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11 Best WooCommerce Elementor Themes for 2021


WooCommerce and Elementor. These are probably the two most popular words in the world of WordPress today. One is a page builder, the other is a fully-functioning eCommerce plugin. If you can combine them together, then you get the best of both worlds. To do this, you need to find the right theme. Here are some of the best WooCommerce Elementary themes out there today.

To enhance the shopping experience, an Elementor WooCommerce theme is a great choice. Both of these will combine together and run perfectly on the WordPress platform.

Elementor will give you all the page building tools you need to create and design a site without touching code. WooCommerce will provide the eCommerce solution that allows you to sell physical and digital goods online in just a few steps.

How to Use WooCommerce With Elementor

If you have been wondering how to use WooCommerce with Elementor, then you are in the right place. Truth be told, the page builder that Elementor provides works just about the same way as any other WordPress related content does.

The page builder gives you the opportunity to design beautiful pages using a drag and drop technique. WooCommerce has functionality that works well with Elementor and the page builder technique.

That being said, there are specific themes that work best for using both these products together. The trick is finding the best WooCommerce Elementor themes out there. You want to be able to use all the functionality that both things offer, so when put together, you can build things like product listings and pages on the fly.

WooCommerce brings with it peace of mind because you know it is secure and reliable. Combine it with the most popular WordPress page builder around, and you will have the ability to create something really amazing.

Here are some of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes out there right now.

Best WooCommerce Elementor Themes

1. Hello

Hello woocommerce elementor themes

Starting off our list of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes is one directly from Elementor called Hello. Not only is this arguably the very best theme available to combine the two together, but it is also one of the free WooCommerce themes from Elementor.

This theme is perfect for Elementor and allows you to do all sorts of great things. Aside from giving you the ability to create modern landing pages and other types, the theme really hits it out of the park because of the integrated WooCommerce builder that is included.

With a responsive design, fast and secure code, and the ability to design and build around WooCommerce, Hello is definitely a theme you want to check out.

2. Porto

Porto Theme

Porto is a multipurpose WordPress theme that is fully compatible with WooCommerce and Elementor. The theme can be used universally with just about any plugins and gives users the ability to build a fantastic online store.

There are over 90 demo sites included in the package, all of which are designed specifically by the Elementor page builder. There is also a built-in studio function along with the ability to build as many different layouts as you want.

Combine that with the added customizations you will find for WooCommerce, and you have yourself one of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes available out there.

3. WooStroid

WooStroid Theme

WooStroid is another one of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes out there today. The theme gives you a nice little way to work the combo of both products. There is a ton of functionality, a lot of different templates and layouts, and the ability to sell anything you want using an almost unlimited number of product page layouts.

There are also multiple areas for widgets, and the theme works great with Gutenberg. Honestly, this theme has it all.  While not as well known as some of the other themes on this list, it definitely packs a punch and gives you all the tools you need to build an amazing online shop using WooCommerce and Elementor.

4. The Retailer

The retailer woocommerce elementor themes

The Retailer is one of those must-have (or at least must try) WordPress themes that is perfectly compatible with WooCommerce. It has built-in color swatches for WooCommerce, several different page layout options, and even more when Elementor is attached.

The theme handles both the WooCommerce and Elementor plugins perfectly and also comes with an easy setup process. It has tons of WooCommerce related options to go along with the color swatches. 

With flexible layouts and mobile-friendly designs, the Retailer theme gives you the ability to sell any type of item online in a number of different ways.

5. Claue

Claue Theme

If you are interested in a minimalist look on your site, while at the same time being able to use WooCommerce and Elementor to their fullest potential, then Claue is a theme you will want to take a look at.

This theme is responsive and mobile-friendly, and it can be used for an online shop, blog, or portfolio. There are multiple header and footer layout options, and more importantly, a ton of built-in WooCommerce options that you can use in the Elementor page builder.

Product variation swatches, color swatch gallery images, product video thumbnails, custom tabs, custom layouts, and a categories filter are just the tip of the iceberg as far as what you get.

With plenty of built-in theme demos and an easy-to-use and understand control panel, Claue is the theme to use for any minimalist designer.

6. OuiOui

OuiOui Theme

OuiOui is a theme that allows you to build an online marketplace quickly and easily by using the combination of WooCommerce and Elementor. The theme comes with over 10 home page layouts built-in, is mobile friendly and responsive, and provides multi-vendor support if needed.

There is an easy-to-use, one-click demo import system, along with a hot deal slider, daily countdowns, product live search, and color and image swatches. It has a very modern design and provides users with WooCommerce product blocks. 

With easy customization options, powerful theme options, and featured video thumbnail support, the OuiOui theme is worth a look if you are trying to build an online marketplace.

7. Zita Storefront

Zita Storefront theme

Zita Storefront is actually a free WooCommerce Elementor theme that you can download whenever you want. It provides a ready-to-use front page for a store and is fully compatible with WooCommerce.

Even better? Add on the Elementor page builder and you have a fully free way to build a mobile-friendly, fully-functioning online store.

Set the front page up how you want while using Elementor. Then go ahead and use WooCommerce to build product pages, categories, display types, and so much more.

The Zita theme is one of the best free ways to get a store online using all of the plugins described in this article. Give it a look if you are starting from scratch and looking to save some money early in the setup process.

8. Neve

Neve Theme

Neve uses a mobile-first approach in its theme and combines that with AMP. Then, it allows WooCommerce and Elementor page builder integration so that you can build a high-end, mobile-first online shop that people can easily access from anywhere, on any device.

The theme is fast and lightweight, easy to use, has a lot of built-in page designs and layouts, always has new features being added, and perhaps the most attractive feature, it is free.

The Neve theme is well-known for its amazingly fast load time. The site usually loads inside a second if it has been built and optimized correctly. You can then add WooCommerce and Elementor and really drive up the functionality and layout options of the site.

However, even with those plugins added in, the site remains fast and keeps its load time in-tact. Give Neve a look if you need something fast, mobile-first, and free to use.

