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The Best of WordPress Author Box Plugins (Free & Premium)


WordPress author box plugins help you to add author biographies to your content easily, so you can build lasting personal connections with your readers. See, your visitors can choose to read the bio or click the links you provide to learn more about you or your authors.

It’s all about boosting likability. The more visitors know about you, your team and brand, the more likely they are to do business with you. It is simple human psychology; we tend to deal with the people we like. Adding an author box helps to make the conversation personal.

And since most of us go after a plugin whenever we need new functionality, here are 7 of the best WordPress author box plugins in the market. We cover both free and premium plugins, but each item on this list is an impeccable solution for your author box need.

If your mug is ready, let’s get this over and done with 🙂

The Best Free WordPress Author Box Plugins

Let’s kick off this list with WordPress author box plugins that are free or free for the most part. Whether you find your favorite WordPress author box plugin here or elsewhere, always be on the lookout for clean, responsive and fully-featured plugins with great support.

Fancier Author Box

wordpress author box plugins fancier author box

Dragan Nikolic and Slobodan Manic put a lot of work into this WordPress author box plugin, what with a beautiful UI and an impressive list of features. Fancier Author Box boasts of more than 10k active installs and a stellar rating of 4.8/5.0.

But why is this plugin the number one choice for many WordPress users? Well, for starters, Fancier Author Box ships with multiple display styles, which let you place the author box above or below posts among other places. You can even display author boxes on your pages.

Additionally, this plugin comes with unlimited colors and fields for your job title, latest posts, website URL and a whole lot of social media links. Fancier Author Box is 100% responsive meaning it looks great on mobile phones too. Further, you can translate the plugin to your language easily.

There’s a pro version, known as Fanciest Author Box that gives you more control over your author bio boxes:

This WordPress plugin is easy to use (as a widget, shortcode or template tag) and customize to your individual needs – and because it’s so nice, you may even persuade more people to become authors! – AJ Clarke, WPExplorer founder

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Starbox Author Box for Humans

wordpress author box plugins starbox

This plugin is most probably the perfect reflection of what WordPress author box plugins should aim to achieve. Right from the word go, Starbox offers you easy tools and an options panel that helps you to get started in a few clicks.

This baby is truly a thing of beauty, meaning you can match your author box to your website, or use any of the six pre-made themes. Further, you can place the author box wherever you desire using widgets and shortcode.

That’s not the end of it. You can take advantage of Google Microformats to create rich snippets for search engines. Starbox adds extra fields to user profiles, meaning you can easily create attractive and highly functional author boxes without breaking a sweat.

Other notable features include the ability to add multiple boxes to one post, WooCommerce support, latest posts, and social media profiles among others. Of all the WordPress author box plugins I have come across, this is the only one that allows your authors to create their own author boxes.

There’s definitely a Starbox pro version that ships with more features and priority support.

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WP Author Bio

wordpress author box plugins WP Author Bio

Formerly known as Sexy Author Bio, WP Author Bio is an incredible author box plugin that got even better with a new name. This baby gets frequent updates, meaning you are always treated to better features courtesy of Andy Forsberg, the author.

This plugin is a fork of Author Bio Box, yet another great name among WordPress author box plugins. And for a free author box plugin, WP Author Bio comes with the best features such as five social icon sets, a responsive design, and plenty of options to customize your author boxes.

WP Author Bio supports both single and multiple authors, shortcodes, PHP functions and variables putting you in control of all aspects of your author boxes:

Very simple to use but nicely customizable. Love the control I have over the output. Good stuff. – Michael Carnell

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Simple Author Box

wordpress author box plugins Simple Author Box

Simple Author Box by Tiguan is an all-rounded yet clean author box system that allows you to get personal with your readers without the fluff that’s characteristic of most WordPress author box plugins. Nevertheless, Tiguan manages to hide a lot of power in an interface so simple.

It’s responsive and integrates amazingly well with whatever WordPress theme you have. You can, additionally, customize Simple Author Box until you drop. With a few clicks, you can display whichever social media profile and add any other link you desire.

You can add the author box at the end of your posts automatically or plug it in your templates as you wish. Whenever necessary, easily show the author’s gravatar, name, description and website in RTL as well. This is a completely free plugin, meaning there no more features locked away in a pro version.

Get Simple Author Box

The Best Premium WordPress Author Box Plugins

If you’d like more features from your author box, premium is usually the road you want to take. You get more features and better support, depending on the developer. We sort of name-dropped a couple of premium plugins in our free section, but still, here comes more.

WP Author Box

wordpress author box plugins WP Author Box

One of the best-selling WordPress author box plugins on CodeCanyon, WP Author Box is precisely the tool you need to build beautiful author boxes that do more than just look good. Phpbits, the author, is a decorated elite author with a number of great awards and items under the belt.

In the tiny world of WordPress author box plugins, WP Author Box is a true contender, coming only second to Fanciest Author Box in terms of sales and, more importantly, features. Treat yourself to unlimited tabs, widgets, Facebook authorship and a host of alluring designs.

Other notable features include Google authorship integration, shortcodes, full customization, user role permissions, a responsive design, cross-browser compatibility, co-author support, and contact form (Gravity Forms) integration among others.

Get WP Author Box

Attractive Author Box

wordpress author box plugins attractive author box

Probably one the most underrated WordPress author box plugins, Attractive Author Box shines in a one area; pre-made skins. This bad boy ships with 24 skins for your pleasure. However, you cannot customize any of the skins, unless digging into CSS is your kind of thing. There’s live preview, so yeah.

You can add any number of tabs to your author box for your various social media profiles, latest posts, and website(s). When you’re ready to attract readers, you can add Attractive Author Box to your posts, pages and even feeds.

Additionally, you can place your author box in multiple locations using widgets, shortcodes and PHP template tags. Other than that, this plugin supports Google authorship and easy social media integration. It has a great buyer rating 5.00/5.00.

Get Attractive Author Box

Ultimate Author Box

wordpress author box plugins Ultimate Author Box

A relatively new entrant in the author box domain, the Ultimate Author Box plugin changes the game for all WordPress author box plugins. It’s a formidable author box plugin that’s making waves thanks to a great sense of design direction and an extensive suite of features.

To have you up and running in the shortest time possible, Ultimate Author Box ships with more than 19 amazing author box templates, custom tabs and unlimited colors. Other features include contact form integration, author posts list, 20+ social media icons and a responsive design to mention a few.

Ultimate Author Box offers you all the tools you need to create bold and beautiful author boxes that will help you build site identity and trust. The major selling point IMO is the large collection of pre-made templates. They’re indeed beautiful and I even saw one with a parallax background!

Ultimate Author Box comes with lifetime dedicated support, future updates and full documentation including YouTube video tutorials. This, truly, is the ultimate author box plugin for WordPress.

Get Ultimate Author Box

Closing Remarks

An author bio is an incredible tool for boosting brand credibility and trust, which translates to better returns. It also goes without saying that a custom author box looks better than something like “posted by: admin”.

WordPress author box plugins help you to add author boxes to your site offering you one extra asset to drive engagement. Whether you choose free or premium depends entirely on your budget and preferences.



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22 Conversion Killing Mistakes on Your WordPress Website


Did you know that 63% of online marketers optimize their sites based on their intuition rather that tried-and-true practices? Unlike a couple of years ago, when the competition was not so tough and running an attractive website was enough to drive a wider audience, the situation is so much different today. In the contemporary world, the design of your website plays a significant role in the demand that it gains among your target audience, as well as the conversion it will attain.

The homepage of your site is the first place where your customers will land after coming across your resource in the search engines. The conversion rates of your site are heavily dependent on the design of the homepage. That’s why more and more often marketers pay special attention to the elements that the front page of their sites feature. Stats show that only 22% of online marketers are satisfied with the design of their homepages. And what about the remaining 78%? What are the most wide-spread conversion-killing mistakes that we should avoid on our WordPress sites?

Mistake 1: Displaying Company News on the Homepage

This is one of the most common mistakes that contemporary businesses commit. While updating your website with company news you can grow the users’ trust in what you are doing. However, do not add long lists of your updates straight on the homepage.

So, how does news displayed on the homepage of your site kill conversion? When reaching your website from search engines, your potential customers want to discover your offers and services instead of scanning through your company’s news blurbs only. People may get interested in your company news after they know enough about the things you have on offer. As an online business marketer, your primary goal should be attracting the web customers to boost conversions.

Quite many world-known brands add updates considering their corporate news and updates through their blogs. Every time something new and remarkable occurs, they announce this on their blogs. One more option that you can opt for is adding a separate “news” item to the navigation panel of your site.

Mistake 2: Slow Page Loading

51% of the US customers claim that slow websites are the main reason making them search for different places to order similar products/services. So, the speed at which your site’s pages load is of impressive importance when it comes to boosting conversion rates.

Site loading speeds are also important for Google. The search engine follows the users’ online behavior in order to define whether your site is worthy of higher rankings in the search engines of not. Even one-second delay can cause your site as much as 7% decrease in conversions. Test your website performance and make adjustments as needed (we have a bunch of posts on speeding up WordPress so have a look).

Mistake 3: Poor Navigation

Your site’s navigation panel is the key users’ gateway to all pages of your site. A poorly designed navigation panel will mislead your customers, making your conversion rate suffer. Even the most stylish menu won’t work. Instead, think about its functionality. People will expect to find a horizontal menu bar at the top of your page. Although it may sound like something absolutely not unique, this is exactly what customers expect to find on your site.

Simple Navigation

Excessive or over the top drop-down menus can get annoying. Studies show that people scan through your site’s content rapidly. So, they need to see every piece of data at a glance. That’s why, opting for drop-down menus is not the best option.

Mistake 4: Cluttered Homepage

A mistake that we can often find on websites is cluttering homepages with unnecessary text and images. The rule of the first impression always works. The same deals with web design.

Jamilin

Even if you have a properly optimized page in terms of meta data and keywords, cluttering the pages of your site with too many texts will only decrease conversion rates. Make every word count. Make texts clear and concise.

There is an ongoing debate among copywriters regarding the best length of words that a copy should contain. Some think that short and concise texts work best, others insist that longer copies have bigger chances to deliver your thoughts to the target audience. In fact, both of these approaches work. The thing we would like you to take into account is that your homepage copy should be both properly SEO optimized and contain a copy where every word and phrase is used to the point.

Mistake 5: Audio/Video Content Autoplay

Both audio and video content are used with the purpose to grow conversions on your website. In the modern age, when the competition is growing tougher with more companies getting online, it’s crucial to search for new ways of delivering your content to the audience. One of such latest innovations is a podcast. However, you should be careful with the use of audio and video materials on the pages of your site.

