Top 10 Tips To Fix Most Common WordPress Security Issues 

Top 10 Tips To Fix Most Common WordPress Security Issues 

Three out of every four WordPress websites are vulnerable to attacks. If your site is hacked, it will not only cost you in terms of restoring the system back to a safe level, but it will also damage your reputation and affect your search engine ranking.

But if you follow some best practices you can tighten the security and protect the website from malicious attacks. Here are some tips to fix WordPress security issues.

Tip # 1: Two-factor authentication

An effective method of protecting your WordPress website from brute force attacks is to secure your site’s login. By implementing two-factor authentication you can have an extra layer of security during login.

Apart from a username and password, you will need to enter a one-time passcode sent via an SMS to your phone to log in to the site. Several plugins like Duo Two-factor authentication, Google Authenticator are available to implement this feature effectively.

Tip # 2: Strong password

An effective way of dealing with WordPress security issues is to have a strong password with a minimum of 10 characters. It should be a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and numbers along with special characters.

Passwords should be hard to guess and they should be changed often. Preferably keep different passwords for different websites. One can use tools like “Strong password generator” to generate passwords that are hard to crack.

Get Ultimate WordPress Security Guide

Tip# 3: Limit login attempts

Hackers use tactics like trying to login to the website again and again until they crack the password. If you limit the number of times a person can attempt to log in within a specific period one can save the WordPress website from brute-force attacks.

There are plugins available that have a locking mechanism to restrict the number of login attempts. They block the IP addresses of users that cross the threshold limit of failed login attempts.

Tip # 4: Choose a good hosting provider

You can make use of the latest security hacks but your efforts will be in vain if the security of your host itself is vulnerable to attacks. Choose a good hosting provider that specializes in WordPress and includes WP firewall, Malware scanning, up-to-date PHP, and MySQL to ensure a secured hosting.

Tip # 5: Scheduled Backups

As a part of an effective security and crisis management strategy, one must have a scheduled backup plan. If something goes wrong, one can rely on the backup solution to restore to the version prior to the damage and get back on track in the least possible time. Plugins like Vaultpress, Backup Buddy help in taking regular backups and provide restore options.

Tip # 6: Change admin username

Don’t keep “admin” as the username, since it is the most commonly used string. Hackers use this username first to try and break into the website. If you already have a WordPress website with a username as admin, you will need to create a new user and give him administrative privileges.

Assign your posts to the new admin user. Then delete the old admin account from WordPress. Alternatively, you can change the admin username by using a plugin.

Tip # 7: Keep WordPress environment up to date

Whenever a security issue crops up WordPress releases an updated version to patch the security flaw. Make sure that you upgrade your WordPress installation whenever a new version is released. Running an older version of WordPress makes it vulnerable.

Since the hackers get information regarding the security flaws of the older version they can easily target and attack your website if it still runs on an older version. Use automatic updates and maintain your website regularly.

Tip # 8: Update Plugins and Themes

Plugins and themes are like open doors to your personal information. Since they are prone to attacks they need to be secured properly. Keep them up to date just as you do with the WordPress environment.

You can easily identify the plugins that require updating in the admin dashboard. Configure automatic updates wherever possible so that everything stays current.

Tip #9: Delete plugins not in use

Inactive plugins on a WordPress website are prone to threats. Because one tends to ignore the updates on those plugins. Hence it’s a good idea to delete plugins that you are not using and reduce vulnerability. Note that simply deactivating the plugin isn’t enough. You need to delete them to ensure they do not become the entry points for the hackers.

Tip # 10: Monitor WordPress files

Use security plugins like Wordfence help you monitor and track changes to the WP files. With security scanning and intrusion detection and prevention features, these plugins provide for a complete security solution.

These were just some of the strategies that one can adapt to Fix WordPress security issues. Protecting the WordPress environment is a continuous process. One needs to be aware of the new threats as well as new tricks and tools to deal with them on a regular basis.


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Pricing Pages: Should You Add to Your Freelance Website?

Pricing Pages: Should You Add to Your Freelance Website?

There’s an ongoing debate amongst freelancers that revolves around whether or not to publicly display pricing on their portfolio website’s pricing page. For many, the worry stems from the possibility that publicly sharing their rates on a pricing page will deter potential clients—especially those just outside of their typical range. The major question then becomes: […]

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Why and How to Increase Dwell Time on Your WordPress Website

Why and How to Increase Dwell Time on Your WordPress Website

Dwell time and how to increase dwell time are often neglected elements of search engine optimization. You, too, probably mostly concentrate on how to get visitors on your site and rarely give a thought about how to keep them there.

However, dwell time, the amount of time visitors spend on your site, is an important indicator. Longer dwell time usually indicates a positive user experience. It’s also something search engines take notice of.

For that reason, in this post we will dive into the topic of how to increase dwell time on your WordPress site. For that, we will first examine what dwell time is and why it matters. After that, we will shortly discuss how to measure it and finish the post with some practical advice on how to increase dwell time on your site.

