Plugins We Like: WooCommerce

E Commerce is the transaction of money made through the Internet. Having a reliable way to make such transactions is crucial especially when your entire business depends on it. This is why WooCommerce is our go-to ecommerce plugin.

WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin created to allow you to sell absolutely anything, from physical object to digital tools. It is also one of the most used for online stores on WordPress, which could be because of the full control WooCommerce provides to both store owners and web developers. With this plug in you get control of the following:


-Bookings (for restaurants, hotels, etc.)

– Memberships and subscriptions

-Shipping Rate

-Shipping locations

-Transaction type

-Shipping company


We asked our designers and developers Stacey, Clair and Azizul what their opinions are on WooCommerce and why it is our most favorable ecommerce plugin. According to their experiences, they have found WooCommerce to be highly customizable and easy to manage items. They also agreed it is very user friendly for clients with multiple built-in payment options and easy checkout process. They did point out, however, that there are many premium plugins that require payment so, not all the customization options are free. Another important fact to note is that this interface is most useful for small to medium ecommerce businesses. If you are a small, startup retail business owner, WooCommerce would be the best option for you.

Plugins We Like: WP Job Manager

In the past we have made a post on reasons why your company should consider posting job opportunities on your website. We have mentioned benefits like saving money, easy sharing, grabbing web surfers’ attention, and more (visit the blog here). Well, today we are highlighting our favorite job listing plugin, WP Job Manager. Not only does this allow you to post job opportunities directly onto your site, but it also allows you to manage those job listings. This job manager has many features that make the plugin one of our favorites.  

An important thing to point out about the WP Job Manager plugin is that it is very simple to set up and works well with many themes. One of the plugin’s best features is that it allows fully managing, categorizing, and adding as many job listing as available. When submitting the listing, it allows you to preview it first. You are also able to link each listing to either an email or website address to allow job seekers to easily apply. Job seekers can also be alerted whenever a new job matching is available through RSS links.

We asked two of our designers, Phil and Jose, for some insight on the WP Job Manager plugin and how they felt about it. Even though this is a great job management plugin, they both agreed on one flaw: it is difficult to customize. According to Phil and Jose, once the plugin has been added, it easily grasps the theme of most templates but it can be difficult to adjust it to customized websites. However, they both agree that once it is implemented, it handles data well and does a great job at managing an unlimited amount of job listing and applications.  

Plugins We Like: Events Calendar by Modern Tribe

The latest version of the Events Calendar by Modern Tribe is Sperling Interactive’s go-to calendar plugin for our clients’ website. When researching the features of this calendar you may find a lot of great aspects including: its saved venues and organizers, its inclusion of Google map, the list of upcoming events, the option to export events into Google Calendar and iCal, its responsiveness from mobile devices to desktop, and its availability to internationalize and translate the descriptions.

Of course, when researching anything you may come across many positive and negative reviews, so I decided to ask one of our developers, Andrew, what he thought about the plugin to get more information.

When I asked Andrew how he felt about it, he said it was the best calendar plugin out of the other free options. He also said that aside from reviews claiming that it is a highly customizable option, it isn’t as customizable as one would think. “It works well as a template and it’s customizable in the way you view the events and the different templates options,” he said, “but making small changes to the templates can be a difficult.” According to Andrew, in order to make changes to those templates many other plugins need to be incorporated.

When I asked Andrew what were some things he liked about the events calendar he mentioned how once the plugin is installed it immediately incorporates the existing theme or color of the website. He also likes how the pieces to customize the calendar are all there, even though “getting them to where you need them takes more work.”

Overall, Andrew said he would recommend this calendar plugin to others because “for a free plugin it’s extensive” but to “be weary that needing super extensive things might be a little more challenging.”

WordPress Security Tips – Charlotte Hyland

WordPress is our preferred content management system here at Sperling Interactive. There are so many ways to customize WordPress and make it your own. With thousands of plugins and the ability to create custom post types and templates, the possibilities are endless. With all of this freedom comes responsibility. The more that a WordPress site is open to the outside world, via plugins and third party templates, the more security can become an issue. Here are our top tips and methods for keeping all of our client sites safe and secure.

Don’t Let Updates Get You Down

Keeping your WordPress site and plugins up-to-date is crucial to maintaining a safe website. The trouble we most encounter when a client comes to us with an old website is that it hasn’t been updated in many months, or sometimes years! Updating these sites can become an issue, as sometimes the older plugins are no longer maintained by the original developer, and can have compatibility issues with newer versions of WordPress. We always make a backup of the database and cross our fingers! When updating your site, you should make a backup of the database, especially if it’s been a while since your last update. If you have access to your website hosting, you can log into phpMyAdmin and export the database file. If you’re not super technically savvy, you can use a plugin like WP-DB-Backup ( to help you. If you break the site during an update, you will need to restore the backup. This tends to be a more technical task, so ask a web developer for help!

Keeping track of when plugins need to be updated can be a pain. The plugin Wordfence can be configured to send you emails if there is an update available for a plugin or WordPress core. This is a great security plugin that I will discuss later in this blog.

