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Laura Sacco is Support Engineer at Yoast and Translation Editor for the Italian WordPress.org community. She’s also a WordPress Meetup Organizer, WordCamp organizer, and speaker. Laura is on the staff who’s organizing the upcoming WordCamp Europe 2019, which is being held in Berlin, Germany from June 20-22.

You can find Laura on Twitter or LinkedIn. Her personal website is mentoredigitale.it. This is our recent interview with her, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.

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

I started my career as a professional educator, then I got a degree in Sociology with a thesis in Sociology of Organizations, and I worked for 30 years in social services. After a 5-year family break, in 2005 I got back to the world of social cooperation, and I became an educational supervisor. Later, I participated in a fundraising project dealing with business communication, including building websites, and I then approached the world of digital communication, social media, and blogs.

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At that point, I started diving into the new world of Internet 2.0, and I launched my first WordPress.com blog: this happened in 2008. At that time the web and blogs were growing fast. In 2009 I launched my first corporate blog, proudly powered by WordPress.

Due to a corporate crisis in 2015, and after a careful assessment of my skills, I decided to start working on my own and to propose myself as a business consultant. As a freelancer, I knew that building a network would have been a primary step in my career, so I started regularly visiting the Toolbox coworking space in Torino. There, by chance, I ran into the newborn Torino WordPress Meetup: this happened on September 2015, and since then I have never left the WordPress Community.

Being part of the work and life of the community is my way to give back to the WordPress Open Source project. I mean, if everyone can use a reliable, well developed and regularly improved product for free, it’s because there are thousands of people around the world who offer their work for free. Giving back part of our time and skills is our contribution to making WordPress more powerful and secure and expresses our appreciation for its value.

I love working with digital tools and the internet, it allows me to improve myself from a professional point of view. It allows me to help people, especially women, to learn how to use web tools and how to be more and more integrated with a world that is inevitably more and more connected.

Many women have great professional skills, but often they don’t know how to take advantage of them. Furthermore, technical courses are often hard and difficult, and this could discourage the use of digital tools. My purpose is to provide individual support, but not as a teacher, rather as an adviser. My vocation is to be a digital mentor.

Q2. What is your role in the WordPress Community?

I moved my first steps in the community in the Polyglots team, which is a fundamental tool for the democratization of the web. Everyone can translate WordPress. You just need a WordPress.org account. The group is structured on multiple levels. Each translated string has to be approved by the Translator Editor. Editors are designated by the Global Translator Editors (GTE), who only can approve the strings of the Core. Currently, 5 GTEs are active in Italy, and I am one of them.

I’m involved in coordinating the Italian Polyglot team with my GTE colleagues, and I give a contribution to keep the community alive and active. Nowadays, Italian Polyglots community counts over 1,500 contributors.

WordPress Polygots

Q3. When did you start working with Yoast?

Towards the end of 2017, my friend Alice, who’s a content writer at WP Rocket and Italian Global Translator Editor, told me that a great American web company was looking for a figure with my skills. I was not looking for a job at that time, but I asked myself: why not give it a try? I took my chances and I sent my application. I was not hired, but it was a success anyway: I’d unlocked my expectations and overcame my fear to speak English.

So, in January 2018, as Yoast opened selections for remote Support, I threw my heart over the fence and submitted my appliance. The beginning of the fairy tale, starting from March 2018, I have worked for Yoast as Support Engineer.

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Q4. What does an international team and company like Yoast represent for you?

For me, Yoast is not only an international company, but it is also a business reality with high social impact sharing the same values as WordPress: web accessibility and democratization. It is very important for me to share the same values as the organization I work with. I fully identify myself with their corporate vision. After all, I decided to submit my application to Yoast because their values are my values.

Q5. What are the essential elements of a great support?

We acquire technical skills over time, but in order to provide a good support service, we need an attitude to help. Taco Verdonschot, Community manager and Support Lead at Yoast, says “support is not a technical skill, support is an attitude”. We need the ability to empathize, create a relationship, and have great respect for those in front of you asking for help. You must have a strong desire to be really helpful.

Q6. You are on the sponsor’s team for WordCamp Europe 2019. What is, in your opinion, the link between companies and the community, and what could a company expect from sponsoring a WordCamp?

A WordCamp is not just a conference on professional topics: it’s much more than that. It’s a place where we can compare and share ideas, and build networks. It is a place full of positive energy. It’s the party of the local community organizing that’s specific to WordCamp. The environment is informal, welcoming, and respectful of diversity.

At WordCamps you meet real people, truly authentic people because there is nothing to exchange or to show in a WordCamp in order to acquire clients. This creates a kind of magic that is difficult to understand to those who have never joined the party.

The organization is always managed by volunteers, free of charge, and the ticket price is always kept low so that the price won’t be an obstacle to participation. But of course, there are many expenses to deal with during the organization of a WordCamp. And that’s where sponsors help.

Their role is essential: they are the heroes allowing the magic to come true. First off, sponsoring a WordCamp means supporting the community and adopting the open source philosophy. Of course, there is a commercial side: sponsoring a WordCamp gives companies a great visibility and allows them to be recognized and to present their products/services to a good number of potential customers, and/or to get in touch with skilled professionals to hire.

Q7. Whom should we interview next & why?

Pascal Casier is a very active member of the community, plugin developer, and Core Contributor. And also Francesco di Candia, Community Deputy of WordPress.org.

The post Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Laura Sacco appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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Today we’ll be diving into the topic of dynamic sidebars and widgets (those that are content-relevant); more importantly how they can help reduce your site’s bounce rate and in turn improve your chances for a conversion. We’ll show you how to create a sidebar, along with widgets that show your visitors exactly what they want to see based on the topic or content of the current page or post.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Before I show you how to reduce bounce rate by displaying content-relevant sidebars and widgets, let’s first define bounce rate.

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of site visitors who enter and leave rather than staying to explore other pages on your website. To reduce bounce rate you need to increase engagement, and this tells you much about your site’s usability. When a visitor finds your content useful, they stay and are willing to explore the site for even more useful content. This, in turn, gives you a higher conversion rate. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the greater the likelihood for more sales, sign-ups, and ad revenue.

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Of course, you want them to stay longer, so you must have something that will stop them from leaving too soon — useful content.

Usability: The Key to Reducing Bounce Rate

You don’t achieve site usability by only providing useful content to your site visitors. You also have to optimize the tools you display on each and every page in such a way that they interact with them. Moreover, these tools should also be relevant to the content that’s being used on a certain page.

The tools I’m referring to are the navigation bar and all the widgetized areas in a given page, including the sidebar. While to many, the navigation bar plays the biggest role in ensuring user engagement, you cannot take for granted the power of your widget areas. This is especially true when you’re aware of the many different ways WordPress provides for you to easily take control of them.

The sidebar is the primary widget placeholder that can either make or break your website’s usability. Why? — Because it’s convenient to just put whatever widgets you like in the sidebar without thinking whether or not such widgets are relevant to the main content.

What Are WordPress Dynamic (Content-Relevant) Sidebars?

A WordPress sidebar that is relevant to the main content refers to one that displays widgets carefully chosen to appear next to specific content on a given page in terms of their applicability. For example, a sidebar relevant to a specific blog post would contain widgets such as newsletter opt-ins and related posts.

The screenshots below show the difference between the sidebar on MarketingProfs.com.

Podcast Page (Screenshot A)

On this blog article, MarketingProfs is showing the following widgets: suggestions, subscription links, and most popular posts.

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot A)

Article page (Screenshot B)

On this blog article, MarketingProfs is showing the following widgets: subscription opt-in, social media widgets, most popular posts.

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot B)

How Dynamic Sidebars Help to Reduce Bounce Rate

Sidebars help site visitors decide which action to take next. For instance, from a blog post page, they can opt to sign-up for newsletter subscription. If you have a number of categories for newsletters, you can display a subscription widget for the category where the blog post belongs. Each widget bears the name of the specific category, so readers know exactly what they are subscribing to. Look at the images below taken from The Washington Post.

Content-relevant sidebars also aid in targeted marketing. You can create a sidebar dedicated to site users you group based on demographic information. For example, you can make sidebars for your website’s varying language versions, display in them contact links depending on location, or show product promotions based on their interests. Or you create different sidebars based on the category of your blog posts.

The Washington Post has “Must Reads” as one of its categories for newsletters. The widget appears in this article entitled “Salmonella-tainted chicken killed 1, sickened 17 in a multi-state outbreak, CDC says” and all the other articles belonging to the same category.

Dynamic sidebar widget A

On the other hand, this Tech article, “Facebook and Twitter executives to testify to Congress next week”, from The Washington Post has the widget “Tech news email alerts” displayed in the sidebar, targeting readers of tech-related stories.

Dynamic sidebar widget A

Sidebars with widgets relevant to the content can also help improve SEO. Using the whole heading tags or a portion of it as widget titles can create a small but meaningful impact on search engine optimization.

Adding Relevant Widgets to the Sidebar

The first step to creating content-relevant sidebars is to decide what’s relevant and what’s not. Deciding which widgets to appear on a page or post requires an in-depth understanding of the purpose and why you created that page or post in the first place.

For instance, you created a product page not only to explain the product’s features, benefits, and pricing. You also did so to lead the visitors into purchasing it or into considering similar or related products. In addition, you may want to show off the product’s highest ratings and best reviews that can help them decide to buy it. Or, you may want to help them connect to a sales representative to answer questions. Whatever action they take, the page must show them the way to do so. The sidebar is one of the best places to put those call-to-action buttons. Hence, the sidebar becomes a very powerful tool in keeping your visitors engaged in your website.

Kinsta, for example, uses different CTAs on their blog based on the category of the blog post. This helps ensure the messaging is targeted and relevant to the topic of the article.

Sidebar widget CTA

Weeding Out Unrelated Widgets

Furthermore, deciding what not to put in the sidebar is as important as deciding what to put there. The density of the sidebar and other widget areas on the page contributes to its overall look and feel. Weeding out irrelevant or redundant widgets addresses the same issue with bounce rates. In fact, some sites may find that no sidebar at all is a better way to go.

Perhaps you threw a bunch of widgets into your sidebar because you think they might be useful for your visitors. However, an overcrowded looking page may turn off a potential customer. If there’s too much happening on the page, visitors might lose focus on what made them come in the first place. By this, I mean too many external ad widgets or too many product links.

Simply put, deciding which sidebar content is relevant or not is critical for increasing user engagement.

Highlighting Important Widgets

After deciding what to put in the sidebar, you can make certain widgets standout from the rest. One way is to make them appear in other widget areas, such as the footer. Another way is by making them fixed and floating over the page as users scroll. This allows users to instantly interact with them without having to scroll back up or down.

Next Step: Choose the Best Methods

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of which widgets you use, the next step is to choose a method of creating those content-relevant sidebars. Here are 2 ways:

Option 1 – Control Widgets Visibility with a WordPress plugin

One of the easiest ways to control widget visibility on your sidebar is by using a WordPress plugin. A plugin like Widget Options lets you do just that with a few simple clicks. You can show or hide sidebar contents per post or page with conditions including categories, tags, page names, etc.

