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When it comes to building a website, we’re pretty strong proponents of WordPress (the fact that we specialize in WordPress hosting might give that away). But despite powering a whopping 29% of the world’s websites, WordPress isn’t the only way for you to make a website.

In this post, we’ll dig into Wix, a popular hosted website builder, and compare Wix vs WordPress. If you caught our Squarespace vs WordPress comparison, we’re going to follow an identical format to that post so that you can easily compare all three platforms.

If all goes well, by the end of this post you should know which of these two platforms is the best solution to build your website.

Wix vs WordPress: A Quick Overview

We’ll get into some more detailed Wix vs WordPress comparisons in a second, but before we get too much into the specific details, let’s discuss the basic philosophy that each solution brings to the table. Just as with Squarespace and WordPress, at a fundamental level Wix vs WordPress comes down to a balancing act between two concepts:

  • Simplicity and accessibility to beginners – that is, how easy it is for someone who isn’t a developer to create a functioning, aesthetic website.
  • Flexibility and ease of customization – that is, how easy is it for someone to customize a website to make it do exactly what they want it to do.

Wix made the decision to sacrifice some flexibility in order to create a site building experience that makes it easy for even beginners to create a functioning website. WordPress, on the other hand, sacrifices a little bit of user-friendliness in order to give you the ability to customize 100% of your website.

Beyond those core differences, there are also some other notable differences that we’ll cover in more detail like:

  • Data ownership
  • Website maintenance
  • Price
How Easy Is It To Build A Website On Each Platform?

In terms of how easy it is to quickly create a website that looks great, Wix is the winner. Wix isn’t as flexible after you build that basic website, but it is a great solution for quickly churning out a simple, aesthetic website.

WordPress is still fairly easy – but you will need to jump through some hoops when it comes to hosting your website, and it’s a little bit more complicated to get your site set up.

Wix

Here’s how easy it is to create a website with Wix: First, you sign up. Then, you choose what type of website you want to create:

Choosing what type of Wix site to create

We’ll choose a Restaurant website for this example. Once you choose your type, you can select from all the relevant templates:

Picking a Wix template

And once you choose your template, you’re dumped straight into the Wix Editor where you can easily change text, images, and more:

Editing your Wix template

And once you’re done, all you do is click Publish to make your website live.

The whole process is simple and undeniably easy for beginners….assuming you like Wix’s pre-built templates and don’t want to customize things too much.

WordPress

Whereas with Wix you can sign up and start editing your site right away, WordPress requires a few preliminary steps.

Before you can get started, you’ll need to sign up for web hosting and get your own domain name. While that is an added step, most hosts nowadays make the process pretty painless – so you’re probably only adding about 5-10 minutes to getting started.

Once you install WordPress (or have your host install WordPress for you), you’re ready to choose a “theme” to control how your site looks:

Choosing a WordPress theme

You can find both free and paid themes, and some themes also include something called “demo” content so that, much like Wix, you just need to edit the pre-filled content, rather than creating your site from scratch.

While WordPress isn’t as simple as Wix, it’s still fairly easy for a non-developer to create a functional, aesthetic website using WordPress.

How Much Control Do You Have Over Your Website’s Functionality?

Whereas Wix won when it came to ease of use, WordPress knocks things out of the park when it comes to flexibility and customizations.

Wix

If you want to add functionality to your Wix site, you’ll be mostly relying on the Wix App Market:

The Wix App Market

This app market gives you more flexibility than something like Squarespace but still doesn’t come close to covering all of the things that you can do with WordPress.

Currently, the Wix App Market only has 288 apps in total. As you’ll see in a second, that pales in comparison to WordPress.

Beyond that, you’re also severely limited when it comes to making your own code tweaks (or having a developer make code tweaks for you).

Wix does sort of allow you to add custom code, but only in a “sandboxed iFrame” with a number of restrictions.

WordPress

With WordPress, you have far more flexibility on both fronts.

First off, let’s start with plugins. WordPress plugins let you add new functionality or tweak existing functionality without needing to know any code. Currently, WordPress has over 53,000 different free plugins that you can install, with thousands more premium plugins.

Want to integrate social media into your site? Use a social media plugin. Same with advertising management, contact forms, quizzes, and pretty much any other functionality you can think up.

And if you want to build all of your content with the ease of use of the Wix Editor, you can use one of the many page builder plugins:

An example of a WordPress page builder

Beyond that, you (or a developer) are free to add any custom code to your website, which gives you even more flexibility. Unlike Wix, you don’t have to contend with any code limitations.

How Does Each Platform Handle eCommerce?

Wix does offer eCommerce functionality, but it’s not as flexible as what you can do with something like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads on WordPress.

Wix

With Wix, you can either choose from a pre-built online store template or add the store app to an existing template. For example, in the screenshot below, we’ve added the store app to our popular Kinsta Pizza Shop page:

Wix eCommerce store management

You can then add products and manage your store via a popup interface:

Managing eCommerce products in Wix

It’s fine for simple products – but beyond simple text fields, you again lack the flexibility to truly dig in and customize your product information.

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If you’re just selling a t-shirt – Wix is probably fine. But for variable or customized products, you’ll probably wish you had more flexibility.

Finally, Wix’ eCommerce functionality is only available on their special Store plans, which cost a bit more than a regular Wix site.

WordPress

While WordPress is primarily known as a website builder platform, it’s actually the dominant eCommerce platform as well, with WooCommerce accounting for 42% (a plurality) of all eCommerce sites.

With WordPress, you’ll need to turn to a plugin to add eCommerce functionality, though. The two most common options are:

The WooCommerce setup wizard

Along with each base eCommerce plugin, you can also find huge marketplaces of add-on plugins to extend your store even further. Just like with regular WordPress sites, this gives you a ton of flexibility for how you display products, handle fulfillment, and lots more.

For example, you can even find plugins that sync WooCommerce with a print on demand service so that you can outsource order fulfillment to someone else.

That level of flexibility is why WordPress is usually a much better platform to create an eCommerce store.

Who Controls Your Data On Each Platform?

While in the short-term it may not be a major consideration for beginners, data ownership should be a major factor in your final decision. By data ownership, we mean things like:

  • Can you download a copy of your content?
  • Can you easily move your content to another website builder?

With respect to data ownership, WordPress is the clear winner. It’s not even close.

Wix

In case you’re wondering why we say it’s not even close, here’s Wix’s statement on data ownership, straight from its knowledge base:

Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be transferred elsewhere.

Specifically, it is not possible to export or embed files, pages or sites, created using the Wix Editor or ADI, to another external destination or host.

So…yeah. That should be a pretty big red flag if you’re concerned with data ownership.

While there are some third-party tools that offer workarounds to, say, migrate Wix to WordPress, Wix doesn’t give you an easy way to do this by yourself.

WordPress

With WordPress, you’re always in full control of all your data. You can download, export, or manipulate 100% of the data on your site because you control everything.

Like we said – it’s not even close.

How Does Each Platform Handle Ongoing Maintenance?

While Wix’s closed ecosystem isn’t great for data ownership or flexibility, the major benefit is that it virtually eliminates the need for you to handle maintenance and security.

With WordPress, you’ll either need to handle these things yourself or find a managed WordPress host such as Kinsta with an emphasis on security and maintenance.

Wix

This section is short because you don’t need to do anything with Wix – Wix does it all for you. You never need to worry about updates or security vulnerabilities.

WordPress

Things are the opposite with WordPress. That is, you’re in charge of things like:

  • Security
  • Updating software
  • Backing up your data

That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do those things yourself, though. You always have options like:

How Much Does Each Platform Cost?

Wix offers simple, monthly pricing so that you always know exactly how much you’ll pay. With WordPress, things are a little trickier. As to which is cheaper, though, there’s no right answer. In general, a WordPress site will probably be cheaper in the long term, though (because of Wix’s flat monthly billing).

Wix

Wix has two sets of monthly plans, depending on whether or not you’re planning to have an eCommerce store. Here’s the pricing for regular Wix sites:

Wix regular website pricing

And here’s the pricing for Wix eCommerce stores:

Wix eCommerce website pricing

There’s also a free Wix plan, but you can’t use your own domain names and it displays Wix ads.

WordPress

With WordPress, there are only two unavoidable fixed costs:

  • Hosting – cheap shared hosting can be as little as $50 per year, while quality managed WordPress hosts usually run at least ~$30 per month.
  • Domain name – typically $10 per year.

Beyond that, you might also want to purchase some premium themes and/or plugins. These are not necessary to run a WordPress site, but often have better functionality, support, and/or designs.

Wix vs WordPress: Which One Should You Choose?

Our recommendation here is going to feel fairly similar to the conclusion of our WordPress and Squarespace post (because Wix is similar to Squarespace in a number of ways).

