The 5 most essential WordPress plugins and what they do.

What are plugins?

Plugins are software components that add additional specific functionality to an existing computer program. Open-source software such as WordPress is structured with plugins in mind. This allows for users to truly bring their vision to life. There are nearly 60,000 free plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory and someone with CSS, HTML and PHP knowledge can add to this tally with their own creations. However, not all plugins are created equal. If you are new to WordPress there are some plugins that you should prioritise and investigate first.

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is nearly universally seen as the best plugin to enable eCommerce on your website. Whether you are a small business just starting or a larger established merchant, WooCommerce is perfect for both. The plugin’s popularity comes from its simplicity to install as well as its intuitive editing and customisation options. 

Almost 4 million websites utilise WooCommerce. This includes websites such as Superdrug Health Clinic and Three Pay As You Go Rewards, as well as smaller operations. 

WooCommerce’s popularity has led WordPress user’s to add additional extensions to the basic WooCommerce platform. These add further specific functionality to those who desire it. Here are 3 of the most widely used and useful extensions for WooCommerce.

a) Klarna Payments

This extension allows your customers to pay in interest-free instalments, or postpone their payment into the future. All credit and fraud risk is taken by Klarna so you can ensure that you are always paid. As well as this, the use of the extension will likely improve your sales as you reach a new audience. 

b) WooCommerce Bookings

This is an extension that modifies WooCommerce to allow customers to book appointments, make reservations, rent equipment, or do a variety of other similar actions. This extension ensures that your website can be a one-stop shop for your eCommerce site. You, therefore, avoid making your customers’ book services via emails or another website.

c) Xero

Our last WooCommerce extension is a vast and well-integrated accounting software package that complements WooCommerce extremely well. Due to their interconnectedness, Xero completes many accounting functions automatically by constantly monitoring your eCommerce store. Bank reconciliations, financial reporting, inventory tracking, payroll management as well as many, many more functions are managed and presented well by Xero.

2. Contact Form 7

An admittedly less exciting plugin but nevertheless a very popular one that has been downloaded over 5 million times is Contact Form 7. It is a plugin that can ensure an important feature of your website is consistently functional; your contact process and information.

Rather than simply having a list of your email addresses or phone numbers, Contact Form 7 provides simple code which allows for dedicated text boxes for users to input their queries. It provides space to input the visitors’ email addresses, names, the subject of their questions and then the questions themselves. Once they have completed these, an email is sent to an address of your choosing. This email can remain anonymous to the user, meaning it is dedicated to contact form enquiries.

While the default options will be ideal for most users, it is easy to customise the form. Say you are a company that is primarily focused on B2B transactions, you could add a field asking for the user’s company name. Contact Form 7 makes it very easy to accommodate changes of this nature.

3. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a massive marketing and email corporation that also has a WordPress plugin of the same name. This is the premium email marketing extension. The core feature is creating email lists of visitors who have subscribed to hear more from your website. Email is still the best method of direct communication between websites and their users. This is because social media is often such a cluttered and saturated information market, posts and messages are often not seen, ignored or forgotten by those who see them. 

The plugin itself connects Mailchimp campaigns via API to your website to help collect emails for your Mailchimp database. This then integrates the Mailchimp service with your website in the most optimum way. The basic free plan allows a user to send up to 10,000 emails a month to up to 2000 subscribers. While it becomes a paid service after you surpass these milestones, by then the benefits of the system should be apparent and you can decide whether or not to expand the plan. This plugin allows you to create campaigns themed around almost anything. Whether you want to update your subscribers about new products, offer them discounts or early access to these offerings, or update them about new blog posts about the company.

4. Yoast SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about getting your content to the people who are searching for it, whether they know it or not. It is a process that aims to increase both the quality and the quantity of your website’s traffic, which in turn leads to increased exposure and visitors. For a detailed explanation of SEO, see our earlier article. If you are familiar with SEO, you know it can be technical and laborious work but luckily, Yoast can help significantly. 

