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Contact Form 7 Vulnerability in +5 Million Sites



A vulnerability has been discovered in Contact Form 7 that allows an attacker to upload malicious scripts. The publishers of Contact Form 7 have released an update to fix the vulnerability.

Unrestricted File Upload Vulnerability

An unrestricted file upload vulnerability in a WordPress plugin is when the plugin allows an attacker to upload a web shell (malicious script) that can then be used to take over a site, tamper with a database and so on.

A web shell is a malicious script that can be written in any web language that is uploaded to a vulnerable site, automatically processed and used to gain access, execute commands, tamper with the database, etc.

Contact Form 7 calls their latest update an “urgent security and maintenance release.

According to Contact Form 7:

“An unrestricted file upload vulnerability has been found in Contact Form 7 5.3.1 and older versions.

Utilizing this vulnerability, a form submitter can bypass Contact Form 7’s filename sanitization, and upload a file which can be executed as a script file on the host server.”

A more detailed description of the vulnerability was published on Contact Form 7’s WordPress plugin repository page.

These are the additional details about the vulnerability that was shared on the official WordPress plugin repository for Contact Form 7:

“Removes control, separator, and other types of special characters from filename to fix the unrestricted file upload vulnerability issue.”

Screenshot of WordPress Plugin Changelog Update Description

The screenshot above is of the Contact Form 7 plugin “more info” description that is shown when updating the plugin from a WordPress installation. The wording matches what is published on the official WordPress repository for the plugin.


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Filename Sanitization

Filename sanitization is a reference to a function related to scripts that process uploads. Filename sanitization functions are designed to control what kinds of files (file names) are uploaded by restricting certain kinds of files. Filename sanitization also can control file paths.

A filename sanitization function works by blocking certain file names and/or allowing only a restricted list of file names.

In the case of Contact Form 7, there was an issue in the filename sanitization which created the situation where certain kinds of dangerous files were unintentionally allowed.

Vulnerability Fixed in Contact Form 7 Version

The filename sanitization vulnerability exploit is fixed in Contact Form 7 version 7 5.3.2.

All versions of Contact Form 7 from 7 5.3.1 and under are considered vulnerable and should be updated immediately.


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Read announcement at Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 5.3.2

Read the Contact Form 7 Changelog




Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?



Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Google defines “breadcrumbs” as navigation that indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy.

When you hear the term “breadcrumbs,” Hansel and Gretel might come to mind. In the old fairy tale, the main characters leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Similarly, breadcrumbs are helpful for users as they drill down into your site hierarchy.

A website can display a “breadcrumb” trail of internal site navigation so that a user can easily find their way back through the website’s structure.

Screenshot from, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

So, we know that breadcrumbs are helpful for users and that Google always tells us to focus on the user experience. Does that mean breadcrumbs are a ranking factor?

[Deep Dive:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Claim: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

In 2009 Google announced that search results would begin displaying site hierarchies.

This was an effort to show users the location (thus providing context) of a page on the website.

Below is an example of what Google search results looked like in 2009 before and after this monumental change.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022

Given that Google is tight-lipped on what exactly ranking factors are (for a good reason), the search community relies on what is accessible to better understand how search works.

This includes a medley of what we can see in the search engine result pages, patents, official documentation, and what Google representatives say.

Google changed how search results were displayed and wrote, “By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we’ve been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future.”

Search marketers listened and asked the question: Are breadcrumbs a ranking factor?

The Evidence: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

Search engines try to make sense of your website by analyzing how the text is organized into main topics and subtopics.

Breadcrumbs reinforce the hierarchical arrangement of pages on a website and how those pages are related.

Google developer docs explain that using breadcrumb markup in a webpage’s body helps categorize the information from the page in search results.

Because a webpage ranks for more than just one keyword, users often will arrive at a page from multiple different types of search queries.

Each of these unique search queries returns the same webpage. But, thanks to breadcrumb markup, the content can be categorized within the search query context.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022

In January 2009, Google filed a U.S. Patent Application titled Visualizing Site Structure and Enabling Site Navigation for a Search Result or Linked Page.

The patent may suggest that Google could include breadcrumbs in search results even if a website doesn’t use them.

However, the patent also explains how this could make it easier for Google to understand a website’s structure and include that information in search results.

The patent has since been listed as “abandoned.” Could that be a clue that Google has abandoned using breadcrumbs in this fashion?

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction

Breadcrumbs Pass Pagerank

In reply to a question on Twitter about breadcrumbs, Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trend analyst, said, “We like them. We treat them as normal links in, e.g., PageRank computation.”

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022

PageRank (PR) is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to rank webpages in their search engine results.

While it doesn’t have as much impact as it used to, Google still uses PageRank, among many other factors, to rank results.

Google Search Console Warning

There is a Warning in GSC featured guides under breadcrumbs for manual actions against websites that misuse structured data guidelines.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022

Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate Google’s search index.

If breadcrumb markup were not part of Google’s search index, it would not likely be at risk of manual actions for spammers abusing it.

Not only is Google serious about not wanting people to manipulate breadcrumbs, but they are also invested in website owners implementing breadcrumbs properly.

Check out Google Search Console’s tweet below, from September 2019.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022

GSC updated its interface to show users where there were errors in search enhancements, including breadcrumbs.

That same weekend GSC started emailing accounts with breadcrumb structured data errors on their sites – and they’re still doing this three years later.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022

If breadcrumbs were not important to Google, why would they spend time and resources to educate website owners on proper implementation and send notices when there were errors?

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

Our Verdict: Breadcrumbs Are Kind Of A Ranking Factor

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Breadcrumbs are inadvertently a ranking factor.