Use Plugins Responsibly

Oh WordPress plugins. A great example that you can have “too much of a good thing.” WordPress plugins are great, most are free, and they can help you add many features to your site that would otherwise require hiring a fancy web developer. Do you need an event calendar, photo slideshow, or a contact form? Plugins have got you covered. Most are easy to use and compatible with WordPress and other plugins.

As a developer, I approach plugins as I approach shopping. Is this something I need, or something I want? Is this a feature I could code myself? You should only use plugins you absolutely need for your site to run as it should. Because plugins are written by third party companies and developers, there can be security holes. A malicious hacker could get their hands on the code of a plugin and add something that could inject spam or break your website. If a plugin hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, this means that the developer has likely abandoned it, and you can’t guarantee that in that time a hacker hasn’t gotten his or her hands on the code. Here’s my checklist when choosing a plugin…

  • Has the plugin been updated in the past two years at least?
  • Does the plugin have good ratings?
  • Do I have a similar plugin already installed on my site? (If you have contact form plugins installed on your site, there might be a conflict in the code and one or both of the forms could break)
  • Does the plugin have good documentation or support? (If I run into an issue and need help, I want to make sure there’s someone there to help me)

Security Plugins

Wordfence Security ( has proved to be an invaluable tool for keeping our client’s sites secure and up to date. Here are some of our favorite features…

  • Blocking repeated login attempts: Wordfence can detect when a hacker or bot is trying over an over again to log into your site. You can set up Wordfence to block their IP address for as little as 5 minutes to as long as 2 days. You can then log into your site and manually block that IP address permanently. When using this featured you will begin to notice that some hackers use a bunch of different IP addresses from all over the world when attacking a site. So if their IP address in Russia is blocked, they will try logging into your site using their IP address in Germany instead. Wordfence can keep blocking these attempts until the hacker gives up and moves on to wreak havoc on another website.
  • Notifications of Available Updates: You can configure Wordfence to notify you when plugins or the WordPress core needs to be updated.
  • Malicious Code Notifications: If your site does get hacked, Wordfence is there to help you clean up the mess. When malicious code is detected on your site, Wordfence will send you a notification. It will tell you which files on your site contain the malicious code, so you know exactly where to clean house.

Jetpack ( )is a robust plugin that is created by the WordPress team, so you know you can trust the code. Not only does it have some security features, like protecting your site against brute force attacks, and notifying you if your site goes down, but there at a ton of other features, like share buttons, contact forms, and cool photo galleries.

Overview and Some Quick Security Tips

  • Delete any unused themes. If a theme is older, a hacker could break into your site that way.
  • Keep plugins and WordPress core updated
  • Do not use “admin” or “user” as your WordPress user name. These are the first user names that hackers and bots try when attempting to log into your site. It’s as bad as using “password” as your password.
  • Only use the plugins you need. If you’re no longer using a plugin, delete it.
  • Install Wordfence and check out some of the features. This is an amazing plugin for security and general website maintenance.
  • WordPress comes with Akismet ( Use it. This plugin helps control spam comments on your blog, and also controls malicious code being entered as a comment.

If you do get hacked, call us- we can help! We also offer a monthly maintenance package, so if you don’t want to deal with pesky updates, we can take care of it for you.

SEO Plugin for WordPress

WordPress “out of the box”  is technically wonderful but adding plugins can customize and improve your WordPress experience.  Last month we looked at the Events Calendar Plugin for WordPress.  This month we are discussing how to improve your SEO by fully optimizing your WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin,  Ranked 4.7 stars out of 5, this plugin was written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects.

According to, this SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. Writing better content is easier with this plugin as well.  It allows a preview of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. In addition this plugin checks Page Analysis for example on: images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing the focus keyword for that post.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. Once you check the box, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps existence. These XML sitemaps include the images in your posts & pages too, so that your images may be found better in the search engines too.

Plug Ins – Events Calendar for Word Press

Plug Ins or “add ons” are a type of software component that adds a specific feature to an existing software application, for example, Word Press.  These Plug Ins allow for customization for your company’s needs.  Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. Currently Word Press has over 32, 000 Plug ins for you to customize your site.  Let’s look at one of our favorite plug ins that Word Press offers: Events Calendar.

The Events Calendar is a newly rebuilt feature that allows you easily share your events with others.  The Events Calendar is built and supported by WordPress artisans Modern Tribe. According to Modern Tribe “The Events Calendar is the most widely used WordPress Plugin for event management and calendar display, with over 1 million downloads to date. It’s in use with Fortune 100 companies, major universities, government agencies, and thousands of start ups, musicians, venues, restaurants, religious organizations and non-profits.”

It is so simple to use it can be used right out of the box.  Just configure the settings to match your company’s needs and you’ll be making events within less than 5 minutes. For many people, this is all they will ever need. Others may want to add on customizable items.  Upgrade to be able to use additional widgets, recurring events, additional calendar views and advanced administrative capabilities. Need to allow site users to submit events to your calendar? Take a look at the Community Events plugin. Or if you need to add events to Facebook or other social media you can automatically import events from Facebook with Facebook Events.   Check out Events Calendar from WordPress.