Which Social Media Platforms Offer The Greatest Organic Reach?Organic reach is one of the treasures brands seek when they go in search of social media visibility across various platforms.

With more than 1.5 billion monthly users on Facebook and 316 million monthly users on Twitter, brands do not want to miss an opportunity to communicate with a huge audience, potentially for free.

But free reach on social media platforms is gradually declining.

Why?

The social media space is becoming crowded giving rise to a stiff competition for attention. The Facebook News Feed these days is a tussle for attention as more content is being shared. Also, social media companies want businesses to pay up if they want to reach more people.

Is it the end of free use of social media to reach consumers? No, different social networks come with their own unique opportunities and challenges, as well as audiences, calling for a diversified mix of accounts to reach consumers.

But which platforms offer the greatest organic reach?

Let’s find out.

Facebook

In November 2014, Facebook announced that it will reduce overly promotional page posts in the News Feed. Below is an example of an overly promotional page post:

Facebook stopped overly promotional posts in 2014

Image source: Facebook newsroom

This meant that brands could no longer have the same level of organic reach. Thereafter, organic reach dropped drastically while the company smiled to the bank.

With a decline in organic reach and increase in paid promotion, Facebook's stock price increased

Image source: Convince and Convert

A study conducted by Locowise revealed that Facebook pages with over a million likes have 2.27% average organic reach.

The study found that the higher the page likes the less the organic reach and this is expected to near zero by year end.

For example, posts by Beyonce on her Facebook page with over 63.5 million likes can only reach just around 1.4 million fans if there’s no sponsored content. Beyonce would have to pay to be seen by more than 2.5 percent of her fans on Facebook.

Organic reach of Beyonce's Facebook page is quite low

Image source: Facebook

However, there are ways to perform better in terms of organic reach. By publishing content that fascinates the audience (trust me, average is no longer adequate), posting when your target audience is the most active, and posting videos, you can improve your organic reach.

HubSpot has a great list of tips on how to improve organic reach on Facebook.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the major social media platforms brands use to engage with consumers. A survey of the top 50 global brands by Forrester revealed that top brands post more frequently on Twitter than on any other social media platform:

Of the top 50 global brands, most use Twitter to post each week

Image source: Forrester

The study cited an average of 18.3 posts per week on Twitter.

However, these brands can only reach about 3.61% of their followers with a tweet. Twitter reports this as impressions – the number of times followers see a tweet.

For instance, a brand like Forbes with around 7.8 million followers can only reach just about 281,580 of its followers per tweet.

Twitter's organic reach is low

Image source: Twitter

Also, average interactions on the micro-blogging site are at 0.03%. This means that for every one million Twitter followers there are 300 interactions, according to this Forrester study.

To increase your Twitter organic reach, leverage real-time events or trending conversations, co-create tweets with influencers, and include auto-expanded photos & videos. These have been proven to drive organic reach on Twitter according to a survey of 200 brands.

Google+

Google+ was first introduced back in 2011 to compete with other social media platforms. But since then, it has failed to gain traction. Google recently removed most of the functions from the platform, including Hangouts. Now only few features are left: Collections and Communities being the main ones.

While there are no stats available on the organic reach of the revamped Google+, the previous version of the platform suffered from declining reach. Organic reach on the platform may slide further as Google+ links and reviews are no longer included in search results.

Also, interaction or engagement with posts on the platform is 0.09% of a brand’s follower count.

To increase your organic reach on this platform, expand your Google+ circles, get active within your brand’s community as well as other communities, and have a regular posting schedule.

But going ahead, it would be unrealistic to label Google+ as a major social network considering that it is gradually being killed by Google.

LinkedIn

There are about 400 million LinkedIn members across 200 countries and territories of the world. Among the cumulative, 100 million people actively use the platform on a monthly basis.

Although LinkedIn has similar functioning as other social networks on the list, your status updates and posts can record a 20% organic reach. This figure can rise to 60% if you post at least 20 times a month.

For example, the enterprise cloud computing company Salesforce wanted to engage followers, drive event attendance, avoid message oversaturation and reach regional audiences with localized content. They used LinkedIn targeted status updates to reach the desired audience.

LinkedIn has better organic reach, b2b brands love it

Image source: LinkedIn

The result was a 30% increase in engagement and reach. It’s critical to note that companies with at least 100 LinkedIn followers can share targeted updates.

Compared to other platforms, LinkedIn emerged as the clear front-runner sending at least 64% of traffic to businesses from social media sites.

In another study, it sent 7000 visitors more than any other platform.

More so, Hubspot studied over 4500 businesses and found that LinkedIn referral traffic converts at 2.74% on the average compared to Facebook referral traffic and Twitter referral traffic, which converted at 0.77% and 0.69% respectively.

To increase organic reach on LinkedIn, share relevant and engaging content like case studies, participate in LinkedIn groups, and post at the right times.

Pinterest

While there are still so many brands yet to take advantage of this social network, 93 out of the world’s top 100 brands have accounts on Pinterest.

Organic reach on Pinterest is higher than that of Facebook and Twitter because the number of people who see your pins is often greater than the number of your followers.

Every tweet on Twitter lasts 24 minutes and a Facebook post will get you 90 minutes of visibility in the News Feed. However, a pin can last 151,200 minutes, according to WebpageFX.

Another study noted that Pinterest pins are worth more than Facebook likes. On brand’s interactions with their fans as a percentage of their followers, Pinterest came second only to Instagram.

Omnichannel Marketing cited the case of Townhouse, a premier cracker brand. Townhouse enjoyed exponential reach on Pinterest without any monetary spend. Not only it became the top cracker brand on the platform, but received 1.5 million impressions per month.

The source reported that 63 percent of followers viewed at least one pin from the brand on a monthly basis. If this example is anything to go by, Pinterest is ripe for brands looking to organically reach their target audience.

To increase organic reach on Pinterest, add the Pin It button to your blog, leverage group boards, and cross promote your pins on your other platforms.

Instagram

Instagram recorded over 300 million monthly active users in just a few years after its inception. 20% of the globe’s internet users are registered on Instagram, with 47% of users accessing the app on their phone and 53% on their tablet.

The platform has a 20% organic reach. Big brands like Christian Louboutin are taking advantage of the organic reach potential of the platform while it lasts.

In the past three years, Christian Louboutin has been able rely on organic posts to grow its Instagram following and the platform has been a major driver of organic traffic since organic reach plummeted on Facebook.

Instagram drives the most interactions for Christian Louboutin

Image source: L2inc

According to TrackMaven, Instagram has the highest percentage of content going viral. Not only does it outperform all other social networks, it blows them away with 49% of photos and 60% of videos reaching 250+ interactions.

To increase your reach on the platform organically, experiment with different types of content (visuals, quotes, etc.), use relevant hashtags, and engage with your audience by responding to their comments or commenting on their profiles.

Social Media Examiner has useful tips on how to increase Instagram visibility.

Note: The content you post on Instagram can also be used on your Facebook page. This can be done by using the auto-post feature, and doing so will save you time and resources spent on creating separate content for your Facebook page. Also, you can increase the diversity and reach of your Facebook page by using your Instagram follower’s post (make sure to seek their permission and give credit).

Bottom line

The implication of the analysis is that Facebook and Twitter are clearly pay-to-play platforms. On the other hand, the bane of Google+ is the drop in active users and the restriction on its links and reviews appearing on search result pages. However, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram are doing well in terms of organic reach.

In the end, the social media platforms with the most organic reach in descending order are Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. That said, the choice of platforms to promote your brand depends on your marketing goals and the demography of active users you want to reach on the platform.

Article thumbnail image by igor kisselev / shutterstock.com

Credit: Original Article

WordPress makes it easy and intuitive enough for you to write your content directly into the visual editor while styling your text, but it’s not necessarily a quick process.

Anyone who has any experience composing content in the editor knows that you have to continuously reach for your mouse or trackpad so you can highlight the text you want to style and click the buttons at the top of the visual/text editor (either that or learn often unintuitive keyboard shortcuts). It’s fine for users who aren’t in a rush and prefer the straightforwardness of the editor, but there’s another way of getting it done faster.

Markdown is a lightweight and intuitive markup language that provides a faster way to style your posts, pages and comments. Although it takes a little time getting used to, you’ll never have to reach for your mouse while using Markdown.

In this article, we’ll go over what Markdown is all about and how you can start using it with WordPress.

A Brief Background of Markdown

In an effort to come up with a solution to easily write and format text on the web, John Gruber and Aaron Swartz created Markdown in 2004. It relies only on plain text and doesn’t require users to learn any complicated code or shortcuts, meaning that even WordPress beginners can learn how to use it on their own.

When you use Markdown on your WordPress site, which we’ll cover later in this article, you’ll be able to type specific characters around the text you want to style. For example, to italicize some text, all you need to is add an asterisk character on both ends. The *italicized text* will show in actual italicized text format when published on your site. Like freakin’ magic.

Once you’re familiar with Markdown, you’ll be able to cut down on the time you spend formatting your WordPress content. The hardest part is really just memorizing the characters to implement each style, which becomes second nature with enough practice.

Another great point to make about using Markdown with WordPress is that all the text you create with it will remain in Markdown format. So even though your content is published as fully formatted on your site, you’ll be able to go back and edit in Markdown anytime you want.

If you’re interested in exploring some of the different tools available for using Markdown, you may want to check out Mou, a free Markdown editor for Mac, or MarkPad, an open source Markdown editor for Windows. Texts is another that works for both Mac and Windows, with the ability to convert Markdown to other popular file formats like PDF and MS Word.

For mobile device use, you can take advantage of Byword, which is a Markdown editor for the iPhone and iPad (it also works on Mac). If you use an Android, check out Draft.

