How to Create a Child Page in WordPress

Do you want to create a child page on your site? Pages in WordPress can be standalone or hierarchical, which means a page can have its own sub-pages also known as child pages. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a… Read More »

The post How to Create a Child Page in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a child page on your site? Pages in WordPress can be standalone or hierarchical, which means a page can have its own sub-pages also known as child pages. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a child page in WordPress to better organize your pages.

How to create a child page in WordPress

What is a Child Page in WordPress?

Pages and posts are two default content types in WordPress. To learn more, see our guide on the difference between posts vs pages in WordPress.

Posts are part of a blog and are displayed in a reverse chronological order (newer entries first). They are normally organized with categories and tags.

Pages are one-off or standalone content that is not part of a blog. For example, ‘About us’ page or ‘Contact us’ page. They can be hierarchical, which means you can organize them with parent and child pages.

Typically, business websites use Pages to build a website structure. This way they can build a website without creating a blog. Those who want to add a blog to their content marketing strategy can still do so by simply creating a separate blog page.

However if you have too many pages, then it becomes difficult to organize them. This is where child pages come in. You can create a broader page as a ‘Parent’ and then add child pages to better organize your website structure and layout.

WordPress pages used to create a website structure

For example, a parent page called ‘About us’ can have team members, history, careers, and other pages as child pages.

Any child page can also have their own child pages and so on. This way you can build relationships between your pages and create a proper website structure.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily create a child page in WordPress.

How to Create a Child Page?

To create a child page, you will need a parent page. If you already have a page that you would like to use as the parent, then you are good to go.

Simply go to the Pages » Add New to create a new page or edit an existing page in your WordPress admin area. On the right side, you will see Page Attributes box with Parent dropdown.

Select parent page

In the Parent drop-down, you will see the list of all pages from your site. By default, it is set to ‘no parent’ which means this page is an individual page with no association. You need to select the page you want to use as the parent from the drop-down menu.

After that, you can just go ahead and save your changes. You can repeat this process to create more child pages.

To view child pages, you can go to the ‘Pages » All Pages’ page in WordPress admin area. You will see child pages listed under their parent page with a prefix.

Parent page

Next, you can go ahead and add your child pages to your website’s navigation menu as sub-menu items.

Adding child pages in WordPress navigation menus

Advanced users can use other methods to automatically display a list of child pages for a parent page in WordPress sidebar widgets or theme templates.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a child page in WordPress. You may also want to see our complete guide on how to convert WordPress categories to custom taxonomies to sort the content on your site.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create a Child Page in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Com vs Net – What’s the Difference Between Domain Extensions

We are often asked by our users about .com vs .net domain name extensions. Choosing a domain name is extremely important for your business goals because it can have an impact on your branding and search rankings. In this article, we will explain the difference… Read More »

The post Com vs Net – What’s the Difference Between Domain Extensions appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by our users about .com vs .net domain name extensions. Choosing a domain name is extremely important for your business goals because it can have an impact on your branding and search rankings. In this article, we will explain the difference between Com vs Net domain extensions and which one is better for your website.

Difference between Com vs Net domain name extensions

What is Com and Net Domain Name Extensions?

A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. This is what your users will type in their browser to access your website. For example, wpbeginner.com

To learn more about domain names, see our beginner’s guide on what is a domain name and how do domains work.

Domain names come in various extensions like com, net, org, and more.

example.com
example.net
example.org

You can freely choose a domain name from any of these extensions to make a website. However, these extensions were created to distinguish between different types of websites.

You need to choose a domain name extension that fits your business while helping you build a recognizable brand and authority in your industry.

That being said, let’s compare the difference between .com vs .net domain extensions to see which one is better for your business.

Differnce Between .Com vs .Net Domain Names

Domain name extensions

Com and Net are two of the most popular domain name extensions. If your preferred dot com domain name extension is not available, then many domain name generator tools will suggest .net as the alternative.

However, it is not a suitable alternative for your business in most cases.

COM in the .com domain name represents commercial domain names. This includes all business websites, websites that want to make money online, personal websites, blogs, portfolios, and almost anything in between.

On the other hand, the NET in the .net domain name extension represents “network”. It is recommended and suitable for internet, email, and networking service providers.

When You Should Choose a COM Domain Name?

The .com domain extension has become synonymous with the internet. Nearly 46% of all registered domain names are .com domains.

This is why it is way easier for users to remember a .com domain name than any other domain extension. Due to the popularity of .com domain names, they are also easier to brand, promote, and help you grow your business.

If you want to make any kind of business website, then you should always use a .com domain name extension. It gives your website a familiar address and makes your business look more professional and established.

Now the problem is that .com domain names are so popular that it feels like all good ones are already taken. However, there are still plenty of clever ways to get the perfect .com domain name.

Here are some tips on choosing the best .com domain name.

  • Your domain name should represent your business and what you do. For example, stargardeningservices.com is better than starservices.com
  • If your preferred domain name is taken, then you can add small words before or after it to make it unique. For example, stargardeninghouston.com
  • Make sure your domain name can be easily pronounced. Don’t use hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
  • Take advantage of online domain name generators. These free tools will help you come up with clever domain name ideas that are unique and still available.

Need more help? See our article on how to choose the best domain name for your website with practical tips and real examples.

When You Should Use Net Domain Extension?

You should use .net domain name if you are going to offer internet, networking, database hosting, email hosting, or similar services.

You can still use a .net domain name if it suits your brand. However, you will need some serious marketing talent to pull this off.

For example, Behance.net is a popular online design community which successfully uses a .net domain extension for their website. It suits them because they wanted to be a network of artists, designers, and companies looking for talent.

Nearly 4% of all domain names registered are using the .net domain extension. Domain name registrar’s started presenting .net and other domain name extensions as an alternative to .com, which may give you an impression that it is more commonly used than it actually is.

Originally, it was supposed to be a domain name extension for internet and networking service providers. Many real and well-known internet companies still primarily use their .com domain name for the business. For example, visiting comcast.net will take you to their new .com website.

Now, you may think 4% is quite a lot of domain names (around 14 Million at the time of writing this article). Who else is using .net domain names?

Many businesses register a .net domain extension for their brand so that someone else couldn’t infringe on their business name.

Some companies started using it because they couldn’t get their preferred .com domain name. Majority of these companies soon transfer to a .com domain extension but they keep .net domain name for technical and legal reasons.

Com vs Net – Which One is Better for SEO?

A lot of our users ask us which domain extension will help them rank higher. If you are asking between Net and Com, then choosing either of them will not affect your SEO.

Search engines will treat both domain extensions the same. You will need to just focus on SEO best practices and create useful targeted content to rank higher.

The actual important part will be your domain name itself, not the extension. For example, stargardeningservices.com will rank better than starservices.net because it contains the keyword that people are more likely to search.

How to Buy a Domain Name?

There are two ways to get a domain name. You can choose the one that best suits you.

1. Get a FREE Domain Name with Bluehost

If you want to make a website then you will also need website hosting. See our article on the difference between domain name and website hosting.

Usually, you will pay $14.99 per year for a domain name and $7.99 / month for hosting. Now, if you are just starting out, then this sounds like a lot of money.

Luckily, folks at Bluehost are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and 60% discount on hosting.

→ Click Here to Claim Your Free Domain Name ←

2. Register a Domain Name

If you don’t want to make website, then you can still register a domain name and make a website later.

We recommend using GoDaddy. They are the largest domain name registration company in the world currently managing 72+ million domain names.

For detailed step by step instructions, see our article on how to register a domain name.

We hope this article helped you learn the difference between com vs net domain name extensions. You may also want to see our step by step guide on how to start a blog.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Com vs Net – What’s the Difference Between Domain Extensions appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog

We are often asked by our users how to do keyword research for their WordPress blogs. Keyword research helps you find betters content ideas that will help you grow traffic and create highly engaging content that users will love. In this article, we will show… Read More »

The post How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by our users how to do keyword research for their WordPress blogs. Keyword research helps you find betters content ideas that will help you grow traffic and create highly engaging content that users will love. In this article, we will show you how to properly do keyword research for your WordPress blog.

