Ensite Design and Construction Website

The new website for Ensite Design and Construction is now live.  EnSite is a design/build construction company owned by Robert W. Carter (Architect, A.I.A) and Michael D. Frye (B-1 Licensed General Contractor).

Ensite Design and Construction is located in Colorado Spring, CO at 219 W Colorado Ave.  Their phone number is (719) 375-5050.

 

 

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

The Best Free SEO Tools

Answer The Public

Image result for answer the public

 Answer the Public fetches Google autocomplete queries in bulk and divides them into various lists. That’s very useful for uncovering the questions people are asking in Google. And best of all, it’s free to use… with limitations. Tools like SoovleKeyword Shitter, and Keywordtool.io do much the same thing.

Ahrefs’ Free Backlink Checker

ahrefs free backlink checker 1

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or web page for free. It also unveils the five most linked‐to pages, most common anchor texts, and the total number of backlinks and referring domains. You’ll also see our proprietary Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores there too. It’s powered by the same industry‐leading database as our premium version. Some stats:

  • 16 TRILLION known links;
  • 176 MILLION unique domains;
  • BILLION pages crawled each day

Our backlink index is updated with fresh data every 15 minutes so that you can seize new link opportunities immediately.  

Beam Us Up

Image result for beam us up

Beam Us Up is a free SEO crawler. It’s a great alternative to Screaming Frog. However, it’s only available for Windows.

If you’re a Mac user, don’t forget that Screaming Frog will crawl up to 500 web pages for free (with limited functionality).

 

Google Keyword Planner

Image result for google keyword planner

Google makes some of the best free SEO tools. Period.

  • Find and research keywords with Keyword Planner.
  • Identify trends with, um, Trends.
  • Uncover and fix technical and on‐page issues with Search Console.
  • Analyze how many people are visiting your website, who they are, and where they come from with Analytics.
  • Gather, process, and analyze all kinds of SEO data with Sheets.
  • Check how fast your site loads with Pagespeed Insights.

If you’re new to SEO, you should start with these tools before looking at any others.

Don’t forget that there are other great tools in these categories, such as Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console) and Yandex Metricana (analytics tool).

Hunter.IO

Image result for hunter.io

Hunter lets you find email addresses in seconds and connect with the people that matter for your business.

Site Checker

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SiteChecker SEO Tool

This web page analyzer breaks down the structure and content of your web page and assesses the build quality and content quality from an accessibility, usability and search engine point of view.

Where appropriate, a pass (green tick) or fail (red cross) icon will be displayed for each section of the report. Question marks indicate areas that cannot be scored and need further human interaction.

WordPress SEO Framework Plugin

Image result for theseoframework

The SEO Framework is a reliable, accessible, unbranded, fully automated, and rigorously optimized SEO plugin for your website.

Without ads, distractions, and nonsensical functionality, this plugin delivers a time-saving SEO solution that truly helps your website rank.

Google Search Hacks

Reprint Article from ecommerce-platforms.com

Shopify vs WooCommerce – to say it simply, these are the two most popular eCommerce platforms available on the market.

Each one has multiple strengths and can possibly be the perfect solution for you to build an eCommerce store with. And the best news is that you can do so all on your own, without any help from professional designers and/or developers. But we’ll get to that later.First,  which one of the two is actually going to fit your specific needs better,Shopify or WooCommerce (for creating a fantastic online shop)? Which is more feature-rich? Which is cheaper? Which is better-looking? Which is more flexible? Which is the easiest to work with? … 

This is a lot of questions, but we’re going to answer then all in this in-depth comparison. After reading it,  you will know exactly which platform to choose based on your individual needs  and on the type of eCommerce store that you want to run. Here’s Shopify vs WooCommerce – which one is the absolute best:

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Design

For websites – and especially eCommerce stores – design is everything. Users simply don’t trust a site that doesn’t have the right aesthetic or doesn’t function as well as it should.

How Shopify does design

One of Shopify‘s greatest selling points is the visual quality of the themes. In my opinion, they look absolutely great even out of the box. Shopify comes with more than 100 different store templates, of which 20+ are free. The best part is that they are all mobile responsive and have a variety of different coloring options. These templates are no joke, they have a fashionably sleek and clean aesthetic, which makes it perfect for modern, forward-thinking websites.

shopify designs

Shopify’s designs aren’t created in-house, by the way; they’re outsourced to a group of professional web designers who ensure they’re as current and as engaging as they can be.

Unfortunately, the price tags on the premium ones go as high as even $180 a piece. But what you get in exchange is great design.

Luckily, as I mentioned, there are free options available too.

shopify free designs

Perversely, the instant attraction of Shopify designs can cause many webmasters to select the same themes. Some Shopify users who have designed a site themselves have later complained of looking a little too similar to other websites. For that reason, customization is encouraged.

Happily, Shopify is easy to chop and change. You can easily amend colors and styles, while more adept developers can utilise the platform’s specialized ‘Liquid’ language to make more substantial changes and really make a brand stand out from the rest.

How WooCommerce does design

As with many other aspects of the WooCommerce experience, when it comes to aesthetics, the world is your oyster – you just have to put the hours in.

WooCommerce is a plugin created by the developers from WooThemes (and acquired by Automattic). As such, it doesn’t deliver any specific design traits on its own. What it does is it provides you with the means to sell products and services online. The design part, however, is left to your current WordPress theme.

That being said, WooCommerce has been built to cooperate with most themes on the market, provided that they follow the standard recommendations and best practices.

This means that, in most cases, you are able to select any WordPress theme that you like, and still make it work together with WooCommerce.

However, you will also come across themes that have been built with WooCommerce in mind from the get-go, and are tailor-made to make all your product / service listings look great. If the design of the eCommerce store itself is particularly important to you, you should perhaps look into some of those themes.

The place to start would be Woo’s own default online store theme called Storefront (free). It’s a really efficient creation that puts focus on all the important elements of an eCommerce store, and helps you sell more effectively.

Storefront

You can also get a range of child themes for Storefront in case you want to customize the look of your store further. Most of those are available at $39 a piece (occasionally, though, there are themes with price tags as high as $119).

child themes for Storefront

Apart from that, you can also look into marketplaces like ThemeForest where you can find tens or even hundreds of other WooCommerce-compatible themes.

To be honest, WooCommerce has a serious advantage over Shopify when it comes to designs. What I mean is simply the fact that, setting aside the specific WooCommerce themes, you can basically make any WordPress theme work with the platform, and there are thousands of those things on the web.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Price

Every webmaster wants slightly more bang for their buck, but the two platforms have really different approaches to pricing:

The main difference between Shopify pricing and WooCommerce pricing

To say this quite bluntly, Shopify pricing is very clear and straightforward. WooCommerce’s isn’t.

On the one hand, WooCommerce is free. Or, I should say, as open source software, it is technically free – you can download it for free straight from WordPress.org. No strings attached. But then, you find out that to actually launch a working eCommerce store with it, you need to get ready to spend money (we’ll get into specifics in a minute).

In simple terms, Shopify is all about delivering you a single, out-of-the-box solution with one price tag on it. You get it, you “unwrap the box”, and you get to use your shiny new eCommerce store right away, since everything you need is included from the get-go.

With WooCommerce, on the other hand, what you actually get is a box with just the engine of your eCommerce store in it. But to then make that engine run, you need to find an empty car to put it in, so to speak. (Where by “car” I actually mean things like hosting, domain, working WordPress setup, etc.)

Here’s a table that should make the costs involved with each platforms easier to grasp:

Note. Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer you a handful of tiers / options to upgrade your version of the platform depending on the type of your business, the scale of your sales, etc. To simplify this comparison, I’m going to focus on the cheapest path – what it costs, at the minimum to have a working eCommerce store with Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Shopify vs WooCommerce pricing
Software Hosting Subdomain SSL certificate Top-level domain
Shopify $29 / month Included for free $9 / year
WooCommerce $0 $5-$100 / month (via 3rd party) n/a $100+ / year (via 3rd party) $9+ / year (via 3rd party)

When we sum things up, the above translates into:

  • Shopify eCommerce store running on a top-level domain: $29.75 / month.
  • WooCommerce store on the same setup: $29 / month (a modest $20 hosting, domain, SSL).

As you can see, even though the WooCommerce software is free, to actually get it to run an actual eCommerce store costs basically the same as Shopify.

But that’s not all. With WooCommerce, you might also have to factor in the additional extensions for things like SEO, more payment gateways, and so on. Those extensions are usually around the $49-79 mark (one time payment).

What it all comes down to is that although WooCommerce is technically the cheaper solution, it will require much more work to set it up, and you’ll need to be much more careful not to go over your budget, as every additional extension comes with a price tag. In the end, with WooCommerce, you’re exchanging dollars for features.

Shopify can boast a much more conventional pricing structure. It has a sliding scale of packages which offer users a range of different features up front – Basic ($29), Professional ($79) and Unlimited ($299).

Feel free to check out another resource of ours, where we focus primarily on the different pricing options available with Shopify + which one to choose.

Last but not least, there are the transaction fees. In essence, whenever you sell something with either of the platforms, they will charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Those fees change quite often, so I won’t get into that here, but just be aware that they exist. Usually, they sit around 2%-3% per transaction, but make sure to check the exact numbers before signing up with either of the platforms.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Features

While both platforms’ approaches to pricing are different, they’re relatively similar when it comes to giving your eCommerce site that little va va voom. Unlike a platform like Bigcommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce don’t bombard the user with plenty of tricks and toys.

However, both have enviable app stores that can be raided for the latest money-making features.

How Shopify helps you sell

Although you will probably need to install apps to make the most of the platform, Shopify offers significantly more free options. From the very start Shopify allows you to have:

  • Unlimited number of products
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Automatic fraud analysis
  • Manual order creation
  • Discount codes
  • Blog module
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile commerce optimization
  • Editable HTML and CSS
  • Credit card payments
  • Multiple languages
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Customer profiles
  • Drop shipping capabilities
  • SEO-ready site structure
  • Individual product reviews
  • Facebook selling module
  • Social media integration
  • Physical and digital products in the store
  • Unlimited traffic to your store
  • Daily backups
  • Site stats and product reports
  • Fully featured mobile app
  • Product importing via CSV files
  • Different product variations
  • Print orders
  • Gift cards (on Professional and Unlimited)
  • Abandoned cart recovery (on Professional and Unlimited)

In comparison, some of these free features, such as CSV uploads, shipping options and Facebook selling will set you back up to $500-600 to get started on WooCommerce.

