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Cagematch: Drupal Vs WordPress

Cagematch: Drupal Vs WordPress

Drupal vs wordpressWhen it comes to designing a worthwhile website, the choice of content management system (CMS) may not be readily apparent. Complicating this choice are the almost-tribal sentiments of each system’s loyalists, each convinced of the “rightness” of their favorite. But both are open source, free to use, and provide a multitude of plug-ins and modules.  So which is the real winner of a Drupal vs WordPress standoff?

Drupal 8 just saw release, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Based on our experience, the go-to for nearly one-third of all websites is WordPress. It dominates 60% of the CMS market. Why deviate?

To find the answer, let’s toss Drupal 8 and WordPress into a cage and see who comes out on top!

Ease of Use

WordPress is known for its 5-minute install and for low barrier-to-entry. Many newbies cut their teeth on WordPress and end up with an adequate and reasonably fast, if not glamorous, website. As noted below, themes are plentiful and can easily turn a plain-Jane sight into something you’d be proud to show the public.

To get there with Drupal, you’ll need the skills of a developer. What Drupal lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in power and flexibility, but this is a deal-breaker for people that just want to publish a blog or make a small, functional website for their fledgling business.

Winner: 

WordPress is the Winner

Themes and Plug-ins

The awesome thing about WordPress is the sheer number of plug-ins and themes, and the relative ease of deploying them. Many are free, though not all are created equal, and paying for premium items can yield better support and overall product. For example, WooCommerce is free and gives limited eCommerce capabilities to WordPress, but expect to dip into your wallet if you want to add features or payment types.

For brevity, we’ll extend the definition of “plug-ins” to include what Drupal calls “modules.” Drupal has plenty of options for plug-ins and themes, though nowhere near as many as WordPress, and you’ll once again need the “D” word to properly make use of them.

Winner:

WordPress is the Winner

Security

WordPress doesn’t have a great reputation for security. Its popularity makes it an attractive target for prospective attackers, as does its status as an amateur-friendly CMS. Furthermore, while WordPress is quick to respond to security threats, the same cannot be said from many of the same plug-ins that make it so popular.  The more you add, the greater the threat becomes, as each plug-in serves as a possible vector for attack. Is it possible to maintain a secure WordPress site? Absolutely. It starts by choosing an experienced web host (*cough* we might know one *cough* *cough*), and finishes by you taking steps to stay current on each and every theme and plug-in on your site.

As long as you’re running Drupal 7 or later, you’re as safe as New York State, the Government of Australia, whitehouse.gov, Twitter, eBay, and NASA, all of whom use Drupal. This should not be interpreted to mean that Drupal sites are immune to security threats. Rather, the smaller number of poorly-coded plug-ins and themes, combined with the more developer-centric requirements, make it less vulnerable to Internet villany.

Winner:

Drupal is the Winner

Flexibility

WordPress was born as a blogging platform. It tends to be best suited for websites presenting most of their information within articles, as opposed to albums of interconnected information. Time and the devoted efforts of the open source community have diversified it considerably, although you’ll need to rely on plug-ins to broaden its functionality.

Drupal can do anything. We advise against choosing it as your blogging platform, but if you have developer know-how or the resources to hire one, the potential is virtually limitless. Drupal is also innately mobile-friendly and has stronger core support for multilingual content. Finally. WordPress plug-ins themselves tend to be “plug-and-play” solutions, while Drupal plug-ins offer richer customization capabilities.

Winner:

Drupal is the Winner

Access Control

WordPress was designed with simplicity in mind, allowing for easy and swift editorial collaboration among a handful of team members. This is great for blogging, but won’t offer enough granularity for any enterprise requiring a team with numerous roles and permissions. This can be extended with a plug-in, of course, but that’s another one to find, watch for vulnerabilities, possibly even pay for.

With a built-in access control system that allows fine-tuned control, Drupal is the clear winner here. You can create custom roles, set multiple levels of user permissions with different degrees of access, and grant multiple roles to a single user. Even if such granularity doesn’t appeal to you now, it gives you scalability if and when your team grows.

Winner:

Drupal is the Winner

Support

Both WordPress and Drupal have eager and knowledgeable online communities that love nothing better than to bring others into the fold. You’ll find no shortage of online tutorials and documentation for either platform.

That said, if you’re looking for developer support — optional for WordPress but practically mandatory for Drupal — you’ll pay more for the latter than the former. This is simple supply and demand, as WordPress developers vastly outnumber their Drupal brethren.

Winner:

WordPress is the Winner

Drupal vs WordPress: Who’s the Winner?

We know, we know! We don’t like ties, either.

Looks like you’ll have to play judge and cast the deciding vote for who has earned the right to build your site. If it helps, we’re happy to help you host WordPress or Drupal, and we’ll keep any “tribal sentiments” to ourselves.