9. Aora

Aora woocommerce elementor themes

Aora is a lifestyle theme that is fully compatible with WooCommerce and has everything already built-in. The theme is also compatible with all the different marketplace apps, so you can easily use it to start an online multivendor marketplace. 

Unlike some of the other themes about there where you have to install WooCommerce and Elementor when you activate the theme, Aora already has the page builder and eCommerce plugin built-in and ready to roll.

There are dozens of pre-built home pages, mobile layouts, smart cart popup functionality, Ajax live search, product filters, and even amazing-looking blog pages. The theme gives you everything you need and so much more to use WooCommerce and Elementor in one place to build an incredible online store.

10. Sober

Sober theme

Sober is another one of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes available. The theme makes it easy for you to sell just about anything online using the combination of WooCommerce and Elementor.

It has tons of plugin features and widget areas, a mini cart, unlimited color schemes, a built-in slider with smooth effects, and multiple column styles with advanced widgets.

With minimal design options for the minimalist in you, this is a great choice. It has a mobile-ready layout and design with over 16 pre-built demos you can use. The Sober theme is definitely one you want to check out on your journey toward finding the right theme.

11. Agota

Agota woocommerce elementor themes

Rounding out our list of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes available is one called Agota. Once again, this theme, like the rest of them on this list, gives you the ability to craft and design a fully-functional online store using WooCommerce and Elementor.

There are quite a few built-in and pre-made site demos to use. There is also something else unique about this theme. They call it the “Agota Store.”

This is a built-in store function provided by the theme. It allows you to use quick, one-click installs to import amazing store functionality to your site that is ready to go.

With a responsive and retina-ready design, mega menu support, customizable layouts, Ajax layered navigation, and order management, Agota gives you all you need to build an online store.

What Makes a Great WooCommerce Elementor Theme?

Truth be told, if you wanted to combine these, you can get it done on most WordPress themes. However, the theme suggestions above go a step further by being designed specifically for these two amazing products to work together.

Of course, you want to think about things like fast loading speeds, level of integration with WooCommerce, and conversion rate possibilities.

So, let’s talk about what makes a good WooCommerce Elementor theme. All of the themes above on this list have the functionality and options you would want.

Fast Load Time

First, a good theme needs to load fast. This needs to be the case no matter what. So, even the free WooCommerce themes for Elementor need to be able to load fast and perform properly.

Not only does a fast load time keep customers on your site longer, but it is also a very crucial part of overall website SEO.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how good a theme looks, if it isn’t optimized for performance correctly, then you are already behind the eight ball.

Flexibility

The next thing you want to make sure you have when selecting a WooCommerce Elementor theme is flexibility. Being able to customize all of the demo content to match your store is a must.

If you are not able to do this, then it becomes frustrating. You end up with an online store that doesn’t look right and is mismatched from the start.

This leads to potential customers clicking away from your eCommerce store. You want the correct layout, customization, and functionality to be there.

Integration

Last, but definitely not least, you have to make sure that there is proper WooCommerce integration happening within Elementor. Remember, there is actually quite a big difference between being “compatible with WooCommerce” and being able to create an amazing shopping experience for your customers. 

With the right WooCommerce Elementor theme, you will be able to create an online shopping experience. Amazing features also help. Some of these include::

  • Trust Badges
  • Optimized Checkouts
  • Shopping Cart Optimization
  • Filters
  • Unique Product Pages 
  • Sales Badges
  • Reviews
  • Optimized Sales Channels
  • Social Interaction

All-in-all, you are looking for the eCommerce and Elementor theme integration to work as one smooth, fast, steady, online shopping experience.

Conclusion

WordPress has continued to grow and grow over the years. It is now the most popular website platform in the world. With it, things like WooCommerce and Elementor have thrived. It makes sense to combine both of them together.

This helps create a fantastic online shopping experience that is unique and fun for your customers.

I hope this article points you in the right direction of finding the best WooCommerce Elementor themes. You can’t go wrong with any of the suggestions on the list above.

Give them a look, try them out, and see what you think. Before you know it, you will have found one of the best WooCommerce Elementor themes available. Now, you can start building the online store of your dreams.

Good luck!



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A New Species of Monkey Was Discovered…and it’s Critically Endangered


One of the most interesting discoveries this year has been the discovery of 503 new species by the Natural History Museum. And one of the most unique discoveries is a new species of monkey, Popa Langur.

While you might envision that new discoveries happen in the wild, this one wasn’t. In fact, most are not.  Instead, it was discovered within a laboratory setting by analyzing the remains of older specimens within the museum.

Unfortunately, the new species was quickly classified as critically endangered. The population estimates range from 200 to 250. However, naming this new species of monkey will help it get the conservation protection it needs.

503 New Species

Discovery

While the Natural History Museum has been closed this year, scientists have still been working hard on discovering new life on Earth. And it really showed with the discovery of 503 new species.

For reference, in 2019, there were only 71 new species. Thus, 2020 saw over five times that number.

The majority of the discoveries came from beetles, which accounted for 170 of the new species. There were also a whopping 70 new species discovered in the wasp family. And there were even 10 new minerals.

For reference, there are only 6,000 species of minerals, so that was quite a significant finding.

There’s Plenty of More Species to Discover

There are plenty of samples within the museum to fully analyze. And of course, there are still new discoveries to make in the wild.

For instance, the remains used to identify the new species of monkey was received by the museum 100 years ago. Talk about a big backlog.

It’s extremely important to document these new species because climate change is threatening biodiversity. As it stands, it’s a race against time to discover species before they are taken by climate change.

Which new species interest you the most? Do you think 2021 will have more new species than 2020?



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8 Best Free SEO Tools for 2021


If there’s one thing every website owner can agree on, it’s the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). And over the years, there have been hundreds of SEO tools developers can take advantage of to give their rankings a boost.

What Is Search Engin Optimization (SEO)?

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of optimizing your website to display content the way search engines prefer. However, instead of search engines providing clear guidelines for what they are looking for, it’s a guessing game.