How to do keyword research for your WordPress blog

What is Keyword Research and Why You Need it?

Keyword research is a research technique used by content creators and SEO experts. It helps you discover words users enter into search engines to find content, products, and services in your industry.

You can then use those words and phrases into your website to get more search traffic.

Many beginners assume that they have a clear idea of what their users are looking for. However, you don’t need to make educated guesses when there are powerful tools available that can help you make data-driven decisions.

Properly using keyword research as a part of your content strategy can help you achieve the following:

  • Find the popular keywords your users are actually looking for
  • Find content ideas that are easy to rank for and have decent search volume
  • Find out what your competitors are doing and then beat them to it with a better content strategy
  • Get more search traffic and grow your audience with each new article

That being said, let’s take a look at how to properly do keyword research for your WordPress blog and boost your search traffic.

We have hand-picked the best keyword research tools that we have personally used for our own projects. We will show you each one of them and how to properly use them to do your own keyword research like a pro.

1. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush is one of the best SEO Tools on the market. It is the complete SEO suite with tools to perform organic research, paid advertising research, keyword research, and in-depth competition analysis.

To get started, simply go to SEMRush website and enter a keyword or your website URL.

SEMRush keyword research overview

You will see an overview of the keyword you entered showing search volume (number of average searches), CPC for paid advertising, and number of search results.

Scroll down a little and you will see an overview of keywords matches and related keywords. You can click on the view full report button to explore the complete lists or export them to a CSV file.

Related keywords

Scroll down further and you will see the list of top search results for the keyword you entered. You can click on each of these links to view full report which will help you understand why these pages rank for these keywords.

You can also use their new ‘Keyword Magic Tool’ which gives you faster access to broader keyword research on related terms. You can click on the add button next to a keyword to add them into keyword analyzer.

Keyword magic tool

Once you have figured out the best keywords with highest search volume, the next step would be to analyze competition for those keywords. Click on the links already ranking for those keywords to see a detailed analysis.

Keyword competition analysis

You will be able to see the backlinks for that particular URL, other keywords that page rank for, and how much search traffic it gets.

Overall, SEMRush is the best keyword research tool on the market. It not only gives you keyword ideas, it also helps you find out how you can rank for those keywords.

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is one of the most powerful keyword research tools on the market. It helps you learn why your competitors are ranking so high, and what you need to do to outrank them in search results.

Ahrefs crawls more than 6 billion pages every day, with over 12 trillion links in their index from 200+ million domain names. That’s a lot of data, but the real beauty is how their platform helps you use this data to your advantage.

It has an intuitive user interface which breaks down all the data into different sections. Simply enter a domain name in the search field and Ahrefs will pull a wealth of information in an easy to understand format.

Ahrefs reporting overview

It will show you an overview of the results with the total number of backlinks, referring domains, organic keywords, and content review. You can click on any of these sections to drill down further.

Click on ‘Organic Keywords’ report and Ahrefs will show you a list of keywords for the domain name with search volume, search rank, URL, and more.

Ahrefs organic keywords report

You can also generate keyword ideas by entering keywords in the search box. Ahrefs’ keyword explorer tool will generate a list of keyword suggestions with search volume, difficulty score, and clicks.

Ahrefs also comes with powerful tools for content analysis, rank tracking, web monitoring, and more. You can export all reports in CSV or PDF format and then work on them in your favorite spreadsheet software.

3. AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is a free visual keyword research and content ideas tool. It utilizes Google and Bing’s auto-suggest feature and presents the data in a more understandable visual format.

Simply visit the website and enter a keyword or phrase. The tool will then load keywords and present them into visual maps. Reports are divided into questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical, and related keywords.

Keyword visualization

You can click on any keyword and it will show Google search results in a new browser tab. This allows you to quickly view the questions people are searching for, and how you can answer them with relevant content.

All keyword research is presented on a single page. You can download the data in visual format as images or export them to a CSV file and use with your preferred spreadsheet software.

Download keyword research data

More Keyword Research Tips

All the above-mentioned tools will provide you a treasure trove of data. Here are some more tips on how to narrow down your keyword research and find the most profitable ideas.

  • Start your keyword research with broader keywords and then narrow it down to find keywords with low competition and more search volume.
  • Enter your own URL in SEMRush or Ahrefs to see your own keyword performance and then compare it with your competitors.
  • Focus on finding keywords that answer your customer’s questions and help them make a buying decision.
  • Don’t limit your keyword research to most searched keywords. You can easily rank for longer keywords and build upon that.

How to apply keyword research in your business or blog?

The main goal of keyword research is to find out what your customers are looking for and then rank for those keywords in search results. There are multiple ways to do that depending on your content strategy.

  • Plan a proper content marketing strategy around your new keyword research
  • Create useful content articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, and more using those keywords.
  • Business websites can create landing pages, documentation, FAQs and other content targeting new keywords
  • If you run an online store, then you can use those keywords in your product titles, descriptions, product categories, and more.

Need help creating engaging content? Check out our expert pick of the best content marketing tools and plugins.

How do I track the performance of my keyword research?

First, you need to sign up for Google Search Console. It provides you insights into how Google views your website. You will also be able to see keywords you rank for, and average position in search results.

Google Search Console

You will also need Google Analytics to track the performance of your content. MonsterInsights is the easiest way to install Google Analytics in WordPress. It shows you top content in your WordPress dashboard and enables you to track user engagement on your website.

We hope this article helped you learn how to do keyword research for your WordPress blog. You may also want to see ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Do Keyword Research for Your WordPress Blog appeared first on WPBeginner.

Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research

Recently one of our readers asked us to provide some WordPress stats, facts, and research to help convince their boss on why they should use WordPress. Even though WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, sometimes popularity alone is not enough for… Read More »

The post Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research appeared first on WPBeginner.

Recently one of our readers asked us to provide some WordPress stats, facts, and research to help convince their boss on why they should use WordPress. Even though WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, sometimes popularity alone is not enough for users to make up their mind. In this article, we have compiled an ultimate list of WordPress stats, facts, and other research that will help you convince others to start using WordPress.

List of WordPress stats, facts, and other research

The Basics: What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source software that allows users to make a website. It is available for download as a free software and can be installed on any WordPress hosting company.

It’s important not to confuse WordPress (the software) with WordPress.com which is a hosted solution. To learn more, see the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org in our side-by-side comparison.

WordPress basics

It all started when two users of a blogging software called b2/cafelog decided to take the software in a new direction. The idea was coined by Matt Mullenweg who was then joined by Mark Little and together they released the first version of WordPress on May 27, 2003.

First WordPress release

Since then, WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging software to a CMS, website builder, eCommerce platform, and more. To learn more, see our article about the history of WordPress.

WordPress is a community software and thousands of users from all over the world have contributed to it by submitting code, fixing bugs, translating, testing, and helping others use it.

Let’s take a look at some WordPress stats and facts to see how WordPress is helping people do great things on the internet.

How Popular is WordPress?

WordPress usage

WordPress is immensely popular and is used by millions of people all over the world. Here are some numbers to put things in perspective.

  1. WordPress powers more than 30% of all websites on the internet.
  2. It also holds nearly 60% of CMS market share. No other website builder software comes close.
  3. WordPress powers websites for big name brands including Disney, Sony, Facebook, and more.
  4. 14.7% of top 100 Websites are powered by WordPress.
  5. More than 22% of all new domain names in the United States are running WordPress.
  6. Each day more than 1014 WordPress sites and 496 WooCommerce stores join the top 10 million websites tracked by W3Techs.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins

Plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. You can install them to add new features to your site and extend its functionality. To learn more, see our guide on what are WordPress plugins and how do they work?.