Drupal

WordPress

Ease of UseNot user-friendly to lay persons; developer assistance advisedGets the job done easily and quickly; easy to install
Themes and Plug-insNot as many, harder to installMany and easy to install
SecurityFavored by governments; user knowledge tends to make it more resilient to attackEach theme and plug-in is a potential vulnerability; popularity makes it a favorite target of attackers
FlexibilityBetter at anything other than blogging, provided you have dev skills; innate mobile and multilingual functionalityGreat for blogging; needs plug-ins for everything else; effective plug-ins can be costly
Access ControlInnate fine-tuned controlLimited without plug-ins
SupportHelpful community, but developers are more costly than their WordPress counterpartsHelpful community, developers are optional and less costly

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10 Reasons WordPress Is a Good Choice For SEO

10 Reasons WordPress Is a Good Choice For SEO

SEO and WordPressIs WordPress really a good choice for SEO? The short answer is yes.

As an application that powers over 32.5% of the internet (we’ve got stats), WordPress has to be optimized so search engines can easily find, index, and rank content. Many professionals even recommend WordPress for SEO purposes.

If you’re a site owner and on the fence about which CMS you should be managing your content in, keep reading for 10 reasons why WordPress will improve your search engine optimization strategy.

 

1.WordPress Makes Crawling Easy

Crawling is when a search engine combs the web for new content and indexes it for when people search. It does this by reading the code that a web page is based on. If the code is messy or hard to read, crawling can be a problem. If your site isn’t crawled properly, it’s almost impossible for it to begin ranking for the search terms you want.

WordPress sites are designed so the code looks standardized across all pages of a site, making it easy for Google’s spiders to find, index, and rank pages. You just have to put in your content.

2. Site Speed

While site speed itself isn’t a ranking factor, a slow site can lead to a decrease in conversions, a higher bounce rate, and other issues that can affect your search ranking. If you’re running a WordPress site and it’s running slowly, there is likely something wrong with how you’ve optimized your CMS or with your hosting infrastructure.

In general, WordPress sites are fast and lightweight because WordPress itself uses up limited resources. You can check your site speed by using lighthouse. If you find that your site is slower than it should be, it may be a good idea to check in with your hosting provider and see if they have any advise, or try optimizing your site for yourself.

3. Social Media Integration

In one report, 82% of agencies said that their social strategy was highly integrated with their SEO strategy. With Google’s modern focus on engagement and intent, this shouldn’t be surprising. Multiple studies have indicated that social media engagement leads to improved rankings. And the higher your ranking, the more you’re expected to engage with others.

Social media is also a great tool for analyzing and iterating on what works and with who. Built-in audience insight tools such as Facebook’s Audience Insights, make defining and discovering new audiences simple. Measuring engagement with your social content then makes finding the best and most relevant content even easier.  If you haven’t started getting active on social, then it’s probably about time you did.

Meta tags area incredibly easy in WordPress

4. Meta Data

Meta data is information that will not be shown on a page but is associated with it. Title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs are good examples of meta data. This information is actually coded into the page itself, so it can be delivered to search engines and crawlers. While not always a direct ranking factor, meta data does influence a number of other factors that can lead to a higher or lower rankings.

WordPress makes meta data simple, especially if you download and install a WordPress SEO plugin.

Permalink editing is a core functionality of WordPress and its SEO benefits

5. Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs on your site. You can easily edit permalinks through your WordPress dashboard, giving them the format your want.

Permalinks can affect your rankings through the keywords that they contain. The click-through rate on them also has an influence. The less they are clicked, the lower they will be ranked. As permalinks are shown in Google search results, users may be put off by something that looks overly complicated or irrelevant, thereby leading to a lower click-through rate.

The ability to customize WordPress permalinks is an incredibly powerful feature, and one that can help a site in danger of being lost to low rankings get back on top.

UX is an indirect effector of SEO for WordPress

6. User Experience

Good user experiences can lead to sites that do exceptionally well. The opposite is true as well. A good user experience (UX) is more complicated than just making it easy to navigate a site; it means optimizing site speed, streamlining the buyer’s journey, and more.

And these factors do contribute to a site’s ranking. If on-page content is optimized around a searched-for keyword but the bounce rate is high, it’s a clear indicator that a site’s UX isn’t up to scratch. Similarly, if a site has a less than stellar time on page, there’s probably an issue with the page’s content or the experience a user has.

WordPress makes user experience a little easier with its pre-built themes. These generally follow web design best practices and make important elements of your site clear and easy to find. All you have to worry about is on-page content.

Spam comments are easily avoided in wordpress by default

7. Blockable Spam Comments

One of WordPress’ strengths is the ability for visitors to leave comments and communicate with one another. This functionality increases engagement, time on page, and can have a positive effect on reducing bounce rate. However, not all comments are positive. Enter the dreaded spam comment.