Do not autoplay audios and videos on your site. Just recollect your own reaction when you heard some strange sounds coming from nowhere as you land on a web page. Instead of attracting the users’ attention, these distract people from your data. If you add audios and videos to your site, let people make decision on their own. Otherwise, autoplay can kill your conversions.

Mistake 6: Too Many CTAs

Only 47% of websites display clear CTAs that take customers 3 seconds maximum to spot.

When it comes to converting website visitors into customers, the main point that you need to consider is the understanding of their values, origins and goals. Too many CTAs added to one page can results in customer paralysis.

There is no one-fit-it-all rule regarding the right positioning of CTAs on one page. Place one button at the top of the page, whereas another one can be placed somewhere at the bottom (see the example below). If you have a long copy, add one more button somewhere in the middle of the text. Run A/B tests in order to find cope across the best CTA positioning on your website.

Mistake 7: Neglecting Blogs

Blog is the major resource of organic traffic to your website. Google loves blogs more than any other kind of web resources available on the web. By means of an official blog, you can get closer to each and every visitor who comes across your website.

CTA

The mistake that many businesses make is hiding their blogs from the audience. Make it findable to your visitors. Adding a link to your blog in the header of the site is a working tip for a proper site optimization, which will result in a bigger amount of leads.

Mistake 8: Using Massive Images

Images help your website visitors to better understand texts. Images are great. They speak louder than words and provide for a clearer understanding of your message. However, you shouldn’t forget about the proper optimization of visual content. If they are over-sized and are heavier than any other element of a webpage, then chances are these will decrease your site’s loading speeds, which kills conversions.

Actionable step: make each image match the pixel size displayed on a 1366×768 screen.

Mistake 9: Cluttered Checkout Process

If conversions on your website end up with a checkout, make sure that it is optimized for all kinds of devices. More and more often people make purchases from the screens of their handheld devices. So, a clunky checkout is more likely to result in the abandonment of the shopping cart rather than a purchase.

In order for this not to happen, design it in an absolutely minimalist style. Give your customers the freedom to choose the right data by means of drop-downs instead of facing the necessity to type each character. The possibility to save their data for further reference will be a great advantage for returning customers.

Mistake 10: Not Focusing on Making Layout Support Multiple Devices

Unless your site is accessible from a variety of desktop and handheld devices, it won’t bring you the desired boost of conversion rates. So, make sure that all content that is provided on your site’s pages can adjust to all screen sizes flawlessly. In order to free yourself from the necessity to develop separate versions of your site for mobile phones and tablets, you can make use of responsive WordPress themes. These will save your time, money and energy on the development of a website that converts.

Mistake 11: Broken Links

If a person finds your site via search engines, and in the meta description, they read that you sell WordPress plugins, but when they follow that link they are either taken to a different or 404 page, that person will hardly ever come back to your site and become your customer. So, whenever you add links to your site’s pages or spread links on the web, make sure that none of them is broken and leads to the right destination. If you do have a few you can always use our guide to fix broken links on your WordPress website.

Mistake 12: Focusing on 1 Type of Content

There is no one-size-fits-all type of content that will appeal to every single visitor to your site. There is neither one-format-fits-all. In order for your web page to attract different layers of users, create content in multiple formats. You can also try to turn blog posts into tweets, infographics, GIFs, slideshows, videos, etc. Take a “package” approach to your content, so that your audience can decide on what type of content they want to distribute.

Mistake 13: Using Stock Photos

No website can go without visuals. Images have become a crucial part of any web project. As it been already mentioned earlier in this post, visuals help you communicate your business ideas more effectively. By means of images, you can get the web audience more engaged, thus providing for a better brand recognition. However, you will hardly ever achieve the desired effect if you share stock photos on the pages of your website.

Stock images can ruin the credibility of your business. Adding photos of happy, smiling faces of some families or team members who have no relation to your company you will send a meaningless, and even a wrong message to your audience. Every image that you share should be authentic and relevant. Use every image for a reason, pushing every customer towards conversion.

Mistake 14: No Hierarchy

It goes without saying that all content that you share on the pages of your site should be readable and quick-to-scan. Not only should the images be relevant to your content, but also organized into a clear hierarchy.

Arvorecer

Unless you upload the pages of your site with clear and informative headings, people won’t be able to get the message that you want to deliver to them at the first glance. As a result, they may feel somewhat confused with the absence of a straightforward message.

Mistake 15: No Trust Indicators

It’s a huge mistake not to upload your site with trust indicators like reviews of other customers or a social approval. Even if you upload the pages of your site with the most well-written marketing texts, nothing has a better effect on your target audience rather than reviews left by your existing customers. Both positive and negative reviews are important. These will boost the credibility of your business, making it more comfortable for your prospective clients to order products or services from you.

All reviews that are shared on the pages of your site should be real messages from people who tried your services. These should include a name of a person who composed the text, as well as his/her photo. If you have something to boast of (like a review submitted by a world-known person), make it accessible to your customers as well.

Mistake 16: Writing for SEO Only

When you work texts for your site, think about the people who will be reading it. Your audience are not robots, so take care of providing value to each and every customer who reaches your platform.

One of the most common mistakes that online marketers make is writing for search engines only, stuffing their texts with a huge number of keywords, thus aiming to attract more traffic. That’s a huge mistake. While writing for people you grow your chances of driving more organic traffic and increasing your conversion rates.

Mistake 17: Missing Targeted Landing Pages

When a person comes across your site via search engines, he expects to find a resource that is relevant to the keyword that he entered in the search bar. A targeted landing page can manage this task better than anything else. For example, if a person was searching for yoga classes for kids, leading them to the homepage of your fitness club will a bad idea. Give your visitors exactly what they need. This will decrease bounce rates and boost conversions at the same time.

Mistake 18: Failure to Search for Reviews

If you have a big client base, with hundreds to thousands of sales being placed on your site monthly, why don’t you ask your satisfied clients to leave a review about their experience of working with your brand? Whenever possible, link to the clients so that your site visitors can see that the reviews shared on your site’s pages are authentic. Moreover, customer-generated reviews provide for higher rankings of your site in search engines, since these are considered to be one of the proven sources of organic traffic.

Mistake 19: Paying no Regard to Social Media

This is one of the most disputable topics among online marketing specialists. While some insist on the huge value that social media brings to business owners, others say that it is not as indispensable as some may think. Whether or not social media helps you get higher SEO rankings, it can still help you drive more targeted traffic to your site.

Collect information about your clients and try to reach them on social media platforms. As you post updates from your inventory and share it with your followers, it’s likely that more people will follow your link and even order any of your fresh releases.

Mistake 20: Missing Contact Details on Your Site

How many times did you come up with a web page that featured nothing except of a contact form on the contact page? What if you have any kind of questions regarding the quality or usage of a specific item? How can you reach the company reps in person? In order to make it more convenient for your customers to reach you in person, add contact details in the header or footer of your site or on a dedicated page with a contact form. Do not forget about adding your phone number and the address of your physical location. In such a way, you can also boost the credibility of your business in the eyes of your prospective customers.

Mistake 21: Missing Search Box

Apart from a functional main menu, your site should contain a live search box, which will take them directly to the piece of information they need. Place it at the top of the page, alongside with a horizontal menu bar.

For the users’ convenience, you can enhance live search with Ajax functionality. Due to this, people will be introduced to a list of suggested search results as they type in a search request. This will significantly improve the usability of your site and help people find the desired products in a matter of seconds.

Mistake 22: Using too Many Colors

The color scheme of your site should be well-balanced and feature no more than 3 colors. These may be complementary colors from the color wheel, two of which are neutral and the third more vibrant, used to highlight the most important areas. Use bold colors to highlight CTAs and headings. In such a way, the users’ eye will be guided to the most crucial elements unintentionally, which is also expected to help you boost your sites’ conversion rates.

Final thoughts…

When working on the design of your WordPress site, remember that there is one thing it should have in common with your online marketing strategy – build it in a way that converts. Avoid the aforementioned 22 most common conversion killing mistakes. Make the layout of your website effective, with the clearly defined accents, the right color scheme, noticeable CTAs, readable headlines, and less text. Create your site and your online marketing strategy with a user in mind.

Keeping all this in mind and applying to your web design you will see the desired boost of conversion rates in the shortest run.



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Awesome Page Builder Plugins to Simplify Your WordPress Design Process


WordPress makes it pretty easy to design a unique and visually appealing website. Still, it will require some work and a few well-chosen tools if you want to see your vision come alive on the screen. WordPress core offers some features that will help – such as a live preview option – but it’s still a bit limited.

Fortunately, you can get a lot more control over the design process by using a page builder. This type of plugin typically enables you to drag and drop various design elements onto your web pages, expanding your customization options without you having to mess around with code. Some themes even incorporate page builders, giving you everything you need in one convenient package.

In this article, we’ve done the initial work for you by identifying five awesome page builder plugins that will make your life easier. Let’s check them out!

1. Page Builder by SiteOrigin

The SiteOrigin Page Builder plugin.

It’s important that your page builder plugin integrates seamlessly with the core WordPress platform, and Page Builder by SiteOrigin does just that. It gives you access to a drag-and-drop builder that will feel familiar and easy to use if you’ve spent any time in the WordPress back end. If you’re looking for an option that subtly enhances the default editor by making smart use of the tools and features you’re already used to, give SiteOrigin a try.

Key Features

  • Features a lightweight drag-and-drop interface
  • Uses SEO-friendly code
  • Offers custom CSS and class fields in case you want more control over your design
  • Has a History Browser that lets you preview changes and restore old versions
  • Includes the Widget Bundle plugin, which adds a ton of new widget options

Pricing

Page Builder by SiteOrigin is completely free.

2. Elementor Page Builder

The Elementor Page Builder plugin.

If you spend a lot of time tinkering with your site’s design, you know how important speed can be. Elementor Page Builder aims to save you time and limit frustration by significantly reducing the delays that can occur when making live changes or loading pages. At the same time, it boasts a number of advanced design features without suffering from an overcomplicated interface. Elementor is the page builder to check out if you’re interested in maximizing speed and performance.

Key Features

  • Offers instant drag-and-drop and live edit capabilities
  • Has an easy-to-use interface designed to minimize confusion
  • Features responsive and optimized code
  • Includes lots of advanced and customizable widgets
  • Gives you access to extra design features such as box shadows, background overlays, and animations

Pricing

The basic (yet feature-packed) version of Elementor is available free of charge, while the Pro offering is available from $49.

3. Beaver Builder

The Beaver Builder plugin.

If you’ve never used a page builder plugin before, you may not be sure whether you need a free or premium option. Like Elementor above, Beaver Builder is the perfect way to give you clarity, because it offers both a free version with a limited (but fully functional) drag-and-drop interface, and a number of premium versions you can upgrade to if you want more flexibility.

