New Section On Our Website: WordPress Online Courses!

Published in WordPress.

In Nelio we’ve launched a new section on our website, Nelio Academy, so you can learn new WordPress things with our online courses.

Content Creation With The Gutenberg Block Editor

As expected, the first course we’ve created for you is about Gutenberg: Content creation with the WordPress block editor, Gutenberg. In this first course you will learn how to use and master the new WordPress editor. This course is in Spanish, but we plan to create an English version too.

The new WordPress editor, Gutenberg, comes installed by default from WordPress 5.0 version. It is an editor that radically changes the making of posts and pages of a website, being much closer to other visual editors. Now, a post or page is made up of content blocks. You have blocks for paragraphs, for images, for headers, for appointments, and much more.

This course is not intended to be a Gutenberg user manual. Its aim is to teach how to create new posts and web pages in a practical and efficient way. And that’s why over 2 hours of videos, divided into 20 lessons, you’ll learn to master WordPress editor environment. But you’ll also learn many details of the process we follow in Nelio when we write a new post or create a new page.

You will see how, thanks to the possibilities offered by this editor, you can design a large number of elements or sections that you can find in our web pages or any other professional website. You no longer need to be a designer to layout your content with skill and style. You can do it yourself with the catalogue of content blocks that WordPress includes by default.

The course is divided into 3 parts:

  • Introduction
  • Writing posts
  • Designing pages

Introduction

In the first part we will see the novelties that this editor brings us and the differences between the classic editor and the block editor. Get used to its new environment, its interface, and where to find the different toolbars, and learn the basic about the information and properties of the different blocks you can use.

Post Writing

Next we will see the process of writing a post, to which we will add the most common elements of blog posts: headings, images, paragraphs, lists, quotes, verses or videos. You’ll also learn tricks to master the editor and gain efficiency.

Also, as you know, before publishing any post you must make sure that you don’t forget the information needed to improve search engine rankings and its promotion on social networks. For that reason, we also explain how the new editor integrates with Yoast and Nelio plugins. And so you become familiar with the integration of any plugin with the editor too.

Pages Design

In page design lessons, you’ll learn the basic process to follow before you start creating any page of your website. And we’ll continue to see another new set of blocks that are particularly useful in page design: cover, media and text block, columns, design elements, image gallery, and widgets. For each of them, you will see practical and real examples that will serve as an idea on how to create new sections in your web pages. And you’ll even learn how to combine blocks in a way that nobody has ever explained before, opening a new range of design possibilities.

Website section
Section of web page created in the course with the blocks available in Gutenberg by default.

And of course, we will finish the design of the pages learning how to create and use reusable blocks, a feature that comes very handy to gain efficiency in the design of new pages.

Lessons

Here is the list of lessons that make up the course:

Lessons of the course
Lessons of the content creation course with the WordPress editor.

All the lessons show practical and real examples for immediate application on your website.

If you speak Spanish and want to get started, signup for the course that you will surely like!

Featured image of JESHOOTS.COM in Unsplash.

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My Experience at WordCamp Nordic 2019

Published in Community.

A WordCamp does not end until you write about it in your blog. I’m pretty sure that if you attended a WordCamp recently you have heard this sentence at the end of the event.

A few days ago I came back home from WordCamp Nordic 2019, so now is the perfect moment to tell you about my impressions of the event. Let’s do it!

WordCamp Nordic 2019

This was the first edition of WordCamp Nordic 2019, which represented the Nordic countries of Denmark 🇩🇰, Finland 🇫🇮, Iceland 🇮🇸, Norway 🇳🇴 and Sweden 🇸🇪.

If it is already difficult to organize a WordCamp locally in your city, just imagine all the efforts it takes to prepare a WordCamp organized by several countries! Luckily for us, it was a total success.

WordCamp Nordic took place on the 7th and 8th of March, 2019 in Helsinki, Finland. As each Nordic country has its own language, the organizers decided to use English as the common language. This, in turn, increased the number of attendees from other parts of the globe. For me, the event became a kind of prequel to what we’ll see in June at WordCamp Europe in Berlin.

Contributor Day

The event began on March 7th at the campus of Aalto University, in the town of Espoo, just half an hour from downtown Helsinki by Metro.

Google Maps took me without problems to the main door of the building where Contributor Day was held. Of course, getting there was quite an adventure due to the amount of snow. Coming from Barcelona, where you could already find people basking on the beach, this was quite a change!

Getting to WordCamp Nordic’s Contributor Day was a real adventure for a Spaniard.

I love Nordic countries and cold climates, so I had no problem with the weather. Besides, I was well equipped with good warm clothes and good boots 😉. I enjoyed the landscapes and the snow as if I were a child!

And when I got to the main room, the name could not be more funny. I was at the right place:

Sala Mordor, where I was participating in the Contributor Day of WordCamp Nordic 2019.
Mordor room, where I was participating in the Contributor Day of WordCamp Nordic 2019.

Much has been said about starting a WordCamp with a Contributor Day instead of the day of presentations. Personally, I like to start with the Contributor Day because it gives people time to get to know each other in advance.

This time I was collaborating in the Documentation group, together with Milana and Marius and the rest of the team (sorry for not remembering all the names). I was able to participate in the preparation of the user documentation of the new block editor for WordPress, so everything we did was quite useful for WordPress users.

There was also an event for children during the Contributor Day. Directed by Petya Raykovska, its goal was to introduce children to the WordPress world. Everyone ended up learning a lot and with a website created. Such a great idea!

In addition to spending the morning contributing, at lunchtime I was able to have an interesting talk with Rocío and Francesca Marano about many different topics. It was a pleasure to spend that time with them.

And thanks again to Rocío for introducing me to Andrea Middleton, WordPress Community Organizer, with whom I was able to talk about several topics on which I am working with the Attendee Services team of WordCamp Europe of 2019 (something we’ll cover in future posts).

All in all, the summary of my Contributor Day is that I spent half of the day contributing and the other half talking to interesting people. Now I’m looking forward to WordCamp Europe!

Talks I Attended

Friday, March 8th, was the speakers day of WordCamp Nordic 2019. Organized in two tracks and with many different speakers, I was able to attend a lot of talks. As always, keep in mind you’ll find all the talks in WordPress.tv. Here are my highlights:

  • Piccia Neri explained why user experience is that important today, at all levels, in her talk about UX for Everyone.
  • Marco Fernandes and Thor Andre Gretland showed us the Gutenberg Cloud project, a repository of online blocks independent of the content management system you are using.
  • I enjoyed Julius Haukkasalo’s talk about the mistakes to avoid being an entrepreneur. This kind of talk is necessary and I love seeing people explaining their mistakes raw. You learn a lot more than if they tell you only the beautiful part of the story.
  • After lunch I attended the talk by Francesca, who explained how the Italian WordPress community has grown. Undoubtedly, they are real candidates to be the next city host of WordCamp Europe.
  • The talk by Thomas Hurd on multilingual sites was also interesting. It made me see things that sometimes go unnoticed, like for example that it is better to use text instead of flags to indicate the buttons for switching the language in a web.
  • Taeke Reijenga explained the importance of accessibility. Thanks to it I discovered that there are places where organizations are already being sued if their websites are not accessible.
  • Finally, Monica Solheim Slind and Magne Ilsaas explained how they have adapted their businesses to meet the needs of their clients and the Norwegian government, with which they work. It was a very interesting talk.
The scarf all the attendees got was really useful. The weather in Helsinki in March can be very hard with really low temperatures compared to Spain.

I don’t want to forget mentioning that I was lucky to be selected as a speaker. I talked about Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor. It was a short talk, but I had the opportunity to give some tips about what it means to learn Gutenberg and JavaScript for WordPress plugin developers.

Final Thoughts

My opinion about the event is very positive. The organizing team took care of everything to make the best event possible. And I really appreciated it.

The Contributor Day was great. And the day of presentations was also well managed. There were lots of attendees, even for a Friday. For me it was a wise choice of dates, because that allowed us to have the weekend off to be able to do some sightseeing in Helsinki.

Photo of the attendees of WordCamp Nordic 2019.
Attendees at WordCamp Nordic 2019.

If you have ever been organizing events like this, you will already know how difficult it is to make sure everything works as expected. In the case of WordCamp Nordic, everything was perfect and I can’t say anything negative about it. What a pleasure to see a well-integrated team of organizers working together!