Spam comments can have a detrimental affect on SEO by including keywords and content that are irrelevant to a page’s keyword goals. A spam post that tries to promote baby shoes on a tech blog is not what you want.

WordPress makes preventing spam comments easy through a combination of three steps:

  1. Akismet – the WordPress stock comment checker for automatically removing and blocking spam.
  2. Cookies for Comments – Detects bots and stops them from posting spam in the comments section.
  3. “Nofollow” to links in the comments – By default, WordPress makes links in the comments section “Nofollow”, meaning you don’t have to worry about passing PageRank to negative sites.

8. Optimized for Mobile

Mobile is a big deal for site owners. In 2018, 61.2% of internet users accessed websites using a mobile device. Unsurprisingly, Google and other search engines have suggested that responsive design is a ranking factor, with numerous professionals having felt that it is one of the more important factors since 2015.

WordPress, if you’re running on the latest version and taking advantage of an up-to-date theme, is responsive out of the box. This means that instead of having to focus on design that includes mobile users, you’re able to focus on your content. WordPress will do the rest.

Image optimization in WordPress can be done with good plugins

9. SEO Optimized Images

How can an image be optimized for SEO? Easy, by being quick to load and including relevant “alternative text”.

WordPress makes alternative text easy by having a box dedicated to it in the image details screen. For optimized images, installing an image optimization plugin will help you to provide site visitors with images that are quick to load while also maintaining image quality.

plugins offer WordPress a huge amount of SEO optimizations

10. WordPress SEO Plugins

One of the reasons WordPress can be a good CMS for getting started with SEO is the collection of SEO plugins available to help content creators optimize their posts and pages. Plugins like Yoast and All In One SEO make adding meta data, keywords, and tags simple.

There are also a number of other useful WordPress plugins available that can help with SEO indirectly.

  • W3 Cache is a great plugin for optimizing site speed and improving user experience.
  • Nested Pages is great for optimizing your URL structure and making content easy to navigate.
  • Speed Booster Pack helps to increase your site’s speed quickly and easily.

Remember, too many plugins and your site can become too slow. If that happens, you’re more likely to end up losing rankings as opposed to gaining them.

Improving Your WordPress Strategy

If you came to this page wondering whether WordPress is bad for SEO, you now know that it’s not. In fact, between stock features, feature-filled plugins, and a huge number of content and UX possibilities, WordPress may be one of the best CMS applications if you want to focus on SEO.

That doesn’t mean that you should stop here though. There are a number of optimizations you can implement yourself to make your site rank number 1; from optimizing your site for conversions to employing a hosting foundation that helps you to deliver the performance visitors expect.

Wonder what hosting solution is best for you? See what other users have to say by reading 2019’s State of Hosting. Download it for free now.

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WordPress Posts vs. Pages: What’s the Difference?

WordPress Posts vs. Pages: What’s the Difference?

WordPress pages vs postsPages and posts are what make WordPress such a versatile platform for content curation. Each offer unique advantages for both on-page and off-page elements, including design, functionality, aggregation, and SEO.

If you’re worried whether you’re using posts and pages correctly, keep reading. This article aims to look at the differences and provide a clear rationale for what content should go where.

 

What Is a WordPress Page?

A WordPress page is a static webpage. That’s a page that doesn’t change and isn’t part of an aggregated list. Some good examples of pages include your about page, policy pages, and any legal pages. The reason these work best as pages is that they are core pages that will not disappear from your site.

By default, pages are hierarchical. This means that some pages are given more importance than others. For example, the page at www.mysite.com/ is seen as more important than the page at www.mysite.com/page/idea. This allows for pages to be easily navigated by users and crawled by search engines.

For SEO, pages are perfectly suited to short tail keyword optimization. This means keywords with high competition and traffic volume.

What Is a WordPress Post?

A WordPress post is at the center of the CMS blogging functionality. If you’re using WordPress in order to blog, you’ll spend most of your time creating posts.

Posts are different from pages as they can be aggregated and curated in chronological order. This is done by content being archived based on the month and year it was created. Readers can then access the most recent content first. However, because of this older content is often harder to find.

One of the reasons posts are better for certain types of content is because they allow site owners to develop a community. Social sharing plugins allow for content to be shared on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and readers can leave comments and interact with one another.

Additionally, the editing experience is slightly different with posts. Down the right-hand side of a WordPress post, you’ll see several additional options that you won’t find on a page. This includes categories, tags, permalink, and excerpt. We’ll discuss these in more detail later.

WordPress Pages vs. Posts Summary


Pages

Posts

Best for core/navigational pagesBest for blog posts
Allows hierarchy structureAllows chronological ordering
Allows custom designAllows social sharing
Is a static pageAllows commenting
Not aggregated in RSS feedAggregated in RSS feed
Always easy to findCan be hard to find over time
Best for short tail SEO contentBest for long tail SEO content

The Features of WordPress Posts and Pages

Posts and pages have different functionalities available to them. The main differences are shown in the table below.


