Your WordPress Questions, Answered

If these 31 days “inside” WordPress have left you with more questions than answers, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled some of your most FAQ in this post. And when you have more? Just comment and ask! I’ll do my best to answer them.

Got WordPress Questions? @GretLouise has answers!

Social Media & Blogging

What’s the best way to share my blog posts on social media?

The best way to share your blog posts on social media is to share them manually. Especially when it comes to Facebook. The secret algorithms of Facebook seem to give preference to posts created within Facebook, rather than posts created in a third-party app like Buffer or Networked Blogs. You can use apps to automatically post your blog posts to your Facebook page, but the more posts you create that are seen by few people, the less your posts will be seen overall.

Twitter doesn’t care what app you use to create your Tweet in, but your Twitter followers might care if they appear too automated. If you auto-Tweet both new and old posts, be sure to put “new post” before the new post Tweets, and use a hashtag or other note to indicate that old posts are from the archives. (Networked Blogs is an option for Tweeting new posts. Tweetily is a great plugin for Tweeting from the archives.)

How do I get social media buttons in my sidebar?

You can use a plugin like Simple Social Icons or Social Sharing Toolkit.  Or, you can use completely custom social media icons. Search Google for “free social media icons” and you’ll find that your options are endless. However, there is growing concern about the legality of using custom social media icons. Be sure to read the terms of use for each network’s icons before you make your decision.

To install custom social media icons, upload them to your Media Library. Then you’ll need to add some HTML code to a Text widget that will point to the source images and link the images to your social media icon. (Check out the copy and paste code in my HTML guide that you can adapt to your own image links. I also provide ready to use code with the official follow buttons from each network—just change my links to yours.)

Should your about page be about you or your blog, or you in relation to your blog?

Great question! I’ve seen it done numerous ways. Some sites have “About me” and “About This Blog”.  I have an about page in relation to my personal blog and in relation to my technical tips and services. “About this blog” could include disclosures or those could be in a separate page, too. It’s up to you–just make sure it accurately reflects you and your style!

General WordPress

What’s the difference between categories and tags?

I love WPBeginner’s analogy: categories are like the table of contents, tags are like the index. But I wrote a whole post trying to explain the differences and uses: The Differences Between WordPress Categories and Tags.

What widgets are best?

A search widget is an absolute must! I like to see a follow widget, a recent posts widget, categories list, and of course a widget to allow me to subscribe via email. For more on widgets, check out my post 5 Things You Should Know About Your Blog Sidebar.

What features could drive people away from my site?

The first things that come to my mind? Background music. Slow load times. Colors that are hard on the eyes. What about you?

What widgets make you look new or unprofessional?

Definitely the “Meta” widget!

WordPress.org

How can I check my site for broken links?

Broken Link Checker is a great plugin for WordPress.org users. It monitors links in existing and even scheduled posts, and emails you when it finds any broken links. The Bulk Edit features make it easy to correct lots of broken links with the same pattern at the same time. If you’re using WordPress.com or Blogger, try out W3C Link Checker or Free Broken Link Checker.

I’ve moved from one domain to another—how do I change my internal links?

You can use Broken Link Checker to replace any link pattern, whether or not it is reported broken. But you can also use Search Regex—it’s a powerful plugin, though, so be careful (and make a backup first). Just search for http://youroldsite.com and replace it with http://yournewsite.com. You can preview the changes before you click “Search and Replace”.

Can I use an editorial calendar within WordPress?

Yes! Some people may work better with a printed editorial calendar (Pinterest is filled with them), but I love seeing the posts themselves filling up the editorial calendar. EditFlow’s Calendar allows you to drag and drop post drafts between the dates. Editorial Calendar only allows you to see and move scheduled posts. So sometimes, when I don’t have any drafts yet and need to plug all sorts of ideas into place, I simply use Google Calendar. (If you’re working with a contributor blog, an editorial calendar inside WordPress or on Google makes it easy to share the upcoming schedule with your team.)