Now let’s dive deeper into how Markdown can be used with WordPress. We’ll start by covering the Markdown-inspired enhancements to the editor that were introduced in WordPress 4.3.

WordPress Editor Enhancements in Version 4.3

In the WordPress 4.3 release, inline text shortcuts similar to Markdown were introduced, allowing you to format text and add elements using simple markup in the text. However, unlike Markdown these text patterns immediately transform patterns into HTML.

The current enhancements include:

  • Typing an asterisk (*) or a dash (-) to generate a bulleted list
  • Typing 1. or 1) to generate an ordered list
  • Starting a paragraph with 2 to 6 number symbols (#) to generate different headings
  • Typing the greater-than symbol (>) to generate a blockquote

You can see a short demo video of these shortcuts in action here.

More shortcuts are planned for future releases, along with support for plugins to extend existing functionality.

Using Markdown With WordPress

The best way to learn Markdown is to actually start using it yourself. So rather than listing out all the different shortcuts, which you can access from the WordPress quick reference page anyway, here’s a basic example:

The WordPress Markdown Visual Editor.

The WordPress Markdown Visual Editor.

This Markdown text creates the same formatting as the HTML does below. It’s pretty clear to see how much simpler Markdown keeps it by looking at this comparison.

The WordPress HTML Text Editor.

The WordPress HTML Text Editor.

As you can see pretty easily, adding ## to some text is the same as wrapping it with <h2> tags. Likewise, adding * is the same as using <em> tags while adding ** is the same as using <strong> tags.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s published:

Markdown published on WordPress.

Markdown published on WordPress.

If you start typing these Markdown shortcuts directly into WordPress right now, you might see some of them work automatically when you use them and hit Enter to start a new paragraph because of the editor enhancements that were introduced with WordPress version 4.3, but you won’t see all of them. To take full advantage of Markdown, you’ll have to install a plugin.

There are at least three good plugins you can use to integrate Markdown with WordPress.

Jetpack

jetpack

Jetpack bundles together a wide range of powerful features that WordPress users can take advantage of to customize their sites. Markdown support is also included. In fact, Jetpack uses Markdown Extra, which is an extension to Markdown that brings some additional features to the syntax. You can learn more about Markdown Extra here.

In your WordPress admin area, navigate to Jetpack > Settings and scroll down the list until you see Markdown, then activate it and your set!

Now you can compose or edit any posts, pages, or comments using Markdown. Just make sure you use the text editor rather than the visual editor, as Jetpack specifies on its Markdown support page.

PrettyPress

prettypress

If you don’t plan on using any of the other features that come with the Jetpack plugin and would prefer just a simple standalone Markdown plugin, you should consider using PrettyPress. Not only does it offer Markdown support but it also provides users with a sleek, easy to use publishing interface that comes with a live preview layout.

Installing this plugin will add a PrettyPress tab to the top of the sidebar area when you edit posts or pages. Click Launch PrettyPress to use it, which brings up a simple Markdown editor on the left and layout preview on the right in fullscreen view.

Anything you type or edit in the editor can be seen in real time within the preview. This can be a huge plus for new users who are still learning Markdown, which saves time between previewing or publishing the changes in a separate browser tab or window.

You can also conveniently switch between the views for Markdown, Visual, and HTML directly in the PrettyPress editor. Just click the x in the top left corner when you want to go back to the WordPress editor.

WP-Markdown

wp-markdown

Despite it being a popular choice, you may want to consider using one of the two alternative plugins above first since WP-Markdown hasn’t been updated in two years. Just keep that in mind when considering this one.

If you do go ahead and decide to try WP-Markdown, you can navigate to Settings > Writing in your WordPress admin area where you’ll find your new Markdown settings. From here, you can enable Markdown for posts, pages, or comments and even install the optional help bar, which adds a convenient preview feature so you can see your changes as they’d appear live on your site.

Another big point worth mentioning here is that when you enable Markdown through this plugin, it will completely disable the visual editor on every post type where it’s enabled. All old posts and pages will also be converted. If you choose to deactivate the plugin, however, it will not alter your posts, pages, or comments where you originally had it enabled since it stores all the processed HTML.

Making the Most of Markdown

Markdown may seem intimidating to the WordPress user who has no real experience with code, but in reality, anyone who can type on a keyboard can easily learn how to use it.

It may be slow at first in terms of having to go back and check to see what you need to use for certain formatting shortcuts, but once you’ve used them enough, you’ll be able to type them out automatically right off the top of your head and save a great deal of time on publishing and editing your content.

With the Markdown-inspired editor enhancements in WordPress version 4.3 and more to come, users may soon not even need to turn to plugins to use everything that can be done with Markdown.

Credit: Original Article

Image compression is a key factor in keeping your site speed fast. After all, if your pages are filled with large, unwieldy images, they will take a really long time to load – and nobody likes a slow website.

Website speed has become an increasingly important search engine ranking factor, so much so that Google has made it one of the more important factors in its ranking algorithm.

So how exactly do you optimize your images and, in turn, speed up your site?

Our image optimization plugin WP Smush strips hidden, bulky information from your images, reducing the file size without losing quality. It’s by far the most popular image compression plugin for WordPress, with more than 300,000 active installs using our dedicated Smush servers.

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about image compression and how to set up WP Smush to reduce your image file sizes, improve the performance of your website and boost your SEO.

Image Compression: What You Need to Know

Image compression is the process of minimizing irrelevancy and redundancy within image data that is (hopefully) imperceptible to the human eye. It enables you to store and transmit images more efficiently. Image compression can also dramatically reduce image sizes and it is an essential step in site optimization.

With image compression, you have to achieve a balance between the highest possible image quality and lowest possible file size. We’ll discuss that in detail for different image formats in the next section.

How Image Compression Works

Image compression is achieved algorithmically; there are several compression algorithms out there that each have their own working mechanism. The simplest algorithm, called run-length encoding, analyzes each and every “bit” of the image and searches for patterns.

To put things into perspective, a single kilobyte has nearly 8,000 bits, and most images we use are typically tens (or hundreds) of kilobytes in size.

Image size pre-compression: 245 KB. Image size post-compression: 199 KB.

Image size pre-compression: 245 KB. Image size post-compression: 199 KB.

Images can be converted to matrices of numbers. When the image compression algorithm identifies a pattern – such as ten zeros in a row – the entire pattern is replaced by 10:0 to denote the row of ten zeros. Although this method of image compression isn’t as effective as others, it gives you a fair idea of how compression can be achieved.

Why Image Compression Is Important

Image compression has been important since the advent of the internet. Let’s take a look at specific scenarios in which smaller images are always better.

1. Speed: According to the HTTP Archive, images are the main cause of average web page sizes weighing in at the 1.25MB mark (followed by JavaScript exploitation). Bloated and oversized images negatively affect the loading time of your site because they contend with other resources for bandwidth.

2. Mobile Users: According to Kissmetrics, 73% of mobile internet users say that they have encountered a website that was too slow to load.

3. Conversion Rates: Uncompressed images result in slow websites, and research shows that a 1 second delay in page loading time can cause a 7% loss in conversions and 11% fewer page views.

4. Search Engine Rankings: Google considers site speed to be an official ranking factor in their algorithm. Compressing the images on your site’s pages will improve its chances of scoring a better ranking.

Lossless Compression vs. Lossy Compression

If you’ve ever used an image compression tool then you’re probably familiar with the terms ‘lossless compression’ and ‘lossy compression’. Ever stopped to wonder what the difference between both types was? Let’s find out.

Lossless Compression

When you select lossless compression for your image, it means that every single bit of the image can be recovered after the file is uncompressed – the image’s data is completely restored. An example of a lossless file type is PNG.

WP Smush uses multiple methods to squeeze every last byte out of your images for the best possible lossless compression.

Lossy Compression

As opposed to lossless compression, lossy compression works on a mechanism by which the image’s data is permanently removed during compression. Decompressing the image will only restore some of the original data. Images saved as JPEG files typically employ lossy compression.

The image on the right is compressed (lossy) and ~100 KB less in size.

The image on the right is compressed (lossy) and ~100 KB less in size.

Compressing Online Image File Types

There are many different image file types available and they can be categorized as either “raster graphics” or “vector graphics.” For the purpose of this article, we’ll limit our focus to raster graphics – all three of which are smushable.

Raster graphics have attained universal acceptance and are supported on almost any browser you’ll find. But in terms of optimization, they’re not as friendly as vectors.

  1. GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) have small file sizes, support for transparency mode and a limited color palette. Their lossless compression basis allows for little optimization.
  2. JPEGs are used to display photographic images that have a large range of colors. They can undergo heavy optimization due to their lossy compression basis.
  3. PNGs (Portable Network Graphics) are known for their excellent image quality and full transparency support. These file types provide lossless compression.

Image Compression with WP Smush

We the adopted WP Smush plugin (previously known as WP Smush.it) back in March 2013 from Yahoo! After Yahoo! shut down its Smush.it API earlier this year, our developers quickly got to work redesigning WP Smush from the ground up. We built a new Smush API and a brand new cloud config for bigger and better smushing.

Check out the live stats since the relaunch:

  • 1,748,257,427 images smushed since we re-launched WP Smush
  • We’ve saved users a total of 6,730
  • That’s 7,225,757,723,755 image bytes Google is no longer penalizing websites for
  • We smush images for 19,492 different WordPress sites each day
  • At peak times, we often handle smushing 200+ images per second with no major slowdowns
  • 8.08 average lossless compression overall (WP Smush Pro average is even higher due to multi-method optimization)
  • On average, Super-Smush (lossy compression) has a real-world compression rate of 16.27 (but we often see it beat lossless by 2-10x as a lot of images coming through from members have been previously compressed). For example Super-Smush savings for all PNG files yesterday was 33%.