Feature

Pages

Posts

CommentsYes (but not shown)Yes
AuthorYes (but not shown)Yes
Publish DateYes (but not shown)Yes
Categories & TagsNoYes
Archive AbilityNoYes
“Sticky”NoYes
Post FormatNoYes
RSS FeedNoYes
Static PagesYesNo
Custom OrderingYesNo
Custom URL StructureYesNo

When to Use WordPress Pages or Posts

Pages and posts were created because they work best with different types of content. To help you get a better idea of what types of content should go where, we’ve put together some common examples.

Social Content: Posts

WordPress posts should be your go to if you’re planning on sharing the content socially through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. You can install social sharing plugins to fully optimize your WordPress site for this. WP Social Sharing is a popular option for many site owners.

Business Updates/ Press Releases: Posts

If you’re looking to provide users with a quick update or information on new developments in your business or industry, opt for a post. Posts allow readers to see more recent content first, and as it ages it is automatically archived. Moreover, readers will be able to comment and discuss the developments on the same page.

Blog posts should be posts in wordpress and not pages

Blog Entries: Posts

If you’re a blogger looking to create lots of content around a specific niche, then you’re probably going to be working with Posts. Posts let you easily group content with tags so it can easily be sorted thematically. This works especially well for travel bloggers, who are likely to create a lot of content based on each of the places they visit.

Posts also allow readers to access the most recent articles quickly and make it easier sharing on social media.

Tutorials: Posts

If you’re creating tutorials then posts are a better option. Posts allow for tagging and categories so you can sort the content thematically. Custom navigation pages that show all content under a particular tag or category can also be created easily by doing this.

Posts are also optimized for sharing tutorials on social media and attracting a community. Each tutorial will quickly populate with user-generated questions and answers, as readers are able to post comments on the same page.

If you want to get really fancy, it’s possible to create a custom post type in WordPress that dispenses with post features that you don’t need. For example, you can remove dates so that tutorials no longer seem ‘dated’ after a few months.

Content That Requires a Unique Design: Pages

Whether you’re creating pages with the new Gutenberg editor, the classic WYSIWYG, or have decided to use a page builder plugin, some pages will need to look unique.

Pages are the best option as posts come with specific layout settings. This is great for creating thematic links across your site, but can be a hindrance when you want something a little different. Pages are easily customized through the editor and CSS.

An About Page should be a page and the editor will look like this

About: Pages

Your about page will always be there. It will probably change over time as you update your company information, but you’re unlikely to remove it. For this reason, a page is your best choice.

Homepage: Pages

If there is one page on your site that won’t disappear, it’s the homepage. For many visitors, it will be one of the first pages they visit, meaning a unique design can make all the difference between leaving instantly, or clicking through. In case you haven’t already guessed, your homepage should be a page, not a post.

Navigational Content: Pages

By navigational content, we mean locations where several different articles or posts are brought together with a series of links. A good example in the travel niche is destination pages. These pages provide information on a destination and then link out to several different articles that look at that destination in more detail.

For tutorials, this page may provide an introduction to the course, along with a general overview, and a list of the individual lessons. readers will then be able to use this page to navigate to the tutorial they are looking for.

Navigation pages are unlikely to disappear, even if the content itself will change. These pages are not optimized for social sharing, but users are much more likely to share individual articles than they are the overview.

How will wordPress posts and pages affect SEOWordPress Posts vs Pages SEO

WordPress posts and pages differ in the way that they present on-page content to search engines. This can affect a piece of content’s SEO. However, neither a page nor a post are necessarily more beneficial than the other. Rather, the type of content that you place into either is what will lead to its real SEO benefits.

Our advice above applies to choosing the right format for the right content. If you have difficulty deciding on what is best for a piece of content not mentioned above, the general rules are as follows:

  • Posts are best for content that will be (somewhat) regularly updated or changed.
  • Posts are best for content that you want to share socially and allow commenting on.
  • Pages are best for content that will remain (for the most part) the same.
  • Pages are best for content where you want to target SEO short tail keywords.

Is There a limit on How Many Posts or Pages Can Be Created?

Nope. You can create as many posts or pages as you want with WordPress. The only limiting factor is your hosting storage. See our cloud solutions for examples of different hosting storage allowances.

 

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Your Enterprise WordPress Site Should Be In The Cloud

Your Enterprise WordPress Site Should Be In The Cloud

Enterprise organizations choose WordPress for their primary website and for secondary sites more often than any other content management system. As we reported last year, WordPress is neck-and-neck with Adobe Experience Manager for primary sites, and the clear leader for other types of sites, including marketing sites, eCommerce stores, and internal sites.