Key Features

  • Gives you access to a front-end drag-and-drop builder that’s simple to use (free version)
  • Has a variety of layouts to start from, all of which are fully responsive (free version)
  • Includes custom content modules that provide control over your design (a few in the free version, more options in the premium version)
  • Lets you save, load, and export your layouts and designs (premium version)
  • Offers dedicated support (premium version)

Pricing

The basic version is free, and the premium version requires a license. Packages start at $99, and include one year of support.

4. Visual Composer

The Visual Composer plugin.

Although it’s a premium-only option, Visual Composer is pretty cheap considering its feature set. This powerful, flexible page builder is popular enough that it’s built into thousands themes (though we think our theme Total is cream of the crop). It will work with any theme you choose, however, and it makes customizing from the front or back end a streamlined experience. Visual Composer offers a ton of design options, and it’s extendable – so it’s a solid option for developers.

Key Features

  • Features a live drag-and-drop builder on the front and back end
  • Offers plenty of custom content elements to use in your design
  • Provides access to an extensive library of template options
  • Comes with a flexible grid builder for displaying posts and media
  • Includes dedicated support

Pricing

A license will cost you $34, and comes with six months of support (you can pay a little extra to extend that support to a full year). You can also purchase add-ons that provide additional features, most of which cost between $10 and $20.

5. Divi Builder

The Divi Builder plugin.

Elegant Themes is the company behind Divi, one of the most popular WordPress themes out there. Divi Builder is a spin-off product that was developed for (and is included with) Divi, but is also available as a standalone plugin that can be used with any theme. You’ll need an Elegant Themes membership to use this page builder, but in return, you’ll get a powerful tool that gives you an impressive amount of control over your design – and you’ll also get access to a bunch of other excellent themes and plugins.

Key Features

  • Offers a visually attractive drag-and-drop builder with a ton of options
  • Lets you fully customize your layout
  • Includes a wide selection of content modules to choose from
  • Provides custom CSS and styling options
  • Comes with access to the Elegant Themes community, tools, and support

Pricing

An Elegant Themes membership costs $89 per year, and lets you download all of their themes and plugins. You can also pay a flat rate of $249 for lifetime access.

Conclusion

One of the best things about WordPress is that it makes it possible to create a polished and personalized website without knowing anything about code. However, the core platform can only take you so far. If you want added flexibility and near-total control over the way your website looks, a powerful page builder plugin will help you get there.

Chances are, one of these five awesome page builders will be just what you need:

  1. Page Builder by SiteOrigin: A streamlined option that’s fully integrated with the core WordPress features you’re used to.
  2. Elementor Page Builder: An easy-to-use plugin that focuses on providing speed and performance.
  3. Beaver Builder: Offers a basic lite version, or a premium version with tons of advanced features.
  4. Visual Composer: Gives you a powerful page builder for a reasonable cost, can be improved with a variety of add-ons, and is extendable for developers.
  5. Divi Builder: A flexible option with a strong feature set, if you’re part of the Elegant Themes community (or interested in joining up).

Are there any other solid page builder plugins you think we should check out? Let us know about them in the comments section below!



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Plugins to Create an eCommerce WordPress Website


Adding a store function to your website is a great way to grow your business and improve the reach of your product across different geographies. If you’re using WordPress, simply adding an eCommerce plugin to your existing website will convert it into an online store. There are many quality eCommerce solutions available. However, choosing the right one, keeping in mind the specific needs of your store, is not an easy task.

In this post, let’s look at some of the more popular WordPress eCommerce plugins and check out their suitability to different kinds of stores – more particularly their suitability for physical or digital products.

Features To Look For In An eCommerce Solution

For a start, every eCommerce plugin must offer these features in the minimum,

  • Basic option of adding products to your website and selling them: Product display is the equivalent of a shop window, and the display must catch even the casual visitor’s eye. Lightbox, sharp graphics, interactive elements like animations or hover effect can keep users engaged longer and improve conversion rates.
  • The store functions should be easy to use, both by visitors and site admins: Site admins need to add products, change descriptions, track orders, manage inventory, keep accounts and much more. Likewise, frontend users need to navigate freely, and enjoy the whole shopping experience.
  • Being responsive is no longer an option and so, your plugin needs to work well with smaller devices: Trends indicate that mobile web usage is overtaking desktops, and you do not want to lose out on this traffic.
  • The plugin must provide at least one option of receiving payments: A payment gateway allows you to take payments quickly and easily and keep your customers’ details secure. It should make the customers feel safe about handing over their money and sharing sensitive personal information. Some details you need to look into while choosing a gateway are sign up fees, transaction costs, onsite or off site receipt, countries and currencies supported.
  • Your eCommerce solution should be be PCI DSS compliant: This is necessary to be able to collect and store credit card information on your site (Payment Card Industry / Data Security Standard).

Other features you can look for are support for meta data for each product, compatibility with your SEO plugin, inventory tracking, reporting, affiliate programs, pricing, etc.

The basic version of the plugins in this post are available for free. But if your store needs any additional functions, you’ll need to look for specific free / premium extensions. Additionally, if you want to convert an existing blog or website into an eCommerce website, make sure that the theme you’re using supports the eCommerce plugin you choose.

Physical Products or Digital Downloads?

The type of products you’ll be selling can influence your choice of plugin greatly. When you sell physical goods on your store, the eCommerce plugin you pick must cover features like – packaging, shipping, inventory management, printing invoices and more. Some plugins like WooCommerce are flexible enough to sell all kinds of goods. Usually they need add-ons to sell digital products, or they’ll need to be configured specially. Shopify can be used to sell almost anything, but you need to make a monthly payment that may seem quite steep. However, it ensures that your shop functions smoothly.

In fact, your choice is rather easy if  you’re dealing strictly with digital products. Easy Digital Downloads is a leader when it comes to digital products. Other eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce can handle digital sales as well, but Easy Digital Downloads is designed specifically and exclusively for digital goods like eBooks, photos, tickets, and music. With the help of a plugin, Easy Digital Downloads can handle sales of simple physical products as well.

When it comes to digital goods, you can eliminate a number of features that are applicable to purely physical goods such as shipping and complex tax calculations. At the same time, you’ll need to look for additional features like:

  • Uploading screenshots, sharing a video trailer or publicizing a few pages. Mere images are not sufficient to showcase digital products.
  • Limiting the number of downloads, as in the case of video games.
  • Setting the expiry date of download or access, as in membership sites.
  • Offering a download link and being able to send email invoices.

Now, let’s take a look at the features of some of the more popular eCommerce solutions,

WooCommerce

Powering 28% of all online stores, WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce plugin. It gives store owners the control to sell anything – physical goods, digital downloads and affiliate products. And it allows developers to extend and adapt to suit the needs of individual clients.

Owned by Automattic, WooCommerce is a mobile friendly, secure plugin that integrates seamlessly with WordPress and most WordPress themes. With hundreds of premium and free extensions to pick from, it’s one of the few plugins that allows you to scale up quickly as your company grows. Moreover, your data remains with you, not on any third party server.

It manages inventory easily and supports extensive product pages. With a premium add-on, you can even import products from a CSV file into the products page of the plugin. Five pre-installed payment gateways are available. The shipping calculator on the cart page enables a shopper to view the all inclusive price.

WooCommerce includes features that make it easy to sell anywhere across the globe – geo-location to identify customer location and adjust delivery, import and export, restrict sales by location, choice of shipping methods, create multiple shipping zones, shipping and tax calculations and a real time shipping calculator. Based on the customer’s address, you can also choose which payment gateways to display for different countries. Moreover, you can notify a custom email address. All these features make the plugin a favorite for selling physical goods.

WooCommerce can be configured to handle digital products. This will do away with unnecessary options applicable only to physical goods, while adding features applicable to digital products. You can also sell digital and physical versions of the same products like books, by creating a downloadable version. The plugin also adds additional Schema types (structured data markups) to your digital goods, so it can be found more easily by search engines.

The shopping cart can handle a combination of both physical goods and digital goods at checkout. Customers receive mails for shipped products. Digital goods will be made available for download or sent as an attachment to an email.

Securing your WooCommerce store with SSL encryption may be a little beyond the technical capabilities of the average WordPress user, but there are resources that will help you.

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy digital Downloads is an open source, free eCommerce plugin that is designed for the online sales of downloadable products. It has everything from discounts to codes to data reporting, and the checkout is highly user-friendly. The core plugin features include customer management that tracks customer activity and adds discount codes based on different criteria. It also maintains file download logs and restricts file access to authorized users by setting limits or dates of expiry.

To experience the full range of features, you’ll need to access the extensions library. Extensions will enable you to add almost any feature, like:

  • Add an external product or an affiliate product to your store.
  • Import products from a CSV file into the products page of the plugin.
  • Add a complete software licensing system with Software Licensing Extension.
  • Sell subscriptions with Recurring payments.
  • Turn your store into a marketplace with frontend submissions.
  • Store files externally (Amazon or Dropbox) and make it available for download.
  • Add a complete booking system.
  • Download email attachments when the files are small.
  • Send conditional emails automatically based on pre-defined conditions.

Extensions are also available for payment gateways, accounting, analytics, email and marketing. The extensions are a mix of free, premium and third party add-ons. You can also subscribe customers to email lists using MailChimp and AWeber during checkout, and use Simple Shipping to facilitate shipping of simple physical products. Product Review feature is included for free.

Getting the plugin to play well with your theme needs some styling, but you can always opt for one of their proprietary themes.

iThemes Exchange

iThemes Exchange is a simple-to-set-up and easy-to-use eCommerce plugin. It retains the basic features needed for a store, leaving the add-ons to handle additional features. Other plugins charge separately for Stripe add-on, while iThemes Exchange has Stripe add-on available for free, for unlimited sites. With Exchange you can sell physical as well as digital goods. It’s outstanding feature is the paid add-on to sell memberships and subscriptions on your website.

Using the WordPress Editor, send customizable emails to Admins notifying them of purchases. Also send confirmatory emails to customers. With the Advanced Product options, set expiry dates for digital downloads, set start and end dates for product availability and track inventory. Staying within Exchange, you can manage customers and transaction details, including issue of refunds.

While the basic version is fully functional and free, for advanced features you’ll find that you need to pay for them. It’s a good option for beginners and is great for membership based sites.

Shopify

Shopify is not exactly a plugin, it’s a full fledged eCommerce platform, that now integrates well with WordPress (using a plugin). What’s the best thing about Shopify? Well, you open an account, pay up, activate the plugin and set up shop by simply adding products, including digital products, to your site. Shopify takes care of everything – marketing, payments, shipping and secure checkout. Moreover, you can simply use one of the many Shopify compatible themes.

