Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Laura Sacco

Laura Sacco is Support Engineer at Yoast and Translation Editor for the Italian WordPress.org community. She’s also a WordPress Meetup Organizer, WordCamp organizer, and speaker. Laura is on the staff who’s organizing the upcoming WordCamp Europe 2019, which is being held in Berlin, Germany from June 20-22.

You can find Laura on Twitter or LinkedIn. Her personal website is mentoredigitale.it. This is our recent interview with her, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.

Q1. What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?

I started my career as a professional educator, then I got a degree in Sociology with a thesis in Sociology of Organizations, and I worked for 30 years in social services. After a 5-year family break, in 2005 I got back to the world of social cooperation, and I became an educational supervisor. Later, I participated in a fundraising project dealing with business communication, including building websites, and I then approached the world of digital communication, social media, and blogs.

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At that point, I started diving into the new world of Internet 2.0, and I launched my first WordPress.com blog: this happened in 2008. At that time the web and blogs were growing fast. In 2009 I launched my first corporate blog, proudly powered by WordPress.

Due to a corporate crisis in 2015, and after a careful assessment of my skills, I decided to start working on my own and to propose myself as a business consultant. As a freelancer, I knew that building a network would have been a primary step in my career, so I started regularly visiting the Toolbox coworking space in Torino. There, by chance, I ran into the newborn Torino WordPress Meetup: this happened on September 2015, and since then I have never left the WordPress Community.

Torino WordPress Meetup

Being part of the work and life of the community is my way to give back to the WordPress Open Source project. I mean, if everyone can use a reliable, well developed and regularly improved product for free, it’s because there are thousands of people around the world who offer their work for free. Giving back part of our time and skills is our contribution to making WordPress more powerful and secure and expresses our appreciation for its value.

I love working with digital tools and the internet, it allows me to improve myself from a professional point of view. It allows me to help people, especially women, to learn how to use web tools and how to be more and more integrated with a world that is inevitably more and more connected.

Many women have great professional skills, but often they don’t know how to take advantage of them. Furthermore, technical courses are often hard and difficult, and this could discourage the use of digital tools. My purpose is to provide individual support, but not as a teacher, rather as an adviser. My vocation is to be a digital mentor.

Q2. What is your role in the WordPress Community?

I moved my first steps in the community in the Polyglots team, which is a fundamental tool for the democratization of the web. Everyone can translate WordPress. You just need a WordPress.org account. The group is structured on multiple levels. Each translated string has to be approved by the Translator Editor. Editors are designated by the Global Translator Editors (GTE), who only can approve the strings of the Core. Currently, 5 GTEs are active in Italy, and I am one of them.

I’m involved in coordinating the Italian Polyglot team with my GTE colleagues, and I give a contribution to keep the community alive and active. Nowadays, Italian Polyglots community counts over 1,500 contributors.

WordPress Polygots

WordPress Polygots

Q3. When did you start working with Yoast?

Towards the end of 2017, my friend Alice, who’s a content writer at WP Rocket and Italian Global Translator Editor, told me that a great American web company was looking for a figure with my skills. I was not looking for a job at that time, but I asked myself: why not give it a try? I took my chances and I sent my application. I was not hired, but it was a success anyway: I’d unlocked my expectations and overcame my fear to speak English.

Yoast

So, in January 2018, as Yoast opened selections for remote Support, I threw my heart over the fence and submitted my appliance. The beginning of the fairy tale, starting from March 2018, I have worked for Yoast as Support Engineer.

Q4. What does an international team and company like Yoast represent for you?

For me, Yoast is not only an international company, but it is also a business reality with high social impact sharing the same values as WordPress: web accessibility and democratization. It is very important for me to share the same values as the organization I work with. I fully identify myself with their corporate vision. After all, I decided to submit my application to Yoast because their values are my values.

Q5. What are the essential elements of a great support?

We acquire technical skills over time, but in order to provide a good support service, we need an attitude to help. Taco Verdonschot, Community manager and Support Lead at Yoast, says “support is not a technical skill, support is an attitude”. We need the ability to empathize, create a relationship, and have great respect for those in front of you asking for help. You must have a strong desire to be really helpful.

Support is not a technical skill, support is an attitude. 😎 @tacoverdo @lausacco Click to Tweet

Q6. You are on the sponsor’s team for WordCamp Europe 2019. What is, in your opinion, the link between companies and the community, and what could a company expect from sponsoring a WordCamp?

A WordCamp is not just a conference on professional topics: it’s much more than that. It’s a place where we can compare and share ideas, and build networks. It is a place full of positive energy. It’s the party of the local community organizing that’s specific to WordCamp. The environment is informal, welcoming, and respectful of diversity.

WordCamp

At WordCamps you meet real people, truly authentic people because there is nothing to exchange or to show in a WordCamp in order to acquire clients. This creates a kind of magic that is difficult to understand to those who have never joined the party.

‘At WordCamps you meet real people, truly authentic people.’ 👋 – Laura Sacco Click to Tweet

The organization is always managed by volunteers, free of charge, and the ticket price is always kept low so that the price won’t be an obstacle to participation. But of course, there are many expenses to deal with during the organization of a WordCamp. And that’s where sponsors help.

Their role is essential: they are the heroes allowing the magic to come true. First off, sponsoring a WordCamp means supporting the community and adopting the open source philosophy. Of course, there is a commercial side: sponsoring a WordCamp gives companies a great visibility and allows them to be recognized and to present their products/services to a good number of potential customers, and/or to get in touch with skilled professionals to hire.

Q7. Whom should we interview next & why?

Pascal Casier is a very active member of the community, plugin developer, and Core Contributor. And also Francesco di Candia, Community Deputy of WordPress.org.

How to Display Dynamic Sidebars and Widgets to Reduce Bounce Rate

Today we’ll be diving into the topic of dynamic sidebars and widgets (those that are content-relevant); more importantly how they can help reduce your site’s bounce rate and in turn improve your chances for a conversion. We’ll show you how to create a sidebar, along with widgets that show your visitors exactly what they want to see based on the topic or content of the current page or post.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Before I show you how to reduce bounce rate by displaying content-relevant sidebars and widgets, let’s first define bounce rate.

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of site visitors who enter and leave rather than staying to explore other pages on your website. To reduce bounce rate you need to increase engagement, and this tells you much about your site’s usability. When a visitor finds your content useful, they stay and are willing to explore the site for even more useful content. This, in turn, gives you a higher conversion rate. The longer your visitors stay on your site, the greater the likelihood for more sales, sign-ups, and ad revenue.

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Of course, you want them to stay longer, so you must have something that will stop them from leaving too soon — useful content.

You want users staying as long as possible, which means you need something to keep them from leaving – useful content. 📗 Click to Tweet

Usability: The Key to Reducing Bounce Rate

You don’t achieve site usability by only providing useful content to your site visitors. You also have to optimize the tools you display on each and every page in such a way that they interact with them. Moreover, these tools should also be relevant to the content that’s being used on a certain page.

The tools I’m referring to are the navigation bar and all the widgetized areas in a given page, including the sidebar. While to many, the navigation bar plays the biggest role in ensuring user engagement, you cannot take for granted the power of your widget areas. This is especially true when you’re aware of the many different ways WordPress provides for you to easily take control of them.

The sidebar is the primary widget placeholder that can either make or break your website’s usability. Why? — Because it’s convenient to just put whatever widgets you like in the sidebar without thinking whether or not such widgets are relevant to the main content.

What Are WordPress Dynamic (Content-Relevant) Sidebars?

A WordPress sidebar that is relevant to the main content refers to one that displays widgets carefully chosen to appear next to specific content on a given page in terms of their applicability. For example, a sidebar relevant to a specific blog post would contain widgets such as newsletter opt-ins and related posts.

The screenshots below show the difference between the sidebar on MarketingProfs.com.

Podcast Page (Screenshot A)

On this blog article, MarketingProfs is showing the following widgets: suggestions, subscription links, and most popular posts.

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot A)

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot A)

Article page (Screenshot B)

On this blog article, MarketingProfs is showing the following widgets: subscription opt-in, social media widgets, most popular posts.

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot B)

Dynamic sidebar (Screenshot B)

How Dynamic Sidebars Help to Reduce Bounce Rate

Sidebars help site visitors decide which action to take next. For instance, from a blog post page, they can opt to sign-up for newsletter subscription. If you have a number of categories for newsletters, you can display a subscription widget for the category where the blog post belongs. Each widget bears the name of the specific category, so readers know exactly what they are subscribing to. Look at the images below taken from The Washington Post.

Content-relevant sidebars also aid in targeted marketing. You can create a sidebar dedicated to site users you group based on demographic information. For example, you can make sidebars for your website’s varying language versions, display in them contact links depending on location, or show product promotions based on their interests. Or you create different sidebars based on the category of your blog posts.

The Washington Post has “Must Reads” as one of its categories for newsletters. The widget appears in this article entitled “Salmonella-tainted chicken killed 1, sickened 17 in a multi-state outbreak, CDC says” and all the other articles belonging to the same category.

Dynamic sidebar widget A

Dynamic sidebar widget A

On the other hand, this Tech article, “Facebook and Twitter executives to testify to Congress next week”, from The Washington Post has the widget “Tech news email alerts” displayed in the sidebar, targeting readers of tech-related stories.

Dynamic sidebar widget A

Dynamic sidebar widget A

Sidebars with widgets relevant to the content can also help improve SEO. Using the whole heading tags or a portion of it as widget titles can create a small but meaningful impact on search engine optimization.

Adding Relevant Widgets to the Sidebar

The first step to creating content-relevant sidebars is to decide what’s relevant and what’s not. Deciding which widgets to appear on a page or post requires an in-depth understanding of the purpose and why you created that page or post in the first place.

For instance, you created a product page not only to explain the product’s features, benefits, and pricing. You also did so to lead the visitors into purchasing it or into considering similar or related products. In addition, you may want to show off the product’s highest ratings and best reviews that can help them decide to buy it. Or, you may want to help them connect to a sales representative to answer questions. Whatever action they take, the page must show them the way to do so. The sidebar is one of the best places to put those call-to-action buttons. Hence, the sidebar becomes a very powerful tool in keeping your visitors engaged in your website.

Kinsta, for example, uses different CTAs on their blog based on the category of the blog post. This helps ensure the messaging is targeted and relevant to the topic of the article.

Sidebar widget CTA

Sidebar widget CTA

Weeding Out Unrelated Widgets

Furthermore, deciding what not to put in the sidebar is as important as deciding what to put there. The density of the sidebar and other widget areas on the page contributes to its overall look and feel. Weeding out irrelevant or redundant widgets addresses the same issue with bounce rates. In fact, some sites may find that no sidebar at all is a better way to go.

Perhaps you threw a bunch of widgets into your sidebar because you think they might be useful for your visitors. However, an overcrowded looking page may turn off a potential customer. If there’s too much happening on the page, visitors might lose focus on what made them come in the first place. By this, I mean too many external ad widgets or too many product links.

Simply put, deciding which sidebar content is relevant or not is critical for increasing user engagement.

Highlighting Important Widgets

After deciding what to put in the sidebar, you can make certain widgets standout from the rest. One way is to make them appear in other widget areas, such as the footer. Another way is by making them fixed and floating over the page as users scroll. This allows users to instantly interact with them without having to scroll back up or down.

Next Step: Choose the Best Methods

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of which widgets you use, the next step is to choose a method of creating those content-relevant sidebars. Here are 2 ways:

Option 1 – Control Widgets Visibility with a WordPress plugin

One of the easiest ways to control widget visibility on your sidebar is by using a WordPress plugin. A plugin like Widget Options lets you do just that with a few simple clicks. You can show or hide sidebar contents per post or page with conditions including categories, tags, page names, etc.

Widget Options WordPress plugin

Widget Options WordPress plugin

The Widget Options plugin currently has over 70,000 active installs with an impressive 5 out of 5-star rating. You can download it from the WordPress repository or search for “widget options” within your WordPress dashboard under “Plugins → Add New.” Then click on “Install Now” and activate the plugin.

Install Widget Options plugin

Install Widget Options plugin

Hiding Widgets From a Specific Page

Once you have the Widget Options plugin installed and activated, you can easily hide a widget from a specific page in just a few clicks. To illustrate, here’s the screenshot of a coupon widget. Under the settings of the widget, there is now a visibility option: you can choose between hiding and showing this widget on selected pages.

Hide WordPress widget on certain pages

Widget Options’ Hide/Show Widgets on Specific Pages

Restricting Widgets From Specific Posts

You can also hide widgets from blog posts by using conditional tags. Using Widget Options, this process requires a couple more steps than simply hiding from pages. You need to first locate the post ID, as will need to include in the conditional tags where you want to hide the post.

To find the post ID, browse to the post and hover (don’t click) over the “Edit Post” option in your WordPress admin toolbar. In the bottom left of your browser you should see the post ID #.

WordPress find post ID

WordPress find post ID

Once you have the post ID(s), you can use it with the following conditional tags.

Hide a Widget From Multiple Posts:

!is_single(array('Post ID', 'Post ID'))

Hide a Widget From a Single Post:

!is_single( 'Post ID' )

On the widget you want to be hidden from the post, go to the “Logic” tab and input the tag as shown below.

WordPress widget logic

WordPress widget logic

In addition, should you need to use a widget title relevant to a page’s or post’s heading tags, you can place as many copies of that widget as needed and make a unique title for each.

Hide Widgets From Mobile Devices

You can also restrict widgets visibility when a page or post is viewed on specific device types.