For many enterprise companies, the right CMS is obvious; choosing a hosting platform isn’t quite so straightforward. Large companies with high-traffic WordPress sites can choose between many different hosting options, but, for most, a public cloud platform specialized for WordPress is the most reliable, most scalable, and best performing hosting available.

What do enterprise organizations want from WordPress hosting? Reliability tops the list; downtime can cost millions in lost revenue. Security is also key; data leaks and malware infections cause colossal embarrassment. Scalability is just as important; large businesses need to know that their site can grow quickly, both over the long-term and to accommodate short-term traffic spikes.

Reliability

Reliability is largely a function of redundancy. A single point of failure will fail eventually, whether it’s a server, a network connection, or a power supply. Cloud platforms are not inherently redundant, but the best are engineered with redundancy at the core. A cloud platform like the Hostdedi Cloud is designed for comprehensive redundancy at the level of the network, power system, and server. No other hosting modality offers the same rock-solid redundancy.

Security

Enterprise WordPress and WooCommerce sites are juicy targets for criminals. Rich with data and users, sites owned by large businesses are targeted multiple times a day. A managed WordPress cloud platform is almost certainly more secure than alternative hosting options. The Hostdedi Cloud was built and is managed by experts in cloud technology and WordPress. Hostdedi Cloud accounts are equipped with a complete SSL Stack, Forward Secrecy, and are hosted in a PCI Compliant environment. They also benefit from a Web Application Firewall that can repel most common attacks against web applications.

Scalability

Scalability is the cloud’s killer feature. The Hostdedi Cloud is built on a large pool of compute and storage resources. Each WordPress site is allocated a slice of that pool. The size of that slice can be adjusted on the fly. Sites can be scaled rapidly without migration. The site’s hosting platform will grow organically as traffic increases over time. But it can also scale quickly in response to traffic peaks. With, cloud autoscaling, WordPress sites experiencing higher than normal loads will automatically receive additional resources.

Managed cloud WordPress hosting platforms offer the ideal mix of scalability, security, and reliability for enterprise WordPress sites. The Hostdedi Cloud combines those benefits with comprehensive performance optimization for the ultimate in enterprise WordPress hosting.

To learn more about WordPress cloud hosting and the benefits, challenges, and strategies of cloud migration, download our free ebook, A Complete Guide to Migrating Your Site to the Cloud.

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WordPress 5.1 Encourages Site Owners To Update PHP

WordPress 5.1 Encourages Site Owners To Update PHP

WordPress 5.1 Encourages Site Owners To Update PHPIs it better to maintain backward compatibility with out-of-date software or to encourage users to update to more recent versions? Backward compatibility with old versions of PHP keeps WordPress accessible to non-technical users who can’t update. On the other hand, maintaining backward compatibility is a lot of work for developers and prevents them from taking advantage of new technologies. Out-of-date software is also a security risk.

The WordPress project has tended to prefer backward compatibility. In 2019, WordPress is happy to run on a version of PHP introduced more than a decade ago. With the release of WordPress 5.1, WordPress will begin to encourage a move away from older versions of PHP, with new features that make it easier to update and that highlight when a WordPress site runs on an outdated version of PHP.

Admin Notifications of Outdated PHP Versions

WordPress 5.1 will warn admin users when their site runs on an outdated version of PHP. The site will present a notification in the dashboard that informs users of their PHP version with a link to an information page on WordPress.org. At release, the notifications will be triggered for PHP versions older than PHP 5.6. As we discussed in a recent blog post, PHP 5.6 is no longer supported, but it is the most widely used version of PHP.

The cutoff release for the notification isn’t hard-coded but provided via a new API endpoint on WordPress.org. Using an API allows the minimum version to be changed independently of the version of WordPress a site is using.

At Hostdedi, PHP versions 7.2, 7.1, 7.0 & 5.6 are available to clients. Clients can change their PHP version at any time through Siteworx, their Client Portal account, or by reaching out to our support team 24/7/365.

Plugin PHP Requirements

WordPress displays a warning when users browse plugins that are incompatible with their version of WordPress. At the moment, it doesn’t display a warning when the PHP version is incompatible. In WordPress 5.1, that will change. WordPress will warn users when they look at a plugin that doesn’t support their version of PHP. Even better, it will enforce plugin version requirements. Incompatible plugins cause a host of problems, including the “white screen of death,” so disabling the ability to install incompatible versions will prevent users from breaking their site (and reduce support requests).

White Screen of Death Protection

The white screen of death (WSOD) occurs when WordPress encounters a fatal error, often caused by plugin incompatibilities. Updating the PHP version of a site can lead to incompatibilities with older plugins and cause a WSOD. WordPress users are reluctant to risk breaking their site and possibly losing access to it altogether, so they don’t update.