To put it simply, WP Smush works better than before. It automatically – and reliably – compresses every single image you upload to your WordPress site once you install the plugin. The plugin works great on HTTPS sites and enables you to smush your media library in batches of 50 attachments.

 

How WP Smush Can Boost Your Site’s Load Time

WP Smush is fully loaded with powerful functionality that can boost your site speed while maintaining your image quality.

One-click automated smushing.

One-click automated smushing.

Automated Smushing

If never optimized an image in your life (no one’s judging!), you can finally get around to it with WP Smush’s Automated Smushing feature.

The plugin enables you to optimize all those images that have happily been nesting on your website for years with just one click.

Lossless Compression

WP Smush uses multiple algorithms to achieve lossless compression while retaining impressive image quality. Upload images up to 1MB and smush every last byte out of your images.

Advanced techniques for lossless compression.

Advanced techniques for lossless compression.

The advanced lossless compression techniques produce amazing results without compromising on image quality or compression speed.

Get rid of all that extra image data and see the difference for yourself (which, in this case, won’t be noticeable).

Lossless compression will save you a ton of space and you’re highly unlikely to notice a difference in the quality of the image. You can even see how much space you’ve saved in both size and percentage. The plugin also enables you to create backups of your original images in case you want to restore them later on.

Bulk Smushing

If you’ve got hundreds of uncompressed images stored on your server then it’s time to compress them and reclaim some extra space. Don’t we all want a little extra server real estate?

WP Smush’s Bulk Smushing feature enables you to compress existing images on your server as well as any new images you upload in batches of 50 attachments in one go.

WP Smush vs WP Smush Pro

At the same time we relaunched WP Smush, we released WP Smush Pro, a premium version that offers even more horsepower:

  • Super Smush for double the compression – With our intelligent multi-pass lossy compression, you can get 2-10x more compression than lossless with almost no noticeable quality loss
  • Smush up to 32MB – WP Smush offers smushing up to 1MB, but with our premium plugin you can compress images up to 32MB
  • Backup All Smushed Images – You can backup every image you smush and restore unsmushed files at a later date.
  • Bulk Smush in One Click – Do you have more than 50 images in your media library? No worries, WP Smush Pro can smush the lot in one click. You can even set automated smushing so your images are automatically compressed when they are uploaded to your website

If you’re ready to take things to the next level then WP Smush Pro is just a few clicks away. It goes the extra mile and really puts image optimization through its paces. It’s smushing awesome! (Yeah, I went there.)

How to Setup WP Smush

First thing’s first, you need to install and activate WP Smush plugin.

You can access WP Smush from the Media menu.

You can access WP Smush from the Media menu.

WP Smush is available to download at WordPress.org

You can also search for “WP Smush” in the backend of your site (Plugins > Add New).

Once you’ve activated the plugin, go to Media > WP Smush to access the settings page.

Choose to smush images on upload will save you having to manually compress your images.

Choose to smush images on upload will save you having to manually compress your images.

The first option you will see on the Settings page is “Smush images on upload,” which gives you the ability to automatically smush images when you add them to your site.

If you leave this setting unchecked, you will need to manually smush any images you wish to optimize.

Lastly, click Save Changes.

And that’s all you need to do to set up WP Smush! Let’s move on to using WP Smush’s other features.

Smushing Single Images

WP Smush enables you to individually compress images from within your Media Library. To start smushing your images here’s what you need to do:

Open your Media Library.

Click “Smush Now!” to optimize your image.

Click “Smush Now!” to optimize your image.

If your Media Library is set to List view, you’ll see a new column labeled WP Smush and a Smush Now button next to every unoptimized image. Select the images you want to compress.

WP Smush will then do its thing. When done, stats will be displayed detailing how much has been trimmed from your image.

Click “Smush Now!” on the individual image to optimize it.

Click “Smush Now!” on the individual image to optimize it.

If your Media Library is set to Grid view, select the image you want to optimize and click on Attachment Details. Then click Smush Now to smush the individual image.

WP Smush will start compressing the image and then output stats on how much you’ve saved, both in kilobytes and percent.

Bulk Smushing Images

The Bulk Smushing feature enables you to compress images in batches of 50 attachments in one go. To use this feature:

  1. Go to Media > WP Smush
  2. Click Bulk Smush 50 Attachments
  3. WP Smush will then begin smushing 50 unoptimized images in your Media Library
Bulk smushing with WP Smush.

Bulk smushing with WP Smush.

While bulk smushing images, you will need to keep the page open while the plugin compresses the batch of images. If you need to halt the compression process, you can close the page and resume where you left off next time you open it. Super convenient, right?

Why Use WP Smush Pro?

WP Smush is a great place to start if you have a small website with only a few hundred images, but if you’ve hundreds of image and need to compress large images, WP Smush Pro might be a better fit for your needs.

Let’s compare the two plugins based on the features they provide:

WP Smush WP Smush Pro
Image compression limit 1 MB 32 MB
Bulk smush limit 50 attachments All images
Process JPEG, GIF and PNG image files Yes Yes
Auto-Smush your attachments on upload Yes Yes
Advanced lossless compression techniques Yes Yes
Intelligent multi-pass lossy compression No Yes
Backup of your original un-smushed images No Yes
Customer support No Yes

Smush Your Images With WP Smush

WP Smush is an excellent image compression solution for optimizing server space and improving your site’s performance.

In this post, we covered the plugin’s full functionality and you should now be in a good position to take things further yourself.

WP Smush is a great place to start if you want to quickly and easily set up image optimization on your site, and WP Smush Pro is an upgrade when you want to take your compression game to the next level.

Do you use WP Smush? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credits: Unsplash, PNG Img.

Article credit: Original

It was Christmas 2009 and I had a new toy: an iPhone 3. Like millions of people that Christmas, I spent every spare minute downloading apps, playing games, taking photos and marveling at the brave new world of smartphones and apps.

Back then (nearly six years ago – time flies!) no-one had heard of responsive web design and Apple were adamant that their shiny gadget was perfectly suited to viewing full-size websites designed for desktops on a small screen. You could pinch, drag and double-tap to make content larger and if you were lucky, you would come across a website that had a separate mobile version.

How things have changed. Mobile browser use has now overtaken desktop browser use and now even app use, according to research by Morgan Stanley. Users still spend longer on apps once they’re using them, but when someone picks up a smartphone these days the thing they’re most likely to do is open the browser. Research shows that app downloads have peaked at about 50-60 per device and that users aren’t going to download an app for a brand that they’re only going to interact with casually.

While users may be prepared to spend hours on Angry Birds, Facebook or Crossy Road, they’re unlikely to download your app – they’re far more likely to visit your site on their mobile instead. All of which means that your website must be mobile-optimized.

And the great news is that WordPress is the perfect platform to help you do that. It’s taken on board the importance of mobile for web design and development and not only does WordPress make it easy for you to create a site your users will love on mobile, it also makes it possible for you to manage your site from a mobile device too.

Research by Morgan Stanley tells us that mobile browser use is twice as high as app use.

Research by Morgan Stanley tells us that mobile browser use is twice as high as app use.

In this post, I’m going to look at some of the ways in which WordPress makes it easy for you to create and manage a mobile-optimized website. I’ll look at how WordPress core has evolved to embrace mobile, at how the REST-API will open up possibilities for mobile apps to interact with WordPress, at the themes and plugins that will help you create a great mobile site, and at how you can manage your site on a mobile device.

But first, let’s consider the options for reaching your mobile visitors or customers.

Reaching Mobile Visitors – Your Options

The methods used to reach out to mobile users have changed in recent years and this is an area that’s constantly evolving, so make sure you keep up!

Let’s take a look at the options available to you.

1. Mobile Site vs Mobile App

It’s becoming less frequent that clients come to me asking for an app, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for app.

Fewer clients are asking me for apps.

Fewer clients are asking me for apps.

While the research shows that mobile browser usage is twice as high as mobile app usage now, it also shows that once people have downloaded and opened their mobile apps, they’ll spend far more time in the app and engage more deeply with it than with a mobile-optimized site.

So which is the right one for you?

My recommendation would be this. Firstly, the circumstances in which you might create an app:

  • You are developing a rich, interactive experience such as a game.
  • Web technology doesn’t enable you to create what you need to (again, such as a game).
  • You have an established brand and want to make it as easy as possible for people to engage with you via an app (for example, many of the big retailers and travel sites are easier to interact with via their apps).

In the first two cases, you’re not going to be developing with WordPress, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for the right platform. But in the second, there might just be the option of creating an app using WordPress, especially with the development of the WP-REST API, which I’ll come to later.

And here are the circumstances in which you’d be better off creating a mobile-optimized website:

  • You need to use SEO to attract visitors to your site.
  • You want to facilitate social sharing of your content (this is possible via apps, but it isn’t often done well).
  • People won’t need to access your site offline.
  • You have a limited budget or skill set.
  • You want to offer the same content and experience to visitors on a range of devices including smartphones, tablets and desktops.

I think there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, one of more of the above will apply to you. In the majority of cases, a mobile website is the best route to choose. And even if you do decide to build an app, I would always recommend backing it up with a high quality mobile-optimized website too.

2. Mobile Site vs Responsive Site

Back when web developers were first starting to respond to growing amounts of mobile web traffic, the preferred option to improve user experience (UX) on mobile was to create a mobile site. This would be a separate site from the ‘main’ desktop site, serving up different content (i.e. reduced content) with a view to targeting users with a different set of needs and slower devices.

