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See Why WordPress Beats Out Tumblr for Business

A blog can be a powerful tool in the marketing strategy of businesses both small and large, and that business blog needs an online home. But where? WordPress is the most popular platform for blogging and website building in the world—and Tumblr has been called its most serious competitor. These two platforms offer a way for businesses of all kinds to expand brand awareness and connect with current and new customers and clients. For users looking for a complete content management system with the flexibility to meet a company’s changing needs, WordPress wins, hands down. But these two platforms are really very different systems, designed for different needs—and while WordPress outstrips Tumblr for business users in terms of features, functions, and flexibility, it’s possible to use both these platforms to spread your company’s message even farther. Here’s a look at the Tumblr and WordPress platforms and the role they can play in any business marketing efforts. Choosing a Platform for Your Business Blog Business and online marketing experts consistently advise business owners to add blogging to their repertoire of content marketing tools. Regular posting to a searchable, visible blog can help to establish a company as an authority in the field, keep up connections with customers by answering questions and offering valuable information, and build brand awareness with potential customers through social media sharing and organic searches. Building a blog can take time and require some expertise, though—and a variety of third-party platforms like Tumblr offer simple set-up and editing tools to make that process quick and easy. But the low maintenance simplicity of these platforms comes at a cost. Users are at the mercy of the host—if that host opts to close down the site or suspend a user’s account, it could destroy a company’s presence on the web. For some businesses, a flourishing blog on a hosted site is all the web presence they need—at least for now. But for users who want to be able to build new functions into their company’s site and customize it as needed to accommodate new growth and new directions, a “full service,” self-hosted content management system like WordPress offers the tools and features to build a more complex site around the blog—and keep full control of all its content, regardless of where it’s hosted. Tumblr: Blogging Made Simple In 2016, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg claimed that Tumblr is the most serious competitor WordPress has encountered. Created in 2007 and bought out by Yahoo in 2013, Tumblr is a combination blogging site and social network. And, though its name might not be as familiar as Facebook or Twitter, it has more than 790 million users worldwide—twice as many as Twitter itself. Tumblr is aimed at bloggers, and it’s designed for sharing short content of all kinds, including text, images, and multimedia. Basic Tumblr is free, but users can pay for additional features such as a custom domain or premium themes. Once you set up a primary blog on Tumblr, you can add multiple secondary blogs on the same account. Users can reblog, or share, content from other Tumblr blogs, follow other users, and comment and ask questions on other blogs, which adds social media functionality right inside Tumblr. Tumblr is a hosted site, which means that users who create a Tumblr account are “renting” space on Tumblr’s servers in order to create an online presence. But that also means content posted to Tumblr is subject to the site’s terms and conditions—and it can disappear at any moment if, for example, Tumblr decides to suspend a user’s account or Tumblr itself closes up shop. Tumblr offers a fairly extensive gallery of both free and paid themes, but users are limited to those options unless they know enough code to make changes to their blog’s existing theme. Likewise, Tumblr users can’t expand the functions of their Tumblr sites beyond the features already built into Tumblr. To avoid the default URL with a “tumblr.com” extension, Tumblr users can add a custom domain for business branding purposes and consistency across the internet, and Tumblr can also be integrated for cross-posting from other sites—including WordPress. WordPress: Blogging and More In order to compare WordPress and Tumblr, it’s important to make a distinction between the two available versions of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a hosted version of the free, open source site building software WordPress. Because WordPress.com is a hosted site, it shares a number of features with Tumblr—including the limitations of a hosted site. WordPress.org is the source for the WordPress code itself, which can be downloaded and used for free by anyone, anywhere. That’s why this version of WordPress is called “self-hosted”—users can install it on virtually any web hosting platform and customize it any way they wish. The content on a WordPress powered site is exclusively the property of the site owner, and users can access thousands of themes and plugins from the official WordPress directories and third-party developers to extend the features of the core code to create sites of all kinds. Although WordPress itself is free to download and use, the self-hosted version requires purchasing a domain name and setting up hosting with a reputable provider. But once that’s done, all the features of WordPress are available for users of all skill levels. Each new WordPress install comes with access to the official WordPress theme and plugin directories, with thousands of options for customizing the look and functions of a WordPress site to create not only blogging sites, but also online stores, magazines, membership sites, and more. Unlike Tumblr, though, WordPress installs don’t come with a built-in social community for sharing and commenting internally, so that WordPress users must develop their own social media connections independently. But with a multitude of social media sharing plugins and commenting options, WordPress allows users to connect as many social sites as they like to any WordPress site. WordPress vs. Tumblr—or Both? WordPress and Tumblr both provide blogging tools that are easy to set up and use, along with a number of other overlapping features that can help businesses build an online presence. But if you must make a choice between Tumblr and WordPress for an efficient and versatile content management tool for your business, self-hosted WordPress is the clear winner, with a nearly endless array of customizing options and complete user control of a site and its contents. But it’s worth remembering too that it’s possible to use a Tumblr site along with your main WordPress site to attract Tumblr’s young, image-oriented audience. Major brands like IBM, Sony, Amazon, and even Google have used Tumblr to expand their reach and post content that might not work as well on their main sites. And because you can cross-post content from WordPress to Tumblr with a WordPress Tumblr plugin, it’s possible to get the benefits of both Tumblr’s microblogging network alongside the full-featured WordPress content management system to boost your business profile even more. The post See Why WordPress Beats Out Tumblr for Business appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

The New Website Owner’s Guide to SEO

Did you recently publish your first website? Congratulations! You’ve launched your beautiful website for the world to see. But where is everyone? No one’s flocking to your website in droves. Why is your website traffic so low? The problem is no one can find your website online. To accomplish your website goals, you must work to drive the right audience to your website. One of the best ways to achieve this is through search engine optimization (SEO). What is SEO? Moz defines search engine optimization as “a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.” Search Engine Land’s definition of SEO is “the process of getting traffic from the ‘free,’ ‘organic,’ ‘editorial’ or ‘natural’ search results on search engines.” We use search engines to find answers and information online. SEO helps your website rank higher for relevant queries and ultimately brings interested users to your new website. Keep in mind, these tactics do not include using paid advertisements on search engines. This is known as pay-per-click advertising and is an entirely different segment of search engine marketing. Why Does SEO Matter? Did you know approximately 3.5 billion (and counting) Google searches are conducted a day? A 2006 Forrester study also found that 93% of online experiences begin with a search. Another study discovered that content in the first position on Google receives 33% of the total search traffic for that particular query. Search engine optimization matters as it is an effective and affordable way to generate traffic to your website. If your website does not appear in the search results, you’re missing out on a great deal of highly qualified traffic for your content. In addition, if your audience cannot find your website on the search rankings, they’ll click-through to a competitor’s website! To have your new website appear in the search results, you must begin with a few key steps. 1. Keyword Research Before you can implement any search engine optimization tactics, you need to know what your audience is searching for. These queries are known as keywords. Researching and leveraging the most common and highest quality keywords used by your audience is vital for rising in the search results. Moz mentions in their Beginner’s Guide to SEO that keyword research not only provides insight into your audience’s behavior online but also their needs as a whole. You can discover a consumer’s questions, habits, and more, all from their search engine behavior. To determine which keywords are ideal for your efforts, you’ll need to do a bit of research. Keyword research tools provide a wealth of information, including: Top search phrases Search volume Similar keywords and phrases Cost per click (for PPC advertising) Competition level And, that’s only scratching the surface. To find the right keywords for your SEO strategy, take advantage of these keyword tools: Google Keyword Planner Free Keyword Tool from WordStream KWFinder Moz’s Keyword Explorer SEMRush Ideally, you should perform your keyword research prior to crafting your website copy and content. Having a deeper understanding of the keywords and phrases your audience searches for can assist in creating engaging and optimized website content. However, content can be altered and optimized at anytime, so don’t worry! After finalizing your keywords to target, implement them throughout your website and content in places such as: Headers Title Tags Meta Descriptions Website Content Image Alt Text Paragraph Copy Buttons URL Structure 2. Internal Links In a previous article, we discussed the importance of a website’s internal linking structure. Internal links direct website visitors to other pieces of relevant content or pages on your site. If you want to rank higher on search engines (and you do), a solid internal linking strategy is imperative. When search engines review or crawl a website, they use bots to analyze the content and context within the website as defined by the internal links. The bots examine the links to identify the relationships between content on a website. These connections provide the bots with more information about the context of the website content, which is then used (in combination with several other factors) to rank it accordingly. In addition, internal links disperse link value or authority throughout your website. In the “eyes” of a search engine bot, your homepage has the most authority or value. When your homepage links to other pages and content within your site, this value spreads to those pages as well. As a bot crawls your website, this internal linking structure helps it determine the values of each page and piece of content. With this in mind, it is easy to see why websites with few internal links do not rank well since they are seen as less valuable by search engines bots due to the lack of relationships between content. To improve your website’s internal linking structure, there are several strategies you can pursue, including: Linking to and from cornerstone content. Using links to content where logical or relevant. Including natural anchor text within the links. Creating resource or FAQ pages with applicable links. 3. External Links External links are links on other websites which lead to your site content. While internal links establish connections between content on your website, external links show search engine bots that your website has relationships with top websites across the Internet. Although your first thought might be to gain as many external links as possible and shoot to the top of the search results, this is not the case. While bots do take the quantity of external links into consideration, the quality of your links matters more. This means your external linking strategy should be focused on gaining links from authoritative websites. For instance, if your website is dedicated to educating users about coffee, receiving a link from a well-known source such as Counter Culture Coffee is far more valuable than a link from a new food and beverage blog. However, you can’t sit back and wait for external links to magically appear. You must obtain them! A few key external linking tactics include: Building out online directories for your brand. Sending an email to bloggers, website owners, and brands stating why their readers would find your content valuable. Reposting other blog content with permission from the author. Linking to other experts/authority figures in your content. Distributing your content on top social media networks, forums, and communities. Start with these simple techniques and build up a solid portfolio of external links from quality sources. 4. Leveraging SEO Plugins and Tools Several WordPress plugins and tools are available to assist in your SEO efforts. These assets can help with everything from creating your sitemaps to identifying content optimization opportunities. Consider utilizing any of these popular SEO plugins and tools to amplify your rankings and website visibility: Google Analytics Google Webmaster Tools Yoast SEO All in One SEO SEMRush Moz Open Site Explorer Broken Link Checker Google Search Console W3 Total Cache Armed with your keywords, internal and external links, and SEO tools and plugins, you’re ready to implement a strong search engine optimization strategy for your new website. What do you think new website owners should know about SEO? Let us know in the comments below. The post The New Website Owner’s Guide to SEO appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Benefits of Shared Web Hosting