In short, a round of applause for all those who made this event a reality. Surely it fulfills its mission to give a boost to the WordPress community in Northern Europe. See you again in Berlin!

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Curiosities and Statistics About WordPress That You Should Know

Published in WordPress.

We start this New Year 2019 talking about the growth and usage statistics of WordPress. Knowing this information can help you to decide on which system to built your website or even convince a customer or your designer the time has come to renew your website. 

Total Number of Domains, and Websites in The World

Do you have any idea how many domains and websites there are on the Internet? Difficult, isn’t it? But before talking about these numbers, it is better to clarify the differences between the concepts of domain name, URL, and website.

A domain name is the online address that your customers type when they want to find your business. It is the neliosoftware.com of the URL you see written in the address bar of this page.

Domain names were created as substitutes for the Internet Protocol of a website, or IP address, which is simply a unique set of numbers that identify the specific computer server where the website is hosted. It is much easier to remember a name than a string of random numbers. As a curiosity, the figures that have been paid for the 25 most expensive domain names range from $5 million to $25 million. 🤑

A URL is what you find in the address bar of any web page. It is the universal locator of any page. In the case of this page it is https://neliosoftware.com/blog/curiosities-and-statistics-about-wordpress-you-should-know/. As you can see, it includes the domain name.

URL diagram.
URL diagram.

Finally, when we refer to a website we mean to one or a set of related web pages that include multimedia content. A website can be publicly accessible over the internet or privately on a local network.

Now let’s go back to the figures that interest us about the number of websites, URLs, or domains that exist… unfortunately, there is no single official record that gives us this information.

The information that’s probably closer to reality is provided by Netcraft and Internet Live Stats. According to these, there are more than 1.9 billion websites in the world. And according to Verisign, who is dedicated to reviewing the state of the domain name industry through various statistical and analytical research, we ended 2018 with more than 350 million domain registrations of all top-level domains (TLDs).

And why is there such an abysmal difference between these two figures? For the simple reason that there are many domains that are divided into subdomains that correspond to different websites. For example, from the domain wordpress.com we have a lot of webs, such as https://pildorasdecomunicacion.wordpress.com/, https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/, https://worddreams.wordpress.com/ etc.

WordPress Websites

Now that we have an estimate of the total number of websites in the world as a point of reference, let’s see how many of them use a CMS (Content Management System). In case you are not familiar with what it is, a CMS is a system that is installed on a server (usually that of a hosting company) and generates web pages when any Internet user requests them, and can even generate dynamic content depending on the user. It has a public part that all Internet users see and a private section or control panel. It is through the control panel where the owner of the website can change the content without having programming knowledge.

According to W3Techs, 54.5% of websites use a CMS versus 45.5%, which uses none at all. As you can see, more than half of the websites use some kind of content manager.

Usage of CMS for Websites
Usage of CMS for Websites (source: data extracted from W3Techs ).

But of the 54.5% of websites that do use some kind of CMS, 59.5% use WordPress, which is equivalent to 32.5% of all websites.

Image from W3Tech about the WordPress usage.
Image from  W3Tech about the WordPress usage.

In other words, of all the websites, 32.5% are WordPress.

WordPress usage.
WordPress usage (source: datta extracted from W3Techs)

So, assuming that, as we’ve already found out, 1.9 billion sites of which 32.5% are WordPress, we deduct that there are 617.5 million WordPress sites in the world. And in fact these figures are not so far from those given by BuiltWith.com in which they have analyzed 1 million of the best websites that use a CMS, of which 53% are WordPress (below 59.5% of W3Tech).

CMS usage Distribution in the Top 1 million sites.
Which CMS uses the one million best websites with any CMS? (Image from  builtwith.com).

About WordPress

Seeing the relevance of the use of WordPress in the market, let’s now look at relevant information about it and the activity around WordPress.

WordPress is a free open source software with GPL license that incorporates the programming languages PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, HTML and CSS. No one officially owns the WordPress software but the WordPress brand and the WordPress.org domain are owned by the WordPress foundation, a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to ensure that WordPress is freely available, maintained, and developed.

There are several companies in the sector giving support to the foundation,  including Automattic, the company of Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) and owner of WordPress.com. There are thousands of people watching over the development of the WordPress core. But there is some recurring discussion about who exactly makes the decisions about what WordPress should look like. And if not, you’ll see that in the last WordCamp US in 2018, one of the questions Matt Mullenweg is precisely asked is whether he can clarify exactly who he refers to when he talks about “we” and who makes the decisions (minute 1:16:35 of the video WCUS 2018 State of the Word):

WCUS 2018 State of the Word

But let’s get on with interesting figures. As WordPress is a community in which we all contribute to its development and maintenance, promote its use, and sponsor events where we talk about it, this has allowed Matt Mullenweg to own one of the most profitable technology company. 

Difference between WordPress and other companies.
It’s impressive to see the ratio of revenue per number of Automattic employees, isn’t it? (Source: Automattic).

Some other WordPress.com figures: about 409 million people see more than 21.2 billion pages each month. And there are more than 69.3 million new posts and more than 72 million comments every month.

You can also take a look at some of the most prominent WordPress users.

Notable WordPress Users.
Notable WordPress Users (source: WordPress.com).

And if you want to browse other examples of WordPress websites, you will find them in the showcase of WordPress.org.

If we take a look at the WordPress versions that are installed on websites, in the middle of the last month of 2018 the most installed version was 4.9 with 59% of websites, and 5.0, recently launched, already had 9.8% of installations.

WordPress versions installed.
WordPress versions installed (source: WordPress Statistics).

And if we look at the different languages in which WordPress is installed:

WordPress locales
Languages of WordPress installations (source: WordPress Statistics).

We can see that English (from Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) is installed in 52.1% of WordPress websites, followed by Japanese with 6% and then German and Spanish (from Chile, Mexico and Spain), both with 5.4%.

I would like to take this opportunity to comment that on the subject of languages, WordPress.org has 180 teams of volunteers in 45 locations who are dedicated to the translation of the core WordPress, themes and plugins. If anything is key in WordPress, it’s its community.

The WordPress Community

WordPress couldn’t be what it is today if you don’t consider its community. You’ve already seen the ratio of revenue versus the number of Automattic employees. And the quick question that comes to mind is why are so many people volunteering to contribute to the WordPress project? Of course, there may be an altruistic reason, but it’s not the only one. Those of us who contribute to WordPress usually work for companies that sell WordPress products or services (plugins, themes, web development, consulting, training, etc.). In other words, we earn our living thanks to WordPress and we are interested in the WordPress project growing to have more business opportunities.

Let’s look at some interesting figures related to the community:    

WordCamp Events 2018.
Number of WordCamps 2018.
WordCamps 2018 (source: WordCamp Central). 

Please note that in all WordCamps, both the organizers and the speakers are volunteers who do not charge anything for the work done.

And here you have to add the events related to WordPress that are for some niche market like Publishers, WooConf, LoopConf, WP Campus, and A Day of REST, as well as all the set of WordPress meetups that are organized locally to create local WordPress communities.

To give you an idea of the contribution that companies can make to the WordPress community, in 2018 the entire Nelio team was involved in the organization of WordCamp Barcelona 2018.

WordCamp Barcelona 2018 attendees.
WordCamp Barcelona 2018 attendees.

But not only that, we also participated in WordCamp Europe 2018, WordCamp Madrid 2018, and currently David and Toni are part of the organizing team of WordCamp Europe 2019. As you can see, it’s still a lot of hours dedicated to the community and the project.

WordPress Plugins and Themes

In the WordPress Directory you have free GPL licensed themes and plugins that can then have premium versions with paid functionalities or support services. The average price of a WordPress theme is less than $59 and prices can range from $10 to $200.

Precio promedio de los temas de WordPress (fuente: CodeinWP).

And what are the most popular WordPress themes?

WordPress theme usage
WordPress theme usage (source: BuilWith.com).

According to BuiltWith, of the one million websites analyzed, the most popular WordPress theme is WooComerce’s own (25%), followed by Genesis and Divi (5%) each and Avada (4%).

And about plugins? Currently, you’ll find more than 55,000 plugins in the WordPress Directory. Some of them with more than 5 million active installations.

Popular WordPress plugins.
Popular WordPress plugins (source: WordPress Directory).

