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Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday

For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition. Weekend [...]

Read More

How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow

Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay [...]

Read More

10 WordPress SEO Tips to Get More Traffic to Your Website

You have decided to launch a blog and make it a real game-changer. So, what are the first [...]

Read More

Why nginx is WordPress Hosting’s Best Friend

In my previous article I explored why PHP7 is the way to go for WordPress and in today’s [...]

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Build the Best Pricing Tables with Go Pricing for WordPress

More and more businesses are turning to WordPress to build amazing websites. Spas, colleges, web design firms, legal [...]

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When to Use WordPress Post Formats Vs. Custom Post Types

One of the first things you’ll notice about using WordPress is how easy it is to publish content using [...]

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How to Clean Your WordPress Cache Like a Pro

I think you will agree when I say that the mention of cache doesn’t elicit the best of [...]

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Common Mistakes with WordPress Image SEO

All that we have learnt in the past two articles would go down the river if we don’t [...]

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June 2017

Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



Source link

How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



Source link


Grid

Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



Source link

How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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10 WordPress SEO Tips to Get More Traffic to Your Website


You have decided to launch a blog and make it a real game-changer. So, what are the first steps that you will take in order to make it as popular and attention-grabbing as you wish? Enhancing your blog with an eye-catching design will surely work for better attraction of the new customers. However, this will work when a person has already landed on your page. But how can you make them actually find you on the web and how to keep their attention grabbed with your data? This is when a proper SEO optimization of your online resource comes into play.

The web offers a huge variety of guides and tutorials on how to optimize your content in a way that it ranks higher in the search. But which of those instructions are truly effective and will work well on your WordPress blog? We have decided to enumerate the 10 universal SEO techniques that will make your personal or corporate blog shine on the web, no matter what niche you are related to.

Opt for a Responsive Design

Does your WordPress blog provide the web audience with a seamless browsing experience on all contemporary devices? Making your blog fully responsive guarantees that it will provide the web visitors with an enjoyable UX, as well as gain higher ranking in the search results.

Opt for a Responsive Design

In one of its latest updates of the search algorithm, Google stated that mobile-friendly designs would get additional ranking boost in the mobile search results. So, if you want to make your website more accessible to the online community, make sure that your blog can perform in any web environment equally well. Google’s tips for mobile-friendly websites will guide you in the right direction.

Make Your Content Powerful and Mighty

We will never get tired of repeating it over and over again that content is the king. Based on the quality of the data shared on your blog, we can speak about the possible future success and demand of your online resource. Create valuable pieces of data, which are relevant to the topic of your web resource. As you write, keep in mind who is your target audience and what types of posts are the most sharable and commented.

Titles

As you work on a blog post, pay special attention to its title. A well-written and eye catching headline is a way to success. Start off with a working title. Make it specific, accurate yet catching and intriguing.

  • Use clarifications like [interview], [podcast], [infographic], etc. making it easier to set clear expectations. Thus, your readers will know what exactly they will see after they open your post.
  • Keep it short. There is no one-size-fit-all rule on the most optimal length of the post titles. To the biggest degree, this depends on the goal that you pursue. If you want the title of your blog post to be shown in the search results properly, then the keep it less than 70 characters. In that way, the search engines won’t cut the length of the post title.
  • Use number and stats.
  • How-to posts have long gained popularity among the web users.
  • Do not forget to add the focus keyword to the post title.

Make Permalinks Short & Clear

Permalinks and link structure are important from the point of view of search engines. While opinions differ on the most optimal structure of permalinks, Google states it clearly that permalinks should be as simple as possible and as intelligent as a human-being, so that the search engines and searches can come across the desired piece of content with ease.

  • The optimal length of the permalink should be 100 characters maximum.
  • Use keywords to the point. Do not over-stuff permalinks with them.
  • Separate words with hyphens and omit stop words like ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’, ‘at’, etc.
  • Do not use dynamic properties (if possible).

Add Internal Linking between Your Blog Posts

It’s likely that the majority of the audience reaching your web resource will be made up of first-time visitors who know little to nothing about the topics that were highlighted on your site earlier. Internal links between posts can improve navigation on your site manifolds. While adding quick links to relevant publications, you suggest other articles that nay come in handy to your audience as they read your post. As a result, this will grow the user engagement and the average time that people spend on your blog.

