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You might be looking for tips and how can you optimize your blog for the search engines friendliness. In this article we are going to present some of the most practical tips that would be helpful for you in a long run.

· Unique interesting and original content

If you have observed some of the most popular blogs on the Internet, then you would notice some similarity between them. The best blogs have one thing in common and that is an interesting content. Reason behind the success of most of the blogs is that those bloggers are genuinely interested in the topic on which they write. At the same time, they also have a first rate knowledge about the content that is being written on the blog.

Some of them might not be grammatically correct but because they are written from heart it reaches hearts and gets connected. In the world of internet, sharing plays a very important role in making blogs popular. If you are looking for a specific type of content on the internet and you come across it, you would naturally like to share it. As your friend circle is going to be more or less like you and like minded, the chances are that they too are going to like your content and they are going to share it and forward it further. In this way, content get circulated and promoted naturally.

· Keyword density and placement of keywords

There is lots of buzz about keyboards and their role in Search Engine Optimization. Although this is a debatable issue, yet, practically, we can understand that whenever we need to search for or certain type of content, we refer to a search engine like Google and type certain words in it. These words are called ‘keywords’ and the result displayed by Google do include these words. Therefore, we can understand that keywords do play a role in Search Engine Optimization.

However, the keyword density and other technicalities would make your natural content fake, artificial and inappropriate. Therefore, the advice regarding keyword would be to use the essential keywords in the titles, main headings and if they look natural, then also in the subheadings. You do not have to worry too much about the keyword density; you just need to ensure that you write a content that is suitable and appropriate. The rest would be done by itself.

· Using external authority links

Another important part of Search Engine Optimization is the links associated with your site. There is no concrete evidence about it, yet, many SEO experts do profess using reputed or authority links like Google, Wikipedia, YouTube etc. on their web page. This is believed to enhance the repetition of the page which indirectly helps in it standings and positions in the search engines. Again, there is no concrete evidence for it, yet there is no harm doing it either, provided that they comes naturally in your content.

· Alternate image tag

This is probably the least talked about or ignored technical aspects of Search Engine Optimization. Many people forgets to tag the images of the blog posts. If you go to Google and search in the images section, the images are search from the keywords that you use for them. These keywords are nothing but the alternate image tags, that were put by you in images uploading during a blog post. So do tag all of your images in future and if possible, try to tag the ones that you have missed out as well!

As we all know that social media becomes an integrate and un-detachable part of our personal and professional lives. If you are running a business, social networking plays a vital role in your success theory. Moreover,if you running a online business, a website or a blog, you can’t imagine your online appearance without social media.

Q. Why we need to engage with this social media thing ?

A. The one and only one answer is – Traffic.

And if you are a blogger you know very well how important is traffic in our lives. Without traffic our websites and blogs are just bundles of pages and codes.

Well, the next thing is – how to increase your traffic.

One of the most easy but effective method of doing this is, including social media buttons with the help of social media plugins on your blog. Make it as easy as possible for the user to share your content on his/her social media network. You can do this by adding social media plugins on your WordPress blog.

To ease your task further, we have picked some of the best free social media plugins. Do have a look below :

1. Shareaholic

Shareaholic is one of the most popular social media plugin in this niche. Let me know you that Shareaholic is not for only adding social media buttons on your blog but also aid your blog with features like to show recommendations and related content.

It comes with official support for Google’s shortner and localized in more than 15+ languages and much more.

| Download & More Details |

2. SumoMe Share

The first thing you need to know about SumoMe is, that it”s not a typical WordPress plugin. SumoMe share is available free for any website that support HTML but when it comes to WordPress you can install it as a WordPress plugin.

SumoMe supports over 16 social networks along with filtering options that allow you to hide share buttons on certain pages and for particular devices.

| Download & More Details |

 

3. Mashshare

Mashshare is inspired by the share buttons used by the famous Mashable.com. The unique feature of this plugin is that it does not load external scripts and all code is loaded directly from your site.

Mashshare is a highly customizable and developer friendly plugin which comes with many advance options like – shortcode option to disable share counts and custom CSS field for advance styling of social media share buttons.

[Full Details & Download]

 

4. Social Media Feather

Social Media Feather described as “ lightweight social media share buttons “in its official tagline and seems to be true in reality. This plugin is set as basic & simple as it could with a minimalistic dashboard. The available skins can be customized with various effects like fading and greying out on hovering.

[Full Details & Download]

 

5. Jetpack Sharing Buttons

Jetpack is one of the most popular and most downloaded plugin in the wordpress repo. Jetpack comes with more than 30+ modules which can add a bunch of features to your blog. If you are using Jetpack plugin (you should) you can activate the sharing module and add those minimal sharing buttons.

[Full Details & Download]

6. DC Simple Share Buttons

One thing that you might hate about those fancy and bulky plugins is that they increase the page load time which can’t be compromised at any cost.Here comes DC share plugin for your rescue. It is a simple and classic social media share plugin which does not load any external java script and thus doesn’t slow down your speed.

[Full Details & Download]

7. Share Buttons By AddToAny

AddToAny is another free yet highly advanced and customizable plugin with lot of options. AddToAny is a fully responsive share plugin which expose your blog to more than 100+ sites. You can also add follow buttons to your social profiles.

[Full Details & Download]

Now, that we have discussed the most popular and best free social media share buttons, I am pretty sure that you got the fine idea about the same stuff.

Comment in the below section, share your opinions and beliefs.

Going through our Start A Blog guide step by step, here i will guide you through the proper installation of a WordPress theme IE how to install WordPress theme in a proper way. As you might already come to know that, you can choose your favorite theme from thousands of theme available for WordPress.

But here we will discuss the accurate methods of installing as well as deleting the WordPress themes.

Okay ! So here are the most common methods :

1 Browse > Download and Install WordPress Theme. (Themes available at WordPress repository)

2 Upload and Install WordPress Theme. (Themes from third-party sources)

3 FTP (Using software like FileZilla)

Lets walk through all the methods one by one.

Different methods of installing a WordPress theme [Step By Step].

Search and Install Themes From Dashboard :

This is the easiest method to install a free WordPress theme. However, you can only browse the themes available at the Official WordPress Theme repo.

  • Login to your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
  • Go to appearance > Themes.
  • On the top left side, click on > Add New

Now browse through the themes and find the theme that suits your needs. After you find the one for you,

  • click > Install.

After the installation is completed,

  • click > Activate.

Now give yourself a high5. You did it.

You can also preview your theme before activating it but sometimes it does does not not work properly. You can use plugins like Theme Test Drive Plugin to test your theme before going live.

(Themes downloaded From Third-Party Environment)

Upload and Install :

There are plenty of free themes available at the Official WordPress Theme Repo but what to do when you didn’t find your perfect theme there. Don’t worry you are not alone. Most of the bloggers opt to premium WordPress themes from third party sites.

You can also find free themes on other sites but is always recommended to use the themes from Official WordPress Theme Repo when it comes to free themes. Coming to the point, let me tell you the process of installing a WordPress theme downloaded from a third-party site.

  • Download the theme in zip format from the site.
  • Login to your Admin Area
  • Go to Appearance > Themes > Add New
  • Click on Upload Theme
  • Locate the zip file on your computer and click upload.
  • Click on Preview if you want to preview your site otherwise click on Activate.

Install WordPress Theme Using FTP :

Their are certain situations when you are not able to install your theme through WordPress dashboard due to some server-security reasons. Maybe uploading your theme from the dashboard showing some error. In that case FTP method comes into play. You need a FTP software like FileZilla to access your site through FTP. Here is the procedure :

  • Unzip the downloaded theme zip file using software like WinRAR.
  • Login to your FTP manager
  • Locate to wp-content/Themes and upload the unzipped file.

All done ! Now you can preview your theme or activate it from your WordPress dashboard.

  • Dashboard > Appearance > Themes

This time you will see the theme you have installed through FTP . Simply, activate the theme and enjoy !

Lost Access To Your Dashboard Due To Faulty Theme ?

