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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.

Best WordPress SEO Tips & Techniques to Boost Rankings

What a beautiful, visually stunning and feature-rich website do if it isn’t optimized for search engines? As a matter of fact, search engine giants like Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL, etc are careless about your website’s design and pretty images you may have added to it. They care more about quality content, keywords, file names, alt tags and so much more.

Understanding what search engines are looking for on your website can bring new success to your online venture. However misunderstanding them may put you out of business.

What is SEO and why is it necessary to optimize your site for search engines?

Well, if you have an up and running WordPress website, you’d know how important it is to optimize your website for search engines. It doesn’t matter how beautifully your website is crafted or how you create a website, without proper SEO it isn’t going to work in full pace. An SEO-friendly website has higher chances of appearing on the first page of the search results and drive constant traffic to your website.

SEO has always been the buzzword of the online world. After all, every business wants to have higher rankings and come up on the first Google SERP’s. However, at times, most of us get carried away with search engine optimization. Therefore, the best way is to keep things simple and use a bit of common sense.

Where WordPress offers hundreds of useful SEO plugins that often take care of the common things, there are various other tips and tricks that you can follow to make a difference.

In today’s post, we have compiled a list simple SEO techniques and best practices that you tend to forget. These techniques, if used properly, can make a significant difference as to how your website will be ranked in Google.

1. Set your Permalinks

The URLs of your website pages and posts are called Permalinks. In layman’s language, they are what users use in their address bars to reach to your website and view relevant page. They are also used by other websites and search engines to link to your website.

WordPress comes with a default permalink settings to allow you to change them as per your convenience and needs. These settings can be found in settings -> permalinks.

It is always a best practice to change the default setting to post name i.e. /%postname%/ since it is easy to remember by the users and simple to index by search engines.

Here are a few examples:

Bad Permalink: www.yoursite.com/?p=3423 (Default Option in WP)

Pretty Permalink: www.yoursite.com/this-is-easy-to-read (Post Name Option in WP)

or This: www.yoursite.com/2015/02/this-is-easy-to-read-too(Month and Name Option in WP)

2. Create a sitemap for your website

Your website can contain hundreds of pages and in order to get your web pages indexed by Google, you need to tell Google your website structure. Creating a Google XML sitemap is extremely easy. WordPress offers an extremely useful plugin called Google XML Sitemaps that automatically generates a sitemap of your website which will help search engines to better index your site.

3. Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a popular analytic tool developed and offered by Google. It is absolutely free to use and helps you keep track of your website traffic. The tool lets you know about the traffic source, behavior and various other important attributes that will help you better reach your target audience.

Google Analytics helps you perform a number of different chores including locating a 404 error page, examining the behavior of your visitors, source of your traffic, combating referral spam and so much more.

4. Use search engine optimized themes

Apparently, WordPress offers an array of themes that can be used to give your website a strong foundation. However, instead of choosing a theme that looks beautiful and aesthetically appealing, choose a theme that is optimized for search engines.

An SEO optimized theme has two main things i.e. speed and code. A well-written theme with latest SEO best practices guarantees that Google bots will wade through the source code and find the appropriate code.

Crucial factors to consider include:

Open graph meta tag incorporation to improve social media sharing
Appropriate use of meta title tags and heading
A neat and clean structure that employs valid and proper HTML.
Correct use of the canonical URL meta tag.

5. Use SEO Plugins

WordPress also offers many SEO Plugins including Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Plugin and so much more that take care of your website and encourage you to add Meta title, Meta description, Meta tags, keywords and more. These plugins offer complete SEO solution that is available for WordPress.

These plugins are used to enhance your website’s on-page SEO by displaying a Google Search Result Snippet preview. They also help you generate an XML sitemap for your website. From adding Meta details to page content analysis, SEO plugins have got your website covered.

6. Optimize your media

Media is an important part of any website. However, they can either completely ruin or improve your SEO efforts. How you tag and name your images will determine your SEO. With proper tagging, you are most likely to improve your chances of being ranked higher in image searches.

Just uploading an image with a complex name isn’t a good SEO practice. When uploading an image to your WordPress website, you get an option to change its title, add a small caption, alt text, and description. Leveraging these options can significantly improve your website’s search engine rankings.

