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WordPress Training Category at Top Five Advisor

Category Index for "WordPress Training"

You’ve found the WordPress training resource site provided by Top Five Advisor. Our goal is to help our users learn and use WordPress to maximize everything WordPress has to offer. We in-depth WordPress theme reviews, premium WordPress tips, tricks and resources to help beginners and intermediate users.

Hot topics include: WordPress for beginners, WordPress premium plugin guides and WordPress news.

How to Add, Edit or Delete a User in WordPress

New WordPress UserOnce you are established with your new WordPress website, you will likely want to add new users so that they can help you write new content or manage your existing content. Thankfully, WordPress makes this extremely easy. In your WordPress Dashboard, hover your mouse over Users then click All Users.

Once you do that, this page will appear.

Add New User in WordPress

Click “Add New”

Fill Out New UserFrom there, everything is straight forward.

Username: This is used by the new person to log in to your website.

Email: Make sure this is their real email address that way if they forget their password, they can do a password recovery.

First / Last Name: This can be used and displayed on your website depending on your theme.

Make sure you create a very secure password for them to use.

Send Password? This is an option you can use to send the username and password to your new user. We typically do not use this function opting instead to craft our own email that explains how to add new content to the site.

Role: Need help understanding user roles? Click that link to learn about the default user roles to help you understand what they are and what role you should assign.

Then click the “Add New User” button.

Editing a User – Access Additional Options

WordPress Display NameHead back to Users > All Users and click on their username or the edit link below their username. On this page, you can edit the profile name, nickname and as we’re showing here in our screenshot, the Display name publicly as option which is how the name will appear on your front-end pages.

Visual Editor: You may disable the visual editor which is the traditional editor that you use to style your content. If you want to provide an environment for your writers to simply copy / paste text that you will then style yourself, that’d be a great example of why you’d disable the visual editor.

Admin Color Scheme: There’s 8 color schemes for your users to choose from.

Keyboard Shortcuts: Certain user roles allow comment moderation which allows for keyboard shortcuts to be used. You may disable keyboard shortcuts to help prevent your authors from styling comments and to prevent accidental actions like marking a comment as spam with the s key.

Toolbar: The black floating toolbar when viewing your website’s front-end is enabled by default on all logged in users. If you wish, you can disable that toolbar if needed.

There’s a new section here called About Yourself that you or the new user will be able to add or edit their Biographical Info. Depending on the theme you use, you may or may not see this information on the approved content they share.

WordPress Biographical Information

You may notice that there is an “About Scott Buehler” at the bottom of this page that shares a little information about me. This is all done in the edit profile area in WordPress and you can even add text links using simple HTML as shown below.

He offers <a href="http://www.scottbuehler.com">digital marketing services</a> to any local business

Simply edit the HTML and text and it will be transferred to a text hyperlink that people can click.

How Did I Integrate Social Media? Unfortunately, this is a theme-specific feature. If you use a theme from Thrive Themes, you will see additional fields to fill out for each user including Facebook, Twitter and Google+ that will then make those boxes appear. Thrive makes some really awesome themes with many features like this, all built-in.

Other Profile Editing Options

Depending on the theme you use and plugins installed, you may notice that there are additional options on this page to fill out for each user. For instance, WordPress SEO, a recommended SEO Tool, will add a WordPress SEO Settings area that will allow you to customize the author page title, meta description and more.

Deleting a WordPress User

Delete a WordPress UserUsers > All Users.

Hover your mouse over the user and then click the red “Delete” link. This will always take you to the screen shown here where you will have final options to complete before deleting the user.

Delete all Content: For most (with a few exceptions), you should not delete all content because it will remove content from your website causing 404 errors and other issues. If a writer has left your website and you simply want to remove the user while keeping their content, you’d choose the other option.

Attribute All Content to: This will change all of the content under the user being deleted to be attributed / assigned to a different user that you select. While most will simply assign content to the main admin account, you may also consider a <Sitename> Staff username that you assign these posts to so that it doesn’t appear that you, the admin, wrote the content. In our case, this would be our Top Five Advisor Staff account.

Once done, click the Confirm Deletion button and the user will be removed from your website.

2

Top Five Free Social Media Integration Plugins for WordPress

Right after launching your first WordPress website, you will likely want to integrate some sort of social media functionality to make it easy for your viewers to share your content on social media. So, you hop on the WordPress Plugin Directory, do a few searches for social media plugins and instantly get that overwhelmed feeling.

There are hundreds of options to choose from and each one has their own pros and cons.

You might even be a great researcher and decide to start reading the reviews and support forums for each social media integration plugin, however, you’ll find yourself spending days deciding and testing various plugins to find the one that is right for you.

Our goal with this guide is to help you save all of that previous time, do the research for you and report our findings. This isn’t your average top list, we’ve downloaded the plugins, installed the plugins, checked how they effect page loading speed and more.

The below plugins are all free to use. Although there are some awesome premium social sharing plugins out there, we’ve kept this guide’s focus on the best FREE social media sharing plugins.

Floating Social Bar

Floating Social Bar

Tested Version: 1.17
Configure: Settings > Floating Social Bar

Supports: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest

Front-End Payload:
fsb.js: 9.27 KB

Floating Social Bar Diamond Medal Award Winner by Top Five Advisor
Floating Social Bar is extremely easy to configure and get active on your site. Simply drag and drop the available services to the “Enabled Social Services” section below and then fill out the options. Of all the social sharing plugins we tested, we found Floating Social Bar to have the most attention to detail when it comes to front-end payload and ease of implementation.

This plugin loads extremely fast and only requires 10KB of JavaScript to work. The JavaScript allows the user-fieldly popup when someone clicks to share your content.

Socialite is an awesome feature because it allows your social media icons to load on your website without any additional payload from the default scripts that social media websites use. When a user hovers their mouse over a social icon, the button updates then to show the default button. Impressive.

Interval to Update Stats: Because Floating Social Bar does not load the default sharing options on every page load, this plugin needs to store and update the share statistics occasionally. Meaning, if your post gets shared 950 times and you set this option to 30 minutes, any shares that occur during that 30 minute interval will not show until the stats update. However, your posts will still show 950 shares on the share icon.

