All the plug-ins you need for WordPress

WordPress is one of the most common way to get your business online, with its CMS mindset, plug-ins and themes. Its truly the best flexibility a business needs to get going. If you’re not making use of plug-ins, then you’re missing out on some of  the platform’s best features.

Searching for a plug-in is hard work, there’s so many out there and multiple different plug ins do the same thing. Some aren’t compatible with your version, some don’t look right, or have low reviews. Its a minefield that’s difficult for the average person to navigate.

Its start with the basics.

  1. Look for ones that are compatible with your version of WordPress
  2. Only install ones from the WordPress plug-in menu, that means they are trusted
  3. Check the amount of installs already, the more the better

Let’s talk about some of the plug ins we think you should use


Yoast is a search engine optimisation (SEO) plug-in that takes a lot of the legwork out of optimising your WordPress site.

If things like robots.txt, .htaccess files and permalink URLs mean nothing to you, then not to worry – Yoast does this kind of technical stuff in the background.

It also helps with keyword optimisation, and provides a readability check so you can be sure readers will lap up your content.

It really is a must-have for all WordPress sites.

Contact Form 7

Need a way for potential customers to get in touch with you? Then Contact Form 7 is the plug-in you need.

It’s quick and easy to create forms, and you won’t need a developer to install them on your site.

You can also tailor the fields in your forms to meet your exact needs, making it easy to make sure you have all the information you need in order to follow up all those juicy leads you’ll be generating.

And even if you just need a way for people to get in touch when they have a query, Contact Form 7 has you covered.

Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons

A quick and easy way to help people share your content is a good way to help get your content shared. As the name suggests, Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons does exactly that.

It covers the major social media networks, and it’s remarkably easy to configure. So if you need a social sharing solution for your WordPress site, give this plugin a try.

Limit Login Attempts

Another WordPress plug-in that does exactly what the name suggests. But why would you want to limit the number of login attempts to your site? Well, if someone is trying to get unauthorised access to your site, they may use a programme which automatically tries to quickly guess different passwords.

With Limit Login Attempts, you can restrict access to the blog if someone keeps entering an incorrect password, making your site more secure.

Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights

Google Analytics is a great way to understand how people interact with your website, but it can be difficult to install if you’re not a web dev. That’s where this plug-in from Monster Insights comes in.

It allows you to install Google Analytics on your WordPress site with just a few clicks – no need for coding.

And once that’s done, you can benefit from all the usual statistical insights that Google Analytics provides.

Really Simple SSL

Another plug-in that takes removes the need for a spot of coding. Really Simple SSL allows you to run your site on https – all you need is a valid SSL certificate.

SSL is important as it encrypts any data that’s sent via your site – such as card details and addresses. If you’ll be collecting any kind of customer data, then you’ll need an SSL.

You can get your SSL certificate with any of our hosting plans for free (if you don’t have one already) and then use this plug-in to get it up and running on your WordPress site.

WP Super Cache

Without going into technical details, WP Super Cache makes your WordPress site load more quickly for the vast majority of visitors, which improves user experience.

If you’re a WordPress beginner, then this plug-in’s “simple mode” is a great way to get speed gains that you wouldn’t normally be able to access.

Summing up

Don’t be scared of plug-ins, using them wisely is a great way to increase the functionality of your website! Go out and explore

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WordPress 4.9, Everything you need to know!

Good Morning,

14th November and WordPress 4.9 has been released, with it a tonne of new features and updates. So let me sum up what’s new, what you need to worry about and how to upgrade.

Improvements To Customizer Version Control And Usability

There are two big changes to the WordPress Customizer, as well as one smaller usability tweak.

Save, Schedule, And Share Customizer Changes

In current versions, the only way to save the changes that you make in the WordPress Customizer is to publish them to the live version of your site. That’s fine if you want the changes to go live right away, but it’s not very user-friendly if you’re actively working on some tweaks that you don’t want to share with your visitors just quite yet.

WordPress 4.9 changes things with some awesome new functionality.

First, when you want to save Customizer changes, you can now choose from three different options:

  • Publish – publishes changes right away just like how the Customizer currently functions.
  • Save Draft – saves the current changes as a draft. They won’t go live, but they will stay there until the next time you open the Customizer.
  • Schedule – schedule your changes to go live at a specific time and date.

In that screenshot above, you can also see the second new addition – the Share Preview Link.

This new feature generates a link that you can share with others to preview the changes that you’ve made in the Customizer. The cool thing is that those people don’t need to be Admins at your site. Nor do they even need to have an account!

You can safely share a preview of the changes that you’ve made with absolutely anyone.

These two changes are a massive improvement and make the WordPress Customizer much more viable as a serious website customization tool.

Install Themes Directly From The WordPress Customizer

Another new addition to the WordPress Customizer is the ability to install themes directly from the Customizer.

Now, if you click the Change button next to your active theme in the Customizer:

You’ll get a new option for themes. If you choose that radio select box, you’ll be able to search through themes and install them right from the Customizer:

This one isn’t technically adding new functionality in the grand scheme of things. But it does streamline the process of going from activating a theme to customizing a theme.

Create Menus With A More User-Friendly Interface

Finally, WordPress 4.9 brings a rework of how you create menus from the WordPress Customizer. You’re not really getting any new features – but the team has rearranged the process to be more streamlined and user-friendly.

In case you don’t remember, here’s how the current process starts off:

And here’s what the beginning of the new process looks like in WordPress 4.9:

It’s not a major change, but it’s definitely a bit more user-friendly and eliminates some unnecessary button clicks.

