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How to integrate a forum with your wordpress blog

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How to integrate a forum with your wordpress blogAs most of you know, Blogging Tips has a discussion forum, an area of the site I added to make it easier for bloggers to ask questions about blogging and a place to make contacts and friends too. Before I added the forums I checked out the possiblity of integrating the forum with the blog however the options available for integration at the time were not the best. So as it stands bloggingtips has a seperate database for blog users and for forum users.

Of course, this setup has some disadvantages, the most obvious being that users have to sign up to the blog and sign up to the forum as well. By integrating your blog and forums user system you could create a better community and drive more traffic to your blog’s forums by using your blogs content.

In this post I will look at the forums you can integrate with your WordPress powered blog. Note, there are many Content Management Systems (CMS) which use only one database for articles, blog posts and forum discussions however in my experience the whole package is of a low standard ie. the forum and blog parts of the CMS are pretty basic and lack certain features, certainly when compared to blog scripts like WordPress. If you have not started your project yet and are thinking of creating a community around your articles then it may be worth checking out some of these scripts as they may achieve exactly what you are looking for. You can check out lots of potential CMS, blog and forum scripts at Open Source CMS.

How do forums integrate with WordPress

The main way forum makers have integrated their software with wordpress is to create a bridge between your blog’s database and your forum’s database. Different coders have coded this bridge in different ways however it usually involves the WordPress user database being used when signing up for the forum. At that point either the forum uses the wordpress user details or the user details are duplicated on the forum database which means that the bridge has to be able to update both databases if any changes are made ie. if you upgrade a user on your blog to admin then this should be reflected in the forum as well.

I spoke before about how integrating your blog and forum can create a better community and drive more traffic to your forums. One of the reasons why traffic usually increases to your forum is because the comment system is controlled by the forum and not your blog. How do they achieve this? Well again, different bridges work in different ways however the most common method is to create a new thread in the forums once a post is published on the blog. When a user wants to comment they are directed to the thread on the forum which has the blog post as the first post.

Many problems arise from two databases setup in different ways trying to ‘talk’ to each other to keep the other one up to date. Infact, the main problem is that a process actioned on one database is not actioned on the other. For example, when a blog post is duplicated on the forums to allow for comments, if the original blog post is deleted the corresponding forum post is not always deleted as well. I have yet to see a forum bridge that does not have problems or limitations however for the most part they are still useable despite some limitations.

Forum software which can integrate with WordPress

Below is a list of some of the most popular forum scripts on the web and the wordpress integration options which are available. If you decide to integrate any forum with your blog then I strongly encourage you to test everything on a test site before applying anything to your live blog. Obviously, it goes without saying that you should back up your blog and forum database and files before doing anything so in the event of anything going wrong you are revert everything back.

  • bbPressbbPress

    bbPress is the forum software created by the makers of WordPress and it’s the script which is used for their WordPress Support Forums.

    It’s probably the forum script which best integrates with WordPress as it allows you to use the blog user database for the forums and also use the same cookies for both areas of your site so if you would like to integrate the same forum WordPress uses for their support forums then this is the obvious choice.

    In my opinion, bbPress is a very basic forum script so is ideal for a support area or for users to give feedback however beyond that you may find it a bit limited.

    Official Forum Link : bbPress
    Integration Link : Integration with WordPress

  • vBulletinvBulletin

    Although there are literally hundreds of forum scripts available on the net vBulletin is generally recognised as one the best forum scripts available (most would argue it is the best!). It is a commercial script (the owned license costs $160) and it’s the script which I’m currently using for the BloggingTips forums.

    The bridge which is currently available has been apllied on a lot of websites and whilst it does seem to work fine, there are a lot of limitations. As it stands, if you delete a user from either the blog or the forum you need to make sure you delete it in the other database too. A lot of people have experienced cookie problems with the script, particuarly when their forums are on a subdomain. If you have vBulletin powered forums on your website then it’s definately worth checking out.

    Official Forum Link : vBulletin
    Integration Link : Complete WordPress/Vbulletin Bridge – Share Users And Postings

  • phpBBphpBB

    If vBulletin is the most popular commercial forum script then phpBB is undoubtedly the most popular free forum script and has been integrated into dozens of other blogging and CMS scripts.