Aside from the basic options, there are hundreds of different features that can be installed from the Shopify App Store. Like with WordPress, you certainly won’t short of inspiration. Nor will you be bemoaning the apps’ poor quality.

How WooCommerce helps you sell

As open source software, WordPress is well known for allowing third party developers to create various extensions and plugins. WooCommerce taps into that further by offering lots of interesting and exciting additions. Whether you want to easily edit aesthetics, sell on Facebook, ramp up email marketing techniques, understand user behaviour or quite frankly do anything else, you’ll be able to.

Here’s what you’ll find inside WooCommerce:

  • You can sell physical products, digital products (including software and apps), plus it’s also good for affiliate marketing
  • Payments via PayPal and Stripe built-in (plus a range of other gateways available for an extra fee)
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Unlimited number of products and product categories
  • Stock levels control
  • Mobile-friendly structure
  • You have complete control over your data
  • Works with your current WordPress theme
  • Literally hundreds of plugins (extensions) available

Shopify vs WooCommerce features compared side by side

Just to make all of the above easier to grasp, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the most essential eCommerce features in Shopify and WooCommerce:

Shopify vs WooCommerce side by side
Shopify WooCommerce
Is a subscription-based tool/service + a complete, out-the-box eCommerce solution. Is a free WordPress plugin. It requires a web server and a working WordPress installation to run.
 The core similarities and differences 
Allows you to sell whatever you wish (physical, digital, products, services).
Use it online (eCommerce store) + offline (via Shopify’s “Point of Sale” kit). Use it online only (eCommerce store).
24/7 email, chat, and phone support. Ticket support, and forum support.
Closed platform – you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows. Open source – you can modify your store freely; there are no limitations.
Shopify controls your store/website data. You have complete control over your data.
 Your eCommerce store design 
More than 100 store design available (20+ of them free). Thousands of store designs available (through WordPress themes).
Mobile-friendly structure.
 Other similarities and differences 
Hosting included. No hosting included.
Free subdomain included with every plan (e.g. YOURSTORE.shopify.com). No subdomain included.
Free SSL certificate. You can hook up a free SSL certificate manually.
Unlimited file storage. File storage limited by your web host.
Sell an unlimited number of products.
Create/use coupon codes and discounts.
Accept payments via PayPal, multiple payment gateways (including Stripe, credit cards), bank deposits, cash on delivery, and other methods. Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, checks, bank transfers, cash on delivery.
Sales stats and reports.
Native support for multiple languages. Support for multiple languages via third-party plugins.
Adjustable shipping rates and taxes.

As you can see, there’s nothing particularly important that’s missing from either platform. Choosing one over the other can often come down to your personal preference, or your thoughts on the value (or lack thereof) of open source software vs the rest.

Try-Shopify

But, the devil is in the details. At the end of the day, Shopify seems like a more laser-focused solution of the two (at least to me). Everything that Shopify offers is geared at making your online store more functional and easy to use. With WooCommerce, albeit the platform is extremely feature-rich and doesn’t lack any specific eCommerce feature, it’s still an add-on to WordPress – a plugin.

In the end, though, there’s no clear winner here in the features department. Both platforms have everything that a standard eCommerce setup could need.

Ease of use

Okay, so since we haven’t had a clear winner when it comes to eCommerce features, maybe we can have one in regards to the ease of use – aka. how easy it is to set up a working eCommerce store with either platform.

How easy to use is Shopify

The main strength of Shopify is that it’s a subscription-based online tool. In other words, to use it, all you need to do is visit Shopify.com, click the sign up button, go through a basic setup wizard, and you’re done.

Shopify is going to help you along the way, asking about the purpose/nature of your store (what you’re planning to sell), and giving you some overall tips as to which design/structure to choose and how to set everything up.

Once you get through that initial wizard, you will get access to the main dashboard. It’s from there that you can create your new eCommerce store, add new products, and so on.

Shopify dashboard

Overall, the whole process is very straightforward, and most importantly, you don’t need any design or site-building skills in order to get through it.

Later on – once you have the store running – you can access every crucial option from the sidebar of the dashboard:

Shopify sidebar

This sort of organization should make your daily work in the store very easy to grasp.

When it comes to adding new products to your store, handling sales, orders and etc., it’s also equally intuitive. For example, when adding a product, all product parameters are available from a single panel, so you don’t have to visit different areas of the dashboard to set things like the name, price, images, stock levels, and etc.

Here’s what the “new product” screen looks like:

Shopify add product

Overall, Shopify is a very intuitive solution, and the best thing about it is that you can just sign up and create a store right away, with no unexpected interruptions.

How easy to use is WooCommerce

To some extent, WooCommerce is just as easy to use as Shopify. But there’s a catch.

The catch is that although working with your store day by day is just as simple as with Shopify, setting up the store isn’t.

Basically, since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin – a piece of software – and not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, this means that you need to handle a couple of things before you ever get to working with WooCommerce itself.

Mainly, you need to do these:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Sign up for a hosting account
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Find and install a WordPress theme

It is only after you have those four taken care of that you can install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website and start getting through the configuration of your online store.

Unfortunately, those steps do require some level of comfort around web-related things. After all, it involves setting up your web server, redirecting your domain to said server, and lastly getting WordPress properly installed and made operational.

To make that somewhat easier on yourself, you can choose a specialized WordPress hosting company that will take care of the domain and WordPress installation for you, leaving only the WooCommerce part to you. Either way, it’s all significantly more difficult than Shopify’s one-click, “sign up” button.

And also, the theme – your design. WooCommerce doesn’t come with any “design” per se. It is all handled via a WordPress theme of your choice. Luckily, WooCommerce works with basically all themes on the market, but it’s still on you to find one you like and install it on the site.

Now, about WooCommerce itself:

As I said, the platform in itself is just as easy to use as Shopify. The second you get the WooCommerce plugin installed and activated, you’ll see the on-screen setup wizard. It consists of five(-ish) steps and takes you by the hand through every crucial element.

wocommerce wizard

Basically, it lets you choose/approve the main parameters of the store, and get everything neatly configured. For example, some of the important steps involve things like currency settings, shipping and tax, and payment gateways.

Once the installation is done, you can start using your store and begin adding products.

I showed you Shopify’s “add product” page above, so now let’s look at WooCommerce’s:

woocommerce add product

As you can see, it’s very much the same. Only some of the details are showcased slightly differently.

Which is easier to us, Shopify or WooCommerce?

Because of the initial hassle involved in setting up a WooCommerce store, I have to give this round to Shopify.

The fact that you can just click the sign up button and then have the whole store set up within minutes is very impressive in Shopify.

Later on, however, once you’re working with the store on a daily basis, Shopify and WooCommerce both present a similar level of ease of use. So I guess the choice is up to you, and involves answering the question if the more difficult setup in WooCommerce is a deal breaker for you or not…

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Support

There’s also the not insubstantial issue of technical support. Shopify is renowned for the high quality of its customer care. Each client can enjoy 24/7 access to a customer adviser in case they have any issues or queries (via email, open chat, phone call).

Apart from that, you also get access to an extensive knowledge base that covers some of the common user questions and problem solutions.

Shopify support

The matter of support with WooCommerce isn’t as straightforward. First off, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin in itself. This means that you can get support through the WordPress forums. However, at the same time, the WooCommerce team also enables everyone to create a free user account over at WooCommerce.com and get support there.

WooCommerce support

Lastly, WooCommerce is an open source product just like WordPress. This means that you can jump into the source code yourself, and try solving things on your own (if you’re brave enough).

In the end, I have to give the support round to Shopify. Nothing beats 24/7 access to a support person.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – SEO

Any website that wants to make a splash needs strong SEO. Luckily, both contenders here have a lot going for them.

How Shopify helps with SEO

Shopify may come second when we look at the overall volume of SEO features available, but there’s certainly no shame in the way that it presents content. It too handles basic SEO practices like meta information and site copy with ease. So long as your business is producing quality content, there’s no reason to suggest you won’t enjoy great results and strong user engagement.

Site wide, there are plenty of ways that Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce in the SEO game. It’s actually renowned by developers like me as having some of the cleanest code out there and natural linking structure, which offers a smooth user experience and in turn enhances visibility in search engine rankings.

One interesting case that’s worth pointing out is what happened to the Lost Cyclist, an eCommerce expert. When he moved his site from Shopify to WooCommerce, he noticed that the traffic dropped markedly:

Shopify vs Woocommerce

(If you’d like to dig deeper into how different shopping cart platforms can help your business with SEO, you might want to read this post.)

What’s more, Shopify is fast. Because it’s a hosted platform that’s built on huge infrastructure, Shopify offers each of its webmasters rapid loading pages (80 milliseconds, to be exact). As a result, shops stand a better chance of ranking well and a better chance of leading customers to conversions.

How WooCommerce helps with SEO

WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, and it’s renowned by SEO experts as one of the most reliable options available. It’s easy to add and edit content as well as meta information to ensure that your pages have a strong chance of ranking for specific keywords.

With plugins such as Yoast SEO, you can make your WordPress site highly optimized, and be in full control of every little detail that’s SEO-related.

When it comes to WooCommerce itself, it simply takes advantage of what’s already there in WordPress, or what’s available through third-party plugins like the aforementioned Yoast SEO, or the WooCommerce-dedicated version of the Yoast plugin.

In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it’s built on top of WordPress, which has pretty much unlimited SEO potential. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re going to suffer from an SEO point of view if you choose Shopify (as one case study mentioned above points out).

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Conclusion

Comparisons such as this are never cut and dry. When I talk with clients, my recommendations always fluctuate depending on their specific situations.

Here are my recommendations  based on the type of user that you are / what you expect from your eCommerce platform: 

Shopify)

  • You appreciate a hands-off approach, where you can just sign up “somewhere” and have an eCommerce store launched as a result of it.
  • You don’t want to have to deal with any of the setup yourself, and you don’t mind paying a fee to have everything taken care of for you.
  • At the same time, you want a highly optimized solution that’s in no way worse than what the competition has.
  • You want to have a reliable and fast-responding support team at your disposal, just in case you have any questions.
  • You basically don’t care about any of the technical details of your eCommerce platform … you just want it to work as expected, and be accessible to all customers and on all devices (mobile and desktop).
WooCommerce)
  • You want to be in full control of your eCommerce store.
  • You want to have access to thousands of site designs and thousands of plugins that will enable you to extend the functionality of your store.
  • You don’t mind spending a couple of hours setting things up, and you’re not afraid to handle the tasks required on your own (or you’ve hired someone to do this for you).
  • (Optionally) You have only minimal budget to start with, and you want to do everything on your own.

