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WPBeginner is 7 – Reflections and Updates

Wow, it’s the seventh fourth. Still feels crazy to think that WPBeginner is 7 years old, and I have been using WordPress for the last 10 years of my life.

Like every year, I want to do a quick recap of all the major things that are happening in my life and in my business.

WPBeginner Turns 7

WPBeginner Story

I started using WordPress when I was 16 years old and started WPBeginner at age 19 with a single mission: make WordPress easy for beginners.

Since then, WPBeginner has become one of the largest free WordPress resource site in the world.

For those of you who’re new, you can read the full WPBeginner story on our about page.

Personal Updates

2016 is a HUUGEE year for me personally because a lot of things are changing.

My wife (Amanda) just finished her PhD in Clinical Psychology last week, and we are now moved into our new house in West Palm Beach.

We are expecting our first baby (November 2016).

Here’s my most recent profile picture, and if you’re interested, you can check out my personal blog.

Syed Balkhi

WPBeginner Updates

Thanks to you all, WPBeginner has grown consistently (year over year). We have been working hard to keep adding new tutorials while making sure our older tutorials stay up to date.

There have been a few notable changes that I think you’d like to know:

1. WP.org to WordPress

At this time last year, if you had typed the domain wp.org, then you would have been redirected to WPBeginner. Earliest last month, we donated the two letter domain name to the WordPress foundation.

See the full blog post to read more details.

2. WPBeginner YouTube

Last year when I was writing this post, the WPBeginner YouTube channel had a little under 19k subscribers and had 1.6 million video views with a total of 394 video tutorials.

We changed our strategy a little bit. Instead of producing a new video every week day, we’re now releasing a video once a week. This has helped us produce better videos (as proven by engagement).

Right now we have 492 total video tutorials that have been viewed a total of 4.4 million times. We are also at 37,000 subscribers strong.

If you haven’t subscribed, then it would be really awesome if you do.

3. Firewall and Speed

We started using the Sucuri firewall, and it’s been an amazing experience. Within the first 3 months, they helped us block over 450,000 attacks. Not to mention, it also helped speed up our website and reduce server load.

If you’re serious about your website, then I highly recommend it. Read the full Sucuri Review.

WPForms and MonsterInsights

We added two new products to our suite this year.

WPForms, the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. We launched it in March and have already passed 50,000 downloads. It’s growing fast because I personally believe it’s the best solution in the market.

In this year’s WPBeginner survey, a lot of you wanted us to build an analytics solution for WordPress that’s easy to use. Keeping that in mind, we acquired the popular Google Analytics by Yoast plugin and renamed it to MonsterInsights.

This plugin has over 11 million downloads, but I don’t want you to download it YET. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed of the plugin’s current state. That’s why we are revamping the entire plugin to make it more user friendly, so it can actually help you grow your business.

Although part of me want you to download it, so when we do release our revamp update beginning of September, you can truly appreciate the improvements.

OptinMonster (Powerhouse)

OptinMonster is our biggest product. It helps you grow your email list by converting abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

This year, we made OptinMonster even more powerful than it was.

You can now do Yes / No campaigns, Dynamic Text Replacement, Content Locking, Onsite retargeting and advanced conditional logic.

Just watch the video below and see how powerful it is:

Subscribe to WPBeginner

Envira Gallery Growth

Last October, we redesigned Envira Gallery website and instantly doubled our sales (case study).

After that, we created a completely new gallery workflow to make it easier for users to use all the new features that we added.

The combination of these two things have catalyzed Envira’s growth. We now have over 420,000 downloads.

I’m extremely proud of the Envira team, and super excited for the future.

Soliloquy – A New Beginning

Soliloquy WordPress Slider is our oldest product, and it’s been the most stable.

But compared to all of our other products, Soliloquy looked a bit dated. That’s why last month, we revamped Soliloquy (both website and the plugin).

I’m going to gather some more data before I post another case study on how the redesign affects our sales.

But do check out the updates, the new site design looks super slick. We also launched a Featured Content addon, WooCommerce Addon, Schedule addon, and more.

