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Top 10 WordPres Plugins from Tap House Media

Tap House Media builds A LOT of WordPress websites. We see trends come and go, themes rise to the A+ list, and plugins become even more plentiful and powerful over time. I have my favorites — plugins that I use with every single website I build, ones that have stood the test of time and perform consistently without issues, and ones that have helped me grow my business. Lucky for you, most of them are in this list that we’re sharing. We want to spread the love (and our secret tips) for choosing the best WordPress plugins to accompany your website.

Below are our picks for 11 best WordPress plugins to help your business website perform optimally, generate leads, and stay safe and secure:

LeadPages logoLeadPages: LeadPages is definitely, without a doubt, one of the top lead generation software applications on the market. It comes with a plethora of integrations, including, yep, you guessed it, WordPress. This plugin allows you to incorporate your beautifully designed landing pages into your website and also connect your opt-in offers (*think – email signups) right into your website with timed displays, location variation, and more. This is a must-have for ANY business focused on generating more leads and growing their email list. Click below to try Leadpages for yourself!

WP Rocket: Website speed is important. Have you ever visited a website that took forever to load? What did you do? You peaced out of there and found something else, am I right? Let’s not let that happen to you. With WP Rocket, your website will be supercharged for speed with powerful caching, static file compression, database optimization, and more.

Mobile Monkey WordPress PluginMobile Monkey: Lead generation and list building have never been easier with this beauty of a plugin. Mobile Monkey harnesses the power of Facebook messenger to connect with your audience on a whole new level. Think drip campaigns, chatbots, scheduling, lead nurturing all through the most popular social media tool, Facebook. Set up intuitive workflows without using one line of code. Sounds amazing, right? This plugin is so genius it even answers FAQ’s so you’re not glued to your phone 24/7. Even better is that Mobile Monkey has a FREE option with everything you need to build and deploy powerful chatbots for websites, facebook ads, bulk messaging, and more. Thank you, Mobile Monkey!

Ewww Image OptimizerEwwww image optimizer: Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean ALL THE TIME, we see websites that are completely bogged down by imagery that is not optimized. Not everyone has software to do this before uploading their beautiful photographs to WordPress, we get it. But it’s important to have appropriately sized imagery on your website to increase speed, performance, and conversion rates. This FREE plugin does all that for you. Just install and watch your pics shrink and your website speed up.

Yoast SEO: OMG, if you don’t have this plugin installed you’re nuts! This WordPress SEO plugin is by far the best, easiest tool to increase your SEO reach out there. It’s extremely easy to use and offers tutorials on pretty much every option you’ll need to build your SEO profile. With easy title tag, metadata, and keyword integration, you’d be CRAY not to install this on your website. WordPress SEO is so very important to drive organic traffic to your website. Do it!

CSS Hero PluginCSS Hero: WordPress themes (templates) rely on CSS for their visual appearance. If you need to make customizations, you’ll need to learn a new language – CSS. Ain’t nobody got time for that! CSS Hero is a plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing (or learning) a single line of code. If you find your theme has limitations, this plugin is a definite must-have for you.

Insert Headers & Footers Plugin, Tap House MediaInsert Headers & Footers: Chances are you’re using Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel to track visitors to your website. Good! Adding the accompanying code to your website can get tricky. You’ll want to stay away from adding it into your main theme files as that can get messy and potentially break your site – we’ve seen it happen. This plugin will allow you to add your tracking script to your theme files without a potentially fatal outcome. Two thumbs up for this one!

Backup Buddy PluginBackup Buddy: You need to back up your website often, especially if you’re making updates and blogging consistently. Anything can happen in cyberland and an attack on your hosting server can result in a website disaster. This plugin will allow you to automate your backups and send to a cloud storage space like Google or Dropbox for safe keeping.

WordFence WordPress PluginWordFence: Security is a necessity with open source software like WordPress. WordFence not only comes with robust login security features but their security scan component alerts you quickly in the event of a security issue. Other amazing features include security incident recovery tools and powerful blocking mechanisms for complex and brute force attacks.  