    The most popular bridge available for phpBB is called WP-United. From what I have read on the web it seems to work pretty good however it does seem that the bridge uses the forum as the primary database ie. the blog would be integrated inside the forum so this may slow down your site. Although officially in the beta stage, there doesn’t seem to be many issues with the bridge so it’s definately worth checking out.

    Official Forum Link : phpBB
    Integration Link : WP-United

  • Simple Machines ForumSimple Machines Forum

    SMF was developed from members of the Perl forum community ‘Yet Another Bulletin Board’ which was an extremely popular script 6 or 7 years ago (before PHP was so widespread). It has proven to be a useful script which has gained popularity due to the ease at which it can be integrated into external scripts.

    Even though it’s a very customisable script, there does not seem to be any bridge which works with the current version of WordPress. The ‘WordPress SMF Bridge‘ has not been updated in 2 years, the wordpress integration project that Chris Taggart started was dropped because he started using different forum software and the plugin which is currently available in the official WordPress plugin area has only been tested up to version 2.2. EarthOrbit did take the original bridge forward recently but once again, development has not kept pace with the releases of WordPress.

    I can understand the frustration of SMF fans as apparently their script is very easy to customise but no programmer has developed a bridge for the latest versions of WordPress.

    Official Forum Link : Simple Machines Forum
    Integration Links : WordPress SMF Bridge Plugin 1.0 (not been updated since 2006) & official WordPress plugin area (only been tested up to version 2.2) & latest WordPress Discussion Thread (many reporting problems with current version).

  • VanillaVanilla Forum

    Vanilla is an open source forum script which was developed by Lussumo. It’s an open source script which runs very quickly however compared to forum scripts like vBulletin it is quite basic although it does have more features than bbPress.

    Vanilla seems to integrate very well with WordPress and the hack allows you to decide whether users sign up via your blog’s sign up form or your forums. Take a look at the Vanilla Community, if you like the look and feel of the forum then it’s definately worth doing some tests with it and the bbPress forum to see which blends in best with your site.

    Official Forum Link : Vanilla
    Integration Link : WordPress Integration : These integration instructions were written in 2006 and only tested up to WordPress 2.04 however the integration process seemed to work right up until the 2.3 series of WordPress and they are already working on a 2.5 bridge so it’s safe to say a working bridge will be available soon for the latest release of WordPress.

  • Other external forum scripts worth considering
    • PunBB – A poor mans phpBB in my opinion. There is a bridge available but it’s only been tested up to version 2.2 of WordPress so it’s doubtful it still works. Check out the bridge instructions here.
    • Phorum – A forum script which puts emphasis on speed, phorum has a WordPress bridge available but again, it hasn’t been updated in 2 years so you will probably struggle to get a bridge which works with a new version of WP. Check out the bridge details here.
    • Invision – There is a bridge available called Invision Bridge (see demo here). The blog hasn’t been updated since February so it doesn’t look like the owner is supporting the bridge anymore. Check out the blog here.
  • WordPress Forum Plugins

    These forum scripts are plugins designed specifically for WordPress so you won’t have to worry about the main integration problems which exist with using external forum solutions.

    • Simple PressSimple:Press

      Formerly known as Simple Forum, Simple:Press is a forum plugin for WordPress developed by self proclaimed Yellow Swordfish Andy. Although developed by just one person, Simple:Press seems to be one of the best forum options available to WordPress bloggers and has already been updated to work with WP 2.5.

      The forum supports many features including poll’s image uploads and SEO Friendly Permalinks. There is also importing options to migrate users from wp-forum, XDforum and rs-forum forums. Definately worth downloading and checking out.

      Official Forum Link : Simple:Press

    • XDForum

      XDForum was a popular forum plugin but unfortunately, developers announced in February 2008 that XDForum will no longer be developed. There is a plugin available for existing xdforum users so that they can migrate their users to the simple forum script. Simple:Press has an import function too.

      Official Forum Link : XDForum

Overview

Adding a forum to your website is an easy thing to do but integrating it with your blog cleanly is a little more difficult. There is definately a strong demand for a good forum script which works in conjunction with WordPress however the perfect solution does not currently exist.

