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WordPress Guide: What is the meaning of SSL Certificate in wordpress

WordPress Guide: What is the meaning of SSL Certificate in wordpress

What IS SSL CERTIFICATE?

SSL is an abbreviation used for Secure Sockets Layers, which are encryption protocols used on the internet to secure information exchange and provide certificate information.

These certificates provide an assurance to the user about the identity of the website they are communicating with. SSL may also be called TLS or Transport Layer Security protocol.

In most modern web browsers users can click on the SSL icon displayed in the address bar to view certification, identification and other information about a website.

SSL Certificate Information Displayed in Firefox Web Browser

SSL and TLS protocols are not just limited to websites. They are also used in email, SFTP, and various other internet technologies.

WordPress sites can also benefit from SSL by adding an SSL certificate to their web hosting plan. There are also WordPress plugins available which allow users to setup their SSL certificate information through out their WordPress sites.

Most websites use SSL on their payment gateways and eCommerce sites.

As a user, it is always important that you never enter your payment / credit card information on pages that are not secure.

Modern browsers like Firefox and Chrome will show errors and sometimes block rendering of improperly secured pages on a site.

WordPress Guide: Why Building Your Email List is so Important in WordPress

WordPress Guide: Why Building Your Email List is so Important in WordPress

In this article, we will show you the top reasons why building your email list is important (with real case studies). We will also show you how to start building your email list – step by step.

By the end of this article, you will have answers to all your questions about building an email list.

Why Build Email List

What is an Email List and Why is it so Important?

An email list is a list of names and email addresses of people who gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business via email.

Why is this so important?

Because these subscribers joined your email list from your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-optin). They are extremely interested in what you have to offer.

According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in USA.

In our business, email lists get 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns. This makes sense if you think about these five advantages of email as a communication channel:

Email is Personal – Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. It is very direct, personal, and casual.

Email is Purposeful – To get your email a user needs to signup for your email list and confirm their email address. Someone doing this much work is obviously interested in hearing from you, and they are much more receptive to your message.

Email is Targeted – As we mentioned earlier the user has already shown interest in your products / content. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant content and offers to get better results. This is called segmentation, and we will cover that later in the article.

You Own Your Email List – You do not own Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Your social media campaigns and SEO efforts can go to waste when these platform change their policies. On the other hand, you own your email list, and it is not influenced by decisions of other businesses.

Email is One-on-One – People read email in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public timeline or newsfeed. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. This helps build trust and connection.

This is precisely why every smart business in the world has an email list.

Big name brands learned this lesson a long time ago, and that’s why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists.

They understand that email marketing is the best long term investment with a much higher return. Because people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.

Social Media vs Email Marketing

Social Media vs Email Marketing

Now you’re probably thinking, wait a minute. What about social media?

A lot of social media experts and consultants, in an attempt to sell their services, downplay the importance of an email list.

In fact, we have even been asked isn’t email marketing kind of dead with social media taking over everything?

The best way to answer this question is to look at the information Twitter and Facebook ask you before you create an account:

Twitter and Facebook Signup Forms

Yup, it’s an email address. Because these companies know that emails are the most direct and reliable way of getting in touch.

All social media platforms are building an email list because they are smart business owners. This helps their valuation when selling their business.

While social media is a great way to reach your audience, it’s important to keep in perspective the timely nature of social media platforms.

They come and go.

Not too long ago we had MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Buzz, Plurk and countless others. Most of them are either dead now or irrelevant.

Today we have Facebook and Twitter, but not everyone is as hooked up on these sites. Some prefer other places like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, etc.

But studies show that at least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis.

We are not saying that social media is not important. It is, and you should explore every opportunity to reach out to your audiences.

However you should spend more time and effort into something that guarantees much higher results.

What You Need to Start Building an Email List?

Hopefully by now, you should know why building an email list is so important, and why ignoring it would be a HUGE mistake.