If you just want an easy way to create a basic website and aren’t concerned with complete data ownership or the flexibility to customize your site, then Wix is probably a fine solution. Just remember – if you decide you want more flexibility later on down the road, it’s going to be a pain to migrate your site from Wix.

For most users, WordPress is probably the best solution, though. Here’s why:

  • While it’s not as beginner friendly, it’s still easy for most beginners to grasp, and the WordPress community keeps making it even easier.
  • You have much more flexibility when it comes to adding functionality to your website because of WordPress’ massive plugin ecosystem.
  • You’re always fully in control of your data and have complete control/ownership.

Now it’s over to you guys – given that this blog is primarily about WordPress, we have a good guess where you might fall on the Wix vs WordPress spectrum. But still, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The post Wix vs WordPress: Which One Should You Choose To Build A Website? appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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Changing domains can seem like quite a daunting task at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Typically this involves routing traffic to go from your old domain (olddomain.com) to your new domain (newdomain.com). One of many people’s biggest and valid concerns is how to maintain SEO benefits (rankings, traffic, backlinks) throughout the entire process, as not to harm your business.

We see a lot of these types of migrations at Kinsta and so we’ve put together this in-depth guide below with everything you need to know on how to safely change WordPress domains, without destroying all the hard work you’ve done. 

Reasons to Change Domain Names

There are a lot of different reasons why you might want to change domain names. Here are a few common examples:

  • Your business is rebranding from one name to another and you have a new domain name to go along with it.
  • Perhaps you were using a less popular TLD (such as .net or .io) and finally acquired that new and shiny .com for your business.
  • Your merging multiple properties into one domain.
  • Your old domain is suffering from a site-wide penalty and you need to start from scratch.
Important Things to Consider

When it comes to changing your domain there are a few caveats and important things to remember.

URL Structure

If you are only changing domain names, then it’s recommended to keep the same URL structure. Example: olddomain.com/about-us/ to newdomain.com/about-us/. You can theoretically change names and structure at the same time, but generally, when it comes to SEO, the fewer changes the better. A domain change is already a pretty major change. 

If perhaps your old site isn’t using pretty permalinks (which are better for SEO), then it would probably be better to change to your new domain name first, wait six months, and then change the structure.

WordPress permalinks

HTTPS

If your current site is running over HTTP, there’s never a better time to migrate to HTTPS. This is slightly different than changing your entire URL structure and in the long run, you’ll reap the rewards. Coming July 2018, Google Chrome will be marking all non-HTTPS sites as “not secure.” Other HTTPS benefits include encryption, better referral data, performance improvements with HTTP/2, and it’s even an SEO ranking signal.

You can easily migrate to HTTPS while changing domain names.

Also, if you’re site is already HTTPS, it’s important to have a plan in place for your 301 redirects before proceeding. This is due to the fact that the client needs to establish an SSL connection to the host before it sees the redirect. Skip down to our 301 redirects section where we discuss this in detail.

Indexing and Crawling

Don’t be alarmed when you change your WordPress domain if you see a slight dip temporarily in traffic. This is normal as it will take a few weeks for Google to re-index and crawl your new URLs.

How to Change WordPress Domain

Follow the steps below on how to change your WordPress domain.

  1. Back up your current WordPress site
  2. Create a new site, clone, or update existing site address
  3. Update all internal and hardcoded links
  4. Add 301 redirects
  5. Update Google and Bing web properties
  6. Submit new sitemap files
  7. Update Google Analytics and Google Search Console
  8. Misc. post domain change updates
1. Back up Current WordPress Site

The very first thing you should do before changing your WordPress domain is to back up your current site. This way no matter what happens, you can always revert if needed.

Option 1 – One-Click Backup for Kinsta Clients

If you’re a Kinsta client, you can simply use our simple backup tool in your MyKinsta dashboard. Select your site in the Sites section and click on the backups tab. You’ll see a list of your available backups. Simply click on “Backup Now,” choose a backup name, and it will create an additional backup/restore point.

Create WordPress backup

You can then restore your backup at any time with a single click.

Option 2 – Back up Your Site With a WordPress Plugin

You can also back up your WordPress site with a third-party plugin. We always recommend utilizing those that have incremental backup options. Even though you probably won’t need the incremental feature for this tutorial, these are the ones you should familiarize yourself with or invest in long-term, as the incremental feature decreases server load, disk space, and helps improve reliability. Here is a list of recommended plugins:

Or if you just want a one-off backup, you can use the free Duplicator plugin and create a local archive backup.

Create WordPress backup with the Duplicator plugin

Option 3 – Back Up Your WordPress Site Manually

Your third option is to back up your WordPress site manually by exporting your MySQL file and connecting to your site via SFTP and downloading your files. Unless you have a special configuration, typically you only need to download your /wp-content/ folder (as this contains your plugins, themes, and uploaded media).

WordPress wp-content folder

2. Create a New Site, Clone, or Update Existing Site Address

Once you have a backup of your site, the next step is to update your WordPress URL and site address. There are a few ways you can approach this.

Option 1 – Create New Site/Account

Your first option would be to create an entirely new WordPress install with your new domain and then migrate your data over. You would then change the domain after the fact. Why this approach? Sometimes people prefer to leave their old site intact for a while as another backup. Or perhaps you are also moving to a new WordPress host in the process as well.

In this case, you would simply create a second site. If you’re a Kinsta client you would want to add a new install and ensure that your new domain is set as the primary domain. You can then migrate a copy of your WordPress site over. Check out our in-depth tutorial using the WordPress Duplicator plugin.

Kinsta primary domain

Option 2 – Kinsta’s Clone Feature

If you’re a Kinsta customer, you could go an even easier route and to utilize our one-click clone feature. This allows you to instantly create a copy of your existing WordPress site into a second account.

Clone WordPress site

Option 3 – Update Existing WordPress URL and Site Address

The third and final option would be to simply update your existing site’s WordPress URL and site address. You would still need to follow these steps, even if you created or cloned a new site above.

Be careful when editing these values, as you could bring your entire site down if they are entered incorrectly. On the left-hand side, under “Settings,” click into “General.” You can then update the following:

  • WordPress Address (URL): The address to reach your blog.
  • Site Address (URL): The address of your WordPress core files.

Both should match unless you are giving WordPress its own directory. Remember that after you click “Save Changes,” your WordPress dashboard is now only accessible via the new domain.

Update WordPress address and site URL

Check out additional ways to update these values, such as with your wp-config.php file, directly in the database, or with WP-CLI.

3. Update all Internal and Hardcoded Links

Now that you have your WordPress site address and URL changed to the new domain, it’s time to update all of your internal and hardcoded links. Generally, it is not recommended to hard-code URLs but most likely over time you probably have, we all do it. This includes interlinks between your own content, media, links to JavaScript and CSS on your site, etc. Below are a couple options you have for updating your links.

Option 1 – Kinsta Search and Replace Tool

If you’re a Kinsta client, we have an easy to use search and replace tool in our MyKinsta dashboard.

Here are simple steps to update your old domain to your new domain:

  1. Enter in the search field the value you want to search for in the database, which in this case is our old domain: https://olddomain.com. (Make sure you use the right protocol: HTTP:// or HTTPS://)
  2. Enter in the replace field the new value that should be used to replace the value that you are searching for. In this case, it is our new domain: https://newdomain.com.
  3. Ensure the “Dry Run” option is selected first, as this will count how many replacements will be made without actually making the replacements. Then click “Replace.”
  4. You can then run “Replace” again without Dry Run selected to make the changes in the database.

Kinsta search and replace

Check out our search and replace tutorial for additional details. You can always reach out to our support team if you need assistance with this.

Option 2 – Update Links With WordPress Plugin

Another easy method you can use is a free plugin called Better Search Replace, by the awesome WordPress team over at Delicious Brains. Simply install it, enter in your old domain and new domain, and your done!

Update domain with Better Search Replace

Option 3 – Search and Replace with WP-CLI

For you more tech-savvy folks and developers that don’t like to leave the command line, you can also update your links using WP-CLI. We recommend checking out this advanced search and replace WP-CLI guide.

Update your CDN

If you’re using a CDN along with a CNAME, such as cdn.domain.com, you will probably also want to run the steps we shared above again, but this time replacing your custom CDN URL. This is due to the fact that things tend to get hardcoded by accident sometimes from copying and pasting.

Replace https://cdn.olddomain.com with https://cdn.newdomain.com.

You will most likely also need to add a new CNAME DNS record for your CDN since your domain has changed.