Due to limited screen size, it’s easy to make a page or post look crowded when viewed from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. We want to make sure that every page does not look too dense both on a desktop and mobile view. However, we also want to take advantage of the bigger desktop screen for displaying relevant widgets in as many widget areas as possible.

For example, we want the e-mail opt-in to appear both in the sidebar and in the footer. When viewed on mobile, on the other hand, we want to get rid of repetitive widgets. Widget Options allows you to hide widgets on mobile view.

Hide widget on mobile devices

Hide widget on mobile devices

Make Sidebar Widgets Fixed

Another way to control widgets visibility is to make them fixed, which means they will follow the users as the scroll up and down on a page or blog post. If you keep your sidebar clean, or only apply this to one or two widgets, you shouldn’t have to worry about this becoming too obtrusive. Look at the screenshot below. WPMU Dev has a great application of this on their blog.

The social share widgets are floating over the page without overshadowing the main content and encourage visitors to take action whenever they are ready to do so. This means they don’t have to scroll back up to the sidebar area to interact with these widgets.

Fixed sidebar widget

Fixed sidebar widget (Example on WPMU Dev Blog)

Widget Options provides an option wherein you can make any widget fixed and follow visitors as they scroll. You can choose to make all the sidebar widgets fixed or just pick one or two that you think need more exposure than the rest.

Fixed sidebar widget

Fixed sidebar widget

Option 2 – Add Custom Sidebars

Your second option would be to manually create custom sidebars via coding. This is a little more tedious than using a third-party plugin that allows you to create sidebars in just a few clicks. However, because WordPress provides a lot of coding options, you can opt to go for it. This way, you can create exactly what you want.

To get started, you need to register a widgetized area. Then, save and upload it to your server in order to make it accessible from the widget menu. To do this, you’ll need to input the following code into your child theme’s function.php file.  Or you can use a free plugin like Code Snippets.

It comes with some elements you can change to suit your needs. See the following example:

<?php
/*
* Create Custom Widget Area for Pages Only
*/
function page_only_custom_sidebar() {
register_sidebar(
array ( 'name' => __( 'For Pages Only', 'your-site' ), 'id' => 'page-only-custom-sidebar', 'description' => __( 'Contents to this widget area will be displayed on pages only.', 'your-site' ), 'before_widget' => '<section id="%1$s" class="widget %2$s">', 'after_widget' => "</section>", 'before_title' => '<h3 class="widget-title">', 'after_title' => '</h3>',
)
);
}
add_action( 'widgets_init', 'page_only_custom_sidebar' );
?>

The next step is to make the sidebar visible somewhere in the website. To make it work, add it to the template file(s) of the places you want them visible. Take a look at the code below which aims to make the sidebar appear on pages only.

To do this, we place it inside the page.php file of our theme. In the case of the Twenty Seventeen theme, that means it would look like this:

<?php if ( is_active_sidebar( 'page-only-custom-sidebar' ) && is_page() ) : ?>
<aside id="secondary" class="widget-area" role="complementary">
<?php dynamic_sidebar( 'page-only-custom-sidebar' ); ?>
</aside>
<?php endif; ?>

Your Turn: How Do You Reduce Bounce Rate?

What I have shown here is just a small fraction of a few ways to reduce your bounce rate. Sidebars, one of the most often neglected places on websites, can become powerful tools to make visitors explore your website, thus increasing the chance for conversions. Creating content-relevant sidebars doesn’t have to be hard, especially with all of the easy to use plugins on the WordPress repository.

Moreover, since engagement is one of the key ways to reduce bounce rate, to achieve it, you need to check your site’s usability.

In order to achieve usability, bear in mind that content is king! Your widgets, links, or content-relevant sidebars should guide users around your site — leading them to other content that they might find useful.

Have you used dynamic WordPress sidebars or widgets on your site yet? If so, what were the results?

How to Use WordPress Icon Fonts the Right Way (Better Performance)

Back in the early days, icons were readily available, but implementing them efficiently in WordPress was a bit more difficult. You could get around some issues with sprites, but they were not always a good way forward, and as retina screens started coming out, the problem was magnified (quite literally).

One of the most common solutions to this problem is to use an icon font. Icons are web fonts or vectors, so you can scale them infinitely and a lot of icons can fit inside a single file, bringing down your request count considerably. This allows you to use almost any icon you can possibly dream up. However, with this, also comes some performance considerations.

We’ll show you in this article a couple different ways to use WordPress icon fonts, where to get them, and which method might be the best for your site.

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Where to Find Icon Fonts

There are a lot of great places to now find icon fonts for your WordPress site. Just type “icon font” into Google will yield you some great results. One of the most popular and widely used ones is Font Awesome. As of writing this, it has 1,400+ free icons, as well as 4,500+ icons in their pro version. It includes icons for just about everything, from interface, to social, arrows, and many other types of icons.

Font Awesome icons

Font Awesome icons

Here are a few other ones to check out:

  • IcoMoon is another popular service with 5,500+ free vector icons and 4,000+ premium icons. In fact, we’ll be using their icon font generator tool further below.
  • Fontello is another great service that helps you discover and built icon fonts.
  • If you’re looking for a super lightweight icon set, make sure to check out Bytesize. All 84 icons measure in at 9KB minified (2 KB in SVGZ, or Gzipped).
  • If you’re wanting to simply use SVG icons manually, you won’t find a better free library than iconmonstr or a better premium library than Iconfinder.

Quick and Easy Ways to Use WordPress Font Icons

First we’ll dive into some of the quick and easy ways to use WordPress font icons. Fair warning, not all of these are the best in terms of performance. For that, we recommend skipping down to the section on the best method.

Option 1 – Use a WordPress Plugin

The quickest way to get up and running with WordPress font icons is to simply use a third-party plugin. The free Font Awesome Integration plugin contains the latest Font Awesome 5 icon library. After you install and activate it, all it takes is a simple shortcode code to insert an icon. They even have a WordPress icon now! Pretty cool.

You can check out Font Awesome 5’s basic use chart for additional ways to use and customize it, as well as their icon library. For example, below we inserted the WordPress Font Awesome icon in a Gutenberg shortcode block and added fa-3x to make it three times bigger.

[fawesome iclass="fab fa-wordpress fa-3x"]
Font Awesome shortcode in Gutenberg

Font Awesome shortcode in Gutenberg

Here is what it looks like on the front-end. Pretty easy right? We had a Font Awesome icon up and running on our site within just a few minutes.

Font Awesome example in WordPress 5.0

Font Awesome example in WordPress 5.0

If you want a lot of easy to use shortcodes, you might want to also check out the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin. They have a premium icons add-on you can use.

The above is a great solution if you want to let your clients add icons to posts or pages, but if you want to use these elements within your theme or plugin it’s best to enqueue them yourself (will dive into this further below).

Option 2 – Use the Built-in Dashicons

Dashicons is a set of font icons included by default since WordPress uses it on the backend. You’ll need to enqueue it on the front-end, but all you need is the name of the script, the file is already available to WordPress.

You can add the following to your functions.php file, or we recommend using a free plugin like Code Snippets. This minimizes the risk of breaking your theme and the changes will also be persistent throughout theme updates.

function my_theme_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style( 'dashicons' );
}

You can then go to the Dashicons website, select an icon and click the “copy HTML” link which will give you the code you need to display the icon. They don’t have a huge selection, but they still work great and are very lightweight.

<span class="dashicons dashicons-admin-post"></span>

For example, below we inserted the dashboard icon in a Gutenberg HTML block.

Dashicons in Gutenberg HTML block

Dashicons in Gutenberg HTML block

Here is what it looks like on the front-end.

Example of Dashicons in WordPress 5.0

Example of Dashicons in WordPress 5.0

Dashicons doesn’t have any cool shortcodes with it out of the box, but you can customize the size of your icons with CSS. Here is an example of inserting an icon right before a header.

<h2 class="dashicons-before dashicons-smiley">My Cool Headline</h2>

Option 3 – Manually Link to Externally Hosted Icon Fonts

Your third option is to manually link to externally hosted icon fonts. This is essentially what the plugin in option 1 above is doing behind the scenes.

For Font Awesome, you can grab the code from their Start page and then follow the steps below. They host all of their fonts on a CDN for free for you. It will look something like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://use.fontawesome.com/releases/v5.5.0/css/all.css" integrity="sha384-xxxxx" crossorigin="anonymous">

Step 1

Copy the code into the <head> of each template or page on your WordPress site where you want to use Font Awesome. You can edit your theme’s header.php file or better yet, follow our simple tutorial on how to add code to your header.

Step 2

You can then start placing icons in your HTML’s <body>. Find the right icon and learn how to add it onto your page.

Performance Issue to Consider with Using Icon Fonts

While there is nothing wrong with using one of the above ways to add icon fonts to your site, they aren’t technically the best way. Why? It all comes down to performance issues.

You Probably Don’t Need All Those Icons

First off, when you use a plugin for icon fonts or link to an external icon font library, it’s going to load all of the icons in its entire library. If you’re only using 20 or so icons throughout your entire site, this can be handled in a much better way.

Do you really need all those icons? Probably not. 😉 So don’t load all of them on your WordPress site. Click to Tweet

For example, we included the Font Awesome 5 library on our site and while the CSS file for it is small, the font file itself is 108 KB. While this might not seem that big, you’ll see further below how small the file actually gets when we choose only the fonts we actually are using.

Large Font Awesome library

Large Font Awesome library

Loading From One CDN is Usually Faster

Second, there is nothing wrong with loading scripts from different CDNs. However, if you have the option to load it from one CDN, this is usually faster. Why? Because it can take advantage of a single HTTP/2 connection and reduces additional DNS lookups. Just make sure your main CDN is a good one!

Host Icon Fonts Locally (Only the Ones You Need)

Because of the performance reasons mentioned above, we are going to walk you through how to host your icon fonts locally, as well as only using the ones you need. By locally we mean either loading them from your WordPress host’s server or your own CDN.

By choosing only the icon fonts you need, this can bring down the file size from 100 KB to a couple of kilobytes, pretty handy! Even better: you can even mix and match icons from various font sets.

The Basics – How it Works

Using a font icon involves hosting the font file (WOFF, WOFF 2, etc.) on your web server, then using CSS to load the font face, then creating some markup to add the icons in the correct place.

While your site will load a single file, you’ll actually end up having a number of file formats for each font since some browsers utilize different formats. Font Awesome has 6 different file formats included: EOT, SVG, TTF, WOFF, WOFF 2 and OTF. However, based on browser support you really only need WOFF or WOFF 2.

Tip: WOFF is supported by 93%+ of all modern browsers. However, WOFF 2 is compressed more, but is only supported by 83%+ of all modern browsers. We recommend choosing one or the other or both. The browser will determine based on your code which one to deliver up to the client.

Your first task is to use a tool to choose only the icons you want. You can then add these files to your project directory somewhere, typically in a fonts directory.

Next, you add the Font Awesome CSS file into your project and add it to your website using a regular old link element.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="css/font-awesome.min.css">

You could also enqueue the CSS file or if it’s small, simply use it inline.

If you look at the CSS file you can see what’s going on in the background. The font files are loaded, the basic element with the class of .fa is defined (along with some others), and finally, each named icon is defined (eg: .fa-book).

The only thing you need to be mindful of is the path to your font files. By default, they are loaded from ../fonts which will be the fonts directory, one folder up from the current CSS file. You may need to change this to fit your own directory structure.

Now that you have a better idea of how it works, we are going to add walk you through how to do it step by step. In this example, we are using a production ecommerce site.

Step 1

First, you should determine which font icon library you want to use. We shared a few we like at the beginning of this article. In this example, we’re going to be using Font Awesome along with the IcoMoon font generator. If you want the WOFF 2 files from IcoMoon, you do have to pay a one-time fee of $9.00 to access their premium library.

You can download the Font Awesome icons you want manually for free, but you would need to use a tool like FontForge to manually edit their WOFF or WOFF 2 file. We are all about easy, so we’re using a generator.

Step 2

Head over to the IcoMoon generator. We click “Add” on the Font Awesome library.

IcoMoon Font Awesome library

IcoMoon Font Awesome library

Step 3

Next, you’ll want to pick the icons you want to use on your WordPress site. If you are already using Font Awesome and are simply moving to locally hosted versions, go through and make a short list and then choose them from the library.

Choose Font Awesome icons

Choose Font Awesome icons

In this example, we are picking out icons for perfmatters.io, a WordPress ecommerce site which runs Easy Digital Downloads.

Step 4

Once you’ve picked out all your icons, choose “Generate Font” at the bottom. For this site, we ended up needing 20 icons.

Font Awesome icons from IcoMoon export

Font Awesome icons from IcoMoon export

You will end up with files that look like this. The important ones you’ll need is the style.css file and the font files (WOFF, WOFF 2).

Font icon files

Icon font files

Step 5

Next, it’s recommended you perform a find and replace in the style.css before you upload/copy it to your site. Here is what the original one looks like.

IcoMoon CSS file

IcoMoon CSS file

For those of you already using Font Awesome, this simply makes it easier to change the classes over to Font Awesome ones, this way if there was something already coded on your WordPress site with it, it will automatically start using the icons.

So do a Find for “icon” and replace all of the occurrences with “fa”. You should be able to do a quick find and replace with a text editor like Sublime.

Find and replace in Sublime

Find and replace in Sublime

This replaces [class^="icon-"], [class*=" icon-"] with [class^="fa-"], [class*=" fa-"]. It also fixes each icon, so instead of starting with .icon-, they now start with .fa-.

You might also need to change the source URL based on where you upload your font files down in Step 7. We recommend changing the URL to your CDN.