No seriously, it really is a guessing game. They provide the bare minimum when it comes to how rankings are displayed. This is because they want to reduce the chances of people trying to game the system with bad practices.

Thus, it is up to content creators to figure out what works best. And as a result, SEO tools have been designed based on information collected by thousands of websites to provide you with tips to optimize.

And to be perfectly clear, while there are multiple search engines in the world, the only one you should be focused on is Google. It dominates virtually every country in terms of search volume. Today, it accounts for 86.86% of the search engine market share.

It’s also safe to assume that if you optimize for Google, you optimize for all search engines.

Best SEO Tools to Boost Your Rankings in 2021

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

If you are looking for help finding keywords for your next blog, look no further than the Google Keyword Planner. Keywords are an essential part of SEO because they are the terms that visitors look for in search engines.

And as such, there’s no better option than Google itself when it comes to keyword research.

Luckily, the Keyword Planner is simple to use. You can search for individual keywords or some that are related to your website. The information you can view includes the frequency the keyword is searched for, how searches change over time, and even the competition you can expect.

Most notably is the inclusion of an advertisement budget.  This is in the form of a “Suggested Bid,” and its purpose is to provide a rough estimate of how many results the keyword is likely to bring up.

With that said, this estimate is based on Google searches and does not take into account your website’s social media efforts.

Benefits of Google Keyword Planner

  • Provides keyword information to help you pick out the most profitable option
  • Did I mention it’s free?
  • There is no limit on the number of keywords you can research

Price of Google Keyword Planner

2. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

When it comes to on-page SEO tools, there is no bigger name than Yoast SEO in the WordPress community. It is a comprehensive tool that provides SEO tips and helps improve the readability of your content for actual visitors.

After all, it’s easy to forget that the content is actually for real people.

On the SEO front, Yoast provides a variety of tips like keeping track of keyword usage, reminders to fill in the meta description, tracking the number of outbound and internal links, image alt attributes, and title width of your post to name a few.

It also helps you increase the readability of content by displaying the percentage of passive sentences, the Flesch reading score, catching consecutive sentences, checking the length of sentences, and more. All of these tips for both SEO and readability happen in real-time.

Benefits of Yoast SEO

  • Provides simple and effective SEO tips while writing
  • Checks the readability of your content to make sure visitors can enjoy it
  • All of the tips are in real-time

Price of Yoast SEO

  • There is a free WordPress plugin available
  • The premium version for one website costs $89

3. Ahrefs Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

Ahrefs Broken Link Checker is an excellent choice if you want to rid your website of broken links. Broken links can significantly hurt your rankings if search engine bots continuously find them, and that’s something you want to avoid.

Thus you need a tool that can check your entire website in a matter of seconds.

After all, websites that have been around for years likely have thousands of links, which means manually checking them on a daily basis is out of the question. This tool allows you to enter your website’s URL or any for that matter, and in seconds you can view broken links.

While the free version is a great starting point, the premium version has a variety of filtering options. You can search between internal or external links, the type of broken link, and much more. These options are ideal for larger websites.

Benefits of Ahrefs Broken Link Checker

  • View all broken links in a matter of seconds
  • Locate both internal and external broken links
  • Filtering options help big sites

Price of Ahrefs Broken Link Checker

  • A free version of the broken link checker is available
  • Ahrefs SEO plans start at $99 a month

4. Google Search Console

Google Search Console

The Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a free service to help website owners track technical problems that hurt your website’s rankings. Google will analyze and tell you exactly what your website is doing wrong.

And trust me, you are going to want tips directly from Google.

This includes being able to see your website’s performance for specific keywords over the last 16 months, a URL inspection tool, the ability to directly upload a sitemap to Google (you no longer have to wait for the bots), and mobile usability tracking tools.

It is important to note that almost every major search engine has a similar service. While I am mentioning Google Search Console, you may want to also take a look at others like the Bing Webmaster Tools. These tools are tailored for the specific search engine.

Benefits of Google Search Console

  • Optimization tips directly from Google
  • Checks the mobile usability of your website
  • Upload sitemaps directly to Google for fast results

Price of Google Search Console

5. Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps is a free WordPress plugin with over 2 million active installs. It focuses exclusively on generating a sitemap that can help search engine bots crawl through your website. It works on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com.

Everything the plugin does is automatic, so it doesn’t get any easier.

A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like, a map of your website. It contains a list of pages within a domain and search engines can use it to crawl through a website. This will ensure that the bots crawl through the pages you want them to and speeds up the indexing process.

In fact, you can speed up the process even faster by uploading your sitemap on the Google Search Console. For new website’s it could take anywhere from four days to four weeks before a search bot crawls through your content. Providing a sitemap to Google speeds it up tremendously.

Benefits of Google XML Sitemaps

  • Provides Sitemaps compatible with multiple search engines
  • The plugin does all the work, simply install it and press the button
  • Helps search bots navigate your website

Price of Google XML Sitemaps

  • It’s a free plugin for WordPress

6. Google My Business

Google My Business

If you own a business that only operates locally, optimizing your local SEO is critical for success. And Google My Business was designed with this thought in mind. This free service helps you customize how your business appears in both searches and on Google Maps.

And trust me, local businesses need all the help they can get.

I guarantee you have been taking this feature for granted as a user. If you’ve ever does a “stores near me” search on Google, you will see a list and Google map showing the location of stores that match your search.  As a result, it’s one of the most powerful SEO tools for local businesses.

This allows customers to find the location, business hours, the website for ordering online (essential for restaurants), phone number, and customer reviews. All of this information is added via the Google My Business service. Again similar services are available for other search engines like Bing Places for Business.

Benefits of Google My Business

  • Tremendously helps your local SEO
  • Helps customers find your business with Google Maps
  • Makes your phone number visible in searches

Price of Google My Business

7. GTmetrix

GTMetrix

Speed plays an important role in both the visitor experience and your rankings. In fact, it’s one of the very few confirmed factors Google uses in its rankings. GTmetrix can help you determine how fast your website is loading.

