How to Display Author’s Twitter and Facebook on the Profile Page

Do you want to display your author’s Twitter and Facebook links on their WordPress profile page? By default, WordPress user profile page does not have any fields to add Facebook or Twitter profiles. In this article, we will show you how to easily display author’s Twitter and Facebook profile links in WordPress.

How to Add Author's Twitter & Facebook in WordPress Profile Page

1. Add Twitter and Facebook Profiles with Author Bio Box

This method is easier and is recommended for all users.

First, you need to install and activate the Author Bio Box plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit the Settings » Author Bio Box page in your WordPress admin to configure plugin settings.

Author bio box

First you need to select where you want to display the author bio box. The plugin can automatically show the author bio box below posts only or below posts and on homepage.

After that you can select background color, text color, gravatar size, border, etc.

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Next, you need to go to the Users » All Users page. Here you need to click on the edit link below the user account.

Edit author profile

This will bring you to the user’s profile page. You will notice that there are new social profile fields available on this page.

Now you just need to enter the author’s Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media profile URLs in the respective fields.

Enter your social profile URLs

Once you are done, click on the update profile link.

You can now view any posts written by that user, and you will see their author bio box with icons for their Twitter, Facebook, and other social media profiles.

Author bio box with social profiles

Registered users on your WordPress site can also edit their own profiles to add links for their Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also send an email to all registered users on your website and ask them to update their profiles.

2. Display Twitter and Facebook Profiles with Yoast SEO

This method is for advanced users because it will require you to edit WordPress theme files. If you haven’t done this before, then check out our guide on how to copy and paste code in WordPress.

If you are already using Yoast SEO plugin on your website, then you are in luck as it can be used to add Twitter and Facebook profile fields in author’s profile page.

The problem is that Yoast does not automatically display them in the author bio, but don’t worry we will show you how to do that.

Related: How to properly install and setup Yoast SEO plugin on your website.

Once you have Yoast plugin setup, you need to head over to the Users » All Users page, and then click on the edit link below the author name.

Edit author profile

On the user’s profile page, you will notice new Facebook and Twitter profile fields. For Twitter, you just need to enter the user handle without @ symbol.

For Facebook, you will need to enter the complete Facebook profile URL.

Facebook and Twitter fields in user profile

Once you are done, click on the update profile button to store your changes.

Now you need to display these fields as links in your theme.

You can do this by adding the following code to your theme files where you want to display the author profile links.

$twitter = get_the_author_meta( 'twitter', $post->post_author );
$facebook = get_the_author_meta( 'facebook', $post->post_author );
echo '<a href="' . $twitter .'" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Twitter</a> | <a href="'. $facebook .'" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Facebook</a>';

Save your changes and view a post on your website.

Here is how it looked on our demo website.

Author social profile links

We hope this article helped you learn how to display author’s Twitter and Facebook profile links in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of how to show an authors list with photos in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Display Author’s Twitter and Facebook on the Profile Page appeared first on WPBeginner.

30+ Free High Quality WordPress Themes Worth Checking Out in 2017

Make is a free open source builder theme that – according to its developers – has been refined over 5,198 times. Okay, that’s a lot of development time, but what makes it special? Its biggest feature is its intuitive Make Layout Engine, which is basically a page builder for WordPress. It’s designed to work like a native component of the WordPress page editor, so if you feel comfortable writing a post, it won’t be much of a learning curve getting used to building pages.

You can take care of all customizations using the Theme Customizer in WordPress. Every detail, big or small, is yours to customize, including fonts, line height, spacing, even word spacing.

Make is WooCommerce compatible, so if your plan is to build an online shop you won’t have any trouble selling physical products. If you want to sell digital goods, Make is compatible with Easy Digital Downloads. And if you want to add forms to your site, simply drop in Gravity Forms.

This theme is also responsive, SEO-friendly and retina-ready.

5 Key Plugins for Fixing and Updating Your WordPress Site

WordPress is a powerful and reliable platform, but it’s not immune to technical problems. From time to time, you may find yourself facing issues that stem from updates, poor compatibility between themes and plugins, and miscellaneous errors. Knowing how to fix these issues is critical to keeping your site safe and running at full speed.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can use to keep your WordPress site in top shape without having to dig into the platform’s core files. Installing a plugin is often easier – and faster – than opting for the manual route.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to five outstanding plugins that can help you keep your WordPress woes at bay by handling fixes and updates. Let’s get started!

1. UpdraftPlus

The UpdraftPlus plugin.

If there’s a universal solution for fixing your WordPress site, it’s maintaining recent backups with an easy restore option. Regardless of the problem you’re dealing with, chances are that restoring your site from a snapshot will fix it. That’s where UpdraftPlus comes in.

UpdraftPlus enables you to create copies of your entire site – including its database – and store them locally, on your server, or in the cloud. You can even automate the entire process, so you’ll always have a recent backup in case anything goes wrong. Free and premium versions of this plugin are available, with paid plans starting at $70 for two year-long licenses.

