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2 Ways to Do It Even if You’re a Beginner

The cost of WordPress vs Wix

The pricing of Wix is this:

wix pricing

Apart from those options, there’s a free plan available as well. The limitations on that are:

  • You can only launch your site under a subdomain; like USERNAME.wixsite.com/SITENAME
  • Wix ads will appear on every page within your site
  • You’re limited to 500MB of disk storage and 500MB of bandwidth

In total, if you want to build a site for personal use, on a custom domain name, and get rid of Wix’s ads, then it’s going to cost you $13 per month = $156 annually.

With WordPress, things are a bit more complicated. The WordPress software itself is free. What you do have to pay for, though, is hosting and a domain name.

To keep things budget-friendly, you can get the hosting and domain from Bluehost. The plans start from $2.95 a month, and you get a free domain name bundled in for the first year. Here’s the full pricing:

Bluehost pricing

What’s also worth pointing out is that Bluehost will install WordPress on your hosting setup for you, so no need to get your hands dirty.

Overall, this lets you build a site for $35.40 in your first year, and then pay an additional ~$15 each consecutive year for the domain name (the domain name is only free for the first year). Also, keep in mind that to get this low price ($2.95 a month), you’ll have to pay for three years upfront (so it’s $106.20 in total).

Another thing to keep in mind is that what we’re talking about here is launching just a basic site with WordPress. If you will need things like online payments, additional plugins, premium themes, then your costs will rise.

Here’s how to decide between WordPress and Wix

Deciding between Wix and WordPress is not super easy. You should take into consideration at least a couple of factors. Here’s how things play out in general terms:

WordPress vs Wix
WordPressWix
Features⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Designs⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of use⭐⭐⭐
Control over site⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Price⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have your favorite? Great! Here’s how to build your own website with either platform:

wix

How to build your own website on Wix

The great thing about Wix is that you can build your own website all in one go, without ever leaving Wix.com. The interface takes you by the hand all the way to a working site.

Here’s how to get everything done:

1. Create a Wix account

Go to the Wix homepage and click on Get Started. Enter your email address to create an account.

how to build your own website with Wix

Wix will ask you a series of questions about your new website.

how to build your own website with wix adi

2. Let Wix ADI do its magic

In this next step, Wix uses your answers in its cool Wix ADI tool (Wix’s artificial intelligence module) to prepare a tailor-made website for you.

launch wix adi

What’s great about it is that Wix will take you by the hand through the entire process, without requiring you to understand what’s going on under the hood.

3. Pick a design

Based on your answers, Wix ADI will suggest some design options that you might enjoy:

wix designs

You’ll be able to customize that design later on, but you won’t be able to change it to something else entirely.

3. Customize the site

When the ADI finishes its job, you can fine-tune your design and make it truly fit your needs.

The website builder interface is very clear and highlights all the key areas where you should focus your attention first.

ADI Editor

In it, you can:

  • Edit the elements on the page. Click on any element on the page to customize it. You’ll see the element’s settings in the sidebar on the left. The options allow you to change the texts, images, colors, and other details about the element.
  • Click on the arrows in the upper-right corners to realign the elements.
  • Click on the buttons labeled Design in the upper-left corners to change the element’s design style.
  • Add new elements and sections to the page by clicking on the Add link in the top bar.
  • Add new pages by clicking on the Page+ Add Page button in the top bar.

Let’s talk about adding new pages for a second. Ultimately, when you want to add a new page, you’ll see the exact design interface as when customizing the homepage. The usage is the same, and the range of available content elements is the same as well.

Wix also offers you a set of pre-made page templates for things like about pages, contact pages, sales pages, and more.

wix suggested pages

4. Add functionality via Wix apps

Wix comes with a lot of built-in features, but if you want more, you can add those via the Wix App Market. You’ll find apps for email tool integrations, analytics, and more.

wix apps

Just install any app with a couple of clicks and then configure it via the app’s settings accordingly.

5. Set a name, domain, pick a plan

When you’re happy with the look of your site, you can finally publish it for the world to see.

To do that, click on the Publish button in the top right corner of the Wix UI.

publish site

Next, choose whether you want to register a new domain name or stay with the free Wix subdomain.

subdomain

Note; if you choose a custom domain name, you’ll also have to upgrade to one of Wix’s paid plans that we talked about earlier.

Once you finalize these steps, your site is going to be online and publicly visible! 🍾

WordPress

How to build your own website on WordPress

Building your own website on WordPress is a bit different from doing so on Wix.

First, you don’t go to the main WordPress.org website to get started. Instead, the best place to start is with a hosting firm.