7. Make your content Shareable

Social Media has gained a huge popularity over the past few years. Today, almost every web user is active on various social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and so much more. Making your content shareable allows your readers to share it across different social networks while driving huge traffic to your site.

Adding social sharing buttons to your website not only drives traffic but also improves your website’s credibility. This is exactly what a new tech site Techie Nize did and saw a boost of 20% in traffic. So, never take the social media power for granted

8. Using Links and Anchor Text Correctly

You probably know that adding links to posts are crucial, but you probably aren’t aware of ways to optimize your SEO efforts in reference to links.

Links to your own posts: A majority of website owners often forget to interlink their posts to other posts on the website. Interlinking your own posts accelerates your SEO efforts as well as improve the user experience on your site. Of course, it is necessary to interlink posts when it’s relevant. Never link merely for the purpose of linking.

Over years, search engines have evolved. They have begun recognizing more metrics for regulating rankings. However, link relevancy is one metric that stood out from the rest, which is determined by both the anchor text and the content of the source page. Before Google’s Penguin update in 2012, anchor text was considered to be the simplest ways for Google to comprehend the relevancy of any site. However, today it has evolved to be a method of getting your site penalized by Google.

But it does not mean anchor text is no longer meaningful.

Google has been keeping an eye at how anchor text is utilized and since it can be ruined, there are certain dos and don’ts of creating an anchor text.

What is an anchor text?

Let’s understand it with the help of an example. Suppose someone writes a blog post about appropriate landing pages facts. Curious to know the hidden information about it, the writer spends hours or probably days to scan the content written by other writers and opinions of many other users. Let’s assume while reading the information, the writer finds about the psychological effects of using different colors on your landing pages. Excite, he/she will begin writing about it.

Obviously, he/she will link the article back to the original one for authenticity and while linking the post, the writer gets to choose the anchor text for the link pointing to the article. Now, one can either use “click here for more info” or something relevant such as “psychological effects of using colors on your landing pages”.

So, this human-powered text is imperative for search engines too to comprehend what the target page is all about.

9. Producing High-Quality Written Content

What is the most used SEO tactic for enhanced search engine rankings?

It’s high quality, user-engaging content.

Whether you are running a blog or a corporate website, you are going to need quality content to rank higher in the search engines.

The idea of quality content is not only related to a post which is free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes but also that appeals to the readers.

High-quality content is:

Unique

Google hates content thieves and takes no time in punishing them. Adding a quote with its source to your website is acceptable but stealing the entire content or blog post is not. Obviously, you can write about the same topic and frame the same idea in your content, but don’t steal somebody’s work. You can even write your plagiarism free article by using this free tool: https://searchenginereports.net/plagiarism-checker.

Shareable

As mentioned earlier, high-quality content also means posts that can be shared by your users with their friends and followers. You can write posts that are personal, funny, or rags to riches kind of stories that web users love to share.

Helpful, informative, and actionable

As a matter of fact, people access the internet when they are looking for some valuable information. Offering them exactly what they are seeking is the key to successful SEO. Informative list posts, tutorials, lessons you have learned, tutorials and how-to posts are really helpful because they assist your audience to learn or help resolve a particular problem. If you are able to write content that helps, educates, and informs, your content will be considered to have higher quality.

10. Using Correct Heading Tags

In regards to good SEO practices, appropriately using heading tags is extremely crucial. However, if you are just a beginner, you might not be aware of heading tags and how to use them correctly.

You can see heading tags in your editor, and are allowed to choose from heading 1 to heading 6.

But which one to choose? You may ask.

The H1 tag must always be employed for the title of the blog post and it is imperative to keep your H1 clear and informative. Your title should tell your readers what exactly your content is about and they must be interested in reading the entire content. Once you have used H1 heading correctly, you would want to use H2 tag for additional headings and then H3 and H4 tags for sub-headings and so on.

Using heading tags is not only crucial for best SEO Practices but also for improving user engagement. It gives your users a better idea about your content and captures their attention in no time.