Optimize Image File Names

Not only do texts but also images get ranked in Google. So, if you want to grow the users engagement, think about adding good name for image files as well. You could have noticed that Google reveals both texts and images on its search result pages, revealing relevant images that are added to blog body. As a person clicks on the image in Google, he is taken to the page where the image was published.

Optimize Image File Names

Instead of keeping the default file names generated by a digital camera, use descriptive words and phrases in the file name. Also, do not forget to use the alt tag and title tag for each image. Also, checkout this ultimate image optimization guide for even more image formatting and SEO tips.

Use Social Media

Today, everyone has a social media profile. So, why not share your publications on Facebook, Twitter or Google+? Social media marketing is a great way to generate new traffic. Let your social media followers keep track of your updates, but do not promote yourself only. Share articles from other blogs and site that you enjoy. Create a mix of promotional content with educational posts and fun data. Let your social media profile sound helpful to the audience.

Exchange Backlinks

No matter what industry your site is related to, there are always the trend-setters to whom the web community refers more often than to unknown names. Your industry also includes such trend-setters. These may be authority websites or other blogs. So, get in touch with them with the purpose to exchange links to the pages/topics that are relevant to the ones that you highlight on your own web portal.

Create a Sitemap

Your WordPress resource can contain tons of pages. In order to get it indexed by Google, the search engine needs to know your site structure. Creating a sitemap you can handle this job perfectly well.

WordPress includes a number of plugins that you can use for a proper SEO optimization of your pages. One of them is Google XML Sitemaps. This is a free WordPress plugin that generates a sitemap of your site automatically, so that Google can index your blog more efficiently.

Use SEO-friendly Themes

There are thousands of ready-made WordPress themes for blogs to choose from, both free and premium. Fast-performing and mobile-friendly, these are commonly optimized for a quick and flawless performance in the contemporary search engines. WordPress blog themes from TemplateMonster, for example, will save you loads of time for a proper optimization of your pages and content, thus growing the chances of your projects to become more visible on the web.

Use the aforementioned tips to make your content better findable on the web. Experiment with different techniques of the proper data optimization, engage the audience via the search engine, and make them reach your WordPress blog to never leave for a competitor’s site.

And if you have any additional tips leave a comment!



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Medium

Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



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How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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Large

Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



Source link

Read more...

How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



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How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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Full

Make Your WordPress Site More User-Friendly by Monday


For some, weekends are meant for partying. For entrepreneurs, the weekends are when they standout from the competition.

Weekend projects make complete sense for a small business owner, since there’s far less pressure to hit a deadline. In short, weekends feel more like fun work.

Weekends are great for focusing on the user-friendliness of your website. Whether you have an authority blog or a thousand-product eCommerce site, user-friendliness is often an afterthought once you get your business rolling.

That’s why the weekend is so great, because you can take a little time to squeeze in a weekend project to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. Let’s take a look at some of those potential projects.

1. Get User Feedback on Your Website

The first step to changing around your user-experience is to understand what you could improve. After all, you don’t want to change around something that’s not broken.

Therefore, I recommend taking a look at some of the following sites:

Some of these require payments, while others are free. You can also search for more user-experience testing tools through Google. The whole point is to see what people say about your website, allowing you to make educated decisions when it comes to modifying the UX. It’s also not a bad idea to send out a survey to your current users, since they’re the ones using your site.

2. Make Every Page and Post “Readable”

In the digital world people aren’t as interested in reading anymore. It’s a shame, but that means website managers need to construct content that’s readable. Therefore, we need to construct a full weekend plan for scouring your website and adjusting anything that might not pass the “readability” test.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Find broken links and either redirect them to other pages or place content on those pages. For external links you can simply remove them. You should also consider setting up nice 404 pages for people who end up on the wrong pages on your website.
  • Make your fonts beautiful by converting most of your online text to San Serif fonts. Readability declines when you jump from one font to another, so stick with uniform fonts throughout. Not only that, but start using short headers to grab attention and guide user activity.
  • Evaluate all pages to see if enough white space is being used. Sometimes you need more spaces, while other times you need to get rid of the sidebar.
  • Ensure you have some contrasting color schemes when placing text over imagery or colors. Otherwise people won’t be able to read the text.
  • Use scannable techniques such as headers, short paragraphs, bullet points media to break up text and more.