Source: ecommerce-platforms.com

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

Free SEO Tools

Free SEO Tools

That We Use At TJ WEBS

 

Intro

I hope this article demonstrates that you can do a lot with free SEO tools.

And don’t forget about Google—arguably the most powerful free SEO tool.

You can use Google to find guest post opportunities, semantically‐related keywords (check the “related searches” section at the bottom of the SERPs), and much more. Learn about some powerful ways to use Google for SEO in our extensive guide to Google search operators.

Did we miss any awesome free SEO tools? Suggest them for inclusion here.

Google Keyword Planner

Traffic growth to the Ahrefs Blog shown in Google Analytics

Google makes some of the best free SEO tools. Period.

  • Find and research keywords with Keyword Planner.
  • Identify trends with, um, Trends.
  • Uncover and fix technical and on‐page issues with Search Console.
  • Analyze how many people are visiting your website, who they are, and where they come from with Analytics.
  • Gather, process, and analyze all kinds of SEO data with Sheets.
  • Check how fast your site loads with Pagespeed Insights.

If you’re new to SEO, you should start with these tools before looking at any others.

Don’t forget that there are other great tools in these categories, such as Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console) and Yandex Metricana (analytics tool).

free SEO tools? Suggest them for inclusion here.

 

Answer the Public

answer the public 1

Answer the Public fetches Google autocomplete queries in bulk and divides them into various lists. That’s very useful for uncovering the questions people are asking in Google.

And best of all, it’s free to use… with limitations.

Tools like SoovleKeyword Shitter, and Keywordtool.io do much the same thing.

 
 

ahrefs free backlink checker 1

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or web page for free.

It also unveils the five most linked‐to pages, most common anchor texts, and the total number of backlinks and referring domains. You’ll also see our proprietary Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores there too.

It’s powered by the same industry‐leading database as our premium version. Some stats:

  • 16 TRILLION known links;
  • 176 MILLION unique domains;
  • BILLION pages crawled each day

Our backlink index is updated with fresh data every 15 minutes so that you can seize new link opportunities immediately.

 

 

Beam Us Up

beam us up 1

Beam Us Up is a free SEO crawler. It’s a great alternative to Screaming Frog. However, it’s only available for Windows.

If you’re a Mac user, don’t forget that Screaming Frog will crawl up to 500 web pages for free (with limited functionality).

ion here.

 

Yoast SEO

yoast title tag 1

Running WordPress? Yoast is perhaps the only SEO plugin you’ll ever need.

Use it to optimize meta tags and content, generate instant sitemaps, and much more.

In the screenshot above, it’s being used to set the title tag and meta description for one of our recent blog posts.

Want to learn more about using Yoast for WordPress SEO? Watch this:

All in One SEO Pack is a good alternative to Yoast.

SEO tools? Suggest them for inclusion here.

Hunter.io

hunter 1

Hunter.io finds all email addresses related to a website in seconds.

(*It’s free up to 100 requests per month)

Each email address also has a confidence score. Some even have a “verified” icon, meaning that you can use the email address with total confidence.

You can also use the tool to find the email address of a specific person. Just enter the domain and the person’s name.

hunter email finder 1

Install the Chrome extension for quick access, or use the Google Sheets add‐on.

Other similar tools for finding email addresses include FindThat.EmailVoila Norbert, etc. We tested nine of these tools in our guide to finding email addresses.

 

 

SEO Web Page Analyzer

seo web page analyzer 1

SEO Web Page Analyzer gives you a comprehensive analysis of your web page.

It pulls out any images with missing alt tags, heading structure, internal and external links, meta title and description, and more. You’ll also see an on‐page SEO score between zero and a hundred.

 

 

LinkMiner

linkminer 1

LinkMiner is a Chrome extension that lets you check any web page for broken links on the fly. It’s useful for finding broken link building opportunities.

You can export the full list of scraped links to a CSV with just one click, which includes status code information, link type, and more.

If you find a lot of broken links on a page with LinkMiner, do this: Export them to CSV, paste the entire list into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool, and sort by the referring domains column (high to low).

broken links linkminer 1

This will tell you which broken links have the most referring domains pointing to them (i.e., good broken link building opportunities).

Check My Links does much the same thing.

 

Traffic growth to the Ahrefs Blog shown in Google Analytics

Google makes some of the best free SEO tools. Period.

  • Find and research keywords with Keyword Planner.
  • Identify trends with, um, Trends.
  • Uncover and fix technical and on‐page issues with Search Console.
  • Analyze how many people are visiting your website, who they are, and where they come from with Analytics.
  • Gather, process, and analyze all kinds of SEO data with Sheets.
  • Check how fast your site loads with Pagespeed Insights.

If you’re new to SEO, you should start with these tools before looking at any others.

Don’t forget that there are other great tools in these categories, such as Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing’s equivalent of Google Search Console) and Yandex Metricana (analytics tool).

2. Answer the Public

answer the public 1

Answer the Public fetches Google autocomplete queries in bulk and divides them into various lists. That’s very useful for uncovering the questions people are asking in Google.

And best of all, it’s free to use… with limitations.

Tools like SoovleKeyword Shitter, and Keywordtool.io do much the same thing.

OUR ADVICE

If you’re doing some basic keyword research for a new site, Answer the Public will provide more than enough keywords.

But if you’re looking to take an existing website (that already ranks for a ton of queries) to the next level, you might need a more powerful tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer

How much more powerful is Keywords Explorer? Well, if you type “Xbox” as the seed keyword in ATP, it returns 953 results. Not bad. However, do the same thing in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, and the Phrase Match report returns over 3.8 MILLION keywords.

Our suggestion: Start with ATP, then upgrade to a paid tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer when you’re ready.

3. Ahrefs’ Free Backlink Checker

ahrefs free backlink checker 1

Ahrefs’ Backlink Checker shows the top 100 backlinks to any website or web page for free.

It also unveils the five most linked‐to pages, most common anchor texts, and the total number of backlinks and referring domains. You’ll also see our proprietary Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) scores there too.

It’s powered by the same industry‐leading database as our premium version. Some stats:

  • 16 TRILLION known links;
  • 176 MILLION unique domains;
  • BILLION pages crawled each day

Our backlink index is updated with fresh data every 15 minutes so that you can seize new link opportunities immediately.

Of course, it’s still quite limited compared to the full version of our backlink checker, but you can still get lots of value from it for free.

4. Beam Us Up

beam us up 1

Beam Us Up is a free SEO crawler. It’s a great alternative to Screaming Frog. However, it’s only available for Windows.

If you’re a Mac user, don’t forget that Screaming Frog will crawl up to 500 web pages for free (with limited functionality).

5. Yoast SEO

yoast title tag 1

Running WordPress? Yoast is perhaps the only SEO plugin you’ll ever need.

Use it to optimize meta tags and content, generate instant sitemaps, and much more.

In the screenshot above, it’s being used to set the title tag and meta description for one of our recent blog posts.

Want to learn more about using Yoast for WordPress SEO? Watch this:

All in One SEO Pack is a good alternative to Yoast.

6. Keyworddit

keyworddit 2

Keyworddit extracts keywords from Reddit. Just enter any subreddit (e.g., /r/bigSEO) and it’ll pull out a list of a few hundred keywords plus monthly search volumes.

It’s super useful for understanding the topics that your audience are most interested in.

Here are some of the keywords it plucked from the /r/entrepreneur subreddit:

keyworddit 3

7. Hunter.io*

hunter 1

Hunter.io finds all email addresses related to a website in seconds.

(*It’s free up to 100 requests per month)

Each email address also has a confidence score. Some even have a “verified” icon, meaning that you can use the email address with total confidence.

You can also use the tool to find the email address of a specific person. Just enter the domain and the person’s name.

hunter email finder 1

Install the Chrome extension for quick access, or use the Google Sheets add‐on.

Other similar tools for finding email addresses include FindThat.EmailVoila Norbert, etc. We tested nine of these tools in our guide to finding email addresses.

8. SEO Web Page Analyzer

seo web page analyzer 1

SEO Web Page Analyzer gives you a comprehensive analysis of your web page.

It pulls out any images with missing alt tags, heading structure, internal and external links, meta title and description, and more. You’ll also see an on‐page SEO score between zero and a hundred.

9. LinkMiner

linkminer 1

LinkMiner is a Chrome extension that lets you check any web page for broken links on the fly. It’s useful for finding broken link building opportunities.

You can export the full list of scraped links to a CSV with just one click, which includes status code information, link type, and more.

If you find a lot of broken links on a page with LinkMiner, do this: Export them to CSV, paste the entire list into Ahrefs’ Batch Analysis tool, and sort by the referring domains column (high to low).

broken links linkminer 1

This will tell you which broken links have the most referring domains pointing to them (i.e., good broken link building opportunities).

Check My Links does much the same thing.

10. Responsive Design Checker

responsive design checker 1

Responsive Design Checker does what it says on the tin: it checks the responsiveness of a website. Just enter any URL to see how it looks on desktop, tablet, and mobile.

You can even see how it looks on specific devices (e.g., iPhone X) and various popular desktop resolutions.

With Google’s recent move to mobile‐first indexing, having a responsive website is more important than ever.

Google’s Mobile‐Friendly Test is another useful tool.

11. SERProbot

serprobot 1

SERProbot is a free Google rank checking tool, which allows you to check rankings for up to five keywords at a time.

No need to register. Just enter your domain (or URL) and list of keywords.

You can also check rankings in various regions (e.g., google.com, google.co.uk, google.de, etc.)

12. Keywords Everywhere

keywords everywhere 1

Keywords Everywhere is a Chrome extension that displays search volume, CPC, and competition data for Google in all the major search engines. (You can see it in action on Google above.)

It pulls its data from Google Keyword Planner.

To use it, you’ll need a free API key. You can get this by signing up on their site.

ARE YOU AN AHREFS USER?

Remember that we have the Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar which also shows search volume, CPC and competition data in the SERPs. Unlike Keywords Everywhere, it pulls accurate, industry‐leading data from Ahrefs (as opposed to Google Keyword Planner).

ahrefs toolbar 1

Furthermore, it lets you see data for any of the 170 countries in our database and gives one‐click access to full reports in Ahrefs.

13. Similarweb

similarweb 1

Similarweb estimates the total amount of monthly traffic to a website.

