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How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog

Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll [...]

Read More

Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress

The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table [...]

Read More

How to Create an Image Gallery in WordPress Beginner’s Guide

Hey there! Hope you had a great holiday season in your own unique way. Today, let’s talk about [...]

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Premium WordPress Plugins of the Month: December 2016

Are you looking for some exciting new functionalities for your WordPress website? Functionalities that won’t cost you a [...]

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How to Beat Procrastination and Get More Done on Your WordPress Site

Everyone procrastinates now and then, but some people suffer much more than others. If you feel that procrastination [...]

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Easy Tips for WordPress Beginners to Get Started in 2017

WordPress makes it possible for regular folks like you and me to set up and manage our own [...]

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20+ Best WordPress Directory & Listings Themes for 2017

WordPress offers tons of benefits when building a website: it’s easy, user friendly, plus there are many quality [...]

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10 Amazing Genesis Child Themes for Kick-Ass WordPress Users

Howdy there! If you have been around WordPress circles for a while, you must have come across phrases [...]

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January 2017

How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



Source link

Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



Source link


Grid

How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



Source link

Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



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How to Create an Image Gallery in WordPress Beginner’s Guide


Hey there! Hope you had a great holiday season in your own unique way. Today, let’s talk about WordPress galleries. If you would like to share those nice photos you took over the holiday season, you needn’t look further than the WordPress gallery. That’s right, you don’t need a plugin. Nah, you don’t.

WordPress ships with a built-in gallery that’s a bliss to work with. You can post your amazing photos, edit them; add captions, links etc., and – thanks to Jetpack Carousel module – add a lightbox so your readers can view larger versions of your photos in their full splendor.

Whether you’re a photographer, photo blogger or just love sharing pictures on your site, the WordPress gallery offers you exactly the tools you need to win big. In this post, you will discover:

  • How to Create Colorful WordPress Galleries
  • A couple of WordPress Gallery plugins should you need to supercharge your galleries

In short, you are in for a great time, so fasten those seat belts and enjoy the ride.

How to Create Colorful WordPress Galleries

Image galleries add color and life to your WordPress site while boosting user retention. And considering they’re incredibly easy to add to WordPress, nothing is to stop you from creating swanky posts and pages that’ll impress your readers. Here’s how to add an image gallery in WordPress.

Choose Location

A WordPress gallery can go anywhere in your page or post. You can place it on a blank post/page or in the midst of text. All you have to do is place your cursor where you want your gallery to go as shown below:

wordpress galleries adding a new post

Add Images

Next, you need to add your images. Click on the Add Media button to access the Insert Media screen. Next, click on the Create Gallery link to start building your gallery:

wordpress galleries create gallery screen

You have two options here. You can either upload images from your computer, or use images you already have in your media library. Since ours is a new WordPress install without any images, we’ll proceed with the former.

Click on Select Files or drag and drop your images on the screen to initiate the upload:

wordpress galleries uploading images screen

Uploading Images to WordPress Galleries

Once you upload the images, you have the choice of describing each of your images. You can even exclude some of the images from your WordPress gallery. It is simple stuff; a matter of point and click per se. Add titles, captions, alt texts and descriptions to each of your images, and then hit the Create a New Gallery button. This will take you to the Edit Gallery screen, where you can edit your gallery at length:

wordpress galleries edit gallery screen

Edit Gallery

On the Edit Gallery screen, you can perform a number of actions. For instance, you can drag-and-drop images to reorder, add more images to the gallery, order your images in reverse, arrange images in any random order, view URLs of your images, cancel the whole gallery, set the number of columns and so on:

wordpress galleries edit gallery screen actions

Insert Gallery

Once you are satisfied with your gallery settings, it’s time to move ahead. Click the Insert Gallery button. Your gallery will appear inside your post/page as a series of thumbnails. You can still edit the gallery at this point simply by clicking on any of the thumbnails:

wordpress galleries gallery inserted

All you have to do is hit the Publish/Update button and you’re golden:

wordpress galleries published gallery

That was easy, right? You can bank on these WordPress marketing tips to show off your gallery to the entire world. If you click on any image on your gallery at this point, it will open in the attachment page, which we must agree, isn’t very attractive:

wordpress galleries attachment page

Adding a Lightbox to Your WordPress Galleries

You can activate Jetpack’s Carousel module allowing users to view your gallery in a beautiful lightbox. If you’d like to avoid Jetpack, the cool guys over at WPBeginner forked the carousel module, and now offers it as a standalone plugin known as Gallery Carousel Without Jetpack.

