A New Way to Manage Your Pages on the WordPress Mobile Apps

A New Way to Manage Your Pages on the WordPress Mobile Apps

An update to WordPress for iOS and Android.

We’ve made a small change to the WordPress mobile apps to make it easier for you to navigate and edit your pages. In previous versions of WordPress for iOS and Android, your pages were ordered by the date they were created as opposed to what your actual page hierarchy looks like on your website. Users told us they found it difficult to find the page they were looking to edit, so we’ve now updated this section to match the layout of your site.

Here’s how to try it out

First, make sure you’ve updated your WordPress app to the last version. Open the app, got to the My Site section, select a site and then select Site Pages.

If a page has one or more child pages, the new layout represents the hierarchical view using an indentation on the left. If a page is a top level page, it won’t be indented.

Set a parent page

To set a parent page or a top level page, click on the [3 dots menu] on the right of the page you want to edit, then select Set Parent. The app will show you the list of the available pages and the Top level option. You can use the search bar at the top to easily find the page you are looking for. Select the option you require and tap the Done button.

Send feedback

The WordPress mobile apps are free and available on both Android and iOS. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our in-app support team by tapping Me → Help & Support → Contact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved. Enjoy!


10 High-Converting WordPress Landing Page Plugins to Increase Sales

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

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

Quickly create targeted pages all the way down your conversion funnel. 💡 Check out these WordPress landing page plugins! Click to Tweet

Why Do You Need a WordPress Landing Page Plugin?

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

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1. To Increase Conversion Rates

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

2. To Match the Messaging in Advertisements

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

3. To Obtain More Leads

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

4. To Boost Your SEO

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

5. To Collect Information On Potential Customers

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

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

6. To Present Marketing Offers in a Desirable Way

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

Features to Look For in a Landing Page Plugin

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

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

Best WordPress Landing Page Plugins

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

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

1. Elementor

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

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

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

Elementor landing page plugin

Elementor landing page plugin

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

2. Beaver Builder

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

Beaver Builder WordPress landing page plugin

Beaver Builder WordPress landing page plugin

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

3. The Divi Builder

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

The Divi Builder plugin

The Divi Builder plugin

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

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

4. Qards

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

Qards landing page plugin

Qards landing page plugin

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

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

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

5. Instapage

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

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

Instapage plugin

Instapage plugin

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

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

6. OptimizePress

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

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

OptimizePress landing page plugin

OptimizePress landing page plugin

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

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

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

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

7. LeadPages

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

Leadpages

Leadpages

The drag and drop customization is done without any coding, so you can create, copy, and clone any pages throughout the process. The LeadPages pricing has an annual plan where you get two months without any billing. The cheapest plan is called Standard, and it costs you $31 per month. If you’re trying to collect payments and drive traffic with Facebook ads–and get some other great premium features–the pricing shoots up to $66 per month.

The one disadvantages is the Leadpages isn’t as tightly integrated with WordPress as some of the other alternatives.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

  • The drag and drop builder and template collection is quite impressive. However, LeadPages is more for those companies that need some unique features like the Facebook Ads integration.
  • You can take direct payments and send customers through a checkout process, right from your landing page.
  • LeadPages offers weekly coaching calls, something that you can’t find with any other WordPress landing page plugin.
  • Over 160 free landing page templates are packed into LeadPages, making it one of the larger libraries.
  • One of the plans has A/B testing.

8. Thrive Architect

If you’re familiar with Thrive Themes, you know all about its robust set of premium plugins and themes. From its headline optimizer to the Thrive Quiz Builder, the company knows what customers want and makes impressive products to match those wants. Thrive Architect is no exception. The Thrive Architect product is a visual editor and page builder for WordPress, and its primary advantage is its simple process for making landing pages. The instant dragging and dropping removes most obstacles you might encounter on other page builders, and my tests show that there are very few glitches or instances where I couldn’t customize an element.

Over 200 landing page templates are included with Thrive Architect, all of which are optimized to improve your conversions, regardless of what you’re selling. Sales and optin pages are covered in full, and you can even find some more specific industry landing pages for webinars and other similar options. The design elements are all prebuilt, including items like testimonials, countdown timers, and email marketing forms.

Thrive Architect landing page plugin

Thrive Architect landing page plugin

The single site license falls in the middle of the road compared to other WordPress landing page plugins, at $67 for all Thrive Architect features, unlimited updates, and support for one year. Two other pricing plans are offered, but they all have the same features. The only difference is that you pay more money to use the plugin on multiple websites. So, a five-license pack costs you $97, while a 15-license pack runs you $147.

An interesting part of Thrive Architect is that it tries to eliminate the number of plugins you have running on your website. This way, you can speed up the site and forget about managing so many plugins. For instance, the following plugins are no longer needed, since Thrive Architect has you covered:

  • Click to tweet sharing plugins.
  • Animation plugins.
  • Table builder plugins.
  • Font icon plugins.
  • Custom font manager plugins.
  • Shortcode plugins for layouts.

Thrive Architect has a hefty set of integrations, so I would argue that it’s a reasonable WordPress landing page plugin for those who don’t need the powerful suites like Instapage and OptimizePress.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

  • Thrive Architect starts at $67, so you’re not paying as much as other premium landing page plugins, but you still receive some excellent content modules and integrations.
  • Some of the integrations include email marketing tools like MailChimp, Webinarjam, WordPress, Mad Mimi, and Twitter.
  • Conversion-focused content modules are included just for landing pages. Some of these include call to action buttons, testimonials, animated countdown timers, and content boxes.
  • Thrive Architect provides animations and hover effects without the need for complicated coding or setting changes.
  • The high-converting landing page templates are some of the most beautiful we’ve seen, and you have a huge library to sift through.

9. InstaBuilder

InstaBuilder is sold on a flashy landing page itself, so you get a chance to immediately view what your own landing pages can look like. The single license is listed at $47, and the unlimited license sells for $77. When compared to other solutions, it’s a pretty good price, especially for those developers or network owners who want to use the landing pages on multiple websites. The one thing to remember about InstaBuilder is that it’s completely centered around building landing pages. This isn’t a website drag and drop builder like some of the solutions we’ve talked about above. It’s meant to pump out landing pages fast–ones that convert and grab leads for your company.

To start off, InstaBuilder provides over 70 quality landing page templates. These are basically combinations of the content modules provided through InstaBuilder, and they look wonderful for general and niche marketing pages. Adding graphics is quite easy with InstaBuilder, seeing as how you only have to point and click to insert items like buttons, bullets, and images. I also noticed that it supports some less than well-known media formats such as EZS3 and EVP.

InstaBuilder plugin

InstaBuilder plugin

InstaBuilder is another WordPress landing page plugin with rare features for companies trying to get creative with marketing. For instance, you can make a landing page with social media comments embedded into the page. There’s also something called a viral download lock, which locks whatever is on your landing page until the user shares it on Facebook or Twitter. Although the social networks have differing views on this type of marketing, it’s a cool feature to have when trying to build social buzz.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

  • The InstaBuilder plugin sells for an affordable price and you don’t have to keep renewing every year.
  • Over 70 high-converting landing page templates are included with the InstaBuilder plugin.
  • You can embed a wide range of media files, some of which aren’t as common as others.
  • You can setup time delayed content, like revealing a Buy button only when the customer scrolls down to the bottom of the page.
  • InstaBuilder has a viral download lock, which is basically a content blocker until the person shares on places like Facebook and Twitter.
  • The email marketing system is rather flawless, with a smart optin system and an easy autoresponder to manage all of the people signing up.
  • People can optin to your email list by using their Facebook account. The simplified A/B split testing runs the tests for you instead of forcing you to guess which elements on the landing page need to be tested.
  • You can insert social media comment systems and sharing buttons for the ultimate exposure.

10. Landing Page Builder

If all you’re looking for is free landing page templates, the Landing Page Builder plugin might have what you need. They aren’t the fanciest templates, but I’ve managed to design simple, modern landing pages with what they have to offer. And that’s the whole point. You’re not paying a dime, so you receive the starting foundation to what could become a valuable part of your business. You can set up an email subscription form and talk about your company or products. The page backgrounds are interchangeable, and the landing pages are created similar to how you would make a regular WordPress page or post.

Landing Page Builder plugin

Landing Page Builder plugin

These landing pages aren’t made with a drag and drop editor, but rather the visual editor that comes with WordPress. So, for example, you would select a template with a form and some images and text. After that, you can go in and format the text and drop in your own images. The background images and colors are adjusted on the same page, along with fonts and font sizes. There is an advanced version if you’d like to graduate from what the free plugin offers. However, I see this plugin as an opportunity for small businesses and startups blogs to save a little cash but still have the power to make a respectable landing page.

The final area that makes the free version quite useful is the integration with email marketing services like MailChimp and GetResponse. All that’s required is an API key or ID, then the landing page starts accepting email addresses from customers.

What Makes This WordPress Landing Page Plugin a Winner?

  • It supplies a package of quality landing page templates for free. Although it takes a little extra design work, you have the chance to cut down on costs but still send people to a landing page that converts.
  • The Landing Page plugin connects to email marketing software like MailChimp, dropping email addresses directly into your list.
  • Landing Page clears out most of the advanced features you would find on other WordPress landing page plugins. This is great for small businesses that only want the templates and nothing more.
  • The landing pages are built using the visual WordPress editor, meaning that most WordPress users should be familiar with the format. This also gives you full control over how you design your page, whereas you’re often stuck with the content modules given to you by other landing page plugins.

Which WordPress Landing Page Plugin is Best for You?

As with all decisions about WordPress plugins, you want to take into account which of the features you’re actually going to use. Are you more interested in free templates or an inexpensive premium plugin? Would you rather a full landing page suite with conversion and communication tools or is a speedier interface more up your alley?

In order to make your selection process even easier, we categorized our favorite WordPress landing page plugins based on certain situations:

  • The landing page plugin with the best value – Elementor or Beaver Builder.
  • The landing page plugin with the most features – Instapage or OptimizePress.
  • The best option for quickly building landing pages – Elementor.
  • The landing page plugin with the best templates – Instapage (Honorable mentions: Beaver Builder and Thrive Architect)
  • The cheapest WordPress landing page plugin – Landing Page Builder.
  • The best landing page plugin for an agency or developer – Divi.
  • The right choice if you need A/B testing – OptimizePress.

And that’s all we have to say about WordPress landing page plugins! If you have any questions about this list, or if you’d like to share your own experiences with these products, the section below is open for your comments.

How and Why to File a Facebook Trademark Infringement Report

From trademark infringements to content theft, these are just a few of the nuisances you have to deal with as your brand grows bigger. Over the past year, Kinsta has had its content stolen more times than we can count. In fact, filing DMCA takedown requests has unfortunately become a regular ongoing task for us.

The bigger you are, the worst it is. However, it’s important to take action by going down the proper legal channels in order to protect your brand image and also ensure potential customers see only what you want them to see. In a way, you could almost look at trademark infringement reports as a form of conversion rate optimization.

Don’t ignore trademark infringements. They tarnish your brand and confuse potential customers. 🤺 Click to Tweet

Today we’ll discuss why you should never leave trademark infringed content up and walk you through how to file a Facebook trademark infringement report. While it might not be the most riveting topic, you’ll most likely end up having to do the same for your brand at one point or another.

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Why Do People Infringe on Brand’s Trademarks?

As you probably guessed, our “Kinsta” brand name is trademarked. Therefore, others are not allowed to use this. Unfortunately, this isn’t always clear or perhaps individuals just don’t care as they are trying to make a quick buck.

Why do people do this? Well, in the example we are going to show you today, a Kinsta affiliate created a Facebook page called “Kinsta Hosting” (as seen below). The purpose was to appear as if they were Kinsta and post regular content updates from our site. The catch is that they would attach their Kinsta affiliate link to everything to try and make a commission. In 99% of these cases, you can safely bet the reason someone is trying to impersonate you is to try and make money.

Facebook page trademark infringement

Facebook page trademark infringement (Page not created by Kinsta)

We always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. So in this instance, we messaged the owner of the Facebook page and instructed they remove the page immediately. For one, it clearly states the following in the Kinsta affiliate terms:

The affiliate is not allowed to use Kinsta.com or Kinsta’s trademarked name in a URL or in online advertising.

We gave them two weeks to respond and didn’t receive anything. We could, of course, ban them from our affiliate program. However, simply banning them is not enough as the Facebook page would still be there. Below we’ll share with you why leaving something like this up is a bad idea.

How Trademark Infringed Facebook Pages Hurt Your Brand

At first, you might not think leaving up a trademark infringed Facebook page is that big of a deal. However, let us show you the four main reasons why it matters. The same goes for all social networks, not just Facebook.

1. It Shows Up in Facebook Search Results

As you can see below, the Facebook page created by the individual shows up in search results. In our case, if people searched for “Kinsta” or “Kinsta hosting” the individual’s page would show up, sometimes above or below ours. 😠 This is horrible! If someone is searching specifically for our company, we by no means want a potential customer landing on another page that isn’t controlled by us.

Facebook search results trademark

Facebook search results trademark

2. It’s Indexed in Google and Uses Trademark Name in the URL

Facebook pages are indexed in Google. This again kind of deals with search results. If someone searches in Google for your Facebook page, you don’t want someone else coming up. The other side to this is that it also uses the trademark name in the Facebook page URL. You should, by all means, protect your trademark as much as possible when it comes to URLs.