A ranking factor is a set of criteria that search engines use to evaluate web pages and put them in the order you see in search results.

Does Google use breadcrumbs to evaluate web pages?

Yes, Google documentation supports the theory that breadcrumbs are used to evaluate webpages.

And a representative confirmed that breadcrumbs are considered normal links in Google’s link analysis algorithm, PageRank.

The weight given to those links is unknown.

Does that mean that adding breadcrumb markup will propel your page to the top of search results or that you’re doomed to never reach page one by not having them?

Of course not; the Google algorithm is far too complex for that.


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How to Sell Excel or Google Spreadsheets in WordPress



Do you want to sell your Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheets online?

By selling your spreadsheets as downloadable files, you can easily make money without having to pay for shipping or printing. Through WordPress, you can quickly and securely deliver your products to your customers.

In this article, we will show you how to easily sell your Excel or Google spreadsheets online using WordPress.

Which Platform Should You Use to Sell Excel or Google Spreadsheets

First, you’ll need to choose an eCommerce platform that you’ll use to sell your Excel or Google spreadsheets.

Because these spreadsheets are digital files that users can download to their computers after making a purchase, you should pick an eCommerce platform specifically designed for selling digital downloads.

Such a platform would have the proper features, licensing, and subscriptions built in which will make it easier for you to set up your store.

That’s why we recommend using WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads for selling your Excel and Google spreadsheets.

We recommend using EDD and WordPress

WordPress is the best website builder on the market that is used by over 43% of all the websites on the internet. It is an ideal choice as WordPress gives you full control over your website and allows you to create a user-friendly eCommerce store.

Easy Digital Downloads is the best WordPress plugin to sell digital products. We use EDD ourselves to sell many of our premium WordPress plugins.

With WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads, you can sell as many Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheets as you want without having to pay high transaction fees.

With that being said, let’s dig in to see how easy it is to create a WordPress site with Easy Digital Downloads, so you can start selling your spreadsheets online.

Step 1. Setting Up Your WordPress Site

Before you start building your site, it’s important to know that there are two types of WordPress software: and

We will be using as it gives you complete control over your website.

First of all, you’ll need a domain name and WordPress hosting to start selling your spreadsheets.

For detailed information on both, you can check out our guides on how to choose the best domain name and how to pick the best WordPress host.

We recommend using SiteGround for your website. It is a popular hosting provider that offers managed WordPress hosting for Easy Digital Downloads. It comes with a free SSL certificate, pre-installed and optimized EDD, and a huge 73% off.

Basically, you can create a website for less than $5 per month.

For more details on how to set up your WordPress site, you can check out our guide on how to make a WordPress website.

If you don’t want to use SiteGround for. some reason, then we recommend checking out Bluehost, Hostinger, and WPEngine to see if they meet your needs.

Step 2. Setting Up Easy Digital Downloads

The free version of Easy Digital Downloads allows you to create an amazing online store. However, if you want to use add-ons such as Content Restriction, Recommended Products, or Recurring Payments, you will need the Pro version.

For this tutorial, we will use the free version. To begin, just you just need to install and activate the plugin. If you need any help, you can check out our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once it is installed and activated, go to Downloads » Settings page in your WordPress admin area. First, you need to set your store’s location so the plugin can calculate sales tax and auto-fill some fields.

To do this, scroll until you see the ‘Store Location’ section. In the ‘Bunsiness Country’ dropdown menu, choose the location where your business is based.

Select a business country

After that, you need to fill in the ‘Business Region’ field.

Here you can open the dropdown and choose the state or region your store operates from.

Choose a Business region

Once you’ve entered the information, click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Step 3. Setting Up Your Payment Gateway

When selling Excel or Google spreadsheets online, you’ll need a way to accept credit payments from your customers.

Easy Digital Downloads supports popular payment gateways including Stripe, PayPal, and Amazon Payments. If you want to add more payment gateways, then you may want to take a look at Easy Digital Downloads extensions.

To choose your payment gateway, simply click on the ‘Payments’ tab. Then make sure the ‘General’ tab is selected.

Set up your payment gateways

In the ‘Payment Gateways’ section, check the box for all the payment gateways that you want to add to your online store.

If you select more than one payment method, then you’ll also need to choose a default gateway.

You can choose any one you want, but we recommend selecting Stripe as your default gateway because Stripe accepts credit cards as well as Google Pay and Apple pay.

Choose a default payment method

After selecting a default gateway, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Save Changes.’

Once the page reloads, you will now see some new tabs where you can configure each of your separate payment gateways.

Payment getaways

The process of configuring the payment gateway will be slightly different depending which you use. We will be using Stripe as an example.

To start, simply click on the ‘Stripe’ tab. Then, click on the ‘Connect With Stripe’ button.

Click on Connect With Stripe button

This launches a setup wizard which will walk you through a step-by-step process of configuring Stripe as your payment gateway. If you use multiple gateways, you’ll just need to repeat these steps for each one.

Also, by default, Easy Digital Downloads shows all your prices in U.S dollars. If you want to show your prices in any other currency, simply click on the ‘Currency’ tab and choose the one you want to use from the dropdown.

EDD Currency settings

Just be aware that some payment gateways may not accept every currency. If you’re unsure, then it is always a good idea to check your chosen payment gateway’s website.

Once you’re done with the currency settings, simply click on the ‘Save Changes’ button at the bottom of the page.

Step 4. Turn Your Spreadsheets Into a Downloadable Product

Now that your WordPress site is set up with Easy Digital Downloads, you’re ready to start selling spreadsheets online.