It also breaks traffic down by source (e.g., direct, organic, etc.) and location. You can even see which websites are likely to be sending the most referral traffic to your site.

14. Smush Image Compression and Optimisation

wp smush 1

Smush Image Compression and Optimisation is a free* WordPress plugin for compressing, optimizing, and resizing images on your site.

Use this plugin to ensure that your web pages load lightning fast.

*Free users can only bulk optimize 50 images at a time. You have to keep clicking the “resume” button to bulk optimize the next batch of 50. Shortpixel is another good image optimization tool, which also has a WordPress plugin. It’s free for up to 100 images per month.

15. GTMetrix

gtmetrix 1

GTMetrix analyzes the loading speed of your web pages.

Alongside the performance score, you also get actionable recommendations on how to make your web page load faster.

16. Wondersear.ch

wondersearch 1

Wondersear.ch finds keywords that are semantically‐related to any root keyword.

For example, if you enter “SEO tools” it kicks back the words that you see in the screenshot above. You can then download them as a CSV.

17. Where Goes?

where goes 1

Where Goes? is a simple tool for checking redirect paths for any URL.

Just paste in a URL and it’ll show both the type (e.g., 301, 302, etc.) and the number of redirects in the chain. You should minimize the number of unnecessary redirects because it slows down your website and contributes to poor user experience.

Furthermore, although Google confirmed that there is no longer any PageRank dilution via 3XX redirects, having too many redirects in a chain serves to confuse bots like Googlebot. That’s never a good thing.

There are also a couple of SEO Chrome extensions with this same functionality, including Ayima Page Insights and Redirect Path.

18. Whitespark’s Google Business Review Link Generator

whitespark review link 1

Getting reviews on your Google My Business profile is crucial for local SEO.

This tool generates a shareable link that lets customers review your business with one click. Share it via email, on social media, and elsewhere to make the reviewing process as easy as possible for your customers.

It’s free to use and generating a “rate and review” link for your business takes seconds.

19. Portents SERP Preview Tool

portnent serp preview 1

Have you ever wondered what your web page will look like in Google’s search results?

Portents SERP Preview Tool can show you.

Enter your proposed title, meta description, and URL, and it’ll show you a preview of how it will look in the SERPs. (You can see an example above for one of the posts on the Ahrefs blog).

It also tells you if your title and description are too long. You should fix these issues to avoid truncation in the search results.

SERPSim.com is another good alternative.

20. SEO Hero

seo hero 1

SEO Hero unveils semantically‐related keywords and co‐occurrences for any topic.

It works by scraping the top 100 Google search results for your target keyword, then using the Google API to parse the text. From that, it extracts n‐grams, which effectively results in a list of the most important commonly occurring words and phrases.

That is useful for getting a sense of what topics and subtopics are important to mention in your content.

LSIgraph.com does something similar.

21. Robots.txt Generator

robots generator 1

Robots.txt is a file that should be present on every web server; it gives robots (e.g., Googlebot) instructions as to which pages on your site they can and can’t crawl.

This tool allows you to generate a properly‐formatted robots.txt file in seconds.

More advanced users can use the custom option to create individual rules for various bots, subdirectories, etc.

22. HEADMasterSEO

headmaster seo 1

HeadmasterSEO is a simple tool for bulk checking the status codes for a list of URLs.

It can reliably check between two and six million URLs on most computers.

If you prefer a web‐based application—and only wish to check up to 100 URLs—try HTTPstatus.io.

23. Chris Ainsworth’s SERP Extraction Bookmarklet

serp extraction 1

Extract Google search results with the click of a button.

Add the free SERP Extraction Bookmarklet to your browser, then simply click it to extract the search results. Very convenient for scraping guest post opportunities, and other link prospects.

Pro tip: Combine with gInfinity to scrape hundreds of Google search results in one fell swoop.

24. Merge Words

merge words 1

Merge Words lets you to merge up to three sets of keywords.

It’s useful for merging keywords with Google search operators. You can also use it to come up with different variations of keywords for pasting into keyword research tools.

Here’s another use case: generate a list of search queries based on location or product features.

merge words 1

25. BROWSEO

browseo 1

Browseo lets you see how web pages look without CSS or unnecessary styling.

In other words, it shows you how Google views your website. That’s useful for understanding whether Googlebot sees your site as intended, or whether it struggles to see important content.

You can also use Fetch as Googlebot in Search Console for this.

26. Whitespark Local Citation Finder*

whitespark citation 1

Whitespark’s Local Citation Finder finds citation opportunities for your business. (Surprising, right?)

It also examines your competitors and monitors citation growth. A must‐have tool for anyone involved in local SEO.

*This is a freemium tool.

PRO TIP

Use Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool to find citations. Just paste in a few competing local businesses and it will show common links between those sites.

link intersect 1

Those will often be local directories (i.e., NAP citations).

27. Keep‐alive Validation SEO Tool

persisent connection 1

Use this tool to check if persistent connections are enabled or disabled on your web pages.

What is a persistent connection, I hear you ask?

Persistent Connection enables the connection between a client and server to stay open, allowing the transfer of multiple files over a single connection.

Confused? Here’s an analogy:

You have ten people waiting to go through a door. You could open and close the door after each person, or you could open the door once and let all ten people through. Clearly, the latter would be a quicker way of getting all ten people through the door.

Persistent connections are the web equivalent of keeping the door open and, as a result, improve page load speed—something that Google has confirmed to be a ranking factor, at least on mobile.

28. JSON‐LD Schema Generator

schema generator 1

Do you want an easy way to generate Schema markup for your website?

Look no further than this nifty tool created by J.D. Flynn.

This generator can be used to create, build, or generate (call it what you will) structured data markup in the form of JSON‐LD that can be injected into the head or footer of your site to improve visibility to the search engines.

To use it, select the type of Schema markup you want to generate (e.g., local business, person, etc.) and fill in the form. Copy and paste the generated Schema markup onto your site.

You can check the validity of any Schema markup using Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.

Learn more about Schema markup here.

29. Chrome DevTools

google devtools 1

Chrome DevTools is Google Chrome’s built‐in web page debugging tool. Use it to debug page speed issues, improve web page rendering performance, and more.

From a technical SEO standpoint, it has endless uses.

Final thoughts

I hope this article demonstrates that you can do a lot with free SEO tools.

And don’t forget about Google—arguably the most powerful free SEO tool.

You can use Google to find guest post opportunities, semantically‐related keywords (check the “related searches” section at the bottom of the SERPs), and much more. Learn about some powerful ways to use Google for SEO in our extensive guide to Google search operators.

Did we miss any awesome free SEO tools? Suggest them for inclusion here.

google devtools 1

Chrome DevTools is Google Chrome’s built‐in web page debugging tool. Use it to debug page speed issues, improve web page rendering performance, and more.

From a technical SEO standpoint, it has endless uses.

 

 

Final Thoughts

I hope this article demonstrates that you can do a lot with free SEO tools.

And don’t forget about Google—arguably the most powerful free SEO tool.

You can use Google to find guest post opportunities, semantically‐related keywords (check the “related searches” section at the bottom of the SERPs), and much more. Learn about some powerful ways to use Google for SEO in our extensive guide to Google search operators.

Did we miss any awesome free SEO tools? Suggest them for inclusion here.

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Reprint Article from ecommerce-platforms.com

Shopify vs WooCommerce – to say it simply, these are the two most popular eCommerce platforms available on the market.

Each one has multiple strengths and can possibly be the perfect solution for you to build an eCommerce store with. And the best news is that you can do so all on your own, without any help from professional designers and/or developers. But we’ll get to that later.First,  which one of the two is actually going to fit your specific needs better,Shopify or WooCommerce (for creating a fantastic online shop)? Which is more feature-rich? Which is cheaper? Which is better-looking? Which is more flexible? Which is the easiest to work with? … 

This is a lot of questions, but we’re going to answer then all in this in-depth comparison. After reading it,  you will know exactly which platform to choose based on your individual needs  and on the type of eCommerce store that you want to run. Here’s Shopify vs WooCommerce – which one is the absolute best:

Shopify vs WooCommerce

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Design

For websites – and especially eCommerce stores – design is everything. Users simply don’t trust a site that doesn’t have the right aesthetic or doesn’t function as well as it should.

How Shopify does design

One of Shopify‘s greatest selling points is the visual quality of the themes. In my opinion, they look absolutely great even out of the box. Shopify comes with more than 100 different store templates, of which 20+ are free. The best part is that they are all mobile responsive and have a variety of different coloring options. These templates are no joke, they have a fashionably sleek and clean aesthetic, which makes it perfect for modern, forward-thinking websites.

shopify designs

Shopify’s designs aren’t created in-house, by the way; they’re outsourced to a group of professional web designers who ensure they’re as current and as engaging as they can be.

Unfortunately, the price tags on the premium ones go as high as even $180 a piece. But what you get in exchange is great design.

Luckily, as I mentioned, there are free options available too.

shopify free designs

Perversely, the instant attraction of Shopify designs can cause many webmasters to select the same themes. Some Shopify users who have designed a site themselves have later complained of looking a little too similar to other websites. For that reason, customization is encouraged.

Happily, Shopify is easy to chop and change. You can easily amend colors and styles, while more adept developers can utilise the platform’s specialized ‘Liquid’ language to make more substantial changes and really make a brand stand out from the rest.

How WooCommerce does design

As with many other aspects of the WooCommerce experience, when it comes to aesthetics, the world is your oyster – you just have to put the hours in.

WooCommerce is a plugin created by the developers from WooThemes (and acquired by Automattic). As such, it doesn’t deliver any specific design traits on its own. What it does is it provides you with the means to sell products and services online. The design part, however, is left to your current WordPress theme.

That being said, WooCommerce has been built to cooperate with most themes on the market, provided that they follow the standard recommendations and best practices.

This means that, in most cases, you are able to select any WordPress theme that you like, and still make it work together with WooCommerce.

However, you will also come across themes that have been built with WooCommerce in mind from the get-go, and are tailor-made to make all your product / service listings look great. If the design of the eCommerce store itself is particularly important to you, you should perhaps look into some of those themes.

The place to start would be Woo’s own default online store theme called Storefront (free). It’s a really efficient creation that puts focus on all the important elements of an eCommerce store, and helps you sell more effectively.

Storefront

You can also get a range of child themes for Storefront in case you want to customize the look of your store further. Most of those are available at $39 a piece (occasionally, though, there are themes with price tags as high as $119).

child themes for Storefront

Apart from that, you can also look into marketplaces like ThemeForest where you can find tens or even hundreds of other WooCommerce-compatible themes.

