WordPress

How to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode or Add a Coming Soon Page

Everyone has their own idea of what a temporary website shutdown is. A new blogger might not care if no one can see anything on the website during development, so they turn off the website until they’re ready to launch. On the other hand, an existing eCommerce store doesn’t have the luxury of shutting down completely. There needs to be a message to customers, and ideally, a way to get email addresses from customers or maybe even give away some coupons for the inconvenience.

Overall, the reasons for temporarily disabling your WordPress site vary. Therefore, you have a few options for completing the task. The first one isn’t exactly brain surgery since you’ll install a super simple plugin that does most of the work for you. However, plugins for maintenance mode and coming soon displays are more complex, and better for business.

When Would You Need to Temporarily Disable Your WordPress Site?

We discussed some of the instances where disabling your site might be a good idea, but it’s important to understand all of these situations. Why? Because you might encounter them at some point. If you’re prepared with what to expect with a website, along with the procedures to take when things go wrong, you’ll be more confident in your ability to run a WordPress site. So… when would you need to disable your website?

 

  • If your site gets hacked and you’d like to shut out any other threats.
  • Your site gets hacked and you’d rather your customers see a blank screen than the security problem.
  • You would like to complete some regular maintenance on your website.
  • You need time to develop your WordPress site, so you’d rather your customers see a maintenance or coming soon page, as opposed to your half completed website.
  • You’d like to focus on other endeavors, but you might come back to this WordPress site. Therefore, you don’t want to delete it entirely.

 

The Quick Method 1: Install the Disable Site Plugin

I’m not a huge fan of installing several plugins (considering you could slow down your site or open up security vulnerabilities,) but with a plugin like this, you can activate it only when you need it. Then, after you’re done disabling your site you can deactivate the plugin so it doesn’t affect your website.

The WordPress plugin is called Disable Site. It’s a wonderful solution for blocking the entire frontend of your WordPress site, while still giving you access to the dashboard/admin area. The thing with the Disable Site plugin is that it’s about as basic as they come. You do get to make a quick message explaining what’s going on to your customers, but you shouldn’t expect any tools for uploading graphics, collecting email addresses or linking to your social media accounts.

You can, however, insert whatever HTML code you’d like. So, technically, it’s fully customizable if you have the skills.

How to Temporarily Disable Your WordPress With the Plugin

Start by installing and Activating the free Disable Site WordPress plugin. After that, locate the Disable Site tab in your dashboard menu and click on it. This brings you to the only settings page from Disable Site. As mentioned, it’s a rudimentary plugin, but it gets the job done.

Start by selecting Yes under Enable Splash Page. The Custom Message field is where you’ll type in a sentence or two to explain to your visitors what’s going on. You can also go into the Custom Output HTML to get more creative and include things like media, customized text and links.

The Admin access is set to Yes by default, and it should stay that way. I’m not entirely sure why you would ever want to lock out your admins (mainly you) but make sure you don’t switch that to No. The plugin also gives you the ability to allow authenticated users to bypass the page. The main reason you’d set this to yes is if you need some contributors or writers to continue with their work. Otherwise, make this field No so that none of the users can get through the splash page.

After that, you can save the settings and check your frontend to ensure the plugin is working properly. If you don’t see that your WordPress site is disabled, you probably have to log out of your admin account.

Since this is a temporary fix, go back to the same settings page to disable the splash page whenever you’re ready.

The Quick Method 2: Use Your Theme’s Under-Construction Page

Create An Under-Construction Page with Total

It’s possible your WordPress theme includes a built-in under-construction page option. For example, the Total WordPress theme features the option for you to design your own custom coming soon or under construction page using the Visual Composer page builder.

Total Under Construction Option

With Total, first create your new page adding any modules you’d like displayed (newsletter, contact form, social links, media feeds, etc). Next, navigate to Theme Panel > Under Construction from the WordPress dashboard. From here check the box to enable the Under Construction feature  and select the page you’ve created then save.

To remove your construction page once your website is ready for it’s big reveal, simply uncheck the “enable” option and save. That’s it! Total makes it super easy to switch back and forth as needed while running your website.

Method 3: Get Fancy with a Maintenance Mode or Coming Soon Plugin

The quick method outlined above has its benefits (mainly allowing you to disable your site within minutes,) but it’s not nearly as productive as a real maintenance mode or coming soon page.

But first, we should talk about the difference between a maintenance mode and coming soon page.

A coming soon page is needed when you’re still working on your site but you’d like to create buzz about what’s coming and potentially get customer email addresses. These coming soon pages often have videos, pictures, comment sections and social media buttons. It’s most common to use a coming soon page for a new product or company. The site also gets indexed by search engines, so you start to boost your SEO.