Just install and activate the plugin on your WordPress site then navigate to Settings -> Media to choose Carousel options:

wordpress galleries carousel options

Refresh your gallery post, and click on any image. Your gallery now opens in a beautiful lightbox:

wordpress galleries images in lightbox

Sweet.

Now that you can create WordPress galleries like a pro, how about trying out a couple WordPress gallery plugins, which add more power to the whole WordPress gallery experience? Sounds grand, right?

WordPress Gallery Plugins

If you’d like to supercharge your WordPress galleries, the WordPress plugin market is never short of the plugin(s) you need. As you choose, keep in mind factors such as plugin ratings, speed, ease of use and the features offered. That out of the way, here is a list of the best plugins we found:

Gallery by Envira

wordpress galleries gallery by envira

Let’s kickoff with a WordPress gallery plugin like no other. Gallery by Envira allows you to build beautiful and fully responsive WordPress galleries in minutes. It is optimized for best web and server performance since, in the authors’ own words, “…speed is important when it comes to SEO and conversion.

On top of being mobile friendly, this WordPress gallery plugin ships with a drag and drop gallery builder that makes creating WordPress galleries easy and fast. Moreover, you can easily add social media integration and sell your images without breaking a sweat. Just create your WordPress galleries and add them to your posts/pages using shortcodes.

lightbox in Envira Gallery

To boot, you can create video galleries, add watermarks to protect your images, organize your images in albums complete with cover photos, create amazing slideshows, password protect your galleries, add custom CSS styles and so much more. The pro version offers you the best features.

WP Canvas

wordpress galleries wp canvas gallery

Developed by Chris Baldelomar, WP Canvas does nothing more than add extra options to your WordPress galleries. In other words, this plugin “…extends WordPress galleries to display masonry gallery, carousel gallery and slider gallery.”

And when we say extra options, we mean plenty of nice options that allow you to turn your WordPress galleries whichever way you desire.

wordpress galleries wp canvas

For instance, you can choose from 5 caption styles, 6 caption types, 8 display styles, 15 pop-up sizes, add custom links, open images in new tabs and hide gallery controls just to mention the highlights.

Photo Gallery

photo gallery plugin

Once you install and activate this WordPress gallery plugin, it adds a Photo Gallery item on your admin menu that makes creating WordPress galleries just as easy as creating posts. It’s just so sad I was unable to choose images from my media library, which meant uploading the same images again. This also means the plugin creates an additional directory in your uploads folder! Not cool guys.

photo gallery admin screen

Once you upload your images though, customizing your gallery is as easy as A, B, C. You can add a preview (cover) photo, add descriptions, set watermarks, add alt text, unpublish photos, recreate thumbnails, add tags and so much from a single screen.

You then add WordPress galleries from your Edit Post screen, where you can choose further options. We are talking about features such as multiple display styles, ability to show adverts, hide/show controls, a search box, fullscreen mode and so much more.

These guys need to do something about the user interface though, as Photo Gallery leaves a lot to be desired in terms of user friendliness.

NextGEN Gallery

nextgen gallery

Probably the most popular WordPress gallery plugin, NextGEN has been making waves in WordPress circles since 2007. Every year, it averages around 1.5 million downloads not to mention the amazing ratings it garners. Brought to you by Imagely, the WordPress photography guys, you can count on NextGEN to add life to your WordPress galleries.