Widget Options WordPress plugin

The Widget Options plugin currently has over 70,000 active installs with an impressive 5 out of 5-star rating. You can download it from the WordPress repository or search for “widget options” within your WordPress dashboard under “Plugins → Add New.” Then click on “Install Now” and activate the plugin.

Install Widget Options plugin

Hiding Widgets From a Specific Page

Once you have the Widget Options plugin installed and activated, you can easily hide a widget from a specific page in just a few clicks. To illustrate, here’s the screenshot of a coupon widget. Under the settings of the widget, there is now a visibility option: you can choose between hiding and showing this widget on selected pages.

Widget Options’ Hide/Show Widgets on Specific Pages

Restricting Widgets From Specific Posts

You can also hide widgets from blog posts by using conditional tags. Using Widget Options, this process requires a couple more steps than simply hiding from pages. You need to first locate the post ID, as will need to include in the conditional tags where you want to hide the post.

To find the post ID, browse to the post and hover (don’t click) over the “Edit Post” option in your WordPress admin toolbar. In the bottom left of your browser you should see the post ID #.

WordPress find post ID

Once you have the post ID(s), you can use it with the following conditional tags.

Hide a Widget From Multiple Posts:

!is_single(array('Post ID', 'Post ID'))

Hide a Widget From a Single Post:

!is_single( 'Post ID' )

On the widget you want to be hidden from the post, go to the “Logic” tab and input the tag as shown below.

WordPress widget logic

In addition, should you need to use a widget title relevant to a page’s or post’s heading tags, you can place as many copies of that widget as needed and make a unique title for each.

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Hide Widgets From Mobile Devices

You can also restrict widgets visibility when a page or post is viewed on specific device types.

Due to limited screen size, it’s easy to make a page or post look crowded when viewed from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. We want to make sure that every page does not look too dense both on a desktop and mobile view. However, we also want to take advantage of the bigger desktop screen for displaying relevant widgets in as many widget areas as possible.

For example, we want the e-mail opt-in to appear both in the sidebar and in the footer. When viewed on mobile, on the other hand, we want to get rid of repetitive widgets. Widget Options allows you to hide widgets on mobile view.

Hide widget on mobile devices

Make Sidebar Widgets Fixed

Another way to control widgets visibility is to make them fixed, which means they will follow the users as the scroll up and down on a page or blog post. If you keep your sidebar clean, or only apply this to one or two widgets, you shouldn’t have to worry about this becoming too obtrusive. Look at the screenshot below. WPMU Dev has a great application of this on their blog.

The social share widgets are floating over the page without overshadowing the main content and encourage visitors to take action whenever they are ready to do so. This means they don’t have to scroll back up to the sidebar area to interact with these widgets.

Fixed sidebar widget (Example on WPMU Dev Blog)

Widget Options provides an option wherein you can make any widget fixed and follow visitors as they scroll. You can choose to make all the sidebar widgets fixed or just pick one or two that you think need more exposure than the rest.

Fixed sidebar widget

Option 2 – Add Custom Sidebars

Your second option would be to manually create custom sidebars via coding. This is a little more tedious than using a third-party plugin that allows you to create sidebars in just a few clicks. However, because WordPress provides a lot of coding options, you can opt to go for it. This way, you can create exactly what you want.

To get started, you need to register a widgetized area. Then, save and upload it to your server in order to make it accessible from the widget menu. To do this, you’ll need to input the following code into your child theme’s function.php file.  Or you can use a free plugin like Code Snippets.

It comes with some elements you can change to suit your needs. See the following example:

<?php
/*
* Create Custom Widget Area for Pages Only
*/
function page_only_custom_sidebar() {
register_sidebar(
array (
'name' => __( 'For Pages Only', 'your-site' ),
'id' => 'page-only-custom-sidebar',
'description' => __( 'Contents to this widget area will be displayed on pages only.', 'your-site' ),
'before_widget' => '<section id="%1$s" >',
'after_widget' => "</section>",
'before_title' => '<h3 >',
'after_title' => '</h3>',
)
);
}
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'page_only_custom_sidebar' );
?>

The next step is to make the sidebar visible somewhere in the website. To make it work, add it to the template file(s) of the places you want them visible. Take a look at the code below which aims to make the sidebar appear on pages only.

To do this, we place it inside the page.php file of our theme. In the case of the Twenty Seventeen theme, that means it would look like this:

<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'page-only-custom-sidebar' ) && is_page() ) : ?>
<aside id="secondary"  role="complementary">
<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'page-only-custom-sidebar' ); ?>
</aside>
<?php endif; ?>
Your Turn: How Do You Reduce Bounce Rate?

What I have shown here is just a small fraction of a few ways to reduce your bounce rate. Sidebars, one of the most often neglected places on websites, can become powerful tools to make visitors explore your website, thus increasing the chance for conversions. Creating content-relevant sidebars doesn’t have to be hard, especially with all of the easy to use plugins on the..

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Back in the early days, icons were readily available, but implementing them efficiently in WordPress was a bit more difficult. You could get around some issues with sprites, but they were not always a good way forward, and as retina screens started coming out, the problem was magnified (quite literally).

One of the most common solutions to this problem is to use an icon font. Icons are web fonts or vectors, so you can scale them infinitely and a lot of icons can fit inside a single file, bringing down your request count considerably. This allows you to use almost any icon you can possibly dream up. However, with this, also comes some performance considerations.

We’ll show you in this article a couple different ways to use WordPress icon fonts, where to get them, and which method might be the best for your site.

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Where to Find Icon Fonts

There are a lot of great places to now find icon fonts for your WordPress site. Just type “icon font” into Google will yield you some great results. One of the most popular and widely used ones is Font Awesome. As of writing this, it has 1,400+ free icons, as well as 4,500+ icons in their pro version. It includes icons for just about everything, from interface, to social, arrows, and many other types of icons.

Font Awesome icons

Here are a few other ones to check out:

  • IcoMoon is another popular service with 5,500+ free vector icons and 4,000+ premium icons. In fact, we’ll be using their icon font generator tool further below.
  • Fontello is another great service that helps you discover and built icon fonts.
  • If you’re looking for a super lightweight icon set, make sure to check out Bytesize. All 84 icons measure in at 9KB minified (2 KB in SVGZ, or Gzipped).
  • If you’re wanting to simply use SVG icons manually, you won’t find a better free library than iconmonstr or a better premium library than Iconfinder.
Quick and Easy Ways to Use WordPress Font Icons

First we’ll dive into some of the quick and easy ways to use WordPress font icons. Fair warning, not all of these are the best in terms of performance. For that, we recommend skipping down to the section on the best method.

Option 1 – Use a WordPress Plugin

The quickest way to get up and running with WordPress font icons is to simply use a third-party plugin. The free Font Awesome Integration plugin contains the latest Font Awesome 5 icon library. After you install and activate it, all it takes is a simple shortcode code to insert an icon. They even have a WordPress icon now! Pretty cool.

You can check out Font Awesome 5’s basic use chart for additional ways to use and customize it, as well as their icon library. For example, below we inserted the WordPress Font Awesome icon in a Gutenberg shortcode block and added fa-3x to make it three times bigger.

[fawesome iclass="fab fa-wordpress fa-3x"]

Font Awesome shortcode in Gutenberg

Here is what it looks like on the front-end. Pretty easy right? We had a Font Awesome icon up and running on our site within just a few minutes.

Font Awesome example in WordPress 5.0

If you want a lot of easy to use shortcodes, you might want to also check out the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin. They have a premium icons add-on you can use.

The above is a great solution if you want to let your clients add icons to posts or pages, but if you want to use these elements within your theme or plugin it’s best to enqueue them yourself (will dive into this further below).

Option 2 – Use the Built-in Dashicons

Dashicons is a set of font icons included by default since WordPress uses it on the backend. You’ll need to enqueue it on the front-end, but all you need is the name of the script, the file is already available to WordPress.

You can add the following to your functions.php file, or we recommend using a free plugin like Code Snippets. This minimizes the risk of breaking your theme and the changes will also be persistent throughout theme updates.

function my_theme_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style( 'dashicons' );
}

You can then go to the Dashicons website, select an icon and click the “copy HTML” link which will give you the code you need to display the icon. They don’t have a huge selection, but they still work great and are very lightweight.

<span ></span>

For example, below we inserted the dashboard icon in a Gutenberg HTML block.

Dashicons in Gutenberg HTML block

Here is what it looks like on the front-end.

Example of Dashicons in WordPress 5.0

Dashicons doesn’t have any cool shortcodes with it out of the box, but you can customize the size of your icons with CSS. Here is an example of inserting an icon right before a header.

<h2 >My Cool Headline</h2>
Option 3 – Manually Link to Externally Hosted Icon Fonts

Your third option is to manually link to externally hosted icon fonts. This is essentially what the plugin in option 1 above is doing behind the scenes.

For Font Awesome, you can grab the code from their Start page and then follow the steps below. They host all of their fonts on a CDN for free for you. It will look something like this:

<link  href="https://use.fontawesome.com/releases/v5.5.0/css/all.css" integrity="sha384-xxxxx" crossorigin="anonymous">

Step 1

Copy the code into the <head> of each template or page on your WordPress site where you want to use Font Awesome. You can edit your theme’s header.php file or better yet, follow our simple tutorial on how to add code to your header.

Step 2

You can then start placing icons in your HTML’s <body>. Find the right icon and learn how to add it onto your page.

Performance Issue to Consider with Using Icon Fonts

While there is nothing wrong with using one of the above ways to add icon fonts to your site, they aren’t technically the best way. Why? It all comes down to performance issues.

You Probably Don’t Need All Those Icons

First off, when you use a plugin for icon fonts or link to an external icon font library, it’s going to load all of the icons in its entire library. If you’re only using 20 or so icons throughout your entire site, this can be handled in a much better way.

For example, we included the Font Awesome 5 library on our site and while the CSS file for it is small, the font file itself is 108 KB. While this might not seem that big, you’ll see further below how small the file actually gets when we choose only the fonts we actually are using.

Large Font Awesome library

Loading From One CDN is Usually Faster

Second, there is nothing wrong with loading scripts from different CDNs. However, if you have the option to load it from one CDN, this is usually faster. Why? Because it can take advantage of a single HTTP/2 connection and reduces additional DNS lookups. Just make sure your main CDN is a good one!

Host Icon Fonts Locally (Only the Ones You Need)

Because of the performance reasons mentioned above, we are going to walk you through how to host your icon fonts locally, as well as only using the ones you need. By locally we mean either loading them from your WordPress host’s server or your own CDN.

By choosing only the icon fonts you need, this can bring down the file size from 100 KB to a couple of kilobytes, pretty handy! Even better: you can even mix and match icons from various font sets.