This is the best of both worlds because you are reducing the heavy payload of traditional sharing icons while still showing statistics to the reader which can (and does) increase sharing. When the user hovers over the share icon, they will get the real number of shares.

Don’t want to float your social bar? This is where the name of this plugin can be deceiving because you are not forced to use the floating options! You can check the option “Make Social Bar Static” and it will disable floating as well as provide you with static options including showing social media icons Above and Below Content, Below Content, or Above Content.

Floating Social Bar Notes

Floating Social Bar With Sharelite

We noticed alignment problems with Socialite enabled on the default Twenty Fifteen theme. Testing on Thrive Themes, Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen went fine. Socialite adds the social media counter feature so that readers can see how often your posts / pages can be shared. We were able to fix the issue by adding custom CSS to fix alignment, but for most, it will need knowledge of CSS and ability to identify the CSS classes needed to change. You may, or may not, experience alignment problems on your theme after hovering over an icon, especially the Facebook and Google+ icons. If this occurs, you can “Disable Socialite” and the problem will disappear.

Don’t Panic: When you enable this plugin as an administrator and view your website, you will notice that the floating element and your WordPress Admin Bar conflict with each other. Don’t panic, this is normal. Simply view your website on a different browser that is not logged in to see how everyone else will see your website (no admin bar) before making any decisions on keeping this plugin.

Monetization

We were impressed with floating social bar because there is no direct monetization to add features to your social media sharing experience. The only optimization methods are an email opt-in to get email updates from WPBeginner and an advertisement for Soliloquy, a responsive slider plugin.

Download Floating Social Bar or go to Plugins > Add New > Search Floating Social Bar and install the option from author Syed Bhalki.

Floating Social Bar remains one of our go-to plugin recommendations when a user needs a fast social media integration that is easy to set up and go. If you aren’t using a theme that integrates social media, need a solution that is free and is fast loading on the front-end, this plugin should be a perfect fit.

Mashshare Share Buttons

MashShare Social Media Plugin

Tested Version: 2.3.5
Configure: Mashshare > Settings

Front-End Payload:
mashsb.min.css: 28.2KB
mashsb.min.js: 3.35KB
Total Payload: 31.55KB
* Does not include monetization options.

Supports: Only Facebook and Twitter on the free version (see monetization below).

Mashshare Platinum Medal Award Winner by Top Five Advisor
This plugin offers you the ability to add a “Mashable” style sharing to your WordPress website. If you are unaware, Mashable offers a “counting” statistic of all shares on a particular post or page. As an example, you will see a combined statistic of “530 Shares” if your post has 350 Twitter shares and 180 Facebook shares.

Note: Not seeing the share icons on your website? Here’s how to enable it right away, go to Mashshare > Settings > Visual Tab > Location & Position Tab. Under post types, check post and page to enable the share options on all posts and pages. Once saved, go to the Social Networks tab and place a check under Facebook, Twitter and Subscribe as desired. Remember to save.

Server Considerations

There’s going to be a larger performance hit when using this plugin because it is collecting statistics on your database. You can opt to switch from MashEngine (local data collection) to SharedCount to offload the hit, but this only allows 10,000 free requests before a payment is required.

The other option is to disable the Sharecount option which requires no SQL queries at all. Enable cache expiration of at leasdt 30 minutes to reduce server load as well, they have a 5 minute setting as default which we wouldn’t recommend.

Other optimizations include the ability to force the JavaScript to load at the bottom of your HTML.

An interesting feature of this plugin is that they allow you to fake your statistics by adding a number you specify to the total tally. Shady at best.

For Facebook, you can configure the count to include shares, likes, or all shares, likes and comments on your content.

Customizing Options

Under Visual > Customize you will find a lot of options available to customize how your sharing will appear. You will be able to round the share count to the nearest 1K or 1M, animate the share count, change the share count title, add Twitter handle, change share count color, add a border radius to your share icons (rounding effect), add gradients, change the default button width, enable small buttons and customize the Subscribe button link and behavior.

Under the Visual > Location & Position tab you can customize the position of the share icons from Top, Bottom, or Top and Bottom. You’ll also be able to customize where your share options appear including any custom post type, post or page. You can also add share icons to your category pages of front page which is a really nice touch.

Monetization

As much as we love Mashshare, the plugin is severely limited in functionality for those looking for a free option. By default, you will only be able to add Facebook, Twitter and a “Subscribe” page link on your content. If you want your users to have the option to share to other networks, that’ll cost you. There’s a lot of things that’ll cost you, so here’s the options.

Mash Networks: Want Google+, Whatsapp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Stumbleupon and other networks? That’ll be €19.00 for one site.

VideoPost Popup: At the end of your embedded video playback, this optin allows a popup to appear to encourage sharing of the video. You can also set this to popup after a specific period of time on the video playback. That’ll be €39.00 for one site.

Facebook Likebar: A sticky mobile-optimized bar that encourages viewers to like your Facebook page. The bar disappears when a user likes the page and offers an X to close the sticky bar should the reader not want to like the page. Mobile optimized and offers many customizations for €19.00 on one site.

Sticky ShareBar: Add a sticky bar that plasters to the very top of the browser window that offers share options. That’ll be €18.00 for one site.

Realtime Pageview Counter: Show how many times your page has been viewed from the point this feature is activated. That’ll be €18.00 for one site.

Google Analytics Integration: €19.00 for one site.

Mashshare Responsive: Be default on the free version, the share icons do not shrink and instead stack on each other. If you want this functionality for your mobile viewers, that’ll be €9.95 for a single site. Come on guys, seriously? This should be a default feature!

URL Shortener: A free enhancement option that allows you to use goo.gl links in Twitter. Mashshare does not recommend this feature currently due to performance issues.

Mashshare LikeAfterShare: Ok, this is actually really cool because when someone clicks your Facebook share button and shares your page, they will be taken back to your site with a new popup that asks for a LIKE on your page as well. A hefty €29.00 pricetag for one site.

Open Graph: Add open graph options to your social sharing. We wouldn’t recommend this because if you’ve installed WordPress SEO, you already have it. This is free to use if needed and allows for your featured images to be used on Facebook and other social media when your content is shared.

They have also added a $24 social locker enhancement that links to CodeCanyon which allows you to encourage sharing on your content to reveal a special download or offer.