With external forum solutions it definately seems like the more complex the script (ie. vBulletin) the harder it is for coders to develop a solution to integrate the two scripts. More basic forum scripts like Vanilla and bbPress are easier to bridge however many of the features of other forum scripts are lost.

Simple Press has given me hope that a plugin for wordpress is the best solution however I have yet to see how it copes with heavy loads. Nevertheless I have downloaded and installed the plugin on my test blog and I’m going to mess around with it to find our more about it.

With regards to BloggingTips, the forums is an area of the site I want to develop however I don’t believe that the current bridge available is suitable for what I’m looking for. I think this is why forum integration has been held back ie. everyone is looking for the forum to integrate with their blog in a different way.

Personally I’d like a custom script which creates a unique profile for the visitor, a profile which would give details of the users blog posts, comments and forum posts. Of course, I don’t suspect I’ll get this unless I splurge on some custom coding from a programmer! 🙂

If you have tried to add a forum to your blog then I’d love to hear how you got on. If you haven’t but are looking to do so in the future, I hope I have put you in the right direction. Either way I’d like to hear your view on the subject 🙂

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and .

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8 WordPress Plugins Beginner Bloggers Should Have

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Beginning a WordPress blog is an exciting new adventure. Not only are WordPress blogs a wonderful way to showcase the many ways you express your creative self, but they’re a great place to begin your business. The digital age has proved just how lucrative a career online can be, which is why so many ambitious creatives and entrepreneurs turn to WordPress.

Within the realm of WordPress, plugins allow users to add a number of different extended software programs to their website. They enhance the functionality of your site and add exciting features that engage site visitors in a myriad of different ways. There are over 55,000 third-party plugins within WordPress’ directory, giving you plenty to work with as you customize and brand your blog. But what are the must-haves among such a vast collection of add-on software?

Let’s walk you through the basic WordPress plugins every beginner site-maker should have, regardless of the content that will soon inhabit your unique domain.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO has become one of the most popular WordPress plugins for novices and seasoned site-makers alike. Yoast boasts the most comprehensive search engine optimization solution, packed with an impressive selection of features and tools to improve your on-page SEO. Add meta tags, create sitemaps, and optimize your site for Google, social media, and more.

OptinMonster

When it comes to conversion rate optimization plugins, no software performs better than OptinMonster. Designed to allow users to convert bouncy visitors into interested email subscribers and paying customers, OptinMonster works hard so you don’t have to. By giving you the power to personalize campaigns to users, OptinMonster makes you more money. OptinMonster is a valuable tool for bloggers, eCommerce entrepreneurs, and new business owners.

Sucuri

When building your blog, security should be at the forefront of your mind. Sucuri is one of the leading security WordPress plugins that offers DNS-level network firewalls, and intrusion/brute force prevention, as well as malware and blacklist-removal services. By sending all of your website traffic through their cloud proxy, Sucuri is able to scan every single request and decide whether or not traffic is legitimate and what traffic can successfully pass through.

MemberPress

MemberPress gives you the key to building online communities and membership sites via WordPress—so it’s really no wonder why it’s one of the essential plugins to date. Not only can you create subscriptions and manage content available to users based on their subscription plans, but you can even incorporate a number of popular payment solutions and online store features with ease.

Akismet

While everyone wants their site to receive traffic, nobody wants the traffic to be dominated by spam and bots. Akismet’s number one job is to filter out and delete spam comments that can hurt your site’s legitimacy.  Akismet is lauded for its 99.4% accuracy rate that gives you the peace of mind you need to tackle unwanted content on your blog.

Nivo Slider

Whether you’re an artist showcasing your one-of-a-kind pieces or a graphic-design lover who wants to add some stylish flair to your site, Nivo Slider gives you the power to display an interactive image slideshow on your site that draws visitors in. Add a splash of creativity with the visual wonder delivered by the Nivo Slider’s crisp on-page clarity and allure. It’s easy to navigate and comes with a comprehensive design structure that is truly user-friendly.

