How to stop spam emails coming from WordPress’ Contact Form 7

Receiving lots of spam emails from contact forms on WordPress websites is always a big issue. The most commonly used plugin for WordPress is Contact Form 7, and this is highly targetted by spammers. Spam from contact forms can be a big issue for sites that get a lot of traffic and so, it results in receiving hundreds of spam emails every day. These are inconvenient and it makes it very difficult to spot the genuine messages in between all the spam.

Not only can you receive spam emails, if you have a WordPress Blog, but it will also be quite often the comments within your posts get bombarded with junk as well. Today, we will show you six different methods to reduce/remove spam coming from your WordPress website.

Note; – We don’t recommend using ALL of the methods we are going to list as WordPress websites should be kept clean and shouldn’t be overloaded with several unnecessary plugins. We recommend trialling one or two of the below methods and monitor how much spam you receive after they have been implemented. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another method until you are happy. We would recommend installing Akismet from being with.

1. Using Contact Form 7’s in-built anti-spam measures

You’ll find a lot of articles recommending CAPTCHA and quiz plugins that work with Contact Form 7. Most of these are unnecessary as it’s better to use the features already built into the Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin.

Quiz

Simple quizzes are becoming a popular way to combat contact form spam. They work by asking the user a simple question such as “Which is bigger, 2 or 8?”. Fortunately, bots can’t answer this question and as a result, only people who enter the correct response can submit the contact form.

To add a quiz, edit your contact form and click the Generate Tag dropdown. Paste the shortcode that appears below into your contact form. It will look something like this:


[quiz capital-quiz "Which is bigger, 2 or 8?|8"]

2. Minimum character count

Sometimes a lot of spam can come from bots that enter text with just 2 digits in a field, usually a number. If all of your spam messages follow an obvious pattern, you can block them by setting up your contact form to block messages that meets the pattern. In this case, we used Maximum and Minimum options in Contact Form 7 to require messages to be more than 20 characters long. Genuine enquires will usually provide more than 20 characters, so this blocks bots without frustrating real users.

The WordPress website featured in this article received a lot of spam contact forms with 2-digit messages – usually a number. I have no idea what they were trying to achieve, but it’s obviously a popular type of spam at the moment.

The Message/Comments field will look something like this:


[textarea* your-message minlength:20 maxlength:500]

Akismet

Akismet has a great reputation as being one of the best WordPress anti-spam plugins. Not everyone knows that it works with Contact Form 7 as well as blog comments.

Once you have activated the plugin and followed the on-screen instructions to add your API key (free for a non-profit-making website or a small monthly fee for business sites), you need to do a bit of extra config to make it talk to Contact Form 7 which you can read more about here.

In my tests, Akismet stopped about 70% of the Contact Form 7 spam but not all of it. It worked well in conjunction with some of the other solutions mentioned in this article. We no longer received any spam comments within the blog once this was activated as well.

4. Contact Form 7 Honeypot

Contact Form 7 Honeypot is a WordPress plugin that adds a hidden field to your contact form. Real users won’t complete it because the field is invisible. However, bots won’t know this and will fill it in. This allows the plugin to recognise them as bots and block their submission, clever right?

After you have installed and activated the plugin, use the Generate Tag option to create a honeypot shortcode to insert into your contact form. Note; this can be inserted anywhere within the contact form. It will look something like this:-


[honeypot honeypot-401]

5. reCAPTCHA v3

reCAPTCHA v3 returns a score for each request without user friction. The score is based on interactions with your site and enables you to take appropriate action for your site.

To set this up, you will first have to register your site on your Google Developers account. For full instructions, you can follow the guide here.

Then on your WordPress site you can go to Contact –> Integrations, all you need to do from here is enter your Site Key and Secret Key provided from your developer account.

6. Really Simple CAPTCHA

The Really Simple CAPTCHA WordPress plugin was created by the developer of Contact Form 7 so they work together seamlessly. The plugin allows you to add a CAPTCHA to your contact form. It’s designed to prevent bots from submitting forms on your WordPress website.

Once you have installed and activated Really Simple CAPTCHA, insert a CAPTCHA tag into your Contact Form 7 form. (Click the Generate Tag dropdown to see the available options and create a customised tag to paste into your form.) It will look something like this:


[captchac captcha-14]

You can find further instructions about this here.