Step 6

Next, you need to add the CSS to your site. There are a couple ways you can do this.

Option 1

Since the amount of CSS is very small, you could copy all of the file’s CSS and paste it into the WordPress Customizer. Never do this for large files, but this is a relatively small amount of CSS. This means it will load inline on your site.

Option 2

You could link to your stylesheet manually by placing it in the header of your WordPress site. Tip: Link to it on your own CDN for faster performance.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://cdn.yourdomain.com/fonts/style.css">

Option 3

You could also enqueue the CSS file in WordPress. The process is very similar to the manual way. Add the following to your theme’s functions.php file, or use the free Code Snippets plugin. You might need to change the directory based on where you upload it.

function my_theme_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style( 'FontAwesome', get_template_directory_uri() . '/css/style.css' );
} add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_theme_styles' );

Step 7

Now that you have the CSS added to your site, it’s time to upload the font files. You can put the fonts anywhere, a folder called “fonts” in your /public directly is fine. Remember though, the source folder in your style.css file needs to match.

Icon font files SFTP

Icon font files SFTP

Step 8

Now your WordPress site should have both your CSS and font files accessible. So next, you can add some markup to your site. This is just an example of adding a cog icon.

<i class="fa fa-cog"></i>

You can see a live example of this working over at perfmatters.io. Keep in mind that you can use any element, not just i. You can use regular span elements as well, in addition to adding CSS to your custom classes.

Font Awesome example on Perfmatters

Font Awesome example on Perfmatters

The real difference is when you take a look at the size difference. Remember, when we linked to the Font Awesome external library, the total size of the font file was 108 KB. After we used a font generator and chose only the Font Awesome icons we needed for the site, it brought the font file down to 2.6 KB. Our font file decreased in size by a whopping 97.59%!

Size of WOFF 2 Font Awesome file

Size of WOFF 2 Font Awesome file

Not only that but it now also loads from our CDN, which means there are no extra DNS lookups to fontawesome.com.

We decreased the size of our icon fonts file by a whopping 97.59% using a font generator. 🚀 Click to Tweet

You can also use this same approach with SVG icons, it’s just slightly different.

Icon Fonts Accessibility Concerns

One downside of icon fonts is their horrible accessibility. Screen readers may skip them, or worse yet, read the unicode or the character itself. This would result in visually impaired people hearing “yellow star favourites” when looking at your favourites menu item – not ideal. You should also take into account what happens if the fonts don’t load.

Ideally, you would want decorative icons to simply disappear when not loaded and critical icons to be replaced with text if there is an issue.

The accessibility issue is fairly easy to take care of, simply use the aria-hidden="true" parameter and value to indicate to screen readers that they should discard our element.

<span class="icon icon-star" aria-hidden="true"></span> My Favourites

In a more complete implementation, you can also use Modernizr to test for font face support. You’ll need to modify the CSS slightly, see the excellent Bulletproof Font Icons article for more in-depth information.

For information about creating critical icons with text fallback, we would also recommend reading the article above, they have explained and solved the issue as best as possible, but implementing it is a bit out of the scope of this article.

Summary

That’s all there is to icon fonts. Now you know a couple of different ways to easily get icon fonts on your WordPress site, along the best way to implement them when it comes to performance.

We always recommend using a font generator to build an icon font that consists of only those icons you use. This will make your theme considerably more streamlined! If you have a favorite library or generator that we didn’t mention, please us know. There are a fair number of good ones out there!

Now Available in the Mobile Apps: Revision History

Now Available in the Mobile Apps: Revision History

Track changes and edits from whatever device you’re using.

The ability to load a previous version of a page or post is invaluable when you need to make a quick correction or compare your current revision to earlier ones. What about viewing your content’s revision history on the go? This can be a real life-saver, as we’re not always at our desktops. Well, we’re thrilled to announce that you can now review your content’s history and load revisions for both pages and posts directly from the WordPress mobile apps.

View History

The revision history of every page or post you’ve worked on is available right from the editor. Just tap My SitesSite Pages or Blog Posts → any page or post → three-dots button → History.

View History

The history list shows you the time each revision was created (organized by date), the author of the revision, as well as the number of additions and deletions for each revision. To view the content of each revision, tap it on the list.

Load Revision

If you’d like to continue working on an earlier version of your page or post, tap the Load button while viewing the content of a revision. You can view the content in either HTML or a visual format — just tap the three-dot menu and select HTML preview or Visual preview, respectively.

Load Revision

Send Feedback

The WordPress mobile apps are free and available for both Android and iOS devices. If you have any questions or feedback, reach out to our support team directly from the app — tap MeHelp & SupportContact Us. If you’re a developer and would like to contribute to the project, learn how you can get involved.


10 Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube Videos in WordPress

Making a YouTube video is half the battle. After the tireless production process, it’s time to share what you’ve made by posting it on places like Facebook, email newsletters, and of course, your website. In the past, YouTube video embeds took a little creativity or extra plugins on WordPress.

However, that’s changed since the WordPress 2.9 release. In fact, you can embed YouTube in WordPress without much more than the YouTube link. However, you might want to get more clever with your integrations by creating galleries, inserting your entire YouTube page, or curating a list of videos from other creators.

With these unique YouTube options, you’re able to stand out from the regular video embeds and offer a more unique experience for your users.

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Easiest Way to Embed a YouTube Video in WordPress

WordPress 2.9 added a cool feature they call embeds. This allows you to copy and paste YouTube videos right into your site without any additional plugins or settings needed. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1

Copy the URL from the YouTube video. You can copy the URL from your browser’s address bar or from the YouTube share link button.

YouTube embed link

YouTube embed link

Tip: You can automatically have the video start from a certain place (for example, 30 seconds in) by first checking the “Start at” box and choosing a time. Then copy the link.

Step 2

Paste the URL into the WordPress editor and the embed feature will automatically turn it into an embedded video.

Embed YouTube video in WordPress editor

Embed YouTube video in WordPress editor

Interesting Features From YouTube Embed Plugins

While the above method is quick and easy, YouTube embed plugins can add a lot of functionality to your site. Here are a just a couple of the many different features you can get:

  • Tools for improving the privacy and consent options for videos embedded on your website.
  • Options for embedding large galleries and having them either play when a visitor lands on your page or begin when
  • The ability to lazy load your videos so that the media doesn’t slow down your entire site.
  • Visual settings control for adjusting items like colors, sizes, and the overall look of your videos.
  • Options for using shortcodes to place your videos for more flexibility when placing your videos in areas like widgets and posts.
  • Lightbox viewing and other alternative video displays.
  • Tools for creating hover and animation effects when users scroll over your videos.
  • Options for pulling videos from multiple sources such as social media accounts and YouTube. This is a great way to curate a channel of videos on your own website.
  • Social media buttons to encourage people to share your videos.
  • Plugins for creating and inserting full YouTube playlists, with additional formatting and design tools.
  • Video thumbnails, sliders, color changes, and a wide variety of other options for making your YouTube video embeds stand out.

The Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress

We’ve gone through and looked at all the best WordPress plugins you can use to embed YouTube videos in WordPress. Now it’s time to dive in!

  1. YouTube by EmbedPlus
  2. WP YouTube Lyte
  3. Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery
  4. Feed Them Social
  5. YotuWP
  6. Videozoom
  7. ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder
  8. WpDevArt YouTube Embed, Playlist and Popup
  9. YourChannel
  10. YouTube Gallery

1. YouTube by EmbedPlus

The YouTube plugin by EmbedPlus offers several ways to customize the videos you embed on your WordPress website. To start, the plugin has gallery capabilities to pull your playlists or channel lists into your site. The galleries are responsive and ready for your customizations. Then, your users are able to browse and search for certain videos depending on their own needs.

YouTube WordPress plugin

YouTube WordPress plugin

Many other features are included with the YouTube plugin by EmbedPlus, but we’ll cover the best ones in the list below. As for the pricing, this plugin is free for the majority of basic features. For instance, you can incorporate some branding to get rid of some of YouTube’s colors and logos, while also incorporating a YouTube live stream on your website. The premium version starts at $19.99 and that provides lifetime access to the YouTube plugin.

Support is provided for some of the plans, and you receive some interesting additions such as automatic video SEO markup and faster page loads. I particularly enjoy the advanced gallery customization and the mobile compatibility check to see how people are viewing the videos on their smaller devices.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The plugin is free for the basic features, and I figure most people won’t need to upgrade past this.
  • Even the premium versions are affordable, and you get them with a one-time payment (unless you’d like continual customer support).
  • The free version has tools for generating playlists and galleries. You can also include YouTube live streams so that the streams play directly on your website.
  • The YouTube plugin has a beautiful design interface with a large collection of settings for you to adjust things like colors and sizes.
  • You’re also able to start playing your videos at certain times and adjust the volume for your customers. For instance, some webmasters may want to begin their videos right when customers land on their sites.

2. WP YouTube Lyte

The WP YouTube Lyte plugin has one main job, and that is to lazy load your embedded YouTube videos so that your website runs as quickly as possible. Lazy loading can typically be done with images, but this plugin takes it to a new level by focusing primarily on YouTube videos. Lazy loading only loads the media that is currently in view for the user. Therefore, your server isn’t working too hard to load all of the videos on your page or website.

As a result, the website loads faster and you should see improved performance all across your website.

WP YouTube Lyte

WP YouTube Lyte

The WP YouTube Lyte plugin is completely free, so there aren’t any prompts to upsell you or try to get you to buy add-ons or premium versions.

The plugin doesn’t exactly lazy load videos the way most image lazy loaders do it. The plugin works by embedding a small version of the video (essentially just an image of the video thumbnail). It’s not until the user clicks on the thumbnail where it calls for the “heavier” version that YouTube serves up. This is particularly important if you plan on having large galleries or multiple videos on the same page. Your visitors won’t notice any difference between a regular YouTube embed, so the videos still load as quickly as you would expect them to.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The WP YouTube Lyte plugin provides a lightweight embed of the YouTube video until the visitor decides she wants to view it. After the click, the full version of the YouTube video plays.
  • It improves the overall performance of your website, especially when you have a large collection of videos on a single page.
  • Because the plugin doesn’t require any requests to the YouTube servers it actually results in improved GDPR compliance.
  • Shortcodes are available for you to quickly place optimized YouTube videos all over your website.
  • The plugin has been tested on all mobile devices to ensure that the lazy loading won’t affect the mobile performance that comes with YouTube.

Speed Test without WP YouTube Lyte

Wondering just how much faster it can make your site? We ran five speed tests with a normal YouTube embedded video and took the average.

YouTube no lazy loading

YouTube no lazy loading (speed test)

Speed Test with WP YouTube Lyte

We then ran five tests with the WP YouTube Lyte plugin enabled, along with its caching thumbnail option. This one little free plugin decreased total load times by 40.43%! Not to mention it also decreased the page size and all the additional external requests that come with the default YouTube embed player.

Speed test with lazy load enabled

Speed test with lazy load enabled (speed test)

Lazy loading your YouTube videos can easily decrease your page load times by over 40%! 😲 Click to Tweet

The Video Gallery tool caters to those who would like to create a beautiful gallery of their YouTube videos without having advanced design skills. What’s interesting about this plugin is that it also supports videos from places like Vimeo and Wistia, and you can also create an unlimited number of galleries with combinations from all of these services. Not only that, but all of the videos you place in your galleries are responsive for viewing on mobile devices.

Video Gallery WordPress plugin

Video Gallery WordPress plugin

The search tools are also quite impressive with galleries, asking users to search and browse for certain videos and engaging them with clear navigation for where to find the videos. Several themes are also available with the plugins, and you receive plenty of customization tools to play around with after you implement a theme. The base plugin is free, but you do have the option to upgrade to a premium version. At the time of writing this article, the paid version goes for $45, but the developers have different promotions sometimes.

If you were to upgrade to the premium version, most of the features involve customizing the way the gallery looks. For example, you might want to adjust the icon colors, borders, or font styles. These settings are all available in the premium plugin.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • This is a very user-friendly gallery plugin with options for creating your galleries with themes and gallery layouts.
  • Quite a few customization tools are available in the free version. For example, you might add lightbox effects or some sort of hover effect to intrigue users to click on your videos.
  • All of the galleries you insert onto your website are mobile responsive.
  • There’s an unlimited shortcode generator if you’d rather have more flexibility with placing your YouTube videos online.
  • The plugin has support for several types of videos, including those from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and MP4 videos.
  • You can have an unlimited number of videos in your galleries.
  • The premium version isn’t that expensive if you’d like to completely customize and brand your galleries.

4. Feed Them Social

The Feed Them Social plugin takes a completely different approach to the YouTube embedding game. After installing the plugin, you get to choose the social video feeds you like the most and display them on posts, pages, or anywhere on your website. It’s a great solution for a company that would like to highlight certain celebrity pages or specific tutorials that relate to a blog or product.

The free plugin has functionality for viewing and displaying feeds from your Facebook page, along with album covers and photos. You’re able to include as many feeds as you want, but if you’d like to limit the number of items coming in from each feed you would have to upgrade to the premium version. This starts at $50 for a single site, but the developers also have other extensions that could end up costing you more, depending on what you’d like. For instance, you’ll find extensions for Facebook reviews, combined streams, and carousels.