WordPress 5.1 introduces WSOD Protection, which provides limited protection against errors caused by plugin incompatibilities. WSOD Protection can determine which plugin caused a fatal error and disable it in the admin interface, allowing users to access the site and fix the problem. WSOD Only works in the admin interface, because disabling plugins on the front-end can cause security and other issues.

At the time of writing, the WordPress 5.1 release candidate is available for testing. It can be installed with the Beta Tester plugin. Installing development versions of WordPress on your production site is a bad idea, but Hostdedi Cloud users can quickly create a staging site for testing.

 

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5 Takeaways From WordCamp Phoenix

5 Takeaways From WordCamp Phoenix

5 top takeaways from WordCamp Phoenix 2019PHOENIX, AZ  — Ten years of WordCamp Phoenix and it’s still as strong as ever. This year was even better, with some informative sessions from incredible speakers. Answers on content marketing, SEO, page creation, and how to optimize business practices all made an appearance.

Our team members Gasper, Amber, and Rigo were on the ground, gathering as much information as possible for those that couldn’t attend. By the end of the event, they came up with what they felt were the five best takeaways from the weekend of content.

1. Artificial Intelligence and Personalization Go Hand in Hand

75% of businesses are planning to implement AI-Based marketing solutions within the next 2 years, and there’s a reason for this. AI solutions have consistently shown that they are able to outperform standard, intuition-based marketing. Not only do they have access to vital data, but they are also able to implement solutions more quickly than their human counterparts.

AI and Machine Learning are here to stay at WCPHX

In her session, Crystal Taggart talked about how “You no longer have to be smart enough to know the difference between a cat and a dog”. While an oversimplification, her point stands: technology has now advanced to a point where it can be employed for the purposes of pattern recognition. This allows businesses to employ the best content and delivery strategies on a case by case basis.

So does this mean the end of the marketer? No. In fact, now is more important than ever to have a specialist at the helm, guiding your AI solutions towards the correct strategies and answers. While AI and machine learning solutions are able to handle the legwork, marketers will continue to set the correct goals and objectives. As discussed by Dallin Harris, a good strategist works hard to identify trends so they can exploit them.

2. It’s Time to Prepare for Voice Search

Between sessions on voice search optimization and how to adapt WordPress to power an Alexa Skill, WordCamp Phoenix offered developers a chance to discuss what and how voice capabilities and search should look. Voice search is here already, it just hasn’t been fully optimized yet.

Particularly relevant for voice search was the implication of content that doesn’t hit number 1 in search results, but number 0. These are known as featured snippets and will likely feature as one of Google’s main assets for delivering answers to voice search questions.

One session answered how to optimize content so it is more likely to appear in featured snippets. Trying to keep word count low for specific answers and the use of a single phrase just once per every 100 words, were two of the recommendations. While not a 100% foolproof system, this does allow site owners good insight into how Google is starting to adapt to voice search.

3. Technical SEO Is Important

With voice search continuing to grow, now is the time to implement technical SEO to the letter. As more marketers and agencies dial in on content strategy and implementation, it’s going to be the small things that make a difference between ranking 1 and ranking none.

WordCamp Phoenix had multiple sessions on SEO, including the Technical SEO of eCommerce & Large WordPress sites. They looked at the use of canonical tags, how to control content with noindex and nofollow tags, as well as how to implement XML sitemaps and review the Robots.txt file. These are all important for large, high-volume sites trying to leverage the most from off-page SEO.

While technical SEO did make several appearances, this does not mean that on-page and content SEO are no longer important. In fact, off-page SEO works best when aligned with on-page SEO. Instead, technical SEO has grown in importance as SERP competition continues to grow more fierce.

4. Security Is Still a Primary Concern

Security should still be at the forefront of site owners’ concerns – especially for those that use WooCommerce. Rahul Nagare talked about the importance of knowing the difference between WordPress and WooCommerce security. As a hosting solutions provider, we second this. WooCommerce requires a separate set of security precautions put in place due to being an eCommerce platform.

For example, if you are looking to manage card data, then it’s important for your store to be PCI compliant. This means that your platform conforms to standards set by the payment card industry so your customers are protected. Hostdedi ensure all of their eCommerce solutions are PCI compliant.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

One of the biggest takeaways this year: don’t be afraid to fail. Multiple speakers talked about how failure is an important step to success. Instead of trying to avoid failure, it’s important to embrace it and learn from it.

our 5 top takeaways from WordCamp Phoenix

This links to each takeaway outlined here, which in turn have been informed by multiple failures on the part of multiple developers, site owners, and users. As was talked about SEO “You will fail at first and that is okay. Learn from each mistake and you will find your success”.

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Does WordPress Autoblogging Have A Role In 2018?

Does WordPress Autoblogging Have A Role In 2018?