How to Sell a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet

To upload your first Excel spreadsheet for sale, simply go to Downloads » Add New in your admin panel.

Go to Downloads and click on Add New

Once you’re in the content editor, add a name for your Excel spreadsheet in the ‘Enter Download Name Here’ field.

This name will be shown on the product’s page, so be sure to use one that describes exactly what your spreadsheet does.

Write a name and description for your EDD product

Next, type in the description that will appear on the product’s page.

Many online stores use product categories and tags, too. These can help shoppers find the products they’re looking for.

You can create tags and categories for your spreadsheets using the ‘Add New Download Tag’ and ‘Add New Download Category’ options.

Add Tags and Categories for your EDD products

After that, scroll to the ‘Download Prices’ section.

Then simply enter the price they’ll pay to download the spreadsheet.

Simply add download price

Next, you have to attach a ‘Download Image’ to the spreadsheet. This will appear as a featured image on the product page. You can easily create a product image using free design tools such as Canva.

Scroll down to the ‘Download Image’ section in the sidebar and just click on ‘Download Image.’ Then, simply upload any image you want.

Add a downloaded image

After that, you can upload your spreadsheet. Simply scroll down to the ‘Download files’ section and add a suitable name in the ‘File Name’ field.

Then click on the link button in the ‘File URL’ field.

Attach an excel File

This will launch the WordPress media library.

From here, you can simply upload the Excel spreadsheet from the computer.

Uploading the Excel file

Once you’ve uploaded the Excel spreadsheet, simply click on the ‘Publish’ button. Now your product is on sale on your site.

Setting Up Google Sheets For Sale By Placing Link in File URL

Selling Google Sheets on WordPress is a slightly different process. Since Google Sheets only run in a web browser, you cannot sell a downloadable Google Sheets file. All you get is a link.

To sell Google Sheets, you need to create a ‘copy link’ for the spreadsheet that you plan on selling. This copy link allows you to share a copy of your spreadsheet with the customers upon purchase.

To create this link, simply go to the Google spreadsheet that you plan on selling and click the ‘Share’ button.

Click on the Share button in Google Sheets

Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Share’ button, a popup will appear.

Now simply click on ‘Anyone with the link’ option in the ‘General Access’ section.

Click on Anyone with the link option

Next, select the ‘Editor’ option from the dropdown menu on the right in the ‘General Access’ section.

After that, simply click on the ‘Copy Link’ button.

Click on Editor and copy link

After you’ve copied the link, go to the ‘Download Files’ section in Easy Digital Downloads.

Then just paste the link in the ‘File URL’ field.

Copy and paste Google Sheets link

After pasting the link, remove the edit?usp=sharing section from your link.

You will need to add copy in its place.

Add Copy to the link

Now that you’ve added your Google Sheet’s copy URL, simply click on the ‘Publish’ button.

That’s it! Your spreadsheet will immediately be for sale to customers.

Setting Up Google Sheets For Sale Using Certificate of Download

Another easy way to sell Google Sheets is by creating a certificate of download.

All you have to do is create a Word document and paste the Google Sheet ‘copy link’ into the document.

Certificate of download

After pasting the link, remove the edit?usp=sharing section from your link and simply add copy it in its place. Be sure to enable the URL as a hyperlink so that it is clickable.

Now, as you can see in the image above, the copy link looks a bit ugly. To make your certificate of download look more professional, you can use a link-cloaker like Pretty Links.

With this plugin, you can make your links look professional and can also track the number of clicks the links in your certificates get.

Use Pretty Links

Next, simply save the document. We recommend saving it as a PDF.

After that, just head back to the ‘Download Files’ section in EDD and upload the certificate file. Then, simply click on the ‘Publish’ button.

With this method, customers will download the certificate after the purchase. They can then click the link provided in the purchase certificate to access the Google spreadsheet they just bought.

Step 5. Customizing Your Digital Download Emails

Every time someone buys a spreadsheet from your website, Easy Digital Downloads will send an email to that person.

This email will have a link that the customer can use to download the Excel or Google spreadsheet they just purchased.

Purchase Receipt Example

You may want to customize this email by adding your own text and branding.

To do this, go to Downloads » Settings and click on the ‘Email’ tab. Then, make sure that the ‘General’ tab is selected.

Go to Downloads for Emails settings

You might want to start by adding a logo to your purchase receipt emails.

This logo will appear right at the top of the email and will help customers identify who the email is from.

Add brand logo

Simply click on the ‘Upload File’ button and upload an image or choose one from the WordPress media library.

Additionally, you create more personalized emails, you can use dynamic text in your emails as well.

You can find the list of these variables at the bottom of the tab, and you can paste them into your emails to customize them to your individual customers.

Add dynamic text

When you’re happy with your purchase email receipts, simply scroll down and click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.

Bonus Tools to Sell More Excel and Google Spreadsheets

Now that you’ve successfully added Google and Excel spreadsheets to your website, your next step is to convince the visitors to buy your downloads.

Here are some of our top picks for plugins that can help you sell more Excel and Google spreadsheets.

  • OptinMonster is the conversion optimization software on the market. You can use it to create optin forms to grow your email list and convert visitors into paying customers. It can also reduce shopping cart abandonment.

We hope this article helped you learn how to sell excel and Google spreadsheets online. You may also want out check out our guide on best email marketing services, and see these easy ways to drive traffic to your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Sell Excel or Google Spreadsheets in WordPress first appeared on WPBeginner.


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Rackspace outage ransomware



Rackspace outage ransomware
Rackspace blames ransomware attack for massive server outages

Rackspace outage ransomware

Rackspace Technology, one of the largest cloud and email hosting providers in the US, said Tuesday that a ransomware attack is to blame for a massive outage that has locked some customers out of their email inboxes since Friday.