Quickly, let’s see what is in the bag. To begin with, NextGEN offers you a robust WordPress gallery management system that’s packed with countless options for uploading, editing and publishing your images.

nextGEN gallery wizard

The one feature that carried my day, however, is the intuitive Gallery Wizard that takes you step by step through creating your first NextGEN gallery. The wizard is so easy to use you should create a gallery in seconds. We must laud this plugin for ease of use.

WP Photo Album Plus

 

WP Photo Album Plus wordpress galleries

Once you activate WP Photo Album Plus, you are presented a link (at the top of your WordPress admin screen) to the settings page for a quick initial setup. This quick setup page is laden with plenty of options that allow you to design a gallery out of your dreams.

For instance, you can choose whether your theme is responsive, choose to downsize your images on upload, allow visitors to upload images, activate the rating, comment and social sharing systems, add audio and video files, set image widths (there are countless options here!), add breadcrumbs, publish photo of the day, and so much more.

wp photo album plus settings page

This is the ultimate gallery plugin what with more features than your will ever need. Away from the settings, creating a new gallery is as easy as pie. The plugin adds a Photo Albums item on your WordPress admin menu, which helps you to create and access your WordPress galleries easily. The user interface leaves a lot to be desired though, but with all the options this baby packs, you’ll hardly complain.

After creating your photo album, just go to Edit Post/Page screen and add the gallery to your post or page using the WPPA+ Shortcode Generator button:

wp photo album plus add gallery

This will give you your very own WordPress photo album, and here is an example:

wp photo album plus post

 

Related Reading

If you’d like to learn more about WordPress galleries and the related topic of WordPress photography, I curated this short list for your viewing pleasure:

Conclusion

WordPress galleries are effective at publishing, sharing and even selling photos. They are easy to create and extend using WordPress gallery plugins. Honestly, nothing should hold you back from creating beautiful WordPress galleries like a boss.

Did we leave out your favorite WordPress gallery plugin? Which WordPress gallery plugin or add-on are using on your site? Do you have a question or suggestion about WordPress galleries? Let us know in the comment area below. Cheers!



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How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



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Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



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How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



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Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



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How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



Source link

Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



Source link


Full

How & Why to Add Infinite Scroll to Your WordPress Blog


Infinite scroll is an effective way to keep visitors engaged and active on your WordPress website. Infinite scroll allows your audience quick and easy access to unlimited amounts of information. This creates a positive user experience and can help prolong the time they spend reading your content and exploring your site. However, along with the benefits of infinite scroll, there can also be some problems.

This article will enable you to understand the pros and cons of infinite scroll, and help you decide if you should use it on your WordPress website. We will then discuss how to set it up using the Jetpack module, Infinite Scroll.

What Is Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll means quite simply that a user can keep scrolling indefinitely. Instead of a reader reaching the bottom of a web page and clicking through to a new one, infinite scroll enables the next set of information to just keep loading. This means visitors never have to wait for a new page to load, the content will just keep flowing continuously as they scroll down.  This could include the next post on your blog or more items from your gallery.

Although it can be extremely effective, infinite scroll isn’t for everybody. Before you make the switch, it is worth first considering your audience as well as the type of site you run, to see if both are compatible.

Who is Currently Using Infinite Scroll?

Pinterest

The big proponents of infinite scroll are definitely the social media sites. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all use infinite scroll for their feeds. This means the majority of the online population will have used infinite scroll at some point.

BuzzFeed

However, infinite scroll isn’t restricted to social media. BuzzFeed and Mashable have also successfully integrated infinite scroll, so this is not a feature that should be confined to just tweets and pins. If you have a content heavy site, or blog that is being constantly updated with new information for your audience to scroll through, then infinite scroll maybe just what your site needs.

The Benefits of Infinite Scroll

There are numerous benefits of using infinite scroll. Infinite scroll gives visitors quick and easy access to the information on your site. It is extremely easy to use and has an addictive quality that draws readers in and encourages them to engage with your content.

