5 WordPress Plugins to Help You Boost Engagement with Readers

The internet and individual websites around the web have become increasingly social experiences for users, particularly since the rise in popularity of social networks. With 25% of the web being run on the WordPress, a large number of plugins and widgets have been developed that can help you to ensure that you are making interaction and engagement as easy as possible for your users. Encouraging engagement is an important task, and there are multiple steps that can be taken in order to ensure that your users have an easy time interacting with one another, or interacting with your business. If you would like to increase the engagement of your readers and use WordPress as a CMS platform, please take the following plugins into account.

Wordpress Plugins
WordPress Plugins

Facebook Comments

Facebook currently has more than 1.5 billion active users. This means that roughly 1/6th of the world’s population has and uses their Facebook account with some regularity. Allowing your users to use their Facebook account to comment on your blog posts and in various sections of your website will make the entire process easier for the user and will help you to encourage them to take part in conversations. One thing that does need to be taken into consideration is that your users will be required to share their full name when commenting, which can push some users away. But, on the whole you will see a sharp rise in comments by allowing your users to comment through their Facebook account.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

One of the best ways to increase engagement on your website is to convince your users to visit multiple pages. This ensures that they are interacting with more of your content and also puts more opportunities to comment on that content smack-dab in front of them. Yet Another Related Posts plugin is easy to install and provides a range of different features that make an excellent choice for displaying similar posts at the bottom of articles and blog posts.

Easy Tweet Embed

Twitter boasts 320 million active monthly users. That means that no matter who you are, a good portion of your audience will own and actively use their Twitter account. Easy Tweet Embed allows you to easily embed your Tweets anywhere you would like on your website, which will encourage your audience to interact with the things that you share on Twitter.

Facebook Like Box

The Facebook Like Box plugin is excellent for growing your Facebook page of your business. It gives your users a simple and convenient way to “like” your page and then continually receive updates from you after clicking the button. Facebook is the largest social network in the world and establishing a presence on those websites is very much like growing an email marketing list, it allows you to continually share information with users that are interested in the products, services, or information that your business provides.

Disqus Comment System

The Disqus Comment System is one of the most popular comment systems in the world today. It gives your users multiple options for posting comments on your website. It allows you to post comments in a variety of ways including:

  • Through Facebook Accounts
  • Through Twitter Accounts
  • Disqus System Profiles

Additionally, Disqus allows you to enable threaded comments and replies, which makes it easier for your users to follow discussions when they interact through the comment section of your website. Users can be notified by email, as well as reply by email, when they are responded to.

Increasing the engagement of their users when on their website is something that all businesses should look to do. With these simple plugins, you can quickly increase the engagement opportunities of your users while encouraging them to take part in your community.

7 Best CodeCanyon Plugins for Turning your WordPress Website into a Powerhouse

If you have spent much time at all working with WordPress, you’re probably familiar with CodeCanyon. Created by Envato Studio, also the creator of ThemeForest and many other successful marketplaces for online design and development projects, CodeCanyon is a great place to find WordPress plugins. Everything listed on the website is unique, as developers must provide exclusive rights and agree not to sell their plugins off-site. That means many of these plugins are unseen and unheard of. Below, you’ll find some of the top plugins for turning your WordPress website into a complete powerhouse.

Visual Composer (and its many addons)

 

Download Visual Composer

 

Visual Composer is a powerhouse of a drag and drop page builder. Forget working with HTML or using the simplistic features of the WordPress WYSIWYG editor. Visual Composer has over 45+ premium content elements that can be integrated into a WordPress page or post in seconds. There’s also 60+ predefined layouts that can be used at the click of a button. As an SEO friendly and responsive plugin, it has all the features you’d expect in a premium page builder. Using Visual Composer you can create highly attractive websites in a fraction of the time it would normally take. It makes it easy to add complex design options to a page and the template system allows you to save and reuse templates for faster page design. There are also several addons available, allowing you to extend its features and use Visual Composer in a wide variety of ways.

EventOn for Event Scheduling

 

Download EventOn

 

Need event scheduling features that can be integrated with Google Maps? EventOn has advanced features but a minimal design, making this one of the best event scheduling plugins for WordPress. It’s the perfect event calendar for businesses that hold multiple events per month or showcase events for other businesses. Easily set the time and date for an event and generate a shortcode to display scheduling options on your website with ease.