3. Test and Adjust the Navigation and Search Bar

If you’re missing a navigational menu or search bar, now’s the time to include both. More often than not you’ll already have these. But menus and search bars rarely have the optimization they need.

Over the weekend you can implement an A/B test program or a heatmapping system. This way you can run some tests to evaluate where your customers are clicking when it comes to your navigational menu and the search bar.

Maybe you’ll notice that not a single person touched your search bar. Does that mean it’s too far down on your homepage? Would it help if you put it in the header instead of the sidebar? After raising questions like these, run more tests next weekend to see if anything changes.

4. If Not Selling Online, Start Accepting Online Orders

This applies to physical products, digital products and services. One of the major points of having a website is to cut out unnecessary processes.

For example, a massage therapist used to pick up the phone over and over to book clients in his schedule. But a simple booking plugin would cut out all of those phone calls.

The same goes for physical products. Although it might be intimidating to sell online with your small brick and mortar store, start with just five of your best selling products, then see how it works.

5. If Selling Online, Offer Additional Payment Methods

An online store should absolutely accept every major credit card. That’s a given. However, several other payment methods may boost your sales by gaining access to smaller communities of people with more obscure payment methods.

PayPal is one of the best examples, since many users feel more secure paying online with their PayPal accounts. Another example is Bitcoin, the decentralized, anonymous digital currency. Not only can you convert Bitcoin to regular currencies, but it decreases fraud since the customers can’t request refunds.

But for whichever gateway(s) you want to add, it’s as easy as installing a plugin. WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads both offer a huge variety of premium add-on for popular gateways, an there are even more options available from 3rd parties.

6. Construct an Easily Accessible, Comprehensive Support Area

Not all websites require knowledge bases, but every single site on the internet should have some sort of support area, or a compelling contact page.

FAQ pages are nice for small blogs, and all support pages should have direct links in the navigational area. As a weekend project, I encourage you to make a list of your ten biggest competitors (or similar websites). Take a look at how they provide support and which pages are used for sharing contact information, social media pages, important information to questions and more. Then, use that as a guide to create pages for your own site.

7. Make and Fill Social Accounts (Then Link to Them on Your Homepage)

This one’s simple, but it’s more about spending the time to develop a content plan.

The first weekend can be about filling the Facebook and Twitter pages. After that you can ask how often you’re going to post. Which type of content is going to get the most shares? Stuff like that.

Once that’s setup you can move on to adding your social stream to WordPress, getting more social followers and even automating your social sharing.

8. Walk Through the Steps Needed to Speed Up Your Site

Learning how to speed up your site not only impresses Google but it keeps your users around for a longer period of time. I suggest you go through the many different guides we have about speeding up WordPress sites:

9. Use Relevant Icons to Break Up Chunks of Text

This ties into readability, but it’s more about presenting your products and services on the homepage. Far too often we see well-written copy that explains your services in a creative way. However, the paragraphs blend together and you’re missing one thing: Industry relevant icons.

These are the most basic of visuals, but they make such a big difference when it comes to UX. The WP SVG Icons plugin is a wonderful place to start, but you can generally look around on Google to find all sorts of free and premium icon packages.

10: Make Your Site Responsive

If you haven’t already heard, mobile users love mobile-friendly websites. In addition, Google will reward you for one.

I suggest you find a WordPress theme that’s completely responsive. Most developers who are creating well coded themes make them responsive from the get go (like our Total theme for example). But if you’re happy with your current theme that it isn’t mobile ready, consider making your current site responsive with the help of Jetpack.

Have Fun This Weekend!

There you have it! You now have several weekend projects to make your site more user-friendly by Monday. If you have any questions regarding these projects, let us know in the comments section below.



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How to Add Social Feeds to WordPress with Flow Flow


Social media consumes our lives. Not in a bad way though. I personally love being able to stay up to date on what friends, family and especially brands are up to on a minute to minute basis. Which is maybe not so great for my own productivity, but it’s awesome news for your online brand or business.