Shopify integrates with most social media forums. So you can create a Facebook store or buyable pins on Pinterest and add a buy button on Twitter.

What’s not to like about Shopify? For one you’ve got to make monthly payments that can add up as you scale. You’ll find that you’re often switching between two admin panels – WordPress and Shopify. Further, all your data will now rest on a server over which you have no control. Nevertheless, you see how easy it can be for a beginner who is ready to pay a service provider for managing his store.

Other honorable mentions include:

  • JigoShop that offers a wide range of features in the new version, and can add a dynamic store to your website.
  • Shopp which is high on features and offers an easy to manage store for owners, and enhanced flexibility to developers.
  • Cart 66 as you can set up a secure shop with the basic version in under $10 per month. You can add advanced features at about $30 per month, but it does not offer an extension library.
  • MarketPress is also a credible option, that offers all the cool features that an average store needs. Moreover, it’s secure and easy to use. However, it does not come with an extension library.

To Sum Up

So, you see that you have many options when it comes to adding a store function to your website. You can take your pick from service providers who totally take care of your store to free WordPress eCommerce plugins that give maximum flexibility to developers.



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How to Nail Great Blog Ideas for Your WordPress Website


Before you go ahead, please realize there’s a huge difference between generating amazing blog ideas and creating amazing content for your WordPress site. You need top-notch posts for a winning content marketing campaign, but how are you to generate amazing content without great blog ideas to begin with?

That’s the big question, now isn’t it? How do you generate great blog ideas that keep the fire burning on your WordPress blog, and your bank balance growing? How comes some guys know just the blog ideas to pursue for maximal impact often times resulting in virility?

How to Generate Great Blog Ideas Instantly

If you are wondering how to get the best blog ideas to break out of the rut, overcome writer’s block or simply add life to your blog, take a breather (and a sip of whatever you have) as you came to the right place. We all need some inspiration at times, so welcome and feel at home (we’ve even linked to a helpful article for each tip – if you want to read more just click on the pictures!).

1. Ask Your Readers

Best Quiz Plugins for WordPress to Improve User Engagement

Yep, you really just don’t know the value of the feedback your readers provide. You can generate a ton of amazing blog ideas simply by asking your readers what they want to read. Yes, just ask, but if that doesn’t sound like you, you can device clever methods such as simple surveys.

For instance, I once added an extra field to my email sign up forms, and asked subscribers to mention their greatest challenge with content marketing. Between you and me, I collected enough blog ideas for months and something a little extra for the newsletter.

Ask and you shall receive and use every method at your disposal. Luckily, there’s social media nowadays, meaning getting great blog ideas is just a conversation away. Engage with your readers to create relevant content that resonates with their problems.

2. Brainstorm

WordPress Blogging Tips For Success

This might sound like one of those “coincidence” things, but it actually happened yesterday. A close friend known as Duncan (See? He’s actually real) came over to visit, and we got talking about a side project I’m working on. Within no time, we were brainstorming away, which resulted in a couple of blog ideas.

I was so excited about the revelation I mentioned in passing that I am working on a post about nailing blog ideas for your WordPress site. So we brainstormed so more, and generated even more ideas, some of which have nothing to do with content, but other aspects of the side project.

Have a team in place already? Great! You can brainstorm ideas and use tools such as Trello among others to manage the process. Brainstorming requires just one extra brain, so please just brainstorm and enjoy the conversations you have with the people around you.

3. Check Your Comments

How to Get More Comments on Your WordPress Blog

We all dream of publishing posts that pull a lot of comments, and a few things can compare to the feeling of getting your first few comments. It’s exhilarating since you can tell guys are giving a hoot about you.

But did you know, just like directly asking your readers, you can gather a lot of blog ideas from your comment area? Which pertinent questions are the readers asking? Which pain points are they expressing in response to your post? These are all ripe avenues to derive great blog ideas.

You can extend this approach to other blogs within your industry, and check out their comment sections as well. What are the readers asking? What’s bothering said readers, and can you offer a solution via your content? You definitely can see just how the comment section is a rich source of relevant blog ideas, right?

Aside: If you’re inclined, you can show off your expertise by answering the commenter’s question right there and then. Look at that. You build authority and gather blog ideas at the same damn time, on your blog or elsewhere! Now I know why comments are so darn precious.

4. Define Your Target Audience

WordPress Audience Better: Important Metrics to Consider

How the hell are you even creating content to begin with if you have no idea who it’s intended for? You probably can’t nail the best blog ideas because you haven’t defined your audience yet. What does your ideal customer like? What are they likely going through, and how can you alleviate this pain?

With a crystal-clear picture of the person you are trying to reach, amazing blog ideas will come to you. And since you will create highly-targeted and personalized content, your posts will work wonders on your readers as well as search engines.

Take time to understand your prospect. What are their motivations? Why are they on your site? Do they have a need you can meet with free content? You know, stuff like that. Truly, this is one of the best tips you can take away today. I used to write out of the blue, just to fill up my blog with content, but the results were dismaying until I defined a target audience. It’s easy.

5. Engage Keyword Research

WordPress SEO: Keyword Research (And What To Do With Keywords)

Along with defining a target audience comes keyword research. So you now have a clear picture of your audience in mind, and a couple of keywords that describe their pain points. Perhaps even the exact keywords they use to find your website. Point is, you need keywords, so get keywords.

Use these keywords to generate more keyword ideas, which creates fertile grounds for targeted blog ideas that have just the impact you desire. The AdWords Keyword Tool is a lifesaver in this regard. Just plonk your keywords into the tool, and watch the magic happen.

There are other countless keyword research tools out there, including Moz Keyword Explorer, KWFinder and SEMRush, meaning you can generate as many blog ideas as you need and bolster your SEO in the process. Great SEO involves astute keyword research.

6. Follow Conversation on Social Media

How to Increase Your Social Media Follows from Your WordPress Site

Real-time conversations on social media are a great source of blog ideas for your site. Just search for questions, discussions or even news about any topic in your industry, and you’ll never run out of great blog ideas ever again.

Take Quora or Reddit, for instance. Readers from all walks of life frequent these sites in search of answers on practically any topic under the sun. As the guy looking for great blog ideas for future posts, you can clearly see this single tip carries a lot of weight.

Just search on Twitter or your favorite social media site, and you will probably get more blog ideas than you can ever use. In fact, blog ideas are hiding in #hashtags, @mentions, shares, images and so much more. Just pick the ones you like and run with.

7. Google Auto Suggestions: Quick Fire Tip

How To Create A WordPress Blog Post

Nowadays, Google predicts your search queries as you type ‘em. This nifty autosuggest feature is basically a “sampling” of the stuff people want. It’s a quick source of blog ideas for practically any topic you can imagine. Plus you get better search rankings because, again, it’s the stuff that people want.

Just fire up our favorite search engine, good ol’ Google, and type away. Autosuggest kicks in immediately with a list of topics. After picking your favorite topics, you can change up the headlines a bit to suit your various needs.

For instance, if I typed “How to Create a Blog” and this feature gave me a couple of ideas, I could turn around and bend the ideas however I want. You can come up with many ideas easily and quickly using Google autosuggest. I mean, come on, they made you a great tool, so why let them down?

8. Hire/Host Authors

10 Best WordPress Multi-Author Management Plugins

A one-man operation has its perks but you simply can’t argue with economies of scale. You can produce a lot more blog ideas and content if you run a multi-author blog as opposed to a solo operation. You can pay writers, welcome guest bloggers or do both.

Andy of Newsforshoppers created an online magazine that helps consumers with online shopping. He did all this using a revenue-sharing model and a team of dedicated journalists who keep the website fresh with content.  The writers get 70% of the adsense money their posts make, and Andrew never has to worry about blog ideas.

Many other websites use this model, and it’s effective to a fault. You focus on the other aspects of running your business, and let somebody else take care of blog ideas and content generation. This applies too if you’d like to publish all content under your name or a moniker such as “Editorial Staff”.

9. Interview Experts

Best Podcast Plugins & Solutions for WordPress

Who doesn’t like to read (or listen to) what an expert said on some topic of interest? Expert interviews are great blog ideas in themselves, not to mention the amount of wisdom you can gain from the responses. Interviews are easy to come up with and create, but can quickly build credibility and trust.

Reach out to experts within your industry and ask these guys to answer pertinent questions relevant to your readers. Publish the interviews whenever, especially on the proverbial day when you simply can’t get your creative juices flowing.

You don’t have to think long and hard about the interviews, you simply need to come up with a question, or a bunch of questions. Send out the questions to your choicest experts and compile their responses into compelling posts. Or try to find guests for your own podcast. This not only adds new content to your blog but also a variety of media forms to entice new readers/listeners.

10. Joyride on Trends

WordPress Marketing Tips & Trends

Trends are a great source of blog ideas that go viral. And since trends revolve around what’s hot at a specific time, they provide fodder for news posts. All the same, trends are as good as they are hot. If you don’t act quickly, you just might miss your chance to snag some viral traffic.

Best part is there are countless tools out there that help you to stay on top of the latest news and trends in any industry. For starters, we have Google Alerts, which notifies you every moment there’s mention of your keywords. You can create multiple alerts, but don’t overdo it, or you’ll drown in mail.

Trends can also inform you about the shift in people’s interests over time, which is a great way of predicting what’s next. If you gather enough data and play smart, you can easily create evergreen content that works today, and in the future.

11. Keep Bookmarks

10 WordPress Resources You Need to Bookmark Right Now

Inspiration lives everywhere, and an article about space exploration could spark your genius just as easily as a thrilling post within your industry. Whenever you find some information that could come in handy at a future date, it makes sense to save a bookmark.

Browsers allow you to segment your bookmarks, meaning you can have multiple folders for your various needs. The only downside with bookmarks is it can all get messy when they rack up. Plus you’d have to keep digging deep just to find an article.

The main pro, of course, is you have a widening pool of blog ideas at any given time. This means you only need a serious amount of coffee stimulants to write that extra post you need to keep the wheels turning.

12. Live a Little

Off-Site Activities to Grow Your WordPress Website

And by this, we simply mean stepping away from that darn screen for a moment. Life is for living, not living uptight if Jay-Z’s words are anything to go by. You need to let go a little, and just be. Enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend, go to a movie or skiing with your family – just do something other than write.

You agree writer’s block hits the hardest when you’re burned out. When you have no idea what to do with the blank page staring back at you, all other blog ideas simply vanish into thin air. Poof, just like that. It’s at these times you need to realize you’re not part of life, but life itself.

Go get a fresh breath of air, travel a little, read something, indulge in a hobby, spend time with the people you love – simply do anything to give yourself a much needed break. Poor you, you probably can’t come up with an idea to save your own life because of all that weight on your shoulders. Play a little, or be dumb.