Ninja Popups

 

Download Ninja Popups

 

Capitalizing on traffic that doesn’t convert to sales is very important to lead generation. Without popups, there’s very little way to capture the attention of your audience. Ninja Popups provides a way to subtly alert your visitors of an opt-in opportunity. Ask for their name an email and entice them to join your email list by providing a free offer or giveaway. Ninja Popups makes it really easy to generate leads and 40 popup themes, 8 opt-in panels and over 70 animated effects, it’s a powerhouse of a lead generation plugin. You can also use Ninja Popups for providing discounts, coupons and other special offers that will make users more likely to make a purchase.

Easy Social Share Buttons

 

Download Easy Social Share Buttons

 

When your WordPress theme is lacking basic social sharing buttons, don’t fear, Easy Social Share Buttons is here. Supporting over 35 social networks including Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and more, it has over 22 built-in templates for showcasing your social sharing options professionally. It makes it easy to integrate social sharing into your pages and posts. It also provides social metrics like click logging and analytics for tracking your results. Easy Social Share Buttons is also integrated into Visual Composer.

Ultimate Membership Pro

 

Download Ultimate Membership Pro

 

Membership plugins are often expensive and only available through a month-to-month subscription. Ultimate Membership Pro is highly affordable and has all the features you’d expect in a membership tool such as multi-level support, unlimited users, content locking ability and support with all the major payment gateways. It even supports advanced features like free trials, drip content protection, restricted pages and more. If you plan to run a membership site, consider this plugin before expensive alternatives.

WooCommerce Extra Product Options

 

Download WooCommerce Extra Product Options

 

If you use WooCommerce then you know one of the major downfalls is the high costs of its extensions. Fortunately, the community has responded and CodeCanyon features many WooCommerce plugins at a fraction of the price. WooCommerce Extra Product Options is particularly appealing as it provides the ability to create extra price fields globally or on a per-product basis. It supports conditional logic, has a form builder, supports styled variations and has validation features. It’s an advanced tool for optimizing your checkout process.

UserPro – User Profiles with Social Login

 

Download UserPro

 

BuddyPress was supposed to be a user profiles plugin to rule them all. However, UserPro has many of the same features without the clunkyness. With the UserPro plugin you can create beautiful frontend profiles with social login capability. It allows for unlimited custom fields, the ability to manually approve users, it has a member directory with user badges and it supports content restriction. For a basic social community or enhancing a bbPress forum, UserPro is a great plugin to have.

WordPress has many free plugins available at the WordPress Plugin Directory but these extensions can only get you so far. CodeCanyon’s library of advanced plugins has many hidden gems that can work excellently for enhancing your website.

5 WordPress Plugins that Secure Your Website and Business Data

Did you know that 43% of companies have experienced some sort of data breach within the last year? This figure only includes companies that were aware of the breach and the number of unknown data breaches may take that number much higher. With so many companies turning to the cloud for storage, you can bet that data theft will only become an increasingly difficult problem for businesses around the world.

For businesses that use WordPress as their content management system for their website, data security is a very important consideration as well. Because WordPress is the largest content management platform in the world, that makes it the target of hackers and other data thieves. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to secure your WordPress installation, through the use of simple to install plugins. There are some really high quality security plugins that can secure your website and greatly reduce the chances that it is a target for data theft.

1. WordFence – Comprehensive WordPress Security

WordFence is the go-to security software for WordPress, providing a range of different security features that allow you to lock down your WordPress installation and keep it safe from hackers and data thieves. The plugin features real-time blocking mechanisms to block known attackers and malicious networks while adding additional security features like brute force security and real-time monitoring. WordFence is easy to use and is known as the most comprehensive solution for small businesses that use WordPress as their content management solution.

2. BulletProof Security – WordPress Security Plugin

BulletProof Security is a popular WordPress security plugin with many features that overlap the features that are offered by WordFence. BulletProof allows you to limit login attempts that fail and block code scanners and fake traffic. BulletProof Security continually monitors your WordPress installation for changes within the code and other malicious changes that can occur.

3. BruteProtect – Brute Force Protection for WordPress

One of the most common forms of attacks on WordPress installation is what is known as a Brute Force Attack. These attacks essentially bombard your WordPress installation with login attempts into your admin account. They try one password at a time, thousands or millions of times until they are able to break into your account. Brute Protect is an excellent option for eliminating this thread. It currently is used on more than 200,000 WordPress installations and has blocked more than 270,000,000 attacks in total. BruteProtect is absolutely the best solution for reducing and eliminating the threat of Brute Force Attacks on your website.