While an SEO expert is often the best way to ensure your ranking is as high as possible, Yoast can make huge inroads in improving your SEO. Yoast automates the process of improving your ranking by completing an analysis that explains what parts of your website are helping your SEO and which parts are damaging it. 

Yoast optimises your site’s structure so it is attractive to the search engine’s bots. This is done partly by ensuring all the links on your site are functional and well organised. Links that lead to dead pages or 404 errors can be devastating to your SEO. Yoast will redirect these links to other parts of your site, saving your SEO and creating a better user experience. It is also useful in that it recognises what keywords are directing people to your site. This then ensures that you are using the optimal keywords and phrases.

There are also the Google Preview and Social Preview features which allow you to see what your site will look like in the search results and when shared online respectively. This can help you ensure that your website is attractive both visually and in terms of code. This then ensures both bots and visitors rate your website highly.

5. Beaver Builder

Web designing on WordPress can sometimes be very daunting for a novice, as much of the design of the website requires a sound knowledge of coding. However, Beaver Builder simplifies the process greatly, altering the WordPress editor to behave more like the editor on Wix (see our blog here on the difference between WordPress and Wix Websites). That is to say, the process becomes much more drag and drop where the user can choose from an abundant supply of modules to build up their website piece by piece. This system of Front End Editing means that as they put it, what you see is what you get. No longer will you be editing the code at the Back End before returning to the viewer to see things have changed in unexpected and frustrating ways.

If you are not an expert in coding and web designing, Beaver Builder is a must-have. Beaver Builder is also a great tool for experienced developers as it speeds up the development process massively and allows clients to edit their own websites easily. We also have an in-depth blog looking at Beaver Builder here.

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admin December 28, 2021 0 Comments

Beaver Builder: how does it help you build your WordPress website?

Web designing on WordPress can sometimes be very daunting for a novice, with much of the design of the website requiring extensive knowledge of coding. However, Beaver Builder simplifies the process greatly, altering the WordPress editor to use a simple drag and drop system. You can choose from an abundant supply of templates to build up your website piece by piece. This system of Front End Editing means that as they put it, what you see is what you get. No longer will you be editing the code at the Back End before returning to the viewer to see things have changed in unexpected and frustrating ways. If you are not an expert in coding and web designing; Beaver Builder is a must-have, but it can also make creating a website much quicker for even the most experienced web designer. 

If you desire a hands-on, and practical sense of how Beaver Builder works, click here. Following the link will take you to the Beaver Builder website. Once there, click “try live demo”. This will allow you to access a demo version of Beaver Builder for 24 hours. After this time, whatever you have made will be erased and reset.

To understand Beaver Builder more analytically, a breakdown of the different pricing plans are provided below. Following this, each point of the plan will be analysed and examined in turn so you can decide which plan is right for you.

Standard PlanPro PlanAgency Plan
$99 (approximately £74)*$199 (approximately £149)*$399 (approximately £298)*
Unlimited SitesUnlimited SitesUnlimited Sites
Page Builder PluginPage Builder PluginPage Builder Plugin
World-Class Support for 1 YearWorld-Class Support for 1 YearWorld-Class Support for 1 Year
Premium Modules & TemplatesPremium Modules & TemplatesPremium Modules & Templates
Beaver Builder ThemesBeaver Builder ThemesBeaver Builder Themes
Multisite CapableMultisite CapableMultisite Network Settings
White LabellingWhite LabellingWhite Labelling
*Each amount represents the first year’s price. After this, there is a 40% discount. 

Features of all Beaver Builder plans

The following features are available on the Standard, Pro, and Agency Plans. The base features of the Standard Plan of Beaver Builder are perfect for both beginner and expert web designers alike.

Unlimited Sites

The ability to design as many websites as you can find the time for is a strong point of Beaver Builder, as other page-building websites sometimes have limits. It is worth noting that the ability to design as many websites as you want is not the same as the ability to host as many websites as you want. Click here for our blog explaining the basics of internet hosting.

