7 Steps to Start Your Online Business

7 Steps to Start Your Online Business

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, anyone can become an entrepreneur with a WordPress site. In fact, following the recession that began 10 years ago, entrepreneurial activity has picked up rapidly.

There are numerous benefits to starting your business online — one of the major ones being a low startup cost. Many digital startup businesses don’t require much (or any) initial investments, which makes them very attractive to the newcomers. If you’re looking to start your own online business, make sure you read through the 7 crucial steps that will guide you on this journey.

Find Your Motivation

Before venturing into any business, take a moment or two and question your true motivation. Why do you want to start an online business?

Perhaps you’ve just left your regular job and are looking for some steady cash flow. Maybe you have an amazing idea that you want to show to the world, or you simply want to try your luck in ecommerce with WordPress. Whatever it is, make certain you are in tune with it, because your motivation will help you persevere. Business ventures requires patience and focus, so think about all the benefits you might get out if it and they might keep you going.

Develop An Idea

Obviously, every good business relies on a good business idea, so you have to have one at the start. Of course, these ideas don’t come in the form of a heavenly revelation. Most of the time, you’ll need to actively think about it and brainstorm online business ideas. You can start by choosing the industry you want. Obviously, since you’re looking to make money, find a list of the most profitable ones in the current year.

Do Your Research

Once you finally decide on the business idea, it’s time to do the research. This is, no doubt, one of the most important parts of the process. Research your idea, find your competitors and, most importantly, discover your target audience. CoSchedule states that knowing who your target audience is “will help you focus not only on creating great content but on creating the right content.” Narrowing down your content production will make you seem more relevant in your field and rank you better on Google.

Craft A Business Plan

So, you have a good idea, you’ve researched your field and found your target audience – what’s next? Now you need to formulate a proper business plan that will articulate your idea in detail, define the structure of your business and clearly establish all of your goals. Bplans emphasizes the fact that your business plan should be short and functional because people still need to read it. It is also a good idea to hire a professional writer to write this for you in a professional way.

Determine A Corporate Identity

Considering how there is quite a lot of competition on the internet, it is necessary to find a way to stand out from the crowd. A good online business has an easily recognizable presence on the web, including a strong corporate identity, clear authoritative voice and an inspiring logo design. When choosing a logo, make sure you research that year’s design trends to make sure that your design is modern, interesting and, of course, memorable.

Build A Reliable Team

This step obviously depends on the type of online business you’re making but pretty much any business can use a good team. Analyze your work and think about how it can be divided to be most efficient. Remember, however, that it’s much better to have a couple of people working for you who specialize in certain areas than having just one employee who does a lot of different work. You might think that the second option is much more cost-efficient, but it doesn’t pay off in the long run.

Just Keep Working

Even when you finish the above steps and establish your online business, the work is far from over. A good entrepreneur never relaxes or puts the guard down. Instead, they are constantly working on the business, thinking about ways to innovate, upgrade or expand.

In addition, take the time to manage your employees well and invest in their growth, too. For example, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh introduced a controversial holacracy system, which empowers employees to take charge and cultivate leadership skills.

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Questions to Ask a WordPress Developer You Want to Hire

Questions to Ask a WordPress Developer You Want to Hire

It’s been 15 years since WordPress first launched. Back then, there were limited demands and limited choices when it came to WordPress development services.

Since then, the CMS has grown to power over 30 percent of the web and there are a lot more developers to choose from. Because WordPress is so customizable, it can become anything you want, but you might need the help of a professional to fully utilize all the features it can offer.

Not only the theme of your unique WordPress website can be customized using PHP, MySQL, CSS and more, but also the plugins can be custom-made to add any functionality.

Because the market is so big, it can be hard to know how to choose a developer to assist you. Here are some tips for finding someone you really trust.

Go to the developer

Yes, chase them! Not literally though. You don’t need to be looking for the developers physically. In this day and age of digital fondness, one can easily get hold of and search for the developers online.

Use Slack, Twitter, or email to reach out to someone you want to work with. Chances are if they can’t help you, they can point you in the direction of someone who can. Try going to a WordCamp and meeting people in person. This is a great way to make connections and relationships with people that you can work with in the future.

Online forums and discussion platforms

Like we said before, productive discussions, as well as chit-chat about the latest WordPress developments here, will let you sift through a talented pool and community of the developers who are actively engaged in providing or freelancing WordPress development services. Did you know that Stack Overflow has around 111k questions asked by the progressive community of WordPress developers?

This is a great idea to get a list of names of developers you would be interested in working with. Then reach out through Slack.

What to say when you reach out

Finding a developer is the easy part, but actually reaching out can be daunting. One of the greatest things about WordPress is the open community. No matter where you look, you’ll find someone willing to help you, even if they themselves can’t do the job. Here are a few ways to start a conversation.