And it provides tips to help you improve the speed.

This tool provides an enormous amount of data that you can use to troubleshoot your pages. It provides a letter score based on the structure and performance of the website and how long it takes for various pages and elements to load.

For instance, if you have a very large media file like a banner on your homepage that takes too long to load, the tool will make you aware of that. By using the troubleshooting tips it provides, you can shave load time with minimal work.

And there’s even a free version available.

Benefits of GTmetrix

  • Provides numerous statistics about your website’s load speeds
  • Find out what’s slowing your load times
  • Compare your website speeds against the average

Price of GTmetrix

  • It’s a free SEO tool for online speed tests
  • A Solo plan starts at $10 per month
  • The Starter plan starts at $20 per month
  • The Growth plan starts at $40 per month

8. Scraper

Scraper

Have you ever wanted to see what the competition’s pages are ranking for? If so, then the Scraper extension for Google Chrome is an excellent choice. It allows you to datamine information from just about every page on the internet.

Although to get the most out of this tool, you need to have some basic HTML knowledge.

Let’s not beat around the bush, the competition that websites face has no equal. It is fierce and every website owner is doing everything within their power to get ahead. Thus, the idea of content scraping is born.

This is a technique that allows you to pull content from established web pages that are ranking highly and figure out why that is. As you can imagine, this isn’t an SEO tool to examine your website, it’s to look at the competition.

It can give you more insight into what the competition is doing better than you.

Benefits of Scraper

  • Allows you to see what the competition is doing on pages
  • View keywords they are ranking for
  • Easily sort through content on large pages

Price of Scraper

  • It’s a free extension for Google Chrome

Use Multiple SEO Tools

As you can see there is a great variety in the types of website SEO tools you can choose from. Some focus on finding keywords while others focus on the way content is written, and there are many other types of tools.

The biggest mistake you can make is limiting yourself to one tool because each one offers its own benefits.

Getting opinions from multiple sources is ideal in the SEO world, after all, the rules are constantly changing. Not every tool updates at the same speed, and that could cost you if it’s the one you rely on.

I highly recommend utilizing an analytical tool, keyword research tool, and an on-page SEO tool, like Yoast SEO. Utilizing these three types of tools in conjunction with one another will help tremendously, and there is no real disadvantage.

Content Matters

While many websites spend a tremendous amount of time writing to please Google, it’s important to remember that the content your write is for people. Even if you rank highly, the traffic you gain won’t last long if they start actively avoiding your posts.

This happens often to websites that regularly produce low effort content or use clickbait titles to draw in visitors. High-quality content is what makes successful websites, and SEO is how they are found.

Thus, even if you have the best SEO ranking, it will only result in a short-term gain.

What SEO tools do you use to boost your website’s rankings?



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Extreme Weather Events Linked to Climate Change Cost Billions in Damages


No one will be surprised when I say, “2020 has been a turbulent year.” And while Covid-19 has dominated the world’s news, other things have been going on. This year saw multiple extreme weather events that not only cost billions of dollars, but also thousands of lives.

According to a study conducted by Christian Aid, extreme events have cost the world over 145 billion dollars in damages and over 3,000 deaths. This study also does not take into consideration all of the damages caused by wildfires, thus, the total is significantly higher.

Many of the events that caused this damage include hurricanes, cyclones, windstorms, and floods. All of these can be linked back to climate change.

Climate Change Makes Extreme Weather Stronger

Climate change has been linked by numerous studies to the increase in extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

For instance, hurricanes form over warm water, and as the world’s temperature continues to rise, so does the ocean temperature. Thus, hurricanes are more likely to form and they are more likely to be powerful storms.

And in just 2020, 30 named storms occurred, which broke the record for most named storms in a hurricane season.

The increase in temperature is also raising the sea level. Which is making storm surges more destructive as they bypass coastal defenses. Thus, floods are happening more frequently and, by their nature, end up costing the most money to recover from.

And of course, there are forest fires.

As the extreme heat waves continue to affect regions of the planet and long droughts plague forests, they become susceptible to fire. This is why California suffered over 4 million acres of forest being burnt down.

Extreme Weather Is Preventable

CO2

While extreme weather events like hurricanes will continue even if we can halt climate change, we can limit their intensity and frequency.

Greenhouse gases are trapping heat and causing the temperature to rise. By curbing emissions and employing carbon removal technology, we can prevent the temperature from getting out of hand.



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9 Best Free WooCommerce Plugins for 2021


WooCommerce has become wildly popular as a way to easily and freely sell physical and digital products online. The platform has become so popular, that as of this writing, it powers almost 30%, or around 260,000, eCommerce websites in the top one million online stores. So, how can you make a free platform even better? By figuring out the best free WooCommerce plugins available.

See, WooCommerce itself is totally free to use. The plugin gives you all the tools you need to create an online shop and start selling both physical and digital goods in a matter of minutes.

Now, there are a lot of paid WooCommerce plugins you can add for more functionality. However, what if you are looking for the best free WooCommerce plugins out there today? Well, you have come to the right place, as I am going to share some of the ones I consider to be the best WooCommerce add ons for free.

What Can WooCommerce Do?

Aside from being the best free way to sell items online, WooCommerce can actually convert any standing WordPress site to a fully functioning online store in just minutes. It gives you the ability to use WordPress as an inventory management tool for free.

Not only is the product popular with store owners, but also with web developers who are able to easily integrate the plugin into a site and configure it properly.

The main plugin offers a lot of functionality, and you can easily sell online using it and nothing else. As a matter of fact, the plugin gives you the ability to manage inventory and shipping, create invoices, take secure payments, handle taxes automatically, and even gives you multiple ways to take payments. 

Wo0Commerce is also mobile-friendly and responsive. Once the shop is built, it will look good on any device and any screen size. Last but not least, there are a lot of great WooCommerce WordPress themes that you can use to enhance your online store even more.