We talked a lot about different types of hosting before, so if you want the full comparison of what’s available in the market, read this. If you can’t be bothered to do that now, here’s a quick summary – our recommendations when it comes to WordPress hosting:

  • Bluehost: This host is officially recommended by WordPress, and it’s among the most affordable options out there. As I mentioned earlier in this post, you can get started from $2.95 a month, and you get a domain name for free for the first year.
  • SiteGround: This is another WordPress-approved host. It has some great reviews from customers, offers excellent performance and top-of-the-line support. A tad bit more expensive, starting at $3.95 a month.

👉 Here’s a more in-depth comparison between SiteGround vs Bluehost.

We’re going to use Bluehost for the purpose of this guide:

1. Go to Bluehost and sign up

Go to the Bluehost website and click on the Get Started button. Pick one of the plans – probably the one labeled Basic at $2.95 a month (enough if you’re just starting out with a small site).

Bluehost pricing 2

In the next step, pick a domain name for your site. Remember that you’re getting this domain name for free for the first year.

Make it something original that’s in tune with your brand, niche, and the thing that you want your site to represent. Here’s some advice on how to choose a good domain name.

Complete the signup process and go through with the purchase. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to pay for three years upfront to get this low price of $2.95 a month.

2. Install WordPress

Bluehost makes this part very easy to do, and it doesn’t require any server management skills from you.

Just log in to your account, go to the My Sites tab, click on the Create Site button.

bluehost signup

Bluehost will ask for some details like site name and tagline.

Site Name

Next, you’ll be asked to pick which of your domain names you want to connect the site to. You likely have only one domain there, so select it from the list.

With that done, Bluehost will now install WordPress for you. When the process finishes, you’ll be able to log in to the WordPress admin panel.

how to build your own website by installing WordPress on Bluehost

3. Pick a design

WordPress allows you to pick from thousands of designs (called themes) and then install them in a couple of clicks!

To begin, log in to your WordPress admin panel and go to AppearanceThemes. From there, click on Add New.

themes add new

To make sure that you’re only browsing through the best themes, switch to the Popular tab.

tab popular

Pick a theme from the list that you like, and install it. We’re going to go with Neve (you’ll find it somewhere around the second/third row).

This is actually a theme of our own, which the WordPress community seems to like a lot. The theme is active on more than 50,000 websites at the time of writing.

neve block

👉 Read also: 50+ best free WordPress themes

Just click on the Install button below the theme (see image above), and then click on Activate when the installation finishes.

Neve will invite you to give a shot to one of its starter sites.

how to build your own website with Neve starter sites

These website templates help you kickstart your design so that you don’t have to do everything by hand. Highly recommended!

To begin, just click on the big blue button. You’ll see a list of the available templates. You can pick one based on the niche your site is in, or simply pick a look that you enjoy.

neve templates

At the top, you also get to pick your page builder of choice. We like Elementor best, but you are free to go with any of them.

Just click on the Import button next to the template you like. Neve will give you a choice as to which specific elements you want to import. It’s best to leave them all selected so that you get a whole working website after the import is done. Neve will also install the page builder required to make the design work.

neve import

Click on Import to begin. This may take a minute or two.

neve importing

When the import finishes, you’ll be able to view your site.

neve website

4. Customize your site

At this stage, you can customize your website in a couple of ways.

First, you can use the WordPress Customizer to take care of the basic settings.

WordPress customize

The WordPress Customizer lets you adjust things like the main layout, headers and footers, colors and background, typography, buttons, menus, and more. All accessible via the sidebar menu:

how to build your own website with WordPress customizer

Apart from the Customizer, you can also edit your page through Elementor.

WordPress customize via Elementor

To say it simply, Elementor allows you to edit and customize pretty much anything you see on the page. To begin, just click on an element on the page or add a new element from the sidebar:

how to build your own website with Elementor UI

To learn more about Elementor, read this review or this comparison between Elementor vs Divi Builder vs Beaver Builder.

5. Create new pages

To create additional pages in WordPress, click on the + New button and then on Page:

WordPress new page

You’ll see the main WordPress content editing interface. This one is quite easy to use … pretty much all you have to do is start typing away.

WordPress create page

👉 If you want to learn more about how to edit content in WordPress, read this.

6. Add more features via plugins

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Using WordPress

Driving Conversions With Social Proof App

Did you ever notice that 98% of your visitors leave your website without taking any action?

Most people abandon your website because they aren’t sure if your products/services are trustworthy enough.

We know how discouraging it is to know that people don’t trust your work. But don’t worry. You can now convince your users to believe that you can offer them what they want and they can trust you without giving a second thought.

You can do that by showing them the real-time social proof of your business with the TrustPulse software.

TrustPulse is a FOMO and social notification software that helps you leverage the power of social proof to build trust and boost your conversions and sales.

In this TrustPulse review, we gives you detailed insights into its features and also look at how to use it on your website to display your notifications. In doing so we’ll cover:

  • Why use TrustPulse
  • TrustPulse Overview
  • Features
  • How to Use TrustPulse
  • Ease of Use
  • Pricing
  • What We Think About TrustPulse

So let’s get started.

