.

On the other hand, there are thousands of themes that make customization really easy.

Conclusion:

Wix is clearly the winner here. Users don’t need to spend much time to learn the platform or install any plugins before they can start building their website. On the other hand, they will need to understand WordPress basics and may need to install plugins to build their site.

However you can use powerful WordPress page builder plugins like BeaverBuilder or Divi that offers a lot more powerful features than the Wix builder.

This is why smart business owners use WordPress because it offers them greater flexibility.

3. Design and Layout

Your site’s design and layout play an important role in your success. Every site owner needs a design that’s not only good looking, but also user-friendly and makes their brand stand-out.

Wix:

Wix comes with more than 500+ pre-made templates to choose from. All Wix designs are fully responsive and written in HTML5. Using the built-in tools, you can further customize your site design, change the layout, and rearrange items as you see fit.

There are designs available for every kind of site. Templates are divided into categories like business, eCommerce, hobbies, arts & crafts, personal, etc.

One big disadvantage is that once you have selected a template, you cannot change it. You can modify it and customize it as much as you want using only the built-in tools, but you cannot switch to another template.

WordPress:

There are thousands of free and paid themes available for WordPress. Free themes come with limited support, but they also go through a strict review process. Paid themes generally offer more features and come with premium support options.

WordPress themes range from small personal sites to full-fledged eCommerce sites. Most themes come with built-in customization options of their own. You can also use one of the many styling plugins to further style or customize your WordPress themes.

Users can download free themes from WordPess.org directory. For paid themes, there are several WordPress theme shops like Themify, CSSIgniter, StudioPress, and more.

Furthermore, you can hire a developer or learn to create a completely custom theme for your company.

Conclusion:

WordPress has a much larger range of themes and design layouts than Wix. WordPress users can also easily switch themes or customize them as much as they want without any restrictions.

4. Plugins and Apps

Plugins and Apps are third-party extensions that you can use with your platform to add more features. Wix calls them apps, and in WordPress ecosystem, they are called plugins.

Let’s compare apps and plugins available on both platforms and what you can do with them.

Wix:

Wix comes with nearly 200+ apps that you can add to your site. These apps offer a wide range of features like adding contact forms, gallery, comments, social media buttons, email marketing and so on.

Most apps are free or have a lite version. Other apps require monthly payments and vary in prices. Even though there is a limited collection of apps, they cover most commonly requested features by site owners.

WordPress:

At the time of writing this article, there are more than 55,000+ free plugins available in the WordPress.org plugin directory alone. Not to mention, premium plugins available on other marketplaces.

The saying goes: if you can think of a feature, there’s probably a WordPress plugin that makes it happen.

Whether you want to create a contact form, install Google Analytics, build a membership website, or sell online courses, there’s a plugin for that.

You can do just about anything you like with WordPress. There are plenty of plugins both free and paid which you can use to build a website of your dreams.

Conclusion:

WordPress easily beats Wix in this area as well. Even though Wix’s app library is growing, it is still limited in comparison to the huge choice available to WordPress users.

5. Wix vs WordPress – Which one is better for blogging?

Many users are looking for an easier platform to start blogging. Wix and WordPress both can be used to create blogs. Let’s take a look at which one does it better.

Blogging with Wix

Wix allows you to easily add a blog section to your website. It has all the basic blogging features you’ll commonly use. For example, categories and tags, photo and videos, archives, etc.

However, it does not have a native commenting system like WordPress. Instead, it uses Facebook comments and those comments are not portable.

It also lacks several features like featured images, backdating posts, creating private posts, and more.

The writing interface for blog posts is not the same as Wix website builder. Instead, it uses a plain text editor which is very limited in terms of formatting options.

Blogging with WordPress

WordPress started out as a blogging platform and evolved into a full-blown website builder. Today it powers nearly 33% of all websites.

It has all the blogging features you will need like a native commenting system and all other advanced features that are missing from Wix.

It comes with the powerful Gutenberg block editor which allows you to create beautiful layouts for your blog posts.