Small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent creatives know that a website is an essential tool for spreading their message and building their brand, but the costs of hosting that website can create an insurmountable obstacle for new site owners on a tight budget. Offered by a wide range of hosting providers, shared hosting is an affordable option that lets users set up an online presence quickly and easily. While shared hosting has definite drawbacks, especially for high traffic sites, this kind of hosting is inexpensive, accessible, modestly scalable, and requires little or no knowledge of website design and development. What is Shared Hosting? Shared hosting is one of a number of hosting options offered by providers around the world. As its name suggests, in a shared hosting environment multiple websites, potentially thousands of them, are hosted on the same server, which is owned and maintained by the hosting provider. All sites on that server must share the server’s resources, which include bandwidth, memory and computing power, and those are allotted equally to all accounts on the server. Users can set up multiple websites under a single account as long as they don’t exceed the limitations on resources that are set by the provider. The hosting provider maintains the servers and takes care of security and upgrades, but users are responsible for setting up and running their own sites, usually with installable scripts available from the host or with the help of the host’s support staff when needed. Because shared hosting involves many websites, but the resources of only one server, providers can offer this kind of hosting for extremely low costs – often less than $5 per month on many promotional plans. Who Should Use Shared Hosting? Shared hosting packages for these prices typically have minimal features and support services, but users can often upgrade to a higher shared hosting tier that offers added services for additional fees. For some users, shared hosting is the only kind they’ll ever need, but a site might “outgrow” a shared hosting situation as it acquires more visibility and traffic, and require more hosting resources than shared hosting can offer, such as managed or dedicated hosting that reduces or eliminates the sharing of servers and offers a long list of additional features. Shared hosting costs far less than those other types of hosting and allows users on a shoestring to find an online home for their site. But, security risks come with the shared technology and resources on a single server packed with many different kinds of sites. And, what happens with one site on the shared server, such as a spike in traffic that suddenly gobbles up large amounts of computing power, can affect many others with downtime or slowdowns. Still, for new site owners and those with small, low traffic sites, the benefits of shared hosting can significantly outweigh those drawbacks. Here’s why. Shared Hosting is Affordable As we’ve noted, shared hosting is typically very inexpensive, typically costing only a few dollars per month on a provider’s introductory promotional rates. Those rates typically go up to the site’s standard package rate after that promotional period ends, but even at those standard rates, shared hosting remains the least expensive option for basic website hosting. And while shared hosting generally offers relatively few extra features, it does include the essentials for setting up and maintaining a small website. Shared Hosting is Accessible The low cost and easy availability of shared hosting makes it possible for just about anyone to open an account, sign a contract and begin setting up a site. This kind of hosting is offered by most general web hosting providers, although it may not be available from hosting providers that are dedicated to serving specific niches and website types. A new shared hosting account typically includes the basic tools for getting a small site up and running, too. Some, such as one-click installs of content management systems like WordPress and easy website builders like Wix are free and included with a new account, while others can be added for additional fees. Depending on their level of expertise, users can use the host’s built in tools to develop their site elsewhere and upload it to the hosting account, or stick with the site building and content management options offered by the host. Shared Hosting Can Scale Shared hosting works best for new sites and small sites that don’t see much traffic. That allows them to remain within the limits established by many users drawing from a shared server’s finite resources and allows sites room to grow – to an extent. Once a site reaches a certain level of monthly traffic or uses its allotted disk space, it may need to upgrade to a different tier of shared hosting, or switch to another kind of hosting entirely. Shared Hosting Doesn’t Require Design Skills Opening a shared hosting account can be a new site owner’s first foray into the world of website creation – and they may not have the means to hire a designer to create and manage their site. Most shared hosting providers offer basic site creation tools for setting up a small site without the need for specialized website development skills or familiarity with code. From a central control panel, users can do tasks such as customize the site’s theme and settings and manage its content without any specialized knowledge of web design. Widely used site builders and CMS options also allow more web-savvy users to make more customized changes, as long as they’re within the terms of the provider’s contract. Although shared hosting users generally set up and manage their own sites, they can turn to the host’s support staff for help with a wide range of problems ranging from basic setup issues to troubleshooting specific problems as they arise. Tutorials and FAQs on the host site can also help users solve problems and make needed changes to their sites. For an additional fee, many providers also offer site setup using a variety of site builders. Every business needs a website, and there’s a hosting option to meet every need. Shared hosting may not be right for large sites and those with a high volume of traffic. But, because this kind of hosting is affordable, accessible and even moderately scalable, this user-friendly option offers webmasters on a budget a way to easily establish an online presence. The post Benefits of Shared Web Hosting appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Ways to Improve Your WordPress Workflow

WordPress is one of the world’s most popular website builders, with tools that allow both experienced website designers and absolute beginners to set up and manage sites on virtually any category. A successful WordPress site is the product of many different operations, so your workflow on every level needs to be as smooth and efficient as possible. From deploying your site to maintaining and managing content smoothly, here are some suggestions for improving your WordPress workflow at every stage of your site’s development. Deploying Your WordPress Site Developing and deploying a new WordPress site can take time and open doors to costly errors, if done manually.  But designing a site on local systems and automating the WordPress deployment workflow can save time and prevent the kind of slip-ups that come from human error. These mistakes may include missing files, poorly executed code and pages that don’t match up.  By scripting all the steps that would normally be carried out manually, developers can set a protocol to run those steps automatically in sequence. Automated deployments can work consistently across environments and deployment scripts can be applied to multiple sites, so that both new sites and those under renovation can be up and running with minimal downtime and fewer glitches that emerge once the site is live.  Services such as GitHub can support a site’s deployment with resources for managing deployment scripts and other elements needed for the site setup. This allows the deployment scripts to run consistently and reliably, and new or reconstructed WordPress sites can be put in place with minimal disruption and downtime. Streamlining Your Site A cluttered site that’s overloaded with unused elements can slow a site’s runtime and make creating content more complicated. Examples of clutter are too many categories and tags, or a collection of unused plugins, which make it more difficult to organize and manage content, as well as keeping track of other aspects of the site’s functioning, such as post-performance and analytics. To streamline the content workflow, delete all unused elements such as plugins and themes from the site’s database. Deactivated but unused plugins consume resources and can cause sites to run slowly, so it’s important to delete them completely with the command to remove all the plugin’s files. Delete all unapproved comments or spam, and empty the trash to eliminate them. Along with that, get rid of any pending or unpublished draft posts that aren’t ready for publication. Additionally, eliminate all unused and inactive media files from the site’s media library to reduce clutter and make it easier to manage the images you really need. Other strategies for streamlining your site’s daily workflow include consolidating elements such as menus, categories, and tags to reduce clutter and redundancy. Reorganizing site menus to reduce repetition, and eliminating unused tags and categories, can make it easier for visitors to find content – and to organize the content you create. Managing Workflow With Plugins Along with themes and the core code, WordPress plugins are an essential part of making WordPress work. Created by designers, developers and regular WordPress users from around the world, plugins add specialized functionalities of all kinds to a WordPress site. Also, many plugins are designed to improve various aspects of the WordPress workflow. From organizing posts and pages to optimizing a site for SEO, there is a WordPress workflow plugin to address virtually any task related to the site’s performance. These include: Managing Social Media Sharing content on the relevant social media channels is a must for building brand awareness and SEO, but managing the social media aspects of a WordPress website manually can be time consuming. Fortunately, WordPress has a long list of plugins that are designed to speed up the social media side of your WordPress workflow. These functions can automatically update social media accounts whenever new content appears, enabling cross-posting to outside accounts, and scheduling content for posting to selected networks and channels. Automating SEO SEO (search engine optimization) ensures that a site’s content is searchable and visible across the Internet, and many WordPress plugins are designed to automate SEO on all parts of the site. Plugins like Yoast, the best known of them all, track keywords, monitor metadata and more to ensure that all parts of a site are accessible to search. Maintaining Schedules and Calendars A successful content management strategy depends on content flowing consistently, and a number of WordPress plugins can streamline the content management workflow. The plugins bring together content calendars and scheduling functions for creating content in advance and posting consistently, as well as coordinating content creation among multiple authors. Tracking Analytics and Performance WordPress site owners can choose from among a number of applications and services for tracking analytics and site performance. Wordpress analytics plugins make it easier to consolidate those functions and track them directly from the site for easier viewing and faster decision making in response to the trends those numbers reveal. Building Lists Building email lists and the associated parts of a successful sales funnel is a key part of online business. WordPress plugins help perform these tasks by creating contact forms, email captures, lead magnets and email newsletters.  These features save users time and keep marketing campaigns organized and manageable.  Plugins for ecommerce can also allow users to conduct special sales, giveaways and more kinds of promotions, and to track the performance of each individual campaign. The workflow required to take a WordPress website from idea to fully functioning site consists of multiple subsets of tasks, each with its own demands. Tasks ranging from automating multiple aspects of a site’s deployment to streamlining site maintenance, and managing a variety of ongoing functions with plugins, can help both beginning and experienced site owners improve their WordPress workflow. The post Ways to Improve Your WordPress Workflow appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