New Gallery Widget + Add Media Button In Text Widget

Beyond the WordPress Customizer, the widget area also got some continued love since the addition of media widgets and visual editing in WordPress 4.8.

Brand New Gallery Widget

Say goodbye to Jetpack, because everyone will have a gallery widget in WordPress 4.9!

Given that WordPress 4.8 introduced an image widget, it only makes sense that WordPress 4.9 enhances that with a new dedicated gallery widget.

It functions pretty much as you’d expect – you drag it over and use the Add Images button to select images from your WordPress media library:

Just as with the core WordPress Gallery functionality, you can choose ordering, sizing, and columns:

And then you’ll have your gallery on the frontend of your site:

Add Media Button + Shortcodes In Text Widget

Another continuation of the changes from WordPress 4.8 is the addition of the Add Media button to the text widget. This only made sense given how WordPress 4.8 added visual editing:

One neat thing is that you can actually use the text widget to create a gallery now thanks to the Add Media button. So the gallery widget is really just a more user-friendly version of this functionality:

Additionally, shortcodes will now render in text widgets by default – no more need to add a filter.

CodeMirror For Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking

The third big visible change in WordPress 4.9 is the introduction of the CodeMirror editor.

If you’re not familiar, CodeMirror is a text editor focused on editing code. It offers a number of features to make the editing experience better, notably:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Live error checking
  • Autocomplete

Starting in WordPress 4.9, CodeMirror will be the editor for:

  • Custom CSS in the WordPress Customizer
  • Editing theme or plugin code from the dashboard editor
  • The custom HTML widget

But before I show you the new editing experience, here’s another minor addition that I stumbled on…

If you try to directly edit your theme’s template files, WordPress now gives you a warning message:

And once you confirm that, you can enjoy the new CodeMirror editing experience:

Additionally, WordPress 4.9 introduces a new API so that developers can easily integrate the CodeMirror editing experience into their own projects.

And if you’re not a fan of the syntax highlighting, you can always turn it off by going to your user profile:

Other Smaller Features Coming In WordPress 4.9

As you’d expect, WordPress 4.9 also brings a number of smaller tweaks and improvements. Some notable changes are:

You can view a list of most of the tweaks here.

What Are You Most Excited For?

And that wraps up our list of what to expect in WordPress 4.9! Beyond the bevy of smaller tweaks, WordPress 4.9 will improve:

  • The WordPress Customizer
  • WordPress widgets
  • The WordPress code editing experience
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Designing your Own Site or Paying someone to do it… which is better???

Websites are still seen as a dark art to some, with terms such as SEO, PPC, Analytics, copywriting, user experience, SSD, SATA, CPU, RAM and HD’s all over the place it’s a nightmare to know what you need and what you don’t need… no wonder you want a simple and easy life.

What if I were to tell you, you don’t need to understand it all and it’s not as complicated as you think! Let’s start by picking out those silly terms and making sense of them.

We’ll start with the techie talk first…

SSD, SATA, CPU, RAM and HD, what’s that all about. These are your resources for your website, SSD/SATA and HD are all the storage (the box your website is going into), CPU is the power your site has, so the larger the numbers of both these sections the better, however remember SSD is better than SATA (read our article here about SSD to find out why!)


Now let’s talk about the analytics side of things, SEO/PPC, PPM, Copywriting, User Experience, each of these serves a larger master, SEO/PPC/PPM are for google and the search engines, SEO is all about writing your site to match what the search engines want, there are specifics that these sites love and you can find tools on-line to help you deliver these with no cost, have a look at Hypestar’s free SEO tool, then make the changes it suggests. For more comprehensive and technical SEO have a word with us and we’ll introduce you to our SEO tool (we’ll even help you implement some of the changes). PPC and PPM are the dark arts you hear about, these are paid adverts on Google, PPC is pay per click (so every time someone clicks on the advert you get charged), PPM is pay per impression (every time someone sees it you’re changed)… PPM is great for brand building but has little to no return on investment, however if someone clicks 100 times on the same advert you’re only charged for the times they see it on search, while PPC works the other way round, you’re changed every time someone clicks… does that all make sense?

Okay so the babble is all out of the way, and you understand the terms, let’s go back to building your own site and if its right for you?

Lets Start with paying someone to do it…

Firstly, you have to find a company you want to work with, within the North East of England if you google web designer you’ll find over 5 million results. Picking one can be tricky, you’ll meet loads of them, they’ll all tell you different prices for different things and eventually you’ll pick one for yourself.

Once you’ve done that they make the site, it might take a month, or two, or even 6 months. It all depends on what you want and how much you’ve paid. Once it’s built they upload it to staging server, then you test it, and correct it… still after months…. it’s not online and still being built, when the site is ready and you’ve got it on-line, a few months later you want to make a change. Did your web site builder agree a certain amount of changes a year for free, are there charges?

You decide you want to take the site elsewhere as the annual fees are in the £1000’s to keep it there, so now, they charge you for access or make it difficult for the next company…

Horror Stories I’ve seen from multiple customers.

Why not do it yourself?

Take up hosting from us at £50 a year and install WordPress with our 1 click installer. Head on a course with our partner company Hypestar and learn how to build it yourself. Feel free to pay a designer to do some logos and buy a template from the internet.

Work on the site in your own time, have the prototype online and then install and setup the ecommerce later after already running a SEO tool to check the content is right.

Designer – £50

Hosting – £50

Training – £120

Total cost less than £300 and only £50 a year to keep it going…

It’s a no brainier!!!!

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