Does WordPress Autoblogging Have A Role In 2018Autoblogging was once a popular way to use WordPress. Autoblogging plugins could pull in content from other websites and republish it, creating a low-cost and low-effort site that attracted search traffic and generated advertising revenue.

Today, autoblogging is less popular and is not well regarded. Spam blogs used autoblogging plugins to generate revenue from other people’s work. Content creators are, justifiably, not in favor of having their content monetized by a third party. There are still autoblogging spam sites: any moderately popular web content is likely to be scrapped and republished by dishonest site owners looking to generate a few cents. But it is no longer a viable business model.

Google cracked down on duplicate content many years ago. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act made it easy to have infringing copyright removed with takedown notices — providing the site’s web hosting provider follows the letter of the law.

In short, there is very little money in spam autoblogging today. It is not a strategy that any business that cares about its brand should adopt. But does that mean there is no place for autoblogging on the web in 2019?

Original Content Is The Only Way

There is no doubt that the best way to build a successful WordPress blog is to publish original, useful, and compelling content. In fact, it’s the only way to build a successful blog. However, autoblogging can be used to provide a useful aggregation service to your audience. A blog that aggregates niche content can attract a readership. In large part, that is what sites like Reddit do.

There is value in curating niche content. The reckless autoblogging — some might say theft — of the past is dead. But the same technology can be used to collate content from high-quality niche sources, publish snippets with links, and provide a centralized hub that sends traffic back to the original publisher.

Black-hat autobloggers were attracted by an opportunity to make money without doing any work — the site and a plugin did everything for them. In 2019, that is a defunct business model. Even with an autoblogging plugin, you should expect to spend time curating and filtering content — after all, that’s what will differentiate your site from the spam blogs of old.

WordPress Autoblogging Plugins

Autoblogging plugins are essentially RSS aggregators. Just like a feed reader, they periodically check RSS feeds for new content. Unlike feed readers, they publish that content to a WordPress site automatically according to criteria set by the site owner.

WPMU’s premium Autoblog plugin is one of the most popular autoblogging plugins. It was designed for the creation of news aggregation sites. Free autoblogging plugins include RebelCode’s WP RSS Aggregator and RSS Post Importer. One of the best ways to add value to your aggregator site is with a voting plugin like WPeddit, which allows readers to vote posts up and down, and can reorder posts according to their popularity.

 

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Beating Back Bad Bots On Your WordPress Site

Beating Back Bad Bots On Your WordPress Site

Most web traffic is generated not by humans, but by software. Last year, just over half of all web traffic was machine generated — no humans in the loop. Software web users are called bots. Bots can be divided into the good and the bad. There are more bad bots than good by a wide margin.

Good bots are useful, and even essential, to the web. Google’s crawlers are bots, and the web would be unusable without search engines. Google’s bots move through the web following links and indexing of the content of web pages. For some site owners, over-zealous search crawling causes headaches, but few would want to turn Googlebot away.

Bad bots are useful to whoever created them, but they’re harmful to everyone else, including WordPress site owners. They waste resources, they attempt to exploit vulnerabilities, they fraudulently click on ads, and they skew analytics data. If you own a WordPress site, it will almost certainly have been visited by a bad bot in the last week.

What Do Bad Bots Want?

Typically, bad bots want to exploit a resource on your site. That might be the site itself: its network connection and storage. It might be your site’s visitors; bots compromise sites to infect them with malware or to steal user data. Some bots are interested in exploiting your site’s SEO by injecting links to domains under the control of the bot owner’s clients. Others want to scrape your content for price comparison sites or plagiarism. There are even bots that buy products from a WooCommerce store to horde and sell later at a higher price, so-called sneakerbots.

But you don’t have to put up with bots. You pay for your WordPress site’s hosting resources and bad bots abuse them. They impose a cost on every site owner, and, by extension, every web user. Let’s look at some of the ways bad bots can be sent packing.

Defeating Bad Bots

You can defeat many bots with basic security precautions. If you ensure that your site is up-to-date, then bots programmed with known exploits won’t be able to compromise it. If you implement two-factor authentication, then brute-force bots that try to guess your password are out of luck.

Beyond these security best practices, a web application firewall like ModSecurity can repel many types of bot attack. ModSecurity monitors incoming requests for patterns that match most common attacks, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and brute-force attacks. It drops malicious requests and may block the attacker. WordPress sites hosted on Hostdedi have ModSecurity installed by default. We wrote in more depth about how ModSecurity protects WordPress here.

ModSecurity is an excellent WAF, but it’s not perfect. You may want to consider adding another layer of protection to deter bad bots. Blackhole for Bad Bots is a plugin that adds hidden links to your WordPress site’s pages. Ordinary visitors and good bots will ignore the hidden links. Only bad bots follow them, and, when they do, Blackhole for Bad Bots blocks them.