Monster Insights, WordPressMonster Insights: This is by far the BEST Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your analytics right to your website so you can see stats fast and easy – no need to sign in to your analytics account. This will easily help you to measure your ROI and make informed decisions about advertising and optimizing your website.

WP Forms pluginWP Forms: Wp Forms is the most intuitive, lightweight, and easy to learn drag and drop contact form plugin out there. It’s our top pick for a contact form for so many reasons. It’s so simple to use, a WordPress beginner can handle it. Additional features include payment integration, order forms, file uploads, and more. There is a free version but we suggest springing for the pro version if you’re looking to expand on your capabilities. You won’t regret it!

With all the WordPress options floating around out there, we hope you found this list helpful in your next plugin decision-making process. Stay tuned for more tips and advice!!

SEO Course To Grow Your Online Traffic

3 Best Wordpress Website Hosting Platforms

WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), is far more than just the simple blogging platform. WordPress has the capability to be transformed into an intricately designed website with unique bells and whistles whipped up by the most seasoned website designer. The software has a huge library of free and premium themes and plug-ins that make it the foundation that holds millions of websites, including personal and small business pages, brands such as Sony, and even big-name high-traffic sites like The New Yorker. If you’ve thought about building a website or are considering a redesign, WordPress is definitely the way to go if you’re setting your sights on growth and lead generation.

Finding the perfect WordPress hosting platform can pose a challenge. This is because it’s a saturated market with thousands of hosting companies claiming to be the “fastest” or have “the best customer service”. Not all WordPress hosting is created equal. Ideally, if you’re a small to medium-sized business generating up to 1,000-2,000 website hits daily, you’ll most likely want website speed and guaranteed uptime to be a priority. Of course, those factors can depend on the health of your website, but having a reliable hosting platform that can guarantee those requirements, among others, will ensure that your website visitors have a positive experience and become loyal customers.

So whether you’re strictly blogging on WordPress or building a brand, we’ve chosen our Top 3 WordPress Hosting Platforms so you can narrow down your favorite and choose a platform that fits your budget and business goals:

InMotion Hosting WordPressInMotion Hosting: Customer service and support are on the top of the list with this company. You’ll always be able to speak to a real-live human being when challenges or issues arise. No hosting company is perfect but having a team of professionals that can get to the bottom of a website or hosting issue lightening fast is a huge win for any company. As far as reliability goes, they’ve always had a reputation for hitting their 99.9% uptime guarantee. They maintain a status page at status.inmotionhosting.com that reports on their real-time network and server status. With InMotion WordPress hosting, you can count on a huge list of amazing benefits and freebies for a very budget-friendly annual cost, including:

  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Free data backups
  • Independence & community support: InMotion Hosting is one of the few independent companies in the hosting industry, next to Siteground.
  • Free SSL
  • Free “No Downtime” website transfers
  • Free domain
  • Advanced server caching
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Free advertising credits
  • Easy Google apps integration
  • And more…

 

SiteGround WordPress HostingSiteGround: Like InMotion hosting, SiteGround is an independent web hosting company founded in 2004. Their WordPress hosting plans come with a variety of awesome tools for fast development and easy management of your site, including:

  • 1 click installer
  • Auto-updates
  • Super cacher
  • WordPress stager
  • And More

With a plan from SiteGround, you can rest assured that you’ll receive support access 24/7. With virtually “no wait time on chat and phone and around 10 minutes for the first response in our ticketing system,” SiteGround consistently achieves nearly 100% customer satisfaction from their clients. Their hosting platform is built on the latest SSD hardware with an added caching tool for blazing speed. Lastly, their “security experts” constantly monitor for WordPress related vulnerabilities and proactively protect users with custom WAF rules when needed. They also auto-update WordPress and its plugins and make daily backups of your hosting account. Seriously, what more could you ask for? Oh, wait, SiteGround is also officially recommended by WordPress.org as one of the “best and brightest” WordPress hosting providers. With an annual fee comparable to InMotion hosting, I’d say those 2 are the TOP choices for small to medium-sized businesses.