But all that has changed. Personally I find the 4G signal on my iPhone 6 is faster than my home wifi at some times of day, and I certainly don’t limit my mobile browsing to the types of activities stereotypically associated with mobile use, such as finding locations, getting quick information etc.

Millions of people only use a mobile device for personal internet use, and the average time spent online via a mobile has now overtaken time spent online on a desktop. Back in 2010, not long after I got my first iPhone, the average adult in the US was spending 24 minutes using their mobile phone each day, while now it’s nearly three hours. In the meantime, the time spent on desktop computers has stayed static at 2.4 hours.

Mobile use has now overtaken desktop use. Taken from Smart Insights Mobile Marketing Statistics.

Mobile use has now overtaken desktop use. Taken from Smart Insights Mobile Marketing Statistics.

This means that your site’s mobile visitors aren’t expecting a reduced experience compared to what they would get on a desktop and that they won’t be happy if that’s what they get. Back when phones were more limited or mobile signals were slow, maybe this was appropriate, but now your visitors will expect the same experience on mobile and desktop.

Which adds up to one thing. A responsive website will nearly always be preferable to a separate mobile site. If you still have a version of your site with the m. prefix, or you’re using browser sniffing to serve up a different theme (maybe via a plugin), you really need to stop it. Right now! There are hundreds of high quality responsive WordPress themes out there, from the free default themes to our own Upfront theme platform.

How WordPress Has Embraced Mobile

The developers of WordPress aren’t stupid. They keep a weather eye on Internet trends and have ensured that as WordPress has evolved, it’s incorporated mobile in different ways.

Let’s take a look at some of these.

Responsive Admin Screens

With WordPress 3.8, released in December 2013, the WordPress admin screens got a major overhaul. For me, the most exciting aspect of this was the fact that the admin screens were responsive.

WordPress 3.8 brought a responsive admin UX.

WordPress 3.8 brought a responsive admin UX.

This means that you can manage your WordPress site from whatever device you’ve got available. I’ve even created a new site from an iPad, although I have to admit that it wasn’t easy, and finding a good code editing app with FTP capabilities is a challenge. But it is possible, especially if you’re happy using off-the-shelf themes from the WordPress Theme Directory.

Responsive Images

Making images truly responsive is something that web developers have been working on for some years now. Instead of simply resizing images to fit their container using CSS, this is about sending an appropriately sized image to each device based on screen size.

WordPress already has a feature that helps with this: it saves multiple versions of each image you upload, at different sizes.

The RICG Responsive Images plugin ensures that on mobile devices, the smallest image is sent to the browser that will still look good on the page. It does this using the srcset HTML attribute. But it gets better. The next major WordPress release, version 4.4, will include this in core. So you won’t need to install any plugins for making images responsive: instead, WordPress will do the hard work for you. Sweet!

WP-REST API

We’re only beginning to scratch the surface of the WP-REST API. As Tom Ewer has written on our blog, the REST API has the potential to be a game-changer for WordPress, as it lets developers query the WordPress database without using PHP, but instead by creating a JSON object.

I won’t go into the details of how this works here (if you’re interested, I recommend Tom’s post), but what it does mean is that a WordPress database can be used to power anything that can make use of a JSON object. Which is just about anything. Including mobile apps. So if you are one of those people who needs to develop an app and you’ve been put off WordPress because it isn’t an app development platform, you can now rethink that decision.

One example is an online store: you could use WordPress to power your store website and also build a mobile app, using the REST API to pull data from your WordPress site into that app and ensuring that data is synced between the two.

Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Users

I hope by now I’ve convinced you that you need a responsive WordPress site which is optimized for users on all devices.

So if you don’t already have this, how do you go about getting it? The good news is that it’s easy. Let’s start with responsive themes.

Responsive Themes

The first thing any responsive WordPress site needs is a responsive theme. This will use a combination of fluid layouts (using percentages for widths instead of pixels) and media queries (for breakpoints), to create a layout that works well on all screen sizes. Here are some resources to help you with this:

Plugins for Responsive Sites

Once you’ve got a responsive theme activated and customized where relevant, the next step is to ensure that you’re using plugins that play nicely with responsive sites, or that enhance the UX on smaller screens. Here are a few:

Managing Your WordPress Site from a Mobile Device

The way you manage your site won’t impact on your users or on whether your site is responsive, but it will make your life easier if you’re someone who tends to have access to mobile devices more often than desktops if you can manage and update your site from a smartphone or tablet.

There are two ways to do this: via the browser and using a WordPress app.

Administration via the Browser

I’ve already mentioned above that the WordPress admin screens are responsive. This means that in theory you could carry out all of your site admin on any size screen.

In reality, however, things are a little different. Few people would want to write lengthy content using a smartphone (I’m certainly not using one to write this!), and the admin screens do take a little more work to navigate around on the smallest of screens.

But on a tablet with its mid-sized screen, there’s no reason why you should ‘t use your browser to keep your site updated. I do this occasionally and have sometimes experienced problems with the touch-screen interface. Which is why if I want to do more detailed work I tend to use the WordPress app.

Administration via the WordPress App

What was that I said earlier about apps being overtaken by mobile browser use? Well, in the case of WordPress admin, this isn’t the case.

There are WordPress apps for iOS and Android, which let you manage your site and post new content right from your mobile device. Perhaps one of the best features is the way it makes it so easy to add photos to your site: simply take a photo with your device and insert it in your posts. The app interface is designed for touch screens and the relevant screen size (so you’ll get a different experience on tablets and smartphones) and lets you access and manage multiple WordPress sites from the app, including self-hosted sites and wordpress.com sites.

Optimizing Your Website for Mobile

The latest research shows that you simply can’t afford to ignore visitors to your WordPress site from mobile devices. It’s also interesting that people are more likely to use their mobile browser than to download an app. And the average hours spent on mobile devices has now overtaken desktop.

If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users yet, you need to make sure it is. WordPress is making it easier and easier to do this, and by following the tips above you’ll have a site that attracts the largest possible audience.

Credit: Original Article

How to Share Your Instagram Photos on Your WordPress SiteInstagram: the very popular photo-sharing app that has over 400 million active users. Pretty impressive huh? You’re probably one of them. Well what if you are, and you were looking for a simple way to post Instagram photos to your WordPress site? Sure, there’s probably a plugin that will do that for you, but IFTTT offers an even easier way to do it. The following article by Tom Ewer explains how you can use IFTTT to do this.

If This Than That

You could use the embed code Instagram includes on every individual post page by clicking the three dots in the bottom right corner to copy and paste it, which works just fine if you occasionally want to publish photos on your site. But if you want to publish photos or videos as new posts soon as your share them on Instagram, IFTTT is the tool you want. In fact, you can even choose specific photos or videos to be posted by including a tag with the ones you want to send to WordPress, giving you total control over what gets posted.

Here’s how to set it all up.

Getting Started with IFTTT

IFTTT is a service that enables users to connect their personal accounts to certain web apps and generate automatic actions on one app any time another app is triggered. So, if you post a new Instagram photo (the trigger), then a new WordPress post is automatically generated featuring that photo (the action).

If you don’t have an IFTTT account, you can easily sign up for one for free. Just head on over to IFTTT.com, click the blue Sign Up button in the top right corner, enter your email address and choose a password.

Once you’ve signed into your account, you have to connect both your Instagram account and your WordPress account to IFTTT. These are are called “channels.”

Click on Channels in the top menu. You can either start typing “Instagram” into the search field, or scroll down through all the apps to find it.

Click on the Instagram icon and then click on the blue Connect button to be taken through the process of integrating your account with IFTTT.

Hit that big blue button.

Hit that big blue button.

Now we can take a look at some of the different ways to post Instagram content to WordPress. The first one involves posting all new photos and videos immediately to WordPress.

Publishing All New Posts from Your Instagram Feed to WordPress

When you use a trigger to generate an action with IFTTT, it’s called a “recipe.” You can create your own recipes if you want, which we’ll briefly touch on at the end of this article, but you might as well take advantage of the wide range of existing recipes that have been created by other users for anyone else to use too.

Click Browse in the top menu to search for specific recipes or look through recipes that have been recommended. To post all new Instagram photos and videos to WordPress, we’ll use the popular existing recipe, Instagram to Blog.

Click Connect and you’ll be taken to a new page with some customizable fields. For this particular recipe, the title of the WordPress post will be the caption that’s included with the Instagram post, but you can delete this or change it to whatever you want.

For example, you may want to move {{caption}} so that the Instagram caption is included in the WordPress caption field instead of the title.

Once you’ve connected your Instagram and WordPress accounts, you can add titles, tags, categories and other details.

Once you’ve connected your Instagram and WordPress accounts, you can add titles, tags, categories and other details.

If you want to change anything, just click in the box and look for blue ingredients icon, which enables you to choose some of the Instagram components that you can customize.

You can even scroll down to enter the categories and tags for your new Instagram WordPress posts, and you can select whether you’d like it published immediately, saved as a draft, or published privately. Click Add when you’re done.

The recipe can be accessed anytime by clicking My Recipes in the top menu. You can edit it whenever you want, view its log, check it to make sure it’s running smoothly or even turn it off without deleting it permanently.

Now whenever you post a new photo or video on Instagram, it should appear on your WordPress site within a few minutes (after the recipe has had time to check for posts) along with the information from the fields you customized.

Using Tags to Publish Specific Posts to WordPress

For users who want more control over which Instagram posts do and don’t get posted to WordPress, there’s the Instagram photos tagged #wp to WordPress post recipe. The addition of the #wp tag is what tells IFTTT exactly what to post.

In this recipe, you’ll notice the addition of the Instagram tag field, which includes “wp” by default. You can change the tag to anything you want if you’d prefer to tag your posts with something other than #wp.

Adding tags to your photos allows you to auto-publish only specific photos.