Get the Core Add-On Bundle: If you elect to purchase any of the above add-ons, you might want to claim the bundle which includes 7 add-ons for €39 for one site (VideoPost not included). For €99 you can get this for 3 sites and it includes VideoPost.

Download Mashshare Share Buttons or go to Plugins > Add New > Search Mashshare and install the option from author René Hermenau.

Social Media Feather

Social Media Feather

Tested Version: 1.7.8
Configure: Settings > Social Media

Front-End Payload: No added JavaScript or CSS. Only images.

Social Media Feather Gold Medal Award Winner by Top Five Advisor
Social Media Feather does not add any CSS or javascript to your website which allows the user to add social media icons to their posts and pages without decreasing page loading times.

Supports: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Email, RSS, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr, Foursquare.

Placement Customizations: After Post, Before Post, Before & After Post.

No floating options.

Social Media Feather Notes

Clicking an icon forces a a new browser tab to open which is used to share the post to a user’s social media. Since they do not use javascript, there’s no way to make this plugin open a traditional smaller window to share the content.

They only offer one style and do not offer traditional sharing icons with counters to be used. Therefore, readers won’t be able to see engagement or popularity on a post.

We found the settings page to be pretty confusing and somewhat overwhelming. They offer a floating menu on the upper right of the settings page that covers the explanation of features. You must find a small “toggle” link to remove the floating menu so you can read the full descriptions.

Icon size is customizable with 6 sizes. Icon resolution options allow optimization to consume less bandwidth.

Configuring the social media network settings appears daunting. There is 3-5 options to learn and fill out on each social network that allows customization of the type of sharing that will occur, share link (don’t touch), your social media link, title of the share or follow button.

Monetization

Extra Icon Skins: This plugin only offers one set of icons. If you’d like to use other social media icon sets, there is a €9.99 fee to get “Extra Icon Skins”.

Grey Face Effect: This plugin offers a grey fade effect which is advertised on the plugin download page. €14.99 fee to add this feature. It shows your default social media icons in grey and then when moused over, turns the color on.

Light Prompt Overlay: This adds an overlay which offers different sharing options for the social media network clicked. Example: Facebook, when clicked, offers a small overlay that offers a Like and Share button with a share counter. A €19.98 applies.

Download Social Media Feather or go to Plugins > Add New > Search Social Media Feather and install the option from author Synved.

Share Buttons by AddToAny

AddToAny Social Sharing Options

Tested Version: 1.5.8
Configure: Settings > AddToAny

Front-End Payload:
addtoany.min.css: 1.19KB
page.js (external): 23.08KB
Loads external social media integration files on page load.
Payload: At least 25KB.

Want more social sharing options? The AddToAny plugin lives to its name with 100 social media sharing options to choose from. Of course, with great choice comes great responsibility.

For every social media integration you add as a Standalone button, you increase the page load time. The files requested are loaded asynchronously, however, they are always loaded and not loaded upon user request / hover like other plugins listed here.

Our recommendation? Select just a few of the major social media networks you’d like to have as a Standalone button and utilize the integrated + button that will allow your users to choose from the 100 options available.

Share Buttons by AddToAny Notes

Placement Options: You can select to disaply the social media icons at the bottom, top, or top and bottom of your posts, pages, front page, archive pages and on custom post types.

Menu Styler: One thing unique to AddToAny is the Menu Styler. This links out to AddToAny’s website but allows you to customize the main color, border color, link text, hover text and background. Once done, you can click “Done, get code” and it will give you code that you can add to the “Additional Options” area of the configuration page.

Floating: AddToAny also features a “Floating” tab on the configuration page which allows you to add a left or right hand vertical floating bar. You can configure this floating element to only display on desktop with XXX pixels width (you customize) and position the element XXX pixels from the top of the screen (allowing for larger headers).

If vertical floating isn’t your glass of beer, then scroll down to the Horizontal Buttons area where you can configure horizontal floating buttons that are docked to the browser window.

This is a very ugly option in our opinion because it docks the floating bar at the bottom of the browser window on the far right or left. If the reader is viewing your content on a maximized window on a large screen, the bar may appear way outside of your content.

Note: Although this plugin lists “Horizontal Buttons” as a floating option, we could not get it to work in our testing when the “Responsiveness” option was checked.

Monetization

We reviewed the plugin and found no attempts at monetization. There’s no advertisements or requests for donations. The only thing the author asks for at the bottom of the configuration page is a positive rating and to share it to others.

Download Share Buttons by AddToAny or go to Plugins > Add New > Search AddToAny and install the option from author AddToAny.

Jetpack by WordPress

JetPack Sharing Options

Tested Version: 3.5.3

Front-End Payload:
Loads 3 files on your site.
sharing.js 41.4 KB
sharing.css 16.9 KB
genericons.css 26.8 KB
Payload: 85.10 KB

Configure: Jetpack Menu > Sharing > Activate
Then Visit: Settings > Sharing

JetPack is a massive collection of enhancements and features for your WordPress website. One of those options happens to be a social media sharing option that allows you to add quick and easy sharing icons to your site. As shown to the upper right, you can select Icon + Text, Icon only, Text only or opt to use the default official sharing buttons provided by the social media networks.

JetPack Notes

JetPack doesn’t offer much in the form of customizations. The social sharing bar will only appear below the content with JetPack. If you are looking for a plugin that offers floating, this plugin is also not for you.

Social Media Support: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon. Tumblr, Pocket, Email and Print.

Overall, Jetpack social media integration is very cut and dry. It adds a no-frills approach to adding social media to your website but does a minimal job to help your site increase social media sharing.

One huge benefit to JetPack is it brings familiarity to new WordPress website owners that have transferred from WordPress.com to their own WordPress.org installation. For those users, they can add most of the functionality they were used to on WordPress.com using JetPack, which is an official WordPress / Automattic plugin.

Monetization

As expected, there is absolutely no attempts at monetization with this plugin with the Sharedaddy options.

Download JetPack or go to Plugins > Add New > Search JetPack and install the option from author Automattic.

We hope that the above list will help narrow down your social media integration plugin decision and get you on the important path of creating valuable content that people want to share.