What is Dwell Time (And Why Should You Care)?

The term “dwell time” was pioneered by Duane Forrester, then Senior Project Manager at Bing, who mentioned it in a blog post on the Bing Webmaster blog. Here’s how he defined it:

The time between when a user clicks on our search result and when they come back from your website […].

In short, it’s the time people consume your content before looking for more. So far so good. Why does this matter to search engines? Here’s Forrester’s take:

Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you. If your content does not encourage them to remain with you, they will leave. The search engines can get a sense of this by watching the dwell time.

So basically, dwell time is a metric that tells search engines how well you manage to satisfy your visitors needs. If they spend a lot of time on your page, it means they like what they found and your content fulfills what they came to your site for.

Since it’s the job of search engines to provide users with the best possible search results, seeing visitors satisfied with your page is a good thing. Consequently, it would be a reason to promote your page in the search results. Conversely, a short duration could be a reason to demote it.

While dwell time isn’t an official ranking factor, you would still do well to increase it as much as you can. Why is that? Because a) there are indications that dwell time does influence search rankings and b) taking measures to increase dwell time will improve your general SEO and the quality of your site. And that can never be a bad thing.

How to Calculate Dwell Time

Before attempting to improve it, you first need to have an idea of how your site is currently faring in terms of dwell time. After all, you can only measure improvements if you have a clear before picture.

However, when you check Google Analytics or the analytics tool of your choice, you will be hard pressed to find dwell time displayed anywhere. The only thing Google offers is time on page and bounce rate.

While those are useful metrics to approximate dwell time, they are not quite the same:

  • Dwell time — As mentioned, this means the time interval between someone clicking on a search result and returning to the search page (and only the search page).
  • Bounce rate — The percentage of people who leave your site after visiting only one page. It doesn’t matter whether they spent two seconds or an hour on there, without a second click both counts as a bounce.
  • Time on page — Means the amount of time people spend on your page before moving on to anywhere else. Their next destination can be the search page, another page on your site or a completely different website.

In short, while dwell time is related to bounce rate and time on page, it’s not quite either of them. At the same time, there is no official way to measure dwell time. It’s more of a concept than a hard metric and I recommend reading Neil Patel’s detailed discussion of dwell time.

As a consequence, those two metrics are a good way to give you an indication of how your pages’ dwell time is faring. For that reason, before taking any corrective action, you’d do well to note them down for pages that you want to improve. The article cited above also gives you an idea as to what numbers to shoot for.

Effective Ways to Increase Dwell Time in WordPress

Alright, now that you know why dwell time matters and the state of affairs on your website, it’s time to take action. Trying to increase dwell time, in a nutshell, it comes down to two factors:

  • Providing an excellent user experience
  • Creating relevant, unique, valuable and engaging content

However, the devil is in the details. For that reason, here are some actionable pointers on how to do that.

Optimize the First Impression

The first thing people see on your site has great influence on whether they will stick around. If they are turned off immediately, there’s no reason for them to proceed to the rest of the page. This decision happens in milliseconds. Since you rarely have a second chance to make a first impression, you better make it count:

  • Page loading speed — 40 percent of users will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Three seconds? That’s shorter than it takes you to spell bounce rate. Consequently, the first step to increase dwell time on your site is learn how to speed up your WordPress website.
  • Design — Web design has a lot of sway on whether visitors trust your website. That’s why you need to make sure it’s crisp and resonates with your target audience. Simple backgrounds, plenty of white space as well as clear and easy-to-read fonts are your friend.
  • Layout — Design and layout go hand in hand. Make sure your content takes center stage and is easy to consume (more on that below). You can write the best content in the world, if it gives people vertigo trying to read it, they won’t.
  • Mobile optimization — A surefire way to keep your dwell time at zero on mobile devices is to have an unresponsive website. It’s just not acceptable in today’s Internet. So, learn what makes a website mobile friendly today and put it into practice.
  • Ads and popups — While popups can be absolutely essential in building an email list, they can also be annoying as heck. Same for ads. That’s also why Chrome will begin blocking them if they are too intrusive and Google started penalizing ads last year. When using either, make sure they don’t interfere with the user experience. Use exit-intent technology and other ways for more subtelty.

Concentrate on User Needs

As explained earlier, long dwell time usually means your page is fulfilling user needs. That’s why it takes them a long time before they decide to look for additional information. Conversely, to increase dwell time, try not to give them a reason to leave. Here’s how to do that:

  • Understand your users — The first way to fulfill user intent is to understand what it is. If you can get into your audience’s heads and understand what they are looking for, you’re much better equipped to give it to them. Doing market research for your website will help with that.
  • Write longer content — Long-form content outperforms shorter pieces by a long shot. It only makes sense, as longer posts allow you to dive deeper into a topic and answer more of your readers’ questions. Although it’s more work, it also gets results.
  • Target the right keywords — The keywords in your title and description make a promise about what your piece is going to be about. If in the end you don’t deliver on that promise (e.g. an “ultimate guide” that’s only 300 words long), visitors will leave in droves. Consequently, your dwell time will suffer. Don’t do that. Oh, and stay away from clickbait headlines.
  • Keep your content up to date — Stale content is one of the best ways to direct visitors to the back button. There’s nothing more disappointing than clicking through to an article and realizing it’s horribly out of date. I personally rarely even click on search results older than two years. Others will feel the same.
  • Respond to questions and comments — the most important conversation happens in the comment section. If people interact with your articles, the worst you can do is ignore them. Not only do other people read the comments (thus staying on your site longer), when you interact with them, it’s also a reason to come back to your site.

