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      How to Create the Perfect WordPress Featured Image (Sizing & Design Guide)

      To draw new visitors to your site, you may consider publishing blog posts regularly. However, without featured images, your posts likely won’t look inviting enough to earn clicks.

      Fortunately, you can easily create well-designed featured images for your articles. Once you know how to find the right photos, size them correctly, and optimize them for search engines, you can instantly revitalize your WordPress posts.

      In this post, we’ll explain what a featured image is. Then, we’ll share some tips on how to use them. Let’s get started!

      What is a Featured Image?

      In WordPress, the featured image is the visual representation of a specific post, page, or custom post type. When someone visits your website, these images will usually appear at the top of posts or in your blog feed:

      WordPress featured images

      Essentially, the featured image is the default thumbnail of your post. If someone shares the post on social media, this image will appear with the link:

      Social media featured image

      In WordPress, the featured image settings are determined by your theme. This includes the location and size of your images.

      Typically, featured images are displayed in the following places:

      • The top area of posts or pages
      • Pages on your website that link to blog posts, like your WordPress homepage, recommended posts section, or search results
      • Thumbnails for social media links

      Sometimes, featured images may be included in image galleries or sliders. You may also see them as background images.

      The Advantages of Using Featured Images

      If you’re new to WordPress, you might be wondering why you need a featured image for every post on your website. However, these can be the key to making a good first impression with new visitors.

      After users click on a link to one of your posts, featured images are often the first thing they’ll see and this can engage them enough to continue reading the article:

      Post featured image

      You’ll likely have a list of your published posts on your homepage. You can motivate visitors to read your content by including well-designed featured images.

      Plus, having a featured image for each post can help you establish visual consistency on your website:

      Home page featured images

      When you share your posts on social media, featured images can help advertise your content to users browsing their feeds. A well-designed image can increase engagement and generate more clicks to your site.

      What is the Ideal WordPress Featured Image Size?

      As we mentioned earlier, different WordPress themes can have various sizes for featured images. However, the general size is 1200 x 628 pixels.

      Here’s how this would look with the default Twenty Twenty-Two theme:

      Featured image size

      This size will work effectively with many WordPress themes. However, your featured image sizing may vary based on your personal preference and the layout of your theme.

      It’s important to note that WordPress will resize your images to its default settings. Whenever you upload an image, it creates three different versions:

      • Thumbnail: 150 x 150 px
      • Medium: 300 x 300 px
      • Large: 1024 x 1024 px

      If you want to keep the original size of the featured image, this will be its ‘Full Size.’ To edit any of these sizing options, you can navigate to Settings > Media:

      WordPress media settings

      Here, you can update the width and height with new values. Once you save your changes, uploaded images will resize to these dimensions.

      You can also add a custom featured image size. Before you do so, it’s a good idea to back up your website. After this step, you can add the following code to your functions.php file:

      add_image_size( string $name, int $width, int $height, bool|array $crop = false )

      Make sure to update these values with your new featured image sizes. Here’s an example of how this might look:

      add_image_size( 'post-thumbnail size', 800, 1500 );

      Next, you’ll need to display the new size within your theme. In your theme template file, update the_post_thumbnail() function:

      if ( has_post_thumbnail() ) {
      the_post_thumbnail( 'your-custom-size' );

      Once you save the file, you’ll have a new custom-featured image!

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      How to Set a Featured Image in WordPress

      To set a featured image, open your WordPress dashboard and create a new post. Then, in the right-hand sidebar, look for the Featured Image section:

      Add WordPress featured image

      Here, click on Set Featured Image. This will open a pop-up where you can upload your media file. Alternatively, you can select an image from your Media Library:

      Select featured image

      If you need to adjust the size, find the Edit Image button. Then, use the various editing options to scale, crop, rotate, or flip the image as needed:

      Edit featured image

      When you’re done, hit Set featured image. You’ll now see a preview of the image while you create the post:

      New WordPress featured image

      Before you publish the post, you’ll want to preview it to ensure the featured image is showing. Remember that your theme may require more specific dimensions to work correctly. You can refer to your theme’s documentation if you experience difficulties during this process.

      Additionally, you can install a few plugins to make this process easier. For example, Auto Featured Image will automatically use the first photo in your post as the featured image. You can also use Default featured image to select a picture that will be used as a featured image in case you forget to add one to a post.

      How to Create the Perfect WordPress Featured Image (6 Tips)

      Featured images can turn your website into an engaging, media-rich experience. Let’s discuss some best practices for creating them!

      1. Be Relevant and Consistent

      When used correctly, featured images can enhance your blog posts and make them more attractive to visitors, but there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

      First, you’ll want to avoid using random images. A featured image should serve as an introduction to a post, so it needs to be relevant to the content.

      For example, if you run a food blog, you probably publish posts with new recipes. In this case, your featured image can be a photo of the finished meal:

      Relevant featured image

      It’s also good practice to keep your featured images consistent throughout your entire website. Since these will be displayed on your homepage, archive, and blog, you’ll want photos that align with your web design:

      Consistent featured images

      To find the right featured image, consider your current WordPress theme and layout. Then, select a high-resolution image that can be easily scaled down. After you finish creating the post, make sure to preview it to evaluate how well the image fits into your website.