To be honest, WooCommerce has a serious advantage over Shopify when it comes to designs. What I mean is simply the fact that, setting aside the specific WooCommerce themes, you can basically make any WordPress theme work with the platform, and there are thousands of those things on the web.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Price

Every webmaster wants slightly more bang for their buck, but the two platforms have really different approaches to pricing:

The main difference between Shopify pricing and WooCommerce pricing

To say this quite bluntly, Shopify pricing is very clear and straightforward. WooCommerce’s isn’t.

On the one hand, WooCommerce is free. Or, I should say, as open source software, it is technically free – you can download it for free straight from WordPress.org. No strings attached. But then, you find out that to actually launch a working eCommerce store with it, you need to get ready to spend money (we’ll get into specifics in a minute).

In simple terms, Shopify is all about delivering you a single, out-of-the-box solution with one price tag on it. You get it, you “unwrap the box”, and you get to use your shiny new eCommerce store right away, since everything you need is included from the get-go.

With WooCommerce, on the other hand, what you actually get is a box with just the engine of your eCommerce store in it. But to then make that engine run, you need to find an empty car to put it in, so to speak. (Where by “car” I actually mean things like hosting, domain, working WordPress setup, etc.)

Here’s a table that should make the costs involved with each platforms easier to grasp:

Note. Both Shopify and WooCommerce offer you a handful of tiers / options to upgrade your version of the platform depending on the type of your business, the scale of your sales, etc. To simplify this comparison, I’m going to focus on the cheapest path – what it costs, at the minimum to have a working eCommerce store with Shopify vs WooCommerce.

Shopify vs WooCommerce pricing
Software Hosting Subdomain SSL certificate Top-level domain
Shopify $29 / month Included for free $9 / year
WooCommerce $0 $5-$100 / month (via 3rd party) n/a $100+ / year (via 3rd party) $9+ / year (via 3rd party)

When we sum things up, the above translates into:

  • Shopify eCommerce store running on a top-level domain: $29.75 / month.
  • WooCommerce store on the same setup: $29 / month (a modest $20 hosting, domain, SSL).

As you can see, even though the WooCommerce software is free, to actually get it to run an actual eCommerce store costs basically the same as Shopify.

But that’s not all. With WooCommerce, you might also have to factor in the additional extensions for things like SEO, more payment gateways, and so on. Those extensions are usually around the $49-79 mark (one time payment).

What it all comes down to is that although WooCommerce is technically the cheaper solution, it will require much more work to set it up, and you’ll need to be much more careful not to go over your budget, as every additional extension comes with a price tag. In the end, with WooCommerce, you’re exchanging dollars for features.

Shopify can boast a much more conventional pricing structure. It has a sliding scale of packages which offer users a range of different features up front – Basic ($29), Professional ($79) and Unlimited ($299).

Feel free to check out another resource of ours, where we focus primarily on the different pricing options available with Shopify + which one to choose.

Last but not least, there are the transaction fees. In essence, whenever you sell something with either of the platforms, they will charge you a small fee (for processing the payment, delivering the money to your account, etc.). Those fees change quite often, so I won’t get into that here, but just be aware that they exist. Usually, they sit around 2%-3% per transaction, but make sure to check the exact numbers before signing up with either of the platforms.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Features

While both platforms’ approaches to pricing are different, they’re relatively similar when it comes to giving your eCommerce site that little va va voom. Unlike a platform like Bigcommerce, Shopify and WooCommerce don’t bombard the user with plenty of tricks and toys.

However, both have enviable app stores that can be raided for the latest money-making features.

How Shopify helps you sell

Although you will probably need to install apps to make the most of the platform, Shopify offers significantly more free options. From the very start Shopify allows you to have:

  • Unlimited number of products
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Automatic fraud analysis
  • Manual order creation
  • Discount codes
  • Blog module
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Mobile commerce optimization
  • Editable HTML and CSS
  • Credit card payments
  • Multiple languages
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Customer profiles
  • Drop shipping capabilities
  • SEO-ready site structure
  • Individual product reviews
  • Facebook selling module
  • Social media integration
  • Physical and digital products in the store
  • Unlimited traffic to your store
  • Daily backups
  • Site stats and product reports
  • Fully featured mobile app
  • Product importing via CSV files
  • Different product variations
  • Print orders
  • Gift cards (on Professional and Unlimited)
  • Abandoned cart recovery (on Professional and Unlimited)

In comparison, some of these free features, such as CSV uploads, shipping options and Facebook selling will set you back up to $500-600 to get started on WooCommerce.

Aside from the basic options, there are hundreds of different features that can be installed from the Shopify App Store. Like with WordPress, you certainly won’t short of inspiration. Nor will you be bemoaning the apps’ poor quality.

How WooCommerce helps you sell

As open source software, WordPress is well known for allowing third party developers to create various extensions and plugins. WooCommerce taps into that further by offering lots of interesting and exciting additions. Whether you want to easily edit aesthetics, sell on Facebook, ramp up email marketing techniques, understand user behaviour or quite frankly do anything else, you’ll be able to.

Here’s what you’ll find inside WooCommerce:

  • You can sell physical products, digital products (including software and apps), plus it’s also good for affiliate marketing
  • Payments via PayPal and Stripe built-in (plus a range of other gateways available for an extra fee)
  • Adjustable shipping rates and taxes
  • Unlimited number of products and product categories
  • Stock levels control
  • Mobile-friendly structure
  • You have complete control over your data
  • Works with your current WordPress theme
  • Literally hundreds of plugins (extensions) available

Shopify vs WooCommerce features compared side by side

Just to make all of the above easier to grasp, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the most essential eCommerce features in Shopify and WooCommerce:

Shopify vs WooCommerce side by side
Shopify WooCommerce
Is a subscription-based tool/service + a complete, out-the-box eCommerce solution. Is a free WordPress plugin. It requires a web server and a working WordPress installation to run.
 The core similarities and differences 
Allows you to sell whatever you wish (physical, digital, products, services).
Use it online (eCommerce store) + offline (via Shopify’s “Point of Sale” kit). Use it online only (eCommerce store).
24/7 email, chat, and phone support. Ticket support, and forum support.
Closed platform – you can only modify your store to the extent that Shopify allows. Open source – you can modify your store freely; there are no limitations.
Shopify controls your store/website data. You have complete control over your data.
 Your eCommerce store design 
More than 100 store design available (20+ of them free). Thousands of store designs available (through WordPress themes).
Mobile-friendly structure.
 Other similarities and differences 
Hosting included. No hosting included.
Free subdomain included with every plan (e.g. YOURSTORE.shopify.com). No subdomain included.
Free SSL certificate. You can hook up a free SSL certificate manually.
Unlimited file storage. File storage limited by your web host.
Sell an unlimited number of products.
Create/use coupon codes and discounts.
Accept payments via PayPal, multiple payment gateways (including Stripe, credit cards), bank deposits, cash on delivery, and other methods. Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, checks, bank transfers, cash on delivery.
Sales stats and reports.
Native support for multiple languages. Support for multiple languages via third-party plugins.
Adjustable shipping rates and taxes.

As you can see, there’s nothing particularly important that’s missing from either platform. Choosing one over the other can often come down to your personal preference, or your thoughts on the value (or lack thereof) of open source software vs the rest.

Try-Shopify

But, the devil is in the details. At the end of the day, Shopify seems like a more laser-focused solution of the two (at least to me). Everything that Shopify offers is geared at making your online store more functional and easy to use. With WooCommerce, albeit the platform is extremely feature-rich and doesn’t lack any specific eCommerce feature, it’s still an add-on to WordPress – a plugin.

In the end, though, there’s no clear winner here in the features department. Both platforms have everything that a standard eCommerce setup could need.

Ease of use

Okay, so since we haven’t had a clear winner when it comes to eCommerce features, maybe we can have one in regards to the ease of use – aka. how easy it is to set up a working eCommerce store with either platform.

How easy to use is Shopify

The main strength of Shopify is that it’s a subscription-based online tool. In other words, to use it, all you need to do is visit Shopify.com, click the sign up button, go through a basic setup wizard, and you’re done.

Shopify is going to help you along the way, asking about the purpose/nature of your store (what you’re planning to sell), and giving you some overall tips as to which design/structure to choose and how to set everything up.

Once you get through that initial wizard, you will get access to the main dashboard. It’s from there that you can create your new eCommerce store, add new products, and so on.

Shopify dashboard

Overall, the whole process is very straightforward, and most importantly, you don’t need any design or site-building skills in order to get through it.

Later on – once you have the store running – you can access every crucial option from the sidebar of the dashboard:

Shopify sidebar

This sort of organization should make your daily work in the store very easy to grasp.

When it comes to adding new products to your store, handling sales, orders and etc., it’s also equally intuitive. For example, when adding a product, all product parameters are available from a single panel, so you don’t have to visit different areas of the dashboard to set things like the name, price, images, stock levels, and etc.

Here’s what the “new product” screen looks like:

Shopify add product

Overall, Shopify is a very intuitive solution, and the best thing about it is that you can just sign up and create a store right away, with no unexpected interruptions.

How easy to use is WooCommerce

To some extent, WooCommerce is just as easy to use as Shopify. But there’s a catch.

The catch is that although working with your store day by day is just as simple as with Shopify, setting up the store isn’t.

Basically, since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin – a piece of software – and not a subscription-based solution like Shopify, this means that you need to handle a couple of things before you ever get to working with WooCommerce itself.

Mainly, you need to do these:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Sign up for a hosting account
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Find and install a WordPress theme

It is only after you have those four taken care of that you can install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website and start getting through the configuration of your online store.

Unfortunately, those steps do require some level of comfort around web-related things. After all, it involves setting up your web server, redirecting your domain to said server, and lastly getting WordPress properly installed and made operational.

To make that somewhat easier on yourself, you can choose a specialized WordPress hosting company that will take care of the domain and WordPress installation for you, leaving only the WooCommerce part to you. Either way, it’s all significantly more difficult than Shopify’s one-click, “sign up” button.

And also, the theme – your design. WooCommerce doesn’t come with any “design” per se. It is all handled via a WordPress theme of your choice. Luckily, WooCommerce works with basically all themes on the market, but it’s still on you to find one you like and install it on the site.

