5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Dog Trainers Websites

5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Dog Trainers Websites

Wordpress plugins for dog trainers websites

You’ve got your WordPress website set up and now you want to add some bells and whistles. Here are the 5 Must Have plugins to get you – and keep you – up and running.

Useful WordPress Plugins for Dog Trainers Websites

Security

You many not think your little local dog training website could be a victim of hacking and viruses, but think again. Hacking and viruses can take many forms and can effect your Google rankings. Google can blacklist your site for security reasons, or a virus can redirect all your links to spam topics and degrade your page rank. Yikes!

iThemes Security is a free plugin with some really nice security features that’s easy to use. Just head on over to the Dashboard and let iThemes Security guide you through all the settings. Fix High Priority settings first, then move down to Medium and Low.

There are a number of Brute Force Attack security items that are really helpful. A Brute Force Attack is a computer attempting to log into the Admin area of your website in order to take it over. First, you can set the plugin to lockout anyone after 3 login attempts. Note that if you do this you may lock yourself out, so be sure to keep your login information up to date.

You can also hide the login page (wp-login.php, wp-admin, admin, and login) altogether, making it harder to find by automated attacks and making it easier for users unfamiliar with the WordPress platform to remember. Try /abracadabra or /click-and-treat to personalize the url you go to to login.

Although iThemes Security is very user friendly, you can get some support on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

Setting up your website correctly and using your target keywords in the content is the only way to get on the first page of Google search results. The old days of listing a ton of Metatag keywords are over. Content is king and Google is very good at determining what is useful.

Yoast SEO is a hardcore helper in helping you get higher search rankings. Take the Introductory Tour after installing the plugin to get an idea of your options. You can automatically change blog titles, enter Webmaster Tools verification codes, and create XML maps to enter into Google Webmaster Tools so your website is indexed correctly.

On each page or post you can enter Focus Keywords in an analysis window and the plugin will determine your keyword density for that page. You can change page titles and enter Meta descriptions for specific SEO purposes right on each post. If you’re sharing blog posts, you can dictate how they appear on individual social media platforms by clicking on the Social tab. If you want a specific photo, description, or title to appear on Facebook posts versus Twitter posts, you can do that!

Although Yoast SEO is very user friendly, you can get some support on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

“What Did I Just Do?”

One of the problems dog trainers have with maintaining their own websites is having the time. During slow periods you can get a lot done, but it may be two or three months before you get back to it again.

When you have the time you may spend a few hours trying to tweak something specific. You’ve posted in a support forum, done a search on Google and found a bit of code. You follow the instructions and “Oh my gosh! It works! Hurray!” A few months later when you want to change something else you have no idea what you changed, where you found whatever you changed, or even how to undo it to make your new idea work. What do you do?

Keep program and change notes in the WP Admin Microblog. The Microblog is a backend blog that is hidden from visitors to your website. It works just like a mini-blog with post titles and the ability to attach media files and search previous entries. You can use it to paste little bits of code you get from support sources, then enter a description of what it does, hit “save” and you have a record in case you need to undo something later. Do you need a place to put design ideas or links to things you find on other sites that you like? Just create a blog post with the link and you can refer back to it when you get more time.

Although the WP Admin Microblog is very user friendly, you can get some support on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

Mobile Versions

One of the biggest changes to Google search result rankings is the penalty for not having a Mobile friendly version of your website. You must have a mobile version. Period.

While some Templates are responsive, the design may not be exactly as you would like. A smaller version of your main website is groovy, but what if you could really tweak it so Mobile users can find what they need more quickly?

Enter the WPtouch Mobile Plugin. You change the title, set a Mobile specific landing page, tweak menu items, show comments in popup bubbles, and add sharing links for your pages and posts.

Although the WPtouch Mobile Plugin is very user friendly, you can get some support on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

Widgets for Newsletters

Allowing visitors to sign up for your newsletter with no fuss or time requirement is a great way to target new clients. Most newsletter services have plugins to help you out. Each plugin has a shortcode for putting a sign up field on a page or post, as well as a widget to go in a sidebar or on the front page.

MailChimp for WP allows you to link to a specific mailing list so you can capture visitor emails separately from your existing list.  As an example, if you want to do a discount for signing up for your newsletter you’ll know who gets the discount and who doesn’t. Support is available on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

Constant Contact for WP allows you to link to a specific mailing list, operate registration for an event, track Analytics, and design your own form. Support is available on the official WordPress Plugin forum.