14. Make an Idea List

25+ Tips for WordPress Blogging Professionals

This is the bread to the butter that’s the above point. Saving bookmarks is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus, you need a browser to save your bookmarks. But, as we’ve already mentioned, you can find inspiration anywhere.

A great blog idea could strike at odd times, and you might just believe it’s committed to your shaky human memory for all eternity. Please don’t fool yourself mate, have a notepad ready to jot down ideas. If you hate paper, how about apps such as Evernote?

Forget inspiration sneaking up on you whenever, did you know you can actually trick your mind to generate ideas like clockwork? Yes, indeed you can. Take out a piece of paper and write down 10 blog ideas off the top of your head. Throw away that piece, and make another list of ten. Repeat daily.

15. Never Steal, Borrow

30 WordPress Professionals to Follow on Twitter

Visit popular blogs in your industry, follow them on social media and see what’s hot. Popular blogs usually have teams of writers, who come up with ideas on the regular. Popular blogs also have great editorial teams and the whole shebang meaning most of the work is already done for you.

You can collect some of the best ideas from popular blogs within your niche. It’s your job to create fresh and original content from said ideas, otherwise you’d be stealing somebody else’s work. You can definitely find motivation, or even a slightly different take on a popular topic on any blog.

Borrow the ideas, and build your own work around the topics. Just don’t steal the content because it might mean facing the bitter end of the law and the likes of Google. After all, why reinvent the wheel?

16. Organize Contests and Giveaways

Grow Your Audience with Competitions for WordPress

Oh the freeloader in each one of us. God, we do all sort of things for free stuff. But if there’s something we love just as much as freebies, it is the chance to throw down in a competition of sort. We’re quite the competitive species, aren’t we? But it’s probably just Mother Nature having her way.

Anyhow, I have had the chance to participate in a couple of giveaways and contests and the results were amazing every single time. For starters, they make for great blog ideas, contests and giveaways, as all you need is something to give away.

When your well of ideas is running dry, you can always count on contests and giveaways as pick-me-up kind of posts. They do quite well as far as traffic and lead generation goes, and considering you don’t have to stay up all night setting up a contest or giveaway for your blog, we can say you’re all good buddy.

Over to You…

I won’t insult your intelligence by making claims this is a complete guide on how to come up with great blog ideas. We cannot refute there are as many approaches as there are human beings on this planet, meaning there’s still plenty of room to grow this list.

Before you go, would you mind sharing how you generate great blog ideas for your WordPress site? Which tools, if any, do you use, and which tip resonates with you the most? Thanks in advance and all the best nailing all the best blog ideas 🙂



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Using AdSense Effectively for WordPress


Making money with a WordPress site often involves affiliate marketing, ads, or eCommerce. Sometimes it even involves selling memberships, creating job boards, or hosting events.

Many people think that advertisements are old news in the money-making world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Ads are particularly useful for monetizing online magazines, blogs, and websites where you’re not directly selling a physical product.

Since sponsored posts are often seen as grimy by users, and affiliate marketing can also raise red flags depending on how it’s presented, we keep circling back to advertisements. And seeing how tools like AdSense make it so much easier than it used to be to implement, it’s no surprise ads aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

What’s most interesting is that AdSense doesn’t cost you any money to implement, so you can at least test the waters and see if you can make any money off of it. In addition, this gives you an opportunity to see if your users think ads are annoying.

In order to ensure your users don’t get annoyed, it’s important to learn how to use AdSense effectively for WordPress. Let’s discuss.

Three Options for Activating Google AdSense

Although there might be some other less efficient ways, these are the methods most people use:

  1. Inserting ads by copying and pasting code into widgets, pages, and posts.
  2. Buying a WordPress theme that supports Google AdSense.
  3. Downloading and activating a plugin that runs Google AdSense.

Ideally, the second two are the easiest, since many themes and plugins don’t require you to keep copying and pasting code to widgets. Not only that, but some themes have preset modules that make the ads look beautiful and more likely to be clicked.

I recommend you go with method #1 or #3 if you already have a theme you like. If not, consider looking at the wide range of AdSense themes on the market.

How to Configure AdSense Properly

The process all starts after you sign up for a Google AdSense account. Walk through the application process and wait around for the confirmation email. This often takes a few hours to receive.

Upon completing the application, you can sign in to AdSense to get the ball rolling. The AdSense dashboard reveals several tabs on the left hand side, but the only one you need to worry about right now is the My Ads tab. Click on this to proceed.

If you’ve never created an ad before you’ll see an empty page. Click on the New Ad Unit button for generating an ad and editing it to fit your website.

The first step is to name your ad. This isn’t going to show up on your site so you’re mainly naming it for your own reference. After that they show the recommended sizes for your ads. Feel free to choose the one you think is most appropriate.

You also must specify if you’d like a text and display ad or only one or the other. Text ads don’t have any imagery included, so pick carefully.

Next, you’ll be asked what you’d like the design to look like. I generally opt for the Default styling since this is known to convert rather well. However, some of the other colors and designs may look better on your own website. What’s nice is that they have a Preview button to see what it’s going to look like.

Google AdSense offers several pre-built styles, but you can still adjust every design element on an ad, as seen in the screenshot below. For example, it lets you change the title color, URL color, border, and font family.

If you’d like to group multiple ad units together (for tracking purposes,) feel free to open the Custom Channels area to make that happen. You also have the option to make Backup Ads. Basically this refers to the fact that AdSense shows a blank ad if it can’t come up with something relevant. If you’d rather see a default backup ad, this is the place to create it.

After this process, click on the Save and Get Code button.

Pro Tip: Google AdSense now has an option to choose a completely responsive ad module, making it much easier for your ads to respond to mobile devices and differently sized screens. Personally, I’d go with that every time. However, the 336×280 and 300×260 dimensions are also known to work well in terms of fitting your site and converting.

Implementing AdSense On Your Site

The code revealed in the previous section is used for copying into your website. We talked about using plugins, themes, and widgets for Google AdSense, but the only steps that are universal to everyone on WordPress include the widgets. Therefore, we’ll walk through putting AdSense in a simple Text widget.

Start by copying that code from AdSense.

Open your WordPress dashboard. Go to Appearance > Widgets.

You’re most likely going to insert an ad in the sidebar or above the header. For this example I want to put the ad in the sidebar. Therefore, you can drag the Text widget to that sidebar area and paste in the code you copied before.

There’s no reason to fill in the Title field since this is an advertisement.

After that, you can refresh your website to see relevant new AdSense ads showing up on your site.

Wonderful Google AdSense Plugins

Utilizing a widget for AdSense is the most basic of all the methods. However, a plugin might serve as a better solution if you’d like additional features for your advertisements. For example, some of the plugins remove the need to copy and paste code, while others generate reports and have settings for things like time period selection.

Many Google AdSense plugins have come and gone in the past, but let’s take a look at the most promising ones today:

Advanced Ads

The Advanced Ads plugin works nicely for grouping ads into a slider, selling ads on your website, and setting dates for when to publish new ads. AdSense integrates seamlessly with the plugin.

WP Pro Ad System

Here’s a plugin that supports all sorts of advertising tools. It has a multitude of locations for placing your ads, along with popup ads that integrate with AdSense.

Ad Injection

Ad Injection works best for taking your AdSense ads and automatically injecting ads into your current posts and pages.

WP Simple AdSense Insertion

This plugin saves one to three Google AdSense codes and litters them throughout your site, allowing you to focus only on a few ads.

Quality Google AdSense WordPress Themes

Although I’m not going to recommend specific themes, you can start by searching for AdSense WordPress themes in the ThemeForest library.

You’ll also have luck at the following places:

Although you could just our very own Total theme, of course. It’s SEO optimized and offers tons of great page building features that you can use to insert Google Ads on your posts and pages.

Over to You…

Using AdSense effectively for WordPress doesn’t take much time to master. In fact, the AdSense interface is extremely user-friendly and the plugins, themes, and widgets are all easy to manage.

Do you have any questions about using or inserting AdSense into your WordPress site? We’ll do our best to help in the comments below.



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How to Increase Your Social Media Follows from Your WordPress Site


Creating a social media following should now be an objective for all online shops, blogs, and business sites. If you want new and returning readers, customers, and clients, then having a community of followers on social media is a must.

But building this fan base on social media is easier said than done. Social media can be time-consuming and labor intensive. Most frustratingly, there are no definite winning strategies, so returns cannot be guaranteed.

In this article, we will look at how to increase your social media follows from your WordPress site. From automating your social media content, to adding pop-ups, hello bars and content lockers, we will discuss the best strategies to get your website visitors to follow you on social media.

What You Should Already Be Doing On Your WordPress Website

There are some very basic fundamental strategies that all WordPress websites should adopt, and which if you aren’t already doing you should quickly set up today. These will not only help save you time, but will slowly grow your following over time.

Add Social Follow Buttons

Follow Buttons

Social follow buttons should occupy a prominent position on your site. Placing them in sidebars is a great way to make sure that they are constantly visible and easy for your audience to access.

Follow Buttons by AddThis is a free WordPress plugin that will let you add social buttons vertically or horizontally in your sidebar or header. Usable with numerous popular social networks, you can display the icons for the social media channels of your choice.

Display Social Share Buttons

Floating Social Bar

Your WordPress website should have social share buttons above or below every piece of content that you’d like shared. This will encourage your visitors to share your content on social media. Having your content shared by your readers means it will get viewed by a wider audience. This is a great way to raise awareness of your site, increase traffic, and gain new followers on social media.

Floating Social Bar from WPBeginner enables you to add a floating social bar to any pages or posts on your site. This free WordPress plugin is quick to set up, looks great, and will help you get your content shared. If you aren’t already using it, download it now.

Make Content Tweetable

Better Click to Tweet

The easier you make it for your audience to share your content, the more they will comply with this wish. Better Click to Tweet is another free WordPress plugin that lets you insert click to tweet boxes into your posts. Select stand out quotes from your blogs to make them tweetable. Making your best content super easy to Tweet in this way will help get your blog shared on Twitter, and gain you new Twitter followers.

Showcase Social Feeds

WordPress Social Stream

Showcasing social feeds on your WordPress website is another way to help increase social media follows. By demonstrating all the great content, discussions, and comments that are being shared on your social media channels, your website visitors will soon be keen to join your community of social followers.

WordPress Social Stream is a premium plugin that can be purchased on CodeCanyon. It allows you to create social feeds for each of your social networks. Or combine all your social network feeds into one social stream. With different layout styles available, this plugin will let you display your latest social media news in style. This in turn should help to impress your WordPress audience and encourage them to follow you.