Be careful out there. You will find old lists of recommended social media plugins that recommend plugins that haven’t been updated in over a year. At the time of this review, the popular sharing plugin Digg Digg, with almost a million downloads hasn’t been updated since July of 2013. If you look over their reviews, there’s a lot of complaints which can be expected from an abandoned plugin.

If you’ve found this guide useful, please consider sharing this page on social media using our integration.

Wait a Minute Here! Scott, your TopFiveAdvisor website isn’t even using the plugins you recommend in this guide!

You are correct, that’s because at the time of writing this guide, we aren’t using a social media plugin. Instead, we chose to use the social media integration provided by Thrive Themes. For us, social media integration was painless and easy because the theme did exactly what we wanted and knocked out one plugin we didn’t need to add to the site. Additionally, the sharing integration is optimized for fast load and isn’t too distracting for our readers.

Understanding User Roles and Permissions in WordPress

The goal of this WordPress Guide is to help those who have decided to create a new user in their WordPress installation. This is not a comprehensive and exhaustive list of features of each default user role, but this is a quick reference that can be used to answer the common question What user role should I assign this user account I am creating in WordPress?

Did you know? It is possible to create custom user roles in WordPress.

WordPress Default User RolesThere are 5 default user roles that ships with your WordPress installation. In this guide, we will quickly cover what these roles mean to your new user, what they can do on your WordPress dashboard (permissions) and help you decide which role to select.

With no further delay, let’s get started.

Subscriber User Role

This user has no additional rights to your WordPress dashboard. They can only read your posts which is also traditionally available to unregistered users as well. Typically, this role is often assigned and used by membership plugins and, if you so choose, will also be assigned to users when you open registrations under WP Dashboard > Settings > General > Membership (check) Anyone can register.

If you want a higher degree of control on your website, you can disable commenting to unregistered users and require registration which would also take advantage of the subscriber role. We recommend keeping commenting available to everyone and use our guide to help control comment spam should that be an issue.

If you are manually setting up a user on a WordPress site that doesn’t have additional membership software, you’ll likely not need this role.

Contributor User Role

This would likely be the default role you’d assign to a new writer on your website. They can write and manage their own posts but can only submit those posts for review by an Administrator or an Editor.

When a Contributor creates a new post on your website, they will see a blue Submit for Review button instead of a Publish button. There will be no illusion that what they write will automatically appear on the site without first going through an approval process.

Author User Role

  • Can write posts.
  • Can publish their own posts.
  • Can edit their own posts.
  • Can manage comments received to their own posts.

If you plan on establishing a review and approval workflow that all authors will submit content and then get approved by an Editor, you do not want to use the Author user role, instead, you’d place all authors under the Contributor role.

Otherwise, if you do not want an approval process and allow your writer(s) to directly publish content on your website without editorial control, you’d set them up under the Author user role.

Editor User Role

Before assigning anyone to Editor or Administrator on your website, Top Five Advisor highly recommends setting up some sort of automated daily backup solution to protect your data. If an employee that has an Editor or Administrator role goes extremely rogue and decides to delete all of your content, you need to have a backup solution in place to quickly restore the data and kick that employee out of these positions on the site. Some WordPress hosts like WP Engine have backup automatically configured without needing additional plugins or services so check with them first.
  • Has no control over your WordPress site configuration.
  • Cannot create users.
  • Has complete control over all content including administrators and all contributors.
  • Can edit, approve, deny, or delete posts or pages.
  • Full comment administration control.
  • Can manage categories, links and use HTML markup or JavaScript inside posts.

As you can see, the Editor role has a lot of power over your website and should only be assigned to people that you trust. You would assign the Editor role to someone as part of a review and approval workflow with the Editor being the one who approves all content submitted by Contributors.

Administrator User Role

  • Typically the blog owner.
  • Has complete access to all WordPress features.
  • Can be assigned to trusted technical partners.

If you are currently running your WordPress website (which is likely why you are on this guide in the first place), you are already familiar with the Administrator role because that is exactly what your access login is.

If you add another user as an administrator, they will have the exact same rights as your account including the ability to delete any users (including your own administrator account).

There is another role that most won’t see or have access to and is the Super Administrator. This is an administrator of a WordPress Multisite / Network setup that has multiple sites installed under a single WordPress database. The large majority of WordPress sites do not use or need WordPress Multisite and is beyond the scope of this guide.

2

How to Customize User Roles and Permissions in WordPress

Now that you are getting the hang of WordPress, your site is live, you’ve started adding content and then it happens, you want to scale it up and bring on additional staff to help you write content and do various tasks to help your site grow at an even faster pace.

When you start looking into it, you find out about User Roles and access it by going to WP Dashboard > Users. Inevitably, you’ll start adding test users into the system, log out, log in under the new users and see what they can do on your site that you’ve worked so hard on.

Then you discover that the default user roles are great, but it isn’t perfect. You like X role but you can’t setup new accounts under it because it allows them to do Y, which you only want administrator accounts to manage.

Enter User Roles Plugins

Important: We at Top Five Advisor strongly recommend backing up your database before proceeding with user role modifications on your live site. When you modify a default user role that WordPress ships with by default, those changes become permanent even after you uninstall the plugin.

For both options below, we strongly recommend reviewing the WordPress Codex for Roles and Capabilities to have a full understanding of the roles and capabilities before making changes. On that page, consider scrolling down to the Capability vs. Role Table section and have a look at their visual representation of the default roles that WordPress ships with. Just to save a little confusion for you, “Super Admin” is a role that is only offered on WordPress Network / Multisite install which allows you to run multiple “sites” in one WordPress website.

Additionally, consider copying the default roles and modifying those to your liking. Then you can set your users to those roles and never use the WordPress defaults. This way, you can reference the default roles and capabilities at any time.

Option 1: User Role Editor

User Roles Editor

The above screenshot is exactly how User Roles Editor works within your WordPress and is accessed by going to WP Dashboard > Users > User Role Editor. Of course, you can check the box that says Show capabilities in human readable form if you wish, that will just remove the underscore and make the options plain text (we don’t recommend this because then it is a little harder to cross reference the roles and capabilities codex linked above).

Add New RoleFrom this screen, you can easily “Add Role,” “Rename Role,” and even do more advanced things like add or delete capabilities for these roles. As we show you on the right, adding a new role is straight forward. Enter the role name, what it displays and select what default role you’d like this role to mimic before you begin editing its capabilities.

