On November 6th 2008, I published a review on Performancing.com about a cool WordPress plugin called Slayer’s Custom Widgets. This plugin was cool because it was one of the first I’ve seen that enabled users to assign Widgets to certain locations on a WordPress powered blog. Fast forward to today and there is another plugin with the same idea but improves upon usability, accessibility, and overall UI. It’s called Widget Context and was developed by Kaspars Dambis who currently resides in Latvia.
To install Widget Context, download the files from here and upload the folder to your plugin directory. Next, login to your WordPress administration panel and activate the plugin. The plugin doesn’t have a dedicated settings page so don’t bother looking.
To use Widget Context, login to your WordPress administration page and browse to the Widget management page. Add a widget from the left-hand side of the page to the right. Then, click on the EDIT link to edit the widgets settings. At the bottom of the widget, you should see an extended area of options. This is Widget Context in action.
There are initially two options to choose from. Either displaying a widget on selected or displaying a widget on every page except selected. The check boxes correspond to the various page templates found within a typical WordPress theme. I’m not going to go into detail here with regards to which template files correspond to which options but if you pay attention to themes and notice how they have single.php, archive.php etc. you should be able to connect the dots to figure out which is what.
Ok, now we need an example. Lets say I want to display the default recent comments widget only on the homepage since that is the only place where it makes sense to display it. I would simply add the recent comments widget to the sidebar, click the edit link, select “Display Only On Selected“, check mark the Homepage box and then, click done. The recent comments will now only show up on the homepage.
While that was a simple example, I think it’s clear how many doors this type of widget granularity opens up. For the longest time, typical end users of WordPress were forced to display widgets in the sidebar which would show up in every single page within WordPress where that sidebar displayed. While I love using widgets, having them show up on every single page in WordPress is cumbersome. Kaspar’s plugin enables you to maximize the use of a themes sidebar/sidebars so that you can place relevant widgets on relevant pages.
For those of you who display 125X125 ads in your sidebar, think about how cool it would be to have multiple ad containers that displayed relevant ads alongside relevant content. For example, I could have a widget that displays ads from WordPress theme developers and then assign that widget to only show up in the sidebar when a post is made in the WordPress themes category.
Mark my words, the functionality provided by Widget Context will somehow find it’s way into a future version of WordPress for all to enjoy.
7 Must-Use WordPress Plugins to Engage with Your Audience
WordPress is a great platform where you can run your blog. However, a success of a blog is not determined by the tools you use. Ultimately, it’s not important if you’re using the best WordPress plugins or the most responsive themes if you can’t engage people with your content.
Also, writing an informative and useful post is one thing. But to get people excited with your posts and encourage them to participate and discuss your content with others is another thing.
Eventually, you need to get people on board with what you write if you want to consider your blog as a success. By building a sustainable readership over time, you can increase your influence over them and get them to commit to your calls to action – whether it’s to subscribe to your mailing list or buy something from you!
To boost your engagement with your audience, below are the right plugins that you need to use and leverage.
Email marketing has been an effective way of engaging with your audience. But if you are handed a better alternative, it’s always a smart thing to try and check it out too.
PushEngage is a simple plugin that allows websites to send web push notifications to reach and engage with its visitors on desktop or mobile. It’s where you can easily create customized updates or offers to get them to convert into paying customers or high-value followers.
In 3 easy steps, you can already integrate and start using it on your site. Fortunately, for new site owners with less than 2500 subscribers, PushEngage will always be free.
Feedify is intended to win you more fans and customers by communicating with them through the use of surveys, feedback forms, personalized messages, and intelligent notifications.
By getting your customers feedbacks, think of how much improvements you can make on your site. This may be the key to increase your website’s traffic leading to the boost in your sales and customer base.
This plugin also provides profound insights that allow you to target based on your visitor’s location, time zone, the device used, and a lot more.
3. Engage Form
Engage Form stays true to its name. This plugin is a drag and drop form builder that is easy to use even with no coding experience required. With the Engage Form plugin, you simply copy and paste the shortcode into any page of your site, and it will be displayed accordingly. This plugin is also integrated with Askimet, so you don’t need to worry about spam.
Many people seem to forget the importance of having a good user experience for their visitors. A web form’s role is to be the medium where your audience reaches out to you to ask for more information about what’s on your site. This way, you add more opportunities for them to engage with you without hassle.
4. WP Quiz
The WP Quiz plugin helps you build a responsive, dynamic, and highly interactive quizzes that you can ask your visitors. Apparently, people like to know more about themselves so testing them with a particular topic they are interested in is going to inspire and challenge them at the same time.
With this, You don’t only interact with your audience; you also encourage them to share their results on social media. This is another advantage of integrating quizzes on your site because according to Huffington Post, it’s one of the most shared pieces of content online.
To get you started, you can start with a trivia type quiz to spark your readers’ interest. Finally, WP Quiz doesn’t cost you a penny because it’s being offered for free to everyone.