Key Features:

  • Create copies of your sites and databases
  • Store your backups locally, on your site’s server, or in the cloud
  • Restore your site from a backup in a matter of clicks
  • Schedule your backups, so you’ll always have recent copies available
  • Integrate the plugin with multiple cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive

2. Elementor Page Builder

The Elementor plugin.

The Elementor Page Builder plugin was primarily created to help users build elegant website designs using a simple drag-and-drop interface. However, it also moonlights as a WordPress troubleshooting tool, thanks to its maintenance mode feature.

Using this feature, you can disable access to your site temporarily while you sort out whatever is going wrong. Elementor’s maintenance mode can be used to help you troubleshoot errors, prevent would-be attackers from gaining access to your site, and even provide a stopgap while you restore your website using a backup.

What’s more, Elementor offers multiple templates to use for your temporary maintenance pages. Some even include countdown modes, so your visitors know when your site will be up again.

Key Features:

  • Use a drag-and-drop builder to create stylish WordPress sites
  • Set the maintenance mode in case you need to temporarily disable access to your site
  • Troubleshoot errors and other issues, and protect your site from attackers
  • Create a temporary landing page with one of several maintenance templates

3. User Switching

The User Switching plugin.

Occasionally, you’ll see errors that pop up only for users with specific permissions levels. Tracking these issues down and figuring out what’s causing them can be tricky – even with admin access.

User Switching enables you to easily access any user account in order to tackle this problem head-on. That way, you can view the errors for yourself and diagnose them directly. Furthermore, User Switching is the perfect tool to test any new functionality you implement to see if it is working properly.

Key Features:

  • Switch to any user account on your site and return to your original account when needed
  • Limit account switching to administrators only
  • Preserve your users’ privacy by not revealing their passwords
  • Receive full support for WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress, and bbPress

4. PHP Compatibility Checker

The PHP Compatibility Checker plugin.

The PHP Compatibility Checker is a relatively straightforward but useful plugin courtesy of the folks at WP Engine. It enables you to test your themes and plugins for compatibility with multiple PHP versions, ranging from 5.3 to 7.0 (at the moment).

If any of your site’s components include code that isn’t compatible with the PHP version you decide to test, the plugin will let you know where the offending files and/or lines of code are. That way, you can either take a look at them and try to find a solution, or opt for alternative plugins and themes that are more compatible.

PHP Compatibility Checker’s goal is to help increase PHP7 adoption by WordPress sites. That is important since a lot of sites are still running on deprecated versions of PHP, which can lead to various bugs and security issues.

Key Features:

  • Test your themes and plugins for compatibility with multiple PHP versions
  • See the exact files and code lines that return errors
  • Differentiate between active and inactive themes and plugins

5. Debug Bar

The Debug Bar plugin.

Debug Bar is a very popular tool among WordPress developers, and it’s easy to see why. Enabling it will give you access to a ‘debugging’ menu on your administrator bar that shows information related to queries, caches, and PHP warnings.

While Debug Bar hasn’t been updated for a while, it still has a loyal following. This plugin can be a valuable tool for fixing your WordPress website, since it provides easy access to a host of relevant details when you’re trying to diagnose an issue.

Key Features:

  • Add a debugging menu to your WordPress admin bar
  • Track information related to database queries, caching issues, and PHP warnings


It never hurts to be prepared, even with a platform as robust as WordPress. Having the right tools to deal with errors and manage updates can help you fix existing problems, as well as prevent issues before they have a chance to affect your site.

Let’s recap the five key plugins we’ve introduced you to:

  1. UpdraftPlus: One of the best WordPress backup plugins available.
  2. Elementor Page Builder: Offers a maintenance mode feature to disable access to your site temporarily.
  3. User Switching: Enables you to switch between users to track errors more accurately.
  4. PHP Compatibility Checker: Checks your site’s elements for compatibility errors with multiple PHP versions.
  5. Debug Bar: Adds a helpful debug menu to your admin bar, for easier troubleshooting.

Do you know of any plugins that would make a worthy addition to this list? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

The post 5 Key Plugins for Fixing and Updating Your WordPress Site appeared first on Torque.

Quick and Simple SEO Keyword Research Tips for Bloggers

Keyword research. As a blogger, it’s something that you know you need to do for your blog to be successful. Maybe, you even do some keyword research of your own already – if so, great. But perhaps the whole concept of keyword research leaves you confused.

Keyword research is something that starts long before you’re filling in the SEO plugin fields when adding a post. In fact, it is something that should happen before you even start writing. This article will show you why intentional – but not manipulative – use of keywords is so important. Then, it will offer some quick and simple SEO keyword research tips for bloggers.

What Role Do Keywords Play in SEO Today?