With so many paid and free WooCommerce plugins available today, it can be tough to narrow down which ones might be the best available. While a lot of what you download and add to your site will be based on personal preference and need, here are some of the best free WooCommerce plugins that are out there for you to grab today.

Best Free WooCommerce Plugins

1. YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce

YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce

Perhaps the best free WooCommerce plugin out there today is the YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce. You may have heard of some of their products, as they offer a number of amazing free plugins that attach quickly and easily to any WooCommerce website.

However, this particular plugin gives you complete access to all the YITH WooCommerce plugins in one place. All you have to do is activate the ones you want to use from the library at any time.

It is all right there in your dashboard. You can easily find, activate, or deactivate any of their plugins that you want.

The YITH Essential Kit for WooCommerce plugin offers you over 20 amazing plugins all at your fingertips. The best part? They are all in one place to easily access and manage. From a payment gateway to reviews and product enhancers, this plugin can do it all.

2. WooCommerce Shipping and Tax

Free woocommerce plugins shipping and tax

One of the more important and difficult to manage aspects of selling goods and services online is dealing with shipping and tax issues. This is where WooCommerce Shipping and Tax comes in.

This plugin is actually made by Automattic, the same developers that created the main WooCommerce plugin. They allow you to host all the critical services needed on their best-in-class server. What this means is that you can count on your store to be more stable and faster.

The plugin actually makes a lot of things much easier on you, as it includes some great services when installed and activated. You will be able to easily purchase and print labels with USPS and DHL, get automated tax calculation, and receive PayPal payment checkout authorization.

All-in-all, you will be pretty hard-pressed to find a better free shipping and tax plugin for WooCommerce.

3. WOOF – Products Filter for WooCommerce

WOOF products filter for woocommerce

The default search engine options for websites running WooCommerce are usually lacking. You want to be able to take it up a notch or two and allow your site customers to more easily search and filter the products they want. Luckily, the WOOF – Products Filter for WooCommerce does exactly this and does it for free.

This is a high-end product search plugin that attaches to your website and allows your customers to search for products using a number of filters like categories, attributes, product tags, products custom taxonomies, and price.

And that is just a start, as the plugin gives you a ton of flexibility in the way you can allow site users to look for your products. This is especially helpful if you have a large online store with hundreds or thousands of goods to sell.

This is definitely a free WooCommerce plugin that you want to take a look at.

4. WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway

Free woocommerce plugins stripe payment gateway

A good payment gateway is something that you must consider when setting up an online store.

What kind of fees will you end up paying for transactions? What types of payments will you be able to take? How will the specified payment gateway interact with your store and your site? These are all questions to consider.

Stripe has become a universal payment gateway and is now just as popular as PayPal. Plus, with Stripe, there are no monthly fees like there are with PayPal Pro. The only fee you pay for using the Stripe payment gateway is the per-transaction fee.

That means you can have as many transactions as you want without paying additional costs.

Stripe is available in over 36 countries, including the United States. It is wildly popular and easy to use. The payment gateway allows you to easily accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Diners Club cards, even Bitcoin, directly on your store.

No matter what type of card or payment type is used, you still pay the flat, per transaction fee.

5. WooCommerce Menu Cart

WooCommerce Menu Cart

Perhaps the most simple and easy to use free plugin on this list is also the most important for a number of reasons.

See, WooCommerce has a built-in cart page. However, they don’t have anything built-in where you can actually see your cart information while you shop. To do this without a plugin, a user actually has to go find the cart page and look at it.

The WooCommerce Menu Cart plugin is a free WooCommerce plugin that allows you to display a shopping cart icon in a number of places on your website. Using the menus of your site, you can display the cart and also item information and prices. 

Your customers can see exactly what items are in their cart, as well as the price total for what is in there. This is a smooth, lightweight plugin that adds a lot of functionality to your online shop. 

6. Booster for WooCommerce

Booster for WooCommerce

Booster for WooCommerce is another one of the best free WooCommerce plugins available today. The plugin actually acts as a full-throttle supercharger for your website. It attaches itself to all sorts of things within your WooCommerce store and makes them all better.

For example, the plugin comes with over 100 built-in modules, all of which can be used for different things. Adjust prices and currencies, give global discounts, add wholesaling, configure add to cart buttons, customize carts and checkout processes,  and hundreds of other things that can boost your site.

Give this plugin a long look, as it adds so much functionality to your online store that it is not a free plugin you want to miss out on.

7. Product Import Export for WooCommerce

Product Import Export for WooCommerce

Product Import Export for WooCommerce gives you a fantastic and easy way to import and export your products. You may need to do this for several reasons. If you are moving products from one site to another, or if you are trying to download a list of products for a vendor.

Whatever the issue may be, this free plugin makes the process simple and easy. Create a CSV from scratch or you can export the product to get the format of CSV. You can use a spreadsheet program like LibreOffice, Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice, or Google Spreadsheets for creating and modifying the CSV files as well. 

Need to easily move products around without hassle? Then this free WooCommerce plugin will be right up your alley.

8. WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration

WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration

We all know that having analytics on a WordPress site is crucial because it provides so much data and tracking info that you can use to take your website to the next level. It is no different when we are talking about an online store.

You need to have a way to track your products and receive data on everything happening within the store. This is where WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration comes in.

The plugin provides an easy way to link Google Analytics and the WooCommerce plugin. You will also have the ability to link a referral to a purchase and add transaction information to your Google Analytics data.

9. Variation Swatches for WooCommerce

Free woocommerce plugins variation swatches

Rounding out our list of the best free WooCommerce plugins is a fantastic extension called Variation Swatches for WooCommerce. Have you ever been shopping online and found something you liked? Perhaps you then need to go through the process of seeing how that product looks in a certain way. 

For example; you like a shirt, but you want to see what it looks like in different sizes, patterns, or colors. This is where the plugin can help you. WooCommerce does not have a default setting where they allow you to show variation previews within the product page. 

However, if you install and activate this free plugin, then you give yourself the ability to do that and much more. You can set rounded or squared swatches, variation swatches, colors, dropdowns, images, labels, and control all of it from the backend of your site.