Page Builder

Beaver Builder is famous for its intuitive method of web building, relying on a drag and drop system. This system is easy to use and can help even a beginner create a professional-looking website relatively quickly. 

It is really more than just a plugin, being more of a framework that provides an extensive toolset that makes the process of building a website much more straightforward. It is essentially a one-stop shop that is much more streamlined than searching, downloading, installing, and configuring features from different WordPress sources. 

Whether you are building a small-scale blog or a massive eCommerce store, all can be accommodated. The code is clean and stable, allowing for easy customisation of the HTML, PHP, CSS and JS (providing you have the skills). The page builder also ensures that your web page is also mobile-friendly, a crucial component of your SEO and customer satisfaction.

World Class Support

Broadly speaking, Beaver Builder provides excellent customer support. As our table shows, priority support is given to new customers in their first year. This model ensures that those who are more likely to require assistance are made the priority. Independent reviews are mostly positive, praising the support team’s quick speed and expert knowledge of their product. There are also very extensive, helpful pages such as the “Pre-Sales” and “Frequently Asked Question” pages. While the priority support ends after the initial year, support is still offered to all customers and they should still usually respond within 24-48 hours. There is also the choice to continue paying an extra amount to keep your priority status if timely support is a must-have.

Modules & Templates

There are pre-made designs to common web pages that are available to all Beaver Builder users. There are near-universal templates including an about us page, a contact page, a services page, a pricing page, and a FAQ page as well as more specific templates such as blog pages, portfolio pages and a newsletter subscription page. Due to the lack of code of the drag and drop system, the templates allow for a live preview of any changes you are making to your site. As well as this, the templates are developer-friendly in the sense that they can be manipulated and extended as they are deployed.

Features of the Pro and Agency Plans

The following features are not available on the Standard Plan. These features are more important for established web designers and developers. If you are just starting, or are only making a website for yourself, as you will soon see,  you can probably do without these features. 

Available with the Pro Plan and the Agency Plan – Beaver Builder Themes

The themes refer to visual parts of a website such as the headers, footers and style of the sites. While theme templates are available to all users, Beaver Builder Themes are the premium and exclusive ones. These themes are very varied and come in a near-endless combination of colours, fonts and layouts. Having access to these themes allows you to benefit from Beaver Themer, a paid plugin that has many additional features. These include a wider range of theme templates and theme parts as well as the addition of an incredibly user-friendly system of post grids.

Available with the Pro Plan and the Agency Plan – Multisite Network Capabilities

If you are a burgeoning commercial web designer, the multisite capabilities of Beaver Builder and will be invaluable. Managing a single website is one thing, but managing 10, 15, or 20 is another thing entirely. Without a proper system in place, you will find yourself spending more time on website management and maintenance than making new sites, the primary source of income for a web designer.

Being multisite capable allows you to create a network of multiple Beaver Builder websites from a single installation and dashboard. These networked sites will each run on the same underlying code, plugins and themes as each other but the content such as pages, posts, categories, tags and media will remain unique to each site. This can result in serious improvements in efficiency as the time you spend maintaining your different websites decreases.

Available with the Agency Plan only – White Labelling

In web-design, white labelling is when a company allows you to remove their brand and logo from their products or services. For many websites, especially the smaller scale ones, the fact that Beaver Builder will be written very small at the bottom is not a huge issue. This feature is only available for those customers opting for the most expensive plan, meaning only the most well-established web-designers have access to white labelling on Beaver Builder. Probably, very few of your customers will even notice seeing Beaver Builder on your site and I am sure those who do will not hold it against you. 

Overall, I can’t recommend Beaver Builder enough. Not everyone needs the most expensive plans, but I believe anyone who uses to design and develop websites needs at least the Standard Plan. Its ease of use will make your life less stressful and you will save so much time.