4. Google Authenticator – 2-Step Authentication Security for WordPress

Google Authenticator isn’t an excellent security addition for any WordPress installation. This simple addition adds a 2-step authentication process when logging into your website. You enter your login details, then receive an additional secure password through email, adding an extra step to the login process and keeping your account safe.

5. Simple Security Firewall – WordPress Security Firewall

 

Simple Security Firewall is an excellent addition to any WordPress installation. It is known for being very easy to set up and use. With no premium version available, all features are available through the free version of the app. Its features include the blocking of malicious URLs, blocking spam comments, preventing brute force attacks, two-factor authentication and monitoring user activity. This is a simple and well-rounded plugin for companies that are seriously concerned about the security of their WordPress installation but want something that will be easy to understand and use.

WordPress is the most popular content management system in the market today. Unfortunately, that makes it one of the most targeted systems for malicious activities. It is important that you are able to take some initial steps to protect your website and business data from would-be hackers that could pose a risk to your business.

WordPress SEO – How to Save Time & Money on Search Engine Optimization

Optimizing a WordPress website can be an entirely different experience compared to optimizing an HTML site or another content management system. WordPress is a CMS that’s relatively SEO friendly in its default install but its free plugin database is what truly sets it apart. Below you will find advanced practices that can teach you how to save both time and money on search engine optimization with WordPress.

Settings > Permalinks

Your website’s permalink structure is another way of referring to its URL structure. When you create a new website with WordPress, one of the first things you will want to do is change the permalink structure. You can access this under “Settings > Permalinks.” Using “Post Name” as your permalink setting is highly recommended for SEO purposes. This means any posts or pages will use the post name for determining the URL of the page.

Use Yoast SEO or Another Similar Free Plugin

Rarely is a premium SEO plugin entirely worth its premium costs. Yoast SEO and other free WordPress SEO plugins provide all the basic features you need. The features that are left out and online included in premium versions can almost always be found in other free plugins within the WordPress plugin database.

Yoast SEO provides access to important SEO features such as:

  • Page analysis (Check for image ALT text, content length, meta descriptions and keyword usage across your pages and posts)
  • Technical WordPress SEO (Guided SEO settings for advanced WordPress SEO changes)
  • Exclude tags or categories for Google’s search index
  • Create an XML sitemap easily
  • RSS optimization
  • Breadcrumbs (Create navigable internal links)
  • Editing .htaccess and robots.txt files

Write a META Title, Description and Image ALT Text When Publishing Posts/Pages

Rather than skipping over the META title and description and assuming you will come back to it later, optimize your posts before they go live. It’s better for your rankings to have search engine spiders index your content correctly upon their first visit. If you were to edit the post later with a META title and description, there is no telling how long it will take for search engine spiders to reindex the content and adjust for the changes.

Similarly, if the post has images, go ahead and add image ALT text to the images before publishing. Image ALT text is an important and easy to implement SEO suggestion that is better off done right away.

Write your Content Based Off the Searcher’s Intent

When you write a new WordPress blog post, consider the searcher’s intent and how you might phrase the title and description. Think about the keywords a searcher might use to locate the content you have written and integrate many different variations of those keywords into the content.

You can use the Google Keyword Planner to explore keyword possibilities.

Internally Link with the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Internal linking is essential to strong on-site SEO. This is why it’s important to internally link your articles to other relevant articles on your website. You should always have internal links within the body of your content but you can extend your internal linking habits by using plugins as well.

You can use plugins like YARPP to automatically display pages or posts that are related to the one the user is currently viewing. This allows your posts and pages to automatically get linked to other areas on the website that are useful to the reader.

Internal linking can also be accomplish by linking to more pages using your website’s navigation menu and sidebar.

Reduce Image Sizes with Ewww Image Optimizer

The EWWW image optimizer plugin can effectively lower the image file size for images across your entire website. This increases page load times and reduces bandwidth consumption, thus improving the user experience. It is a pretty effective way to improve speed and performance, which has shown to be important to SEO.

Improve Speeds with W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is the leader in caching plugins. It supports caching in the browser, page, object and database level. It also provides support for minify features and works with content delivery networks. Using W3 Total Cache, you can drastically improve page load times.