Thank You Everyone

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in this journey. I really do appreciate all of your retweets, personal emails, content suggestions, and the in-person hugs / interactions at the events.

You all are AMAZING and without you, there is no WPBeginner.

I look forward to another solid year ahead of us.

Syed Balkhi
Founder of WPBeginner

P.S. We’re hiring a full-time (remote work) WordPress Plugin Developer. If you or someone you know would be interested in being part of our team, then please apply here.



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How to Exclude Specific Categories from WordPress RSS Feed

Do you want to exclude specific categories from RSS feed on your WordPress site? Many site owners use some categories for content that they don’t want to appear in the RSS feed of their site. In this article, we will show you how to exclude specific categories from WordPress RSS feed.

exclude category exclude specific category RSS feed feed

Method 1: Exclude Specific Categories from WordPress RSS Feed Using Plugin

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

Upon activation you need to visit Settings » Category Exclusion to configure plugin settings.

Category excluder

The settings page will display all categories on your WordPress blog with options to hide them from front page, RSS feeds, archive pages, and search results.

Simply select the exclude from feed box next to the categories that you want to exclude from your RSS feed.

Don’t forget to click on update button to save your settings.

That’s all, posts filed under your selected categories will disappear from your WordPress RSS feed.

Method 2: Manually Exclude Specific Categories from WordPress RSS Feed

This method requires you to paste code in your WordPress files. You can use this method if you are comfortable with pasting code snippets from web into WordPress.

You need to add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function exclude_category($query) {
	if ( $query->is_feed ) {
		$query->set('cat', '-5, -2, -3');
	}
return $query;
}
add_filter('pre_get_posts', 'exclude_category');

This code simply excludes categories that match the given IDs. Simply replace the category IDs in the code with the IDs of categories that you want to exclude.

See our guide on how to find category IDs in WordPress.

If you just want to exclude a single category, then change the code like this:

function exclude_category($query) {
	if ( $query->is_feed ) {
		$query->set('cat', '-15');
	}
return $query;
}
add_filter('pre_get_posts', 'exclude_category');

Replace -15 with the ID of category that you want to exclude from RSS feed.

We hope this article helped you learn how to exclude specific categories from WordPress RSS feed. You may also want to see our list of 10 most wanted category hacks and plugins for WordPress.

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 Automatically Link Featured Images to Posts in WordPress

Recently one of our readers asked if it was possible to automatically link featured images to blog posts in WordPress. Most WordPress themes link featured images to posts by default, but some themes may not do that. In this article, we will show you how to automatically link featured images to posts in WordPress.

Automatically link featured images to posts in WordPress

Why Link Featured Images to Posts in WordPress?

Images are more engaging than text. Using featured images can boost user engagement on your site.

Usually, featured images are large and take more space than text. They are more colorful, hence more noticeable. They are also easier to click on smaller devices like mobile phones and tablets.

List25 using featured images to engage users

However, if your post thumbnails aren’t clickable, then it makes it harder for users to view your post.

Most WordPress themes link featured images to the posts by default. Some themes may not use that approach, which makes it difficult for you to properly utilize featured images.

Having said that, let’s see how you can automatically link featured images to posts in WordPress.

Automatically Link Featured Images to Posts in WordPress

This method required you to add code into your WordPress files. See our beginner’s guide on pasting snippets from web into WordPress.

Simply add this code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

function wpb_autolink_featured_images( $html, $post_id, $post_image_id ) {
$html = '' . $html . '';
return $html;
}
add_filter( 'post_thumbnail_html', 'wpb_autolink_featured_images', 10, 3 );

This code simply adds a link around the code generated to display featured images or post thumbnails on your website.

This code will also add a link around featured images on single post pages. If you don’t want to link featured images on single post to the same post, then use this code.

function wpb_autolink_featured_images( $html, $post_id, $post_image_id ) {

If (! is_singular()) { 
	
$html = '' . $html . '';
return $html;

} else { 

return $html;

}

}
add_filter( 'post_thumbnail_html', 'wpb_autolink_featured_images', 10, 3 );

We hope this article helped you learn how to automatically link featured images to posts in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 14 best featured image plugins and tutorials for WordPress.

