Gmail ad campaigns, while often overlooked, are a powerful and effective campaign type that should be part of every digital marketer’s arsenal. Consumers are increasingly interacting with and consuming various kinds of content across mobile and desktop, and email is no exception. Whether you’re looking at your phone on your way to the office or lounging at home on your computer, you are likely checking your email – and so is everyone else! This is where Gmail ads come in.
It’s not enough to just have a Gmail ad campaign, though. Many advertisers employ email marketing, and the most successful ones are those who not only have compelling content but also know their target audience. Thankfully, the new AdWords user interface has significantly enhanced targeting and ad creation options for Gmail ads (which, as a note, you can now only create using the new AdWords UI). Here are some new Gmail campaign features specific to the new AdWords UI that are worth checking out.
Audience and Demographic Targeting
First on the list of new Gmail ads features is audience and demographic targeting. With the new AdWords interface, you can use Google’s information on users’ life events and household incomes to narrow down your targeting.
Life Events – You can now target three specific life events: Graduation, Marriage, and Moving. This is one of the newest targeting options for both Display and Gmail campaigns in the new UI.
Household Income Targeting – You can target (and exclude) specific household income brackets as part of your Gmail ads targeting. This is an effective way to qualify your target audience. For example, if you’re an ecommerce company that sells high-end luxury goods or a SaaS company that sells relatively expensive software, you can either target only the top 10% income bracket or exclude the lower 50% income bracket to ensure your messaging is getting in front of the right people.
In addition to updated audience targeting, AdWords can now help you create Gmail ads to capture potential customers.
Scan Your Website for Ad Creative – Gone are the days of spending an exorbitant amount of time crafting image creative. Google can now scan your website for image content and automatically adjust the size of its suggestions so you can use them for your Gmail ads. This will not only save you time but also strengthen the relevancy between your ad and website creative.
Video Creative – Who said videos can only be used for YouTube campaigns? You can now use video creative in your Gmail ads! Have a strong video ad in your YouTube campaign or on your YouTube channel? Add it to your Gmail campaign! This is a powerful way to stand out from other advertisers and speak to your consumer.
Call-to-Action Button – In addition to having a headline and description line, Gmail ads now have a customizable, 15-character length call-to-action button. This appears as a large, blue button at the bottom of your ad that can further entice people to complete your desired action (buy a product, fill out a lead form, etc.).
If there is one area where new Gmail ad campaigns are significantly improved compared to their former old UI selves, it is on mobile. The new UI has a plethora of new mobile features that can help ensure your Gmail campaigns are optimized for your mobile strategy.
Mobile Ad Previewing – The new UI has a great mobile ad preview option that is particularly useful for Gmail ads. You can see how your ad looks in an inbox before it’s opened and see how it looks after it’s been opened. This is very helpful for when you’re trying to create concise, mobile-friendly ad copy.
Mobile Targeting – You can now take your Gmail mobile targeting to the next level with these new mobile targeting options:
- OS Targeting – You can now target or exclude a specific mobile OS. For example, if you only want to target iPhone users, you can now set that up when you’re creating your campaign.
- Device Manufacturer Targeting – You can also target or exclude a specific mobile device manufacturer (Samsung, Apple, LG, etc.)
- Network and Wifi Targeting – You can also choose to target a specific cellular network provider (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) or choose to have your Gmail ads only target mobile devices connected to wifi
With these great features readily available for Gmail ads in the new AdWords UI, you should take a second look at Gmail campaigns. Whether you’re trying to acquire new customers at the top-of-the-funnel or remarket to people who have interacted with your site, Gmail ads can be a vital asset to your overall digital marketing strategy.
Looking for help on your Gmail ads or online prospecting efforts? Talk to our team today.
An important first step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business’ Google My Business (GMB) listing. Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. Qualifying local businesses can claim this free listing on Google and include information about their company, like their address, phone number, business hours, and types of payments accepted.
Additionally, over the past several months, Google has added some great features to Google My Business that companies should take advantage of that enhances your Google My Business listing and helps to grab viewers’ attention — and can increase how you rank in local search results.
If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. What most businesses don’trealize is that there are a variety of other features Google gives you that you can use to optimize your Google My Business listing and several reasons why you should frequently check your business listing to ensure that its accuracy stays intact. Want to know more?
Complete all the information Google asks for
There are a variety of questions Google wants you to fill out to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have valuable basic data that will make it easier for potential customers to find more information about your company. And if you don’t fill out that information, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can suggest a change (or “edit”) to your business listing — and that includes your competitors.
When a searcher clicks on your GMB listing they see a “Suggest an edit” option:
When someone clicks on that option they can literally edit your Google My Business listing (and make some pretty dramatic changes, too):
And these aren’t just “suggested” edits — these user-generated changes can actually be made live on your listing without you even being notified. This is just one reason why it’s very important that you log in to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing.
If you log in to Google My Business, you can switch back to the “Classic” dashboard here:
In the classic dashboard, you might see “Google Updates” notifications.
If you see updates, these are changes that Google made to your business listing because either their algorithm found new information about your business (perhaps from another directory/citation site or a change they found on your Google Map) or a Google user submitted an edit that was published. (Yes, when people make “suggested edits,” they are not really “suggestions” -– the changes are often made live without you ever getting a notification or the opportunity to dispute the change!)
When you click on “Google Updates,” you’ll see a box that allows you to “Review Updates.” It’s here where you’re given the opportunity to remove incorrect information that may have been made by a troublesome Google user.