Sometimes, you  accidently install a theme with broken-codes, and you are not even able to access your dashboard. Yup..it happens. In that case you have to access your site through FTP  to delete the culprit theme and install a new theme.

Uninstall or Permanently Delete the WordPress Themes :

So here you are, a full graduate about installing the WordPress themes. Now I will tell you how to uninstall or permanently delete the themes which are not of your use. This involves some simple steps below :

  • Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
  • Click > Delete to delete any theme.

You can also do this by FTP method :

  • Login to your FTP Manager > Locate to wp-content/Themes
  • Delete the theme.

Never delete your current theme in use as your site may go down. Off course, you can settle it later but it is better to avoid the unnecessary hassle.

If you have still question about installing or deleting themes by any of the methods describe above you can comment in the comment section below.

WordPress is known for its flexibility and functionality. You can further increase its functionality by using various plugins. Well that’s the beauty of WordPress.

You can find plugin for everything you imagine. You can enhance your SEO by using plugins. Moreover you can add security, add custom pages, add contact forms and everything you want – with the help of plugins.

There are mainly three methods of installing WordPress plugins.

Here I will tell you the proper ways of installing or permanently deleting  a plugin. There are many methods out there and we will go through them one by one.

Different Ways Of Installing WordPress Plugins : A step by step guide for WordPress beginners.

Method 1 : Search And Install From Dashboard

This is the most common and easy method of installing plugins. You can find more than 3000+ plugins available on the Official WordPress directory. So here is the procedure, step by step :

  • Login to your WordPress Admin Area (Dashboard)
  • Go to Plugins > Add New
  • Search for your plugin
  • When you find the desired plugin, Click Install
  • After the installation is complete click > Activate.
  • Now head over to the plugin setting page and do the necessary settings.

NOTE : Most of the newbie bloggers activate the plugins but don’t do the necessary configuration. To take the full advantage of the plugin features one should do proper configuration according to the site.

Method 2 : Upload and Install From Third-Party Sites

There are some plugins which are not available at WordPress.org but can be downloaded from third-party sites. These are mostly premium plugins and comes in a zip format. In that case follow the procedure given below :

  • Dashboard > Plugins > Add New
  • Click on  Upload Plugin
  • Now locate the downloaded zip file on your computer and upload the plugin folder.
  • After successful installation of plugin click Activate
  • Now go to the setting page for settings.

Note : WordPress only accepts Zip format of WordPress Plugins & Themes.

Method 3 : Install Through FTP Method

There are certain moments when you are not able to install a plugin through your WordPress dashboard. In that case FTP method is very useful. You must have a FTP software like FileZilla to access you site through FTP. Here is the whole procedure step by step :

  • Unzip the downloaded plugin zip file using software like WinRAR.
  • Login to your FTP Manager.
  • Locate to wp-content/Plugins and upload the unzipped file there directly.
  • Now go to your WordPress Dashboard > Plugins
  • You will see the plugin uploaded by FTP method.
  • Click Activate.

Deactivating and Deleting A WordPress Plugin :

There are thousands of free and paid plugins available out there. Anyone can get crazy and end-up in installing loads of unnecessary plugins. So its very important that you should know how to uninstall and permanently delete plugins you don’t need anymore.

Some newbie bloggers simply deactivate the plugins and move on. This is not a smart step. If you find a plugin worthless and unnecessary to you, its always better to delete it permanently.

The main reason behind this is – some plugins can still interfere in your site functioning even if it is deactivated. So its better to get rid from them .

Go through the following steps :

  • Login to your WordPress Dashboard
  • Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins
  • Click Deactivate > Delete

You can also delete WordPress plugins by FTP method.

  • Login to your FTP Manager
  • Locate wp-content/Plugins and delete the plugin directly.

You may also like to read : 3 Different ways of installing a theme in WordPress.

If you still faces any problem in installing wordpress plugins or deleting them, we would love to help you out !

Do let us know in the comment section below.

The best part about WordPress is that it is the most flexible and customizable CMS (Control Management System) around the web which empowers more than 60 million+ websites.There are tons of plugins and themes for optimizing and decorating your blog. Well, this can be the worst part (in other way) for some novice/beginner bloggers as they can get seriously confuse over the various premium and free options out there for plugins as well as themes.

Whether, one should go with premium themes or stick with the free ones ?

This question hold its place place in every WordPress animal’s mind when he step-in to the WordPress forest. Which one between the premium and free WordPress themes, is best for me ? And the answer to this question knows only the person asking it. Yeah, you read it right. Only you can tell which theme is perfect for you.

Premium Vs Free WordPress Themes [Comparison,pros & cons]

Premium Themes

Very fair, the themes which comes along with a price tags are the premium ones.

Pros

1. Ultimate Back-up (support):

This is the most important feature of any theme and off course, premium themes comes with support whether its –  forums, email, phone and in many other ways.

Okay  so you can spend 50+ hours to customize your theme according to your needs, or you can just pay a few bucks and utilize those 50 hours in writing and blogging (choice is yours).

2. Advance Functionality :

Premium themes are fully customizable. They are less with all the advance features which can be used without digging into complex coding. Many of them have drag and drop user interface. You can simply drag and drop the layout elements without touching the coding.

3.Frequent Update Cycle :

WordPress is frequently  updating CMS and very often we come to see some major updates. So its very important for a website owner to survive those updates and remain up-to-date with the WordPress environment. Premium WordPress themes are more sensitive to WordPress core changes and updates and thus more secure and reliable option.

4. Out-of-the-Box Appearance :

They said

Don’t fit yourself in the crowd if you are born to be stand-out.

And if you are willing to stand out from the rest of the crowd and create a unique website go with the premium themes, as they are not very common among bloggers and  have unique layouts.

5. Inbuilt SEO :

If appropriate theme used, WordPress theme can enhance the overall SEO and performance of your site. Premium themes tend to have bug-free and neat & clean coding which ultimately contribute to faster loading. Also you can ditch your whole gang of SEO plugins as the premium themes have inbuilt SEO options.

Cons

1.Expensive :

The biggest factor which comes between a blogger and a premium theme is – cost. Off course, cost matter.  Price for good Premium themes usually starts from 30$ and can be as high as more than 700$. Whoa ! Well that’s true.

NOTE : You may still have to pay for the license/year for further up-coming years even if you have purchased the basic package.

2. Overloaded Features :

You may be wondering, how features can be a disadvantage of any theme. Well, read it again, I said overload of features. Usually what happens, in order to sustain the competition in the market, most of the developers (not all of them) jam-packed their themes with several features, which maybe you don’t need.

This can be considered as cons by two means :

(1.) Your theme may have higher potential for “theme bloat”.

(2.) And if the above is not the case with your theme, you are still paying for the functions and features you are never going to use.

Free WordPress Themes

The most amazing thing about free WordPress themes is ……..think-think… they are FREE. And we just love that word, don’t we ?

Pros

1. Free Of Cost :

They are free and hence everyone can use them. Okay so here is the procedure –

Download
Use
Don’t like it ?
Download another.
Use.
And the process goes on and on.

2. Right Within Your Dashboard :

Go to your dashboard > Appearance > Themes > explore the world of free WordPress themes.

3. Compatible With Most Plugins :

Ironically, free WordPress themes are highly compatible when it comes to plugins. That is why because all the themes available in the WordPress repo are certainly gone through a review process and are made to meet certain standards.

Premium themes have their own inbuilt functionality and thus the developers don’t really care about the plugin’s compatibility from outside environment.

Cons

1. Lack Top-Notch Support :

Free WordPress themes lack the top-notch support provided by the premium ones. If you have any query regarding the free theme, you are only dependable on the WP codex and and some other forums for help. Its pretty obvious that you have to wait for several days to knock-out a simple bug. I mean come-on, who will as a theme designer spend hours in playing question-answer  on support forums that don’t earn them a single penny.

2. Slow Update Cycle :

Free WordPress themes are not updated very often. As a WordPress user you should know that WordPress is all about updates. Updates are very important in order to make improvements, fix various bugs and boost security. But most of the free themes designer fails in this department.