Here are some mind-blowing facts about WordPress plugins, which show just how massive the WordPress ecosystem is.

  1. There are more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins on WordPress.org plugin directory alone.
  2. 3 of those plugins are installed on 5 million+ websites.
  3. 19 top WordPress plugins are installed on more than 1 million websites.
  4. The most popular eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce is installed on more than 3 million websites with 43 million all time downloads.

These stats are from WordPress.org plugin directory alone. Many plugin developers sell premium versions of their plugins from their own websites.

With a healthy plugins ecosystem, it means that you can add custom functionality to your website at a fraction of the cost of custom development.

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes

Themes control the appearance of a WordPress website. These are WordPress specific website design templates that you can install on your website to change its look.

There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available offering WordPress users an endless combination of design, layout, color schemes, and features.

  1. Themes were first introduced with WordPress 1.5 back in 2005, with the first new default WordPress theme called Kubrick
  2. Just like plugins, there are both free and paid WordPress themes that you can install.
  3. WordPress.org’s free theme directory has more than 5,800 free WordPress themes.
  4. According to Builtwith, Genesis theme framework is the most popular theme used by 17% of websites analyzed by their service.
  5. Thousands of themes are sold by Commercial WordPress theme shops with an average price of $40 per theme.

WordPress Security

WordPress is the most commonly used CMS software in the world, which also makes it a common target of hacking attempts, DDOS attacks, malware, and trojans.

  1. According to Sucuri, a leading website security company, 83% of all CMS based websites that were hacked in 2017 were running WordPress. This number isn’t surprising considering that WordPress holds 60% of CMS market share.
  2. Sucuri also reported that 39% of hacked WordPress websites were using an outdated version of the software. That’s why you should always use the latest version of WordPress on your website.
  3. Nearly 50% WordPress sites are affected by a security vulnerability caused by an outdated or poorly coded WordPress plugin or theme
  4. Around 8% of WordPress sites were hacked due to a weak password.

You can make your WordPress site as secure as possible by following some basic security best practices. To learn more, see our complete WordPress security guide for step by step instructions.

Often the stats above cause WordPress to get a bad reputation, but the reality is that WordPress itself is not insecure. WordPress core goes through rigorous security audits, and it’s more secure than many other platforms out there.

The only fault WordPress has is that it’s popular which leads to stats like above.

WordPress Community

WordPress community

WordPress has a massive user base spread across all over the world. It is used by not just businesses, but also governments, schools and colleges, non-profits, and more.

As an open source project, WordPress is driven by a global community of users. This means that anyone can contribute to the project in many different ways.

  1. WordPress translation community has it fully translated into 56 languages, partially translated in dozens more.
  2. In 2017, WordPress communities around the world organized 128 WordCamp events, in 48 countries, and sold 39,625 tickets.
  3. In 2017, Local WordPress communities organized 4,379 meetups in 73 countries

If you want to contribute to WordPress, then see our guide on how to get involved with WordPress project.

The WordPress Economy

WordPress economy

WordPress has a thriving billion dollar ecosystem that creates thousands of jobs all over the world. This also includes freelancers, developers, and companies that sell WordPress related products and services.

  1. At the time of writing this article, freelancer.com website alone had 564,010 WordPress jobs posted out of these 13,680 were open.
  2. Thousands of WordPress jobs are currently open on many popular freelancing websites.
  3. Average hourly rate for WordPress developers can be anywhere between $20-$100 per hour depending on their expertise and job at hand.
  4. A custom WordPress theme with its own unique design and plugins can cost $10,000 and it may increase depending on project’s requirements.
  5. There are hundreds of small and large businesses, agencies, and developers selling WordPress related products. See our list of the most influential WordPress businesses and companies and what they do.

We hope this article helped you discover some new WordPress stats, facts, and interesting research. You may also want to see our article + infograph on 25 interesting facts about WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research appeared first on WPBeginner.

Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research

Recently one of our readers asked us to provide some WordPress stats, facts, and research to help convince their boss on why they should use WordPress. Even though WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, sometimes popularity alone is not enough for… Read More »

The post Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research appeared first on WPBeginner.

Recently one of our readers asked us to provide some WordPress stats, facts, and research to help convince their boss on why they should use WordPress. Even though WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world, sometimes popularity alone is not enough for users to make up their mind. In this article, we have compiled an ultimate list of WordPress stats, facts, and other research that will help you convince others to start using WordPress.

List of WordPress stats, facts, and other research

The Basics: What is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source software that allows users to make a website. It is available for download as a free software and can be installed on any WordPress hosting company.

It’s important not to confuse WordPress (the software) with WordPress.com which is a hosted solution. To learn more, see the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org in our side-by-side comparison.

WordPress basics

It all started when two users of a blogging software called b2/cafelog decided to take the software in a new direction. The idea was coined by Matt Mullenweg who was then joined by Mark Little and together they released the first version of WordPress on May 27, 2003.

First WordPress release

Since then, WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging software to a CMS, website builder, eCommerce platform, and more. To learn more, see our article about the history of WordPress.

WordPress is a community software and thousands of users from all over the world have contributed to it by submitting code, fixing bugs, translating, testing, and helping others use it.

Let’s take a look at some WordPress stats and facts to see how WordPress is helping people do great things on the internet.

How Popular is WordPress?

WordPress usage

WordPress is immensely popular and is used by millions of people all over the world. Here are some numbers to put things in perspective.

  1. WordPress powers more than 30% of all websites on the internet.
  2. It also holds nearly 60% of CMS market share. No other website builder software comes close.
  3. WordPress powers websites for big name brands including Disney, Sony, Facebook, and more.
  4. 14.7% of top 100 Websites are powered by WordPress.
  5. More than 22% of all new domain names in the United States are running WordPress.
  6. Each day more than 1014 WordPress sites and 496 WooCommerce stores join the top 10 million websites tracked by W3Techs.

WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins

Plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. You can install them to add new features to your site and extend its functionality. To learn more, see our guide on what are WordPress plugins and how do they work?.

Here are some mind-blowing facts about WordPress plugins, which show just how massive the WordPress ecosystem is.

  1. There are more than 50,000 free WordPress plugins on WordPress.org plugin directory alone.
  2. 3 of those plugins are installed on 5 million+ websites.
  3. 19 top WordPress plugins are installed on more than 1 million websites.
  4. The most popular eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce is installed on more than 3 million websites with 43 million all time downloads.

These stats are from WordPress.org plugin directory alone. Many plugin developers sell premium versions of their plugins from their own websites.

With a healthy plugins ecosystem, it means that you can add custom functionality to your website at a fraction of the cost of custom development.

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes

Themes control the appearance of a WordPress website. These are WordPress specific website design templates that you can install on your website to change its look.

There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available offering WordPress users an endless combination of design, layout, color schemes, and features.

  1. Themes were first introduced with WordPress 1.5 back in 2005, with the first new default WordPress theme called Kubrick
  2. Just like plugins, there are both free and paid WordPress themes that you can install.
  3. WordPress.org’s free theme directory has more than 5,800 free WordPress themes.
  4. According to Builtwith, Genesis theme framework is the most popular theme used by 17% of websites analyzed by their service.
  5. Thousands of themes are sold by Commercial WordPress theme shops with an average price of $40 per theme.

WordPress Security

WordPress is the most commonly used CMS software in the world, which also makes it a common target of hacking attempts, DDOS attacks, malware, and trojans.

  1. According to Sucuri, a leading website security company, 83% of all CMS based websites that were hacked in 2017 were running WordPress. This number isn’t surprising considering that WordPress holds 60% of CMS market share.
  2. Sucuri also reported that 39% of hacked WordPress websites were using an outdated version of the software. That’s why you should always use the latest version of WordPress on your website.
  3. Nearly 50% WordPress sites are affected by a security vulnerability caused by an outdated or poorly coded WordPress plugin or theme
  4. Around 8% of WordPress sites were hacked due to a weak password.