Now, Google supposedly sends out emails to the owner and others managing your Google My Business account when changes are made, but oftentimes those people never receive notifications about changes to their listing. So beware: you may (or may not) be notified by Google if changes are made to your listing. (For example, your business category could be changed from “criminal attorney” to the generic “lawyer” category, which could negatively impact your search rankings.) That’s why it’s extra important for you to log in and check your listing frequently (especially when, quite literally, some businesses have had their address and website URLs changed in their GMB listing by nefarious users.)
If you see a change that is incorrect and you have difficulty changing it (like a bogus review, for instance), create a new post explaining the situation in detail in the Google My Business forum and reach out to one of the Google Top Contributor volunteers for help.
Also, it’s important to realize that Google encourages people who are familiar with your business to answer questions, so that Google can learn more information about your company. To do this they simply click on the “Know this place? Answer quick questions” link.
They’ll then be prompted to answer some questions about your business:
If the person knows the answer to the question, they can answer and then they’ll typically be asked another question. If not, they can decline.
Now, some business owners have cried foul, saying that competitors or others with malicious intent can wreak havoc on their Google My Business listings with these features. However, Google’s philosophy is that this type of user-generated content helps to build a community, more fully completes a business’ profile, and allows Google to experiment with different search strategies.
Just remember, after you get your Google My Business listing verified, continue to check your listing regularly to be on the safe side.
Once you have your GMB listing verified, now is the time to optimize your listing. (This is where you have a greater chance to outdo your competition!)
Google My Business Posts
Google Posts are almost like “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps).
To get started with Posts, log in to your GMB dashboard and you’ll see the Posts option on the left-hand side:
You can have fun with your Google My Business Posts by adding an image, a call-to-action (CTA), and even including a link to another page or website. If you’re using Yext, you can create GMB Posts directly from your Yext dashboard.
Not sure what type of Post you should make? Here are just a few Post ideas:
- If you’re having an event (like a webinar or a seminar about your chiropractic practice) you can set up an event Post with a date and time, then add a link to the registration page.
- Do you have a sale going on during a specific time? Create a “sale” event Post.
- Does your latest blog post rock? Add a short description and link to the post on your blog.
- New product you want to feature? Show a picture of this cool gadget and link to where people can make the purchase.
- Want to spread holiday joy? Give potential customers a holiday message Post.
The possibilities with Posts are endless! Posts show up prominently in your business’ Knowledge Panel, so don’t miss this opportunity to stand out.
TIP: To grab a searcher’s attention, you want to include an image in your Post, but on Google Maps the Post image can get cut off. You might have to test a few Post image sizes to make sure it’s sized appropriately for Maps and the Knowledge Panel on desktop and mobile devices.
Want to have even MORE fun and potentially help your local SEO? Try adding relevant emojis to your Post. Google is beginning to index emoji-relevant search results. (In fact, you can now search Google by “tweeting” an emoji at it!) Additionally, people — especially younger people — are beginning to search (typically on their mobile devices) with emojis! So if a person is searching for “[pizza emoji] + nearby” and you own a local pizza restaurant and use the [pizza emoji] somewhere on your Google My Business listing — like in a Post with a special offer on a pizza order — you might have an SEO edge over the other pizzeria competitors in your city.
Not sure how to add emojis? If you’re using a Windows computer, you can add emojis by pressing the Windows key + the “.” OR “;” key at the same time on your keyboard. The emoji list of characters will appear and you can select the emoji you’d like to include (but don’t get carried away — one emoji is enough):
When people search using Chrome on their smartphones with an “emoji + near me,” you might be surprised by what they find:
You got it! Google knew that I was looking for a great burger joint around my home! (Pretty cool, huh?)
Disclaimer: This strategy is still new and we’re not certain how adding emojis to your GMB listings impact these “emoji search results,” but if you have a related emoji that is pertinent to your business, you should definitely test it! (But don’t overdo the emojis — it gets obnoxious and doesn’t look professional if you go overboard.)
Posts stay live for seven days or “go dark” after the date of the event. (However, the old Posts still appear in your GMB listing — they’re just pushed down by the new Posts.)
If you’re forgetful, Google is great about sending you reminders when it’s time to create a new Post.
And remember, Posts show up prominently in mobile searches, so make your website stand out among search results by keeping your Posts “topped off.”
It’s important to note that at this time, hotels and B&Bs are not allowed to make Posts. That may change sometime in the future, so stay tuned!
Booking button feature
Google’s Booking button feature can really help your business stand out from the crowd. If you have any type of business that relies on customers making appointments and you’re using integrated scheduling software, people can now book an appointment with your business directly from your Google My Business listing. This can make it even easier to get new customers — they don’t have to leave Google to book an appointment with you!
If you have an account with one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, the booking button is automatically added to your Google My Business listing. Take advantage of this integrated Google My Business feature if you use the booking providers, it’ll make it super simple to get new clients or customers.
Did you know that you customers — and potential customers — can send you text messages? This is a great way to connect directly with people interested in what you have to offer, and a great way to engage with people looking at your GMB listing (and you know that Google is always watching engagement.)
To get started with Messaging, log in to your GMB dashboard and click on “Messaging”:
You can then set up the message people will receive after they send you a message and your mobile phone number.
If you don’t want text messages sent to your personal phone number, you can download Google’s Allo app. When you set up your Allo account, use the same phone number connected to your Google My Business account. Now when someone messages you, the message will be sent to the Allo app instead of appearing alongside your personal text messages.
The Allo app is a great way to keep your personal and business text messages separate:
This feature is still in its infancy, though. Right now, messaging is only available to mobile web users and is not available to mobile app or desktop users. People also won’t see the Messaging option in the Knowledge Panel or on Google Maps.
The ONLY way someone can message your business is if they perform a mobile web search on Chrome. (I expect that Google will expand the Messaging feature once they work the kinks out.)