JavaScript Translations in Gutenberg

Since 2007, WordPress has supported the translation of text strings in PHP. As of 2018, we now have a similar process for translating strings in JavaScript. Traditionally, WordPress developers have utilized the wp_localize_script() function for passing translated strings from PHP into JavaScript. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t scale well and makes for some messy code. Thankfully, with the dawn of Gutenberg, we now have the new WordPress i18n npm library. At the time of this writing, it is a bit hard to find examples of how to properly translate JavaScript strings in WordPress from start to finish. Most examples will give you a piece of the puzzle, but not the entire picture. Our goal today is to document the entire process from start to finish. Internationalization and Localization Overview There are two steps in the translation process: Internationalization and localization. It is common to see the abbreviations i18n and l10n when referring to internationalization and localization. The logic behind this is that you take the first and last letter of the word, count the remaining letters and put that number in between. At the most basic level, internationalization is the process of preparing a theme or plugin for translation. Localization is the process of leveraging that preparation and actually performing the translation. Internationalization starts by utilizing the translation functions that WordPress provides. Essentially, all of these functions allow you to provide a text string to be translated and what is called a text domain. Text Domain – a namespace, or unique identifier, under which all of your translated strings are managed. WordPress uses the text domain to tell the difference between the translation for your theme or plugin and that of another. Finally, an automated tool is used to locate and compile all of the text strings with your text domain into a .pot (portable object template) file. Localization, the next step in the process, starts when you provide the .pot file to a translator for translation into the language(s) of choice. The translator will take the file, translate the strings, and save the translated strings into a .po(portable object) file. However, WordPress requires a .mo (machine object) file in order to dynamically translate the text via code. The last step is to convert the .po file into a .mo file. There are a number of ways to do this, but if you use a tool like Poedit both of these files can be generated simultaneously. At this point, we’ve prepped for translation and have a file that will allow WordPress to translate the strings via code. However, nothing is going to be translated unless WordPress knows what language is in use and where the language file is located: 1. Set the language – you can tell WordPress what language you want to use by going to Settings -> General in the WordPress admin and selecting the desired language from the Site Language dropdown. While your users would normally be the ones doing this, you should do this to thoroughly test that your translation is working. 2. Register your language file – WordPress has a few functions you can use to register your language file so it can be found. If you are translating a theme, you will want to use load_theme_textdomain(). If you are translating a plugin, you will want to use load_plugin_textdomain(). Translating JavaScript Strings Now that we have a clear understanding of how translations work in WordPress, let’s take a look at exactly how we can translate strings in JavaScript. Using the WordPress i18n Package Let’s start by taking a look at a translation function in JS: __( 'Hello World!', 'text-domain' ); Looks familiar, doesn’t it? The JavaScript i18n API mirrors the translation functions that you would normally use in PHP. The only exception is that you need to first load the WordPress i18n NPM library into your project and import the necessary functions to make them available. To do this, start by installing the npm module: npm install --save @wordpress/i18n Next, import the functions that you will be using from the module: import { __, _n, sprintf } from '@wordpress/i18n'; Note: This approach uses JavaScript ES6. It will be necessary to run an automated build process to convert the code into browser-safe JavaScript. We recommend using Babel and Webpack to accomplish this. Generating a .pot File Traditionally, generating a .pot file for strings in a PHP file has typically been accomplished using the Grunt task runner and the grunt-wp-i18n package. However, this tool doesn’t scan JavaScript files. WordPress has released an NPM package called babel-plugin-makepot for the specific purpose of automatically generating (or updating) a .pot file as you make changes to your JavaScript files. This Babel plugin requires the use of Babel. Typically, Babel is configured to run via Webpack. To do this, start by installing the npm module: npm install --save-dev @wordpress/babel-plugin-makepot Next, update your Babel loader configuration to include the makepot plugin: [ "@wordpress/babel-plugin-makepot", { "output": "languages/myplugin.pot" } ] If you aren’t familiar with Babel or Webpack, all of this can be confusing. When learning something for the first time, it is often easier to look at a working example. Perhaps reviewing this webpack.config.js file will help. Once you’ve set up this package you will run Webpack, which will then watch your JavaScript files for changes, automatically detect when you are using translation functions, and will automatically generate or keep your .pot file up to date in your languages/ directory. Loading the Translation File Essentially, once you’ve gone through the process of converting your .pot file into a .mo file, you are ready to register the translation file with WordPress in the traditional way. In a plugin: load_plugin_textdomain( 'text-domain', plugin_basename( __DIR__ ) . '/languages' ); } ); or in a theme: load_theme_textdomain( 'text-domain', get_template_directory() . '/languages' ); Passing Translations to JavaScript WordPress will load our .mo files via PHP, which is sufficient for ensuring that any strings in PHP are translated. However, since we are trying to translate strings in JavaScript, we still have one more hurdle. We need to take the translations that PHP knows about and pass them to our JavaScript on the front-end. Much like the old method of using wp_localize_script() to pass translated strings to our JavaScript, we need to make sure we bridge the gap between the back-end and the front-end. Note: As of this writing the code that follows is currently dependent on the WordPress Gutenberg plugin being installed and active on a site. Once the new Gutenberg WordPress editing experience is rolled into core, there will not be a plugin dependency, but some of these functions may have slightly different names. However, most current use cases for JavaScript translation are within the context of creating Gutenberg blocks. The WordPress i18n JavaScript library is presently loaded under the wp global variable in JavaScript. This means that in order to access the i18n library in WordPress, you would do so like this: wp.i18n. What we want to do is leverage the setLocaleData() API call from the WordPress i18n library to register our translation(s): 'my-script-js', plugins_url( "/assets/js/script{$suffix}.js", __FILE__ ), [ 'wp-i18n' ], filemtime( __DIR__ . "/assets/js/script{$suffix}.js" ) ); if ( function_exists( 'gutenberg_get_jed_locale_data' ) ) { $locale = gutenberg_get_jed_locale_data( 'text-domain' ); $content = 'wp.i18n.setLocaleData( ' . json_encode( $locale ) . ', "text-domain" );'; wp_script_add_data( 'my-script-js', 'data', $content ); } In this example, we are loading our script on the wp_enqueue_scripts hook. If you are creating a Gutenberg block, you may want to use the enqueue_block_assets or enqueue_block_editor_assets hook. In order to follow best practices, we ensure that we load either the minified or non-minified JavaScript code depending on the state of the SCRIPT_DEBUG constant. We register our custom script and give it a handle (my-script-js in this case). Only after we’ve registered or enqueued our script can we call wp_script_add_data(), which allows us to register custom data with our JavaScript file. Essentially, it will output and run any JavaScript code that we provide, but only when our file is loaded. The JavaScript code we want to run is wp.i18n.setLocaleData(), which will be passed the locale data and our custom text domain. We are setting up the JavaScript code in PHP so we can easily pass our translations from the back-end to the front-end. As you can see, we are using the gutenberg_get_jed_locale_data() function which accepts a text domain and returns the translation data in a structure that the setLocaleData() JavaScript method expects. We use json_encode() to make sure we convert the PHP arrays into JSON and we are good to go! Note: Just for good measure, we’re wrapping our call to gutenberg_get_jed_locale_data() in a function_exists() check just in case the Gutenberg plugin isn’t active or WordPress changes the function name once Gutenberg is rolled into core. In either one of those cases, it would disable the JavaScript translations. Have any questions? Leave a comment below. Micah Wood is a WordPress Developer at Bluehost. A professional WordPress developer for over a decade, Micah has worked on sites for Fortune 100 companies, has released over a dozen WordPress plugins, is a frequent speaker at WordCamps, co-organizes the WordPress Gwinnett meetup, is a co-host on the WP Square One podcast and shares his knowledge by blogging on WordPress development topics. Email: micah.wood@endurance.com The post JavaScript Translations in Gutenberg appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

6 Ways to Boost Your Online Sales This Summer

Summer is a time when people spend most of their time outdoors. Surprisingly, that doesn’t stop them from shopping online. In fact, the summer is one of the busiest seasons of the year for eCommerce businesses and online retailers.The main reason for this sales boost is the number of special holidays you come across all throughout the summer. The clothing and fashion retailers aren’t the only businesses that generate the most revenue during the warm season. Other eCommerce business can also leverage the season to boost sales. If you’re looking for new ways to boost your sales this season and grow sales, we have a few strategies that will help drive your revenue through the roof. Get started early in the Spring A great strategy you can use to get more attention to your promotions during the summer is to get started early in building traffic and growing your email list in the spring. Produce more blog posts, publish a few guest posts on other blogs, increase your subscribers, and build more awareness for your upcoming summer promotions. For example, you can setup a new popup message with a countdown to your special summer deals and let people subscribe to your email list to get notified to grab the deals early. This strategy will allow you to grow a list of qualified leads who are genuinely interested in your summer deals and sales ahead of time. You’ll be able to convert more leads into customers without any effort. Leverage the special holidays The summer is not just about beach trips and barbeques. The season is also filled with lots of special holidays. Especially in May, you’ll come across many of special events and celebrations, including the Mother’s Day, baby day, national barbecue day, Star Wars day, clean up your room day, and more. Use these special celebrations to promote your products and attract more attention to your services. This is also where your email list segments will come to help. For example, May is the Older Americans Month (also known as the Senior Citizen Month) that celebrates the seniors and encourage them to engage in activities. You can use your list segments to craft special emails to target senior citizens or their families to share tips and advice on finding activities to do with seniors.   Do a summer clearance sale Do you still have stock left from your winter clothing line? It’s not too late to clear out that old inventory. Do a summer clearance sale with unbelievable prices and people will flock to your online store to grab the deals. People are smart enough to prepare for upcoming seasons and events ahead of time and they won’t hesitate to grab a great deal when they see one. Summer is a great time to get rid of all your old products and items. Even if you run a SaaS business, you can use a clearance sale to grab people’s attention or promote one of your low performing products with a special discount. Hold contests and giveaways Who doesn’t love contests and giveaways. Anyone would jump at a chance to win something for free. And there’s no bad time to do a giveaway or a contest. For example, you can run a social media contest by asking people to share their summer vacation photos. Or ask to share one of your posts as much as they can. Give away a one-year subscription to your app or ship a product to the winner. It works great for two reasons: 1. It will practically cost you nothing if you giveaway a copy of your own product. 2. You get a massive amount of publicity, for free! Team up with influencers Influencer marketing is one of the most overlooked methods of promotions available today, especially if you’re targeting the younger generation. In fact, surveys show that 70% of millennials prefer to receive product recommendations from bloggers and influencers. If you already have an influencer network, the summer is a great time to tap into this network to promote your products. Get some of your influencers to show off your products in real-life videos, ask them to use your new barbeque sauce in their camping trips, wear your new summer clothing line, or take your portable speaker on their beach trips. Focus on engaging platforms like Instagram and YouTube. 60% of Instagram users admit to learning about a product or a service from the platform. take advantage and start selling. Launch an email marketing campaign The summer is also a great time to start an email marketing campaign. Even if you don’t have special deals or offers for the summer, you can still take advantage of the season to grow your email list and promote your services and products. For example, you can put together a new lead magnet to grab the attention of your website visitors this season and convert them into subscribers. You can create a list of activities they can do during the holidays or craft a special gift guide for Mother’s Day. Or, you can create a series of emails to remind people about tricks and hacks for getting the most out of their holidays and vacation trips. Think outside the box and find creative ways to get people’s attention. In conclusion With the help of these tactics, you’ll not only be able to boost sales and revenue, but you’ll also be able to prove that summer is actually a great time to generate more revenue. Of course, you don’t have to wait until summertime to get started on promoting your products and services. With a little bit of customization, these strategies will work throughout many seasons of the year. Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on Twitter @syedbalkhi. The post 6 Ways to Boost Your Online Sales This Summer appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Bluehost Announces 2018 Scholarship Winners

In May, Bluehost began accepting submissions for the 2018 Internet in Education Scholarship. Three students were selected to receive $1,500 in scholarship funds, plus a year of free Basic Shared Hosting. Entries were judged on overall concept, creativity, and originality. Winners were chosen based on the following prompt: If you could start an online business, what type of business would you start? Who would be your target audience? Tell us why you would be interested in starting this business? How would you market your product or service online We are excited to announce our three scholarship winners: Tina Harper-Ricks is a student at State University of Brockport and pitched an amazing business that would help domestic violence victims escape abusive relationships through a top-secret app. This business idea would not only help Alani Mason-Callaway is a student at Wheaton College and pitched a business that would allow young people to learn different languages faster than ever before. Brejenn Allen is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has already started her business, Happy P’ Jappies Designer Hospital Gowns. Her business focuses on providing stylist hospital gowns that are shipped all over the world. . For more information on the scholarship, review our scholarship announcement. Connect with Bluehost on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. About Bluehost Bluehost, an Endurance International Group company, is a leading provider of cloud-based solutions, including web hosting services, eCommerce tools, marketing applications, and more. Built on open source technology, Bluehost designs and operates its own servers, develops innovative new internet technologies, and actively supports and participates in the open source community. For more information, visit www.bluehost.com. About Endurance International Group Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:EIGI) (em)Powers millions of small businesses worldwide with products and technology to enhance their online web presence, email marketing, mobile business solutions, and more. The Endurance family of brands includes: Constant Contact, Bluehost, HostGator, Domain.com and SiteBuilder, among others. Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Endurance employs over 3,500 people across the United States, Brazil, India and the Netherlands. For more information, visit: www.endurance.com.   The post Bluehost Announces 2018 Scholarship Winners appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