4. Add 301 Redirects

Next, it is time to add 301 redirects. This is by far one of the most important parts of a domain name change. This ensures that all traffic from your old domain (olddomain.com) is automatically routed to your new domain (newdomain.com). Here are a couple reasons why 301 redirects are so important:

  • Over time people backlink to your site and content. Backlinks are used as a ranking signal by Google. Therefore, you don’t want to lose any of what they call your “link juice.” In other words, links hold authority, and if you were to suddenly lose them, it could seriously damage your site’s SEO and take a long time to recover. According to many SEOs and case studies, 301 redirects pass between 90-99% of link juice.
  • Besides SEO regarding backlinks, redirects are also important for usability. The last thing you want is for someone to click on a backlink and they no longer reach your site. Broken links are never good.
  • Social signals are another type of ranking factor, although some might disagree on this point. Either way though, it’s never good to have links to your site from social media sites such as Pinterest or Twitter suddenly not work.

Below are instructions on how to add 301 redirects. These redirects are done where your old domain is hosted. If you want to get rid of your old domain and or hosting, we’ll dive into that a little further down.

.htaccess on Apache

If your WordPress site is running on Apache, you can add the following rule to your old site’s .htaccess file, which is typically found at the root of your site.

#Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) https://newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
Nginx

If your WordPress site is running on Nginx, you can add the following rule to your old site’s config file.

server {
server_name example.com;
return 301 $scheme://newdomain.com$request_uri;
}
Caveat – You Should Leave Redirects Up Forever

So this is where it can get a little tricky. If you have a lot of history on your old domain you’re most likely going to want to leave your 301 redirects up forever (or at least a very long time).  Why? Because unless you want to go back and try and update all your backlinks manually, which is impossible, it could harm you to remove them. This means you should probably keep renewing that old domain forever as well.

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Also, regarding 301 redirects, if you’re old domain was running over HTTPS, it means you’ll also need to keep an SSL cert installed on it. This is due to the fact that the client needs to establish an SSL connection to the host before it sees the redirect. But don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to keep your old site/hosting up and running.

If you’re a Kinsta client, you could always add your old domain at Kinsta, install a free Let’s Encrypt certificate on it, and then add a wildcard 301 redirect using our redirect tool that points to your new domain. Below is an example of the rule you would add:

olddomain.com - ^(.*)$ - https://newdomain.com$1

You can then leave this redirect in place forever to ensure you retain all your backlink juice.

301 redirect at Kinsta

The second way to get around the SSL 301 redirect issue is by utilizing Cloudflare. They will allow you to add 301 redirects for your site for free, even if there is no hosting connected to it.  This can be an effective way to add redirects without having to worry about keeping your old host in place or needing to do any additional configuration.

Add 301 Wildcard Redirects With Cloudflare

A wildcard redirect ensures that any traffic that tries to access olddomain.com/blog redirects to newdomain.com/blog. So in this instance, the following 301 redirects work:

http://olddomain.com/ 301 redirects to https://newdomain.com
https://olddomain.com/ 301 redirects to https://newdomain.com
http://olddomain.com/* 301 redirects to https://newdomain.com/*
https://olddomain.com/* 301 redirects to https://newdomain.com/*

This ensures that all the backlinks on both the HTTP and HTTPS versions don’t break for SEO purposes. To add a wildcard redirect, simply add your old domain to Cloudflare, and then create a “Forwarding URL” page rule for it. Make sure you choose “301 – Permanent Redirect” and that you use the correct syntax as shown below.

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Two thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven… That’s how many plugins a simple search for “gallery” returns at the WordPress.org plugin repository. It makes sense – pretty much every website uses images and WordPress photo gallery plugins make it easy to display those images in an attractive way.

But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to dig through everything and find the plugin that offers just the right combination of features, aesthetics, and ease of use. To help you find that plugin, I’ve collected 8 of the best WordPress photo gallery plugins, dissected their feature lists, and grabbed a representative screenshot so that you know what types of galleries each can create.

You already know what galleries are, so let’s get right into the plugins!

WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins  1. Modula

Modula is a freemium WordPress gallery plugin from Macho Themes that helps you quickly create interesting grid galleries without the need for any special customization. Essentially, you specify a width, height, and minimum image size. Then, Modula puts all of your images together into a responsive gallery that looks great.

Modula WordPress photo gallery plugin

It only takes about a minute to create a gallery and the end-result comes out looking significantly better than the core WordPress gallery functionality. If you want more control over your gallery, Modula also includes features like:

  • Pre-built hover effects
  • Option to display image title and/or caption
  • 6 different lightbox galleries
  • Built-in social share buttons that you can turn on/off by network
  • Gallery filters that let visitors click a tag to filter only images with that tag (with or without a page reload)
  • Style controls for margins, radius, shadows, etc.
  • Rotation and slide effects for when images load
A Typical Gallery Created By Modula Looks Like…

While you can play around with settings like margins, shadows, border radius, and more to alter how your galleries look, here’s a good idea of the style of galleries created by the free version of Modula:

Modula photo gallery

Reasons To Use Modula
  • The galleries look great by default, which means you don’t need to configure lots of settings to get a good-looking end product.
  • It has one of the quickest gallery creation processes. While you can always edit the more advanced settings, you can get a good-looking gallery up and running in just a couple minutes.
  • The filterable gallery feature opens up a ton of cool uses for portfolios and other applications.
  • Built-in social sharing buttons make it easy to get your images shared on social media.
  • The premium version is affordable at just $19.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Modula

Modula is just for grid galleries – it’s not built to help you create showcases, slideshows, or other different forms of galleries like many of the other plugins.

Price: Free. Paid plans start at $19 for a single-site license.

2. NextGEN Gallery

By the numbers, NextGEN Gallery is the most popular gallery plugin at WordPress.org. Though it had a slight hiccup with a buggy release a few years ago that negatively affected its plugin rating, NextGEN Gallery receives great overall reviews when you exclude that incident.

NextGEN Gallery WordPress plugin

NextGEN is available as a free core plugin that you can extend with various premium bundles.

In addition to a variety of different gallery types, these premium versions also add more advanced features like:

  • eCommerce functionality to sell images
  • Image protection (hotlink protection, watermarks, etc.)
  • Image deep linking for lightbox galleries
A Typical Gallery Created By NextGEN Gallery Looks Like…

One of the draws of NextGEN Gallery is that it offers so many different types of galleries, so there’s no single typical gallery.

I’ll use the basic thumbnail gallery for this example because it’s included in the free version. But if you go with the Pro version, you have access to a bunch more interesting templates:

NextGEN Gallery

Reasons To Use NextGEN Gallery
  • You can create albums of different galleries, which is helpful if you need to display lots of different pictures.
  • You can create slideshow galleries, as well as lots of other gallery types depending on which version you have.
  • The premium versions offer advanced features like watermarks, image deep links, and more.
  • NextGEN Pro includes eCommerce functionality, which is helpful if you’re selling photography.
Things To Consider Before Choosing NextGEN Gallery
  • While the premium gallery templates look great, the templates included in the free version are pretty basic.
  • NextGEN Pro is a little pricey at $99.

Price: Free. The cheapest premium bundle is NextGEN Plus at $79.

3. Photo Gallery by WD

After NextGEN Gallery, Photo Gallery by WD is the next most popular gallery plugin at WordPress.org.

Photo Gallery by WD WordPress plugin

The plugin lets you create unlimited galleries, as well as unlimited albums to house those galleries in. And one especially nice feature about Photo Gallery by WD is that you can also create galleries from embedded videos, including an option to mix-and-match galleries with both images and videos.

Other helpful features available in either the free or premium version include:

  • Image watermarking and right-click protection
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Option to display Facebook albums
  • Lots of different gallery template options
  • eCommerce add-ons to sell digital content from your website
A Typical Gallery Created By Photo Gallery by WD Looks Like…

While the premium version of the plugin adds some more creative gallery types, here’s an example of a typical gallery that you can create with the free version of Photo Gallery by WD:

Photo Gallery by WD example

Reasons To Use Photo Gallery by WD
  • You can include both images and videos in your galleries with the premium version.
  • You can create tons of different gallery types, including masonry, slideshow, filmstrip, and more (though most require the premium version).
  • Add-ons for advanced features like displaying Facebook Albums and selling digital content.
  • The plugin includes watermarking and right-click protection if you’re worried about image theft.
  • The Premium version is fairly affordable, starting at $30.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Photo Gallery by WD

Like NextGEN Gallery, many of the best-looking gallery templates are only available in the premium version.

Price: Free. Premium version starts at $30 for a single-site license.

4. Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery is another popular freemium gallery plugin that’s part of Syed Balkhi of WP Beginner’s WordPress empire.

Envira Gallery WordPress plugin

One of the draws of Envira Gallery is that, like Modula, the interface is designed to make it as easy as possible to quickly get up and running with a good-looking gallery.