Questions & Answers
Questions & Answers is a great feature for Google local search. It’s very cool! Just like it sounds, Q&A allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer those questions.
The Google My Business Questions & Answers feature is the perfect opportunity to hear directly from “the people” and you can respond to them. Win-win. However, according to a study done by Get Five Stars, 25 percent of locations on Google Maps have questions (and many of those questions are probably STILL unanswered).
Here are a few things to keep in mind about Questions & Answers:
- On mobile devices, you can see, ask and answer questions on Google Maps on Android devices and when you search for your business on mobile browsers on both iPhone and Android devices. To use Google Maps on your Android device, download the Google Maps app and sign in with the email address you use for your GMB listing.
Ironically, you can’t see Questions and Answers on the Google My Business app.
- No notifications of new questions show up in your GMB dashboard. To find out if you have new questions that need answering, you need to install Google Maps on your phone, log in, and check for questions/notifications. You can also go on a mobile browser, search for your business, and see if you have new questions that need to be answered.
- Google has recently started sending out email notifications letting you know that a new question has been asked, but it’s possible that not everyone associated with your account receives these emails:
This email notification is a BIG improvement over the lack of notification we’ve experienced so far with Q&As.
One thing you should do is be proactive and create a Frequently Asked Questions list to preempt people’s GMB Q&As. Check with your sales reps and your customer service staff to identify the questions people most often ask, then put those Q&A questions on your GMB listing.
TIP: Google has said that upvoting questions can make them more visible. If someone has a particularly important question, go ahead and upvote it.
WARNING: It’s important to note that just like “Suggest an Edit” on GMB, anyone can answer questions asked of your business. Therefore, you want to keep an eye out and make sure you answer questions quickly and ensure that if someone else answers a question, that the answer is accurate. If you find that someone is abusing your GMB listing’s Q&A feature, reach out to the Google My Business support forums.
Still have questions about Google Questions & Answers? You can read Google’s Q&A guidelines.
Google My Business online reviews
Unlike Yelp, which vehemently discourages business owners to ask their customers for reviews, Google encourages business owners to ethically ask their customers or clients for online reviews. (Yelp takes it to the extreme, in my opinion.) Online reviews appear next to your listing in Google Maps and your business’ Knowledge Panel in search results. Online reviews can help your business stand out among a sea of search results.
Additionally, online reviews are known to impact search result rankings, consumer trust, and click-through rates. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey:
- 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
- Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked — with 74% having been asked for their feedback
- 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year
If you follow Google’s guidelines for Google My Business reviews, you can ask your customers for reviews. (However, if you violate any of these policies, your reviews could be removed.)
Recently Google made some changes to their review guidelines. They have now changed it so that current and/or former employees can’t leave reviews. For business owners this is great news because it means that disgruntled and ex-employees with a grudge can no longer post bad reviews. Here is the new section that deals with Conflict of Interest:
Additionally, Google made some changes with regard to reputation marketing software. Reputation marketing software can help filter out people who were planning on leaving negative reviews so that they aren’t given the opportunity to leave that bad review online. (This is sometimes referred to as “review gating.”) Google wants to prevent that practice, so on April 12, 2018, Google updated their review policy to include information on this. In general, you don’t want to “Discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”
Also, whatever you do, do not offer a bribe in exchange for a review. Not only does it go against Google’s terms, it goes against the laws of reviews in general: do you really want to bribe someone to leave you a good review — or do you want to earn it?
When customers leave reviews for you — good or bad — make sure you respond to them. Not only does it show that customer that you appreciate their feedback, it also shows potential customers that you care.
So what happens if you get a negative review? First, don’t freak out. Everybody has a bad day and most people recognize that. Also, if you have a troll that gave you a one-star review and left a nasty comment, most people with common sense recognize that review for what it is. It’s generally not worth stressing over.
TIP: Asking someone to leave a review on Google is very cumbersome. To give your customers a direct link to your Google My Business listing so they can leave a review online for you, read and follow the directions in this post on How to Create a Direct Review Link to Your Google My Business Listing.
To learn more about strategically getting more online reviews, check out this article from Moz.
Photos and videos
The Internet used to be all about text and information, but more and more the visual appeal of the Internet is what grabs people’s attention — and that means photos and videos. Videos are so hot that you don’t even need sound. Studies show that as much as 85% of Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off.
However, many business owners are still under the misperception that to get into videos (or even photography) you have to hire a professional video production company or studio. Not true. Some of the best photos and videos are done on the fly — and with a smartphone!
Adding photos of your business is a great way to humanize your brand and let your customers get a “behind-the-scenes” look at what your company is all about… AND your customers can post photos on your Google My Business listing, too! (Surprise!)
The ability to add photos to your Google My Business listing has been around for a while, but adding videos is a relatively new feature that Google introduced. Instead of being afraid, get excited! You can now add a 30-second video about your company that will grab people’s attention on the most popular place people go to search and find information: Google!
To get started, log in to your Google My Business dashboard. You will either see the “Add Videos” image on the Overview tab:
Or you can also click on the blue + sign to add a video:
When you click on the “Add Video” button, you can either drag the video you want to upload or select the video from your computer.
It’s super simple!
Google states that it can take up to 24 hours for the video to display, but most videos show up after just a few minutes. The videos should be 30 seconds long, but we’ve uploaded longer videos just fine. (Keep in mind that people have short attention spans, so don’t overdo it with videos that are too long — 30 seconds is just about right!)
Now, for you marketers out there that are salivating thinking of the great marketing and promotional videos you can upload, hold on for just a moment. Make sure your videos are taken at the place of business and are of people that work at your business or directly pertain to your business. (Google My Business is not the place for stock photos and marketing or promotional videos.) Google can remove the videos if the primary subject of the content is not related to the business location.