The Basics – How it Works

Using a font icon involves hosting the font file (WOFF, WOFF 2, etc.) on your web server, then using CSS to load the font face, then creating some markup to add the icons in the correct place.

While your site will load a single file, you’ll actually end up having a number of file formats for each font since some browsers utilize different formats. Font Awesome has 6 different file formats included: EOT, SVG, TTF, WOFF, WOFF 2 and OTF. However, based on browser support you really only need WOFF or WOFF 2.

Tip: WOFF is supported by 93%+ of all modern browsers. However, WOFF 2 is compressed more, but is only supported by 83%+ of all modern browsers. We recommend choosing one or the other or both. The browser will determine based on your code which one to deliver up to the client.

Your first task is to use a tool to choose only the icons you want. You can then add these files to your project directory somewhere, typically in a fonts directory.

Next, you add the Font Awesome CSS file into your project and add it to your website using a regular old link element.

<link  href="css/font-awesome.min.css">

You could also enqueue the CSS file or if it’s small, simply use it inline.

If you look at the CSS file you can see what’s going on in the background. The font files are loaded, the basic element with the class of .fa is defined (along with some others), and finally, each named icon is defined (eg: .fa-book).

The only thing you need to be mindful of is the path to your font files. By default, they are loaded from ../fonts which will be the fonts directory, one folder up from the current CSS file. You may need to change this to fit your own directory structure.

Now that you have a better idea of how it works, we are going to add walk you through how to do it step by step. In this example, we are using a production ecommerce site.

Step 1

First, you should determine which font icon library you want to use. We shared a few we like at the beginning of this article. In this example, we’re going to be using Font Awesome along with the IcoMoon font generator. If you want the WOFF 2 files from IcoMoon, you do have to pay a one-time fee of $9.00 to access their premium library.

You can download the Font Awesome icons you want manually for free, but you would need to use a tool like FontForge to manually edit their WOFF or WOFF 2 file. We are all about easy, so we’re using a generator.

Step 2

Head over to the IcoMoon generator. We click “Add” on the Font Awesome library.

IcoMoon Font Awesome library

Step 3

Next, you’ll want to pick the icons you want to use on your WordPress site. If you are already using Font Awesome and are simply moving to locally hosted versions, go through and make a short list and then choose them from the library.

Choose Font Awesome icons

In this example, we are picking out icons for perfmatters.io, a WordPress ecommerce site which runs Easy Digital Downloads.

Step 4

Once you’ve picked out all your icons, choose “Generate Font” at the bottom. For this site, we ended up needing 20 icons.

Font Awesome icons from IcoMoon export

You will end up with files that look like this. The important ones you’ll need is the style.css file and the font files (WOFF, WOFF 2).

Icon font files

Step 5

Next, it’s recommended you perform a find and replace in the style.css before you upload/copy it to your site. Here is what the original one looks like.

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IcoMoon CSS file

For those of you already using Font Awesome, this simply makes it easier to change the classes over to Font Awesome ones, this way if there was something already coded on your WordPress site with it, it will automatically start using the icons.

So do a Find for “icon” and replace all of the occurrences with “fa”. You should be able to do a quick find and replace with a text editor like Sublime.

Find and replace in Sublime

This replaces [class^="icon-"], [class*=" icon-"] with [class^="fa-"], [class*=" fa-"]. It also fixes each icon, so instead of starting with .icon-, they now start with .fa-.

You might also need to change the source URL based on where you upload your font files down in Step 7. We recommend changing the URL to your CDN.

Step 6

Next, you need to add the CSS to your site. There are a couple ways you can do this.

Option 1

Since the amount of CSS is very small, you could copy all of the file’s CSS and paste it into the WordPress Customizer. Never do this for large files, but this is a relatively small amount of CSS. This means it will load inline on your site.

Option 2

You could link to your stylesheet manually by placing it in the header of your WordPress site. Tip: Link to it on your own CDN for faster performance.

<link  href="https://cdn.yourdomain.com/fonts/style.css">

Option 3

You could also enqueue the CSS file in WordPress. The process is very similar to the manual way. Add the following to your theme’s functions.php file, or use the free Code Snippets plugin. You might need to change the directory based on where you upload it.

function my_theme_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style( 'FontAwesome', get_template_directory_uri() . '/css/style.css' );
}

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_theme_styles' );
Step 7

Now that you have the CSS added to your site, it’s time to upload the..

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Making a YouTube video is half the battle. After the tireless production process, it’s time to share what you’ve made by posting it on places like Facebook, email newsletters, and of course, your website. In the past, YouTube video embeds took a little creativity or extra plugins on WordPress.

However, that’s changed since the WordPress 2.9 release. In fact, you can embed YouTube in WordPress without much more than the YouTube link. However, you might want to get more clever with your integrations by creating galleries, inserting your entire YouTube page, or curating a list of videos from other creators.

With these unique YouTube options, you’re able to stand out from the regular video embeds and offer a more unique experience for your users.

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Easiest Way to Embed a YouTube Video in WordPress

WordPress 2.9 added a cool feature they call embeds. This allows you to copy and paste YouTube videos right into your site without any additional plugins or settings needed. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1

Copy the URL from the YouTube video. You can copy the URL from your browser’s address bar or from the YouTube share link button.

YouTube embed link

Tip: You can automatically have the video start from a certain place (for example, 30 seconds in) by first checking the “Start at” box and choosing a time. Then copy the link.

Step 2

Paste the URL into the WordPress editor and the embed feature will automatically turn it into an embedded video.

Embed YouTube video in WordPress editor

Interesting Features From YouTube Embed Plugins

While the above method is quick and easy, YouTube embed plugins can add a lot of functionality to your site. Here are a just a couple of the many different features you can get:

  • Tools for improving the privacy and consent options for videos embedded on your website.
  • Options for embedding large galleries and having them either play when a visitor lands on your page or begin when
  • The ability to lazy load your videos so that the media doesn’t slow down your entire site.
  • Visual settings control for adjusting items like colors, sizes, and the overall look of your videos.
  • Options for using shortcodes to place your videos for more flexibility when placing your videos in areas like widgets and posts.
  • Lightbox viewing and other alternative video displays.
  • Tools for creating hover and animation effects when users scroll over your videos.
  • Options for pulling videos from multiple sources such as social media accounts and YouTube. This is a great way to curate a channel of videos on your own website.
  • Social media buttons to encourage people to share your videos.
  • Plugins for creating and inserting full YouTube playlists, with additional formatting and design tools.
  • Video thumbnails, sliders, color changes, and a wide variety of other options for making your YouTube video embeds stand out.
The Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress

We’ve gone through and looked at all the best WordPress plugins you can use to embed YouTube videos in WordPress. Now it’s time to dive in!

  1. YouTube by EmbedPlus
  2. WP YouTube Lyte
  3. Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery
  4. Feed Them Social
  5. YotuWP
  6. Videozoom
  7. ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder
  8. WpDevArt YouTube Embed, Playlist and Popup
  9. YourChannel
  10. YouTube Gallery
1. YouTube by EmbedPlus

The YouTube plugin by EmbedPlus offers several ways to customize the videos you embed on your WordPress website. To start, the plugin has gallery capabilities to pull your playlists or channel lists into your site. The galleries are responsive and ready for your customizations. Then, your users are able to browse and search for certain videos depending on their own needs.

YouTube WordPress plugin

Many other features are included with the YouTube plugin by EmbedPlus, but we’ll cover the best ones in the list below. As for the pricing, this plugin is free for the majority of basic features. For instance, you can incorporate some branding to get rid of some of YouTube’s colors and logos, while also incorporating a YouTube live stream on your website. The premium version starts at $19.99 and that provides lifetime access to the YouTube plugin.

Support is provided for some of the plans, and you receive some interesting additions such as automatic video SEO markup and faster page loads. I particularly enjoy the advanced gallery customization and the mobile compatibility check to see how people are viewing the videos on their smaller devices.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • The plugin is free for the basic features, and I figure most people won’t need to upgrade past this.
  • Even the premium versions are affordable, and you get them with a one-time payment (unless you’d like continual customer support).
  • The free version has tools for generating playlists and galleries. You can also include YouTube live streams so that the streams play directly on your website.
  • The YouTube plugin has a beautiful design interface with a large collection of settings for you to adjust things like colors and sizes.
  • You’re also able to start playing your videos at certain times and adjust the volume for your customers. For instance, some webmasters may want to begin their videos right when customers land on their sites.
2. WP YouTube Lyte

The WP YouTube Lyte plugin has one main job, and that is to lazy load your embedded YouTube videos so that your website runs as quickly as possible. Lazy loading can typically be done with images, but this plugin takes it to a new level by focusing primarily on YouTube videos. Lazy loading only loads the media that is currently in view for the user. Therefore, your server isn’t working too hard to load all of the videos on your page or website.

As a result, the website loads faster and you should see improved performance all across your website.

WP YouTube Lyte

The WP YouTube Lyte plugin is completely free, so there aren’t any prompts to upsell you or try to get you to buy add-ons or premium versions.

The plugin doesn’t exactly lazy load videos the way most image lazy loaders do it. The plugin works by embedding a small version of the video (essentially just an image of the video thumbnail). It’s not until the user clicks on the thumbnail where it calls for the “heavier” version that YouTube serves up. This is particularly important if you plan on having large galleries or multiple videos on the same page. Your visitors won’t notice any difference between a regular YouTube embed, so the videos still load as quickly as you would expect them to.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • The WP YouTube Lyte plugin provides a lightweight embed of the YouTube video until the visitor decides she wants to view it. After the click, the full version of the YouTube video plays.
  • It improves the overall performance of your website, especially when you have a large collection of videos on a single page.
  • Because the plugin doesn’t require any requests to the YouTube servers it actually results in improved GDPR compliance.
  • Shortcodes are available for you to quickly place optimized YouTube videos all over your website.
  • The plugin has been tested on all mobile devices to ensure that the lazy loading won’t affect the mobile performance that comes with YouTube.
Speed Test without WP YouTube Lyte

Wondering just how much faster it can make your site? We ran five speed tests with a normal YouTube embedded video and took the average.

YouTube no lazy loading (speed test)

Speed Test with WP YouTube Lyte

We then ran five tests with the WP YouTube Lyte plugin enabled, along with its caching thumbnail option. This one little free plugin decreased total load times by 40.43%! Not to mention it also decreased the page size and all the additional external requests that come with the default YouTube embed player.

Speed test with lazy load enabled (speed test)

3. Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery

The Video Gallery tool caters to those who would like to create a beautiful gallery of their YouTube videos without having advanced design skills. What’s interesting about this plugin is that it also supports videos from places like Vimeo and Wistia, and you can also create an unlimited number of galleries with combinations from all of these services. Not only that, but all of the videos you place in your galleries are responsive for viewing on mobile devices.