MailChimp for WordPress

MailChimp is one of the world’s most popular email marketing services that allows users to manage subscribers, send emails, and track the fruits of your labor in bulk. It is an absolute must-have plugin for WordPress webmasters and business owners and it’s completely free to add to your blog. If you’re looking to spruce up your eCommerce site, opt for the premium version, instead.

Loginizer

Designed to prevent third-party hackers from running a brute force attack on your blog, Loginizer is another security essential worth lining up on your plugin list. Loginizer works by blocking an IP address after a maximum number of login attempts has been reached. The plugin also allows you to blacklist or whitelist specific IP addresses. Venture into higher-level security features like two-factor authentication, reCAPTCHA, Passwordless login, and more to bolster your site’s safety. 

 

With these 8 must-have plugins, you’ll be well on your way toward creating the WordPress blog of your dreams. What are other beginner-level plugins you use on your WordPress blog or recommend to novices? Let us know in the comments below!

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ONE by TemplateMonster – Ultimate Subscription Service to Fulfil Any Web Design Task

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ONE by TemplateMonster is the one and only subscription service that provides web designers and developers with the ultimate selection of high-quality digital products and services they can use to streamline their workflow. Every professional webmaster knows the true value of quality web design items in their work. Having a collection of the right tools and web design elements in a toolbox, one can focus on the creation of impressive and competitive digital works without having to worry about extra designs, extensions or graphics that are needed to complete your projects.

As a rule, all quality web design items are pricey. So, it may cost you or your client a pretty penny to launch a stunning digital work from scratch. However, thanks to services like ONE by TemplateMonster, provide you with unlimited access to a series of quality web design tools that you can use for your own digital works without any restrictions.

ONE is the ultimate subscription service delivered by the giant digital marketplace for $19 per month. As soon as you subscribe to the service, you are provided with the unlimited access to the ever-growing collection of 8500+ best-selling digital products including premium-quality web themes, plugins, and graphics, all of which are accompanied with expert 24/7 support. Apart from its best price in the market, there are plenty of other reasons to subscribe to the service. Let’s review them in more details.

What’s ONE?

ONE is a real time-saver for everyone working with web designs. This is a handy subscription service that provides you with unlimited access to a range of high-quality digital products from TemplateMonster digital marketplace.

Subscribing to the ONE, web designers and developers can get literally everything they need to streamline their workflow and create sites that will make every client leave fully satisfied.

All digital items from the subscription are intended to be handled by the users of different skills levels on their own. For example, most of the premium WordPress themes that are added to the subscription are enhanced with the drag-and-drop functionality that allows you to achieve the desired look and feel of your site’s layout as you simply work in the intuitive visual mode.

With the ONE, webmasters also get a bunch of plugins and high-quality graphics suited to be used for a number of purposes.

ONE Toolbox

The giant marketplace took special care to include only the best items into their subscription. You will see it by yourself when you browse the gallery of items that the ONE delivers. All items from the subscription service have proven to be in great demand among TemplateMonster customers due to their high quality and the value they deliver to both expert and beginner webmasters.

The best-selling digital items from the subscription service cover more than 25 different product type. This makes it hard not to find the ideal solution for any type of online project that you need to create. No matter if that’s a corporate site, a business startup project, online portfolio or a personal blog that you would like to bring to the web. ONE delivers all the designs and tools that you may need in a single subscription.

Subscribing to the ONE, you are provided with unlimited access to the collection of 8,500+ digital products for different purposes and topic-specific online projects. If you browse the gallery, then you will come across the best-selling themes compatible with the latest versions of popular content management systems and eCommerce platforms. If you follow the latest industry news, then you should know about such popular themes as Monstroid2 WordPress theme, Woostroid2 WooCommerce theme, Eveprest PrestaShop theme, and StoreFlex OpenCart theme.

By now, there are 4,000+ best-selling themes being included in the subscription, with more than 1,000 of them being high-quality WordPress items. While using the subscription, you can get unlimited downloads of landing page themes, ready-to-go eCommerce solutions, online portfolio web projects, stunning blogging themes, multi-purpose web designs, and so much more.

One of those best-selling web themes is their include extended developer license, which allows you to download and install such themes for an unlimited number of times.