Owners who upload videos will be shown in the “By Owner” tab. When customers or clients upload videos, those videos will appear in the “Customer” tab. ALL of the videos will be displayed in the “Video” tab.
Google has given us some general Google My Business Video Guidelines to follow:
- Duration: Up to 30 seconds long
- File Size: Up to 100 MB
- Resolution: 720p or higher
As a bonus, once you have two or more videos on your GMB listing, you’ll get a Videos subtab that shows up on mobile devices!
Good news! Google now allows business owners to include a business description on your Google My Business listing. (And it’s about time!) Google recently made this announcement via Twitter and business owners were thrilled.
As usual, Google has provided us with some guidelines to follow: Google Business Description Guidelines. It’s important you adhere to these rules because Google does review your business Description.
You’re allowed 750 characters in your business description, but only 250 characters show up before they get cut off in the Knowledge Panel. So you want to make sure that you carefully create your business description and put the most important information and keywords — including your city — towards the front of the description.
Google really does review your business description to make sure people aren’t being deceptive or are spamming, so be sure to follow these guidelines:
You only have 750 characters (and only 250 of those show up in the company’s Knowledge Panel), so you want to make sure that every character counts.
On a desktop computer, the business description appears in the Knowledge Panel towards the bottom, below your reviews. (It’d be great if Google would bump the business description up towards the top of the Knowledge Panel where it should be… Let’s hope they move it there soon!)
On a mobile device, you can only see a business’ description if you click on the About tab:
If you sell services, like a spa, nail salon, hair salon, copying company, or even a holistic center, and have a “menu” of services, the new Services list in Google My Business is a great new addition. This feature is only available for food and drink, health, beauty, and other services businesses that don’t have a third-party “menu” link.
The Services list allows you to categorize and list out all your services (or food items) and prices so that potential customers can easily see what you have to offer.
This list itemizes out each service (or food item) you offer. To get started, log in to your Google My Business listing and click on Info:
Then scroll down and you will see the “Services” section where you can Add or edit your items:
This is where you can create categories, add items, and you can also add a description of each item (if you want to):
If you own a service business with set prices, I’d highly recommend you include your list of services and make sure you update these services and prices if things change.
Get more out of your GMB listing
Google is always looking at the engagement searchers and you, as the owner, are having with your Google My Business listing. The more interaction, the better your chances of ranking higher in the local three-pack and organic rankings in general. That means you need to keep optimizing your Google My Business listing.
As new features come out, plan on using them to keep your GMB listing fully optimized.
TECHIE TIP: If you’re managing multiple listings or franchises, you can use Google’s API v4.1 to more easily add Google My Business descriptions and Offer Posts. And if you’re really techie, you can even add “customer media endpoints” that allow users to retrieve photos and videos uploaded by customers at their business (normally GMB users aren’t notified of photo and video uploads).
Google has even introduced a new notification that alerts users who have opted in to receive alerts about newly posted media on their Google My Business Locations. Wow! (If you have someone on your team that can code, you’re at an advantage!)
Hopefully these features have given you a new reason to login to your Google My Business account and get busy! If you have any other questions about optimizing your GMB listing, let me know in the comments.
Ever wondered what WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks most popular WordPress sites are using? In this article, we will share some of the most wanted WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks that will help you use WordPress like a pro.
1. Use a Custom Homepage
By default, WordPress shows your latest posts on the homepage of your website. You can change that and use any page as your site’s homepage.
First you need to create a new page in WordPress, and you can name this page home. Next, you will need to create another page and let’s call this page blog as you will use it to display your blog posts.
Now go to Settings » Reading page in your WordPress admin and under ‘Front page displays’ option and switch to ‘A static page’. After that you will be able to select the pages you just created as your home and blog pages.
You can also create a custom homepage template to use for your home page. Simply create a new file on your computer using a plain text editor and add this code at the top of it.
Save this file as custom-homepage.php on your desktop.
Next, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client and go to /wp-content/themes/your-current-theme/ folder. Now upload the file you created earlier to your theme folder.
Return back to the WordPress admin area and edit your home page. You will be able to select your custom homepage template under the page attributes metabox.
For more details see our guide on how to create a custom page template in WordPress.
Now this page will be completely empty and it will not show anything at all. You can use custom HTML/CSS and WordPress template tags to build your own page layout. You can also use a page builder plugin to easily create one using drag and drop tools.
2. Install Google Analytics in WordPress
The best way to install Google Analytics is by using the MonsterInsights plugin. You can insert Google Analytics code into your theme files, but this code will disappear when you update or switch your theme.
For detailed instructions see our step by step guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress.
3. Password Protect WordPress Admin Directory
WordPress admin directory is where you perform all administrative tasks on your website. It is already password protected as users are required to enter username and password before they can access the admin area.
However by adding another layer of authentication, you can make it difficult for hackers to gain access to your WordPress site.
Here is how to enable password protection for your WordPress admin directory.
Login to cPanel dashboard of your WordPress hosting account. Under the security section, you need to click on ‘Password Protect Directories’ icon.
Next, you will be asked to select the directories you want to protect. Select /wp-admin/ folder and next create a username and password.
That is it. Now when you try to access your wp-admin directory, you should see an authentication required box like this:
For alternate method and more detailed instructions see our guide on how to password protect your WordPress admin directory.
4. Show Images in Rows and Columns
By default, when you add multiple images to a WordPress post, they would appear right next to each other or on top of each other. This does not look very good because your users will have to scroll a lot to see all of them.
This can be solved by displaying thumbnail images in a grid layout. This gives your website a more compact look and improves user experience.