      2. Avoid Using Copyrighted Images

      As you’re browsing images on the Internet, you may stumble across a photo that would look great as a featured image. However, before you upload it to your WordPress site, you’ll need to ensure that it isn’t copyrighted to avoid legal issues.

      When sourcing images, you can typically use anything under a Creative Commons license. These will be free to download and use on your website, except if they’re for commercial purposes.

      To find Creative Commons images, open Google Images. Then, click on Tools > Usage Rights > Creative Commons licenses. Once you refine your search, you’ll get a wealth of free images to choose from:

      Creative commons images

      There are also entire websites with these stock images. On a platform like Unsplash, you can download high-resolution photos that are free from copyright claims:

      Unsplash website

      Another alternative is to make your own featured images. By taking photos yourself or creating graphics in Canva, you can ensure that you avoid any copyright violations. Plus, these will be completely original!

      3. Optimize Featured Images to Reduce File Size

      If you publish posts on a regular basis, featured images will start taking up a lot of space in your Media Library. If they aren’t optimized properly, these photos could negatively affect your site performance.

      Essentially, optimizing your images involves reducing their file sizes. By compressing your featured images, you can minimize your loading time.

      If you don’t do this, you could end up with a poor Core Web Vitals score. Images might take too long to render, and you’ll see performance issues in your PageSpeed Insights reports:

      Failed Core Web Vitals report


      Fortunately, there’s an easy solution for this common image issue. A plugin like TinyPNG can automatically compress images as you upload them:

      TinyPNG plugin

      Plus, you’ll even be able to compress all images that you’ve already uploaded to your website. TinyPNG lets you bulk optimize any JPEG, PNG, or WebP images in your Media Library.

      4. Regenerate Old Thumbnails

      When you upload images to WordPress, it will resize them according to the pixel guidelines in your settings. Once you set new default sizes, your previously uploaded images will still have the outdated sizing.

      If you want to resize your featured images, you can manually reupload them. However, this will take some time.

      To solve this problem, you can install a WordPress plugin like reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced. This tool can regenerate the thumbnails for each of the images in your Media Library:

      Regenerate Thumbnails Advanced plugin

      After you install and activate the plugin, go to Tools > Regenerate Thumbnails. Under Regenerate Options, select the box next to Regenerate only Featured Images:

      Regenerate featured images

      Finally, hit Regenerate. This will automatically update all your featured images with the correct sizing.

      5. Optimize Images for Search Engines

      As a website owner, you probably already know how vitally important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is. If you want to avoid paying for expensive advertising methods, you’ll want to rise to the top of search results by optimizing your content. This can help you bring in more organic traffic.

      Having featured images can help you improve your site’s SEO. By simply tweaking a few elements, you can make your images more appealing to search engines and users.

      First, you’ll want to make sure to add alt text. This will describe the featured image to search engines and screen readers. For instance, you could write “Orange and white cat standing in a pumpkin patch”:

      Featured image alt text

      Remember to include the post’s keyword in the alt text. This way, Google can understand what the post is about and rank it higher for related queries. Similarly, you can include these target keywords in the title, caption, and description for the featured image.

      6. Enhance Social Post Thumbnails

      Social media can be the perfect platform for promoting your blog posts. Before you encourage social sharing, it’s crucial to optimize your featured images for these platforms.

      You can easily customize your social media links using a plugin like Yoast SEO. For example, the premium version enables you to see previews of your Twitter and Facebook thumbnails.

      To get started, install and activate Yoast SEO. Next, find Yoast SEO > Social. On this page, fill out the URLs for your various social media pages:

      Add social media accounts

      Then, open a new post and scroll down to the Yoast SEO settings. In the Social tab, you can click on Select image to upload your featured image.

      Featured image for social posts

      You can also add a title and description for each social media platform. This will give visitors a taste of your content. Once you publish the post on social media, it will have a featured image and snippet that conveys precisely what the article is about.

      Use Featured Images Effectively

      Featured images can help make your posts stand out. Whether people are browsing your content on social media or your website, they can look at the featured image to see what the post is about before they start reading it.

      To review, here’s how you can create the perfect WordPress featured image:

      1. Be relevant and consistent.
      2. Find copyright-free images on platforms like Unsplash.
      3. Compress featured images with TinyPNG.
      4. Regenerate old thumbnails with reGenerate Thumbnails Advanced.
      5. Optimize images for search engines using keyword-focused alt text.
      6. Enhance social post thumbnails with Yoast SEO’s social settings.

      When you create your own featured images, you can build an original website without facing copyright issues. At DreamHost, our custom website design services can help you use the right images on your site.