3. Security Vulnerabilities :

Most of the premium themes are rarely up-to-date and hence more suspicious to security risk. The free themes available at WordPress them repo are maintain up to certain standard but if you download a free theme from any other source, there is fair chance that  it contain malware along with other phishing codes.

 4. Nothing Is Free :

Nothing is free . At least, not on this planet. But not everything going to cost you in dollar and bucks. And if you are using a free WordPress theme, you are already paying the price in terms of SEO, security and many other ways.

Still getting confused. Lets make it more simple for you. Ask some simple question from yourself .

  1. Are you a going to blog just for fun ?
  2. Is blogging just a hobby to you ?

If your answer to the above questions is YES, you should stick to the free WordPress themes Lets play it one more time.

Answer the questions again.

  1. Are you a serious blogger ?
  2. Do you want to expand your business on the web ?
  3. Are you going to use blogging for fame and branding ?
  4. Do you want to make money from blogging ?

If your answer for any of the above questions is YES, you should ditch your free theme and go for a premium one.

Just installed WordPress ?…So you made it! WOW for you. 

Now what Next?

Let me help you to step-up the first step towards your goal..Being Blogger,off course.

After installing the WordPress first time there are few essential settings to do,first of all.These are the basic essential settings to give a start for the process.In this post I will show you the top 10 settings you should settle right after your  fresh WordPress installation.

Top 8 Essential Settings After Fresh WordPress Installation

1. Delete Default Posts, Page & Comment :

When you install WordPress for the first time, WordPress welcomes you with some sample content which you need to delete.

  • Login to your WordPress dashboard > Posts > All Posts > Delete the default “Hello World” post.

Now,

  • Go to Pages > All Pages > Delete the sample page.

Similarly, opt the same procedure with default comment.

2. Set-up WordPress Permalink :

The default WordPress permalink structure is not SEO friendly as it does not contain any readable keywords.Default permalink structure is something like http://yourdomain.com/p=123. Lets change it to something more user as well as SEO friendly.

  • Go to Settings > Permalink > Choose the “Post name” from the given options.

3. Set The Title, Tagline, Time Zone And Date :

You can access and change these settings according to your preference under the general setting tab.

  • Go to Setting > General

TITLE : Note that your title and domain name should be same. It is not necessary but it is recommended to  your domain name and your tile should be same in order to prevent the users from getting confused.

TAGLINE : Your tagline should describe your blog .Keep it as short & precise as you can.

DATE & TIME-ZONE : Change the time and date setting according your location and preferences.

4. Disable User Registration :

If you want to enable guest-posting keep your user registration open. But do use proper measures for spams. But if you are the single author/writer or you do not need to register new people then you should disable this option.

  • Go to Setting > General Setting > Membership > Check/Uncheck > Save

5. Discourage Search Engines From Indexing Your Blog :

When you install WordPress it is in initial phase. It might take few days or possibly weeks to add content to your blog.

Lets take an example : 

During setting up your menus and pages, you created two pages for your blog but you don’t like them and delete after some time. But what if these pages are indexed by search engines already ? They will shown up in the search results and when a user go to the page url, they get 404 not found error.

To prevent this, you can stop search engines to index your content until you are not ready to publish. You can do the same by enabling the discourage search engines from indexing this site. Here is the procedure :

  • Go to Setting > Reading > Search Engines Visibility > Check : Discourage search engines from indexing this site.

6. Choosing WWW URL or Non-WWW URL :

You can choose your blog URL to start with or without www. There is no difference as well as no SEO advantages and disadvantages of these two variants. You can choose according to your choice. But choose once and don’t change the URL frequently.

REASON :

The main reason behind this is, that search engines will index your blog/site with two different URLs. The two different URLs will lead to same content and thus lead to content duplication. This can hamper your site SEO and search engine rankings.

To choose the blog URL follow the steps below :

  • Go to setting > General > WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL)

7. Change Media Setting :

Change the default image location to make your blog image URLs short and SEO-friendly. Follow these steps :

  • Go to Settings > Media  > Uploading Files : Disable Organize my uploads into month and year based folders option > Save

8. Get Rid Of Unused Themes And Plugins :

Delete the themes and plugins you are not going to use. What’s the point in having a large collection of themes and plugins you never gonna use. This not only increase the server load but some plugins can interfere with your site functioning even after deactivation. So its better to delete them right away.

These are the most essential settings to do after a fresh WordPress installation.Switch these settings as described in above steps and you are good to go to next level.

If you still have any question regarding any WordPress setting, drop a comment below.Like and share this post with your friends and help them to settle things down.

Image optimization is something which is often ignored by the web-owners specially the newbie bloggers. But when they realize the importance of image optimization on their blog, its already too late. Off course it is a herculean-task to optimize hundreds or may be thousands of images after they realize the importance of image optimization.

So you should start image optimization on your blog from the very beginning.

And if you made the mistake of not optimizing your blog images, start doing from right now.

 

How Things Work Under The Hood

Every image you add to a post or page on your blog has to be downloaded by the users from your hosting servers to their devices.

So the equation is straight forward – More the size of your image. more will be the page load time and less will be the speed of you blog.

Why Do You Need To Optimize Blog Images At All ?

There are loads of reason behind the image optimization.

  • Image optimization can increase your page load times.
  • Slow loading pages can increase your bounce rate as the user leaves your site in frustration.
  • Un-optimized and bulky images increase the size of your pages and ultimately slow down your website. Proper optimization can make a huge difference in speeding up your WordPress site.
  • Large sized and heavy images also increase your bandwidth and hence the hosting expenses.Specially if you have high traffic blog.
  • Large and un-optimized images will end up using more storage on your web-host server which can cost you more money.
  • By using proper optimization practices you can save that bandwidth and storage which ultimately save your web-hosting expenses.

According to a survey conducted by Strangeloop a one-second delay can cost you 11% fewer page views. 16% decrease in customer satisfaction and 7% decrease in sales.

How To Optimize Blog Images?

During the image optimization process you need to focus on three main factors.

    1. Image File Format.
    2. Image Dimensions.
    3. Image Compression.

In the below section you will walk through each image-properties one by one and understand their importance in image optimization. Also you will learn how to deal with these image properties to reduce image size.

1.) Image File Format

There are different types of formats available for images. Some of the most popular are JPEG, JPG, PNG, SVG, GIF image formats.While the bucket is full out there, the formats matter most to bloggers and web-masters are : JPEG(JPG), PNG and sometimes GIF.Lets have a look at them.

A) JPEG (JPG) Format :

(Best For Images With Many Colours)

JPEG is the most popular and most widely use format on the web. JPEGs are recommended for the images with lots of colours and specially digital photography.These types of images are small in size as compared to PNG format.

B) PNG Format :

(For Vector Graphics And Transparent Background)

PNG format is a lossless format which means it is uncompressed and high quality image format therefore have larger file sizes. PNG format is generally used in web-designing elements such as icons.This is specially used for achieving a transparent background effect for an image.

C) GIF Format :

(Best File Format For Animated Files)

GIF image format got in trend a few time ago and become popular in a very small time-period. The main reason behind this is its small size and comfort for animated files.It is best for low quality images which have few colour concentration and therefore have small file sizes.

Use JPEGs for images with variety and lots of colour and use PNG for simple images like screenshots, icons and buttons on your WordPress blog.

 

2.) Image Dimensions

The next thing you need deal with is image dimensions. Generally what most bloggers do is, they download a image from the web and upload it to their blog with default dimension and size.

For example :

You need a 700X300 image for your post. But you download a image which has dimensions 1200X800 and upload as it to your blog post. Now what happens is, that WordPress will load the whole image and ask the browser to squeeze it into 700X300 dimensions.

This one is the most common mistake attempted by the bloggers when it comes to images.

Off course, more the image dimensions more will be the image size.Which lead to slower page loads as your users browsers take more time to download the large & bulky images from your server.

No.. No.. No…Don’t tell me that you resize the height and width of the images in your post editor.Because that doesn’t make any difference at all. The web browsers still loads the original image with original dimensions and then it will be resized. So, your page load time is still gonna INCREASE.