From here, you can quickly reference the capabilities enabled (checked) and modify how that role works on your website when they log in.

If you’d like to have your senior writers have advanced access to your website, like publishing posts created by junior writers but you don’t quite trust them enough to be a full “Editor” on your site, you can quickly create a Senior Writer role by making a copy of the “Author Role,” reference the codex and enable a few select Editor capabilities and call it a day.

The same thing with your editors. You can create a new editor role and create a “Super Editor” role that would have a select few administrator rights.

Or, go the other way (like what we do) and create an Author role but remove certain default features we don’t want them to have, such as the ability to delete posts.

What We Don’t Like

URE Additional Capabilities

Immediately after activating this plugin, it will create new capabilities inside of your database, even if you do not make a single modification or change. The above screenshot was taken right from our localhost install when using Capability Manager Enhanced (below) which shows obvious entries added by User Role Editor using the name ure_ as the capability name. Unfortunately, the developer doesn’t offer a way to remove these newly added references upon removal or with the “Reset” function which resets all user roles back to default. If you Reset > Deactivate > Uninstall User Role Editor, the ure_ references remain. Just something to be aware of, which may or may not bother you as an administrator.

Download the User Role Editor Plugin. Or, go to Plugins > Add New > Search User Role Editor and install / activate the plugin that has author Vladimir Garagulya.

Option 2: Capability Manager Enhanced

Capability Manager Enhanced

Capability Manager Enhanced is, for the most part, the same as the User Role Editor plugin we showed first. The difference here (and why it is included) is the fact that it is a bit more user friendly in the way it portrays the capabilities in an easier-to-understand format.

Of course, the downside with this is also that you are going to have a harder time cross-referencing the codex page to learn exactly what some of these Other WordPress Core Capabilities do exactly.

After the plugin is installed, you can access this plugin by going to WP Dashboard > Users > Role Capabilities.

One thing nice about this plugin is you can completely disable capabilities within a role using the red X without having to delete the capability (which is how URE works).

What We Don’t Like

No revert option available. One of the features mentioned on this plugin’s description page is the ability to revert roles and capabilities to WordPress defaults, however, we thoroughly searched the support threads, reviews and looked over the plugin and do not see a way to do this within the settings. In fact, we had to load URE and use their reset function to remove all the changes we made in this plugin.

Copying roles is a little less user friendly and less obvious compared to URE above. In order to accomplish copying a role, you will need to “Load” a role, like Author and then under Copy Author Role, you type in the name of the new role that you want created. In URE, you simply click “Add Role” then it asks for the name as well as a drop-box to select the user role you want to copy, which is way more straight forward and less confusing.

Download the Capability Manager Enhanced Plugin. Or, go to Plugins > Add New > Search Capability Manager Enhanced and install / activate the plugin that has author Kevin Behrens.

How Has Modified / New User Roles Helped You?

We’d love to hear how you are using modified or new roles in your WordPress setup. Leave a comment below to help our readers understand the benefits of creating specific roles.

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How to Deal with Comment Spam in WordPress

There’s nothing worse than building a successful WordPress website only to attract spamming robots that leave hundreds, if not thousands, of spam comments all over your posts and pages. Lately, I’ve been having several conversations with people on Google+ about the issue which triggered this WordPress Guide.

This guide will cover a wide range of options and solutions that can be used to combat spam along with a my personal recommendations based on years of experience working with WordPress websites.

Stage 1 – Akismet

The BB Gun. It helps but lacks the power you need to go for the kill.

Akismet LogoEvery WordPress website comes pre-installed with Akismet, which is a free spam-fighting WordPress plugin that uses an algorithm to check if a comment is spam based on many factors. All you need to do is go to your WordPress Dashboard and click Plugins. From there, you will see Akismet and Hello Dolly on a default WordPress installation. First of all, delete Hello Dolly, ‘nuf said.

Under Akismet, you will see a blue “Activate” link. Click that then click the blue “Activate your Akismet account.” From there, click the blue Get your API key. Once again, you’ll click “Get An Akismet API Key” on their website which will then take you to a WordPress.com signup page. If you have a WordPress.com login, click I already have a WordPress.com account! and log in. Otherwise, enter your email address, desired username and password and click Sign Up.

Once you authorize your WordPress.com account with Akismet, you’ll finally be taken to this screen with pricing options.

Akismet Pricing Options

From here, you can opt for the $5/mo plan or use the Basic sign up which allows you to name your price with a pricing slider, one of which is FREE. As long as your website is not a commercial website, you can slide the slider all the way to the left so that it is $0.00/year (free) which will remove the credit card payment options and allow you to enter your first and last name.

Finally, you will get the required API key that you can then use on your website.

We recommend copying this API key to somewhere on your computer for future use. If you have your API key, you can skip all these steps and enter your key when setting up a new WordPress website.

Head back to your WordPress Dashboard and find the Manually enter an API key section. Paste your key in there then click Use this key to activate Akismet on your site.

Now that you are active, Akismet will begin scanning comments and marking spammy comments as spam and place these comments in your Comments > Spam section.

All set right?

Here’s the problem. If you are getting thousands of robot spam submissions on your website, your database will continue to be filled up because the comments are being accepted into your database but are being placed in your spam folder. If you ignore your spam folder long enough, you’ll rack up a massive database size in no time at all which can cause your site to become more and more sluggish in page loading and administrative response times.

Stage 2 – Replacing Your Commenting System

The handgun. It definitely takes care of bots looking for a WordPress commenting form but you’ll be fighting spam in a different way.

You’ve fought a long and hard battle with comment spam and decide, that BB Gun just isn’t doing the job to kill off the spam. What other options do I have to combat this seriously distracting issue? You take to the Internet and look at what popular WordPress websites are doing and realize, Oh! They switched their comment system and outsourced it to a third party!

Great idea! How do I do that? It’s pretty simple. Here’s a few of the most popular options that are available to you.

Disqus Comment System

Disqus LogoDiscus is the most popular WordPress comment replacement system that exists. Disqus allows you to moderate and control your filters, control anonymity preferences and is very easy to install. Disqus also integrates social media to share comments and reactions on Facebook or Twitter. They system is based on real time commenting which allows users to see the latest comments first (which may or may not please your readers).