While the free version is good for basic galleries, the various premium plans are where you get the bulk of the helpful features, which include:

  • Social sharing
  • Video support
  • Albums
  • Watermarking
  • Image deep linking
  • WooCommerce support
  • Lots more
A Typical Gallery Created By Envira Gallery Looks Like…

While Envira Gallery lets you create multiple types of galleries, here’s what its masonry template looks like:

Envira Gallery

Reasons To Use Envira Gallery
  • The interface is well-designed.
  • The Pro versions give you access to a ton of features (though they can get pricey).
  • You can use videos in your galleries with the Pro versions.
  • Helpful add-ons for WooCommerce, Proofing, Lightroom, and more.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Envira Gallery
  • Some of the features you get for free in other plugins are locked behind the pro version.
  • If you want all the features, it’s a bit pricey at $99.

Price: Free. Basic premium version starts at $29 for a single-site license, but the full-featured Pro version costs $99.

5. Jetpack

If you’re not familiar, Jetpack is a popular multi-purpose plugin from Automattic that brings a number of WordPress.com features to self-hosted WordPress installs.

Jetpack WordPress plugin

One of those features is an enhancement to the core WordPress gallery functionality. While Jetpack’s galleries aren’t nearly as heavy-duty as the previous four plugins, it’s a good option for creating basic types of galleries, especially if you’re already using Jetpack on your site.

A Typical Gallery Created By Jetpack Looks Like…

While Jetpack gives you options for both square and circle galleries as well, here’s what the Jetpack Tiled gallery looks like:

Jetpack gallery

Reasons To Use Jetpack
  • You just need a basic enhancement to the core WordPress gallery.
  • You’re already using Jetpack on your site.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Jetpack
  • If you install Jetpack only for its gallery functionality, you might be disappointed by it.
  • Jetpack is not nearly as flexible as the other options when it comes to the more detailed options available to you.

Price: Free

5. FooGallery

FooGallery is a freemium photo gallery plugin from FooPlugins that helps you create responsive galleries using a few different layouts.

FooGallery WordPress plugin

All the galleries that you create are retina-ready by default. And the free version also has album support built-in so that you can easily group together multiple different galleries.

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Other helpful features that you can get in the free version and/or premium extension include:

A Typical Gallery Created By FooGallery Looks Like…

While FooGallery includes multiple gallery templates across its free and pro versions, here’s an example of what the basic responsive image gallery template looks like:

FooGallery example

Reasons To Use FooGallery
  • You can create both image and video galleries with the premium extension.
  • FooGallery includes tons of helpful developer features, including a built-in tool to help you generate boilerplate extensions.
  • You get a nice variety of gallery templates even in the free version.
Things To Consider Before Choosing FooGallery
  • You need to pay if you want access to the Grid template.

Price: Free. Pro version starts at $49 for a single-site license.

7. Photo Gallery by Supsystic

Like most of the other plugins on this list, Photo Gallery by Supsystic is another freemium plugin that offers a solid free version with additional features tucked away behind the Pro version.

With it, you can create unlimited photo galleries using several different templates. Then, you can customize those galleries by editing margins, shadows, borders, etc.

Photo Gallery by Supsystic WordPress plugin

If you need to bulk import images or import images from social networks, Photo Gallery by Supsystic has a couple of cool features that let you:

  • Add images to your gallery via FTP
  • Import images from Facebook, Instagram, and more

And if you have the Pro version, you’ll also be able to display videos in your galleries, including the ability to import videos straight from YouTube.

A Typical Gallery Created By Photo Gallery by Supsystic Looks Like…

Like many of the others, Photo Gallery by Supsystic includes multiple different templates. Here’s what the free mosaic gallery type looks like, though:

Photo Gallery by Supsystic example

Reasons To Use Photo Gallery by Supsystic
  • You can add images to your gallery via FTP, which is helpful if you’re working with lots of different images.
  • You can import images from social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • The Pro version includes pagination and image categories (gallery filters).
  • You can add watermarks to your galleries even in the free version.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Photo Gallery by Supsystic
  • The gallery creation interface is a little busy and complicated, though it’s not a major negative.

Price: Free. Pro version starts at $29 for a single-site license.

8. Justified Image Grid

Justified Image Grid is the only one of these plugins that isn’t available..

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Content scraping, or what we like to refer to as “content stealing,” has been a problem since the internet began. For anyone publishing on a regular basis or working with SEO, it actually can be downright infuriating.  The bigger you grow, the more you notice just how many content scraping farms are out there. We publish a lot of content here at Kinsta and content scraping is an issue we deal with on a regular basis. The question is, should you try to fight back or simply ignore them and move on? Today we’ll dive into some of the pros and cons of both sides.

What is Content Scraping?

Content scraping is basically when someone takes your content and uses it on their own site (either manually or automatically with a plugin or bot) without giving you attribution or credit. This is usually done in hopes of somehow gaining traffic, SEO, or new users. This is actually against copyright laws in the United States and some other countries. Google also doesn’t condone this and recommends that you should be creating your own unique content.

Here are a couple examples of scraped content that Google mentions:

  • Sites that copy and republish content from other sites without adding any original content or value
  • Sites that copy content from other sites, modify it slightly (for example, by substituting synonyms or using automated techniques), and republish it
  • Sites that reproduce content feeds from other sites without providing some type of unique organization or benefit to the user
  • Sites dedicated to embedding content such as video, images, or other media from other sites without substantial added value to the user

This is not to be confused with content syndication, which is typically when you republish your own content for broader reach. Syndicate content could also be done by a third-party, but there is a fine line between this and content scraping. If someone is syndicating content, special tags such as rel=canonical or noindex should always be used.

There are a lot of third-party WordPress plugins now that allow you to automatically grab third-party RSS feeds. And while the developers have good intentions, unfortunately, these are sometimes abused and used for content scraping. One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is for ease of use, but sometimes that can also backfire.

Live Example of Content Scraping Farm

We call them “farms” when the same owner scrapes content across dozens of sites. These are typically easy to spot as the WordPress site owner usually uses the same theme across all sites and even just a slight variation between domain names.

We are using a live example in today’s post!  We have no shame in calling out these types of sites as they don’t provide any value and only negate the hard work done by content publishers. Here is an example of a content scraping farm. We archived each link in case the sites go down in the future. You can click on each one of them and see they are all using the same theme, and same scraped content. Typically a scraper will grab content from a lot of different sources, our blog being one of them.

You can see below, they are simply scraping our blog posts word for word, along with all of our articles across all of the domains above.

Example (click to view larger) – Content scraper blog post: archived link / Kinsta original blog post

Does Content Scraping Affect SEO?

The next question you probably have is, how does this affect SEO? Because in the example above, the content scraping farm isn’t using rel=canonical tags, giving credit, or noindex tags. This means that when Google bot crawls it, it’s going to think that it’s their original content. That’s not fair you might think. You’re right, it’s not. We published the content and then they just scrape it. However, before you start panicking, it’s important to understand what really goes on behind the scenes.

First off, even though the Google crawler might see it as their content, most likely the Google algorithm doesn’t. Google isn’t stupid and has many rules and checks in place to ensure original content owners still get the credit. How do we know this? Well, let’s take a look at each of these posts from an SEO perspective.

This person scraped our blog post back in November 2017, so it’s had plenty of time to rank if it was going to. So we pull up our handy Ahrefs tool and check to see what current keywords their post is ranking for. And we can see it’s not ranking for any keywords. So as far as organic traffic goes, they don’t benefit from this post at all.

Content scraping SEO

If we pull up our original blog post in Ahrefs we can see we rank for 96 keywords.

Original content SEO

When Google sees what you might think is duplicate content, it uses a lot of different signals and data points to figure out who originally wrote the content and what should be ranked. Here are a couple examples:

  • Publish dates (although in this case the content was scraped on the same day)
  • Domain authority and page rank. Yes, Google is probably still using page rank internally
  • Social signals
  • Traffic
  • Backlinks

Again these are all safe assumptions, being that no one really knows what Google uses. But the point here is that you probably don’t need to lose sleep over someone scraping your content. However, you still might want to do something about it, as we’ll go into further below.

What We Do About Content Scraping

There are some reasons why you might not want ignore scrapers.

  1. If a site with a significant amount of traffic is scraping your content and using it to supplement their other content, it could very well be that they are benefiting from it. This definitely isn’t right as you’re the original owner of the content.
  2. Things like this can seriously skew data in your reporting tools and make your life harder. For example, these will show up in backlink reports in tools such as Ahrefs or Majestic. The bigger you are, the messier it gets.
  3. Do you want to put your trust solely in Google to figure out if theirs or yours is the original content? Even though they are pretty smart about this, we surely don’t. Also, even though their post isn’t ranking for any keywords, it actually is indexed by Google (as seen below).