Do note though that CAPTCHAs are becoming slightly old fashioned and are not great for user experience. They also require particular features to be enabled on your server, which may not be in place for your WordPress website.

We would recommend adding a quiz first (see point 1.), and only trying CAPTCHA if this doesn’t work. The two methods basically do the same thing. They prevent automated bots from submitting your website contact form – so you shouldn’t need both.

Conclusion

All WordPress websites receive spam in slightly different ways. What works for one website may not work for another.

When I had to stop Contact Form 7 spam on a WordPress website, we immediately achieved a huge reduction in spam simply by installing Akismet.

We fixed the problem completely by combining Akismet with the Contact Form 7 Honeypot plugin, a quiz and a minimum character count.

If you just want to add one method to reduce Contact Form 7 spam, then we recommend Akismet. This is the best standalone solution as it’s so powerful and comprehensive. You can use it whether you’re a WordPress expert or a beginner. It can make a real difference to your WordPress contact form spam.

If you still receive spam, try the Contact Form 7 Honeypot in conjunction with this, trust us, it will definitely help!

 

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Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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How to Clean up Your WordPress Media Library

Today we are going to show you how to clean up your WordPress Media library. Whenever you upload an image to WordPress, several copies of that media file are uploaded in various different sizes. Over time, this can lead to a lot of files in your storage that are not used anywhere on the website.

By cleaning up your WordPress media library, you can save a lot of disk space on your hosting and reduce backup sizes.

In this tutorial, we will cover two different plugins and you can decide which one you prefer to go with.

Note: You will be cleaning up unused media files by deleting them forever. This action cannot be undone. Make sure that you have a complete WordPress backup in place before proceeding further.

Option 1. Clean up WordPress Media Library using Media Cleaner

For this method, we will be using the Media Cleaner plugin. It is available as a free plugin with a pro version available with some more features.

First things first, you will need to do is install and activate the Media Cleaner plugin.

Upon activation, go to Media –> Cleaner page to analyse your WordPress media library. The plugin may ask you to reset itself, during this process it will create a new table in your WordPress database to store data.

After that, you need to click on the Start Scan button to run the media analysis.

Media Cleaner will now look for files in your media library and inside your WordPress posts/pages. It will try and find the files that are in your media library but are not used on your website.

This may take a while depending on the size of your media library and the content you have.

Once finished, you’ll see a list of results. It will show you all the media files that are not currently in use on your website as shown below:-

You can select the files that you don’t want to keep and delete them. You can also click on the Delete All button to instantly delete all unused media files.

Option 2. Clean Up WordPress Media Library using Media Dedupper

With this method, we will be using the Media Dedupper plugin. It is also available as both a free and paid version.

However, we recommend using the Pro version because it allows you to prevent deleting duplicate images in the WordPress gallery, Yoast SEO, WooCommerce, and more.

First, you need to install and activate the Media Dedupper plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Media –> Manage Duplicates page and click on the Index Media button to analyse your media library.

The plugin will start analysing your media library and will list all the duplicate images. You can then see if a duplicate image is used on your website.

After reviewing the files, you can select all files or specific duplicates. Next, simply select ‘Smart Delete’ from the Bulk actions drop-down menu and then click the Apply button.

Smart Delete feature will make sure that images that are being used on your website are not deleted. It will also merge duplicate images allowing you to reuse media files without reuploading the same file.

Further methods to reduce Diskspace

Now that you have taken care of the duplicate images on your website, the next step is to optimise your existing media files.

A lot of beginners will directly upload images from their phones and cameras. These high-quality images are often too big in file size. They take up disk space, increase backup sizes, and affect the speed and performance of your WordPress website.

You can use a WordPress image compression plugin to automatically optimise your media files without losing quality. The best plugin for this job is Smush. We use this on every web site we work with. It will go through your entire media library and reduce the dimensions, file size in order to speed up your website. We love the plugin so much we are signed up to the Pro version which you can read more about here.

We hope this article helped you learn how to clean up the WordPress media library.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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WooCommerce – How to Remove Product Links on the Cart Page

Today we are going to show you how you can remove the product links from the Cart page in WooCommerce.

The great news is that you only need to add a single line of PHP code to your functions.php file. There are plugins that do this but it is totally unnecessary when it’s so simple to disable.

The code below will remove the links as illustrated in the image below:

So here it is, one line of code:


add_filter( 'woocommerce_cart_item_permalink', '__return_null' );

Easy right?