The problems with Disqus is you are forcing your viewers to register on a separate site just to have the ability to make a comment. They will have to register by associating one of their social media accounts or will need to setup an account which requires them to provide an email address which may turn them off from commenting on your site.

Of course, if you decide to switch to Disqus from your WordPress, since the service is linked to your WordPress website, you will be able to transfer your old comments to the Disqus system. If you decide down the road that Disqus isn’t right for you and want to move back to the traditional commenting system, you can ensure all of your comments are synced under Comments > All Comments then deactivate / delete the plugin. Therefore, you won’t lose comments by switching then switching back, a really nice bonus.

Get the Disqus Plugin. Or, install automatically via the WP Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Search Disqus then Install Now.

Direct Social Media Commenting

Social Media CommentingAnother popular approach that some sites use is integrating and using Facebook or Google+ comments to replace the regular WordPress comment system. What this allows is for people to quickly and easily comment on your posts as long as they are registered on and using the social network integration you choose. One benefit is it will help increase the sharing of your content on these social media platforms and traditionally, people will use their real names in their comments, especially Facebook users.

Of course, not everyone uses social media or they have used it in the past and, for whatever reason, decided to delete their accounts and never use their platform again. For these users, you will have completely alienated them and they will not be able to comment (expect nasty contact form submissions for this decision on established websites).

Another major issue you’ll face is the comments themselves belong to Facebook or Google+. When switching to this type of system, you will lose all of your old comments. If you decide that social media commenting isn’t working out like you wanted, any comments received while social media commenting is integrated will be lost (and only available on the social media posts).

I’ve tried going this route on a new blog before and the biggest red flag is the fact that users can dig up your old content and leave links and spam that you will likely never see or be alerted towards. This is especially a big problem in Google+ integration with no resolution because Google+ doesn’t officially support comment integration. In Facebook, you can take advantage of the Facebook comment moderation tool to monitor comments received through your website’s app, however, you’re still left with dealing with spam on a daily basis, just in a different location.

Social Media Integration Solutions for WordPress

Facebook: Facebook Comments Plugin or WP Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Search Facebook Comments, look for By Alex Moss > Install Now.

Google+: Comments Evolved for WordPress or WP Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Search Comments Evolved > Install Now.

Although Comments Evolved is the most popular WordPress plugin for Google+ comments, it should be noted that this plugin will also integrate Facebook, Disqus and the traditional WordPress commenting system as an all-in-one solution.

Oh boy! If you integrate all 4 options in Comments Evolved, you get to check for spam in 4 places for quadruple the spam moderation fun! Where do I sign up?!?

Stage 3 – Removing the URL Field in Comments

The Assault Rifle. Now we’re talking. The handgun definitely helped pick off the spammers that are close in range but we’re having problems hitting those pesky long targets. Let’s not mention the fact that some spammers invoke The Matrix and are able to dodge our handgun bullets.

We’ve discussed the potentials of switching your commenting system and the integrated Akismet plugin which helped but some spambots are persistent and are able to spam even though you’ve switched. Even if the integrated systems have virtually eliminated spambots, there’s still ways for spammers to manually attack your content with links that will have to be moderated.

Removing the Website Field in WordPressQuestion: How can we attack those persistent spambots where it hurts the most?

Answer: Remove the URL field in your traditional WordPress commenting system.

If you remove the URL field from your WordPress commenting system, manual spammers will not be able to submit spam because there is no URL field to complete. However, if you do this the wrong way, spambots will still be able to submit spam because they use a long URL string to form-submit to your website (the spambots do not actually use your form, they bypass it).

Hint: Do not use the widely-publicized CSS trick to hide the URL form. The spambots will continue submitting spam to your website even though your website doesn’t show the URL field.

Now that you’ve removed the URL field, you’ll make it known that you are not a URL-friendly website to spammers looking for target sites to attack.

The Downsides

Of course there’s always a downside to doing this. First, webmasters like myself enjoy researching people who comment on their website to learn more about them. Without the URL being submitted, you will find it harder to discover their latest projects. Most people who fill out the URL field on their comments will naturally link to their latest website, latest article or their latest project because that is what is freshest on their mind.

Secondly, a huge portion of people who comment on blog posts and articles are bloggers themselves. They enjoy commenting to add value to the conversation but they also enjoy getting a few backlinks to their site(s) here and there to attract traffic. If you remove the URL field, you are also removing some people’s willingness to comment.

Stage 4 – The Anti-Spam Plugin

The Nuke (name your deadliest weapon here?). That assault rifle approach did the trick! You were able prevent most of the spambots and manual spammers from submitting spam, but can we take it a step further? What if I don’t want to remove that URL box?

Anti-Spam Plugin to Fight Spam CommentsIntroducing Anti-Spam, a free plugin that will help thwart spambots, doesn’t use a required captcha, but still allows the URL field on your website.

I’ve tried several spam prevention plugins available but this one is my favorite by far.

It. Just. Works. There’s nothing to configure which feels too good to be true, but isn’t. Pure magic.

Once you install and activate the plugin, you will notice a drastic, if not complete, reduction is spam ending up in your spam moderation queue. The plugin blocks spambot spam at the source by checking the user agent using JavaScript.

One awesome thing about this is the fact the bulk of the spam your site receives will not even reach your WordPress database. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I love this plugin so much. Best of all, it continues to remain free but the ability to support the author is there with an upgrade to Anti-Spam Pro which adds additional features (a more powerful automatic spam protection, a manual spam protection algorithm and a settings page) for a one-time purchase of $14 on codecanyon.

Get the Anti-Spam Plugin. Or, install automatically via the WP Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Search Anti Spam, then find the plugin named Anti-spam with By webvitaly then Install Now.

It’s important to note here that Anti-Spam (free version) stops the automated spambots but it doesn’t prevent manual spam submissions from real people using real browsers.

That’s Not a Nuke Then!

You’d be correct in saying that. However, what if you installed/activated the Anti-Spam plugin and deleted the URL field (the assault rifle approach above)?

Now you’ve got a site that uses the default WordPress commenting system that completely blocks most spambots and prevents manual spammers from spamming your site with URLs. Welcome to the solution we use on all of our WordPress projects. We have yet to see a need to even use Akismet because the spam doesn’t reach our database in the first place.