Scraped content is indexed

Contact Website Owner and File DMCA Complaint

To ensure we get credit where credit is due, we usually first contact the owner of the website and request removal. We recommend creating a few email templates you can reuse to speed this process up and not waste your time. If we don’t hear from them after a couple tries, we take this a step further and file a DMCA complaint.

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DMCA complaints can be a little tricky as you’ll need to lookup the IP of the site, find the host, etc. But not to worry, we have all the steps documented on how to easily file a DMCA complaint, as well as track down the owner.

As far as the live case study example above, it looks like it’s time to take that next step as we haven’t been able to reach the website owner. 

Update Disavow File

To ensure these don’t impact our site in any way (regardless of what happens with the DMCA complaint), we also add these entire domains in our disavow file. This tells Google we want nothing to do with them, and that we’re not trying to manipulate SERPs in any way.

If you’re doing this for a higher quality site, you can also just submit the URL for disavowal, instead of the entire domain. Although typically we don’t see high-quality sites scraping content.

Step 1

In Ahrefs we select the domain in question and click on “Disavow Domains.” This ensures everything from this content scraped website never impacts us.

Ahrefs disavow domain

The great thing about Ahrefs when dealing with these types of issues is their “Hide disavowed links” option. It then automatically hides the domains and URLs from showing up in your main report in the future. This is super helpful for organization and keeping your sanity, especially if you are exclusively using Ahrefs to manage your backlinks. 

Hide disavowed links

Step 2

As you can see below we added all of the domains from the content scraping farm to our disavow links section in Ahrefs. The next step is to click on “Export” and get the disavow file (TXT) that we need to submit over in Google Search Console.

Export disavow file

Step 3

Then head over to Google’s Disavow Tool. Select your Google Search Console profile and click on “Disavow Links.”

Disavow links

Step 4

Choose your disavow file you exported from Ahrefs and submit it. This will overwrite your previous disavow file. If you haven’t been using Ahrefs before in the past and a disavow file already exists, it’s recommended to download the current one, merge it with your new one, and then upload it. From then on, if you’re only using Ahrefs, you can simply upload and overwrite.

Disavow file

Summary

Content scraping farms might not always affect your SEO, but they definitely aren’t adding anything of value for users. We highly recommend taking a few moments to get them taken down. We have a whole Trello card devoted to “takedown” requests. This helps make the web a better place for everyone and ensures your unique content is only seen and ranked on your site.

What do you think about content scraping? Do you try and fight them or just ignore them? We would love to hear your thoughts down below in the comments.

The post WordPress Content Scraping (Fight Back or Ignore?) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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Running an online business is no joke, especially when you have to compete with giants like Amazon that have an endless marketing budget fuelling their advertising. The race to reach the first page of Google search results is highly competitive. Trying to reach the first page, even with excellent SEO may easily take months or even a year.

This is where paid ads (PPC) come in. Google AdWords is Google’s advertising service that allows businesses to display their ads on Google’s search result pages. The ads usually appear at the top or bottom of a Google SERPs (search engine result pages).

Google AdWords example in SERPs

Using Google AdWords is a common and effective marketing strategy among businesses looking to get their first online customers. Today we’ll dive into some of the basics on how to use Google AdWords for your business.

Advantages of Using Google AdWords

Google AdWords is a powerful tool when it comes to advertising a business online. What makes it so great? Below are few of the advantages that businesses enjoy on Google’s paid marketing platform:

Precise Targeting

With Google’s many targeting options, business owners are able to ensure their ad is only displayed to potential customers. Business owners can filter their audience on the basis of geographical location, age, keywords and more. Additionally, they can also choose the time of day when their ads will be displayed to their targeted audience. A common example that a lot of businesses use is running ads only from Monday – Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. This is due typically due to the fact that businesses are closed or are slower on the weekends. This can help maximize ad spend.

Google AdWords ad schedule

This is especially advantageous for local businesses. Studies show, 50% of mobile users that conducted a local search on their smartphone ended up visiting a store within a day, which gives local businesses an upper hand on catching the crowd’s attention by being on the top of SERPs.

Target Specific Devices

After a 2013 update, Google AdWords allows businesses choose the kind of devices their ads will be displayed on. For the search network, you can choose between desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. On the display network businesses can even drill down even further and target specific devices like iPhones or Windows. Bid adjustments allow automatically bidding higher or lower on devices that are more likely to convert on your site. Tip: Looking at conversion and ecommerce data in Analytics.

AdWords device targeting

Pay Only For Results

This is arguably the most popular advantage of advertising on Google AdWords. With AdWords, businesses only pay for the clicks on their ads, instead of impressions. This is called a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model. This way, businesses save money by only paying when a user has taken action to view their website.

Performance Tracking

Google AdWords allows businesses to track the performance of their ads. This means you can track the number of users that view and click your ad. Adwords also allows you to track the number of users that take the desired action after viewing your website.

According to Google’s Economic Impact report, businesses make an average of $2 for every dollar spend on AdWords. At a time like this, using Google AdWords as part of your online marketing strategy is bound to bring about positive results. However, that isn’t always true of every industry. The best way to discover if AdWords will be profitable for your business it to give it a try.

If you’re confused about how to go about setting up your account and how to use AdWords profitably, this guide is going to help you do just that. Read on.

Preparing for PPC

Pay Per Click advertising is a powerful tool, but only when it is used smartly. Before you can jump into the process of making your AdWords account, you must figure out your objectives. While “more sales” might sound like a great objective, online advertising will require you to be more specific.

It is highly unlikely that someone visiting your website for the first time will make a purchase. Online sales are more dependent on making and nurturing a relationship of trust with your consumer. For this reason, there can be a number of objectives for a business to use AdWords. Such as:

  • Generating sales
  • Registrations
  • Email sign-ups
  • Lead Generation
  • Enhancing brand awareness and recall value

While it is perfectly fine to have more than one objective, keep in mind that you will have to run different campaigns to achieve different objectives (More on this later). Apart from identifying your objective, there is another very important prerequisite for advertising on AdWords, having a landing page.

Landing Page

A landing page is a URL or a webpage on which, a user “lands” when they click on your advertisement. A landing page is a standalone page, distinct from your main website, designed to focus on a specific objective. A great landing page is crucial to the success of your AdWords campaign. A well designed and optimized landing page will help convert visitors into leads, or even customers.

Landing page example

Keep the following things in mind while designing your landing page:

  • Focused landing pages: Design individual landing pages for individual offers. A landing page that focuses on multiple objectives might end up confusing your visitors.
  • Call to action: Do not forget to include and properly highlight the desired call to action button on your landing page.
  • Mobile friendly: With the ever-increasing number of mobile users on the internet, it is crucial to ensure your landing page is mobile friendly.
  • Deliver what you promise: Your landing page should deliver any promises made in your ad. For instance, if your ad talks about a discount, make sure the landing page features the said discount.

Check out more information on how to design high-converting landing pages.

By now, you must have a list of set objectives, and dedicated landing pages that serve to accomplish each one of them. It is now time to set up your Google AdWords account.

Setting up Google AdWords Account Step 1: Sign Up

Simply go to the Google AdWords website and sign up with your Google account. If you do not have a Google account, you will have to create one. Worry not, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Sign up for Google AdWords

Once you have entered the necessary details, you will land on the following page to create your first campaign. Hre you can choose your budget, target audience, set your bids, and write your ad copy.

Set up first Google AdWords campaign

Step 2: Set Your Budget

As you can see, defining a budget is the foremost task on the list. Defining the daily budget will ensure you never cross your expenditure limits. The best way to figure your daily budget is to first understand the number of visitors that your landing page can convert into customers. If you’re just starting out, it’s OK to work with averages.

Google AdWords budget

According to WordStream, the average rate of conversion across industries is 2.35%. This means, on an average, only 2.35% of users take the desired action after clicking on an advertisement. Taking in account the average conversion rate for your industry, you can figure out how much you are willing to spend for each visitor. This is also referred to as cost per acquisition (CPA).

After you have chosen your desired currency and budget, click on save and move on to the next step.

Step 3: Select Your Target Audience

In this step, you get to specify the geographical location of your target audience. This feature ensures your ad is shown only to users that conduct a search using the keywords you’re bidding for (more on this later) and are present in the geographical location specified by you.

Google AdWords locations

By using the advanced search option, you gain access to “radius targeting”. Radius targeting allows you to target a certain radius from your zip code. Depending upon the nature of your business, you might want to target entire countries, or only cities if you sell something locally. You can even set different bid adjustments per radius targets. For example, perhaps you want to bid higher within a 10-mile radius, but lower within a 30-mile radius.