Why Use the TrustPulse Social Notification Plugin

Nobody cares what you say about your business. With a social proof app, you can let people know what your customers think about your product and encourage users to purchase it from you.

Displaying social proof about your business is like adding a testimonial for your visitors. It’s a great way to add credibility to your work. Plus, it helps your clients have an unbiased opinion about your business which in return can help establish trust.

With TrustPulse, you can let your visitors know the legitimacy of your business by showing them the real-time action taken on your website by your users. This can be any action. You can notify them about a recent sale, free trial or email newsletter signup done by a user.

By knowing that others are using your products/services, your visitors will be encouraged to take action without hesitation. That happens because these notifications verify the authenticity of your business.

So TrustPulse helps you leverage the real power of social proof to increase trust, enhance conversion and boost your sales.

TrustPulse – An Overview

TrustPulse

As mentioned above, TrustPulse is a marketing automation software that helps you leverage the power of social proof to increase your website conversion. Using it, you can track and highlight the real-time purchase, signups, customer activity and more to convince people to take the desired action on your site.

To boost your conversion rate, you can use the smart targeting option to display user actions to the right people at the right time. The best thing is that all of this can be done without coding a single line.

Even in terms of design, TrustPulse has done a wonderful job. It comes with beautiful pre-built, ready-to-use designs that are visually stunning. Besides, this software is easy to use and 100% effective in driving users into customers. So you can see instant results right after you start using it on your site.

TrustPulse Features

TrustPulse comes with amazing features to help you boost your conversions and sales. Let’s have a look at some of them.

1. On Fire Notifications

This feature lets you display the real-time action that people take on your website. So your visitors will be able to see the real-time notification if a purchase is made, or a user signs up, etc. By displaying these notifications on your landing page and checkout pages, you can also incite the fear of missing out on your visitors. It’s a great way to encourage your visitors to take action right away.

2. Smart Targeting

With the smart targeting feature, you can easily display these notifications and social proof to visitors just at the moment they need to see them. TrustPulse lets you control the targeting rules and timings, so you can easily use it to boost conversions.

3. Real-time Event Tracking

With TrustPulse, it’s possible to track all the live actions taking place on your site. You can use it to display these actions as notifications to your visitors. This includes purchases, demo registrations, form submissions, newsletter signups, etc.

4. Analytics

The software also lets you check your statistics. Using this feature, you can easily track your conversion goals and know which page is gaining the highest conversions.

5. Compatibility

TrustPulse integrates seamlessly with different platforms like WordPress, Magento, SquareSpace, Drupal, etc. So irrespective of your CMS, you can easily use this software if you really want to boost your conversions.

These are just a few features that the software offers. There’s a lot more you can have.

How to Use TrustPulse

As already mentioned above, TrustPulse works like a testimonial for you. It lets you display your customer’s actions in real-time that acts like true recommendations from people who trust your product/services.

Once you have created an account with TrustPulse, you can start creating your campaigns right from its dashboard. But before that, you’ll have to connect it with your website. You can use the Add Your First Site button for that.

truspulse review

In the next step, add a campaign name and your URL.

Once done, you can start creating your campaign. The first step in doing so is to work on the appearance and design of the website. You can design your campaign using the various options offered by the software. You can choose a language, work on the message you want to display, add links (to your product page) and do a lot more.

You also have the option to select the position where you want your notification to be displayed, add a notification size, add animations and more.

TrustPulse Campaign design

If you want more options, just scroll down and select the Advanced Settings option. With these options, you can make your campaign visually appealing.

TrustPulse Campaign design and style

The next step is to capture your user’s activities. Here you’ll have 2 options:

If you choose the AutoMagic option, you can simply add the URL of the pages that you want the software to track for activities. You can also add the URL of a page where you want your visitors to be sent upon conversion.

Once done, save your settings for the tool to start tracking your onsite activities. For using the second option, you have to have a Zapier account.

If you don’t have one, then the 1st option is good to go. In the next step, you can add your own rules about these notifications. So here you can select where you want these notifications to be displayed, select the display duration, etc. Basically, these options allow you to have full control over the rules of your notifications.

notification setting rules, trustpulse rules

You have more options under the Advanced Settings tab. You can use these if you want to hide/display notifications from anonymous users, select the maximum number of notifications to display at a time and so on.

TrustPulse rules

The final step is to publish your campaign on your website. TrustPulse will now generate a code for you that you need to copy and paste within the body tag of your website template file. Once done, the tool will immediately start tracking your website activities and as soon as it detects an action it will display it to your visitors.

Ease of Use

TrustPulse is super easy to use. In order to set up, it doesn’t need you to code a single line. Everything can be done with just a click of the mouse. So even if you don’t have prior experience using it, you can handle it with ease.

Pricing

TrustPulse offers 4 different pricing plans. You can start with the free trial period for each of these.

