WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017

In this post, we round up the most cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins added to the WordPress Plugin Directory from July to December of 2017. This roundup includes our top picks from each month so you’ll have a “best of” recap of our favorite new plugins.

1. Postmenu

The Postmenu plugin allows you to duplicate/clone posts, pages, menus or menu links (items of menu). Easily add your posts or pages to the menus and control who can see the content on the web using “User Roles” in the menu.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • An incredibly powerful plugin that does a number of useful admin tasks.
  • Adds 3 options to the post/page list:
    • Duplicate – copies the post/page as is with –copy appended to the title
    • Advanced Duplicate – specify the new title, slug and other items to be copied
    • Menu Link – opens a UI to the menu editor right in the post/page list
  • Also adds Duplicate, Duplicate and Edit, and Advanced Duplicate to the Add New button in the post/page editor
  • On the Settings > Postmenu page:
    • Control where the postmenu functions are displayed and what roles can access them
    • Duplicate full menus

2. WP Pexels

wp pexels plugin

The WP Pexels plugin helps you search millions of free photos from pexels.com then insert into content or set as featured image very quickly.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Pexels.com is a free stock art website with some excellent images
  • Super easy setup – just activate the plugin. It adds a button in the WordPress editor
  • Not the most intuitive interface, but not bad either.
  • Search for your image – pagination is handled by a drop down (not the best UI)
  • Select your image and you get three options
    • Insert – inserts the image into the page or post directly from Pixabay (does not add it to the media library)
    • Save & Insert – saves the image to your media library and inserts the image into the page or post (only available in the Pro Version – $ 15)
    • Featured – saves the image to the media library and sets it as featured image.
  • Similar plugin available from same author for Pixabay, but limited to 640px images.

3. WP YouTube Video Optimizer

The WP YouTube Video Optimizer plugin gives you the ability to optimize the YouTube videos on your website. By default, if you use the direct embed code, then it downloads the YouTube player on every occurrence of a YouTube video. This plugin shows a video thumbnail to your viewer and loads the YouTube video only when the user clicks the play icon.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Could dramatically increase page load speed on pages containing videos.
  • Lots of shortcode parameters available and well explained on the plugin page.

4. Snippy

Use the Snippy plugin to quickly create your own custom shortcodes. A Snippy shortcode is built by combining bits. A bit can be a file, like a Stylesheet or a Script, or a piece of code, like HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The “code” bits can contain placeholders, which are automatically made accessible as shortcode attributes.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Super helpful plugin to set up shortcodes without having to get into PHP.
  • Create buttons, reusable calls to action and more simply.
  • A powerful way to customize a site for a client.

5. Media Library Organizer

The Media Library Organizer plugin is a simple, effective WordPress plugin that allows you to categorize and search images, video and other media in your WordPress Media Library.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A very handy plugin if your site has lots of media files.
  • Remembers user preferences on sorting and sort order.

6. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

The Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin allows you to resize, optimize and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher, brought to you by WPMU DEV.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Probably the best image optimizer for WordPress.
  • Image compression is offloaded to the WPMU servers so your site isn’t affected.
  • Recently directory smushing has been added to handle images outside the media library too … pretty sweet.

7. Admin Select Box To Select2

Admin Select Box To Select2

The Admin Select Box To Select2 plugin is used to convert all simple select boxes to select2.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Adds a searchable box to the top of all standard select boxes in the WordPress admin.
  • Can be very helpful if you have long lists of taxonomies or dates that you need to quickly filter through.

8. Classic Editor The First of (Probably) Many Gutenberg Replacements

wordpress classic editor plugin

The Classic Editor plugin restores the previous Edit Post screen and makes it possible to use the WordPress plugins that extend it, add old-style meta boxes or otherwise depend on the previous editor.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • This plugin allows you to turn off the Gutenberg WordPress editor entirely or use the classic editor on only certain pages or posts.
  • Uses Add New (Classic) and Edit (Classic) in a mixed use scenario.
  • Checkbox to turn off Gutenberg is under Settings > Writing.

9. Tabify Edit Screen

tabify edit screen plugin

With the Tabify Edit Screen plugin, you can make your post edit screen easier to navigate and manage by creating a set of tabs.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • It may take a moment to see how this plugin works, but once you do, it offers some splendid customization options for the page and post editor screens.
  • Move metaboxes to tabs within the settings screen.
  • Works for custom post types.
  • Control who can see tabs based on role.

10. Install FitVids – Embed fluid width Videos

The Install Fitvids plugin allows you to add responsive video embeds on your blog.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • The ability to oEmbed videos from YouTube and other media by simply placing the URL on its own line in the content is a nice feature of WordPress.
  • However, embedded videos are usually smaller than the content width and may not look fantastic as a result. And changing the width can be confusing for some.
  • This plugin installs the FitVid javascript which will automagically make all your videos go full width.