Building a base of a loyal audience is tough for all website owners. You want them to interact with your content and vice versa regularly; you also want to keep in touch with them. Installing the plugin called Disqus is a quick upgrade to the default WordPress commenting system.
Disqus has made itself a name in the industry as being one of the top commenting systems that most websites in different formats used for the longest time. Moreover, it’s not a secret that there are a lot of spams and trolls that are lurking on the web. With this plugin, you can easily monitor and ban users according to their reputation to avoid any headaches they may cause.
Related Posts for WordPress plugins helps readers navigate within your website by showing them content that’s related and recommended by you. If it’s a struggle to keep them after reading one article you created, perhaps you’re missing an opportunity to get them to stay.
Additionally, this plugin helps increase your blog’s internal traffic without having to sacrifice its speed. Related Posts for WordPress also focuses on performance; it has its cache to avoid stressing your server.
Adding Call to Action (CTA) buttons on your website is a no-brainer. It’s always been an effective strategy to convert your casual visitors into full-on subscribers. Fortunately, installing the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin helps site owner create their Call to Action buttons while monitoring and tracking its effectiveness. Using this plugin, you can also A/B test which of your CTAs are working well or failing miserably.
The WordPress Calls to Action Plugin by Inbound Now is fully extendable and customizable, meaning, you can also create your custom designs and pop-ups to improve your conversion rates.
There are many ways to improve engagement with your audience to give you leverage and helps you better understand your website traffic. It’s always important to keep track of all the behavioral patterns of your visitors, and it’s not that hard to do so.
You must not forget the importance of your visitors’ experience within your site especially now that websites are no longer limited to only providing informational content, but also being a medium of communication for sharing info with other end users.
By just adding the relevant plugins as mentioned you’re a step closer to utilizing and harnessing your site’s capabilities further.
Best Plugin to Add Schema Microdata To WordPress Pages
You must often be reading about how small blogs are scoring on search engines. Yes, it is true and how do they do this I am going to tell through this post on the best plugin to add schema microdata to WP pages. Before going deep into the best plugin to do so, et’s explore a little about schema microdata.
What is schema?
Schema is basically an organized microdata which you exhibit on your webpages with HTML code to communicate the search engines about added statistics in your post.
The plugins help you in adding productive info and can also mechanically take in http://schema.org/Blog and http://schema.org/BlogPosting graphics to your pages and posts.
To set up plugins may sound little technical to you with no experience of trying anything like that. But don’t worry it does not require any expertise and you can easily establish these plugins in your webpages.
Google extends a Rich Snippet Testing Tool to analyse and verify the added microdata in your pages and content.
What is Microdata?
Microdata is a description for machine decipherable data to be entrenched within the current content of HTML records. To execute schema using microdata, basically you will be
To implement schema using microdata, mainly you will choose your present HTML and affix numerous aspects and perhaps components. You will have to correct your theme for the following standards. If you are using a theme made by someone else, then be sure you generate a child theme; otherwise your alterations could be overwritten if the author revises their theme.
Type of schemas microdata for your webpages can be –organisation pages, movie analysis, personal and products details, book info, and reviews.
Best Plugins to add Schema Microdata to WP pages
With Recipe Schema, you can insert thumbnails to the Google results for your Recipes. The plugin adds schema microdata to your WP blog and flashes your page correctly on search engines. Through Recipe Schema you can add recipes from various sources like you can import from an existing post or the web, and also add a recipe into a post.
- Take recipes from current posts by Selecting and Tagging recipe segments
- Recipes are spontaneously arranged and can be modified using CSS
- Write new recipes with the help of free-form text entry, as an alternative to irritating fields for each line
- Distinct configuring and a print button makes it easy for guests to print recipes
- Allow users to quickly save recipes to their Facebook Timeline
Yes SchemaNinja is my baby product and I made it with love to help bloggers out who are looking schema rating plus recommendations.
It is a Rich Snippet and Recommendation Plugin to add Schema Microdata to your WordPress pages. This plugin trails all the Google Standards and operates according to that. It helps in adding the following types of Schemas like- review, software, product application, video, and articles. So far this plugin has 70 plus installs and no one has complained any breaks. It is one of the most advanced Schema Rating WordPress Plugin.
The plugin is suitable for all type of content and is beneficial for generating Schema Ratings to your website or blog. The plugin is best for bloggers, CPA and affiliate marketers, product sellers, and freelancers.
- Star Ranking
- Schema Amalgamation
- Affiliate Link Combination
- Personal Licence
- Cal-to-action controls
The plugin enables the writer to insert Schema.org markup preferences for merchandise reviews. You can easily add a reviewed product to any blog/website, and this plugin will show stars below the post. You can even conceal the ratings from readers. Attaching this schema.org markup will display your rating, writer’s name and price in the search engines results and also enhance your overall ranking.