Feed Them Social WordPress plugin

Feed Them Social WordPress plugin

The plugin seems to focus mainly on Facebook videos and media feeds, but it also supports YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You could technically use this for showing your own YouTube channel on a website or by combining a collection of YouTubers into one gallery.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The plugin allows you to find your favorite social media video feeds and add them to your website.
  • Add as many feeds as you want and customize them into one beautiful gallery.
  • These feeds are all responsive and ready for color customizations.
  • The free version also includes tools for people to share your videos on places like Facebook and Instagram.
  • When curating videos on your website, the content sources include Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • If you’d like to get extra creative, the developers of the Feed Them Social plugin offer a wide range of extensions for things like combined streams and carousels.

5. YotuWP

If you’re looking for a simple, yet sleek, way to get your YouTube videos on a WordPress site, the YotuWP plugin does the trick. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and powerful enough to support galleries, playlists, channels, and videos from specific usernames. You even have the option to add a single video from one source. YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia are all available as integrations, and the layouts include grid, list, and mixed galleries.

YotuWP plugin

YotuWP plugin

I feel as if most of the features you would need are in the free version, but it truly is more for the simplistic video embedders out there who want a no-frills way to get those YouTube videos online without any messy settings.

If you decide to go with the premium version, it starts at $14 per year and includes several features such as carousel and masonry layouts, 12 hover icons, replacements for things like titles and descriptions, and custom text for buttons. In short, the premium version almost completely strips the YouTube videos of its branding, making the videos more suitable for your own site. However, many people either don’t care about this or don’t need to spend money on this.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • YotuWP offers a minimalist design with a beautiful presentation of your videos. We like it for beginners or simply those who don’t need all of the features from other plugins.
  • You can display your videos in multiple gallery formats such as a mixed gallery or a list.
  • The plugin has options for taking videos from several types of sources. For instance, you might want to pull all of the videos from one playlist. Or, you may prefer videos from a username or channel.
  • Large videos and small videos are available. All of the size customizations are done in the plugin, leaving you with an interface that doesn’t take much time to get videos online.
  • You even get some unique display options such as modals, popups, and lightboxes.
  • You still have the option to get powerful customization tools in the premium version. Not only that, but the $14 per year is extremely cheap for a premium plugin.

6. Videozoom

Videozoom doesn’t have a free version but it’s definitely worth a look. The reason for that is because Videozoom is actually a full WordPress theme as opposed to a plugin. We included it here because we know that some people are making websites that have YouTube galleries as their main focus. Therefore, it would make sense to install a theme with that type of support as opposed to a plugin. The theme helps with showcasing a collection of videos from all over the internet. For instance, if you wanted to start your own YouTube channel and have all of these videos on your website as well, this might be a good choice for you.

The same would be true if you plan on curating the videos from other sources. The theme has a flexible slider for showing off your most important or recent videos. You can also instantly embed videos from YouTube or self-host the videos yourself.

Videozoom WordPress plugin

Videozoom WordPress plugin

This is not a free theme, but the $69 price tag isn’t bad for all of the features you receive. You also may consider paying the $99 membership fee for all of the WPZoom themes.

Overall, Videozoom provides an instant solution for displaying your videos and ensuring that they are all ready to be viewed on mobile devices and discovered by search engines. You’ll also find that the theme provides translation-ready tools, regular theme updates, and a one-click demo content importer so that you don’t have to start from scratch. I really like the idea of plugins to embed YouTube videos, but if you don’t already have a website configured, going with a theme makes quite a bit of sense.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • It’s a full WordPress theme, so you’re starting your website off with all of the embed tools you need to make an impression on your visitors.
  • It offers two skins, dark and light. This way you’re able to brand your website a bit and think about how your visitors would like to view the videos.
  • If you’re a developer you have the option to receive over 40 WordPress themes with the WPZoom membership.
  • Embedding from YouTube is easy, and you’re also able to upload your own local videos to your server.
  • After you upload a video or link from YouTube a video thumbnail is generated.
  • All interfaces are rather beautiful, with a mobile design that makes your videos play instantly and appear just as they would on YouTube.

7. ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder

The ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder has an excellent reputation for presenting videos on your website without any problems. As you may have learned while posting videos on your website, something always seems to go wrong, whether it be a small or large problem.

This plugin does the job while also supporting a wide range of other video sites besides YouTube. For example, you might want to pull a video from TED or Twitch or Comedy Central. In these situations, you’re not always able to find the same videos on YouTube. Therefore, you need to grab the link from the actual source website instead. This is a plugin that supports dozens of other websites while still providing the responsive video viewing we’ve grown accustomed to.

ARVE WordPress plugin

ARVE WordPress plugin

The free version displays your videos in a reasonable fashion, and it also provides a WYSIWYG editor so that you don’t have to mess with any shortcodes. After that, the titles, descriptions, and other upload information is shown by the videos so that the search engines can index it and people know what the videos are all about.

I personally feel like the majority of people who install the plugin will be fine with the free version, but there is the option to upgrade for $35. One of the primary features in the premium version allows you to disable links on your videos. This means that users can’t click on the Youtube link and get taken away from your website. There’s also a lazy load feature, lightbox, hover styling, and different play icons. Overall, the Pro version isn’t that expensive, so if you absolutely need one of these features it’s not a bad choice.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder supports pretty much every video that you would find online. As long as the website you’re pulling from uses iframe embed codes you should be alright. You’re also able to instantly embed YouTube videos with no problems.
  • The WYSIWYG support means that shortcodes are not required. Therefore, you can customize your video display and place the videos on posts and pages.
  • It’s an SEO-friendly plugin that provides information about the videos on your website. For instance, you can reveal the titles and descriptions for your users to see.
  • If you prefer shortcodes, the plugin provides them as an option.
  • The videos can start automatically when a user lands on your website.
  • Although it might not be necessary for everyone, the paid version has some lazy loading and the option to disable the YouTube links, both of which allow for greater control and optimization.

8. WpDevArt YouTube Embed, Playlist and Popup

The WpDevArt YouTube Embed plugin provides a simple installation and smooth embedding process for beginners. The whole point of this plugin is to offer a quick method for embedding without knowing any code. With WordPress, coding knowledge isn’t necessary for embedding a video, but this plugin adds some interesting features for placing videos in widgets, adjusting the size of your videos, and changing the colors. Although the plugin is free, the Pro version has the most impressive features.

WpDevArt YouTube Embed plugin

WpDevArt YouTube Embed plugin

In the Pro version, you’ll find tools for creating YouTube playlists, revealing your videos in popups, and options for button shortcodes in posts or pages. You can also set individual options for every video, opening up all sorts of possibilities for videos. Related videos are also displayed, along with different sized thumbnails. The Personal version of the plugin starts at $12, and that also gets you premium customer support, which might be helpful. If you plan on having the plugin on multiple sites you’ll need a Business or Developer license, starting at $24.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The WpDevArt YouTube Embed plugin provides a simple way to embed your YouTube videos without too many features that may seem confusing. It’s easy to install and all of your videos will show up nicely on mobile devices.
  • The plugin allows for the insertion of YouTube videos in posts, pages, and widgets.
  • Although the plugin is lightweight, it actually has plenty of customization features for adjusting things like the size of videos, autoplay features, and looping.
  • The progress bar color can be changed, and you can start playing videos right when someone lands on your website.
  • The Pro version is affordable and gives you a few features that might be worth considering. For instance, I like the idea of having videos in popups and showing related videos to get people to view more content on your site.

9. YourChannel

In terms of functionality and feature set uniqueness, the YourChannel plugin could definitely be located at the top of this list. The main reason you would consider the plugin is if you’ve accumulated lots of videos on your own YouTube channel. After the installation, the plugin allows you to pull your entire channel and post it on your website. Unlike some of the other plugins on this list, YourChannel simulates what you would see while viewing a channel on YouTube. It also has the tools for showing single videos and including an autoplay feature.

YourChannel WordPress plugin

YourChannel WordPress plugin

The visual builder is useful for constructing the way you would like your YouTube channel to appear. There are also seven video thumbnail styles to get a little creative with how you present your favorite videos. All of that, including translation tools, is provided in the free version. If you’d like to go with the Pro version, it only costs $15 for a personal license. This includes customer support for a year, along with a large collection of features such as the option to assign the number of videos to show. It’s worth looking at the feature list for the Pro version, since there are dozens of them–such as a search channel feature, a display of video duration, and color changing tools.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The free version enables the display of a full YouTube channel, similar to how it’s shown on YouTube itself.
  • You can show items like banners, playlists, and individual videos, all without having to mess with coding or complicated embed tools.
  • The videos are all responsive and organized in a way that you can sort them.
  • The premium version is extremely powerful and affordable.
  • For instance, a few of the more unique premium features include themes, video comments, video start time, and player navigation.
  • The caching in the free version is sure to improve the page load times on your website.
  • The free version also has a beautiful lightbox so that users are emersed in your videos.

The YouTube Gallery plugin is fairly self-explanatory based on the name. It does a wonderful job of combining a list of YouTube videos and displaying them in a sleek gallery or list. The reason we like it so much is that sometimes you find a gallery plugin and realize that the display isn’t that elegant. However, the YouTube Gallery plugin makes it simple and beautiful without much work on your end.

What’s interesting is that the majority of features are provided in the free version, and the developer doesn’t seem to promote the Pro version that much. However, the pro version is an excellent option if you’d like some of the add-ons and full customer support. The customer support is obviously a plus, but some of the other upgrades you receive include better SEO tools, options for bulk uploads, and a shortcode builder for better video insertion.

YouTube Gallery WordPress plugin

YouTube Gallery WordPress plugin

If you’re thinking about only having one or two videos, this plugin probably isn’t for you. That said, it’s an essential solution for those who are trying to upload dozens of videos to their website and would rather take the videos from YouTube. Or, you have the option to curate your videos from multiple sources on YouTube. One of the primary reasons this plugin works so well is because you can adjust the galleries without much work. For instance, it provides grid galleries and lists, along with sizing modifiers, and shortcode creators.

Why is This Plugin One of the Best Ways to Integrate and Embed YouTube in WordPress?

  • The plugin displays a collection of your videos in a sleek, elegant fashion.
  • The base plugin is free, but you can upgrade to get dozens of additional features for $99.99.
  • The main gallery has your videos in a four-column responsive layout. There isn’t much editing you have to do.
  • The video content is revealed on the video page for your users to understand what the video is about.
  • The plugin comes with two sidebar widgets for showing off smaller videos on several pages. These widgets are for featured YouTube videos and recent YouTube videos.

Which of These Plugins is Best for You to Embed YouTube in WordPress?

When trying to figure out how to embed YouTube in WordPress it becomes clear that many of these plugins are quite similar. We’ve broken down each plugin by the best features from each, but it still might seem a bit confusing. Below we have our best recommendations based on your particular situations. This way, you can select two or three of them and test them on your own website. I’ve found that video gallery plugins require testing, because some people like some layouts better than others. Also, you might find that one plugin doesn’t work well with your theme or other plugins.

  • For the best all around YouTube embed plugin – Go with YouTube by EmbedPlus.
  • In order to lazy load all of your embedded YouTube videos – Consider WP YouTube Lyte.
  • To generate a beautiful gallery for your videos – Think about Video Gallery – YouTube Gallery
  • For pulling videos from social networks (and to include social sharing buttons on videos) – Try out Feed Them Social.
  • If you’d like a varied mix of gallery layouts – The YotuWP plugin is a decent choice.
  • For those who are just starting a video website and would like a full YouTube gallery theme – The Videozoom theme puts you on the right path.
  • If you prefer a WYSIWYG editor instead of shortcodes – Consider the ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder.
  • For an extremely basic YouTube embed tool – Think about WpDevArt YouTube Embed, Playlist and Popup.
  • To pull an entire YouTube channel and display it how it shows on YouTube – Go with YourChannel.
  • If you’d like to test out a different gallery plugin – The YouTube Gallery plugin creates great galleries.

If you have any further questions about the ways to embed YouTube in WordPress, let us know in the comments!

Ecommerce Statistics for 2019 – Chatbots, Voice, Omni-Channel Marketing

Even with limited capital, it’s easy to set up a business nowadays thanks to ecommerce growth. With consumers increasingly relying on online shopping — it is estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040 — ecommerce is opening the doors of opportunity to countless entrepreneurs.

And, those ecommerce sales opportunities are rapidly growing. In 2017, ecommerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales, which is expected to nearly double to $4.5 trillion by 2021. In the U.S. alone, online shopping already accounts for 10% of retail sales and is expected to grow at a year-on-year rate of 15%.

Worldwide ecommerce sales

Worldwide ecommerce sales (Image source: Shopify)

Knowing key ecommerce statistics and facts, from demographics and shopping behavior, to shopping cart abandonment and trends, will provide you with a deeper understanding of what’s going on in ecommerce now — and where it’s headed.

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Digging into Ecommerce Demographics

Millennials and Gen Xers are the biggest online shoppers, with 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers preferring to shop online versus in a brick-and-mortar store. Part of the reason you see these two segments of the population spending more money online is that they spend more time shopping online. Millennials and Gen Xers spend 50% more time shopping online than their older counterparts: 6 hours versus 4 hours.

Though women are stereotypically pinned as shoppers, when it comes to online shopping, men dominate the stats, spending 28% more than women shopping online.

Breaking Down Ecommerce Shopping Behavior

The statistics about ecommerce shopping behaviors are incredibly revealing: 43% of online shoppers have reported making purchases while in bed, 23% at the office, and 20% from the bathroom or while in the car.

It turns out that alcohol boosts sales for ecommerce businesses, with 10% of customers reporting that they made purchase drunk. Men ended up being more than twice as likely to make purchases under such conditions, with 14% reporting to have done so, while only 6% of woman reported doing so.