You can make your WordPress site as secure as possible by following some basic security best practices. To learn more, see our complete WordPress security guide for step by step instructions.

Often the stats above cause WordPress to get a bad reputation, but the reality is that WordPress itself is not insecure. WordPress core goes through rigorous security audits, and it’s more secure than many other platforms out there.

The only fault WordPress has is that it’s popular which leads to stats like above.

WordPress Community

WordPress community

WordPress has a massive user base spread across all over the world. It is used by not just businesses, but also governments, schools and colleges, non-profits, and more.

As an open source project, WordPress is driven by a global community of users. This means that anyone can contribute to the project in many different ways.

  1. WordPress translation community has it fully translated into 56 languages, partially translated in dozens more.
  2. In 2017, WordPress communities around the world organized 128 WordCamp events, in 48 countries, and sold 39,625 tickets.
  3. In 2017, Local WordPress communities organized 4,379 meetups in 73 countries

If you want to contribute to WordPress, then see our guide on how to get involved with WordPress project.

The WordPress Economy

WordPress economy

WordPress has a thriving billion dollar ecosystem that creates thousands of jobs all over the world. This also includes freelancers, developers, and companies that sell WordPress related products and services.

  1. At the time of writing this article, freelancer.com website alone had 564,010 WordPress jobs posted out of these 13,680 were open.
  2. Thousands of WordPress jobs are currently open on many popular freelancing websites.
  3. Average hourly rate for WordPress developers can be anywhere between $20-$100 per hour depending on their expertise and job at hand.
  4. A custom WordPress theme with its own unique design and plugins can cost $10,000 and it may increase depending on project’s requirements.
  5. There are hundreds of small and large businesses, agencies, and developers selling WordPress related products. See our list of the most influential WordPress businesses and companies and what they do.

We hope this article helped you discover some new WordPress stats, facts, and interesting research. You may also want to see our article + infograph on 25 interesting facts about WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post Ultimate List of WordPress Stats, Facts, and Other Research appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE)

Often when starting a blog, users ask us about how to register a custom domain name, and which are the best places to register a domain. In this article, we will show you how to easily register a domain name, and share a tip on… Read More »

The post How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Often when starting a blog, users ask us about how to register a custom domain name, and which are the best places to register a domain. In this article, we will show you how to easily register a domain name, and share a tip on how to register a domain name for free.

How to register a domain name

But before we get started, let’s cover the basics so we’re on the same page.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser to visit your website. For example, wpbeginner.com.

In simple term, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

The whole internet is a giant network of computers. Each computer is assigned a number which is called an IP address, and it looks like this:

66.249.66.1

Now, this is not an easy to remember address. Imagine if you had to use this kind of addresses to visit your favorite websites.

To fix this problem, domain names were invented. Domain names can have alphabets and numbers, which helps website owners create easy to remember brandable words for their website’s address.

How domains work?

To learn more about domain names, see our beginner’s guide on domain names and how do they work.

When Do You Need to Register a Domain Name?

Each day, over 44,000 new .com domain names were registered in the first quarter of 2018. Currently, there are over 134 million .com domain names already registered.

This means that all the good ones are being registered as we speak. Chances are that someone may register a domain name that you’re thinking of, so it’s smart to register a domain name as soon as you think of an idea.

This is why all tech-savvy entrepreneurs pro-actively register domain names even before launching a business. Domain names are cheap, and you can register them for a year. If you decide to not pursue the business, then you can let them expire.

If you are serious about building a business, then you should register a domain name right away. It will help you protect your brand identity, business name, and even future business ideas.

How much does a domain name cost?

Normally, a .com domain name costs $14.99 / year. Other domain name extensions cost varies based on each extension. Some are even more expensive than this. We don’t recommend using anything but .com domains because everybody remembers a .com domain, and your smartphone keyboards have a pre-built key for .com.

Do I Need a Website to Register a Domain Name?

No. You don’t need a website to register a domain name. You can register a domain name and make a website later. You can also register a domain name and set up a temporary website.

A lot of entrepreneurs treat domain names like digital real-estate, so they register a good domain name and hold it for the right buyer to purchase it from them.

How to Choose The Best Domain Name?

Domain names play a very important role in your website’s identity, and its success. You want to spend some time and do your research before registering a domain name. However, it’s also important to not overthink it otherwise you will never get past the research phase.

Here are some general tips to keep in mind.

  • Make sure that your domain name is easy to pronounce, spell, and as short as possible.
  • Stick with the .com extension, most users find them easier to remember than other domain extensions.
  • Use your keywords and brand name in the domain name. For example, stargardeninghouston.com is more search engine friendly, than stargardeningcompany.com
  • Do not use numbers or hyphens in your domain name. It makes them harder to pronounce and difficult to remember.

Need more advice? See our article on how to choose the best domain name for more tips.

How to Register a Domain Name (Step by Step)

There are multiple ways to register a domain name. You can choose from several top domain registrars that are authorized by ICANN to register domain names for you.

We will show you the most popular ways to register a domain name, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

1. How to Register a Domain Name for Free

If you want to register a domain name to start a blog or make a website, then this is the best option for you.

Normally, a domain name costs $14.99 / year and website hosting plans start from $7.99 / month. This is a lot of money if you are just starting out.

Luckily, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name, SSL Certificate, and 60% discount on web hosting.

→ Click Here to Get Free Domain with Bluehost ←

Bluehost is one of the biggest hosting companies in the world. They are in business since 2003 and host more than 2 million websites. Not to mention, they’re officially recommended by WordPress.

To get started, you need to visit the Bluehost website and click on the Get Started button.

Getting free domain name with Bluehost

This will bring you to the pricing page. Their Basic and Plus plans are popular among our users.

Choose a plan

Click on the ‘Select’ button below a plan to continue.

On the next page, you will be asked to choose a domain name. Simply type the domain name in the “New Domain” box because that will get you a free domain name.

Select domain name

If the domain name you entered is available, then you will be taken to the signup page. From here you need to enter your account information like name, address, email, etc.

Below the account information, you will notice some hosting extras. We don’t recommend buying them, so you can safely uncheck them for now. If you feel that you need them, then you can always add them later.

Uncheck hosting extras

After that, you can enter your payment information to finish the purchase.

Bluehost will now register your domain name, setup your hosting account and send you an email with a link to your hosting control panel.

Since you need a web hosting to start a website, it makes no sense to purchase a domain name separately when you can get it for free with the Bluehost combo offer.

If for some reason you don’t want to use Bluehost to get a free domain name, then you can use InMotion Hosting or GreenGeeks, both are top WordPress hosting companies that are offering a free domain name with web hosting to WPBeginner readers.

Related: See the difference between domain and web hosting to understand why you need both to build a website.

2. How to Register a Domain Name with GoDaddy

If you only want to register a domain name at the moment without creating a website, then GoDaddy is your best option.

Godaddy is the largest and most popular domain name registrar in the word. They currently manage over 72 million domain names for 17 million users from around the globe.

GoDaddy offers an easy way to manage your domain name without creating a website. Once you are ready, you can just point the domain name to your preferred WordPress hosting company.

Here is how to register a domain name with GoDaddy (step by step).

First, you need to visit the GoDaddy website and enter the domain name you want to register in the search box.

Search domain name on GoDaddy

If your domain name is available, then you will see a success message with your domain name listed on top. You can now go ahead and add it to the cart.

Add domain name to the cart

Next, click on the continue to cart button to check out.

GoDaddy, will now show you some additional services that you can purchase with your domain name. You can skip those by selecting ‘No thanks’ and click on the continue button.

Continue to the cart

On the next page, you will see your domain name and its registration period. You can change the registration period to up to 10 years if you want.

However, we don’t recommend that. You can always renew your domain name before it expires, so if you want to save money, then you can select just 1 year registration period.

Domain name registration period and amount

You will need to create a Godaddy account to proceed.

After you have created an account, you will be able to enter your billing address and make a payment for your domain name.