      DreamHost Makes Web Design Easy

      Our designers can create a gorgeous website from SCRATCH to perfectly match your brand and vision — all coded with WordPress so you can manage your content going forward.

      custom website design

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      How to Create a Winning Social Media Strategy (A Comprehensive Guide)

      Social media can help you reach new audiences, promote your content, and ultimately grow your brand or business. However, it isn’t as simple as just posting links to your blog posts across Facebook and Instagram. To succeed on social media, you’ll need to create a detailed strategy and establish a plan of attack.

      The good news is that you can begin your social media marketing journey by following a few best practices. Plus, there are plenty of third-party tools that can help streamline the process of publishing content and fostering social engagement.

      In this guide, we’ll explore the characteristics of a social media strategy and why it’s so vital to your business. Then, we’ll explain how to create a winning social media plan, with tips and tools to help you along the way. Let’s get started!

      Why You Need a Social Media Strategy

      A social media marketing strategy is an overarching plan for how you will create content, share it on social platforms, and engage with your audience. It covers every step of the process, from performing market research to posting content and evaluating your results.

      Without a clear strategy, you’ll likely struggle to see results. Randomly posting links to your blog posts is unlikely to truly engage your audience and attract them to your website. Plus, if you don’t have clear social media goals in mind, you won’t know if your efforts are paying off.

      With that in mind, let’s examine some key benefits of using social media to engage with your followers.

      Increase Your Reach

      You probably already know how popular social media is. As of July 2022, approximately 59% of people worldwide use social platforms. That’s around 4.7 billion users, and the numbers keep growing!

      Plus, the average person uses social media for almost 2.5 hours every day:

      An infographic of social media statistics from DataReportal

      Image source: DataReportal

      The statistics are even more encouraging if you’re paying for ads on social networks. Advertisements for Youtube and Instagram have a potential reach of 2.4 billion and 1.4 billion, respectively.

      As you can see, social media offers a great opportunity to get your business’ name out there and display your content in front of fresh eyes. You just need to choose the right platforms for your blog!

      Build Brand Awareness

      Brand awareness is simply how familiar people are with your brand, as well as with your products and/or services. It’s a step beyond brand recognition because it measures the extent to which the public can recall specific information and impressions of your company.

      Twitter is especially helpful on this front. Many brands have become well-known through their personas on this platform.

      Consider Wendy’s, for example. This brand is known on social media for its witty tweets and sarcastic responses:

      Wendy’s on Twitter

      Increasing your brand awareness is the key to gaining leads and retaining current customers. If your products or services are the first that come to people’s minds when they need something you can provide, they’re more likely to choose you over your competitors.

      While Twitter provides ample opportunities to refine your brand identity and build awareness, posting across multiple networks is ideal. This will help you reach various demographics and expand your audience more quickly.

      Establish Authority Online

      Since consumers have access to so much information via the internet, becoming an authority in your industry is crucial for driving conversions. Shoppers want to feel confident that they’re purchasing quality products. Proving that you know what you’re talking about is one way to reassure them that your brand provides the most bang for their buck.

      The best route for accomplishing this will depend somewhat on your target audience. For example, LinkedIn commands a certain amount of authority by default because it’s a network for professionals to connect.

      Publishing articles on LinkedIn is a prime opportunity for your brand to demonstrate extensive knowledge of subjects relevant to your industry:

      An example of building authority on LinkedIn

      However, this is only helpful if your target audience tends to be highly active on LinkedIn. Another option is to share articles related to your brand or industry on Facebook. It’s still the most popular social media site and is better suited to posting long-form content than Twitter or Instagram.

      Boost Engagement

      Engagement — loosely defined as any direct interaction between consumers and your brand — can help boost your business’ success in various ways. It increases brand awareness, solidifies customer loyalty, and can even improve your overall visibility online.

      Social media is an ideal venue for engagement. For starters, it provides a variety of ways for users to interact with your brand, including:

      • Following your accounts
      • Commenting on your posts
      • Re-posting your content
      • “Liking” or “reacting to” your content
      • Using branded hashtags

      Several of these modes of engagement are highly interactive, too, allowing you to respond to users’ comments or posts and drive further brand exposure and awareness:

      An example of an engaging Twitter post from Oreo

      Additionally, social media engagement is usually public and, therefore, can help your brand by providing word-of-mouth marketing. Users may incorporate branded hashtags or even post about products they love to promote your company of their own volition:

      An example of word-of-mouth marketing on Instagram

      Responding to posts like these can instill more loyalty to your brand on the part of your supporters.

      Provide Customer Support

      Customer support is integral to helping your buyers have a positive experience with your products and/or services. What’s more, it is also essential for building brand loyalty. Prompt and thorough responses to customer problems or complaints demonstrate that you value their business and encourage them to purchase from you again.

      While there are many ways to provide customer service, social media is a simple way for people to get in touch with you fast. Some may find messaging or simply tagging your brand in a post more straightforward than navigating your knowledge base, chatting with a bot, or tracking down your contact information and waiting for a response.

      In some ways, social media support is a chance to improve your image further. Publicly responding to customers can showcase your attentiveness and timely service (although it’s wise to take the conversation private after an initial response to keep customer information safe).