8 Benefits of Using WordPress

WordPress powers nearly one third of the world’s websites, from small personal blogs to the complex sites of major corporations such as Sony, Time Inc., the New York Post, and NBC. WordPress is only one of the site builders and content management systems users can download and install for free, but it has unique features that make it the most popular content management system in use today. WordPress vs. the Competition WordPress tops the list of the three most often used site building packages in the world, followed by Joomla and Drupal. All are free to download and use, all come with numerous add-ons for specialized functionality, and all can be customized to suit the needs of individual users. But, both Joomla and Drupal require a certain level of technical know-how and familiarity with HTML and the programming language PHP. WordPress allows experienced users to work at that level, too—but, unlike Joomla and Drupal, it also includes features for beginners, so that they can set up a site quickly with no knowledge of code or programming. Here’s a look at a few key benefits of using WordPress to set up and run your business or personal site. 1. Flexible and Adaptable for Changing Needs Although WordPress was originally designed to support blogging and related types of online publishing, it also powers a wide range of sites with other purposes. WordPress is used to run complex sites for large multinational corporations, manage small businesses, and create personal blogs. WordPress sites can contain full service ecommerce stores, showcase a portfolio, or host a social network, group, or podcast. Whatever a company’s requirements, the core WordPress package plus a combination of its many plugins can make a site to suit. Thanks to its many themes and easy access to its source files, WordPress is also endlessly adaptable to a company’s changing needs. 2. User-friendly—Even for Beginners A WordPress site can be installed and up and running in a matter of minutes, even without any technical expertise. All a user needs is a domain name and a hosting account. WordPress can be installed free through a hosting provider or uploaded directly from WordPress.org. From there, an intuitive and easy to manage Admin dashboard has all the features needed to customize key features like a site’s heading and layout, and to start creating pages and posts right away. 3. Themes Offer Multiple Options WordPress themes offer users an array of choices for fine-tuning the appearance and functions of a new site, thanks to its large and growing directory of themes. Many of these are instantly available to a new site owner through the WordPress theme directory, and thousands more can be purchased through design marketplaces and third-party designers from around the world. Themes can be previewed live and installed at any time to change the look and layout of a WordPress site. 4. Plugins Extend Functionality WordPress includes all the elements needed to create a basic site, but many users want more specialized functions related to a site’s specific needs. The WordPress plugin directory includes hundreds of plugins—small pieces of code designed to perform specific tasks—that allow users to add features such as shopping carts, galleries, contact forms, and more to any compatible WordPress site. Users can also purchase and install hundreds of custom plugins from third-party developers. Plugins can be activated or deactivated and uninstalled as needed as a site evolves. 5. WordPress Sites Rank High Searchabiility is key to ranking high on Google and other search engines. WordPress sites tend to rank high for their keywords, largely because they’re constantly being updated and because WordPress includes a variety of tools and plugins for optimizing content for SEO (search engine optimization). 6. WordPress Sites Are Mobile Responsive Mobile responsiveness is also a factor in Google rankings, so websites need to look good on any device. WordPress offers a variety of responsive theme designs, and users can also make a static site responsive with plugins and adjustments to theme files. 7. WordPress Sites Have a Built-In Blog Since WordPress is a content management system, it has multiple features that make publishing content easy. One of these is a “built in” blog feature that can be accessed from any device, at any time, so that users who want to add a blog to their website don’t have to create one separately. That makes it possible even for sites unrelated to blogging to use the blog feature for adding updates or announcements. 8. The WordPress Community Offers Support Because WordPress is free and open source, it’s supported by WordPress-loving communities around the world. This community of WordPress lovers is responsible for making changes to the source files and keeping WordPress updated and secure. The WordPress community also engages in plenty of outreach to users, hosting WordPress camps around the world and supporting the growth of local WordPress user groups. WordPress is used by over 40 percent of CMS-based websites worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. WordPress makes the essential tools for building a website available to any user, not just experienced web developers, and those tools can equally support a small personal site and a large, complicated corporate web portal. With an array of features such as themes and plugins designed to extend its functions, WordPress works for all kinds of sites. The post 8 Benefits of Using WordPress appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

WordPress Widgets and How to Use Them

Widgets add features and functions to just about any WordPress site. Designed to contain a variety of add-ons such as menus, calendars, and text, these small blocks can be placed in a variety of locations on a site’s posts and pages without knowing a bit of code. Most WordPress themes come with a set of pre-installed widgets ready to use—or you can add new ones from the directory of plugins that accompanies every WordPress install. Easy to arrange and configure, widgets give users more control over the look and functionality of WordPress websites of all kinds. How Do Widgets Work? WordPress themes come with all the essential elements everyone needs for a fully functioning website, but different users may need to add other kinds of features to meet a site’s own individual purposes. To make that possible, WordPress also offers an array of plugins and widgets that can be added or deleted whenever necessary as a site’s goals and structure change. Nearly every WordPress theme includes some widget options, although those options can vary from theme to theme, and some themes, such as those designed for a single page site, don’t include them at all. In general, though, you can expect to have access to a gallery of preset widgets that can be customized from your theme’s WP Administration dashboard or theme customizer. These small blocks of content can be placed in various locations such as a sidebar, header, or footer and appear on every page and post on the site. Widget presets can be customized individually and moved with drag and drop simplicity from one available location to another, and unused or inactive widgets can be stored for later use if needed. Getting Started With Widgets Since WordPress is a free and open source site builder intended to help anyone establish a presence online, it was designed to be used by both new site owners with no web development experience and by seasoned developers able to work directly with its PHP framework to add even more customization. Like other aspects of WordPress, the widgets feature also accommodates users of all experience levels. The widgets panel on your site’s WP Admin dashboard offers all the tools needed to customize a site’s active widgets and place them as desired, but users with web development experience can also make code-level changes to widget structure and add widgets to themes that don’t have them. The widget panel can be accessed either directly from the site’s WP Admin dashboard through the Appearance option, or via the Theme Customizer, if available. The widget panel displays all the pre-installed widgets available for use with the current theme, as well as their potential locations: sidebars, headers, or footers. The widget panel also includes a space for storing inactive widgets that aren’t currently needed.   Activating Widgets in WordPress To activate a widget, select Appearance>Widgets from the site’s dashboard. This opens the widgets panel, with options including menus, calendars, tag clouds, and text. Simply click on a widget and drag it to the desired location, then click and drag to reorder widgets in that space. Alternatively, your theme may include an Add Widget button and a Reorder option. To deactivate an existing widget, simply drag it back to the Inactive Widgets space to use later or not at all. Active widgets can be customized by clicking the down arrow next to the widget’s name, which opens a menu of options specific to that widget. Users can add a title, insert new content, or change the parameters of a widget. When changes are saved, WordPress automatically updates the page to include the new widget and its updated content. Widgets can be added, edited, or deleted at any time throughout the life of a site. Installing New Widgets The preinstalled widget selection features a fairly wide range of widgets for common tasks. But it’s also possible to add other kinds of widget content from the plugin directory that comes with every WordPress install or from a variety of external sources. The Text widget is an open widget that can be used to add text such as a bio or site information, but it can also contain content ranging from video and images to external links, buttons, and shortcodes for a variety of features such as galleries and slideshows. To add content to a Text widget, activate the widget by moving it to the desired location. Click the down arrow to edit the widget. In the text box that appears, type or paste in any text-based content, or insert links or shortcodes for other kinds of content. Click Save and the resulting content is displayed on the site’s pages and posts. The Text widget can be used as often as needed to add different kinds of content in any widget location. Managing Themes and Widgets Although nearly all WordPress themes include widgets, they may not include them in the same way. For example, a theme may be designed in such a way that a certain widget area isn’t available, or it may include additional widget areas that similar themes don’t have. Because WordPress makes it easy to change themes either from its theme directory or from outside developers, a website owner may try out several themes while searching for the best one to represent a brand or a service. In that kind of situation, changing themes can affect the number of widgets available for display and how those widgets are configured. Although the set of standard WordPress widgets may still be available, they may need to be rearranged to accommodate the structure of the new theme. Because inactive widgets are still available for use in the widgets panel, they can be moved into the sidebar or other locations in the new theme as well. WordPress widgets add specialized functionality to most WordPress websites. With drag and drop management and an array of available options, widgets are another versatile, free tool for customizing your WordPress site. The post WordPress Widgets and How to Use Them appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Building a WordPress Site? Here’re the Top 8 Things Every Web Entrepreneur Should Know Before Getting Started

