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Updated WordPress Plugin Offers 100+ Free Templates

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Updated WordPress Plugin Offers 100+ Free Templates


The makers of the popular Astra WordPress theme announced an update to their Starter Templates plugin. Starter Templates 3.0 features a redesigned interface that makes it easier to create a website with over one hundred free professional quality templates.

The updated Starter Templates plugin is compatible with two popular WordPress site builders as well as the WordPress Gutenberg block editor.

The newly redesigned interface allows a user to design the look and feel of a website before importing the template.

Starter Templates Plugin 3.0

The Starter Templates version 3.0 makes it easier than ever to create a professional looking template.

The new Starter Templates plugin has a redesigned interface that makes it easier to sample different website color schemes as well as to use a selection of predefined color palettes.

It’s an entirely new interface that is designed to provide a fast user experience.

Brainstorm Force described it to me like this:

If you ask me about the plugin experience and performance in the backend, it is basically a full page React app.

This improves the user experience as there are no page loads in between each step and we are also able to provide an immersive user experience to the user.

In this app, we have improved the search results of the existing templates so that every user finds a template for their search.”

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Recommended Typography

It also has a feature that provides a recommended font typography that helps users create an attractive and easy to read website faster.

I asked the Brainstorm Force team what the Recommended Typography is all about.

They said:

“Recommended fonts are combinations of classic and contemporary fonts that we’ve tried and tested to help maintain the readability of a website. These fonts are widely used and suitable for any industry or niche.

We often see that people go with their gut feeling or guesswork to select a font family for their website. This makes them pick anything that they like, something that others have been using on their website or just go with a trending font.

But, not every font may be right for a project and not everyone would understand how typography looks on different devices.

We believe that every font adds a vibe and a feeling to a website. That is why we’ve listed sets of effective fonts to suit any kind of website one might be building.

While this option is made available in the initial phase, website owners still have the freedom to use the theme options to change fonts later if they like.”

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100+ Free Professional WordPress Templates

The newly updated Starter Templates plugin features over one hundred free to use templates. They are designed to look professional and attractive and are compatible with Elementor, Beaver Builder and The WordPress Gutenberg block editor.

That means users who are used to editing sites with any three of those site builders can easily use any of those templates.

There are also 180 premium templates to choose from as well.

Visualize Website Before Importing Template

An important new features of the plugin is the ability to customize a template before importing it to see what it will look like with your logo, font and chosen color scheme.

The interface makes it easy to upload a logo and preview how it will look in the template.

The Brainstorm Force announcement, published on the WP Astra website stated:

“With Starter Templates 3.0 we have made design easy with powerful search, improved website builder, logo selection, website colors, and typography selection.”

Plugin Will Not Slow Down Your Website

The Starter Template plugin is a completely backend plugin that works from the admin side of a WordPress site. It makes zero impact on page load or performance of the website itself.

I asked them about impact on site performance and this is how they responded:

“It does not load anything on the frontend of the user’s website. So, the Starter Templates plugin does not affect the loading/performance of those websites.

We have taken utmost care to keep up with performance expectations and import only the necessary plugins that are lightweight. The media and images used in the templates are also optimized for performance.

Starter Templates is a 100% backend plugin. Also, it does not load any JS/CSS or any markup in the frontend.”

Starter Templates Front End Performance

It’s great that the backend plugin has zero impact on the front end of a website, the part that site visitors interact with.

What’s great about the templates themselves is that they too inherit the Astra theme page speed optimizations.

The developers explained:

“Our main focus has always been on improving website speed and performance. That’s why we created the fastest WordPress theme, Astra.

It is taken a step further with features specifically for getting the best Core Web Vitals score. So, Astra by default comes with settings to use self hosted Google fonts, enhancements with respect to SVG logos, mobile headers and more.

Although the Starter Templates can be used with any WordPress theme, the templates are individually built using Astra and inherit those core features.

Furthermore, every template is built using plugins that are fully compatible and lightweight. We optimize images and test every template to deliver the best possible performance with what it has.”

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Starter Template Library Plugin

The updated starter template plugin offers pre-built sites and starter pages all 100% free, with the full functionality of the backend interface. The only difference between the free and paid version is that the premium version has 180 more templates. Otherwise the free and premium versions of the plugin are the same.