So the best way to handle this problem is to resize the image dimensions before uploading it to your WordPress blog. Generally the stock images downloaded from the web are of large dimensions.

So its better to resize them before uploading and using them on you site. There are various tools online as well as offline for this purpose.

Helpful Tools :

These are some tools which can help you through this step.

Just check the content area width of your blog and resize images perfectly according to it.

You can insert images as much small as your text and as large as your whole blog area according to your requirements.But to get your image picked up social networking platforms like Facebook, Google+,Twitter and many others your image size should be 200X200 at minimum.

 

3.) Image Compression

This is the last but most important image optimization method in this tutorial.

What is image compression?

Image compression is a method to reduce the image size by removing and stripping out its unused colour profiles and unnecessary meta data (date, time, camera etc.) from images. Obliviously the quality of the image will decrease as the size decrease.

So its very important to make a proper balance between the image size and image quality. By using right combination you do not even enhance your users experience but on the other hand also save storage space and server bandwidth (which indirectly means…… money).

How To Compress Your Images To Reduce Their Size?

You can compress your images online, offline, before uploading to your blog and even after uploading to your blog.

There are are various offline tools & software you can install locally on your machine and compress your images before uploading them.

Some Offline Tools for image compression are :

There are also online tools available for image compression. The procedure is simple and similar for all. You upload an image which is to be compressed and then after processing download the reduced and light version of the image from their websites.

Some Online Tools for image compression are :

In WordPress you can also optimize and compress your images after uploading them to your blog with the help of WordPress plugins. There are tons of plugins out there in official WordPress repo, free as well as premium to accomplish this task.

Some WordPress plugins for image optimization :

 

#Interesting Fact : WordPress automatically compresses your JPEG files to 90% of its original quality, without even telling you. YUP !

Final Thoughts :

Image optimization is very important for, say —
  • saving server storage space
  • saving bandwidth
  • decreasing page load times
  • increasing your website speed.
  • user satisfaction
  • ……..seriously ! you still need more reasons. Shut Up!

So start implementing these methods on your blog images an see the difference on your own.Hope this tutorial served its purpose and educated you enough to take care of image optimization on your website/ blog.

As always, like and share this article with your near & dear ones.

If you have any question as well as any advise regarding this article, you can drop a line below in the comment section.

You can can connect with us at Facebook

Every one wants to optimize images on their WordPress sites. But sometime you need to make an exception and have to upload a high resolution image. But still you wonder why the image look pix-elated and blur after uploading on WordPress front-end.

After reading this article you will know the theory behind this.

Default WordPress JPEG Image Compression

FYI, WordPress automatically compresses JPEG images to 90% of their original size. This is the default setting which compress every image uploaded to WordPress. There is no option to change this setting from/within your WordPress admin panel.

The motive behind this is to increase your page load time and improve your site performance.

However, this is a good feature with good motive but sometimes it can be annoying for some users.

For e.g. – If you are running a photography blog and want your photos to look at their best, probably that 10% compression is going to ruin your appearance. And the irony is – sometimes users don’t even know what is happening to their image quality after uploading to WordPress.

Reason, this is working completely under the hood.

Are you still staring the title words ” Default WordPress JPEG Image Compression ”? Than you fall in that “innocent users” category.

How To Disable The Default WordPress JPEG Image Compression

If you don’t want to compromise with the quality of your images and want to snitch back that extra 10%, you can turn-off this default setting.

Copy and paste the following filter code in the functions.php file of your theme.

add_filter('jpeg_quality', function($arg){return 100;});

As we assign the value to 100, WordPress compress the image at is highest quality i.e. no compression will take place at all.

How to Increase/Decrease Image compression in WordPress

Optimized and small size images plays an important role in speeding up your page load time. If you want to increase the image compression to scrap down few extra kBs paste the following code:

add_filter('jpeg_quality', function($arg){return 85;});

Play with the value (from 1-99) to increase or decrease the compression setting. Set the return value to 100 for disable the image compression ( as explained above ).

Smaller the value more will be the compression. Similarly larger value will lead to less compression.

Note: After making any image quality changes, the images uploaded to WordPress will be compressed according to new setting. But it will not affect the existing images in your media gallery. To change the quality of images uploaded before modifying the default setting, make sure to regenerate your thumbnails.

Hope this article helped you to change your default WordPress JPEG image compression.

Ever wonder how to add a sticky sidebar widget in your WordPress blog? If YES, get ready to do it. Today I will show you,how you can create a sticky sidebar widget in WordPress.

By the way, why do want to make a sticky sidebar widget for your blog ?

… Bcoz it looks cool ?

Well, you are right. It looks pretty cool. But apart from a nice visual appearance there are many other benefits of using a floating sidebar on your blog.

Let me tell you about these advantages which you can take by using a sticky sidebar on your blog. After that, I will show you how to create a sticky sidebar widget on your blog in less than, say – 5 Minutes.

Why You Should Add A Sticky Sidebar Widget ?

A)  Promote your content:

A sticky sidebar widget is a perfect way to highlight your top content on your blog. Promote your top and most popular posts,guides or tutorials.

If a link or any element remains in front of user’s eyes (sticky) they are most likely to click it.

B) To speed up your sales and Increase Ads click-through & conversion rates:

You can increase the click through rate and conversion rate of ads and certain elements on your blog by making them sticks to your screen all the time (during scroll up-down).

This is the reason why many popular sites and blogs have floating sticky sidebars.

C) To increase your subscribers and fans:

Make your optin-forms and subscription forms sticky to increase your email-list.

Use your social media widget like twitter cards,Facebook like buttons and other social media buttons to get more hits.

D) To enhance visual appearance:

Usually the posts are lengthy and when the users scroll-down during reading white space appears on the sidebar which is visually odd. But you can utilize that waste white space by adding useful widget which sticks to your sidebar and not only add value to the user-interface but also increase the click-through-actions.

Note : Use only useful web elements or widgets on your floating sidebar. Do not use unnecessary web elements which doesn’t add any value to your users, such as Alexa Rank Widget, Search Box etc.

WordPress plugin To Make your Widget Sticky:

We are going to make the sidebar widget sticky with the help of a WordPress plugin :

Q2W3 Fixed Widget Plugin

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a free plugin which is simple and easy to use without any necessary setup-configuration.

Follow the steps given below to make this plugin fix any widget on your sidebar.

1) The first thing you need to do is to install the plugin from the official WordPress plugin repo and activate it.

2) After installation, go to your widgets section under appearance on your dashboard.

***The plugin will add a checkbox under every widget to make it sticky.

3) Now click on any widget area to explore its options.You will see an option “Fixed Widget” with a checkbox. You can fix multiple widgets in your sidebar.

4) Click on the checkbox in front of “Fixed Widget”of any widget you want to make sticky and save the settings.

5) Go to your live blog and scroll down…..(we made it ! )

Customization & Configuration:

You can also alter the position of the sticky widget by adding top and bottom margins so that it does not overlap your header or footer widget sections.

Place the widget (you want to make sticky) last/below every other widget in the sidebar, so that it does not overlap with other widgets and elements on your sidebar.

Hide On Mobile Devices

You can also disable the sticky widget disable on tablets and mobile devices.

Actually when enables on mobile devices, the fixed widget keeps fluctuating and blinking continuously. So its better to disable it on mobile and tablets devices.

Just add the minimum screen-width of device for you want to enable the plugin. When the screen-width is less than the specified value, the plugin will be disabled automatically.

Read the policies of the ad networks you are using before making the ads sticky. Some ad-networks including the giant Google AdSense does not allow this practice.

Hope this article helped you to create a floating sticky sidebar widget on your WordPress blog sidebar.

If you find this useful, like and share this article.

For any question and thought, let us know in the comment section below.

What is a CDN ?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network. A CDN is a network of strategically distributed servers all around the globe – which delivers the website’s static data based on the geographical location of the user and the content delivery server.

When someone go to your site from their browser, they have to access your hosting server in order to download your static files such as images, CSS files, videos…etc. Every user from any part of globe will be sent to your host server.