Today, every entrepreneur — whether it’s an artist creating handmade crafts in a garage or a tech innovator who wants to build a global empire — needs a website. And one of the best and fastest ways to launch a small business site is with WordPress. WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) that’s been going strong for over 15 years. Today, nearly 60% of websites that use a CMS, including those of the Obama Foundation, Bloomberg, and the official Star Wars blog, run on WordPress — and for good reason. Even if you’re not a web developer or an experienced coder, it’s easy to learn. And if you run into any problems, a gigantic online community of users is there to lend a helping hand. Excited to get started? Here’s what you need to know to build an incredible WordPress site. Choose the Right Web Host The first thing you have to do is choose a web host, and there are quite a few options on the market. But if you’re powering a site with WordPress, it’s imperative you find a host with packages specifically built to power the CMS — and, better still, a host directly recommended by the WordPress.org Core Team.   Price is another consideration. Many beginning site owners experience sticker shock when they see the monthly premiums for managed WordPress hosting. So be sure to check out a list of the top budget-friendly WordPress hosts before pulling the trigger. The most effective WordPress hosting packages include one-click installs of the software, automatic updates and security patches, and SSL certificates. And, in the event you get stuck or need help troubleshooting, effective, around-the-clock support should be top of mind when selecting your hosting provider. Building trust and a good reputation is integral to any business’s success. And a good way to accomplish that online is to partner with a host with high uptime rates, quick page load times, and strong security. A money-back guarantee should also be a selling point. If a host is confident enough to let you try its services risk-free, it’s a good bet the product will live up to expectations. Pick the Perfect Domain Name Location. Location. Location. The old real estate adage also rings true in the digital world. You want to make it easy for customers to find you, and the easiest way to do that is through a simple, memorable domain name. The best bet is to go with www.[insert_business_name].com. However, if a .com isn’t available, other top-level domains (TLDs) can be just as effective. For example, if you’re a photographer, employing the .photo TLD is an effective way to help potential clients remember your URL. But keep in mind that .com, .net, and .org are still the most widely used TLDs, and also help sites rank better in search results. If your exact business name isn’t available on a .com, don’t fret. Brainstorming another name that sounds great and describes what you do can be equally effective. Try adding an extra word that defines your business – for example, the city where the company is based (think www.widgets.seattle.com) or the product that it sells (for example, www.cola.soda.com). Choose a Responsive Theme The fastest and most efficient way to set up your site is to use a pre-existing theme. While some design agencies charge high fees to create custom templates, there are thousands of free professionally designed themes available, and many of them have been designed specifically for small businesses. Whatever theme you choose, make sure it’s responsive — in other words, choose one that is mobile-friendly and adaptable to varying screen sizes. In 2017, over 50% of all web traffic originated from mobile devices. So, if smartphone users have trouble using your website, you’re going to lose a huge chunk of your potential customer base.   A Great Logo is a Must Every business needs a compelling logo that speaks to its brand aesthetic, whether it’s Coca-Cola’s iconic cursive can design, Amazon’s A to Z arrow, or Apple’s, well… apple. But not all entrepreneurs are seasoned in the art of graphic design. If you believe in your vision and want to give logo-making a go, you can use a free tool like Canva or a more advanced service like LogoMaker. If you want to take the professional route, you can try to find a designer you like at Fiverr, or get designers to compete for your business at 99Designs. Do It Yourself — or Don’t Even though WordPress is easy for novices to master, busy entrepreneurs might not have the time to design their sites themselves — or maybe just won’t want to. Whether your schedule is already packed or you simply don’t have the confidence you need to build a professional website, you can always hire a designer. You may want to use Toptotal’s “top 3%” of freelance talent, get a pro on Gun.io, or find an inexpensive designer at Upwork. The design-phobic small businessperson has plenty of solid options. Get to Know the WordPress Dashboard If you’ve got a DIY attitude and want to design your website without any hired help, the first thing you’ll have to do is get familiar with WordPress’ dashboard. When you log into WordPress, you’ll see your dashboard on the left side of the screen. If you want to add a new post to a blog, go to Posts. If you want to put a video on your site, go to Media. If you need to manage comments from site visitors or customers, head to Comments. Use Appearance to manage everything from your site’s colors and layout to its widgets and content menus. If you want to add plugins (which is discussed in-depth below), click Plugins. Go to Users to give developers and coworkers access to your WordPressaAdmin page. The more you work with the dashboard, the more you’ll learn about everything WordPress lets you design and build. The Best eCommerce Plugins Plugins add incredibly valuable functions to your WordPress site. No matter what kind of business you have, you’ll want to use at least one of these powerful plugins: WooCommerce is a must-have for any entrepreneur who sells physical goods online. The plugin comes bundled with Paypal, making payments incredibly easy, and helps you deliver your goods to your customers. Easy Digital Downloads is for businesses who sell digital goods on their sites. If you want your customers to be able to download your products with the click of a button, it’s your go-to plugin. If you sell a subscription-based digital product, MemberPress helps you start generating recurring income and manage that income as your customer base continues to expand. It supports a number of payment gateways, including Stripe and Authorize.net. Build an Online Community Around Your Business Whether it’s Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter, many of the most successful online brands are built around community. Just because your eCommerce business isn’t a social network doesn’t mean an online community can’t help you expand your customer base. For example, you can encourage users to create content, then share it on your homepage. If you sell a complex product that can be used in many different ways, have users who have built amazing things create videos that show how they got the most out of your tools. Set up review pages and community forums where your customers can gather and chat. Give people spaces where they interact with other fans of your service. Some plugins, like BuddyPress, will help you manage your social media and create forums. But all successful communities eventually attract spammers, so be on the lookout for dishonest actors and clean your thriving garden of any invasive weeds. The post Building a WordPress Site? Here’re the Top 8 Things Every Web Entrepreneur Should Know Before Getting Started appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe: The Future of Gutenberg

Now that we are home and settling back into our time zone, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on WordCamp Europe that took place in Belgrade last week. For those who don’t know, this is the largest annual WordPress community-lead conference in Europe. The event ran from June 14-16— just weeks after the 15th Anniversary of the first WordPress release. Spirits were high and the Sava Center abuzz from developers, designers, bloggers, and more who were ready to soak up knowledge from industry leaders and influencers. Thousands of people travel from around the globe to be part of this event every year. The best of the best take the stage to discuss all things WordPress and the volunteers that make up WordPress.org also come together to work on projects to help maintain open source. Automattic CEO and Co-Founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, delivered his mid-year update on the status of Gutenberg and WordPress to a full audience on Day One of WordCamp. He also opened the floor for questions and the audience didn’t disappoint. To keep things light hearted, Matt offered an attendee a cookie before answering a GDPR question. Matt spent the majority of his time reviewing his full Gutenberg roadmap, which announced the expected 5.0 release slated for August. News that sent anticipation and excitement rolling through the crowd like the storms just outside the center. If you aren’t familiar with Gutenberg, it is what Matt describes as more than an editor and the next phase of WordPress that will keep it thriving for the next 15 years. The block-based writing feature makes it easy for novice users to get online faster than ever before. Matt also mentioned his excitement surrounding the copy and paste feature which has not been easily accomplished in the past from places like Evernote or Microsoft Word. June will begin a push to invite agencies to opt websites into Gutenberg to gather the information needed for the next release in July. This should lead to a strong release of 5.0 in August—although a confirmed date has not been announced. At that time, Matt plans to have over 100,000 sites and more than 250,000 posts using Gutenberg as it merges with core. For many— including developers and agencies— the clock is now ticking to get their companies ready for this release. Here is Matt’s full roadmap for Gutenberg: June 2018 Freeze new features into Gutenberg Hosts, agencies and teachers invited to opt-in sites they have influence over Opt-in for wp-admin users on WP.com Mobile App support in the Aztec editor across iOs and Android July 2018 4.9.x release with a strong invitation to install either Gutenberg or Classic Editor plugin Opt-out for wp-admin users on WP.com Heavy triage and bug gardening, getting blockers to zero Explore expanding Gutenberg beyond the post into site customization August 2018 and beyond All critical issues resolved Integration with Calypso, offering opt-in users 100k+ sites having made 250k+ post using Gutenberg Core merge, beginning the 5.0 release cycle 5.0 beta releases and translations completed Mobile version of Gutenberg by the end of the year Bluehost is excited about Gutenberg and the ability it gives people of all skill sets to get online and fully harness the web. Were you at WordCamp Europe? If so, tell us your favorite moment in the comments! The post Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe: The Future of Gutenberg appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

How to Make a Blog on WordPress

More than 76 million blogs worldwide run on WordPress, and 17 new posts are published on WordPress sites every second. Though it powers all kinds of business and personal websites, the world’s most popular site builder was made with blogging in mind. Free for anyone to use, WordPress has all the essential tools you need to set up and manage a self-hosted WordPress blog—no design or development experience needed. WordPress Is Made for Bloggers Back in 2003, developers Mike Little and Mike Mullenweg created WordPress—a self-contained set of PHP coded files that anyone could download and use to publish content online. Their goal was to “democratize” publishing on the web with a content management system with features for both non-tech users and those with experience in web development and design. Today, WordPress has far exceeded that original goal. A third of the world’s websites use WordPress for purposes that range from small personal blogs to complex business sites for companies like the Disney Corporation, the New York Post, and Time Inc. Many sites using WordPress aren’t focused specifically on blogging, but the WordPress content management system, or CMS, is structured around publishing content in the form of posts and pages. Getting Started With a WordPress Blog Launching a self-hosted blog with WordPress requires only three things: A domain name for the blog. To build a blog with WordPress, you’ll need a domain name. Use a domain name registrar or your web host to find out if your chosen name is available. If so, you can purchase it for terms of one year or multiple years, either through a registrar or through your web hosting provider.Blogs have transformed from simple online diaries to websites rich in content. In many ways they have become the backbone of the internet. Regardless if you create video blogs, text blogs, or picture blogs, it’s important that you own what you create. And nothing makes that easier than putting your creation on your own domain. .blog allows you to be seen and heard without compromise. A unique domain is often all that separates you from the noise of the internet. Bluehost.com is now offering a free .blog domain registration with every share hosting plan. Get started here. Web hosting. Buy a web hosting plan from a reputable hosting provider. You can download WordPress free from WordPress.org and install it yourself, but most web hosting providers include a fast WordPress installation feature with your hosting plan. This “one click” installer sets up WordPress for you, so that all you need to do is select a theme and start adding content to your new site. A plan for your blog’s appearance and content. Once WordPress is installed, you’re ready to start blogging. But, it’s helpful to plan the basic content of your blog, so that you can customize it to reflect your brand and purpose. You can customize your blog’s appearance with themes and plugins and create virtually unlimited posts and pages, so it can help to make a list of the basic features you want on your blog site before you begin. Install a Theme for Your Blog A new WordPress install comes with an Admin dashboard with all the tools you need to set up your site. From the dashboard, you can choose a theme for your site from among the hundreds of free themes available from the WordPress theme directory or purchase a custom theme from a wide range of independent designers. Many WordPress themes are designed for general use, but some are optimized for specific purposes like writing or blogging. Search for themes with the features you want by selecting the “filter’ option on the WordPress directory page. When you find a theme you like, you can preview it live on your site and install it with the click of a mouse. Customize the Theme WordPress themes can be customized by anyone using the tools in the WPAdmin dashboard. From here, users of all experience levels can easily customize features such as changing the header, fonts, and page layout. Users with more design and development experience can work directly with WordPress source files and style sheets, accessible from the Files section of the hosting dashboard. Add Features With Plugins Although WordPress comes with all the essential elements for setting up a basic site, users can add special features that are unique to a particular site’s needs with plugins—small bits of code that add specific functions to any compatible site. Choose from hundreds of free plugins in the WordPress plugin directory that comes with your WordPress install or buy and install custom plugins designed by third-party WordPress developers. Blog-related plugins can include tools for social sharing, cross posting to other sites, managing email lists, tracking analytics, and more. Create and Publish Posts The WordPress dashboard includes tools for creating two kinds of content: pages and posts. Pages are for static informational content, such as your site’s “About” page or policies and disclaimers, and posts are for publishing frequent, timely pieces that define a blog. Selecting “Post” opens the content editor for creating a post, with all the tools you need to write and format text and add other elements such as images or video. When you’ve completed a post, click “Publish” to make it live on the site or save it as a draft for later editing. WordPress also includes tools for scheduling posts to be published at a later date, and any published post can be edited and updated—or deleted completely—whenever necessary. WordPress allows you to display your posts as the blog’s front page or to set a static page such as an “About” page as the first page a visitor will see. There’s no limit to the number of posts or pages that can be added to any self hosted WordPress site, and you can change the appearance and layout of the site at any time by choosing different themes and plugins as the site evolves. WordPress is a versatile, flexible content management system used by nearly a third of the world’s websites. With a suite of tools and features for building blogs of all kinds, WordPress makes it easy for anyone to publish and share content across the globe. The post How to Make a Blog on WordPress appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

Will Google’s Latest Update Affect Your Website and Business?