For complete step by step instructions, see our guide on how to display WordPress photos in rows and columns.
5. Allow users to Subscribe to Comments
Normally when users leave a comment on your website, they will have to manually visit the same article again to see if you or other users replied to comments.
Wouldn’t it be better if users were able to get email notifications about new comments on your posts? Here is how to add this feature to your website.
Simply install and activate the Subscribe to Comments Reloaded plugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Subscribe to Comments to configure the plugin settings.
For detailed instructions see our guide on how to allow users to subscribe to comments in WordPress.
6. Limit login attempts
By default, a WordPress user can make unlimited number of attempts to login to a WordPress site. This allows anyone to try guessing your password until they get it right.
To control this, you need to install and activate the Login LockDown plugin. It allows you to set limits on the number of failed attempts a user can make to login.
For detailed setup instructions see our guide on how to limit login attempts in WordPress.
7. Display Excerpt (Post Summary) on Home and Archive Pages
You may have noticed that all popular blogs show article summary instead of full article on their home and archive pages. It makes those pages load faster, increases page views, and avoids duplicate content across your website.
For more on this topic, see our article on excerpt (summary) vs full posts in WordPress archive pages.
Many premium and free WordPress themes already use excerpts on home and archive pages. However, if your theme doesn’t display excerpts, then see our guide on how to display post excerpts in WordPress themes.
8. Add Custom Default Gravatar Image
WordPress uses Gravatar to display user profile photos in WordPress. If a user does not have a gravatar, then WordPress uses a default image which is called ‘Mystery Person’.
This default gravatar image will appear many times in your WordPress comments area simply because a lot of users do not have a gravatar image associated with their email address.
You can easily replace this default gravatar with your own custom default gravatar image.
First you will need to upload the image you want to use as your default gravatar image to your WordPress media library.
Next, you need to copy the image file URL.
Don’t forget to replace $myavatar value with the URL of the custom gravatar image you uploaded earlier.
You can now visit Settings » Discussion page, and you will notice your custom default avatar added to default avatar choices.
For detailed instructions check out our tutorial on how to add change the default gravatar in WordPress.
9. Adding custom CSS to a WordPress Theme
As a WordPress site owner, sometimes you may need to add custom CSS to your site. CSS allows you to change the appearance of things on your WordPress site like colors, margins, font sizes, etc.
The easiest way to add custom CSS to any WordPress theme is by visiting the Appearance » Customize page in your WordPress admin. This will launch the WordPress theme customizer, and you will see your website’s preview in the right panel.
Now click on the ‘Additional CSS’ menu in the left panel to expand it.
You will see a plain text box where you can add your custom CSS. As soon as you add a valid CSS rule, you will be able to see it applied on your website’s live preview pane.
Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save & Publish’ button on the top when you are finished.
For alternate methods and more detailed instructions check out our beginner’s guide on how to add custom CSS in WordPress.
10. Using Inspect Element Tool to Customize WordPress
Adding custom CSS sounds great, but how do you know which CSS classes to edit? How do you debug it without actually having to write CSS?
For a DIY website owner, these tools can help you preview how a site design would look without actually making the changes for everyone.
Simply point and right click on any element on a page, then select ‘Inspect’ from your browser’s menu.
This will split your browser window, and you will be able to see the HTML and CSS source code of the page.
Any changes you make here will be immediately visible on the page above. However, keep in mind that these changes are only happening in your browser and you are not actually editing the page.
This allows you to figure out what you need to edit and how. After that you can go ahead and change your actual theme files or custom CSS code.
For more on this topic, see our article on basics of Inspect element and customizing WordPress as DIY user.
11. Add a Facebook Thumbnail Image
Facebook can automatically pick up an image from your articles when they are shared by you or anyone else. Usually it picks the featured image of an article. However, sometimes it may pick a random image from the article that may not be suitable.
If you are using Yoast SEO plugin, then you can select a Facebook thumbnail image in Yoast SEO metabox on the post edit screen.
You can also select a Facebook thumbnail image for your homepage by visiting SEO » Social page.
If you are not using Yoast SEO plugin, then see our guide on how to fix Facebook incorrect thumbnail issue in WordPress.
12. Add Featured Image or Post Thumbnail to RSS Feed
WordPress RSS feeds shows a list of your most recent articles. If you are showing full articles in the feed, then all images inside will be displayed. However, it does not include the featured image or post thumbnail in the article.
For more information, see our tutorial on how to add post thumbnail to RSS feeds in WordPress.
13. Show Excerpts in RSS Feed
By default, WordPress shows your full article in the RSS feed. This allows content scrapers to automatically fetch and steal your full articles. It also prevents your RSS feed subscribers from visiting your website.
To fix this, head over to Settings » Reading page and scroll down to ‘For each article in a feed, show’ option. Select summary and then click on the save changes button.
14. Use Shortcodes inside Text Widgets
You can also use the Shortcode Widget plugin, which adds a shortcode enabled text widget to your WordPress site.
For more information, take a look at our guide on how to add shortcodes in WordPress sidebar widgets.
15. Add Images in WordPress Sidebar
WordPress does not come with an easy way to just upload and display images in your sidebar (though it is expected to change soon in an upcoming version). At the moment if you want to add an image, then you need to add the HTML code for it.
First, you need to upload the image to your WordPress site using the media uploader and copy its URL.
Next, go to Appearance » Widgets page and add a text widget to your sidebar. Inside the text widget you will need to add the HTML in the following format.
<img src="Paste image URL here" alt="Alternate text" />
You can now save your widget settings and preview your website.
For more details see our guide on how to add an image in WordPress sidebar widget.