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 Automatically Add Watermark to Images in WordPress

Do you want to add watermark to your images in WordPress? Many photographers and artists use watermark to prevent misuse of their images. In this article, we will show you how to automatically add watermark to images in WordPress.

Watermark images in WordPress

Method 1: Adding Watermark to Images in WordPress Using Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery is the best WordPress gallery plugin in the market. It allows you to create beautiful and mobile friendly image galleries into your WordPress site.

Envira comes with a watermarking addon that makes it easy to add watermark to your WordPress images.

WPBeginner readers can use the Envira Gallery coupon code: WPB25 to get 25% Off on their purchase.

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Envira Gallery » Settings page to enter your license key.

Envira Gallery license key

You can get this key from your account dashboard on Envira Gallery website.

After verifying your license key, you can head over to Envira Gallery » Addons page. Scroll down or search to locate the Watermarking Addon, and then install and activate it.

Watermarking addon

You are now ready to add your images into responsive galleries with watermark. Simply go to Envira Gallery » Add New to create your first image gallery.

Scroll down on the page and you will notice the watermarking tab. Clicking on it will show you settings for watermarking.

You need to click on the checkbox next to ‘Enabled’ to see more options.

Settings for watermarking addon in Envira Gallery

After that click on ‘Choose Watermark’ button and upload an image that you want to use as watermark. You can also change position and margin of the watermark image.

After adding a watermark image, you can now move on to adding images into this gallery. Scroll up, and then click on ‘Select files from computer’ or ‘Select files from other sources’ button.

Creating a new Envira Gallery

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to easily create responsive WordPress image galleries with Envira.

After adding a few images to your gallery, you can publish it.

Now you can add this image gallery into any WordPress post or page. Simply edit a post or page and then click on the ‘Add Gallery’ button.

Add gallery to a post or page

Clicking on the button will bring up a popup where you need to select the image gallery you just created and then click on the insert button.

You will notice the Envira Gallery shortcode appear in the post editor. You can now save or publish your post/page.

Go ahead and visit your website to see the watermarked image gallery in action.

An image gallery in WordPress with watermarked images

Method 2: Adding Watermark to Images in WordPress Using Easy Watermark

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

Upon activation, you need to go to Settings » Easy Watermark page to configure plugin settings.

Easy Watermark plugin settings

The settings page is divided into three tabs. The first option on the General settings tab is to automatically add watermark to all image uploads. You can also choose which image file types to auto watermark.

Next option is backup, you should check this if you want to save original uploads on your server too. You can also select which image sizes to add watermark to.

You also need to select watermark type. The plugin allows you to add text, image, or both to be used as watermark.

Review rest of the options on the page, and then click on save changes button to store your settings.

Now you can click on the Image tab on the plugin’s settings page. This is where you can upload the image you want to be used as watermark.

Upload watermark image

If you selected image+text or just the text as your watermark type, then you need to click on the text tab.

Here you can add the text you want to be displayed as watermark. You can select font, font size, watermark alignment, transparency, and color.

Watermark text

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

You can now add watermark to images you add to your WordPress site.

Adding Watermark to Your Old Images in WordPress

To add watermark on the old images, you need to go to Media » Easy Watermark click on start button under Bulk Watermark section.

Add watermark to old images

Important: Please note that this process is irreversible. We strongly urge you to backup your WordPress site particularly your media uploads directory.

If you selected the option to keep a backup of your original uploads, then you can also use the restore option on this page, which will remove watermark from all images that have them.

Adding Watermark to Images Manually

In case you don’t want to automatically add watermark to all uploaded images, Easy Watermark gives you the manual option as well.

First thing you need to do is to go to Settings » Easy Watermark and make sure that the checkbox next to Automatically add watermark to images is unchecked.