Facebook page URL trademark

Facebook page URL trademark

3. It Confuses People When Trying to Tag Your Brand

Tagging is a function used by a lot of different social media networks, including Facebook. Basically how it works is that if someone wants you to see something they are sharing, they will tag your company by using the @ symbol and your brand name. If someone has created additional Facebook pages impersonating your brand, people might tag the wrong one and you’ll completely miss these mentions.

Facebook tagging

Facebook tagging

Sometimes people also will tag you when they have a question. The last thing you want is them tagging someone else and you are never able to respond. Something as simple as this could lose you a customer.

4. You Have No Control Over the Page’s Content or Branding

While kind of obvious, the last reason that you need to get these pages taken down is that you’ll have no control over the content and branding. Here are a just few ways this individual was tarnishing our brand:

  • They uploaded a logo that isn’t positioned or sized correctly.
  • They used a Facebook page banner with branding that was over two years old.
  • Their page has no ratings. This immediately gives the impression that our company isn’t very big or hasn’t received any positive reviews from customers.
  • The content the individual was sharing was not current and not in the format we typically use on Facebook.
Facebook branding

Facebook branding

Now that you’ve heard a few of reasons why you should make sure to get these pages taken down, let’s look at exactly how to do that.

How to File a Facebook Trademark Infringement Report

Facebook takes trademark infringement very seriously and out of all the reports we’ve filed, they have always removed the offending content and or pages within 24 hours. Impressive to say the least.

Step 1

The first step is to head over to Facebook and fill out their trademark report form. In the form they give you the following options:

  • My account has been hacked
  • I lost access to a group or Page I used to manage
  • I found a fake profile that is pretending to be me
  • I am being bullied or harassed
  • I found inappropriate or abusive content
  • I want to claim a Page for my business
  • I found content which I believe infringes my copyright
  • I found content which I believe infringes my trademark (this is the one we are using in this example)
Content which infringes my trademark

Content which infringes my trademark

As you can see above, the form can also be used for copyright complaints and other issues.

Step 2

The second step is to fill out your company’s contact information.

Facebook trademark infringement contact information

Facebook trademark infringement contact information

Step 3

The next step is to provide your trademark information. See below on how to find your trademark information.

Facebook trademark information

Facebook trademark information

There are a couple of places to find your trademark information. This will vary based on where your trademark and company is registered. If your trademark is registered in the United States, it will most likely be in the USPTO’s trademark database.

In the UK, you can use GOV.UK. You can also check the WIPO Global Brand Database. Otherwise, you can do a quick Google search for your own country’s respective trademark database.

In this example, we’ll be using the USPTO trademark database. To begin a search, click on “Trademarks” in the menu and then on “Search trademark database.”

Search trademark database

Search trademark database

Click on “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)” for the search option.

Basic word mark search

Basic word mark search

Then enter in your company’s brand name as a search term. It will then return existing trademarks.

Trademark search term

Trademark search term

On the trademark page, you’ll find a trademark registration number which you’ll need to complete the Facebook form. They also give you the option to attach a PDF or PNG of the trademark page. We recommend doing this as we’ve found a few of the online trademark databases don’t work properly in terms of linking directly down to a search result.

Step 4

On the final step, Facebook will ask you the location of the content you want to report. In this case, it is “An entire Page, group or profile.” Simply copy and paste the URL of the page.

After hitting the submit button you’ll receive an email from Facebook with the report # and confirmation that they will look into your case.

Facebook intellectual property report

Facebook intellectual property report

We have filed multiple trademark infringement reports and Facebook has always responded within 24 hours and removed the offending pages. Compared to other networks with similar trademark infringement reporting, Facebook is honestly one of the fastest!

Trademark removal success Facebook

Trademark removal success Facebook

What happens to the content when it is taken down? It will no longer be accessible and will show the following message: “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now.” Once you see this, it has been removed from Facebook search results and is no longer taggable. A few days later it will drop out of Google’s index.

Facebook trademark page removed

Facebook trademark page removed

Summary

Our advice is that you shouldn’t ignore trademark infringements. They tarnish your brand and confuse potential customers. Thankfully, Facebook makes reporting trademark infringements super easy! Just a few simple steps and you can have the offending content and or pages taken down in no time.

Have you dealt with Facebook trademark infringements or individuals impersonating your brand? We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic below in the comments.

WordPress Developer Salary: The Average, Plus How to Increase Yours

Salary might be a taboo subject to some people, but if you’re a WordPress developer, or are considering a career in WordPress development, knowing what people are earning is essential to maximizing your own earning power.

So let’s talk about that secret – let’s talk about the average WordPress developer salary. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re worth (and how you can earn more).

To do the topic full justice, we’re going to break this post into two parts.

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First, we’ll take a look at the data from job sites and freelancing platforms to learn:

Then, after we’ve covered what the averages are, we’ll discuss some tips for increasing your own salary so that you can move yourself towards the right side of the salary bell curve.

But first, a little caveat…

Calculating a Single “WordPress Developer Salary” Is Hard

There are a few things that can skew these numbers. First, because WordPress is so popular (currently powering over 32% of the web), there are a ton of people who might fall under the label of “WordPress developer”.

For example, there’s the distinction between WordPress “developers” and “implementers”.

Developers are the ones working directly with code and building solutions, while implementers are more about taking those solutions and turning them into websites for clients.

But to a lot of people, they both count as “WordPress developers”, especially when it comes to freelancing.

Then, to complicate things further, you have the global nature of WordPress. There are developers and freelancers all around the world, which means that geography is going to play a big role in the averages, especially when it comes to freelance rates.

Basically, there’s a lot of stuff that can skew the averages, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at the data.

Want to be a WordPress developer? Here’s the average salary + freelance rates. 💰 Click to Tweet

What the Job Sites Say About the Average WordPress Developer Salary

For this first part, we’ve aggregated WordPress developer salary data from popular job sites.

For all these sites, we’re using the entire United States for the average. Obviously, other countries, or even specific US states, will vary from this average:

  • Glassdoor – $68,224 (source)
  • Indeed – $59,987 or $28.84 per hour (source)
  • ZipRecruiter – $71,019 (source)
  • Payscale – $50,447 for WordPress web developers (source)
  • SimplyHired – $62,164 (source)
  • Neuvoo – $68,250 (source)

Put those numbers together, and you get an average salary of $63,348 for full-time WordPress developers in the United States as a whole.

What The Data Says About WordPress Developer Freelance Rates

A lot of WordPress developers are freelancers, not full-time employees.

Here, we’ll collect data from some popular freelance marketplaces.

Unlike the full-time salaries, there’s not necessarily one single average here. Instead, we’ll find the range of most freelance WordPress developers on each platform.

Also, these numbers are global, as most freelance sites have tons of freelancers from all around the world.

WordPress Developer Freelance Rates at General Marketplaces

By “general”, we mean large freelance marketplaces like:

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • People Per Hour
  • Etc.

Anyone can sign up and there’s not really any vetting process for who is able to call themselves a WordPress developer.

We have two data points here…

First, according to an article from Upwork, the average freelance WordPress developer on their platform charges anywhere from $20-$100.

Second, we took a look at People Per Hour, which offers a helpful breakdown of freelancers by the rates that they charge:

wordpress developer salary at people per hour

WordPress developer salary at People Per Hour

Of the 3,768 freelancers who show up for a “WordPress developer” keyword search, here’s the rate breakdown:

  • 67% charge under $15 per hour.
  • 24% charge $15 to $35 per hour.
  • 7% charge $35 to $60 per hour.
  • 2% charge over $60 per hour.

Specialized Freelance Marketplaces

While the numbers don’t look too hot in the general freelance marketplaces, they get a lot better if you look at specialized freelance marketplaces.

Unlike the open nature of Upwork or People Per Hour, these marketplaces require testing before freelancers are allowed to start looking for work.

As a result, they’re harder to get into. But if you make it through the tests, the rates look a lot better.

First, there’s Codeable. The absolute minimum rate that you’ll get on Codeable is $60 per hour. And Codeable says that their rates usually run $60 to $90 per hour.

Second, there’s CodementorX, where the average and median WordPress developer hourly rate is $61 to $80 per hour globally:

wordpress freelance rates codementor

CodementorX freelance rates globally

Or, if you limit the search to just North America, the mean becomes $81 to $100 per hour (you can see an uptick in people charging $141+ which brings the average up):

wordpress freelance rates codementor USA

CodementorX freelance rates in North America

Hopefully you see the picture here! More on this in the next section…

WordPress Developer Salary vs Drupal and Joomla Developers

Here’s a sad truth about these salary numbers:

Of developers for the major open-source content management platforms (or web dev in general), WordPress developers are often at the bottom.

Ryan Sullivan of WP Site Care sums this up pretty well (the whole Tweet chain is worth a read):

So how bad is the difference? Here are some rapid-fire numbers for Drupal and Joomla developers.

Drupal

  • Indeed – $99,082 (source) vs $59,987 for WordPress
  • Glassdoor – $83,399 (source) vs $68,224 for WordPress

And the Drupal developer freelance rates at People Per Hour are:

  • 36% charge under $15 per hour vs 67% for WordPress
  • 35% charge $15 to $35 per hour vs 24% for WordPress.
  • 19% charge $35 to $60 per hour vs 7% for WordPress
  • 9% charge over $60 per hour vs 2% for WordPress.

Joomla

  • Glassdoor – $89,774 (source) vs $68,224 for WordPress

And the Joomla developer freelance rates at People Per Hour are:

  • 40% charge under $15 per hour vs 67% for WordPress
  • 35% charge $15 to $35 per hour vs 24% for WordPress.
  • 16% charge $35 to $60 per hour vs 7% for WordPress
  • 8% charge over $60 per hour vs 2% for WordPress.

Tom McFarlin has a good post investigating some of the reasons why WordPress developers might earn less than their Drupal or Joomla counterparts.

How to Increase Your Earning Power as a WordPress Developer

Ok, so now you know what other people are getting paid. But knowing other people’s salaries isn’t going to put more bread on your table!

So how can you increase the amount of money that you earn as a WordPress developer?

Whether you’re below the average or already doing well for yourself, here are some tips to increase how much you earn as a WordPress developer.

Note – these tips are focused mainly on freelancing, as your options are a little more limited with full-time employment.

Are you a #WordPress developer? Here are a few ways to increase your earning power. 💸 Click to Tweet

1. Increase Your Prices. Seriously, It’s That Simple

Yes, this seems like kind of a no-brainer. But it’s good to have a reminder because sometimes it’s easy to get set in your ways or feel like you’ll lose all of your clients if you raise your rates.

Here are some funny things about raising your rates, though:

First, you’d be surprised by what people are willing to pay (you just have to ask!).

Second, clients who are willing to pay more are usually easier to work with.

It seems a little counter-intuitive, right? You’d think someone paying more would be more demanding, while someone paying less would be a little more forgiving.

But, as anyone who’s moved up the pay scale can tell you, higher-paying clients are usually much easier to work with.

You can do this systematically:

  • For each new client request that comes in, raise your rates a little bit.
  • Keep raising your rates until you find the “sweet spot”.
  • If needed, raise your rates for existing clients once you’ve found the sweet spot.

To make your prices easier for clients to swallow, focus on the value you bring, not the price. That’s always a good rule for marketing yourself in any type of freelance business.

2. Become a Specialist in a Specific Area of WordPress

One of the best ways to raise your rates is to become a specialist in some specific area of WordPress. Instead of being a “WordPress developer”, be a “WooCommerce developer” or a “membership site expert”.

Yes – you shrink your pool of potential clients by doing this. But you also make it a lot easier to market yourself and command higher rates.

Plus, WordPress is popular enough that there’s still plenty of work to go around even if you “niche down”.

3. Get Paid for What You’re Already Doing via Affiliate Partnerships

If you’re building WordPress sites for clients, you need a place to host those sites. And that choice opens up another income opportunity in the form of affiliate partnerships.

For example, if you refer a client to Kinsta, Kinsta’s affiliate program will give you an up-front commission plus recurring commission for as long as that client is a Kinsta customer.

Kinsta affiliate program

The Kinsta affiliate program

That helps you build long-term recurring revenue without adding any work. Not a bad way to up the average hourly rate, right?

Of course, you always want to do right by your client and be transparent about your recommendations. To make sure you can do that, we’ve built Kinsta to be a hosting product that you can be proud to recommend to your clients.

4. Offer Value-Added Services, Like Ongoing Maintenance

Beyond affiliate income, another way to generate recurring revenue is to offer long-term maintenance plans to your clients.

Again, once you build a site for a client, someone needs to maintain that site going forward. Why not you?

That gives you monthly revenue coming in. And thanks to tools like ManageWP, maintaining a fleet of client sites doesn’t have to be a major time sink.

Or, if you don’t like the idea of doing the maintenance yourself, there are WordPress maintenance services out there that you can either:

  • Earn an affiliate commission from
  • White-label for your clients

For example, if you’re already hosting your client’s site with Kinsta, you can take advantage of our partnership with SkyrocketWP to offer them an affordable ongoing maintenance plan (and get a commission for the referral).

Or, something like WP Buffs offers true white-labeling with an ongoing commission.

5. Choose a Quality Marketplace (and Avoid a Race to the Bottom)

You already saw some data from some of the biggest freelance marketplaces. Hopefully, you noticed the huge disparity between general freelance marketplaces and specialized freelance marketplaces.

The general freelance marketplaces are often a race to the bottom when it comes to price. That’s made worse because many of the people posting jobs there are looking for rock-bottom prices. Basically, the quality of the client leads just isn’t good most of the time.