Is it possible to uninstall and re-install WordPress?

Yes. You can go to the updates page and click “Re-install Now”. You can also do a manual update/reinstall via FTP by following the directions from WordPress.org. But do so with care–and make sure you have a backup!

Moving to WordPress.org

What are the advantages to going to .org versus staying with wordpress.com?

WordPress.com works great for the hobby blogger. If you’re looking to monetize your site or pursue publishing, you’ll want a .org site. I talked in depth about the advantages and disadvantages in these posts: The Differences Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org and Why Friends Let Friends Use Blogger and WordPress.com.

How can I switch from Blogger to WordPress for minimal cost?

Do it yourself—with lots of help from Google! You can take advantage of sales this time of year, too. Here are the basic steps for transferring your content. (If they sound too complicated, email me for a Blogger to WordPress migration quote.)

  1. Purchase your WordPress hosting during Black Friday sales (through one of my affiliate links, if you’d be so kind).
  2. Follow one of the 1001 tutorials that can be found by searching for the famous “5 minute WordPress install”.
  3. Follow one of the 101 tutorials that can be found on Google for moving from Blogger to WordPress.
  4. Content yourself with one of the free themes until you can purchase a theme like Canvas to fully customize your site’s theme.

Can I deactivate the Blogger Importer and Maintain Blogger Permalinks plugins?

Yes! Once Maintain Blogger Permalinks has been run, it’s done it’s job. And once you’ve imported all your blog posts and comments, you’re done. Deactivate and delete them. The only time you wouldn’t want to delete a Blogger Import plugin would be if you were using Blogger 301 Redirect, Blogger to WordPress, or a similar plugin that actually handles the redirection from Blogger permalinks to WordPress permalinks.

WordPress.com Questions

What does it mean to be Freshly Pressed?

It means you’re one of the eight bloggers WordPress.com chose to feature that day. Check out the full scoop on being Freshly Pressed.

How good are the writing prompts from WP (and how can I find them)?

I’m a big fan of the Five Minute Friday writing prompts from Lisa Jo Baker, so I haven’t even tried the ones from WordPress. Anything that gets the creative juices flowing and helps you get the first words on the page is a helpful tool—even if you end up deleting the word that was the original prompt. Find WordPress.com’s writing prompts at The Daily Post. You can also click “Inspire Me” when you go to compose a new post for a photo prompt.

How do you use the help center at WP (and how helpful is it)?

Just visit support.wordpress.com and type in your question. I’ve actually found it very helpful, and more beginner-friendly than WordPress.org’s documentation.

Should you follow everyone that follows you back out of niceness?

Nope! I’m not a fan of the “follow me and I’ll follow you” concept. If I genuinely want to follow someone, whether their blog or their Twitter account, I will. The fact that I’m following it doesn’t mean I’m reading it and the fact that I’m not following it doesn’t mean I’m not reading it.

If you’re using WordPress.com as your blog reader, then you definitely don’t want to follow everyone—your reader would be overflowing with posts that you may not want to read.

How does WordPress.com figure out my follower count?

Your followers as seen in your Stats tab (http://wordpress.com/my-stats/) are the people who follow your blog (or blog comments) in the WordPress.com reader or via email.

If you’ve connected your Facebook and Twitter accounts via Publicize, your followers include your social media followers (since Publicize is set to auto Tweet and share your posts). That’s what inflates the “followers” count in the followers and subscriptions widgets beyond actual WordPress.com/email followers.

What does WordPress.com stats count as visitors and views?

Five views today means I viewed five pages on your site between my two visits there today. But I will only count as one unique visitor based on tracking cookies. (Read more about how WordPress.com tracks stats.) Other methods of tracking visitor statistics include “visits”: two visits would mean I came to your page two separate times today.

Why am I getting random WordPress “Likes”?

WordPress “Likes” may be spam. If you notice strange trends, you can change your settings so Likes are only on per post. Read more from WordPress.com about Likes.

Got more questions? I’ll be glad to answer them! Comment and tell me what you’re still curious about.

Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day (a #31Days series by @GretLouise)


This post is part of my #31Days series
"Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day".
Be sure to subscribe to get more blogging and social media tips
via RSS, Feedly, Bloglovin, or email.
Click here to check out the rest of the series.

10 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Share Themselves (almost)

You don’t have to be a social media ninja to be a successful blogger. (Click to Tweet that!) In fact, your blog posts can go viral without you ever having to share them on Facebook or Twitter.

All you have to do is make your posts shareable.

(And have quality, compelling content worth sharing, of course.)

Here are ten ways to make your blog posts so easy to share that they almost share themselves. 



10 ways to make your blog posts share themselves (almost) via @GretLouise

1. one click like buttons

If I want to like your post, I want to like your post. I don’t want to have to open a new window, compose something witty, and press Share. I just want to click Like. Give your readers the generic Facebook “Like” button.

2. no login required

Don’t make your readers log in to a separate sharing network to share your post on Facebook or Tweet about your post. Skip the share plugins that require special login–they won’t get used. (Same with your blog’s comment system: non-techies won’t comment if they have to create an account somewhere.)

3. floating share buttons

Keep your share buttons front and center no matter where your readers are on your post. Use a plugin like Floating Social Bar or Digg Digg to “float” your share buttons above or beside your post. Just be sure to test it on a variety of browser and device sizes–you don’t want your share buttons to be completely missing on small screens.

4. limited sharing networks

Don’t give your readers too many sharing options to choose from. If you use LinkedIn, give them the LinkedIn share button. But if your blog doesn’t have a thing to do with business, there’s no need to offer a LinkedIn share button. Pick the social media networks that you want your blog to be shared on and display those share buttons only. If someone uses a random, obscure social media network, they’ll probably have the bookmarklet or app for it–you don’t have to offer every option on the web in your share buttons.

5. pin it buttons on hover and below image

Avid pinners will pin your posts out of habit, but the average user needs to be reminded to pin posts. Make a Pin It button pop up whenever they move their mouse over one of your images, or custom code a Pin It button below your image. Pinterest’s widget builder has code that makes it super easy to add an on hover Pin It button to all your site’s images with just one line of code. You can also fill out the URL, image, and description and then copy and paste the code to put a Pin It button right below your image (and show the pin count, too).

6. intriguing image descriptions

The Alternate Description of your image will automatically be what pops up in the Pin description. Make sure it’s something that will make everyone want to click and read your post. (The eBook How to Blog for Profit has some great pointers on this topic! Click here for my review.)

7. an image on every page

Images without text and overlays will get pinned, but it’s worth the time to add some text (and your domain name) to your image. Going the extra mile with your images will save you from having to promote your posts: they’ll be shared for you. (Check out Karen Gunton’s free Image Creator Class.)

If you don’t use an image on every post, be sure there’s a pinnable image available in your sidebar or footer. There’s nothing worse than going to pin a post and finding that there’s no image in the post–or anywhere on the site! (Have you read my post 3 No Brainer Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Pinterest?)

8. tweetable and shareable quotes

Your post may be filled with pithy quotes, but if you make your one-liners easy to click and share, you are more likely to be quoted.

Click to Tweet allows you to compose your own Tweets–complete with the post shortlink and your Twitter handle–and gives you a custom link to let people literally “click to Tweet” whatever text you want. (Author Media has a great tutorial on Click to Tweet–be sure to make your Click to Tweets open in a new window or tab so that people come back to your blog when they’re finished!)

Twitter’s button page also allows you to compose your own Tweet with a link to share and insert the official Tweet button in your own post.

The RealTidbits PushQuote plugin allows you to select text and put it in a shortcode to turn it into a highlighted “pull quote” with Facebook and Twitter share buttons. (WPBeginner has a simple PushQuote plugin tutorial.)

9. attention-grabbing title

Your post title is the first thing that someone sees. Make sure it gives them a reason to click and keep reading. (Check out Headline Hacks for viral title templates.)