Google is improving their algorithm every single day. And with good reason: the number of searches performed increases every year, and 16 to 20% of search queries used each day have never been typed into Google before. Because of this, Google has to work to keep on top of how the world is using their search engine.

A decade ago, keywords were king. Some more opportunistic webmasters noticed that the more times they packed a certain keyword onto a page, the better that page would rank in the search results for that keyword. This made for very hard to read, “keyword stuffed” content. Google punished this behavior with a series of algorithm updates aiming to fight “over-optimization.”

Keyword Research in 2017

These days, Google takes a much more holistic approach to keywords. They are more concerned with the context presented by all the many different words and phrases used in a piece of content than the unyielding presence of one particular keyword. Occasionally, content that ranks well for a certain term doesn’t even contain the exact term searched at all. But Google still excels at matching the context of what you are looking for to relevant information. Optimizing for this is called “topic modeling,” where you build context for your piece of content through the use of a set of interrelated keywords.

SEO keyword research tips Moz infographic

Funny thing is, topic modeling just loops us back to the natural way that we communicate with other people. We don’t just use one keyword; we use a set of interrelated words and phrases that together create the context for what we are discussing.

Moz Ranking Factors

That isn’t to say that individual keywords no longer matter, though. Even in Moz’s most recent search ranking factors study, the SEOs surveyed agreed that keywords were the third most important piece of the search algorithm.

So with that covered, now let’s get to the actual SEO keyword research tips.

What Defines a Good Keyword?

The traditional definition of a “good” keyword is one that receives a high number of monthly searches and low competition from other sites trying to obtain traffic from that keyword. This determination comes from a tool like the Google Keyword Planner, which lists monthly search volume and the competitiveness of the keyword on AdWords.

In practice, however, this may not be what defines a keyword that is good for your particular blog. AdWords competitiveness is not always accurate at predicting how competitive ranking would actually be. And many longer tail keywords won’t even have monthly search volume in Keyword Planner.

Instead, it’s often best to opt for a more personalized definition. A good keyword is something your target audience would be searching for, with existing search results you could reasonably break into. Most keywords you should target are going to be at least two words, often longer. Keep reading to learn how to build up a keyword list, and then pare it down.

Keyword Research: Building Your Keyword List

You don’t need a lot of fancy or expensive tools to build a useful list of keywords. Plus, once you have a narrowed down list, a lot of the work of coming up with topics for blog posts is all done for you.

For now, though, your goal is to make a long list of keywords to target, between 50 and 100. To keep track of your keywords, create a spreadsheet. It doesn’t need to be complicated; a basic Google Sheets document will do.

Which Keyword Research Tool to Use?

Google Keyword Planner is a suitable tool to use, mainly because it is free. Start by typing in the main theme of your blog, which might be one to three words. Let’s say we’re starting a blog about succulents. I’ll search for the keyword “succulents” to start.

Google Keyword Planner

From there, Google suggests some other relevant and very broad keywords, like succulent plants, succulent care, and where to buy succulents. These are still very broad keywords, but succulent care looks good – it has a high number of searches per month and AdWords reports low competition.

Google Keyword Planner 2

As you find good potential keywords, list them in the first column of your spreadsheet. List the monthly search volume in the second column. Keep scrolling through the results and adjusting the search as you think of more search terms. You can sort Keyword Planner by competition to find other strong potential matches that fit the typical high volume, low competition definition of a good keyword. You will probably end up finding a number of variations on the same idea, which is not a problem.  Although the competition rating applies to sites using AdWords, it can give a good indication of how competitive the organic search results are.

Once you have a good list of 50-100 keywords, group them by theme. Get specific enough that each group could be its own blog post.

Keyword List

Narrowing Down Your Keyword List

We’re already made good progress – from your list of 50+ terms you probably have enough sets of keywords to create ten or more blog posts. But where do you go from here?

A simple system for judging your keywords such as the one shared by Ryan Stewart in this article is a good option. It is a color-based rating system based on the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of the top four results for each keyword. To get started, sign up for a free Moz account and install their browser extension.

First, find the DA of your own website using the toolbar. Let’s say your website has a DA of 20.

Next, search Google for each keyword on your list and color-code it based on this matrix. You are looking at the top four results, and ideally for results with a PA of 20 or less and a DA less than 50.

Keyword Ranking Matrix

For example, our keyword “succulent care” is looking like an orange one – with a few fairly strong pages from weak domains.

Search engine results

This one, “are succulents poisonous to cats,” is looking pretty good:

Keyword ranking results

Once you have everything ranked, your list should look something like this:

Keyword list

A Core Keyword for Every Post

Essentially, what the colors you end up with in your keyword document tell you is how easy it will be to rank your post on the first page of search engine results. It won’t get there overnight, of course, but if you create a piece of content that is at least as good as the other content that appears in those top four spots, and your DA is comparable to some of the other DAs you see there, you stand a solid chance.