11. WP Optin Wheel


The WP Optin Wheel plugin can help grow your email list by offering your visitors a chance to win a coupon, or link through spinning the wheel of fortune. Users have reported that their signup rate increased by 20%!

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Creative way to increase mailing list signups.
  • Only available as a pop-up in free version. Pro version offers more options.
  • Pro version of WP Optin Wheel available starting at €35/year for one site.

12. WP Shapes

With the WP Shapes plugin, you can add a transparent image using a shortcode and make the inline content wrap around the images on one side left or right. Content looks in a shape based on the image.

Nathan’s Notes:

Watch the Webinar: WordPress Plugin Roundup – Best of July – December 2017

This post is based on the Best of July – December 2017 Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan demonstrates how to use each of these plugins so you can get a better idea of how they work. Check out the entire series of monthly WordPress Plugin Roundup posts here & register for the next Plugin Roundup webinar here.

The post WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017 appeared first on iThemes.


Tips To Optimize Your WordPress Blog

As we know that wordpress is mostly used as a content management system & the main reason of its popularity is that it is very user friendly. The person who is not a webmaster can also use this content management system. And moreover, wordpress is free & open source CMS. It includes all the CMS Web Development features. The main features of this CMS are its plug-ins & themes. More than 12% share among the biggest websites in the world on internet is having wordpress as CMS. As everything is nice about this CMS, but as we know the a good things is always has some problems also .The same is with wordpress. The main problem with wordpress is that, it is resource sucker. This is because when more & more plug-ins & complicated themes are added in this then there happens a problem of high CPU server load & memory usage. This can also be when there is high traffic in the website. Due to heavy load in server your account can be suspended & you may lost all visitors & this will be very bad for your website SEO. To overcome all these problems your wordpress developer should be very experienced.

If you are handling your wordpress blog by yourself then, it is very necessary to optimize your wordpress Blog. And for that you have to pay attention on the following tips.

1) Just minimize the plug-ins if you are using so many. And if you are using plug-ins then keep one thing in your mind that these plug-ins should be highly recommended. Highly recommended means highly rated & most downloaded plug-ins & also live plug-ins.

2) Always use the themes which are simple to use & easy to read and also related to your targeted niche .Otherwise having complicated themes there will be server load & it will create a big problem to your website.

3) If you are using any kind of unnecessary script then delete it. Never use unnecessary scripts.

4) Use cache mechanism to to keep your content safe. There are many plug-ins to do caching. Use those plug-ins. But again remember that there should be some recommended plug-ins only. Like Database caching, Page caching, Memory caching, Object caching. So, only recommended Plug-ins should be installed.

5) For your images take another host site that will also reduce the server CPU load. Otherwise having so many visitors and then images can do big loss to your site. Beside imagine,it is better to host CSS & Javascript files also.

6) Optimize your database regularly and also backup regularly when you have lots of data in your MySql database, because it is very necessary to optimize your database.

7)It will be better if you buy small or medium size VPS(virtual private server) to overcome the load on your server CPU. And later as website will grow then add more resources in it as required.

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Cymbals 101

Cymbals are some of the basic percussive instruments for musicians. These metallic disks are round, and make an indefinite pitch when played. Cymbals are used in a variety of genres and in bands of many sizes from a full sized orchestra, to a three man rock band to a high school marching band.

The average drum kit uses at least three cymbals: the suspended cymbal and two hi-hat cymbals. Some of the most trusted brands in cymbal manufacturing are Zildjian cymbals, Sabian cymbals and Meinl cymbals. These cymbal purveyors are likely to start off a beginner’s kit right.

A suspended cymbal, one of the important additions to a drum kit, is a horizontal cymbal that creates a “crash.” These cymbals should be played with sponge or cord wrapped mallets, and are a favorite among drummers for their sharp notes when struck and spooky notes when played quietly. Drummers use the suspended cymbal to create the tremolo, or drum roll. The suspended cymbal is usually used in tandem with the bass drum, because the instruments combine high and low frequencies loudly.

The hi-hat cymbal is played by striking the foot petal and the foot petal at the same time. Two cymbals are mounted one on top of the other cymbal, with a rod that connects the cymbals to the foot petal. The bottom cymbal never moves, while the foot petal moves the top cymbal, with each press of the petal causing a collision between the two plates. The cymbals are easily adjusted for different heights. Changing the tension of the unit can alter the tone of the hi-hat cymbal.