So, now we have considered the basics for increasing your social media follows from your WordPress website, let’s have a look at what else you can do.

Automating Your Social Media Content

CoScedule

Consistently sharing your high-quality content from your WordPress website on your social media channels is very important. It keeps your social media networks active and interesting, which helps lead to follows.

However, regularly posting to different social media channels can be very time-consuming. Using a management tool like CoSchedule enables you to automate all your social postings. CoSchedule allows you to plan, organize and manage all your posts from within your WordPress dashboard. You can even create social media messages and schedule them to be posted, all without having to leave your WordPress site.

Automating your social media posts in this way will not only save you time, but also keeps your social media networks up to date. When choosing who to follow, people will opt for those social profiles that are constantly present and continually posting new content. So automating your sharing will go a long way in increasing your follows.

Adding Social Media Pop-ups to Your WordPress Website

Using social media pop-ups on your WordPress website to increase your social media follows can be very effective. Pop-ups grab visitor’s attention, and encourage them to act in a specific way. On the whole, pop-ups are used to collect emails. However, if your goal is to grow your social media following, then it makes sense to use your pop-ups to do just that.

Creating Pop-ups with OptinMonster

Like Us

OptinMonster is a lead generation software that can help you grow your social media following by using pop-ups on your WordPress website. By using Canvas, you can design custom pop-ups, specifically for your site’s needs. Easily create a Twitter follow optin, a Facebook like pop-up, or a pop-up for another social media channel.

Always think carefully about where and when to display a pop-up. People will follow a site because the content adds value to their lives in some way. Visitors need time to engage with your site and connect with it, so when they are given the option of following you on social media, they will jump at it.

Consequently, showing a pop-up as visitors arrive on your site is usually not the best way to gain followers. Ideally, wait until they have been on your site for a while, or read a certain amount. You can then display a well-timed pop-up, or one that appears after a reader has scrolled down a page to a certain point. Alternatively, you can use an exit pop-up.

Using Exit Intent Technology

Exit Intent

A different style of pop-up that you can implement on your WordPress website is an exit pop-up. This type of pop-up uses exit intent technology to detect when a user is about to leave your site. A pop-up is then displayed before the visitor is lost.

An exit pop-up can be particularly useful for collecting social media follows. By the time a visitor is ready to leave your site, they will have a good understanding of what you offer. Therefore, by showing an exit pop-up just before they leave, you have a high chance of turning them into a social media follower.

Always be careful not to use too many pop-ups. Numerous pop-ups will upset your audience and also can affect your rankings with Google. Trial different pop-ups and monitor the analytics to see what your audience best responds to. Then run the pop-up with the highest conversions.

Displaying a Hello Bar

Smart Bar

Displaying a hello bar on your WordPress website is another easy automated way to promote your social media channels and encourage follows. A hello bar sticks to the top or the bottom of a web page, or can move as a user scrolls down the page. As it is constantly visible to your audience, it is a great place to display an important message, like a reminder about joining you on social media.

SumoMe is a free WordPress plugin that enables you to add a hello bar, or smart bar as SumoMe calls it, to your website. The SumoMe smart bar can be customized to display a message to encourage either a Twitter follow or a Facebook like.

You have control over when and where the smart bar is displayed, and if you upgrade to SumoMe Pro you can add both tracking and conversion pixels to your bar. This enables you to track how successful your smart bar is in converting your WordPress visitors to social media followers.

A hello bar works in the same way as a pop-up but is less intrusive. However, it is more visible as it is constantly in the eyesight of your visitors. Consequently, it can be a very effective way of increasing your social media followers from your WordPress site.

Content Lockers and Social Media

Content Locker

Using content lockers on your WordPress website can greatly help to increase your social media follows. A content locker keeps content hidden from your audience until they perform an action of your choice, which in this case would be to follow you on one of your social media networks.

Ninja Popups is a premium WordPress popup plugin that, amongst many other features, allows you to add social media content lockers to your website. Ninja Popups includes a drag and drop visual editor, making it easy to customize your social content lockers to suit your site’s specific needs and display the social media channels of your choice.

The key to a successful content locker is to hide information that your audience wants. Lock away your most popular and best-performing blog posts, scandalous images, interesting videos or discount codes. The more sought after the hidden content is, the more people will follow you on social media to access it.

Final Thoughts

Monitoring your site’s analytics is an important way to know what is working and what needs re-thinking. Trial different strategies then track the outcomes so you can see which ones are getting the most conversions. Although all of the methods in this article can be effective ways to increase your social media follows, ultimately you need to find what works for your audience.

Which strategies are you going to implement on your WordPress website to increase your social media follows? Please share in the comment below…



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10 Best Lawyer WordPress Themes for Law Firms & Attorneys


The digital business ecosystem has excelled in bringing organizations and service companies to the next level of customer outreach. This will reap the benefits an Internet-based economy provides. As the transition is across various sectors, some legal professionals have also benefited in gaining more clients through a digital presence. Therefore, it is ideal for lawyers and other similar businesses to start building their own web assets.

Luckily, with the advent of advanced Content Management Systems like WordPress, you don’t need advanced technical knowledge like coding to build a website. You can buy a domain in under five minutes, install WordPress in the next five, and then choose a desirable theme that suits your business’ vision.

Choosing a theme must be an informed decision. You have to take care of certain factors including:

  • Ease of Customization: The theme should be easy to personalize and customize. As lawyers, you must accept that backend internet frameworks can be a learning curve. Hence, choose a simple theme with good features, bright color schemes, and professional font.
  • Responsiveness: Your theme must be responsive. This means that it should adapt to mobile and tablet devices for smooth user experience. Statistics indicate that there is an exponential rise in mobile internet usage. You don’t want to miss that kind of traffic, isn’t it?

After you have installed WordPress, create an account on Themeforest. It is a large-scale theme marketplace with a reputation for having the best themes across different sectors and segments. In this article, we have curated the list of 10 best-rated lawyer WordPress themes from Themeforest for attorneys and related law professionals in 2017.

Libero – A Theme for Lawyers and Law Firms

Libero WordPress Theme

Libero is a modern, retina-ready and fully responsive lawyer WordPress theme. The pages of this theme have been designed keeping lawyers, attorneys, and law firms in mind. You can easily customize the pages with the help of Visual Composer plugin.

Not only pages, you can customize everything including header & footer layout, fonts, colors, and much more by using the powerful theme options panel. Thus anyone can easily set up their website even without any coding knowledge.

Libero supports WooCommerce and is translation ready. It includes 6 modern homepage designs, multiple portfolio layouts, boxed & full-width layouts, and lots of shortcodes. It also comes with a coming soon page template. You can use this template before launching your website.

Lawyers – Responsive Attorney WordPress Theme

Lawyers Responsive WordPress Attorneys Theme

Lawyers is a WPML compatible WordPress theme and it is ideal for advocates, lawyers, and law companies. It has been built using the Twitter Bootstrap Framework. Hence, this theme is fully responsive and works perfectly on desktops, mobiles, and tablets.

Lawyers theme allows you to personalize your law firm website and make it according to the tone & feel of your firm. This can be done with over 14 home widgets, 12 custom page templates, contact forms, and more. It also includes custom post types like practice areas, case results, testimonials & team member pages. The single items in the practice area page can be displayed in a modal window or as a normal page.

Lawyers theme is coded with powerful SEO practices and it is 100% compatible with some of the best free SEO plugins like SEO by Yoast and All in One SEO Plugin. This helps your website to become search friendly.

Lawyer & Attorney – Theme for Lawyers Attorneys and Law Firm

Lawyer & Attorney WordPress Theme

Lawyer & Attorney WordPress theme is ideal for Legal Advisors, Lawyers, Attorneys, Barristers, Counsels, and Advocates. It comes with a purpose-oriented design. You have pre-designed templates for features like opening hours, consultation forms, geo-location, Q&A pages and team member profiles.

This theme has a bright color scheme, professional fonts and an apparent black and white theme, which gives an extra sharp outlook. Lawyer & Attorney theme is very reliable as it comes from the house of VAMTAM. All future updates come in free. With a standard PHP hosting at your side, you can have a website that is fast, user-friendly and easy to manage.

LawBusiness – Attorney & Lawyer WordPress Theme

LawBusiness WordPress Theme

Whether you are a private attorney or a large law firm, Law Business is the best professional fit. It has sharp color schemes, a professional & robust outlook, and a dynamic overlay. There is a pre-designed template to easily present your legal services online. All you need to do is fill in the content in your WordPress backend, which is fairly easy.

This theme provides an excellent template to showcase your entire team. This is ideal for large firms because prospective clients are often looking for a strong team rather than a solo brand name.

Other important features include:

  • Simplistic Website Management
  • Visual Composer for easy content formatting
  • Collection of Shortcodes for customization
  • SEO options to make your website search engine friendly

Lawyer Base – Lawyers Attorneys WordPress Theme

Lawyer Base WordPress Theme

Lawyer Base is highly suitable for professionals who are looking to establish online presence fast without compromising on quality. It comes with custom features and pre-built templates to make a law based website in seconds. You have features like Attorney Post types, multi-column layouts for attorney listings, practice posts and more.

This theme includes Goodlayers Page builder using which you can create stunning pages without any coding knowledge. It also comes with the option of boxed and full-width layouts. With the help of WPML plugin, you can also create a multi-language website which is ideal for reaching out to diversified crowds.

HumanRights – Lawyer and Attorney WordPress Theme

HumanRights WordPress Theme

HumanRights is a fully responsive WordPress theme which can be used for lawyers, attorneys, legal offices, and similar professionals. With the drag & drop builder and pre-designed lawyer templates, you can create amazing pages for your site. This theme comes with WPCharming’s Demo Data Importer that will set up your site with a few clicks.

The advanced theme options panel will help you to customize your site as per your wish. You also have dynamic animation and effect tools like the Slider Revolution. Not only that, you have over 600 Google fonts to add more personalization and never worry about copyright issues.

The Law – Lawyer Theme

The Law - Lawyer WordPress Theme

The Law is a powerful and premium theme that comes pre-built with theme options, WooCommerce, drag & drop builder, and RTL language support. This allows you to create a highly professional, customized, responsive and multi-language website.

This theme has been built using HTML5 and CSS3. It includes 12 header styles including transparency options. The Law theme also has features like unlimited colors, unlimited sidebars, sliders, 100+ shortcodes, sticky menu, child theme support, and much more.

One of the major focuses of The Law theme is SEO. Advanced and good SEO is ideal for getting your website ahead in search engines. This makes it easier for prospective customers and clients to find you.