Video Gallery WordPress plugin

The search tools are also quite impressive with galleries, asking users to search and browse for certain videos and engaging them with clear navigation for where to find the videos. Several themes are also available with the plugins, and you receive plenty of customization tools to play around with after you implement a theme. The base plugin is free, but you do have the option to upgrade to a premium version. At the time of writing this article, the paid version goes for $45, but the developers have different promotions sometimes.

If you were to upgrade to the premium version, most of the features involve customizing the way the gallery looks. For example, you might want to adjust the icon colors, borders, or font styles. These settings are all available in the premium plugin.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • This is a very user-friendly gallery plugin with options for creating your galleries with themes and gallery layouts.
  • Quite a few customization tools are available in the free version. For example, you might add lightbox effects or some sort of hover effect to intrigue users to click on your videos.
  • All of the galleries you insert onto your website are mobile responsive.
  • There’s an unlimited shortcode generator if you’d rather have more flexibility with placing your YouTube videos online.
  • The plugin has support for several types of videos, including those from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and MP4 videos.
  • You can have an unlimited number of videos in your galleries.
  • The premium version isn’t that expensive if you’d like to completely customize and brand your galleries.
4. Feed Them Social

The Feed Them Social plugin takes a completely different approach to the YouTube embedding game. After installing the plugin, you get to choose the social video feeds you like the most and display them on posts, pages, or anywhere on your website. It’s a great solution for a company that would like to highlight certain celebrity pages or specific tutorials that relate to a blog or product.

The free plugin has functionality for viewing and displaying feeds from your Facebook page, along with album covers and photos. You’re able to include as many feeds as you want, but if you’d like to limit the number of items coming in from each feed you would have to upgrade to the premium version. This starts at $50 for a single site, but the developers also have other extensions that could end up costing you more, depending on what you’d like. For instance, you’ll find extensions for Facebook reviews, combined streams, and carousels.

Feed Them Social WordPress plugin

The plugin seems to focus mainly on Facebook videos and media feeds, but it also supports YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You could technically use this for showing your own YouTube channel on a website or by combining a collection of YouTubers into one gallery.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • The plugin allows you to find your favorite social media video feeds and add them to your website.
  • Add as many feeds as you want and customize them into one beautiful gallery.
  • These feeds are all responsive and ready for color customizations.
  • The free version also includes tools for people to share your videos on places like Facebook and Instagram.
  • When curating videos on your website, the content sources include Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • If you’d like to get extra creative, the developers of the Feed Them Social plugin offer a wide range of extensions for things like combined streams and carousels.
5. YotuWP

If you’re looking for a simple, yet sleek, way to get your YouTube videos on a WordPress site, the YotuWP plugin does the trick. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and powerful enough to support galleries, playlists, channels, and videos from specific usernames. You even have the option to add a single video from one source. YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia are all available as integrations, and the layouts include grid, list, and mixed galleries.

YotuWP plugin

I feel as if most of the features you would need are in the free version, but it truly is more for the simplistic video embedders out there who want a no-frills way to get those YouTube videos online without any messy settings.

If you decide to go with the premium version, it starts at $14 per year and includes several features such as carousel and masonry layouts, 12 hover icons, replacements for things like titles and descriptions, and custom text for buttons. In short, the premium version almost completely strips the YouTube videos of its branding, making the videos more suitable for your own site. However, many people either don’t care about this or don’t need to spend money on this.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • YotuWP offers a minimalist design with a beautiful presentation of your videos. We like it for beginners or simply those who don’t need all of the features from other plugins.
  • You can display your videos in multiple gallery formats such as a mixed gallery or a list.
  • The plugin has options for taking videos from several types of sources. For instance, you might want to pull all of the videos from one playlist. Or, you may prefer videos from a username or channel.
  • Large videos and small videos are available. All of the size customizations are done in the plugin, leaving you with an interface that doesn’t take much time to get videos online.
  • You even get some unique display options such as modals, popups, and lightboxes.
  • You still have the option to get powerful customization tools in the premium version. Not only that, but the $14 per year is extremely cheap for a premium plugin.
6. Videozoom

Videozoom doesn’t have a free version but it’s definitely worth a look. The reason for that is because Videozoom is actually a full WordPress theme as opposed to a plugin. We included it here because we know that some people are making websites that have YouTube galleries as their main focus. Therefore, it would make sense to install a theme with that type of support as opposed to a plugin. The theme helps with showcasing a collection of videos from all over the internet. For instance, if you wanted to start your own YouTube channel and have all of these videos on your website as well, this might be a good choice for you.

The same would be true if you plan on curating the videos from other sources. The theme has a flexible slider for showing off your most important or recent videos. You can also instantly embed videos from YouTube or self-host the videos yourself.

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Videozoom WordPress plugin

This is not a free theme, but the $69 price tag isn’t bad for all of the features you receive. You also may consider paying the $99 membership fee for all of the WPZoom themes.

Overall, Videozoom provides an instant solution for displaying your videos and ensuring that they are all ready to be viewed on mobile devices and discovered by search engines. You’ll also find that the theme provides translation-ready tools, regular theme updates, and a one-click demo content importer so that you don’t have to start from scratch. I really like the idea of plugins to embed YouTube videos, but if you don’t already have a website configured, going with a theme makes quite a bit of sense.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?
  • It’s a full WordPress theme, so you’re starting your website off with all of the embed tools you need to make an impression on your..
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Even with limited capital, it’s easy to set up a business nowadays thanks to ecommerce growth. With consumers increasingly relying on online shopping — it is estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040 — ecommerce is opening the doors of opportunity to countless entrepreneurs.

And, those ecommerce sales opportunities are rapidly growing. In 2017, ecommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales, which is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021. In the U.S. alone, online shopping already accounts for 10% of retail sales and is expected to grow at a year-on-year rate of 15%.

Worldwide ecommerce sales (Image source: Shopify)

Knowing key ecommerce statistics and facts, from demographics and shopping behavior, to shopping cart abandonment and trends, will provide you with a deeper understanding of what’s going on in ecommerce now — and where it’s headed.

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Digging into Ecommerce Demographics

Millennials and Gen Xers are the biggest online shoppers, with 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers preferring to shop online versus in a brick-and-mortar store. Part of the reason you see these two segments of the population spending more money online is that they spend more time shopping online. Millennials and Gen Xers spend 50% more time shopping online than their older counterparts: 6 hours versus 4 hours.

Though women are stereotypically pinned as shoppers, when it comes to online shopping, men dominate the stats, spending 28% more than women shopping online.

Breaking Down Ecommerce Shopping Behavior

The statistics about ecommerce shopping behaviors are incredibly revealing: 43% of online shoppers have reported making purchases while in bed, 23% at the office, and 20% from the bathroom or while in the car.

It turns out that alcohol boosts sales for ecommerce businesses, with 10% of customers reporting that they made purchase drunk. Men ended up being more than twice as likely to make purchases under such conditions, with 14% reporting to have done so, while only 6% of woman reported doing so.

Given the role that booze plays in making online purchases, it should be no surprise to find out that 42% of online shoppers have made a purchase that they regretted, and 21% have accidentally bought something they didn’t want.

Though 48% of online shoppers have overspent or bought something unplanned while shopping online, the purchase path is not straight: 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another.

Ecommerce Market Share: US vs Global Trends

Though the United States is often thought of as the largest market for ecommerce, it isn’t. However, it does make the list of the top 10 largest ecommerce markets in the world:

  • China: $672 billion
  • USA: $340 billion
  • United Kingdom: $99 billion
  • Japan: $79 billion
  • Germany: $73 billion
  • France: $43 billion
  • South Korea: $37 billion
  • Canada: $30 billion
  • Russia: $20 billion
  • Brazil: $19 billion

Nielsen’s Global Connected Commerce report provides a detailed breakdown of the most lucrative industries by country, with South Korea taking the cake in fashion (77%) and beauty products (66%), as well as non-food household groceries (52%), packaged grocery food (51%) and fresh groceries (37%).

Lucrative industries by country (Image source: Nielsen)

However, when it comes to books, stationery, and music purchases, Japan leads the charge at 79%. Spain tops the charts for travel with 67%, and Brazil takes the highest spot on the podium with consumer electronics at 57%.

As more global markets are developed, the US’s share of ecommerce market sales is steadily decreasing. From a global share of 20.2% in 2015, the US is expected to be down to 16.9% by 2020. On the other hand, there is a rise in B2B ecommerce global sales in Eastern markets.

US share of ecommerce market sales (Image source: Statista)

The ecommerce marketplace is also bolstering globalism with 57% of online shoppers having made a purchase from an overseas retailer. The preferred payment method used by these shoppers varies around the world. Globally, credit cards are the preferred method of payment, being used in 53% of transactions, followed by digital payment systems (43%) and debit cards (38%). However, digital payment systems are the most preferred method in China and Western Europe, while cash-on-delivery is the go-to method for Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Payment methods used by online shoppers (Image source: Shopify)

Payment method aside, more Americans already prefer online shopping than shopping in a physical store, with 51% percent clicking their way to making purchases. A total of 96% of Americans have made at least one online purchase in their life, with 80% doing so in the last month alone. However, Americans actually spend 64% of their budget in physical stores and only 36% online.

With Amazon accounting for 44% of all ecommerce sales in the US in 2017 and a year-on-year growth rate of 23% in the US, it’s shocking that 46% of American businesses still do not have a website.

Amazon top growth products (Image source: CNBC)

Business-to-Consumer Ecommerce

B2C ecommerce refers to a transaction between a business and consumer conducted online. It can also refer to paid online services or content that directly services consumers. Amazon is a great example of the expansiveness of B2C options, as it started as an online retailer but eventually branched out into services, such as cloud storage, and paid content, such as apps and media.

China accounts for the largest B2C ecommerce market. However, if you think that the B2C ecommerce market is large, prepare to have your mind blown by the volume of transactions through the business-to-business ecommerce market.

Business-to-Business Ecommerce

B2B ecommerce refers to the marketing, selling, and distribution of products from one business to another online. This includes software as a service (SaaS) companies, web hosting, wholesalers, and so on. It also includes the buying and selling of companies.

With nearly half of American B2B businesses offering their full product line online, it’s no surprise that B2B was expected to generate $7.6 trillion in 2017, dwarfing the B2C market of an estimated $2.4 trillion.

B2B ecommerce (Shopify)

Research conducted by Frost and Sullivan predicts B2B ecommerce sales to reach $12 trillion globally by 2020, with China and the US leading the global market. A year before that, by 2019, it’s estimated that B2B firms will spend more on ecommerce technology than online retailers.

Though the growth of B2B ecommerce is attractive, the business model faces myriad challenges. Prices are often volatile and volume in sales are high, which means B2B businesses require flexible shipping and logistics solutions. Additionally, there are issues with taxes, as well as regulatory concerns, especially when dealing with businesses overseas. Another challenge faced by B2B, especially those dealing in software, is determining how the product can be integrated with other existing systems in place.