Instead, skip the general marketplaces and either go solo or use a specialized marketplace like Codeable.

While you will need to prove your chops to get into Codeable, the upshot is that Codeable is basically pre-vetting all of your leads for you.

See, Codeable is transparent about the fact that their minimum is $60 per hour which will automatically weed out all the low-quality leads who are looking for someone with rock-bottom pricing.

Codeable

Codeable displays this to everyone who’s looking for a freelancer

So if someone is looking for a WordPress freelancer on Codeable, you already know they’re happy to pay at least $60 per hour. And that means you can compete on quality and service, which is a much more sustainable way to run your business.

6. Learn How Taxes Impact Your Take-Home Earnings

The secret killer of every freelance business that nobody talks about… and that is taxes. In the United States, if you’re a salaried WordPress developer, then most likely your employer is withholding a bulk of your taxes behind the scenes. But if you’re doing WordPress freelance gigs, as a sole proprietorship, this means you have to pay self-employment taxes.

Self-employed individuals have to pay both the Social Security and Medicare for the employer and for the business. Here is a rough breakdown of self-employment tax in 2018, which is around 15.3% (source):

  • 6.2% that would typically get withheld from employee pay for Social Security.
  • 1.45% that would typically get withheld from employee pay for Medicare.
  • 6.2% for the required employer contribution to Social Security.
  • 1.45% for the required employer contribution to Medicare.

As you can see, it’s almost like getting double taxed, because as a freelancer you are both the employee and the business. 😭While this doesn’t seeem fair, it’s how the system is setup.

Self-employed individuals essentially have to pay taxes twice. What? 😨 Here’s the scoop for WordPress freelancers. Click to Tweet

This is why we highly recommend all freelancers talk with a tax accountant. Sometimes settings up an LLC or S Corporation can save you thousands of dollars a year in taxes! There are companies like Independent Contractor Tax Advisors who deal solely with helping self-employed individuals save money on taxes.

Are WordPress Developers Fairly Paid – What Do You Think?

Now that you’ve seen the data, we’d love to hear from you!

Do these average salaries match your experience? And do you think WordPress developers are fairly paid in comparison to web developers as a whole? Let us know in the comments!

Pingdom Speed Test Tool: Ultimate Guide for 2019

Today we want to dive into how to better use and understand the data from the popular website speed test tool Pingdom. You can use it to do what we call a waterfall analysis of your WordPress website. This can help you quickly diagnose performance issues, and also not misdiagnose a problem.

A lot of times we see WordPress users interpreting the data wrong in the Pingdom speed test tool, and this leads to sometimes configuring a website to a state even worse than before. Remember that all tools like this are to be used as guides, they are never 100% accurate. The important thing is to be consistent and use the same tool throughout all your tests.

Knowing how to properly analyze the data from @Pingdom can help you speed up your WordPress site! ⏱ Click to Tweet

Pingdom

Pingdom is a company based out of Sweden (now owned by SolarWinds) that offers a variety of different services, such as uptime monitoring, page speed monitoring, transaction monitoring, server monitoring, and visitor insights (RUM). Probably one of the things they are most well known for is their free website speed test tool. It is one of the most popular performance testing tools in the WordPress community.

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Why is it so popular? Well, for one, it’s probably the easiest speed testing tool to use! Not everyone is a web performance expert, and so for the typical WordPress user, some of the other alternative tools out there can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes less is more as they say. After all, you just care about two things: how fast is your website and how can you make it faster.

Pingdom website speed test

Pingdom website speed test

Pingdom currently allows you to test the speed of any website from 7 different locations (5 continents) strategically placed around the globe:

  • Asia – Japan – Tokyo
  • Europe – Germany – Frankfurt
  • Europe – United Kingdom – London
  • North America – USA – Washington D.C.
  • North America – USA – San Fransisco
  • Pacific – Australia – Sydney
  • South America – Brazil – São Paulo

Note: We’ve noticed that occasionally not all the test locations will be available. This is most likely because it has gone down for maintenance or it got overloaded with too many people trying to run tests on it. If a test site location that you’ve been using is no longer there, check back in an hour or two. Most likely it will reappear.

The testing location you choose is actually very important as it relates to the physical location of where your website is actually hosted. This is where a little thing called network latency comes into play. But we’ll get into this in more detail below.

Waterfall Analysis with the Pingdom Speed Test Tool

A web page is made up of different assets, such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, and videos. Each of these generates requests to render what you see on your website. Typically the more requests you have, the slower your website will load. That is not always the case, but it is true most of the time.

Below we are going to break up each Pingdom section and explain in more detail what the information means as it pertains to the overall performance of your website and how to do a waterfall analysis.

Pingdom Summary

When you run your WordPress website through Pingdom it generates a performance grade, a total load time, the total page size, and the number of requests you have on your website. In our example, we are using perfmatters.io, an ecommerce site running Easy Digital Downloads. It’s hosted on Kinsta’s blazing fast servers.

As you can see we ran our first test and we scored an 88/100 on Pingdom and the total load time is 541 ms. It lets us know the total size of our combined assets and the number of requests.

Pingdom speed test before DNS and cache

Pingdom speed test before DNS and cache

We then ran an additional test and now our total load time is 392 ms with the same page size and number of requests! What is that all about? 🤔 You might notice this if you are running your website through the Pingdom speed test tool multiple times. Larger sites will notice even greater differences.

There are three main reasons why happens: DNS caching, CDN caching, and WordPress caching. This is why you should always run tests multiple times. Of course, external calls to third-party resources and APIs could also impact this. Find out why further below in our waterfall analysis.

Pingdom speed test after DNS

Pingdom speed test after DNS

Want to get a better Pingdom score on your WordPress website? Depending on your site and configuration it might not always be possible to score a perfect 100/100, especially for those of you running ecommerce sites and marketing pixels. But simply spending some time on improving your score is a good place to start. The overall speed is really what’s important.

Sometimes the user experience might also trump some of the web performance tricks you read around the web. You can’t forget the user experience! But rest assured, we will be sharing with you some tips and tricks further below on how we got the above site to where it is, so keep reading.

When it comes to web performance optimization, you can’t forget the user experience! 🚀 Click to Tweet

Pingdom Performance Insights

The performance insights section of the Pingdom speed test tool was removed in 2018 and is no longer available. This is most likely because some of the suggestions they were reporting are no longer as relevant as they used to be. When it comes to web performance optimizations, things are always changing. Also, this section probably caused more harm than good with people trying to chase after the perfect Pingdom score.

pingdom performance insights

Pingdom performance insights

However, we are leaving this section in our post because it’s important to understand how these scores are calculated. These are essentially all based on the Google PageSpeed Insight rules. Generally, if you improve these on your site, you should see a decrease in your overall load times.

Here are a few of the categories that the performance insights section used to be made up of:

  • Avoid Bad Requests
  • Minimize Redirects
  • Leverage Browser Caching
  • Minimize Redirects
  • Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
  • Serve Static Content From a Cookieless Domain
  • Parallelize Downloads Across Hostnames
  • Specify a Cache Validator
  • Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header

Now let’s dive into some of these and see which ones are still relevant today.

Avoid Bad Requests

Avoiding bad requests is always relevant! This warning is just like it sounds, it’s a request that could not be completed successfully. This typically happens you manually link to an asset or image which has since been deleted, resulting in a 404 error. This shows up as an orange circle in Pingdom, along with a 404 on the response header status.

Avoid bad requests - 404 error

Avoid bad requests – 404 error

Always make sure every request on your site returns with success status. This will ensure there aren’t any queries being generated to assets which no longer exist.

Minimize Redirects

Too many redirects are always something you need to watch out for. Simple redirects like a single 301 redirect, HTTP to HTTPS, or www to non-www (vice versa) are fine. And a lot of times these are needed in certain areas of your website. However, each has a cost on your site’s performance. And if you start stacking redirects on top of each other, it’s important to realize how they impact your site’s performance. This applies to page and post redirects, image redirects, everything.

A redirect shows up as a blue circle in Pingdom, along with a 301 or 302 on the response header status.Minimize redirects - 301

Minimize redirects in PingdomHow much do redirects impact your site? Let’s do a little test. First, we run a speed test on our contact us page: https://perfmatters.io/contact/. As you can see below we get a total load time of 417 ms.

Website speed test with no redirects

Website speed test with no redirects

We then modify the URL slightly and run another speed test to see the impact of multiple redirects. http://www.perfmatters.io/contact. As you can see, the same page now takes 695 ms to load. That’s an increase of 66%. Yikes!

Website speed test with multiple redirects

Website speed test with multiple redirects

Check out our in-depth post on WordPress redirects, and the best practices for faster performance.

Leverage Browser Caching

A very common warning people struggle with is leverage browser caching. To put it in laymen’s terms, every script on your WordPress site needs to have an HTTP cache header attached to it (or it should). This determines when the cache on the file expires. To fix this, ensure your WordPress host has the proper cache-control headers and expires headers setup. Kinsta has these headers in place on all of our servers. Check out the steps on how to add caching headers to your server manually.

Leverage browser caching - caching headers

Leverage browser caching – caching headers

The other issue is that when you’re loading third-party scripts you don’t have access to add the caching headers, as you don’t have any control of their web servers. Common culprits include the Google Analytics script and marketing pixels, like Facebook and Twitter. To fix this you can host your Google Analytics script locally (although this isn’t officially supported) with a plugin like Perfmatters. WP Rocket also now has an option to host your Facebook marketing pixel locally.

Moving scripts locally can vary in terms of how much it impacts your site’s performance. The one advantage is that you then have complete control over the file and can serve it from your own CDN. This also removes another third-party DNS request. However, it’s also important to remember that these files might already be cached in people’s browsers.

See our in-depth post on how to fix the leverage browser caching warning.

Remove Query Strings From Static Resources

Another common issue is dealing with query strings. Your CSS and JavaScript files usually have the file version on the end of their URLs, such as https://domain.com/file.min.css?ver=4.5.3. Some servers and proxy servers are unable to cache query strings. So by removing them, you can sometimes improve your caching.

There are WordPress plugins like Remove Query Strings From Static Resources or Perfmatters which can do this for you automatically. Or you can do it manually with code.

However, before you immediately go strips out query strings on your site it’s important to know why query strings are used. Versioning on files is typically used by WordPress developers to get around caching problems.

For example, if they push out an update and change style.css from ?ver=4.6 to ?ver=4.7, it will be treated as a completely new URL and won’t be cached. If you remove the query strings and update a plugin, this could result in the cached version to continue serving. In some cases, this could break the appearance of your site until the cached resource expires or the cache is completely flushed.

Also, some CDNs can cache query strings. The Kinsta CDN can and does by default. So if you’re a Kinsta client, query strings are already cached on your assets.

Remove query strings from static resources warning

Remove query strings from static resources warning

See our in-depth tutorial on how to remove query strings from static resources.

Serve Static Content From a Cookieless Domain

We have an in-depth post on how to deal with the serve static content from a cookieless domain warning. A lot of times you can ignore this warning as new protocols such as HTTP/2 now make this less important. The cost of a new connection is usually costlier than streaming everything over the same connection. However, two ways to solve this is to use a CDN provider that strips out the cookies or create a separate domain and or subdomain.

Serve static content from a cookieless domain warning

Serve static content from a cookieless domain warning

Parallelize Downloads Across Hostnames

The “Parallelize Downloads Across Hostnames” warning results because of a limitation of HTTP/1.1 and web browsers being limited to the number of concurrent connections they can make to a host; which is typically 6 connections. This warning is typically seen on websites with a large number of requests. In the past, the only way to get around this limitation is to implement what they call domain sharding. However, if you are using a web host or CDN provider that supports HTTP/2, you can safely ignore this now as multiple resources can now be loaded in parallel over a single connection. But you can also check out our tutorial on how to fix the parallelize downloads across hostnames warning by implementing domain sharding.

Parallelize downloads across hostnames warning

Parallelize downloads across hostnames warning

Specify a Cache Validator

This warning refers to missing HTTP caching headers which should be included on every origin server response, as they both validate and set the length of the cache. If the headers aren’t found, it will generate a new request for the resource every time, which increases the load on your server. These headers include last-modified, ETag, Cache-Control, and Expires. Just like with the leverage browser caching warning, these headers should automatically be added by your WordPress host. If you have third-party requests you are seeing this on, there is nothing you can do as you don’t have control over their web servers.

Specify a cache validator warning

Specify a cache validator warning

Read our in-depth post on how to fix the specify a cache validator warning.

Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding Header

We have an in-depth post on how to fix the Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header warning. This is an HTTP header and should be included on every origin server response, as it tells the browser whether or not the client can handle compressed versions of the content. This is automatically added on all Kinsta’s servers

Specify a vary: accept-encoding header warning

Specify a vary: accept-encoding header warning

Pingdom Response Codes

The next section in Pingdom speed test tool is the response codes. Response codes, also referred to as HTTP status codes are like a short note from the web server that gets tacked onto the top of a web page. It’s a message from the web server letting you know how things went when the request to view the page was received. Some common ones are:

  • 200: “Everything is OK.” This is the code that is delivered when a web page or resource acts exactly the way it’s expected to.
    Example of Pingdom 200 response code

    Example of Pingdom 200 response code

  • 301: “The requested resource has been moved permanently.” This code is delivered when a web page or resource has been permanently replaced with a different resource. It is used for permanent URL redirection.
    Example of Pingdom 301 response code

    Example of Pingdom 301 response code

  • 404: “The requested resource was not found.” The most common error message of them all. This code means that the requested resource does not exist and that the server does not know if it ever existed.
    Example of Pingdom 404 response code

    Example of Pingdom 404 response code

You can read more about all the different response codes in our in-depth post on HTTP status codes.