Most importantly, you can extend your blog using plugins and add any feature that you can think of.

Conclusion

WordPress totally outshines Wix as a blogging platform. Wix blogs are too basic and lacks several important features. If you are thinking about starting a blog, then Wix doesn’t even come close to WordPress.

6. Wix vs WordPress Ecommerce Comparison

Selling things online is another important feature that most beginners look for. Let’s see how WordPress and Wix compare in eCommerce.

Wix:

Wix offers eCommerce with their paid plans. This means users with the free plan cannot run their eCommerce store on Wix without upgrading to a paid plan. With the WixStores, you can only accept payments using PayPal or Authorize.net.

There are a few third-party apps that you can use for selling things online, but those apps would cost you even more money with their monthly fees. Not to mention you have limited payment gateways and functionality.

WordPress:

WordPress makes it super easy to create your online store using WooCommerce, which powers more than 42% of all ecommerce websites in the world.

There are also plenty of other eCommerce plugins available for WordPress that you can use to sell physical or digital goods, services, events, subscriptions, and more.

Most eCommerce plugins for WordPress even have their own dedicated themes and add-on plugins.

Conclusion:

If you want to build a proper online store and be ready for growth, then WordPress + WooCommerce offers much more flexibility, freedom, and choices when compared to Wix.

7. Data Portability Options in Wix vs WordPress

Data portability allows you the freedom to move your content away when you need it. Let’s take a look at how Wix and WordPress help you move your content away if you need.

Data portability options in Wix

Wix comes with very limited options to move your content to another platform. You can only export your blog posts in XML format. You’ll have to manually download your pages, images, videos, and other content.

According to Wix documentation, all your content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers and cannot be exported elsewhere.

This makes it a bit difficult to move your content to another platform if needed. However, you can still transfer a Wix site.

Data portability options in WordPress

WordPress makes it extremely easy to export your content. It comes with a one-click exporter that allows you to download your content in XML format.

Since it is a self-hosted platform, you can also create complete WordPress backups, download your media files, and even manually export your WordPress database.

You can then easily move your WordPress site to a new host if you are not satisfied with your current WordPress hosting company.

Conclusion:

WordPress is a lot better when it comes to downloading and moving your data. Wix, on the other hand, makes it quite difficult to move your content away.

Summary

WordPress is far superior to Wix as a web publishing platform for any kind of website. While Wix offers an easy to use website builder, you can accomplish a lot more with WordPress over the long run.

SEO Tutorial for Beginners: Step by Step Guide (2019)

Here’s a step by step SEO tutorial for beginners with the latest and best practices for SEO in 2019

Not just another SEO guide, it is a comprehensive tutorial with actionable steps that will help you increase website traffic and get you results.

In this guide, we are following that popular 80/20 rule where 80% of result comes by 20% of the effort.

Let’s get started

What is SEO?

Starting with the basics, Search Engine Optimization A.K.A SEO is the art of using various optimization approaches to get or increase website traffic.

Why is SEO important?

SEO fetches you organic (free) website traffic based on your content and other efforts that connect with your audience and increases the chances of conversion.

The search engine giant Google has the highest market share of search engine audience, beating competitors like Bing, Duck Duck Go, Yahoo and more.

Understanding the workings of SEO will help you improve your ranking on these search engines with fewer efforts and lesser cost.

Google offers 2 distinct ways of representing search results.

  1. Organic Results
  2. Paid Results

The paid ads are mostly the first four results on the first Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Thereafter are the organic search results.

The organic results are based on the intricate and complex Google algorithms while the paid results follow rules of Google Ads like PPC (Pay Per Click), Pay Per Impression, relevance and more.

One of the key methods to increase organic traffic is to create web page content that is engaging and relevant to your target audience.

Remember, Google prioritises content relevance and User Experience above anything and pushes web pages on top of the search results based on that.

Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords for your website/ blog is the focal point of SEO strategies that will help you get more traffic.

We are going to go through the process of finding your target keyword.

But first, let’s talk about Long Tail Keywords.