Web Hosting

WP Engine WordPress HostingWP Engine: WP Engine is known as the Cadillac of WordPress hosting. This is because they don’t even mess around with hosting websites other than WordPress. They eat, drink, and breathe WordPress. Because of this, any question or concern you have about your site will be addressed with award-winning support and a knowledge base that extends from simple how-to questions to more complex issues. Plans with this platform begin with a personal 1 site option to a robust enterprise-grade for seriously high-traffic websites. WP Engine hosts websites such as National Geographic, Warby Parker, and PBS International. All plans come with a 60-day money back guarantee and include:

  • 24/7 chat support
  • Local storage (starting with 10GB)
  • PHP 7 ready
  • Automated SSL certificates
  • CDN access
  • And More…

Another win for WP Engine is they run automated backups to keep everything off-site & ready to roll back if something happens. WP Engine also works closely with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own team. They also make the guarantee that if you’re hacked – they take care of it for free. Now, because of their reputation as “The WordPress Platform of Choice”, WP Engine comes at a slightly higher cost than InMotion and Siteground –  Starting at $29/M for a personal site install. We highly recommend this hosting platform if your small to medium-sized business is reaching new levels of greatness and you’re outgrowing your current website platform and ready to take your website marketing to the next level.

Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, but what is best for your business based on goals, budget, & habits. With InMotion hosting, SiteGround, and WP Engine, you’ll be able to host your website with confidence knowing that you’ll receive superior support, guaranteed uptime, and fast server speed that will reflect professionalism and keep your customers returning to your website.

Speeding Up Your WordPress Website

When it comes to websites, speed definitely matters. Did you know that quick loading pages improves user experience, increases your page views (duh), and helps with your SEO? Yea, it’s that important! According to a StrangeLoop case study involving biggies like Amazon and Google, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a WHOPPING 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

StrangeLoop-case-study-speed-up-wordpress

This means having a slow website could potentially cost you big bucks. Did I get your attention? If you’re finding that your WordPress website, or clients websites, are running in snail mode, don’t fret. Speed solutions are out there and chances are your slow site can be fixed with a few easy changes and updates.

6 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your Slow WordPress Website:

Choose A Great (not good) Host: When you’re starting out, a shared server may seem like a great deal but it comes at an incredibly big cost. Yep, you guessed it, a slow ass website and frequent downtime. Do yourself, and business, a favor, and invest in a host that is proficient in WordPress, optimizes servers for speed and has excellent customer support. Check out this post we wrote about Best WordPress Hosting for 2018.

Install A Caching Plugin: Our fave is the premium plugin WP Rocket and it will drastically improve page loads time with a click of a button. Of course, there are free ones out there too but do your research before installing freebies. Some plugins don’t mix well with themes and other plugins you may have already installed.

Split Long Posts Into Pages: Readers love rich content but if you’re writing style tends to be a tad long-winded, consider breaking up your content into pages. WordPress comes with built-in functionality to do that. Simply add the <!––nextpage––> tag in your article where you want to split it into next page.

Optimize Your Images: I can’t tell you how many times we come across client websites with HUGE imagery. I’m talking MB’s, people. This in itself will make your website drag and can actually cause it to freeze. Thankfully there is a free and reputable plugin called WP Smush that will compress your images for you fast and easily.

Use A Third Party Video Host: Don’t ever host your giant video files on your WordPress website. I’m not even going to explain why this is a no-no. Use YouTube or Vimeo to host and copy and paste your video URL into your WordPress site to save on bandwidth.

Optimize The WordPress Database: This sounds scary but it can save you tons of space by removing trashed posts, revisions, unused tags, etc. You can use the plugin WP Sweep to help get rid of all that unnecessary information.

Now that you’re armed with information for the beginnings of a lightning fast WordPress website, go ahead and give a few of these a try. Don’t forget to test your speed before and after with Pingdom tools. Good Luck!