16. Add Content to Articles in RSS Feeds
Want to manipulate your WordPress RSS feeds by adding content to your articles visible only for your RSS feed subscribers?
This code shows the text ‘This post was written by Syed Balkhi’ before an article and ‘Check out WPBeginner’ after the article.
For more ways to manipulate RSS feed content, see our guide on how to add content in your WordPress RSS feeds.
17. Delay Posts in RSS Feeds
Have you ever published an article accidentally before it was ready to go live? We have all been there. You can easily just unpublish the article and continue editing it.
However, RSS feed readers and email subscribers may already get it in their inbox. There is an easy fix to avoid this -delaying posts from appearing in your RSS feed.
This code delays your published posts from appearing in RSS feed for 10 minutes.
For more details see our article on how to delay posts from appearing in WordPress RSS feed.
18. Display Random Header Images in WordPress
Want to display random header images on your WordPress site? Most WordPress themes come with built-in support to display header image across your website. However, you can also upload multiple header images and allow your theme to randomly display a header image.
Head over to Appearance » Customize page and then click on the ‘Header’ Section to expand it. Now upload all the header images that you want to use and then click on the ‘Randomize header images’ button.
If you want to display select few images on different articles and pages, then check out our guide on how to add random header images to your WordPress site.
19. Add Image Icons to Links Navigation Menu
Do you want to display image icons next to links in your navigation menu? The easiest solution is to use the Menu Image plugin.
After installing the plugin, simply head over to Appearance » Menu, and you will see the option to add images with each item in your existing menu.
If for some reason, you don’t want to use a plugin and would rather do it manually, then follow the steps below:
First you need to visit Appearance » Menus page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top right corner of the screen.
This will bring down a menu where you need to check the box next to CSS classes option.
After that scroll down to your navigation menu and click on an item to expand it. You will see an option to add CSS classes. Enter a different CSS class for each menu item.
Don’t forget to click on the save menu button to store your changes.
Next, you need to upload the image icons to your WordPress site by visiting Media » Add Media page. After uploading the image files copy their URLs as you will need them in the next step.
Now you can add an image icon to your navigation menu by adding custom CSS. Here is a sample CSS that you can use as an starting point.
Don’t forget to replace image URL with your own image file URL.
20. Open Navigation Menu Link in New Window
Sometimes you may need to make a navigation menu link open in a new window. The problem is you do not see an option to do that when adding menu items.
Actually, the option is hidden to remove clutter from the screen. You will need to click on the screen options button at the top right corner of the screen and check the ‘link target’ option.
Next, you need to scroll down to the menu item that you want to open in a new window. Click on the menu item to expand it, and you will see the option to open link in a new tab.
Don’t forget to click on the save menu button to store your changes.
21. Add Full Screen Search Overlay in WordPress
If you click on the search icon at the top right corner of any page on WPBeginner, then you will notice a full screen search overlay appear. It improves search experience and makes it more engaging.
You can add this to your WordPress site as well. The easiest way to do this is by installing and activating the WordPress Full Screen Search Overlay plugin.
The plugin works out of the box and there are no settings for you to configure. Upon activation, it turns any default WordPress search form field into a full screen search overlay.
For more details, see our guide on how to add a full screen search overlay in WordPress.
22. Add a Sticky Floating Navigation Menu
A sticky floating navigation menu stays on top of the screen as a user scrolls down. Some WordPress themes have this feature as an option in their settings. If your theme doesn’t have this option, then you can try this method.
First, you need to install and activate the Sticky Menu (or Anything!) on Scrollplugin.
Upon activation, go to plugin’s settings page located under Settings » Sticky Menu (or Anything!). Add the CSS class of your navigation menu and save changes.
For detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to create a sticky floating navigation menu in WordPress.
23. Add multiple authors to a WordPress post
Do you want to credit multiple authors for an article on your website? By default, WordPress posts are assigned to a single author. However, if you often need to credit multiple authors, then there is an easier way to to do this.
You will need to install and activate the Co-Authors Plus plugin.
Now go ahead and edit the post or page where you want to credit multiple authors. On the post edit screen, you will notice the new ‘Authors’ box just below the post editor where you can credit multiple authors.
24. Add Categories to WordPress Pages
Want to add categories and tags to pages in WordPress? By default, they are only available for posts. Mainly, because pages are supposed to be static standalone content (see difference between posts and pages in WordPress).
25. Create a Local WordPress Site on Your Computer
Many WordPress site owners and developers install WordPress on their computer. It allows you to develop a WordPress site locally, try plugins and themes, and learn WordPress basics.
26. Display Total Number of Comments in WordPress
Comments provide an easier way for users to engage with content on your website. Showing total number of comments can be used as social proof and encourage more users to participate in discussions.
The easiest way to do this is by installing the Simple Blog Stats plugin. Upon activation, you can add
[sbs_apoproved] shortcode to any post or page to display total number of comments.
For a code method and more instructions see our article on how to display total number of comments in WordPress.
27. Show Total Number of Registered Users in WordPress
If you allow users to register on your WordPress site, then showing total number of registered users can encourage more users to signup.
The easiest way to do this is by installing the Simple Blog Stats plugin. Upon activation, you can add
[sbs_users] shortcode to any post or page to display total number of registered users.
For more detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to show total number of registered users in WordPress.
28. Create New Image Sizes in WordPress
When you upload an image to your blog, WordPress automatically creates several copies of the image. Your WordPress theme and plugins can also add new image sizes.
This code adds three new image sizes. Don’t forget to change image size names and dimensions to your own requirements.
For more information, see our tutorial on how to create new image sizes in WordPress.
29. Add Category Icons in WordPress
Want to add category icons or images next to category names in WordPress? It makes your category archive pages look more engaging and improves user experience.