Adding tags to your photos allows you to auto-publish only specific photos.

Again, once you’ve finished making any necessary changes to the given fields, you can click Add to activate the recipe. Any time you want to an Instagram post to be published to your WordPress site, you just have to remember to include the #wp tag (or whichever tag you used in the recipe.

This is the recipe you want to use if you know you only want to publish specific photos or videos to your site. But what about publishing just photos? Or just videos?

The next two recipes will show you how to post just one of the two post types from Instagram.

Publishing Only Photos or Videos to WordPress

If you’d like to publish all photos, but not videos (or vice versa) to WordPress, you can do it without needing to add a tag. For photo posts only, you can use the New photo by Instagram user, create new WordPress post recipe.

Customize the fields however you like then click Add. New photos you post to Instagram will be published on WordPress, but new videos will not.

For the reverse, the Instagram video to WordPress blog recipe is the one you’ll want to use. New videos you post to Instagram will be published on WordPress, while new photos will be left out.

Creating Your Own Instagram to WordPress Recipe

All of the recipes we’ve covered are great options if you’re just looking to get something set up nice and quick, but if you want your recipe to include something specific or function in a certain manner, then you may want to consider just making your own. That way, you can choose the fields you do or don’t want to include.

To start creating your own, click your username in the top menu and select Create from the dropdown. IFTTT will then take you through the process of creating your recipe.

Getting creative with IFTTT.

Getting creative with IFTTT.

First, click on the blue this link and choose your trigger channel. Since this article is all about integrating Instagram with WordPress, you’ll choose Instagram.

Now comes the fun part. IFTTT will pull up a grid of options to select as your trigger.

Instagram triggers include:

  • New photos by you
  • New photos by you with a specific hashtag
  • New photos by you in a specific geographical area
  • You liking another photo
  • New photos by a specific user
  • New photo by any other users sharing public posts in a specific geographical area
  • New photos by any other users using a specific hashtag
  • New videos by you
  • New videos by you with a specific hashtag
  • You liking a video
  • New videos by a specific user
  • New videos by any other users with a specific hashtag

You have all sorts of options here, including the opportunity to publish Instagram posts that aren’t your own to your WordPress site. As an example, let’s say we want to publish new photos posted by anyone in a specific geographical area.

Click the box labeled New photo by anyone in area. In this case, IFTTT will ask to know your location so it can give you a map of your nearby area, which you can drag around to position right. You can even use the plus or minus sign buttons to enlarge or minimize the area you want to include.

Awesome trigger options.

Awesome trigger options.

Click Create Trigger to move on to the next step.

Next, click on the blue that link to choose your action channel. Obviously, for this example, we’re going to choose WordPress.

You can choose to create either a regular WordPress blog post, or a photo post.

Pick your poison.

Pick your poison.

Let’s click Create a photo post for this one.

Now you can fill in all the fields with the ingredients that you want. The first three fields have ingredients that are automatically suggested, but feel free to delete or change anything to make it work just the way you want.

Click Create Action when you’re done. If you picked a relatively popular location where photos from other users are posted quite often with the location tag, then you should start noticing new photos from other users show up on your WordPress site very shortly after IFTTT checks it.

If you want to see how else you can integrate Instagram with your WordPress site, check out these 12 Instagram Plugins for WordPress Worth Installing. If you’d rather not feature each individual Instagram post as a new WordPress post, these plugins give you some different options for displaying posts as a gallery in widgetized areas or anywhere else on your site.

Wrapping Up

By featuring Instagram posts on your WordPress site, your site automatically becomes more visually appealing, and it may even help draw in more followers for you. There’s no problem with manually embedding a photo or video into WordPress here and there when it’s called for, but when you automate simple tasks like this, you’ll wonder why you never decided to do it sooner.

Credit: Original Article

9 Awesome & Obscure WordPress Features You Didn't Know ExistedAt the rate WordPress is growing, it’s impossible to promote all of the awesome little bits and pieces it contains, which means that some features get overlooked. In this post courtesy of Daniel Pataki, you should see at least a few things you don’t know about everyone’s favourite CMS. Get ready for awesome!

1. Paste to Make a Link

This one blows everyone away because so few people seem to know about it. When in visual mode in the post editor, you can select some text and paste to make the selected text a link. Usually, you would expect the selected text to be replaced with a link but not so in WordPress.

Time savings ahead!

Copy and paste to make a link

Copy and paste to make a link

2. Delete the Post Name to Regenerate It

If you rename a post before it is published, you’ll generally want to edit the link to make sure the post name follows the post title. If you click edit and just delete the whole thing the post name will be regenerated based on the current title.

Stare in awe at the power of WordPress.

Changing the post name

Changing the post name

3. Screen Options Are per User

Screen options may be something you already know about, but probably don’t take advantage of. They are not only saved in cookies and in the database but are stored per user, which means that you can set up a completely different layout for yourself than others would see.

The cookie-database saving means that you can set up a specific layout on one computer and then log in from a different device and still see your own layout. This isn’t very well-communicated in the admin, which is why users seem to be afraid to use it.

WordPress Screen Options

WordPress Screen Options

4. Markdown-Style Shortcuts

Since WordPress 4.3, you can use markdown-like syntax to make your writing a lot faster. Stars and dashes make lists, hashes make titles and so on.

Take a look at the announcement for more details on how to use this feature.

Editing Shortcuts

Editing Shortcuts

5. Multi-Page Posts

You can use the <!–nextpage–> tag to split content into multiple pages. WordPress will take all of your tags and generate the pagination based on them.

That said, I personally really,really dislike multi-page posts. The option is there if you want to use it, nonetheless.

6. WordPress Has Image Editing Power

Just like magic, WordPress can perform basic image editing tasks like rotating, cropping and resizing. No filters just yet, but this feature is pretty useful if you need to rotate an image the right way up quickly.

Select an image and click on the edit image link near the image thumbnail in the details section and off you go.

Image Editing In WordPress

Image Editing In WordPress

7. WordPress Has a Filesystem API

Here’s one for the developers out there. The Filesystem API was created back in WordPress 2.6 to handle the auto-update features.

This is not one of those systems you’ll use every day, but when you need it, it’s nice to know there’s something in WordPress core to help you out.

8. Terms Now Have Metadata

As of the latest 4.4 release of WordPress, taxonomies now have metadata. Awesome!

This includes a new wp_termmeta table complete with get_term_meta(), update_term_meta() and all the other usual suspects.

You can read all about it in the core developer teams 4.4 Taxonomy Roundup post.

9. Embed Third Party Content by Pasting a Link

WordPress uses oEmbed to allow you to embed Tweets, Vimeo and Youtube videos, Soundcloud and all sorts of other fun things in your content. In fact, you can just paste a link to the resource in question and it will be converted to an embed for you.

When version 4.4 is released, WordPress will become an oEmbed provider, so as long as you are running 4.4 and so is the blog you want ot target, you can even link to other WordPress sites’ content in this way.

Embedding Content With oEmbed

Embedding Content With oEmbed

Credit: Original Article

It’s always interesting to look at the stats of a website’s Google Analytics account and see where all the traffic is coming from – especially from non-English speaking countries. This brings us to the topic of the following article courtesy of Tom Ewer – translating your WordPress website’s content into multiple languages on the fly and with handy plugins. Keep reading to learn more!

Providing multilingual content is an increasingly important requirement for sites worldwide.

Quick Guide to Translating Your WordPress Website into Any LanguageIn this article, we’ll show you why translation is so important, how to prepare your material and source translators, and how to manage multilingual content in WordPress.

Let’s start with whether you should consider translation at all.

Why You Should Translate Your Website

It can be hard to appreciate if you’re living in the Anglosphere, but English is a long way from the only game in town online.

Though English has dominated the web to date, nearly 66% of internet users are non-native English speakers and over 50% of all Google searches are in languages other than English. Those numbers are only going in one direction as well. As the rest of the world comes online, English is set to remain the lingua franca, but things are about to get a lot more polyglot pretty quickly.

This trend has been on the radar of the WordPress community in the last couple of years, with translation an increasingly hot topic and plugin translation now on most developers’ minds. The WordPress core team has also been mulling over the issue in recent times.

No matter how you slice it, there is a huge addressable market out there for sites of all shapes and sizes that monolingual sites (whether English or otherwise) just don’t cater to.

Translating content is a potential issue that sites of any kind of real scale will have to at least consider sooner or later. Depending on your geographic location and audience, it’s a need you might have to address tout suite even if you’re just starting out.

Let’s step through the main pros and cons starting with the potentially easy wins that translation can bring:

  • An increase in search traffic. Site owners such as Neil Patel have managed to increase search traffic by 47% in only three weeks by leaning on machine translation to quickly translate content into 82 languages.
  • Better ranking on international search engines. Google dominates in English, but it’s a long way from top spot in a very small but increasingly important set of markets. Russia, China, and Japan are the three big territories that stand out here.
  • The ability to enter multinational markets. Single-language sites are at a major disadvantage in a global marketplace. Non-English sites should offer English as a courtesy to international viewers, while English-speaking sites should at least focus on their nearest target language. This could be Spanish in the case of American sites or German in the case of British or European sites.

Translation is not the sort of project you just merrily stroll into as a site owner, however. There are also some potentially hairy downsides to consider before you take the plunge. Chief among them is the following:

  • Translation management. Managing a translation project brings its own set of concerns, the main one being do you actually have anybody on staff who can speak the target languages? If not, you will be forced to put yourself entirely in the hands of the translators when it comes to quality control.
  • Cost. Good translations cost money and the potential for embarrassment if you cut corners is large. Do you have adequate budget in place to really tackle translations professionally? If there is a back office or support component to servicing site users in another language, can you really handle it?
  • Site Performance. You want to be very certain that introducing a second or third language to your existing setup in WordPress doesn’t suddenly tank site performance or introduce unnecessary complications in terms of the overall user experience.