Why this matters: The crisis offers a window into the hidden world of email hosting, where customers hand over their deepest electronic secrets to third-party cloud providers for storage and security.

  • Potentially accessed data on Rackspace’s servers may include stored email messages and contact lists.

The big picture: A ransomware attack has left Rackspace scrambling to bring some of its hosting services back online and has left customers without access to their email inboxes over the weekend.

  • Kevin Beaumont, a security researcher and former Microsoft employee, estimated in a recent blog post that thousands of small- to medium-sized businesses are affected by the outage. A handful of clients — ranging from investment firms to waste management facilities — are sharing on LinkedIn that their emails are still turned off because of the incident.
  • Rackspace spokeswoman Natalie Silva declined to say how many customers were affected.
  • Rackspace said in an SEC filing Tuesday that the attack “could result in loss of revenue” for its $30 million hosted exchange business as well as other “incremental costs.”

The details: Rackspace said Tuesday that it had hired a “leading cyber defense firm” to investigate the attack, but the company was “unable to provide a timeline for reinstatement.”

  • The company has not disclosed how the hackers gained access to its systems, who is behind the attack or how much data they were able to access before deploying the ransomware.
  • Rackspace has isolated the affected servers and is recommending that affected customers migrate their email servers to a Microsoft 365 cloud-based account, which “can be challenging,” the company said.
  • Rackspace said customers can also set up email forwarding for new, incoming email to an external email address while they set up a Microsoft 365 account.

Between the lines: While Rackspace has promised to help customers install and configure Microsoft 365 accounts, customers have been flooding social media since the outage with lack of communication from the company and unanswered support tickets.

Rackspace outage ransomware

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Meta Would Rather Remove News Than Pay Publishers



Meta Would Rather Remove News Than Pay Publishers

Meta says it will consider removing news articles from its platform if a US government mandate forces the company to compensate publishers.

The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) enables news outlets to collectively negotiate revenue-sharing deals with social media platforms and search engines.

The JCPA is designed to benefit US news outlets because deals apply across the board to all local and national publishers.

News outlets can negotiate with companies individually under the current system. However, one-to-one negotiations only give publishers so much leverage.

If the JCPA passes, it will allow the entire industry to negotiate, giving publishers more leverage over companies like Meta and Google.

Meta isn’t interested in negotiating with publishers because the company believes traffic and exposure are payment enough.

Andy Stone, Meta’s policy communications director, published a statement on Twitter threatening to remove news content in the United States if the JCPA passes:

“If Congress passes an ill-considered journalism bill as part of national security legislation, we will be forced to consider removing news from our platform altogether rather than submit to government-mandated negotiations that unfairly disregard any value we provide to news outlets through increased traffic and subscriptions.”

Meta’s argument continues with a statement that roughly translates to: ‘They need us more than we need them:

“The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act fails to recognize the key fact: publishers and broadcasters put their content on our platform themselves because it benefits their bottom line – not the other way around.”

Meta concludes its statement by equating the government’s plan with the creation of a ‘cartel-like entity’:

“No company should be forced to pay for content users don’t want to see and that’s not a meaningful source of revenue. Put simply: the government creating a cartel-like entity which requires one private company to subsidize other private entities is a terrible precedent for all American businesses.”

The bipartisan JCPA is yet to pass through the Senate, though it advanced through the Judiciary Committee in September.

Antitrust experts believe Meta will not follow through on its threats to withhold US news from its platforms, citing its failure to do so in Australia and Canada:

If the JCPA passes and Meta lives up to its word, it could be a blow to US news publishers.

On the other hand, news content hasn’t been a priority for Meta for years. Publishers have been losing referral traffic since 2016 when Facebook started prioritizing posts from friends and family over pages.

Meta showed renewed interest in news with the introduction of the Facebook News tab, which was put on the back burner earlier this year.

As Meta plans to transition to a video-first platform, who knows how much visibility news publishers will receive in the future.

According to a Pew Research study, Facebook is currently the leader in social media platforms where Americans regularly get news. However, the same research shows news consumption is gradually shifting to YouTube and Twitter.

If it comes down to it, can US news publishers survive without Meta? Considering the company’s recent downturn, it’s fair to say Meta doesn’t have the same power over publishers that it used to.

Meta Would Rather Remove News Than Pay Publishers


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How to Embed a Facebook Group Feed in WordPress



How to Embed a Facebook Group Feed in WordPress

Do you want to embed posts from a Facebook group on your WordPress website?

Promoting your Facebook group on your WordPress site is a great way to get more engagement and grow your followers. The content from your group can also help keep your site fresh, even for regular visitors.

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily add a Facebook group feed in WordPress.

How to embed a Facebook group feed in WordPress

Why Add Facebook Group Content to Your WordPress Site?

Facebook groups can help you build a community, create a sense of loyalty, and build a positive relationship with your users. After they join your group, you can promote blog posts, company updates, or even WooCommerce products to these people without having to spend any money on online ads.

Our WPBeginner Engage Facebook group has over 89 thousand active users and is growing at an incredible pace.

The WPBeginner Engage Facebook group

After creating your Facebook group, you’ll want to promote that group and drive people to it. The best way to grow your Facebook group is by embedding the group feed on your WordPress website.

In this way, the people who visit your site can see all the great content you’re posting on Facebook. This will encourage them to check out your group, engage with your content, and maybe even click on the ‘Join’ button.

