Boost Member Engagement with New WordPress Features

Looking for ways to keep your members engaged on your site?  According to top online marketers, web pages with images and videos get up to 94% more views than those without.  Making it easier to add images to your site is just one of the new features that WordPress 4.9 has added to your toolbox.

Have you updated to WordPress version  4.9 yet?

You probably know by now that it’s important to keep your version of WordPress up-to-date.  Not only does updating help keep your site secure, but it gives you access to new features and improvements. Many of the improvements in WordPress 4.9 are aimed at creating and developing your site, but in this post, we wanted to share a few that can help boost member engagement on your site.

How to update to WordPress 4.9

WordPress Update LinkFirst things first, if you have not updated yet, here’s how. Updating WordPress is pretty straightforward. 4.9 is a major WordPress release, which means you will have to manually initiate the update unless you are using managed hosting.

To manually update your site:

First – Be sure to create a full backup of your site before updating, just in case you need to roll back the update for some reason.

Second – Go to your Dashboard, then Updates.  Click the ‘Update Now’ button.

WordPress Update Button


Add new features to your site


WordPress Gallery Widget

Now that you have updated, go to Appearance >> Widgets and add the Gallery widget to one of your sidebars.

The WordPress Gallery widget lets you to add an image gallery to any widget-ready area of your site, making it easier than ever to add great images to your site and strengthen your engagement with your viewers. Try featuring new services, recent event pictures, upcoming events or special offers…

WordPress Image Gallery Widget


Text Widget Updates

Next go to Appearance >> Widgets and add the Text widget to one of your sidebars.

Add Media Button

Notice the Add Media button is now available.  In earlier versions, in order to add an image to a text widget, you needed to write the HTML code.  WordPress 4.9 now includes the ‘Add Media’ button in the text widget, making it that much easier to upload images directly to your text widget.

WordPress Add Media to Text Widget


Automatic oEmbeds

Did you know that you can copy/paste a YouTube or Vimeo link straight into a WordPress page and the video will automatically embed? Well now you can add oEmbeds to the Text widget too.

WordPress oEmbed in Text Widget


Try it out!  Create a new page or add a new widget and copy/paste our new video URL:

WordPress will automatically turn the URL into an oEmbed and even give you a preview in the visual editor. Use this feature to add informational videos to your product pages!

Visit the codex to see even more sites that you can automatically embed into a WordPress page.

Shortcodes in Sidebar

Before WordPress 4.9, shortcodes would not automatically work in text widgets without altering your site’s code to accommodate them. In 4.9, users can add shortcode to a text widget and they will work right out of the box.

WordPress shortcode in Text Widget

Now you can add your Chamber Dashboard ‘Claim My Listing’ form right in the sidebar of your Directory pages!

Chamber Dashboard, display form shortcode in text widget



We’d love to see what you design with these new features.  Check out what other Chamber Dashboard users have done and share your site with us.