With this incredible figure, the complex thing is sometimes to find the plugin you’re looking for. As long as you know that the two plugins, compatible with Gutenberg, that will help you promote your content and optimize the conversion of your website are Nelio Content and Nelio A/B Testing, respectively… you’re doing well… 😉

And precisely about plugins, Matt Mullenweg commented at WCUS 2018 that, with the aim of promoting Gutenberg, at this moment the plugins that were going to stand out the most in the directory are all those that offer blocks for the new block editor.

Surely as a WordPress user you don’t need to know all this information for your everyday, but they will help you understand and explain better that WordPress is not just a template or a little program to create a website; it’s something more, don’t you think?

Featured image by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash.

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Best Free WordPress Courses and Tutorials from Beginner to Expert Level

Published in Uncategorized.

More than once you’ve heard the phrase that creating a website in WordPress is very easy. Let’s not fool ourselves: creating a simple website is easy, but if you want some advanced stuff, it isn’t. If you also add plugins without knowing very well what you are doing, your website may be in a state in which you no longer know where you are.

Kanye west help by OceanX
We’ve come across websites with Visual Composer and Divi editors installed at the same time. (source: oceanx en Giphy).

Even hiring expert designers to create your website (by the way, it will surely be one of your best investments), the more knowledge you have of WordPress, the easier it will be for you to see all the possibilities you have, make your own changes, and make sure you really have the website you want. The more dynamic and updated your website is, the better it will be positioned in Google searches.

And if you do not have a great flexibility of time or your budget is limited, you are very lucky that you have many free resources to learn WordPress. You no longer have any excuse not to know about the subject.

Now; without further ado, here’s the list you’ve been waiting for:

WordPress Lessons in the Codex

The WordPress Codex is the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation.  The WordPress Lessons area of the codex is a good starting point to understand WordPress and WordPress themes. Some of the articles are a little dated, but they remain relevant.

WordPress Lessons of the codex.
WordPress Lessons of the codex.

Free WordPress Courses at Udemy

When it comes to any type of online course, the first site that comes to mind is Udemy. And indeed, you’ll find good videos of free (and also not free) WordPress courses.

WordPress free courses at Udemy
Some of the WordPress free courses at Udemy.

Darrel Wilson is one of the most popular tutors who offers plenty of videos with which you can learn about WordPress.

YouTube Tutorials

On YouTube you’ll also find tutorials for learning WordPress.

Tyler Moore

Tyler Moore, with more than 267K subscribers, offers a lot of courses and tutorials about WordPress for you to learn many tricks.

Tyler Moore YouTube channel
Tyler Moore YouTube channel.

Brand Schift, LearnWebCode Author

Brand Schift is a front-end developer, designer, and educator who has been building user interfaces for over a decade. He has great lessons, tips and examples about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WordPress.

LearnWebCode Youtube channel.
LearnWebCode Youtube channel.

Kori Ashton

Every Wednesday, Kori Ashton releases a new WordPress tutorial. He covers topics including SEO tips, WordPress how-tos, and plugin roundups. 

Kori Ashton YouTube channel.
Kori Ashton YouTube channel.

WPTuts

WPTuts is part of the PsmegTV group who provide free, high quality training videos on a range of software topics. WPTuts focuses on teaching how to use WordPress, Visual Composer, Slider Revolution, Elementor, and more.

WPTuts WordPress tutorials.
WPTuts WordPress tutorials.

SiteGround Tutorials

SiteGround is a hosting company that offers a very comprehensive tutorial for you to learning how to create and manage your WordPress website.

SiteGround WordPress tutorial.
SiteGround WordPress tutorial.

WPBeginner’s Tutorials

WPBeginner offers a list of free resources with several types of content – written articles, videos, guides, and a useful glossary. If you are a beginner, this is a good starting point and the only requirement to access to all the information is to signup with your email address.

List of videos of wpbeginner.
List of videos of WPBeginner.

First Site Guide video tutorials

On First Site Guide video library you’ll find more than 40 short easy-to-follow video tutorials you need to set up and maintain a blog. Topics covered include WordPress, blogging basics, and niche blogging.

First Site Guide video list.
First Site Guide video list.

All WordPress Posts of Nelio’s Blog

Finally, if you want to become a WordPress expert, we continually publish posts on our blog where we explain WordPress news and tips to help you become a great expert.

Don't miss all posts on our Nelio's blog!
Don’t miss all posts on our Nelio’s blog!

And after you’ve created a great WordPress website, you won’t want to miss out on our free course on how to make your blog a success and make sure you stay up to date with all the WordPress news at 😉.

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If you know any other great WordPress tutorials, please share it with us on the comments section below. Our readers will love it!

Featured image by Ben White in Unsplash.

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Thrive Leads vs OptinMonster vs Bloom To Increase Your Leads and Customers

Published in WordPress.

Are you increasing your web traffic and you have more and more followers in social networks? If so, congratulations! You seem to be on the right track, but… Are you getting your visitors to buy your services or products? Are you increasing your revenue?

Excuse me wow by Mashable
Did your face look like this? (source: mashable on Giphy).

If these questions have made you a little uncomfortable is that you need to increase the conversion rate of your website. That is to say, make more visitors of your web carry out those actions that you really want them to do. Forget about vanity metrics!

But how do we optimize our website to increase the conversion rate? First, don’t forget to perform A/B tests on your website that will provide you with real data about your visitors’ preferences at all times.

ab-testing
In its simplest form, A/B testing proposes to randomly split the traffic to the site in two groups so that 50% of the visitors see the A design while the other 50% sees the B design. By monitoring how users in each group react, we can calculate the conversion rate of each group and, in case there is a statistically significant difference between the two, declare a winner design.

And, as I told you recently, create attractive lead magnets for your website visitors. Remember that lead magnets are attractive free offers that you offer to your readers, in exchange for them giving you contact information, subscribing to your newsletter or helping you to promote yourself.

So, in the same way that I explained to you 7 lead magnets ideas that you should try on your website to get more prospects and customers, today I will tell you about 3 plugins that will help you create lead magnets more quickly, that is, they will help you create opt-in forms, that invite your reader to subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for some attractive offer. For example, here is a lead magnet:

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Join our Newsletter and get the course lessons straight to your inbox to take your blog to the next level

Before you continue reading, the three plugins I’m telling you about below are premium plugins, they are not free. The functionalities they offer compensate for their cost. And it’s also good that we’re in solidarity with developers who have to make a living offering great products 😊.

#1 Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is one of the most popular plugins to increase the number of subscribers on your website. You won’t find it in the WordPress directory as it doesn’t have a free version. You can get it at the Thrive Themes website, choosing between the following licenses:

Thrive Leads licenses.
Thrive Leads licenses and pricing.

For a single payment of $67 you get a license for a single website; for $97 you have up to 5 licenses; and for $147 you get 15 licenses. All three plans include unlimited updates and one year of support.

Main benefits of this plugin:

  • You can create a variety of forms or opt-ins (in content static banners, lighboxes or popups displayed on top of a content, covering it, post footer forms that appear at the bottom  of your content, ribbon forms displayed on top of a page, full screen lightboxes or screen fillers, scroll mats, slide-ins forms that smoothly show up in a corner of the screen, side bar widgets, content locks and multisteps forms, etc)
  • Specific pre-designed form templates are available for different sectors
  • You can customize the design of the forms
  • You have several form triggers (when you leave the page, after a period of time, when you have scrolled to a certain point, when you click a button or link)
  • You can perform A/B tests on the forms and see which ones work best
  • You can differentiate what information to show your visitors depending on whether it’s a new visitor, a subscriber, or if it’s already a customer
  • You can segment the display of a form depending on what is being visited, by category or tag, by post, by page, or custom post type, among others. And group them by campaigns (lead groups)
  • You get detailed reports of the conversion your lead magnets are getting
  • It easily integrates with a large set of email marketing services and social networks: MailChimp,  MailRelay, Mail Poet, SendGrid, Sendinblue, Sendy, GetResponse, Facebook, Twitter, etc

Thrive Leads form types.
Thrive Leads form types.

It is a plugin easy to install and start working with without technical knowledge. But it is important that you take into account before you start working with this plugin how Lead Groups work. These are used to create campaigns or group a set of forms that you want to show in certain places on your website (for example on certain pages or all posts etc.).

You should know that if you create several groups and design two forms for the same website, the opt-in of the group at the top of the list will always prevail. Don’t get confused with this or you won’t know why certain lead magnets don’t show up to the user.