Related Article: Our Favorite WordPress Themes for Dog Trainers

Did we miss one of your favorite plugins? Leave us a note in the comments below!

5 Great WordPress Themes for Dog Trainers Websites

5 Great WordPress Themes for Dog Trainers Websites

Wordpress Themes for Dog Trainers Websites

You’ve realized your website needs an upgrade and have decided to use WordPress to build it. One of the cool things about WordPress is you get to start with a template. Templates are basically a design framework that allow you to plug your own photos and text into and you end up with a snazzy site. Some templates come with plugins built in and some templates integrate with plugins better than others. Before purchasing a template, make sure it’s going to integrate with what you want to do.

We’ve put together the best options for paid and free templates. Why pay for a template? The paid options below come with technical support. If you’re new to WordPress and aren’t quite sure you can get started alone, paid options with support are a nice medium between full DIY and paying someone to build a site for you.

 

Our Favorite WordPress Themes for Dog Trainers

Organized Themes – Paid

Forward Theme by Organized Themes

Image via Organized Themes

Organized Themes has a full range of templates available for your site. While some of them are designs for restaurants or stores with huge photos to showcase products, templates designed for non-profits are awesome, especially if you are a non-profit. Rescue organizations and humane societies can use the “Donate Now” button on the front page for fundraising efforts. If you’re not a non-profit, use the large action button for “Register today!”
All Non-Profit Themes, but we specifically like the Forward theme.

Support is delivered by a growing Knowledge Base and Support Forums. All questions in the forums are answered by the developer himself. Since he doesn’t have a full support team, customer support does have specific hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, Central Standard Time GMT -5.

Pricing for these templates are based on either a single theme or period of access to all themes. A single theme with lifetime support and no monthly fee is $59.  If you want to try out a bunch of themes before you settle on one, choose the 6 month membership for $89. This gives you access to all the templates as well as support for 6 months. If you don’t need support after the 6 months is up no further payment is needed.

Elegant Themes – Paid

Trim Theme by Elegant Themes

Image via Elegant Themes

Elegant Themes has 87 templates, which can make decisions difficult! Since Google now drops your search placement if your website is not Mobile friendly, stick to browsing the Responsive templates. We like the clean look of the Trim template. Remember, if the template has huge photos you will need to fill those spaces with your own graphics. For many of trainers that could be a problem.

Support is delivered by Documentation, step by step guide for template installation, and Support Forums. All questions in the forums are answered by Elegant technical support.

Pricing is an annual membership fee that gives you access to all 87 templates. The best option is $69 for a year. Once you’re all set up you can cancel your subscription and keep your final website for life.

Customizr – Free or Paid

Customizr Theme

Image via WordPress

If you’re ready to go full DIY, you can download the free version of Cuztomizr, or get the Pro version, which includes access to Premium Support.

Customizr lives up to its name. It’s fully customizable with the Live Preview option, so you see your changes “live,” but unpublished. Checkboxes toggle front page items on and off, the color picker means you get to choose the exact color you want, and you get to use your own logo. This template supports most plugins and is fully responsive for mobile users.

Free Support is available through the official WordPress Customizer forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common. Start with the Documentation, some of your questions may be answered there.  Paid Support is available from the developer though a Support Forum using an activation key. Questions are answered by “WordPress Experts,” which means carefully chosen Super Users and not necessarily the developer. Paid support is $44.95 per year.

i-transform – Free

wordpress theme for dog trainers

Image via WordPress

i-transform is template with smaller spaces for photos, which means you don’t need to come up with huge, splashy graphics on the home page. It’s Mobile friendly and comes with a toolkit plugin for customization. While the finished theme looks awesome, this is very much a DIY project that will require you to read the documentation on the theme and the toolkit plugin that comes bundled with it to make the initial setup easier.

Free Support is available through the official WordPress i-transform forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common. Start with the i-transform Tutorial available from the developer. Some of your questions may be answered there.

Hueman – Free

Hueman Theme

Image via WordPress

Hueman is one of the more complicated templates due to the variability of sliding menus, headers and footers, and widgets. If you offer a lot of services, have multiple locations, or a lot of staff, utilize the three column front page so visitors can find what they need easily. This template is a very difficult DIY project, so you’ll need familiarity with WordPress and templates and some coding.

Free Support is available through the developer’s Documentation, and the official WordPress Hueman forum. Questions will be answered by either SuperUsers or the developer, but Super Users are more common.

Recommended Article: 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Dog Trainers Websites

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