Your followers want to know what you’re tweeting, pinning, liking, sharing, posting etc. So why not make it easy for them by adding your social stream to WordPress?

Flow Flow, WordPress Social Streaming Made Easy

The absolute best way to add social feeds to your WordPress blog or website is with Flow Flow. As with any feature you might want to add to WordPress there are tons of plugin options, but let us explain to you why we think Flow Flow is the absolute best.

Quick Feeds

Adding feeds is even easier with Flow Flow. It can get complicated when you have to create, locate and decipher what’s needed to authorize each social network feed. And this process can be even more complex if you’re forced to use a different plugin for each network. Lucky for your Flow Flow includes support the most popular networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) AND it makes it easy to authorize your feeds with built-in fields for required information (as well as detailed documentation if you ever need help).

Easy Customizations

Technical features are of course important, but so is the look and feel of the plugin. You don’t want an ugly or mismatched feed displayed on your website. Flow Flow includes options for grid style, columns, custom column spacing, stream background (make it match or stand out on your main site or page row background), animation, font colors, social icon styles and more. And if you want to tweak an element that doesn’t have a built-in option you can always adda bit of custom CSS.

Visual Composer Integration

Add your streams to pages as you’re building them with Flow Flow’s full Visual Composer integration. The plugin is completely compatible with Visual Composer’s front-end editor so you can easily insert your streams as you use other page builder options for rows and layouts.

Total Theme Compatible

And of course Flow Flow is compatible with the Total WordPress theme. In fact, we’re honored to say that Flow Flow is currently using the Total theme on their live preview. When you pair Total’s rock solid code, quick demo imports, nearly unlimited styling options and of course included visual page builder with the social stream power of Flow Flow there’s nothing you can’t build.

But now that you know why we love Flow Flow, let’s get into how you can implement this awesome plugin on your WordPress website.

Flow Flow Quick Start Guide

Looks Awesome (the team behind Flow Flow) has done an excellent job documenting their plugin. To get started in a jiffy you can simply watch their video guide:

But for those of you who want to follow along with an old-school walk through keep reading to see how we setup Flow Flow.

Step 1: Purchase, Download and Install the Plugin

First you need your own copy of the plugin, so head over to CodeCanyon and purchase a personal use license.

Get Flow Flow Social Streams

If you’re a developer you might want to also consider the extended license – it’s a great way to add value to your client work by offering social streams as a feature on all your client sites. Just an idea.

Download the Flow Flow Plugin

Once you have a license, go to your downloads page to download the plugin file. If you choose the “All files & documentation” option remember that this will download a zip file that includes more than just the plugin so you will need to unzip it before attempting to install the plugin (usually just double clicking on the file will do the trick).

Upload Flow Flow Plugin

Next log into your WordPress installation and go to your Plugins section. Click on the button at the top of the screen to “Add New” then again to “Upload Plugin.”

Click on the option in the middle of your screen to “Choose File.” Browse for the folder you just downloaded and unzipped from CodeCanyon, it should be named similar to Flow-Flow 3.0.9 (with that last bit changing based on your version number). Select the zipped file (flow-flow.zip) within that folder and follow the onscreen prompts from WordPress to finish the plugin installation. Then click the option to activate.

Step 2: Edit Flow-Flow Settings

Before your begin building we recommend taking a quick look at the plugin settings. If you go to Flow Flow > Settings you can view the built-in options for the plugin.

Flow Flow Plugin Settings

In our opinion you won’t want to miss the moderator user-role options, date format and the amount of stored posts for your feeds. But do take a glance at the other options before you save.

Step 3: Add Your Social Feeds

With your plugin installed, active and setup you can start by adding your social feeds. Every social network is different and some will require access tokens or apps before you can add a feed. But don’t worry – Flow Flow makes this all super easy.

Flow Flow Create New Feeds

Simply go to Flow Flow > Feeds and click on the green button to “Create Feed +” to get started. This will open a popup.

Flow Flow Select Feed

From here select the social feed you want to add. We chose to start with Pinterest since it’s super easy to add.

Flow Flow Feed Settings

Once you select a feed you’ll be prompted to enter the feed settings. These options will vary based on the feed you selected. Pinterest only requires the username or username/board, your preferred frequency to update (ranging from 5 minutes to once per week), number of posts to load (1, 5, 10 or 20) as well as the option for you to moderate what is shown. Once you’re done click to “Add Feed.”