Alongside with a wide choice of best-selling themes, the ONE subscription includes a number of premium-quality Jet Family plugins for Elementor page builder, as well as high-quality graphics to spice up the visual presentation of your web projects. A website creator needs to have an all-inclusive pack of illustrations, icons, animated banners, and fonts always at his disposal. Using ONE, you can access it all and even more for an unlimited number of times.

As it’s been announced by the team standing behind the ONE subscription service, the collection of best-selling themes, plugins, and graphics will be expanded with 100 more items every month.

All digital items from the subscription service are ready to be managed even by beginner webmasters taking their first steps in the web design and development field. Whenever you need any kind f assistance on how to work with the chosen digital item, you can always rely on the professional assistance of the 24/7 support team that will help you solve any sort of issues.

Why Choose ONE by TemplateMonster

With all that being mentioned, let’s make a clear statement about the top reasons to use the ONE subscription service by TemplateMonster.

  • With the ONE subscription, you can download all best-selling digital products from the marketplace without any limitations or restrictions.

  • Whenever you need any kind of extra assistance of additional services like template installation, website customization, security or the speed tweaks, and even complete website creation, you can order it from from the ONE team for an extra cost. TemplateMonster has experts engaged in all aspects of website creation. They will gladly help you make your digital works more efficient.

  • Additionally, you can always rely on 24/7 expert technical support. A team of skilled customer care professionals is always ready to solve any sort of issues in a phone talk or via live chat.

Pricing

As it’s been already mentioned, the service will cost you $19 per month, which means that you will get $229 nilled yearly. As soon as you purchase the subscription, you can go ahead and start downloading themes, plugins, and graphics without any restrictions. When your subscription expires, you can pay $229 once again to continue using all advantages of the ONE by TemplateMonster.

Final Words

ONE by TemplateMonster is a must-have subscription service for everyone working in the web design and web development field. It delivers the ultimate toolbox of 8,500+ best-selling digital items that have proven to be in the biggest demand in the TemplateMonster digital marketplace.

The subscription service delivers an ever-growing collection of best-selling web themes for all types of CMS and eCommerce platforms. You can also work with a number premium-quality Jet Family plugins for Elementor page builder. The latter will be especially appreciated by the avid WordPress fans. Additionally, the subscription service includes a constantly growing collection of the high-quality graphics that you may feel free to personalize and use on your own website.

All items that are added to the subscription service can be downloaded for an unlimited number of times. Additionally, the gallery expands with 100 new core items every month. Whatever kind of assistance you may need in order to streamline your workflow, you can always rely on the professional help of customer support team 24/7.

Paying $229 per year, you get an impressive toolbox of digital items that would cost you thousands of dollars when purchased separately. If you think that ONE by TemplateMonster is exactly what you need to bring your creative digital projects to live, then don’t miss your chance to subscribe and get unlimited access to more than 8,500 high-quality best-selling digital items from the marketplace.

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Achieving High Standards: 10 WordPress Education Themes to Get a Smart Website

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Everybody understands that knowledge is power. There are always even more questions to be discovered. One of them really concerns thousands of people. What is the quickest way to launch a highly-professional website without applying lots of efforts? When you possess one of the best education WordPress themes, you do not need to have extensive coding skills. There is no need to hire a specialist from a popular web-design agency and pay him or her a heap of money. You can easily make others start taking your educational services seriously by means of the online-project created on the base of the ready-made solution.

We have chosen the most impressive WordPress business templates that include a bunch of instruments and elements. Each of them is capable of helping you provide your target audience with enjoyable and efficient user-experience. Are you ready to create a decent online-presence here and now? In this case, let us present 10 splendid themes that really worth your attention…

Educat – WordPress Theme

Educat - Education WordPress Theme
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In order to create an informative and engaging education website, you need something like this impressive template. You can easily accomplish such a difficult objective by means of this aesthetically-pleasing ready-made solution. It has 71+ variants of the homepage, custom slider, galleries, and multiple color variations. In addition to this, you have a chance to choose between full-width and boxed theme layouts.