  • Look around for a way where you can contact them. As we said above, you can try Slack, Twitter, a contact form, or email. Begin a friendly conversation and ask what they are working on currently. This will give you insight into the kind of projects they can tackle. From there explain what you’re looking for and ask if they have time to help.
  • The amount you’ll have to pay a developer will vary depending on experience level and the difficulty of your project. Hammer out how much you’re willing to pay before hiring anyone. That way, you’ll make sure you can afford the person you like and they will get a fair amount.
  • If the person you are interested in can’t do the job, ask for recommendations. WordPress developers have their ear the ground in the community and know of people free and looking for work. See if they wouldn’t mind facilitating an introduction, and continue that process until you find the right fit.
  • Have a clear idea of what you want for your project before reaching out to anyone. It will be easier for both of you if the developer understands exactly how much work your website will entail.

These are a few simple ways to start looking for a freelance developer. At the end of the day, remember that the WordPress community is a large place, and people are willing to help you on your journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out or attend a WordCamp.

My name is Sophia Phillips and I am a WordPress developer at WordPrax Ltd. WordPress web development company. My work exists at the intersection of web development and technology blogging. In case, you have made up your mind to enhance WP website then it is better to hire WordPress developer who can serve you the desired services.

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A Beginners’ Guide to Privacy Policies

A laptop showing the EU flag with a padlock inside.

Among the important web development trends of 2018, user privacy and how websites handle collected data is at the top of the list. With the imminent introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a privacy policy in place that adheres to its guidelines. Failing to do so could mean incurring severe penalties.

Fortunately, user privacy isn’t an impenetrable topic. There are a few key elements you’ll need to consider, as well as some tools that can help you put the optimal policy in place. There’s the obligatory WordPress plugin solution, but also comprehensive third-party offerings that constantly update based on changes made to your site’s elements.

In this post, we’ll explore what a privacy policy is and why you need one. Then we’ll cover five different ways to implement a privacy policy on your website. Let’s get started!

What a Privacy Policy Is

In a nutshell, a privacy policy is a legal document outlining your approach to managing user data. It explains what data you collect, how it’s used, where it’s stored, and anything else appropriate that your users need to know about the privacy of their collected data. For example, we have our own privacy policy linked to within the footer of every page:

Privacy policies are part of the same family as ‘cookie notices’ (i.e. website banners displaying whether a site collects cookie information). This is because both are implemented to clearly inform users that their data is being collected, as well as why and how.

As you can imagine, privacy policies can run to either a few lines or reams of detailed legal verbiage (although that would likely hamper the reader’s understanding). In short, you’ll usually find the following:

  • Clarification on what constitutes a user, the website, and any other relevant party.
  • Information on how data is collected on your site.
  • An overview of how the collected data is used once it’s been obtained.
  • What the visitor can do to make sure their data is deleted.

You may find that some privacy policies don’t include some of this information currently. However, as we’ll explain, all websites will shortly be required to add these elements, with heavy penalties facing those who do not comply.

Why a Privacy Policy Is Necessary For WordPress Websites

As we mentioned, the EU Cookie Law is almost a precursor to initiatives being introduced this year. The GDPR radically overhauls compliance for practically every website, and in contrast to the current Cookie Law, will include stiff penalties for those not complying with the directive.

While the GDPR, Cookie Law, and implementing a privacy policy, in general, is platform-agnostic, for WordPress users the waters become a little more muddied. For starters, there are many cogs that turn to drive the entire platform – elements such the plugins and themes you use will log data, for example.

What’s more, many users will have third-party tools and solutions that help them manage a site day-to-day, which is to be expected. If you or your clients use tools such as Google Analytics or InspectLet, these will also capture user data, meaning your privacy policy needs to reference this too.

It’s definitely a minefield, but one you will have to traverse if you want to stay on the right side of the law. Our advice is that if you’re considering this option solely based on the amount of work it will take to implement, it’s not a wise idea. The GDPR will mean authorities have the power to dish out millions of dollars worth of fines to non-complying sites. In short, the buck stops with you.

5 Solutions For Implementing a Privacy Policy on Your Website

Let’s take a look now at how to implement your privacy policy simply and effectively. Each of the solutions below is GDPR-friendly and are comprehensive enough (or have the scope) to handle any custom user privacy situation you or your clients may have. Let’s take a look!

1. Manually Create a Privacy Policy

First off, there’s nothing wrong with manually creating your own privacy policy if you feel it’s warranted. After all, it’s usually just a detailed statement of how you’ll capture and use visitor data. For websites with either zero or very little in the way of data collection, this method may be ideal.

We’ve mentioned what a privacy policy should contain already, but just to reiterate, you should include:

  • Details on the information you collect, and how you do so.
  • Why you’re collecting the information.
  • Whether third-party services associated with your site collect information, and the details (such as ad networks).
  • Clear guidance on whether users can opt out of data collection, and contact details in order to discuss things further.

However, unless you get the wording exactly right, your privacy policy could land you in hot water should any data breaches occur. Of course, you could get your privacy policy looked over by a legal professional, but you may find more value in a dedicated service. Let’s take a look at the rest of the options.