Content Size and Requests by Content Type

The next sections are the content size by content type and the requests by content type. Each of these is useful to quickly see what is taking up the most resources on your web page. According to HTTP Archive, images generally make up for 43% of an average web page’s total size. We also see this to usually be the case as well. However, as you can see below on this site, it is not always the case.

Pingdom content type

Pingdom content type

For optimizing your images, we highly recommend reading our in-depth post on how to optimize images for web. There are many great tools and plugins out there to further compress your images and ensure they aren’t the bulk of your website’s page load. And in our case above, the perfmatters.io site is taking advantage of using large font awesome icons in place of images. This can be one great strategy that makes a huge difference. And of course, we have some additional tips in our page speed guide on how to further decrease your content size.

Content Size and Requests by Domain

The content size and requests by domain section is a good way to quickly see which external services and scripts on your website. In our example, you can see that we have all of our assets loading from our CDN. Then there is the initial HTML DOC load for the website from the web server, and an external call to the Google Analytics domain. Depending upon your site you might have a lot more external services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Hotjar, SumoMe, AdRoll, New Relic, CrazyEgg, etc.

Pingdom requests by domain

Pingdom requests by domain

Generally the fewer external requests you can make the better, because each external services introduces its own latency, TLS handshake delays, DNS lookups, etc. Make sure to read our in-depth post on how to identify and analyze external services on your WordPress site.

Generally, it’s best to reduce the number of requests as much as possible and host the assets in one place, such as moving them to your web server or CDN. One example would be font awesome. Instead of linking to the external script for font awesome, download it, and serve it up directly.

When evaluating web performance it’s important to decide which files you should and shouldn’t host. ⚡ Click to Tweet

Pingdom Waterfall Chart

And last but not least, we have the Pingdom speed test tool requests section which generates a waterfall chart of all the individual requests on your web page (as shown below). You can then analyze each request to see what is causing delays and performance issues on your site. This is what we mean when we say we are doing a waterfall analysis. Below is a more in-depth summary and or definition of what each status color means.

Pingdom waterfall analysis

Pingdom waterfall analysis

DNS (Pink)

So what is DNS? Well, think of it like a phone book. There are servers called Domain Name Servers which hold the information about your website and which IP it should be routed to. When you first run your website through Pingdom, it performs a fresh lookup, and it has to query the DNS records to get the IP information. This results in some additional lookup time. The location of the DNS server also matters.

DSN delays in Pingdom

DSN delays in Pingdom

When you run your website through Pingdom more than once, it caches the DNS because it already knows the IP information and doesn’t have to perform the lookup again. This is one reason why your website appears faster after running it through Pingdom multiple times.

As you can see in the screen below, on the 2nd test we ran, the DNS lookup time on the initial DOC load is on 3.6 ms. Typically it will drop to 0 ms, in fact, it should, as the request is already cached. This is one area a lot of people misinterpret!

Cached DNS in Pingdom

Cached DNS in Pingdom

Also, you can further optimize it by using a premium DNS service, plus it comes with a lot of extra benefits. Our Cloudflare’s free DNS is also fast!

There are also other reasons why your website might appear faster after multiple tests. One of those is if you are using a content delivery network (CDN). For those of you not familiar with a CDN, it is a network of global servers which cache your content (JS, CSS, Images, etc.) in locations closer to the visitor. When you first run your website through Pingdom, it might have to grab the assets from the CDN fresh. A CDN cache works much like DNS, once it is cached, it is then much faster on consecutive loads.

Another tip on speeding up DNS is to use DNS prefetching. This allows the browser to perform DNS lookups on a page in the background. You can do so by adding some lines of code to the header of your WordPress site. See some examples below.

<!-- Prefetch DNS for external assets --> <link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//fonts.googleapis.com"> <link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//www.google-analytics.com"> <link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//cdn.domain.com">

Or if you are running WordPress version 4.6 or newer, you might want to use resource hints. Developers can use the wp_resource_hints filter to add custom domains and URLs for dns-prefetchpreconnectprefetch or prerender.

SSL (Purple)

The purple status color stands for the time that your browser takes to do an SSL/TLS handshake. Whenever you run a website over HTTPS it means there is an SSL certificate involved and extra time involved due to the encryption process (SSL/TLS handshake). On our example domain, we have a certificate on both our web server at Kinsta and our CDN, KeyCDN. So there is an SSL negotiation time on both the initial HTML doc load from the web server and our assets.

SSL load time in Pingdom

SSL load time in Pingdom

While there is slight overhead to running HTTPS, it very negligible now thanks to HTTP/2, which is a new protocol helping speed up the web! Due to browser support HTTPS is required to utilize HTTP/2. Check out our ultimate guide to HTTP/2.

It’s also important to note that even in 2018 not all providers yet support HTTP/2. This includes both from the web hosting side and the CDN side. So when you are shopping around for hosting and CDNs, make sure both support it! Kinsta is proud to support HTTP/2 for all of its WordPress clients.

As of mid-2018, Pingdom finally upgraded their tool to use Chrome 60 and higher. You can see the user-agent being used in the request header. Previously they were using Chrome 39, and Chrome didn’t support HTTP/2 until version 49. So we are glad to say that the Pingdom tool now shows all the advantages of HTTP/2 when running tests! 👏

Pingdom HTTP/2 support

Pingdom HTTP/2 support

Connect (Teal)

The connect time in Pingdom is referring to the TCP connection, or the total time required to create a TCP connection. You don’t really need to understand how this works, but this is simply a communication method between the host/client and the server that has to take place.

Pingdom connect time

Pingdom connect time

Wait (Yellow)

The wait time in Pingdom is actually referring to the time to first byte, also known as the TTFB in some tools. TTFB is a measurement used as an indication of the responsiveness of a web server or other network resource. Generally, anything under 100 ms is acceptable and good TTFB. If you are approaching the 300-400 ms range you might have something misconfigured on your server or it might be time to upgrade to a better web stack.

Wait time - TTFB

Wait time – TTFB

The easiest way to decrease your TTFB? The best two ways are effective WordPress caching and a CDN. So let’s run a couple tests.

TTFB Without WordPress Host Cache

We first ran a test after clearing the cache on our WordPress site. This means it has to preload the cache again. As you can see our total load time was 541 ms and the TTFB (wait time) on our initial request was 185.2 ms.

Pingdom TTFB before WordPress cache

Pingdom TTFB without WordPress cache

TTFB with WordPress Host Cache

We then ran the test again. It is now serving directly from cache. As you can see our total load times dropped down to 392 ms and the TTFB on the initial request is now 52.8 ms! That is the difference caching makes.

Pingdom TTFB with WordPress cache

Pingdom TTFB with WordPress cache

If you have a website that is serving visitors in different parts of the country, or around the globe, the other easy way to drastically decrease your TTFB is to use a CDN. We again ran a few tests to show the difference.

TTFB without CDN

We first ran a test with our CDN disabled and as you can see our total load time was 1.93 s and our average TTFB on an asset was around 176 ms.

TTFB without CDN

TTFB without CDN

TTFB with CDN

We then enabled our CDN and ran the test again. As you can see our total load times dropped down to 1.21 ms and our average TTFB on a CDN asset is now 4.6 ms! What a difference a CDN can make.

TTFB with CDN

TTFB with CDN

Another important thing to note is that we chose the “Pacific – Australia – Sydney” location to perform this test. Why? Because we wanted to show you the real improvement that can be had. Our WordPress site in this example is hosted by Kinsta on the Google Cloud and located in a central location in the USA. By performing the test against Australia we are able to show how the Kinsta CDN caching increases the speed and reduces the TTFB.

And of course, having a good WordPress host with a carefully thought out architecture is also crucial to lowering your TTFB.

Send (Orange) and Receive (Green)

The send and receive status’s in Pingdom don’t really need much of an explanation. The send time is simply the time it takes for the web browser to send data to the server. And the receive time is the time it takes for the web browser to receive data from the server. Both of these will usually be very low or non-existent in your tests.

HTTP Response Headers

You can also click on an individual request while doing your waterfall analysis and see the HTTP response headers. This provides valuable information. In the screen below we can instantly see things such as gzip is enabled on the web server, and that it’s being served from cache (HIT, would show MISS otherwise), the cache-control headers, expires headers, the browser user-agent and more.

HTTP response headers

HTTP response headers

Case Study Domain Configuration

If you got this far down in our waterfall analysis post then you are in for a treat. It is always annoying to see people share tips and case studies but then not share how they got there. So below is our exact configuration for the case study domain used above! Feel free to replicate it.

Architecture

  • The case study domain (perfmatters.io) is hosted with Kinsta on the Google Cloud Platform in the USA (Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (us-central1). Kinsta currently offers 18 different data centers to choose from. GCP’s premium tier network is included with all plans for lightning fast network latency.
  • Kinsta uses HTTP/2, Nginx, MariaDB, which all contribute to the fast load times.
  • The site is using KeyCDN, which powers the Kinsta CDN. Free CDN bandwidth is included in all hosting plans.
  • The site is not using any caching plugin. Kinsta caches everything at the server level which greatly simplifies things!
  • The site is using PHP 7.3. Newer versions of PHP have always shown great performance improvements. Check out these PHP benchmarks. Kinsta allows you to switch between the two with press of a button.
    Change to PHP 7.3 RC 4

    Change to PHP 7.3 RC 4

WordPress Plugins and Theme

Here is a list of the plugins that impact performance being used on the WordPress ecommerce site.

  • The premium Perfmatters plugin, developed by a team member at Kinsta. This gets rid of unnecessary HTTP requests such as embeds, emojis, and also has a script manager to enable/disable certain scripts from loading on a per page/post/sitewide basis.
  • The premium Imagify plugin is used to compress images.
  • The free Safe SVG plugin is used to upload SVG images to the WordPress site.
  • The premium GeneratePress WordPress theme was used to build the EDD site.

Recommended Tutorials for Further Reading:

Summary

As you can see, knowing how the Pingdom speed test tool works a little better and what all the charts mean can help you make a more data-driven decision when it comes to performance. A waterfall analysis as we call it is crucial to know how your individual assets load and how they are impacted by your WordPress host, physical location, a CDN, etc. Got any other great Pingdom tips?

If you would like to see more in-depth articles like the one above, please let us know below in the comments!

Today is Election Day in the United States. Please Vote!

Today is Election Day in the United States. Please Vote!

When you’re done casting a ballot, blog about it!

A few weeks ago we announced our partnership with voter-registration initiative TurboVote Challenge. Well, today is the day! From coast to coast, voters in the United States head to the polls for the 2018 midterm election.

Hopefully, by now you’ve made a plan to get to the polls. If you have any questions about your polling location (or if you need help getting there), we have some important resources for  you below.

If you’ve voted, like this post, share it with your friends, and leave us a comment below. Better yet: blog about it! Remember to tag it with “#2018Midterms” and “#MidtermElections2018” so that others might find it in the WordPress.com Reader and join the conversation.

Election Day Resources


How to Build an Email List Fast and Effectively (Proven Strategies)

Is there any procrastination method more time-honored than the Monday morning email catch up? Or, with 3.7 billion email users in 2017 alone, more widespread?

But email isn’t just good for banishing the Mondays. It’s even better for marketing. Consider this: at a median ROI of 122%, email marketing boasts a return over four times higher than other marketing strategies.

That’s what marketing agency Promodo discovered when they helped Shokosmile, an online retailer of all things chocolate, transform their email into a full-fledged sales channel almost as sweet as their products. Sweet to the tune of a 2100% sales increase and conversion growth between 5-10%, to be precise.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

At Kinsta, we do hosting different than the rest. We’ve combined the fastest platform in the world (Google Cloud) with the best support team in the industry. Ready to take your site the next level?

You can cash in on that same candy-coated success. Because like chocolate, successful email marketing is as simple as finding the best ingredients and combining them at just the right time. In other words, it all comes down to building your email list.

Email lists boast incredible ROI and are the bread-and-butter for successful marketing. 🍞 Click to Tweet

But if you’re not sure where to get started, don’t worry. In this post, we’ll provide you with actionable recipes for bulking up your email list fast, including:

Without further ado, let’s dive in and talk about capture forms.

Create User-Friendly Capture Forms

Asking for someone’s email address is a lot like asking someone to prom. Come on too strong, and they’ll run for the hills. Make it too subtle, and they won’t notice you’re asking.

At its most dressed-down, you can use on-page widgets for the ask. Check out how Pinch of Yum sandwiches theirs between content on their homepage.

Pinch of Yum email capture form

Pinch of Yum email capture form

We use a similar method on Kinsta, sprinkling our content with the ask box on our main blog page.

Kinsta email capture form

Kinsta email capture form

We also plug it inline into our blog posts, as you can see in one of our more recent pieces about what’s new with WordPress 5.0. Our in-house developer programmed it so that it shows up after a certain number of paragraphs. And if you’ve already subscribed, you won’t see the CTA box.

Kinsta blog post email capture form

Kinsta blog post email capture form

If you prefer a more interactive approach to lead generation than the brick-and-mortar ask box, you can spice things up with pop-ups and header widgets, instead. But for the best results? Consider combining them together.