      Amazon is particularly well known for its Twitter support account. By dedicating an entire profile to helping customers, it can deliver answers to users’ questions quickly. For instance, this particular response was given nine minutes after the customer’s initial tweet:

      An example of customer support on social media.

      Your brand may not be large enough to warrant a separate account for your support team. However, it’s wise to devise a system for tracking support messages and ensuring that someone responds to them promptly. Later in this post, we’ll explore some tools that can help you automate this process.

      How to Create a Winning Social Media Strategy (In 9 Steps)

      By now, you should hopefully understand why creating a social media strategy can benefit your brand. So, let’s look at how to create an effective plan in nine easy steps!

      Step 1: Learn More About Your Audience

      The first step in creating a social media marketing plan is getting to know your target audience.  This means identifying your users’ demographics, interests, desires, and problems, so you can develop content that meets their needs.

      Creating generic social media posts might seem like a decent approach because you won’t alienate anyone. However, you’re unlikely to fully capture the attention of those who are most likely to engage with your brand or purchase your products.

      You can start by researching your target market and creating a customer profile (if you don’t already have one). You’ll want to identify their age, location, profession, preferred social media platform, and pain points.

      When identifying your target audience, we also recommend keeping in mind the “four Ps” of marketing:

      • Product: How is your product different from the competition, and which unique problems can it solve?
      • Price: What price is too high or low for your target market?
      • Place: Where does your target market shop?
      • Promotion: Which marketing strategies will be most effective for your ideal customer?

      A social media tool such as Audiense can help you build a high-quality customer profile. It uses social intelligence to help you learn more about your audience, what they’re looking for, and how to appeal to them.

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      Step 2: Investigate the Competition

      It’s also worth researching what similar companies are doing on social media. While we don’t advocate copying another brand’s approach, there’s almost always something to learn from your competitors.

      You can start by looking up other brands on different social media platforms. Here you can evaluate metrics such as:

      • How frequently they post
      • What kind of content they post
      • How much they engage with followers through comments, retweets, etc
      • How many followers they have, and how many accounts they follow
      • If they work with influencers (and which ones)

      It could be worth jotting down this information to have a general baseline for your social media marketing strategy. You can then adapt your approach according to the metrics and goals you identify in the next few steps.

      Step 3: Learn About Metrics

      If you use an analytics tool for your website, then you should already be familiar with standard metrics such as hits, click-through and conversion rates, and more. When you shift your focus over to social media, a lot of the same metrics still apply.

      For example, you will pay close attention to click-through rates from social media platforms to your website. However, some metrics are unique to social media, and you’ll need to know what they are so you can set practical goals.

      Some of those metrics include:

      • Likes, comments, retweets, and other engagement measures. On social media, you measure engagement using metrics such as likes, comments, shares, retweets, and more. The specific metrics available vary from platform to platform.
      • Post engagement. The percentage of people who engage with your posts as compared to overall impressions (views) determines your engagement rate.
      • Mentions. When other social media accounts mention you, this can work as a referral and convey trust from one brand to another.
      • Reach. Some platforms give you an idea of how many people your posts can reach, which varies depending on your follower count.

      Social media platforms understand the value they provide to businesses. That’s why most of the big names in social media include built-in analytics tools out of the box, so you can measure individual metrics without third-party tools.

      Twitter, for example, enables any account to access analytics data:

      An example of social media analytics.

      On other platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll need business accounts to access their metrics (or “Insights,” as Instagram calls them). Fortunately, these accounts are generally free to create.

      If you want, there are also a lot of third-party tools that enable you to access more in-depth analytics and peruse data from multiple platforms. We’ll talk about tools later on — for now, let’s explore how to choose the best social platform(s) for your strategy.

      Step 4: Choose Your Social Platforms

      It might feel tempting to target every social media platform so that you can reach as many people as possible. However, this approach can quickly become overwhelming, unless you have an enormous marketing team at your disposal. Plus, if you’re rushing to create content, then you’re likely compromising on quality.

      Therefore, we recommend focusing your efforts on just a few social media platforms. The right sites for your business will depend on several factors, including:

      • The age of your target audience. If you’re aiming for a younger crowd, then TikTok could be the way to go, with the majority of its users aged under 24. By contrast, Facebook is more popular with people aged 25-34.
      • The gender of your target audience. If you’ve been running your blog or business for any substantial period, think about what a typical member of your tribe looks like. Male, female, non-binary? Then, think about where your customers and readers are hanging out online. For instance, women tend to hang out on Pinterest: 76% of its users are women.
      • The nature of your business (and its products). If your products are highly visual, such as clothing or home decor, it could be worth focusing your efforts on Instagram. Alternatively, YouTube could be an excellent option for demonstrating complex products, such as gadgets and software. You’ll need to consider which platform will best show off your items and incentivize users to click on your links.

      Keep in mind that some social media platforms are linked. For instance, you can run simultaneous advertisements across Facebook and Instagram since they both belong to Meta.