- It is an all-inclusive plugin for blogs
- It is simple to install and easy-to-use
- You can get Maximum 5 ratings
- Fully adjustable plugin as you can change the presentation as per your need
- Boosts CTR and overall ranking of the page
Append schema.org itemprop cipher to the (custom) post substance for search engines and boost your SERP outcomes. Itemprop plugin is very uncomplicated. It operates using WordPress basic utility to sieve constituent attributes and affixing < meta > tags with schema.org item properties.
This plugin will not fix poorly encoded WordPress sites. This plugin will generate minor codes within your full content, with new microdata from schema.org. The plugin presumes that your content page is not incorporated wholly with HTML5’s data properties for microdata
- Works on single pages
- Easy to implement on webpages
- Best option for properly coded website
5) All-in-one Scema.org Rich Snippet
The plugin is the best solution to add schema microdata to WP pages and also help in increasing your website’s Click Through Rates and enhance SEO and Rankings. You can install this plugin directly through your dashboard. At present, it supports all types of content that are published by schema.org at one location.
- Enjoy bug-free blogging with All-in-one schema.org rich snippet
- Provides search engines with relevant info to be displayed
- Assist your blog in ranking high among other competitors
- Interactive approach vis reviews, star ratings, price, author, apps
- The updated version will cover up-breadcrumbs, local business, and books.
it is a lightweight plugin that inserts Facebook OpenGraph and Schema.Org corresponding microdata to headings to help out search engines to display rich snippet and mark your blog far better. This plugin also allows Facebook, Google+ and Twitter handlers to share your blog with correct title, explanation, URL and picture.
- Customised citation of the Facebook Share/Like explanation. Takes the first 250 typescripts of the blog post if no custom citation is found.
- The post refers to Facebook Share/Like and Microdata title.
- Capacity to outline default thumbnail if no picture is found from the post
- Appends more rich snippets to make the webpages stand out
So, adding Schema to your WP pages will help the search engines and other apps to understand the content of a web page and then display it in a particular manner. Now it is up to you to decide which plugin you are going to choose from the above-mentioned best plugins to add schema microdata to WordPress pages. What are you favorite plugins to add Schema microdata to your WordPress pages.
My Personal List of Best WordPress Plugins for 2017
I love WordPress. It has been my CMS of choice for years. However, at its core, the WordPress framework is very minimalistic.
My WordPress sites would be useless without the right plugins. I have found a number of really cool plugins that provide the functionality my blogs need. Here are the ones that I recommend for 2017.
Bloggers depend on forms to receive feedback from their followers. There are a number of form plugins, but most are too basic.
WPForms is one of the best I’ve come across. This plugin lets you create contact, email opt-ins, e-commerce order and other forms your site may need.
There are plenty of reasons WordPress is an awesome CMS. Security is not on the list. Nearly three-quarters of WordPress sites are vulnerable to hackers. Over 16,000 WordPress sites were hacked between January and September of last year.
If you don’t have a decent web security plugin installed, you need to get one immediately. Sucuri is one of the best.
There are many reasons cautious bloggers are using Sucuri to keep their sites secure:
- Sucuri is one of the best defenses against DDoS attacks.
- Sucuri cleans up hacked up websites. If your site has been blacklisted by Google or flagged for malware, these problems can be reversed after you install Sucuri and get the problems resolved.
- Sucuri identifies and disables brute force hacking attempts.
This is a premium app, so you will need to pay based on the level of protection you want. The cheapest plan costs $16.66 a month. This pales in comparison to the cost of having your website hacked, which most free plugins aren’t as equipped to protect against.
The default WordPress installation allows visitors to leave comments on your posts. However, it isn’t the most engaging setup. The commenters can provide comments to you, but can’t really interact with other commenters.
Disqus is a more seamless and sophisticated commenting platform. It allows child comments, so users can create discussions with each other, instead of just commenting on your post. Your users can even be emailed when someone replies to their comments.
It turns your blog into a mini-social network. Many people will likely return to your blog just to engage with other users on Disqus. It’s also important to note that blog commenting was one of the most used methods for growing engagement and backlinks to websites and blogs in an ethical matter. This is according to more than 60 experts who were asked about their preferred methods of content creation and link building.
If you’re running a blog in a very visual niche, you’ll need a plug-in that lets you showcase lots of images at a time. NextGEN Gallery does the job very well.
It has been downloaded over 16 million times in the past 10 years, because it’s the best gallery management plugin available.
This plug-in makes it easy to upload multiple images at a time, sort and rearrange images, create thumbnails and import meta-data.
If you want to make any modifications to your theme, then you will need to do so through the CSS templates. Unfortunately, CSS is pretty complex and many bloggers aren’t willing to take the time to learn it.
CSS Hero is a great plugin that handles your CSS coding for you.
The Ever Growing World of WordPress Plugins
While I’ve listed some of my favorite WordPress plugins for you to consider, it would be a huge mistake to simply stop here. Be sure to check out the ever-growing list of plugins available through WordPress’ directory. No matter what you would like to accomplish with your site, there is a good chance there will be a plugin out there for you.
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