WordPress has partnered with Anchor

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Today, I logged into my WordPress account and noticed something new. A little banner that says, “Grow your audience with a podcast”.

This banner made me curious, so I decided to click on the “Create an Anchor account” to see what would happen. Now, I already have an Anchor account, and I have created a few episodes before. However, this was the first time I’ve ever thought about integrating it into my blog.

Create a new WordPress Podcast website

Clicking on the link took me to the Anchor website, where I was able to log in. I then logged into my account and was once again redirected back to WordPress. However, WordPress decided to create a brand new website, and it wouldn’t let me integrate Anchor into my current website. This is a little annoying since it would be great to integrate it here. However, maybe it would be good to separate them? I’m not quite sure.

All of my podcast episodes were automatically turned into blog posts where I could add more information, footnotes, transcriptions etc. It’s really nice how the design changes based on the type of blog you have created, and it certainly makes life simpler.

I don’t think I will be using this just yet. It doesn’t seem mature enough in its current state. Also, my podcast has started to gather virtual dust, and I’m not sure whether I should go back or not.

If you’d like to learn more about the integration, you can take a look at the WordPress blog titled “Turn Your WordPress.com Blog into a Podcast with Anchor“.

Conclusion

It’s exciting to see companies integrate into one another and having fantastic partnerships. I’m excited to see what happens in the future, and I will be keeping an eye on the WordPress and Anchor partnership.

What are your thoughts? Are you currently using Anchor, or will you use it in the future?

If you use Anchor, will you be integrating it into your current website if you haven’t already done so? Or, will you create a brand new website to use the new integration? I would love to know your thoughts and experiences.

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Top 5 plugins for WordPress

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These are my top 5 plugins which I think most people should have, especially if you’re a blogger looking to make connections and/or your site as fast as possible.

5. Smush

Smush is a fantastic plugin which can help speed up your website by compressing images. You can bulk ‘Smush’ as they say which will compress images with a single click. If you’re on the free version, you can Smush up to 50 images at a time. However, if you pay to upgrade, then you can Smush as many images you like. Both versions will allow you to auto-Smush any future uploaded images.

People say you should install this asap to avoid tons of images needing to be compressed. This way, all images are compressed the minute you decide to upload them.

4. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Project)

AMP is so good, WordPress themselves decided to help maintain and support it. Google asks that any news site uses AMP, this way your site won’t load any unneeded CSS and/or JavaScript when showing in Google search. Google may also give you a slightly higher ranking because AMP shows your site is faster than those that aren’t using it.

3. Super Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (or PWA for short) allows users to install your blog onto their desktop/tablet/mobile devices. This gives them easier access to your website and it’s much better than bookmarks which are never to be seen again. Users will even be able to see your blog offline due to caching, just like a native app on your phone. And best of all, you don’t need to submit your blog to any app store, it works straight from any browser which supports PWA. – Download plugin

2. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is another great package, even if you don’t use it for the SEO part. Then the readability section is great for general blogging. I love getting a little green smile telling me posts are readable. The SEO section is also a very good indicator if you have keywords you would like to hit.

1. JetPack by WordPress.com

Finally, JetPack by WordPress.com is my most important plugin for bloggers. Especially if you’re looking to connect with a much wider audience. Think about how Medium connects all their readers to a Medium Blog. Now think about hosting that one your own site while still having that audience, and then you have the JetPack plugin.

There are of course many other benefits, such as lazy loading images for faster pages. Automatically share your posts across all your different social networks. If you wanted to, you could also pay extra to enable backups, advanced built-in search and malware protection.

The easiest way to install any of these plugins is through your site’s admin panel. You can copy and paste any of the above plugins to find what you need.

Have you got any other plugins you could recommend?

Sound of in the comments below…

Turn a WordPress Website into a Progressive Web App

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What is a Progressive Web App?

Some of you may be wondering what a Progressive Web App actually is, allow me to explain. It’s a JavaScript file that uses Web Sockets that performs various tasks. Tasks such as caching your files for faster page loads. Caching also allows a user to view your website even when the user is offline. This means they can still view all of your wonderful content in mobile or broadband blackspots. This does however mean that it won’t be up to date until they have an internet connection, but at least they can still view something.

Another thing it does is allow your users to install your website to their phone. This then acts as an app that has a splash screen and loads very quickly.

All of this makes it really easy for your users to view your site time and time again and keeps them engaged for longer. It’s a huge win, and the way to get it is super simple…

As easy as 1, 2, 3!

I’ve recently gotten into the habit of turning my websites into PWAs, it turns out, it is actually fairly straightforward. WordPress has been the most straight forward so far. Simply install Super PWA and update the settings of the app.

You can then test this works by using Chrome, pressing F12 on your keyboard clicking “audits” and then performing an audit on your website.

Congratulations, your website is now a PWA and you should give yourself a pat on the back for all that hard work. Now go tell your users about how great your website is now it’s a PWA.