As the name suggests, a Long tail keyword is a search term containing four or more words. This type of search query has fewer searches than a head term. Additionally, it can contain 2-3 keywords in it and are easier to rank for.

So, it’s always good to find a few long tail keywords and use it in your web page to get more traffic.

So how to find your target keyword?

For this, you first need to identify your target audience- people you want to find your webpage. Based on that and your business domain, you can think of a few possible search terms that your audience is more likely to search.

Once you have a list of search terms, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest to find the perfect keyword for you

Let’s take an example with Ubersuggest.

Go to Ubbersuggest and plug the search term into the search box and click search.

Next,

You can see the search volume for your keyword, SEO difficulty, Paid search difficulty and CPC (Cost Per Click) value.

Select the keywords with an adequate monthly search volume and a lower CPC value. This will increase your chances of getting more quality traffic to your webpage.

Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest is a great tool for keyword finding and has other great functionalities as well.

Keeping the search volume and your audience in mind, you can select your target keyword.

Use that keyword in your webpage to boost your ranking.

On-page SEO

Meta Tags on your web page

Meta Title is the main title of your webpage and has maximum impact on SEO.

It is advisable to insert your keyword at the beginning of your title tag. Don’t worry if you are not able to do that, keep it as close to the beginning of the title. Search engines will give more weight to such pages.

Don’t forget to add the same keyword to your meta description tag as well. It is also advisable to add related keywords or words to your meta description tag to add more relevance to the description

You should also add your selected keyword in the image alt tag. Google can’t understand the image so it relies on alt tag and if you use proper alt tag, your image will rank in Google image search.

Using your Keyword effectively in your content

Every webpage will have a title or headline and it is recommended to add your targeted keyword in the H1 tag.

It is important to follow the headline tag structure in your webpage. Use the H1 tag for the heading of the page, H2 for the subheading and so on till H6. However, it’s not necessary to use all the tags.

Most CMS(Content Management System) like WordPress will have the H1 tag for a website or blog heading. However, I would suggest you check your webpage source code once to confirm.

Another important thing to remember is to use the target keyword in your web content organically. DON’T stuff too many keywords, Google doesn’t take keyword stuffing lightly.

Most importantly, your content should be relevant and meaningful to your readers- as I said before user experience is everything!

Additionally, if you used the target keyword in the first 100 words, you make it easier for Google to find your content- increasing your chances of getting a higher ranking. Thus, use the keyword at least once in the first paragraph.

Internal and external links

Adding a link on your webpage is a way to tell Google what your webpage’s about. The external link which is very relevant to your content will signal Google to understand that topic.

You can even link your other articles or page to each other.  The interlinking of content will enable search engines to understand your overall website topic. It will add significant value to those pages.

Additionally, if any of your pages are not ranking well, an internal link from the better ranking page will help another page rank better.

So if you use the right strategy to link internal and external pages, it will boost your SEO.

Optimize your web page URL

Your page URL is the first thing that Google learns about your website and is one of the ranking factors for the search engine. Adding a target keyword in your URL will raise your visibility in the search results.

Additionally, you should keep your URL short as clear and concise URLs are easier to remember and are more likely to be clicked than complicated ones. They also give a boost to your SEO.

Complicated URL Structure:
https://yourwebsite.com/cat01/catname/product/?1038

Right URL Structure:
https://yourwebsite.com/productname/

Contents

Comprehensive and in-depth content is the ultimate answer to effective SEO.

While creating content, focus on the quality of content from the reader’s perspective. It is essential that your content is relevant, engaging and informative.

So how will you create such content?

Go long!

Make your articles detailed with accurate information and at least 2000 words.

According to a study by backlinko.com, longer content always wins in SEO with the average word per post to be 1890

Think long term while creating the content. Make sure that your content is appropriate even after a few years of publishing.

Website Speed

Another important website ranking factor on Google search engine is the website speed.

Your visitor is most likely to lose interest if your website takes too long to load- the average time is 3 seconds

You can optimize your images with tools like lazyload to decrease your loading time. You can even use CDN (Content Delivery Network).