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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ACF Repeater Load More using AJAX

Have you ever wanted to show a limited amount of items when using an ACF repeater? Maybe you are using this to display images and to save on load time you only want to show a selective amount instead of loading them all. At the end of the day, having to load fewer images is going to speed up your site right?

In this example, we will show you the basics of adding load more functionality for an ACF repeater field. We are going to display a repeater called gallery and load only 9 items, if there are more than 9 items we will display a ‘Load more’ button to programmatically load the rest.

So first of all our markup will look as follows:-


<div id="photo-gallery">
	<div class="row">
		<?php
		if( have_rows('media') ): 
			$total = count(get_field('media'));
			$count = 0;
			$number = 8;					
			while ( have_rows('media') ) : the_row(); ?>						
					<div class="col-md-4 col-sm-6">
						<a class="mag-pop" data-img="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>" href="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>"><img class="img-gallery" alt="BeWILDerwood Gallery" src="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>" /></a>
					</div>
				<?php
				if ($count == $number) {
					// we've shown the number, break out of loop
					break;
				} ?>					
			<?php $count++; endwhile;
		else : endif;
		?>
	</div>
	<a id="gallery-load-more" href="javascript: my_repeater_show_more();" <?php if ($total < $count) { ?> style="display: none;"<?php } ?>><h2 id="title-bg"><span>Load more</span></h2></a>
</div>

As you can see, $number defined the number of repeater items we want to initially display. We use the break; clause to prevent further images from loading.

Now moving on to the JavaScript:-


<script type="text/javascript">
	var my_repeater_field_post_id = <?php echo $post->ID; ?>;
	var my_repeater_field_offset = <?php echo $number + 1; ?>;
	var my_repeater_field_nonce = '<?php echo wp_create_nonce('my_repeater_field_nonce'); ?>';
	var my_repeater_ajax_url = '<?php echo admin_url('admin-ajax.php'); ?>';
	var my_repeater_more = true;
	
	function my_repeater_show_more() {
		
		// make ajax request
		jQuery.post(
			my_repeater_ajax_url, {
				// this is the AJAX action we set up in PHP
				'action': 'my_repeater_show_more',
				'post_id': my_repeater_field_post_id,
				'offset': my_repeater_field_offset,
				'nonce': my_repeater_field_nonce
			},
			function (json) {
				// add content to container
				// this ID must match the containter 
				// you want to append content to
				jQuery('#photo-gallery .row').append(json['content']);
				// update offset
				my_repeater_field_offset = json['offset'];
				// see if there is more, if not then hide the more link
				if (!json['more']) {
					// this ID must match the id of the show more link
					jQuery('#gallery-load-more').css('display', 'none');
				}
			},
			'json'
		);
	}
	
</script>

I’ve added comments within the code so you can see what is happening through the process. Now we need to add the code to the functions.php file to load the additional items.


/**
 * ACF Load More Repeater
*/

// add action for logged in users
add_action('wp_ajax_my_repeater_show_more', 'my_repeater_show_more');
// add action for non logged in users
add_action('wp_ajax_nopriv_my_repeater_show_more', 'my_repeater_show_more');

function my_repeater_show_more() {
	// validate the nonce
	if (!isset($_POST['nonce']) || !wp_verify_nonce($_POST['nonce'], 'my_repeater_field_nonce')) {
		exit;
	}
	// make sure we have the other values
	if (!isset($_POST['post_id']) || !isset($_POST['offset'])) {
		return;
	}
	$show = 9; // how many more to show
	$start = $_POST['offset'];
	$end = $start+$show;
	$post_id = $_POST['post_id'];
	// use an object buffer to capture the html output
	// alternately you could create a varaible like $html
	// and add the content to this string, but I find
	// object buffers make the code easier to work with
	ob_start();
	if (have_rows('media', $post_id)) {
		$total = count(get_field('media', $post_id));
		$count = 0;
		while (have_rows('media', $post_id)) {
			the_row();
			if ($count < $start) {
				// we have not gotten to where
				// we need to start showing
				// increment count and continue
				$count++;
				continue;
			}
			?>
			<div class="col-md-4 col-sm-6">
				<a class="mag-pop" data-img="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>" href="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>"><img class="img-gallery" alt="BeWILDerwood Gallery" src="<?php the_sub_field('image'); ?>" /></a>
			</div>
			<?php 
			$count++;
			if ($count == $end) {
				// we've shown the number, break out of loop
				break;
			}
		} // end while have rows
	} // end if have rows
	$content = ob_get_clean();
	// check to see if we've shown the last item
	$more = false;
	if ($total > $count) {
		$more = true;
	}
	// output our 3 values as a json encoded array
	echo json_encode(array('content' => $content, 'more' => $more, 'offset' => $end));
	exit;
} // end function my_repeater_show_more