After embedding the group feed on your site, new posts will appear on your website automatically. This makes it an easy way to keep your site fresh, even for regular visitors.

With that in mind, let’s see how to embed a Facebook group feed in WordPress.

How to Install a Custom Facebook Feed Plugin

The best way to embed a Facebook group feed in WordPress is by using the Smash Balloon Custom Facebook Feed plugin.

This plugin lets you embed Facebook albums, comments, reviews, community posts, and more on your WordPress website.

An example of an embedded Facebook group page in WordPress

If you embed videos in WordPress, then Smash Balloon lets users watch that media without having to visit Facebook, by opening a lightbox popup directly on your website.

In this guide, we’ll be using the pro version of Smash Balloon as it allows you to show Facebook albums, videos, and photos on your WordPress website. However, there’s also a free version that allows you to easily embed Facebook status posts in WordPress, no matter what your budget.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Smash Balloon Custom Facebook Feed plugin. For more details, see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you’ll need to go to Facebook Feed » Settings and enter your license key into the ‘License Key’ field.

Adding your license to the Smash Balloon plugin

You’ll find this information under your account on the Smash Balloon website.

After entering the key, click on the ‘Activate’ button.

How to add the Smash Balloon App to Your Facebook Group

After that, you’ll need to add Smash Balloon’s Facebook app to the Facebook group that you want to show on your WordPress website.

Note: Due to how the Facebook API is set up, Smash Balloon can only show posts that were made after you added the app to your Facebook group.

With that in mind, let’s go ahead and install the app before we do anything else. In a new tab, log into Facebook and go to your Facebook group.

Then, in the left-hand menu click on ‘Group settings.’

Your Facebook group settings

After that, scroll to the ‘Manage advanced settings’ section.

Here, click on the pencil icon next to ‘Apps.’

Adding the Smash Balloon app to your Facebook group

This opens a popup showing all the apps you’ve already added to this group.

Since we want to install the Smash Balloon app, click on ‘Add Apps.’

How to install a Facebook app

In the search bar, type in ‘Smash Balloon WordPress.’

When the right app shows up, give it a click.

Adding the Smash Balloon app to your Facebook group

A popup will now appear showing all the information the app can access and any actions it can perform.

If you’re happy to go ahead and install the app, then click on ‘Add.’

Giving Smash Balloon access to your WordPress website

After a few moments, you should see a message saying that you’ve successfully added the Smash Balloon app to your Facebook group.

Connect Smash Balloon to Your Facebook Group

Now, it’s time to connect your Facebook page WordPress, by going to Facebook Feed » All Feeds and clicking on ‘Add New.’

Embedding a Facebook group feed in WordPress

Smash Balloon lets you show photos, events, videos, albums, and more.

Since we want to embed our Facebook group feed, click on ‘Timeline’ and then select ‘Next.’

Embedding a Facebook group timeline in WordPress

After that, you’ll need to select the Facebook group where you’ll get the timeline from.

To get started, click on ‘Add New.’

Connecting WordPress to a Facebook group

On the next screen, select the radio button next to ‘Group.’

After that, just click on ‘Connect to Facebook.’

Connecting a Facebook group to WordPress

This opens a popup where you can log into your Facebook account and choose the group that you want to use.

After checking the box next to one or more groups, simply click ‘Next.’

Selecting your Facebook group

You should now see a popup asking you to install the Smash Balloon WordPress app.

Since we already installed this app, you can go ahead and click on ‘Done.’

Adding the Smash Balloon social media plugin to WordPress

How to Create a Facebook Group Feed in WordPress

Now you’ve added your Facebook group to Smash Balloon, it’ll show up as an option. Simply click to select the group and then click ‘Next.’

Creating a new Facebook group feed for your WordPress website

On this screen, you can choose the template you’ll use as the starting point for your Facebook group feed.

All of these templates are fully customizable so you can fine-tune the design depending on how you want to show the status updates, videos, and photos from your Facebook group.

We’re using the ‘Simple Masonry’ template, but you can choose any template you want.

Selecting a masonry layout for a Facebook group feed

Smash Balloon will now go ahead and create the feed based on your Facebook group and the template you’ve chosen.

This is a good start, but Smash Balloon has lots of settings you can use to customize how this group feed looks on your WordPress blog.

How to Customize Your Facebook Group Feed

The Smash Balloon plugin gives you lots of ways to customize how the feed appears on your website. With that in mind, it’s worth seeing what changes you can make.

On the Facebook Feed » All Feeds screen, find your group feed and then click on its ‘Edit’ button, which looks like a small pencil.

Customizing an embedded social media feed

This opens the Smash Balloon feed editor, which shows a preview of your Facebook group feed to the right.

On the left-hand side, you’ll see all the different settings you can use to customize how the posts appear on your site. Most of these settings are self-explanatory, but we’ll quickly cover some key areas.

Customizing a Facebook group feed in WordPress

If you want to change the template you’re using, just click on ‘Template.’

Then, select the ‘Change’ button.

Choosing a new social media template

To start, you can change how your group posts are displayed by clicking on ‘Feed Layout.’

On this screen, you can switch between masonry and list layouts, and change the feed height. As you make changes, the preview will update automatically so you can try different settings to see what looks the best for your Facebook group.

The Smash Balloon social media layout editor

By default, the Facebook group feed will show a different number of posts on desktop computers and mobile devices.

You can preview how your feed will look on desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones using the row of buttons in the upper-right corner.

Creating a mobile responsive social media feed

After testing the mobile version of your WordPress website, you may want to change the number of posts that you show on smartphones and tablets.

To make this change, simply find the ‘Number of Posts’ section and type a different number into the ‘Mobile’ field.