Make Your Content Highly Readable

Readability has gained in importance in recent years. Team Yoast also gave a talk on the topic at WordCamp Europe 2016 on why they added a readability tool to their SEO plugin. Here are their recommendations to make content readable:

yoast tips for content formatting

To that, I would add:

  • Be relatable — People want to connect with other people. Therefore, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your writing. Ask questions, make jokes, be a little silly. It will help others relate to your content on a more personal level and make it more entertaining.
  • Use media — Images, infographics, videos, and other media are great tools to emphasize what you are talking about and break up your content. Plus, with loads of free stock photos out there and the many services for which WordPress supports auto embeds, there’s really no excuse not to use them.

Include Internal Links

Dwell time is not just about the page that people land on. It’s also about the total time they spend on your website. For that reason, in order to keep them around longer, give them somewhere to go next.

Linking to related posts on your site (like I am doing in this piece) is one of the ways to achieve that. Another is to include a widget in your sidebar or at the end of your post that lists your latest, popular or related posts.

related posts widget to increase dwell time
Related posts here on Torque

For latest posts, WordPress has a solution built in. Good options for related posts are Jetpack and Related Posts for WordPress. Good popular posts plugins are the aforementioned Jetpack and WordPress Popular Posts.

Of course, you should also link to outside sources (where appropriate). However, when you do, make sure to open those links in a new tab or window.

open external links in new tab to increase dwell time

It’s counterproductive to try and increase dwell time on your site and then send visitors elsewhere.

Dwell Time in a Nutshell…

Dwell time is a much-debated topic in the SEO world. While it has been around as a concept for a long time, a lot of it is still unclear. Among them the question how to measure it reliably and how much weight search engines attribute to it.

However, no matter whether Google actually tracks dwell time (they probably do) taking measures to increase it can only help your WordPress site. After all, the time visitors spend on your site before returning to the SERPs is an important quality indicator. Consequently, any measures to increase dwell time will improve your site and your SEO overall.

Focus on the two pillars user experience and content. If you do that, dwell time will happen by itself.

How do you feel about dwell time as a metric for website success? Any thoughts on how to further increase dwell time on websites? 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.

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How WPML Contractors and Display as Translated Helps Businesses and Developers Build Multilingual Websites

How WPML Contractors and Display as Translated Helps Businesses and Developers Build Multilingual Websites

You think you have identified the developer you want to build your multilingual website. But just like with lawyers, plumbers, or any other time you put the fate of an important project in the hands of a relative stranger, a lingering doubt always remains.

Have I made the right decision?

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like this.

At least when it comes to developers. With WPML Contractors, you will find trusted professionals who have experience in building multilingual websites.

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Tips and Tricks for Using WordPress for Digital Signage

Tips and Tricks for Using WordPress for Digital Signage

Digital displays have entered a new era in the advertising arena. From static displays to dynamic displays, business owners today have so much to choose from as far as marketing their brands is concerned. Compared to simple advertisement solutions, digital displays guarantee more attraction.

Post-2010, several industries have embraced digital signage as a marketing avenue. Today, you will find digital signboards in hotels, corporate offices, and many fast food outlets. The ability of digital signage to support several media formats such as text, video and high-res photos makes it an awesome choice for promoting one’s business. Without a perfect framework, maintaining such would be a gruesome task. This explains why many of the signage designers heavily rely on WordPress as a platform.

Favorite CMS platform

Recent research indicates that WordPress powers 75% of the websites currently online. As such, it does not come as a great surprise when WordPress turns out to be a preferable CMS platform for most digital signage companies. WordPress presents an easier option for managing digital signage content. Selecting existing photos and incorporating new videos is made easier by WordPress.

Choosing the right WordPress design for your site is as important as investing in quality templates where signage is concerned. It is important that you choose highly responsive themes and appropriate plugins. To ensure your presentations perfectly adapt to various screen sizes, it is advisable that you keep off old, free templates. Even if it means investing money in quality WordPress templates, consider that for the sake of your customers.

Look for the right plugins

Signage experts agree that investing in the right WordPress plugins is one way of making the most out of this technology. Take your time to choose appropriate plugins for an easier time creating signage presentations. With a couple of plugins, you can undertake the process of creating digital signs in less than 10 minutes. With such plugins, one can easily extract information from his company’s website. At your disposal are the abilities to control the screens, include catchy texts and even add videos to enhance digital display.