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11. Hosting

Everyone might know the fact that Google ranks a site based on page speed in 2016 and beyond. Apart from using regular SEO techniques, one need to use a good and reliable hosting for their sites. One thing that helped us to rank higher than our competitors is using hosting with SSD drives. Many big hosts like Hostgator, Bluehost use traditional hard drives, while there are some others you can count on like Fastcomet hosting since it comes with SSD drives.

12. Using SEO Plugins

Whether you are new to SEO or an amateur SEO expert, WordPress SEO plugins come handy to accomplish best search engine optimization practices. These plugins allow you to automatically add the desired information instead of manually adding Meta descriptions, SiteMaps, and other important SEO details.

Here are some of the best options available:

WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin:

Yoast SEO has gained a lot of popularity among WordPress users for a variety of reasons. The plugin helps you pay attention to the focused keyword in a blog post as well as allows you to add meta descriptions, titles, and tags. It even comes with a page analysis feature that helps you improve your content and make it SEO-friendly.

SEO Friendly Images:

SEO friendly images, as the name suggests, helps you optimize your images for search engines while driving a significant amount of traffic from image search engines. SEO Friendly Images allows you to integrate ALT attribute into your images, though you would need to take care of the name of the images.

Wrapping Up

There are various other techniques and tactics available out there when it comes to SEO, but the aforementioned ones are some of the best that can be used in your WordPress website.

It is necessary to give your content the best chance possible of being found on the first page of the search engines. Make the most of these tips and engage your users while driving constant traffic from Google and other search engines.

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Easy Way to Speed up Your Prestashop Website

Prestashop provides a number of options to speed up Prestashop website and to optimize its performance. This optimization process gives you the ability to increase the speed of loading and enhance the performance of your Prestashop installation. This article describes the caching and performance options available with the new interface of Prestashop.

Configuring the Smarty template engine

Prestashop uses a PHP template engine called Smarty. Below are the steps for the configuration of this template engine.

  • Navigate to performance page and to the Smarty section in the page.
  • Click the “Recompile templates if the files have been updated” from the Template Cache
  • Set Cache toggle to “Yes”.

The 3Cs (Combine, Compress, Cache)

Prestashop combine, compress and cache lets you increase your site’s performance without using any coding expertise. These 3 terms describe a process conducted to optimize a single file to speed up the site loading. The main concept behind this is making a file smaller to increase its performance. The CCC optimization options can be obtained by clicking Performance or in the Advanced Parameters menu.

The options provided are given below.

  • CSS Smart cache for css

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets are present to add styles and formatting to your web pages. But the large number of CSS files present can decrease the performance. This cache feature combines all files into a single CSS file to reduce the requests sent to the server for each visit of the website.

  • Smart cache for JavaScript

JavaScript Smart cache follows the same procedure as CSS smart cache and combines all the JavaScript files into one file to increase the loading speed of the website and improve Prestashop performance.

  • Minify HTML

This process involves the removal of unnecessary code from the     HTML. These unwanted portions of code include whitespace, commented code and other characters the removal of which will increase the loading speed for Prestashop optimization.

  • Compressing inline JavaScript in HTML

A process that is somewhat similar to the above. But the code that is optimized is the inline JavaScript found in the HTML code to speed up loading of the site.

  • Move JavaScript to the end

Move all JavaScript files to bottom of your website, this helps the site loads faster.

  • Apache Optimization

Involves the addition of htaccess code which helps to improve caching in the Apache server.

Media Servers

The usage of media servers gives you the ability for offloading static content to another server. It is called a CDN or a Content Delivery Network. It is required by Prestashop for these options to be used with the CCC options given in the description above. It also states that to use cookie-less content, entering to another domain/subdomain is essential. This is a precaution taken for the website security.

Given below are the steps to follow when using multiple servers

  1. Enter the domain/subdomain name of server in the field provided.
  2. Save the entry by clicking on save from the bottom right corner.

Caching options

Prestashop’s performance can be improved extensively by using different caching options. Caching can also be enabled or disabled according to your requirement. But these Prestashop cache options require the enabling of server extension. The least efficient caching option is the file system cache which uses the hard drive.