Your next step is to figure out the best keyword of each set, balancing volume with competitiveness, and move it to the top of the set. Some good examples are “are succulents poisonous to cats” and “faux succulents,” which the keyword research is indicating has a strong chance of ranking well.

Use these top keywords to come up with a blog post topic. The top keyword should appear in the title, ideally at the beginning. List this headline in the next column.

Keyword list headlines

You will want to sprinkle the top keyword throughout the post you write, as well as including all the other keywords on your list once or twice. Don’t worry about keyword density; just use the keywords when you can, where they make sense.

If you use an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO – which you absolutely should – you should also use the top keyword there. The Yoast plugin will offer additional suggestions for optimizing your post.

Final Thoughts

If you follow the guide above, you should end up with a list of at least 50 keywords and ten or more potential blog posts. Some of these potential posts may already exist on your blog, which means that all you need to do is optimize them, tweaking the text to include your set of keywords.

When you run out of sets of keywords, all you need to do is repeat these steps to build a new list. Keyword inspiration can be found at Q&A services like Yahoo Answers and Quora, as well as from browsing relevant articles on Facebook or Pinterest.

What is your favorite source for keyword inspiration? Share your own tips and tricks in the comments below.

Article thumbnail image by Kapralcev /

The post Quick and Simple SEO Keyword Research Tips for Bloggers appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

Image Organization and Gallery Creation Made Easy Using Gallery Factory

Living in a world where cameras capture our every move and photos plaster themselves across the internet on blogs, social media networks, and image hosting websites, it is impossible to underestimate the importance of a high-quality and engaging photograph on your website. However, if by some chance you don’t understand the powerful effect images can have on your website, consider the following statistics and get on board with the image craze that is not slowing down anytime soon: Photos are the most engaging types of posts on Facebook – so much so that they make up 93% of all user…

Extra Plugin Highlight – Extra Module Mate

Extra is often an overlooked and hidden gem of a theme. It uses the Divi Builder for its pages and posts, but what makes Extra stand apart from Divi is its Category Builder (which uses it’s own smaller set of modules to create blog index pages). One common user request though is the inclusion of the classic Divi Builder modules within the Extra Category Builder.

Enter: the third party plugin by Divi Space, Extra Module Mate. With this plugin the 40+ Divi Builder modules can now be used within the Extra Category Builder to supercharge your Extra theme and the index pages you build with it.

In this plugin highlight we’ll take a look at Extra Module Mate and show you a few examples of what can be done with the Category Builder when the Divi Builder modules are added.

Let’s dive in!

Category Builder Modules

One of the things that sets Extra apart from Divi is the Category Builder. This builder uses its own modules to create magazine or similar modular layouts based on categories. The Category Builder gives you 10 new modules. As you can see the focus is on content, images, text, and ads.

You can do a lot with these modules to create interesting layouts. Using a code or text module you can add shortcodes, however modules such as contact forms, accordions, maps, timers, portfolios, comments, galleries, blurbs, call to actions, search, shop, counters, buttons, etc., are not normally available to the Category Builder. This can limit your options for homepage designs.

Adding Divi Builder Modules to the Category Builder

Once Extra Module Mate is uploaded and activated, the Divi Builder modules will be available in the Category Builder. The plugin adds the Divi Builder modules in yellow with the prefix DS. The modules work the same as they do in the Divi Builder including all of their features and settings. You can even make them global to other Category layouts if you want.

Example – Magazine Layout

For this example I loaded the magazine layout in the Category Builder and set it as my homepage layout. I will add my Divi modules to this layout.

Here’s a look at the layout using my mockup content. I chose not to use a sidebar and I removed the row of three posts because it was repeated content (without me creating more categories). Since this is a test site with no actual visitors, popular and top rated are the same. In reality, organic traffic will shape your content so you won’t see the same articles multiple times.

Here’s a look at the layout with the Divi modules I’ve added. The layout now includes Search, Video, Call to Action, and Map modules from the Divi Builder. I styled them to match the homepage layout.

Here’s the layout with the Divi Builder modules. I’ve added the search box just under the post slider, which can be helpful for review sites or sites with lots of content. At the bottom I’ve created a call to action using a video, CTA with image and button, and a map to show the location. This is a great way to place a CTA for an event, subscription, or product on your homepage.

Example – Another Magazine Layout

Here’s another modification of the pre-made magazine layout. I added a featured image and then added two Divi modules – map and shop. I also removed the two-column post row; this time leaving the three-column post row.

As you can see this is just a small change but it makes a major difference to the layout. Only the map and shop are new and they integrate perfectly into the magazine layout. In reality I wouldn’t make it quite so busy but this shows the advantage of adding Divi Builder modules to your Extra Category layouts.