GoDaddy will now register your domain name, and they will send you an email with a link to your domain control panel.

Pro Tip: You should make sure that auto-renew on your domain is turned on, so Godaddy can automatically bill your account and renew your domain name. This way you won’t lose your domain if you forgot to renew it.

3. Other Ways to Register a Domain Name

There are plenty of other domain name registrars that you can choose from. Prices for domain name registrations are pretty much the same on all those registration services. However, their user interface and domain management tools can be lacking at times.

If you don’t want to use GoDaddy for some reason, then we recommend trying out either NameCheap as the best alternative.

If you want a free domain name with website hosting but don’t want to use Bluehost, then you can use InMotion Hosting or GreenGeeks, both are listed among the best WordPress hosting providers in our list.

Domain Registration FAQs

Since we have helped over 130,000 people start a website, we have gotten just about every question you can possibly think of. Below are the answers to some of the top domain name questions:

Which is the best domain name registrar?

We believe that Godaddy is the best domain name registrar given their long history. However it’s a smarter money decision to get a free domain with web hosting like Bluehost. You can always transfer your domain name if you decide to switch hosting provider.

How can I buy a domain name permanently?

You cannot buy a domain name permanently. Domain names registration is done on a yearly basis. However you can pre-pay for up to 10 years which guarantees that you will have a domain name for 10 years.

How can I reserve a domain name without buying it?

There is no way to reserve a domain name without purchasing it. You have to buy it if you want to reserve it. Considering the low cost of a domain name, it’s a small investment for a business.

Is there a way to buy an existing domain name?

Yes, you can use brokerage like Sedo.com to potentially acquire an existing domain name. However it’s not guaranteed that you will get the domain name that you want because the seller may not want to sell it or ask for an outrageous price.

We hope this article helped you learn how to register a domain name for your website. You may also want to see our tips on how to make money online with your new domain name and/or how to create a professional email address with your domain.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Register a Domain Name (+ simple tip to get it for FREE) appeared first on WPBeginner.

The Ultimate Guide to WordPress and GDPR Compliance – Everything You Need to Know

Are you confused by GDPR, and how it will impact your WordPress site? GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation, is an European Union law that you have likely heard about. We have received dozens of emails from users asking us to explain GDPR in… Read More »

The post The Ultimate Guide to WordPress and GDPR Compliance – Everything You Need to Know appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you confused by GDPR, and how it will impact your WordPress site? GDPR, short for General Data Protection Regulation, is an European Union law that you have likely heard about. We have received dozens of emails from users asking us to explain GDPR in plain English and share tips on how to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about GDPR and WordPress (without the complex legal stuff).

WordPress and GDPR Compliance

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice.

To help you easily navigate through our ultimate guide to WordPress and GDPR Compliance, we have created a table of content below:

Table of Content

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) law taking effect on May 25, 2018. The goal of GDPR is to give EU citizens control over their personal data and change the data privacy approach of organizations across the world.

What is GDPR?

You’ve likely gotten dozens of emails from companies like Google and others regarding GDPR, their new privacy policy, and bunch of other legal stuff. That’s because the EU has put in hefty penalties for those who are not in compliance.

Fines

Basically after May 25th, 2018, businesses that are not in compliance with GDPR’s requirement can face large fines up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue OR €20 million (whichever is greater). This is enough reason to cause wide-spread panic among businesses around the world.

This brings us to the big question that you might be thinking about:

Does GDPR apply to my WordPress site?

The answer is YES. It applies to every business, large and small, around the world (not just in the European Union).

If your website has visitors from European Union countries, then this law applies to you.

But don’t panic, this isn’t the end of the world.

While GDPR has the potential to escalate to those high level of fines, it will start with a warning, then a reprimand, then a suspension of data processing, and if you continue to violate the law, then the large fines will hit.

GDPR Fines and Penalties

The EU isn’t some evil government that is out to get you. Their goal is to protect consumers, average people like you and me from reckless handling of data / breaches because it’s getting out of control.

The maximum fine part in our opinion is largely to get the attention of large companies like Facebook and Google, so this regulation is NOT ignored. Furthermore, this encourage companies to actually put more emphasis on protecting the rights of people.

Once you understand what is required by GDPR and the spirit of the law, then you will realize that none of this is too crazy. We will also share tools / tips to make your WordPress site GDPR compliant.

What is required under GDPR?

The goal of GDPR is to protect user’s personally identifying information (PII) and hold businesses to a higher standard when it comes to how they collect, store, and use this data.

The personal data includes: name, emails, physical address, IP address, health information, income, etc.

GDPR Personal Data

While the GDPR regulation is 200 pages long, here are the most important pillars that you need to know:

Explicit Consent – if you’re collecting personal data from an EU resident, then you must obtain explicit consent that’s specific and unambiguous. In other words, you can’t just send unsolicited emails to people who gave you their business card or filled out your website contact form because they DID NOT opt-in for your marketing newsletter (that’s called SPAM by the way, and you shouldn’t be doing that anyways).

For it to be considered explicit consent, you must require a positive opt-in (i.e no pre-ticked checkbox), contain clear wording (no legalese), and be separate from other terms & conditions.

Rights to Data – you must inform individuals where, why, and how their data is processed / stored. An individual has the right to download their personal data and an individual also has the right to be forgotten meaning they can ask for their data to be deleted.

This will make sure that when you hit Unsubscribe or ask companies to delete your profile, then they actually do that (hmm, go figure). I’m looking at you Zenefits, still waiting for my account to be deleted for 2 years and hoping that you stop sending me spam emails just because I made the mistake of trying out your service.

Breach Notification – organizations must report certain types of data breaches to relevant authorities within 72 hours, unless the breach is considered harmless and poses no risk to individual data. However if a breach is high-risk, then the company MUST also inform individuals who’re impacted right away.

This will hopefully prevent cover-ups like Yahoo that was not revealed until the acquisition.

Data Protection Officers – if you are a public company or process large amounts of personal information, then you must appoint a data protection officer. Again this is not required for small businesses. Consult an attorney if you’re in doubt.

GDPR Data Protection Officer

To put it in plain English, GDPR makes sure that businesses can’t go around spamming people by sending emails they didn’t ask for. Businesses can’t sell people’s data without their explicit consent (good luck getting this consent). Businesses have to delete user’s account and unsubscribe them from email lists if the user ask you to do that. Businesses have to report data breaches and overall be better about data protection.

Sounds pretty good, in theory at least.

Ok so now you are probably wondering what do you need to do to make sure that your WordPress site is GDPR compliant.

Well, that really depends on your specific website (more on this later).

Let us start by answering the biggest question that we’ve gotten from users:

Is WordPress GDPR Compliant?

Yes, as of WordPress 4.9.6, the WordPress core software is GDPR compliant. WordPress core team has added several GDPR enhancements to make sure that WordPress is GDPR compliant. It’s important to note that when we talk about WordPress, we’re talking about self-hosted WordPress.org (see the difference: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org).

Having said that, due to the dynamic nature of websites, no single platform, plugin or solution can offer 100% GDPR compliance. The GDPR compliance process will vary based on the type of website you have, what data you store, and how you process data on your site.

Ok so you might be thinking what does this mean in plain english?

Well, by default WordPress 4.9.6 now comes with the following GDPR enhancement tools:

Comments Consent

WordPress Comments Opt-in for GDPR

By default, WordPress used to store the commenters name, email and website as a cookie on the user’s browser. This made it easier for users to leave comments on their favorite blogs because those fields were pre-populated.

Due to GDPR’s consent requirement, WordPress has added the comment consent checkbox. The user can leave a comment without checking this box. All it would mean is that they would have to manually enter their name, email, and website every time they leave a comment.

Data Export and Erase Feature

WordPress Data Handling - GDPR

WordPress offers site owners the ability to comply with GDPR’s data handling requirements and honor user’s request for exporting personal data as well as removal of user’s personal data.