If you really want to keep your URL field for reasons we’ve stated above, your other solution is to upgrade to Anti-Spam Pro. This will add a manual commenting “spam-points algorithm” which will help you keep the URL field in tact but tackle most of the manual spammers.

Ugh – Anti-Spam Adds a Notification to My Comments Page!

Anti-Spam Blocked Comments Notification

Yep, I didn’t like when Webvitality added this notification flag and actually voiced my displeasure about it on their WP plugin support forum. Due to the complaints, he quickly added a new feature that allows us to remove this flag from the comments page, but it’s buried and you’ll have to know where to look.

Remove Anti-Spam Notification Flag

Use the above GIF to see exactly how to remove the Anti-Spam notification flag. On your Dashboard > Comments page, click Screen Options, uncheck Anti-spam info, click Apply. Done.

How have you handled your WordPress spam issue? Did this guide help you? Please leave a note in the comments below and let us know!

Using Google Apps with Easy WP SMTP and Contact Form 7 From Field

We faced a problem last night that took us a couple hours to diagnose and repair on our Top Five Advisor email forms. When someone would fill out a contact form and submit it to us, the FROM field would show our administrator’s email address and not the email address of the user who submitted the request.

As it turns out, the way Contact Form 7 and all other email plugins work is they “spoof” or fake the actual from field when in actuality, the email is FROM your website and FROM your website’s main email address.

Most email systems allow this and there’s no issue, but for those of us that made the switch to WP Engine and realized that they do not allow email to be sent through their system, you probably made the switch to Google Apps because they are the best premium email provider and offer the best spam tools to block the junk.

Unfortunately, Google Apps and Gmail is one of those providers that do not allow spoofing. Therefore, the emails generated from our websites will use the admin email address in the FROM field which makes it a giant pain to reply to emails because you will have to copy and paste their email address to the “To:” line in reply or else you are sending the email to yourself. No good.

How We Fixed the Problem in Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 FixAfter researching the issue and discovering why this was happening, we searched out a solution from Contact Form 7 and found this article that helped us resolve the problem.

In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Contact” then hover your mouse over one of your contact forms and click the edit link.

From there, look for the section we show you on the left. The To should be your admin email address, the from area can be left as default, the subject line, you can customize like we do or just leave [your-subject] and finally, you’ll see the additional headers section which is where we will fix the problem.

Add the following code into this Additional headers box:

Sender: youremail@youremailaddresshere.com
Reply-To: [your-name] <[your-email]>

Then save the form.

Time to Test It!

Head over to your contact form and submit it using a fake email address in the “To:” field.

When you receive the email, you’ll notice that the FROM field still shows your website’s admin email, however, when you reply, your email program will use the “Reply-To” header and place the fake email address in the To box like you’d expect.

Now you or your staff will not accidentally send emails to themselves.

Now that you know about this Additional headers area, you can also add things like Cc: <youremail> Bcc: <manageremail> if you’d like to send the emails received to more than one staff member for archive and tracking purposes.

5 Social Media Widgets to Enhance Your WordPress Sidebar

One of the best ways to enhance your website to attract return visitors is to add social media integration into your website. Besides integrating your social media with WordPress SEO, you can also add some really nice eye-catching widgets to your WordPress sidebar that will help you increase follows, likes and social commenting.

Heres’s our choice of 5 social media widgets that you can implement on your website. Keep in mind, the more you add, the longer your website will take to load, so pick and choose your favorites but mind your visitor, don’t use them all, that’d be overkill. Instead, choose one or two and then add some social media icons or links to your other social media pages you’d like people to visit.

1) Facebook Page Plugin

Facebook Page PluginThis plugin is brand new at the time of this writing and replaces the now deprecated Facebook Like Box. You can use the code they provide as a “Text” widget on your sidebar to display your Facebook page to all of your visitors.

What’s nice about this is there’s a “Like” button and a “Share” button that will encourage people to like and share your page to others.

Visit the Facebook Page Plugin site, enter your page’s URL and then begin customizing how your widget will look on your website. You can customize:

– Width: 280x to 500px
– Height: 130px or higher
– Hide or show the cover photo (screenshot shows it)
– Hide or show friend faces (screenshot shows it)
– Show page posts (screenshot shows it)

Once you customize the plugin, then click the Get Code option and you’ll get the code you need to get this to show up on your website.

Facebook Code

Enter the first code into your customized theme or child theme header.php file or look for a theme options on your dashboard since some themes come with a way to enter code into the header. An example of this is Thrive Themes which allows you to go to Thrive Themes > Thrive Options > Analytics / Scripts > Header Script box.

Once you have that added, you’d then add the second code as a text widget. Go to Appearance > Widgets. Look for a sidebar section then drag and drop the “Text” widget to that area. From there, you’ll get a box to enter the code in.

2) Twitter Widget

Log in to the Twitter account you want to setup a widget on then go to the Twitter Widgets page then click the “Create new” button. From there, you’ll see this configuration screen to begin setting up your new site widget:

Twitter Widget

From here, notice all of the options available starting with the tab area. They are as follows:

  • User Timeline: You can create a traditional “User timeline” widget that will show your users your latest tweets along with customization options including the ability to exclude replies, enable auto-expanded photos, customize the higher from 250px or bigger, choose a color theme and link color.
  • Favorites: This will show off your most recent tweets that you have favorited. Options include auto-expanded photos, height, theme and link color.
  • List: Show off tweets from a list of users using the Twitter list feature. The best use of this would be to create an employee list of accounts from your website’s staff and instruct your staff members to make sure they only tweet stuff related to your website or website’s interests. Options include auto-expanded photos, height, theme and link color.
  • Search: Show off a specific search query on your website. You could specify a hashtag or any query but you won’t have control of what appears since anyone tweet with any hashtag or search query. Options include only showing top tweets, safe search mode, auto-expand photos, height, theme and link color.
  • Collection: If you have created a collection on your Twitter account, you can display that collection of tweets in a widget. Options include auto-expand photos, height, theme and link color.

Once you make your decision and customize the settings, click the blue “Create widget” button which will cause a message Your widget has been created along with a small code to copy and paste into a text widget as explained in the Facebook Page Plugin instructions above. You won’t need to add a special code to the header section of your website with this code.