TrustPulse Pricing

Depending on the number of sessions your website generates, you can select the best plan for your business. Each of these plans includes a 14-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with what it offers.

The best thing is that it has a free plan for beginners too. If your site has 500 sessions or less, then you don’t have to pay anything.

Our Verdict on Using TrustPulse

After checking out all the features and testing how user-friendly the app is, we feel that TrustPulse can be a great addition to your site. It is super simple to handle and even a novice can use it with ease. The features are amazing too.

You can set your own rules for displaying the notifications, which gives you full control over your site.

If you want to check out more plugins that let you add social proof to your site, check out our article on the best social proof plugins for WordPress.

Get TrustPulse Now »
See TrustPulse Coupon »



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Using WordPress

How to Add an Affiliate Program in WordPress (Step by Step)

adding Affiliate prog to estore

Wondering how to set up an affiliate program in WordPress?

Setting up an affiliate program is one of the easiest ways to encourage people to promote your products. People can promote your product on their website and when someone makes a purchase through their referral, the promoters earn a commission.

The role of an affiliate program is to track referral sales and commissions.

Why Add an Affiliate Program to Promote Your Products

No matter what you sell online, setting up an affiliate program is one of the easiest ways to promote your products. By adding an affiliate program, you get a chance to promote your business via referrals and it also enables you to reach out to thousands of people without putting much effort.

For example, if a blogger signs up for your program that has 10,000 subscribers, it means that by allowing them to promote your business on their site and social profiles, you’re actually reaching out to 10,000 people all at once. Best of all, you only have to pay them when their users make a purchase on your site.

So the more affiliates you attract the more people you reach out to without really spending tons of extra money on advertising and marketing your business.

It’s basically a revenue-sharing business which is a win-win situation for both you and the ones who sign up for your affiliate program. Now that you know what affiliate program is all about, let’s take a look at how to add an affiliate program to your WooCommerce website.

How to Add an Affiliate Program to Your WordPress Website

Adding an affiliate program to your WordPress website can be easy if you use the right plugin. Affiliate Royale is one such plugin that we recommend to all our users.

With this plugin, it’s so much easier to start your affiliate program without having to go through any complicated and time-consuming process. It is a complete solution for anyone who wants to start an affiliate program to promote their business.

Affiliate Royale is an affiliate network management software that lets you monitor and track all your affiliate click, sales and payments right from your website. Not only does it allow users to join your program from your website, but it also lets you save fees that you would otherwise pay to a third-party affiliate network.

You can start using it on single or multiple websites by purchasing it that requires just a one-time payment.

Step 1: Installing Affiliate Royale on Your WordPress Site

Installing Affiliate Royale on your WordPress site is just like installing any other plugin. You’ll first have to go to its official website and then download the plugin by making the payment ($85 for the merchant edition).

affiliate royale

Once the software is downloaded, go to your website dashboard and click on Plugins » Add New » Upload. Now upload the software that you have just downloaded and click on the Activate button to make it start working. You’ll now have a user-friendly dashboard where you can start creating the login pages for your users.

Step 2: Creating Your Affiliate Pages

Once you’ve activated the plugin, Affiliate Royale will automatically let you create 3 different types of pages. A page through which users can

To create these pages start by logging in to your Affiliate Royale dashboard. Now click on the Affiliate Royale option » Affiliate Program pages. You’ll see the following options on your screen.

add affiliate program to ecommerce

From the dropdown arrow, select the auto-create new page option. Upon selecting this option Affiliate Royale will automatically create the pages for you. You can also use your own page. For that, you’ll first have to create your page.

This can be done by going to Pages » Add New on your WordPress dashboard. Then go ahead and save your page. After saving the page you can use it by selecting the particular page from the dropdown arrow.

Once done just save your settings. Your settings will automatically be changed to something like this:

Affiliate Royale settings

In the signup page, you can add fields for letting your user sign up for your program.

affiliate signup

In the affiliate management dashboard, your users can easily monitor their stats, edit their account information, download their links & banners and view their payment history, etc.

Affiliate Royale dashboard

Step 3: Setting up Commission Levels

The next step is to add the commission level. Commission levels allow you to create varying percentages paid to affiliates and parent-affiliates. It encourages your affiliates to promote your affiliate program.

To add this percentage, you’ll find the option below the option to add your pages. Click on the Commission Settings option. Under that, you’ll see another option called Level.

To make it simple to understand, let’s say affiliate A refers a new affiliate, Affiliate B where affiliate A is the parent affiliate of affiliate B. And suppose you have set two different commission levels:

Now when a sale is made through Affiliate A, Affiliate A get’s 10% of the sale and Affiliate B gets nothing. When a sale is made through Affiliate B, Affiliate B gets 10% and Affiliate A gets 5%.