The data handling features can be found under the Tools menu inside WordPress admin.

Privacy Policy Generator

WordPress Privacy Policy Generator for GDPR

WordPress now comes with a built-in privacy policy generator. It offers a pre-made privacy policy template and offer you guidance in terms of what else to add, so you can be more transparent with users in terms of what data you store and how you handle their data.

These three things are enough to make a default WordPress blog GDPR compliant. However it is very likely that your website has additional features that will also need to be in compliance.

Areas on Your Website that are Impacted by GDPR

As a website owner, you might be using various WordPress plugins that store or process data like contact forms, analytics, email marketing, online store, membership sites, etc.

Depending on which which WordPress plugins you are using on your website, you would need to act accordingly to make sure that your website is GDPR compliant.

A lot of the best WordPress plugins have already gone ahead and added GDPR enhancement features. Let’s take a look at some of the common areas that you would need to address:

Google Analytics

Like most website owners, you’re likely using Google Analytics to get website stats. This means that it is possible that you’re collecting or tracking personal data like IP addresses, user IDs, cookies and other data for behavior profiling. To be GDPR compliant, you need to do one of the following:

  1. Anonymize the data before storage and processing begins
  2. Add an overlay to the site that gives notice of cookies and ask users for consent prior to tracking

Both of these are fairly difficult to do if you’re just pasting Google Analytics code manually on your site. However, if you’re using MonsterInsights, the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, then you’re in luck.

They have released an EU compliance addon that helps automate the above process. MonsterInsights also has a very good blog post about all you need to know about GDPR and Google Analytics (this is a must read, if you’re using Google Analytics on your site).

MonsterInsights EU Compliance Addon

Contact Forms

If you are using a contact form in WordPress, then you may have to add extra transparency measures specially if you’re storing the form entries or using the data for marketing purposes.

Below are the things you might want to consider for making your WordPress forms GDPR compliant:

  • Get explicit consent from users to store their information.
  • Get explicit consent from users if you are planning to use their data for marketing purposes (i.e adding them to your email list).
  • Disable cookies, user-agent, and IP tracking for forms.
  • Make sure you have a data-processing agreement with your form providers if you are using a SaaS form solution.
  • Comply with data-deletion requests.
  • Disable storing all form entries (a bit extreme and not required by GDPR). You probably shouldn’t do this unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

The good part is that if you’re using WordPress plugins like WPForms, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, Contact Form 7, etc, then you don’t need a Data Processing Agreement because these plugins DO NOT store your form entries on their site. Your form entries are stored in your WordPress database.

Simply adding a required consent checkbox with clear explanation should be good enough for you to make your WordPress forms GDPR compliant.

WPForms, the contact form plugin we use on WPBeginner, has added several GDPR enhancements to make it easy for you to add a GDPR consent field, disable user cookies, disable user IP collection, and disable entries with a single click.

GDPR Form Fields in WPForms

Email Marketing Opt-in Forms

Similar to contact forms, if you have any email marketing opt-in forms like popups, floating bars, inline-forms, and others, then you need to make sure that you’re collecting explicit consent from users before adding them to your list.

This can be done with either:

  1. Adding a checkbox that user has to click before opt-in
  2. Simply requiring double-optin to your email list

Top lead-generation solutions like OptinMonster has added GDPR consent checkboxes and other necessary features to help you make your email opt-in forms compliant. You can read more about the GDPR strategies for marketers on the OptinMonster blog.

WooCommerce / Ecommerce

If you’re using WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, then you need to make sure your website is in compliance with GDPR.

The WooCommerce team has prepared a comprehensive guide for store owners to help them be GDPR compliant.

Retargeting Ads

If your website is running retargeting pixels or retargeting ads, then you will need to get user’s consent. You can do this by using a plugin like Cooke Notices.

Best WordPress Plugins for GDPR Compliance

There are several WordPress plugins that can help automate some aspects of GDPR compliance for you. However, no plugin can offer 100% compliance due to the dynamic nature of websites.

Beware of any WordPress plugin that claims to offer 100% GDPR compliance. They likely don’t know what they’re talking about, and it’s best for you to avoid them completely.

Below is our list of recommended plugins for facilitating GDPR compliance:

  • MonsterInsights – if you’re using Google Analytics, then you should use their EU compliance addon.
  • WPForms – by far the most user-friendly WordPress contact form plugin. They offer GDPR fields and other features.
  • Cookies Notice – popular free plugin to add an EU cookie notice. Integrates well with top plugins like MonsterInsights and others.
  • Delete Me – free plugin that allow users to automatically delete their profile on your site.
  • OptinMonster – advanced lead generation software that offers clever targeting features to boost conversions while being GDPR compliant.
  • Shared Counts – instead of loading the default share buttons which add tracking cookies, this plugin load static share buttons while displaying share counts.

We will continue to monitor the plugin ecosystem to see if any other WordPress plugin stands out and offer substantial GDPR compliance features.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re ready or not, GDPR will go in effect on May 25, 2018. If your website is not compliant before then, don’t panic. Just continue to work towards compliance and get it done asap.

The likelihood of you getting a fine the day after this rule goes in effect are pretty close to zero because the European Union’s website states that first you’ll get a warning, then a reprimand, and fines are the last step if you fail to comply and knowingly ignore the law.

The EU is not out to get you. They’re doing this to protect user’s data and restore people’s trust in online businesses. As the world goes digital, we need these standards. With the recent data breaches of large companies, it’s important that these standards are adapted globally.

It will be good for all involved. These new rules will help boost consumer confidence and in turn help grow your business.

We hope this article helped you learn about WordPress and GDPR compliance. We will do our best to keep it updated as more information or tools get released.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Additional Resources

Legal Disclaimer / Disclosure

We are not lawyers. Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice. Due to the dynamic nature of websites, no single plugin or platform can offer 100% legal compliance. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a specialist internet law attorney to determine if you are in compliance with all applicable laws for your jurisdictions and your use cases.

WPBeginner founder, Syed Balkhi, is also the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPForms, and MonsterInsights.

The post The Ultimate Guide to WordPress and GDPR Compliance – Everything You Need to Know appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Add an Image in WordPress Sidebar Widget

Do you want to add an image to a sidebar widget in WordPress? By default, WordPress makes it easy to upload and add images anywhere on your website. In this article, we will show you how to easily add an image in your WordPress sidebar… Read More »

The post How to Add an Image in WordPress Sidebar Widget appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to add an image to a sidebar widget in WordPress? By default, WordPress makes it easy to upload and add images anywhere on your website. In this article, we will show you how to easily add an image in your WordPress sidebar widget. We will share multiple methods, so you can use one that works best for you.

Adding an image in WordPress sidebar widget

Adding an Image in WordPress Using The Image Widget

The easiest way to add an image in WordPress sidebar is by using the default ‘Image’ widget.

Simply go to Appearance » Widgets page and add the ‘Image’ widget to your sidebar. If you haven’t used widgets before, then see our guide on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

Add image widget

The widget will expand, and you will be able to see its settings.

The first option is to add a title to the image widget. After that, click on the ‘Add Image’ button to continue.

This will bring up the WordPress media uploader where you can click on the upload files button to upload your image or select an image you have previously uploaded.

Image settings

After uploading the image, you will see image settings in the right column. From here, you can provide a title / ALT text for the image, add a description, select size, or even add a link.

Once you are done, you can click on the ‘Add to Widget’ button to save your changes. You will now see a preview of the image inside the widget settings area.

Widget preview

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to save your image widget.

You can now visit your website to see the image displayed on your WordPress blog’s sidebar.

Sidebar image preview

Adding an Image in WordPress Sidebar Using Text Widget

Adding an image to the sidebar using the default ‘Image’ widget is quite easy. However, sometimes you may need to add an image with custom HTML or text with formatting. In that case, you will need to use the ‘Text’ widget instead.