The anatomy of the cymbal dictates the sound it creates. Suspended cymbals and hi-hat cymbals alike feature a hole in the center used to mount the cymbal. The raised area that surrounds this mounting place is called a bell, cup, or dome. This section of the cymbal creates a higher pitch when played. The area beyond the dome is called a bow, and is separated into the ride and crash areas. The ride area is the thicker area of the bow, closer to the dome, and it creates a deeper sound than the crash area. The crash area is the thinner edges, and these create a higher pitched sound.

When choosing a cymbal, keep thickness in mind. Thick cymbals are louder and deeper, and can maintain a sound for longer. They will be heavier, create a more crisp sound, and are easier to play. A thin cymbal sounds more full than a thick cymbal, and responds more quickly to being played.

Some of the smallest cymbals, the crotales, are based on designs of ancient cymbals. Cymbals found in Egyptian tombs were much smaller than normal cymbals, and produced a specific note when played. These cymbals are thicker, creating a sound that is much higher than the sound of normal cymbals. The timbre of the crotale is completely different than normal cymbals, sounding similar to hand bells when struck on the side.

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Motherboard Components 101

If you ever took an Information Technology class in your life, then the word motherboard should not be foreign to you. Many regard it as the central nervous system of a computer and just like what the analogy suggests, without the central nervous system, the human body would seize to exist and so without the motherboard in full-swing operation, that computer would seize to be useful! But is that all we are able to tell off hand about a motherboard? Considering that it is such an essential component of a computer system and more importantly, so prevalent in many households, shouldn’t the average Joe be able to tell how it looks, its basic functions and capabilities? Yes!

But the average Joe has no idea where to start to learn about the motherboard, and the search engines all prove to be much ado about nothing! So what’s the next option? Well, how about our great little crash course that you have already started, which might I add is on the house! So let us take you from the dungeons of “No Computer Knowledge”, to a place where terms like CPU, RTC and RAM all seem like a part of your native vocabulary!

So what’s the first thing a computer dummy would need to know about a system’s motherboard components? Well, a definition of a motherboard would be helpful! Certainly, it is the main circuit board of a computer which comprises of many components, mainly the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and the chipsets. Additionally, there exist sockets, memory chips and a clock generator that all work hand in hand in the daily operation of one’s computer system. A bit flustered with the above mentioned terms? Why would you when these all will be explained in a jiffy!

But first it should not be mistaken that the motherboard is limited to only computers, as it is also found within electronic devices such as stop-watches, mobile phones as well as clocks! Yes, I know what you’re saying now; all motherboards and more importantly, motherboard components are not the same size due to the devices in which they are placed! See, you’re learning already!

Now, back to our regular programming, the CPU or as it is more commonly known, the processor (like in those Dell ads, ‘the Intel processor’), is a key component of a computer system that contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions. In essence, the CPU performs mathematical and logical operations through the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) and the CU (Central Unit) regulates the activities of the system. Additionally, the motherboard uses the CPU to communicate with the rest of the system. Follow? I know you would!

Moving right along to the BIOS, as introduced earlier, is another critical constituent of the motherboard that controls the operation of the system. It is responsible for booting up one’s computer while it also initializes the hardware, making sure it is working and ready for use. In lament terms, the BIOS is in charge or starting up one’s computer. Another main component, include the chipsets. As they are grouped in pairs, they carry out different functions as the north-bridge links the microprocessor with very high speed devices such as graphic controllers and the south-bridge links the microprocessor with low speed buses such as the PCI, APM and the real time clock. Notwithstanding all this, the interface, which is another motherboard component, allows the average Joe to connect instruments such as hard drives and peripheral devices including printers, microphones and cameras!

Well that is all the time we have for today but I trust that this lesson proved beneficial and an eye-opener to the many average Joe’s in internet land!

Getting Traffic – Keyword Optimization 101

Getting your website listed in the search engines requires the optimization of each page of your website with the correct keywords. If you have an HTML based website these keywords will be in the tags. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, there are some great plug-ins that will assist you.   

Choosing the right keywords for initial site optimization is crucial. Phrases are often better than words. As you are starting a new site, if you want to get decent page rank, check out the competition for your term. A term with heavy competition is going to leave your website buried for some time to come. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What words or terms would they be using to find your offer, service or product?  Ask any present customers, family, friends, and associates what terms they would use. You might get some surprising answers that reveal valuable keyword phrases you would not have thought of.  Make a word game out of your search and add, subtract, and mix words up.

Research your competition. Do a search on a search engine using the keywords you have chosen and visit the sites from the results. You can view the source code of these sites to see what keywords they use in their Meta tags. To view source code, go to “View,” then “Source” in Internet Explorer, or “View,” then “Page Source” in Mozilla Firefox. You can then view a text document with the code with their Meta tags.