WooCommerce FAQs

Despite the ongoing growth and popularity of WooCommerce, many people out there still have a lot of questions they need answered. Here are a few that get asked often and the answers that go with them.

Hopefully, this helps get you to a point where you have a better understanding of WooCommerce and what all you can do with the plugin when it comes to building an online shop.

Is WooCommerce Easy to Set Up?

The answer to this really depends on a couple of things. Are you familiar with WordPress? Do you have a working understanding of plugins and how they work? The answers to those two questions will determine how difficult you find it to install and activate WooCommerce.

That being said, there are always great online resources that will show you step-by-step how to install and set up WooCommerce.

Where Do I Get Support for WooCommerce?

WooCommerce has a large online community that is filled with forums, help topics, and other users passing information to each other. If you want actual support from the WooCommerce team, then you will need to have an open account with them.

When it comes to getting support for WooCommerce plugins (free or paid) you will want to contact the specific plugin developer for that information.

What Are Subscription Keys?

Oftentimes, if you are purchasing a WooCommerce plugin, they use what is called a subscription key format. In other words, most of the WooCommerce extensions you have to buy per year are part of a subscription.

When you purchase a subscription to a plugin on the main WooCommerce site, then you can go into your account and download that plugin. They come with a subscription key as well that you will add into the relevant field of the plugin in question.

How Many Sites Are Subscriptions Good For?

One active and valid subscription key can be used on an active site and a staging/test/development site. This means that you can use the extension in both situations without having to activate, deactivate, and delete extensions.

WooCommerce used to allow users to purchase subscriptions for up to 5 sites or 25 sites at a time. However, in February of 2020, they changed their policy. Now, all purchases made are for single-site subscriptions only.

Are Free WooCommerce Plugins Really Good?

Definitely! There are a ton of excellent WooCommerce add ons for free. Now, many of these free plugins have a pro (paid) version. That does not mean the free version is not up to standard. As a matter of fact, any of the fee WooCommerce plugins on the list above can enhance your site.

Conclusion

WooCommerce is an all-in-one online store plugin that can give your WordPress website the ability to transform itself into an online store in just a few minutes. That being said, sometimes the sheer amount of available free WooCommerce plugins can be overwhelming. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, or what plugins may be right for you, then the list above is a great starting point. All of the free WooCommerce plugins on this list are top-notch, and all of them can help your online store in one way or another. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Good luck with your search. I hope this article was helpful to you. Now get out there and start selling!



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Biodegradable Plastic Won’t Save China From the Plastic Crisis


China is currently facing a plastic crisis, and one way they planned to face it was by switching to biodegradable plastic. Unfortunately, China’s ability to degrade plastic is being outpaced by new plastic production.

It’s a well-known fact that China is, by far, the biggest plastic producer on the planet. In an effort to fight this problem, the country has implemented a variety of single-use plastic bans on different items.

For instance, there is a plastic bag ban in effect.

However, despite being aware of the problem and trying to limit plastic usage, production continues to outpace everything.

Biodegradation is Not Quick

Biodegradable

A common misconception is that biodegradable products break down very fast in the wild. However, that is simply not true. In reality, it takes several months to fully degrade, and that’s with a special catch.

They require specific industrial treatment at high temperatures to fully degrade.

Thus, even if the biodegradable plastic finds its way into a landfill, it will take a long time to completely deteriorate. As a result, even if they switch to more environmentally friendly material, the facilities cannot keep up.

Not to mention that these materials must be disposed of properly to get to the correct facilities.

Big Infrastructure Changes Are Necessary

The switch to biodegradable plastic is a good move. But the biggest dilemma is that most cities in China do not have the infrastructure to handle the material. Or to put it more simply, there aren’t enough facilities to handle this material.

If the country wants to make s difference, it must build or transition existing facilities to meet the demand. Of course, the other alternative is to produce less plastic, but that is not likely.

It is also worth pointing out that China takes in waste from other countries around the world. However, it has put restrictions on the quantities and type of rubbish it will accept.



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7 Best Help Desk Software in 2021


With the rising number of small businesses, as well as the expansion of bigger businesses, help desks have been created to help provide both customers and internal users with a central location for information and support for processes, products, and/or services. There are many different help desk software programs out there. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

The best help desk software will offer a singular place for businesses to answer questions and troubleshoot problems. This enables a better response time from support, as well as a better overall customer experience for the user.

What is Help Desk Software?

Help desk software is a tool that helps businesses execute a lot of core tasks. These tasks differ from business to business but are usually based on corporate best practices that have been put in place. 

For instance, the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) may be something that is used as part of the standard. The entire point of having the right support desk software is to manage in-house and customer issues as quickly as possible. 

While the best help desk software can offer a number of interesting features and advantages, it still has a primary objective of keeping and restoring normal service operation both quickly and effectively.

Help desk ticketing software can be a very valuable tool if handled correctly. It allows technology teams to offer support for customers and in-house interactions in a number of ways including:

  • Phone
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Help Forums

Let’s take a look at some of the best help desk software out there today.

Best Help Desk Software

1. Jira Software

Jira help desk software

Regarded by many to be the best help desk software available today, Jira starts out our list because of all the things it offers. It has a nice set of comprehensive features, as well as a complex solution for internal support. 

It’s full of features including email to ticket support, internal ticket tracking, user ticket tracking, and automated ticket assignment. The product really makes the help desk experience a smooth and fantastic one. 

Jira is also very easy to use when compared to other help desk software programs. Everything you need is located in one place. Further, the dashboard is smooth and all ticketing is neatly organized through colorful menus. 

Pros

  • Highly configurable workflows
  • Track tickets easily
  • Provides service updates
  • Over 1,000 integration options
  • Simple design
  • Fully customized
  • Good knowledge base and solutions

Cons

  • Pricing is higher than other vendors
  • Only available as a SaaS or data center product
  • No integrated knowledge base
  • No customer access through social media channels

2. Zendesk Support

Zendesk Support

When talking about the best help desk software out there, it is almost impossible to leave Zendesk out of the conversation. The platform allows you to easily connect with a customer on any platform you want.