As you can see above, we are going to load an additional 9 images (or repeater values) on click of the load more button. Once all loaded items have appeared, we are hiding the load more button so that is no longer visible.

And that’s pretty much it! If this has helped you, feel free to drop a comment. If you need any help with this, feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist you! 🙂

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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How to Disable Gutenberg without a Plugin

Most people use the plugin ‘Classic Editor’ to disable Gutenberg, but did you know that it is actually really simple to do this with code? With over 5 millions installs, it’s quite clear that a lot of people go for the simple option.

The code needed to disable it is actually very short and simple, so there is no need for a plugin to do the job, just add the following snippet in your theme’s functions.php file:


    add_filter( 'use_block_editor_for_post', '__return_false' );

Yup, it’s that simple… just one line of code!

There are cases where you may want to enable Gutenberg only in some condition. Below are some frequently used examples:

Allow Gutenberg for Posts Only

We use the same filter and return true if it’s on post edit page.


add_filter( 'use_block_editor_for_post', 'my_disable_gutenberg', 10, 2 );

function my_disable_gutenberg( $can_edit, $post ) {
  if( $post->post_type == 'post' ) {
    return true;
  }

  return false;
}

Allow for Page with the Template “Allow Gutenberg”

First, create a new Page Template, take note of the file name:


<?php
/**
 * Template Name: Allow Gutenberg
 */

require_once 'page.php';

Then, still using the same filter, add a conditional to check if it's using that page template:


add_filter( 'use_block_editor_for_post', 'my_disable_gutenberg', 10, 2 );

function my_disable_gutenberg( $can_edit, $post ) {
  if( $post->post_type == 'page' &&
    get_page_template_slug( $post->ID ) == 'page-gutenberg.php' ) {
    return true;
  }

  return false;
}

Conclusion

There are many reasons to disable Gutenberg on your WordPress site. Maybe you already use another Page Builder or it simply lacks the control ACF provides?

For old sites, you generally want to fully disable it. But you might want to have a little taste of Gutenberg by enabling it on Blog Post only. You can do so by following the code above. 🙂

Hope that helps!

Leave a comment if this has helped you or why you choose to disable Gutenberg.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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Adding ACF Fields as Admin Columns to your CPT

We all know how awesome Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is right? We pretty much use the Pro version of it on every WordPress website build we do.

Today, we are going to show you how to add fields to your CPT (Custom Post Type) to the backend Admin Columns.

There are a few plugins that can accomplish adding your ACF fields as admin columns to the backend. Admin Columns is one of the best ones that does the trick. The paid version allows your custom post type to connect with ACF Pro.

As programmers, we want to keep the number of plugins we use to a minimum right? well, it’s pretty simple to add these manually!

Okay, so here we go… Let’s say that you have created a post type, ‘hosting’, and two custom meta fields, ‘start_date’ and ‘end_date’. You’d like to add both meta fields to the custom post type list view. First of all, we will need to add the following to the functions.php file:-


/**
 *	ACF Admin Columns
 *
 */

 function add_acf_columns ( $columns ) {
   return array_merge ( $columns, array ( 
     'start_date' => __ ( 'Starts' ),
     'end_date'   => __ ( 'Ends' ) 
   ) );
 }
 add_filter ( 'manage_hosting_posts_columns', 'add_acf_columns' );

This filter adds your additional columns to the list. We have created an array containing two items – one for the start date and one for the end date – and merged it with the existing columns. The filter is hooked to the specific post type, in this case, manage_hosting_posts_columns, based on the format manage_POSTTYPE_posts_columns. You’ll need to edit this filter to match your custom post type slug.