That’s what Buffer did. Adding multiple sign-up forms to their website helped their subscriber count grow to twice its size — all in a single month.

Email signup sources

Email signup sources (Image source: Buffer)

So adding together more than one type of sign-up form is a definite recipe for success. But before we dig into the different types of popups and tools you can use, a quick note about interstitials.

Considered a form of interruption marketing, interstitials are any page or pop-up that forms a roadblock to users’ path to content, either by displaying over the content or interrupting it. Users have no choice but to interact with the display before they can proceed. Forbes was a classic example of the “before” interstitial (also known as a “prestitial”).

Prestitial

Prestitial (Image source: Search Engine Land)

As a best practice, avoid these like the Sunday brunch rush. Google will cripple any website’s ranking that it flags as having these intrusive forms. Which means all of the below is a big no-no for anyone who wants to keep or grow their search engine position.

Interstitials

Interstitials (Image source: Google Webmaster Blog)

Note that although this change was specifically rolled out for the mobile version of websites, Google has moved everything to a mobile-first index, so it’s important for all websites.

If that’s not enough to convince you to toss interstitials in the bin and never look back, there’s also the fact that users report these interactions as among their most-hated advertising practices (defined as ‘modals’ in this study by the Nielsen Norman Group). On a one to seven scale, modals (interstitials) landed at 5.82 for desktop users and 5.89 for mobile users, beating even autoplaying videos without skip for most-dreaded advertising type.

Ad type ratings

Ad type ratings (Image source: Nielsen Norman Group)

With that out of the way, let’s take a quick tour of some options for sign-up forms that work really well. First up, the welcome mat.

This can be a controversial topic, as many would consider this an interstitial. And some might not prefer this method as it might not be seen as the most user-friendly. However, if done correctly, they can have some serious sign-up power. Online learning management system Fedora, now rebranded as Teachable, deployed this strategy on their homepage to increase sign-ups for a promotional webinar.

Welcome mat

Welcome mat

The result was a 70.37% increase in just five daysSo if you want to double your email list in less time than it takes for a new Game of Thrones episode to roll out, a welcome mat is definitely an option worth considering. However, if you’re worried about the Google popup penalty, you may want to play it safe and enable this method only for desktop devices.

If you’re interested in setting this up on your website, the Thrive Leads plugin is an excellent option with a one-time license fee of $67.

Now, let’s switch gears and talk about floating bars. These are sign-up forms that hover above or below a webpage and “float” as the user scrolls. American Eagle uses a floating bar at the bottom of their page to create an unobtrusive but omnipresent sign-up point.

American Eagle floating bar email capture form

American Eagle floating bar email capture form

Just how effective are these low-key forms? Using a floating bar rewards ActiveCampaign with 800 new free-trial sign-ups every month.

ActiveCampaign floating bar email list

ActiveCampaign floating bar email list

So in short, the answer is “very effective.” To add a floating sign-up bar to your WordPress site for free, check out the Popup Maker plugin. Of if you want to go down the premium route Popups by OptinMonster might be one you want to check out.

Appropriately ending our discussion of opt-in forms is the exit-intent popup. As the name implies, these pop-ups show up when users display a behavior indicating their intent to leave the page. Triggers for exit-intents can be rapid mouse movement toward the top right of the screen (where the close button typically is), clicking on off-page links, set on a timer, or activated on scrolling.

Here’s an especially on-the-nose example of an exit intent from one of our own landing page experiments. Note that you can easily use this for email captures. In our case, it made more sense to drive traffic to plans page.

Exit intent

Exit intent

Since these only show up after a user has interacted with their desired content, they’re not as intrusive as other forms of full-page or overlay pop-ups. They’re pretty successful, too.

Case in point, using an exit-intent overlay helped Wall Street increase their newsletter sign-ups by a whopping 279%.

Exit intent newsletter

Exit intent newsletter (Image source: omniconvert)

Since Wall Street is an online business publication touted as one of the most read on the globe, that 279% increase is a significant feather in their proverbial — and financial — cap. A tool like Hotjar is great for this.

But if you prefer a more hands-on approach than plugins for building your capture forms, Sleeknote is an excellent solution that’s free to try, intuitive, and easy to integrate with your WordPress site. To get started, pop over (pun intended) to Sleeknote.

Click on one of the two purple buttons to get started and go through the sign-up flow. There isn’t any credit card required, so it should only take you a minute to complete it.

Sleeknote

Sleeknote

Next, enter the website you want to build an email capture form for and click “Use this website.”

Sleeknote website

Sleeknote website

After that, select the option that best fits your needs. For our purposes, choose the first, “collect email addresses,” and hit select.

Sleeknote collect email addresses

Sleeknote collect email addresses

From there, you’ll be taken to the template page. At present, there are 21 ready-made templates to choose from and four blank templates. Let’s check out the floating bar option, highlighted below.

Sleeknote templates

Sleeknote templates

After selecting the template, you’ll be asked to choose the position of your floating bar.

Sleeknote position

Sleeknote position

There’s no real right or wrong option here, so choose whatever fits your site best and continue clicking through. Next, you’ll be taken to the editing dashboard.

As you click on individual elements, the side-menu will change and allow you to customize your floating bar.

Sleeknote customize floating bar

Sleeknote customize floating bar

Here’s what it looks like after we’ve done some customizing.

Sleeknote floating bar

Sleeknote floating bar

Once you’re satisfied, click “Next step” at the bottom of the page. You’ll be taken to a “success” screen if you want the widget to change after users enter their email addresses. For now, leave it disabled and keep clicking through.

On the last page, you’ll be asked to name your Sleeknote and given options to change display rules, integrate with email software, and set up your goals.

Sleeknote rules

Sleeknote rules

Now all you need to do is click “save” at the bottom and go to the next screen to get a copy-and-paste code for adding your Sleeknote to your website. Check out our step by step tutorial on how to add code to your WordPress header.

Sleeknote code

Sleeknote code

Afterward, if you want to edit your floating bar or track its progress, you can access it from the “My Sleeknotes” option.

Sleeknote dashboard

Sleeknote dashboard

Easy as that. For more great options to integrate sign-up forms into your website, check out the list of our favorite lead-generating plugin powerhouses.

Next, let’s talk about one of the most explosive methods for building up your email list.

Giveaways.

Use Giveaways for Instant List-Building

Is there anything more satisfying than winning a competition? Even if all we have to do is enter our name, or in the case of a website, an email address, the joy of beating other competitors is as sweet as honey.

You can use that joy to rake in the email addresses. While holding giveaways isn’t always the cheapest solution, it’s among one of the most effective for email marketers. Why?

Because online contests all collect one thing universally: the coveted email address.

Information asked by brands

Information asked by brands (Image source: BrandonGaille)

The second most common element collected during a contest is the participants’ first name, which adds to the email marketers’ delight. Having a first name handy gives you the capability to send personalized email campaigns down the road, something 82% of professionals report as increasing their total open rates.

And the benefits are compounding. Automated emails, such as personalized campaigns, have click-through rates over 152% higher than non-automated campaigns. So, all in all, a giveaway is a long-lasting gold mine for someone who wants to build up their list, offering rewards both in the here and now and the there and then.

But just how much of a gold mine? Josh Earl hit the equivalent of the California Gold Rush when he offered a premium code editor, Sublime Text, as part of a giveaway. His list exploded by 3,418% in 11 days.

Giveaway

Giveaway

This simple giveaway didn’t just beef up his email list, either. It helped his site bypass over 2,000,000 competitors and claimed the 49,137th slot in Alexa’s global site rankings. Still not convinced? There’s more.

Another entrepreneur used a giveaway on her blog to increase her subscribers. Her efforts resulted in more than double the traffic and subscribers, leading to a very sharp uptick in growth.

Giveaway increase subscribers

Giveaway increase subscribers

One more example. Noah Kagan, Chief “Sumo” of the Sumo Group, has used giveaways to generate over half a million new email subscribers in the last four years. You can see an example of one of his giveaways below.

Evernote giveaway

Evernote giveaway

OK, now that we’ve eliminated even a shadow of the doubt, let’s look at what makes a giveaway worth the trouble — for both your new subscribers and your budget. The most important element of a giveaway is making sure you’re offering something useful for your users and not excluding any of your demographics, whether your contest is on social media or directly on your website.

You can offer something with a straight-cut dollar value like InkBox does with a shopping spree on their website.

Capture email with shopping spree

Capture email with a shopping spree

Or, you can give out individual prizes like Noah and Josh used. Here’s an example from a Twitch channel.

Giveaway items to capture email

Giveaway items to capture email

Although the prizes are all high-dollar, what makes this giveaway effective is its audience attunement. All of the prizes up on the block are items that the gaming-centric audience will actively want to use.

Consider, for instance, if a KitchenAid stand mixer was being offered instead. Sure, it might compete with the dollar value of a game console, but it’s not as likely to resonate with the user base if they don’t have an affinity for baking.

OK, so giveaways are a great list-builder if you’re giving something audience-relevant away, but how do you set one up for your website?

For that, free tools like WooBox are indispensable. Let’s take it for a spin now. First, swing over to the WooBox homepage. Click on one of the two navy buttons to sign up.

Woobox

WooBox

Once you’re done, you’ll land on this dashboard. Make sure the first option, “Microsites,” is selected at the top.

Woobox microsites

WooBox microsites

Then, scroll down to view the templates. Select the second option, “Sweepstakes.”

WooBox sweepstakes

WooBox sweepstakes

Give your campaign a name. Thinking about stand mixers got me thinking about cookies, so that’s what I’ll go with for this test. If it were a real campaign, something like premium plugins or Kinsta packages would be a better choice for a subject. Remember, audience attunement.

WooBox sweepstakes name

WooBox sweepstakes name

Here are the editing options. From here, you can rename your campaign, add a description, set your start and end dates, and set rules for entries. After you’re done with that, look in the left-hand menu and select “customize.”

WooBox customize sweepstakes

WooBox customize sweepstakes

It’s pretty plain-jane without some alterations. Fortunately, customizing your giveaway is super easy.

WooBox sweepstakes default

WooBox sweepstakes default

Click on an element to edit it directly and customize each feature. Once you’re done, click the green “save changes” button at the top.

WooBox save changes

WooBox save changes

After your campaign has saved, select “exit” to get to your overview page where you can track your progress, grab an embed code to place it directly on your website, set up social sharing, and more.

WooBox sweepstakes overview

WooBox sweepstakes overview

That’s all there is to it. Another alternative for running giveaways you might want to check out is the new Woorise WordPress plugin.

OK, if you’re not ready to commit to a giveaway, what are your other options? If you’ve got your hand in the content cookie jar, it’s time to start thinking about upgrades.

Make Magnetic Content Upgrades

Out of businesses with a blog, only 57% of them have nabbed a customer from their readers. What’s the ticket to making sure you land in that 57%?

Making the right offer at the right time. Specifically, providing content upgrades. If you’re not familiar with the term, a content upgrade is whenever you offer users bonus content to what’s on your site in exchange for their email address. It doesn’t have to be super fancy. It just has to add value for the user.

Cheatsheets, checklists, and ebooks are all popular options. The more targeted your upgrade, the better. Using custom content upgrades on their blog posts helps CodeinWP’s content convert better anywhere from 831% to 1613%.

Tim Soulo touts the benefits of content upgrades for email conversion rates, as well. His conversion rate grew by 300% in a single month as a result of adding content upgrades.

Conversion rate with content upgrade

Conversion rate with content upgrade (Image source: Bloggerjet)

Here’s a quick visual summary of potential content upgrades you can offer on your website.

Content upgrade options

Content upgrade options (Image source: ConvertKit)

Now, let’s look specifically at how other people are using content upgrades.

Aptly, here’s an example from Wendy Maynard, a marketing specialist who works with small businesses.

Checklist as content upgrade

Checklist as a content upgrade

Beyond the appeal of being highly meta, this content upgrade is laser targeted to the page it’s found on. If you’re reading her blog on what a content upgrade is, chances are that an additional, no-fuss list will be a welcome supplement.

NerdWallet takes a slightly more general approach, offering a free ebook on the best industries to start a new business on a page dedicated to writing a business plan.

eBook as a content upgrade

ebook as a content upgrade

Ultimately, what you offer as a content upgrade will depend on your audience, resources, and specific goals. To set it up, refer back to the first section of this article and use the capture form tools there to build your content upgrade — just make sure it really is an upgrade.

Nothing makes someone hit unsubscribe quite so fast as spammy material, assuming the emails make it through in the first place.

For our last tip, it’s time to go off-site and dive into the party itself. Specifically, it’s time to get social.

Leverage Social Media for Community Growth

Social media can help your list boom with both paid and free methods.

And considering 77% of the US population has a social media profile, it definitely has the reach to find your future subscribers.

Social media usage

Social media usage (Image source: Statista)

Let’s check out the free options first.

Facebook lets brands put CTA buttons directly beneath their cover photo. You can see this in action on our Facebook page.

Facebook CTA

Facebook CTA

Clicking on the sign-up button takes you directly to a page to login or sign up for Kinsta with an email address.

Kinsta signup page

Kinsta signup page

Twitter allows for a similar, albeit slightly less straightforward option. Although you can’t link up a button, you can place your email sign-up page into the bio section. Just be sure to use the word “subscribe” so people know what they’re heading into.

Here’s an example from the Content Marketing Institute Twitter.

Twitter CTA

Twitter CTA

Don’t think using online communities will make much difference to your email list? Consider the case of Daniel Ndukwu, who used the social world to grow his subscribers by 339% in just two months.