As with most things in life, common sense and judicious application of Occam’s Razor should be your guiding stars. If you’re running a website for a small hairdresser in suburban Pittsburgh, translation should not be at the top of your to-do list. If, on the other hand, you’re managing a boutique hotel in Berlin but only provide site content in German, you’ll be looking to get the translation ball rolling in a hurry to maximize your reach.

We’ll assume you’ve got a pressing need for translating your site for the remainder of the article. Let’s crack on with things and look at the first step you need to take – getting ready to actually transform content into another language.

Bad translation only gets half the job done.

Bad translation only gets half the job done.

Preparing Your Content for Translation

Once you’ve decided to bite the translation bullet, it’s time to start getting specific in terms what actually needs to move from language A to language B. Here are the key initial points to address in terms of whipping your content into translatable shape:

  1. Perform an existing content review: You need a clear overview of the size of the task at hand before you do anything else. Perform a complete content review of your existing site and clearly list what will and won’t be translated. Translation is typically charged per word, so handwavey “estimates” about how much content you have won’t cut it. You need a nailed-down list and a fixed word count.
  2. Decide on the type of translation: This basically boils down to a choice between human and machine-assisted translation. Human translation is always preferable, but budget can be a factor here. Get familiar with standard translation rates per language and use them as a guide to whether you can actually afford professional human translation. If you’re going down the machine route, you’ll have to live with the fact that translations will be passable at best.
  3. Identify who’s in charge: As alluded to above, translation projects are inherently tricky by nature. Make sure the project has one clearly defined owner (ideally a native speaker of the target language) and carefully considered milestones. Managing a full translation project can be a minefield so you want someone with organizational chops who’s not afraid to crack the whip in terms of deadlines and quality control.
  4. Factor in search engine optimization: Multilingual SEO isa broad and occasionally baffling topic and we won’t attempt to cover it in its entirety here. It needs to be on your radar, though.Search Engine Land, WPML and Moz.com all have excellent resources to dig deeper into the topic. If you’re looking at porting an existing site with a large amount of high-ranking content, it’s going to be worth your while talking to an expert in multilingual SEO directly.
  5. Identify your WordPress solution for publishing: There are a number of different approaches you can take within WordPress for actually delivering multilingual content. We’ll step through the main options here shortly, but it’s a subject you want to consider as close to the outset of the project as possible to ensure things run smoothly.

Once you’ve got your ducks in a row in terms of overall preparation, it’s time to actually engage the services of a translator.

Picking the Right Translator

As mentioned above, there are two basic options for translating your content: either get a human to do it or trust your luck to a machine. Let’s get the latter option out of the way first.

Tolingo translation agency.

Agencies like Tolingo can turn around translations quickly.

Machine translation has admittedly come an enormously long way in the last ten years – witness the increasingly impressive efforts of Google Translate for example – but it’s still a substantially less desirable option than professional human translation.

We recognize, of course, that some site owners may be really up against it in terms of time, budget and overall available resources, so occasionally machine translation may well be your only realistic option. In that case, by all means go for it, but be aware that it will inevitably be a long way short of perfect. Human translators will always be more accurate.

When you’re choosing a human translator, you have three basic options:

  1. In-house resources: For obvious reasons, the ideal solution is someone on your team who is fluent in the target language and already understands your business. If this is at all possible, go for it.
  2. Freelance translators: These are widely available on sites like Upwork and Fiverr if you are willing to invest the time in quality-checking and managing candidates. Specialist translation sites like Proz are also worth checking for freelance translators. The local embassy for your target language should also be able to provide you with a list of recognized translators, though prices here are likely to be at the top end of the range.
  3. Agencies: Again, you have a basic choice of online or offline resources here. A quick Google search or chat with someone in the relevant embassy should get you a list of offline/local resources. Online agencies such as One Hour Translation, TextMaster and Tolingo are also worth a look. Make sure you’re following a sensible set of guidelines when assessing agencies.

As with most types of projects, if you’re dealing with a supplier for the first time, it’s well worth asking them to complete a small test translation before going all-in on handing over what could potentially be a large amount of content that you’ll be paying a significant amount of money to get translated.

Regardless of which option you go for above, one factor you will have to consider if you do not understand the target language yourself is the subject of quality control upon delivery.

If your budget can handle it, it’s highly recommended that you have a native speaker perform quality assurance on the project deliverables. Translation is an inherently nuanced craft and it’s all too easy to get something that looks roughly right to someone with basic knowledge of the language, but that sounds dreadful to native-speaking ears.

Right! With all that out of the way, let’s move on to actually presenting your multilingual content to the world in WordPress.

Managing Your Translated Content in WordPress

There are two basic methods you can employ in WordPress to wrangle your translated content into shape. The most popular approach is to make use of a multilingual plugin to handle the heavy lifting of arranging translated content behind the scenes.

We’ve identified three options here in that regard, with the final one being something of a last resort. You’ll find options for engaging professional translation providers with both of the first two options.

1. Polylang

polylang

First up we have Polylang – a relatively recent addition to the multilingual space in WordPress but already boasting over 100,000 active installs and very high average ratings.

As befits a multilingual plugin, Polylang’s admin interface is already available in 41 languages. Solid online documentation is also at hand detailing all common aspects of its use.

Polylang includes support for right-to-left (RTL) languages and can be used to handle translations of pretty much any common aspect of your WordPress site such as posts, pages, media, categories, tags, and menus.

You can include a customizable language switcher as either a widget or integrate it in the navigation menu. Professional translations can be sourced from within the tool thanks to an integration with Lingotek Translation.

WP Beginner also recently ran an excellent introductory tutorial to using Polylang which is worth checking out if you’re considering using the plugin.

2. WPML

wpml

The WPML plugin from OnTheGoSystems is very much the grand old man of WordPress multilingual solutions and has been on the scene since 2007.

WPML is a premium plugin with pricing ranging from $29 to $195 depending on which license you go for. As you’d expect from a plugin that’s been in active development for over seven years, it’s a feature-packed affair and comes with a range of add-on plugins you can use to really leverage its power.

WPML stands out both for the range of themes and plugins (premium and otherwise) that it’s proven to work smoothly with, and for the quality of its online documentation and support.

WPML also supports management of translation projects from within the plugin and have a partnership with translation provider ICanLocalize if you are looking to outsource translations.

If your budget supports shelling out for a premium option, purchasing a copy of WPML puts you in safe hands with a tried and tested solution that’s the market leader for good reason.

3. Google Language Translator

google-language-translator

Google Language Translator is a free plugin that enables you to hook into Google Translate to provide automatic machine translations of your content.

As we stressed already in this article, this is really a last-resort option but it might be enough to get some site owners over the initial hump in terms of testing desire for multilingual content on the part of their audiences.

You’ve got options for showing and hiding Google branding and specific languages, along with support for shortcodes in posts, pages and widgets.

The Multisite Approach

The second main method of handling your translated content in WordPress is leaning on native Multisite functionality in order to have each language in its own WordPress install. You can find basic instructions for going down this route outlined in the WordPress Multilingual Codex.

If you’re considering this approach, both the Multisite Language Switcher plugin and MultilingualPress are worth investigating to make things a little easier to manage.

On balance though, you’re probably better off going with a tried and tested solution such as WPML or Polylang to handle things.

Conclusion

Tackling a translation project represents a substantial investment of both time and money, but the results for your business can be stellar.

To get the most bang for your buck, make sure you really invest the time at the planning stage to cover the main action items we’ve highlighted – in particular the areas of existing content review and assigning a clear project owner.

The success of your project will ultimately stand or fall on the quality of the translators you employ, so be prepared to do some serious due diligence here and use the tips we’ve outlined to guide you.

Luckily, once the translations are actually sourced, getting them into WordPress is relatively straightforward using the plugins we’ve mentioned.

Image credits: Ramen Water.

Credit: Original Article

Feeling adventurous and wanting to create your own custom WordPress theme from scratch? Hmmm, too adventurous? Well a good place to start when creating your own custom WordPress theme is to use another theme as a starting point. A great way to do this is to setup a “child theme” based on another theme. The following article by Daniel Pataki explains how to do this quite well. Happy theming!

WordPress themes can be amazing but there are so many examples of little things we all want to change. A color here, a font size there, perhaps use a different call to action on the buttons?

How to Create a WordPress Child ThemeThe problem is that modifying a theme even slightly prevents you from updating it to a newer version in the future, because if you do try to update, you lose all your changes.

Child themes solve this by allowing you to use all of the functionality of your chosen theme while allowing you to update it without the fear of losing your modifications.

In today’s Weekend WordPress Project, I’ll explain why you should be using a child theme and how you can get the job done.

How Child Themes Work And Why Use Them

Child themes are separate themes that rely on a parent theme for most of their functionality. If you are using a child theme, WordPress will check your child theme first to see if a specific functionality exists. If it doesn’t, it will use the parent theme. This is great because it allows you to modify only what you need.

Child themes should always be used if you plan on modifying even a single character in your theme. There are two very good reasons: updates and organization.

Updates

If you modify a theme without using a child theme you have two choices: You can opt to not update your theme in future, or you can update and lose any changes you’ve made to your theme.

The later option would technically work, but it is not recommended. Even if your changes are easy to copy and paste, why spend two minutes on an error-prone task on each update?

Not updating your theme should be out of the question. Almost all “why your website was hacked” lists contain outdated software as a top cause for security issues. You should always keep WordPress, your themes and plugins up to date, no exceptions.