Law Office | Lawyers Attorneys Legal Office Theme

Law Office WordPress Theme

Another powerful, responsive and SEO friendly premium theme from Themeforest! Law Office theme comes with the latest compliances including WordPress 4+ compatibility. WP Booking Calendar is bundled with this theme. It allows your clients to make online appointments from your website.

One feature that is must for any website is it should be cross browser compatible. This is because different users prefer different browsers and your website should cater to all to successfully drive leads. Law Office theme is compatible with major browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.

To make your publication and maintenance easier and highly automated, the theme comes integrated with ThemeRex Framework. This framework provides added value with inheritance/override system, shortcode builder, visual composer and media content management.

Law Practice | Lawyers Attorneys Theme

Law Practice WordPress Theme

If you are a large-scale firm of legal advisors, attorneys, and barristers, Law Practice theme is best suited for your website needs. It comes with a purpose-oriented design and includes pre-built templates and forms.

This theme comes with templates for showcasing teams, case studies and practice options to provide maximum insight and value to incoming traffic. With these pre-built templates, it becomes easier to promote your legal services. You don’t need UI designers, graphic experts, and coders – just edit the content and you are good to go.

The Custom Page Builder helps you to create pages seamlessly using its drag & drop feature. To make sure your office gets more clients, Law Practice theme has sophisticated SEO options for each of the pages and posts.

Total Law Firm WordPress Theme

Total Law Firm WordPress Theme

Our list would be incomplete without the Total WordPress theme. It is a feature rich theme and comes with a lot of demos to choose from. It also has an elegantly designed Law Firm demo for lawyers and attorneys. You can use the built-in demo importer and set up your website within a minute.

The theme is bundled with multiple premium plugins including Visual Composer. With the help of the drag & drop page builder plugin, you can create custom home page and other pages as per your requirements.

This SEO friendly theme is loaded with features like retina image support, mega menu, unlimited color options, custom post types like staff, portfolio & testimonials, and much more. You can also enable or disable the features, which you are not using, from the admin panel.

Endnote

If your business is not online, then it might be dead sooner than you think. Therefore it is recommended for competitive professionals like Lawyers to gain the advantage of the Internet ecosystem by creating a strong online presence through websites and social media.

According to CMO, 27% of senior level executives rate digital transformation as a matter of survival for their businesses. 51% believe that it is critical to implement digital transformation within 12 months of company formation.

This clearly means that the Internet is helping businesses to gain genuine traffic through information based marketing practices. So why are you losing out? Pick an awesome theme from this list, set up your website and never lose a client!



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How to Set Up Author-Level Access for People Publishing on Your WordPress Website


WordPress is the perfect platform for creating a blog or website with multiple authors. Whether you’re launching a collaborative project or you want to start working with a freelance content creator to grow your blog, WordPress gives you plenty of options for managing access to your site.

However, there are some important points to take into account before you start giving users access to your WordPress website. As is common with WordPress, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Granting people access to your site is no exception. Get it wrong, and you could be putting your website at risk. Weakening site security, and potentially opening yourself up to costly user errors is possible too. Get it right, however, and you can make the process of accepting content from multiple authors much more efficient and secure.

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up author-level access for people publishing on your WordPress website or blog. We’ll look at a few of the best user roles and who to assign them to. We’ll also cover how to customize the capabilities of the existing WordPress user roles or create a new role with custom capabilities on your site.  With the right plugin, this is much easier than it sounds.

Understanding WordPress User Roles

Out of the box, WordPress features a good set of user roles. From the all-powerful Administrator role to the very limited Subscriber role, for most projects, there should be a pre-defined WordPress user role that matches your needs. Sometimes, though, that’s not the case. When that situation arises, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can customize the pre-defined WordPress user roles with relative ease as well as create your own additional roles.

However, before we cover the options for creating custom WordPress user roles and modifying the existing roles, let’s look at the default WordPress user roles to help you decide if they are suitable for your project and which ones you should assign to whom.

Best User Roles for Additional Bloggers and Co-Authors

If you or someone else is already taking care of the administration and management of your WordPress website and you just want to grant another user access to your site in order to add content in the form of new WordPress posts, then the Contributor role could be a good option.

However, this role does have limitations that might not be compatible with your objectives. Therefore, you might also want to consider the Author role. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each role to help you decide how to set up author-level access for people publishing on your WordPress website.

The WordPress Contributor User Role

How to Set Up Author-Level Access for People Publishing on Your WordPress Website

The above screenshot shows the limited WordPress admin area access users with the Contributor role have. Contributors can’t access the site settings, manage plugins, activate themes, or access many of the other administration and management aspects of WordPress.

While they can create new posts, they can’t publish posts, edit published posts, or access any posts created by other users. They can’t work with WordPress pages either. Once a user with the Contributor role has finished their post, they can hit the Submit for Review button. This signals that it’s ready for consideration by someone with a suitable user role (e.g. Editor or Administrator).

However, as you can see from that screenshot, users with the Contributor role cannot access the WordPress Media Library. Due to this, they can’t add images or other media files to their posts. This is the main limitation of the Contributor role and it might make it unsuitable for your needs. After all, adding images to blog posts is one of the best ways to create engaging website content. Therefore, unless you or someone else is taking care of adding images to blog posts, the Contributor role probably won’t have enough access.

How to Customize the WordPress User Roles

Capability Manager Enhanced plugin

One option is to use a suitable WordPress author management plugin, such as the free Capability Manager Enhanced plugin to customize the Contributor user role. Customizing WordPress user roles is relatively straightforward. It’s simply a case of checking or unchecking the appropriate boxes.

Customize Contributor User Role

However, keeping track of the changes you’ve made and the new access you’ve granted to existing users could get confusing. At worst, if not managed properly, you could end up unwittingly granting high-level access to an inappropriate subset of your users.

If customizing the WordPress core functionality and modifying the user roles doesn’t appeal then don’t worry. The good news is that there’s more than one suitable role for adding new users to your site in this capacity. For your project, a better role for your content creators could be the WordPress Author user role.

The WordPress Author User Role

The Author role is the next step up from the Contributor role in terms of capabilities. Unlike users with the Contributor role, Authors can upload files to your WordPress website, giving them the ability to add images and videos to the Media Library and then into your posts.

Author Role Post Editor

As you can see from the above screenshot, Authors have access to the Add Media button on the WordPress post editor. They can also set the featured image for a post. This provides them with all the capabilities they need to create a fully formed post on your blog.

User Access Customize Author

However, you should proceed with caution when considering whether to give a user the Author role. They can also publish posts as well as edit and delete their own published posts. This level of access might be more than you’re willing to provide. To overcome this, as before, you can use the free Capability Manager Enhanced plugin to alter what users with the Author role can do on your site.

Best WordPress User Role for Content Managers

When it comes to creating a user account on your WordPress website for someone who will be managing the content on your site then the best option is the Editor role. This user role is one level down the from the highest Administrator role so assign it to your users wisely.

 Editor Role Post Editor

Not only can users with the Editor role create and manage their own pages as well as those created by others, but they can also manage the posts created by other users. As Editors can moderate comments, they have enough capabilities to manage all aspects of content creation on your site – perfect for outsourcing or bringing a content marketing expert into your team.

Customize Editor Role

In most cases, they’ll be no need to grant regular bloggers and content creators Editor access, with the Author or Contributor roles often being more suitable. However, if you do hire someone to review and publish the content submitted on your site by others then the Editor is the best user role.

Final Thoughts

WordPress user roles are fluid concepts. WordPress core software updates can make changes to user roles, either adding new roles or modifying the capabilities of existing ones. Furthermore, certain plugins can add new roles or customize the capabilities of existing user roles too, either automatically or by giving you the ability to make changes yourself.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the latest documentation on user roles and capabilities for WordPress as well as any third party tools you’re using. Experimenting with the user roles yourself to see exactly what level of access users will get to your site is a good idea too if you want to be sure you’re not giving away the keys to your house when taking on a new blogger at your site.

While it might be tempting to simply give a new user the highest role possible to ensure they can get the job done, this could cause a serious breach in WordPress site security. Instead, it’s better to think about what capabilities a user actually needs before assigning them a role. If you feel your requirements are unique, then you can use the previously mentioned Capability Manager Enhanced plugin to create a new custom user role or explore the other WordPress multi-author management plugins that are available.

Which roles are right for the users on your site? Will you need to create a custom user role to suit your project? Please let us know in the comments below.



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Email Marketing for WordPress Plus Easy Plugins to Get Started


If you’re simply after the best email marketing services for WordPress, we kindly urge you to scroll further down and we’ll cater to your need. But if you’d like to learn more about email marketing and how you can make it work for your WordPress site, we encourage you to devour this post section by section.

Today we shall learn a couple of things. We will touch on why email marketing rocks, how you can double your efforts and finally discover the most popular email marketing services for our most beloved platform, good ole WordPress. In other words, you get the best email marketing tips, services and plugins, which is okey dokey.

Ready? Great, let’s tango.

Why Email Marketing?

Email marketing simply involves readers subscribing to your mailing list for regular updates. When you publish a post or have a product or something great to share, you send out a blast to your readers. There’s nothing much to it, just sending a bunch of emails to your prospective buyers. Easier said than done.

Anyhow, why should you even consider using email marketing? What makes email marketing tick? Forget about email marketing services for a moment, is email marketing worth your time and money? What are the pros? And are there cons?

Pros of Email Marketing

First let’s take a look at the positives of email marketing.

It’s Personal

It is easier to build connection and trust via email than any other form of marketing, and it doesn’t take rocket science to decipher this. For starters, email lands in the prospect’s inbox, where you can establish direct rapport with your target audience.

Precise Targeting

You have a one-on-one conversation with somebody who took the pleasure of filling out your form and confirming their subscription. This kind of person is showing some serious interest in that which is you’re offering. This person is most likely to buy from you, and you can reach them casually via email.

User Segmentation

Email allows you to segment your target audience. Since email subscribers are obviously people with vested interests in your business, you know exactly what each user group like. With this kind of info, you can create highly relevant content and products for best results.

You Own Your Mailing List

You own your mailing list in ways you cannot own, say, likes on your Facebook page. Your impact on these third-party platforms is limited to their policies, meaning a slight change in said policies can lead to huge losses on your end. You own your mailing list, and its one great asset I tell you. Plus social media sites come and go, but email lives on.

Plenty of Options

Some email marketing services ship with incredible options, such as the famous Exit-Intent feature in OptinMonster, which allows you to capture prospects just as they’re about to abandon your site. Remember, most people who leave your site never come back, but email marketing solves this problem.

Email Marketing is Cheap

Email marketing services are rather cheap nowadays, with most offering free plans that help you to hit the ground running. MailChimp, for instance, offers a forever-free plan that allows you to send 12k emails a month to 2k subscribers. If you’re starting a non-profit or on on a tight budget, this is great news. After all, it’s not the size but the quality of your mailing list that matters.