2. iubenda

The iubenda website.

In our opinion, iubenda is the most comprehensive and easy to use service available, and we really like the concept. Because many websites (especially WordPress-powered ones) are made up of many moving parts, you’ll likely have various data collection points throughout your site’s code. Keeping tabs on all of these could be difficult, but iubenda’s module-based system makes the process a breeze.

In short, you’ll piece together your privacy policy from a comprehensive list of services, resulting in a complete, ready to roll page that can be embedded or linked to as you wish. What’s more, each module is updated automatically when required. It’s going to be a great timesaver for high-traffic sites, or those handling sensitive data. However, it’s probably overkill for smaller blog-type sites.

As for pricing, it’s incredibly reasonable at its core. Ultimately, while there’s a free plan, you’re likely better off purchasing a license starting at $27 per year for one site, or a multi-license for $9 per month.

3. Shopify Privacy Policy Generator

The Shopify Privacy Policy Generator is (unsurprisingly) from the Shopify team – a leading non-WordPress specific ecommerce solution. Given that their business is heavily-focused on leveraging user data, it makes sense that they provide helpful tools for their user base. This particular service will be suitable for any e-commerce site owner, and what’s more, it’s completely free to use.

In a nutshell, this solution is just like creating your own privacy policy. Once you provide some essential details, you receive a tailored privacy policy in text form, which you can then paste into a post or page:

The Shopify Privacy Policy Generator.

It’s arguably the quickest and simplest solution available, which makes it great for Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and startups in need of a quick launch. However, because it’s essentially a one-size-fits-all solution, it could miss out vital aspects of your site. In addition, it’s not WordPress-specific, so it won’t offer the same detail as other policies.

4. Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

The Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy plugin.

As for WordPress plugins, Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy is one of the best available for creating clear-cut, and comprehensive privacy policies. By using this plugin, you’ll be amending the Terms of Service (TOS) and privacy policy of Automattic – the developers of WordPress – meaning it’s totally free to use.

It’s similar to Shopify, in that you’re adding your own details to a template privacy policy. However, Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy allows you to configure a more robust solution tailored to the specific requirements of your website. It’s also extremely easy to use.

Overall, Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy is going to be great for those needing a quick way to protect themselves temporarily, and the fact that it’s a WordPress plugin is a major plus.

5. TermsFeed

The TermsFeed website.

Finally, we have TermsFeed. This is one of the more popular third-party privacy policy generators, and it works in a similar vein to iubenda. In essence, you select what to include, and TermsFeed generates a privacy policy you can link to or embed, which is then updated automatically.

The main perk of TermsFeed is the vast number of different policies you can generate:

Examples of the policies you can create with TermsFeed.

We’d arguably put this aspect ahead of iubenda’s, although both services are pretty similar overall. However, where TermsFeed falls down is its ambiguous approach to pricing. While there’s a clause-limited free service, premium policies require a one-time payment that is calculated upon creation. Because of this, it’s likely not going to be a solution for the budget-conscious.

Conclusion

Making sure you have a privacy policy in place before ‘GDPR doomsday’ should, naturally, be a high-priority task. It’s not necessarily easy, but one you’ll want to undertake given the potential to be fined for a misstep.

This post looked at five ways to create a GDPR-friendly privacy policy for your website. Let’s recap them quickly:

  1. Manually create a privacy policy. If you can access the legal know-how, writing your own privacy policy is a great option.
  2. iubenda. A comprehensive service ideal for the vast majority of websites.
  3. Shopify Privacy Policy Generator. This solution can’t be beat for a quick e-commerce privacy policy template.
  4. Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. As WordPress plugins go, this is a must-have for generating a quick privacy policy.
  5. TermsFeed. While this is also a comprehensive solution, you’ll likely need a decent budget to create your privacy policy.

Do you have a question about how to implement a privacy policy on your WordPress website? Ask away in the comments section below!

Featured image: mohamed_hassan.

John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and a staff writer for WordCandy.

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How WordPress Can Take Over The Rest of the Web in 2018

How WordPress Can Take Over The Rest of the Web in 2018

Who could have ever thought that an ordinary blogging website could grow to power 30 percent of the web? WordPress is today’s fastest growing CMS. Its fast growth and development have amazed the world.

They have achieved a lot in a very short time and the businesses, developers, and marketers are now eager to know more about their future endeavors.

Here are the major releases that it is going to address this year:

Gutenberg

This beauty has been under development for the past 11 months and soon it will be ready. The launch of the new editor interface for the platform is expected in the year 2018 and is great news for bloggers.

Gutenberg introduces content blocks, which will make users unfamiliar with WordPress more comfortable with blogging. This could introduce even more users to the CMS.

Tide

Tide is another fascinating addition to WordPress which will help it rule the web in 2018. This program is designed to find out the defects and gaps in the CMS so that it can be molded into a better shape for the future.