Given the role that booze plays in making online purchases, it should be no surprise to find out that 42% of online shoppers have made a purchase that they regretted, and 21% have accidentally bought something they didn’t want.

Though 48% of online shoppers have overspent or bought something unplanned while shopping online, the purchase path is not straight: 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another.

Ecommerce Market Share: US vs Global Trends

Though the United States is often thought of as the largest market for ecommerce, it isn’t. However, it does make the list of the top 10 largest ecommerce markets in the world:

  • China: $672 billion
  • USA: $340 billion
  • United Kingdom: $99 billion
  • Japan: $79 billion
  • Germany: $73 billion
  • France: $43 billion
  • South Korea: $37 billion
  • Canada: $30 billion
  • Russia: $20 billion
  • Brazil: $19 billion

Nielsen’s Global Connected Commerce report provides a detailed breakdown of the most lucrative industries by country, with South Korea taking the cake in fashion (77%) and beauty products (66%), as well as non-food household groceries (52%), packaged grocery food (51%) and fresh groceries (37%).

Lucrative industries by country

Lucrative industries by country (Image source: Nielsen)

However, when it comes to books, stationery, and music purchases, Japan leads the charge at 79%. Spain tops the charts for travel with 67%, and Brazil takes the highest spot on the podium with consumer electronics at 57%.

As more global markets are developed, the US’s share of ecommerce market sales is steadily decreasing. From a global share of 20.2% in 2015, the US is expected to be down to 16.9% by 2020. On the other hand, there is a rise in B2B ecommerce global sales in Eastern markets.

US share of ecommerce market sales

US share of ecommerce market sales (Image source: Statista)

The ecommerce marketplace is also bolstering globalism with 57% of online shoppers having made a purchase from an overseas retailer. The preferred payment method used by these shoppers varies around the world. Globally, credit cards are the preferred method of payment, being used in 53% of transactions, followed by digital payment systems (43%) and debit cards (38%). However, digital payment systems are the most preferred method in China and Western Europe, while cash-on-delivery is the go-to method for Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Payment methods used by online shoppers

Payment methods used by online shoppers (Image source: Shopify)

Payment method aside, more Americans already prefer online shopping than shopping in a physical store, with 51% percent clicking their way to making purchases. A total of 96% of Americans have made at least one online purchase in their life, with 80% doing so in the last month alone. However, Americans actually spend 64% of their budget in physical stores and only 36% online.

With Amazon accounting for 44% of all ecommerce sales in the US in 2017 and a year-on-year growth rate of 23% in the US, it’s shocking that 46% of American businesses still do not have a website.

Amazon top growth products

Amazon top growth products (Image source: CNBC)

Business-to-Consumer Ecommerce

B2C ecommerce refers to a transaction between a business and consumer conducted online. It can also refer to paid online services or content that directly services consumers. Amazon is a great example of the expansiveness of B2C options, as it started as an online retailer but eventually branched out into services, such as cloud storage, and paid content, such as apps and media.

China accounts for the largest B2C ecommerce market. However, if you think that the B2C ecommerce market is large, prepare to have your mind blown by the volume of transactions through the business-to-business ecommerce market.

Business-to-Business Ecommerce

B2B ecommerce refers to the marketing, selling, and distribution of products from one business to another online. This includes software as a service (SaaS) companies, web hosting, wholesalers, and so on. It also includes the buying and selling of companies.

With nearly half of American B2B businesses offering their full product line online, it’s no surprise that B2B was expected to generate $7.6 trillion in 2017, dwarfing the B2C market of an estimated $2.4 trillion.

B2B ecommerce

B2B ecommerce (Shopify)

Research conducted by Frost and Sullivan predicts B2B ecommerce sales to reach $12 trillion globally by 2020, with China and the US leading the global market. A year before that, by 2019, it’s estimated that B2B firms will spend more on ecommerce technology than online retailers.

Though the growth of B2B ecommerce is attractive, the business model faces myriad challenges. Prices are often volatile and volume in sales are high, which means B2B businesses require flexible shipping and logistics solutions. Additionally, there are issues with taxes, as well as regulatory concerns, especially when dealing with businesses overseas. Another challenge faced by B2B, especially those dealing in software, is determining how the product can be integrated with other existing systems in place.

Important Metrics: Conversion Rate

Conversion rate, the percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal, is one of the most important metrics to track in online retail. A high conversion rate shows that you are able to get more value from the customers you already have. This means lower customer acquisition costs. Also, it means that when you put in more effort, it can result in more customers and higher revenue.

Conversion rate online shoppers

Conversion rate online shoppers (Image source: Statista)

Average ecommerce conversion rates range from 3% to 4%, with 43% of ecommerce traffic coming from organic Google searches. This means that it’s still essential to build your ecommerce site with SEO in mind.

Average conversion rates

Average conversion rates (Image source: Wolfgang Digital)

Several factors play a large role in increasing your business conversion rate. Top among them is a good user experience. This boils down to good visuals, fast website loading time, and ease of payment; PayPal transactions have 70% higher checkout rates than non-Paypal transactions.

PayPal checkout rates

PayPal checkout rates (Image source: PayPal)

Quality customer service, as well as strong reviews, recommendations, and testimonials also play roles in boosting your business’s conversion rate.

Creating the Customer Experience

Customer experience encapsulates everything throughout the duration of the relationship between a customer and your business. This includes customer service, user experience (UX), and pricing strategies, as well as shipping and logistics.

When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers find customer experience more important than price. According to the Guardian, by 2020, the quality of customer experience provided by a brand will be more important than price and product as a key differentiator.

Customer Service

Americans tell an average of 15 people about poor customer service, and 11 people about a good one, which backs up the old adage about bad news spreading faster than good news. More worrisome for businesses that don’t focus on customer service is that 33% of Americans say they would consider switching companies after having dealt with poor customer service.

U.S. companies lose an average of $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. However, not all is lost for companies with weak customer service, as it has been found that a moderate increase in customer service can yield an average of an $823 million increase over a 3 year period for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.

Lost revenue from poor customer service

Lost revenue from poor customer service (NewVoiceMedia)

Digging into the ecommerce statistics, the key to good customer service is making everything as easy as possible for people. It turns out that an inconvenient return policy deters 80% of shoppers, while 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too cumbersome.

User Experience

UX refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using your system, service, or product. Your website’s design and loading speed can play a huge role in UX.

A total of 37% of customers will leave your website if they find the layout unattractive or too difficult to use. More detrimental, however, is loading speed: 57% of customers will abandon your site if they have to wait 3 seconds or longer for a page to load.

Reviews, Recommendations, and Testimonials

Users are more likely to purchase a product if they know how to use it or know that it works for others. This often ends up meaning that businesses need to provide additional information beyond product descriptions.

If a potential customer can watch a video explaining a product or service beforehand, 73% of them are more likely to make a purchase.

According to BigCommerce, 46% of consumers want product comparisons from ecommerce sites and 42% of customers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites. Along those same lines, 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites. In fact, 77% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase.

Moving Forward with Mobile

Failing to take mobile devices into account when developing your ecommerce strategy can be detrimental to your business.

According to ReadyCloud, 44% of internet retail minutes were spent on a smartphone, 11% on a tablet, and 45% on a desktop. Those numbers appear to be supported by eMarketer’s claims that 59% of ecommerce sales were made through mobile.

Mobile websites vs mobile apps

Mobile websites vs mobile apps (Image source: ReadyCloud)

The world is witnessing an increase in mobile shopping for various reasons. These include the fact that most people bring their mobile devices everywhere they go, from the office to the bathroom. Additionally, seamless shopping experiences through apps are making it easier to shop on mobile devices, as is the proliferation of mobile wallet solutions, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Cyber Monday 2017 saw mobile claim its first $2 billion in a day, accounting for a third of the total amount spent online. Smartphones accounted for 37.6% of retail visits and 21% of revenue for that day. Additionally, it was found that conversion rates on mobile phones increased by 10% compared to the year before.

For entrepreneurs just starting out, mobile is especially important, as it’s been found that smaller retailers have up to 30% higher mobile conversion rates compared to larger retailers.

Mobile conversion rates

Mobile conversion rates (PracticalEcommerce)

Making your Mobile Shopping Experience Seamless

It is important to make your mobile shopping experience as easy as possible for users, as 52% of people say they’re less likely to re-engage with a brand when they’ve had a bad mobile experience.

Though the ship might have already sailed for converting those customers, there are a number of ways to improve your mobile shopping experience.

The first step is having a mobile-responsive website, which means that it will automatically change to fit the device a customer is accessing it on. The next thing you’ll need to take care of is streamlining the process, which should include auto filling as much information as you can—anything to make a customer’s life easier and checkout faster.

Social Media and Social Shopping

Social shopping is what happens when ecommerce meets social media. It involves aspects of social networking, such as groups, communities, recommendations, and discussions, as well as the core function of ecommerce—selling products and services online.

You don’t want to underestimate the importance of social media with regards to ecommerce, as 74% of consumers rely on their social networks to make purchasing decisions. Additionally, 56% of users that follow brands on social media do so to view products.

In emerging markets, such as Southeast Asia, social shopping accounts for 30% of all online sales. A variety of trends are starting to emerge in social shopping. One of them is group shopping through the proliferation of websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. These sites were built on the idea of securing people group discounts by selling in bulk. Another major trend is the integration of ecommerce with social networks.

There has been a shift from the “like” buttons to “buy” buttons, and these platforms make it easier for users to shop on the platform. You can see this via Instagram’s Shoppable Feed and Pinterest Buyable pins, as well as Instagram Stories and Snapchat ‘Swipe Up’ external linking.

Brands are discovering that people don’t have to look for their products; the products just need to reach the right people, which can be done through very focused targeted marketing via social media.

No brand is alone in targeting people through social media. However, it doesn’t matter if you have to work extra hard to stand out from the crowd, because the costs pay off: mobile shoppers who read product reviews on social media channels show conversion rates of up to 133%, which represents billions of dollars worldwide.

Shopping Cart Abandonment

About 70% of shopping carts are abandoned, which occurs when a potential client selects products or services to be bought but never follows through with the check-out process.

Shopping cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment (Image source: Baymard)

For every three successful purchases in an ecommerce shop, there are about seven that ended up in an abandoned cart. This results in about an $18 billion loss in revenue each year.

The problem of shopping cart abandonment is only growing. In 2006, the average cart abandonment rate was 59.8%. The rate had increased to 69.23% by 2017.

Online shopping cart rate abandonment

Online shopping cart rate abandonment (Image source: Statista)

More than 60% of consumers who abandoned their carts did so because of shipping costs, while 57% of people who abandon their shopping carts say that they were “window shopping.”

One way businesses are reducing the rate of this problem is by sending abandoned shopping cart emails. According to Adobe, 71% of mobile purchases are influenced by emails from the retailer, while Salecycle found that 28.3% of ecommerce revenue comes from abandoned cart emails.

Mobile purchasing decisions

Mobile purchasing decisions (Image source: Adobe)

Top 2018-2019 Ecommerce Trends

A number of trends in ecommerce took hold in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. These included chatbots, voice assistants, and omnichannel marketing, as well as personalization and localization.

Here are some of the most interesting ecommerce statistics we know so far:

Chatbots

More than 60% of customers say that they prefer digital self-serve tools, such as websites, apps, or chatbots to answer their simple inquiries. For millennials, who are increasingly wielding a dominant purchasing power, chat is the preferred support channel.

The primary reason chatbots are so popular is that it often takes far too long to speak to a real person when a customer calls a company. Despite this, customers will still wait an average of 11 minutes before hanging up. That’s nearly twice as long as 75% percent of online customers expect it to take; they want to be assisted within 5 minutes. However, chatbots are much faster, which means that inquiries are being dealt with significantly more quickly, with the average wait time to access a chat session being 45 seconds.

Experts predict that by 2020, 80% of businesses will be using chatbots.

Voice Assistants & Voice Search

Voice searches are rapidly increasing, especially with the growing popularity of voice assistants — software agents that can perform tasks or services. Already, 20% of Google searches on mobile devices are voice searches. It’s predicted that by 2020, voice searches will make up 50% of all searches.

It’s also estimated that there will be 21.4 million smart speakers by 2020. These devices create yet another way for consumers to make online purchases. Already, 22% of US smart speaker owners have purchased something using their devices.

Voice Commerce

Voice Commerce (Image source: Voicebot.ai)

These devices rely on voice assistants to allow people to make purchases. It turns out that almost 60% of people who own a virtual assistant have used it to make a purchase through voice command. Voice commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year, with the potential to reach $40 billion in 2022.

It is predicted that by 2021, early adopters of the technology who have redesigned their websites to support voice search capability will increase revenue by 30%.

Personalization and Localization

Personalization is the practice of creating a personal experience for each customer through tailored recommendations based on data such as search queries, browsing behavior, purchase history, and geolocation.

Personalization is growing in importance with mobile voice-related searches, as they are three times more likely to be local-based searches, such as “pharmacy near me”. Overall, 22% of consumers say they are satisfied with the level of personalization that they are currently receiving.

One of the major benefits of personalization is that it can help increase a businesses’ profits by 15%. This is partly because 75% of customers are most likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name and recommends products based on previous purchases. After implementing personalization, 93% of companies see a rise in conversion rates.

Though all forms of personalization are important, localization is especially important. Localization is a type of personalization where content is specifically altered to a customer’s IP address.

A study by Common Sense Advisory found that 75% of people want to buy products in their native language and 92.2% prefer to shop and make purchases on sites that price in their local currency.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Omni-channel marketing develops a multichannel approach to sales, allowing customers to make purchases through nearly all possible developed avenues. At this point, most brands are not just selling solely on their website; they are selling on various ecommerce platforms, as well as social media and in brick-and-mortar shops.