Increases Visitor Time Spent on Site

One of the main pros of infinite scroll is that it keeps people on your site for longer. By not having the choice of whether to load up a second or third page, viewers just keep on scrolling. And as we know, the longer visitors remain on your site, the more likely they are to convert against your goals, be it entering their email address or purchasing a product.

Improves User Experience

Using infinite scroll greatly improves the experience for users on your site. As new information loads each time a reader ventures close to the bottom of the page, content appears quickly and smoothly. This results in your audience not having to make any decisions, click any buttons, or wait for a page to load. Again, this keeps visitors on your site for longer, as well as helps increase the number of returning visitors.

Mobile Friendly

Infinite scroll is also particularly mobile friendly. With no minute buttons having to be pressed, users can scroll on their touch screens, without distraction. Fast access and ease of use is appealing to the majority, encouraging visitors to frequent your site regularly.

When Shouldn’t You Use Infinite Scroll?

Infinite scroll isn’t suited to everyone and every website. So when shouldn’t you use infinite scroll?

Will Your Audience Like It?

There are some problems associated with infinite scroll mentioned on the web but these can often be somewhat outdated. Common complaints against infinite scroll include; viewers becoming disoriented, the sheer amount of data infinite scroll displays overwhelming visitors, or readers not being able to relocate content once they have passed it.

Although these may have initially been genuine complaints, as infinite scroll is now so widely used throughout social media, the general public has acclimatized to it. So don’t let these criticisms put you off introducing and testing infinite scroll on your site.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that infinite scroll is a personal choice. Some visitors may just prefer the paginated style of loading content a page at a time. Try and get a feeling for your audience to help you understand how they will respond to infinite scroll.

If you aren’t sure, try testing infinite scroll on your site to gauge the reaction. Monitor your analytics closely to check for time spent on the site, bounce rates, returning visitor numbers, and conversions. This will help you see if infinite scroll is popular with your visitors, and how it is affecting your site’s performance.

Is Your Site Suited to It?

A more feasible reason to not use infinite scroll is linked to the type of site you run. Not all websites lend themselves to infinite scroll. If your website has a specific goal, based on your audience performing a particular task, it may be that infinite scroll is not for you. Infinite scroll can distract your audience, which can prevent them from completing the task in hand. This ultimately can stop your site converting against its goals.

eCommerce sites have proved themselves not to be well matched with infinite scroll. It has been found that although people tend to view more products on an online store with infinite scroll, they tend to click on less. This can affect sales and customer satisfaction with your site, leading to a lack of profit and a lower volume of returning customers.

It is also important to remember that infinite scroll works best on sites containing a large amount of content that is regularly posted. If your site isn’t content heavy, then infinite scroll may be unnecessary.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll WordPress Plugin

If you have decided to give infinite scroll a try, the next step is to set it up. Jetpack, by the WordPress.com team, offers a suite of free plugins, or modules as they are known. Amongst these is an Infinite Scroll module. This plugin enables you to enable infinite scroll on your WordPress website, so the next posts will automatically display as a reader nears the bottom of the page.

Setting Up Jetpack’s Infinite Scroll

This plugin is extremely quick and easy to setup. First, install Jetpack on your website.

Jetpack

Then under Jetpack Settings, select Appearance.

Appearance

Scroll down to locate Infinite Scroll, then turn it on to activate.

Jetpack Infinite Scroll

A key point to remember when setting up this plugin is that it only works with themes that have infinite scroll support. Most recent themes will already have this support built in, but if your theme doesn’t don’t worry. The Infinite Scroll support page provides detailed instructions on how to add infinite scroll support to your theme.

Once you have activated the module, infinite scroll will automatically start working on your site. Seven new posts will show on each new load as a visitor scrolls down. Every load can then be viewed on Google Analytics as a new page view. This will help you monitor your analytics.

Customizing Infinite Scroll’s Functionalities

CSS can also be used to alter Infinite Scroll’s functionalities if necessary. Instructions on how to do so can be again found on the Infinite Scroll support page.

So what should you consider customizing?

Altering the Footer

A criticism of infinite scroll is that because readers never reach the end of a page, they never access the footer. Jetpack’s infinite scroll comes with a fixed footer, that slides in once you scroll down the page.