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admin December 21, 2021 0 Comments

A Christmassy Guide to Cardiff

Looking for a Christmas getaway without leaving the UK? Look no further than Levitate’s home city and the capital of Wales, Cardiff. The Christmas spirit is felt in Cardiff in a way that is unlike anywhere else, as the whole of the city centre becomes covered in lights, tinsel and baubles. Here are our top things to do during a festive trip to Caerdydd.

Winter Wonderland

A staple in Cardiff’s festive landscape is the Winter Wonderland, this year, however, it is bigger and better than ever. 

For the first time, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland has grown to a size that means it is split across two locations. These two locations are the Cardiff Castle and the City Hall Lawn. Both are at the heart of the city and within a 5-minute walk from each other.

Cardiff Castle • 2000 Years of History in the Heart of the City

Cardiff Castle; A Frozen Fortress

Usually located at the City Hall Lawn, the iconic Winter Wonderland Ice Rink has been moved to Cardiff Castle and expanded to also feature an Ice Walk. The charming gardens and striking architecture makes for an enchanting experience.

The covered Ice Rink is 40m x 15m and the Ice Walk stretches for 150m long. I am no ice skating champion but was able to easily keep up with the traffic of the Ice Walk. Whether you are looking to take young children, elderly relatives, or anyone else, the ice skating is suitable for all abilities. The famous skate-aid penguins are also more prevalent than ever. They ensure even the youngest or shakiest skaters can glide with ease.

There are also many options for food within the Castle. The Keep Terrace is the established restaurant within the castle walls and has some very festive drinks and meals. As well as this, popup stalls offer Yorkshire pudding wraps, toasted marshmallows and some other festive treats are also on site.

Cardiff's Winter Wonderland is back for 2021 - Wales Online

City Hall Lawn Site; The Festive Carnival

This site contains your classic Christmas family funfair. Waltzer-like rides, a child-sized artificial snow slope, a myriad of familiar carnival game stalls and a giant Ferris wheel will keep all members of the family entertained and high-spirited. 

The Sur la Piste Ski Lodge Bar returns to WinterWonderland and will be a familiar sight to those looking for a boozier festive celebration. The two-story ski lodge bar provides the perfect environment to sit down and get in the merry spirit. This year it also features a new outdoor roof terrace, but no guarantee that the weather will be appropriate.

Another option for a well-earned drink here is the new Ice Bar. An impressive icy structure plucked straight from Disney’s Frozen, the Ice Bar is truly a unique place to chill out in. It is also worth mentioning that there is ample choice in terms of different festive treats and drinks on the site. 


Christmas shopping in Cardiff can be split into many different experiences. There is, of course, the different shopping centres, the main two being Saint Davids/Dewi Sant and the Queen’s Arcade. It is within these two connected shopping centres that the most popular and coveted brands can be found. 

Clothing stores such as Bershka, Zara, Stradivarius and others will keep the fashionistas amongst you happy whereas Hamleys, the LEGO shop and build-a-bear Workshop will give your kids plenty to choose from. There are of course so many shops in these centres it would be crazy to list them all here. Click here for a full list of the shops in Saint Davids and Queen’s Arcade.

For a different sort of shopping experience, the Christmas Market stretches from St John Steet to the end of the Hayes and is a truly joyous Christmas celebration.

Christmas in Cardiff 2021 • All you need to know • Visit Cardiff

Shopping on The Hayes; A Welsh-Bavarian Market

At the top of St John Street, there is a Bavarian-themed Festive Quarter which provides a bustling area offering bratwurst, pork roast, and other hearty eating options. There is also a large, two-story German-style bar, another option for a cheeky pint.

This leads to Working Street and the Hayes, which becomes a bustling marketplace over the festive period. Nearly 100 individual wooden huts line the streets and are occupied by a truly diverse mixture of small businesses. Over 200 individual businesses will be stationed at the market throughout November and December.