Creating a social media layout for smartphones and tablets

You may also want to show fewer columns on smartphones and tablets by changing the ‘Columns’ settings.

For example, in the following image, we’re splitting the content into 3 columns on desktop, 2 columns on tablets, and 1 column on mobile devices.

Changing the number of columns in a social media layout

When you’re happy with the layout, click on the ‘Customize’ link.

This will take you back to the main Smash Balloon editor, ready for you to move onto the next settings screen, which is ‘Color Scheme.’

Changing your social media color scheme

By default, Smash Balloon uses the same color scheme as your WordPress theme, but on this screen, you can switch to a ‘Light’ or ‘Dark’ color scheme.

Another option is to design your own color scheme by selecting ‘Custom’ and then using the controls to change the background color, change the text color in WordPress, and more.

Adding a custom color scheme to a social media layout

You can add a header above your group feed, which can include content such as your group’s profile picture and name. This can help visitors understand the content they’re seeing, and how they can find your group on Facebook.

To add a header section, click on ‘Header’ in the left-hand menu.

Adding a header to your Facebook group status feed

On this screen, click on the ‘Enable’ slider to turn it from grey to blue.

After adding a header section, you can use the controls to change the size of the header and its color, hide or show your Facebook profile picture, and more.

Customizing the Facebook group header

If you want to remove the header at any point, then simply click to turn off the ‘Enable’ toggle.

After that, you can change how the individual posts look inside your group feed by selecting ‘Post Style’ from the left-hand menu.

After that, click on ‘Post Style’ again.

Customizing the style of your social media posts

On this screen, you can choose between a regular and boxed layout.

If you select ‘Boxed’ then you can create a colored background for each post. You can also make the border-radius larger to create curved corners, and add a border shadow.

Adding a boxed style to your social media posts

If you choose ‘Regular’ then you can change the thickness and color of the line that separates your different social media posts.

In the following image, we’ve added a thicker line to the group feed and changed its color.

Adding a border to your Facebook group status updates

You can also customize the individual parts within each post by going back to the main settings screen.

Once again, select ‘Post Style’ but this time choose ‘Edit Individual Elements’ instead.

The Smash Ballon Facebook plugin

You’ll now see all the different content that Smash Balloon includes in each post, such as the post author, date, shared link box, and more.

To remove a piece of content from your posts, just click to uncheck its box.

Hiding content from a social media feed in WordPress

You can also customize how each type of content looks by clicking on it.

For example, in the following image, you can see settings to change the size and color of the ‘post action’ links, such as like, share, and comment.

Adding a post action to a Feed status update feed

You can also change the ‘View on Facebook’ text by typing into the ‘Customize Text’ field.

By default, Smash Balloon doesn’t add a Facebook ‘like’ button to your feed. This button makes it easier for visitors to join your group, so you may want to add it to your feed by selecting the ‘Like Box’ settings.

Adding a Facebook like button to WordPress

Then, simply click on ‘Enable’ so that the toggle turns blue.

You can now use the ‘Position’ dropdown to add the like box below or above the group feed.

Adding a Facebook like button to your WordPress website

You can also use these settings to change the box’s width, or add the group’s cover photo.

To encourage more people to join your group, you may want to show the total number of followers by clicking on the ‘Show fans’ switch.

When you’re happy with how the ‘like’ button is set up, you can move on to the ‘Load More Button’ settings.

Adding a Load More button to your WordPress website

The ‘Load More’ button gives visitors an easy way to scroll through more of your feed. If they enjoy this content, then they might decide to join your Facebook group.

With that in mind, you may want to make this button stand out by changing its background color, hover state, and text color.

Customizing the Facebook Load More button in WordPress

This button shows ‘Load More’ by default but you can add a custom message by typing into the ‘Text’ field.

Smash Balloon has a lightbox feature that allows visitors to watch your group’s videos and take a closer look at your photos without leaving WordPress.

Visitors can simply click on any video or photo thumbnail to open the lightbox popup.

Smash Balloon's lightbox feature

They can then scroll through the rest of the images and videos in the feed using the arrows.

To customize the default lightbox, simply select ‘Lightbox’ from the left-hand menu.

How to customize the Facebook lightbox feature in WordPress

Here, you can change the color of the lightbox’s text, links, and background colors.

The lightbox popup makes it easy for visitors to explore your feed, but it also allows people to scroll through your photos and videos without visiting your Facebook group.

If you want to get more visitors to your Facebook group then you may want to disable the lightbox feature. To do this, simply click on the ‘Enable’ toggle so it turns from blue to grey.

How to disable the Smash Balloon lightbox feature

Now, if a visitor clicks on any photo or video in the group feed, they’ll be taken to your Facebook group in a new tab.

When you’re happy with how the Facebook group feed looks, don’t forget to click on ‘Save’ to store your changes.

You’re now ready to add this feed to your WordPress website.

How to Embed Your Facebook Group Feed in WordPress

You can add your Facebook group feed to WordPress using a block, widget, or shortcode.

If you’ve created more than one feed using Smash Balloon, then you’ll need to know the feed’s code if you’re going to use a block or widget.

To get this information, go to Facebook Feed » All Feeds and then look at the feed="" part of the shortcode. You’ll need to add this code to the block or widget, so make a note of it.

In the following image, we’ll need to use feed="1".

Adding a Facebook group feed to your WordPress website

If you want to embed your Facebook group feed in a page or post, then you can use the ‘Custom Facebook Feed’ block.

Simply open the page or post where you want to embed the Facebook feed. Then, click on the ‘+’ icon to add a new block and start typing ‘Custom Facebook Feed.’