10. compelling content

It doesn’t matter how many pinnable graphics are in a post, or how many share options are provided: quality, compelling content wins every time. Especially if it’s spelled correctly. (Denise J. Hughes’ eBook On Becoming A Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know is a must-read. Click here for my review.)

What’s your favorite way to share the blog posts you read? (And what share plugins do you use?)

Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day (a #31Days series by @GretLouise)


This post is part of my #31Days series
"Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day".
Be sure to subscribe to get more blogging and social media tips
via RSS, Feedly, Bloglovin, or email.
Click here to check out the rest of the series.

5+ Ways to Send Your Blog Posts Via Email

Your tech-savvy blog readers can subscribe to your blog using an RSS feed reader like Feedly or Bloglovin’, but the rest of them might not even know what that little RSS symbol stands for, let alone how to use it. (Don’t miss the 5 Minute Guide to RSS Feeds in WordPress.)

The key to getting your readers to return to your blog is to get permission to send your blog posts straight to their inbox. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of 5+ popular ways to send your blog posts via email.

5+ ways to send your blog posts via email from @GretLouise

(This page contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

1. Jetpack

If you’re a WordPress.com user, Jetpack is the default subscription option. It’s also available to WordPress.org users through the Jetpack plugin.

The advantage of Jetpack is that it’s free and built right in to WordPress.com or to .org with the plugin. A subscription checkbox is even automatically integrated into the comment section.

The disadvantages of Jetpack are many (in addition to questions about the Jetpack plugin itself). The emails go out immediately when the post is published, leaving you no chance to edit that typo before every single one of your email subscribers see it. You can’t edit the appearance of the emails at all. Nor can you manually add or remove subscribers from Jetpack.

Jetpack subscriptions do not transfer from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (unless you contact WordPress.com for assistance). And if you’re using Jetpack subscriptions on WordPress.com, there is no way to deactivate Jetpack if you want to switch to another service.

Price: Free

2. FeedBurner

If you’re a Blogger user, FeedBurner is likely the method you use. And for many years, it was the preferred method of sending out posts via email, just as FeedBurner was the feed “burner” of choice (burning a feed means making it humanly readable rather than appearing as a bunch of code).

The advantage of FeedBurner is that it is free and unlimited.

The disadvantages of FeedBurner are becoming more and more. The stories of the people who never got your posts by email. The limited customization options. The fact that Google has phased out Google Reader and dropped support for FeedBurner development. (If you’re using FeedBurner, export a backup copy of your email list frequently.)

Price: Free

3. FeedBlitz

The popularity of FeedBlitz rose quickly with the bad press surrounding FeedBurner. Like FeedBurner, FeedBlitz has an RSS to email service in addition to burning feeds.

The advantage of FeedBlitz is that it is an all-in-one service. Your email subscriptions are sent out by the same service that burns your feed.

I’ve not used FeedBlitz, but disadvantages I’ve heard or seen include: a tough learning curve, a multiple step signup process (two clicks plus a confirmation email to sign up), and the occasional appearance of CAPTCHA on the signup forms. Blog posts are sent out within a three hour window rather than at a specific time.

Price: FeedBlitz is $1.49 per month for feed burning only, with the price increasing quickly based on the number of email subscriptions. Unlimited autoresponders are included with the base price.

4. MailChimp

You may have used MailChimp before for a newsletter, but it’s not just for newsletters. You can send out your blog posts via email automatically using RSS to email campaigns.

The advantages of MailChimp are that the editor works much like WordPress or Microsoft Word. You have unlimited RSS to email options per RSS feed. You can upload a file directly to MailChimp if you’re providing a freebie to your subscribers.

The disadvantage of MailChimp is that it can be confusing to set up RSS to email campaigns because of all the options (but check out my Top Ten Tips for help).

Price: MailChimp is free for 12,000 emails per month sent to up to 2,000 subscribers. Autoresponders are only available to paid users.