This July, Google is updating their Chrome web browser to explicitly notify visitors when they’ve landed on a website that is not secure. It’s likely that other web browsers will follow their lead in order to create a safer environment online. As the necessity for online security increases, changes like this could have a negative impact on your business if you don’t take action to secure your site. Not only will customers be less confident about doing business with a website that is not secure, either making purchases or signing up for an email list, but Google is also prioritizing sites encrypting their data to the top of the search engine results page. That means sites that are not secure will show up at the bottom, which could impact the number of site visits coming from search. Let’s take a look at what should you do to make sure your website traffic is secure and avoid being negatively impacted by Google’s changes. What Google’s update means for your business Once Google’s updated web browser Chrome 68 is released in July, users will know whether the site they’re visiting is not encrypting traffic from the ‘Not Secure’ message in the URL, as shown below. If customers see the ‘Not Secure’ warning, they are more likely to refrain from entering any information on your site, like making a purchase or even signing up for your email list. Another sign is HTTPS at the start of a URL with data encryption, as opposed to HTTP for a not secure website. The URL for websites where traffic is secured with an SSL will look like the URL for bluehost.com shown below. Customers will also be less likely to find your website once Google makes the change to their browser. If your site is still not secure, Google will rank your website lower on the search results page, affecting your traffic and revenue at the same time. Make your website secure with an SSL Certificate   An SSL Certificate stands for a Secure Sockets Layer, which by definition, is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. A web server is what a company or business connects with to present their website online, and a web browser is what customers use to connect with web pages on their phones or computers. To put in simple terms, a web server and web browser work as a team to connect your customer’s computer to your company’s website. An SSL Certificate makes it harder for bad actors to mess with the information that passes between the browser and server. This means your customers can be confident that any personal information they provide is safely delivered and the information they receive from the website is not tampered with. Why is encryption important? Without an SSL Certificate encrypting the data passing between your business and your customers, both parties could be at risk. Since smaller companies are unlikely to have a full team working on site security, they are more vulnerable to attacks from bad actors. A simple SSL Certificate can help to protect your business by: Authenticating – Validates that customers are talking to your servers and not someone pretending to be you. Retaining data integrity – Keeps bad actors from modifying the communications between your customers computer and your servers, or even injecting unwanted content into blog posts. Encrypting data – Keeps the data passing between you and your customers private so the same bad actors can’t develop a profile about you or your customers. Boosting SEO rank – Google has started to give a slight boost in the ranking of websites that use an SSL Certificate.. What a simple SSL Certificate doesn’t do: Detect and remove malware Detect and remove website security vulnerabilities Manage search engine ranking & reputation Provide a web application firewall Protect website against DDos attacks Encrypt your website traffic now to make the internet a better place   An encrypted internet is a safer internet, for everyone. This helps keep the internet a place where ideas can flow freely, but it also helps to grow your business, by helping your customers trust you. In order to help your business and your customers, Bluehost.com is offering free basic SSL to help customers keep their businesses growing. If you’re a Bluehost customer, watch your inbox for more details on how to turn it on for your account. Learn how Bluehost can help you with your business and security needs. Keep your customers and your business safe and secure It’s nice to know the businesses you are talking with online are the real deal and not an impersonation. It helps to have some reassurance in place to know you’re safe. An SSL Certificate helps to keep the data passing between your customers and your business safe, and after Google releases Chrome 68 in July, an encrypted site will become even more important.   Make sure your customers can trust your business, can sign up for your email list, and can shop online with confidence. It also serves as a sign that your business cares about security, and cares about customers. The post Will Google’s Latest Update Affect Your Website and Business? appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

12 Components Every WordPress Blog Must Have for Success

Before you can launch a blog, it needs a few necessary items to help you accomplish your goals. These crucial aspects of a blog work to improve your reader’s experience, build a loyal audience, and solidify your brand in the blogging world. Make sure your WordPress blog has these 12 components for success. 1. About Page Introduce yourself! An About page serves as the place for a blogger to introduce themselves to the audience. Your About page should discuss: Who you are The topics you write about and are interested in Facts about you, your career, and your blog Photos of you While the list above is a basic outline, make sure your About page is captivating and encourages readers to take a specific action such as subscribing to your blog. Have fun with your About page and make it all about you. 2. Contact Page Your readers and potential media contacts must be able to get in touch with you. This is where a Contact page comes in handy. For bloggers who prefer to keep their personal lives private, you can use a contact form on this page. Others, however, prefer to list an email address and phone number. No matter which route you choose, it should be easy for readers to contact you via this page. 3. Media Page Are you interested in making money from your blog? If so, you need to include a Media page. Your Media page works to inform interested brands, influencers, and other entities of your blog’s online notoriety and following. Your Media page can feature: Blogs and websites you’ve been featured in Social media follower counts Links to your social media channels The number of visitors and page views your blog receives each month The goal of a Media page is to show other brands and bloggers why they need to work with you. 4. Favicon Does your blog have a logo? If you’re hoping to generate revenue from your blogging efforts, you need a logo. Your logo should also be displayed as a favicon on your blog. A favicon is a 16 pixel by 16-pixel illustration in the top left corner of a browser tab. Look at your browser tab right now and notice the Bluehost logo favicon. Using a favicon helps to strengthen your blog’s brand. When readers see the favicon, they’ll know they’re on the right blog! 5. Mobile Responsive Design With today’s smartphone and tablet technology, it’s imperative to have a mobile responsive blog design. A mobile-friendly blog design is no longer acceptable. Your blog content must respond to several screen sizes and devices. In fact, 57% of users reporting they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site. If using a WordPress blog, choose a mobile responsive theme from the thousands upon thousands available. 6. Social Sharing Buttons As a blogger, driving traffic to your website through social media is crucial. Social sharing buttons allow readers to share your blog content on various social media platforms including Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and Pinterest. Add social sharing to your WordPress blog using tools such as: Social Warfare AddtoAny AddThis Once you’ve installed your chosen social sharing bar or button, add copy to your blog posts encouraging readers to share your content. 7. Social Media Icons On top of sharing your content, you also want readers to follow you on social media. Most WordPress themes include these icons in the blog design. All you have to do is add the appropriate links to each platform and choose where you want the icons to display. Most bloggers place their social media icons in the following locations: Website header Blog sidebar Top or bottom of blog content Website footer 8. Blog Commenting System Your readers need a way to interact with your blog content. Adding a blog commenting system to your website generates conversations about your content. WordPress boasts a built-in commenting system. You must activate this when launching your blog. You can control which blog posts allow readers to comment by clicking on the “Screen Options” tab and checking the “Comments” box before publishing a post. Other popular blog commenting systems include: Facebook Comments Disqus Jetpack If choosing to install a commenting system on blog posts, remember to filter out spam and monitor the responses. With this in mind, some bloggers choose to add a CAPTCHA requirement for their commenting system. 9. Blog Categories Your WordPress blog must have categories. Categories help organize your blog content, provide a bit of SEO assistance, and guide readers to the topics they enjoy. Create specific categories for your blog based on topics, industry trends, and keywords. For example, if you own a cooking blog, your categories could be: Healthy Recipes DIY Recipes Sugary Sweets Baking Quick Meals for Families Recipes Kids Love Blog topics can also fit into more than one category, which helps to increase traffic to individual posts. 10. Related Posts and Latest Posts Take a peek at the end of this article. Do you see the section titled, “Related”? This is content our readers will most likely enjoy based on this article topic and category. Bloggers use this tactic to drive traffic to other blog posts and keep reader onsite. 11. Email Subscriber Form To keep readers returning to your blog for intriguing content, send them the latest articles via email marketing messages. As such, bloggers collect email addresses from subscribers via an easy opt-in form. Most bloggers include this in their sidebar, website footer, or at the beginning and end of each blog post. 12. Secure Website Hosting Your website needs to be properly hosted in order to include any of these blog components. The last thing you want is a website that is constantly down or has a poor connection. Choose a secure website hosting service with strong security features such as SiteLock when launching your WordPress blog. With all of these components on your website, you will be set for blogging success! Share what components your blog cannot function without in the comments below. The post 12 Components Every WordPress Blog Must Have for Success appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

How to Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is more than your online address—it’s your online identity and the public face of your brand. A creative, memorable name plays an important part in drawing visitors to your site, but a dull, generic one can also drive them away. Picking the best domain name for your personal or business presence online is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and getting it right can be a challenge. Keeping your brand in mind and thinking like a visitor can help you find the domain name that perfectly represents your online self. Why Do Domain Names Matter? Domain names are a user-friendly way to avoid dealing with a website’s true online address, the Internet Protocol, or IP, address. The IP address, which is the site’s actual unique locator, is a string of numbers that might have a few other characters thrown in. These addresses are difficult if not impossible for most Internet users to remember and type into a browser search bar. A site’s domain name stands in for that unwieldy IP address with a word-based format that’s easier to remember and type. Domain names consist of a subdomain name picked by the site’s owner, plus a Top Level Domain, or TLD, that’s designated by an extension such as .com, .net, or .net. Within those parameters, a user is free to choose just about any name for a website or business as long as it isn’t already in use. But, with that freedom comes the responsibility of selecting a name that conveys the right image and enhances the value of a brand over time. It’s a task that can (and should) take some time. Here are some tips for finding your ideal domain name. Think Like a Visitor To start your search for the best domain name for your brand or business, it can be helpful to think like a potential visitor to your website. What kinds of domain names related to your niche are easiest to remember or type? Which ones stand out for their originality and accurate representation of the brand behind the site? Consider the most important features of your brand and the message they convey, and look for phrases, words, and keywords that might help express those ideas. Make Your Domain Name Brandable People form an impression of someone within seconds of meeting them, and the same is true when they encounter your domain name. The name you choose is the online representation of your brand, so it’s important to make it stand out from the competition and speak clearly not only of the service or product you’re offering, but also of the values and mission behind those things. It’s also important to think long-term about your domain name. Since that name will be used all over the internet, and potentially offline too, it can be difficult to make a change later if it appears that your name doesn’t really express what your business is about, or if your company opts to expand into other areas. While it’s important to incorporate keywords where possible, stuffing your domain name with generic keywords not only makes it less interesting and memorable, but it also creates limitations if the business changes focus later on. Make Your Name Memorable Studies have shown that the most familiar domain names in the world, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, share some key characteristics: they’re creative, instantly recognizable, easy to pronounce and spell—and short. While keywords can help with searches for your domain, use them sparingly. Consider getting creative with an obscure word or phrase that evokes the spirit of your brand, or using an existing word in a new way. The most memorable sites online typically have short, punchy names that are between 6 and 14 characters long, which makes them easy to remember and type into a web browser. Word spreads about a brand in a variety of ways, even word of mouth. Domain name experts recommend choosing a name that is easy to say as well as to type. That means avoiding names that contain numbers, hyphens, or other special characters that make them hard to pronounce, as well as hard to remember. If your company or brand has a long name, though, consider using its initials, perhaps in combination with a single relevant keyword. Choose the Best Extension The extension, the part of your domain name after the “dot” that designates a top level domain, can also help or hurt your name. The most recognizable extension in the world is still .com, even though many more are now available, and because of its familiarity and association with commerce and reliability, .com remains the best choice in most cases.  If .com is not available, consider other neutral extensions such as .net or .info. While new extensions like .church or .photo can help to instantly convey what a site is about, more fanciful choices such as .me or .pizza may not convey the right image—or stand the test of time. Claim Your Name in All Possible Ways Since a domain name represents its owner everywhere online, claiming it in every possible way keeps it visible and avoids confusion. Research possible alternatives to a desired name and purchase those domains if possible—including potential misspellings of the name. That also includes variations used for social media accounts, so that a brand is consistently represented everywhere it might be found. Do Your Research The Internet is home to more than 1.3 billion websites, so there’s a good chance that any domain name, however unique and creative it may sound, has been taken in some way. Research your domain name carefully using domain name generators, keyword searches, and trademark searches to be sure that it avoids infringing on other existing uses, which could lead to legal action and the need to start over with a different name. Choosing the right domain name to be the online face of a brand or company can be a challenging task. But, with planning and careful consideration, you can create an unforgettable domain name that stands the test of time. The post How to Choose a Domain Name appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

What Are Domain Names?