WordPress allows you to continuously check for updates while controlling various content displayed in the digital signage dashboard. If you have difficulties coding, you can always turn to WordPress plugins to help you create amazing displays the easier way. Simple drag and drop procedures might be the only procedures you require to build amazing content.

In most cases, the available plugins will demand that you create digital signs from scratch. It might sound like a daunting task but with the right choice of plugin, one can develop a sense of personal touch when designing digital signs. It is an opportunity to customize the signs in the best way possible, not just for you but for the prospective clients as well. By blending creativity and uniqueness, you can create appealing digital signage signs.

Are pre-built layouts worth trying?

Compared to other CMS platforms, WordPress users have access to more pre-built layouts and templates. By exploring such opportunities, users can create unique, appealing designs. For the bigger companies that need dynamic digital signboards, this is an opportunity worth taking. From the available templates, you will find necessary guidance.

When dealing with pre-built templates, it is important that you consider a number of factors. For one, you should pay attention to the information hierarchy. Although much guidance will come from the templates, you need to ensure a perfect flow of the headlines, spacing, and general arrangement. Pre-built templates can be considered when using WordPress for digital signage if you are willing to go the extra mile of perfecting the process.

Settle on the right fonts

As much as digital signage focuses on content, we all know that the appearance and general presentation is what matters. At a glance, people can only spot what is attractive. Many designers agree that font ranks highest among the aspects you should consider. Be keen when choosing one from the system. Remember, you have the option of exploring online repositories if the ideal fonts you are looking for are not available in the system font collection. For a better experience, it is advisable that you choose themes that blend well with Google fonts.

Luckily for you, WordPress supports a plethora of fonts. You can take advantage and embrace large fonts that make your message widely visible. The truth is that potential clients should be able to spot your advert and comfortably read it from far. At the same time, you should be careful not to make the signs on digital signage TVgarish. Simply make them noticeable from far.

Balance the colors

It is important to understand the role of colors where WordPress digital signage is concerned. Each advert, depending on your industry and the setting, has a fitting color choice. For instance, you cannot afford to be flashy on a digital signage presentation in a hospital. In the same way, you cannot use plain colors in fast food joints or restaurants.

At the back of your mind, you should think about the potential clients. What would most likely attract them? Other considerations such as age must also be factored in. Remember, what works so well for preschoolers might not be appreciated by campus students. Even in doing so, always have the aspect of simplicity in mind. In most cases, you do not need to be flashy to obtain traffic through digital signage. The trick lies in creativity and flexibility.

What digital signage presents is an opportunity to advance your marketing strategies. By taking advantage of WordPress as a CMS, you can make amazing digital signs for your business. However, designers must take into consideration various elements when working with WordPress templates. At the same time, you should closely consider other aspects such as fonts and colors that might not seem so important and yet are so vital. At the end of the day, be sure to impress your target audience with the presentation!

Karen is a Business Tech Analyst. She loves to share her knowledge and experience with her friends and colleagues.

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Choosing Between React and Vue For WordPress Development

Choosing Between React and Vue For WordPress Development

A few months ago I wrote on Quora, in response to a question if it’s better to learn Vue or React first. I said, “Learn VueJS first. I’d say that even if I knew there was a 100% chance you’d be using React in a year.” I’ve learned a lot more about React since then and I still stand by that.

I’ve been using React more recently. Because WordPress is integrating a lot of React concepts as part of the new “Gutenberg” system, the question of which framework you should use with WordPress has changed. This is a topic that’s been debated thoroughly since Matt Mullenweg first implored us to learn JavaScript #deeply.

Both React and Vue can help you accomplish what you need to, but which is best? If you’re already comfortable with both, it can be difficult to know when to use which. This article will help you decide.

Beginner Friendliness

Vue is more forgiving than React. I got so much more frustrated by things I was doing wrong in React that either were not a problem in Vue or Vue would have agreed to do while emitting a polite warning in the console about what I was doing wrong.

That’s two different ways to encourage a best practice. Vue’s way is more forgiving. You might argue React’s way is better because it means you have to use it the right way. Fine, but that’s not beginner friendly.

As I go into more depth on React vs Vue, I’ll keep coming back to a sense I had that coming from Vue to React, I felt like React was less complete. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll give examples as I go. It’s not a hard problem to solve, but it’s not one I want to solve while learning a new framework and a new concept. That concept “reactive framework” doesn’t require React to learn.


While you don’t need to know React to develop with Gutenberg, it does help a lot. WordPress, starting with version 5.0 is being rebuilt with a UI system that is built on React and Redux.

Also, you can use any framework you want with Gutenberg.

That said, you can use Vue or any other framework inside of Gutenberg. You could use Vue for controls of a block’s settings, or you can use Vue for the block preview and/ or front-end. You could even have a complete Vue app, that just used Gutenberg as it’s data provider.