3) Google+ Badge

Google+ BadgeAnother great social media widget integration is the Google+ Badge. This badge is similar to the Facebook Page Plugin except it doesn’t allow you to display your most recent posts. It allows people to add your Google+ page to circles and also to +1 the page. This feature was also mentioned in our Google+ Beginner’s Guide and makes yet another appearance here.

Head on over to the Google+ Badge page and wait a few seconds for the page to fully load. You’ll miss the badge creation page if you impatiently scroll down the page, give it a few seconds and the badge creation options will appear right on the top of the page.

Here’s the features you can choose from and an explanation:

  • Google+ User: Select either your main profile or your Google+ page.
  • Features: Choose Badge or Icon. Most use badge here.
  • Layout: Portrait or Landscape. Use portrait to get the screenshot we show here or use landscape for a much smaller height profile.
  • Width: Portraight, 180px – 450px. Landscape, 273px – 450px.
  • Color theme: Light or dark.
  • Cover photo:  For portrait mode only, allows you to disable the cover photo.
  • Tagline: For portrait mode only, allows you to disable the tagline.

Under advanced options, we recommend enabling “Dynamic” because this will enable the dynamic load feature which will improve your initial page loading time.

Once you are done, you will notice below the badge is a snippet of code that has been automatically generated for you. There’s two parts of this code just like Facebook’s code. Place the first part in your theme’s header.php or custom header script box (if available) and place the second part in a text widget.

4) YouTube Subscribe Button

YouTube SubscribeIf you create video and upload them to YouTube, a great way to raise awareness and subscribers is to use the YouTube subscribe button. Head on over to the subscribe button page and scroll down until you see “Configure a button.”

For the channel name or ID, you will want to enter in your custom channel name or use your full channel ID name. We had a little difficulty getting our Top Five Advisor channel to work, but figured it out. So if you have a channel that was created from a Google+ page or from another source, go to your channel’s main page and click on your channel name. From there you can get the real channel ID from the URL as shown:

YouTube Channel ID

Anyway, once you configure the YouTube button with Layout setting, Theme setting and whether or not it shows Subscriber count, you’ll see the code that you can enter into a text widget. For this code, you can either enter the entire code into the widget or place the javascript part of the code in your theme’s header area which is shown below.

<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js"></script>

5) SnapWidget for Instagram

Instagram WidgetIf you run a photography driven website or offer promotions and various related content, you may want to add Instagram as a sidebar widget (or take advantage of other widget areas on your theme).

Since Instagram doesn’t offer a direct widget solution, we’ve chosen SnapWidget as your Instagram solution. Head on over there then click the blue “Get Your Free Widget Button.” From there, you’ll get a large amount of configuration settings that you can use to make best use of this widget on your website.

Enter your username or favorite hashtag and then select the widget type that you’d prefer. We recommend selecting one style then click the Preview button at the bottom to see how it looks. The most popular style is the “Grid” layout because it shows just the photo and offers excellent options that will help you get it looking exactly the way you want.

For the sidebar widget area, we recommend the 125px thumbnail size and a 2×2 layout. Another option is to go with a larger thumbnail size like 250px and choose 1×2 or 1×4 so that your Instagram images are stacked vertically.

Other options include the background color, photo padding (space between images), hover effect, social sharing buttons that appear at the bottom of each image, and the ability to enable “responsive” if you have a responsive WordPress theme.


That’s it for our recommendations. Is there a widget that you use on your website that failed to make our list? Comment below and let our readers know!

How to Limit Tags in Tag Cloud Widget in WordPress

Have you ever tried to use the Tag Cloud widget in your WordPress but it appeared way too messy to use? Here at Top Five Advisor, we have over 100 tags that we have setup and we’re just getting started. Unfortunately, the default display of the tag cloud widget is to show all of your tags and increase in size depending on the tag use on your content.

WordPress Tag Cloud WidgetYou may notice that we have the following screenshot on the left displaying on the bottom of our website and you may be wondering how we did it.

Thankfully, all you need to do is make a quick edit in your functions.php file and you’ll be able to customize how many tags will appear in your widget area.

Simply change the number 5 on the “$args[‘number’] = 5;” line and the number you set will be the total tags allowed to be shown in that widget area, whether it is in your sidebar or footer areas.

Here’s the code snippet that you need to add to your functions.php:

// Limit Tags in Tag Cloud Widget
add_filter('widget_tag_cloud_args', 'tag_widget_limit');
function tag_widget_limit($args){
 if(isset($args['taxonomy']) && $args['taxonomy'] == 'post_tag'){
  $args['number'] = 5; // <-- Tags Limit
 }

 return $args;
}

What this will do is show your most popular tags in the tag cloud depending on the number you set. In our case, the screenshot in this post represents the 5 most popular tags as of the time of this posting.

How to Remove the URL Field in WordPress Comments

One of the greatest ways we’ve found to discourage spammers on our site is to remove the URL field in your WordPress comment section. Thankfully, this is a rather painless process that requires a small plugin or functions.php edit.

Option 1 – Functions.php Edit

Here’s the functions.php code snippet:

// Remove URL Field
add_filter('comment_form_default_fields', 't5a_remove_url');
function t5a_remove_url($fields) {
	if(isset($fields['url']))
	unset($fields['url']);
	return $fields;
}

Once you’ve added the following filter to your functions.php, you should notice that the URL field permanently disappears from your commenting area of all posts and pages that allow WordPress comments. This one is really awesome because your website will not even print the URL field in your posts and pages, blocking spambots from even attempting to submit comment spam.

Option 2 – WordPress Plugin

Although we attempt to limit our plugins whenever possible, we do realize that not everyone is comfortable with editing their functions.php or the child themes setup requires should you decide to update your theme to the latest version.

Install the Hide-n-Disable-comment-url-field plugin and you are off to the races.

In your dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New. In the search box, enter Hide-n-Disable-comment-url-field as your search query, then click search. From there, this plugin should be the first plugin in the list.

Install the plugin as usual, activate and you are done.

Time to Verify

To verify the changes are working, visit your WordPress website from a different web browser that is not currently logged in. Navigate to a post that is currently accepting comments and see if you have the website field.