This will make it one of the best software and help it beat its competitors like Wix and Squarespace. Tide works by running tests against the themes and plugins present in the WordPress’s library thus, offering a complete scan of the WordPress functional features.

Offering version 4.7 video headers

Using video is a great way to enhance your content. Digital marketers, designers, advertisers, and everyone in between, is focusing on video and WordPress is no different in this regard.

WordPress will introduce video headers in Version 4.7. This will make adding and displaying video much easier and will result in more people interacting and engaging with your content.

Mobile non-responsiveness

The biggest concern of the present era is that people are using mobile devices more and more. This is important for any site owner because all content needs to be responsive.

Websites with outdated designs and themes do not respond properly to mobile platforms and most certainly be penalized by Google as well. There is no excuse for WordPress web developers and admins to ignore this trend. Hence, WordPress has decided to pay much more importance to mobile-first themes in 2018.

WP- CLI

The better the administrative tasks of the website, the better it is going to run, right? This is a notion by which mostly all of the users abide by. A program that offers good setup and maintenance options tends to run better.

The WordPress developers acknowledge this fact and so they have worked in order to develop a tool that smoothens the administrative task for the developers. It is known as the WP-CLI developer tool. It makes it easy to use the website. Another fancy benefit of this tool is that you can add built-in-commands in the input section. Once done, the tasks are then completed instantly according to the command.

Security

One of the major problems that are being faced by public these days is that people have security issues. Security has become the basic need and first priority of people and WordPress totally understands this! It has already started working on it and its target for 2018 is to make ensure the security of public data and information completely.

WordPress has reinforced the commitment of GDPR Compliance Team to enhance and improve privacy standards, that spans four areas:

  1.    Adding tools which will permit the WordPress admins to gather the records they need about their websites.
  2.    Analyzing the plugin guidelines on account of the privacy concerns
  3.    Creating documentation focused on privacy concerns
  4.    Improving privacy standards in WordPress Core

REST API

Though the REST API hasn’t been discussed in a long time, it is still a huge win for WordPress. The security issues faced by the REST API are compensated by the security updates offered by WordPress creating a win-win situation for both of them. Thus, it definitely looks like they are going to burn the candle at both ends in 2018.

Moving Foward

In addition to all this, WordPress is very clear in its vision. Since the CMS has been formed it is continuously evolving and at a great speed. They have not only been working to make just their firm better but has also put an equal effort in its marketing which is a huge and necessary chunk of any competitive firm that aims to lead all other organizations.

It is also expected that WordPress will team up with Magento developer from companies in 2018. We can’t wait to see WordPress take over the remaining 70 percent of the web.

Junaid Ali Qureshi is a digital marketing specialist who has helped several businesses gain traffic, outperform competition and generate profitable leads. His current ventures include Magentodevelopers, elephantation, eLabelz, Smart Leads.ae, Progos Tech and eCig.

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5 Psychological Design Tricks to Make Your WordPress Site Get Noticed

5 Psychological Design Tricks to Make Your WordPress Site Get Noticed

When creating a WordPress page, you think of its usability and visual components. You want more people to visit it and say “Wow!”

But let’s face it, you want to convert, as well. Design and copywriting techniques do wonders, but sometimes you don’t see any logic behind users’ reactions to your website. You’ve put a lot of work into making your site easy to follow and interesting to visit, but visitors still aren’t turning into customers.

What the heck?

The problem is, you forget about human psychology and emotions while crafting your site. It’s important to try to understand how people react to certain stimuli, and then tailor your WordPress websites accordingly.

These five psychological tricks will help.

1) Your WordPress Template Color

Do your best to answer this question:

What principles do you follow when choosing a WordPress theme for your page? Price, features, usability, the freedom to customize it? And what about the target audience? When choosing a color scheme, do you think about the psychology behind colors?

People are 90 percent visual beings, and that is why colors you choose for a WordPress page matter so much. Considering both positive and negative properties of primary colors, you will be able to find a stellar combination for your site to stand out.

For instance, violet evokes a sense of quality, luxury, and authenticity. It enhances trust, so it’s not surprising that purple WordPress themes are so popular. This also holds true for many websites: Elementor.com, PlagiarismCheck.org, WPTeamSupport.com – all have violet as the main color to provoke a positive response from visitors.

Also, consider the gender of your target audience when crafting a WordPress page: men and women react to different colors differently. Despite its luxury, purple doesn’t seem a favorite for men; with blue ruling the perception of both genders, many websites (and Torque’s not an exception) feature it heavily.

2) Fonts: Psychology Behind Size and Shape

Typography matters, and it plays a huge role in creating the first impression of your website. It’s a proven fact that fonts convey different messages:

  • Serif expresses tradition and respect,
  • Sans-serif is universal and modern at the same time,
  • Slab serif demonstrates power and trustworthiness,
  • Script is elegant and creative,
  • Modern is stylish and intelligent.