Example – Portfolio with Blog

For this example I want to create a portfolio with blog, testimonials, and a shop so someone could sell their photographs, art, or similar products. I’m starting with the masonry blog layout with featured posts slider premade layout.

Here’s the layout before I make any modifications. It’s a clean three-column blog with a featured post slider. I’m using the slider to display a single featured post.

My new layout includes a filterable portfolio, WooCommerce shop, testimonial, and a person module so readers can learn more about the photographer or artist.

Here’s how the new elements look within the layout. I’ve reduced the blog post count from 6 to 3 to help keep the layout clean. This can be used to blog about the products, show the products as projects, and provide links to the shop pages where readers can purchase.

Example – Custom Layout with Specialty Section

For this example I built a layout from scratch using an image as a header followed by a specialty section that includes tabbed posts, maps, contact form, and a sidebar.

Extra Module Mate works great with specialty sections. The layout includes two sections with tabbed posts and a map followed by contact form. This can be useful for showing events, or anything else that could benefit from showing a location, in tabbed posts and then placing pins for each location on the map that follows it.

Example – Blog with Pricing Table

In this example I wanted to create a standard blog and add pricing tables and a map. To take advantage of the Category Builder modules I added a post carousel and standard blog feed so I could use the star ratings. I’ve made the pricing table global so it can be used with other Category layouts if I want to create a new homepage.

Here’s my new blog layout with the Divi modules added. This would make an interesting blog for a travel agency. The map and pricing tables (the only Divi Builder modules in this layout) are great for creating CTA’s.

Price and Documentation

Pricing for Extra Module Mate starts at $16 for a single site license. Documentation is provided in the information section of the sales page.

Final Thoughts

Extra’s Category Builder uses its own modules rather than the standard Divi Builder modules to create magazine-style layouts. Although the Category Builder only has 10 modules, they’re enough to create the most popular and common magazine layouts with ease. However, this can be limiting if you want to create a layout that’s more unique.

Extra Module Mate adds the standard 40+ Divi Builder modules to the Category Builder, giving those who want to add more to their layouts the Divi modules they need. The layouts I’ve created in these examples would not be possible with the Category Builder modules without using code or shortcodes. Thanks to Extra Module Mate, creating them was as simple as using the Divi Builder.

This is just scratching the surface of what can be done with Extra and creating Category layouts with Divi Builder modules. I can imagine lots more possibilities and I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to come up with even better designs than I’ve shown here. Extra Module Mate is easy to use and is essential for anyone wanting to use Divi Builder modules within Extra’s Category Builder.

We’d like to hear from you! Have you used Extra Module Mate? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

Featured Image via antishock /

The post Extra Plugin Highlight – Extra Module Mate appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

Making Money From Your Blog: Site Configuration and Preparation

In the first post in this series about blogging with WordPress (and making money from it!), I looked at how you can find a niche for your blog if you want to make money from it. In this second part, I’ll walk you through the process of getting your blog ready to go.

You may think this is a simple case of installing WordPress, getting yourself a suitable theme (our magazine-style Issue theme would be a good place to start), and starting to write.

But if you’re going to be successful, you need to spend some time preparing your blog.

You need to think about its audience, its design, how you’ll make money, and how you’ll grow your audience.

In this post, I’m going to help you get your blog ready. I’ll work through the things you need to consider before you get started, and help you pause and take stock before you dive into writing your first post.

In the follow-on posts, I’ll delve into these topics in more detail, looking at how you can use social media to grow your audience and the methods you could use to monetize your site, for example. But here I’ll encourage you to take the time to think about your blog before you start adding to it.

I’m also going to encourage you to configure some tools and plugins before you start so that your blog is working for you right from the outset. These include SEO, security and performance tools.

So let’s get started!

WPMU DEV's Issue theme - magazine style
Our Issue theme is a great theme for a magazine-style blog

Considering Your Audience

The first thing to consider is your audience.

Your blog will only be successful if you truly understand your audience – you might even be a member of it, or have been a member in the past. For example, if your blog will help people to learn something, there will have been a time in the past when you didn’t have that expertise, and you were a learner too. Think about what you needed then and what would have brought you back to your blog time and time again.

Or if your blog is on a topic you love, think about why you love it – how can you highlight that in your blog and enthuse others as much as you yourself are enthused by the topic?

If you’re not quite sure of the answers, or you worry that you’re too close to the blog to see it objectively (and this is likely), then find people who are potential members of your audience, and ask them.

If it’s a community you’re already a member of then great – talk to them, ask them what kind of content would really help them and encourage them to keep coming back to your blog. If you’re not a part of the community, seek it out and become a part of it – this is the best way to immerse yourself in your community of readers and understand them better.

Do this before you start setting up your blog or adding any content (if you’re not working with an existing blog). This is because if you have an idea that you love but your audience doesn’t, you can nix it before you’ve wasted any time or energy. And if your audience gives you suggestions and ideas that take your blog in a new direction, you don’t have to retrofit that to an existing blog.