Now, about WooCommerce itself:

As I said, the platform in itself is just as easy to use as Shopify. The second you get the WooCommerce plugin installed and activated, you’ll see the on-screen setup wizard. It consists of five(-ish) steps and takes you by the hand through every crucial element.

wocommerce wizard

Basically, it lets you choose/approve the main parameters of the store, and get everything neatly configured. For example, some of the important steps involve things like currency settings, shipping and tax, and payment gateways.

Once the installation is done, you can start using your store and begin adding products.

I showed you Shopify’s “add product” page above, so now let’s look at WooCommerce’s:

woocommerce add product

As you can see, it’s very much the same. Only some of the details are showcased slightly differently.

Which is easier to us, Shopify or WooCommerce?

Because of the initial hassle involved in setting up a WooCommerce store, I have to give this round to Shopify.

The fact that you can just click the sign up button and then have the whole store set up within minutes is very impressive in Shopify.

Later on, however, once you’re working with the store on a daily basis, Shopify and WooCommerce both present a similar level of ease of use. So I guess the choice is up to you, and involves answering the question if the more difficult setup in WooCommerce is a deal breaker for you or not…

Shopify vs WooCommerce – Support

There’s also the not insubstantial issue of technical support. Shopify is renowned for the high quality of its customer care. Each client can enjoy 24/7 access to a customer adviser in case they have any issues or queries (via email, open chat, phone call).

Apart from that, you also get access to an extensive knowledge base that covers some of the common user questions and problem solutions.

Shopify support

The matter of support with WooCommerce isn’t as straightforward. First off, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin in itself. This means that you can get support through the WordPress forums. However, at the same time, the WooCommerce team also enables everyone to create a free user account over at WooCommerce.com and get support there.

WooCommerce support

Lastly, WooCommerce is an open source product just like WordPress. This means that you can jump into the source code yourself, and try solving things on your own (if you’re brave enough).

In the end, I have to give the support round to Shopify. Nothing beats 24/7 access to a support person.

Shopify vs WooCommerce – SEO

Any website that wants to make a splash needs strong SEO. Luckily, both contenders here have a lot going for them.

How Shopify helps with SEO

Shopify may come second when we look at the overall volume of SEO features available, but there’s certainly no shame in the way that it presents content. It too handles basic SEO practices like meta information and site copy with ease. So long as your business is producing quality content, there’s no reason to suggest you won’t enjoy great results and strong user engagement.

Site wide, there are plenty of ways that Shopify proves to beat WooCommerce in the SEO game. It’s actually renowned by developers like me as having some of the cleanest code out there and natural linking structure, which offers a smooth user experience and in turn enhances visibility in search engine rankings.

One interesting case that’s worth pointing out is what happened to the Lost Cyclist, an eCommerce expert. When he moved his site from Shopify to WooCommerce, he noticed that the traffic dropped markedly:

Shopify vs Woocommerce

(If you’d like to dig deeper into how different shopping cart platforms can help your business with SEO, you might want to read this post.)

What’s more, Shopify is fast. Because it’s a hosted platform that’s built on huge infrastructure, Shopify offers each of its webmasters rapid loading pages (80 milliseconds, to be exact). As a result, shops stand a better chance of ranking well and a better chance of leading customers to conversions.

How WooCommerce helps with SEO

WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, and it’s renowned by SEO experts as one of the most reliable options available. It’s easy to add and edit content as well as meta information to ensure that your pages have a strong chance of ranking for specific keywords.

With plugins such as Yoast SEO, you can make your WordPress site highly optimized, and be in full control of every little detail that’s SEO-related.

When it comes to WooCommerce itself, it simply takes advantage of what’s already there in WordPress, or what’s available through third-party plugins like the aforementioned Yoast SEO, or the WooCommerce-dedicated version of the Yoast plugin.

In the end, WooCommerce gives you more SEO-specific options overall, purely because of the fact that it’s built on top of WordPress, which has pretty much unlimited SEO potential. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re going to suffer from an SEO point of view if you choose Shopify (as one case study mentioned above points out).

Shopify vs WooCommerce: Conclusion

Comparisons such as this are never cut and dry. When I talk with clients, my recommendations always fluctuate depending on their specific situations.

Here are my recommendations  based on the type of user that you are / what you expect from your eCommerce platform: 

Shopify)

  • You appreciate a hands-off approach, where you can just sign up “somewhere” and have an eCommerce store launched as a result of it.
  • You don’t want to have to deal with any of the setup yourself, and you don’t mind paying a fee to have everything taken care of for you.
  • At the same time, you want a highly optimized solution that’s in no way worse than what the competition has.
  • You want to have a reliable and fast-responding support team at your disposal, just in case you have any questions.
  • You basically don’t care about any of the technical details of your eCommerce platform … you just want it to work as expected, and be accessible to all customers and on all devices (mobile and desktop).
WooCommerce)
  • You want to be in full control of your eCommerce store.
  • You want to have access to thousands of site designs and thousands of plugins that will enable you to extend the functionality of your store.
  • You don’t mind spending a couple of hours setting things up, and you’re not afraid to handle the tasks required on your own (or you’ve hired someone to do this for you).
  • (Optionally) You have only minimal budget to start with, and you want to do everything on your own.

Source: ecommerce-platforms.com

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

Tools We Use And Recommend

Managed WordPress Hosting

Engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. Feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, starting at just $3.95/month.

Elegant Themes with Visual Builder

WordPress Themes That Empower 401,632 Customers.  Get The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit For Web Design Professionals And Business Owners

Constant Contact

With Constant Contact, you can create effective email marketing and other online marketing campaigns to meet your business goals

whitespark

Whitespark builds tools and provides services that help businesses and agencies with local search marketing. We live and breathe local SEO and we’re known far and wide for writing and speaking on it.

Udemy

Be Able. From programming to photography, take in-depth online courses and meet any challenge with skill.

W3 Total Cache Settings

Many W3 Total Cache settings are preset (shown in the install tab), but not all. I’ll walk you through the performance tabs then help you setup Cloudflare (free) and MaxCDN ($90/year with my coupon or do a free 30 day trial). I have used the W3 + Cloudflare + MaxCDN + SiteGround combo to make multiple WordPress site load 400% faster – now let’s do yours!

Over 75,000+ people have used this tutorial to optimize their WordPress site. It can fix over 20 items in Pingdom: caching, minify, gzip, bad requests, cache validator, add expires headers, ETag, content delivery network, reduce DNS lookups, cookie-free domains, and plenty more. This tutorial is current with the latest W3 Total Cache version 0.9.5.2 updated Jan. 17, 2017.

Here’s my Pingdom report with W3 Total Cache. My GTmetrix report is pretty good too. Of course if you want a nice report like this you NEED to be on fast servers, minimize plugins and external requests, optimize images, and ideally do everything in my WordPress speed guide.

W3 Total Cache Pingdom Test

Download my recommended W3 Total Cache settings here (you’ll need a Dropbox account). Upload under Performance → General Settings → Import / Export Settings. Check your site to make sure everything is OK (should be). You will still need to configure MaxCDN + Cloudflare.

 

w3-total-cache-performance-tab-settings

 

 

1. General Settings

w3-total-cache-general-settings

Here’s my 25% off MaxCDN coupon ($90/year annually) or sign up for a free trial. Then head to my MaxCDN section. This is recommended in the official WordPress optimization guide…

Geographic-Distance

Here is how Google Page Speed Insights look in your W3 Total Cache “dashboard” tab once you’ve added an API (instructions provided in W3 Total Cache). I prefer Pingdom over GTmetrix and Google Page Speed Insights because it’s more accurate (WP Rocket says so too).

google-page-speed-wordpress-dashboard

 

2. Page Cache

w3-total-cache-page-cache-settings

Enabling compatibility mode is highly recommended by plugin developer (in the install tab) and even though it may slightly reduce performance, problems are much less likely to exist with your site. He says this “optimizes the interoperability of caching; the tradeoff is that disk enhanced page cache performance under load tests will be decreased by ~20% at scale.”

 

3. Minify Settings

The plugin developer says the recommended settings for minify, database, and object cache are preset. You can find this in the install tab. Remember, if you’re using Cloudflare this will take care of minify for you, so just make sure minify is turned off in the General Settings tab.

w3-total-cache-install-tab

 

4. Database Cache

  • Leave as is (recommended in install tab)

 

5. Object Cache

  • Leave as is (recommended in install tab)

 

6. Browser Cache

w3-total-cache-browser-settings

Leave everything else including ‘expires header lifetime’ which the developer says is preset.

 

7. CDN

MaxCDN mirrors your site on multiple data centers around the world which reduces the geographical distance between your server and visitor. Without a CDN, you only have 1 origin server which can be very far away for many people. MaxCDN is specifically good for improving items like reduce HTTP requests, use a content delivery network, reduce DNS lookups, reduce cookie size, cookie-free domains, and other items in Pingdom and other speed testing tools. And yes, you should get better results if you use both Cloudflare and MaxCDN.

MaxCDN W3 Total Cache General Settings

How To Setup MaxCDN With W3 Total Cache
1. Sign up for MaxCDN. My 25% off coupon + 2 free months for annual billing = $90/year, or do a free trial. Use the steps below or watch my video. MaxCDN also has their own tutorial.

Sign up for your plan…

MaxCDN Signup Page

2. Once signed up, go to your MaxCDN dashboard and go to Zones → Create Pull Zone:

maxcdn-pull-zone

3. Enter your website as the origin server URL, the other two are your site name. Click create.

MaxCDN Pullzone

4. Leave this window open (you will need your CDN URL for step 8).

maxcdn-cdn-url

5. Still in MaxCDN, go to the “Account” tab and go to API → View All  → Create Application:

MaxCDN Application

  • Name/description should be your sitename
  • Application URL and Callback URL should be empty

6. After creating an API, leave that window open too. So now you should have your pull zone info and API info (step 4 and 5) open in 2 tabs, which is the info we need for W3 Total Cache:

maxcdn-api-info
maxcdn-pull-zone-info

 

7. Head over to W3 Total Cache and navigate to the General Settings tab, scroll down and enable MaxCDN (remember when you’re using a CDN, database cache should be disabled):

maxcdn-w3-total-cache

8. Now go to the CDN tab and use these settings. You’ll need to enter your alias+key+secret and CDN URL (from step 6), then use the test button to make sure MaxCDN is working…

w3-total-cache-maxcdn-settings

Here’s where you enter your MaxCDN info in the “CDN” tab…

w3-total-cache-maxcdn-settings

9. Save changes, then go back to MaxCDN and Whitelist your hosting IP (W3 Total Cache should have a notification with that IP address). Copy and paste into MaxCDN’s IP Whitelist:

maxcdn-ip-whitelist

whitelist-ip-address-maxcdn

10. Finally, view pull zones in MaxCDN and go to Manage → Settings. Make sure you ‘strip all cookies’ and follow the same settings I use, which were configured by MaxCDN themselves.

maxcdn-pull-zone-settings

All done!