First you need to install and activate the Taxonomy Images plugin in WordPress. Upon activation, head over to Posts » Categories and click on the add button next to blank thumbnail icon for each category.
For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to add taxonomy images (category icons) in WordPress.
30. Convert Categories to Tags or Vice versa
Often folks are not clear about how to properly use categories and tags in WordPress. Sometimes you may end up creating categories which should have been tags or vice versa.
It is easily fixable.
Head over to Tools » Import page and then install Categories and Tags Converter.
After installation, click on the run importer link to continue.
On the converter page, you can switch between categories to tags or tags to categories converter. Next, select the items you want to convert and then click on the convert button.
31. Bulk Move Posts Between Categories and Tags
Sometimes you may want to bulk move posts between categories and tags. Doing that one by one for each post can be time consuming.
Actually, there is a plugin for that. Simply install and activate the Bulk Moveplugin. Upon activation, you need to go to Tools » Bulk Move to move your posts.
For more detailed instructions, visit our tutorial on how to bulk move posts to categories and tags in WordPress.
32. Display Last Updated Date of Your Posts
By default, most WordPress themes will show the date when an article was published. This is fine, and would work for most websites and blogs.
However, if you regularly update your old content, then you may want to show your users when an article was last updated. Otherwise you users wouldn’t notice that the article contains current information.
This can be achieved by adding the following code to
For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to display last updated date in WordPress.
33. How to Display Relative Dates in WordPress
Want to display relative dates like yesterday, 10 hours ago, or a week ago for your posts in WordPress? Relative dates give users a sense of how much time has passed since something was posted.
To add relative dates, you need to install and activate the Meks Time Agoplugin. Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » General page and scroll down to ‘Meks Time Ago Options’ section.
You can select when to use time ago and how to display it. Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.
For more details, see our guide on how to display relative dates in WordPress.
34. Remove WordPress Version Number
By default WordPress adds the WordPress version in your website’s header. Some people think it’s a security liability to which our answer is to keep WordPress updated.
For more information on this topic see our article on the right way to remove WordPress version number.
35. Update WordPress URLs when Not Able to Access WP-Admin
Sometimes when moving a WordPress site to new domain or due to a misconfiguration you may need to update WordPress URLs.
These URLs tell WordPress where to display your site and where WordPress core files are located. Incorrect settings can lock you out of WordPress admin area or redirect you to the old website.
The easiest way to update WordPress URLs is by adding this code to your current theme’s functions.php file.
Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name. Once you access your WordPress site go to Settings » General page and update the URLs there. After that you need to remove the code you added to the functions file.
If you also need to update URLs in your posts and pages, then see our guide on how to properly update URLs when moving your WordPress site.
36. Deactivate All Plugins when not able to access WP-admin
When troubleshooting WordPress errors, you will be often asked to deactivate all WordPress plugins. You can just go to Plugins page and deactivate all plugins. But what if you are locked out of your WordPress site?
Here is how you can easily deactivate plugins when locked out of admin area.
First connect to your WordPress site using an FTP client and go to /wp-content/ folder. Inside it, you will find the plugins folder.
Now you just need to rename the plugins folder to plugins.old and WordPress will automatically deactivate all plugins.
For alternate method and more information see our guide on how to deactivate all plugins when not able to access wp-admin.
37. Remove Default Image Links in WordPress
By default, when you upload images using the media uploader, WordPress asks you select how you would like to link to an image. If you don’t want to link to an image, then you can select None.
This code automatically sets default image linking option to none.
For more on this topic check out our guide on how to automatically remove default image link in WordPress.
38. Include Category in Post URLs
You may have noticed that many WordPress sites use category in their post URLs. This allows them to add more useful information into a URL which is good for user experience as well as SEO.
If you want to add category name into your WordPress post URLs, then head over to Settings » Permalinks page. Click on the custom structure and add
/%category%/%postname%/ in the field next to it.
Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.
To learn more on how WordPress will handle subcategories and multiple categories, see our guide on how to include category and subcategories in WordPress URLs.
39. Display Random Posts in WordPress
Want to display random posts in your WordPress sidebar? Random posts give your users a chance to discover articles that they would otherwise never get to see.
First, you need to install and activate the Advanced Random Posts Widgetplugin. Upon activation, head over to Appearance » Widgets page and then add Random Posts widget to a sidebar.
For an alternate code method, see our guide on how to display random posts in WordPress.
40. Allow user registration on your WordPress Site
WordPress comes with a powerful user management system with different roles and capabilities. If you want to allow users to register on your site, here is how you would turn on that feature.
Head over to Settings » General page and click on the check box next to ‘membership’ option. Below that you need to choose the default role that will be assigned to new users, if you are unsure, then use subscriber.
For more details see our guide on how to allow user registration on your WordPress site.
41. Create a Custom User Registration Form in WordPress
When you open user registration on your site, users will be using the default WordPress registration form. You can replace it with a custom user registration form for an improved user experience.
First you will need to install and activate the WPForms plugin. You will need at least the Pro plan to get access to their user registration addon.
Upon activation, go to WPForms » Addons page to install and activate the user registration addon.
After that you need to create a new form by visiting WPForms » Add Newpage. This will launch the WPForms builder where you need to select the User Registration Form as your template.
After creating your form you need to click on the embed button to copy the embed code. Now you can add this code to any WordPress post or page to display your custom user registration form.
For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to create a custom user registration form in WordPress.
42. Exclude Specific Categories from RSS Feed
Sometimes you may need to exclude specific categories from your WordPress RSS feed. The easiest way to do that is by installing and activating the Ultimate Category Excluder plugin.
Upon activation, head over to Settings » Category Exclusion page to configure plugin settings.