Cache options:

  • APC cache – Alternative PHP cache works with a single server and is not present for accounts that use shared server hosting. And can only be installed on servers for which you have complete access. If InMotion hosting is used, it can be installed on VPS or on dedicated server accounts of which you have root access.
  • Memecache – Works best with multiple server websites. But your server’s PHP configuration must enable Memecache for it to be selected. Like APC cache, Memecache can only be installed on servers for which you have complete access. If InMotion hosting is used, it can be installed on VPS or on dedicated server accounts of which you have root access.
  • Xcache – Lighttpd server is required for this and it can’t be used with the InMotion hosting servers. This is because of their usage of websites hosted by Apache server.

Clicking on the radio button found next to the cache type you prefer to use and then clicking on the button named Add Server will enable the selected cache. Each and every option for caching found in Prestashop is linked to a website which gives all the necessary details about each type.

Ciphering algorithms

Ciphering is associated with cookies. In fact it refers to the encrypting algorithm used in cookie generation. The selected encrypting algorithm can be changed by clicking on the radio button in front of your preferred algorithm and clicking on Save in the bottom right.

Out of the given algorithms it is best to select Rijndael with mcrypt lib if you are more concerned about the performance since it works faster than custom BlowFish class. But for this, your web server should be mcrypt enabled.

Image management

Images are an ideal feature of your website. Therefore websites usually contain a large number of images. Prestashop provides many methods for managing these images.

To set the image size for images displayed with products, navigate to Images in Preferences and add preferred size.

To set the image quality there is another option when you navigate to images in Preferences.

Both the size and the quality of the images highly affects the loading time of your website. When images are of higher quality and larger in size, the loading time will be slower. If you want to speed up Prestashop website, it is best advised to use medium quality images.

Image management has become advanced with the newer versions of Prestashop. Image organization is an option provided in Prestashop 1.6 allowing the use of responsive design. This option enables the users to view the website and products without a difference regardless of the screen size of the device.

Another useful feature provided is the Regenerate Thumbnails option in Images. Even if you add different sized images, these can be brought to the same size using this option. To access the regenerate thumbnail option, navigate to the Images section. But if your website uses a large number of products, Regenerate Thumbnails setting will be generating that number of images when clicked and it might slow down your Prestashop site. Therefore it is essential to make sure to not use it when your site is busy.

Optional features

These features are some optional features when disabled will speed up Prestashop website.

  1. Navigate to “Optional Features” section in the Performance page.
  2. Set the Combinations toggle button to “No” if your site doesn’t contain products having combinations.
  3. Product Feature option can also be disabled from the same section which is enabled by default.
  4. Disabling Customer Group feature will make all customers individually subjected to pricing etc. and not group wise.
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The Best WordPress LMS Plugins to Build Online Courses in 2019

Knowledge is power.

That’s usually something people say when stressing the importance of education, but you never really appreciate how true that saying really is until you’re selling your own knowledge and experience. That’s when you see just how much people are willing to pay for education.

And all you need to turn that knowledge into a source of revenue is a WordPress site, a good LMS plugin, and marketing tools that boost engagement. In a few minutes, you can lay the groundwork for a profitable online educational course that leaves your subscribers hungry for more.

Ready to get started? Check out our list of favorite LMS plugins and learn which is right for your WordPress site.

1. LearnPress

Want a powerful WordPress LMS plugin, free of charge? If so, LearnPress is the perfect platform for you.

LearnPress puts you in the driver’s seat, enabling you to build and manage coursework any way you see fit. It comes with a wide range of free tools to help you get your courses off the ground. Best of all, LearnDash’s professional bundle makes it easy to expand your services as your content grows, so that you can meet the needs of new and existing subscribers. These premium features include:

  • Course certificates.
  • A content drip add-on.
  • Management tools for tracking students, grades, and course content.

LearnPress also has an extensive library of free and premium add-ons which you can integrate into your eCommerce site, so you can make individual adjustments to your platform while paying for only the add-ons you need.

Keep in mind that LearnPress doesn’t come with a setup wizard like most other WordPress LMS plugins. While you’re able to exercise more control over your content, creating lessons takes a little more time and work.

Price: Free / $249.99 for PRO Bundle

Ideal for: People looking to minimize start-up fees associated with their online courses.

Drawback: Lack of setup wizard can create a learning curve for beginners.