A maintenance mode page is utilized when you currently have a website running, but you need a quick way to tell your customers when you’re completing maintenance or adjusting the website design. Since this is a temporary page, the maintenance mode page tells the search engines to not index the website in that state.

Both maintenance and coming soon pages are suitable for disabling your WordPress site temporarily. In fact, they’re probably your best bet.

For the most features, go with a coming soon or maintenance mode plugin. Although we’re going to walk you through the extremely effective Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd plugin, here are some other plugins to consider:

Using Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

After installation and activation, you can find the Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode options under Settings.

You’ll find four tabs to choose from. The main focus should be Content. Select whether you want a Coming Soon page or a Maintenance Mode page. We discussed the difference a little earlier in this article.

You also have the option to change things like the SEO Title, SEO Meta Description and Analytics code. These are all entirely optional, but they could help you out.

The final step is to navigate to the Coming Soon tab. This is where you change items like background color, image and text color.

After completing the design, your result can be a beautiful Coming Soon page with a logo, background image and much more.

Are You Ready to Temporarily Disable Your WordPress Site?

The first (easy) method we talked about is best for smaller blogs that don’t have much of a following. It’s also not a bad method for new sites. However, the true return comes from a coming soon page. Newer sites and products get far more exposure from these temporary pages, yet you can still make updates to your website without anyone seeing. Also, a maintenance mode page is nice for quick fixes.

If you have any questions about temporarily disabling your WordPress site, please let us know in the comments section below.




How to Disable Unwanted Widgets in WordPress

Do you want to disable unused widgets in WordPress? The widgets screen in WordPress shows you all the widgets that you can add to your theme. The problem is that too many widgets clutter the screen, and you may not need all of them. In this article, we will show you how to disable unwanted widgets in WordPress for a clutter free widget experience.

Remove unwanted widgets in WordPress

Why Disable Unwanted Widgets in WordPress?

Widgets are blocks of elements that you can add to your WordPress site’s sidebars or widget ready areas. WordPress comes with several default widgets of its own, and other WordPress plugins may add their own widgets as well.

All these widgets can be seen on the Appearance » Widgets screen. However, you’ll notice that some of these widgets are not very useful, and you will probably never use them on your website.

If you are using plugins that also add their own widgets, then soon the widgets screen will be a huge mess making it difficult to locate the widgets you actually want to use.

Let’s see how to easily clean up the widget screen by disabling unwanted widgets in WordPress.

Disabling Unwanted Widgets in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Widget Disable plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Appearance » Disable Widgets page to configure plugin settings.

Disable widgets settings

The settings page is divided into two tabs. First you need to select the sidebar widgets that you want to disable. Simply check the box next to the widgets that you don’t want to use and click on the save changes button.

You can now visit Appearance » Widgets page to see the difference. All selected widgets will no longer be visible on the widgets screen.

Cleaned up widgets screen in WordPress

WordPress also displays several widgets on the Dashboard page. Some plugins and themes may also add their own widgets to your WordPress dashboard.

Normally, you can clean up the dashboard screen by clicking on the screen options button and uncheck the widgets that you don’t want to see.

Cleaning up dashbaord screen in WordPress

However, doing this will allow you and other users on your site to simply click on screen options button and display those widgets again.

WP Widget Disable plugin allows you to hide dashboard widgets even from screen options menu.

Head over to Appearance » Disable Widgets page and click on the Dashboard Widgets tab.

Select the widgets you want to hide from the dashboard screen and click on the save changes button to store your settings.

You can now visit the dashboard page to see it in action.

Disabled dashboard widgets in WordPress

You will notice that the widgets you selected to remove are no longer visible on the dashboard or inside screen options menu. You can also create your own custom WordPress dashboard widgets to display on the dashboard.

We hope this article helped you learn how to disable unwanted widgets in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to hide unnecessary items from WordPress admin area.

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How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress (Ultimate Guide)

Google Analytics is the standard when it comes to web analytics tools. But many WordPress users struggle when it comes time to actually add Google Analytics to WordPress and start tracking their site. To help with that, we’re going to show you how to add Google Analytics to WordPress using a few different methods.

First, we’ll show you a simple way to add Google Analytics to WordPress using a free plugin. Then, we’ll show you four more ways – how to manually add the Google Analytics tracking code directly to your theme and how to use a slightly more advanced Google Analytics plugin to both add the tracking code to your site and view basic stats about your site right inside your WordPress dashboard. You could also add Google Analytics to your site with the Google Tag Manager or sync it locally for those of you picky about performance.