5. Mad Mimi

Mad Mimi is a more casual approach to email, but it creates a beautiful newsletter or post by email with super simple steps.

The advantages of Mad Mimi are an easy to use interface and great tech support. Few options equal little opportunity for confusion. It’s easy to sign up and set up your campaigns. An interesting Mad Mimi feature is that you can choose single opt in rather than double opt in (no click on a confirmation email required), but this may give you a lot of spam subscriptions.

The disadvantages of Mad Mimi are that with the free version you’re limited to a total of 25 image uploads, weird plain text editing, and you have no ability to customize your email templates. You also can’t send out more than one version of a single feed (i.e. daily and weekly) and there’s no file upload option if you want to provide a freebie to subscribers.

Price: Mad Mimi is free for 12,500 emails per month sent to up to 2,500 contacts. Drip campaigns are only available to paid users.

6. Aweber, Constant Contact, or other paid service.

I’ve heard great things about Aweber as well as other email services like Constant Contact. But so far, the completely free startup of Mad Mimi and MailChimp wins every time.

Check out my post How to Create & Build An Email List for a more in depth review of Mad Mimi and MailChimp, as well as details on other popular services. For all my email list tips, visit The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters & Email Lists for Authors & Bloggers.

 

Got more than 5 minutes?

Choose a service that allows you to offer your subscribers options. Let them choose from your newsletter, your blog posts on the day you publish them, or a weekly digest of your latest blog posts. Give them a checkbox for each or provide a drop-down option that includes your newsletter along with each post frequency. Click here for more ideas on simplifying your email lists while providing options to your subscribers.

Curious about the affiliate links rumors? Check out my friend Dawn’s break down of the most popular email services and their policy regarding the use of affiliate links: Top 4 Mailing Services and Your Affiliate Links.

Speaking of affiliate links, if you’re signing up for a new service, I’d be honored if you used one of my affiliate links: MailChimp, Mad Mimi, or FeedBlitz.

What service do you use to send your blog posts out via email?

Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day (a #31Days series by @GretLouise)


This post is part of my #31Days series
"Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day".
Be sure to subscribe to get more blogging and social media tips
via RSS, Feedly, Bloglovin, or email.
Click here to check out the rest of the series.

The 5 Minute Guide to RSS Feeds in WordPress

What is an RSS feed?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is the latest content of a blog surrounded by special code that makes it available for “syndication” across the world wide web.

Using a popular feed reader like Bloglovin’ or Feedly, or any number of other apps or programs, your visitors can subscribe to your blog via its RSS feed. They can read your posts without ever visiting your blog itself, and be notified of new posts without having to check your blog each day.

The 5 Minute Guide to RSS Feeds in WordPress by @GretLouise

Where do I find my blog’s feed?

If you have anything other than the default WordPress permalink style, you’ll find your blog’s feed at yoursite.com/feed/. But you don’t just have one feed. Each category and tag has its own feed so that people can subscribe by topic. Plus, you can subscribe to the comments feed of any page or post. Here is an example of a few of the feed options available on my site and this post:

  • Blog Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/feed/
  • Comments Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/comments/feed/
  • Category Specific Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/category/tech/wordpress/feed/
  • Category Exclusive Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/feed?cat=-41
  • Tag Specific Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/tag/social-media/feed/
  • Post Specific Comments Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/wordpress-rss-feeds/feed/
  • Author Specific Feed: http://gretchenlouise.com/author/gretchen/feed/

The link to all available feed options is hidden within the header of each post or page, enabling web browsers and apps to automatically offer subscription options to visitors.

How can I find out how many people subscribe to my RSS feed?

Redirecting your feed readers to a feed burner allows you to view statistics about your RSS feed–everything from how many people are subscribed to how many people are clicking the links in your feed. If you don’t use a feed burner, you can use a WordPress plugin like Simple Feed StatsFeedStats, or Feed Statistics to track RSS subscriber stats.

Additionally, each feed reader often offers its own stats of how many people are subscribed to a specific blog through their reader. Visit your blog on Feedly or claim your blog on Bloglovin’ to view your subscriber stats on each service.