#2 OptinMonster

OptinMonster is one of the most popular opt-in applications in WordPress. OptinMonster itself is not a WordPress plugin, it is a stand-alone payment application that integrates into WordPress. In the WordPress Directory you will find the free OptinMonster App plugin connector that allows you to create an account and connect to OptinMonster.

You can subscribe to OptinMonsterwith 4 different plans: Basic ($108 per year), Plus ($228 per year), Pro ($348 per year), and Growth ($558 per year).

OptinMonsters plans and pricing (billed annually).
OptinMonsters plans and pricing (billed annually).

And as shown in the image, Basic is for a single site, with which you can create 3 simultaneous campaigns with a maximum limit of 5,000 views per month; Plus is for up to 3 sites and you can create unlimited campaigns with a maximum of 15,000 views per month; the Pro plan allows you to have it installed in 5 sites and the maximum of campaign views is 100,000 views per month; and with the Growth plan you can install it in 10 sites and conduct campaigns that have 500,000 views per month.

OptinMonster and Thrive Leads offer many similar functionalities. With the OptinMonster’s Pro plan, you have practically the same types of forms as Thrive Leads, the same triggers, and you can also perform A/B tests.

OptinMonster campaing types.
OptinMonster campaing types.

The most notable differences between the two are:

  • Thrive Leads is a WordPress plugin and OptinMonster is a stand-alone software. That means that with Thrive Leads everything you create is saved in your WordPress database; in the case of OptinMonster you save it in its database. Also, if your website is not WordPress (that is, it’s a PrestaShop, Shopify, or Magento, for example) OptinMonster is your product. Finally, if you want to manage several accounts at once, with OptinMonster you can do it directly from its application; with Thrive Leads you will have to go to each of the different WordPress sites.
  • The two products have different types of visual editors to design the popups. Thrive Leads has its own quite complete visual editor with which you can edit all the opt-ins and OptinMonster has the Canvas function with which you can edit some opt-ins.
  • OptinMonster focuses more on user behavior and includes pop-up trigger options (Adblock detection, geolocation, etc.) that can be especially useful if you have an e-commerce. Thrive Leads focuses more on the results you get from A/B tests and getting more subscribers.
  • In OptinMonster each campaign is determined by the type of opt-in it uses. That is, Campaign 1 uses a normal pop-up and Campaign 2 uses a pop-up that slides from the right side. In Thrive Leads the campaigns are determined in Lead Groups where you group several forms. For example, Campaign 1 will include the two previous pop-ups and a widget.

#3 Bloom

A more recent opt-in plugin for WordPress that has been growing in popularity is Bloom. Bloom is a plugin from Elegant Themes, best known for its Divi theme and Divi Builder visual editor.

Elegant Themes including Bloom plans and pricing.
Elegant Themes including Bloom plans and pricing.

The price is $89 a year or $249 for life. And this price not only includes the Bloom plugin, but also includes all Elegant Themes themes and plugins. So, if you had already paid for one of them, it is clear that this option is very important to you, since you already have it for free; but if you are only interested in this plugin, it is cheaper than OptinMonster but more expensive than Thrive Leads.

Bloom is a little more limited than the previous two, yet surely you have everything you need:

  • You have 6 different types of forms: normal pop-ups, pop-ups that fly in, bar below posts, in line optine, locked content or widgets
  • Among the possible triggers of opt-ins includes that of activating a popup after a time of inactivity or after a purchase, which we do not have them in the other plugins, but instead, does not include that shows up when it detects that the page is abandoned
  • You can integrate it to different email services, just like the two previous plugins
  • It allows you to segment by categories and refine where you want a lead magnet to show up or not, including or excluding specific pages and posts
  • What Bloom does not include, unlike Thrive Leads and OptinMonster, is a visual editor of the changes you make in an opt-in. You just specify your style options and view it later by clicking the Preview button

Bloom optin types.
Bloom optin types.

Conclusion

As you have seen, the three plugins, Thrive Leads, OptinMonster, and Bloom meet the needs you may have to capture leads: multiple types of forms, templates that you can customize, integration with the most popular email services, and A/B tests.

Some of the differences to highlight are, on the one hand, that OptinMonster and Thrive Leads include the “leave page” trigger and Bloom does not. In addition, each has a different set of options and levels of control over how to create campaigns. And finally, with Bloom and Thrive Leads, with a single payment you have all the functionalities and with OptinMonster you have different prices for different features.

In fact, the main difference is the price. You can compare annual subscriptions:

  • $67 – Thrive Leads (just one license).
  • $89 – Elegant Themes (87 themes and 6 plugins including Bloom)
  • $348 – OptinMonster (Pro package with all features included).

Our opinion? We use Thrive Leads because, from our point of view, it’s the one that offers the best quality-price ratio. But if you already pay for Elegant Themes, which already includes Bloom, you probably don’t need anything else. And if you are looking to optimize an e-commerce or if your website is not made in WordPress, or you want to manage several accounts at once, do not hesitate to consider the OptinMonster option, which is very complete.

Featured imabe by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash.

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All You Need to Know About Gutenberg, the New WordPress Editor

Published in WordPress.

WordPress 5.0 is the new version of WordPress and comes loaded with new features. On the one hand, it comes with a new content editor called Gutenberg. On the other hand, it comes with a new default theme, Twenty Nineteen. How do these changes affect you? Well, more than you think… especially from the editor’s side. But don’t panic.

In Nelio we are aware that Gutenberg is a controversial topic that is generating many doubts among users. Love it or hate it, it looks like Gutenberg will be around us whether we like it or not, so you better understand how it works and how to use it ASAP.

If you haven’t already done so, install Gutenberg in your WordPress and let us walk you through the steps with it. Today you will learn everything you need to know about the basic workings of Gutenberg and be ready for his triumphal arrival in WordPress 5.0.

The “Old” WordPress Editor

If you’ve been using WordPress for quite some time, chances are you’re 100% familiar with its content editing interface. As you know, until version 5.0, WordPress by default used the TinyMCE editor, as well as several “boxes” around it to edit additional aspects of your content:

Screenshot of the old WordPress editor, based on TinyMCE
The “old” WordPress editor has a text area and a formatting toolbar where you write content and multiple meta boxes around it with some extra options.

The different plugins we installed in our site could extend this editing interface by adding, as I say, additional boxes with new functions. For example, our plugin Nelio Content adds several additional boxes, among which we found one to schedule all the social messages to promote the blog on social media:

Automatic Social Timeline
Automatically-generated social messages are based on (a) the content of your post and (b) social templates.

The editor itself is exactly what you expect: a text area where you craft your content and a formatting bar to format text, add headlines, lists, and so on. Nothing fancy at all.

Gutenberg

Now let’s take a look at Gutenberg. What is it? Why should we talk about it? Is it so different from what we are used to? Let’s try to answer all these questions and teach you everything you need to know to make the transition as smooth as possible.

First Steps with Gutenberg

Let’s start by getting familiar with the new editor. The first thing we see when we create a new post on our blog using the Gutenberg editor is the following user interface:

Screenshot of Gutenberg
Gutenberg Editor looks so familiar… and yet, nothing is quite the same.

As you can see from the previous screenshot, Gutenberg’s user interface is very familiar, but it’s different, strange at the same time. As an editor, its skeleton is the same we had before: a text area surrounded by some additional options. Sure, it looks fresher and less bloated, but the essence is there.

Now let’s move to the interesting part… let’s write some content! As you can see, Gutenberg welcomes us with a couple of messages inviting us to write some content: “Add title” followed by a “Add text or type / to add content“. Let’s follow its lead:

Writing content in Gutenberg
Writing content in Gutenberg feels very natural.

That was quite easy, wasn’t it? So far, so good! So let’s keep diving… what if you want to insert a link, a list, or format the text? How do you do that?

Where Are My Tools?

In our lifelong editor we were used to having a toolbar at the top. There we found everything we needed: bold, italics, links, alignments, lists, enumerations, headings… But in Gutenberg there’s nothing like that, there’s no toolbar. Or is there?

Gutenberg Contextual Toolbar
Toolbars in Gutenberg are contextual and depend on the active blog. By default, they’re next to the block we’re editing at that moment.

If you pay attention, when you’re editing a paragraph in your post (as we’ve captured in the previous screenshot), you’ll see the toolbar floating above it. And that’s precisely where you have the tools you were missing: alignment, bold, italics, etc. This is one of the first differences we found in Gutenberg by default: toolbars are contextual and appear in the block we’re editing.