If you see “cookie-free domains” in your Pingdom report, you may want to contact MaxCDN’s support to see if they will help you with this – they were able to fix this for me.

cookie-free-domains-maxcdn

Be sure to contact MaxCDN support as they were able to tweak my settings to further improve my performance grade. They have one of the best support teams ever – definitely utilize it.

CDN pointers from the plugin developer (found in Install tab) – if you do not use the Media Library, import your images etc into the default locations. Use the Media Library Import Tool on the “CDN” tab to do this. If you do not have a CDN provider, you can still improve your site’s performance using the “Self-hosted” method. On your own server, create a subdomain and matching DNS Zone record; e.g. static.domain.com and configure FTP options on the “Content Delivery Network” tab. Be sure to FTP upload the appropriate files, using the upload buttons.

 

8. Fragment Cache

You will need to upgrade to W3 Total Cache Pro to use fragment cache (which can make your site faster), but to be honest I don’t use it… so I can’t say whether it’s worth upgrading. If you do they have recommendations on that page I linked to which helps with fragment cache and making the plugin aware you’re grouping transients. You’ll need have some coding experience.

 

9. Extensions

w3-total-cache-extensions

Cloudflare – activate and see step 10.

Genesis Framework – if you’re using the Genesis Framework you can click the ‘upgrade’ button in W3TC to buy W3 Total Cache Pro for $99/year. This will enable additional speed features like fragment cache and the Genesis Framework extension which can improve site speed. Once purchased, it should say “the plugin is enabled in community mode.” Alternatively, your license key will be sent to you via email which you can enter in the General Settings tab.

WordPress SEO by Yoast – activate if using Yoast (ps. my Yoast tutorial is just as good as this).

 

10. Cloudflare

1. In the W3 Total Cache ‘Extensions’ tab, activate CloudeFlare and click the settings:

w3-total-cache-cloudflare-activation

Configure these Cloudflare settings:

w3-total-cache-cloudflare-settings

Caching Levels – I use the aggressive caching level which includes query strings.

Hotlink protection – prevents spammy sites from hosting your images on their site (sucking up your bandwidth) which can cause CPU overages with your hosting company. This was a HUGE problem for me and I suggest monitoring links to your site in Google Search Console to make sure there aren’t a crapload of spammy sites doing this. Hotlink protection prevents this.

2. Now sign up for Cloudflare. You will be prompted to add your website and begin scan…

cloudflare-begin-scan

3. Click ‘continue setup’ then scroll down through the rubbish and click continue…

Cloudflare missing records

4. Choose ‘free website’ then continue. Cloudflare will provide you with 2 nameservers:

cloudflare-custom-nameservers

5. Do a Google search for “how to change nameservers on SiteGround” (only search for your host), then follow their instructions. You will likely copy Cloudflare’s nameservers and paste them into a custom nameservers option in your hosting cPanel (screenshot below is for SiteGround). Then go back to Cloudflare and click ‘I’ve added all missing records, continue.’ You can also use whois.net to double check that your nameservers have been changed.

siteground-dns-records

6. Now login to Cloudflare and go to your speed settings. You definitely want to enable auto minify for ALL items and Rocket Loader

cloudflare-speed-settings

7. Now go to your page rules settings. There are 3 page rules I recommend creating:

cloudflare-page-rule

cloudflare-page-rule-2

cloudflare-page-rule-3

Once you’re done configuring W3 Total Cache, MaxCDN and Cloudflare, purge all caches in W3 Total Cache (below). If you don’t see this, there may be an ’empty all caches’ option in the dashboard tab. Then retest your site in Pingdom. It can take up to 72 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate, but you should receive a confirmation email when it’s complete.

purge-all-cache

 

Source: Online Media Masters

Tools We Use And Recommend

Managed WordPress Hosting

Engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. Feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, starting at just $3.95/month.

Elegant Themes with Visual Builder

WordPress Themes That Empower 401,632 Customers.  Get The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit For Web Design Professionals And Business Owners

Constant Contact

With Constant Contact, you can create effective email marketing and other online marketing campaigns to meet your business goals

whitespark

Whitespark builds tools and provides services that help businesses and agencies with local search marketing. We live and breathe local SEO and we’re known far and wide for writing and speaking on it.

Udemy

Be Able. From programming to photography, take in-depth online courses and meet any challenge with skill.

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

Remove Query string of css/js files

Most of the time we found that WordPress use the query string like ?ver= 2.3.7  for all the js and css files of wp-content and wp-includes files. So, when we check the performance of our site with gtmetrix.com or any other online tool, it shows some instruction to reduce that overload.

Resources with a “?” in the URL are not cached by some proxy caching servers. Remove the query string and encode the parameters into the URL for the following resources:

You can simply put the below mentioned code in your current theme’s function.php file.

function rtp_rssv_scripts() {
    global $wp_scripts;
    if (!is_a($wp_scripts, 'WP_Scripts'))
        return;
    foreach ($wp_scripts->registered as $handle => $script)
        $wp_scripts->registered[$handle]->ver = null;
}

function rtp_rssv_styles() {
    global $wp_styles;
    if (!is_a($wp_styles, 'WP_Styles'))
        return;
    foreach ($wp_styles->registered as $handle => $style)
        $wp_styles->registered[$handle]->ver = null;
}

add_action('wp_print_scripts', 'rtp_rssv_scripts', 999);
add_action('wp_print_footer_scripts', 'rtp_rssv_scripts', 999);

add_action('admin_print_styles', 'rtp_rssv_styles', 999);
add_action('wp_print_styles', 'rtp_rssv_styles', 999);

 

And You are done.

Clear the cache of your site/server and cross check site performance on gtmetrix.com.

Source: Easy Engines

 

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

Tools We Use And Recommend

Managed WordPress Hosting

Engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. Feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, starting at just $3.95/month.

Elegant Themes with Visual Builder

WordPress Themes That Empower 401,632 Customers.  Get The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit For Web Design Professionals And Business Owners

Constant Contact

With Constant Contact, you can create effective email marketing and other online marketing campaigns to meet your business goals

whitespark

Whitespark builds tools and provides services that help businesses and agencies with local search marketing. We live and breathe local SEO and we’re known far and wide for writing and speaking on it.

Udemy

Be Able. From programming to photography, take in-depth online courses and meet any challenge with skill.

How Much Does A Website Cost? – Free WordPress Website

All websites that TJ Webs works on are created with WordPress.  WordPress does offer a method for creating a free website.  While there are other free website options, we will limit our discussion in this article to what we know – WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform out there.  And over the years, it has become the go-to solution for non-blog websites as well. The data doesn’t lie.

There are two sides to “WordPress,” and they can be quite confusing for someone not familiar with the topic.

WordPress.com is an online platform where you can go, sign up, and create your website/blog all in one place.  All you need to do is register for a free account, choose your subdomain (example: yourwebsite.wordpress.com), pick a free theme and start adding your content.

WordPress.org is an open source software.  To launch a website with it, you need to first download the software, and then install it on your own web server (or a web server you’re renting from a third-party like SiteGround).

What are the main differences between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org?

1.  You get a full domain on WordPress.org but only a sub-domain on WordPress.com

Sub-domain is a part of larger domain. For example, my site domain name is StartBloggingOnline.com.  If my sub-domain is MyFreeBlog, then my full domain name will be MyFreeBlog.StartBloggingOnline.com.

When you go and sign up on WordPress.com you’ll get a domain name like: YourNewBlog.WordPress.com.  But when you go with self-hosted WordPress, you’ll have your own domain name like: YourNewBlog.com 

On the downside, your blog address will cost you around $10 per year. It’s not much, but still some money.

2. WordPress.com has more limitations than WordPress.org

WordPress.com has around 100 free themes to choose from, WordPress.org (self-hosted) has around 1500 free themes to choose from.  The same goes with plugins and different add-ons.  In short, you’ll have some limits which doesn’t allow you to really customize your blog.

You won’t be able to add AWeber, GetResponse or Mailchimp applications to gather e-mails and build lists for business purposes.

You won’t be able to add different plugins and themes that can make your blog look “cool” and unique.

Your blog will also be limited in size. If you go too heavy on posting images and videos, you might need to sign up as their premium customer which costs $99/year.

3. You don’t own the content on WordPress.com

Yup, you heard it right.  You don’t own the content nor the blog you’re posting on. WordPress owns it, thus they can shut it down whenever they want to.  And that’s the main reason it’s free.

On a self-hosted WordPress, you’ll own your content and you can even sell it as a website/blog without any permissions.  You can place ads and even monetize your blog – you can’t do that on a free WordPress platform.

4. People take you more seriously on WordPress.org

Don’t get me wrong. WordPress.com is perfect for classroom blogs or blogs that won’t be used more than 2 months.

But when you want to be a serious blogger (individually or for company), you need to have your own domain name and own hosting.

WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com – a more in-depth take

 
WordPress.com WordPress.org
Offers free hosting, but limits your website space to 3GB. Doesn’t come with free hosting. You’ll have to look for a host yourself, and pay for it separately.
Gives you a free subdomain. Something like YOURSITE.wordpress.com. If you want a custom domain, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.  You need to get a custom domain on your own (additional costs apply).
You get basic security and backups handled for you. There’s some level of security from your web host, but for the most part, you need to secure your website yourself (through third-party WordPress plugins). Same goes for backups – those you need to enable via plugins as well (one of the best ways to do so is with the “Personal” plan of the Jetpack plugin).
Everything about the technical performance of your website is handled by the team behind WordPress.com. If something doesn’t work at some point, you can’t do anything but wait for the team to fix the issue. You get to choose the plugins and the performance settings of your website. It requires some work, but you are in full control of what happens on your site.
Offers a limited number of themes for you to choose from. It comes with limited customization options as well. Lets you take and install any theme you want, and also do all the customization you want. You can also create your own themes if you know your way around PHP source code.
Doesn’t allow you to use any third-party plugins. You only get a narrow range of pre-built features. You can’t add extra features to your site that aren’t already provided by the default WordPress.com environment. WordPress.org offers you the freedom to install any free or premium plugin you want. This is vital if you want to customize your site to the point where it fits your needs hand-in-glove.
You can’t have your own ads on your site. However, WordPress.com displays *their* ads on your site – that’s the price you pay for having the platform for free. You can have as many ads and as many forms of monetization as you like (also, choose any ad service you want). The good news is that you keep 100% of your earnings.