Manually Build Links to your Website’s Content

SEO companies often charge far too much for the link building and outreach methods they use. Instead of relying on a company or freelancer for link building, you can build links to your website’s content on your own. Utilize some of the below sources and syndicate your blog content there. You can package the content in different forms such as reading your article out loud to create a video or putting it into an e-book or PDF. This allows you to use the content in a variety of ways and by syndicating it to these sources, you can gain exposure and potentially more links.

  • Web 2.0 Sites (Sites where you can create your own blog)
  • Niche Blogs (Independently owned blogs that will share your content)
  • Article Directories (Sites where you can submit articles for exposure)
  • Press Release Directories (Sites that syndicate and share your PR)
  • Social Bookmarking (Sites where you can socially bookmark content)
  • PDF Directories (Sites where you can submit a PDF document)
  • Video Directories (Sites where you can submit a video)
  • Infographic Directories (Sites where you can submit images)
  • Audio Directories (Sites where you can submit recorded audio)

SEO is an important step to generating traffic and increasing revenue with any WordPress website. These tips can help you save both time and money. Before you hire an SEO expert or pay for services, consider whether you are getting full value out of their work.

Best JQuery Lightbox Plugins

Let’s face it, there are an endless number of competitors vying for the website creation market. In order to stand out from the crowd, you must go above and beyond by creating an extraordinary website not just a nice-looking websites. That is where plugins can help. With the correct plug-ins, you can create a visually stunning and immersive websites. Here are some of the best JQuery Lightbox plugins that will help you create a website that will keep them coming back for more:

1. Chillbox – Allows you to overlay a main image with a second one. This works great for rendering text, but could take more time than you’d like getting the transparency optimized.

2. jQuery lightGallery – Creating picture galleries and YouTube videos is easier with this plug-in. The number of effects is small but the quality is wonderful.

 

3. JackBox – Responsive Lightbox – The JackBox stylesheets and scripts will only load into your web page if the page contains a lightbox item. This means that on the pages where no lightbox items are used, no unecessary plugin files are loaded. When JackBox CSS and JavaScript filesare loaded, they load asynchronously, helping your web pages to load faster.

4. MetroBox – Responsive LightBox – MetroBox is a jQuery plugin for displaying photos/videos or anything you want with visitor/user comments ( like social network features ). This plugin does not have comment system. It only show comments you have.

5. Visual LightBox – This wizard creates pop-up galleries without needing to know code. The free version is limited, however, and you need to renew your license for the business version yearly.

 

6. Smoothbox – This plugin makes CSS3 transitions smoother. The only con is that there are no options related to javascript so you have to work with what is there.

 

7. Fancybox – Creates a floating “box” to display pictures and other media. This can be good for showing detailed images, but can potentially slow down loading time for a page.

 

8. Image Lightbox – A no-frills lightbox that works well with touchscreens or keyboards. It only works for images, however, not other media.

 

9. Tosrus – Creates slide galleries that are very easily accessed on desktops as well as portable devices. This only works on Windows 8 or above, however.

 

10. Colorbox – This slideshow creator is dependable and is in use on two million websites, The learning curve can be strong, but help files are available.

 

11. Nivo Lightbox – One of the most advanced lightbox plugins, this integrates easily with a variety of other plugins. It is free to use but the support license is a bit pricey.

 

12. Venobox – This plugin is responsive to the maximum width of an image and makes it possible to scroll and see the entire height. Other than that, it doesn’t have any stand-out differences.

 

13. iLightBox – One of the most advanced lightbox plugins out there. This one has all the bells and whistles you could wish for. It may be too intensive for most websites, however, and best saved for media intensive ones.

 

14. Swipebox – Great for touch screen devices but requires detailed knowledge of coding to properly install.

 

15. Magnific Popup – One of the few plugins that allow you to adjust images within the popup itself. Unfortunately, will not work on Windows 7 and below.

 

16. asPopup – Simple and responsive, but brings nothing new to the table.

 

17. Lightbox 2 – Updated version of the original lightbox plugin. Works on newer operating systems but doesn’t have any bells and whistles.

Regardless of your needs, jQuery has a lightbox plugin that will meet your needs. From the minimalistic asPopup to the bells-and-whistles laden iLightBox, and everything in between, you will find something that works to make your website professional-looking and a step above the rest.