      Step 5: Set Specific Goals

      Once you know where you want to focus your efforts and what metrics you care about, it’s time to set actionable goals. Using social media to “grow your website” is fine, but that’s not the kind of thing you can measure.

      When it comes to marketing campaigns, the smart move is to set incremental goals that you can easily track to see how you’re progressing. You can do this by using the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based):

      SMART goals

      Image source: Wikimedia Commons

      Let’s say, for example, that you decide to focus on Facebook as the heart of your social media marketing efforts. Some of the different goals you might want to set include:

      • Aiming for a specific number of followers for your business page
      • Increasing your engagement rate to X percent
      • Publishing a set number of posts during a specific period
      • Increasing the click-through rate to your website by X percent

      For most websites, the underlying marketing goal of social media is to get more traffic and conversions. That means you can either direct traffic back to your website or use social media to promote specific offers.

      The approach you take will depend on what your endgame is. However, it’s necessary to set realistic and measurable goals. That way, you can look back on your progress after a few months and see whether your approach to meeting those goals is working.

      Step 6: Create a Social Media Calendar

      By now, you should have a good idea of which platforms you’re going to use in your social media strategy and the goals you’re aiming for. However, before creating your content, it’s worth setting up a social media content calendar.

      During this step, you’ll want to decide how frequently you’ll post on each platform. You’ll also need to determine what time of day is most likely to generate engagement from your target audience.

      Posting too frequently could annoy your followers, whereas not publishing enough content means your brand could get buried in newsfeeds. Overall, studies suggest that posting just once or twice per day hits the sweet spot.

      Furthermore, many marketers report that posting between 6 and 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays yields the highest engagement. This is consistent across various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

      You can use a content scheduling tool such as CoSchedule to plan your social media posts:

      The CoSchedule content scheduling tool.

      CoSchedule uses a visual layout so that you can easily organize your marketing materials. It can also automate your posting schedule and keep creative assets on file to speed up your workflow.

      Step 7: Create Engaging Content

      So far, we’ve talked a lot about planning and the tools you can use to make your life easier. However, whether you’re growing a website or a social media presence, what matters most is the content you publish.

      You can have a rock-solid strategy based on data and an impressive array of measurable, achievable goals. However, if you don’t publish engaging content regularly, your social media presence isn’t likely to grow.

      Your mission, therefore, is to create and curate content that your audience cares about. Fortunately, content marketing and creation is something you already have experience in if you’ve been running your website for a while.

      However, social media is all about easily-digestible content: images, short videos, on-the-mark tweets, and more.

      An example of highly visual content on social media.

      Regardless of the content medium you choose, it’s all about quality. This means taking high-definition photos and videos, writing engaging (and accurate) copy, and editing everything before publishing. You’ll also want to try telling a story with your content so that you can make a lasting impression on readers.

      Additionally, hashtags can help increase your reach, particularly on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’ll want to start by exploring popular and trending hashtags within your niche. Then, you can tailor your content accordingly.  You may also want to include your company name as a hashtag so that users can find you easily.

      Step 8: Engage With Your Audience

      Publishing content on social media isn’t a “set and forget” approach. Simply posting content is unlikely to deliver the engagement and results you’re looking for. Instead, we recommend dedicating time to engaging with your followers.

      This engagement can take various forms, such as:

      • Responding to comments
      • “Liking” or reacting to comments
      • Sharing content from your followers and customers

      For instance, the fashion brand Zappos frequently uses Twitter to answer customer questions and respond to feedback:

      An example of a brand engaging with followers on social media.

      Engaging with your followers shows them that you care about their feedback and opinions. This can foster better brand loyalty and even encourage customer testimonials.

      You don’t need to like or respond to every single comment or tweet on social media. However, making an effort to do this for an hour or so every day can make a big difference.

      Step 9: Track Your Results and Adjust Your Strategy

      Since you’re working towards very specific goals, it makes sense to pause from time to time and see if what you’re doing is working.

      Let’s say, for example, that your goal is to increase your Instagram following to 10,000 within a three-month period. To get there, you’ve been publishing new content with a focus on infographics:

      Infographics on social media.

      At the end of those three months, if you hit your goal, then you’ll know you’re doing something right. That means you can double down on the strategy you’ve been using by increasing your posting frequency, spending more time and money on better infographics, and so on.

      If you didn’t hit your goal, it could be due to any of the following reasons:

      • The type of content you’re publishing doesn’t resonate with your audience.
      • You haven’t been using hashtags effectively to expand your content’s reach.
      • You’ve been posting at the wrong times, which caps your potential reach.

      At this point, it wouldn’t make much sense to double down on the same strategy. That means you can either a) try a different content strategy or b) switch gears when it comes to the times you post and the hashtags you use. You could also try something new entirely, such as using influencer marketing.

      In a nutshell, what you’re doing is running experiments in social media marketing. You’ll make a hypothesis and test it as thoroughly as possible. If it turns out to be false, then you return to the drawing board to brainstorm with your team. Failure is part of the process, so don’t get discouraged.