So let’s take a look at what you need to start building your email list.

3 Things You Need to Build an Email List:

  1. A website or blog.
  2. An email marketing service.
  3. High-converting opt-in forms

All three of these are fairly easy to setup, and none of them require you to know how to code.

For the sake of this article, we will only be focusing on the last two items in the list.

Choosing the Best Email Marketing Service

Best email marketing services

There are tons of email marketing services online. Often beginners use the free options to save cost, which is understandable. However, some of those free platforms are not the best option. Why?

Services like FeedBurner or Jetpack Subscriptions offer blog subscription via email. This allows your users to receive an email update every time you publish a new blog post.

The downside to a blog notification service like this are:

  • You will have to create a blog post to send an email. This means that information you want to share will have to be publicly available first. You can’t send out private email newsletters.
  • You can’t personalize the email message. It will be delivered in the same format often with no branding or personalization.
  • You can’t categorize subscribers by interests, demographics, or content type.
  • There is no reporting. You don’t know how many people got email, what percentage of users opened it, and how many of them clicked on links.
  • If you later tried to move to a paid service, your users will have to re-confirm their subscription. Many of them will not do it, and you will end up losing subscribers.

This is why we ALWAYS recommend using a professional email marketing service. Yes, they cost a little bit of money, but they are an investment in your business which pays huge returns.

The benefit of professional email marketing services are:

  • You can send private mass emails to your subscribers.
  • You can see subscriber activity and group your subscribers based on actions they take.
  • You can run A/B split tests to see which email subject line, content, and offers work best with your subscribers.
  • With reporting tools, you can see which country you have the most subscribers from. You can adjust your timezone preferences, and send emails at the right time.
  • Last, but definitely the most important, you can see the email addresses of all your subscribers.

There are hundreds of professional email marketing services available, but we have compiled a list of the best email marketing services.

For small businesses, we recommend using Constant Contact because they are one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing services in the world.

They offer a 60 day free trial. This gives you plenty of time to setup and start seeing the results. At the end of 60 days, your email list would likely be paying for itself (cost $20 / month). Start your free trial.

Constant Contact

Because we know people often like to see options before they make a decision, we also recommend AWeber. They are another popular email marketing service provider, and they offer our users a 30-day free trial.

Once you have signed up with an email marketing service, the next step is to add opt-in forms to your website to allow your users to subscribe.

Growing Your Email List and Getting More Subscribers

While choosing the right email marketing service is important, getting more subscribers is even more important because this is how you make money.

The biggest mistake beginners make is not strategically placing high-converting opt-in forms.

While some WordPress themes come with built-in sidebar widgets, they don’t convert as well. Your email marketing service may also provide you with codes to embed in your theme, but that requires you to know how to code.

This is why we recommend our users to use OptinMonster. It is the most powerful conversion optimization software that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

You can easily create high-converting optin forms such as lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, slide-in scroll boxes, fullscreen welcome mat, after post and inline forms, and more.

Add beautiful signup forms

But what makes OptinMonster really powerful is the behavior automation and personalization features. OptinMonster allows you to automatically show different opt-in forms based on where the user is coming from, which page they are visiting, and what they are doing on your website.

For example, the Exit-Intent® feature track your users mouse behavior and show them a targeted opt-in form at the precise moment they are about to leave. This helps you convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.

This is important because over 70% of people leaving your website will never return.

That’s why influencers like Michael Hyatt, Neil Patel, and Social Media Examiner use exit-intent on their websites. It helped Social Media Examiner add over 95,000 new subscribers in 7 months.

But for smaller businesses, this is even more crucial. Nicolas Gagne, a small business owner, combined Constant Contact with a single exit-intent optin to grow his email list by 500%. This helped him triple his revenue from his online store (see the full case study).

There are tons more case studies and OptinMonster reviews that you can read as well.

Get started with OptinMonster today — Use the coupon WPB10 to get 10% off.