So depending on the commission you want to allot, add your levels and define the commission in the field next to it.

affiliate royale commisiion settings

To add more levels, just click on the Add level button. You’ll also see another option called strong>Recurring Commissions.

Only enable this option if your product or service needs a subscription. In that case, your affiliate will continue getting their share of commission every time a user renews the subscription. You should keep this option disabled if your product is available for a one-time purchase.

Step 4: Creating Links and Banners for Your Affiliates

The next step is to create links and banners for your affiliates. These are used by your affiliate to promote your product or service. When a user signs up for your affiliate program, they can see these links and banners on their dashboard. Generally, Affiliate Royale doesn’t need you to create these links manually. You can simply use the default link that it creates for you.

It appears on the top of each tab in the Affiliate Dashboard. It appears something like this:

But if you want to create a custom link, that’s possible too. You can create this link right from your Affiliate Royale dashboard by scrolling a little downwards on the same page where you created the above options. You’ll see the following options.

Under the first option, select Text or Banner by clicking on the dropdown menu. If you choose Text then the Upload form in the Text/Image column will automatically change into a Text field. Under the Target URL, add the link to your Product page. This is where your end users will land when an affiliate directs them to your site.

The next option is the slug. This is the term or word you want to add at the end of your link. For example in this URL http://example.com/affiliatename/xyz/, xyz is the slug.

The last option is the Text/Image option. This might vary based on the option you choose under the link type you choose. If you select the text, then you won’t be able to upload an image. Rather, you can add text to it. If you want to upload an image, select the Banner option.

Just below this option, you’ll find another option called the Default Affiliate Link. Check this box if you want this custom link to be your default link. It will then replace the default link on the top of your dashboard tabs.

Step 5: Integrating Payment Options

The next step is to set up payment options. Affiliate Royale supports and integrates with various payment options like PayPal, WishList Member, Shopp, Cart66, Authorize.net ARB, WP E-Commerce, JigoShop, MarketPress, Easy Digital Downloads, etc.

Depending on your preferred option, you can select one by checking the box next to it. You don’t have to go through any extra set up process to get started with most of these options. The plugin automatically takes care of it. So you can get started right away.

So that’s it. Isn’t it easy to add affiliate programs with Affiliate Royale? We hope this article was helpful to you. If you want to know how to get started with an online store, click here.



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Website

What is an XML Sitemap? How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress?

Are you wondering what is an XML sitemap, and how to add it to your WordPress website?

An XML sitemap helps search engines easily navigate through your website content. It gives them a list of all your content in a machine-readable format.

Unlike a regular sitemap that is made for people, an XML sitemap is not typically visible to your website visitors.

In this article, we will explain what is an XML sitemap, and how to easily create a sitemap in WordPress.

What is an XML Sitemap and how to create one for your WordPress site

What is an XML Sitemap?

An XML sitemap is a file that lists of all your website content in an XML format, so search engines like Google can easily discover and index your content.

Back in the early 2000s, government websites used to have a link on their main pages, titled “Sitemap”. This page usually contained a list of all the pages on that website.

While some websites still have HTML sitemaps today, overall the usage of sitemaps have evolved.

Today sitemaps are published in an XML format instead of HTML, and their target audience is search engines and not people.

Basically, an XML sitemap is a way for website owners to tell search engines about all the pages that exist on their website.

It also tells search engines which links on your website are more important than others, and how frequently you update your website.

While XML sitemaps will not boost your search engine rankings, they allow search engines to better crawl your website. This means they can find more content and start showing it in search results thus resulting in higher rankings sometimes.

Why You Need an XML Sitemap?

Sitemaps are extremely important from a search engine optimization (SEO) point of view.

Simply adding a sitemap does not affect search rankings. However, if there is a page on your site that is not indexed, then sitemap provides you a way to let search engines know about that page.

Sitemaps are extremely useful for when you first start a blog or create a new website because most new websites don’t have any backlinks. This makes it harder for search engines to discover all of their content.

This is why search engines like Google and Bing allow new website owners to submit a sitemap in their webmaster tools. This allows their search engine bots to easily discover and index your content (more on this later).

Sitemaps are equally as important for established popular websites as well. They allow you to highlight which part of your websites are more important, which parts are more frequently updated, etc, so search engines can visit and index your content accordingly.

This helps improve the overall visibility of your website in search engine rankings.

How to create a Sitemap in WordPress?

There are several ways to create an XML sitemap in WordPress. We will show you two popular methods to create an XML sitemap in WordPress, and you can choose one that works best for you.

Method 1. Creating an XML Sitemap in WordPress using Yoast SEO

The easiest way to create an XML sitemap in WordPress is by using the Yoast SEO plugin.

It is the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market offering you a comprehensive set of tools to optimize your blog posts for SEO.

First, you need to install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to SEO » General page and switch to the ‘Features’ tab. From here, you need to scroll down to the ‘XML Sitemap’ option and make sure that it is turned on.