CDN will load your website from your visitor’s region. It saves your webpage at multiple locations and loads it from the nearby region allowing your website to load faster.

Use Google Page Speed or Webpagetest.org to check your website performance. It will give you insights for optimizing your website, preventing it from lagging and increasing speed.

For mobile website speed optimization, you can use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) by Google which helps creating mobile-friendly websites that load quickly on mobile devices.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is simply the approach of designing a website in a way that it adapts to any screen-size, devices, and orientation.

So, why you should care about responsive design?

The answer is Mobile-first indexing

In 2018, the search engine kingpin-Google officially rolled out the mobile-first indexing.

That means that the mobile version of your website will be considered first by Google as an SEO ranking factor.

This is why Responsive Design is very important.

You can do this by using media queries in CSS and by using a responsive theme on WordPress which is supported on all the devices.

Bottom line?

Test your website on mobile, tablet and desktop view before you publish it and make sure it works well across all the devices.

Off-page SEO

Backlinks

Backlinks are extremely important for your website’s SEO.

They signal Google that if reputed sites are linking to your website it means that your content is worth linking.

So the more the relevant backlinks, the better the website reputation and thus, higher in search rankings.

Google determines the value of your web page based on backlinks.

Make sure that you get the backlinks from relevant websites. It is essential that the content is relevant when you get the backlink from other websites.

Backlinks from irrelevant websites will not only be useless but can also have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.

Backlinks are always attached to specific anchor text. The anchor text will tell Google what the attached link is about. It also adds weight as a ranking factor.

Even though the number of links is important, the number of domains linked to your site is even more important than the number of links

Thus the 3 important factors of backlinks are

  1. Quality links
  2. The number of links
  3. Anchor text

How to get these backlinks on your website?”

Let me tell you a few basic things that you can work upon to get relevant backlinks for your website.

  • Answer questions related to your business on sites like Quora and Reddit
  • Add insightful comments on relevant blogs
  • Post content on various forums
  • Guest post

Be active on Social platforms

Social media does not directly affect your SEO.

However, Google sees how active you are on social media, how people are reacting to your content on social media. One way or the other it does affect rankings.

So being active on social media will help you in SEO indirectly.

Consider the below 2 factors for SEO.

  1. Total number of shares
  2. Who shares your article.

If your post is shared by an influencer, it will be considered as a good piece of content with a high value. Thus, you are most likely to get more views and shares if an influencer validates it with likes and shares.

Bonus: SEO Tools

There are different kinds of tools available for SEO that will help you get your desired results.

I have already mentioned a few tools for keyword research earlier in this article. Here are some tracking tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, Competitor analysis tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs and more.

Google Analytics

This tool will help you learn more about your visitors and monitor your traffic from different channels like Organic Search, Paid Search, Direct, Email, Social etc.

It also helps you in tracking the behaviour of your visitors. It shows how many pages your visitors are visiting and what is the average time they are spending on your website and more.

This tool will help analyse your visitors and based on the insights, you can make decisions to further your optimization strategy.

As we go further in our journey, I will write a more detailed article to help you understand how Google Analytics works.

Google Search Console

This tool from Google will provide you with the keywords that people are searching for. You will be able to see how many impressions you are getting for your web pages and how many people are clicking on it.

You can also see the CTR (Click Through Rate) and position of your web page in SERP. This is the ultimate SEO tool offers you behavioural data that helps you improve your website SEO and increase your traffic.

Start with the above tools to measure your SEO performance.

Conclusion

SEO is not rocket science. It can be very easy to perform if you know the basics.

You don’t need to invest in a lot of paid tools to begin. Instead, use the tools and tactics from the tutorial for basic SEO on your website.

Start with all the above methods step by step and you will be able to gradually increase your website traffic.

However, be patient.

You won’t get the results overnight.

SEO is a long process and takes time. Once you apply these tactics, give it a good 3 months and you will slowly see the growth in traffic.

The key is to be persistence with your website. Post regular and meaningful content that will help your visitors.

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