2. LifterLMS

Whether you’re offering a couple of individual programs or a collection of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), LifterLMS has everything you need, from content management tools to add-ons that target specific segments of your market.

Perfect for building comprehensive courses or training programs, LifterLMS makes it easy to expand on your content by adding course prerequisites, training modules, group memberships, and other tools you can use to customize coursework for specific individuals or entire classes.

But that’s not all. LifterLMS comes with a number of other awesome features that maximize engagement and customer satisfaction, including:

  • End-of-course certificates and achievement badges.
  • Automated emailing.
  • Support for Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net.

You can even integrate LifterLMS with other marketing tools, like MailChimp, WooCommerce, and WPForms to boost conversion rates even more.

Price: Between $99 and $999 a year, depending on the plan.

Ideal for: People who want to build scalable Learning Management Systems that cater to the unique needs of individuals and small groups.

Drawback: Can quickly become expensive if you need to purchase a lot of add-ons.

3. LearnDash

When it comes to accessibility, the LearnDash WordPress plugin is arguably one of the easiest and most convenient LMS plugins on the market. Its intuitive drag-and-drop design makes it simple for anyone to create quizzes, training programs, and exams with a click of a button.

LearnDash lets you create customized courses that meet the needs of your subscribers. Whether you’re setting prerequisites for students or you want to schedule content using its built-in drip feed feature, LearnDash makes it easier to optimize engagement every step of the way. Also, it’s one of the few WordPress LMS plugins to support SCORM.

Popular LearnDash features include:

  • The ability to choose between membership, subscription, and one-time pricing options.
  • Test and course management tools, like gradebooks, student metrics, and profiles.
  • Compatibility with most popular payment gateways.

Another awesome LearnDash feature is the optional Course Points setting. Here, students can earn points from completing tasks and lessons, and they can then spend those points unlocking new courses. Not only is it great for increasing engagement, but it’s also a great motivational tool that keeps students wanting more.

Price: Between $159 and $329 a year, depending on the plan. If you want a free alternative that offers many of the same features as LearnDash, take a look at MasterStudy LMS.

Ideal for: Anyone looking for a powerful WordPress education plugin that’s easy to set up and offers an ever-growing range of add-ons and third-party integrations.

Drawback: It has to be integrated with a third-party plugin like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads in order to implement comprehensive payment options.

4. Sensei

Sensei is an LMS and WordPress course listing plugin created by Automattic, the same company behind WooCommerce and WordPress. As such, Sensei interacts smoothly with both platforms, making it easier for users to implement the plugin into their WordPress sites.

One of the biggest advantages you get with Sensei is its simplicity. It’s arguably one of the easiest plugins to navigate, making it an excellent choice for entrepreneurs searching for an online coaching plugin for their WordPress site.

However, Sensei doesn’t offer much beyond your basic LMS tools. You have to integrate it into WooCommerce in order to monetize your courses, and you’ll need to purchase additional add-ons if you want advanced features like certificates, content drip, and student management tools; all of which are features that come standard with many other WordPress Learning Management System plugins.

Price: Starting at $129 for one site.

Ideal for: Merchants already running a WooCommerce store and interested in basic LMS services.

Drawback: Not a lot of additional features or add-on support. Best suited for people running simple courses and short training programs.

5. WP Courseware

Powerful and easy to use, WP Courseware lets users create online courses with its intuitive drag-and-drop platform. Designed to be hassle-free and easy to learn, WP Courseware makes it possible to create custom-tailored courses in a matter of minutes.

Once you’ve got the structure of your course in place, you can use WP Courseware’s advanced tools to further customize your services. These features include:

  • Personalized emails sent automatically to students based on their activity.
  • Advanced testing tools like timers and retake limits.
  • Instructor and student gradebooks.

One thing to keep in mind if you go with WP Courseware is that the platform doesn’t come with its own payment processing gateway. If you want to monetize your content, you’ll need to integrate it with an eCommerce plugin that accepts payments.

Price: Starting at $129 a year for two sites.

Ideal for: Anyone looking to a flexible LMS plugin that’s convenient and quick to learn.

Drawback: No built-in payment support. If you’re looking for a plugin that’s just as user-friendly and has extensive payment support, try Good LMS.

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