Greenhouse Software saw similar results when they used split-testing and retargeting on social media, growing their email list by 15% in a month with a bottom-of-the-barrel paid advertisement.

Twitter ad email list

Twitter ad email list

Wee Squeak, an online retailer for kids shoes, likewise saw staggering rewards with low market spend. Spending $90 on Facebook ads yielded them over 600 emails.

So, how can you use these platforms to grow? In addition to linking up your sign-up pages in your bio and business pages, there are two big (and cheap) options available.

Although Twitter Cards don’t collect email addresses directly anymore, these can be used to ask for subscribers or direct users to a squeeze page where you can offer content upgrades. Or, you can use them with the giveaway from our previous step for even more stellar results. Check out how PCH and Visa use these different combinations below.

Twitter ad giveaways

Twitter ad giveaways

The second paid solution is with Facebook Lead Ads. If you’ve never seen them before, here’s a peek from Vets Now. Notice how giveaways are being deployed again.

Facebook lead ad

Facebook lead ad

Similar to Twitter Cards, Facebook Lead Ads allow you to work a CTA directly into the post. Unlike Twitter, however, you can use a button that, upon being clicked, will trigger a drop down form for email capture.

Using Facebook Lead Ads helped our earlier example, Wee Squeak, pull off their growth. They were also responsible for Hubble Contacts’ success, generating close to 3,000 new leads for the business at a rock-bottom $2.30 CPL.

Here’s the bottom line:

If you want your email list to blossom, you may have to fertilize the soils off-site with social media. Both free and paid options can help your list hit high tide and get subscribers rolling in.

Conclusion

Email lists are your bread-and-butter for successful marketing and have intensely high ROIs compared to other forms of marketing. And, they’re easy to build. To bulk up your list quickly, start with making sure your capture form is as user-friendly as possible.

Then, share the love: more specifically, host a giveaway to get some instant subscriber growth. After that, turn to your content. Create easy (but targeted) value-adds in the form of content upgrades to rake in even more email addresses.

Finally, don’t forget to turn your sights off your site. Social media communities offer both paid and free opportunities to bulk up your subscriber count.

Although email marketing may be daunting if you’re just dipping your toes in, take heart. This form of marketing is low-effort, high-yield, and with a little elbow grease, may just become your favorite sales channel yet.

Introduction to the Twenty Nineteen Theme (Theming for Gutenberg)

WordPress 5.0 is just around the corner, and many of us feel excited and worried at the same time. Gutenberg brings a great change in how we use WordPress, and there is definitely some concern regarding what will happen to our websites if we should update our installations without previously testing it. But don’t worry, we have a post about how to disable the Gutenberg WordPress Editor (even if it’s just temporarily) in order to prevent unsupported themes and plugins from breaking our websites.

You may be surprised to know that we are already using WordPress 5.0. Actually, we are! As Matt stated on Make WordPress blog:

If we keep the 5.0 release to strictly 4.9.8 + Gutenberg, we will have a release that is both major and a non-event in terms of new code. It’s all battle-tested. In some ways, 5.0 is already de facto out in the wild, with some forward-looking hosts already installing and activating Gutenberg for new installs.

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At Kinsta, we do hosting different than the rest. We’ve combined the fastest platform in the world (Google Cloud) with the best support team in the industry. Ready to take your site the next level?

This means that we already have WordPress 5.0 running on our servers: it’s just WordPress 4.9.8, with Gutenberg in the core. Actually, that’s not all, because WordPress 5.0 comes with an additional entry, which is the brand new Twenty Nineteen default theme.

Twenty Nineteen WordPress Theme

Twenty Nineteen WordPress Theme

So let’s dive in and see what’s new.

About Gutenberg and Twenty Nineteen

Some of you may dislike Gutenberg. Moreover, the debate over the new editor is far from being over, but consider the declared scope of Gutenberg:

These custom blocks change how users, developers, and hosts interact with WordPress for building rich web content easier and more intuitive, democratizing publishing and work for everyone, regardless of technical ability.

This is what Gutenberg aims to, and Twenty Nineteen brings things a step forward, being built with Gutenberg and for Gutenberg. It’s a minimal, typography-driven blogging theme with a single-column layout, and can be used to build a wide range of websites, going from personal blogs to small business websites.

Writing about Twenty Nineteen mostly means we are writing about Gutenberg. In Twenty Nineteen Gutenberg allows users not only to create rich content but even to build their entire websites in the editor. According to Allan Cole on Make WordPress blog,

Gutenberg grants users an unprecedented level of freedom to customize their site’s layout and design. In order to fully achieve their vision, users will need a new generation of flexible themes, built to take advantage of the creative freedom that Gutenberg offers.
With that in mind, WordPress 5.0 will launch with a brand new default theme: Twenty Nineteen

In the Twenty Nineteen them Gutenberg is more than a content builder, it’s a site builder, and WordPress users will be allowed to build their entire websites taking advantage of blocks. And if Gutenberg isn’t your thing yet, most of the popular page builder plugins are also adding support for Gutenberg.

In the Twenty Nineteen theme Gutenberg is more than a content builder, it’s a site builder. 🔨 Click to Tweet

Installing Twenty Nineteen

Twenty Nineteen should follow the release plan of the new WordPress major release. However, WordPress 5.0 should be released on November 19th, and it’s possible that a working version of Twenty Nineteen won’t be ready by that date. See all possible release dates for WordPress 5.0. Anyway, the theme is available for download on Github, and will stay there until it’s merged into core.

Twenty Nineteen is based on both the _s and gutenberg-starter-theme and comes with Sass inside. Once you’ve got the .zip package, extract the theme and upload/move the theme folder onto the /wp-content/themes directory of your development installation. You can also upload it from your WordPress dashboard.

Add new theme

Uploading a new theme from the WordPress dashboard

Kinsta clients can install it on their staging environments. If you’re not with Kinsta, you can still install it on your local machine.

Twenty Nineteen successfully installed

Twenty Nineteen successfully installed

The Look and Feel of Twenty Nineteen

The single-column layout emphasizes the content and best fits to full and wide width blocks. The theme doesn’t support sidebars and comes with just two navigation menus: the Primary menu and the Social Links Menu, both positioned in the page header.

Twenty Nineteen header

Site title, site description, and menus in Twenty Nineteen header

The blog page looks like a regular blog page with featured images enabled. Single posts and pages show best the potential of the current version of Gutenberg as site builder.

Since it is totally based on Gutenberg, Twenty Nineteen’s features mostly depend on Gutenberg’s development cycle and on the availability of blocks. We can add widget blocks, shortcode blocks, galleries, HTML code, and so on. However, all these blocks are far from covering all our needs. But luckily we have several plugins that allow us to add new blocks to Gutenberg, like Atomic Blocks, Advanced Gutenberg and Stackable. There are even projects like the Gutenberg Cloud which have sprouted up.

If you’d think that the theme looks too minimal, consider that Twenty Nineteen is still a work in progress. We’re not sure whether it will be merged into the core by the time WordPress 5.0 will be released, and we can expect several additions and bug resolutions in the next future. Moreover, there are a lot of issues that are still unresolved, and features that need to be implemented. As an example, at the time of this writing, Twenty Nineteen supports neither submenus nor Custom Headers and Video Headers, but we expect these features to be added in a reasonable amount of time.

If you’re interested in the state of the theme, check out the full list of issues on Github.

Theming for Gutenberg: A Developer’s Approach

Out of the box, Gutenberg provides basic support for block styles in themes, and theme developers are free to override Gutenberg’s default styles with their custom styles. But developers can also completely omit custom styles and decide to rely exclusively on Gutenberg to style blocks on the front of the site.

Having an editor that looks and feel like the resulting content improves the writing experience of the author, and allows everybody to feel comfortable with the UI.

Anyway, some Gutenberg’s styles and presentational features require themes to expressly add support for them, and this can be done by calling add_theme_support in the functions.php file when the after_setup_theme action is triggered. Here is an example of a feature implementation:

function mytheme_setup() { // Add support for Block Styles add_theme_support( 'wp-block-styles' );
}
add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'mytheme_setup' );

Below is listed a selection of these Gutenberg features, some of which are also supported by Twenty Nineteen. You’ll find the full list of features in Gutenberg Handbook.

Adding Support for Gutenberg Block Presentation Styles

One of the goals of the team behind Gutenberg was to build a flexible system for styling within themes, and to get as close as possible “to visual parity between front-end and the editor”. The purpose is to give the user an accurate preview of the content as it will look like on the front-site.

To achieve that goal, the team had to separate presentational styles and structural styles. By default, presentational styles are not loaded on the front-end, in order to avoid to affect the site appearance. Anyway, new themes can take advantage of Gutenberg’s presentational styles by simply enabling them with the following registration (see the Handbook for further details):

// Add support for Block Styles
add_theme_support( 'wp-block-styles' );

As you may expect, Twenty Nineteen supports Gutenberg’s block styles. The single post page looks on the front-end much like the editing post page, with the sole difference of the featured image, which displays on a desktop as a background image covering the whole viewport. The image below shows Gutenberg in action on the back-end.

Gutenberg WordPress editor

Gutenberg WordPress editor in full-screen mode

And here is the same post on the front site.

A single post page in Twenty Nineteen

A single post page in Twenty Nineteen

Wide and Full Alignments

Gutenberg also provides two additional alignment options: wide and full-width alignment, but you can select Wide or Full-width alignment only if your theme supports them. If it does, Gutenberg shows two additional alignment icons.

Alignment option buttons

Wide and Full width alignment buttons in Gutenberg

The image below shows Align center, Wide width and Full-width images in Twenty Nineteen.

Alignment options

Align center, Wide width, and Full-width compared

Theme developers can add support for Wide and Full-width alignments by enabling them in the functions file with a single statement:

// Add support for full and wide align images
add_theme_support( 'align-wide' );

Once we’ve added support for Wide and Full-width alignments, we should provide the CSS declarations for two additional CSS classes: alignfull and alignwide. Twenty Nineteen provides the following styles:

.entry-content > *.alignwide,
.entry-summary > *.alignwide { margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;
} @media only screen and (min-width: 768px) { .entry-content > *.alignwide, .entry-summary > *.alignwide { margin-left: calc(1 * (100vw / 12)); margin-right: calc(1 * (100vw / 12)); max-width: calc(10 * (100vw / 12)); }
} .entry-content > *.alignfull,
.entry-summary > *.alignfull { margin-top: calc(2 * 1rem); margin-right: 0; margin-bottom: calc(2 * 1rem); margin-left: 0; max-width: 100%;
} .entry-content .wp-block-image.alignfull img { width: 100vw; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;
}

Note: Be careful when using this option, because it may cause issues if you switch theme (read more on this topic on Github).

Editor Style

The Editor Style is a feature introduced with WordPress 3.0 allowing theme developers to add custom styles to the TinyMCE editor. Gutenberg also supports this feature, but it works differently from the Classic Editor, which loads styles directly into the iframe of the editor. Gutenberg adds specific CSS selectors, as it doesn’t use an iframe.

We can add support for editor styles as follows:

// Add support for editor styles
add_theme_support( 'editor-styles' );
// Enqueue editor styles
add_editor_style( 'style-editor.css' );

This feature is also supported by Twenty Nineteen. You can dive deeper into this topic in Editor Style in Gutenberg.

Block Color Palettes

Gutenberg provides a generic color selector in the editor’s Color Settings panel. Theme developers can enhance this tool by adding custom color palettes allowing users to quickly pick up the right color for block background and text. This is a two-step process:

First, we have to provide an array of colors:

add_theme_support( 'editor-color-palette', array( array( 'name' => __( 'hot pink', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'slug' => 'hot-pink', 'color' => '#f865b0', ), array( 'name' => __( 'classic rose', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'slug' => 'classic-rose', 'color' => '#fbcaef', ),
) );

Then we have to declare the corresponding styles in the theme’s stylesheet:

.has-hot-pink-background-color { background-color: #f865b0;
} .has-hot-pink-color { color: #f865b0;
}

Class names start with has-, followed by the color slug in kebab case, and ending with the context, which can be color or background-color. Currently, Twenty Nineteen doesn’t support block color palettes, but we can easily change this with a child theme.

Block color palette

A custom color palette in Gutenberg

Instead, if you’d want to disable a custom color palette, you have to add the following line to your theme’s or child theme’s functions file:

add_theme_support( 'disable-custom-colors' );

Block Font Sizes

A theme can also override Gutenberg’s default set of font sizes. Here is an example of the code you should add to the functions file:

add_theme_support( 'editor-font-sizes', array( array( 'name' => __( 'extra-small', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'XS', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 10, 'slug' => 'extra-small' ), array( 'name' => __( 'small', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'S', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 12, 'slug' => 'small' ), array( 'name' => __( 'regular', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'M', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 16, 'slug' => 'regular' ), array( 'name' => __( 'large', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'L', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 26, 'slug' => 'large' ), array( 'name' => __( 'larger', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'XL', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 36, 'slug' => 'larger' ), array( 'name' => __( 'huge', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'shortName' => __( 'XXL', 'themeLangDomain' ), 'size' => 56, 'slug' => 'huge' )
) );

The new font sizes will be added to the font size picker in Gutenberg’s Text Settings.

Custom font sizes in Gutenberg

Custom font sizes in Gutenberg

Following, we have to declare the corresponding styles in the theme’s stylesheet. The class name should begin with has-, followed by the the font size name in kebab case, and ending with -font-size.