Bad bots are a security risk for any site on the web but with a few precautions its possible to keep them at bay, protecting your site, its data, and your users.

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Five Must-Have Tools For WordPress Theme Developers

Five Must-Have Tools For WordPress Theme Developers

The WordPress theme development scene is as vibrant as it ever has been. As WordPress and WooCommerce continue to grow in popularity, the market for themes grows too. Professional theme developers can build a business creating custom themes for clients or selling themes in the many theme marketplaces. And, even if you don’t want to become a professional theme developer, creating free themes is a great way to cut your teeth as a developer and designer.

As you might expect, the WordPress community has created tools and plugins to make development more convenient and efficient. Let’s have a look at five of the most useful.

Developers who intend to submit their themes to the official Theme Repository should learn about the theme review standards. The standards ensure that every theme in the repository is trustworthy, functional, and behaves as WordPress users expect. There are many required and recommended standards, and it’s hard to keep track of them all as you build your theme. The Theme Check plugin automates the process, running tests to automatically verify that a plugin meets the standards before it is submitted to the repository.

Debug Bar is a plugin that adds a debug menu to a WordPress site’s admin bar. The bar displays useful information about database queries and WordPress’s caches, as well as PHP warnings and notifications generated by WordPress. This data is helpful for tracking the performance of a theme during development and ensuring that it’s behaving as the developer expects.

As a developer works on a theme, they make changes their test site’s content, edit its configuration, and make customizations. The WordPress Reset plugin is a simple tool for undoing all those changes and putting the site back to its default state. Manually resetting a site is time-consuming and tedious. This simple tool lets developers flip a switch to put their site back to a known good state.

Cross-browser testing is one of the most troublesome aspects of theme development, especially for new developers who don’t have a drawer of Android devices, iPhones, and tablets to test their theme on. LambdaTest is a cloud testing automation service that opens sites on hundreds of different browsers running on cloud servers. The LambdaTest Screenshot plugin integrates LambdaTest with WordPress, enabling developers to take a screenshot of their theme running on many different browsers.

WP-CLI is a must-have for every WordPress developer. A command-line interface to most of WordPress’s functionality, WP-CLI alleviates developers of much of the drudge-work involved in setting up WordPress sites, installing themes and plugins, changing configuration settings, installing demo content, and more. As a developer, you will have to install WordPress many times, and WP-CLI makes doing so a matter of executing a quick command.

You’ll be happy to hear that Hostdedi makes WP-CLI available on all WordPress hosting accounts.

As with all development, WordPress theme development is a mixture of tedious repetition and exciting creative work. These tools will help you to build themes more quickly by automating some of the less interesting development tasks.

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What Is A Static Front Page?

What Is A Static Front Page?

WordPress Basics- What Is A Static Front PageWordPress began life as a content management system focused on blogging. In the decade and a half since, it grew into a full-fledged content management system suited to any sort of site, including business sites and eCommerce stores. But WordPress still has its blog-engine DNA, and, when first installed, is configured to publish a list of blog posts on its homepage.

WordPress users who don’t want to display a list of blog posts on the home page instead use a static homepage. A static homepage, in WordPress’ terminology, is simply a home page without the blog listing. Instead, it contains any content the site owner wants – typically widgets, images, and content about the purpose of the site or the business.

In this article, we will clarify the difference between posts and pages, and show you how to configure your WordPress site with a static front page.

WordPress Posts vs. Pages

WordPress can publish content in two different “containers”: posts and pages. Each is treated differently by the content management system.

A post is most often the familiar blog post, although it might also be used to publish videos, podcasts, images, and other content. Posts have some unique qualities.

  • They appear in the main article index of the site ordered by date of publication.
  • They have associated categories and tags.
  • Posts can be displayed as summaries.
  • You can designate sticky posts that are displayed at the top of the listing.

Pages do not appear in the article listing and do not have categories or tags. However, pages can be added to menus throughout WordPress, including the main navigation menu. Examples include the blog index page, category pages, archives, and the static home page.

The blog index page is, as the name suggests, a page that is configured to display a list of blog posts. It doesn’t have to be the homepage of your site.

Creating a static home page

The controls for creating a static homepage are in the Reading section of the admin menu’s Settings item.

WordPress Reading Menu for Front Page

By default, WordPress is configured to show your latest blog posts.

Reading Configuration for WordPress Front Page

When you select the Use a static page option, you are asked to supply which page WordPress should use for the home page and which should be used to display the blog listing.

If you have not already created pages for these, you should do so now under the Pages menu. You can choose any page to publish as your homepage, but be careful to choose one that you’re happy to have as the default page people see when they arrive on your site.

Finally, it is a good idea to add the page on which your blog index is displayed to the main navigation menu. You can do this in the Menus section of the customizer, or with the Menu item in the Appearance section of the Admin menu.

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