Props and State

In React, components can be passed props from a parent component. These props can be used in the component, but cannot be mutated directly by the component. Components can also have state. Component state is internal, mutable, by the component. State can be defined in the component’s constructor.

Vue components also have props, that cannot be mutated by the component they are passed to. Vue Component internal state is called “data” and is exhibited using the function data or computed properties.

In React, state is accessed using this state and props are accessed using this props. Whereas in Vue both props and data are merged. As a result in React you can have a prop and a state value with the same name, in Vue that creates an error.

In React, component state is mutated using the function setState(), while in Vue, you just change the variable value directly or you use v-model directive in an HTML template and it’s all magical.

Using React’s setState is an extra step, that isn’t needed with Vue. Any mildly complex Vue or React app needs state management — using Redux, Vuex or similar — for app state and that involves state update function. That’s fine, but a function to update a component’s state is a lot of extra work that I have to do because there is no automatic binding, like v-model provides in Vue.Because this is something everyone needs to do, this makes React feel incomplete.


In both React and VueJS you can create HTML with render functions. In WordPress wp.element.createElement is also available — thanks to Gutenberg — as a render function. When creating React or Vue components this way, you have to write your own change handlers to modify state.

Both React and VueJS have a native templating system that is totally optional. This is their biggest difference. Vue is, at its origin, a cross between React and Angular. Vue’s data model is inspired by React and other frameworks based on observables. Vue’s templating with two-way data bindings is heavily Influenced by Angular (ng1) templates.

Vue templates are html-like and use two-way data bindings set with html attribute like directives that magically handle most change events and stage updates.

React uses JSX by default. JSX is a completely opposite approach then Angular and Vue html-like templates. JSX uses a JavaScript function or class. You can use a lot of HTML-like syntax. But it’s a lot less HTML-like than Vue.

Of course, you can use JSX in Vue, or other templating languages such as pug. Vue is super opinionated.

Binding To This

In a Vue component, the props and data of the component are bound to the special variable “this” of any function inside the component. This combined with the easier ways I already discussed to update internal “data” it’s just a lot easier and more obvious.

In Vue components, you can add functions to the methods property of the component and they are bound to this. Also, in a component, you can access the application instance properties and methods via this in a component’s scope. Plugins can also attach references to this.

In React none of that is automatic. If you want to mutate state in the component method, you can just use this.setState. First, you have to manually bind this to the function scope.

There are a lot of libraries out there that Amie this more magical, like Vue. Again, React isn’t exactly complete — in a good way, you just need to add a lot of other stuff. It’s all stuff that Vue has a sensible and replaceable default for.

CLI, Scaffolding and Bolierplate

One common complaint I hear is about the amount of tooling that goes into JavaScript development. Yes, it’s a lot more than opening text edit these days, but good frameworks have good CLIs.

React and Vue are no different. As long as you have npm installed, creating functional React and Vue apps takes one command, answering a few questions and waiting a few minutes.

The approach is very different between each framework. The Vue CLI creates new Vue apps and is highly extensible. Creating apps from templates is really simple. Personally, I prefer egoist/vuepack over the normal webpack template.

Once an app is created, there are commands for it, such as running the dev server or one to build for production. Those are run as npm scripts.

In the React world create-react-app is a CLI tool, like Vue CLI for scaffolding apps. There are enough templates. Instead, you have to fork create-react-app, for example as Ahmad Awais did to start create-guten-block. I prefer Vue’s approach.

Once an app is created with create-react-app, the app uses react-scripts for build and development tasks. This CLI react-scripts is a dependency, and therefore upgradable, which is great. You can, using react-scripts eject, convert that dependency to a part of the project,run using npm scripts like in Vue apps.

Neither CLI generates new code as needed for features in the way Angular CLI or Laravel CLI can be used to scaffold controllers, services or tests.

Should You Use React or Vue In WordPress?

Short answer: both.

I don’t think either is better. It really depends on the situation. VueJS is easier to use in ES5 than React. I would choose Vue when it’s being used for a part of a larger view that already exists. Vue, with it’s more forgiving API and lack of opinions is your best friend when refactoring an interface as opposed to starting from scratch.

When starting from scratch, I used to always say Vue because it’s easier and has an MIT license. with React now a part of WordPress core, and newly licensed under the MIT license I’m not going there so quickly.

I’m using both now. React is definitely the default for me when working with Gutenberg. Since you can use JSX in Vue apps and the lower level DOM APIs being similar the answer is really about which works best or is already loaded. Another way I choose is based on which library’s ecosystem has the additional packages I need for a project. That’s the beauty of having choices and finally having WordPress make it easy to work with a modern JavaScript framework and npm modules and other tools a modern front-end developer should have.

Josh is a WordPress developer and educator. He is the founder of Caldera Labs, makers of awesome WordPress tools including Caldera Forms — a drag and drop, responsive WordPress form builder. He teaches WordPress development at Caldera Learn.