According to a 2017 survey by Square and Mercury Analytics on US business owners, common channels where brands sell their products and services include:

  • Brick-and-mortar shop (56%)
  • Website (34%)
  • Pop-up shops, events, and markets (26%)
  • Facebook (25%, but 40% as a whole on social media, including platforms such as Twitter and Instagram)
  • Amazon (16%)
  • Others (22%; includes eBay, Alibaba, Etsy)

It’s particularly important for your company to target multi-channel shoppers, as they spend three times more than single-channel shoppers.

Chatbots 🤖, voice/mobile 📱, and multichannel approach are the future of ecommerce marketing! Click to Tweet

Summary

By understanding the demographics of who is using ecommerce, as well as the trends driving increased revenue for ecommerce companies, it’s possible to start tapping into the multi-trillion dollar marketplace.

Strong estimated growth in ecommerce means that even if your brick-and-mortar business is able to ignore it now, by 2020, you’re going to be struggling if you refuse to adapt to the evolving purchasing behaviors in a world increasingly dependent on mobile devices.

Did you not see your favorite ecommerce statistics or facts? Share them with us in the comment section below!

Announcing Free .blog Subdomains

Announcing Free .blog Subdomains

A great site deserves a great address on the web. Now you can use a free .blog subdomain on WordPress.com.

Over the last thirteen years or so, the number of sites on WordPress.com has grown — a lot. Every one of those sites gets a unique wordpress.com address. And since there are millions of sites created each year, it means the address you’d like isn’t always available.

Today, a whole new range of possibility opens up: free .blog subdomains.

What’s a subdomain?

Glad you asked! This site’s address is blog.wordpress.com. Here, wordpress.com is the domain and blog is the subdomain.

Say your name is Molly and you’re starting a food blog. The domain mollysfoodblog.wordpress.com — that is, the subdomain “mollysfoodblog” on wordpress.com — is already taken by someone. Or you’re starting a website to offer tech advice; but there’s already a site using techadvice.wordpress.com, drat!

Now you have more options: you can choose to use a free subdomain with a .blog address, like mollys.food.blog or advice.tech.blog. There’s a list of popular .blog domains we’ve reserved just for this:

  • art.blog
  • business.blog
  • car.blog
  • code.blog
  • data.blog
  • design.blog
  • family.blog
  • fashion.blog
  • finance.blog
  • fitness.blog
  • food.blog
  • game.blog
  • health.blog
  • home.blog
  • law.blog
  • movie.blog
  • music.blog
  • news.blog
  • photo.blog
  • poetry.blog
  • politics.blog
  • school.blog
  • science.blog
  • sport.blog
  • tech.blog
  • travel.blog
  • video.blog
  • water.blog

These .blog subdomains work just like the regular wordpress.com subdomains — they don’t expire, they’re free to use for the lifetime of your site, and you can always replace them with a custom domain at any time.

How do I get one?

First, create your new site. In the first step of signup, we’ll ask you about your goal for your site — select only the “Share ideas, experiences, updates, reviews, stories, videos, or photos” option. In our experience, the people who select this option generally find that a .blog subdomain fits their site well. Fill out the other fields as well, and click Continue

Now, in the next step when searching for a site address, you’ll see a free option at the top of the list. We’ll suggest a .blog subdomain related to the terms you entered in the first step. For example, if you searched for “Tech Advice,” we might suggest advice.tech.blog as an address for your site.

Click Select next to the address you choose, and you’re all set,

Your new website and its perfect address are only a few clicks away. If you start a new site with a .blog subdomain, let us know in the comments! We’d love see what you create.


10 Best WordPress Booking Plugins to Fully Automate Your Business

Going to the dentist often requires a reservation. So does a visit to your favorite Thai restaurant or signing up for a personal training session at your local gym. In the past, the customer would have to look up a phone number, speak to someone on the phone, then jot down that date and time on a piece of paper. Those days are long gone, and it’s incredible to see the types of features constantly being added to online booking tools.

If you happen to run a business that requires appointments and reservations, it’s important to find the best fit. That’s why we want to outline the utmost best WordPress booking plugins to choose from.

Check out these awesome WordPress booking plugins to fully automate your business. 🗃 Click to Tweet

What Should You Look For in a WordPress Booking Plugin?

You may initially think that a booking engine is a simple calendar with a form, but it depends on the type of business being run. For instance, a gym might have multiple personal trainers. Each of these employees needs their own schedules listed on the website. On the other hand, a dental office may need to show specific times and reveal the different types of services offered.

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Therefore, it’s important to look closely at the features of each WordPress booking plugin. This way, you’ll have all of the functionality you need and some flexibility to grow your business stronger.

Here are some of the features we’ve found most helpful in our research:

  • A customizable calendar that can be placed anywhere on your website.
  • Mobile-friendly interfaces for users to book appointments on smaller devices.
  • Options for accepting payments for appointments. It’s also nice to have some way to remove payment processing.
  • Support for multiple “agents” or “service providers.” This would be where each of your workers has their own profile and calendar, like for personal trainers or multiple doctors in one office.
  • Areas for customers to view and edit their bookings online.
  • A filterable and searchable booking management module on the backend of your WordPress website.
  • Features for customizing your schedule, such as removing holidays and setting some free time in-between appointments.
  • Email confirmations and reminders for both the admins and the users.
  • Customizable fields and drop-down menus for when you offer a wide variety of services or unique offerings.

And that’s only a small sampling of the primary features you should expect from your booking plugin. Some of the settings and features may not apply to your business, so make sure you test the ones that look appealing and use our in-depth reviews below to ensure you’re getting the best value.

For instance, some smaller companies may only need a simple, free calendar for accepting non-paying appointments. However, bigger brands will need a wider range of features with beautiful templates and high-powered communication tools.

An In-Depth Look at the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

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

  1. WooCommerce Bookings
  2. WooCommerce Appointments
  3. EDD Bookings
  4. Bookly
  5. Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress
  6. Booked
  7. Booking Calendar
  8. Booking Calendar – Appointment Booking System
  9. Appointment Booking Calendar
  10. Team Booking

1. WooCommerce Bookings

In the world of WordPress eCommerce, the WooCommerce plugin is king. One of the main reasons for this is because the core version is free–but you also have access to dozens of extensions for accepting payments in different ways. For instance, the WooCommerce Bookings extension lets you sell bookings based on times or dates. You still have the option to accept bookings free of charge, but the main reason you would go with a WooCommerce extension like this is to activate the payment processing aspect.

I would argue that WooCommerce Bookings is best for companies that already utilize the WooCommerce plugin. However, it’s also a nice, clean extension for newcomers out there. It allows for WordPress users to either stick with the simple, modern layout or customize it with the help of CSS.

WooCommerce Bookings plugin

WooCommerce Bookings plugin

Once the extension is activated, it offers fields for descriptions, pricing, titles, and a calendar. For instance, you might be renting out rooms to a bed and breakfast and want to talk about the rooms, pricing, and dates available. Reviews are also possible so that you build some credibility with potential bookers.

The WooCommerce Bookings extension starts at $249 for a single site and goes up to $449 for up to 25 sites. At this price, it’s one of the more expensive plugins out there. Also, the base WooCommerce plugin is completely free so you don’t have to worry about paying for that. Finally, WooCommerce offers a full year of customer support and a 30-day money back guarantee. So, test it out and see if you like it!

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • The WooCommerce Bookings extension provides tools for creating fixed time slots where the customers have to decide based on the times you choose. Or, you can open it up for any time or date.
  • All bookings are managed in your dashboard, where you receive filters and update buttons.
  • You’re able to limit the number of people who book or even create discounts for a certain number of bookings.
  • You have several options to approve the bookings that come in and control when the bookings are available to users.
  • The extension links up to WooCommerce, one of the most popular, reliable eCommerce plugins on the market. The extension isn’t free, but it’s a one-time fee and the WooCommerce plugin is free.
  • WooCommerce has a free, 30-day “try before you buy” program.
  • You can integrate with other WooCommerce extensions for added functionality. For example, adding more fields to your form requires the Product Add-Ons extension.

2. WooCommerce Appointments

The WooCommerce Appointments extension is another option that integrates with WooCommerce. It’s rather similar to the previous extension, but the pricing is a bit more affordable, starting at $89 per site. This, of course, goes up to around $200 for 25 sites. Support and updates are provided for a full year, but if you don’t want those then the pricing is a one-time fee.

The extension is not sold through WooCommerce, but the BookingWP developers are reputable and known for quality products. As for the extension itself, you can expect some excellent features, starting with integrations with WooCommerce and Google Calendar. This way, you can accept payments from customers and sync with your previously set up Google Calendar. Appointments and bookings can be accepted for free, but you also have settings for charging money.

WooCommerce Appointments plugin

WooCommerce Appointments plugin

One of the main advantages of this plugin is how quick and easy it is to set up and manage. The interface is basic enough for beginners but it also provides the flexibility you would need as an advanced programmer. What’s also interesting is that your Google Calendar can be synced from your website, making it a two-way syncing process. I like WooCommerce Appointments best for developers with a need for full customization. It’s also handy in this respect because of the integrations with extensions like WooCommerce Print Invoices, Gravity Forms, and Extra Product Options.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • The WooCommerce Appointments plugin has a two-way syncing system with Google Calendars. So, you can sync by editing Google Calendar or the schedule on your website.
  • The extension integrates with most of the popular WooCommerce extensions.
  • You’re able to accept appointments so that your schedule doesn’t fill up too quickly.
  • Notifications and reminders are automatically sent out to customers who’ve booked appointments.
  • The extension is white-label and developer-friendly. Developers can make quick and easy customizations without any problems.
  • You receive shortcodes for inserting your booking forms anywhere on your website. You’re not limited to widgets or certain pages.
  • The extension gives you complete control over your schedule with padding time between appointments, lead times, scheduling windows, and multi-day scheduling.
  • There are several rules that can be set for pricing, capacity, and availability.

3. EDD Bookings

If you’ve ever worked with the Easy Digital Download plugin, you know that it’s an intuitive and simple way to start selling your digital products through a WordPress site. These types of products are not things like physical goods but items such as eBooks, music tracks, PDFs, and videos. So, the customer purchases the item then receives an email to download the digital file.

Easy Digital Downloads, or EDD, also has several extensions to purchase for making your digital eCommerce store run differently. EDD Bookings, for instance, integrates with the EDD plugin to accept bookings for things like spa services, beauty salons, and item rentals. It’s developed by the team over at WP Mayor, who know the WordPress space very well.

Since you’re selling services, and not tangible items, EDD is actually the perfect platform. EDD powers the entire eCommerce side of your operation, and I personally think it’s the easiest online store plugin to work with. You can activate calendar and list views on the frontend and manage all of your bookings on the dashboard. EDD Bookings especially makes sense for those companies that are already utilizing Easy Digital Downloads for eCommerce sales.

EDD Bookings plugin

EDD Bookings plugin

The EDD Bookings pricing is a little different than what we’ve seen from the WooCommerce options. Not only is it cheaper, but you still receive a full year of support and updates. It’s $39 per year for a single site, but if you choose not to renew you’re only losing the customer support and updates. So, it depends on what you need. Other than that, the five site support costs $59 per year and the 25 site support is $99 per year.

Overall, EDD Bookings automatically generates things like messages, calendars, and booking views. The appointment tracking is easy to understand, so I like it quite a bit for beginners or those who have already installed Easy Digital Downloads on their website.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • It integrates with Easy Digital Downloads–which is extremely easy to use and it doubles as a digital product sales platform.
  • All of your bookings are shown on the backend, with both calendar and list views.
  • It has basic customization features such as options to change colors, schemes, labels, and timezones.
  • Email notifications go out to all customers and admins whenever a booking is created.
  • The extension integrates with most of the other EDD extensions.
  • Sales reports are shown on the backend, along with payment records.
  • Has the amazing team behind it: Jean Galea & Mark Zahra.

4. Bookly

The Bookly plugin has both free and paid versions. If you plan on upgrading to the premium version, expect to pay a one-time fee of $89 (unless you’d like to continue paying for customer support). The free plugin is a basic booking tool, but you don’t get support for online payments and an unlimited number of staff users. So, unless you’re accepting free bookings, the Bookly premium version is the best for you.

As for its characteristics, Bookly is the most modern-looking plugin on this list. It has a sleek design on the backend and frontend, and you can customize many areas of the booking form without knowing any code. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re planning on using custom code, but I feel like most beginners and advanced users will feel at home with the plugin’s capabilities and style.

Bookly plugin

Bookly plugin

The booking form is entirely customizable and responsive. It has multiple views for both admins and customers. Not to mention, Bookly has a module for creating an unlimited number of staff members, where each member can create unique pricing and availabilities. So, for instance, a gym might do this for a group of personal trainers.

Overall, Bookly looks like a steal for small businesses that may not have the resources to hire a custom developer. It should provide most of the tools you need to run a booking system yourself.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • It’s the closest to a complete booking package you can find on the market right now. In short, you don’t have to know much about coding to come out with a beautiful result.
  • You can include numerous service providers (employees) in the booking schedule. This way, your employees can charge separate rates and show different times.
  • Not only can you send out automated email notifications, but an SMS system is built-in as well.
  • There’s a Google Calendar integration that supports multiple calendars from all of your workers.
  • Several add-ons are sold, such as one for coupons or one for adding extras to your services.
  • The plugin lets you add an unlimited number of services in your booking page. You can also categorize them for better organization.
  • Payment and booking rules are available to make your schedules more flexible for everyone.

5. Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress

The Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress (or BirchPress Scheduler) provides a highly customizable booking form for free, along with some tools for showing pricing on that form. However, you can’t actually accept prepayments until you upgrade to the premium version for $99. This gets you support for one website, but the developers have other options called Business and Business+ plans. Each plan is only good for one website, but you can upgrade to more advanced features like different colors for staff appointments, page redirection after booking, and a calendar sync for iCal.

The entire point of the BirchPress plugin is to make setting up a booking module as simple as possible. It’s a pretty barebones form, but you do have some options to customize and make it look good on your website. The calendar sync is one of the most impressive features, since it goes beyond the usual Google Calendar integration and links up to other calendars like Outlook, Android, iCal, and iPhone.

Appointment Booking Calendar by Birchpress plugin

Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress plugin

Another reason you might consider the BirchPress plugin is if you plan on hiring a developer to fully customize your online booking system. As I mentioned, the primary form is fairly simple, but the plugin includes thousands of filters, action hooks, and functions for developers to create exactly what you need for bookings to run smoothly. Although it would run just fine, it’s not exactly recommended for those who don’t have any development experience but would still want full customization. You’d be better off going with Bookly.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • It offers a basic template and full functionality for accepted paid bookings, with powerful development tools for extreme changes.
  • You can accept payments online. PayPal is the primary gateway, but with the support of WooCommerce your payment gateway options open up.
  • Add an unlimited number of fields to your forms.
  • Reminders and other email notifications are sent out automatically so that you minimize the number of missed appointments.
  • You receive support to sync with other calendars besides Google Calendar. For instance, Outlook and iPhone calendars can sync.

6. Booked

The Booked plugin is only sold through CodeCanyon and it goes for an affordable price of $49. Some of the types of bookings allowed include paid bookings, guest bookings, and registered bookings. You can present your time slots in a calendar or list view and even translate it into other languages. What’s more is that you’re able to assign calendars to certain people in your organization. So, you might have travel agents or personal trainers that need their own schedules. Along with multiple calendars, each user is able to create somewhat of a personal profile to stand out to customers.

Booked plugin

Booked plugin

As with most plugins sold through CodeCanyon, the Booked fee is a one-time price. However, you’re able to extend the customer support for an extra $16.50 for a full 12 months.

Most of the customization settings involve calendar colors and fields, but that’s what makes this plugin so easy to use. The frontend interface looks elegant and modern, and you’re able to integrate with a wide range of other add-ons such as Payments with WooCommerce, Front-end Agents, and Calendar Feeds.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • The plugin is virtually ready to go out of the package. The interface looks wonderful and you’re not forced to use any custom coding.
  • The pricing is only a one-time fee and it’s much cheaper than other booking plugins.
  • You get a few add-ons for free, including something called Front-end agents, which is great for your agents to see a user-friendly booking management screen on the frontend.
  • The plugin supports multiple employee calendars.
  • You can change calendar colors.
  • Guest booking is possible, so the user doesn’t have to be registered on your website.
  • The custom time slots are useful for specifying things like vacation days or holidays.
  • You receive some handy shortcodes so that you can pretty much place a booking calendar anywhere on your website.

7. Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar is one of the oldest booking plugins for WordPress, and the ratings show that it hasn’t slowed down with quality development over the years. The core plugin is free and comes with most of the features an average small business would need. However, you can upgrade to one of the many larger business plans, starting at around $60 for one website. After that, the pricing is way too confusing. If you go to the pricing page you’ll find five plans for Single Sites, five plans for Developer Sites, and five plans for MultiSite.

Along with the pricing confusion, the sales website isn’t all that easy to understand. I typically recommend users uses install the core plugin and see if it fits their needs–since it’s truly a powerful plugin, but it hurts your head trying to figure out which features come with which plan.

Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar

Anyway, some of the primary features to expect from the Booking Calendar plugin include automated email notifications for when users make their bookings and need reminders. One unique tool is the ability to set a timeframe open for a certain number of days. This way, you can accept several double bookings and then turn it off to decide who you should accept into that timeframe. I especially enjoy how the calendar shows the number of available, booked, and pending dates on the frontend for one month.

In addition, the Booking Calendar plugin integrates with tons of outside sites and calendar apps.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • Besides Google Calendar, this plugin supports syncing with third-party sites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com.
  • The Booking Calendar plugin works in widgets for easy placement in sidebars.
  • Multiple languages are supported for reaching out to customers in other countries.
  • Showing your unique availability is rather flexible, with options for blocking out certain times and dates throughout the year.
  • Some color customization is available, but the best styling capabilities appear when you use your own CSS.

8. Booking Calendar – Appointment Booking System

It may come as no surprise that some of these booking plugins have similar names. As with the previous plugin listed at #7, this one is also called Booking Calendar. Luckily, they also added the “Appointment Booking System” tag to make it easier to differentiate. The core plugin is free and offers many features for you to get started. For instance, it provides unlimited booking forms and widgets for reservation calendars. It’s also rather flexible for customizations, with options for changing the date formatting, adjusting the reservation fields, and much more.

The Pro Version is worth looking into as well, since it only costs $60 to add a full payment system for one website. You can also get a more advanced booking system without payments for $30. Some others things you receive with the paid version include the following:

  • Editable reservations.
  • Discount tools.
  • Options for minimum and maximum days reserved.
  • A ReCaptcha to prevent spam.
  • Potential for multiple site licenses depending on your plan.
Booking Calendar, Appointment Booking System plugin

Booking Calendar, Appointment Booking System plugin

The interface is a bit more rigid than some of the competition, so I tend to see this plugin as something that’s best for internal corporate use. After all, the free version already gives you support for unlimited calendars and if you’re only using it within your company there’s probably no need to accept payments for the reservations.

Regardless, I do enjoy the clarity and size of the booking calendar, seeing as how the number of availabilities are shown on each day, with excellent color coding and plenty of calendar space. The calendar module also works well if you’re trying to customize without any limitations. No, it’s not the most modern-looking calendar, but you can add as many custom fields as you want and include FAQ information, reservation details, and add-ons for your services.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • The booking calendar is extremely easy to implement, and the frontend interface is large and simple to walk through.
  • There are several price points for flexibility, but many companies that don’t need payment processing can get everything they need for free. Furthermore, the actual pricing plans are quite affordable.
  • Unlimited booking calendars are available in every plan.
  • With a simple upgrade, you gain access to editable reservations, a payment system, and an option for discounts.
  • You can still upgrade your overall feature-set without paying even more money for a payment system.
  • Flexibility is the key with the Booking Calendar – Appointment Booking System. It’s filled with customization features and options for adding as many unique fields as you want.

9. Appointment Booking Calendar

The Appointment Booking Calendar plugin features two unique elements. First of all, it’s one of the only WordPress booking plugins with a free PayPal integration. There’s a premium version, but that’s only if you want the option to remove the PayPal link and get some other features like coupons. The Professional version goes for $49.99.

Another reason The Appointment Booking Calendar plugin stands out is because it’s mainly used for showing an available set of time slots as opposed to an entire calendar of choices. A calendar is still revealed on your website, but one of the primary features is to cross off the days that aren’t available and show the times that work best for you.

Overall, the free version looks unique compared to much of the competition on this list. You receive a built-in Captcha, availability verifications, and a multi-page calendar for people to scan the entire year.

Appointment Booking Calendar

Appointment Booking Calendar

Notifications and confirmations are sent out to both the user and admin, while you can also configure your calendars by importing a CSV or Excel file. In terms of the interface and design, the backend is easy to understand and manage your appointments. The frontend isn’t exactly the most contemporary look and feel, but you get to begin designing with three prebuilt templates. After that, custom CSS is the main route you’ll have to take to adjust the way your calendar appears online.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • This is one of the only WordPress booking plugins with a free PayPal integration. It just sends customers to a PayPal checkout, but it still does the trick.
  • The features for clearing out unavailable dates and times makes this plugin rather flexible when it comes to showing customers your actual availability.
  • You also receive a Captcha in the free version.
  • The plugin has been translated into dozens of languages for use all over the world.
  • The multi-page calendar means that several months can be shown to your customers at once.
  • If activated, users are able to book several time slots in one sitting. For instance, a doctor’s office might want to offer this to patients with recurring appointments.
  • Along with CSV and Excel imports, calendar imports can be pulled from places like Outlook and Google Calendar.

10. Team Booking

As you may have noticed, most of the WordPress booking plugins are pretty affordable, even when you opt for the premium versions. Ideally, everything would be free, but in general, most companies require a premium version for those added features. That’s one of the reasons we like the Team Booking plugin, since it comes in at a low $28 price tag, and you can connect with PayPal or Stripe for payment processing.

The Team Booking plugin packs plenty of features comparable to the best alternatives on the market. This solution provides three built-in formats, one with a regular frontend booking calendar, another for unscheduled services (like support tickets,) and a third for upcoming events that updates your Google Calendar. The calendars are modern in their appearance, and the form builder is flexible for adding multiple fields and collecting your customer data with ease.

Team Booking plugin

Team Booking plugin

You can even incorporate maps that pop up whenever a customer wants to reserve a time slot.

The feature list is difficult to cover completely, but overall, the majority of tools you would need are packed into the plugin. I wouldn’t recommend this booking plugin if you’d like to customize using code. But it’s an excellent solution with all of the built-in features needed for those who don’t know anything about coding.

Main Reasons It’s One of the Best WordPress Booking Plugins

  • Maps are integrated into the forms for when you need to send people to a location.
  • The forms are modern and beautiful, with minimal steps and large fields.
  • You can choose between event, appointment, or unscheduled booking forms.
  • The pricing is some of the best you can find for a premium booking plugin.
  • The Team Booking plugin integrates with your Google Calendar.
  • You’re able to separate schedules based on however many employees or service providers you have. For instance, a customer support team might have varied schedules.
  • Along with PayPal, you can accept payments through Stripe.

Which of the Best WordPress Plugins Should You Go With?

This may seem like a substantial amount of information to consume. So, if you’re still undecided about which booking plugin is right for you, take a look at some of our recommendations below to narrow down your decision.

  • If you like WooCommerce and want the best value – Shoot for WooCommerce Bookings.
  • For a slightly more affordable booking plugin for WooCommerce – Check out the WooCommerce Appointments plugin.
  • If you’re already using Easy Digital Downloads for eCommerce or you just want one of the simplest booking tools out there – Consider EDD Bookings.
  • If you’d like a beautiful interface and lots of features for someone who doesn’t want to custom code  – Bookly is a great choice.
  • If you’re interested in syncing to other calendars besides Google Calendar – Consider the Appointment Booking Calendar by BirchPress.
  • For one of the simplest, yet beautiful booking calendars – Look into Booked.
  • If you want to sync with unique third-party websites like Airbnb and Booking.com – Look into the Booking Calendar plugin.
  • When trying to make an internal scheduling calendar without a payment system – Consider the Booking Calendar – Appointment Booking System.
  • If trying to integrate with PayPal for free – Try out the Appointment Booking Calendar plugin.
  • For when you’re interested in a premium product with a lower price tag – Take a look at the Booking plugin.

Hopefully, both of our longer and shorter reviews have helped you hone in on the right booking plugin. If you have any questions about the best WordPress booking plugins, share your thoughts in the comments below!

WordPress Support Workshops for Women in the Asia-Pacific Region

WordPress Support Workshops for Women in the Asia-Pacific Region

We’re offering free workshops to encourage women in the Asia-Pacific Region to apply for a career in WordPress Support.

Automattic wants to build a new web, and a new type of workplace.  We want to deliver world-class 24/7 support to our users, and an innovative, exciting, and healthy work environment for our staff worldwide. As a part of  this, we recruit from all timezones so that everyone has the freedom to choose their own work hours.

In Happiness in particular, we want to provide better support coverage in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, and our APAC recruiting efforts have included everything from advertising on social media and job boards to in-person networking at WordCamps and WordPress Meetups.

While we’ve hired some great Happiness Engineers, we discovered that the ratio of women applicants was dropping over time. As awareness of Automattic as a distributed employer has grown in the region, the number of applications from men has grown faster than those from women.

Given Automattic’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, we brainstormed ways to reach women more effectively. This turned into a series of workshops on WooCommerce held for women in India and Singapore throughout 2018.

In 2019 we’ll take our message to a broader audience by offering an online workshop. This will let us reach women in many more countries and cities than we could ever visit in a calendar year. We’re partnering with Support Driven, an online community of support professionals, to promote support as a career for women who may have the relevant skills but haven’t applied for these roles.

In January 2019 we’ll launch the first online workshop for women in APAC focused on developing skills in WordPress support. The course will cover:

  • Goals of great customer support
  • Developing your own support philosophy
  • WordPress troubleshooting
  • Productivity tools
  • Support as a career

By the end of the course, students will have developed a résumé and portfolio site on WordPress to share with potential employers.

Want to be notified about this and other upcoming workshops? Sign up here!

Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash.


Locked out of Your WordPress Admin Dashboard? (Here’s What to Do)

Getting locked out of your WordPress admin dashboard can inspire all kinds of panic. Few WordPress issues are more frustrating than finding you do not have access to your dashboard – your beloved digital domain of power.

It is much like the feeling you get when you arrive home after a long day and discover you have lost your keys. You panic, then you’re frustrated, and finally, you begin to look for solutions.

If you are here, you’re probably already on the third (solution seeking) point. Gladly, there are pretty easy steps you can take to get back into your WordPress dashboard.