      Outside of the built-in social media analytics tools, it could be worth using a third-party platform to analyze your success further. For instance, Agorapulse breaks down various key performance indicators, including customer engagement and audience growth. Plus, it uses one-click reporting to simplify the process.

      4 Bonus Pro Tips

      By now, you should have a general idea of how to develop your own social media strategy. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your approach!

      1. Link Everything

      Users are unlikely to spend time digging around and looking for links to your content. Therefore, we recommend setting up accessible links between your social media content and your blog (and vice versa).

      On your website, you can include social media icons that link directly to your profiles:

      The Dreamhost website with visible social media icons

      Many social media platforms enable you to link prominently to your blog or website within your profile:

      The Dreamhost Facebook page with a link to its website

      We also recommend including links directly to your blog posts and pages within your social media content. That way, users can navigate to your site with a single click. Here, you can use a link-shortening tool such as Bitly to create shorter and more attractive URLs for your posts.

      2. Create Campaigns

      You could create a long content schedule of engaging but separate posts across various social media channels. This approach could help you reach a wide audience and generate engagement.

      However, why not take things one step further and create a campaign? This is a collection of curated posts that follow a specific theme. The campaign might even have its own hashtag:

      An example of an Airbnb social media campaign

      Campaigns can catch the momentum from popular movements or social issues. Additionally, creating a cohesive campaign can help cement your message and further communicate your brand’s core values.

      As with all social media strategies, we recommend creating specific goals for your campaign. For instance, you might direct visitors toward one of your products or aim for more comments on your social channels.

      3. Keep Up With the Trends

      Creating original content can help your brand stand out from the crowd. That being said, following trends on social media is one of the best ways to show that you’re tuned in to the current moment. Furthermore, using trending hashtags can help you attract users who might not otherwise see your content.

      This approach can work even better if the trends are directly related to your industry or niche:

      An example of social media trends

      You can easily identify trending hashtags on Twitter or TikTok by navigating to the Explore tab of each social platform. For other social networks, it can pay to use the sites frequently and see which themes pop up in the accounts you follow.

      Additionally, exploring hashtags in your niche can help you connect with potential customers. Even if the hashtags aren’t trending, using them can make your content more visible to your target audience.

      4. Use Your Brand Voice

      Social media is, by its nature, more conversational than a traditional website. It enables you to speak directly to your followers and engage with them on a more personal level. That’s why it’s a good idea to zone in on your brand voice and use it to better connect with your audience.

      For example, if you have a fashion or food blog, you can use humor and casual language to engage your audience:

      An example of a brand using casual language on social media.

      This approach, along with sharing memes and jokes, can be beneficial if your target customer belongs to a younger demographic.

      However, if you work in a serious and professional industry, it’s worth maintaining a formal tone within your social media posts. After all, you’ll be targeting a completely different type of customer. Just keep your target audience in mind when you’re writing your copy, and that should reflect in your tone.

      5 Time-Saving Social Media Tools

      Creating and maintaining your social media marketing strategy can require a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, you can use some tools to streamline the process. Here are five of the best social media tools!

      1. Revive Old Posts

      Revive Old Posts

      Creating fresh and relevant blog content is essential to your content marketing strategy, and it also provides you with plenty of posts to share on social media. However, with Revive Old Posts, you can get the most out of your older content, too.

      Revive Old Posts can schedule your content on rotation and share it automatically to various networks. Furthermore, it can add optimized hashtags to your content to expand its reach.

      Pricing: The core plugin is free. Revive Old Posts premium plans start at $75 per year.

      2. BuzzSumo

      BuzzSumo homepage

      If you’re looking for new content ideas or insight into current trends, BuzzSumo could be the way to go. This all-in-one tool can help you with various parts of your social media marketing plan, from learning about your competitors to content research.

      BuzzSumo is also an excellent monitoring tool since it tracks your brand mentions across the web and alerts you to any issues. Additionally, it can help you identify and connect with influencers in your niche.

      Pricing: BuzzSumo has a free plan. Paid plans start at $99 per month.

      3. Canva

      The Canva website

      Part of social media success is having beautiful graphics in your content. With Canva, you can access a wealth of social media templates and design tools, including stock photography, color schemes, and layouts.

      Canva comes with a drag-and-drop editor, so you can quickly put together attractive posts. It also includes social media guidelines for all the major platforms, helping you create more engaging content.

      Pricing: Canva has a free plan. Paid plans start at $12.99 per month.

      4. Brand24

      Brand24 social monitoring tool

      Keeping track of all your brand mentions across social networks can be highly time-consuming. Fortunately, Brand24 can automate the process and send updates when users talk about your company.

      Brand24 can also calculate the “sentiment” surrounding your brand. This is how customers generally feel about your business, from positive to negative. Then, you can learn more about your audience and adjust your approach accordingly.

      Pricing: Brand24 plans start at $39 per month.

      5. Influential

      Influential influencer marketing company

      Working with influencers can increase your reach on social media and solidify your brand as a trusted authority. With Influential, you can easily find and connect with influencers within your niche.