Customers will have the ability to contact your business for help via phone, chat, email, social media, or website. The system is very easy to use and perhaps even more attractive, can be set up in just a few minutes. 

With a state of the art ticketing system, an intuitive knowledge base, and great community forums, Zendesk is definitely worth a look no matter who you are.

Pros

  • Excellent ticket management options
  • Customizable reports
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Flexible queries
  • Solid integration options
  • Fully functioning free trial available

Cons

  • Pricing is a little high
  • Best features are assigned to the highest-priced tiers only
  • No enterprise features like asset management

3. Freshdesk

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is yet another one of the best help desk software platforms available today. It is perfect for small to mid-sized businesses looking for an affordable help desk option. 

The platform gives businesses the ability to easily process service tickets from external customers while at the same time providing agents with information and resources in a speedy and easy-to-find manner.

For this reason alone it makes the list.

It also features advanced automation and workflows at the higher tier levels that can be implemented and taken advantage of. Custom tickets and basic SLA management is located in the easy to use app gallery.

Pros

  • Top-notch gamification features
  • Uses a scenarios setup for better efficiency 
  • Free tier is offered with good features
  • Solid pricing options
  • Custom ticket views
  • App gallery integrations

Cons

  • Reporting tools are not the best
  • Key features are only available at highest-priced tiers

4. FreshService

FreshService help desk software

Not to be confused with Freshdesk, FreshService is labeled the IT help desk software that provides all your needs. This is a cloud-based service that is modern and intuitive.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about FreshService is that it can be used by just about anyone, with little to no formal training.

It provides automated support for almost any issues raised. For instance, it can be used through a number of channels including email, a self-service portal, phone, chat, or in-person.

The tool provides a list of abundant features that make it one of the most popular help desk software tools available. Likewise, a built-in user portal, workflows, and a flexible ticketing system makes FreshService definitely one you want to look at.

Pros

  • Extensive knowledge base
  • Very flexible ticketing system
  • IT support tools
  • Award-winning lead management
  • Customizable workflow
  • Tons of integration options

Cons

5. HappyFox

HappyFox

When it comes to purely managing tickets, you will be hard-pressed to find anything better than HappyFox. While it is a little on the pricey side and does not offer a ton of integrations like some of the other platforms on this list, it is still a top-notch help desk software platform that is consistently regarded as one of the best around.

HappyFox provides an all-in-one help desk ticketing system that agents will love to work with and customers will enjoy experiencing. After purchase and installation, the product will provide you with a robust support ticket system, self-service knowledge base, and excellent community forums.

You will be able to handle all inbound ticket requests in one ticketing system that is attached to email, phone, chat, and web. With the smart help desk software and fully customizable workflow experience built-in, HappyFox is a simple yet powerful help desk software platform.

Pros

  • Ticket management is top of the line
  • Asset management functionality
  • Highly customizable
  • Self-service knowledge base
  • Community forums

Cons

  • Missing key integration points
  • No free tier available
  • Priced above some of its peers

6. Zoho Desk

Zoho Desk

Another one of the best help desk software platforms out there is probably a name you are familiar with. Zoho Desk gives businesses the ability to offer 24/7 customer support without having to have a global team. 

The platform allows you to deliver consistent, quality support to your customers. It doesn’t matter what type of product or services you are selling, the platform has you covered.

The ticket center is easy enough to use and understand. And the Zoho name has been around for quite some time in many different aspects.

So, this is definitely ideal for smaller companies that want to deliver a platform that can grow with them. In addition, the platform constantly adds abilities and features and is priced very fairly. Give this one a shot if you want something simple to start with the ability to expand as much as is needed.

Pros

  • Easy integration with the vast number of other Zoho products
  • Highly configurable
  • Easy to manage
  • Very fairly priced
  • Easy to grow and expand

Cons

  • Limited gamification
  • Dashboards are a little harder to learn

7. Cayzu

Cayzu help desk software

Rounding out our list of the best help desk software platforms available today is one called Cayzu. This platform is specifically built for smaller businesses and startups.

They offer a solid set of features and really good third-party integration options. Cayzu also provides a very nice price, which is why smaller businesses are so attracted to it.

If you want enterprise-level capabilities, this is probably not the help desk solution for you.

Configuration and setup are easy. Also, adding agents, configuring all your branding, and adding topics to the self-service portal is all breeze.

This platform offers tools that help save time because tickets can be started through a web form, customer email, or even through social media such as direct messages (Facebook Messenger).

Moreover, the ticketing system is easy to use and the platform is not hard to manage or understand. 

 A fantastic choice if you are a startup or a small business looking to get your feet wet in the help desk arena. Take a look at Cayzu today.

Pros

  • Handles multiple brands and products very easily
  • Excellent self-service portal
  • Google analytics integration
  • Very fairly priced
  • Free tier for small teams
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Automation tools are lacking
  • Not as comprehensive as other platforms
  • Does not support custom reports

Key Features to Look for in Help Desk Software

The list of help desk software above gives you a lot of different companies that offer an excellent product. You can see by the information given what all of them can and can’t do.

What one looks for when searching for the right service desk software may differ from company to company based on what is needed. However, there are a few things everyone should look for when making a choice of which help desk software to chose and implement into a business.

Ticket Management

Ticket management helps prioritize, categorize, and assign tickets to the correct agents. This is a key feature of most support desk software and should be a priority for you when making a choice. If ticket management is good, the rest of the software should fall into place.

Automation

Help desk software can help you create business workflows that will run automatically. These are usually based on triggers that are established. These types of automation workflows can be processed using pre-set rules and can solve issues based on customer classifications. This reduces manpower time and helps save money in the long run. It also negates the problem of having to deal with repetitive jobs, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Collaboration

The best help desk software allows team members and supervisors to easily interact and resolve issues. You can usually get a great back and forth going without losing any content that a customer has provided. This leads to a fantastic customer experience.