Yoast SEO XML Sitemap option

Next, click on the save changes button to store your changes.

To verify that Yoast SEO has created an XML Sitemap, you can click on the question mark icon next to the XML Sitemap option on the page.

View XML Sitemap created by Yoast SEO plugin

After that, click on the ‘See the XML Sitemap’ link to view your live XML sitemap generated by Yoast SEO.

You can also find your XML sitemap by simply adding sitemap_index.xml at the end of your website address. For example:

https://www.example.com/sitemap_index.xml

Yoast SEO sitemap

Yoast SEO creates multiple sitemaps for different types of content. By default, it will generate sitemaps for posts, pages, author, and categories.

If you run an online store using WooCommerce, then it will also generate a sitemap for your products.

However, when it comes to submitting the sitemap to search engines, you’ll only need to submit the main sitemap index file. We’ll show you how to do that later in this article.

Method 2. Creating an XML Sitemap in WordPress using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

This method is recommended for users who don’t want to use Yoast SEO’s XML Sitemaps feature.

First, thing you need to do is install and activate the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, the plugin automatically generates an XML Sitemap for your website. You can view it by simply adding sitemap.xml to your website’s address. For example:

https://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

Sitemap gennerated by the Google XML Sitemap plugin

The plugin works out of the box for most blogs and business websites. However, you still need to review plugin settings to make sure that you are not missing anything.

Simply, go to Settings » XML-Sitemap page to configure plugin.

Google XML Sitemap plugin settings

At the top, the plugin will give you status information. It will notify you if the plugin is unable to ping any search engine.

You can review the basic options where you can disable the plugin from notifying search engines, increase PHP memory limit, and more. The default settings would work for most WordPress hosting environments.

Next, you’ll see the additional pages section. From here you can manually add pages to your XML sitemap. This comes in handy if your website has static HTML pages not created by the WordPress CMS.

Manually add pages

After that, you can adjust how the plugin assigns priority to posts. By default, it uses the number of comments to calculate a post’s priority.

Post priority

The next two sections of the plugin’s settings page allow you to include and exclude content from your WordPress sitemap. For example, if you run an eCommerce store, then you would want to include the ‘Products’ content type to your sitemap.

Include or exclude content from sitemap

After that, you can adjust the frequency and priority of your sitemap contents. Changing these values are considered as a hint by search engines, and they may choose to follow or ignore these tags based on their criteria.

Set frequency and priority of sitemap contents

Finally, don’t forget to click on the ‘Update Options’ button to save your changes.

How to Tell Search Engines About Sitemaps?

Search engines are quite smart in finding a sitemap. Whenever you publish new content, a ping is sent to Google and Bing to inform them about changes in your sitemap.

However, we recommend that you submit the sitemap manually to ensure that search engines can find it.

Submitting Your XML Sitemap to Google

Google Search Console is a free tool offered by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

Adding your sitemap to Google Search Console helps it quickly discover your content even if your website is brand new.

First, you need to visit the Google Search Console website and sign up for an account.

After that, you will be asked to select a property type. You can choose a domain or a URL prefix. We recommend choosing URL prefix as it is easier to setup.

Select property type

Enter your website’s URL and then click on the continue button.

Next, you will be asked to verify ownership of the website. You will see multiple methods to do that, we recommend using the HTML tag method.

Google Search Console verify site ownership

Simply copy the code on the screen and then go to the admin area of your WordPress website.

From here, you need to install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page and add the code you copied earlier in the ‘Scripts in Header’ box.

Add your verification code in the header section

Don’t forget to click on the save button to store your changes.

Now, switch back to the Google Search Console tab and click on the ‘Verify’ button.

Google will check for verification code on your site and then add it to your Google Search Console account.

Note: if the verification is unsuccessful, then please make sure to clear your cache and then try again.

Now that you have added your website, let’s add your XML sitemap as well.

From your account dashboard, you need to click on the Sitemaps from the left column.

Adding Sitemap URL to Google Search Console

After that, you need to add the last part of your sitemap URL under the ‘Add new sitemap’ section and click the Submit button.

Google will now add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console.

It will take Google some time to crawl your website. After a while, you would be able to see basic sitemap stats.

This information includes the number of links Google found in your sitemap, how many of them got indexed, a ratio of images to web pages, and more.

Sitemap stats in Google Search Console

Submitting Your XML Sitemap to Bing

Similar to Google Search Console, Bing also offers Bing Webmaster Tools to help website owners monitor their website in the Bing search engine.

To add your sitemap to Bing, you need to visit the Bing Webmaster Tools website and sign up for an account. Once you have signed up, you can add your website under the ‘Add new site’ section.

Adding a site in Bing Webmaster tools

On the next screen, you will be asked to enter your website details including the sitemap URL.

Adding your sitemap in Bing

Click on the Submit button to continue.