Example

Let’s break this theory into more simple words. Assume that your web host’s server is located in USA. Now every user who views your website have to access your server located in USA. Suppose, a user in South Africa tries to access your website, that too will be directed to your webhost server.

But if you are using a CDN, the user the user will be redirected to the CDN’s server located in South Africa or may be lot closer to the user. Hence by reducing the physical length between the server and the user it also reduce the network hope and packet data loss.

CDNs are are responsible for routing more than 50% of all internet traffic, globally.

Why Do You Need A CDN Service ?

The top most reason behind using a CDN service is to improve the site’s load time and thus increase the speed of your website.  Page load time plays a very important role in a website’s user-experience, search engine rankings and thus in it’s overall corporate success .

But a good CDN service also help you with some other important jobs.

What Files Can Be Hosted On A CDN ?

Most of the CDNs are used to host static resources of a website. Majority of websites are made up of static content, such as :

  1. Images
  2. CSS files/Stylesheets
  3. Javascripts
  4. Audio clips
  5. Videos
  6. Fonts …and many more.

Static resources or files are those, which does not change frequently over the time.

Static content is more ideal for caching as compare to dynamic content which change frequently over time and users base.


Pros Of Using A CDN

Speed :

By reducing the distance between the end user and the server, CDN can increase your website speed. It can also minimize the latency and internet hopes which ultimately lead to better performance.

Front End Optimization (FEO)

Front end optimization is a process of making your website content more browser-friendly and quicker to download. This process is also called content optimization.

A CDN accelerate FEO by amplifying the following areas :

  1. Multiple Requests Limit : CDN allow browsers to exceediIts multiple request limit. Browsers has a limit to total number of requests to a single domain. But a CDN practically increase this limit by providing extra domain. We will discuss this more in the following section.
  2. File Compression : A webpage is consist of a collection of Javascripts, HTML, CSS and may be other code files. More the code files to be downloaded- longer the page load time. But CDN provides automated compression of these files which result in reduced file size and thus lead to faster loading of the webpage.
  3. Image Optimization: There are two most common and effective method of image optimization.

1) Image Caching – CDN provides a perfect solution for caching your blog/website images. Sometimes, this is the sole purpose of using a CDN.

2) Image Compression — Some modern CDNs also help through image compression process. They offers you tools like progressive image rendering and let you choose between image quality and page load time.

Crash Resistance

Generally what happens, if you are not using a CDN all your users are accessing your main server. If you have huge blog traffic, this will often lead to server crashes. But if you are using a CDN service all your traffic is distributed between different servers of your CDN service. This reduce the load on your main server and thus there is less chance of server crash.

It behaves like a traffic guard which direct the incoming requested from the user in such a way that a smooth flow of data be maintained.

Enhance User Experience

As said above, A CDN service increases the speed and performance of your website and thus it will surely improve the end user experience. You can expect a decrease in the bounce rate and increase in the page reviews.

Boost SEO :

As per Google official statement, faster websites tends to rank higher in the Google search. Thus by improving your website speed, a CDN service also improve your SEO.

CDN also improve the user experience and bounce rate which also lead towards search engine optimization.

Allow Multiple Request

Usually, a web browser limits the total number of content requests to a single domain. For example : Lets say you have  2 CSS files, 6 pages and 1 video on a web page. So when a user opens that webpage on their browser, they have to make total 9 HTTP requests.

But as said above, typically a browser limit the number of requests or concurrent download to a single host server. Most of the time the number is 4. Thus when someone visit that webpage the browse will download 4 files at a time and other files will be set in queue. After anyone of the four active request complete, only then the browser will pickup the next.

This limit is imposed to avoid brutal HTTP request attacks on a single host server. However this also acts as a drawback, forcing the browser to limit the active concurrent connection request.

But if you are using a CDN service, some of your files are stored or we should say cached on different domain. This will allow browsers to make extra 4 requests per CDN.

High Capacity Infrastructures

May be you are using a best web-hosting service but there are a fair chance that it does not offers the features of CDNs services of Google, Amazon or similar brands. A good CDN offers high availability, reliability and capacity in terms of performance, speed, content-caching and up-time.

Boost Conversion & Sales

It is a proven fact that, websites with faster loading and better user experience tends to have high conversion rates than the websites with low speed. A fast loading website enhance the user experience and encourage users to try out different web elements.

Cuts Your Hosting Expenses

As explained above, a CDN distributes the load from your web-host server to its own distributed servers and thus save your bandwidth usage. Most of the web hosting provider charge on the basis of the bandwidth used by your website and hence by reducing the bandwidth usage, a CDN service can reduce your web-hosting expenses and thus saves money.

Automate Minification

Minification is a process of optimizing the code (php files, css files, javascripts etc.) specially for computers. Usually when we write code, we use spaces, comments, line-breaks to ease the readability for human. But a computer-machine can read the code without these elements. Thus in the eyes of computers, these are un-necessary elements which only increase the size of code-file, nothing else.

Minification strips-off these unessential elements from the code and thus reduce the size – upto 50%.

A good CDN service can automate the minification process for your website code-content and do the minification on your behalf.

High Level Content Caching

Caching is a process of storing the useful files on a hard drive (temporary) from where they can be accessed more rapidly/quickly by your browser. I am pretty sure that you are aware about content caching. In fact you must be using a cache plugin on your website/blog too. But this method provide caching on a small scale and also affected by some external factors, such as caching feature of browser used by your user, time period for which the cache files remain in browser’s memory etc.

But, what if the caching process is already performed before the user’s browser starts caching locally. That’s what a CDN do exactly. A CDN moves your website content to its distributed servers, from where they can be quickly accessed by your website visitors from the nearest geographical location.

*Caching is the Heart of a CDN*

A good CDN also provide you advance options and tools to control your website content caching. Some of the must have tools for cache controlling are :

  1. Purge Cache : This feature allows you to refresh all the cached content. Generally the number of purges are limited for a given period of time.
  2. Cache Status : You can set whether a file is always served from cache or vice-versa i.e. never served from cache.
  3. Cache Time Period : This option allows you to set the time period for which the files are served from cache. After that time period, the cached files are refreshed.

Handle High Traffic

There are times (good times) when your post can go viral and  your website is exposed to high traffic. In that case your web-host server gets huge request volumes and can end up in going down. Additionally, if you are using a hosting service which offers limited bandwidth, you can get penalised and thus occurs extra hosting expenses. But case is not the same – when you are using a CDN service.

CDNs servers are stable even the peak traffic hours. CDN technology distribute the high traffic across all its distributed servers. Thus your central server (hosting server) has to manage a little traffic volume on its own which can minimize the server errors, significantly.

Possible Cons Of A CDN Service

Complexity

Using an additional external service turn out to be complicated for some users, specially for the beginners. Although, modern CDN service providers are making their user-interfaces more user-friendly but still there are a fair chance for beginners to get overwhelmed by tons of features.

Some good CDN providers also provides plugins for easier setup and control.

Cost

Another downside of using a CDN service is the cost associated with it. Some of the best CDN providers in the market have high setup fees and also potential hidden charges. Most of the paid CDN service providers charge on the basis of amount of visitors (your website traffic) and the number of requests for the resources on your website/blog. Sometimes the CDN costs even exceed the hosting expenses.

Thus using a paid CDN service is only justified if your blog or website,itself, support it financially.

If your blog is not earning enough to withstand CDN expenses, it is always better and wiser to opt for a free CDN service.

Blocked Access

Every country has its own legal, political and commercial boundaries and barrier for outside/foreign elements. Some countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria are known for imposing restriction on internet and data use. Any country can block certain domain or I.P. addresses of any website or a CDN service. Reason may include spamming and many other issues. In this case all your website resources hosted on the CDN-domain extensions does not load, Thus, result in broken website or undesired behaviour of website for the users of that country or region.

Security

However rare, but there are some possible security breaches when it comes to public CDN. When a remotely hosted file is requested, information about the referrer also sent, which can be risky if security is a major concern for you. The remotely hosted java-scripts can be altered and modified to store user’s and system’s data information.