About Psd To WordPress Conversion Service

People usually think about wordpress merely for blogging purposes, but now it has gone one step ahead from its natural use. Now a days many people are using psd to wordpress conversion service for the creation of their website. If you want to use the potentialities of wordpress and accordingly want to create wordpress theme then must acquire wordpress professionals. This will not only help your design to get a perfect website but also in screeching more and more visitors that can stay connected with your site for longer time.

It is very much important for people to acquire experienced professionals who are skilled in psd 2 wordpress conversion services, otherwise your desired design may go wasted if not followed industry standards. In the competitive market in order to stay you need to follow latest web design standards with great compatibility, and quality work. It offers excellent staff who can convert psd to wordpress with high quality standards. Once you have a look on our services then can very confidently send your psd 2 wordpress theme conversion requirements, and our staff will not let down your expectations. The most essential aspect of any website is its theme to stay longer in the search engine market, and wordpress offers you an open platform to customize them as per your requirement. Two basic things are highly important to know first psd of your choice, and a professional staff provider of psd to wordpress conversion service, that is much needed factors for long staying and running of the website in the competitive market.

Now wordpress is opening door for many services like blog, CMS, E-commerce, news website, and is quite simple and easy to use. Moreover its a open source software that enables you to upgrade versions and make improvements. So hire word press skilled conversion staff to convert psd to wordpress customized themes and stay ahead in trafficking market.

WooCommerce Insights From Justin Sainton

Just as WordPress has come to dominate the web, WooCommerce is dominating the e-commerce space. So we’re talking to WooCommerce experts to learn some new strategies and insights.

Justin SaintonJustin Sainton is the founder of the WordPress agency Zao, a company he launched in 2004 after quitting high school early to pursue web development. Skipping college seems to have paid off, as Zao is still going strong. Today, Justin is known as a WooCommerce expert.

In this post, we talk with Justin about increasing income, making improvements with data, and the future of e-commerce.

What makes for a healthy WooCommerce store? What do you look for?

Great question! There are probably a couple angles to look at this from, at least. What makes a healthy store technically? What makes for a healthy store for the business? And what makes for a healthy store for the customer?

  • From the technical angle: A healthy WooCommerce store is checking at least three boxes: solid hosting, a good theme, and the right (if any) plugins. Insufficient hosting, a poorly developed theme, or the wrong plugins can tank a site faster than you could imagine.
  • At the business level: We’d measure the success of a WooCommerce store in different ways for different businesses—but it usually comes down to friction. How much friction does a store owner feel from their WooCommerce site? Does it work well with their internal order management workflows? With their shipping and payment systems? Does it make their lives as business owners easier or harder?
  • Finally, for customers: WooCommerce sites that take a customer-first approach from the very beginning tend to be the healthiest. This is arguably the most important way to measure a healthy WooCommerce store. Are customers able to buy what they’re coming to buy? Are any customers coming to buy anything at all? Is the user experience conducive to reducing friction for the customer? How quickly are they able to check out? Does the checkout process confuse customers? Does it require more fields than it should to get through it?

What are some effective ways a WooCommerce store can increase its income?

There are myriad ways for a store to increase their income, but I’ll share three that I think are particularly effective:

  1. Flash sales. Scarcity wins, all day long. Assuming the store has already been growing a well-segmented email list (if you haven’t, start now!)—running a time-bound flash sale with healthy discounts is a great way to generate revenue from potential customers (or potential repeat buyers) who have been on the fence about purchasing again from you.
  2. Abandoned Cart Follow-ups. Depending on whose research you’re using, you can recover up to a third of your abandoned carts by following up with those users with a discount email. We love Jilt for this, but there are lots of great solutions for this type of follow-up.
  3. Build a Tribe. This doesn’t work for every business—but you’d be surprised at the number of businesses who have customers who are almost religious fanatics for their brand. These types of businesses with customers who adore them are ripe for a subscription/membership model. Charging a nominal monthly fee to be a part of an insider club that gets more value from your business than other customers can be a great way to add additional income streams, as well as develop more faithful brand ambassadors.

Can you give us an example of using data to improve a WooCommerce shop?

Absolutely! We recently worked with one of our favorite clients, Brooklyn Tweed, to improve the performance of their website.

Using data from New Relic, we were able to identify areas of their website that were causing undue stress on the server. In their case, we were able to identify that variations on the single product page—and the custom implementation with which they were rendered—were causing upwards of 700 uncached queries to the database on each page load!