Customization

Simply put, you want the help desk software you choose for your business to be fully customizable. This means you have the ability to customize templates, forms, workflows, and other set responses. It is also important to have the ability to customize with a business logo, colors, emails, custom fields, and even customized SMS messages.

Analytics and Reporting

Like anything else, you want to be able to track analytics and receive important data that can help you provide an even better overall experience. The best help desk software will provide you with detailed reporting, insights, and analytics into every customer and in-house function imaginable.

Custom Views

Each department within the help desk setup you use should have its own custom view. Agents should be able to personalize and customize their own layouts. You have to remember, conditions and server operations for support may look much different than they do for managers.

Native Apps

This is a big deal in the world we live in. Do you have the ability to respond to customer service requests on the go? A mobile app will allow for this and also allows for an easier connection from a customer to the help desk when needed.

Conclusion

There are a lot of good help desk software companies out there. However, it can be tricky knowing which one to go with, or where to even start your search. You simply can’t go wrong with any of the ones in our list above.

All of them provide you with all the features you need to implement and provide a solid help desk experience to customers. As a result, there is a better chance of return business.

Take a look at a few of them. Compare, even try the free trials where you can. Once you do this, odds are you land on one that will fit your business perfectly. Good luck with your search!



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2021 Projected To Be In The Top 6 Warmest Years


With 2020 nearly behind us, it is time to start looking towards the next year. And according to the Met Office, 2021 is likely to be cooler than 2020, but it will still become one of the warmest years in history.

According to the researchers, the cooling effects of the La Niña weather phenomenon will ensure temperatures decrease. But the continual increase of heat-trapping gases will ensure temperatures remain warm.

And 2021 might see a giant boom in emissions as companies play catchup after Covid-19 lockdowns.

The prediction places 2021 between 0.91 °C and 1.15 °C  above the average for the pre-industrial period (1850-1900). Thus making it the seventh year to be above 1.0 °C pre-industrial levels.

How Reliable Is This Prediction?

Reliable

For many, it can be easy to dismiss a temperature prediction for the next year. After all, the weather forecast is typically full of mistakes, but this one is quite reliable.

For instance, the Met Office predicted that 2020 would be in the range of 0.99°C to 1.23°C above pre-industrial levels. And sure enough, the office has found that 2020 is currently 1.17°C with data up to October.

And with November becoming the warmest in history, it’s safe to say that average will only increase.

Thus, this report is extremely accurate and you can go back even further as proof.

Greenhouse Gases Are Causing the Warmest Years

Despite the cooling properties of La Niña, greenhouse gases are growing in our atmosphere. As a result, they are trapping more heat, which is why the temperature continues to increase.

Even though emissions were certainly lower this year as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns, it didn’t remove existing emissions.

Thus the total number of emissions still grew, just at a slower rate. It’s like if you were filling a tub that already had water in it. The water level will still rise even if you reduce the flow. One thing is clear, the world needs to cut emissions and utilize carbon removal technology.



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Contact Form 7 Vulnerability & How You’re Protected


A major exploit was recently found within the “Contact Form 7” WordPress plugin that allows for unrestricted file uploads. While an update was instantly applied by the developers, this can potentially allow an attacker to upload malware to any website using this plugin, which can then spread to other websites within a cPanel account if left unchecked. This exploit was reported by WordFence and other major security organizations.

GreenGeeks is constantly striving to improve our quality of service and increase our overall security as much as possible. With our real-time malware scanning and other methods we deploy, we can attempt to neutralize threats that may arise before they become a bigger problem.

To help prevent a possible compromise, GreenGeeks has automatically updated any Contact Form 7 plugin hosted within our EcoSite, reseller and Managed VPS network. This was done in an effort to help secure this one known vector from being exploited to harm any websites hosted on our network.

While GreenGeeks strives to do what we can to prevent such issues, website owners should always take proactive steps to secure their account. We strongly recommend taking the time to audit all websites you host on your account, and update all WordPress themes, plugins and core versions even if they are not in use. We also strongly suggest updating all passwords regularly. If you haven’t already, we suggest you check out our WordPress Security Webinar.

Doing this in conjunction with the complimentary update we’ve applied for Contact Form 7 will help secure customer websites hosted on our network and start the new year off with secured websites.

As always, feel free to reach out to GreenGeeks support or comment below.



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The Rockefeller Foundation is No Longer Investing in Oil


The Rockefeller Foundation is stepping away from oil. That’s right, the organization built by the oil tycoon himself, John D. Rockefeller, is no longer supporting oil companies. It joins with other organizations and investors that are divesting in oil.

On top of no longer investing in oil, the foundation will also be getting rid of its existing holdings. The money will be reinvested into clean renewable energy sources. It hopes to speed up the energy transition by investing more resources into it.

This marks one of the largest divestments in the oil sector this year.

There’s A Lot of Divestment

Divestment

If you’ve paid attention to the stock market this year, there was no way to avoid seeing the price of oil sink.

Oil stocks are down billions this year with many stockholders looking to move away from oil and into solar and wind. Due to the nature of oil price wars and the lower demand, it’s no secret why oil has crashed hard in 2020.

While it is sure to rebound, many hope this move will speed up an energy transition.

Most notably this year is New York’s $226 billion pension fund pledging to sell off all its shares in fossil fuels and companies that contribute to climate change by 2040. And in total, according to fossilfree.org, a total of $14.49 trillion has been divested by over 1,300 institutions.

Renewable Energy Needs to Expand As Oil Recedes

Oil companies employ nearly 10 million jobs in the United States. This mass divestment does threaten many of those jobs.

To compensate for these job losses, the renewable energy sectors (solar and wind) need to expand. There needs to be a clean transition or else those employees will suffer.

Thus, while divesting from fossil fuels is important, investing those funds into renewable energy is also a must.

This is also why many oil companies are looking to move towards renewable options. The writing is on the wall, and fossil fuels are chopping block.



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