Google AdWords radius targeting

Step 4: Choose A Network

The next step is to choose between Google’s Search Network and Display Network. The Search Network puts your ads on the google SERPs, while the Display Network will display your ad on any website that shows ads.

Google AdWords search network vs display network

For beginners and small businesses, it is recommended to go with the Search Network as it shows your ads to users that are specifically searching for keywords relevant to your business. Display ads can be great for branding, retargeting, and generally have a lot lower CPC. But they are also not as query oriented.

Step 5: Choose Your Keywords

Keywords are the search terms or phrases a user enters into Google’s search box when they are conducting a search. Google lets you choose about 15-20 keywords that may trigger your ad to appear on the SERP. Don’t worry, you can always add more keywords later on.

Google AdWords keywords

It’s recommended to choose a few keywords that you are sure of bringing results, instead of choosing 20 that you may find sort of relevant. Having said that, also pay attention to the search volumes of the keywords you choose. While it might seem tempting to choose a keyword that has the search volume of 450,000, doing so might not be the best idea.

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As mentioned earlier, AdWords works on a bidding system. Keywords with high search volumes are usually extremely expensive to bid for. Choosing more keywords or choosing keywords with high search volume may turn out to be an expensive affair.

Keep your costs in check by choosing a few relevant keywords with moderate search volumes.

Keywords Types and Determining the Right “Keyword Match”

There are four keyword match types that determine how you want your ad to be displayed.

Broad match: The broad match is the default setting on AdWords. According to Google, it “allows your ad to show for searches on similar phrases and relevant variations, including synonyms, singular and plural forms, possible misspellings, stemmings.”

Broad match allows to you to reach the widest part of your audience. However, since broad match also shows your ads for synonyms and one part of your keywords, your ad may show up in a lot of irrelevant search results.

For instance, you might be targeting for “fine dining restaurants Manchester”, using broad match, your ad may also show in the results for “pizza in Manchester”.

Broad match modifier: The broad match modifier gives your more control. By simply adding a ‘+’ before a term, you can lock it into place. Only when a search term contains the phrases or words after the ‘+’, will your ad appear in the results.

For instance, if you bid for “+fine dining Manchester”, your result will never show for search terms like “pizza in Manchester”.

Phrase match: The phrase match offers even more control to business owners. When you choose phrase match, your ad is only displayed in results for search terms that are in the same order as your chosen keyword.

This means, if you choose “fine dining Manchester”, your ad will not show for “Manchester fine dining”. In order to specify phrase match, simply put your keywords between quotations.

Exact match: As the name suggests, this option will ensure your ad only appears when someone searches with a search term identical to your chosen keywords.

If you have chosen exact match and your keyword is “fine dining Manchester”, your ad will not even appear for search terms like “best fine dining restaurants in Manchester”.

To specify exact match, put brackets around your chosen keywords. (Example: [fine dining Manchester]) Tip: Using exact match can be a safe and slower way to scale our your campaigns when just starting out.

Negative keywords: Negative keywords are the terms help you ensure your ad is not shown to irrelevant audiences. This feature of AdWords comes in handy if you have a product/service that may share keywords with something that is not related.

Learn more about bidding by match types.

Step 6: Set Your Bid

As mentioned earlier, AdWords uses a bidding model. A bid is the amount of money you are willing to pay for every person that clicks on your ad. If you and your competitor are bidding for the same keyword, and you are willing to pay more per click, your ad will show higher than theirs.

Google AdWords bids

As you can see, you are presented with two options. This first one lets Google set your bid amount to maximize the returns of your budget. If you would rather set your bid manually, we suggest doing some research using Google’s Keyword Planner.

If you’re just starting out you might want to start with automatic bids until you get familiar with the AdWords system. However, setting bids manually can usually be more cost-effective. Although sometimes this also requires additional ongoing maintenance.

Step 7: Write Your Ad

Writing your ad is arguably the most critical part of this process. We suggest you give it real thought and make it really compelling. Your message should clearly communicate your offer in such a way, that it convinces a user to click on your ad and visit your website. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Copywriting Best Practices
  • Keep it short: There’s not a lot of space for text. So keep your message to the point.
  • The headline is crucial: The headline of your ad is the first thing a user will encounter. Make sure it calls out to them and convinces them to click on the ad.
  • Have a clear call to action: A clear call to action tells the user what you want them to do.
Anatomy of an ad:
  • Headlines: AdWords allows for up to two headlines to be included in an ad, each accommodating 30 characters. Make sure you use this limited space wisely. Additionally, it is recommended to include at least one of your chosen keywords in your headlines.
  • Description: The description space is of 80 characters. Use it to convey your message to the user clearly. If possible, include any offers or discounts in this section to ensure the user clicks on your ad. Additionally, triple check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Google AdWords ad copy

Step 8: Create your Ad

Once you are done writing your ad, click on the “save” button and continue to the last step of the process. In this section, Google will ask you about your business and payment information. You will be charged when you have exhausted your set budget, or 30 days later, whichever comes first.

Running Multiple Ads

As previously mentioned, it is advisable to run multiple ads to focus on various objectives. This can be easily done by running multiple campaigns at once. You can then find out which ones convert best for your business.

Each campaign will consist of several ad groups. Each ad group will consist of similar keywords, and the landing pages will have a similar theme. For instance, for an electronic appliance store, an ad group may be dedicated to televisions while another dedicated to refrigerators.

However, both the ad groups can be included in the same campaign. The ad groups in a single campaign will share the same budget, and location and device targeting settings. If you are looking to target multiple locations or devices,..

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You can find Jonathan on LinkedIn or Twitter. This is our recent interview with him, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.

Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?

I came to web design and development a little bit late in my life. I ran/owned a successful retail business in Chelmsford Essex, UK for a number of years. As a mature student, I earned a degree in Multimedia Development at Anglia Ruskin University and a PGDip in Design for Visual Communication at the London School of Design and Print.

After doing the PGDip I did a number of projects (mostly in the area of Flash development and Expression Engine) as a part-time freelancer. I also continued to run my retail business. Then my American wife wanted to move back to the US (her father had become quite ill) and we sold the retail business and moved to Reno, Nevada (2006) where my wife had gotten a job with University of Nevada, Reno. It was a difficult decision and probably one of hardest in my life, however, I agreed. But on reflection, it wasn’t the best time to move to America.

This is when I was introduced to WordPress (version 2.9). I was doing some (agency) freelance web development work and also trying to get local businesses interested in me helping them with their online marketing. This was a tough sell because a lot of them were just trying to just survive between 2006 and 2012! So I was looking for a simpler CMS that was still powerful and more customizable then Expression Engine.

Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?

Nowadays I run an online WordPress maintenance and support company (WP-Tonic) that specializes in helping business owners who run membership and LMS powered websites. I also have been running a popular podcast for three years all about WordPress.

WP-Tonic

Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?

Online marketing is totally different to the traditional brick and mortar business world. It has taken me quite a long time (probably too long) to realize that the real skill that counts in this world is SEO (search engine optimization.) Also, it’s easy to under-quote for work and get into situations that aren’t great for yourself and also the client. Another thing I have learned is you need to really specialize in a particular sector or have a sub-skill if you’re going to have a long-term career in this industry.

Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?

The community. I know a lot of people say this, however it is totally true: I don’t know any online community like the WordPress one. However, this can be both a positive and also a negative thing.

Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?

2018 is going to be a real turning point in the history of WordPress. I’m interested to see where Gutenberg goes because I personally have not been totally happy with how this major project has been managed. In particular, I’m disappointed with the very poor communication level that was clearly shown at the beginning of its development from some key members of the project team. I also know quite a few frontend developers who are wondering whether or not they will have a future with WordPress, which I feel is quite sad. However, there are also bigger issues that all the drama linked to this project has uncovered related to the way WordPress.org is basically managed and controlled.

Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?

Value for money, leading technology and great support plus some great tools to help with the development of a website, like including staging functionality.

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I’ve got to say that Kinsta and their team are excellent and I would highly recommend them to anybody who is looking for a real WordPress quality-hosting partner.

Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?

I love walking, something very un-American “unless you have a dog.” Sorry, but it’s true, I get some very strange looks in the early morning when I do my regular walk. I think people feel I might be up to no good. Also, the mountains in northern Nevada are quite special and I like skiing. Basically, I like to be outside if I am not working in front of my computer.

Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?

Morten Rand-Hendriksen: Morten is just a great guy and one of smartest people I know. Plus what you see in public with Morten is what you get in private. You can’t always say that about some of the other big hitters in the WordPress community.