Versioning Of Cached Files

Managing the right and latest version of cached files is major challenge for webmasters while using a CDN service. There are possibilities that instead of latest changes and files your website is loading the old cached version of files. This situation can be avoided by setting an appropriate time period for cache refreshment and using modern features like purge-cache.

Difficulty In Development

Development can be difficult if you are a developer and developing offline. If you are using a CDN service, some of essential files might be hosted on CDN and hence, you don’t have their local copies. You need a constant internet connection to fulfil your development needs as a link to a CDN file won’t work if you are offline.However this is only a issue for developer working offline and not for every-day-bloggers.

Dependence On Third Party Hosting

Using a CDN service is like using a extra hosting service where some of your essential content is stored. Your website will not depend on a single web-host’s server but, instead, it depends the servers of both your webhost and the CDN service you are using. Practically, it creates a “two point failure” for your website.

As said above, by using a CDN service you need to deal with extra host in terms of trust, support, availability of service, up-time, expenses, managing control and on many other aspects.

Failure

However there are rare chances when a CDN service goes down, but they are still there. Generally CDN companies have strong and reliable server-infrastructures but they are not 100% infallible. Maybe rare, but there is always a possibility for failure. In case of failure of a CDN’s data-center , there is not much you can do about it, but wait until the service get resume.

However, modern CDN services provides features like fail-over (fall back) technique to redirect the requests for local resources if the CDN service is not available but then, you would loose the CDN advantages and additionally these method requires further development and thus increase complexity.

Partial Loss Of Control

By moving some of your website data to the servers of third-party CDN service, you loose a direct control over that data. You cannot directly control or edit that content without going through the CDN environment.

Inappropriate Geo-Location Of CDN servers Can Worsen The Scenario

The whole CDN thing’s functioning depends upon the geo-location of its distributed servers. If the location of your CDN’s servers are near to your target traffic, CDN can increase your website’s performance significantly. But in the worst case, the situation can be completely apposite to it. Meaning, if your CDN’s servers are located at inappropriate geo-location relative to  your user’s location, this may result in low speed and increased page load time.

Let’s take an example : Suppose your web-hosting server located in US. But you are using a CDN service which does not have any server in US but the nearest CDN server to US is in, say Italy. Now what happen, when a user access your website from US, the request will be redirected to the CDN’s Italy server. Hence, instead of increasing speed it will increase the page load time of your website.

Thus it is recommended that you should verify the locations of servers offered by CDN providers and choose the one which fits best relative to your user’s locations.

Should You Use A CDN ?

Oh..hell yeah !

The advantages of using a CDN is far more than the disadvantages. If you rad the tutorial carefully, you must have noticed that the CDN’s disadvantages are only active in certain situations otherwise. Most of them are potential drawbacks and only comes into effect in rare conditions.

Further, these drawbacks can be dominated by using proper techniques.

Thus you can use CDN and improve your website’s overall performance.

Top CDN Service Providers In The Market 2016

Now that you have learned the importance of a CDN service, you must agree that a CDN service for your blog/website is not an option anymore – it is a necessity.

Step-up a little ahead, I have created a list of top CDN service provider on the web, categorised on the basis of free and premium services offered by them.

1. CloudFlare

CloudFlare is one of the most popular and most trusted CDN service provider in the market, specially when it comes to free alternatives. If you are looking for free CDN, CloudFlare is your deal. I recommend it specially for the newbie bloggers as it is really easy to setup and also have a custom WordPress plugin. It also easily integrates with some of the popular WordPress cache plugins. According to them a website using CloudFlare  on average load 2x faster, use 65% less bandwidth and have 65% less request.

They also offers premium package which includes features like mobile-optimization, multi-user access, 24X7 customer support ..etc.

CloudFlare uses a technology called Anycast to redirect your website’s visitors to the nearest located server.

  • Data Centers :  76 Data Centre across the globe.
  • Free trial: Basic Free Plan (Lifetime)
  • Trusted By : DigitalOcean, Cisco, ZenDesk
  • Pricing: $20 per month for first website and then $5 for any other addition.
  • Plugin Integration: Plugin Available For WordPress.

2. JsDelivr

When it comes to WordPress almost every theme uses Javascripts files and codes. Additionally, when you use some custom Javascripts  on your blog, you have to host them too. Same is the case with font and CSS files.That’s where JsDelivr CDN might come handy.

  • Data Centers :  91 POP locations spread across the globe.
  • Supported By : CloudFlare & MaxCDN
  • Pricing : Free
  • Plugin Integration : Plugin Available For WordPress.

3. CoralCDN

CoralCDN (originally a MIT project) is a P2P (peer-to-peer) based CDN service. This is a absolutely a free service. The reason behind being a free service is the P2P network technology. P2P networks relies on the billion of computers connected across the web.

  • Pricing : Free
  • Plugin Integration : Plugin Available For WordPress.

4. Incapsula

Incapsula is a perfect combo for speed and security. They are known for their advance security protection and advance CDN acceleration system. Uniquely, they provide caching for both static and dynamic content which is normally not offers by other CDNs out there.

  • Data Centers : 28 Data Centre across the globe.
  • Free trial : Basic Free Plan
  • Features : Global CDN, Powerful Dashboard, Website Security, Server Load Balancing,DDoS Protection & Failover Technique.
  • Pricing : Premium Plans starts from $19 per month
  • Plugin Integration : Plugin Available For WordPress.
  • API : Also provides an API for companies and enterprises.

5.MaxCDN

MaxCDN is certainly one of the best CDN services. It is trusted by some of the biggest sites and popular blogs. They offers the best CDN service for almost every platforms – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, OpenCart, PrestaShop… to name a few.

MaxCDN offers a quick and easy integration with W3 Total Cache plugin.

  • Free trial : Available
  • Reputed Clients : WP Engine, BuySellAds, Nissan, StumbleUpon, JQuery, The Next Web, The Washington Times
  • Pricing : starts at $9/month
  • Plugin Integration : Plugin Available For WordPress

 

6. JetPack Photon

Well if you only want to speed-up your website by making the delivery of your images blazingly fast – JetPack photon might be your best bet. Let me tell you that, this is not a complete CDN service. But if you want to host your images on the global WordPress.com cloud you should consider it.

This service is provided by WordPress.com and you can also use it on self hosted blog with the help of JetPack plugin. There are 99.9% chance that you are already using Jetpack plugin. Just go to it’s photon module and activate it.

Note : One downside of using Photon is that your images are cached “forever”. If you want to refresh an image you will need to change the name of the image to make sure the new version is displayed to your visitors.

  • Pricing : Free
  • Plugin : JetPack By AUTOMATTIC.

7. KeyCDN

When it comes to cutting edge technology and features, KeyCDN hold a special place in the CDN market. It offers easy integration for WordPress users through some popular cache plugins. Further it offers a detailed user dashboard and real time website-analytics.

  • Free trial : 30-days (25GB ) Without Credit Card
  • Pricing : $0.04/first 10TB
  • Plugin Integration :  Through WP Super Cache, Zencache & W3 Total Cache plugin

 

8. RackSpace

Rackspace is the top choice for many large enterprises. This is a solid solution for websites with huge traffic and bandwidth diet. As Rackspace market, they write and maintain three copies of each data files to ensure 100% reliability. They are responsible for routing 20% to 30% of all internet traffic, globally.

  • Free trial : NO
  • Features : 200 global edge locations globally, pay-as-you-go pricing plans, guaranteed 99.9% up-time
  • Pricing : Starting from $0.10/GB per month
  • Reputed Clients : Facebook,Twitter.

 

9. CacheFly

CacheFly is one of the most expensive and most reliable CDN service on the web. They claims to deliver your site’s content 10x faster to your users. They offer 100% money back guarantee if they fail to deliver 100% network availability.

  • Free trial : 30 Days Free Trial
  • Features : 200 global edge locations globally, pay-as-you-go pricing plans, guaranteed 99.9% up-time
  • Pricing : start at $99 a month
  • Reputed Clients : Microsoft, Adobe, LG, Twit, Toyota, Honda, Add This and Bank of America

 

10.  CDN77

CDN77 emerges very fast in the CDN market despite from the fact that this service is only three year old. They provide pay-as-you-go plans for medium sized websites as well as high volume plans for giant businesses.