Important Metrics: Conversion Rate

Conversion rate, the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal, is one of the most important metrics to track in online retail. A high conversion rate shows that you are able to get more value from the customers you already have. This means lower customer acquisition costs. Also, it means that when you put in more effort, it can result in more customers and higher revenue.

Conversion rate online shoppers (Image source: Statista)

Average ecommerce conversion rates range from 3% to 4%, with 43% of ecommerce traffic coming from organic Google searches. This means that it’s still essential to build your ecommerce site with SEO in mind.

Average conversion rates (Image source: Wolfgang Digital)

Several factors play a large role in increasing your business conversion rate. Top among them is a good user experience. This boils down to good visuals, fast website loading time, and ease of payment; PayPal transactions have 70% higher checkout rates than non-Paypal transactions.

PayPal checkout rates (Image source: PayPal)

Quality customer service, as well as strong reviews, recommendations, and testimonials also play roles in boosting your business’s conversion rate.

Creating the Customer Experience

Customer experience encapsulates everything throughout the duration of the relationship between a customer and your business. This includes customer service, user experience (UX), and pricing strategies, as well as shipping and logistics.

When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers find customer experience more important than price. According to the Guardian, by 2020, the quality of customer experience provided by a brand will be more important than price and product as a key differentiator.

Customer Service

Americans tell an average of 15 people about poor customer service, and 11 people about a good one, which backs up the old adage about bad news spreading faster than good news. More worrisome for businesses that don’t focus on customer service is that 33% of Americans say they would consider switching companies after having dealt with poor customer service.

U.S. companies lose an average of $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. However, not all is lost for companies with weak customer service, as it has been found that a moderate increase in customer service can yield an average of an $823 million increase over a 3 year period for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.

Lost revenue from poor customer service (NewVoiceMedia)

Digging into the ecommerce statistics, the key to good customer service is making everything as easy as possible for people. It turns out that an inconvenient return policy deters 80% of shoppers, while 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too cumbersome.

User Experience

UX refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using your system, service, or product. Your website’s design and loading speed can play a huge role in UX.

A total of 37% of customers will leave your website if they find the layout unattractive or too difficult to use. More detrimental, however, is loading speed: 57% of customers will abandon your site if they have to wait 3 seconds or longer for a page to load.

Reviews, Recommendations, and Testimonials

Users are more likely to purchase a product if they know how to use it or know that it works for others. This often ends up meaning that businesses need to provide additional information beyond product descriptions.

If a potential customer can watch a video explaining a product or service beforehand, 73% of them are more likely to make a purchase.

According to BigCommerce, 46% of consumers want product comparisons from ecommerce sites and 42% of customers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites. Along those same lines, 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites. In fact, 77% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase.

Moving Forward with Mobile

Failing to take mobile devices into account when developing your ecommerce strategy can be detrimental to your business.

According to ReadyCloud, 44% of internet retail minutes were spent on a smartphone, 11% on a tablet, and 45% on a desktop. Those numbers appear to be supported by eMarketer’s claims that 59% of ecommerce sales were made through mobile.

Mobile websites vs mobile apps (Image source: ReadyCloud)

The world is witnessing an increase in mobile shopping for various reasons. These include the fact that most people bring their mobile devices everywhere they go, from the office to the bathroom. Additionally, seamless shopping experiences through apps are..

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Going to the dentist often requires a reservation. So does a visit to your favorite Thai restaurant or signing up for a personal training session at your local gym. In the past, the customer would have to look up a phone number, speak to someone on the phone, then jot down that date and time on a piece of paper. Those days are long gone, and it’s incredible to see the types of features constantly being added to online booking tools.

If you happen to run a business that requires appointments and reservations, it’s important to find the best fit. That’s why we want to outline the utmost best WordPress booking plugins to choose from.

What Should You Look For in a WordPress Booking Plugin?

You may initially think that a booking engine is a simple calendar with a form, but it depends on the type of business being run. For instance, a gym might have multiple personal trainers. Each of these employees needs their own schedules listed on the website. On the other hand, a dental office may need to show specific times and reveal the different types of services offered.

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Therefore, it’s important to look closely at the features of each WordPress booking plugin. This way, you’ll have all of the functionality you need and some flexibility to grow your business stronger.

Here are some of the features we’ve found most helpful in our research:

  • A customizable calendar that can be placed anywhere on your website.
  • Mobile-friendly interfaces for users to book appointments on smaller devices.
  • Options for accepting payments for appointments. It’s also nice to have some way to remove payment processing.
  • Support for multiple “agents” or “service providers.” This would be where each of your workers has their own profile and calendar, like for personal trainers or multiple doctors in one office.
  • Areas for customers to view and edit their bookings online.
  • A filterable and searchable booking management module on the backend of your WordPress website.
  • Features for customizing your schedule, such as removing holidays and setting some free time in-between appointments.
  • Email confirmations and reminders for both the admins and the users.
  • Customizable fields and drop-down menus for when you offer a wide variety of services or unique offerings.

And that’s only a small sampling of the primary features you should expect from your booking plugin. Some of the settings and features may not apply to your business, so make sure you test the ones that look appealing and use our in-depth reviews below to ensure you’re getting the best value.

For instance, some smaller companies may only need a simple, free calendar for accepting non-paying appointments. However, bigger brands will need a wider range of features with beautiful templates and high-powered communication tools.

An In-Depth Look at the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

We’ve researched, tested, and broken down every respectable WordPress booking plugin to show the best features, along with features that might make you lean towards one over another. Now it’s time to dive in!

  1. WooCommerce Bookings
  2. WooCommerce Appointments
  3. EDD Bookings
  4. Bookly
  5. Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress
  6. Booked
  7. Booking Calendar
  8. Booking Calendar – Appointment Booking System
  9. Appointment Booking Calendar
  10. Team Booking
1. WooCommerce Bookings

In the world of WordPress eCommerce, the WooCommerce plugin is king. One of the main reasons for this is because the core version is free–but you also have access to dozens of extensions for accepting payments in different ways. For instance, the WooCommerce Bookings extension lets you sell bookings based on times or dates. You still have the option to accept bookings free of charge, but the main reason you would go with a WooCommerce extension like this is to activate the payment processing aspect.

I would argue that WooCommerce Bookings is best for companies that already utilize the WooCommerce plugin. However, it’s also a nice, clean extension for newcomers out there. It allows for WordPress users to either stick with the simple, modern layout or customize it with the help of CSS.

WooCommerce Bookings plugin

Once the extension is activated, it offers fields for descriptions, pricing, titles, and a calendar. For instance, you might be renting out rooms to a bed and breakfast and want to talk about the rooms, pricing, and dates available. Reviews are also possible so that you build some credibility with potential bookers.

The WooCommerce Bookings extension starts at $249 for a single site and goes up to $449 for up to 25 sites. At this price, it’s one of the more expensive plugins out there. Also, the base WooCommerce plugin is completely free so you don’t have to worry about paying for that. Finally, WooCommerce offers a full year of customer support and a 30-day money back guarantee. So, test it out and see if you like it!

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • The WooCommerce Bookings extension provides tools for creating fixed time slots where the customers have to decide based on the times you choose. Or, you can open it up for any time or date.
  • All bookings are managed in your dashboard, where you receive filters and update buttons.
  • You’re able to limit the number of people who book or even create discounts for a certain number of bookings.
  • You have several options to approve the bookings that come in and control when the bookings are available to users.
  • The extension links up to WooCommerce, one of the most popular, reliable eCommerce plugins on the market. The extension isn’t free, but it’s a one-time fee and the WooCommerce plugin is free.
  • WooCommerce has a free, 30-day “try before you buy” program.
  • You can integrate with other WooCommerce extensions for added functionality. For example, adding more fields to your form requires the Product Add-Ons extension.
2. WooCommerce Appointments

The WooCommerce Appointments extension is another option that integrates with WooCommerce. It’s rather similar to the previous extension, but the pricing is a bit more affordable, starting at $89 per site. This, of course, goes up to around $200 for 25 sites. Support and updates are provided for a full year, but if you don’t want those then the pricing is a one-time fee.

The extension is not sold through WooCommerce, but the BookingWP developers are reputable and known for quality products. As for the extension itself, you can expect some excellent features, starting with integrations with WooCommerce and Google Calendar. This way, you can accept payments from customers and sync with your previously set up Google Calendar. Appointments and bookings can be accepted for free, but you also have settings for charging money.

WooCommerce Appointments plugin

One of the main advantages of this plugin is how quick and easy it is to set up and manage. The interface is basic enough for beginners but it also provides the flexibility you would need as an advanced programmer. What’s also interesting is that your Google Calendar can be synced from your website, making it a two-way syncing process. I like WooCommerce Appointments best for developers with a need for full customization. It’s also handy in this respect because of the integrations with extensions like WooCommerce Print Invoices, Gravity Forms, and Extra Product Options.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • The WooCommerce Appointments plugin has a two-way syncing system with Google Calendars. So, you can sync by editing Google Calendar or the schedule on your website.
  • The extension integrates with most of the popular WooCommerce extensions.
  • You’re able to accept appointments so that your schedule doesn’t fill up too quickly.
  • Notifications and reminders are automatically sent out to customers who’ve booked appointments.
  • The extension is white-label and developer-friendly. Developers can make quick and easy customizations without any problems.
  • You receive shortcodes for inserting your booking forms anywhere on your website. You’re not limited to widgets or certain pages.
  • The extension gives you complete control over your schedule with padding time between appointments, lead times, scheduling windows, and multi-day scheduling.
  • There are several rules that can be set for pricing, capacity, and availability.
3. EDD Bookings

If you’ve ever worked with the Easy Digital Download plugin, you know that it’s an intuitive and simple way to start selling your digital products through a WordPress site. These types of products are not things like physical goods but items such as eBooks, music tracks, PDFs, and videos. So, the customer purchases the item then receives an email to download the digital file.

Easy Digital Downloads, or EDD, also has several extensions to purchase for making your digital eCommerce store run differently. EDD Bookings, for instance, integrates with the EDD plugin to accept bookings for things like spa services, beauty salons, and item rentals. It’s developed by the team over at WP Mayor, who know the WordPress space very well.

Since you’re selling services, and not tangible items, EDD is actually the perfect platform. EDD powers the entire eCommerce side of your operation, and I personally think it’s the easiest online store plugin to work with. You can activate calendar and list views on the frontend and manage all of your bookings on the dashboard. EDD Bookings especially makes sense for those companies that are already utilizing Easy Digital Downloads for eCommerce sales.

EDD Bookings plugin

The EDD Bookings pricing is a little different than what we’ve seen from the WooCommerce options. Not only is it cheaper, but you still receive a full year of support and updates. It’s $40 per year for a single site, but if you choose not to renew you’re only losing the customer support and updates. So, it depends on what you need. The agency plan is $150 per year and that will allow you to use it on an unlimited number of sites. They are also launching a business and marketplace version soon.