We’ll show you the complete process for each method – the only thing we’ll assume is that you already have signed up for a Google Analytics account. If you haven’t, you can go ahead and do that here. Then, if one of these methods has already piqued your interest, you can click one of these links to jump straight there:

Method 1: Add Google Analytics to WordPress With Analytics Cat

Analytics Cat is a lightweight Google Analytics plugin that literally only takes a couple of minutes to set up. While it is lightweight, the advantage of Analytics Cat over other lightweight tools is that it has some Google Analytics-specific functionality that lets you exclude certain logged-in users from being tracked to ensure the integrity of your Google Analytics data.

Analytics Cat WordPress plugin

Analytics Cat WordPress plugin

It currently over 4,000 active installs with a 5 out of 5-star rating. To use the plugin, first install and activate it like you would any other WordPress plugin. Because it’s listed at WordPress.org, you can do so directly from your WordPress dashboard by going to Plugins → Add New:

How to install Analytics Cat

How to install Analytics Cat

Once you activate the plugin, go to Settings → Google Analytics Manager to complete the setup.

On the first page, the plugin will ask to connect your site. That’s not necessary to use it. Feel free to click Skip This Step:

Skip this step

Skip this step

Now, all you need to do is enter your Google Analytics ID and choose which users to exclude from tracking:

Analytics Cat configuration interface

Analytics Cat configuration interface

We recommend leaving the Exclude Users option as the default.

To find your Google Analytics ID, head to your Google Analytics account. Once you’re logged in:

 

    • Click the Gear icon to access your administration page
    • Select Tracking Info to expand the list
    • Select Tracking Code

How to find Google Analytics Tracking ID

How to find Google Analytics Tracking ID

On the next screen, you should see your Tracking ID:

Your Google Analytics Tracking ID

Your Google Analytics Tracking ID

Copy that value. Then, head back to your WordPress site and paste your Tracking ID into Analytics Cat. Then, click Save to activate your tracking:

Add Google Analytics to WordPress With Analytics Cat

Finish the configuration

That’s it! As your site receives traffic, you should be able to view its stats in your Google Analytics dashboard.

Method 2: Manually Add Google Analytics to WordPress Child Theme

If you’d prefer not to use a plugin, it’s also fairly simple to add the Google Analytics tracking code directly to your WordPress theme via your functions.php file.

If you go the manual route, though, it’s essential that you use a WordPress child theme. Otherwise, your tracking code will be overwritten every time you update your WordPress theme.

We have a guide on how to get started with WordPress child themes if you’re not sure what to do.

To do things manually, the easiest way is to paste your Google Analytics Tracking Code right before the closing </head> tag in your header.php file.

To find your Google Analytics Tracking Code, go to your Google Analytics account. Then:

 

  • Click the Gear icon to access your administration page
  • Select Tracking Info to expand the list
  • Select Tracking Code

How to find Google Analytics Tracking ID

How to find Google Analytics Tracking ID

On the next screen, look for the script inside the Website Tracking box:

Google Analytics Website Tracking code

Google Analytics Website Tracking code

This is the script you need to insert in your header.php file.

To add it, go to Appearance → Editor and select the header.php file for your child theme.

Paste the Google Analytics Tracking Code right before the </head> tag in the Editor:

Add Google Analytics Tracking Code to header.php

Add Google Analytics Tracking Code to header.php

Then, make sure to click Update File. Your Google Analytics tracking code is now active. Another option is you could utilize a free plugin like Header and Footer which allows you to easily add code to your WordPress header.

Method 3: Add Google Analytics to WordPress With Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

If you want more functionality than Analytics Cat, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is a free plugin that:

 

  • Helps you add Google Analytics to WordPress
  • Lets you view basic stats about your site right from your WordPress dashboard
  • Gives you access to advanced features like outbound link tracking, other Event tracking options, and custom dimensionsAdd Google Analytics Tracking Code to header.phpThen, make sure to click Update File. Your Google Analytics tracking code is now active. Another option is you could utilize a free plugin like Header and Footer which allows you to easily add code to your WordPress header.

    Method 3: Add Google Analytics to WordPress With Google Analytics Dashboard for WPIf you want more functionality than Analytics Cat, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is a free plugin that:

  • Helps you add Google Analytics to WordPress
  • Lets you view basic stats about your site right from your WordPress dashboard
  • Gives you access to advanced features like outbound link tracking, other Event tracking options, and custom dimensions

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin

It currently has over 1 million active installs with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. To use the plugin, you can install it directly from your dashboard by going to Plugins → Add New and searching for it:

Install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Once you activate the plugin, go to the new Google Analytics tab and click the button to Authorize Plugin:

Authorize Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Authorize Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

On the next screen, click Get Access Code to get the code needed to authorize the plugin:

Get Google Analytics access code

Get Google Analytics access code

On the next screen, choose your Google account that you use to access Google Analytics:

Select your Google Analytics account

Select your Google Analytics account

Then, click Allow on the next screen:

Allow access to Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Allow access to Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

On the next screen, you’ll see the access code that you need. Copy that value:

 

Your access code

Your access code

Then, paste that code into the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP interface and click Save Access Code:

Save access code

Save access code

And that’s it! Your Google Analytics tracking is now active.