.has-huge-font-size { font-size: 56px;
}

Twenty Nineteen does not provide specific font sizes and relies on Gutenberg’s defaults.

Note: Remember that, in order to make all this code work, you should hook it through the after_setup_theme action.

Summary

Twenty Nineteen could work well for personal blogs, and you could think of it more like a white canvas than a fully functional WordPress theme. A so minimal approach could be a bit limiting when it comes to building websites for business and e-commerce, but don’t worry: new features should be implemented shortly, and we could see a more powerful version of Twenty Nineteen soon.

In the meanwhile, you could also have a look at some themes that are already supporting Gutenberg. Atomic Blocks, GeneratePressGutentype, and Divi to name a few, but many others should come soon. With WordPress 5.0 approaching so fast, supporting Gutenberg is not an option, and theme developers should embrace the new WordPress editor as soon as possible to keep ahead of the competition.

Have you installed Twenty Nineteen or any theme supporting Gutenberg? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Introducing Activity

Introducing Activity

A complete record of everything that happens on your site.

Knowing what’s going on behind the scenes of your site is key to engagement and security.  Who published a post? What comments need to be approved? When was a plugin activated or deactivated? What images were added to a specific page?

Now, there’s a new tab in WordPress.com where you can see all your site’s activity outlined in an organized, readable way: It’s called Activity, because monitoring your site should be as simple as possible.

Activity shows you a chronological list of all the changes and updates to your site. It’s useful for site owners who want to keep an eye on the big picture of their site, as well as for admins on larger sites with multiple contributors.

Activity shows you things like:

  • Published or updated posts and pages.
  • Comment submission and management activity.
  • Settings and options modifications.
  • Login attempts by registered site users.
  • Plugin installations, updates, and removals.
  • Theme switches, installations, updates, and deletions.
  • See the complete list of activities for WordPress.com and Jetpack sites.

Head to Activity right now, and you’ll be able to see your site’s 20 most recent changes and updates. On WordPress.com or Jetpack sites with a paid plan you’ll see events from the last 30 days, and if you have the Business or Professional plan respectively, you’ll see events from the last year.

All sites with a paid plan have the added ability to filter activities by type and time range so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for.

To keep things scannable, sequential events of the same type are grouped in a single item — expand it to see details for all of the collected actions.

Activity is also a great place for Jetpack subscribers to investigate site downtime or bugginess. See what changes happened around the time of the issue, and use the details to focus your troubleshooting and get back up and running, fast.

You can also view your list of activities on the WordPress mobile apps.

Stay up to date on the latest theme and plugin updates

For sites with plugins and uploaded themes, keeping them up to date and knowing what was updated when are key to security and stability. Activity not only shows you all the details in one place, but lets Jetpack and WordPress.com Business plan subscribers update themes and plugins directly from the Activity tab.

We’re constantly striving to be better

Give Activity a try on your sites and let us know if you have any feedback — we’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below or open an issue in our GitHub repository.


Ultimate WordPress Multilingual Guide – How We Launched 12 Languages

Let’s first start out by saying, setting up a WordPress multilingual site can be very confusing! Even for seasoned WordPress developers and users, there are suddenly a lot of questions that get raised when first figuring out how to deliver your website in multiple languages. Such as how will it impact SEO and what technical hurdles are there to overcome?

As of October 2018, our Kinsta website is now available in 12 different languages. So we thought we would share our first-hand experience with doing a full-blown multilingual setup. Hopefully, we can answer some of those questions or address any doubts you may have. There are a lot of advantages to having a multilingual site, so don’t let the technical aspects or SEO concerns scare you away.

There are quite a few ways you can approach a multilingual WordPress site, so we’ll also share some alternative solutions.

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WordPress Multilingual Index

Multilingual Advantages

There are a lot of advantages to having a WordPress multilingual site, and depending upon the type of business you have it can be a great way to tap into an additional market.

1. SEO Advantages

One of the biggest advantages of having additional languages on your site is for SEO. Let’s say you have the content on your WordPress site translated into Spanish and German. Google will crawl your website and start indexing your additional languages as separate content. This means you will instantly have a lot more content in search engine result pages (SERPs). Not only that, but you can have it deliver your content to the native language from which the visitor has their browser set to.

At Kinsta, we saw an 18% increase in overall organic traffic by translating our blog into 12 different languages. The great part of it is, the hard work of creating the content in English was already done. And apart from the traffic increase, we’ve gained new customers from around the world that might not have found us otherwise. Take advantage of this awesome strategy to get more traffic and customers!

You could even do more languages if you want. Neil Patel, a well-known SEO, ran an experiment on his website by translating his blog into a whopping 82 different languages. The result? Within three weeks he saw a 47% increase in overall traffic!

However, remember that the quality of translation is important too. It’s easier said than done to launch a lot of languages at once. We’ll dive into this more below.

Kinsta saw an 18% boost in organic traffic from implementing a multilingual strategy. 📈 Click to Tweet

The reason why should see more traffic is because the competition is typically a lot less in other languages. The English market is very saturated when it comes to content marketing and SERPs. Here is an example with some keyword research. In English, we look up the term “marketing strategies.” We can see that it has a volume of around 40,000 search per month. And it is going to be hard to rank for. If you look at SERPs, you are instantly going against huge domains with high domain authority. If you are smart, you probably wouldn’t try to tackle this keyword.

english keyword volume

English keyword volume

Now if you take the same term in Spanish, “estrategias de marketing,” we can see that it doesn’t have as much search volume, but still a lot at around 15,000 per month. And guess what? The difficulty is not hard to rank for. The domains you are competing against all have a low domain authority of under 40. That is now something you could tackle. When it comes to other languages you will find a lot of search terms are simply easier to rank for.

spanish keyword volume

Spanish keyword volume

We can’t stress enough how important it is to do keyword research before deciding on the languages you should invest time and money into. Never assume that there is search volume in one language simply because there was in another.

Never assume there is search volume in one language just because it worked in another. 🇺🇸🇪🇸🇩🇪 Click to Tweet

2. User Experience Advantages

Besides the SEO advantage, having a site in the native language is going to automatically result in a much better user experience. And a better user experience can affect everything from your conversion rates, time on site, and bounce rate.

Increased conversion is one of the strongest ROI arguments for better user experience and more user research. Track over time, because it’s a relative metric. – Nielsen Norman Group

The last thing someone wants to do is have to right-click in Chrome and say “translate to…” Google does translations as well as it can, but the quality is nowhere near that of someone who actually speaks the language on daily basis. If you are going for an improved user experience, take the time and invest in high-quality translations, which we will go into more below.

3. Trust and Credibility

It is important for businesses to speak to in the same language as their customers. Not only when it comes to marketing lingo and terminology in your niche, but also simply speaking the same native language. Why? Because this builds trust and credibility. Naturally, we as humans beings are more comfortable conversing in our native language, as that is the culture we have been brought up in.

Multilingual tip: speak in the same language as your customers. 🤘 Click to Tweet

Most of the population around the world doesn’t actually speak English, that or they use it as their second language. According to research from the University of Düsseldorf, English is actually 6th on the list when it comes to comparing what people use as their native language.

native languages

Native languages – Image source: The Washington Post

Languages are one of the most common communication barriers which in turn can cause misunderstandings and misinterpretations between people. If you aren’t using the same language and dialects that other person understands this makes the communication ineffective and prevents the real message from being conveyed. And that could directly relate back to your sales.

WordPress Multilingual Questions Answered

When you are first looking into a WordPress multilingual site there are instantly a lot of questions on just how everything works. Hopefully below we can answer some of those for you.

Do You Need a Multilingual Site?

You might be wondering, do you actually need a multilingual site? Well, the first thing you can do is check to see if you are already getting any international traffic. We recommend looking in Google Analytics at a years worth of data if you have it. The first place is “Audience→ Geo→ Language.” Google Analytics takes these values from the web browsers of visitors.

google analytics geo language

Google Analytics geo language

The second place is “Audience→ Geo→ Location.” Remember though, that both this and the above data would be much higher if you had content that ranked in those regions already. But it gives you a basis to start from.

google analytics geo location

Google Analytics geo location

Also, as a business or large site, you should have some idea already from interacting with customers and visitors. Do you have a lot of support tickets from Spanish customers? Where do the majority of your sales come from? Take advantage of the history you have to know if their might be potential in translating your WordPress site.

What URL Structure Should You Use ?

There are basically three different scenarios to choose from when configuring a WordPress multilingual site.

1. Top Level Domains

https://domain.com/
https://domain.es/
https://domain.de/

This method can be great for targeting specific countries, however, it is also the most complex because each will have their own SEO strategies, domain authority, etc. You will most likely have to do a lot more work. Can be setup as stand-alone installations or as a multisite (with domain mapping).

2. Subdomains

https://domain.com/
https://es.domain.com/
https://de.domain.com/

This is a fairly common method. Can be setup as stand-alone installations or as a multisite.

3. Subdirectories

https://domain.com/
https://domain.com/es/
https://domain.com/de/

This is probably one of the most common methods and the route we went with our site at Kinsta. Can be setup as stand-alone installations, a multisite, or one single site with the use of plugins. If you want to read more about the advantages and disadvantages to each scenario above WPLANG has a great article on explaining the different choices you have when choosing a URL structure for your multilingual site.

What are hreflang tags?

On a multilingual WordPress website, you should be using hreflang tags and following  the recommendations that Google has laid out for language and regional URLs. These are used on each page of your site to identify the language being used.

For example, if your site provides content in English and Spanish, the Spanish version must include a rel="alternate" hreflang="x" link for itself in addition to links to the English version. Similarly, the English version must each include the same references to the Spanish version. Note: The Russian search engine Yandex also uses hreflang tags.

hreflang tags

Here are a couple examples. There are two different scenarios you might have, one is simply targeting different languages. The second is targeting the same language but different regions.

Scenario 1: hreflang Tags Targeting Languages

This is typically the most common scenario in which you simply have different languages and you want to inform Google. Example, you might have English and Spanish versions, but you don’t want to narrow it down by region because there is a large Spanish-speaking population in the US. This is where the ISO codes for languages (ISO 639-1) comes in handy.

English Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/es/" hreflang="es" />

Spanish Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/es/" hreflang="es" />

Scenario 2: hreflang Tags Targeting Languages and Regions

In this scenario you might have the same language and you want to specify different regions. For example, English in the United States and English in Britain (UK). This is where the ISO codes for countries (ISO 3166-1 Alpha 2) comes in handy.hreflang regionsEnglish Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/en-gb/" hreflang="en-gb" />

British Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en-us" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/en-gb/" hreflang="en-gb" />

You can also change up the ISO code, for example, de-ES would tell Google you have German content but want to target users in Spain. Make sure to also check out the hreflang tag tool generator which allows you to create the hreflang tags patterns for your website, using the correct values and syntax following Google’s specifications.

What is the hreflang x-default tag?

The hreflang x-default tag is used when the users browser doesn’t match anything in your hreflang tags. So for example, if you have a website in English and Spanish and someone with their browser/Google set to German hits your page, it would simply redirect them to whatever you have set for your x-default tag. Think of this as simply your default fallback tag. Here is an example.

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="x-default" />

And combined with an English and Spanish site it would look like this.

English Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="x-default" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/es/" hreflang="es" />

Spanish Site:

<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="x-default" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/" hreflang="en" />
<link rel="alternate" href="https://domain.com/es/" hreflang="es" />

If you want learn even more about hreflang tags we recommend checking out hreflang: the ultimate guide from the awesome team over at Yoast.

What About Bing?

So we are always talking about Google, but it is important not to forget Bing. Bing actually doesn’t support the hreflang tags as mentioned above, they utilize either the <html> tag language attribute, HTTP response header, or an HTML meta element.bing multilingual

<html> tag language attribute

We only really care about the <html> tag language attribute as this is what WordPress uses by default. Here is an example of an English and Spanish site.

English Site:

<html lang="en-US">
...
</html>

Spanish Site:

<html lang="es-ES">
...
</html>

To make that work you will need to programmatically change the HTML language in WordPress. The tutorials and plugins mentioned below will actually do this for you automatically.

Will Adding Additional Languages Negatively Affect Your SEO?

No, if setup correctly, additional languages won’t hurt your SEO and in fact as we shared above it can help your SEO. You don’t need to worry about duplicate content issues.

What Should You Translate?

When it comes to choosing what to translate on your site, it is generally best practice to translate everything. This is both from a user experience and SEO perspective.

What should you translate in a WordPress multilingual setup? One word, everything. 👍 Click to Tweet

URLs (slugs)

When it comes to SEO, it is recommended by many SEOs to try and have your keyword in your URL. This is why if you can, it is better to translate your URLs into their native language. For example here is how our about us page looks:

English site:

https://kinsta.com/about-us/

Spanish site:

https://kinsta.com/es/sobre-nosotros/

You can see that our about us page URL is translated into Spanish. This could also increase your CTR in SERPs as people will be more likely to click on a URL in their native language.

The one exception to this rule are languages that use special characters, such as Chinese or Japanese. While Google and WordPress support these characters, you could run into problems with third-party plugins. So usually it’s better to play it safe. For example, on Kinsta’s Japanese site, our contact us page, is still using English in the page URL.

https://kinsta.com/jp/contact-us/

Image File Names

As we shared in our SEO checklist, it is important to use smart image filenames. This includes translating the filename into their native language. Example:

English site:

https://kinsta.com/wp-content/security.png

Spanish site:

https://kinsta.com/es/wp-content/seguridad.png

SEO Meta

Don’t forget to translate your SEO meta including the Title and meta descriptions. The Yoast SEO plugin is compatible with pretty much every WordPress multilingual setup and plugin on the market.