However, the standard footer may not suit the design of your site. The look of this footer can be altered, or you can opt to not add the footer at all, depending on the needs of your site.

Add a ‘Load More Posts’ Button

Infinite Scroll offers an option of adding a ‘Load More Posts’ button. This lets your audience decide whether to keep on scrolling down, which can be a good medium between infinite scrolling and loading a page at a time. If you are unsure of how your visitors will react to infinite scroll, this may be a good option for your site.

Final Thoughts

Infinite scroll is a great way to engage your visitors, provide them with an impressive user experience, and help increase the time they spend on your site.

Using Jetpack to set up infinite scroll on a WordPress website is quick and easy, yet extremely effective. Once up and running, use Jetpack’s Site Stats, to help you track your analytics, and monitor if infinite scroll is making a positive impact on your site’s performance.

What do you think of infinite scroll? Will you be adding infinite scroll to your WordPress website? Please let us know in the comments below.



Source link

Top Learning Management System Plugins For WordPress


The internet is a great place to pick up a skills and knowledge. Right from your study table at home, you can explore the internet for courses, sign up for them, work through the lessons and add a completion certificate to your resume.

Many people are more than willing to pay good money for a course in subjects of their choice. To meet this demand, a number of institutions and individuals are reaching out to them via their educational websites. These websites undertake end-to-end services, from building course content and enrolling students, to conducting examinations and awarding course completion certificates.

And to meet the design and functional needs of these websites, quality themes and plugins that cater to the online educational platform are available in the market place.

You can go about building a Learning Management System (LMS) based on WordPress in multiple ways – you can put your coding skills to test in a self hosted WordPress install, or you can adopt one of the many ready made premium themes to help you out. If you merely want to offer courses, add a plugin that restricts user access to content.

Moreover, there are specialized LMS plugins that can handle all the special features required by websites offering online courses. They help you manage the courses, promote them and earn money from them in fees and ads. A few top of the line plugins are discussed here,

WP Courseware

WP Courseware uses the drag and drop feature to help you build and arrange courses in the format that’s familiar to students and instructors. It’s also easy to create lessons or units – simply create posts or pages in WordPress in the way that you normally do and publish them. If you wish, arrange the lessons into modules and courses, and round them off with multiple quiz formats which test students’ understanding of the lessons. Not only that, you can even time the release of content by date or interval, using the drip feed feature. And let students know how they’ve fared using a grade book.

wp-courseware

Use customizable email templates to convey grades and results by email. In addition, you can create unique, downloadable and personalized completion certificates for successful students. Don’t miss out on allowing access to instructors to edit content, and to manage courses and students.

Student enrollment can be manual or automatic. Not only that, you can allow access to courses only on completion of prerequisite conditions. WP Courseware is compatible with standard WordPress themes. You’re assured of protection from unauthorized access as there is support for Membership plugins (MemberPress, OptimizePress). Besides, support for popular eCommerce plugins (WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads) helps in online sales of courses.

The license for two sites starts at $99 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Sensei

Creating content for courses with Sensei is as easy as creating a page or post in WordPress. Developed by WooCommerce, it integrates seamlessly with their eCommerce plugin. By linking courses to a purchased product, you can promote a course to a very relevant audience. Hence, a buyer of an embroidery kit is likely to receive an offer of a course on embroidery.

sensei

The plugin uses the familiar WordPress user registration features for signing up for a course. The prerequisites can be specified for each course, as well as for each lesson. Create question banks and use them to set up random quizzes. The plugin includes an analytics tool which tracks the progress of individual students or courses.

sensei-1

Sensei works well with most standard WordPress themes, although the developers recommend themes which offer integrated support for Sensei. Depending on the features you want to include, you can add a number of extensions to the plugin. Most of them are free, but to drip feed content and to award badges for achievements, you’ll need to purchase extensions separately.

A single site subscription comes at $129 and gives you access to a year’s support and updates.