Secondly, add the following code to output the meta field values:-


 /*
 * Add columns to Hosting CPT
 */
 function hosting_custom_column ( $column, $post_id ) {
   switch ( $column ) {
     case 'start_date':
       echo get_post_meta ( $post_id, 'hosting_start_date', true );
       break;
     case 'end_date':
       echo get_post_meta ( $post_id, 'hosting_end_date', true );
       break;
   }
}
add_action ( 'manage_hosting_posts_custom_column', 'hosting_custom_column', 10, 2 );

Again, notice how the action hook is specific to your post type, in this case, manage_hosting_posts_custom_column. The function looks for the name of your custom columns then echoes the metadata.

Awesome, we’ve added the fields now! But wait, do you want to go the extra step and make the fields sortable? Of course, why wouldn’t you! Here’s how we can do that:-


 /*
 * Add Sortable columns
 */

function my_column_register_sortable( $columns ) {
	$columns['start_date'] = 'start_date';
	$columns['end_date'] = 'start_date';
	return $columns;
}
add_filter('manage_edit-hosting_sortable_columns', 'my_column_register_sortable' );

Well, we hope you have found this tutorial usual, be sure to leave a comment if this has helped you or if you require any help!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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WordPress – How to add Category Name to the body class

The body_class function is great for adding a bunch of classes to the body tag that has information about what kind of page you are currently viewing, most likely for styling purposes. As a default, it doesn’t include a class for the current category (or categories) for a single post.

The below PHP code adds the category ‘nice’ name, and you can simply add this to your functions.php file:


add_filter('body_class','add_category_to_single');
  function add_category_to_single($classes) {
    if (is_single() ) {
      global $post;
      foreach((get_the_category($post->ID)) as $category) {
        // add category slug to the $classes array
        $classes[] = $category->category_nicename;
      }
    }
    // return the $classes array
    return $classes;
  }

We needed to do some specific styling for each of the different categories for single posts and this was a good way to achieve that. Let’s say you had the category ‘Technologies’ and you wanted to make the h1 tags blue. The PHP code above will add the class ‘technologies’ to the body so that you could style all the posts with this category as simple as doing:-


body.technologies {
    color: #2581c4;
}.

Pretty simple right?

Hope this helps! Happy coding 😉

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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How to Change the Placeholder text for the WordPress Search Form

Today we will learn how to change the placeholder text for WordPress search forms.

To display a WordPress search form you can use the following PHP code:-


<?php get_search_form(); ?>

Now, we just need to add the below code to your functions.php in your WordPress theme and we are all set. The placeholder text can be changed/replaced with any text. Also, the search button can be changed to anything. It’s pretty customisable using the below function.


/**
 *  Search Form
 */
function wp_search_form( $form ) { 
     $form = '<section class="search search-form"><form role="search" method="get" action="' . home_url( '/' ) . '" >
    <label class="screen-reader-text" for="s">' . __('',  'domain') . '</label>
     <input type="search" class="search-field" value="' . get_search_query() . '" name="s" id="s" placeholder="" />
     <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" class="search-submit" value="'. esc_attr__('Go', 'domain') .'" />
     </form></section>';
     return $form;
}

add_filter( 'get_search_form', 'wp_search_form' );

We hope this article has helped you to be able to change the placeholder text for the WordPress search box.

Are you wanting to customise the default WordPress Search?

You may also be wondering how you can customise the default search to only display certain things. For example, you may not want to search for posts, but only display pages or certain CPT (Custom Post Types). This can also be done bespoke, but we tend to find the Relevanssi – A Better Search plugin to do the job perfectly well, and safe quite a bit of time. Relevanssi replaces the standard WordPress search with a better search engine, with lots of features and configurable options. You’ll get better results, better presentation of results and your users will thank you.

If you need assistance with setting this up, feel free to get in touch, we look forward to hearing from you.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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How to Boost your Social Media Using WordPress

If you’re in charge of your company’s social media presence, you already know engagement is hard to achieve – not only when you have just a few followers. Even if your fan base is already quite large, it’s hard to keep track of all the metrics that can help you make decisions. Those decisions can range from content, to what types of media you should use, or even on which networks you should be active. There are plenty of articles justifying why you should use each network, but, in the end, it all boils down to your target audience and their interests – and only you know that. Or maybe you don’t. However, even if you have issues trying to pinpoint to whom exactly you should try to sell your product, using the right tools can go a long way.