Bing will now ask you to verify the ownership of your website and will show you several methods to do that.

We recommend using the Meta tag method. Simply copy the meta tag line from the page and paste it on a blank text file on your computer.

Bing webmaster tool verification

Now go to your WordPress website and install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin to your website.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Insert Headers and Footers page and add the code you copied earlier in the ‘Scripts in header’ box.

Add Bing verification code

Don’t forget to click on the Save button to store your changes.

How to Utilize XML Sitemaps for Your Website?

Now that you have submitted the XML sitemap to Google, let’s take a look at how to utilize it for your website.

First, you need to keep in mind that the XML sitemap does not improve your search rankings. However, it does help search engines find content, adjust crawl rate, and improve your website’s visibility in search engines.

You need to keep an eye on your sitemap stats in Google Search Console. It can show you crawl errors and the pages excluded from search coverage.

Sitemap coverage

Below the charts, you can click on the tables to view actual URLs excluded or not indexed by Google.

Sitemap URLs reports

Normally, Google may decide to skip duplicate content, pages with no content or very little content, and pages excluded by your website’s robots.txt file or meta tags.

However, if you have an unusually high number of excluded pages, then you may want to check your SEO plugin settings to make sure that you are not blocking any content.

We hope this article helped answer all your questions about XML sitemaps and how to create an XML sitemap for your WordPress site. You may also want to see our guide on how to quickly increase your website traffic with these actionable tips.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Stop and Prevent a DDoS Attack on WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular website builder in the world because it offers powerful features and a secure codebase. However, that does not protect WordPress or any other software from malicious DDoS attacks, which are common on the internet.

DDoS attacks can slow down websites and eventually make them inaccessible to users. These attacks can be targeted towards both small and large websites.

Now, you may be wondering how can a small business website using WordPress prevent such DDoS attacks with limited resources?

In this guide, we will show you how to effectively stop and prevent a DDoS attack on WordPress. Our goal is to help you learn how to manage your website security against a DDoS attack like a total pro.

Stopping and preventing a DDOS attack on a WordPress site

What is a DDoS Attack?

DDoS attack, short for Distributed Denial of Service attack, is a type of cyber attack that uses compromised computers and devices to send or request data from a WordPress hosting server. The purpose of these requests is to slow down and eventually crash the targeted server.

DDoS attacks are an evolved form of DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Unlike a DoS attack, they take advantage of multiple compromised machines or servers spread across different regions.

These compromised machines form a network, which is sometimes called a botnet. Each affected machine acts as a bot and launches attacks on the targeted system or server.

This allows them to go unnoticed for a while and cause maximum damage before they are being blocked.

DDoS attack diagram

Even the largest internet companies are vulnerable to DDoS attacks.

In 2018, GitHub, a popular code hosting platform, witnessed a massive DDoS attack that sent 1.3 terabytes per second traffic to their servers.

You may also remember the notorious 2016 attack on DYN (a DNS service provider). This attack got worldwide news coverage as it affected many popular websites like Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, Visa, AirBnB, The New York Times, Reddit, and thousands of other websites.

Why DDoS Attacks Happen?

There are several motivations behind DDoS attacks. Below are some common ones:

  • Technically savvy people who are just bored and find it adventurous
  • People and groups trying to make a political point
  • Groups targeting websites and services of a particular country or region
  • Targeted attacks on a specific business or service provider to cause them monetary harm
  • To blackmail and collect ransom money

What is the difference between a Brute Force Attack and a DDoS Attack?

Brute force attack

Brute Force Attacks are usually trying to break into a system by guessing passwords or trying random combinations to gain unauthorized access to a system.

DDoS attacks are purely used to simply crash the targetted system making it inaccessible or slowing it down.

For details see our guide on how to block brute force attacks on WordPress with step by step instructions.

What damages can be caused by a DDoS attack?

DDoS attacks can make a website inaccessible or reduce performance. This may cause bad user experience, loss of business, and the costs of mitigating the attack can be in thousands of dollars.

Here is a breakdown of these costs:

  • Loss of business due to inaccessibility of website
  • Cost of customer support to answer service disruption related queries
  • Cost of mitigating attack by hiring security services or support
  • The biggest cost is the bad user experience and brand reputation

How to Stop and Prevent DDoS Attack on WordPress

DDoS attacks can be cleverly disguised and difficult to deal with. However, with some basic security best practices, you can prevent and easily stop DDoS attacks from affecting your WordPress website.

Here are the steps you need to take to prevent and stop DDoS attacks on your WordPress site.

Remove DDoS / Brute Force Attack Verticals

The best thing about WordPress is that it is highly flexible. WordPress allows third-party plugins and tools to integrate into your website and add new features.

To do that WordPress makes several APIs available to programmers. These APIs are methods in which third-party WordPress plugins and services can interact with WordPress.