LearnPress

The LearnPress core plugin is free and lightweight. If there’s any function that you need on your website, look for it among the number of free and paid add-ons. Some of the functions help to better monetize the website.

The user interface helps in course building, editing and maintaining course content. You can adjust many settings here such as duration of course, required pass marks, number of attempts and taking quizzes, before advancing to the next level. It’s also possible to export courses to other websites that use LearnPress. With BuddyPress support, students can form groups to discuss problems and share knowledge.

learnpress

While you can use LearnPress with any standard WordPress Theme, the authors strongly recommend that it be used along with Education WordPress Theme and LMS WordPress Theme. The plugin is translated into many languages, supports multisite networks, as well as PayPal, Stripe and WooCommerce payment methods.

LearnDash

LearnDash implements the Tin Can (Experience) API to capture and store your users’ learning activities. Tin Can API is an elearning software specification that tracks and records all learning experiences. It collects data on experiences like mobile learning, simulations, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning and collaborative learning. This data gives you insight into the learning activities of users. Notably, it helps informal and personalized learning, where individual performance is tracked from the backend by instructors or institute personnel.

learndash

LearnDash is feature packed and integrates well with WordPress to make it easy for you to publish content and monetize the website. You can break the courses into multiple tiers for simple presentation. Drip feed content according to schedule and disable access after a specified time. Use any media element like audio, video, images, Google Docs, Articulate or Adobe Captivate files. Design quizzes in a simple questionnaire format or pick from the 8 pre-designed quiz types offered by the plugin.

Lesson timers guide how much time a student can spend on any lesson, and Assignment Managers allow comments on submitted assignments. Users can create profiles from frontend and enrolled users can join private or public course specific forums.

The developers have relied on their rich industry experience in developing this plugin, and a number of reputed universities count among the users. The plugin is multisite enabled and works with any theme. A number of free and premium extensions are available for enhanced features. These extensions have been developed in response to community feedback.

Single site licenses start at $159 and it includes a year’s support and updates.

Namste! LMS

Once you install the the free version of Namaste! LMS, you can convert your WordPress install into a functional educational website. The eLearning features include creating lessons and assignments, student enrollment, managing courses and students, setting prerequisites for lessons and more.

namaste

Enhance the plugin’s function with the free membership plugin Konnichiwa! Generate detailed reports on students’ onsite activity. When activated, a dashboard widget reveals a specified number of days’ activity on the page. PayPal and Stripe integrations help to collect payment for the courses.

namaste-lms

The premium version makes it easy to monetize the website – add a shopping cart to specified courses, create and manage discount coupons and manage protected files. Not only that, you can grant access to some users as class managers and award badges for course completion or for earning points.

LifterLMS

The base plugin of LifterLMS is free, intuitive to use and flexible. It checks almost all the boxes in the list of required features and powers WP101, a popular WordPress video tutorial series.

lifter-lms

Students can study with progress bars and quizzes to keep track of their progress. Keep students informed with automated emails. These emails are set to be triggered by predefined student activity, like not logging in for a long time, failing a quiz, reminder for due dates and more. Using action-based emails, reach out to students who leave the course mid-way. Drip content according to specified schedules or to match the progress of students.

lifter

LifterLMS offers payment via PayPal and WooCommerce (both free) and Stripe (paid add-on). You can add coupons and discounts on the website to increase student enrollment. A number of paid add-ons are available, and you can buy them individually or as an all-in-one bundle.

In Conclusion

An LMS allows users to learn at their own pace, using any device that they are comfortable with. The learning process can be made more exciting by awarding badges, innovative quizzes and top performer listings. Besides, adding a forum or community can help to encourage students in the learning process.

In the past few years, there’s been an increase in the use of WordPress as a base for websites of educational institutions and online courses. The plugins discussed in this post all combine well with WordPress to set up a complete online course delivery system. Some are free, while others offer very attractive features in the price band of $99 – $200. To top it all, learning can become a satisfying activity.

Any experience with these plugins? Please share in Comments.



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