After that you can go to Media » Library. You will need to switch to the list view to see the Add Watermark option next to each image in the library.

Manually add watermark

We hope this article helped you add you add watermark to images in WordPress. If you come across any issues, don’t forget to check our guide on common WordPress image issues 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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What’s Coming in WordPress 4.6 (Features and Screenshots)

The beta version of WordPress 4.6 has been released. We followed the development closely and excited to report that the final version is expected to be released around August 16, 2016. In this article, we will highlight what’s coming in WordPress 4.6 with features and screenshots.

What's coming in WordPress 4.6

Note: You can try out the beta version on your computer or on a staging environment by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

This is the beta release, which means no more new features will be added until the final release of WordPress 4.6. However, some of the features in beta may not make it into the final release.

Shiny Updates in WordPress 4.6

When users installed a new plugin or theme, or updated one, they usually saw a progress screen. This progress screen added one more page load and was a bit distracting.

WordPress 4.6 will introduce shiny updates. Users will now be able to update and install plugins and themes without being redirected to the progress screen.

Shiny updates in WordPress 4.6

Native System Fonts in WordPress Admin Area

WordPress started using Open Sans font in WordPress admin area to offer a consistent look across different devices and platforms. However, this meant that WordPress to rely on an external third party source. This also increased page load times of admin area, and affected speed.

With WordPress 4.6, the admin area will revert back to using the system fonts. This means that your WordPress admin area may look slightly different on different platforms.

Here is a screenshot of admin area in Safari web browser on macOS using system font San Francisco.

Native System Fonts

These are the system fonts that will be used in WordPress admin area on different platforms and environments.

  • apple-system for Safari and Firefox on macOS and iOS
  • Helvetica Neue on macOS prior to 10.11
  • BlinkMacSystemFont for Google Chrome on macOS
  • Segoe UI for Windows
  • Roboto for Android and Chrome OS
  • Oxygen-Sans for KDE
  • Ubuntu for Ubuntu
  • Cantarell for GNOME
  • sans-serif, the standard fallback

Note: This change only affects the UI elements of WordPress admin area. It will not content areas like post editor which uses your theme’s editor stylesheet for fonts.

Editor Improvements in 4.6

Most WordPress users spend more time on post editor than any other admin screen on their site. Improving post editing experience always takes priority in new WordPress releases.

Improved Auto Save Feature

WordPress 4.6 brings improvements to autosave feature in WordPress. Previously, when users disabled revisions, it also affected restoring posts from autosave feature.

WordPress 4.6 will fix this issue and users can restore WordPress posts from browser backups and autosave even when they have revisions disabled.

Highlighting Broken Links

If you are using the visual editor to write posts, then adding a broken URL will be highlighted.

As soon as you add a link, WordPress will check if the link is valid. If you take the cursor to the linked text, then you will see the link in red color instead of the usual blue.

Broken links will be highlighted in WordPress 4.6

Under The Hood Improvements

These updates improve significant parts of WordPress core but are mainly intended for developers.

Standardized Metadata Registration

WordPress 4.6 brings register_meta() function for the registration of meta keys. This function works like register_post_type() function. It allows plugins and theme developers to use a standardized way to work with meta data stored with posts, users, comment, or terms object types. (#35658)

New WP_Post_Type Class

WordPress 4.6 will introduce the new WP_Post_Type class. It changes $wp_post_types to an array of WP_Post_Type objects. This provides methods to handle post type supports, rewrite rules, meta boxes, hooks, and taxonomies. (#36217)

New WP_Term_Query Class

Similar to WP_Query, WP_User_Query, and WP_Comment_Query classes, WP_Term_Query in WordPress 4.6 will provide a better structure for generating term queries. (#35381)

WP_Site_Query and WP_Network_Query Classes

For WordPress multisite networks, the new WP_Site_Query and WP_Network_Query classes allow querying sites and networks with lazy loading. (#35791, #32504)

We hope this article helped you learn what’s coming in WordPress 4.6. Let us know which features you find exciting and what you would like to see in future releases of WordPress?

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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