When the Facebook block appears, click to add it to your page or post.

The Custom Facebook Feed WordPress plugin

The block will show one of your Smash Balloon feeds by default. If this isn’t your Facebook group feed, then find the ‘Shortcode Settings’ section in the right-hand menu.

You can now go ahead and add the feed="" code, then click on ‘Apply Changes.’

Embedding a Facebook group feed in WordPress

After that, just publish or update the page to make the group feed live on your website.

Another option is to add the feed to any widget-ready area, such as the sidebar or similar section. This allows visitors to see your group feed no matter where they are on your website.

To get started, simply go to Appearance » Widgets in the WordPress dashboard and then click on the blue ‘+’ button.

Adding a social media widget to your WordPress website

Once you’ve done that, start typing ‘Custom Facebook Feed’ into the search bar.

When the right widget appears, drag it to where you want to show the feed.

The WordPress widget editor

The widget will show one of the feeds you created using Smash Balloon.

If this isn’t your Facebook group feed, then type the feed’s code into the ‘Shortcode Settings’ box. Then, click on ‘Apply Changes.’

Adding a social media widget to your WordPress website

You can now click on the ‘Update’ button to make the widget live. For more information, see our complete guide on how to add and use widgets in WordPress.

Finally, you can embed the Facebook group feed on any page, post, or widget-ready area using shortcode.

Simply go to Facebook Feed » All Feeds and copy all the code in the ‘Shortcode’ column. You can now add this code to any shortcode block.

For more information, please see our detailed guide on how to add a shortcode in WordPress.

Note: If you are using a block-enabled theme, you can use the full-site editor to add the ‘Custom Facebook Feed’ block anywhere on your site.

We hope this article helped you learn how to add a Facebook group on your WordPress website. You may also want to see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress, or see our expert pick of the best Facebook plugins for your blog.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


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Google Ads Conversion Lift Tutorial For Advertisers



In the most recent Google Ads tutorial video, a new Conversion Lift study was introduced to advertisers.

The tutorial covers Conversion Lift and how to set it up in Google Ads.

What Is Conversion Lift & How Does It Work?

Conversion Lift measures how many conversions are caused by your ads that wouldn’t have happened without ads.

Google’s conversion lift solution blends multiple measurement tactics, including:

  • Multi-touch attribution
  • Incrementality Experiments
  • Marketing mix models

Conversion Lift is set up as a controlled experiment within the Google Ads interface that separates your audience into two groups:

  • One group that receives ads (control)
  • One group that doesn’t receive ads (experiment)

The experiment can separate audiences based on random user selection or based on geography.

Conversion Lift is available for Video, Discovery, and App campaigns.

Why Use Conversion Lift?

In the Google tutorial video, the introduction started out with three major pain points in today’s marketing measurement.

  • Customer journeys are more complex. As people interact with ads across multiple platforms, it’s sometimes difficult or impossible to connect the dots to one unique user journey.
  • Cookie-based measurement continues to decline. This leaves marketers with less visibility into what’s working (and what’s not).
  • Marketers are expected to do more with less. All the while, they’re increasingly scrutinized over the need for profitability.

How To Set Up Conversion Lift

The tutorial video provided step-by-step instructions based on separating by users.

Step 1:

In the Google Ads interface, navigate to the top menu. Click on Tools & Settings >> Measurement >> Lift measurement.

Then, click on “+” to start a new study.

The first step in creating a conversion lift study in Google Ads.

Step 2:

Select if your study will be based on users or by geography:

Choose to run a conversion lift study by users or geography.

Choose to run a conversion lift study by users or geography.

Next, you’ll be able to select which campaign(s) to run in this study.

After that, select your start and ends dates.

Finally, review the feasibility to estimate how likely your study will get results.

Review the feasibility of your conversion lift study before saving.Image credit: Google Ads Tutorial YouTube video, December 2022Review the feasibility of your conversion lift study before saving.

Once saved, the conversion lift study will automatically begin measuring lift at your chosen start date.

Conversion Lift Metrics

Google provides three metrics advertisers can measure using this study:

  • Incremental conversions
  • Incremental conversion value
  • Relative conversion lift

You’ll need access from your Google account team to get started, as this has not yet rolled out to all accounts.

Watch the full Conversion Lift tutorial below:

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How to Create a Thank You Page in WordPress



Do you want to create a thank you page for your WordPress website?

Showing a customized thank you page can help you build a strong relationship with your audience. You can keep people engaged, bring them back to your site, and boost sales.

In this article, we will show you how to create a thank you page in WordPress, step by step. Plus, we’ll also show you when to display your thank you page such as after someone submits a form, makes a purchase on your site, and more.

How to create a Thank You page in WordPress

Why Create a Thank You Page in WordPress?

A thank you page is a web page you can show to your users when they perform an action or complete a task on your WordPress website.

For example, you can show a custom thank you page on your online store after a customer purchases a product. This allows you to cross-sell and upsell your best products and offer exclusive discounts on subsequent purchases.

Similarly, a thank you page can help build an email list and grow your social audience. You can show social sharing buttons to promote your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.

Another situation where a thank you page is helpful is when a user submits a form or leaves a comment on your site. You can show your most popular posts on the thank you page and drive more traffic to your important blog posts.

That said, let’s look at how you can easily create a thank you page in WordPress and how to trigger it in different situations.

Simply click the links below to jump ahead to your preferred section:

Creating a Thank You Page in WordPress

The best way to create a thank you page in WordPress is by using SeedProd. It is the best website builder and landing page builder plugin for WordPress.