Now repeat the process for each social network you want to add! Just remember that you may need to add authorization information before you can add a feed, but Flow Flow makes this easy by offering an “Auth” section.

Flow Flow Feed Authorizations

From here you can add the authorization info required for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud and Dribble all at once (Pinterest, Flicker, Vimeo, WordPress and RSS do not require any additional authorizations when being added). Each social settings section includes a link to the official Flow Flow documentation if you need help. We strongly recommend you follow their directions if you’re not sure how to setup your apps and/or access tokens.

Once your authorizations have been added and saved you will be able to create and activate feeds for these social networks.

Flow Flow Feed Error

If you accidentally enter the wrong information when creating a feed or forget to add the feed authorization you’ll see an orange exclamation icon (!) as the feed status. Just hover on the icon to see the feed error. Once you correctly edit the feed or authorization info you’ll have the option to enable your feed.

Step 4: Create Social Streams

Flow Flow Create Stream

After you’ve added all of your social feeds you can compile them into social streams. This is quick and easy. Just go to your “Streams” tab and click the green button to “Create Stream”

Add Social Feed Sources

Flow Flow Stream Settings

Give your stream a name and start adding your feeds. Just use the dropdown field to select then add each of your preferred feed sources.

Flow Flow Stream Source

As you add feeds you’ll be able to see them in your “Connected Feeds” section.

General

Flow Flow Stream General Options

Next click on the “General” tab to set important options for ordering, post count, lightbox, privacy, device display and more.

Grid

Flow Flow Stream Grid Settings

Do not skip these options! You’ll want to go to the “Grid” tab to change settings for grid design (masonry, equal grid or justified), columns & spacing, heading and more.

Social Stream Styling

Flow Flow Stream Custom Styling

Flow Flow makes it easy to create a custom looking stream. Use the options for card styling and the drag and drop card builder to recolor and reorganize your social stream posts.

Custom CSS

Flow Flow Stream Custom CSS

If you’re a developer or if you are well versed in CSS their is a built-in section to add your custom code. This is a great way to fine tune the visual display for your stream to really make it match your client’s website.

Shortcode

Flow Flow Stream Shortcode

The last tab for your stream contains the stream’s shortcode. This can be copy & pasted onto a post or page to instantly display your stream.

Step 5: Add Your Stream to Your Website

The last step is to make your stream visible by inserting it on a page. One option is to copy the shortcode and paste it into the text editor for your page. But if you’re using a theme with a page builder like our Total WordPress theme it’s as simple as clicking a few buttons.

Create a Social Stream Page

First create a new page, give it a name and choose your page layout, featured image, etc. Once you’re done with your page settings click on the Visual Composer backend or frontend editor (we like to see what we’re doing, so we always use the frontend editor with Total).

Insert the Flow Flow Module

Next click the plus (+) icon to add a new page element then select the Flow Flow Social Stream.

Select Your Stream

Then select the social stream you want to add and save your changes. That’s it! Just publish your page to make it visible to your website visitors.

More Flow Flow Features

The power behind Flow Flow doesn’t stop there! The developers have also released a couple helpful add-ons for the plugin to give you even more value added via your social streams.

Advertising & Branding: Monetize your social streams with the Flow Flow Advertising & Branding add-on. With this installed you can sell featured spots in your social stream, insert ads or even create hero cards for your social media campaigns.

Broadcasting Extension: Have a lobby in your office? Or perhaps your business is hosting or attending a conference? The Flow Flow Broadcasting Extension is just what you need. Use it to display your live social stream on a big screen (tv, projector, etc) and instantly draw attention to your most relevant posts, tweets, announcements, etc.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Flow Flow is feature rich plugin that provides every WordPress user with an easy way to collectively display social feeds (whether it’s on your website or a big screen tv). We personally love the easy options, excellent documentation, integration with the Visual Composer (and Total) and useful extensions. You can learn more about Flow Flow on the plugin page, and we hope you’ll give it a try on your next client project or for your own personal website.

Have any questions about Flow Flow? Or maybe you’ve used the plugin and want to share some tips & tricks? Just leave a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts!



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