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Voice Search Optimization – How to Do WordPress SEO for Voice Search

Voice Search Optimization – How to Do WordPress SEO for Voice Search

Voice search optimization is something every WordPress website owner will need to deal with. It will be an important part of SEO in 2018 and beyond.

The emergence of artificial intelligence and improvements in voice recognition are changing the way we interact with (mobile) devices. Speaking is more convenient than typing. For that reason, voice-controlled virtual assistants are rapidly becoming part of everyday life.

As a consequence, a growing number of queries input into search engines are voiced rather than delivered via keyboard. This has far-reaching and surprising consequences for search engine optimization.

In order to prepare you for these changes, this article will dive deep into voice search optimization for WordPress websites. We will first talk about how voice search is going to change SEO. After that, we will give you actionable advice on how to prepare your site for it. But first, some facts.

Voice Search is Coming – Big Time

If you are not convinced that voice search is going to be a thing, a quick look at the data will convince you otherwise:

In short, voice search has arrived and is here to stay. However, what does that mean for search engine optimization?

How Voice Search Will Change SEO

Technology has made it possible that users no longer have to input keywords into a search engine. Instead, they can simply ask their phone or gadget for the desired information. What does that mean for search in general?

Questions as Search Queries Instead of Keywords

When using a computer to perform a search, you will likely type in keywords as you would in a library. So, if you are looking for voice search optimization tips for your site, you would probably write something like “voice search seo” into the search field. That’s how we have been conditioned to interact with machines for years.

However, when talking to the virtual assistant, we are more likely to use conversational search queries. That means we will pose queries in full, natural language. What does that mean? To continue with the example above, you would more likely say something like “how do I optimize my site for voice search?”.

voice search query on mobile device

Virtual assistants have been able to understand complex queries like these for a while and are able to deliver adequate results. It also feels more natural that way, doesn’t it?

However, as you can see from the above, the search results for both of these queries can be very different. Although that is not always the case, it does have consequences for how you do SEO. More on that below.

Search Context Becomes More Important

Search queries used to be free of context. All that mattered were the submitted keywords. Context only came into it if included in the search query, such as a location (e.g. “best pizza Chicago”).

However, with Google’s Hummingbird update this all changed. By now, contextual search has become a strong focus and changed the way the search engine evaluates content. Instead of pure keywords, today it’s more about understanding user intent and delivering results accordingly.

This is doubly true for mobile devices and that’s because of the mobile part. Many of our gadgets, especially smartphones, travel with us everywhere. And they know it. Often, our devices are more aware of our surroundings than we are.

In addition to that, we also often use them within the context of our environment. In fact, in 2013 almost half of all mobile searches had local intent. Only three years later 22 percent of people used voice search for finding that local information.

voice search usage breakdown

However, local search queries are also voiced differently than they are typed. Again, instead of merely using a sequence of keywords (“best pizza Chicago”), you are more likely say complete phrases like “what’s the best pizza place near me?”

In fact, queries containing the phrase “near me” have exploded in the last few years.

increase in near me search queries over five years

If context matters to the success of your business or website (say, if you are a pizza place in Chicago), you need to take measures to be included in these local voice search queries in the future.

Google Will Answer More Questions Directly

The ability to answer questions without having to visit a website or other app is the one thing users most desire of their virtual assistants.

most desired voice search features

In the past, you had to search for your keyword and then go through the search results in order to find what you are looking for. Yet, by now Google often displays answers right on the search result page above the first-ranking regular search result (also dubbed position zero).

google direct answers position zero

Unsurprisingly, this happens most often when using queries that pose direct questions. It’s also where virtual assistants are getting their information.

As voice search continues to grow, Google will probably start prioritizing content that can provide the desired information. So, in the future, competing for position zero will become more important.

Voice Search Optimization Tips for WordPress Websites

Now that we know how voice search will impact SEO, the question remains what to do about it. To answer that, the rest of the article will deal with how to optimize your WordPress website for voice search.

Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

As should already be obvious from the above, voice search is moving SEO from keyword to phrase based. Because of that, search queries are also, by definition, getting longer.

voice search optimization for longer conversational search queries

In SEO lingo, that is usually referred to as “long-tail keywords.” They have been a staple of SEO for a long time.

long tail keywords traffic volume
Source: HitTail

However, with the move to voice search, the long tail is getting even more important as well as more specific and conversational. So, the first voice search optimization technique is to shift your focus towards those kinds of search queries.

Coming up with this type of key phrases is all about understanding user intent. Take the keywords you might usually try to rank for and think through what questions someone might have who is searching for it. Use tools like AnswerThePublic, and Google Autocomplete to find concrete search phrases.

voice search optimization with answerthepublic

After that, weave these key phrases into your content. However, make sure to continue to focus on content that is reader-friendly first, not just optimized for machines.

Optimize for Position Zero

Since Google will start answering questions themselves more often for voice search, it’s crucial that you aim to be the site providing the answers. This way, you get more exposure for your content (since virtual assistants also read out the source) and also generally optimize your site for typical voice search queries.