What is a feed burner?

A feed burner takes your feed’s code and makes it readable by humans, not just feed readers. Depending on what you use for burning your feed, it may display options for subscribing to the feed via different services.

Do I need to burn my feed?

No, you don’t have to. Your feed is there and functional even if you never do anything with it. However, burning your feed will give you a nice looking page to link your RSS button to rather than landing potential feed subscribers on a page full of naked code.

What feed burner options are there?

FeedBurner by Google has been the most popular free feed burning option. However, because Google dropped some of their support and development options for FeedBurner, many people are worried about the future of FeedBurner and looking at other options.

FeedBlitz is a great service that also offers email subscriptions. They charge a flat monthly rate (currently $1.49) no matter how many RSS feed subscribers you have, then an additional amount per month based on your email subscribers. It is possible to turn off the email subscription option and pay only $1.49/month for an RSS feed burner.

Other options include:

(Check out the 5 Best FeedBurner Alternatives for Your WordPress Blog and 15 Great FeedBurner Alternatives.)

Should I redirect my feed to a feed burner?

You can redirect your site’s feed address directly to a burnt feed using .htaccess or a plugin provided by your feed burner of choice. However, consider carefully before redirecting your default feed to a feed burner. If people are subscribed to yoursite.com/feed/, you can control the feed they are subscribed to as long as you own the domain. But if people are subscribed to afeedburner.com/yoursitefeed/, you have only as much control as the feed burning company gives you. If a free service disappears, you will have lost your readers, because they were subscribed to the burnt feed address, not your site’s feed address. If the price of a professional service becomes too much, you will also lose your readers unless they offer a redirection service.  And regardless of redirection options, moving from one feed burning service to another usually means a drop in subscribers because your subscribers have to manually resubscribe to the new feed address.

So what if I don’t want to burn my feed?

If you don’t want to mess with feed burning options, or risk losing subscribers who have been redirected to a feed burner address you can’t control, you may not want to link to your naked RSS feed.

Focus on building an email list. As long as you have permission to email your subscribers, you can change services all you like. No need for redirection if your site or feed address changes. Getting permission to send them your posts is key to keeping your readers. (Tomorrow we’ll talk about five ways to send your blog posts via email.)

Offer direct links to subscribe to your blog via popular feed readers. Most popular feed readers allow you to offer your readers a direct link to subscribe to your blog via their feed reader service. Get a Bloglovin’ widget and visit Feedly’s button factory to get your blog’s Feedly subscription link.

Can I offer only a partial feed so that people have to visit my blog to read the rest?

Yes. Visit your WordPress Reading Settings and select “summary”  for “For each article in a feed, show”. If you’re using FeedBurner, a partial feed may already be turned on if the “Summary Burner” is active under the “Optimize” tab.

Additionally, you can allow RSS feed readers to view the whole feed, but change your email subscription settings to display only a post excerpt. (Watch for tomorrow’s post on how to send your blog posts out via email for more about these options.)

Why do my blog posts look different in the feed?

On your blog, the layout and formatting of your blog posts is controlled by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). But the very nature of an RSS feed is to make it readable anywhere in any format, thus you cannot format it via CSS. Consequently, an image that floats to the left or right of your text in a blog post will usually leave a white space next to it in a feed. To make sure your images display the same way in your feeds as they do in your posts, always center your images instead of choosing left or right image alignment. (The plugin Align RSS Images may help the appearance of left or right aligned images for self-hosted WordPress users.) In the same way, images that are downsized responsively to your site’s width within your post may appear huge within your RSS feed. Pay attention to how your images appear in your RSS feeds and emails and adapt your methods for inserting your images accordingly. If your email campaign headers are 600px maximum width, you may not want to insert images at a width bigger than 600px. (Click here for more on adding images in WordPress.)

Can I customize my feed?