These stalls all boast original pieces and you get the feeling you are supporting some very creative entrepreneurs. By buying these unique pieces directly from the people who made them, you help ensure that these small businesses can survive through the pandemic. 

It would be futile to try and name all of the stalls so here are a selection of the stalls which I found interesting. AR & ML Daniels take previously unused vintage Welsh blankets and tapestries and rework them into cushions, baby blankets and vintage teaware. This business recycles unused materials and showcases a classic Welsh art form. There is also NOA Jewellery which sells intricate and beautiful handmade jewellery made from ceramics, wood, silver, aluminium, brass and stainless steel. 

Here is a link to the full list of vendors and what dates they are operating.

Honour-bauble mentions

All of this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the Christmas landscape of Cardiff but hopefully, I have provided you with enough inspiration to come and check it out for yourself.

The Christmas Light show at Bute Park, the Alladin Christmas Panto at the New Theatre, and Heofan Light Maze are all attractions that I wish I could delve deeper but I will leave it to you to look into these great events yourself!

brown and white short coated dog wearing red and black rabbit costume

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admin December 15, 2021 0 Comments

Domain Names: what they are and why they are important

What is a Domain Name?

If your website is an online home for your business, your domain name is essentially your website’s home address. To stretch my metaphor, the internet is like the earth; vast, diverse and interconnected. To find a single specific website is like trying to find a specific property somewhere in the world; it would be impossible without an address. This is why creating the best domain name improves the chances of as much relevant traffic as possible being directed to your website.

Where can I buy a Domain Name?

Countless online sites sell domain names which can vary significantly in price. Provided there is no existing domain name that clashes with your choice, you can use any combination of letters and numbers. When you are buying a domain name an important choice is the top-level domain, meaning the .com,, etc. (See the following subsection for more information). With all of this in mind, let us now look at two popular sites which specialise in selling domains and compare them. is most well known for being the first company to offer incredibly cheap first-year subscriptions, with “” only costing £0.99 for the first year, with it rising to £14.39 the following year. There is however significant competition from the more well known; offering “” domain names for just £0.01 for the first year, with them rising to £11.99 for the compulsory second year. offers “.com” for £1.99 for the first year with it rising to £19.19 after this first year. This compares poorly with the offer at £0.99 for the first year, with it rising to just over £17.00 for the second year. Unsure whether a “”, a “.com” or one of the many other options is right for your website? Worry not, this will be covered very soon.

There are multiple comparison sites such as or which can provide a wider and deeper comparison domain names retailers. However, due to the nature of the market, the differences are marginal. Ultimately, factors such as where the website is hosted and the actual name of the website are often more important than where the domain name was bought from.

.com vs (vs .digital, .shop, .club etc.)

Depending on what sort of website you run, it should affect your choice of the domain name. If most of your visitors are based in the UK, it makes sense to use a “”. Maybe you are aiming for a more international audience, a more neutral “.com” would probably be a wise move. If your website is focused on downloads, “.digital” may be a good choice. Finally, if you are promoting some sort of designing services, “.design” makes sense. Gone are the days where all sites end in “.com” and the marketplace is filled with many more options. Ultimately, a common-sense approach and an examination of your competitors’ domain names should be enough to guide you through this decision. 

Naked Domain vs www.

A naked domain name lacks the “www.” which many websites begin with. The allowing of sub-domains is the major difference between a naked domain name and a “www.” domain name. Whichever you decide to use, you must pick one and stick to it. Having duplicate websites using different options or flipping between one and another damages your SEO and should be avoided. The best way to address this issue is to pick one and stick with it. For instance, let’s say a naked domain name is used, you should ideally set up an HTTP 301 redirect on the unused domain name with the “www.”. This will then redirect any visitors to your official site, creating a smooth visitor experience and will also ensure your SEO is not negatively affected.

Picking a domain name is an important part of starting any new website. Hopefully, this blog has given you the information to make a more informed decision. The top-level part of your domain name can clearly signal what your website is about. Shop around to find the best deal for you and have a look at what your competitors are using.