WordPress 5.0 Update

WordPress 5.0 UpdateUnless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the latest WordPress update set to launch in late November (2018). Out of all the updates we’ve lived through over these last few years, 5.0 is set to be a game changer for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, you can kiss the classic WP editor good-bye. It’s time to start thinking (and designing) in blocks. Say what? WordPress 5.0 will introduce a new way of building pages with its new Gutenberg visual editor. Ugh, why mess with perfection? Excellent question! Once installed, Gutenberg will allow users to design and edit their pages while simultaneously seeing what that page looks like in real time. Its interface will consist of blocks that you can drag and drop to create styled layouts that previously could only be achieved with additional CSS work. Not sounding so bad anymore, is it? So, what can you do to get ready for WordPress 5.0 before it officially drops?

Below are 5 ways to prepare so you can be cool, calm, and collected when Gutenberg takes over:

Backup your website before doing anything. Do it now!

Try out Gutenberg Editor by installing the WordPress Plugin on a staging website. DO NOT dive into this update head first. Get comfy with the new way of driving WordPress so you can assure your clients they’re (still) in good hands. This will also help you test plugins that may not be compatible.

Update plugins and do your research to see if they will work on the new platform. Old versions of plugins may not include any Gutenberg functionality and you’ll want to find replacements so your website, or your clients’ website, doesn’t break.

Install this plugin that lets you use the Classic WordPress Editor. Again, your plugins and even your theme may be outdated and not compatible with the new version of WordPress. Sucks, I know. But with this plugin, you’ll have time to continue using the old way of designing while you make a plan for some major updates. I’m talking a website redesign on a Gutenberg friendly theme. Start thinking about it.

Get educated. Read up on Gutenberg and its functionality. Check into your plugins support pages and see if the developer has plans to make necessary updates. Check in with your theme developers and make sure you’re covered. With all third-party additions to WordPress, we always recommend doing your research before downloading. It pays to purchase premium plugins and themes so you know there will be ongoing development work to coincide with major WordPress updates. Just sayin’.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

For many WordPress beginners, knowing the difference between a domain name and website host is NOT common knowledge. That’s totes OK! We’ve been asked to explain the difference so many times that we figured the best way to get this message out to all the WP newbies in the world was with a WordPress Wisdom(WPW) tutorial.

In this week’s WPW, we’ll explain the difference between a domain name and web host, how they both function to serve your website, and how to go about choosing the best platform to purchase from.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

Another great question we get asked a lot is “What is a {WordPress} plugin?”. Plugin’s are amazing little applications that can be added to your website to increase its functionality. Plugin’s act the same way as applications do on your smartphone. That being said, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly to be aware of. Like all big decisions in your life, before deciding on a premium plugin purchase (or even a free download), do your research and make sure the plugin you’re interested in using is validated by reviews and support. You don’t want a disaster on your hands!

Watch our video for a complete breakdown of what a plugin is, how it works on your website, and how to install one on your wordpress dashboard.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

Ever wonder what the difference between a WordPress Theme & Template is? You’re not alone. We get asked that question by potential clients all the time. So much so that we decided to do a WordPress Wisdom video on the differences. In this video, we’ll also explain how to go about finding the best WordPress theme to work with, why doing your research before purchasing is important, and what components to look for before pulling the trigger. Check it out and find clarity on one of the most confusing subjects in WordPress land.

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media

“What’s the difference between WordPress.com & WordPress.org?”. We get asked this question A LOT. So much so that we decided to explain it to our viewers in simple, broken down terms. Here, we give you the scoop about each platforms PROS + CONS and how to determine which platform is right for you.

Wondering where to begin? Start here:

Determine the goal of your website. Do you want to make money or create brand awareness? Then WordPress.org is your best bet. Are you looking to test your writing skills, have fun, and not spend a lot of startup fees? Then WordPress.com is the perfect match.

Watch our video for more reasons why each platform will benefit your goals differently.

 

Increase Your Website Traffic, Tap House Media