Note: OptinMonster was started by WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, because he wanted to get more email subscribers, faster. It helped us increase our email signups by 600%. Due to popular request, we released this tool for public, and now it’s the most recommended lead generation software in the market.

List Building Strategies and Resources

Email Marketing Strategies

Having the right tools is crucial, but knowing how to use them properly is what makes the most difference.

In your email marketing strategy, the most important thing you should plan out is segmentation. This is the process of grouping your subscribers, so you can better personalize your emails based on interest. It helps you get higher open rates and click-through rates. This definitive guide to email marketing has all the information you need to segment your email list like a pro.

Content Upgrades are the highest converting opt-in forms. It’s a technique where you give your users bonus content at the end of your popular blog posts. These usually convert 5 times higher than a regular opt-in. Here are some content upgrade ideas that you should check out.

If you’re not sure how to create an opt-in form, then use this 63-point checklistfor creating a high-converting optin form.

You may want to check out Kevin Duncan’s article on 16 ridiculously simple ways to get more email subscribers in less than 5 minutes.

In case you want more ideas, Mary Fernandez also shared 73 proven and simple ways to grow your email list that should get you going.

Conclusion

It does not matter what kind of business you run, what kind of website you have, or what industry you are in.

If you have a website, and you want to turn your visitors into returning customers, then you need to get them in your email list.

WordPress Guide: 5 Best Security Firewall Plugins Compared,  Must Use In WordPress

WordPress Guide: 5 Best Security Firewall Plugins Compared, Must Use In WordPress

What is a WordPress Security  Firewall Plugin?

A WordPress Security firewall plugin (also known as web application firewall or WAF), acts as a shield between your website and all incoming traffic. These web application firewalls monitor your website traffic and blocks many common security threats before they reach your WordPress site.

Aside from significantly improving your WordPress security, often these web application firewalls also speed up your website and boost performance.

There are two common types of WordPress firewall plugins available.

DNS Level Website Firewall – These firewall route your website traffic through their cloud proxy servers. This allows them to only send genuine traffic to your web server.

Application Level Firewall – These firewall plugins examine the traffic once it reaches your server but before loading most WordPress scripts. This method is not as efficient as DNS level firewall in reducing the server load.

We recommend using a DNS level firewall because they are exceptionally good at identifying genuine website traffic vs bad requests.

They do that by tracking thousands of websites, comparing trends, looking for botnets, known bad IPs, and blocking traffic to pages that your users would normally never request.

Not to mention, DNS level website firewalls significantly reduce the load on your WordPress hosting server which makes sure that your website does not go down.

1. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security

BulletProof security is another popular WordPress security plugin. It comes with a built-in application level firewall, login security, database backup, maintenance mode, and several security tweaks to protect your website.

BulletProof security does not offer a very good user experience and many beginners may have difficulty understanding what to do. It does come with a setup wizard that automatically updates your WordPress .htaccess files and enables firewall protection.

It does not have a file scanner to check for malicious code on your website. The paid version of the plugin offers extra features to monitor for intrusion and malicious files in your WordPress uploads folder.

Pricing: Free basic plugin. Pro version costs $59.95 for unlimited sites and lifetime support.

 

 

2. Cloudflare

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is best known for their free CDN service which includes basic DDoS protection as well. However, their free plan doesn’t include website application firewall. For WAF you will need to signup for their Pro plan.

Cloudflare is also a DNS level firewall which means your traffic goes through their network. This improves performance of your website and reduces downtime in case of unusually high traffic.

The Pro plan only includes DDoS protection against layer 3 attacks. For protection against advanced DDoS layer 5 and 7 attacks, you will need at least their business plan.

Cloudflare has its pros, which include CDN, caching, and a larger network of servers. The downside is that they do not offer application level security scans, malware protection, blacklist removal, security notifications and alerts. They also do not monitor your WordPress site for file changes and other common WordPress security threats.