Select the categories you want to exclude and then click on the save changes button to store your settings.
43. Change Excerpt Length in WordPress
The default WordPress excerpt length is often too short to describe a post’s summary. To change excerpt length you can add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.
If you do not want to mess with code, then see our guide on how to customize WordPress excerpts (no coding required).
44. Display Dynamic Copyright Date in WordPress
To add a copyright date to your WordPress site’s footer, you can just edit the footer template in your theme and add a copyright notice. However, the year you use in the code will need to be manually updated next year.
Instead, you can use the following code to dynamically display the current year in your copyright notice.
For more advance solution, check out our article on how to add dynamic copyright date in WordPress.
45. How to Change a User Name in WordPress
WordPress allows you to easily change the name of a user, but you cannot change the username. There are two ways of doing this.
The easiest way is by using a plugin called Username Changer. After activating the plugin, go to Users » Username Changer page in your WordPress admin.
Select the username you want to change, and then enter the new username.
For alternate methods, see our article on how to change your WordPress username.
46. Allow Users to Like or Dislike Comments
Have you seen how many popular sites like YouTube allow users to like and dislike comments. This brings more user engagement to the discussion on your website.
First you need to install and activate the Comments Like Dislike plugin.
Upon activation, you need to visit Comments » Comments Like Dislike page to configure plugin settings.
For more details, see our guide on how to allow users to like or dislike comments in WordPress.
47. Duplicate a WordPress Post or Page
The manual way to do duplicate a post is by creating a new post or page and then copying the content from the old one. However, this wouldn’t copy the post settings like categories, featured image, tags, etc.
The more efficient way to do this is by using the Duplicate Post plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and then go to Posts » All Posts page.
You will see the option to clone a post or create a new draft.
For more detailed instructions, see our article on how to easily duplicate posts and pages in WordPress with a single click.
48. Allow Users to Submit Posts to Your WordPress Site
Authors on your WordPress site can just login to their account and write posts. But what if you wanted your users to be able to submit posts directly without creating an account?
The best way to do this by creating a blog post submission form.
You will need to install and activate the WPForms plugin. You will need the pro version of the plugin to access the post submission addon.
Upon activation, go to WPForms » Addons page to download and activate the post submissions addon.
After that you can go to WPForms » Add New page and then select ‘Blog post submission form’ as your template.
Once you are done editing the form click on the embed button to copy the form embed code. Now you can paste this code in any WordPress post or page to display a blog post submission form.
Posts submitted by users will be stored in your WordPress posts as pending review. You can then review, edit and publish them.
For more detailed instructions, take a look at our guide on how to allow users to submit posts to your WordPress site.
49. Turn Off Comment Notification Emails in WordPress
WordPress automatically sends email notifications when someone leaves a comment or when a comment is awaiting moderation. This is exciting when you first start your blog, but it becomes very annoying after a short while.
The good news is that you can easily turn these notifications off. Visit the Settings » Discussion page on your WordPress admin and then scroll down to ‘Email Me Whenever’ section. Uncheck both options and then click on the save changes button.
50. Change Sender Name in Outgoing WordPress Emails
By default, when WordPress sends an email notification it uses ‘WordPress’ as the sender name. This looks a bit unprofessional and you may want to change it to a real person or your website title.
You can easily change that by adding this code to your theme’s functions file or a site-specific plugin.
If you would rather do it using a plugin, then see our guide on how to change sender name in outgoing WordPress emails.
51. Changing the Author of a WordPress Post
Want to change the author of a WordPress post? By default, the option to change post author is hidden on the post edit screen.
You will need to edit the post where you want to change the author name and then click on Screen Options button at the top right corner of the screen. Check the box next to author option.
This will display the author meta box on the post edit screen where you can select a different author for the post.
For more details, check out our article on how to change the author of a post in WordPress.
52. Rearrange Post Edit Screen in WordPress
Sometimes you may feel that categories are located too far down on the post edit screen, or featured image box should be higher.
Many users don’t notice it for a while but all the boxes on the post edit screen are quite flexible. You can click to collapse them and even drag and drop them to arrange the post edit screen.
To learn more, see our tutorial on how to rearrange post edit screen in WordPress.
53. Change Number of Posts Shown on Blog Pages
By default, WordPress shows 10 posts on your blog pages and archives. You can change that to any number you want.
You will need to visit Settings » Reading page and then scroll down to ‘Blog pages show at most’ option. Enter the number of posts you want to display and then click on the save changes button.
54. Automatically Close Comments on Old Articles
Sometimes you would notice that some very old posts on your site start getting regular spam comments for no apparent reason. One way to deal with this is by closing comments on older articles.
WordPress allows you to automatically turn off comments on old articles. You need to visit Settings » Discussion page and then scroll down to ‘Other comment settings’ section.
To learn how to deal with spam comments, see these tips to combat comment spam in WordPress.
55. Split Long Posts into Pages
Want to split lengthy posts into pages so that users can easily navigate them without scrolling too much? WordPress makes it super easy, just add the follow code where you want to split a post into next page.
WordPress will add page break at this point and rest of the post will appear on the next page. You can add the same code again when you want to start another page, and so on.
For more detailed instructions see our guide on how to split WordPress posts into multiple pages.
That’s all for now.
We hope this article helped you find some new WordPress tips, tricks, and hacks. You may also want to see our ultimate guide to boost WordPress speed and performance.
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Besides those there are a whole list of other domain types such as top level domain names and country specific domain names, but in general those are the ones that you need to concern yourself with.
What Type of Hosting Should I Purchase?
In general simple WordPress Hosting or Linux Hosting will due just fine, it all just depends on how many websites you are expecting to host or manage on your account.
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