Overall, EDD Bookings automatically generates things like messages, calendars, and booking views. The appointment tracking is easy to understand, so I like it quite a bit for beginners or those who have already installed Easy Digital Downloads on their website.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • It integrates with Easy Digital Downloads–which is extremely easy to use and it doubles as a digital product sales platform.
  • All of your bookings are shown on the backend, with both calendar and list views.
  • It has basic customization features such as options to change colors, schemes, labels, and timezones.
  • Email notifications go out to all customers and admins whenever a booking is created.
  • The extension integrates with most of the other EDD extensions.
  • Sales reports are shown on the backend, along with payment records.
  • Has the amazing team behind it: Jean Galea & Mark Zahra.
4. Bookly

The Bookly plugin has both free and paid versions. If you plan on upgrading to the premium version, expect to pay a one-time fee of $89 (unless you’d like to continue paying for customer support). The free plugin is a basic booking tool, but you don’t get support for online payments and an unlimited number of staff users. So, unless you’re accepting free bookings, the Bookly premium version is the best for you.

As for its characteristics, Bookly is the most modern-looking plugin on this list. It has a sleek design on the backend and frontend, and you can customize many areas of the booking form without knowing any code. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re planning on using custom code, but I feel like most beginners and advanced users will feel at home with the plugin’s capabilities and style.

Bookly plugin

The booking form is entirely customizable and responsive. It has multiple views for both admins and customers. Not to mention, Bookly has a module for creating an unlimited number of staff members, where each member can create unique pricing and availabilities. So, for instance, a gym might do this for a group of personal trainers.

Overall, Bookly looks like a steal for small businesses that may not have the resources to hire a custom developer. It should provide most of the tools you need to run a booking system yourself.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • It’s the closest to a complete booking package you can find on the market right now. In short, you don’t have to know much about coding to come out with a beautiful result.
  • You can include numerous service providers (employees) in the booking schedule. This way, your employees can charge separate rates and show different times.
  • Not only can you send out automated email notifications, but an SMS system is built-in as well.
  • There’s a Google Calendar integration that supports multiple calendars from all of your workers.
  • Several add-ons are sold, such as one for coupons or one for adding extras to your services.
  • The plugin lets you add an unlimited number of services in your booking page. You can also categorize them for better organization.
  • Payment and booking rules are available to make your schedules more flexible for everyone.
5. Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress

The Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress (or BirchPress Scheduler) provides a highly customizable booking form for free, along with some tools for showing pricing on that form. However, you can’t actually accept prepayments until you upgrade to the premium version for $99. This gets you support for one website, but the developers have other options called Business and Business+ plans. Each plan is only good for one website, but you can upgrade to more advanced features like different colors for staff appointments, page redirection after booking, and a calendar sync for iCal.

The entire point of the BirchPress plugin is to make setting up a booking module as simple as possible. It’s a pretty barebones form, but you do have some options to customize and make it look good on your website. The calendar sync is one of the most impressive features, since it goes beyond the usual Google Calendar integration and links up to other calendars like Outlook, Android, iCal, and iPhone.

Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress plugin

Another reason you might consider the BirchPress plugin is if you plan on hiring a developer to fully customize your online booking system. As I mentioned, the primary form is fairly simple, but the plugin includes thousands of filters, action hooks, and functions for developers to create exactly what you need for bookings to run smoothly. Although it would run just fine, it’s not exactly recommended for those who don’t have any development experience but would still want full customization. You’d be better off going with Bookly.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • It offers a basic template and full functionality for accepted paid bookings, with powerful development tools for extreme changes.
  • You can accept payments online. PayPal is the primary gateway, but with the support of WooCommerce your payment gateway options open up.
  • Add an unlimited number of fields to your forms.
  • Reminders and other email notifications are sent out automatically so that you minimize the number of missed appointments.
  • You receive support to sync with other calendars besides Google Calendar. For instance, Outlook and iPhone calendars can sync.
6. Booked

The Booked plugin is only sold through CodeCanyon and it goes for an affordable price of $49. Some of the types of bookings allowed include paid bookings, guest bookings, and registered bookings. You can present your time slots in a calendar or list view and even translate it into other languages. What’s more is that you’re able to assign calendars to certain people in your organization. So, you might have travel agents or personal trainers that need their own schedules. Along with multiple calendars, each user is able to create somewhat of a personal profile to stand out to customers.

Booked plugin

As with most plugins sold through CodeCanyon, the Booked fee is a one-time price. However, you’re able to extend the customer support for an extra $16.50 for a full 12 months.

Most of the customization settings involve calendar colors and fields, but that’s what makes this plugin so easy to use. The frontend interface looks elegant and modern, and you’re able to integrate with a wide range of other add-ons such as Payments with WooCommerce, Front-end Agents, and Calendar Feeds.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins
  • The plugin is virtually ready to go out of the package. The interface looks wonderful and you’re not forced to use any custom coding.
  • The pricing is only a one-time fee and it’s much cheaper than other booking plugins.
  • You get a few add-ons for free, including something called Front-end agents, which is great for your agents to see a user-friendly booking management screen on the frontend.
  • The plugin supports multiple employee calendars.
  • You can change calendar colors.
  • Guest booking is possible, so the user doesn’t have to be registered on your website.
  • The custom time slots are useful for specifying things like vacation days or holidays.
  • You receive some handy shortcodes so that you can pretty much place a booking calendar anywhere on your website.
7. Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar is one of the oldest booking plugins for WordPress, and the ratings show that it hasn’t slowed down with quality development over the years. The core plugin is free and comes with most of the features an average small business would need. However, you can upgrade to one of the many larger business plans, starting at around $60 for one website. After that, the pricing is way too confusing. If you go to the pricing page you’ll find five plans for Single Sites, five plans for Developer Sites, and five plans for MultiSite.

Along with the pricing confusion, the sales website isn’t all that easy to understand. I typically recommend users uses install the core plugin and see if it fits their needs–since it’s truly a powerful plugin, but it hurts your head trying to figure out which features come with which plan.

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Booking Calendar

Anyway, some of the primary features to expect from the Booking Calendar plugin include automated email notifications for when users make their bookings and need reminders. One unique tool is the ability to set a timeframe open for a certain number of days. This way, you can accept several double bookings and then turn it off..

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You’ve probably heard about how the new WordPress Gutenberg editor brings block-based editing to WordPress.

And while blocks have been much of the focus, there’s also another change going on behind the scenes that casual users might not notice – the Gutenberg editor is built on React, not PHP. That change, along with other shifts in web development, might have you wondering, “is PHP dead?”.

So…is it? Should we call the funeral home and start the preparations? Well, first off, it’s important to point out that there’s a big difference between wanting PHP to be dead and PHP actually being dead.

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People have been calling for the death of PHP for years now (you can find “Is PHP Dead?” posts as far back as 2011). And yet, PHP still persists…

In this post, we’ll dig into the data and show how PHP isn’t close to being dead (even if you really wish it were).

Is PHP Dead? Only if You Ignore the PHP Usage Statistics

Ok, PHP might not be the best or the most modern programming language. But that doesn’t mean it’s dead, and it’s pretty tough to argue with the PHP statistics here…

First off, let’s look at what W3Techs has to say.

According to W3Techs’ data, PHP is used by 78.9% of all websites with a known server-side programming language. So almost 8 out of every 10 websites that you visit on the Internet are using PHP in some way. Which leads us to this fact…

PHP cannot die

To be fair, that number is declining. In November 2017, W3Techs had PHP as the server-side language for 80.1% of websites. That number dropped to 79.6% in June 2018, and now it’s down to 78.9% when we’re publishing this post in November 2018.

However, you also have to take some of the statistics with a grain of salt. Some of these scanning tools simply look for the X-Powered-By HTTP header. Some hosting providers, including Kinsta, remove these headers from broadcasting on the server for security purposes. Therefore, the number of sites using PHP could, in fact, be higher.

But when the number is still over 75%, it’s tough to use that decline to pronounce PHP as dead.

These numbers really shouldn’t be surprising if you think about it. First off, WordPress, the most popular content management system in existence, uses PHP. Given that WordPress powers over 32% of all the websites on the Internet, that’s a lot of sites using PHP right there.

But it’s not just WordPress, either. There are tons of other big and small sites built with PHP. For example, MediaWiki, the software behind Wikipedia, is written in PHP. And oh yeah, both Drupal and Joomla use PHP, too.

PHP Is Faster and Better Than Ever, Too

With the latest versions of PHP, PHP is faster than ever. Our recent PHP benchmarks show a huge performance increase for PHP 7.X over PHP 5.6.

In our tests using WordPress and popular eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, PHP 7.2 was pushing 2-3x the number of requests per second as PHP 5.6.

WordPress PHP benchmarks

Better yet, PHP 7 also stacks up favorably against other languages, as well.

Beyond that, PHP 7.X versions also bring new improvements for developers like:

  • Combined comparison operator
  • Null coalesce operator
  • New type hinting
  • Anonymous classes
  • Nullable types
  • Iterable and void returns
  • Multi-catch exception handling
  • Keys usable in lists
  • Trailing commas
  • More negative string offsets
  • Number operators and malformed numbers
  • HTTP/2 server push

Of course, you’ll only notice these improvements if you’re actually using the latest version of PHP. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.

According to WordPress.org, ~82.6% of WordPress sites are using PHP 7.0 or lower, with 36.9%, the plurality, using PHP 5.6:

PHP version usage for WordPress sites

PHP versions 7.0 and under no longer receive active support and will lose security support at the end of 2018.

The fact that so many websites are running on a PHP version that’s officially reached its end of life probably doesn’t help PHP’s reputation with developers.

Read this post if you’re still not sure why you need to update your PHP version.

It’s Easy to Find PHP Developers

Because of PHP’s popularity, it’s easy to find PHP developers. And not just PHP developers – but PHP developers with experience.

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More importantly, PHP developers themselves seem to be doing just fine, as this Tweet from Brandon Savage so eloquently points out:

If PHP is dead someone forgot to tell my bank account.

— Brandon Savage (@brandonsavage) October 28, 2018

For newer frameworks, it’s harder to find developers, especially ones with experience.

More importantly, sometimes experience just flat out isn’t possible without a time machine. For a humorous take on it, there’s this Reddit post where a job description wanted a React developer with 5 years of experience back in 2017, at which point React had only been around for ~4 years.

You Don’t Have to Like PHP, But It’s Not Dead

You might not like PHP. Heck, even though we’re a managed WordPress host, we’d be lying if we said all of our developers love PHP. In fact, both our MyKinsta dashboard and affiliate dashboard are built entirely on Node and React, which are both JavaScript based, not PHP. But again, not liking PHP doesn’t mean it’s dead, or even dying.

Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, has a pertinent quote here:

There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.

Yes, PHP does seem to be losing some steam according to W3Techs’ data. But even if PHP keeps decreasing at the same rate, it would take 25+ years before PHP even dropped under the 50% mark!

In the end, all of these posts about “Is PHP Dead?” are really just examples of Betteridge’s law of headlines – “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

What do you think? Is PHP dead? Do you love PHP? Do you wish you could smother PHP with a pillow? Let us know in the comments!