Pricing: Starting from $20/month for Pro plan and $200/month for Business.

 

3. Wordfence Security

Wordfence

Wordfence is a popular WordPress security plugin with a built-in website application firewall. It monitors your WordPress site for malware, file changes, SQL injections, and more. It also protects your website against DDoS and brute force attacks.

Wordfence is an application level firewall which means that firewall is triggered on your server and bad traffic is blocked after it reaches your server but before loading your website.

This is not the most efficient way to block attacks. Large number of bad requests will still increase load on your server. Because it’s an application level firewall, WordPress does not come with a content delivery network (CDN).

Wordfence comes with on-demand security scans as well as scheduled scans. It also allows you to manually monitor traffic and block suspicious looking IPs directly from your WordPress admin area.

 

To get their sophisticated application level firewall, you really need the Premium version.

Pricing Basic plugin is Free. Premium version pricing starts from $99/year for a single site license.

 

4. SiteLock

SiteLock

SiteLock is another well-known website security company offering website application firewall, DDoS protection, malware scan and removal services.

SiteLock’s WAF is a DNS level firewall with a CDN Service Included in all plans to improve performance of your website. They offer daily malware scans, file change monitoring, security alerts, and malware removal.

All plans include basic DDoS protection while advanced DDoS protection is available as an add-on. They also allow customers to display SiteLock trust seal on their websites.

They have also partnered with many hosting companies to offer their basic plan as an addon.

However, it is unclear what’s included in that addon, and how it is different than the plans offered on SiteLock’s official website.

Pricing: Accelerate Plan costs $299 / year and Prevent plan costs $499 / year.

 

5. Sucuri

Sucuri

Sucuri is the leading website security company for WordPress. They offer DNS level firewall, intrusion and brute force prevention, as well as malware and blacklist removal services.

All your website traffic goes through their cloudproxy servers where each request is scanned. Legitimate traffic is allowed to pass through, and all malicious requests are blocked.

Sucuri also improves your website’s performance by reducing server load through caching optimization, website acceleration, and Anycast CDN (all included). It protects your website against SQL Injections, XSS, RCE, RFU and all known-attacks.

Setting up their WAF is quite easy. You will need to add a DNS A record to your domain and point them to Sucuri’s cloudproxy instead of your website.

At Abolly Hosting Inc., we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security.

Pricing: Starting from $199.99/year billed annually.

 

Conclusion

After careful comparison of all these WordPress  firewall plugins, we believe that Sucuri is undoubtedly the best firewall protection you can get for your WordPress site.

It is the best DNS level firewall with the most comprehensive security features to give you complete peace of mind. On top of that, the performance boost that you get from their CDN is very impressive.

WordPress Guide: How to manage widget Management in wordpress

WordPress Guide: How to manage widget Management in wordpress

In this chapter, we will study about Widget Management. Widgets are small blocks that perform specific functions. These give design and structure control to the WordPress theme. Some specific features of a widget are −

  • They help you add content and features.
  • They can be easily dragged and dropped in widget area.
  • They vary from theme to theme. They are not same for every theme.

Step (1) − Click on Appearance → Widgets.

WordPress Widget Management

Step (2) − The following screen showing available widgets appear.

WordPress Widget Management

The following functions appear on the page −

  • Available Widgets − You can use these to add into your sidebar main.
  • Inactive Sidebar (not used) − These are not used and can be removed permanently from the widget list.
  • Inactive Widgets − Removes the widgets from sidebar but keep it in the settings.
  • Sidebar Main − Any widget you add here will appear on your site.
  • Manage in Customizer − Takes you back to customization page.

WordPress Widget ManagementWordPress Widget Management

Step (3) − Drag and drop in the Sidebar Main. Any widget you add here, shows up on your site.