Organization

When you add code to an existing theme you are adding to a codebase, which may be thousands and thousands of lines. Developers working on your site (and, indeed, you yourself) will have a hard time tracking down your changes. At least one direct result of this will be an increased development bill.

Since child themes fall back on parent themes unless otherwise specified, your child theme is essentially a changeset to an existing theme. This can result in extensive changes even though the child theme only has a couple of files and maybe 100 lines of code.

Creating A Child Theme

Creating a child theme is extremely simple, so much so you can copy and paste my example below.

To create a child theme for your theme, you will need to do the following steps:

  1. Create a theme directory in your WordPress install
  2. Create a stylesheet with information about your child theme
  3. Pull in the styles of your parent theme

Once these steps are completed you can activate your child theme and your website will look exactly the same as before, but it will be using your child theme.

So let’s go through the above steps in detail. For this example, I will be creating a child theme for the Twenty Fourteen default theme.

1. First, go to your theme directory and create a folder for your new theme. You may name it anything you’d like. For clarity’s sake, I will name my theme twentyfourteen-child.

2. The next step is to create a stylesheet file. This must be named style.css. Copy and paste the following code into the file you’ve just created:

/*
Theme Name: Twenty Fourteen Child
Theme URI: http://yourwebsite.com/twentyfourteen-child/
Description: My first child theme, based on Twenty Fourteen
Author: Daniel Pataki
Author URI: http://danielpataki.com
Template: twentyfourteen
Version: 1.0.0
Tags: black, green, white, light, dark, two-columns, three-columns, left-sidebar, right-sidebar, fixed-layout, responsive-layout, custom-background, custom-header, custom-menu, editor-style, featured-images, flexible-header, full-width-template, microformats, post-formats, rtl-language-support, sticky-post, theme-options, translation-ready, accessibility-ready, responsive-layout, infinite-scroll, post-slider, design, food, journal, magazine, news, photography, portfolio, clean, contemporary, dark, elegant, modern, professional, sophisticated
Text Domain: twenty-fourteen-child
*/

The two necessary items in the code above are the lines starting with “Theme Name" and “Template.” The theme name tells WordPress what the name of your theme is, and this is displayed in the theme selector. The template tells WordPress which theme it should consider as the parent theme. Most of the others are self-explanatory, with the exception of the text domain and the tags. The text domain is used for translating strings. The text domain should be unique for your theme and should be used whenever you use translation functions. See I18n for WordPress Developers for more information. The tags section is a list of tags that are used by the WordPress Theme Repository. For this example I looked at the style.css file of the parent theme and simply copy-pasted the tags from there.

3. At this point your child theme works just fine. If you activate it and reload the page all your content will be there but, it will have no styling information. I mentioned before that WordPress first looks for functionality in the child theme and if it isn’t present it falls back on the parent theme.

In our case we do have a stylesheet, so WordPress figures it shouldn’t load the parent file’s. To make sure we load the parent file’s stylesheet we will need to enqueue it. This can be done in the theme’s functions.php file, so go ahead and create that file now. In this file, copy-paste the following code:

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_styles' );
function enqueue_parent_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri().'/style.css' );
}

If you have no idea about PHP and you just want to change some styles, don’t worry about why this works. Feel free to go into your stylesheet file now and start making your changes. If you would like to learn more about enqueueing we have you covered right here on WPMU DEV with Adding Scripts and Styles to WordPress the Right Way With Enqueueing.

Child Theme Mechanics

So how does a child theme actually work? Child themes work on a file-level. When a file is used during the process of loading a theme it checks if it is present in the child theme. If it is, the content of that file is used. If it isn’t, the same file in the parent theme is used.

There is one exception to this rule, the theme’s functions file. The functions.php file in both the parent and the child theme is loaded. If the child theme’s functions replaced the parents you would either have a malfunctioning site, or you would need to copy-paste the entire contents of the parent theme’s function file into the child theme’s which would sort of defeat the purpose of extending a theme.

The workflow when modifying functionality is the following. If you want to make changes to the header, copy-paste the parent theme’s header.php file into your child theme. Edit the file to your heart’s content, save it and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Some Notes For Theme Makers

If you make your own themes there are a couple of guidelines you may want to follow to make child theme creation easier. The two most important ones are learning the difference between get_stylesheet_directory() and get_template_directory() and creating pluggable functions.

The Right Directory

When linking to assets using the mentioned functions you should always be aware that the get_template_ family of functions will always point to the directory of the parent theme while the get_stylesheet_ family of functions will always point to the child theme’s directory.

<a href="http://twitter.com/danielpataki"><img src="<?php echo get_template_directory_uri() ?>/images/twitter.png" alt='Twitter Logo'>Follow Me</a>
<a href="http://github.com/danielpataki"><img src="<?php echo get_stylesheet_directory_uri() ?>/images/github.png" alt='Github Logo'>On Github</a>

In the example above the first link takes its image from the parent theme, the second takes it from the child theme. There’s no good answer to which one you should use, it’s up to you.

The upside to using get_stylesheet_directory_uri() is that child theme developers can use their own image by simply creating it in the proper location. On the other hand, if the image doesn’t exist in the child theme it won’t be shown at all.

The reason for this is that if a child theme is active the get_stylesheet_directory_uri() function doesn’t check (and doesn’t know) which file you are loading so it won’t check for its existence, it will always spit back the URI for the child theme.

Modifiable Functions

The other method you should use is what WordPress calls pluggable functions. This makes it possible for child theme authors to overwrite the functions you define in the parent theme. This involves wrapping your functions in function_exists() checks.

Let’s presume you create a function for a customized post meta display named my_meta(). There is no way a child theme can modify this function because it can not be defined twice. The solution is to only create this function if it hasn’t been defined (remember, the child theme’s function file is loaded first).

if ( !is_defined( 'my_meta' ) ) {
function my_meta() {
// code for postmeta here
}
}

Conclusion

Using a few very simple copy-pastable steps you can create a future-proofed environment for your theme, which will save you a lot of headaches. While it may be tempting to use the built-in theme editor in WordPress, it almost always causes more issues than it solves if you’re not using a child theme.

Take a few minutes to follow along the tutorial here and your website and your developer will thank you for it. Finally, If you have any great tips about child themes, do let us know.

Credit: Original Article

Google Search Console GuideJust a few months ago Google re-branded their Google Webmaster Tools to something a bit more user-friendly, Google Search Console. Upon launching a new website, the majority of small business owners are familiar with setting up the popular software and tools on offer courtesy of Google, like Google Analytics, because they want to see all the nitty gritty details of who and what is checking out their website. Well below is an article by Joe Fylan which will show you the basics of how to setup and use the Google Search Console.

Last spring Google re-branded Google Webmaster Tools to a name that was a little more user-friendly, Google Search Console. Most small business owners are familiar with Google Analytics and setting up Google’s popular software is often one of the first things that a business owner will do upon launching a new site. They’re interested to see who’s visiting their site and what they are doing.

What many business owners don’t realize is that before your website starts seeing results, you’ll need to make sure that Google has crawled, indexed and ranked your website. That’s where Google Search Console comes in. It’s Google’s way of communicating with website owners and helping them optimize their site in order garner maximum benefits from the world’s largest search engine.

Google Search Console doesn’t have the flashiest interface you’ve ever seen, there is more raw data than colorful charts and graphs. But as a small business owner, a little bit of time spent utilizing the platform can help you to improve your website visibility and placement in the SERPs.

Let’s take a closer look at how you, a small business owner, can use Google Search Console to your benefit.

Why You Should Use Google Search Console in Under 100 Words

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is something that Google provides for free to anyone with an account. It essentially opens up a two-way line of communication between the site owner and Google. Search Console will help you monitor, maintain and improve your website presence within Google’s search results.

More specifically, you’ll be able to see which search queries are applicable to your website and where you might be able to improve your ranking. You’ll also be able to manage your sitemaps, index submissions, and determine how well Googlebot is able to crawl your website.

Getting Set Up with GSC

We’re not going to spend a lot of time on this step because Google makes the process pretty darn easy. Once you’ve opened an account with Search Console, it’s as simple as the following 3 steps:

  1. Click the red “Add A Property” button
  2. Enter your URL
  3. Select a verification method and click “Verify”

That’s about all that’s required to get started. Note that there won’t be any data available when your site is first added. It will take some time (days and occasionally weeks) for data to begin populating. However, you can still use some of the features discussed below in the meantime.

Improving Your Website Performance With Search Console

As a small business owner, you want to make sure your website is well indexed and maintaining a competitive position in the SERPs. You probably also realize that any attempt to game the system or to artificially boost your rankings is likely to result in a penalty that is difficult or even impossible to recover from.

That does not mean, however, that the best course of action is inaction. Not too long ago we posted an article right here on Elegant Themes the made the argument that contrary to popular belief, SEO isn’t dead. Google actually wants you to make sure your website is optimized for search engines and that’s where Search Console come into play.

From the moment you log into Search Console, it becomes apparent that there is a lot of information and a lot of functionality to sort through. The question is how often should you be reviewing the data and which areas should you be focusing on in order to improve your site visibility?

Depending on the size of your site and how frequently you publish new content, once or twice each month should be adequate. While it’s worth familiarizing yourself with every part of Google Search Console, here’s where you should focus your time and energy:

  • Structured Data
  • HTML Improvements
  • Search Analytics
  • Index Status
  • Content Keywords
  • Crawl Errors
  • Fetch as Google
  • robots.txt tester
  • Sitemaps

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these areas:

Structured Data

When Google returns search results to users, those results often contain a unique presentation of certain information. This could include information that is specific to a recipe, like average rating and number of reviews. Or, it could include information about a movie title, product or event. For a local business, it could be even more simple, consisting of location and contact information.