Subscribe to other blogs, read relevant magazines, attend events for your community – get to know what they want both by seeing what’s already going on and by asking them directly.

Meetup website
Use Meetup to find events your audience will be attending

Don’t be shy or embarrassed about your blog idea – you need to get out there and talk to people about it if it’s going to be a success.

Once you’ve done your audience research, revisit your original idea and tweak it (you might even need to rip it up and start again). This will help you not only find that niche but carve it out.

Your Site Design and Structure

Now you know what your audience wants and what you can give them, it’s time to fit your blog’s design, content, and structure to that.

I’ll cover content in the next part of this series so we won’t be going into that in detail here, but let’s take a look at the site design.

Think about what your audience wants and how you’ll make it easy for them to find it. This incorporates visual design and structure, which should complement each other.

At the beginning you’ll be reluctant to think of yourself as a brand, but if your blog’s successful, that’s what it (and maybe you) will become. This will evolve over time, but it’s worth taking time now to think about your brand and how your site looks and feels.


  • Other blogs serving your community – what is it about them that appeals?
  • Less successful blogs – what puts people off?
  • Physical resources and brands that your community interacts with.
  • Your audience and the other sites they’re likely to use. For example if you’re blogging about DIY your audience will also be looking at the big box DIY stores’ sites, and you can take design cues from them. But if your site is about interior design, then you’ll need to look at higher end stores and designers’ sites.
  • The tone of your site, which includes its visual tone and also the tone of your content (serious? playful? whimsical? matter of fact?). The two should work together.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to get yourself a theme. In the early days it’s likely you’ll be downloading a third party theme, either free or premium, and customizing it yourself. As time goes on you may need to learn how to make major customisations to it or hire a developer to do this. And if your audience expects a professional, high-end design, you may need to hire a web designer right at the outset.

The important thing about your design isn’t just how it looks. It should also support the content. So if you’re going to be posting a lot of videos, find a theme that’s designed for that. The same goes for photo galleries. And if you need to incorporate advertising in your site, you’ll need space in your theme for that.

Your Blog as Part of an Ecosystem

So, you’ve got your niche, you know your audience (or you’re getting to know them) and you’ve installed and customized a great theme. Now it’s time to think about your blog as part of an ecosystem.

Ecosystem, you’re probably thinking, what is she banging on about? But bear with me.

As you grow your blog and your audience, and as you find ways to monetize it, your blog will become part of something bigger. This will include the social media channels you use to promote your blog and engage with your audience, any advertising, and partners you work with to produce content or add affiliated links, promotions or sponsored content.

This will evolve as you grow your audience. In the early days it’s unlikely you’ll be working on your blog full time, so you’ll have to be focused, maybe identifying one or two social media channels and installing a simple advertising mechanism such as Google AdSense.

Google adsense website
Adsense is the simplest way to add advertising to your site

Whatever tools you choose to use, you’ll need to incorporate these into your site. This may come with your theme, or you may have to install plugins or add some code. The earlier you do this, the sooner they’ll start working for you. Even if you plan to keep your site ad-free at the outset while you grow your audience, it pays to know what tools you will use once the time comes, so you can easily integrate them later.

Essential Tools and Plugins

Having decided on your social media and monetization tools, or at least the ones you’ll be using at first, you then need to get them set up on your site. But this isn’t all you need to set up. You’ll also need to install and configure some key plugins to make your site more effective right from the start. Let’s take a look at these.


You want search engines to be finding your site from the day it’s launched.

First, make sure you’ve unchecked the Discourage search engines from indexing this site checkbox in Settings > Reading as soon as you launch your site. I know from personal experience that it’s all too easy to miss this step!

Next, install a SEO plugin. Our SmartCrawl plugin gives you all the tools you need to boost your search engine rankings, including sitemaps, custom descriptions and titles, the ability to configure different content separately, and Moz integration.

Take time configuring the plugin. Make sure the right content types are being indexed (and the ones you want to exclude are deselected) and add individual descriptions to individual pages. Consider setting up landing pages, maybe to work with your social media platforms.

Taking time to tweak your settings adds so much more than just installing the plugin and letting it do all the work – it will set you above the majority of your competition and increase the speed at which your site moves up the rankings.


If your blog is fast, it will have better SEO rankings and be less likely to lose visitors. Install and configure our Hummingbird plugin so that it performs as well as it can.

If your hosting isn’t great, then consider moving to a provider (or a plan) that can make your site run faster. And me sure only to use code from reputable sources, that performs well and is coded correctly.

Security and Backups

Once you start adding content to your blog, you don’t want to run the risk of losing it. And you certainly don’t want anyone hacking your site or for it to suffer from downtime due to security issues.

Our Snapshot Pro plugin lets you run automatic backups of your site at regular intervals and (importantly) makes it very easy to restore these if you lose data. And our Defender Pro plugin will protect your blog from security breaches and help you to harden it.