This is why we wrote this article about a few tools you can integrate on WordPress which will help you make the right decisions regarding your social media presence. A few of these tools have been around for a long time, but they have stood the test of time and, using them through WordPress, you’ll have a much more holistic view of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your social media efforts.

So, let’s go!

1. Sprout Social

Sprout Social will really suit you if you need cross-channel analysis for all your social networks: Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. You can also get detailed insights for each network you’re using, which is useful as well. It all depends on what you want to track and why. Sprout Social also has reporting features that can give you actionable insights into what you should be doing on each network you’re on to be successful. Sprout Social has been around for quite a while, so you’ll see it will help you a lot with your social media strategy. It provides you with target audience demographics, industry influencers, campaign performances, voice sharing, and analyzing consumer sentiments, among other useful metrics. Plus, its reports are easy to read and understand, which means that you don’t have to be a data guru to figure out what should be your next steps.

2. Hootsuite

If you’re a Social Media Manager, you’ve probably used Hootsuite at some point. Most people go for it because of its amazing scheduling features, which allow you to connect all your social media accounts under one app so you can post on each one of them without having to sign in constantly. Although most social media networks have scheduling features, it’s still much easier to do it from Hootsuite. On Hootsuite, you can just log in to your account and have a comprehensive view of all your social media networks at once. You can also use it to get your feeds from all social media, answer messages and mentions, and much more. On another note, it also has a free version if you’re not going to need to connect to many accounts. If you need more than what the free version offers, you can get a Professional account starting at $25 per month.

3. Buffer

Buffer has grown quite a lot ever since its inception. In the beginning, it didn’t give you much control – you’d just feed it with content and it would automatically deliver your posts. These days, it has Buffer Publish, which is pretty self-explanatory – much like Hootsuite, it allows you to schedule posts across your several social media accounts. However, it also has Buffer Reply and Buffer Analyze. Buffer Reply helps you get in touch with the people who engage with your content. Buffer Analyze is an Analytics tool that provides you with insights about which of your posts get a better engagement, which media most resonates with your audience, and much more. Plus, its free version has plenty of useful features, allowing you to add up to three social media accounts and schedule up to ten posts at once.

4. Awario

This tool hasn’t been around for so long as our first three choices, but it is quite useful to analyze your brand scalability and value. It researches mentions and reviews about your brand automatically, so it’ll deliver interesting insights about how you can not only make your social media better but also your product. This tool can go through thirteen billion pages every day, which is quite impressive. It also helps you find useful backlinks, providing you with themes for guest posting and content. Another useful feature of Awario is its social media influencer finder, which allows you to figure out which people are best to talk to about your product and who are the most reputable writers and influencers in your niche.

5. Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is quite different from the other tools we mentioned so far, in that it mostly figures out which are the most popular posts across a large number of social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit, just to mention a few. The fact it searches Reddit as well is quite a good indicator since Reddit is an aggregator that has information about all possible niches you could think about. It provides you with highly customizable search parameters and filters, allowing you to focus only on what matters for your brand. It also helps with influencer info and social backlink data, which are very actionable insights for your social media strategy.

6. Google Analytics

Even though Google Analytics is not a social media tool per se, its features include settings that allow you to track your social media campaigns and get to know which social media networks are bringing more users to your WordPress website. Using it, you can also find out which social networks provide you with the biggest ROI. It allows you to use UTM parameters to track and measure which networks and social campaigns are getting you more traffic into your website. It also offers a comprehensive report feature which can be used to track social media info such as how many people who subscribed to your newsletter came from your Twitter account.

7. Brand24

This is a tool for companies who are really invested in getting that Social Media ROI. First of all, it has no free version, but its pricing plans are reasonable and its tools are completely worth your money. Brand24 has been around for ages and it keeps on improving. It has a social search feature that automatically looks up your most important keywords and helps you stay ahead of the competition with Custom Alerts that have plenty of possible customizations. If you want to get serious about Social Media, Brand24 is a must-have for your company. It measures an enormous number of metrics including social media reach, engagement, sentiment analysis, the volume of mentions, and so on. Other key features of Brand24 include influence, trending hashtags, and many other KPIs you can measure.