What? You don’t like this behavior? No problem! Gutenberg developers already thought of that and added the possibility to change the behavior of the new toolbar and return to the old style.

Gutenberg Customization
You can customize a few things about Gutenberg, including where the toolbar should be.

Just go to the editor settings (the ellipsis icon at the top right corner of the screen) and activate the option Unified Toolbar to get the following result:

Gutenberg Unified Toolbar
Gutenberg Unified Toolbar places the toolbar to its usual location; i.e. at the top of your editor.

That’s good! This is becoming more like our usual editor, don’t you think? 🤩

Now take a closer look at your toolbar. What do you not see? Exactly! Gutenberg’s toolbar looks much less powerful than the one we had in the previous editor, because a lot of things are missing…

Gutenberg Blocks

Don’t worry, don’t despair. The important paradigm shift that Gutenberg brings is the notion of blocks. In Gutenberg, every fragment you add to your content is a block. And, as you can imagine, there are a lot of different blocks:

Gutenberg Blocks
Gutenberg organizes your content into blocks. Here you can see a few examples of the default blocks the editor includes.

In the previous screenshot you can see a list with some of the most common blocks:

  • Paragraphs are the basic building block of any post and therefore they are the default block Gutenberg suggests when writing content.
  • Images and Galleries are also pretty common. As their name suggest, they’re basically used to insert images in your copy.
  • Headings helps us organize our content.
  • Lists format enumerations and a set of unordered items.
  • Quotes let us quote someone.

Pretty obvious, right? The important thing here is the fact that, in Gutenberg, each and every part of our content is a block of a certain type. As a result of this fact, the actions we might use at any time depend on the block we’re working with:

Image Block and Quotation Block in Gutenberg
More block examples from Gutenberg: an image and a quotation. Notice how the toolbar changes depending on the active block.

For example, in the previous screenshot we see two new blocks: an image and a quotation. As you can see, the user is working with the image block and, therefore, they have an image toolbar accessible. That is, the user has access to actions like the image alignment or a button to edit its title and alternative text, but nothing related to text formatting (because it doesn’t make sense in this particular context and moment). If the user shifts their focus to a new block, the available actions will change to fit the new context and block.

On the other hand, you should know that in the sidebar of Gutenberg there is a tab called Block, where you’ll find even more options and toggles about the active block:

Gutenberg Advanced Block Settings
Not only do blocks have their own toolbar, but also their own set of advanced options (if required). They’re in the right pane.

As you can see, Gutenberg presents a cleaner interface focused on the current task. So, instead of having toolbars with thousands of options, we let the editor show us what’s relevant and useful at every moment.

What About Everything Else?

At this point, it should be obvious that creating and managing content with Gutenberg is actually very simple. Despite all the changes it includes and his “new way” of doing things, the end result is very natural and intuitive.

But what about everything else? Categories, tags, featured images, authors… in the previous editor there were a lot of things “around” the text editor itself. Where are they? Let’s start with an example that belongs to one of the frequently asked questions: how can I change the permalink in my post?

In the previous version of WordPress, the permalink was generated from the title of your post and, in fact, the option to change it was just below it. We have already said that Gutenberg only shows the options that are relevant at any given time, and it seems that the permalink is related to the title of the post, so…

Gutenberg Permalink
Changing a permalink in Gutenberg is as straightforward as it used to be… sort of. Just go to the title and the permalink setting will show up.

if we were to edit the title of our post, we might be able to change its permalink too. And indeed we are! Sure, it’s not as obvious as it was before, because now the setting isn’t visible at all times, but WordPress still uses the same logic as before. As I mentioned above: it’s a familiar interface but not quite the same.

All the other options, as it could not be otherwise, are available in the sidebar of the editor. There we found a tab called Document with the equivalent of the boxes we had in the previous editor:

Document Options in Gutenberg
You’ll find all the options you might be interested in in the editor’s right pane. They’re quite similar to what you’re used to, so no explanations are required.

Categories, tags, scheduling, excerpts… everything we had before is available here, waiting for us. It’s no big deal, is it?

Gutenberg and My Plugins

Finally, let’s briefly talk about Gutenberg’s compatibility with our plugins. As you know, in the previous editor plugins could add their own “customizations”. For example, a plugin like Yoast SEO added a new box to manage the SEO parameters of our post. But, of course, now there are no boxes… So how does this work?

Yoast SEO metabox in Gutenberg
Gutenberg should be compatible with all your plugins. You’ll find your plugins‘ meta boxes in the usual locations: under the content or next to it.

The different boxes we used to have around in our previous editor are now placed around Gutenberg too, either after the content (as is the case of Yoast SEO) or in the sidebar sections.

In principle, you can assume that your plugins will continue to work with Gutenberg, as the new editor is, from the plugin‘s perspective, a simple upgrade in the UI. Unfortunately, though, there are plugins that might no be 100% compatible with Gutenberg and will require some extra work from their developers… don’t despair and support them, as I’m sure they’ll be interested in guaranteeing a smooth transition to the new editor.

In Summary

Gutenberg has come to stay. Although it’s an important paradigm shift and the blocks may seem strange at first, getting used to the new interface doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

I am fully aware that there are many scenarios in which Gutenberg is far from ideal, but I am afraid we will have to be patient and see how he evolves now that he is part of our reality.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

Featured Image by Alexander Andrews via Unsplash.

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The Perfect Yoast SEO Setup For WordPress (III)

Published in WordPress.

This is the third and final post on how to configure the Yoast plugin to get the most out of it. Previously I explained first the importance of On-page SEO and how to configure Yoast SEO with its wizard and then, the details of how to configure each of the features you have available in the General and Search Appearance options in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast SEO menu.
Yoast SEO menu.

In this post we’ll see how you should setup the features you find in the Search Console, Social, Tools and Premium menu options from Yoast SEO. And finally, I’ll tell you something closely related to Yoast SEO: the Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP.

Search Console

If you have a Google account, you can connect your Google Search Console account to the Yoast SEO plugin. As you may already know, Search Console is a set of free features offered by Google with which you can optimize, analyze, and check the status of your website or blog in Google search results. If you want more information about Google’s search console I recommend the Google Search Console Definitive Guide by Brian Dean.

Basically, what the plugin does here is to show you the same information you can find directly in Google. To connect the Search Console (I assume you’ve already added your website to the Search Console in your Google Account) with the plugin, go to the Settings tab and click the Get Google Authorization Code button.

Search console Yoast SEO
Settings tab of the Yoast SEO Search Console option.

It will give you the code you have to enter in the next field. Then click on Authenticate. The authentication code can also be found directly in the Settings » Ownership verification of Search Console, in the HTML tag tab.

Verification code in the Google search console.
Verification code of the Google Search Console.

As you can see, here at the Yoast dashboard it’s not like you’re going to have additional information to what Google already provides. It’s just a question of whether you prefer to have this information in your own WordPress or in the Google console.

Social

We never get tired of repeating that you do not forget to promote your content on social media if you want to reach more audience and, in the end, position yourself better in search engines. And I guess you’ve read the fastest way to promote your website on social networks. The fact is that the Yoast plugin can also help us in making our social networks have more impact on the SEO of our website. Now we’ll see how:

As you can see in the following image, we have 5 tabs: Accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Accounts

Let’s see the first tab, Accounts:

Add the URLs of your social profiles to the Yoast SEO plugin.
Add the URLs of your social profiles to the Yoast SEO plugin.

Here you just have to copy and paste the URLs of your accounts and save. Note that in the case of Twitter, you shouldn’t include the @ character. This way in the code of your page you will already be informing Google of the social accounts with which it is related.

Facebook

Next we have the Facebook tab.

Facebook tab of the Yoast SEO Social menu option.
Facebook tab of the Yoast SEO Social menu option.

Previously in this blog we already discussed what the Open Graph Facebook meta tags are and what they are used for. Basically, these are tags used by the social network to create the rich graphic object you see when a certain URL is shared on said network.

If you enable the addition of Open Graph meta data in the Yoast SEO plugin, then Yoast will make sure those tags are included in all the content of your website. What’s interesting about this plugin is that Yoast SEO allows you to customize the Open Graph Facebook meta tags (and others), so that you can decide how you want your content to be shared on Facebook and other social networks.