Get these set up before you start and hopefully you won’t need to worry about either of them again.

Audience Engagement

Depending on your social media platform(s) of choice, you may need to install a plugin to link these to your site. The major social media platforms all have plugins that let you display your feed on your blog and encourage people to like or follow you, and we have a selection too.

What’s even more useful when it comes to growing your audience is letting people share your content via their own social media channels. I’ll cover this in more detail in a future post, identifying the plugins you can use to do this as well as to link your won social media channels to your blog

You’ll also want to encourage people to sign up for regular updates, so they don’t miss new content on your blog.

Our Hustle plugin will help you keep in touch with your audience, letting them register for updates and newsletters, and letting you configure exactly how this works.

Taking the Time to Prepare Will Help Your Blog Succeed

Once you’ve got a great idea for your blog and you’re keen to get started, it’s tempting to dive in and start creating content straightaway without taking any time to prepare.

But if you pause and do the right preparation at the outset, then your bog stands a much better chance of being successful. ate some time to understand your audience, consider your brad, design your site thoroughly and set up the essential tools and plugins, and it will save you a lot of work in the future.

Get Free Unlimited WordPress Test Installs from the Strangely Named

Setting up free WordPress test installs has never been easier than with Let’s learn all about this new service and how it works.

Before we dive into the rest of the article – yes, the service we’re going to talk about is called We’ll tell you why in a minute, but for now, let’s focus on what it can do.

If you’re the kind of person that uses WordPress test sites regularly, you know that spinning them up and deleting them when you’re done gets old, fast. That’s where comes in. In this article, we’ll tell you all about what can do, explore how it can help you streamline your WordPress development, and teach you three different ways to use it.

What is

The homepage. is, quite simply, the quickest way to set up free WordPress test installs. In fact, anyone can do so in a matter of seconds (we clocked it) without signing up for an account.

Each of these installs has a default shelf life of seven days, although you can extend that shelf life as you see fit. Plus, you can have as many installs as you want running simultaneously. If you have a particular setup that you’d like to use for future installs, the platform also enables you to create templates and share them with other users.

Now, let’s talk about what you’re really dying to know about – where on earth does the name come from? The team behind the platform chose that name to prevent the service from being used commercially by other companies. Their thinking was, with a name so ridiculous, no one would consider using it professionally.

That same team is also behind other popular WordPress services, including WP All Import and Oxygen. In fact, they’ve been using a similar solution to internally for years, so that users can test their products before purchasing them using disposable installs.

For now, the service remains completely free, but its creators have already revealed their plans to add commercial tiers in the future (probably under a different name than

Key Features:

  • Create unlimited free WordPress test installs
  • Extend the ‘life’ of your installs for as long as you want
  • Use multiple instances of WordPress simultaneously (on different tabs)
  • Each install comes with a unique link
  • Share WordPress site templates with other users

Price: Free | More Information

3 Ways to Use to Create Free WordPress Test Installs

As we mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways you can use to speed up your WordPress testing. Let’s find out what they are now.

1. Create a Basic WordPress Test Install

Creating a basic WordPress site with couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is go to the service’s homepage and click on the link that reads (the one under the friendly-looking emoticon):

Creating a new install.

The platform will open a brand new WordPress install in a new tab:

Your new WordPress test install.

It really is that simple. There are no limitations to what you can do with the install, so feel free to play around as you see fit, or even use it as a staging site.

Keep in mind though, if you want to access a particular installation at a later date, you’ll have to either bookmark it or save its unique link somewhere else. That link should be the first thing you see as soon as you access your test install, right below your admin bar:

The link, username, and password to your new installation.

As you can see, also provides you with a default username and random password (which can be changed, of course). Remember to save those as well if you’re planning on holding on to a particular install for later use.

Finally, keep in mind that each test install only lasts for one week by default. If you want to extend that time, you’ll need to head to the Sandbox tab on your dashboard, and click on the button that reads Add 1 Week:

Adding an extra week to your test install.

You can do this as many times as you want, and you can add multiple weeks in advance if you want to play it safe.

2. Use’s Email Command to Keep Track of Your Installs

Unless you’re using a sandbox site on a one-off basis, you’ll want to grab its URL in order to come back to it in the future. Fortunately, the service enables you to send an automated welcome email with your site’s login information to a particular address. To do that, just use the following URL:

Then, the service will spin up a new install as usual and send you an email during the process:

A welcome email from

This feature comes very handy if you’re looking to keep a record of your test installs, so we encourage you to take advantage of it.

3. Create a WordPress Test Install Template

A while ago, we mentioned how enables you to create templates of your sites and share them with other users. To do that, you’ll have to access the Sandbox tab within one of your installs and find the Create Sandbox Template button:

Creating a sandbox template.