And given that a person needs about two-tenths of a second to form an opinion about a web page, you should decide on the right font for your WordPress page to elicit particular associations from visitors. Also, remember that shapes influence a human perception too.

3) Visuals on Your WordPress Page

Numbers speak volumes.

People are 80 percent more likely to like your site and 85 percent more likely to become a customer if you publish great visual and multimedia content. A suitable image completes your page, tells a story, and motivates visitors to scroll and take some action.

Have you ever considered your WordPress image hero? It’s an element with a strong emotional and persuasive connotation, able to express your brand goal and help visitors acquire your marketing message right.

What visuals will work best for your site?

  • Relevant to your message and keywords.
  • Express desired emotions to motivate visitors and make them keep on reading.
  • Trustworthy and of a high quality.
  • Those in contrast with your web design.

4) Words You Use

To wow visitors to your site, make sure it has a strong information scent and surplus value.

Given that people don’t read but scan content to decide whether to continue examining it, visual clues such as CTA buttons, comfortable navigation, personalization, and right text structure allow them to decide whether or not your page is worth staying on.

Avoid content usability blunders, which are:

  • Right alignment
  • Wrong color-contrast ratio
  • Hard-to-see subheads
  • Wrong spacing
  • Complex text structure
  • Large text fields
  • No paragraphs

And remember: in the age of information overflow, people don’t trust one single source anymore. Your site should answer a “So what?” question for visitors to choose it. Clear, concise, and consistent information, told with powerful words is the way to do this. Also, consider the readability of your page before publishing: cliches, long words, and awkward sentences.

5) Persuasion Principles You Consider

According to Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, there are six principles you should consider when designing a site:

  1. Reciprocation- When you “oblige” someone to respond.
  2. Commitment and consistency- When you engage someone and make them commit to your brand.
  3. Social proof- When you provide visitors with reviews, testimonials, or awards you’ve received to prove your business is legit.
  4. Liking- When you imitate tones and visual preferences of your target audience, so they could feel you’re a sociable fellow when visiting your WordPress page.
  5. Authority- When you demonstrate expertise in the niche, so visitors would trust your website.
  6. Scarcity- When you highlight the exclusivity of your offer so people would be “afraid” of losing it.

All of them are actively used by social media marketers, but you are welcome to choose any for your site so it would look and sound more persuasive. It’s a powerful weapon for users attraction and lead generation. Creating a page with psychology in mind, you will have better success converting visitors into customers.

Tailor your site to spark, capture attention, and correlate with your visitors’ needs and internal biases.

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What You Should Do Before Changing Your Theme

What You Should Do Before Changing Your Theme

One of the benefits of WordPress is the ability to change themes as often as you want. You can use themes and plugins to extend the functionality of your website so that you can get the site of your dreams, and with thousands of themes in the WordPress repository and elsewhere, there is practically no limit to the number of themes you can install.

However, before you jump right into changing themes, there are a few crucial steps you need to take to ensure that the whole process runs smoothly and you do not lose vital information on your website.

Take notes about your current theme

When you replace your WordPress theme, a lot of things will likely change, such as appearance, arrangement, and page structure. If there are aspects of your website you don’t want to lose, such as colors, links and navigation elements,  you need to take note of them.

If you made manual changes to the core of your current theme that affect the functionality of your website, you may need to do the same on the new theme. You need to keep track of all the code you added, and any CSS changes, and record your website’s load speed time to compare it with the new theme. Don’t forget a website theme can affect your page load speed and regardless of how much functionality a new theme gives you, you need one that is very fast.

Backup your site

Switching between one WordPress theme and another is a relatively safe and simple process; however, you can never be too safe. “It is always a good idea to have a backup of your website, regardless of how easy or complex the changes you want to carry out are,” suggests Brenden, tech expert at Open Host. “There is the possibility that the theme you want to install may not be compatible with the version of  WordPress you are using, or the plugins installed.”

When there are incompatibility issues, you can experience what is known as the ‘white screen of death’, or you can lose your website completely. If nothing else, having a backup makes you feel more secure, and will reduce the stress associated with carrying out changes on your website.

Don’t forget tracking codes

A lot of website owners use one form of analytics or another to keep track of the performance of their website. While most website owners use plugins to add tracking codes, others manually add the codes in the footer file. Some themes carry provisions for Google Adsense and other types of monetization codes. For others, you need to hardcode it into the theme’s files directly.

Whichever method you use, ensure that you copy and paste these codes into a safe place so that you can use them in your new theme. This is one aspect that most website owners overlook, or totally forget to do.

Go in maintenance mode

Before you move from one theme to another, it is important that you place your website in maintenance mode. You don’t want visitors coming to your website while you are making changes and seeing a broken page. Placing your website on maintenance mode tells visitors that you are carrying out crucial updates on your website and it will be back up in no time. If visitors experience downtime on your website without any logical reason, you will lose credibility.