Structured data is the standard method of annotating specific details that are relevant so that search engines are able to understand what the information really means or represents.

If your website contains enhanced information that would typically be displayed in the SERPs, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any structured data errors that might have a negative impact on how your site is displayed to searchers.

If for some reason your theme does not use the required markup, Google offers a tool in Search Console called, “Data Highlighter”. This tool will allow you to easily highlight data and apply a specific and relevant tag. Once the data on a page is tagged, Google will automatically tag similar pages in the future anytime new content is created.

HTML Improvements

As Googlebot crawls your website, it will conveniently make a note of any HTML improvements that might help to improve the user experience of your website or its overall performance within the index. Specific improvements that you want to watch out for include:

  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Long or short meta descriptions
  • Issues with title tags
  • Non-indexable content

Search Analytics

Search Analytics is located under the Search Traffic tab and can provide valuable insights into how well your site is performing for specific queries. It’s important to remember that just because your website is displaying for a particular query does not mean that potential traffic generated by that query is relevant. This is where you have to give some thought as to which queries are most relevant to your website and its content.

Google recommends that you begin by sorting your queries based upon clicks rather than impressions. This will give you a more accurate picture as to which queries are actually driving traffic to your site. You can do this by checking all four boxes:

Search Console Selection

  1. Clicks – How many time a user clicked through to your website from a query
  2. Impressions – The total number of impressions
  3. CTR – Click through rate or the percentage of time a users clicked through to your site
  4. Position – The average position of your site when presented to users

Then, to sort by clicks, click the appropriate header:

Search Console Click Sort

Although you can’t see all the data (for privacy reasons), you can see from above image, that the first query for this particular site received 3 clicks. It just so happens that this was a branded term, making it less relevant. The second query in the list shows 1 click, 168 impressions and an average position of 19. It’s actually a highly relevant local term but as you can see, this site (which is relatively new) is performing poorly for that query (only a 0.6% CTR).

Note: I have avoided the use of a country filter in order to make this example clearer. If your business targets a specific country, you might consider the use of an appropriate filter.

As a business owner, I would be looking at the results above and thinking to myself that I need to improve my average position and click-through rate of the second term. Doing so could attract more qualified clicks and probably lots of additional business.

If you click on the actual query and then select pages, you’ll see which pages are ranking for this query. You can then take a closer look at each individual page (only the home page in this case) and examine the on-page SEO for each one. You could also compare the pages of your competitors. What are they doing that is better?

query drill down

This is an abbreviated version of the process, but it should be enough to get you started with analyzing and making improvements. You can work through all the relevant queries and pages, giving thought to how each one could be improved.

Index Status

Located under Google Index, Index Status shows the total number of pages of your website that Google has crawled and indexed. Although there is not a lot of information here, this simple chart can tell you quite a bit about the quality of your link structure.

indexed pages

If you publish content on a regular basis, you should see your total indexed pages demonstrating a steady uptrend. On the other hand if you see a rapid drop in the total number of indexed pages, it should be cause for concern. For example, Google may have detected malware on some pages of your site. Alternatively, if you’re publishing more pages than Google is indexing, is it possible that your internal linking structure needs some fine-tuning?

You’ll also notice an advanced tab that when clicked will indicate the number of pages that have been blocked as well as removed from the index.

Content Keywords

As Google crawls your website, it will take note of the keywords it finds. The significance of each keyword will depend on how often Google finds it on your site.

With this particular report, you will be able to get a clear idea of how Google is interpreting your site content. What does Googlebot think your website is about? The actual subject matter of your website should be reflected by the report.

Finally, if you notice keywords that look out of place or are inappropriate, this can be an indicator that your site may be been hacked. For example, if keywords related to “Levitra”  or “Viagra” are on the list, there is a good chance that you site has become victim to a pharma hack.

Crawl Errors

On an intermittent basis, you should examine your crawl error report for any issues and fix items that are listed. Although something as simple as a 404 error might not incur a penalty from Google, you’ll be able to determine where the link originates ans then fix the problem. The end result is a better user experience.

Fetch as Google

Fetch as Google is kind of like a manual Googlebot. Anytime you add new important content or want to check an existing page, you can use the fetch tool (with optional render). Using this tool will provide the most accurate answer as to how Google will “see” and render a particular page. This tool is a great way to make sure that your page and all the content on the page can be accessed by Google. This increases your chances of performing well in the SERPs.

Fetch as Google

Once you’ve entered a URL and clicked “Fetch” or “Fetch and Render”, Google will begin crawling the page. After a short wait, it will return a result that indicates the Googlebot type and status. The status could indicate complete, partial, redirected or another specific error.

If you click on the result, you’ll have access to additional information that shows what was fetched along with the download time. The rendering tab will show a comparison of how Google sees the site versus how a visitor sees the site. Any resources that were unreachable will also be listed here. This could include images, scripts or stylesheets.

Robots.txt Tester

Your robots.txt is a simple file that provides instructions to robots, or web crawlers (including Googlebot) about how to crawl your site. Actually, they’re more like a request than instructions since a robot could choose to ignore the request, as is often the case when there is malicious intent.

You can use the robots.txt Tester to determine whether Googlebot is able to crawl a specific URL or whether specific content that you want to be blocked is working correctly.

Sitemaps

Google makes it clear that a sitemap does not guarantee every item in your sitemap will be indexed. They also state that having one, although not required, is still a good idea. You’ll never be penalized for doing so.

There are some instances in particular where both having and submitting a sitemap through Google Search Console is highly recommended:

  1. If your website is new and/or has very few external links, it’s possible that it will take longer for Google to find and crawl the pages of your site. As soon as your site is ready to be viewed, it’s a good idea to create a sitemap and submit the URL to Google.
  2. If your website has a poor internal linking structure or is very large, it’s easier for Google to miss new content.

sitemap submission

Adding a sitemap is a simple process. Once it’s been created using a simple tool like Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps, simply paste the URL of your sitemap into Search Console and click “Test Sitemap”. Once Google is done you can view the results and if everything looks good it’s ready for submission. That means going back to the main screen and again clicking “ADD/TEST SITEMAP”, only this time, enter the URL, click “Submit Sitemap”. Maybe in the future Google will fix this double entry issue, but for now we have to live with a poor user-experience.

There are some additional guidelines for larger sites, such as separating a large sitemap into several smaller ones and then using a sitemap index file. As your site grows in size, keep this in mind.

sitemap errors

At least on a monthly basis it’s a good idea to check your sitemaps for any errors or warnings and if possible, either resolve them or mark them as fixed.

Wrap Up

Although there are a few Search Console features that we haven’t covered here, we’ve managed to touch on the ones that have the greatest impact on your overall website visibility. If you’re a small business owner, these are all items that should be on a list of monthly to-do’s.

One additional point worth discussing is the importance of making sure you’ve enabled email notifications from within the settings tab. Your can request that Google email you for either all or just critical issues. For example, if they detect malware on your site, you be notified so that you can resolve the problem right away instead of when you happen to notice it.

So…

If you’ve got a website that you believe is infested with lots of amazing content, you need to make sure Google can crawl and index it, because this will give your website the best opportunity to perform well in the SERPs. Google Search Console isn’t the most attractive looking tool, but it’s loaded with handy info and it should be something you use to review your website and its content on a regular basis.

Credit: Original Article

New Vulnerabilities in 6 Popular WordPress PluginsWe here at WP Butler take WordPress website security very seriously, which is why we’re always vigilant when it comes to making sure our clients’ WordPress websites are up to date with the latest versions of WordPress and plugins wherever possible. This is to ensure that hackers and other malicious activities don’t take down our clients’ websites!

This week we have several high profile plugin vulnerabilities we’d like to bring your attention to. If you are using one of these plugins, upgrade to the fixed version immediately.

Fast Secure Contact Form

Fast Secure Contact Form - New Vulnerabilities in 6 Popular WordPress Plugins

(400,000+ active installs) version 4.0.37 and earlier contain an XSS vulnerability that was publicly announced on October 27th. This was fixed in version 4.0.38. Upgrade immediately if you haven’t already. Note that this plugin is very popular with over 400,000 active installs.

Bulletproof Security

Bulletproof Security - New Vulnerabilities in 6 Popular WordPress Plugins

(100,000+ active installs) version .52.4 contains a XSS vulnerability that was publicly announced 2 weeks ago. Please upgrade to the newest version which fixes the issue if you haven’t already.

Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin

Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin - New Vulnerabilities in 6 Popular WordPress Plugins

(50,000+ active installs) version 6.0.4 and earlier contains an XSS vulnerability publicly announced on October 27th.  Upgrade as soon as possible.

Form Manager version

(30,000+ active installs) 1.7.2 and earlier contain an unauthenticated remote command execution (RCE) vulnerability published on October 23rd. This was fixed in 1.7.3.  Upgrade as soon as possible.

WordPress Files Upload

(10,000+ active installs) version 3.4.0 and earlier allowed a malicious executable file to be uploaded and executed. This has been fixed in 3.4.1 which was released 13 days ago. Please upgrade immediately if you haven’t already.

Crony Cronjob Manager 0.4.4

(2000+ active installs) and earlier contained an XSS and CSRF vulnerability. The fix was released several weeks ago but it was publicly announced 15 days ago. If you haven’t upgraded this plugin, please do so immediately.

Kudos to Sathish from Cyber Security Works for discovering several of these vulnerabilities and the responsible disclosure.

So The Butler Says…

Make sure you keep on top of keeping your WordPress website and plugins up to date. If this is something you’re not comfortable doing by yourself…

WP Butler can help!

Simply purchase a WP Butler Priority Support Ticket and we can do this for you.

Credit: Original Article