While there is no surefire way to shoot to position zero, there are things you can do to make your presence there more likely:

  • Concentrate on the questions behind the keywords you are targeting as discussed above
  • Optimize post titles and headings to include queries you want to be a direct answer to
  • Include answers in easily understandable form – keep them short, use bullet points and numbered lists
  • Create Q&A style content where you answer questions in a short, concise way for direct use by search engines

Aside from that, it’s important to optimize your content to rank on the first page of Google as that’s where the search engine pulls direct answers from. For that, you need to have a good understanding of how SEO works in general. Check our other articles on that topic.

Implement Local SEO

You have seen above that local search and voice search are intimately connected. For that reason, if you are a shop or other business with a physical location, it’s important that you get your local SEO right.

That means including the right keywords on your site that will lead mobile searchers to you, such as:

  • Phrases people use to describe the neighborhood around your location
  • The phrase “near me” inside title tags, meta descriptions, internal links and anchor texts
  • Landmarks near the location of your business

In addition to that, searchers increasingly include “best”, “nearest” and “store hours” in their search queries. That’s also something to keep in mind when optimizing your site.

Furthermore, don’t forget to include important information like office hours, contact details, address and such. These are more likely to get you on one of the spots above the usual search results for people looking to take immediate action. Set up structured data to help search engines process the information more easily.

Finally, claim your Google My Business listing to get on the radar of the search engine.

Double Down on Readability

Readability matters for SEO. If your content is easy to scan, understand and comprehend, visitors are more likely to react positively to it. This has consequences for all sorts of SEO markers like keeping visitors on your site. It’s also the reason why Yoast SEO added a module for it.

However, human beings are no longer the only ones reading your posts. More frequently, virtual assistants are not only performing searches but also reading the results back to the person posing the question.

For that reason, readability and easy comprehension are gaining in importance. Besides learning general readability guidelines, it’s a good idea to start reading your content out loud. That way, you can better understand what it will sound like to somebody not seeing it on a page.

Offer a Flawless Mobile Experience

At this point, I shouldn’t have to tell you that mobile is a must these days. By now, more search queries are coming from mobile devices than desktop computers, about 60 percent say recent numbers.

web design trends 2018 mobile desktop tablet usage

Since voice search is most often performed on these devices, voice search optimization and mobile friendliness go hand in hand. To be prepared, learn what it takes to be mobile friendly today, focus on website speed and invest in the aforementioned markup.

Voice Search Optimization in a Nutshell

Voice search won’t completely upend and do away with SEO as we know it. There are still plenty of users who do keyword-based search instead of asking their virtual assistant for help.

However, voice search will definitely have an impact. As described above, search queries are getting longer, more specific and natural sounding, context becomes even more important and direct answers more prominent.

All of this can be addressed. However, the important thing is to get started now. Technology won’t wait for you to get your ducks in a row. So, start incorporating more long-tail keywords in your content, focus on position zero, local SEO and readability as well as making sure your visitors’ mobile experience is flawless.

If you check those important boxes for voice search optimization, you can rest easy knowing your WordPress site is ready for the future of SEO.

Do you know additional voice search optimization techniques? Do you have comments or questions? Let us know in the comment 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 Voice Search Optimization – How to Do WordPress SEO for Voice Search appeared first on Torque.

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How to Add RTL Support to Your Custom WordPress Theme

Map of the world with pins

About 75% of the internet speaks a language other than English. Some of these other languages read Right-to-Left (RTL), which can completely ruin the layout of many English-only designs.

Thankfully, having a theme that flows well for RTL languages (such as Arabic) is largely a matter of updating your CSS. With a few design considerations and style tweaks, you can adapt any WordPress theme to work with RTL languages.

In this article, you’ll learn how RTL languages function in the browser, and how to work with them in your stylesheets. First, though, let’s delve into why you should add support in the first place!

Why It’s Worth Adding RTL Support to Your Theme

Translating a website to another language can be an onerous task, though relatively simplified with plugins. However, while many languages read left to right (like English, of course), there are plenty of languages that are read from right to left. Simply translating these sites won’t be enough – the design of the site needs to be updated to match as well.

One example of a popularly spoken right to left language is Arabic. It’s the sixth most spoken language in the world, with over 420 million speakers, and around 40% of them have access to the internet. This is a large niche market to consider. Keep in mind that this is only one of several popularly spoken right to left languages.

Opening up your theme to support all language styles, no matter which direction they read, makes your theme translation-ready for every situation. Fortunately, updating your theme to support right to left languages is relatively straightforward.

How to Add RTL Support to Your Custom WordPress Theme (In 3 Steps)

Since you’re essentially designing a theme, we’ll assume you’re developing locally on your computer. If you’re not, you definitely should be. Also, before making any changes, create a backup of your site to ensure you can recover everything if something goes wrong. When you’re ready, let’s dive in!

Step 1: Create the RTL CSS for Your Theme

RTLCSS converter
An RTL CSS converter is likely your most direct route to easily implemented RTL languages.