Specially, they are best solution for video and gaming and software websites for un-interrupted streaming and content delivery.

  • Data Centers : 31 data centers in 26 countries
  • Trusted By  : phpMyAdmin, Hubble, Wizz, Centos
  • Features : Real time bandwidth, traffic, and cost graphs, Hotlink protection 24/7 support
  • Free trial : 14 days trial
  • Pricing: pay-as-you-go / custom plans
  • Plugin Integration : Through WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache plugin

 

Before Choosing A Paid CDN Service……

Ask Yourself..?

Does the amount of bandwidth you save by using a CDN dominates the cost of  CDN service ?

If yes you should use a paid CDN service. But if your blog does not support the CDN expenses, it is preferable to use a free CDN service.

Things You Should Consider Before Choosing A CDN Service

Pricing Plans

If you are opting for a premium CDN service, check whether the CDN provider offers a fixed monthly plan or charge on pay-as-you-go basis. Be sure to research properly before getting into a paid contract. Communicate with the staff to make sure there is no hidden charges or policies. Most of the CDN services offers free trial period. Give it a try before purchasing the service.

24×7 Support & Easy Set-up

No matter if you are an experienced webmaster or a newbie blogger, a reliable customer support system is must. A good CDN service must offer easy setup and 24/7 support. Make sure your CDN provide have this.

Also check whether they provide plugin integration for your platform. Plugins can make your life lot easier, specially if you are a beginner and on the same time, can save your both time and energy.

Preferences

What are your website’s preferences and needs ? What type of content you host on your site ? Every website has different content and thus different needs. Choose your CDN according to your website’s needs. For example :

If you run a video streaming, software download, or gaming site : you should consider services like CDN77.

If you want to host Javasripts libraries : check out services like JsDelivr.

If you want a simple and hassle free method for hosting your blog images : Use JetPack Photon.

Verify Locations Of CDN Data Centers

It is also important to check whether the CDN service has servers in your target countries or not. This make no sense to use a CDN which has no servers located near your audience base. So analyse your traffic sources and your user’s geo-graphical location ( Use tools like Google Analytics). List these location and check whether your CDN have servers distributed over those locations.

Custom Page Template(s) add more flexibility to WordPress. They do not only enhance user experience but also enhance the value of content displayed within them. They make the content stand out from rest of your website.

Do you come across any website which is using custom page templates ? Want to use on your blog too ?

You have observed that some blogs or websites have different page layouts for a different section of the blog/website. For example : A full with Thank You page or a About Us page with different fonts and color background or a page with specific ads or widget in the sidebar.

Let me tell you the little secret behind this. You can change the design and layout of pages easily by assigning different page templates to them.

How to Select Page template for A Page

You can easily assign a page template for your page right from the page editor. Just look for the “Page Attributes” box in the right sidebar. Usually, it is under the Publish box.

Page Attributes box offers you three options :

1. Choose Parent Page

2. Select Page Template

3. Select Page Order

Click on the Template option and you will be presented with a dropdown list of page template available on your theme. Select the one you want to choose for your page and your page layout will change according to the template you choose.

What is a page template ?

Page Template :

A page template defines the layout of your web-pages and the position of other blog elements ( header, sidebar, footer etc.) around the page.

Generally, what happens, there is a default page template provided in every theme called page.php . Whenever you create a page on your WordPress blog, the default page template is assigned to it.

But not all pages on a blog are similar. Some pages have specific content and information.So by tweaking the layout and design of these pages, you can make them stand out from your regular pages – more unique and more useful. This is where “ Custom Page Template ” comes into the game.

So by tweaking the layout and design of these pages, you can make them stand out from your regular pages – more unique and more useful.

This is where “ Custom Page Template(s) ” comes into the game.

However, some themes come with more than one default page templates, which generally includes a authors-page or full-width page.But if your theme does not have these page templates by default or you want to create more customized page templates for your blog – you can create as many templates as you want.

There are no limits how many templates you can use on your blog.

What is a Custom Page Template

Custom Page Template :

A custom page template is specially designed for a special or certain type of page category.

For example, you can remove sidebar from your contact us page and add a Google map to it or you can show specific sidebar-widgets on a specific page type.

You can create a separate template for your special post-types. By doing this, you can create a unique experience for your users.

Here are some more applications of custom pages :

  • Use a different header on a specific page.
  • Change the font and background color of a page.
  • Add a Google map on your contact us page.
  • Create a custom portfolio page.
  • Rip-off sidebar from your About Us page.

Tools You Need To Get Started

Before getting started,  you need some tools which will be used during the process.
1.) FTP Client ( For example : FileZilla )
2.) Text Editor ( For example : Notepad or TextPad )

OR

1.) Control Panel Access (File Manager ) e.g. – cPanel

Text editor such as Notepad (Windows) or TextWrangler  (Mac) will be used to edit the page template file and FTP client will be used to upload the file to your WordPress theme folder.

However, if your web-hosting company has a control panel which allows you to edit the WordPress database directly, you can use that option instead.

If you are using HostGator hosting on your blog, you can login to their cPanel and navigate to the File Manager tab.You can edit your WordPress content from there.

I suggest you to use a child theme for making customization in your WordPress theme. If you do not use a child theme , you should start using one on your blog.

Do not know what are child themes and why they are so important ?

Read the below article to learn about them in detail.


How To Create  A Custom Page Template ?

Creating a custom page template for your blog is not so difficult as it sounds. You do not have to write the full code for your custom template. You can easily get started by simply copying your default page content and pasting it inside your new custom page template.

Don’t worry I will show you how you can do this – step by step.

First, we will create a template file in WordPress theme directory and after that, we will edit and add content (code) to the template.

Creating A Custom Page Template File

If you are using FTP Method :

1) Open text editor application (like Notepad) on your computer and select a new file.

2) Add the following comment block (code) to the top of the blank file :

 
<?php /* Template Name: MyCustomTemplate*/ ?>

This code indicates that this file is a page template and hence help WordPress to recognize it properly.

Your template name can be anything. It’s totally up to you. However, I suggest you, give a logical name to your template.

For example, if you are creating a page template for your Contact Us page simply name it ContactUs. It will help you to easily recognize the right template for the right page.

3) After adding the above code to the file save it as – mycustompage.php. Again, you can save the file by any name but make sure to add a suffix  .php – in the end.

4) Now connect to your website using FTP client. Navigate to :

…/wp-content/themes/your-theme

5) Now upload the file to your WordPress theme folder.

If you are using control panel (cPanel)

1) Login to your control panel and navigate to File Manager.

2) Select your domain name directory. Navigate to :

…. /wp-content/themes/your-theme.

3) Now add a new file inside your theme directory. Name it something like : mycustompage.php . As explained above, you can name it anything you want but make sure it ends with a .php extension.

4) Now right click on the new template file and select Edit.

5) Add the following line of code into it :

<?php /* Template Name: MyCustomTemplate*/ ?>

That’s it, save the file.

At this stage, if you login to your WordPress dashboard and go to>> edit a page or create a new page >> page attributes box >> Template.

You will see your newly created template in the dropdown list.

But if you will assign this template to a page and open that page in the browser – you will see nothing but a blank page.

This is because we did not add any content to our page template and thus WordPress does not understand what to display.

Let’s do it now.

Add/Edit Custom Page Template

As said above, you can start by simply copying the existing default page template of your theme and paste its content in your newly created custom template’s file.

If you are using FTP method :

1) Connect to your FTP client. Go to your theme directory (/wp-content/themes/your-theme).

In your current theme’s folder, look for page.php . Right click on the file and download it to your computer.

2) Now open the downloaded file in any text editor (Notepad or TextPad) .