If you’re already using the plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast you have the option to add content to your RSS header and footer. For blogs with multiple contributors, I like to add the post author’s name at the beginning of the RSS feed. It’s a good idea to add a copyright notice and link to the original post within the RSS feed to prevent automatic content scraping. You can also use Yoast’s stand-alone RSS Footer plugin. And of course, if you’re a PHP expert, you have many options for customizing the output of your RSS feed.

How can I help people subscribe to my blog in popular feed readers?

Got more than 5 minutes?

Check out these resources on RSS:

Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day (a #31Days series by @GretLouise)


This post is part of my #31Days series
"Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day".
Be sure to subscribe to get more blogging and social media tips
via RSS, Feedly, Bloglovin, or email.
Click here to check out the rest of the series.

Why Your WordPress Site Needs a Cache Plugin

A cache plugin creates a “cached” or pre-loaded version of your WordPress site’s pages that can be quickly accessed without checking the host files and database to see if there is newer information. Or, in the more technical terms of a WPMU blogger, “Caching is reusing data from previous requests to speed up subsequent requests.”

By dictionary definition, a cache is something that’s hidden away or unseen. That means your viewers won’t know you’re using a cache and Google shouldn’t see any duplicate content. Most cache plugins allow you to manually clear a cache, or clear it by default when a post or page is updated, so that your visitors won’t be seeing old information.

But why use a cache plugin?

Why your WordPress site needs a Cache plugin via @GretLouise

1. Shared hosting has its limits.

The typical blogger (myself included) uses a shared hosting package from a web host like HostGator or Bluehost. If you’ve ever compared the prices, you’ll see that shared hosting is the cheapest option—but it has its drawbacks. Shared hosting means you are sharing servers with other users. Usually, if you have a good webhost, that won’t be a problem. (A reverse IP lookup will show you the other sites hosted on the same servers as yours. But don’t worry—no one is going to associate you or your site with any of the others on your server. It’s simply a method for you to find out how much sharing your host is making you do.)

Some hosts “throttle” sites who are taking more than their fair “share” of the server’s resources. That means they will slow your site down to keep you from using your resources—which effectively means your visitors can’t visit your site. (When you’re choosing a web host, be sure to ask if they practice throttling.)

On an un-cached WordPress site, the site has to check the files and database every time someone visits a post or page. That can cause a lot of server load, which could result in slow load times, especially if your host throttles you.

2. Prepare for unexpected traffic.

If you wake up one morning to find that a high-traffic blog linked to your site, you’ll wish you had a cache plugin up and running already. You don’t want potential visitors to get an error because your site won’t load due to an onslaught of traffic.

3. Faster load times.

Cache plugins use options such as static files, minification, and cached database queries. Basically, a cache plugin takes multiple approaches to create quickly accessible copies of your site that won’t overload on your server during a traffic spike. You can even combine the power of a cache plugin with a CDN (content delivery network) to serve your site from a super-fast network, lessening the load on your own host.

4. Better SEO.

Google and other search engines rank your site based on how fast it loads (in addition to other things). Faster load times equal better SEO.

5. Keep your visitors.

If someone has to wait too long for your site to load, they probably won’t bother. There are still some of us out in the middle of nowhere with super slow internet speeds. And there’s an ever-increasing number of mobile internet users who often have bandwidth limits in addition to slower mobile connections. Site speeds and load times are crucial to keeping your visitors–and keeping them happy.

Got more than 5 minutes?

WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache are two of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. CloudFlare is another option that adds caching as well as an extra layer of security to your site. It can be used in conjunction with another cache plugin like WP Super Cache or W3TC.

Tip: You can install a cache plugin when you install the rest of your plugins, but don’t activate caching until you’re finished with your site design.

WordPress Cache Plugin Setup Tutorials:

Additional WordPress Plugins to Speed Up Your Site:

More Tips on Caching & Site Speed from WPMU:

Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day (a #31Days series by @GretLouise)


This post is part of my #31Days series
"Become Savvy Inside WordPress in 5 Minutes a Day".
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