Content

And of course, translate as much content as you can. This includes your menu items, categories, tags, widgets, footer content, etc. Many of the multilingual plugins what they call “translation strings”, which enable you to update your widgets, etc.

Outsourcing WordPress Translation Services

Now that you understand a little bit more about the tags that are needed for a WordPress Multilingual setup it is also important to know where to get high-quality translations for your content. If you can translate your content in-house you might have a little more control over the quality.

However, due to time constraints, or lack of knowing the language, a lot of businesses have to look to outsourcing the translations. There are dozens of places to get your content translated, here are just a couple to get you started:

Fiverr

You have to be very careful when using Fiverr for services, but we have found that they do have some decent translators on there. Translations range from $5 to $20 depending upon the length of your content. Look for those with top ratings and decent reviews. A lot of Fiverr language translators will also have certifications for languages they work with.

If you are on a tight budget, Fiverr can definitely be a good option. You can find more details in our post dedicated to Fiverr: How to Use Fiverr to Reduce Business Busywork

fiverr translate wordpress content

Fiverr translate

Gengo

Gengo provides fast, affordable and quality translations by a community of 20,000+ native speakers located worldwide. Their prices start at just $0.05/word and 95% of orders are completed within hours.

gengo wordpress translation

Gengo translation

One Hour Translation

One Hour Translation offers professional translation services for 75 languages on a 24/7 basis. They have a network of over 15000+ certified human translators. General translation prices start at just $0.079/word.

one hour translation

One hour translation

TextMaster

TextMaster provides fast and affordable translation and copywriting services by native-speaking translators. They have an average turnaround time of 12 hours and general translation prices start at just $0.066/word.

textmaster translation services

TextMaster translation services

Some others you might want to check out include ICanLocalize, cloudwords, translations.com, e2f, and Lingotek.

Option 1 – Free WordPress Multilingual with Polylang

If you are looking for a simple and free way to set up multiple languages on your WordPress site than the Polylang plugin works great! Polylang allows you to create a bilingual or multilingual WordPress site. You write posts, pages and create categories and post tags as usual, and then define the language for each of them. The translation of a post, whether it is in the default language or not, is optional. This also works great for single WordPress installs where you want to keep things simple.

WordPress multilingual Polylang plugin

WordPress multilingual Polylang plugin

The plugin has 400,000+ active installs with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating, and is actively kept to date by the developer. You can download Polylang from the WordPress repository or by searching for it within your WordPress dashboard under “Add New” plugins. Here is a list of what the plugin does:

  • Supports an unlimited number of languages
  • You can translate almost everything, from posts, pages, categories, menu, widgets, etc.
  • It supports custom post types and taxonomies
  • The language is either set by the content or by the language code in URL, or you can use one different subdomain or domain per language
  • Categories, post tags as well as some other metas are automatically copied when adding a new post or page translation
  • A customizable language switcher is provided as a widget or in the navigation menu
  • The admin interface is multilingual and each user can set the WordPress admin language in their profile

Polylang does follow the best practices as recommended by Google and uses hreflang tags and changes the <html> tag language attribute automatically for you. There is also a premium version of the Polylang plugin, and it allows you to also do the following:

  • Share the same URL slug across languages for posts and terms.
  • Translate custom post types and taxonomies slugs in URLs.

Follow the steps below on how to configure the free Polylang plugin on your WordPress site. In our example, we are setting up a site with both English and Spanish translations.

Step 1

After installing and activating the plugin you need to first add the languages. So click into “Languages” under settings in your WordPress dashboard and first add English – en_US. The defaults are fine. Click on “Add new language.”

add english language

Add English language

Step 2

You will see a message at the top about posts, pages, and categories not having a language. Click on “You can set them all to the default language” link and it will default everything to English, which is the language you just added.

set default language

Set default language

Step 3

Next, you need to add whatever additional language you want to use. We are adding Spanish, so we choose Espanol – es_ES. Then change the order to one above the previous one, which in this case is 1 since English was set to 0. Click on “Add new language.”

add spanish language

Add Spanish language

Step 4

Next click into the “Settings” tab of PolyLang and under the URL modifications section you will want to enable the option to “Hide URL language information for default language.” This strips out /en/ from your English language slugs so that you have the following setup:

English Version: https://kinsta.com/about-us/
Spanish Version: https://kinsta.com/es/sobre-nosotros/
hide language url for default language

Hide language URL for the default language

Step 5

Next, it is time to add a Spanish translation. By default, each language will have a new column (flag) that appears now in the “All Posts” section in your WordPress dashboard. Click on the + symbol to add a Spanish version. (You can also do this from within each post itself)

add spanish translation

Add Spanish translation

Step 6

You can then your post and translate the slug (URL) if you want. For SEO purposes, it is better to use a slug that is in the native language. And Yoast SEO is fully compatible with PolyLang, so also make sure your title tag and meta description are also translated. Then click on “Publish.”

spanish post url

Spanish post URL

And that’s about it! You now have separate posts in your WordPress dashboard, each accessible at their own native language URL. PolyLang automatically adds the appropriate hreflang tags so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

separate language posts

Separate language posts

You will also need to go through your categories and menu and create Spanish versions. And then under the “Strings translations” section, you can translate additional items.

string translations polylang

String translations in Polylang

If you want, you can also utilize PolyLang’s language switching widget.

polylang language switch widget

Polylang language widget

It is also important to note that if someone hits your site from an indexed Spanish post and lands on domain.com/es/* then the next time they visit your site it will automatically go the Spanish version of your site. And vice versa.

Option 2 – Premium WordPress Multilingual Setup with Weglot

If you are looking for the fastest way to translate your entire WordPress site then you must check out Weglot! Literally, you can be done in about 5 minutes. This is a newer plugin on the market and works as translation as a service, in that you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. They are growing rapidly and have become very popular, recently passing $10,000 in monthly revenue.

Weglot translates your site on the fly. And while that might sound bad at first, we were impressed with the quality of their translations. It isn’t perfect of course, but they give you the ability to edit your translations in case you want to improve them. You don’t have this option with other Google translate alternatives.

Weglot multilingual WordPress plugin

Weglot multilingual WordPress plugin

The plugin currently has 20,000+ active installs with an impressive 5 out of 5-star rating, and is actively kept to date by the developer. You can download Weglot from the WordPress repository or by searching for it within your WordPress dashboard under “Add New” plugins. They have a basic free plan and then prices start at $10/month. Here is a list of what the plugin and or service does:

  • Translates every string on the page (widgets, footer items, menu items, you name it and it translates it)
  • No coding or complex setup required. Be up and running in minutes.
  • Content is automatically detected and translated.
  • A dashboard to manage all your translations, edit and improve machine translations provided.
  • SEO-ready and optimized in new languages: translated pages will have their dedicated URLs, following Google best practices guidance for multilingual (hreflang tags automatically created).
  • Access to professional translators to order pro translations (under development).
  • Customizable language switcher button.
  • Options to easily exclude strings and pages from translation.
  • More than 60 translation languages are available.

Weglot does follow the best practices as recommended by Google and uses hreflang tags and changes the <html> tag language attribute automatically for you. Note: The one and only drawback we found to this plugin is that it doesn’t allow you to translate your URLs (slugs). However, you should weigh the pros and cons of this. Getting your entire site translated and starting to index within a few days might be more beneficial.

Follow the steps below on how to configure the Weglot plugin on your WordPress site. In our example, we are setting up a site with both English and Spanish translations.

Step 1

Sign up for a free account over at weglot.com.

Step 2

After installing and activating the plugin you need to set up the main configuration within “Weglot” in your WordPress dashboard. You can grab your API key from your Weglot’s account page. In our example, our default site is in English and we are wanting a Spanish translation. So we input es as a destination language. Everything else we leave as default and click on “Save Changes.”

weglot configuration

Weglot configuration

And believe it or not, that is all there is to it! If you browse to your home page you will now see a language switcher in the bottom right.

language switcher

Language switcher

And here is what it looks like if we switch it over to Spanish. As you can see it translated the site byline, post content, widget content, search box, widget titles, etc. It also translates all your SEO and meta information.

weglot spanish version

Weglot Spanish version

If you are unhappy with any of the translations strings you can edit them from the Weglot dashboard. This includes the ability to change image URL file names to Spanish.

weglot translation dashboard

Weglot translation dashboard

And just like Polylang, it has a language switching widget you can use.

Option 3 – Custom WordPress Multilingual Setup

A third option, and this is actually what we did at Kinsta, is to do it yourself. 😄 Fair warning, this will require some custom development. But you can always hire a WordPress developer to do this for you. In the long-term, a custom setup can be advantageous as you can build out the workflow exactly as you need it.

We knew we would be launching a lot of languages, so to make administration and management easier, we went with a WordPress multisite approach. If you already have a WordPress site, which we did, you can convert your existing site into a multisite. Some advantages of going with multisite for multilingual include:

  • No need for separate login credentials. Multisite user profiles are shared across all subsites. This makes bouncing around between 12 different languages a breeze.
    Multiple languages in WordPress

    Multiple languages in WordPress

  • In terms of overhead, multisite setups are considered one install each. For example, you could have one multisite with 10 subsites, this is still considered one install because all the subsites in the network share the same installation and database. Therefore, technically fewer resources are required and there is less to manage.

Custom linking of translations and hreflang tags

If you’re rolling a custom solution, the first thing you’ll need is a way to link up translations in the WordPress dashboard. Our in-house developer created an easy solution which allows you to link translations for existing posts and pages, as well as copy the entire post to a new subsite for translation.

Linking translations in WordPress

Linking translations in WordPress

When the post is linked on the backend, the hreflang tags are automatically generated for SEO purposes and to let Google know which version is which language.

hreflang tags on multisite

hreflang tags on multisite

It also ties into the language switcher that we’ve built on the footer of our website. This allows visitors to easy toggle to their own respective language if needed.

Language switcher

Language switcher

Content Translation

In terms of translation, we had it easy when it comes to the Spanish version of our website as our in-house Spanish team translates all of our content. For the other sites, we work one on one with native language speakers. We never do anything subpar and therefore invest heavily in high-quality translations.

Some of the Kinsta website, such as our homepage, about us page, etc. are housed in WordPress, but are compiled completely from custom code. We use a tool call Crowdin to ensure all content updates and changes are translated.

As far as the content in the WordPress editor goes, such as our blog posts, our developer built an awesome WordPress to Trello integration. It’s based on the WordPress revision history. Essentially whenever a change is made on the English version of the site, we push it to its respective language Trello board and the translator can check the revision history to see what has changed.

WordPress to Trello multilingual solution

WordPress to Trello multilingual solution

If your business has access to WordPress developers and people that speak the 2nd language, this is probably the best way to go as you will have full control over every aspect of both sites. With WordPress plugins, there are always some limitations or problems somewhere that you will have to work around. For most businesses, though this might not be an option and so the plugin route is definitely your best route.

Take your English content and extend its reach around the globe! 🌎 Click to Tweet

Alternative WordPress Multilingual Plugins

We can’t cover every plugin in this guide, but besides Polylang and Weglot as mentioned above there are some other WordPress multilingual plugins that definitely deserve a mention:

How to Test Your hreflang Tags

After you configure your WordPress site with multiple languages it is always recommended to test the configuration. You can of course check your source code. But, there are also a few great tools out there to help. The first is flang, which is actually recommended by the Yoast team. Simply input your domain and it will validate your tags.

flang hreflang test tool

flang hreflang test tool

And if you want to dive a little deeper, the hreflang Tags Testing Tool from TechnicalSEO.com is also very useful.

hreflang tags testing tool

hreflang tags testing tool

Google Search Console will also report if there are any errors with your hreflang tags under “Search Traffic→ International Targeting.” Remember, after add additional languages it can take a few days to even a month sometimes for the data in search console to catch up. So be patient.

google search console international targeting

Google Search Console international targeting

Google Analytics With Multiple Languages

Now that you have a WordPress multilingual site you have to figure out how to configure Google Analytics so everything isn’t all in one big mess. This can be setup in a lot of different ways, and some of it depends on the website owner’s preference. Some even split them up into entirely different Google Analytics accounts. But here is one option below that uses a 2nd view for the new language and filters to include and exclude traffic.

Step 1

Create a new view in Google Analytics under your main profile. You can call it “Spanish Traffic” or whatever your additional language might be.

Step 2

Back in your default view, create a filter that excludes traffic to sub-directories that contain your new language, such as /es/.

exclude spanish traffic

Exclude Spanish traffic

Step 3

Then in your new view, create a filter that includes only traffic to sub-directories that contain your new language, such as /es/.

include only spanish traffic

Include only Spanish traffic

You can then go about creating goals and events per view. If you’re using subdomains instead of subdirectories simply use “traffic to the hostname” in your filter instead.

Summary

A WordPress multilingual setup can be a little confusing when you first dive into it. Especially because there are a lot of different directions in which you can go, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice. But don’t let that scare you away because the pros definitely outweigh the cons. As long as you follow Google’s recommendations, such as utilizing hreflang tags and best SEO practices, you will definitely better your chances for a spike in multilingual traffic, rather than a decrease.

Did we miss anything important? Or perhaps you have your own experience you would like to share as it pertains to a multilingual setup. If so, we would love to hear about it below in the comments.