The first step is to create the CSS for displaying RTL languages correctly on your website. There are two methods for doing this. The first is to simply feed your existing stylesheet into a CSS RTL generator. This tool will examine your CSS and attempt to make a copy, but switching all the left and right alignments. This effectively creates a mirrored version of your website.

Here are two sites we recommend:

  1. RTLCSS: This framework has a very detailed set of instructions, and at current writing is also beta testing a live converter tool.
  2. CSSJanus: This tool is simplicity itself – type your Left-to-Right (LTR) CSS in the left-hand panel, click the Submit button, and see your RTL CSS on the right.

This is by far the simplest way to go. Once you’ve generated the new CSS, save the resulting styles as a file named style-rtl.css, ready for use later.

The second method is a little more tedious because it involves an ‘override’ stylesheet. In this version, you’ll go through each line of your CSS and manually move all horizontal positioning elements into a separate file named rtl.css, and mirror them. This results in a smaller file, but ultimately takes a lot more work to keep up with, especially as you continue to make new updates and changes to your theme.

To do this, first add the following code to the top of your rtl.css file:

body { 
   direction: rtl; 
   unicode-bidi: embed; 

Then, for the rest of your selectors, ensure you switch each left or right positioning to the opposite. Look for text-align, float, and clear in particular. However, the exact selectors you switch will be based on your own (and your client’s) needs.

If you have any background images indicating a specific direction, you’ll need to provide a flipped version and update the reference to it in the rtl.css stylesheet as well. Meanwhile, all of these attributes need to be ‘zeroed’ for the original image, before setting a new value:

  • margin
  • padding
  • borders
  • background-position
  • right and left positioning

Finally, any buttons pushed off screen using negative text-indents should be switched to positive instead. This ensures that your functionality stays in place regardless of the device.

Once you’ve made these changes, save the new file as rtl.css in the same directory as style.css. You can now move onto ensuring WordPress is able to load your file when necessary.

Step 2: Ensure WordPress ‘Sees’ the RTL Styles

If you’re using a CSS generator tool, you’ll now need to enqueue your new style-rtl.css stylesheet so WordPress can load it in at the appropriate time. This is just a matter of adding a snippet to your theme’s functions.php file:

function enqueue_theme_files() { 
    wp_enqueue_style( 'themeslug-style', get_stylesheet_uri() ); 
    wp_style_add_data( 'themeslug-style', 'rtl', 'replace' ); 
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_theme_files' );

This tells WordPress to load the correct stylesheet when the website is set to an RTL language. Assuming you’re already using enqueue properly to load in your regular styles.css stylesheet, you can simply add the wp_style_add_data() information into your existing enqueued styles function.

However, when using a dedicated override stylesheet, you won’t need to load in any special functions. WordPress will simply load in the rtl.css file after your regular styles.css, which will overwrite directional cues using the secondary file.

Once your chosen method is ready to go, it’s time to test whether or not everything is working correctly in WordPress. Let’s take a look at how you can test your new RTL-supported theme design. Seeing it in action will enable you to ensure that everything looks as expected, and take any necessary manual fixes into account.

Step 3: Test Your RTL Styles in WordPress

RTL Tester plugin

You have a few options for testing out RTL languages in your WordPress installation. The first is to simply switch WordPress to an RTL language. To do this, go to the Settings > General page in your WordPress dashboard. Then, select the first script language you see in the Language drop-down box:

The language drop-down menu within WordPress.

After saving, you’ll see that everything is now right to left. However, unless you’re bilingual of course, you’ll struggle understand any of the text. To work around this, you can use developer tools to enable RTL styles while keeping English as the primary language.

There are two plugins that could fit the bill here. First, there is the general RTL Tester plugin. Once installed and activated, this essentially flips the switch on your entire website, telling it to load any and all RTL-specific styles. Second, there is WP-RTL, which lets you switch between different directional languages within a single post.

While the functionality of these plugins is good, bear in mind that they haven’t been updated recently. Given their simple and esoteric functionality, that’s understandable. Regardless, you’ll likely need to make sure any additions work with your current WordPress installation, although they’ll likely be surplus to requirements when pushing the site live.

Between these two plugins, you should be able to quickly test what various layouts look like with different RTL or LTR content. Finally, we recommend using WordPress’ Theme Unit Test Data to make sure you’re covering practically every permutation of text styles and formatting when adding RTL styles.


At least 200 million internet users speak a language that is written from right to left. Offering RTL styles in your themes opens up your design so it can be used by these markets. Without them, that’s a good chunk of people currently missing out on your products and services (or your clients’).

In this article, you’ve learned the importance of RTL styles and why you shouldn’t overlook them. Next, we’ve taught you how to add them to your theme in three steps:

  1. Create the RTL CSS for your theme.
  2. Ensure that WordPress will see the RTL styles.
  3. Test your RTL styles to make sure everything looks right.

What questions do you have about RTL styles in WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image credit: Christine Roy.

John Hughes

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

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