The post Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Jonathan Denwood appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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We use a multitude of different SaaS products here at Kinsta to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes and to improve the productivity of our team. One product that we couldn’t live without is definitely G Suite! We aren’t afraid to come right out and say it’s by far the best email solution on the market right now for your business.  Not to mention the other features that it comes with, such as Google Drive storage and tools such Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Today we’ll dive into the unparalleled benefits of G Suite, why we use it and recommend it to all of our clients, and how it compares to other similar solutions on the market.

What is G Suite?

G Suite is Google’s suite of intelligent apps. This was formerly known as Google Apps, till it was re-branded in late 2016. We primarily recommend G Suite for clients that are needing email hosting for their business. However, G Suite is much more than just email. It also includes a variety of apps and features that can come in quite handy. In fact, you’re probably already using or are familiar with some of them.

Features We Use on a Daily Basis

G Suite has three different plans you can use (of which we’ll dive into a little later on). We utilize the Basic G Suite plan for our employees here at Kinsta. This starts at just $5/user/month. For many of you, the basic plan is probably all you’ll ever need. Here’s what it includes:

Gmail

According to Litmus, Gmail leads the way as the most popular email client, with a whopping 26% of the market share based on open rates. It’s no surprise as Gmail has been around since 2004 and now boasts over 1.2 billion users. One of the best things about G Suite is you basically get an enhanced ad-free version of the online email client you’re probably already using.

G Suite essentially allows your employees to have their own Gmail accounts with email addresses with your business domain name (example: john@yourbusiness.com). A very small business with one or two users might be able to get away with free Gmail accounts and some alias+forwarding rules. But once you start hiring two or three employees, you’ll find yourself needing accounts that can be managed separately.

Gmail custom domain

Google Calendar

None of us here at Kinsta could live without Google Calendar. Many of us rely on it for scheduling calls with clients and setting due dates and reminders for important projects. Google Calendar can help you keep your schedule organized.

One of the great things about using Google Calendar in G Suite is the ability to create multiple calendars that are accessible to everyone in your company (or even a subset of users). For example, you might want a group calendar for events like team holidays and regular meetings. Having all your employees attached to the same organization makes tasks like these even easier when compared to the free version.

Google Calendar

Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to store, access, and share your files in one secure place. You then have easy access to them from any device. G Suite Basic plans come with 30GB of storage for every employee. G Suite’s Business, Enterprise, and Teams editions provide unlimited storage so you will always have enough space for your files. Note: If you’re a smaller team with fewer than 5 users, you only get 1TB/user.

If you haven’t used Google Drive before, one of the best things we like about it is the amazing search functionality! Although, it’s probably not too surprising seeing as they also run the largest search engine in the world. Did you know that you can search based on the content within a document (regardless of the file name)? Pretty handy. This means you can easily find what you’re looking for, no matter how disorganized you are. 

Google Drive search

The paid version of Google Drive gives you twice the storage of your free personal drive and Gmail, 24/7 support, sharing controls, and advanced reporting.

Google Docs and Google Sheets

Google Docs and Google Sheets pretty much speak for themselves and again are tools we use every single day. These allow you to create and edit text documents and spreadsheets right in your browser. Import your documents to make them instantly editable, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF files (.docx, .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, xlsx, .csv, .html, .ods). As of February 2018, you can now even collaborate and comment on Microsoft Office files without it having to automatically convert to Google’s format.

You can also export to common third-party formats. This makes it easy to collaborate with other individuals or companies and send files back and forth, without ever needing to install or purchase additional software.

Note: Google Docs and Spreadsheets created directly in G Suite don’t count towards your storage limit. 

Here are just a few of the common tasks we use them for:

  • Getting feedback and comments from team members on new website content.
  • Working with guest bloggers on content for our blog.
  • Sending content to others when writing on third-party sites. We’ve never had anyone in the past couple years request a Word document, everyone always requests a Google Doc. Why? Because it’s just super simple and easy to use.
  • Crunching spreadsheet data from Ahrefs exports.
  • Running quick financial figures.
  • Keeping track of PPC budgets and online advertising copy variations.
  • Analyzing CTR changes as it pertains to SERPs.
  • Writing up content for paid sponsorships (WordCamps).

One of the best features of Google Docs and Spreadsheets is the real-time commenting and unlimited versions. Previous versions are kept indefinitely and they don’t count toward your storage.  This makes it super easy to track changes made to a document or undo a mistake. Sharing documents with your coworkers or other individuals is also incredibly easy.

Google Docs versions

Google Keep

Google Keep seems to be one of those well-kept secrets that nobody knows about. If you’re looking for a basic Evernote alternative, Google Keep rocks! This is a great little tool regardless of whether or not you’re using G Suite. Being a Google product, it works flawlessly within the Google ecosystem.

It can be an easy way to keep those frequently asked questions you get from customers in a convenient place. Create to-do lists, notes, and set reminders to stay on track. Everything syncs across your devices, so what’s important is always in reach. Easily share them with your team and archive them when you’re done. And once again Google’s search works flawlessly with it.

Google Keep

G Suite Admin Console

The Admin console for G Suite allows business owners easily manage everything from one single place. It got an overhaul recently and is a lot better than it was previously with Google Apps.

Do everything from adding new users and groups, manage devices, configure security settings (like 2-factor authentication), add new custom domains for your business which can be used for Gmail, and even enable fun features like Inbox by Google for your employees.

G Suite admin console

Most, if not all of the features in G Suite have to be enabled by the administrator in order to be used. Some of these are also only available in higher plans. If a feature is not enabled and a user tries to access it, they’ll see a “not available” message (as seen below).

G Suite not available

Additional Features

Here are some additional features that we don’t use at Kinsta very often, but you might be interested in:

  • Google Hangouts Meet: We prefer Zoom or Slack video chat ourselves here at Kinsta, but Google Hangouts Meet still makes video calls and conferencing a breeze. Meet is fully integrated with G Suite, so you can join meetings directly from a Calendar event or email invite. If you’re running the Enterprise version of G Suite, you can also take advantage of dial-in numbers for when people are on the road or perhaps without internet access.
  • Google Forms: Most of you have probably all filled out a Google Form before. While we prefer to use other applications for this, preferably branded forms in our WordPress site, it can be an incredibly quick and easy way to gather information.
  • Google Slides: Want a decent alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint? Google Slides is just that. Just like with their other products you can take advantage of their real-time collaboration and commenting, as well as unlimited version history.
  • Google Sites: We don’t recommend using Google Sites as WordPress is much better for this.  Check out the reasons why you should use WordPress.
  • Mobile Management: If you’re worried about an employee’s device getting stolen, don’t. That is what mobile management is for. Easily enable this as an admin and remotely wipe G Suite data from devices if needed.
Additional Features for G Suite Business and Enterprise Users

It’s also important to make a note of the additional features in G Suite Business and Enterprise plans. If you’re a bigger business and rely on email heavily, these can help ease some of your worries.

  • Cloud Search: Want to take search capabilities in G Suite even further? The Cloud Search feature allows you to search across your company’s content in G Suite. From Gmail and Drive to Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, and more.
  • Vault: You can never have too many backups. Vault allows you to manage, retain, search, and export your organization’s email, Google Drive file content and on-the-record chats. Basically, you can archive all your data and set retention policies.
Unparalleled Benefits of G Suite

While all those features above are great, now it’s time to dive into some of the real benefits of using G Suite for your business.

Hosting Email With Third-Party Is Always Recommended

It’s never recommended to host your email with the same company you use for WordPress hosting. That’s why we don’t and will never offer email hosting to our clients (other than perhaps a G Suite add-on down the road in MyKinsta.  ) We go into great detail about the reasons here. But we’ll give you a quick summary of why below:

  1. If you use your host, you’re tied to IP addresses that your host has configured for outgoing email. If something goes wrong with that, such as a client suddenly spamming, there is a chance the IP address could get blacklisted for spam. Then you’re suddenly left hanging with no control.
  2. One of the biggest downfalls to relying on your WordPress host for emails is deliverability issues. With G Suite, you can authenticate outbound mail using DKIM and SPF records which can positively impact your spam rating.
  3. Sending emails via your WordPress host could potentially result in server resources issues. By offloading email to a third-party, especially G Suite, you’ll never have to worry about this.
  4. Spreading services across multiple providers is always a good thing. We always recommend separating DNS (we include Amazon Route 53 DNS for all clients), WordPress hosting, and email. This way if anything goes wrong with one, your email is always flowing. Most likely your DNS will still route regardless, but by using multiple providers you can guarantee this.

So as you can see, going with a third-party for email hosting is actually beneficial to your business.