If you want to exclude certain users from being tracked, you can go to Tracking Code → Exclude Tracking to further configure how your tracking code functions:

Exclude certain user roles from tracking

Exclude certain user roles from tracking

The Tracking Code area is also where you can set up more advanced options like Event Tracking.

You’ll also be able to view stats for any post on your site by going to the Posts tab in your dashboard:

View stats in your dashboard

View stats in your dashboard Method 4: Add Google Analytics With Google Tag Manager

Another method you can use to add Google Analytics to WordPress is by using the Google Tag Manager. This is really meant to be used for those of you with a lot of scripts, not just Analytics. Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to quickly and easily update tags and code snippets on your website or mobile app, such as those intended for traffic analysis and marketing optimization. You can add and update scripts from the Tag Manager user interface instead of editing site code in WordPress directory. This reduces errors and frees you from having to involve a developer when configuring tags.

The easiest way to do this is to use DuracellTomi’s free Google Tag Manager WordPress plugin. It currently has over 100,000 active installs with a 4.5 out of 5-star rating.

DuracellTomi's Google Tag Manager for WordPress plugin

DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager for WordPress plugin

You can download the Google Tag Manager plugin from the WordPress repository or by searching for it under “Add New” plugins in your WordPress dashboard. You will then need to signup for a Google Tag Manager account if you haven’t already and setup Google Analytics. We recommend following the official documentation on how to install Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager.

Once you have completed the above you can copy your container ID from the Google Tag Manager dashboard.

container ID Google Tag Manager

container ID Google Tag Manager

Then return to your WordPress site and paste your Google Tag Manager ID in the plugin’s settings.

Google Tag Manager ID

Google Tag Manager ID

Any tag you have setup in Google Tag Manager will now work on your WordPress site using the plugin.

Method 5: Sync Google Analytics Locally for Performance Reasons

The final method you can use is to sync the Google Analytics script locally on your own server. Please be aware though that this isn’t supported by Google. But a couple reasons you might want to do this is that you can reduce your external HTTP requests to Google from 2 down to 1 and you now have full control over the caching of the file. This means you can utilize your own server’s cache headers.

You have also probably seen the leverage browser caching warning in Google PageSpeed Insights that comes from Google Analytics.  This is kind of ironic seeing as this is Google’s own script. The issue is that they set a low 2 hour cache time on their asset, as seen in the screenshot below. They most likely do this because if for some reason they were to modify something on their end, they want all users to get the changes as fast as possible.  However there is a way to get around this, and that is by hosting Google Analytics script on your own server.

leverage browser caching-pagespeed insights analytics

Google Analytics caching

There is a great free little plugin called the Complete Analytics Optimization Suite or CAOS for short, created and developed by Daan van den Bergh, which allows you to host Google Analytics locally on your WordPress website. It currently has over 9,000 active installs with a 5 out of 5-star rating.

Complete Analytics Optimization Suite

Complete Analytics Optimization Suite

You can download Complete Analytics Optimization Suite from the WordPress repository or by searching for it under “Add New” plugins in your WordPress dashboard. The plugin allows you to host your Google Analytics JavaScript file (analytics.js) locally and keep it updated using wp_cron(). Other features include being able to easily anonymize the IP address of your visitors, set an adjusted bounce rate, and placement of the script (header or footer).

Just install the plugin, enter your Google Analytics Tracking ID, and the plugin adds the necessary tracking code for Google Analytics to your WordPress website, downloads and saves the analytics.js file to your server and keeps it updated using a scheduled script in wp_cron(). We recommend also setting it to load in the footer. Note: This plugin won’t work with other Google Analytics WordPress plugins.

Settings to sync Google Analytics locally

Settings to sync Google Analytics locally Summary

And that wraps up our guide on four different ways how to add Google Analytics to WordPress.

If you’re just a casual WordPress user, we recommend using one of the two plugin methods. But, again, if you’d prefer not to use a plugin, it’s also quite easy to add Google Analytics tracking code directly into your theme files. Just make sure to use a child theme so that your tracking code doesn’t get overwritten when you update your theme. And for those of you really pick about performance, you can also sync Google Analytics locally.

Have any thoughts or different methods you use to add Google Analytics to WordPress? If so, we would love to here them below.

 

 

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