In the Yoast metabox just below your post, click on the “social” icon just below the “traffic light” icon and add additional information about how you want the title, description, and image of the post you are typing to be displayed at the time it is posted on Facebook:

Customize how a post is displayed when posted on Facebook
Customize how a post is displayed when posted on Facebook.

Now, back to the Facebook settings tab, the only relevant setting you have to keep configure is the default Facebook Image. This is the image that will be used in Facebook when someone shares a post from your blog that doesn’t have a featured image set.

Twitter

Similarly, we have a Twitter tab.

Twitter configuration in Yoast SEO plugin.
Twitter configuration in Yoast SEO plugin.

If you want to use Twitter cards, just enable the option and you’ll be able to tweak how your posts look like in Twitter.

Also notice that you can indicate the default type of card to use. Although the default is only Summary, I recommend that you select Summary with large image and your Twitter cards will look better. From now on, when you edit your post you can also customize its display on Twitter.

Customize how you want your post to look when posted on Twitter.
Customize how you want your post to look when posted on Twitter.

Pinterest and Google+

If you have an account on Pinterest and/or Google+ and you’ve already entered its URL in accounts, you don’t have to do anything else. If not, add the information from these social networks and that’s it.

Tools

Now let’s go to Yoast’s fifth menu option: Tools.

Configuration of tools in Yoast SEO.
Configuration of tools in Yoast SEO.

As you can see in the image above, Yoast SEO includes some tools that, although they are not essential for you to optimize the SEO of your website, they can be useful to be more efficient in some cases.

If you click on the Import and Export link, a new window appears with three tabs: Import Settings, Export Settings, and Import from other SEO plugins. This can be useful if you are involved in maintaining the SEO of more than one website because it allows you to save your plugin settings, export them to a zip file that you can then import to another website so you do not have to make all those settings from zero on each website. Then, you can start with your master configuration in each new site and then customize it.

The File editor allows you to create and modify some files of your WordPress installation that have an impact on the SEO such asrobots.txt that allows the access or not of bots to certain parts of our website. You can also limit (or block) the bots that will be able to access your contents. My recommendation is that you do not edit these files from the Yoast SEO plugin and do so from an FTP client.

The Bulk editor, as its name suggests, allows you to make bulk changes. In the Title tab, you can change the snippet title (in the column, New Yoast SEO Title) of all your posts quickly.

Bulk editor Yoast SEO
Bulk editor for titles in the Yoast SEO plugin.

Finally, you have the external link counter. As you may already know, external links can help give more credibility to a post, so don’t forget to enable the option and make sure you include high quality external links to improve your SEO.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

As I already told you at the beginning of this post, if we talk about SEO we cannot leave aside the Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP.

AMP is an open source initiative promoted by Google together with other technology partners with the aim of improving the loading speed of mobile websites. Through the use of AMP HTML, AMP JS, and the use of caches, the aim is to offer pages of simpler design but optimized to give an agile response in mobiles. Google values and rewards that you give an optimal service to all visitors to your website, so if something is key to the SEO of your website is that you have an AMP version for your posts.

The AMP plugin for WordPress allows you to generate a basic AMP version of all your posts. If you look at the developers and collaborators of this plugin, you will see Automattic and Google among others. After installing it, you only have to tell it what kind of content you want to generate an AMP version and that’s it.

For example, we have an AMP version of all our blog posts, so you can read the AMP version of this post that you are now reading at https://neliosoftware.com/blog/the-perfect-yoast-seo-setup-for-wordpress-iii/amp/. As this type of pages are key for SEO but do not have to be ruled by the same criteria as the rest of your web pages, Yoast SEO has a plugin, Yoast SEO AMP glue plugin to integrate Yoast SEO in your AMP pages and that the meta data is implemented correctly.

How to configure Yoast SEO AMP glue plugin?

After installing it, you’ll see that there’s a new menu item in Yoast called AMP. In the related settings screen you’ll find three configuration tabs: Post types, Design, and Analytics.

Post types configuration of AMP in Yoast SEO.
Post types configuration of AMP in Yoast SEO.

In the Post types tab, you only have to indicate for which AMP content types you want to have Yoast SEO support. Notice that Yoast’s setup depends on the setup you have in AMP. For instance, if AMP is only enabled on posts but not pages, you’ll be only able to enable AMP Yoast SEO on posts and media attachments only.

In the Design tab, you can add an AMP icon, a default image for posts that don’t have an image, and additional information related to how you want AMP posts to look like.

Yoast SEO AMP design.
Yoast SEO AMP design.

And in the last tab you can also add a Google Analytics code to have here in your WordPress the information about the analytics of the AMP posts.

And here’s the complete guide to how you should set up the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize the SEO of your website. Remember that, although you may find it a bit cumbersome, setting up the Yoast SEO plugin should only be done once and enjoy all its advantages.

Featured image Victor Garcia in Unsplash.

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Criteria for Selecting a WordPress Plugin

Published in WordPress.

Mac, Windows, or Linux? Android or iPhone? Netflix or HBO? WordPress or Drupal? The number of options to choose from is greater than it has ever been. And it’s a trend we see everywhere.

You’re probably thinking that’s fine: the more options, the better, right? After all, it’ll be easier for us to find what we really need and, therefore, be happy with our choices. Well, it’s not.

Confused thinking by Desus & Mero
I have no idea what I want… by desusandmero on Giphy.

In this article from the Huffington Post the author states that “There’s a body of evidence suggesting an overabundance of choice makes us anxious and mistrustful.” The more options we have, the less happy we are. Just watch this TED talk on the paradox of choice by Barry Schwartz.

Well, we see the same problem arise when it comes to WordPress plugins. There are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress repository, so it’s not uncommon for many of them to overlap in functionality. And that’s where users have the problem: which plugin do I choose? They’re so similar, I don’t know which one is the best… and I don’t want to make a bad choice!

In this post I’ll share with you the recipe we follow to choose the plugin that best suits our needs. Hopefully, this will make your life easier and if you choose poorly… well, you have someone other than you to blame (that is, me 😇).

WordPress Plugins

As you can read in WPBeginner, “A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites”. Plugins, then, are what makes WordPress so successful: when WordPress can’t satisfy one of our needs, we simply have to take a look at the plugin ecosystem and see if there’s one that does.

Plugins can help you with:

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Post and publication organization
  • Multi-language
  • Contact forms
  • and so on

Unfortunately, a quick search on WordPress.org (or even in the premium plugin market) reveals the truth: there are plenty of options in each of those categories! Which one do you keep?

Criteria for Selecting the Plugin that Best Suits Your Needs

Choosing “the best plugin” to solve a certain problem is not easy (because, among other reasons, what is “better” is relative and depends on your criteria). But there are a number of criteria that, regardless of what your exact needs are, you will have to evaluate in order to find a good choice that satisfies you in the long run.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the criteria I personally follow when looking for new plugins. I ordered the criteria from most to least important, so that each criterion helps you filter out a few options.

#1 Choose a Plugin that Solves Your Issue (and Your Issue Only)

The first criterion is quite obvious: select a plugin that solves the problem you have. If you are interested in having contact forms, why would you look at SEO plugins? Just keep in mind these two rules:

  1. Install a plugin that solves your problem
  2. Do not install more than one plugin to solve the same issue (or you’ll end up like what Antonio explains in this post)

Transformers cartoon
If you want to go from A to B, you probably don’t need a Transformer. A simple car is more than enough. And what about a bike! It’s simpler and might be more effective! Source: Giphy.

#2 Take a Look at the Ratings

The second criterion that you must ponder is the reputation of the developer. When you install a plugin you’re basically letting somebody else’s code run in your website, so you’d better make sure that person or organization is trustworthy.

The best way we have to discern whether or not we can trust a certain developer is to look at their ratings. This information can be found directly in the WordPress.org plugin repository, in the Ratings section:

Yoast SEO Ratings at WordPress.org
Yoast SEO Ratings at WordPress.org.

But ratings alone are not enough; we also need to pay attention at the number of users that a certain plugin has. The more active installations running a certain plugin, the more trustworthy it is:

Screenshot showing Yoast SEO's statistics
Screenshot showing Yoast SEO’s statistics.

#3 Make Sure the Plugin Is Actively Developed

The rate at which WordPress evolves is very high. New versions with new functionalities and bug fixes appear often. Plugins should not be an exception to this rule. If you are going to install a plugin on your website, look at its development pace. The fact that a plugin hasn’t been updated for a long time can be a bad indicator: maybe the developer has lost interest in the plugin and it’s about to be abandoned.