There are some themes that come with the maintenance mode function inbuilt. However, you may need to install a plugin for this purpose. It is best to send out a note to your subscribers, or put up a site-wide message 20 to 30 minutes before you begin maintenance. Try your best to give an estimate of when work will be finished so that your visitors know what to expect.

Test all functionalities

The most likely reason for changing your WordPress theme is because you want a different feature from what you have already. It naturally follows that after installing and activating the new theme, you should check that everything is working perfectly. Check for broken links, broken images, 404 error pages, and every other aspect of your website’s functionality. After this, you will need to look at the notes you took at the beginning of the process. Add the code that provides the functionalities you had in the old theme that you want to use in the new theme.

You also need to check that all the installed plugins are working properly. If you find that you are having problems with your new theme, deactivating plugins one at a time and refreshing your page will help you identify the culprit plugin.

Test across devices

After confirming that your website is okay on your end, it is vital that you do the same across multiple devices. More visitors access online content via their phones and mobile devices, so you need to make sure that your new theme shows your website properly on those devices.

Apart from testing across all devices, you may need to test across platforms and browsers also. Some themes are cross platform/browser compatible, while others are not. Carrying out this test will let you know if your website will look the same to all your visitors regardless of device or platform.

Update ads and third-party content

If you use digital advertising on your website or have any form of third-party content, bear in mind that these ads and content will appear the same way they were on the old website. If your new theme has a different color or appearance, you will need to update the ads and content to reflect your new display.

For instance, if your old theme gave your website an orange color and your ads had orange links, but now your new theme is green, you may need to change the colors of your ads and content to reflect this new design.

Let your visitors know you are back

Once you are satisfied with your new theme and design, the next step is to go off maintenance mode. However, you may not have caught all the bugs in your new theme, so you need to let your users know about the new change, and tell them to keep a lookout for bugs.

If you are using a premium theme, you can contact the theme developer about any bugs you come across. In some cases, they can take a look at it for free. In other cases, you may need to pay to have these issues fixed.

James is an experienced senior manager who runs a UK writing company, DailyPosts, with staff around the world. He builds websites across a wide range of niche and currently has over 40 WordPress properties. He is an expert at developing functional requirements for businesses and helping developers turn them into technical specifications to make them a reality.

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7 Common Mistakes We All Make While Starting Out On Our Blog Journey

The 5 Best Related Posts Plugins For WordPress To Engage Your Visitors

From a platform for self-expression to being one of the most powerful tools for sharing professional information on the net, blogging has come a long way.

A professional blog is a great way to promote any business or just share your passion with the world. But there are some things to keep in mind before embarking on your first blog journey.

Before starting out, we need a blogging platform that’s easy to set-up and doesn’t require any coding skills. Though there are many options available, WordPress is truly the best one. It’s scalable, cheap, and completely customizable. You can start with a small blog and easily grow it as your business grows.

However, there are a lot of mistakes beginner bloggers make, in this article we’ll go through the most common and how to avoid them.

Getting Confused with the Platform

The most common mistake people often make is choosing the wrong platform because of the underlying confusion between WordPress.com (which is a self-hosted platform) and WordPress.org (which requires you to host your own blog or website).

Depending on how much you are willing to spend or how much control you want over your site, you can choose the best available option. If you plan to grow your website and have more options for customization, going with a hosting company on .org is the way to go. This will allow you to keep your domain name as you grow.

Not Choosing your Target Audience

More than half the bloggers you will meet have no idea who they are blogging for. In order to attract to your audience, you need to know who they are.

Select your audience, find out relevant details about them and use that information to devise a successful blog strategy that appeals to your audience and helps you stand out.

Neglecting the Importance of Emails

Email lists are a very important part of your marketing campaign. Along with social media, emails are a great way to get your content in front of more eyes.

Set up an email campaign with a plugin like MailChimp. Find the content you want to share with your audience and schedule a time to send it out weekly or monthly.

Avoid Posting Too Much or Too Little

It can be hard to find a good balance between posting too much or too little. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience, but you want to make sure they see new content when they visit.

Make sure you find a cadence that suits the needs of your audience but is also easy for you to stick to. The quality of content shouldn’t suffer because you’re trying to post something every day. Try difference schedules for a couple weeks and see what works best for you and your audience.

 

 

Not Devising any Financial Plans with Your Blog

Initially, you might have started blogging as a hobby but in due time, your website will need money to stay afloat even if you didn’t plan on it initially. And if you are going to spend a lot of time on it, why not use it to make some extra income for you?

Allowing advertisements on your website is a common way of generating income, other ways include promoting affiliate products, offering a job board, asking for donations etc. Try out some options that work for you.

Start Blogging

Now you have the tools to go forward and start blogging!

Janet T Clinton is a web design professional working at Clap Creative, a web design company in Los Angeles. She has written several articles related to technology, e-commerce and entrepreneurship. You can follow her on Twitter as well @janettclinton.

The post 7 Common Mistakes We All Make While Starting Out On Our Blog Journey appeared first on Torque.