It will look something like this :-

<?php
 /**
  * The template for displaying all pages.
  *
  * This is the template that displays all pages by default.
  * Please note that this is the WordPress construct of pages and that other
  * 'pages' on your WordPress site will use a different template.
  *
  * @package WordPress Theme
  * @author WPBlogCafe
  * @copyright Copyright (c) 2015
  * @link http://www.wpblogcafe.com
  * @since 1.0.0
  */ 
get_header(); ?>

 <?php get_template_part( 'partials/page/thumbnail' ); ?>

 <div class="wpex-content-area wpex-clr">

 <main class="wpex-site-main wpex-clr">

 <?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

 <?php get_template_part( 'partials/layout-page' ); ?>

 <?php endwhile; ?>

 </main><!-- .wpex-site-main -->

 </div><!-- .wpex-content-area -->

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

3) Copy all its content except the header part (at the top)

Why we eliminate the header part ?

We remove the header part because we already assign one to our custom template.

<?php /* Template Name: MyCustomTemplate*/ ?>

That’s why we do not copy the default page header code.

4) Now open your custom page template file in the text editor again and paste it under the header code.

Your template will look something like this :

<?php /* Template Name: MyCustomTemplate*/ ?>

<?php get_header(); ?>

 <?php get_template_part( 'partials/page/thumbnail' ); ?>

 <div class="wpex-content-area wpex-clr">

 <main class="wpex-site-main wpex-clr">

 <?php while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>

 <?php get_template_part( 'partials/layout-page' ); ?>

 <?php endwhile; ?>

 </main><!-- .wpex-site-main -->

 </div><!-- .wpex-content-area -->

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

<?php get_footer(); ?>

5) Save the file and upload it back to your theme folder using FTP client.

If you are using control panel :

1) Log in to your control panel and open File Manager.

2) Navigate to : /wp-content/themes/your-theme

3) Find the page .php file and right click on it.  Select Edit.

4) Copy all content except the header part (as shown in above image)

5) Now go to your custom page template >> click edit and paste the content below the header comment.

Hit Save.

If you now go to your browser and visit the page ( which you have assigned your custom page template) you will now see a normal web page instead of blank page. However, this page will look exactly similar to your regular/default pages.

That’s obvious because we simply copy-paste the code from the default template to our custom page template.

Now let’s say, you want to remove sidebar from that page. You can do this by simply eliminating the following line of code from your custom page template :

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>

After removing the above comment save your changes.

Now again visit your page( created with custom page template). This time, you will see that there is no sidebar on the web page. This is a simple example.Similarly, you can remove or add elements to your custom page templates.

For example, you can embed an opt-in form or subscription form below the page content. In that way, every page created with your custom page template will have a subscription form under the page content.

Same is the case with custom fields. Just add the custom field function inside a page template to call-out the specific custom field. Now every time you assign that template to a page, you will see the respective function on that page.

We have covered almost every basic detail about custom page template(s), their uses & creation, yet if you still have any doubt about any part of this tutorial, you can always drop a comment below.

If you found this article helpful – Do like and share my efforts.

When a user arrives to your website, the first thing noticed by the user is your site layout and design. And your website design and layout majorly depends on the theme you are using. So, basically themes are responsible for your website’s visual appearance on the web.

When it comes to themes on WordPress platform, there are thousands of free and paid themes available on WordPress repository and third-party sites.

But every blogger and site owner has its own taste and preferences. May be you want to change some layout or some function of your blog theme. Luckily, on WordPress you can modify your theme easily with some basic HTML and CSS knowledge.

As explained in the above section, you can modify your theme and make some changes to tweak its layout and design. But if you update your theme after making these modifications, all your changes will be wash away.

Yup..GONE !

That’s from where this term “Child Theme” comes actually.

To tackle this problem and preserve the modification and custom changes, child themes are used,

What Is A WordPress Child Theme ?

WordPress Child Theme is basically an add-on theme that inherits all the styling, functions, code and functionality from the main theme called the parent theme.

Child themes are used by the theme developers as well as by bloggers who wants to experiment and modify their themes.

You can create child theme of any WordPress theme whether paid or free, no matter.

How A Child Theme Works Actually ?

Let us assume that you are using a child theme on your blog. Now when your website loads on user’s browser, WordPress will check your child theme first. If any custom changes and modified files are found – they will be loaded. Any other missing file will be loaded from the parent theme.

In simple words, you only use those files and templates in your child theme which you want to modify. All other files and code will be pulled from the parent theme. No need to re-write the whole theme-files.

As a child inherits his/her genes from his parents, similarly the child theme inherits its functioning from the parent theme.

Why Use A Child Theme On Your WordPress Blog ?

As explained in above section, child themes increase the flexibility of the parent (main) theme.

You can even add those style and template which are not included in the parent theme by default.

Some of the reasons behind, why  you should be using a child theme are explained below.

#Easy & Safe Updates

You can update your theme easily and safely without losing your custom modifications.Your changes and modifications will remain preserved and safe, even after updating your theme.

When you update a theme in WordPress, all the files are replaced with new files. Hence, any modification you have made will be wash away with the old files.

As all the modifications will be made in child theme, you can update your theme (parent) safely. All your modifications will remain intact. Because you never really modifies the original piece at all.

#Extend Functionality & Flexibility

With the help of child themes you can add extra function and flexibility to your WordPress theme.

You can add/create :

  • custom page templates
  • custom footer credits
  • custom fields
  • extra functions

– all with the help of child themes.

#Easy To Restore

Dealing with codes can be very annoying sometimes.

Just misplace a small “semicolon” from its place and boooom...your blog will crash the very next moment.

But if you are using a child theme, dealing with the problem become a lot easier. Just deactivate the child theme and your blog will shine again.

After correcting the code in the child theme, you can activate it again.

#Organize All Modifications In A Neat-&-Clean Way

Modifying the original theme files can be very messy as there are thousands lines of long and complex code.

A modern WordPress theme consist of bunch of different files ( PHP files, HTML files, CSS files, Javascripts etc.) Now, what happens generally – you make different changes to different files, some here-some there.

Tracking back all these codes of lines is not-so-easy. Organizing and maintaining your changes becomes difficult.

But if you use a child theme, all the changes will be in a separate set of files (child theme’s folder) with neat and modified code only.

If you use a child theme – all your modifications can be found in your child theme’s files. Easy to manage, easy to locate.

#Stay Safe – Always

While using child theme, you will always have a backup – parent theme.

If you skip some code for something while editing your child theme, don’t worry, WordPress will pick those missing files and code from the parent theme. Just focus on the files you want to modify and rest will be extracted from the parent theme.

You can learn and experiment with child themes safely. If anything goes wrong, you can turn off the child theme and switch back to the original theme anytime.

#Easy To Create

Child themes are really easy to create. You do not need to add all the files as there in a complete original theme. You just need to add and edit your modifications. No fuss, no muss.

Any Questions ? 

Drop a comment below.

themeforest is the #1 marketplace for wordpress themes. but there is a lot of theme with a lot of features. we have gathered a list of top 4 wordpress themes sold in themeforest which have been used by myself and recommend. these are themes developed by some of the most skilled developers and these are being updated regularly to keep them compatible with latest wordpress updates and keep your blog more secure. take a look…

1) Avada

Developed by ThemeFusion and used by more than half a million blogs worldwide. you can build your own style with this theme, which mean you are not limited to certain style created by the developer. compose your own unique blog style with the #1 sold theme in the world.

Buy | Demo

2) Higher Place

This is my personal favorite. very affordable at $19 and provides a lot more options than the most premium wordpress themes. you can create unlimited blog styles with it’s own home styles and kingcomposer plugin. we give this theme 10/10 for being very professional, clean and affordable.

Buy | Demo

3) Newsmag

ever wondered which theme used in this blog webhostingblog.com ? it’s Newsmag from themeforest by tagDiv. it’s a very flexible and customizable theme offering many pre-build demos so you can install within the theme control panel. great theme for a news / magazine style blog.

Buy | Demo

 4) Newspaper

Newspaper is a theme by the same developer in #3 Newsmag. looks similar to newsmag theme as well but offer different features for different webmasters. we highly recommend these theme by tagDiv because they look good and best off all, less bugs. a lot of developers don’t keep up with wordpreess updates or fixing bugs, security issues. but these developers do. besides tagDiv provides great technical support for their products. you can buy with confidence. 100% recommended.

Buy | Demo