However, some of these APIs can also be exploited during a DDoS attack by sending a ton of requests. You can safely disable them to reduce those requests.

Disable XML RPC in WordPress

XML-RPC allows third-party apps to interact with your WordPress website. For example, you need XML-RPC to use the WordPress app on your mobile device.

If you’re like a vast majority of users who don’t use the mobile app, then you can disable XML-RPC by simply adding the following code to your website’s .htaccess file.

# Block WordPress xmlrpc.php requests

order deny,allow
deny from all

For alternate methods, see our guide on how to easily disable XML-RPC in WordPress.

Disable REST API in WordPress

The WordPress JSON REST API allow plugins and tools the ability to access WordPress data, update content, and/or even delete it. Here is how you can disable REST API in WordPress.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Disable WP Rest API plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

The plugin works out of the box, and it will simply disable the REST API for all non-logged in users.

Activate WAF (Website Application Firewall)

Website Application Firewall (WAF)

Disabling attack vectors like REST API and XML-RPC provides limited protection against DDoS attacks. Your website is still vulnerable to normal HTTP requests.

While you can mitigate a small DOS attack by trying to catch the bad machine IPs and blocking them manually, this approach is not very effective when dealing with a large DDoS attack.

The easiest way to block suspicious requests is by activating a website application firewall.

A website application firewall acts as a proxy between your website and all incoming traffic. It uses smart algorithm to catch all suspicious requests and block them before they reach your website server.

Website application firewall

We recommend using Sucuri because it is the best WordPress security plugin and website firewall. It runs on a DNS level which means they can catch a DDoS attack before it can make a request to your website.

Pricing for Sucuri starts from $20 per month (paid yearly).

We use Sucuri on WPBeginner. See our case study on how they help block hundreds of thousands of attacks on our website.

Alternately, you can also use Cloudflare. However, Cloudflare’s free service only gives limited DDoS protection. You’ll need to signup for at least their business plan for layer 7 DDoS protection which costs around $200 per month.

See our article on Sucuri vs Cloudflare for a detailed side-by-side comparison.

Note: Website Application Firewalls (WAFs) that run on an application-level are less effective during a DDoS attack. They block the traffic once it has already reached your web server, so it still affects your overall website performance.

Finding Out Whether it’s Brute Force or DDoS Attack

Both brute force and DDoS attacks intensively use server resources, which means their symptoms look quite similar. Your website will get slower and may crash.

You can easily find out whether it is a brute force attack or a DDoS attack by simply looking at Sucuri plugin’s login reports.

Simply, install and activate the free Sucuri plugin and then go to Sucuri Security » Last Logins page.

Failed logins

If you are seeing a large number of random login requests, then this means your wp-admin is under a brute force attack. To mitigate it, you can see our guide on how to block brute force attacks in WordPress.

Things to Do During a DDoS Attack

DDoS attacks can happen even if you have a web application firewall and other protections in place. Companies like CloudFlare and Sucuri deal with these attacks on regular basis, and most of the time you will never hear about it since they can easily mitigate it.

However in some cases, when these attacks are large, it can still impact you. In that case, it’s best to be prepared to mitigate the problems that may arise during and after the DDoS attack.

Following are a few things you can do to minimize the impact of a DDoS attack.

1. Alert your team members

If you have a team, then you need to inform co-workers about the issue. This will help them prepare for customer support queries, look out for possible issues, and help out during or after the attack.

2. Inform customers about the inconvience

A DDoS attack can affect user experience on your website. If you run a WooCommerce store, then your customers may not be able to place an order or login to their account.

You can announce through your social media accounts that your website is having technical difficulties and everything will be back to normal soon.

If the attack is large, then you can also use your email marketing service to communicate with customers and ask them to follow your social media updates.

If you have VIP customers, then you might want to use your business phone service to make individual phone calls and let them know how you’re working to restore the services.

Communication during these tough times make a huge difference in keeping your brand’s reputation strong.

3. Contact Hosting and Security Support

Get in touch with your WordPress hosting provider. The attack you may be witnessing could be part of a larger attack targetting their systems. In that case, they will be able to provide you latest updates about the situation.

Contact your Firewall service and let them know that your website is under a DDoS attack. They may be able to mitigate the situation even faster and can provide you with more information.

In firewall providers like Sucuri, you can also set your settings to be in Paranoid mode which helps block a lot of requests and make your website accessible for normal users.

Keeping Your WordPress Website Secure

WordPress is quite secure out of the box. However, as the world’s most popular website builder it is often targeted by hackers.

Luckily, there are many security best practices that you can apply on your website to make it even more secure.

We have compiled a complete step by step WordPress security guide for beginners. It will walk you through the best WordPress security settings to protect your website, and its data against common threats.

We hope this article helped you learn how to block and prevent a DDoS attack on WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on the most common WordPress errors and how to fix them.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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