A domain name is your personal or business home on the Internet, it’s a piece of online real estate that you control completely—as long as you own the rights to that name. Domain names can be fanciful or transparently descriptive, used for everything from a personal blog to a multinational company’s public site, and having one or more is essential for being visible in a crowded online world. Knowing how domain names work, and why they’re needed, can help you choose the right name for your business or personal site. What’s a Domain? And Why Does It Need a Name? The kings of old ruled with absolute authority over their domains—territories carved out by war or treaty. That idea also captures the spirit of today’s Internet domains, which allow anyone to claim a cyberspace “territory”—a website—that’s exclusively their own. The way to secure that online domain is to simply create a unique name and register it—or to buy an existing domain name from a domain marketplace or private seller. That makes it possible to create a website that establishes a user’s online presence for a variety of personal or business reasons. Every domain must have a unique name that distinguishes it from all others and points only to a single website. That’s why anyone who wants to buy and register a domain name needs to carefully research the desired name to find out if it’s already in use. If so, it’s off limits, unless the owner is willing to sell it. If a domain name is available, any Internet user can buy it—which really means paying a fee for exclusive rights to that name for a period of time that can range from one year to more than a decade. Once purchased, a domain name becomes its owner’s public address on the Internet, and the gateway to accessing the website attached to the name. But a domain name is only a proxy for the real locator—the IP address. Domain Names and IP Addresses Domain names use a set of words, letters, or numbers—or a combination of some or all of these—to describe a unique individual or enterprise in a way that’s easy to remember and type into a web browser’s address bar or a search engine. But, a domain name simply represents a site’s “real” address—the Internet Protocol, or IP address. Unlike a short, catchy domain name, the IP address is a string of unique numbers that allows computers to communicate with each other over the shared Internet network. But these identifying number sequences are long and difficult to remember, let alone type correctly, so domain names act as a public alias for the actual IP address that servers use to point to a specific site. In a protocol called the Domain Name System, the domain name serves as a link to the IP address, which is the one that’s used by the world’s webservers to locate and access the website a user is searching for. Decoding a Domain Name A fully qualified domain name is made up of a top-level domain and a subdomain. Top level domains (TLDs) are indicated by letters found on the right of the “dot” in every domain name, such as .com, .net, or .info, as well as country codes like .ca or .au. Originally, only 6 top-level domains were available, but now many new ones are being added, such as .church or .photo. These new top level domain extensions allow for more flexibility in describing what a site is about, and they can be purchased at varying prices through both domain registrars and web hosting services. The domain name itself is called a subdomain or mid level domain. This is the name chosen by its owner, and it appears to the left of the TLD extension. In the common placeholder website name, www.example.com, “example” is the sample domain name, and .com is the TLD. And the “www?” Originally it was a machine designation that stood for World Wide Web. Today it’s largely optional, and many domain names omit it altogether. URLs and Domain Names URLs, or Universal Resource Locators, are different from domain names, although a domain name is at the center of a URL. A URL is a unique “address” belonging to an individual file available on the Internet, and this string of numbers, characters, and letters tells a web browser where to go to get that unique piece. The domain name indicates where a search should point, and the often-complex combination of characters after the TLD extension specifies exactly which of many available files is the right one. For example, the URL https://www.si.edu/learn-explore takes a user not only to the site for the Smithsonian Institution, but to the specific page titled “Learn & Explore.” And that, in turn, leads to other related pages, each with its own URL. Buying a Domain Name Anyone can buy a domain name, as long as it isn’t currently in use by someone else. Most new users create a unique domain name that reflects their identity or business brand, and many resources are available to help with finding the right domain name and checking for its availability against various TLD extensions. For example, a name might not be available as a .com, but users could purchase the same name with extensions like .edu or .biz. It’s also possible to purchase an existing domain name. Users buy rights to names for terms of one to several years, and a name is only “owned” as long as it’s continually renewed. Expired names can be purchased through domain marketplaces or brokerages, and it’s even possible to buy a domain name directly from its owner. Whether a domain name is new or bought secondhand, it must be registered with a domain name registrar or through a web host in order to be active on the web. A domain name is a unique online address that not only captures a brand’s message and style, but also makes it accessible to searchers worldwide. Whether catchy and clever or plain and practical, domain names put a human face on the numerical locators that keep traffic flowing on the web. The post What Are Domain Names? appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

The WordPress Community: A World of Sharing and Support

This week, WordPress celebrates it’s 15th anniversary with celebrations all over the world. With over 22 million downloads of its latest version alone, WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder and content management system. But, WordPress is also much more than that. Behind the free, open source WordPress download is a vibrant community of designers, developers, and WordPress lovers of all kinds who work together to keep WordPress itself running smoothly and to provide education, connection, and innovation through real-world conferences, meetups, and trainings. WordPress began life as a resource aimed primarily at bloggers – and blogging is still supported in most WordPress themes. But the platform’s relative simplicity and ease of use has rapidly made it the site building software of choice for many other purposes as well – so much so that now, WordPress has been translated into over 50 languages and consists of nearly 350,000 lines of code. It can be used by a new blogger with no experience in coding or site design or as the basis for sophisticated customization by professional web developers. A Community of Dedicated Users What makes all this possible is the fact that WordPress is free to download and “owned” by its users – a piece of open source software under General Public License that can always be updated and changed through contributions by its vast and growing user community. From new users to seasoned professionals, the members of that community are committed to keeping WordPress freely available and making sure its source code remains stable and functional, no matter who happens to be involved with its development in the future. To support those goals, Matt Mullenweg, the developer who created WordPress, has established the WordPress Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the ongoing development of WordPress and to sharing WordPress with the world. Today, the WordPress Foundation is the nexus of WordPress related projects ranging from actual work on WordPress itself to local events and outreach efforts to bring computing to underserved areas of the world. The WordPress community is a large and devoted one, dedicated both to making WordPress the best it can be and supporting connection among its many members worldwide. Because WordPress is – and, its users maintain, will always be – free to use and always editable, the platform invites interaction and attracts a large and diverse band of supporters and aficionados who support WordPress and each other in a variety of ways. WordPress Teams – Contributor Support WordPress depends on the work of its large community of developers and designers to keep WordPress running and make any needed upgrades and fixes in the program. This team is known as the Contributor Team. To provide a framework for the volunteers who devote their time to building and improving WordPress, the WordPress home site provides a directory of the many teams that work directly on the interface itself, as well as on related support functions. WordPress-centered teams include the Core team, which is responsible for writing essential WordPress code, fixing bugs, and maintaining the core structure of WordPress; the Design team, which works on developing new aspects of the interface; and the Theme team, which reviews and approves all new themes for inclusion in the massive WordPress theme repository. On the outreach side, teams work on documentation, training, WordPress marketing, and support. There are even teams for running WordPress TV, the home of many WordPress tutorials, WordCamp talks, help videos, developing plugins, and translating WordPress and its related documentation into different languages. Teams connect in weekly virtual meetings hosted by the workplace management app Slack. Anyone with the relevant skills can apply to become part of a WordPress team and, with teams ranging from high-level coding and site development to general user support, there are opportunities for volunteers of all levels to get involved with WordPress. Did you know that many WordCamps have an additional camp day just for contributors to connect and work on projects? WordCamps – Real World WordPress Conferences Founder Matt Mullenweg organized the first WordCamp in San Francisco in 2005. Since then, more than 800 of these low-cost, user-friendly conferences dedicated to all things WordPress have been held in 69 cities around the world, spanning 6 continents, with many more on the schedule for the next year and beyond. WordCamps are organized by local WordPress users in cities small and large around the world. While content can vary, all WordCamps are focused entirely on WordPress, with presentations, workshops, panels, and demos devoted to topics such as new features, troubleshooting site issues, and making the most of WordPress tools. WordCamps provide a place for new users to mingle with WordPress experts, and for users of all skill levels and interests to meet and make connections. Find a WordCamp near you. Meetups – Connecting Users in Real Life In many communities, WordPress users are forming their own groups to share ideas and learn more about WordPress. Meetup.com —an online tool that helps people organize and run groups and communities around a shared interest, makes it possible for WordPress aficionados to find and join a WordPress meetup in their area. To encourage users to form Meetup groups, the WordPress Foundation has a Meetup account to cover the costs of organizers’ dues. The Foundation also supports the development of trainings and educational materials for use in WordPress groups and outreach to the community. Anyone with an interest in WordPress can join a group, either through Meetup or through local organizers, to learn about WordPress and meet others with shared interests. WordPress Forums – Virtual Connections for WordPress Users The WordPress community also exists online. WordPress.org, the platform’s home site, features forums on all kinds of WordPress related topics ranging from design and development issues to troubleshooting problems with WordPress installation and performance. Multiple threads allow users to connect and support each other with advice, solutions, and shared interest. New topics can be created at any time, and any user can participate with a sign-in to the site. WordPress powers over a quarter of the world’s websites with tools that can be used both by new site owners and experienced developers. It’s available to anyone, virtually anywhere, and it can be maintained and updated at any time by its users. Making connections both online and off, those users form a worldwide community of WordPress supporters dedicated to keeping WordPress free, accessible, and secure. How do you support and connect with the WordPress community? The post The WordPress Community: A World of Sharing and Support appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