Still looking for that perfect WordPress host?

Try Kinsta’s premium managed WordPress hosting to experience your site without problems.

So you may want to calm your nerves, take a deep breath, crack your knuckles, and learn as we show you how to become a master WordPress locksmith.

Locked out of your WordPress admin dashboard? 😰 Don’t panic, here’s how to quickly get back in. Click to Tweet

Restore a Backup or Create Backup

First things first. Depending on the type of WordPress site you’re running, it might simply be quicker to restore a backup of your WordPress site to fix your login issue and get back up and going fast. Especially if you know exactly when your problem started happening.

At Kinsta, automatic backups are taken daily and you can restore your WordPress site with a single click. The same goes if you had set up automatic daily backups using a WordPress backup plugin.

Restore WordPress backup

Restore WordPress backup

If you’re running a site with data that is constantly changing, say a WooCommerce site or high-traffic blog with a lot of comments, then you’ll want to proceed with the following steps so you don’t lose any data in-between.

Since the next steps involve changing important data in your database, we recommend taking a backup before proceeding. Since you cannot access your dashboard, you have to do this manually.

Most hosts allow you to generate and download a complete backup of your site and database from your control panel. You may need to read your web host’s directions on how to get this done. At Kinsta you can create a manual backup or even download a full website (.zip) backup.

Manual WordPress backup

Manual WordPress backup

If you’re using cPanel, you can do this under the “Backup” tool or “Backup Wizard.”

cPanel backup

cPanel backup

When you have a reliable backup, proceed with the next steps to fix your issue.

Why Are You Locked out of the WordPress Admin Dashboard?

There are a number of possible reasons why this could be happening. You may have made a recent change in your WordPress code, you may have added a new plugin or theme, or you may have just woken up to meet this error.

If you have made a recent change that led to this error, you should have a pretty good idea where to start to correct the issue.

Whatever the case, this guide takes you through the various solutions that would help you fix this issue. The solutions are grouped according to the error you are getting, so you may not have to read it all.

  • When you see “This has been disabled”: Disable login or security plugin.
  • When a password doesn’t work (and password recovery fails): Reset your password using phpMyAdmin.
  • When you’ve lost administrator privileges: Create a new user and assign administrator privileges.
  • When you’re locked out due to too many login attempts: Disable security plugin.
  • When you see the white screen of death: Troubleshoot common causes of the white screen of death.
  • When you see “error establishing database connection”: Fix database connection problems.
  • When you see “parse error: syntax error”: Check for any recent code changes.

When You’ve Forgotten Your Custom Login URL

A common WordPress security practice is to change the default admin login URL (domain.com/wp-admin) to something custom. This can help prevent hackers and bots from constantly hammering your login URL trying to gain access.

However, sometimes you might forget your login URL and see a message like “This has been disabled” when trying to access your site. Perhaps you had it as a bookmark which has been deleted or it was only in your WordPress history and your cache has been cleared.

This has been disabled

This has been disabled

Whatever the reason, if you’re using a plugin like WPS Hide Login or Perfmatters, you can disable the plugin to temporarily restore it back to the original login URL. Check out these steps on how to disable a WordPress plugin without access to wp-admin.

When Your Password Doesn’t Work (and Password Recovery Fails)

Usually, if you try to login to your dashboard and get an “incorrect password” message, the easy solution is to recover your password by clicking the “Lost your password” link.

Lost your password

Lost your password

In some cases, however, you may do this but receive no password reset email, likely because your site is having email problems. If this is your issue, you can resolve it by resetting your password directly on the database.

Reset Password Using phpMyAdmin

If you’re a Kinsta client, you access phpMyAdmin by going to your site’s “Info” screen in MyKinsta and clicking on “Open MySQL.”

Login phpMyAdmin

Login phpMyAdmin

If you’re using a host with cPanel, you can find your phpMyAdmin link under the “Databases” section. Ask your host for your cPanel login details if you do not have them.

cPanel phpMyAdmin

cPanel phpMyAdmin

Once in phpMyAdmin, you will see a list of your databases on the left. Click on your WordPress database to open it.

phpMyAdmin database

phpMyAdmin database

Locate your wp_users table and click “Browse.”

Note: The prefix may not always be wp_. If your prefix is different (e.g. site_), then your user table would be “site_users“.

wp_users table

wp_users table

Next, find your admin user and click Edit.

Edit admin user in phpMyAdmin

Edit admin user in phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin will display all the information for this user in a form. To edit your password, locate the user_pass input area, clean out the current value, and type in your new password (remember to save this somewhere).

Under function, select MD5 to ensure your new password is encrypted. Lastly, click Go.

Change password in phpMyAdmin

Change password in phpMyAdmin

Now login to your WordPress admin dashboard with your new password.

When You’ve Lost Administrator Privileges

Are you able to log in properly, but find you no longer have access to administrative functions like plugins and themes? If so, then your issue is that you no longer have admin privileges. It could be that you were hacked and your privileges were deleted.

To fix this, you would need to add a new admin user directly in the database.

Create New User and Assign Administrator Privileges

To create a new user, you need to access your database using phpMyAdmin. In the database, we will be editing the wp_users and wp_usermeta tables – the first to add a new user, and the second to grant administrator privileges.

To access your database, log in to phpMyAdmin. Select your WordPress database from the list on the left.

phpMyAdmin database

phpMyAdmin database

Next, locate your wp_users table and click Insert (again, you may have a different prefix than wp_. If your prefix is site_, then select the site_users table).

Insert into wp_users table

Insert into wp_users table

Fill out the insert form as follows (keep the information you enter in this form, particularly the ID, user_login, and user_pass fields):

  • ID – any number higher than the number of users you currently have. For example, if you have 7 user accounts, input number 8. To be safe, you can decide to use a much higher number. Or you can always look at the existing IDs in the wp_users table.
  • user_login – the new username you want to create. Select a name that is not already in use. For example, you should not use “admin” as that is already taken.
  • user_pass – the password for this user. Ensure you select MD5 under function so the password is encrypted. Also, remember to keep the password you entered.
  • user_nicename – your name, or a nickname.
  • user_email – the email you want to use for this account.
  • user_url – your site URL.
  • user_registered – use the date picker to select the current date.
  • user_status – set to 0 (zero).
  • display_name – the name you want to display for this user. You can put in your full name or the nickname you set above.

Once done, click Go to save the new user.

New WordPress user in phpMyAdmin

New WordPress user in phpMyAdmin

At this point, we want to grant admin privileges to the new user we just created. We do this by adding the user’s permissions in the wp_usermeta table.

Scroll down to find the wp_usermeta table and click Insert.

Insert into wp_usermeta table

Insert into wp_usermeta table

Next, fill in the insert form using the following information:

  • unmeta_id – leave blank. It will be generated.
  • user_id – the ID number for the user we just created.
  • meta_key – type in wp_capabilities.
  • meta_value – type in a:1:{s:13:"administrator";b:1;}. Ensure you carefully type in this value. Do not copy and paste as you may end up with curly quotes which will not work.

Click Go to add the meta value.

wp_usermeta administrator permissions

wp_usermeta administrator permissions

Repeat this process to add another meta, but this time, use these details:

  • unmeta_id – leave blank.
  • user_id – the ID number for the user we just created.
  • meta_key – type in wp_user_level
  • meta_value – type in 10.

Click Go to create this second meta value. At this point, you have granted full administrator rights to the user you just created. Go on to log in with this user.

When You Are Locked out Due to Too Many Login Attempts

Some WordPress security plugins limit login attempts to prevent hack attacks. This is a very useful security feature, but it can also lock you out.

If this happens, the simplest solution is to disable your security plugin, get back access to your site, and prevent another lockout if you still plan to use the security plugin.

To disable this plugin, access your site files using FTP or SFTP.

When connected, double-click to open the folder containing your WordPress files (this is usually public_html).

Next, locate your wp-content folder and double click to open it. Within this folder, find your plugins folder and open it.

There, you would be able to see a folder named after your security plugin. To disable this plugin, rename the folder to anything else. In the example below, we simply added INACTIVE as a prefix on the folder name.

Disable WordPress plugin

Disable WordPress plugin

Now go and try to access your WordPress dashboard.

If you can now login successfully, you want to take steps to prevent this from reoccurring. You may reactivate the plugin and remove yourself from the locked out list, or whitelist your IP, if those functions are available. Otherwise, you may decide to contact the developers of the plugin for help.

When You See the White Screen of Death

If you saw a blank screen when you tried to access your admin dashboard, then yours is a case of the dreaded white screen of death. The good news is, there are many solutions that can get you out of this issue and give you back access to your dashboard.

Troubleshoot Common Causes of the White Screen of Death

Very often, white screen of death is caused by issues with your plugins. Thus, one of the first things you should try is disabling all plugins.

Since you do not have access to your dashboard, you would need to manually disable your plugins using FTP.

First, connect your site using FTP or SFTP. When connected, locate the folder containing your WordPress files (often public_html) and double click to open it.

In there, locate your wp-content folder and double click to open it. In this folder, you would find all your major content, include your plugins folder. To disable plugins, you need to rename this folder so WordPress can no longer read it.

To do this, right-click on the plugins folder, select “Rename”, and change the name to something different, e.g. “DISABLED_plugins.”

Disabled WordPress plugins folder

Disabled WordPress plugins folder

Next, try accessing your dashboard to see if the problem is resolved. If yes, then your issue was plugin related. You can then revert the folder name to “plugins” and in your dashboard. Still logged in, you can disable all of the plugins from within the dashboard and start activating the plugins one after the other, until the error occurs again. This way, you can very easily point out which plugin is responsible for the error.

If disabling plugins did not solve the white screen of death, there are many other solutions you can try. Please read our complete guide on how to fix the WordPress white screen of death.

When You See “Error Establishing Database Connection”

All your site information, from posts and pages, to user accounts and permissions, are stored in your WordPress MySQL database. Thus, if you have problems connecting to your database, it goes without saying that your site won’t work.

Fix Database Connection Problems

Quite often, database connection problems occur because WordPress is trying to connect with wrong credentials. If you recently made a change to your database username or password, you have to update this information in your wp-config.php file, otherwise, WordPress would not be able to establish a connection.

To access your wp-config.php file, connect to your site using FTP, or SFTP. When connected, open the main folder containing your WordPress files (usually public_html). In this folder, locate your wp-config.php file, right-click on it, and click View/Edit.

In the MySQL settings section, set your DB NAME, DB USER, DB PASSWORD, and DB HOST to your current details.

Note that DB HOST is not always “localhost”. Your hosting provider can give you your correct hostname.

wp-config.php credentials

wp-config.php credentials

When done, try accessing your dashboard to see if it works. If yes, then your issue was wrong credentials.

Another cause of database errors is problems from your database server. If you are on a shared host, and if this error started happening unexpectedly, this could be your issue.

On many shared hosting plans, there are limits to the number of concurrent connections that are permitted. If you are exceeding this limit, this could cause the database connection error. It’s an easy step to contact your host and verify if the issue is from their end, and if yes, ask for their help to fix it.

At Kinsta you don’t have to worry about this as we utilize container technology for each site. What this means is that every WordPress site is housed in its own isolated container, which has all of the software resources required to run it (Linux, Nginx, PHP, MySQL). The resources are 100% private and are not shared between anyone else or even your own sites. The only limit we have in place is from PHP workers.

If updating your credentials or checking with your host did not fix your issue, then you should try other solutions to the database error. Read our guide on how to fix the error establishing database connection in WordPress.

When You See the “Parse Error: Syntax Error”

The greatest thing about WordPress is that you can easily add functions to extend the capabilities of your site. There are numerous code snippets online that you can copy and paste into your WordPress code to get that extra bell or whistle.

If you are currently seeing the “parse error: syntax error” when you try to access your site, chances are, you recently copied and pasted one such code from the internet, into your WordPress files.

Syntax error

Syntax error

The code you copied may contain errors, or you may not have pasted it correctly. As of WordPress 4.9, they should roll back any of these types of errors, making it harder for this to happen.

Check for Any Recent Code Changes

The parse error message usually indicates the file causing the error. Chances are, it is the functions.php file. To revert the changes you made and get your site back online, you need to open the file for editing.

First, access your site files using FTP or SFTP. When connected, locate the folder containing your WordPress files and double click to open it.

If you look at the syntax error you received, you can see that the path to the file is specified. Simply follow this path to locate the file you need to edit.

Once located, right-click on it and select View/Edit.

Next, find and remove the changes you made in this file (take care to remove only the code you added and nothing else).

Now save the file, and upload it back to your server, after which you can reload your site.

If you carefully removed the code you added, your site should now function properly, and you should have access to your dashboard.

If you still want the additional features for which you added the code, there are some things you can do.

  1. Check to ensure you copied and pasted the “entire code”. There have been instances where some of the code did not get copied and this led to the error.
  2. Check to confirm that you pasted the code correctly. If the instruction says, “paste it at the bottom,” this does not mean below the closing php tag (?>). Rather, you have to paste it before this tag.
  3. The code may actually have an error, in which case you can contact the site from which you got the code.
  4. Find a plugin that offers the function.

Tip: If you’re copying and pasting a lot of code from around the web, we highly recommend utilizing a free plugin like Code Snippets. This makes it a lot easier not to break something and keep track of all of your changes, without having to launch a separate child theme.

Summary

This guide has covered the major problems that can get you locked out of your WordPress admin, and the steps you can take to resolve them.

Hopefully, you have been able to quickly fix your issue and regain control of your dashboard.

If you used other steps beyond those covered in this guide to fix your issue, please share them with us in the comments below.