      Influential uses machine learning and transparent data to determine which influencers are most relevant to your business. Therefore, it can quickly streamline the process of finding social media stars.

      Pricing: You can request a quote directly from Influential.

      Expand Your Reach on Social Media

      Social media platforms have billions of users who could potentially become your customers. However, you’ll need to create a plan if you want to succeed on social networks.

      To create a winning social media strategy, you’ll first need to research your target audience and competitors. Setting goals and choosing social media platforms is the logical next step. Once you’ve spent some time creating your content and engaging with your audience, you can track your metrics to see if your approach is working.

      Do you need a little help with your social media strategy? At Dreamhost, we offer Pro services for social media marketing. Our team of professionals can create engaging content for your brand, optimize your online profiles, and track your progress. Check out our plans today!

      Get Social and Grow Your Business with DreamHost

      Our experts will help create a powerful social media strategy and level up your execution so you can focus on running your business.

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      Beginner’s Guide to the WordPress .htaccess File

      Keeping your site safe should be a top priority for every administrator. WordPress is a secure platform out of the box, but that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to attacks. Fortunately, even if you aren’t a security expert, you can use a file called .htaccess to harden your site’s security policies.

      .htaccess is a configuration file for the Apache web server, which serves many WordPress sites. It’s a powerful tool that helps safeguard your site and boost its performance through some minor tweaks to its code. By editing this file, you can ban users, create redirects, prevent attacks, and even deny access to specific parts of your site.

      An Introduction to the .htaccess File

      .htaccess is short for “HyperText Access.” It’s a configuration file that determines how Apache-based servers interact with your site. In simpler terms, .htaccess controls how files in a directory can be accessed. You can think of it as a guard for your site because it decides who to let in and what they’re allowed to do.

      By default, an .htaccess file is typically included in your WordPress installation. The main purpose of this file is to improve security and performance. Plus, it also enables you to override your web server’s settings.

      You’ll most likely find your .htaccess file in your site’s root directory. Since .htaccess applies to both its own directory and any subdirectories within that main folder, it impacts your entire WordPress site.

      It’s also worth noting that the .htaccess file does not have a file extension. The period at the start simply makes sure the file remains hidden.

      How to Edit Your WordPress .htaccess File

      Editing the .htaccess file is, in practice, as simple as editing any other text file. However, because this is a core file, making changes to it can have unintended consequences.

      For this reason, it’s vitally important that you back up your site before you begin, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer.

      When you’re ready to edit your .htaccess file, you can access it using Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) or Secure Shell (SSH). You will find .htaccess in your site’s root directory:

      WordPress .htaccess file

      Open the file using your preferred text editor, such as TextEdit or Notepad. If the file hasn’t been edited before, you’ll see the following default information:

      WordPress .htaccess file

      It’s important not to add or change anything between the # BEGIN and # END tags. Instead, all new code should be added after this block.

      At this point, all you need to do is add your code and save the file. When you’re including multiple new functions, it’s best to save and test each one separately. If an error occurs, this will make it much easier to troubleshoot which change caused the problem.

      While almost all WordPress installations will already contain an .htaccess file, in some cases, you may need to create one. You can do this using a text editor of your choice, as long as you save it with the right file name: .htaccess with no extension.

      It’s also important to configure the file’s permission settings correctly. You can then upload .htaccess to your site’s root directory.

      9 Things You Can Do With Your WordPress .htaccess File

      Now that you’re familiar with the .htaccess file, it’s time to get up close and personal. We’re going to introduce a number of ways you can easily boost your site’s security and performance by editing this file.

      Simply use the code snippets we’ve provided below, and remember to create a backup before you start!

      1. Deny Access to Parts of Your Site

      One of the most useful things you can do with .htaccess is deny access to certain pages and files. There are a few files you should consider hiding in this way for security reasons, such as your wp-config.php file.

      You can do this by adding the following code, which will cause a 404 error to appear if anybody attempts to view the file:

      <Files ~ "/wp-config.php">
      Order Allow,Deny
      Deny from All

      In cases where sensitive data should be hidden, it can be useful to restrict access to the corresponding directory. Since many WordPress sites use the same folder structure, this setup can leave your site vulnerable. If you add the following line, it will disable the default directory listing functionality:

      Options -Indexes

      This will stop users and robots from viewing your folder structure. If anybody tries to access it, they’ll be shown a 403 error page instead.

      2. Redirect and Rewrite URLs

      Creating redirects enables you to automatically send users to a specific page. Redirects can be particularly useful if a page has moved or been deleted, and you want users who attempt to access that page to be taken somewhere else.

      You can accomplish this with a plugin such as Redirection, but it’s also possible to do it by editing the .htaccess file. To create a redirect, use the following code:

      Redirect /oldfile.html

      You can probably see what’s going on here. The first part is the path to the old file, while the second part is the URL you want visitors to be redirected to.