The WordPress Gutenberg site editor is a powerful way to build fast performing websites. Something like the Starter Template plugin can potentially speed up the process of building a website.

Because it’s compatible with Elementor and Beaver Builder can also take advantage of the free templates.

Citations

Read The Official Brainstorm Force Announcement

Introducing Starter Templates 3.0: Hundreds of Templates, Millions of Possibilities!

Starter Templates Plugin Download Page

Official WordPress Starter Templates Plugin Page





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Google Be Colorful Sign from Peter The Greeter

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Google Be Colorful Backdrop


Here is a photo from Peter the Greeter at the GooglePlex in front of a “Be Colorful” sign that is super colorful with a lot of fun scenery around it. I assume this was for the Pride celebrations at the Google office.

He shared this on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.





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Google Automatically Selecting Background Colors For Search Result Snippet Images

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Google Automatically Selecting Background Colors For Search Result Snippet Images


Over the past few months Google has been auto-selecting background colors not just for image search results and not just for shading Google Shopping Ads but also for images added to the search result snippets in Google Search.

Punit spotted this a few months ago and he shared a couple examples on Twitter that shows how Google is taking an image with maybe a light gray background and then replacing it with a green background. He has more examples but here is the bigger one.

On the left is an image of a heel on a dark green background in the Google Search result image snippet:

But if you looked at the web page, that image as on a light gray background:

Here are more examples:

Pretty cool for Google to do this but I do wonder if the publishers won’t like Google changing the image backgrounds like this?

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers

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Top 6 Free Survey Maker Tools For Marketers


The number of online surveys has risen dramatically in the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.

From short social media polls to lengthy feedback forms, it’s never been easier to survey your target audience and find out what exactly they’re thinking.

When it comes to free survey makers, you have plenty of options to choose from.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is you have to wade through your options to figure out the best survey tool for you.

In this article, I’ve done that dirty work for you.

Below I outline the top six free survey makers, with a simple bulleted list of their pros and cons, so you can quickly select the best one for your needs.

But first up, the caveats.

What You’re Missing With Free Survey Makers

When something’s free, there’s usually a catch. The same goes for free survey makers.

Free survey tools, or the free plan offered by a paid survey tool, often come with the following limitations:

  • Limited export options. You may not be able to export your survey data for review in Excel or Google Sheets. There may be a PDF-only export option or no export ability at all.
  • Limited analytics. Free survey tools often skimp on the analytics. You may be left to your own pivot tables and Excel expertise if you want to create anything fancy from your survey data.
  • Limited survey functionality. This runs the gamut, from a limit on how many respondents or questions you can have per survey, to only allowing so many question types (e.g., multiple-choice, long-form, etc.).
  • Limited extra perks. By perks, I mean those other features that make software from good to great. With survey makers, that might mean easy-to-access support, the ability to embed surveys in email or webpages, multiple user accounts, or integration with other email marketing or CRM software.
  • No branding. Free survey makers give you their tools for free. In return, you provide them with free brand awareness. Don’t expect to be able to swap out their logo for your own. You’ll probably be stuck with their branding, along with a prominent link to their site throughout the survey or on the thank you page (or both).

If any of the above is a dealbreaker for you, you should plan to drop a little dough on a paid survey tool. That’s why I’ve also included the starting price for all six of the tools featured below.

In case you end up having to upgrade later, it’s easier to do so from a tool you’re already familiar with.

Top 6 Free Survey Tools

Without further ado, I present the best free survey makers you’ll find today. These are listed in no particular order.

1. Google Forms

Screenshot by author, June 2022

Do you live and die by your Google Drive?

Great news: Google also offers free survey software via Google Forms.

Alright, I know I just said these were presented in no particular order, but I’ll openly admit Google Forms is my personal favorite. Just look at all of the features they include in their free plan!

All you need is a free Google account to get started.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Export to Google Sheets.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Ability to embed images and YouTube videos.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website and share to social media.
  • Survey analytics, updated in real-time.
  • Integration with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides.
  • Unlimited collaborators.
  • Customizable survey templates.
  • Free branding.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Enhanced security and collaboration options.
  • Integration with your existing Google Workplace account.

Price: Completely free. Google Workplace pricing starts at $6 per user per month.