Doing this will cause your website to reload, only now you’ll find a unique URL within the Sandbox Template Settings section:

The link to your new template.

Using this link, anyone can set up a carbon copy of your test install. The only difference is that will change the passwords between each of them, for security purposes.

Keep in mind that each template represents a snapshot of your site at the exact moment you took it. You can always return to the Sandbox tab and update yours by clicking on the Save Sandbox Template button at the bottom. There’s also an option to delete your template altogether if you want to  – all you have to do is click on Delete Sandbox Template, and it’ll go away.

Conclusion is the latest in a long line of WordPress testing environment tools, but it’s also one of the most interesting ones (and not only due to its name). While other tools focus on streamlining local development, is all about creating disposable sites. It’s not the perfect solution for every situation, but it can save you time if you need to run some quick tests.

If you’re looking to get the most out of, here are the three top ways it can help you:

  1. Create basic WordPress installs
  2. Use its email command to keep track of your installs
  3. Craft reusable WordPress templates

Do you have any questions about how to use Ask away in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by Abscent /

The post Get Free Unlimited WordPress Test Installs from the Strangely Named appeared first on Elegant Themes Blog.

Weekly WordPress News: WordPress 4.8 on June 8th

This week, we got a look at the WordPress 4.8 release schedule. Right now, we’re less than a month away! You can also read some impressive numbers from Weglot, who just closed on a massive €450,000 fundraising round. And if you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Apache and Nginx, Tutsplus has the perfect post for you.

The post Weekly WordPress News: WordPress 4.8 on June 8th appeared first on WPLift.

Week in Core, May 3rd – 9th 2017

Welcome back the latest issue of Week in Core, covering changes [40569-40597]. Here are the highlights:

  • 29 commits
  • 42 contributors
  • 64 tickets created
  • 8 tickets reopened
  • 52 tickets closed

Ticket numbers based on trac timeline for the period above. The following is a summary of commits, organized by component.

Code Changes


  • Restore missing spinner when installing a new language. [40579] #40478
  • Remove unit and prefixed version from a CSS declaration. [40576] #35358
  • Accessibility: Improve the color contrast ratio of the dismiss notice buttons. [40570] #39970

Cron API


  • Add wp.editor.remove() for editors that were dynamically instantiated from JS. [40588] #35760
  • Accessibility: Make the Get Shortlink button be a real button. [40578] #26504, #40448


  • Add to oEmbed provider whitelist. [40574] #38367



  • Optionally return attachment id from media_sideload_image(). [40597] #19629
  • Accessibility: Improve the suggested image size text in the media views. [40573] #38932

Networks and Sites

  • Multisite: Fix filter hooks for the updating network count functions. [40596] #40703
  • Multisite: Add $network_id parameter to wp_maybe_update_network_user_counts(). [40591], [40593] #40385, #38699
  • Multisite: Add missing documentation for new $network_id parameter of wp_maybe_update_network_site_counts(). [40592] #40384
  • Multisite: Add $network_id parameter to wp_is_large_network(). [40590] #40489
  • Multisite: Introduce minimum_site_name_length filter. [40589] #39676


  • WP_REST_Request::remove_header() should canonicalize header names. [40577] #40347
  • Improve strings added after 4.7 string freeze. [40571] #39178


  • Fix missing search field in the Theme Install screen after [40572]. [40586] #34881
  • Accessibility: Wrap the installed themes search field within a form element. [40572] #34881


  • Improve adding of custom UI to the MCE Factory. [40587] #40690
  • Fix linting errors in tinymce-obsolete.js. [40585] #40690
  • Remove the pre-4.6.0 tests. Move regression testing for obsolete tags and attributes to the default QUnit tests. [40584] #40690
  • Update to 4.6.0. Has many new features and bug [40583] #40690


  • Multisite: Check only valid looking emails against banned domain list. [40595] #39915
  • Multisite: Validate email before checking against banned domains. [40594] #39915
  • Correct a permission check when showing the User item in the + New admin toolbar menu. [40581] #39252
  • Clear the user settings cookies when clearing auth cookies. [40580] #32567


Thanks to @adamsilverstein, @afercia, @alexkingorg, @aryamaaru, @azaozz, @Cheffheid, @chris_dev, @cristianozanca, @danielbachhuber, @desrosj, @dl, @dotancohen, @DrewAPicture, @ENDif Media, @flixos90, @georgestephanis, @iseulde, @jeremyfelt, @joehoyle, @johnbillion, @kawauso, @kraftbj, @MatheusFD, @mattheu, @mikeschroder, @MrGregWaugh, @nacin, @ocean90, @pento, @PranaliPatel, @Presskopp, @SergeyBiryukov, @shane, @slbmeh, @soulseekah, @stormrockwell, @swissspidy, @takayukister, @tfrommen, @TimothyBlynJacobs, @trepmal, and @whyisjake for their contributions!