Caveats (Transactional and Marketing Emails)

While G Suite accounts don’t have an SMTP limit, for those of you sending thousands of emails every month, we generally don’t recommend them for sending bulk emails or transactional emails (purchases, registering, resetting a password, etc). You can read the laundry list of their bulk sender guidelines. For these types of emails we recommend the following transactional email services:

Mailgun

If you’re small and just starting out, don’t worry about your transaction emails until you start sending out large volumes. You can get started with just G Suite for everything and be just fine. Also, some of the providers like Mailgun above, let you send 10,000 transactional emails per month for free. So in a lot of cases, this doesn’t have to be an extra expense. And additional emails after that are pennies to send. Read more about transactional emails.

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You then have marketing emails, such as newsletters. The same thing applies here. Typically you’ll want to use a third-party provider due to better deliverability rates and tools for list building, A/B testing, etc. Here’s a few we recommend:

MailChimp

Some of the transactional providers above also handle marketing emails and mention that on their sites. So in some cases, you could always combine your transactional email service and email marketing software. Read more about .

Familiar, Compatible, and Easy to Use

One of the greatest benefits of going with G Suite for your business is that most of your employees are probably already used to using products like Gmail for email and Google Docs. This makes the transition super easy and ensures you don’t have to waste..

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Struggling to grasp the difference between WordPress vs Drupal? We may be a managed WordPress hosting provider, but that doesn’t mean we think that WordPress is the only way to build a website (even though there are lots of good reasons to use WordPress).

We already compared Squarespace to WordPress. Now, in this post, we’ll dig into Drupal, another popular content management system, and see how it stacks up with WordPress.

WordPress vs Drupal: Introduction And What The Numbers Say

Before we dig into some more nitty-gritty details, let’s have a quick introduction to the two players in this comparison. Obviously, both are content management systems. That means they give you a self-hosted solution to create and manage all of the content on your website (as the name would suggest!).

So how do they stack up as content management systems?

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. Originally launched as a blogging platform back in 2003, WordPress now powers 29% of all websites and controls a massive 59.8% of the known content management system market.

Some notable examples of famous entities using WordPress for all, or part, of their web presence are:

  • Whitehouse.gov
  • Sony Mobile
  • University of Washington
  • Mercedes Benz
  • TechCrunch
  • The New Yorker

Drupal has been around for even longer than WordPress, though it lacks WordPress’ gaudy market share. Originally launched in 2000, Drupal powers 2.3% of all websites and has a 4.6% share of the content management system market.

Some notable websites running on Drupal are:

  • University of Colorado
  • State of Colorado
  • The Economist
  • Dallas Cowboys

CMS market share

What Are Some Of The Commonly Touted Advantages Of WordPress And Drupal?

If you browse the web for discussions of WordPress vs Drupal, you can find plenty of devotees on each side. Here are some of the most commonly cited reasons for choosing one platform over the other:

WordPress Advantages
  • Ease of use – WordPress is significantly more user-friendly, especially for non-developers.
  • Extensibility – WordPress’ third-party theme and plugin communities make it similarly easy to extend WordPress without the need for custom development. Some people even claim that, with the right extensions, WordPress can do anything that Drupal can do.
  • Ease of getting help – WordPress’ massive global community means that it’s easy to find support for any issues that you run into.
  • Lower development costs – WordPress offers more “out of the box” solutions and WordPress developers are usually more affordable than Drupal developers.
Drupal Advantages
  • Custom content types and views – while WordPress does offer custom post types, most people consider Drupal’s custom content types to be a bit more flexible.
  • Access controls/user permissions – whereas WordPress single-site ships with 5 basic user roles, Drupal has a built-in access control system where you can create new roles with individual permissions.
  • Core support for multilingual sites – in Drupal 8, multilingual functional is baked into the core, whereas WordPress sites need to turn to third-party plugins.
  • Taxonomies for handling lots of data Drupal’s taxonomy system is more flexible than WordPress, which can make it ideal for handling lots of content.

An example of Drupal Custom Content Types

How Easy Is It To Get Up And Running With WordPress And Drupal?

When it comes to how easy it is to build a website with each platform, WordPress is the clear winner.

WordPress Ease Of Use And Learning Curve

WordPress makes it significantly easier to go from “zero” to “fully functioning website that looks good.”

With WordPress, it’s possible to find a niche-specific theme and have a working site all in an afternoon’s work (obviously more complex projects are unlikely to be completed in an afternoon).

What’s more, the WordPress interface is simple for even most casual users to quickly grasp. And tools like the WYSIWYG Theme Customizer and the upcoming Gutenberg editor only make it even easier for casual users to create meaningful and unique content.

The WordPress Theme Customizer

Drupal Ease Of Use And Learning Curve

With Drupal, you’re looking at pretty much the opposite. While Drupal themes do exist, most Drupal websites sport a custom-coded theme, or at least a highly customized theme. That means you’re usually going to need a developer just to get something that looks good.

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Beyond that, the Drupal interface is incomprehensible for most casual users (and many developers!), at least at first glance. This isn’t an opinion – Drupal itself has a usability page that says, in reference to the Drupal authoring experience:

In general people expect a much richer user experience around content creation than Drupal offers, much of the functionality that people consider standard for a CMS is simply missing.

For example, here’s what the core editor looks like in Drupal 7:

The Drupal 7.X content editor

While it’s functional at a very basic level, it’s not exactly the most user-friendly content creation experience, especially compared to the WordPress TinyMCE Editor (and the upcoming Gutenberg Editor).

How Can You Extend Your Website With Drupal And WordPress?

You can extend both WordPress and Drupal with add-ons that affect both:

  • Functionality: WordPress calls these plugins, while Drupal calls these modules.
  • Aesthetics: Both WordPress and Drupal call these themes
How Many Plugins And Themes Does WordPress Have?

While the raw number of extensions doesn’t inherently mean WordPress is better, it is a good indicator of the size and importance of the third-party WordPress ecosystem.

WordPress has:

  • 53,000+ free plugins, plus thousands of more premium plugins.
  • 5,000+ free themes, plus thousands of more premium themes.

The WordPress.org plugin directory

How Many Plugins And Themes Does Drupal Have?

At its official directory, Drupal lists:

  • 39,000+ modules
  • 2,500+ themes

With that being said, if you only include modules that are compatible with Drupal 8.x, those numbers drop to:

  • 4,000+ modules
  • 250 themes
Are WordPress And Drupal Equally Secure?

In a perfect world, both WordPress and Drupal are secure systems. But in the real world (with real people’s update habits and penchant for third-party solutions), Drupal often ends up being more secure.

It’s worth noting that this advantage really does stem more from human error than it does flaws in the WordPress core.

WordPress Security

While the WordPress core itself is secure, WordPress’ massive third-party ecosystem introduces a ton of wildcards that aren’t as prevalent in Drupal sites.

According to a survey from Wordfence, plugin vulnerabilities accounted for a massive 55.9% of all known entry points for malicious actors. And overall, WordPress was the content management system used by 74% of the hacked websites that Sucuri analyzed.

While WordPress’ number should naturally be higher because of its popularity, WordPress’ market share is only 59.8%, so the fact that WordPress accounts for 74% of hacked websites in Sucuri’s analysis is still higher than you’d expect.

Done right, WordPress is secure. But the fact that WordPress relies so heavily on third-party extensions does make it more vulnerable than Drupal.

Drupal Security

One of Drupal’s selling points is its lockdown security, which is why it’s a popular content management system for government institutions and other large, security-conscious players. In contrast to WordPress, Drupal only accounted for 2% of the hacked websites that Sucuri looked at, which is well under its market share of 4.7%:

Beyond its enterprise-level security, Drupal also publishes detailed security reports and is generally more transparent about its security than WordPress.

WordPress vs Drupal: Which Is Better?

This is probably the question you came here looking for…but it’s also a flawed question because it’s impossible to say whether WordPress or Drupal is “better”. Instead, a more helpful question to ask is “which is better for this specific website that I’m building?”.

That is – you should focus on choosing the right tool for your specific project, not looking for a proclamation that one is always better than the other.

We do managed WordPress hosting here – so it would be easy to say that WordPress is always the best solution. But that wouldn’t be a fair conclusion for our readers. If you’re building a site with complex data organization that needs to be customized and flexible, Drupal may well be a better choice. Just be aware that it’s unlikely to be accessible unless you:

  • Are a developer
  • Are willing to hire a developer

In the end, this is probably a good rule of thumb:

WordPress should be the default tool for most people to create a website because:

  • It’s user-friendly and easy for non-developers to add functionality.
  • You can quickly create an attractive and functional website.
  • It’s easy to find both free and professional help.

That doesn’t mean WordPress is the best tool for all situations – just that it’s the best tool for most situations. Unless you already know the specific reasons why you need what Drupal offers, sticking with WordPress will likely make your web journey much easier.

Do you agree or disagree when it comes to WordPress vs Drupal? Let us know in the comments!

The post WordPress vs Drupal – Which One is Better? (Pros and Cons) appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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