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admin December 14, 2021 0 Comments

What is the best hosting option for my website?

What is Website Hosting?

Most internet users are familiar with the term “hosting” and know that it is required to run a website, but specifics on what exactly it means are less common amongst those new to web design. Essentially, a website must be hosted on a server that stores its files; such as the website’s images and code. The hosting marketplace is full of competing offers that all have their own merits and drawbacks. Shared Servers and Dedicated Servers are the most common types of hosting.

Shared Servers vs Dedicated Servers

Simply put, a shared server contains multiple users, websites, or accounts on a single server whereas a dedicated server is a lone server with a single user.

Shared Server Hosting

The most immediate benefit of using a shared server is that people with little technical experience can set one up. Outsourcing the hosting operations like this can ensure that there are dedicated technicians on hand to assist if there are problems with the server that someone with no technical experience would struggle to fix.  

Perhaps expectedly, the nature of a shared server means users have limited administrative access to the software configuration. Additionally, sharing a server can elicit unexpected performance issues that would not occur on a dedicated server. The chances of such issues occurring depends greatly on who is hosting your shared server. Many web designing agencies also offer hosting services. If a web agency has already designed your website, you can be more confident that all of the sites on the shared server are legitimate, secure and well managed. When you utilise a less trustworthy provider, you are often more likely to experience performance issues when there is a spike in traffic on other sites, as they pull resources away from your site. This can affect your loading speeds and your responsiveness, or sometimes even cause crashes.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Having your own dedicated server means that you can manage and configure the server however you’d like to. This level of control is also a benefit in the fact that no other independent sites hosted on your server are redirecting resources to their site. These both ensure that it is down to you and you alone to manage and improve your hosting. This flexibility and freedom that dedicated servers allow for can run essentially all types of software. This facilitates your ability to set up extra security software which can improve the reliability of your site. For example; a blacklist of IP addresses (a list of specifically blocked addresses) can be made on both shared and dedicated servers, whereas a whitelist of IP addresses (a list of specifically permitted addresses) could only be achieved on a dedicated server. 

The requirement of technical knowledge is of course the most immediate drawback for those new to web design and hosting. Another drawback of a dedicated server is that it always ends up being significantly more expensive. On a shared server, as the cost of running and maintaining the server is split between the different users, it always results in it being a cheaper option.

The Third Way – Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

A VPS is essentially a shared server aspiring to act as a dedicated server. It requires a strong enough server which can be split into multiple, individual, virtual servers. This addresses the serious problems with shared servers as resources such as RAM and CPU time are not shared. This also allows for more control and personalisation, as users can make more changes to the software. Some claim that VPS systems are at times more inconsistent than true dedicated servers. However, these issues are more likely to occur when there are multiple high traffic sites hosted on the same VPS. These only become issues through mismanagement, and a web agency would be able to utilise VPS as a best-of-both-worlds solution.

Should I use an Agency to host my website?

The main options for hosting have been set out throughout this blog. Hopefully, if you are new to the industry this blog has been helpful. To summarise; shared servers are often the cheapest option and work fine for lower traffic sites, a dedicated server will cost more but can ensure your website runs as efficiently as possible, and a VPS is a shared server aspiring to act as a dedicated server.

Hopefully, this blog has provided you with the knowledge you were looking for. It of course can not provide you with the skills to set up your own server. If this sounds like you, an agency may be your best option. If you have an existing or developing relationship with a web developer who offers hosting services, this is often a very wise move. Most agencies can offer dedicated, shared and VPS hosting and are more likely to offer consistent technical support.

Ultimately, there are few decisions as important as your hosting provider when it comes to your website. Researching your options as much as possible and reading reviews on the services should help you spot any untrustworthy resellers and better understand your options. If you are not primarily a techy person and are just getting started in growing your online presence, a dedicated agency undoubtedly creates the best results.

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admin December 7, 2021 0 Comments