The post Is PHP Dead? No! At Least Not According to PHP Usage Statistics appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Galea (Founder) and Mark Zahra (CEO), the team behind the popular WP Mayor blog. WP Mayor is one of the oldest and most popular WordPress resources on the web! Check out how they got it started, some of their challenges, and projects they’re currently working on.

Typically our Kinsta Kingpin series only has one interviewee, but this time around we thought it would be interesting to change things up and get some insights from this powerhouse duo.

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

I started out as a freelance website developer and for this reason, I soon needed a CMS to implement on my clients’ websites. This was back in 2006 and the market share for Open Source CMSs was still split a number of ways with Mambo/Joomla, WordPress, Drupal and MODx all vying for the top spot as CMS of choice.

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I started out with Joomla (then called Mambo) but soon realized that it was overly complicated for the clients to use. Shortly afterwards I discovered WordPress and have never looked back since.

Jean Galea

My background didn’t have much to do with WordPress or websites, to be honest. Until I was 20 I was a University student studying to become an architect. Two years in I realized it wasn’t for me. After that I spent quite a few months trying out online courses about web development, going into the basics of HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP. At the same time, I was managing my hockey club’s website using WordPress for the first time.

After a chance encounter with Jean, we ended up discussing the possibility of me writing a few simple articles for WP Mayor to see how that goes. As they say, the rest is history. After a few months writing articles, I moved into basic support for the WP RSS Aggregator plugin. Later I got introduced to other areas of the business, eventually moving into a project management role, and as of November of this year, the role of CEO.

Mark Zahra
Q2: What should readers know about the companies/projects you’re involved with?

WP Mayor is one of the most visited WordPress resource sites on the web, and I run that together with my wife Alyona and Mark. We also have several writers to help us keep pumping out great content on a daily basis.

I also love building products and the result of that passion is our product side of the business, consisting of WP RSS Aggregator as well as a few extensions for Easy Digital Downloads. WP RSS Aggregator has thousands of users and several premium add-ons.

Lately, we are working hard on EDD Bookings and I am very optimistic about this plugin as I have spoken to countless people over the years who have urged me to create a booking solution for WordPress.

Last but not least, I co-host the Mastermind.fm podcast which is all about building successful businesses on the WordPress platform. I thoroughly enjoy the chats with my co-host James Laws, as well as those with our interviewees. I am really looking forward to improving as a podcast host and growing this project further.

Jean Galea

WP Mayor

We’re a small team when you consider the projects we’ve taken on in the past couple of years. We’re only me, two developers and one full-time support engineer (aside from Jean, of course). That being said, it’s a dedicated group of people. We love what we do and come into work every day excited to be working on projects that will help make other people’s lives easier and their businesses more successful.

That’s certainly the case right now. We’re growing the EDD Bookings plugin into a fully-fledged booking system for WordPress. That’s been an exciting process as we’ve been getting more involved with UI/UX design and understanding our users’ needs in detail.

The WP RSS Aggregator plugin is established in its space now, so we’re focused on maintaining the plugins while making improvements elsewhere. For instance, improving our knowledge base and support offerings, making our website more user-friendly, and planning UI/UX changes for easier feed management on the back-end.

WP Mayor has now become one of my favorite projects. We’re in the process of revamping the website to continue providing valuable resources to our readers. Being able to work more closely with our writers, affiliates and partners has been fun as it’s opened up a new world of opportunities.

Lastly, I can’t forget the Mastermind.fm podcast. It’s going strong and it has been a stimulating experience to speak with some of the smartest people from within the WordPress space and beyond.

Mark Zahra

EDD Bookings

Q3: What challenges did you face in building your businesses?

The fact that I was constantly traveling wasn’t easy; it was hard to juggle work and travel planning plus getting used to new places, finding co-working spaces etc. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to find great people to work with us and we now have a fantastic remote team that I can rely on 100% even when I’m traveling.

Jean Galea

As I explained earlier, I was only part of the building of our business alongside Jean Galea, so I can’t take anywhere near full credit for the work that’s been done so far. That being said, for me personally, it’s been a challenge to adapt to my new role without sacrificing parts of my personal life. There’s always some small fire to put out or someone who needs your help with something, so it becomes key to find the right balance and prioritize everything accordingly. I like this kind of challenge though, so I’m curious to see what I learn from this process.

Mark Zahra
Q4: Did anything surprise you during the process of growing them?

I can’t think of anything in particular but I’m very much learning as I go, so challenges are encountered on a daily basis. I love entrepreneurship though so this is all part of the game.

Jean Galea

Since this is all a process and it’s not something I had studied or been involved in before, it’s all about learning as I go. I’ve thankfully had the opportunity to be guided by a great mentor in Jean, as well as other great folks I had the opportunity to learn from along the way.

One thing I could mention here is the amount of small details that go into a job like this. You’re constantly being pulled in different directions. No matter how much you read or talk to others about it, experiencing it first-hand is completely different. It’s been surprising, but invigorating once you start seeing positive results.

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Mark Zahra
Q5: What does the future look like for WP Mayor?

We hope to introduce new features to the site and improve the design to make certain content more accessible. The site has grown immensely over time and so we need to make sure that a new user can find what he needs without too much searching around. The main aim is, of course, to grow the audience and perhaps launch a podcast in the near future.

Jean Galea

The future of WP Mayor looks bright. We’ve got plans in place, and others in motion, to continue building upon the platform we have today. We still produce quality content on a weekly basis and we’re looking for ways to offer even more to our readers. I can’t share too much about our plans, but you should definitely keep an eye out for some gradual change in the coming months.

Mark Zahra
Q6: What’s the WP community in your area like?

Being a digital nomad that is a hard question to answer, however, I can tell you that the WP community on a global basis is really awesome. Whenever I move to a new country one of the first things I do is attend a WordPress meetup to get to know people. In Chiang Mai, I even founded the local WordPress meetup and made several friends with whom I have remained in touch along the years.

Jean Galea

Unfortunately, since I currently live in Malta, the community seems to be quite small. We’re a tiny island in the Mediterranean, and although there are a few small meet-ups during the year, my best bet is to visit more WordCamps abroad, such as WordCamp EU.

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

I love to travel and practicing several sports, depending on the location that I’m in. I also love reading across a wide range of topics.

Jean Galea

At the moment my focus is on getting fit again after a few months of getting too lazy (a pitfall of working from home). I’ve gotten back into 5-a-side football matches with friends which we try to do on a weekly basis. Aside from physical fitness, I’ve also been working on my mental fitness, introducing more reading and podcasts into my routines. The plan is to keep all this going to phase out the bad habits you can develop while working remotely from home.

Mark Zahra
Q8: Who should we interview next, and why?

My podcast co-host James Laws, all-around great guy and he’s doing a great job with Ninja Forms.

Jean Galea

I would recommend a couple of people I’ve had the opportunity to get to know more lately. Firstly, Markus, the CTO of ThemeFusion who recently hit $25M in sales on Envato – we had a great episode over on the Mastermind.fm podcast about it.

Secondly, Michiel Heijmans, COO of Yoast. We also had a podcast episode with him lately and he’s certainly got a few insights that would be worth sharing with a wider audience.

Mark Zahra
Connect with Jean and Mark

Want to connect with Jean and Mark?

The post Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Jean Galea & Mark Zahra of WP Mayor appeared first on Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

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Where are your social and Google advertisements linking to? What about your ? If the answer is always your website’s homepage, or even a product page, it’s time to cut that out and learn about the power of landing pages. These specific types of pages clean out the clutter of regular websites and are meant to significantly boost conversions. They do so because they are highly-targeted throughout the entire sales funnel, from the ad content down to the content on the page.

Luckily, it doesn’t take much work or cash to make a quality one, as long as you’re working with a well-developed plugin. And of course, with WordPress, you have a lot of great options to choose from.

Why Do You Need a WordPress Landing Page Plugin?

Before we dive into all of your landing page plugin options, let’s take a look at why you might want or need one.

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1. To Increase Conversion Rates

Since landing pages are designed to present visitors with targeted content, they are far more likely to convert. These types of conversions vary, but they might involve signing up on a form, buying a product, or joining a webinar. Whatever the case, these types of plugins can help with your CRO.

2. To Match the Messaging in Advertisements

Landing pages often get linked to from online ads. The reason for this is because linking directly to your website homepage leaves the customer with limited information on where to go next. A landing page, however, accurately reflects the same message you created in the ad, minimizing confusion for the user.

3. To Obtain More Leads

Leads are generated through places like email, social media, and search traffic. You can bet that a strong percentage of these leads are lost when sent straight to your website. Therefore, those links should be swapped out to lead to a landing page.

4. To Boost Your SEO

There are different types of landing pages. Some of them might be PPC only, but others might be created for SEO purposes (or sometimes even both). As long as your landing pages are keyword optimized, user-friendly, responsive, and speedy, they should help out with your SEO. After all, the more landing pages you publish the better chance you have of finding your site on the front page of Google. You can then take advantage of the high-converting landing page on organic traffic.

5. To Collect Information On Potential Customers

The goal with a landing page is to capture leads and turn them into conversions. A bonus of increasing your conversions is that this is where customers hand over their data. You learn about the pages they visit, whether they’re visiting on mobile or desktop, and much more. This way, you can re-target customers in the future with better ads, emails, and landing pages.

A word of warning here is to beware of GDPR. If you are collecting any type of information or pixel data about a user, you need to always ask for consent first.

6. To Present Marketing Offers in a Desirable Way

Marketing offers are often mixed in with other content on your website, decreasing their overall effectiveness. Landing pages typically focus on one or two products without any of the extra clutter. Pair that with a marketing offer for a great way to incentivize the sale.

Features to Look For in a Landing Page Plugin

On your search for the perfect landing page plugin, you’ll notice that most of the best solutions have similar features. However, we’ll also outline the tools that are specific to certain plugins. Regardless of how much you want to pay, some features should not be forgotten. Some of them include:

  • Drag and drop elements – It’s nice to have a drag and drop editor. If not, you at least want builder elements relevant to landing pages. For instance, timers are great. You also want email subscription forms, text, media, and testimonials.
  • Prebuilt landing page templates – The goal is to have landing pages for all products and services. As we learned, the more quality landing pages you have the better your SEO and higher your conversions. Therefore, you’ll want to speed up deployment time with the help of prebuilt templates. You can then quickly tweak the templates to match your company’s branding.
  • A/B testing – Without A/B testing your entire landing page design is one big guessing game. Does your button color make people less likely to click? Does a page with testimonials help conversions or just clutter the interface? You can’t learn for sure without A/B testing.
  • Email integration – Conversions and leads require data capture for selling to those users in the future. This is how you build your email list. Therefore, the best WordPress landing page plugins provide integrations with email marketing services like MailChimp and CampaignMonitor.
  • Pricing tables – Pricing tables will probably be part of the drag and drop elements, but you don’t want to pay for a landing page plugin only to find you have to design your own.
  • Media support – From videos to images, and documents to audio, media items are known to not only show more about your products, but they help out customers who are on the fence when it comes to converting.
Best WordPress Landing Page Plugins

We’ve researched, tested, and broken down every respectable landing page plugin to show the best features, along with items that might make you lean towards one over another. Now it’s time to dive in!