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Using the WordPress Desktop App with Self-hosted WordPress – A Review

Using the WordPress Desktop App with Self-hosted WordPress – A Review

There are many tools to help you take care of your WordPress website. We have talked about some of them in the past in this post. Aside from them, there are also the official WordPress mobile apps.

Although it has been around for a while, a lesser-known example is the WordPress desktop app named Calypso. It was originally made for WordPress.com customers to let them take care of their sites from their desktop computers. However, in combination with the Jetpack plugin, it also works for self-hosted WordPress sites.

In this article, I will show you how to use it. I will first give you a bit of information on the app and talk about the pros and cons of using it. After that, you will learn how to set up and install the WordPress desktop app step by step. Finally, the post will explain how to use the app with your self-hosted WordPress site.

Let’s get going.

The WordPress Desktop App – Pros and Cons

Calypso is made by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. The app is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Let’s talk about some of its pros and cons.

Pros

The advantages of using the WordPress desktop app for self-hosted sites are numerous:

  • Really fast thanks to JavaScript and the WP REST API
  • Ability to perform management tasks without opening your browser
  • Comfortable user interface that makes working with your site easy
  • Great, distraction-free writing experience
  • Works for several sites at once, eliminates a lot of logins

Cons

However, there are also a few areas where WordPress desktop app is lacking:

  • Doesn’t let you save posts offline, needs an Internet connection to work
  • Unable to load custom fields like the Yoast SEO content analysis box
  • You need to have Jetpack installed and a WordPress.com account
  • It’s missing some important settings, such as the ability to manage menus

Connecting the WordPress Desktop App to Your Self-Hosted Website

Alright, now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of the app, let’s take it for a spin. First, you will learn how to install it and connect it to your self-hosted website.

1. Install Jetpack

As mentioned, for the app to work you need to have Jetpack present on your site. If you haven’t installed it already, go to Plugins > Add New. Here, you should see Jetpack somewhere near the top of the list.

If you don’t see it, simply search for the plugin by name. When you have found it, click Install Now and activate the plugin once it’s done downloading.

2. Connect Jetpack to Your WordPress.com Account

Once Jetpack is installed, it will ask you to connect to a WordPress.com account. For that, click on Set up Jetpack.

wordpress desktop app set up jetpack

This will take you to WordPress.com website. If you already have an account there, simply input your credentials to log in. Otherwise, hit the Sign up button in the upper right corner.

wordpress desktop app connect jetpack to wordpress com

WordPress.com will then ask you for an email address, username, and password. Pick whatever you like. Just be sure that at the end of the setup process, when asked about which plan you want to sign up for, you find the Start with free button at the bottom and click it.

wordpress desktop app pick wordpress com plan

After that, you will automatically be redirected to your site.

3. Download and Install the WordPress Desktop App

After that, go to the official page of the WordPress desktop app. Here, hit download button and save the file to your computer.

download wordpress desktop app

Once it’s done downloading, find the file on your hard drive and execute it. Follow the steps to install the Calypso on your machine. It should start automatically after setup is finished.

4. Connect Your Self-hosted Site to the App

When the WordPress desktop app starts, you will see this screen.

wordpress desktop app first sign in

Here, once again, you need to input your WordPress.com credentials. Once you have done so, you land on the app’s main screen.

wordpress desktop app landing screen

Here, it shows you the latest posts of all WordPress sites you follow within the app or your WordPress.com account.

To manage your site in the WordPress desktop app, you need to click on My Site in the upper left corner of the screen. When you do, you should get to the following page.

wordpress desktop app main screen

Note: If you have several sites connected via Jetpack, you will first see options for all of them. To deal with one in particular, click on Switch Site to get to the list of available websites. From that menu, you can also connect a new site by clicking the respective button at the bottom.

That’s it, your website is now connected. Time to check what Calypso allows you to do.

Taking Care of Your Site in the App

In the remainder of this article, we will go through the WordPress desktop app options and how they help you take care of your site.

Check Statistics

As you have seen above, when you first connect your site, you will see the Jetpack statistics on the right.

In this screen you can do all the usual things: check traffic, gain insights into visitor behavior, monitor activity, see popular posts and pages, referrers, search terms, search locations and link clicks.

You are also able to look at statistics for past weeks, months and years. If you have worked with Jetpack before, this should all be very familiar.

Create Posts and Pages

In the left-side column, you have the option to create new content. The app lists your pages, posts, and any custom post types. Be aware, however, that you currently cannot create or manage the latter inside the WordPress desktop app.

wordpress desktop app add content

To create a new post or page, simply click Add in the respective field. For blog posts, you also have the option to hit Write at the top of the screen.

wordpress desktop app write button

Both will take you to this nice, clean writing environment:

wordpress desktop app post and page editing screen

If you have worked with the WordPress editor before, everything will be very familiar. On the left side, you are able to edit the post title and URL as well as add and format content. If you want to do some light coding, you can also go into to HTML mode.