Simply go to Appearance » Widgets page and add the ‘Text’ widget to your sidebar. Under the widget settings, you will see the ‘Add Media’ button above text edit area.

Add an image in WordPress sidebar using Text widget

Clicking on the button will bring up the media uploader allowing you to upload or select an image from the media library.

After selecting your image, click on the ‘Insert into post’ button. You will now be able to see an image preview in the text widget settings.

You can continue adding text and other elements to the text widget. The toolbar in the text editor gives you some basic formatting buttons.

Adding an image with text and basic formatting

Once you are done, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your widget settings.

You can now visit your website to see the sidebar image in action.

Image displayed using text widget in sidebar

Manually Adding an Image in WordPress Sidebar Widget

In some cases, you may need to add additional HTML code to your image. The default text widget allows some very basic HTML, but it may not work with advanced HTML or formatting. In that case, you will need to manually add an image to your blog’s sidebar.

First, you need to upload the image to your WordPress site. Simply go to Media » Add New and upload your image file.

After uploading the image, you need to click on the Edit link next to the image.

Upload and Edit an image file in WordPress

WordPress will now take you to the ‘Edit Media’ page where you will see the image file URL on the right side of the screen. You need to copy this URL and paste it into a text editor like Notepad.

Copying the image file URL in WordPress

Next, you need to go to Appearance » Widgets screen and drag-drop ‘Custom HTML’ widget to your sidebar where you want to display the image.

Manually add image to WordPress sidebar widget

In the text box area of the widget, you need to add your image using this code:

<img src="Paste The File URL Here" alt="Strawberries" />

The img tag is used in HTML to display images. It needs two attributes, the first one is src which defines the image file location. This is where you will paste the URL you copied earlier.

The second one is alt which is used to provide an alternate text for the image. Your final img tag will look something like this:

<img src="http://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/strawberries.jpg" alt="Strawberries" />

You need to click on the Save button to store your widget settings and then preview your website.

Adding an Image in WordPress Sidebar Using a Plugin

Another way to add images to your WordPress sidebar is by using a plugin. This will give you a few more options and a simple interface, which some beginners may find easier than the default ‘Image’ widget.

First, you need to install and activate the Image Widget plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, simply go to Appearance » Widgets page. You will notice a new widget labeled ‘Image Widget’ under available widgets column. Simply drag and drop this image widget to your WordPress sidebar where you want to display an image.

Image widget plugin

Next, click on the ‘Select Image’ button to upload an image or select one from the media library. After that you need to click on the ‘Insert to Widget’ button, and you will see the image preview under widget settings.

You can add a title, alt text, link, and a caption for the image. You can also choose an image size from the list of available options.

More settings for image widget plugin

Once you are satisfied, simply click on the Save button to save the image widget. That’s all, you can now go to your website and see the image displayed in your sidebar.

We hope this article helped you add an image in WordPress sidebar widget. If you come across a problem, don’t forget to look at our guide on how to fix common image issues in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+.

The post How to Add an Image in WordPress Sidebar Widget appeared first on WPBeginner.

WordPress Plugin vs Functions.php file (Which is better?)

We are often asked by users whether they should install a WordPress plugin or add code to their theme’s functions.php file? Some users believe that adding code is always the better method for performance, but that’s actually not true. In this article, we will explain… Read More »

The post WordPress Plugin vs Functions.php file (Which is better?) appeared first on WPBeginner.

We are often asked by users whether they should install a WordPress plugin or add code to their theme’s functions.php file? Some users believe that adding code is always the better method for performance, but that’s actually not true. In this article, we will explain the pros and cons of WordPress plugin vs functions.php file and which method is better.

WordPress plugin vs functions file

Installing WordPress Plugins vs Custom Code in Functions.php File

You will often find two solutions to add something to your WordPress site. You can either install a WordPress plugin or add a code snippet to your theme’s functions.php file.

Both methods will do the same thing, and they are both correct. However, many users want to know which one is better for WordPress speed and performance.

Some users feel concerned about installing too many plugins, and how it may affect their website speed and WordPress security. Others worry that adding custom code can break their website, and they may not be able to easily fix it.

Let’s compare both solutions to figure out which one is better for WordPress performance.

Pros and Cons of functions.php File

WordPress functions.php file

Functions file in WordPress allows theme developers to define custom functionality for their theme. This file acts like a giant WordPress plugin and can be used to add any other custom code snippets you may want to add to your website.

Here are the advantages of adding custom code to your theme’s functions.php file.

Pros

  • You can easily use built-in theme editor in admin area to edit functions.php file
  • You can copy and paste all code snippets in one file
  • You get a chance to study the code and learn how it works

However, there are also some disadvantages of using functions.php file to save all your custom functionality.

Cons

  • Your custom code will not work if you switch themes
  • Unless you are using a child theme, updating your theme will overwrite functions.php file
  • It becomes harder to understand where theme code ends and where your custom code begins
  • Some code snippets can be too large and need additional scripts and styles

Understanding Limitations of WordPress Functions File

There are many handy tricks for the WordPress functions file which make it very tempting. However, it is not a replacement for proper WordPress plugins.

Adding code snippets to your functions.php file will have the exact same impact on performance, that a WordPress plugin with the same code would have otherwise.

Not all functionality and features you need can be added to the functions.php file. For example, a custom code may need additional scripts and stylesheets to work properly.

We believe that the theme’s functions.php file should be used for what it’s intended purpose was: theme based functionality added by developers.

Pros and Cons of Installing WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins

WordPress plugins are like apps for your WordPress website. They contain code that hooks itself to the core WordPress software to provide more features and functionality.

See our article on what are WordPress plugins and how do they work.

Here are some advantages of using a WordPress plugin instead of adding code to your functions file.

Pros

  • A WordPress plugin doesn’t depend on your theme
  • If it is the same code, then it would have the same performance impact as functions file
  • It is easier to disable, update, or reinstall as needed
  • Easier to manage as you know what each plugin does from its description

Now, we are not saying that installing all WordPress plugins is good. There are some disadvantages as well.

Cons

  • You will have to install updates for another plugin
  • Plugin author could abandon the plugin in the future specially if it’s free
  • You wouldn’t get to practice with the code

WordPress Plugin vs Functions File – Which One is Better?

If there is a WordPress plugin with the same code, then we believe that using a plugin is a better choice.

In terms of performance, it does not matter where the code runs. Whether it loads from functions.php file or as a separate plugin, if it is the same code, then it will have the same performance impact.

Managing separate plugins is much easier than editing a single large functions file. Adding random code snippets in the same file even when they are not related or dependant on each other makes things complicated.

If you choose a plugin, then you can benefit from future updates which may improve performance, fix bug, or patch security vulnerability.

When Should I Add Code to Functions.php File?

If the functionality you are trying to add is not available as a plugin and the code snippet is really simple, then you can add it to your theme’s functions file.

Another possible scenario is when you are adding functionality that is related to your WordPress theme or child theme. For example, creating new image sizes, showing dates, adding custom code before or after content, and more.

If you often add custom code snippets to your website, then there are even better ways to do that. You can save them in a site-specific WordPress plugin or use Code Snippets plugin to organize all your custom code.

We hope this article helped you understand WordPress plugin vs functions.php file and which one is better. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on how to choose the best WordPress plugins for your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners – Step by Step

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online from your blog. It allows you to add a steady income stream to your blog’s monetization strategy. In this affiliate marketing guide for beginners, we will explain how affiliate marketing works, and… Read More »

The post The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners – Step by Step appeared first on WPBeginner.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online from your blog. It allows you to add a steady income stream to your blog’s monetization strategy. In this affiliate marketing guide for beginners, we will explain how affiliate marketing works, and how to get started right away.

Ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners

What is Affiliate Marketing?

By definition, affiliate marketing is a referral arrangement in which an online retailer (advertiser) pays you a commission when users purchase their product from your referral link.