Plugin Changelog Example
The Changelog of a Plugin summarizes the latest changes introduced in a plugin.

Checking a plugin‘s changelog to see how it’s evolving or taking a look at its last update date are very useful indicators to predict its future. My recommendation: select one that is being actively developed.

#4 Look for a Healthy Community and Active Support Forums

The level of support and community a plugin has is also extremely important. A plugin that has many active users and is constantly evolving will probably have a lot of activity in the support section.

Number of issues resolved in the lat month
Number of issues resolved in the lat month.

Pay attention to the community around a system: if you ever need help, the more people using the plugin, the higher the chances of finding someone who can lend a hand. You can find this information in WordPress.org, in the Support section. Take this data into account when considering different options.

#5 Other Amenities

There are other criteria that you should also consider, but these are much more personal and depend entirely on your situation:

  • Money. Free plugins, freemium plugins, premium plugins, subscription-based plugins… the options are endless, and you should look into all of them. Depending on your specific needs and your budget, a paid solution might be the best option you have.
  • Language. Not all plugins are translated to your specific language. If that were the case, make sure you’re more or less fluent in English or you might not be able to use the plugin properly.

Summary

The 5 criteria I use to select the perfect plugin are Focus, Ratings, Development, Support, and Others. I hope they help you make the right choice too. Tell us what you think about them and let us know what other criteria you have in the comments section below.

Featured Image by bruce mars via Unsplash.

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The Perfect Yoast SEO Setup For Your WordPress (II)

Published in WordPress.

This post is the continuation to the first post about the perfect Yoast SEO configuration, where I explained the main functionalities that Yoast SEO offers you and how you can configure it quickly with the wizard. Here we intend to go a little deeper into the configuration, so that you can polish those details the wizard doesn’t address.

After installing the plugin in WordPress, you’ll see that you have the following menu options: General, Search Appearance, Search Console, Social, Tools, and Premium.

Yoast SEO menu.
Yoast SEO plugin menu options.

In this post we’ll see what you can configure in detail in the first two options of the Yoast SEO menu: General and Search Appearance.  

General

Under the General menu option, you will find three tabs: Dashboard, Features, and Webmaster Tools.

Dashboard

General menu option screen of Yoast plugin.
General menu option screen of Yoast plugin.

The first tab, Dashboard, as you can see in the image above, links to the wizard that I explained in the first post on how to configure Yoast. It also warns you if you have any issues and gives you the link to subscribe to the Premium plan. Additionally, as you can see on the right of the screenshot, it gives you other recommendations to learn more about the tool or about SEO.

Features

In the Features tab you’ll find the options that you have activated or deactivated from the plugin.

Features tab of Yoast SEO plugin.
Features tab of Yoast SEO plugin.

By default they are all activated. And it’s OK to leave them like this. But what does each of them mean?

The SEO analysis are suggestions on how to improve your posts and pages for SEO, such as defining a snippet, indicating a keyword, using it in your text, URL, images etc. If you deactivate it, you’ll still be able to define the snippet of your post, but the plugin will no longer makes suggestions on how you can improve it.

The Readability analysis allows Yoast to make suggestions on how to make your text more readable.  If you deactivate it, the plugin won’t run the analysis and, therefore, you won’t get any suggestions on how to improve the copy of your posts.

Cornerstone content is used to indicate that a certain type of content is essential to your website. For example, you could indicate that your star product page is your cornerstone content.

The Text link counter controls whether you have included texts with external links in your posts. As you know, external links can help give a post more credibility.

When XML sitemaps is active, Yoast will generate an index of the most important pages of your site, making it easier for Google to identify what your web content is about. Don’t deactivate it if you want to position yourself better in the Google ranking.

Ryte integration allows Yoast to also use some of the features provided by Ryte, a tool that monitors, analyzes, and optimizes key elements of websites. Yoast uses it to warn you if your site is no longer indexed in search engines.

The Admin bar menu contains useful links to third-party tools to analyze pages and make it easier for you to see if you have new alerts.

And with the Security option active, you make sure that only administrators and editors have advanced plugin settings options. If you disable it, you grant authors access to the advanced plugin settings options.

Webmaster Tools

Finally, let’s go to the last tab, Webmaster Tools.

Webmaster tools tab of Yoast SEO plugin.
Webmaster tools tab of Yoast SEO plugin.

Here, you can enter the verification code of each of the search engines it indicates. The most important is Google‘s. I already commented on the information in this section in the first Yoast configuration post, so I’m not going to go into details again.

Search Appareance

The second option of the Yoast menu is the Search Appearance, and as you can see, it has seven tabs: General, Content Types, Media, Taxonomies, Archives, Breadcrumbs, and RSS.

On each of these tabs you indicate how you want Google to display information about your content.

General

 

General tab of the Search Appearance option.
General tab of the Search Appearance option.

Here you indicate how you want your website’s snippet to look by default. For example, if you look at the image above, you’ll see that Yoast will create the following default SEO titles: first the title of the content, then the page (if that content is paginated as is the case with feeds), a separator (which you have indicated before), and the default description that the author has defined. The advantage of having this information filled in is that you won’t have any URL without a decent snippet.

Content Type

The Content Types tab moves down to the next level of detail, i.e. you detail the appearance of the snippet in posts and pages.

Yoast SEO posts appearance.
Indicate the appearance of the posts. Then for the pages it’s exactly the same.

For your blog posts and the rest of your web pages, you can indicate whether or not you want them to be part of Google searches, if you want to include the date of publication in the snippet (it is recommended not to do so as it tends to lead to fewer clicks) and how you want to show the title and description by default. And if you choose to hide Yoast SEO meta box, the Yoast box under the posts and pages disappears (I don’t recommend it, if you want to get the most out of this plugin).

Media

In this tab you indicate if you want the URL of any image or attachment included in a post or page to be redirected to that post or page that contains it, instead of to the URL of the image or attachment itself.

Yoast SEO search appearance media.
URL of media and attachments.

The recommendation of Yoast and ours is that you redirect attachment URLs to the attachment themselves. It doesn’t make much sense to index the images, since what you usually want is for the posts and pages to take authority in Google.

Taxonomies

Now it’s the turn of the Categories, Tags or any other custom taxonomy you may have created on your website.

Indicate how you want categories and tags to be indexed.
Indicate how you want categories and tags to be indexed.

Similar to posts, in the case of categories and tags you can first indicate if you want them to be indexed or not. On this subject, there are those who recommend that you don’t index categories or tags until you have at least some related content on it, and there are those who argue that they can be very useful to rank long tail content on Google. We have them indexed.

Then, as you see in the image above, you can indicate a SEO title and default description, and if you want in the category edition to have the Yoast SEO box. And for tags, it’s exactly the same.

Archives

Archives are feeds or pages that link to lists of posts. These include all the posts written by a certain author (Author archives settings) or listings of posts on a given date (Date archive settings).

Indicate how you want the files to be indexed.
Indicate how you want the files to be indexed.

In the case of author files, it only makes sense to index them (Author Archives option, Enabled) if you have a blog with multiple authors. In this case, it also makes sense to show this information in search results, but only for those authors who have posts. If you’re the only writer on your blog, you’d better deactivate it or Google will consider you have duplicate content. You don’t want Google to penalize you.

In the case of Date archives settings, it’s better to deactivate the indexing if we want, again, to avoid duplicate content. Leave them deactivated.

And the Special Pages section refers to the search results page and the 404 error page. You can use the default settings.

Breadcrums

Breadcrumbs are links available on some websites, usually located under the main menu, that tell the user where they are on the web. For example, for this post it would be: Home » blog » The perfect Yoast SEO Setup For Your WordPress (II). Showing or not these links is usually an option of the theme itself and it is more common to see it on websites of large corporations with many products or services or online stores.

Yoast SEO breadcrumbs.
Leave the breadcrumbs off.

If you decide to activate them, Yoast will ask you for more information about how you want the breadcrumbs to be displayed: the breadcrumbs separator, the link text for the home page, etc.

RSS

And the last tab within the Search Appearance option is RSS.

RSS is a subscription system by which users can subscribe to our feeds and receive new content directly in their email or in the feeders they use to read RSS. In this way instead of visiting our website in search of news, they are informed in real time. Although it is not directly related to SEO, it is clear that it can bring traffic to your website.