Be aware, that the media button is found under Add on the left side.

wordpress desktop app add media to content

Clicking it allows you to access your site’s media library or other sources and create Jetpack contact forms.

On the right side of the screen, you find all the usual options like post scheduling, adding a featured image, changing categories and tags, excerpts, and more. You can also disable this sidebar by clicking on the gear symbol on top. This will give you a true distraction-free writing experience.

wordpress desktop app distraction free editing mode

When you are done, either publish your post right away from inside the WordPress desktop app or preview it beforehand with the button on top. The latter will open a browser window so you can check the post or page in the context of your actual website.

Manage Existing Content

Of course, you are not just able to create new content but also take care of what is already on your site. When you click on Site Pages or Blog Posts, you get a list of existing content.

wordpress desktop app manage posts and pages

This includes drafts, scheduled posts and what is in your trash can. From here you can also edit, view/preview, publish, duplicate, share and delete them as well as check their stats. Just click on the icon with the three dots. In addition to that, a click on one of your posts or pages will take you back to the editor where you can make any changes you desire.

Install and Manage and Themes

Within the Themes section, you are able to install, upload and change themes.

wordpress desktop app manage themes

However, there is a downside: in Calypso, you can only install themes available on WordPress.com. If you want to add a theme from the WordPress.org directory, you need to either upload it manually or go to your site and install it from there.

You also can not customize your themes inside the WordPress desktop app. If you click on the Customize button, it will instead take you to the site’s customizer page inside your web browser.

Install and Manage Plugins

In contrast to the Themes section, the Plugins menu does give you access to everything found on WordPress.org.

wordpress desktop app install new plugins

You can search for any plugin in the directory and install it with a single click. Uploading a third-party plugins is also possible.

Besides that, you have the opportunity to manage existing extensions on your site and you can activate, deactivate, update and remove them from inside the desktop app.

wordpress desktop app manage existing plugins

Updating can be done either one by one or for all plugins at once. The WordPress desktop app even allows you to set plugins to auto update. That way you no longer have to take care of it manually. However, be sure to enable this only for plugins you trust.

Manage Comments

Under Comments, you predictably find an option to moderate discussions happening on your site. It has all the usual options you know from the WordPress dashboard.

wordpress desktop app manage comments

View the latest comments, approve, reply, delete or move them to spam. Easy peasy.

Manage Users

Should you want to modify the users who have access to your site, you can do so under the People tab.

wordpress desktop app manage users

This menu lets you add team members with a simple click of the button. If you click on existing users, you are also able to change their roles, edit their details and delete them if necessary.

Edit Settings

In the Settings section, you are able to control all important options about your site.

wordpress desktop app site settings

Note, however, that these are not the same settings that you find on your self-hosted site. Some of them are Jetpack specific, such as the options to enable the WordPress.com toolbar, move images to the Jetpack CDN and switch on infinite scroll.

However, you also find familiar settings such as changing your site title and tagline and controlling the comment options. Import and export tools are also located in this menu. Yet, to change some stuff you still need to go to your actual site.

Configure Sharing Options

Finally, the sharing module is part of Jetpack and also built into the WordPress desktop app under Sharing.

wordpress desktop app configure sharing options

In this menu, you are able to set up your social media accounts and have WordPress automatically share posts to them. In the second tab, you can add share buttons for different social networks to many parts of your site.

wordpress desktop app add sharing buttons

The WordPress Desktop App – Is It for You?

Overall Calypso offers a great way to take care of basic administration of your site. You are able to run several sites from the same dashboard and perform the most important management tasks. The interface is nice and clean and I especially like that everything works very fast.

The biggest downside, in my opinion, is the lack of custom metaboxes. Since I use Yoast SEO on pretty much all of my posts, it would be really helpful to be able to use it from inside the WordPress desktop app as well. Having to go back to my actual site to fill in keywords and meta descriptions kind of defeats the purpose of having a dedicated app. Same for creating and managing menus.

I also miss the ability to update WordPress core. The app tells you when updates are available but directs you to your site to actually do it. On the other hand, being able to update all plugins for all sites from one place is pretty cool. Plus, autoupdates – so useful.

Aside from that, I also found annoying that when I needed to update to the latest version of Jetpack or enable an extra module to take advantage of some features, I always had to restart the app for the changes to take effect. This could have been solved better.

However, the WordPress desktop app offers a solid user experience and I absolutely recommend checking it out.

Are you using the WordPress desktop app? What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nick Schäferhoff is an entrepreneur, online marketer, and professional blogger from Germany. He found WordPress when he needed a website for his first business and instantly fell in love. When not building websites, creating content or helping his clients improve their online business, he can most often be found at the gym, the dojo or traveling the world with his wife. If you want to get in touch with him, you can do so via Twitter or through his website.

The post Using the WordPress Desktop App with Self-hosted WordPress – A Review appeared first on Torque.



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