Unlike other ad types which pays based on clicks or views, affiliate marketing works on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition), or CPL (cost-per-lead) basis. In other words, you only earn a commission when someone takes an action (i.e buys the product or signup for a free trial).

Because there is less risk for the advertiser, affiliate programs pay out much higher commissions to publishers compared to Google AdSense or other types of ads.

Affiliate marketing requires a more hands-on approach. You have to find a product or service that you believe will be helpful to your users. After that you have to strategically add it in your blog posts and other areas of your site, so users can purchase the product using your referral link.

How Does Affiliate Marketing / Tracking Work?

First, you have to find a company or product that you want to promote. You need to select a product or service that you believe will be relevant to your blog’s topic and useful for your audience. The product or company you choose will be called a ‘Merchant’.

Next, you have to partner up with the company by joining their partner program. This makes you their ‘Affiliate’. Some companies also use the terms associates, partners, etc.

Once you have joined their partner program (also called Affiliate Program), you will get a unique affiliate ID. You will need to use this affiliate ID in all affiliate links that you add in your website to promote the product.

You can promote the product by adding an in-depth product reviews, recommend it in your articles, display banner ads, sending an email newsletter, and more. All traffic you send to the merchant website with your unique ID will be tracked.

Once a user makes a purchase, you will earn a commission. Your payment is issued once your earnings reach a particular threshold typically 45 – 60 days.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

First, you need to make sure that you are using the right blogging platform, and you are allowed to run affiliate marketing campaigns on your website.

For example, if you are using WordPress.com, then there are some restrictions regarding the products and services you can link to. For more details see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

On the other hand if you are on self-hosted WordPress.org website, then you can add any affiliate link you want and efficiently manage your affiliate campaigns.

If you haven’t created a website already, then you can get started right away. Simply follow the instructions in our step by step guide on how to start a blog, and you’ll be up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Next, you need to let your users know how you make money from your website by adding a disclosure page. See WPBeginner’s disclosure page and feel free to use it as a template.

You will also need to add a privacy policy and terms of service page to your blog.

These are amongst the must have pages for every WordPress blog. They not only save you from legal issues in the future, but they also help you build trust with your audience.

Finding Affiliate Products and Services to Promote

There are many ways to find products and companies that you can partner up with as an affiliate. Here are some of the easiest ways to find the products you can promote.

1. Become an affiliate for products you already use

First, you need to look at the products and services that you already use and find useful. This makes it easy for you to convince your users about the product since you already know the pros and cons.

Next, you need to go to the product’s website and search for terms like ‘Affiliate program’, ‘Partners’, or ‘Affiliates’. Many companies are actively looking for affiliate marketers to promote their products that’s why they add a link to their affiliate page in their website’s footer.

Finding affiliate programs to join

2. Look for products other blogs are recommending

Another way to find products is by looking at other blogs similar to yours. You will be able to find many similar blogs that are using affiliate marketing to make money.

But how do you know that they are promoting affiliate products?

First, look for the obvious and easily noticeable banner ads on their website. Take your mouse to the banner ad, and you will see a link in your browser’s status bar.

finding affiliate links

This link will usually have an affiliate ID. Affiliate ID helps merchants track which affiliate partner is sending them traffic / sales.

Sometimes these links may look like internal links, but when you click on them they will take you to a product website with affiliate marketer’s ID in the link. You will also find similar affiliate links through-out their content.

3. Join Bigger Affiliate Networks

Another way to find products to promote is by joining affiliate networks. These websites act as a middleman between affiliate marketers and merchants.

You will notice that many products and companies that you want to partner with already use an affiliate network. This helps you quickly find a lot of products that you can start promoting on your website.

4. Reach out to Companies

If you really want to promote a product but can’t find any information about their affiliate program, then you can simply ask them via email.

Some companies may not be actively promoting their affiliate program. If they have an affiliate program, then they can invite you to join.

What are Affiliate Networks? Why You Should Join Them?

Affiliate networks act as a middleman between you (the affiliate marketer) and merchants (companies that want to sell their products).

For merchants, they provide their platform as a service to list their products, track affiliate traffic, manage affiliates, and send payments.

For affiliate marketers, they offer an easy to use platform to search for products, sign up as an affiliate, track your campaign performance and earnings.

Following are some of the most popular affiliate networks that you can join.

  • ShareaSale – One of the largest affiliate networks with many high-paying affiliate products for almost every category imaginable. Popular WordPress hosting company, WPEngine, uses ShareASale to manage their affiliates. WPEngine’s Affiliate program offers a very generous payout to their affiliate partners.
  • CJ Affiliate (Formerly, Comission Junction) – Another top affiliate network with a huge number of merchants and products neatly organized in categories and easily searchable. Companies like GoDaddy, Expedia, and many others use CJ.
  • ClickBank – This is a large online marketplace for selling digital products in various categories from different vendors. It is easy to use and has tons of learning resources for new affiliate marketers.
  • Amazon Associates – Amazon is world’s largest ecommerce store with millions of products. You can sign up for their affiliate program and start earning by sending people to a website they already use for their online shopping.

Which affiliate networks should you join?

You should join affiliate networks that have the products you want to promote. You can join multiple affiliate networks for different products. We use all the above networks and few others.

Make sure that you always check the network program policies. You also need to review program policies of individual products and merchants. This will give you a clear idea about your earnings, payments, additional incentives, and more.

Affiliate Marketing Tips to Increase Earnings

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive into some more tips on how to actually make money from affiliate marketing.

1. Choose good products and companies to promote

As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have control over the future of products that you are recommending. That’s why you need to make sure that you are recommending the best products from reputable companies.

The best way to do this is by recommending the products and services that you have actually used. If you want to recommend a product that looks useful, then feel free to contact them to learn more.

If you ask nicely, most companies will gladly offer you a free account or copy to review / test their product or service.

2. Offer highly useful and valuable content

You can add affiliate links and banners anywhere on your WordPress site. However, simply adding links will not result in convincing your users to actually buy those products.

You need to convince your users by offering useful and valuable information about the product. Many affiliate marketers do that by writing in-depth product reviews, video reviews, product comparisons with pros and cons, and more.

3. Keep your audience in mind

Keep your website’s audience and their interests in mind when choosing the product. For example, if you run a fashion blog, then you would want to promote fashion accessories, clothing, and similar products that your audience would want to buy.

You also need to make sure that you are not just recommending products because they are offering higher commissions. If a user buys a product based on your recommendation, and it doesn’t turn out useful, then they will never trust your recommendations again.

Affiliate Marketing Plugins and Tools for WordPress

As your blog grows, you will be recommending a lot of different products. This will make it difficult for you to manage all the affiliate links, banners, and ads spread all over your website.

Luckily, there are excellent affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress that you can use to help with management.

1. ThirstyAffiliates

Manually adding links to your content becomes quite difficult as your site grows. You will have to copy the URL with your affiliate ID every time you mention the product and paste it into WordPress.

This is where ThirstyAffiliates can help. It is an affiliate link management plugin that allows you to easily add affiliate links in WordPress.

It also lets you change lengthy affiliate links into cloaked pretty links which are more user-friendly.

ThirstyAffiliates also has the option to automatically replace keywords with affiliate links which can significantly help you boost your affiliate revenue.

2. AdSanity

AdSanity is the best WordPress ad management plugin and a must-have for every affiliate marketer’s toolbox. It allows you to create banner ads from your WordPress site and manage them from a single dashboard.

AdSanity also makes it easy to insert ads into your WordPress posts, pages, and sidebar widgets. You can use it to manage your third-party ads like Google AdSense ads and banners as well. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to manage ads in WordPress with AdSanity.

3. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to see where your users are coming from and what they do when they are on your website.

It also helps you track your outbound affiliate links using Google Analytics. This enables you to find out which affiliate links are clicked more often and help you discover missed opportunities.

Need more tools? See our full list of top affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

We hope this ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners helped you learn how to become an affiliate marketer. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide to bring more visitors to your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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