WordPress Hosting Comparison – a Comprehensive Guide

WordPress powers more than a quarter of the world’s websites, from personal blogs to the ecommerce sites of large enterprises. This open source site builder and content management system is flexible, scalable and free to download and use on hosting platforms of all kinds. WordPress hosting solutions include both affordable shared hosting solutions and managed services with enhanced performance and added features. There’s a hosting option for every WordPress site, but which is right for your website? WordPress Hosting Options WordPress is available as a “one-click” install on hosting platforms of all sizes. It’s a richly featured site management system that can be user-friendly enough for a new webmaster with little – or no – site design and development experience. It is also flexible and editable enough to meet the needs of more experienced users. For those reasons, available WordPress hosting solutions can be adapted and scaled to accommodate the unique demands of WordPress sites of all sizes and types. Shared Hosting For many WordPress sites, shared hosting is an affordable option, and it might remain so for the life of the site. This kind of WordPress hosting is typically the most economical of all hosting packages, because many sites, often thousands, are hosted on the same server and share all its resources. That, along with stripped down customer support and few additional features, helps to keep costs low. While shared hosting is low cost and convenient, it also has limitations in terms of scalability and the additional features users want as their sites grow. Optimized Hosting for WordPress Along with general shared hosting for sites with a WordPress install, major hosting providers may also offer a separate hosting product exclusively for WordPress that features optimization for the features and functions that are unique to WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting typically comes with a range of security and development features that are designed to maximize the benefits of WordPress as a flexible and scalable site building platform. Support for this kind of WordPress hosting is typically provided by representatives with WordPress related expertise and experience who can troubleshoot website issues and resolve customer concerns. Some hosting providers are dedicated exclusively to WordPress sites, too, with no other platforms supported at all. Whether offered as one of many products in a hosting company’s catalog or in a WordPress specific environment, services that provide WordPress specific hosting packages are able to offer a range of features and levels of management that are optimized for WordPress speed and security. Tiered plans that offer users a choice of available site management features can provide varying levels of management at incrementally higher costs. Managed and optimized WordPress hosting providers can also play a role in supporting the larger WordPress community. Comparing WordPress Web Hosting Options Choosing the best WordPress hosting solution depends on a number of factors, such as budgeting, a site’s size and purpose, and the company’s long-range plans for growth. Other things to consider include performance, security and support provided by a host’s technical team. Site Speed and Performance A key consideration in choosing managed WordPress hosting is the enhanced performance of sites in a WordPress specific environment. Because shared hosting requires all sites on a common server to draw from a finite reservoir of memory and bandwidth, sites can face slowdowns and disruptions in service when neighboring sites are experiencing spikes in traffic. To prevent this, shared hosting providers can place a cap on site traffic with severe limitations on the number of monthly visits allowed – often as low as 5,000 or fewer. In this kind of hosting environment, too, memory and storage limits can be low thanks to the number of sites using shared server resources. WordPress optimized hosting, often on VPS platforms, can bypass many of the limitations imposed by shared hosting to offer growing sites a number of flexible, scalable options. With servers that are specifically configured and optimized, managed WordPress hosting can maximize site speed and the performance of WordPress features while allowing for site traffic ranging from 100 million to unlimited numbers of new visitors per month, as well as scalable storage and backup to accommodate growth and changing needs. WordPress Optimized Site Security In a shared hosting environment, standard security features are typically in place to protect both individual sites and the security of their shared server. Those features may not protect sites completely from the risks that come from shared technology on the common server or from malware and malicious users that make their way into that shared environment from a compromised site. And, because those features must apply to all the various platforms in use, they aren’t likely to be optimized for the specific needs of WordPress and its unique security risks. Managed hosting packages that are optimized for WordPress can offer enhanced site security through a variety of SiteLock features that are automatically upgraded and regularly maintained by the host. Tiered hosting packages can include a number of SSL options and other features as part of higher priced plans. Experienced WordPress Support WordPress users can opt to handle most aspects of their site’s day-to-day management on their own or turn over many of those tasks to a dedicated WordPress hosting provider, but in any case, access to knowledgeable support staff is essential. Hosting providers of all kinds offer a number of options for contacting technical and customer support, but not all are able to provide WordPress specific solutions. Shared hosting providers include WordPress as one of many site building options, and technical and support staff need to be able to provide help related to all of them, not just WordPress. While these representatives can offer guidance for solving WordPress related issues, they may not have the expertise to resolve in-depth issues related to the platform. WordPress hosting support staff are typically trained to provide support specifically for WordPress and to handle the work of maintaining sites and upgrades as needed. Support in these environments can be available round the clock to help webmasters solve problems or to manage and maintain sites in more comprehensive ways if necessary. WordPress is a versatile platform that puts website creation in the hands of users of all kinds – and all budgets. With a careful comparison of hosting features and costs, both new and seasoned site builders can find a hosting solution for both the present and the future. Sources: Agreawal, AJ. “Managed vs. Shared WordPress Hosting: Which is Right for You?” Business 2 Community. 13 Feb 2017. https://www.business2community.com/tech-gadgets/managed-vs-shared-wordpress-hosting-right-01777164 Agrawal, Harsh. “Managed WordPress Hosting: A Beginner’s Guide. “ ShoutMeLoud. 20 Feb 2018. https://www.shoutmeloud.com/what-is-managed-wordpress-hosting.html Stevens, John. “Different Types of Web Hosting.” Hosting Facts. 1 Jan 2016. https://hostingfacts.com/different-types-of-web-hosting/ Shivar, Nate. “WordPress Hosting vs Web Hosting Explained.” ShivarWeb. 15 Aug 2017. https://www.shivarweb.com/12989/wordpress-hosting-vs-web-hosting/ Strojny, Drew. “Is Managed WordPress Hosting Worth the Extra Cost?” The Theme Foundry. 1 July 2014. https://thethemefoundry.com/blog/managed-wordpress-hosting/ “What is WordPress Hosting?” Themeisle. 15 Feb 2018. https://themeisle.com/blog/what-is-wordpress-hosting/ The post WordPress Hosting Comparison – a Comprehensive Guide appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

What is Shared Hosting?

Advice for anyone planning to set up a new website always begins with the recommendation to get a hosting package. But what kind? A new website owner must choose between options such as shared, dedicated, or VPS hosting plans. And, while all of these can provide an online home for that new site, they offer very different services that aren’t appropriate for every website. For new and smaller sites, shared hosting can be the least expensive and most accessible of these options – but it also comes with some significant limitations. How Does Shared Hosting Work? Shared hosting packages are offered by just about every hosting provider. Just as the name implies, multiple websites, often thousands of them, are hosted on a single server maintained by the hosting service. Each user on a shared server gets an allotment of the server’s total available bandwidth, power and memory, and users can set up multiple sites under a single user account. What’s in a Shared Hosting Plan? A shared hosting plan provides the user with space on the host’s shared server for a monthly fee. Users are responsible for setting up and running their own sites, and a single account can include multiple sites, as long as the total package doesn’t exceed the allotted space on the server. The hosting provider is responsible for providing customer support, maintaining server hardware and software, including security protocols and updates, and safeguarding against crashes and downtime. These provisions are set out in the hosting contract, which establishes what users can and can’t do with respect to their sites, and under what circumstances the host can suspend or terminate a user’s account. Shared hosting isn’t for everyone, but this kind of inexpensive hosting can help new businesses, entrepreneurs and independent creatives get a web presence quickly – even if funding is tight. Low Costs Put Hosting Within Everyone’s Reach The appeal of shared hosting comes largely from its extremely low cost, so that anyone can create and maintain a website with a very modest investment. Those low costs are possible because a hosting provider is carrying so many sites on a single server and collecting money from each one. Many providers offer promotional specials that allow new users to set up shared hosting for rates that can start at less than $5 per month – although standard rates will apply once the discount period is over. Tiered packages are also available, with additional features included for higher prices. Users can usually upgrade their hosting to a higher tier at any time – or switch to a different type of hosting altogether. Shared Hosting is User-Friendly Shared hosting setups can be easy to use, even for a website owner with no experience in website design or development. These plans typically come with basic customer support from the hosting service, and offer options for “one-click” website installs like WordPress, which can create a live site in minutes, while also allowing for some customization. Each site on an account has its own control panel, which provides tools for webmasters to manage their content and basic look. Although shared hosting allows new users to create a website on a shoestring budget with most basic features essential to running the site, this kind of bare bones service does have drawbacks. Shared Resources Have Limits All sites on a shared server operate on a standard allotment of the server’s total resources, including memory, bandwidth and CPU power. But, just as a spike in demand can overload a city’s power grid during a heat wave, a sudden surge of traffic on one site can cause others to slow down, even if they aren’t responsible for the increased use of server resources. To keep things evened out, shared hosting providers may put a cap on the amount of traffic or visitors a site can have in order to stay eligible for its shared hosting plan. Security Can Be An Issue In shared hosting, everything related to the maintenance of the servers is the responsibility of the hosting provider – and that includes security. The sites on that server operate independently, but shared technology can make it possible for malicious activity on one site to infect others nearby. Website owners in a shared hosting situation have to place their trust in the security provided by the host, since this kind of hosting package offers no options for users to install their own security measures to protect their sites. Restrictions Can – and Do – Apply Shared hosting accounts typically come with tight restrictions, and users can be blindsided by these provisions if they don’t read the hosting contract carefully. Hosting services can prohibit users from installing certain kinds of plugins or applications on their sites, which limits options for customizing. Promotional offers for extremely low prices can triple once the introductory period is over – and users can be automatically billed for the standard rate. Hosting providers reserve the right to terminate a user’s account for a variety of reasons, too. If a site “outgrows” its allotted resources by gaining large amounts of traffic that affects other users, the account can be closed. Similarly, if a site attracts malware or massive amounts of spam comments, it can be locked out and site owners must clean up the problem before the site can go live again. Who Should Use Shared Hosting? Shared hosting works well for sites that have a relatively low volume of website traffic and don’t require large amounts of memory. But larger businesses or sites with a lot of traffic may not be a good fit for the shared hosting environment, and small sites that become successful may need more resources in order to expand. When that happens, a site owner could upgrade the plan to a higher tier of services in shared hosting, or graduate to other solutions such as dedicated or VSP hosting. It’s also possible to stay on an ultra low cost shared hosting plan indefinitely, if a site remains relatively small and doesn’t consume excessive amounts of the shared server’s resources. With low costs and minimal features, shared hosting can help new users build an online presence quickly, with room to grow. Sources: Mansfield, Matt. “What is Shared Hosting?” Small Business Trends. 12 May 2015. https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/05/what-is-shared-hosting.html Negi, Sanjay Klimar. “Top Advantages and Disadvantages of Shared Hosting.” Business Computing World. 28 Apr 2014. Top Advantages And Disadvantages Of Shared Hosting “Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting,” WebHostingGeeks. 12 Aug 2016. https://webhostinggeeks.com/blog/pros-cons-shared-hosting/ Stevens, John. “Different Types of Web Hosting.” Hosting Facts. 1 Jan 2016. https://hostingfacts.com/different-types-of-web-hosting/ “What is Shared Hosting?” WPBeginner. http://www.wpbeginner.com/glossary/shared-hosting/ “What You Should Know About Shared Web Hosting.” Web Hosting Hub. http://www.webhostinghub.com/web-hosting-guide/what-you-should-know-about-shared-web-hosting The post What is Shared Hosting? appeared first on Official Bluehost Blog.

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