Best for: Anyone and everyone, for business or casual use.

2. SurveyMonkey

surveymonkeyScreenshot by author, June 2022

SurveyMonkey is the online survey tool. Established in 1999, it’s still the most well-known online survey software.

Despite the limitations of its free plans, SurveyMonkey continues to be popular thanks to its intuitive interface and brand recognition. Notable clients include Allbirds, Tweezerman, and Adobe.

One nice perk is that you can test out any of the paid features with your free plan. (You just won’t be able to actually use it in your live survey until you pay up.)

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions.
  • 15 question types.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Over 250 customizable survey templates.
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Mobile app.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions, question types, and responses.
  • Data exports – this is a biggie!
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Advanced security (single sign-on, HIPAA compliance).
  • A/B testing.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $16 per month for individuals, $25 for teams.

Best for: Those who want a tried-and-true survey maker with all the features you could ask for.

3. Typeform

typeformScreenshot by author, June 2022

Many online survey tools are designed for the general public.

Readers of Search Engine Journal will be happy to hear that there’s a survey tool created just for us. Typeform was built specifically with marketers, UX researchers, and business owners like us in mind.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 10 responses per month.
  • Basic question types.
  • Basic reporting and analytics
  • Ability to embed the survey on your website.
  • Integrations with MailChimp, HubSpot, Trello, Google Sheets, Zapier, and more.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Custom thank you screen.
  • Custom branding.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Team collaboration.
  • Ability to accept payment.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Integration with Facebook pixel and Google Tag Manager.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users, UX researchers, and marketers hoping to track customer behavior.

4. Zoho Survey

zoho surveyScreenshot by author, June 2022

Zoho Survey is part of the same Zoho suite of apps that caters to sales, HR, IT, finance, and virtually any kind of business user you can think of.

Given their tenure creating SaaS software for business, their survey tool is just as robust as you might expect. Customers include big names like Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and Change.org.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • 10 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website, or share to social media.
  • Export to PDF.
  • 250 survey templates.
  • Password protection and HTTPS encryption.
  • One user.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Ability to export to XLS or CSV.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Team collaboration.
  • Real-time responses.
  • Multilingual surveys.
  • Integration with Google Sheets, Tableau, Shopify, Zendesk, Eventbrite, and others.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

Best for: Zoho users, or anyone who needs an extra level of security for their surveys.

5. Alchemer

alchemer survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

Alchemer is an advanced survey maker developed for the enterprise client.

Paid features include custom coding so you can customize every single element of your survey, from the survey URL to the form logic.

They stand out among free survey makers for being one of the few (besides Google Forms) to offer unlimited questions and Excel exports in their free plan. Clients include Disney, Salesforce, Verizon, and The Home Depot.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Three surveys at a time.
  • Unlimited questions.
  • 100 responses.
  • 10 question types.
  • Export to Excel.
  • Customizable templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited responses.
  • Unlimited question types.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • Ability to embed surveys in websites.
  • Export to PDF, PowerPoint, or Word.
  • Ability for survey respondents to upload files.
  • Survey analytics and reporting.
  • Ability to accept payment.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $49 per month.

Best for: Enterprise users needing to create long surveys with advanced logic and question types.

6. Jotform

jotform survey makerScreenshot by author, June 2022

With over 10,000 templates, Jotform takes the cake as the survey maker with the most form templates on our list.

Jotform also stands out for letting you accept payments with the free plan (although you’re limited to 10).

This popular survey maker includes clients as wide-ranging as AMC and Nickelodeon to Redfin and the American Medical Association.

Here’s what’s included in the free plan:

  • Five surveys.
  • 100 questions per survey.
  • 100 responses per survey.
  • Ability to embed surveys in email or website.
  • Export to PDF or Excel.
  • 10,000 survey templates.

What’s missing from the free plan:

  • Unlimited surveys.
  • Unlimited questions and responses.
  • Survey logic (ability to skip or trigger questions).
  • Custom branding.
  • HIPAA compliance.

Price: Freemium. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Best for: Users who want a template for every kind of survey possible.

Which Survey Tool Will You Use?

There truly is a survey maker for everybody.

The above options are all solid choices. Which one works for you may depend on your organization’s needs and your personal preferences.

Take advantage of the free trials and see which one you like best.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock





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