Ajustes del feed RSS en Yoast SEO.
Ajustes del feed RSS en Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO lets you add certain information that you can include before or after each post in the Feed. This serves as a security measure to prevent plagiarism. For example, adding the following text at the end of our posts (as shared in an RSS feed):

%%POSTLINK%% is an original text of %%AUTHORLINLK%% published in %%BLOGLINK%%

guarantees that, if a third party copies our content automatically from the RSS, the “copy” will contain a clear statement about the authorship of the content and a link to the original source.

And so far, the first two menu options of the Yoast SEO plugin. If you want to become an expert, don’t miss the next post on Yoast SEO Configuration!

Featured image by Robert Baker in Unsplash

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Fun Facts about Your Website You Can Discover Thanks to Google Analytics

Published in WordPress.

Google Analytics is the reference tool of web analytics for most of us. When you build a website, it’s one of the first things you set up so you can see how many visitors you receive and how they behave.

We’ve already talked about how to configure Google Analytics on your website. And we’ve seen how you can explore their reports to get the most out of this tool. Now, did you know that you can get a lot of fun facts about your website and its visitors with Google Analytics? Today we’re going to study some interesting points of Google Analytics that will help you spend some fun time researching data and getting to know your audience and your website better.

Interesting Facts You Can Discover Thanks to Google Analytics

The number of page views or the amount of time your visitors spend on your pages is well-known data that almost any article on Google Analytics will explain to you. To be a little more different and original, let’s ask ourselves 7 curious questions about our website and its visitors and see how to answer them with Google Analytics. I hope you like it!

Do You Have More Men or Women Visiting Your Website?

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Or so they say…. What is certain is that men and women in general see the world differently in some ways, so understanding whether your audience is made up of more men than women (or vice versa) can be interesting.

Depending on this, you can address your audience in one way or another (more direct, more informal, etc.). I don’t want this to be a war of genders to find out which one is better. But it’s clear that if you have a website about makeup and your audience is mostly male, you’re doing something wrong (or maybe not, and you’ve found a niche to exploit). I hope you see my point…

Google Analytics shows you a graph with the gender of your visitors.
Google Analytics shows you a graph with the gender of your visitors.

Google Analytics allows you to know the gender of your visitors in a very simple way. Go to the Audience menu and there you will find the Demographics panel. In our case, as you can see from the image above, we have a male majority. It’s that the web world in general and WordPress in particular is still dominated by men… but I hope this trend will change in the future and we’ll see more women interested in our blog!

It’s also interesting to see the age groups of the visitors. We have an average visitor age of 25-34 years, although this is perhaps somewhat obvious as it’s more difficult for the 55+ age group to be dominant, since they are not digital native generations.

It's funny to see the interests of your audience in Google Analytics. This way you can draw a fairly accurate profile of your visitors.
It’s funny to see the interests of your audience in Google Analytics. This way you can draw a fairly accurate profile of your visitors.

In the same menu we can find the Interests option, where you can discover in which categories Google Analytics includes your visitors. In our case we see that our audience is made up of buyers and technolm philes from the business and web segment. It seems that we have not failed too much in trying to reach this kind of audience with the contents of our website, right?

What’s The Weirdest Location From Where Visitors Visit You?

Google Analytics shows you a summary of the geographical locations from where your visitors visit your website. Usually, if you publish content in Spanish you will have visitors from countries that speak that language (Spain and Latin America).

The locations from which people visit our website are not very surprising because we write content in Spanish and English.
The locations from which people visit our website are not very surprising because we write content in Spanish and English.

In the Audience menu, go to the Geo option and from there to Location. There it is, the list with the ranking of visits by country. But have you ever looked at which is the strangest country from which you receive visitors?

At the bottom right corner of this list you have the option to advance in the ranking to reach the end. The result you’ll get is pretty interesting.

Weirdest countries from where we get traffic to our website.
Weirdest countries from where we get traffic to our website.

Our website has visitors from Guernsey, St. Kitts & Nevis, Palau and Togo, among others. Call me ignorant, but I have no idea where those countries are. It’s interesting to discover remote locations from where real people visit your website and view your content!

What Language is The Most Common Among Your Visitors? And The Least Common?

If you write your content in Spanish, the most common language of your visitors will be that one. To check that out, just go to the Audience menu, then go to the Geo information and finally to Language.

Spanish and English are the most common languages for visitors to our website.
Spanish and English are the most common languages for visitors to our website.

As expected, our visitors use Spanish and English as the most common languages. Nothing new here, as our website is in both languages. The curious thing is to go to the end of this list as we did with the list of countries in the previous section and see what we find out.

I'm sure your website has visitors whose language is very strange. They're a minority, obviously, but it's fun to see them.
I’m sure your website has visitors whose language is very strange. They’re a minority, obviously, but it’s fun to see them.

As you can see from the previous screenshot, there is one visitor who speaks Latvian (language code lv) and one who speaks Tamil (language code ta), which is apparently a language spoken in a region of India. You can find out which language each code is by looking at the ISO 639-1 language code reference found on Wikipedia.

From Which Devices do Your Visitors Access Your Website?

If you want the best possible user experience for your visitors, you will have to make sure that those who access your website from mobile devices do not have any problems. With thousands of different devices out there, a common option is to look at which devices are the most common and test your website on them.

Most popular mobile devices among visitors to our website.
Most popular mobile devices among visitors to our website.

In Google Analytics you can see the most used mobile devices for your visitors by going to the Audience menu and the Mobile Devices section. In our case we see Apple’s iPad at the top of the list.

Less popular devices with which some visitors access our website.
Less popular devices with which some visitors access our website.

We can also see which devices are the weirdest our visitors use. We can find here some curious gems, such as the device named Wiko Rainbow Jam, used by one visitor to our website. Apparently, it’s a cheap mobile phone from a French manufacturer. You can learn a lot if you pay attention to this Google Analytics data!

What Browsers And Operating Systems do Your Visitors Use?

In Google Analytics we go to the Acquisition menu, then to the Technology section, and finally to Browser and OS. There we find a list with the most used browsers by our visitors.

In Google Analytics you can see from which web browsers your visitors access your website.
In Google Analytics you can see from which web browsers your visitors access your website.

In this list you can find curiosities like that in our website there are 2 people who have accessed through their PlayStation 3. Are there really people who surf the Internet through their videogame console?

There are also some other rare features, such as Coc Coc (a Vietnamese browser), Maxthon (a Chinese browser) or Puffin (a Windows browser). I’ve never heard of these programs in my life.

Which Google Queries Lead to Your Website?

One of the questions you may ask yourself often when you manage a website is what are the queries visitors ask on Google that make them end up coming to your website. To find this out, you have to go to the Acquisition menu, then to Search Console and finally to Queries.

Queries your audience asks on Google before reaching your website.
Queries your audience asks on Google before reaching your website.

In our case, the query “how to start a blog” is one of the most popular ones in Spanish. This is something that we have facilitated by writing a lot of content on the subject of blogs and content generation.

On the other hand we can find funny things like the fact that people come to our website after searching “game of thrones quotes”. It seems that Ruth’s article on Game of Thrones quotes applied to the entrepreneurial world has been successful on Google!

What’s The Worst Page on Your Website?

It all depends on what you mean by “worst”. In this case, we will define the worst page as the one that brings visitors but has the highest exit rate. That is to say, it will be a page that attracts visitors but once they reach it, they don’t keep browsing your website and just leave. Which is something we clearly don’t want to happen.

The worst pages on your website are those that attract traffic but also lose it afterwards.
The worst pages on your website are those that attract traffic but also lose it afterwards.

Go to the Behavior menu, then to Site Content, and then to Exit Pages. In that view you will see which pages of your website attract traffic and repel it from your website. In our case we see that our blog post where we talk about common WordPress problems has a lot of visits, but also that 93% of the traffic that arrives there is lost.

Final Remarks

Interesting countries, unknown languages, gender wars, curious browsers and devices, funny keywords, or pages that are not as good as you think. All this data is in Google Analytics for you to spend some fun time exploring it.

Don’t stick to the surface data of your web analytics tool. If you dive a little into it, you’ll find some real pearls that will surely amuse you for a while. Have you discovered something interesting in your Google Analytics? Tell us what it is in the comments below. I’m sure you have some funny stories for us. We look forward to hearing from you 😉.

Features image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

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