The plugin offers drag-and-drop functionality and lots of customization options. Plus, you get to choose from pre-built templates to edit the thank you page according to your liking.

For this tutorial, we will use the SeedProd Pro version because it offers pre-built templates, email integrations, WooCommerce blocks, and more. You can also use the SeedProd Lite version for free.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the SeedProd plugin. If you need help, then please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can go to SeedProd » Settings from your WordPress admin panel. From here, enter the license key and click the ‘Verify key’ button.

Entering the SeedProd license keyEntering the SeedProd license key

You can find the license key in your SeedProd account area.

After the verification, you’ll need to head to SeedProd » Landing Pages from the WordPress dashboard and click the ‘Create New Landing Page’ button.

Add a New SeedProd Landing PageAdd a New SeedProd Landing Page

Next, SeedProd will show you different page templates.

You can filter them from the top to view thank you page templates. From here, simply hover over a design you’d like to use and click the orange tick button.

Select a thank you page templateSelect a thank you page template

A popup window will now open. Go ahead and enter a name and URL for your thank you page.

Once that’s done, you can click the ‘Save and Start Editing the Page’ button.

Enter a name for your thank you pageEnter a name for your thank you page

This will launch the SeedProd drag-and-drop page builder.

You can now customize your thank you page by adding new blocks from the menu on the left or rearranging the existing blocks.

For instance, there are blocks for images, text, headlines, videos, contact forms, social profiles, and more.

Customize your thank you pageCustomize your thank you page

If you click on a block in the template, then you’ll see more options for customization.

For example, you can edit the text, changing its font, size, spacing, color, and more.

You can edit existing blocks in SeedProdYou can edit existing blocks in SeedProd

When you’ve made the changes, don’t forget to click the ‘Save’ button at the top.

Next, you can click the ‘Connect’ tab and integrate email marketing services. This is useful if you’ve added a contact form to your thank you and would like to collect leads from customers.

Connecting email marketing services to SeedProdConnecting email marketing services to SeedProd

After that, you’ll need to head to the ‘Page Settings’ tab at the top.

Here, click the Page Status toggle to change it from ‘Draft’ to ‘Publish.’

Publish your thank you pagePublish your thank you page

Don’t forget to click the ‘Save’ button at the top when you’re done.

You can now visit your website to see the thank you page in action.

Visit website to see thank you page previewVisit website to see thank you page preview

Now, let’s look at different situations when you can trigger the thank you page so that your visitors see it.

Show a Thank You Page After Form Submission in WordPress

After creating a custom thank you page, you can display it when a user submits a form.

For example, you can show social media icons when a visitor signs up for an email newsletter using a form. This way, they can also follow you on different social platforms and help grow your followers.

Similarly, if a user fills out a feedback form, then you can show useful guides, videos, or promote your best content on the thank you page.

With WPForms, you can easily create all types of forms on your website and show a custom thank you page. It is the best WordPress contact form plugin that offers pre-built templates and lots of customization options.

For more details, please see our guide on how to create a contact form in WordPress.

To display your custom thank you page, go ahead and edit a form in WPForms. When you’re in the form builder, simply go to the Settings » Confirmations tab.

Edit form confirmation settingsEdit form confirmation settings

Under the Confirmation Type dropdown menu, simply select the ‘Go to URL (Redirect)’ option.

After that, enter the URL for your thank you page in the ‘Confirmation Redirect URL’ field.

Enter your thank you page URLEnter your thank you page URL

Whenever a user fills out and submits a form on your website, they’ll see the custom thank you page you created.

Show a Thank You Page Upon Product Purchase in WooCommerce

If you have a WooCommerce store, then you can show your custom thank you page when a customer purchases your product.

WooCommerce has a default thank you page, but it’s not optimized for conversions. However, you can replace it with your own to get more sales.

For example, you can upsell products on a thank you page, offer exclusive discounts, display the latest promotional campaigns, and more.

Thank you page previewThank you page preview

We have a full guide on how to easily create custom WooCommerce thank you pages that will walk you through the entire process, step-by-step.

Show a Custom Thank You Page on Your Membership Site

You can also display your thank you page on a membership website when someone purchases a subscription to access exclusive content or enrolls in an online course.

With MemberPress, you can easily set up a membership site. It is the best WordPress membership plugin, and you can use it to sell premium content, subscriptions, digital downloads, and more.

You can learn more by following our ultimate guide to creating a WordPress membership site.

Once you’ve set up memberships, all you have to do is head to MemberPress » Settings from your WordPress dashboard and select the ‘Pages’ tab.

Choose custom thank you page for membership siteChoose custom thank you page for membership site

From here, you can click the ‘MemberPress Thank You Page’ dropdown menu and select the custom thank you page.

This way, customers will be redirected to your thank you page whenever they complete the registration or subscription process.

Another situation where displaying a custom thank you page is beneficial is after comment submission.

When a visitor submits a comment on your WordPress blog, you can take this opportunity to show your most popular articles or evergreen content through a thank you page.

First, you’ll need to install and activate the Yoast Comment Hacks plugin. For more details, please see our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you can go to Settings » Comment Hacks from your WordPress dashboard.

Next, scroll down to the ‘Redirect first time commenters’ section. Now, click the ‘Redirect to’ dropdown menu and select your custom thank you page.

Redirect users to thank you page on comment submissionRedirect users to thank you page on comment submission

Save your settings, and the thank you page that you selected will appear any time a visitor leaves a comment for the first time.

You can see our detailed guide on how to redirect users after form submissions in WordPress for more information.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a thank you page in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide for beginners and the must-have WordPress plugins for business websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


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