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      3. Force Your Site to Load Securely With HTTPS

      <style>.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }</style><div class=’embed-container’><iframe src=’’ frameborder=’0′ allowfullscreen></iframe></div>

      If you have added an SSL certificate to your domain, such as DreamHost’s free Let’s Encrypt certificate, it’s a good idea to force your site to load using HTTPS. This will ensure that your site is safer for both you and your visitors.

      You can make it happen by adding the following code:

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
      RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

      Your site will now automatically redirect any HTTP requests and direct them to use HTTPS instead. For example, if a user tries to access, they will be automatically redirected to

      4. Change Caching Settings

      Browser caching is a process where certain website files are temporarily saved on a visitor’s local device to enable pages to load faster. Using .htaccess, you can change the amount of time that your files are stored in the browser cache until they are updated with new versions.

      There are a few different ways to do this, but for this example, we’ll use a function called mod_headers. The following code will change the maximum caching time for all jpg, jpeg, png, and gif files:

      <ifModule mod_headers.c>
      <filesMatch "\\.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$">
      Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000, public"

      We’ve set the maximum time to 2,592,000 seconds, which equates to 30 days. You can change this amount if you want, as well as the file extensions that will be affected. If you want to add different settings for different extensions, simply add more mod_header functions.

      5. Prevent Certain Script Injection Attacks

      Script injection (or ‘code injection’) attacks attempt to change how a site or application executes by adding invalid code. For example, someone might add a script to a text field on your site and then submit it, which could cause your site to actually run the script.

      You can add the following code to protect against certain types of script injection:

      Options +FollowSymLinks
      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} (\<|%3C).*script.*(\>|%3E) [NC,OR]
      RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} GLOBALS(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2}) [OR]
      RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} _REQUEST(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2})
      RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php [F,L]

      Your site should now be able to detect and stop script injection attempts and redirect the culprit to your index.php page.

      However, it’s important to note that this example will not protect against all types of injection attacks. While this particular code can certainly be useful, you should not use it as your only protection against this type of attack.

      6. Stop Username Enumeration Attacks

      Username enumeration is a process where usernames from your site are harvested by looking at each user’s author page. This is particularly problematic if someone manages to find your admin username, which makes it much easier for bots to gain access to your site.

      You can help prevent username enumeration by adding the following code:

      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/wp-admin [NC]
      RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} author=\d
      RewriteRule .* - [R=403,L]

      This will stop certain attempts to enumerate usernames and throw up a 403 error page instead. Bear in mind that this will not prevent all enumeration, and you should test your security thoroughly. We also recommend strengthening your login page further by implementing Multifactor Authentication.

      7. Prevent Image Hotlinking

      Image hotlinking is a common problem that happens when images on your server are being displayed on another site. You can stop this by adding the following code to .htaccess:

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
      RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^https://(www\.)?*$ [NC]
      RewriteRule \.(png|gif|jpg|jpeg)$ [R,L]

      Replace with your own domain, and this code will prevent images from loading on all other sites. Instead, the picture you specify on the last line will load. You can use this to send an alternative image to sites that try to display graphics from your server.

      Beware that this may cause issues when you might want images to appear externally, such as on search engines. You might also consider linking to a script instead of a static image, then respond with a watermarked image or an image containing an ad.

      8. Control Your File Extensions

      By using .htaccess, you can control how files of different extensions are loaded by your site. There’s a lot you can do with this feature, such as running files as PHP, but we’re just going to look at a basic example for now.

      The following code will remove the file extension from PHP files when they’re loaded. You can use this with any file type, as long as you replace all instances of “php” with the extension you want:

      RewriteEngine On
      RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /.*index\ HTTP/
      RewriteRule ^(.*)index$$1 [L,R=301]
      RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
      RewriteRule ^([^/]+)/$$1 [L,R=301]
      RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /(.+)\.php\ HTTP/
      RewriteRule ^(.+)\.php$$1 [L,R=301]
      RewriteRule ^([a-z]+)$ /$1.php [L]

      This will cause all PHP files to load without displaying their extension in the URL. For example, the index.php file will appear as just index.

      9. Force Files to Download

      Finally, when a file is requested on your site, the default behavior is to display it in the browser. For example, if you’re hosting an audio file, it will start to play in the browser rather than being saved to the visitor’s computer.

      You can change this by forcing the site to download the file instead. This can be done with the following code:

      AddType application/octet-stream mp3

      In this example, we’ve used mp3 files, but you can use the same function for txt, mov, or any other relevant extension.

      Improve Your Site’s Security and Performance

      The .htaccess file provides flexibility for controlling how your web server behaves. You can also use it to increase your site’s performance and get more control over exactly who can access what information.

      With .htaccess, you can deny access to particular parts of your website. Additionally, it allows you to redirect URLs, force your site to load over HTTPS, and prevent some script injection attacks.

      Editing your .htaccess file is just one way to improve your site’s security. Choosing a secure WordPress hosting provider is another. Check out our DreamPress managed hosting plans to see how we can boost your website’s security and performance!

      Do More with DreamPress

      DreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!

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