Teddy Academy – WordPress Theme

Teddy Academy - Primary School Elementor WordPress Theme
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You can promote your primary school on the Internet using this marvelous ready-made template. If you have a busy schedule and cannot afford to start your online-project from scratch, you definitely need to opt for this template. Thanks to a wonderful Elementor Page Builder, it is absolutely possible to build your website without having web-development knowledge. It also has a fully-responsive design which means that your visitors can catch up on reading being on the move.

Rainbow Colleges – WordPress Theme

Rainbow Colleges - E-Course WordPress Theme
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Make sure to check this vibrant theme if you want to experience a highly-intuitive process of website-building. By means of this expressive solution, you can build every single type of website dedicated to learning. You will be provided with an excellent WooCommerce integration – in other words, you can easily start selling different educational materials and sources directly on the website. Its design comes in wide and boxed versions and five predefined color schemes.

Edukid – WordPress Theme

Edukid - Kindergarten & School Education WordPress Theme
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Edukid is a stunning template that can assist you in building your school or university website in the easiest manner ever. The creators of this first-class solution took care of the technical aspect which means that you can enjoy playing around with multiple elements without any coding skills. You will get an excellent learning management system plugin that will provide you with various benefits. There are also infinite courses, events calendar, compare and wishlist features, social media settings, and eye-catching hovers.

Cedar High – WordPress Theme

Cedar High - University WordPress Theme
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If you specialize in education and want to share some important details about high school education, you certainly need to choose this remarkable template. You can enrich your website functionality with online-booking appointment system with the help of the dedicated plugin. Furthermore, each visitor will be happy to browse an attractive online-project that has a fully-responsive design adaptable to all screens and devices. Whatever you would like to craft, you are free to customize your future website in a way your soul wants thanks to a great Elementor Page Builder, four blog layouts, and multiple header variations.

Softtech – WordPress Theme

Softtech - IT Education Multipurpose Creative Elementor WordPress Theme
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You should consider choosing this amazing theme if you decide to build an online-presentation of your university, kindergarten, and online-courses. From different pre-made pages to Cherry Plugins – you are going to get all the necessary tools to make your website better. Feel free to modify your design using a multi-functional Elementor Page Builder. There are also different social options that allow getting a reliable and reputable website.

SkIllum – WordPress Theme

SkIllum - Online Courses Elementor WordPress Theme
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This bright and impressive template will assure people of developing their mind and skills on your courses. You can present all the essential details about your courses, including upcoming events and teachers. You are not required to write even a single line code. For the reason that it is possible to build your content, make it look dynamic, and express your innovative approach using a great Elementor Page Builder. Moreover, you do not need to waste your time searching for some relevant images – they are already waiting for you in the package.

Educor – WordPress Theme

Educor - Education Courses Elementor WordPress Theme
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Educor is a well-favored template that can be used for numerous educational purposes. This means that all educational academies and specialized learning centers can be promoted by means of this superb solution. It has everything you need to craft an engaging online-project and impress your audience. In general, you are free to take advantage of the excellent contact form, various pre-designed pages (that allow showcasing your program, concept, and prices), bonus images, and useful plugins.

Cleveries – WordPress Theme

Cleveries - Education Kids Elementor WordPress Theme
Details |  Demo
You can promote your educational services without breaking a sweat using this modern and trustworthy theme. It is possible to boost your business thanks to a wide range of pre-made pages that allow describing your classes, events, activities, and teachers. Its mobile-first design will turn out your online-project into a perfect digital piece for both small and big screens. There is also a great commenting system that allows sharing thoughts on your institution.

Education Pro – WordPress Theme

Education Pro | LMS & Education WordPress Theme
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There is no need to invest loads of time and energy if you have such a wonderful template as this one. Its design can be called the right balance between aesthetics and content. You can easily create attention-grabbing galleries and filterable portfolio layouts that will capture even more attention. Each visitor will be ready to get in touch with your team thanks to a great contact form.

From now on, you know how it is possible to create an original educational website in the quickest way. In our opinion, each of these incredible templates is capable of making your audience grow bigger and bigger every single day. For this reason, do not be afraid to make your choice and start building your online-project right now. Thanks for reading!

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