WordPress Widget Management

WordPress Guide: How edit general settings in wordpress

WordPress Guide: How edit general settings in wordpress

In this chapter, we will study about General Settings in WordPress. WordPress general setting is used to set the basic configuration settings for your site. In the setting administration screen, it is a default setting screen.

Following are the steps to access the general settings −

Step 1 − Click on Settings → General option in WordPress.

WordPress General Setting

Step 2 − The General Setting page is displayed as shown in the following snapshot.

WordPress General Setting

Following are the details of the fields on general settings page.

  • Site Title − It displays the name of the site in the template header.
  • Tagline − Displays a short sentence about your site.
  • WordPress Address (URL) − It is the URL of WordPress directory where your all core application files are present.
  • Site Address(URL) − Enter the site URL which you want your site to display on the browser.
  • E-mail Address − Enter your e-mail address which helps to recover your password or any update.
  • Membership − Anyone can register an account on your site after you check this checkbox.
  • New User Default Role − The default role is set for the newly registered user or members.
  • Timezone − Sets the time zone based on the particular city.
  • Date Format − Sets the date format as you need to display on the site.
  • Time Format − Sets the time format as you need to display on the site.
  • Week Starts On − Select the week day which you prefer to start for WordPress calendar. By default it is set as Monday.
  • Site Language − Sets the language for the WordPress dashboard.

Step3 − After filling all the information about general settings, click on Save Changes button. It saves all your general setting information.

WordPress Guide: How to add media files such as; music,video,picture,etc. In wordpress

WordPress Guide: How to add media files such as; music,video,picture,etc. In wordpress

In this chapter, we will study how to Add Media files in WordPress. WordPress allows you to add, all kind of media files like videos, audios and images.

Following are the steps to Add Media.

Step (1) − Click on Media → Add New in WordPress.

WordPress Add Media

Step (2) − Then, click on Select Files option to select the files from your local storage as shown in the following figure.

WordPress Add Media

Step (3) − Add Media files such as images and audios by selecting them and click open as shown in the following screenshot.

WordPress Add Media

Step (4) − You can view the list of media files added as shown in the following screenshot.

WordPress Add Media

WordPress Guide; Dashboard and its uses in WordPress

WordPress Guide; Dashboard and its uses in WordPress

The WordPress Dashboard is a first screen which will be seen when you log into the administration area of your blog which will display the overview of the website. It is a collection of gadgets that provide information and provide an overview of what’s happening with your blog. You can customize your needs by using some quick links such as writing quick draft, replying to latest comment, etc.

Dashboard can be categorized as shown in the following snapshot. Each of these categories are discussed in the following sections −

Wordpress Dashboard

Dashboard Menu

The WordPress Dashboard provides navigation menu that contains some menu options such as posts, media library, pages, comments, appearance options, plugins, users, tools and settings on the left side.

Screen Options

The dashboard contains different types of widgets which can be shown or hidden on some screens. It contains check boxes to show or hide screen options and also allows us to customize sections on the admin screen.

Welcome

It includes the Customize Your Site button which allows customizing your WordPress theme. The center column provides some of the useful links such as creating a blog post, creating a page and view the front end of your website. Last column contains links to widgets, menus, settings related to comments and also a link to the First Steps With WordPress page in the WordPress codex.

Quick Draft

The Quick Draft is a mini post editor which allows writing, saving and publishing a post from admin dashboard. It includes the title for the draft, some notes about the draft and save it as a Draft.

WordPress News

The WordPress News widget displays the latest news such as latest software version, updates, alerts, news regarding the software etc. from the official WordPress blog.

Activity

The Activity widget includes latest comments on your blog, recent posts and recently published posts. It allows you to approve, disapprove, reply, edit, or delete a comment. It also allows you to move a comment to spam.

At a Glance

This section gives an overview of your blog’s posts, number of published posts and pages, and number of comments. When you click on these links, you will be taken to the respective screen. It displays the current version of running WordPress along with the currently running theme on the site.