By using some intelligent fragment caching here, based on the data we had available, we were able to improve the server performance, as well as the customer experience by speeding up the page load time.

What’s in store for the future of e-commerce? Are there things on the horizon—either mundane realities or cool tech—that excite you?

Telling the future is always much more difficult than creating it. I think there are endless possibilities in areas that are pretty obvious—augmented reality, virtual reality, etc. But in the world that a lot of our clients live in, the things that are on the horizon that excite me the most veer toward the more philosophical.

Seeing an open source project like WooCommerce completely dominate the e-commerce landscape actually gives me great cause for excitement for the future of e-commerce. It indicates that we’re moving toward a more open, collaborative ecosystem of e-commerce platforms, systems, and developers. Open source software radically alters every sphere it is able to influence, and I think we’ve just seen the beginning of how e-commerce at large will be affected by open source software.

Check out more from freelance WordPress developer Justin Sainton.

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Bread Baking 101

Baking bread doesn’t have to be complicated or hard, but there are a few tips to make sure the loaf you bake will turn out just right. Sure, it’s easy to go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of sliced bread. Anyone can do that, of course. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the back of the package? It’s full of scientific words that I can’t pronounce. At least I know what goes into my bread: flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pretty basic and that’s the way I like it.

The best piece of advice I have is: Practice, practice, practice. My first loaves of bread were hard and better used as baseball bats rather than baguettes. I learned my lesson and sought to improve my baking skills. I think I’ve learned more through trial and error than in baking class in culinary school. More than anything, kneading dough by hand connects you to your food. Even though I use a mixer to knead most of the time, some days I give the mixer a break and knead the dough by hand. Not only is it a great workout, you really learn what a good dough will feel like and appreciate it more.

For all intensive purposes, the best flour to use is bread flour. It’s high gluten and will produce good results. There are many flours out there. Once you get familiar with baking bread, you can experiment with other flours. If you want to use whole wheat to make a healthier bread, I suggest substituting half of the bread flour with whole wheat.

Yeast: It’s alive!
What is yeast? I’ve been teaching my daughter how to bake and she’s always intrigued by the yeast. Since I use SAF instant yeast, I don’t really need to bloom it but it’s a fun experiment for an 8 year old girl. Blooming yeast wakes it up and makes it come alive. Adding sugar to it makes it grow even faster since it’s an organism that loves to eat (and eat and eat).

However, it can be kind of fickle.

Yeast likes:

Warm water (not too hot or too cold — this will kill it)

Yeast hates:

Salt — salt is extremely important in bread baking because it provides flavor and it helps keep the yeast in check (retards it, basically). If salt wasn’t added to the dough, the yeast would over indulge and eat too much. It doesn’t know when to stop. Salt steps in and calms the yeast down — like the bouncer at a club.
Extreme temperatures

For years I used Fleishman’s yeast or Red Star. Both work well, but I switched over the SAF yeast which comes in a larger package and is used by professional bakers.

I was a given a 15 year old starter not too long ago. Quite possibly this was the best gift I’ve ever been given. Ok, so I sound a little strange, but now I can bake sourdough bread once a week and eat some of the best sandwiches and toast known to man. It’s all about the bread.

I’m sure you’ve had sourdough. Famous for its bread, San Francisco sourdough tastes different than sourdough in Chicago. Why? It feeds on natural yeast in the air and the air in Chicago is different than San Francisco. My sourdough starter has been living here in Montana for 15 years. I’m sure it has a different taste than one created in Ohio.

If you want to make your own starter, here is a basic one:

Honey Starter
1 package dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (105º-115ºF)
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour

Combine the ingredients in a quart jar with a tight fitting lid. Seal the jar and let the mixture ferment in warm place for 5 days, stirring daily. Store in the refrigerator. Replenish the starter with water and flour in equal portions.

Starter tips:
It’s a commitment and fed. When you use a cup of starter for a recipe, you need to replenish what you took out by adding 3/4 cup water and 3/4 flour. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a day before refrigerating. Plan on baking bread about once a week or at least once every couple of weeks. Make sure you feed it about a tablespoon of flour and water each day or every other day.

A sponge is a type of starter that use usually not kept around, so it doesn’t have the classic sour dough flavor. Sponges are left to grow overnight and used the next day in the loaf.

What does Mother Nature have to do with baking bread? A lot, actually. If it’s humid and rainy, you’ll need to use more flour. If the weather is dry, then you use less flour. This a reason I don’t measure the flour when baking. By feeling the dough, I can tell if enough flour has been incorporated. This goes back to the advice — practice.

Armed with a little knowledge and a few good recipes, you can bake your own bread that will be tastier and healthier than the ones sold in stores.

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