  1. Elementor
  2. Beaver Builder
  3. The Divi Builder
  4. Qards
  5. Instapage
  6. OptimizePress
  7. LeadPages
  8. Thrive Architect
  9. InstaBuilder
  10. Landing Page Builder
1. Elementor

Elementor has a distinct advantage over other landing page builders in that the core plugin is provided as a free download. Now, you might be thinking that other options we cover also have free downloads, but Elementor is a little different. In fact, the primary drag and drop editor is not watered down in any way. With over 1 million active installs and a 5-star rating, the WordPress community loves this plugin!

You can download the Elementor builder and start constructing landing pages without any need to work with any code. It works with pretty much all themes and plugins, and several pre-made templates are actually included in with the free version of Elementor.

Overall, Elementor is one of the fastest tools for launching your landing pages. The drag and drop editor might even be better than Beaver Builder, and there’s a wide range of businesses that will be satisfied with what the free plugin download has to offer. Not only that, but the premium pricing starts at $49 for one site and goes to $99 for three sites and $199 for unlimited sites. So, if you’re trying to save money as a one-site owner, Elementor makes more sense than Beaver Builder. But Beaver Builder supports unlimited sites for $99, so it might be more appropriate for agencies and developers.

Elementor landing page plugin

As for the primary features, Elementor provides over 24 pro widgets and 75 pro templates. It integrates with Zapier, social media channels, and email marketing services, while also offering options for WooCommerce and forms.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • The free version of Elementor has limitless design potential, seeing as how it’s a complete drag and drop editor with fluid movements and solid design modules. You also get a few templates so you don’t have to make your landing pages from scratch.
  • The premium version starts at $49. It’s only limited to one site, but that helps smaller businesses and blogs keep costs down. Larger agencies and developers can always upgrade.
  • In the premium version, you receive essential content modules like countdown timers, pricing tables, animated headlines, share buttons, and forms.
  • You can save your widget or full design as a global widget. This way, you can move the widgets to different areas of your site or to new websites.
  • The live custom CSS reflects your changes right before your eyes. It’s also an excellent way for advanced developers to make the landing pages look better.
  • The WooCommerce integration lets you sell products directly from your landing pages. Pair that with some of the professionally designed templates and you can start selling within minutes.
2. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder is one of the most popular plugins in the page builder world, not only for landing pages but for full websites. You can create stunning layouts and landing pages that load fast and don’t take hours to configure. Beaver Builder has a free version with several content modules, many of which work nicely for landing pages. These content modules include options for video, audio, text editing, photo, sidebar, and HTML. You can also create those coveted full-width landing pages that are so useful. Many smaller companies should be fine making landing pages with the free version, but the premium Beaver Builder module is tempting as well.

Beaver Builder WordPress landing page plugin

The premium pricing starts at $99 for a yearlong license on unlimited websites. Since it covers all the websites on your network, most companies won’t need to upgrade past this. Customer support, the page builder plugin, and the premium landing page modules and templates are all packaged into the $99 pricing plan. The only items you miss out on include the multisite functionality and the Beaver Builder website theme. For those features, you would have to pay $199, or $399 per month if you want full white-labeling for an agency.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • Beaver Builder strives to make landing pages as easy as possible. It offers a file filled with templates made just for quick, professional landing pages. Some of the landing page templates are made for niche sites like law firms, eBook selling sites, and webinars.
  • You receive some nice templates and content modules in the free version. If you need more, the $99 upgrade is still affordable for the number of features you get.
  • The user experience is far superior to most other drag and drop editors on the market. Most content modules can be placed anywhere, and a complete beginner should have no problem making a landing page with templates and modules.
  • Beaver Builder allows you to build your own custom modules if you need something a little different from what’s offered.
  • You can save, export, and reuse full pages, layouts, rows, and modules for later use.
3. The Divi Builder

The Divi Builder is well-known as a builder that works with most WordPress templates. It’s a full website builder along with an excellent WordPress landing page plugin. Elegant Themes sells the Divi Builder, so you’re required to signup for an Elegant Themes membership if you want access. This membership is ideal for developers who want more than a landing page plugin. The $89 per year membership provides access to all themes and plugins from Elegant Themes. These are some of the most beautiful themes you can find, and the plugins provide everything from social media sharing to email optins.

The Divi Builder plugin

One advantage of an Elegant Themes membership (and the Divi Builder,) is that you acquire a license to use the builder (and all other themes and plugins) on an unlimited number of sites. So, the $89 per year membership is quite the steal, especially for those with multiple sites or clients. Keep in mind, however, that the Divi Builder has no free plugin.

When looking into the landing page features, you’ll find the sleek and powerful drag and drop builder. Divi also provides around 46 content modules, from audio players to calls to action, and social media buttons to pricing tables. You also get the contact forms and email marketing forms, which are so precious in the landing page game.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • Divi doesn’t have a free version, but it beats out most premium competition by providing a low yearly rate for dozens of additional plugins and themes.
  • Divi provides 46 content modules at the time of this article, and that number usually goes up with the constant development from Elegant Themes.
  • You can add custom CSS for applying custom styles and adjusting individual modules that aren’t quite right for your brand.
  • Duplicate any element or design within seconds. Then transfer it over to another site or page for easy starts elsewhere.
  • You’re never without the right features for your landing pages, mainly because of the Elegant Themes plugins. These include options for email marketing, email optins, social sharing, and much more.
4. Qards

Qards is one of the lesser-known WordPress landing page plugins, but it allows for you to build stunning landing pages without any coding skills. The whole point of Qards is for webmasters to pump out landing pages without any hitches. It runs off of a drag and drop interface with cards that you can move above or below each other. Each design is fully responsive, and many of the cards are predesigned for simplicity and flexibility. You can also link to your MailChimp account to bring in leads and drop them right into your email database.

Qards landing page plugin

One of the main reasons we like Qards so much is because of its seamless media support. It allows for YouTube inline and background videos, and you can place images and audio clips wherever you want. The custom CSS and HTML areas are great for more advanced designers, while the grid styling comes into play when you’re trying to organize content without any code.

Qards does have a free version for one domain. The cards and features are limited, but you still receive the MailChimp integration, customization tools, predesigned blocks, and Google Fonts. The first premium plan goes for $99 and that gets you every pro feature.

One downside is that Qards doesn’t seem to have any prebuilt templates to expedite your design process.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • A free plugin is offered with email subscription tools and some quality design blocks.
  • The $99 pricing for one site is somewhat reasonable.
  • Qards is truly one of the easiest visual landing page builders. You’re not inundated with too many complicated controls, as most of the design revolves around dragging items up or down.
  • Several predesigned blocks are included for things like footers, covers, images, grids, and menus.
  • Qards has a direct integration with MailChimp, and the blocks made for email subscriptions are as beautiful as they come.
5. Instapage

Instapage focuses on the goal of converting advertising dollars into conversions. Its main offering is for building landing pages, but there’s also a full collaboration tool, page builder, and optimization engine. You may have noticed that not many of the previously mentioned WordPress landing page plugins have much in terms of A/B testing. If that’s what you’re looking for, Instapage is the right solution for you.

Instapage is a full suite of tools, with excellent A/B testing for seeing which elements work the best. You also get heat maps to see where people click, along with dynamic text replacement depending on who is clicking around on your site.

Instapage plugin

The page builder provides drag and drop widgets for items like CTA buttons, videos, and more. The collaboration tools are excellent for providing instant feedback on designs and making real-time edits for other people to see in your organization. All of the sharing modules are completely secure, and you can also chat with others while editing items on the landing page. Overall, Instapage has the most impressive set of features, but it’s going to cost you.

Instapage’s Core plan starts at $69 per month and that gets you everything from real-time collaboration to 20 integrations. The $99 per month Optimizer plan is where you’ll see the A/B testing and heatmaps. Instapage also sells agency and enterprise plans if you need those.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • Instapage offers more than landing pages, with a full suite of collaboration, optimization, report, and page building tools.
  • The page builder has a template for every need. So, if you’d like to a landing page for a webinar, there are plenty of options for you. If you’d like to sell an eBook, it has that too. In fact, over 200 customizable templates are provided in Instapage, making it the largest library we could find.
  • You gain access to the Bigstock image library, which boasts more than 33 million stock images.
  • The collaboration tool is wonderful for those making landing pages with multiple people. You can send instant feedback and generate secure links. I also enjoy that the creator sees immediate edits.
6. OptimizePress

OptimizePress is yet another landing page suite, similar to that of Instapage. It’s made for marketers who want far more than a simple landing page builder. In fact, you can create landing pages, sales pages, membership portals, launch funnels, and authority blog sites. If you don’t need all of this, skip it. However, it’s worth looking into for the $97 one time fee.

I initially couldn’t quite believe the number of features packed into OptimizePress for that price, but the company does a good job of providing options for building unlimited pages on the cheap. If you’re more interested in using A/B split testing and gaining access to video background and advanced design elements, the $197 price point is more up your alley.

OptimizePress landing page plugin

Another reason OptimizePress stands out is because the WordPress landing page plugin doesn’t stop working after every renewal period (one year). The only thing you have the option to pay for every year is the support and updates.

When pitting OptimizePress up against some of the other WordPress landing page plugins, I like it best for those who are in need of A/B testing but don’t want to pay the high price over at Instapage. The support team has also been known to be quite friendly, so that’s a bonus too.

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What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?
  • The $97 one-time fee gets you the majority of landing page building features, along with unlimited support for leads and traffic.
  • Although it’s a price hike from the smallest plan, a $197 one-time fee isn’t that bad for A/B testing and some other cool features like page engagement actions and video backgrounds.
  • The landing page templates are already optimized to convert as many users as possible.
  • OptimizePress provides additional options for making membership portal websites, sales pages, authority blogs, and launch funnels.
7. LeadPages

The LeadPages landing page plugin, or really the service, comes with more than 130 industry-based templates and simple design modules for items like popup forms, social media, and contact forms on your landing pages. LeadPages can be used for making all sorts of sales and landing pages, but some of the more unique features come into play when seeing how it stacks up against the competition. For instance, LeadPages has a Facebook Ads feature for instantly combining with your ads to make the perfect landing pages for those social customers. It also provides built-in payments for when you’d like to make a sale right from the page.

Leadpages

The drag and drop customization is done without any coding, so you can create, copy, and clone any pages throughout the process. The LeadPages pricing has an annual plan where you get two months without any billing. The cheapest plan is called Standard, and it costs you $31 per month. If you’re trying to collect payments and drive traffic with Facebook ads–and get some other great premium features–the pricing shoots up..

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