 

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – What’s your choice?

If you are serious about blogging, you want to do it long-term and/or earn some money then get yourself a self-hosted WordPress blog.

If you have no intentions to blog more than a few months, then set up a limited free blog on WordPress.com.

At TJ-WEBS, our goal is to provide awesome & affordable web design to individuals, small businesses and non-profits. We love the little guys, the newbies, the novices… the up-and-comers, the mom and pops and the have nots. We believe beautiful websites can be affordable and accessible to everyone. From basic blogs to full blown e-Commerce sites, we offer affordable websites to all.

Tools We Use And Recommend

Managed WordPress Hosting
Engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. Feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support, starting at just $3.95/month.
Elegant Themes with Visual Builder
WordPress Themes That Empower 401,632 Customers.  Get The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit For Web Design Professionals And Business Owners
Constant Contact
With Constant Contact, you can create effective email marketing and other online marketing campaigns to meet your business goals
whitespark
Whitespark builds tools and provides services that help businesses and agencies with local search marketing. We live and breathe local SEO and we’re known far and wide for writing and speaking on it.
Udemy
Be Able. From programming to photography, take in-depth online courses and meet any challenge with skill.

Why Use SiteGround Hosting For Your Website

It’s hard to find an honest SiteGround review anywhere on the web.  Heck, it’s pretty hard to find honest reviews of any web hosting provider.  Because of that, we get asked about web hosting a lot.  Here are a just a few of the reasons we recommed SiteGround for your hosting needs.

Speed

SiteGround has 3 global datacenters. One in the Netherlands, one in Chicago, and one in Singapore. That kind of distribution doesn’t exist in the managed WordPress hosting space yet, and as our customers begin reaching out from different parts of the world, this is becoming more important to us.

Combine that with free CloudFlare CDN and your website load faster in any part of the world by caching its content and distributing it over multiple data centers. When foreign visitors access your website, the CDN delivers the content much faster from the closest data center to them. Thanks to its wide network, CloudFlare also protects your site by identifying and blocking malicious traffic to it

Free Emails

You can have unlimited number of FREE email accounts at your domain name – e.g. you@yourdomain.com. You can also use forwarders and aliases that allow you to forward emails received to any of your email accounts to another mailbox. SiteGround Hosting includes the three most popular web-based mail clients: Horde, RoundCube and SquirrelMail, so you can access your email accounts from any computer with an Internet connection.  By Comparision, Google charges $5 per month for professional email names.

Free Website Transfer

If you already have an existing WordPress website, our technical experts will transfer all your files to us professionally and free of charge for one website. No hassle, no downtime and no efforts on your part.

Free Daily Backups

At SiteGround all of the Managed WordPress Hosting plans include free daily backups.  In case of emergency, you can request the latest backup copy we have created of your website. Each plan has a different number of backup copies that are saved, but there is most likey a plan that meets your backup needs.

Hosting Poll

Here’s a Facebook poll that was taken by the WordPress Hosting group. And here’s a screenshot of the full poll since you have to be a member of the FB group to see the poll…

SiteGround vs. Bluehost Poll

Reviews

While reviews can be biased towards the hosting company that the author is affilated with, SiteGround consistantly recieves great reviews so they must be doing something right.

Here are three articles for you to take a look at.

Hosting Facts SiteGround Review

The Webmaster SiteGround Review

Online Media Masters

Happy Hosting

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Use UpdraftPlus To Save Backups To GoogleDrive

use updraftPlus to save backups in google drive

How to use UpdraftPlus to save backups in GoogleDrive in WordPress?

Taking regular backups of your site is extremely important. It can save you website if it ever gets hacked and then these backups can make your site live again in just few minutes.

UpdraftPlus plugin is one of the best and simple to use WordPress plugin for taking full backups of your blogs or websites and then restoring them easily. UpdraftPlus also allow you to easily Schedule or automate your Backups.

UpdraftPlus provides options to save your backup in various locations like:

  • Dropbox.
  • Google Drive.
  • Amazon S3.
  • FTP.
  • Rackspace.

There is Premium version of UpdraftPlus which provides additional functionality like Migrating Site, Multisite Support, Database Text Replace and many more.

Here we will be take a look at the process of configuring UpdraftPlus to upload backups to Google Drive.

Google Drive provides free storage of about 15 GB which is more than enough to store backups of small to medium websites.

The Process of configuring UpdraftPlus to store Backups in GoogleDrive is little lengthy by its totally worth the effort.

Here can follow these steps to setup the backup in UpdraftPlus:

 

Setting up UpdraftPlus to take backups.

 

updraft-setting-google-drive

Go to  Plugins –> UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore –> Settings  and you will see the UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore page. click  settings  option.

You can select Files Backup Schedule , Database Backup Schedule to schedule regular backup.

After that select  Google Drive  as shown in the above picture.

You need to create a new project for UpdraftPlus. SO log in to your Google Account and you can follow this link to go to your Google API console.

 

Create a new project.

updraft-google-api-console-1

Create a new Google project.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-2

Enter Project name and Project ID. if you want to get emails from Google, Select Yes otherwise NO.

You need to Agree to their Terms of Service. Press Create button to create a new project for your UpdraftPlus backups.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-3

Click  Drive API  link to proceed further.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-4

Click Enable to Enable the API.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-6-1

Go to  Drive UI Integration tab.

Enter the Application Name and Short Description and other information. and scroll down to see further options.

 

Add Icons and website url.

updraft-google-api-project-6-2

If you want to set an Icon for your Application then you can upload an image here. After that scroll down to see next set of options.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon

Same way If you want to set an  Icon  for your  Document  then you can upload an image here.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-4

Fill Open URL field with your website address and if you need additional options then you should configure them too. After this click  Save Changes.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-5

Now go to OAuth consent screen and enter your Email address and Product name.

Click Save to save the changes.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-6

Now select Credentials and click on OAuth client ID.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-9

In Client ID, select Web application as Application  type.

Enter Name (updraftPLUS)  for Client ID.
Enter your Website url in Authorised Javascript origins field.

To fill the Authorized redirect URIs field we need to copy the authorised redirect URI from UpdaftPlus plugin page.

So go back to the UpdraftPlus settings page.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-7

copy the authorised redirect URI text as shown in the above image. Go to Google API Console page.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-8

and paste it here as shown in the picture and finally click Create. It will generate the Client ID and Client secret key.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-10

You can find these Client ID and Client secret key by clicking the credentials as shown in above picture.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-11

You need to copy the Client ID and Client secret key values to enter them on the next step.

 

 

updraftplus-google-api-entry

Enter the Google Drive Client ID and Google Drive Client Secret Key that you copied in previous step in their appropriate fields. After that Click Save.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-12

Now you need to Click on the UpdraftPlus notice to authenticate your Google Drive Account.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-13

You should see the Success message after successful authentication of your Google Drive account.

You can now start taking your First Backup now By Clicking  Backup Now button.

 

Taking Backups

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-14

Include all the options that you think are necessary and click   Back Now   to proceed further.

 

 

updraft-google-api-project-app-icon-15

Backup is in Progress.

 

 

use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.
How to use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.

Go to your Google Drive account  to verify and you should see an UpdraftPlus folder.  Here all our backups will be stored from now on.

 

 

use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.
How to use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.

Restoring backups, you can choose from Database, Plugins and other options to restore them if ever needed.

 

 

use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.
how to use updraftplus to save backups in google drive.

Click Restore and you are good to go.

GoDaddy Email Forwarding

Many of my WordPress website clients have recently been running into email problems on their sites.  Email configurations that had been working previously just seem to break.

I don’t fully understand the issues but I suspect that some sort of email spam prevention sortware on the website host is responsible for the sudden change.  From the website Living With Beth I fund this statement:

I researched the problem some more and came across information deep in a forum post that seemed to point me in the right direction. Apparently, at some point, GoDaddy email add some powerful spam protections that make it impossible for GoDaddy managed WordPress to send emails unless they come from a GoDaddy-hosted email address.

The fix for this issue is dependent on the hosting company. For example, the fix for my Dreanhost clients has been different that what works for my GoDaddy hosted clients.  I used the Postman SMTP plugin for all the various hosts.  But the configuration is vastly different for each host.

On GoDaddy I set up a forwarding email accoount and configure the Postman SMTP plugin in the defaul mode to use the forwarding emaill address.

Here are the GoDaddy steps to set up the forwarding email.

WordPress on GoDaddy email problems? Here's how I fixed them.

To set up a GoDaddy email address for yourself, login to GoDaddy, then click Hosting at the top, then Email.

You should see a list of any email addresses your domains have. Click the Create button, and you’ll see a dialog box for creating a new email account.

WordPress on GoDaddy email problems? Here's how I fixed them.

If you click Change Plan, you can choose which domain you want to draw the email account from.

WordPress on GoDaddy email problems? Here's how I fixed them.

When you start typing the email address and hit the @ symbol, you’ll see a list of the available domains, including your managed WordPress one.

In the bottom pane where you see additional options, you can choose to forward emails from your new GoDaddy email to another address, and you can choose the size of the mailbox. Keep in mind that even if you choose the largest size available and have messages forwarded to another email box, you will need to check this mailbox periodically.

Otherwise, it will eventually fill up and stop accepting new messages. Forwarded emails will remain in the mailbox until you login to the actual mailbox and delete them.

WordPress on GoDaddy email problems? Here's how I fixed them.

Based on my own trial, error and research, I don’t think you’l

 

http://livingwithbeth.com/godaddy-email/

How Much Should A Custom WordPress Website Cost?

Freelancer rates

Beginner freelancer: $25-$40 per hour
Intermediate freelancer: $40-75 per hour
Good, experienced freelancer: $75 – $125 per hour
Excellent, in demand freelancer: $125 – $175 per hour
Specialist, best in industry: $175 – $400 per hour

Agency rates

Small market general agency: $50 – $75 per hour
Medium market general agency: $75 – $115 per hour
Medium market reputable agency: $115 – $150 per hour
Medium market high end agency: $150 – $175 per hour
Medium market best in industry agency: $175 – $225 per hour
Large market reputable agency: $150 – $175 per hour
Large market high end agency: $175 – $250 per hour
Large market best in industry agency: $200 – $275 per hour

See the great article at Post Status for the full report on how to price your website work