Conclusion

This article’s goal is not to help you pick one tool that will help you figure out which way your social media efforts should go. Actually, our recommendation is to try all of these tools that seem right for you and go from there. Even with the paid tools like Brand24, you can get a free trial to experiment and understand what works for you. With this article, we’re simply aiming at helping you get the most out of social media by using analytics and figuring out which KPIs work best for you. For some brands, Twitter retweets are all that matters; for others, LinkedIn engagement is where it’s at. You also need to understand at which times of the day, and during which days, should you post. There is not a cookie-cutter approach for social media engagement and ROI; each brand has the right combination of tools and KPIs that work and you only get there through trial and error. However, the tools we mentioned above should give you the insights you need to make the right decision. What are your thoughts? Let us know!

 

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Posted by: Vanessa M

Vanessa Marcos is a writer and social media manager whose passion is copywriting and getting words together to create new stuff. #creativewriting #copywritingLove her writing? Find out more at Calma Copywriting.

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What’s new in WordPress 5.3? Newly added features in the WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” release

Today we’re going to go through the latest features with WordPress 5.3, you’ll also learn why this update is so awesome!

WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” was released on November 12th 2019. This article will reveal all the new changes in WordPress. We’ll also tell you what you can expect in terms of usability and higher efficiency when working with blocks in WP editor.

To update, you can update automatically from the Dashboard –> Updates menu in your site’s admin area or visit the WordPress Downloads page.

Highlights

5.3 expands and refines the block editor introduced in WordPress 5.0 with new blocks, more intuitive interactions, and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations to allow designers to complete control over the look of a site. This release also introduces the Twenty Twenty theme giving the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. Creating beautiful web pages and advanced layouts have never been easier.

Block Editor Improvements

This enhancement-focused update introduces over 150 new features and usability improvements, including improved large image support for uploading non-optimized, high-resolution pictures taken from your smartphone or other high-quality cameras. Combined with larger default image sizes, pictures always look their best.

Accessibility improvements include the integration of block editor styles in the admin interface. These improved styles fix many accessibility issues: colour contrast on form fields and buttons, consistency between editor and admin interfaces, new snack bar notices, standardizing to the default WordPress colour scheme, and the introduction of Motion to make interacting with your blocks feel swift and natural. For people who use a keyboard to navigate the dashboard, the block editor now has a Navigation mode. This lets you jump from block to block without tabbing through every part of the block controls.

Expanded Design Flexibility

WordPress 5.3 adds even more robust tools for creating amazing designs.

  • The new Group block lets you easily divide your page into colourful sections
  • The Columns block now supports fixed column widths
  • The new Predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced designs
  • Heading blocks now offer controls for text and background colour
  • Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style for any block that supports this feature

Introducing Twenty Twenty

As the block editor celebrates its first birthday, we are proud that Twenty Twenty is designed with flexibility at its core. Show off your services or products with a combination of columns, groups, and media blocks. Set your content to wide or full alignment for dynamic and engaging layouts. Or let your thoughts be the star with a central content column!

As befits a theme called Twenty Twenty, clarity and readability is also a big focus. The theme includes the typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson. Inter comes in a Variable Font version, a first for default themes, which keeps load times short by containing all weights and styles of Inter in just two font files.

Improvements for Everyone

Automatic Image Rotation

Your images will be correctly rotated upon upload according to the embedded orientation data. This feature was first proposed nine years ago and made possible through the perseverance of many dedicated contributors.

Site Health Checks

The improvements introduced in 5.3 make it even easier to identify issues. Expanded recommendations highlight areas that may need troubleshooting on your site from the Health Check screen.

Admin Email Verification

You’ll now be periodically asked to confirm that your admin email address is up to date when you log in as an administrator. This reduces the chance of getting locked out of your site if you change your email address.

For Developers

Date/Time Component Fixes

Developers can now work with dates and timezones in a more reliable way. Date and time functionality has received a number of new API functions for unified timezone retrieval and PHP interoperability, as well as many bug fixes.

PHP 7.4 Compatibility

WordPress 5.3 aims to fully support PHP 7.4. This release contains multiple changes to remove deprecated functionality and ensure compatibility. WordPress continues to encourage all users to run the latest and greatest versions of PHP.

Conclusion

WordPress 5.3 update is a pretty big update in comparison to its previous updates. WordPress just keeps getting better and better and we always look forward to their releases.

You can read a more detailed update regarding this version over on the official WordPress Page.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the update!

 

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Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development and web site design. His expertise is WordPress & Magento as well as many other frameworks. Would you like to work with Nathan? Send him an email on [email protected]

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