Easy to Setup

Setting up email marketing is relatively easy, your mom needn’t help you. Most email marketing services offer the best of environments to create, manage and send a huge number of emails at any given time. They offer drag and drop form and newsletter builders that place so much power in your hands.

Analytics

You can gather plenty of information about your prospects with sign up forms and surveys. You don’t need us to tell you how valuable this information is. Additionally, you can track your emails easily meaning you know exactly what’s working and what’s failing. You can even download reports whenever and so on.

Save Time

Firstly, setting up email marketing services is quick. Just fill out a short form and hit the submit button, and you’re good. Secondly, you can create an email marketing message in an hour and send it to the whole world in minutes. Your competition won’t see you coming.

A/B Testing

Most email marketing services offer you A/B tests, which simply involves sending out two variations of an email to your prospects and measuring how they react to each. Gaining feedback using email is instantaneous, meaning you can make real-time changes to your marketing message for maximal impact.

Cons of Email Marketing

Now for the downside. As awesome as email marketing can be there are a couple concerns you may have.

Reliability

While email has great conversion rates, there are – sadly – recipients who delete your email before reading. Come on, you probably do the same thing too, what with marketing companies flooding your inbox on the regular. Well, you shouldn’t worry considering email has an average open rate of 25%.

Spam

Using a bulk email marketing service means your good-meaning and legitimate email could end up in the spam folder, where it shrivels and dies. If you are facing this problem, you could advise prospects to add your email to their address book. Here’s an article about avoiding spam filters.

How to Super-Charge Your Email Marketing Campaign

It happens that we’re quite the busy lot. I mean, we send too many emails every single effing day. According to Mashable, netizens all over the globe send over 145 billion emails per day! That’s a staggering figure from where I stand. Really, it’s dizzying a number considering there are about 7 billion of us.

145 billion emails per day?! If you’re wondering how you will stand out in this cutthroat competition, the next section is dedicated solely to you.

Get the Right Email Marketing Service

It goes without saying that if you need to stand out, you need the best of email marketing services. The email marketing service you choose depends on your personal preferences, but here are a couple of pointers regardless.

Things to lookout for include the quality of support, features, pricing, a good track record and ease of use. As we just said, your needs matter too. For example, if you have a small list, maybe a couple hundred subscribers, you are better off with a service that offers a free plan.

Write Great Headlines

No matter what you’ve grown accustomed to, headlines on any publication, not just email, play one role and one role only. Marketers use headlines to grab attention, and the practice has been in use since time immemorial. Take a newsstand for instance, it’s the headlines that grab the attention of passers-by.

In marketing speak, create headlines that boost your email open rate. Create headlines that prospects can’t wait to open, just like you gave your most popular posts the best headlines. Keep the headline clear, concise and vague – the kind of vague that sparks curiosity.

Add a Call to Action (CTA)

Speaking of clarity, you should also consider adding clear and relevant CTAs to your emails, prodding the prospect further down your sales funnel. Whether you need the subscriber to return to your site, participate in a competition, buy some of your awesome stuff or do whatever, a CTA is your best chance to seal the deal.

You can even link your CTA to a special landing page just because the possibilities are endless here. According to Matt Carter of Unbounce, “The clearer the CTA, the more likely it is that your subscriber will be propelled further down your sales funnel.”

Position Your Opt-In Forms Strategically

Most beginners are guilty of this one. If you don’t position your sign up forms strategically, you will have a hard time capturing the golden goose as far as email marketing goes. With countless integration methods, including a slew of email marketing plugins for WordPress, you have the tools you need.

Famous are pop-up sign up forms that trigger just about the visitor leaves your site. It’s intrusive but quite effective with users reporting up to 469% increase in email conversion rates. OptinMonster is one of the leading email marketing services offering this Exit-Intent feature among other opt-in options.

Personalize Your Email

You’re not a bot and neither are your subscribers. You can boost your email marketing efforts simply by personalizing your messages. According to Robert Cialdini, the guy behind The Six Principles of Influence, people are more likely to buy from you if they like you.

Just like how you use an amazing website design and targeted content to speak directly to your web visitors, endeavor to personalize all the messages you send out to your subscribers. Since you know who your subscribers are, and the stuff they like, you can write personalized emails that have the most impact.

Case in point: I once asked subscribers to mention their biggest pain as they signed up, and I was pleasantly surprised with the responses, and more so the feedback I gathered easily. I then wrote emails that addressed those pain points and you can guess what happened to my open rates 🙂

Used the same feedback to re-design my website as well as content, boosting my conversions tenfold.

Mix Email Content

You can’t risk coming off across as the spammy guy looking to make a buck however necessary, even if that meant bombarding subscribers with offers, offers and more offers. That’s what it’s vital to have a well thought out email marketing strategy informing your entire marketing process.

If that doesn’t make sense, just strive to write greatly informational emails, with the occasional product mention. Your emails should be an extension of the content on your site, but better. Offering great value via your emails will boost your open rates, and ultimately, your conversion rates. You will also have a better chance of avoiding the spam folder.

Test, Rinse and Repeat

At the end of the day, always remember to test your methods to put a finger on what’s working and what’s not. This way, you can iron out issues that are choking the life out of your email marketing efforts. You obviously want to stick with the things that are working, and bury whatever is not.

Now that you have the tips you need to push your email marketing strategy forward, how about we look at the best email marketing services for WordPress?

5 Popular Email Marketing Services for WordPress

The following email marketing services work with WordPress. This just means there are countless WordPress plugins that allow you to integrate any of these services with your site in minutes. We begin with my personal favorite.

MailChimp

best email marketing services for WordPress MailChimp

MailChimp is top among the best email marketing services money can buy. From their 2016 annual report, MailChimp customers sent over 245 billion emails that year alone. Serving the entire world over, MailChimp makes it easy for millions of WordPress users to send bulk email with an extensive suite of tools.

Said tools help you to build your email marketing campaign from the ground up. Creating a mailing list is easy as pie, and multiple form designs are just a click away. They offer a whole lot of features as well as integrations. For instance, you can send automatic messages to visitors who abandon carts etc.

And There’s More…

There are detailed reports at your disposal to measure the impact of your campaigns on subscribers. There’s so much you can learn from these reports, and even export or download the same for future reference and posterity. For example, you see social media activity, track links, check conversations and so much more.

Just know we would need a post of this depth and length to review all that MailChimp offers for throwaway prices. If MailChimp sounds like the email marketing service you need, the company offers three price plans:

  • Forever Free plan with up to 2,000 subscribers and 12k emails per month
  • Growing Business plan starting at $10 bucks a month and
  • The super-powerful Pro Marketer plan starting at $199 a month for the heavy email sender

Always pick a plan that works for your business. MailChimp allows you to send email from “your own servers” by editing your DNS records, a process the support team detail out clearly. In other words, emails appear to come from your domain instead of MailChimp’s servers.

You can always integrate MailChimp with your WordPress site using any of the methods offered in your dashboard, but this means you have to touch code. To avoid this, we will integrate MailChimp with WordPress using a plugin.

Get MailChimp

MailChimp for WordPress

MailChimp for WordPress

Just to get it out there, I would like to declare that MailChimp for WordPress is not affiliated to the MailChimp service. MailChimp for WordPress plugin is the brainchild of Danny van Kooten, Ibericode, Lap and Harish Chouhan.

It allows you to link your WordPress site to your MailChimp mailing list. Additionally, it ships with a form builder that you can best utilize if you’re fairly versed in HTML and CSS. With a few tweaks though, you can create whichever form you can imagine.

Moreover the plugin is easy to install, since all you need is an API key, which is quite easy to acquire. MailChimp for WordPress integrates seamlessly with amazing extensions and plugins such as MailChimp reCAPTCHA, WPBruiser, WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, BuddyPress, MemberPress, and Easy Digital Downloads just to mention a few. You can further integrate the plugin with WP comments and registration forms.

You can hook the free MailChimp for WordPress plugin with the free MailChimp plan and have a complete email marketing solution in less than 10 minutes.

Download MailChimp for WordPress

AWeber

best email marketing services for WordPress AWeber

El numero dos on our list today is AWeber, a popular email marketing service that’s been around since 1998. Their core mission has and still is to help “…small businesses and entrepreneurs to create and send emails people love…” in order to “…connect with [said people] in ways that grow their business.”

As far as email marketing services go, AWeber has a long-standing reputation for delivering world-class service at a price point that suits everybody across the board. They serve hundreds of thousands of marketers from all walks of lives, meaning you’re in great company.

In the features department, AWeber means serious business. It’s packed with niceties such as autoresponders, tons of email templates, detailed analytics, awesome customer support, an easy to use form builder, social media integration, a mobile app, a drag and drop editor, subscriber segmentation and the list goes on and on.

Integrating AWeber is super-duper easy, and thanks to a nifty plugin known as Hustle, you can do it in less than 5 minutes. That’s right because you needn’t worry about a thing; they offer you a 30-day free trial. Plans range between $19 bucks and $149 bucks a month, although you can get a custom plan just for your needs.

Get AWeber

Hustle

Hustle – Pop Ups Slide ins and Email Opt ins – Plugin Directory — WordPress

A top-ranking email marketing plugin for WordPress, Hustle helps you to integrate not only AWeber, but also MailChimp and eight other email marketing services. All this you do from an easy to use admin dashboard that’s full of the best options. Again, you just need an API key, which is easy…you know how it goes.

With email service integration in the past, you’re free to design opt-in forms to your heart’s desire what with 4 pre-defined styles, unlimited colors, extra fields, borders, shapes and animated icons. If you want to test your design chops, Hustle has provision for custom CSS as well.

The last step involves customizing how your opt-in forms appear and behave on your site. You can add a form anywhere on your site using a shortcode. On top of that, you can add forms after your content or create pop-up and slide-in forms to boost subscriptions. The interactivity on this thing!

With over 70k active installs, Hustle by WPMU DEV is doing well by many standards. Sign up at AWeber and integrate with Hustle to kick-start your email marketing campaign today. The earlier you start the better.

Download Hustle

Constant Contact

best email marketing services for WordPress Constant Contact

Constant Contact starts you off with a 60-day free trial that lets you send unlimited messages to 100 subscribers. This is ideal for a small sample audience perhaps, such as mobile app testers or small focus groups. It’s also the easiest to setup and run – I sent my first email in 3 steps I think. It was so easy.

You will need to upgrade to either Email or Email Plus plan costing between $20 and $295 per month depending on the number of subscribers you have. $295 is for 50,000 contacts with 2GB of web storage, unlimited campaigns, coupons, surveys, event promotion, reporting and autoresponders.

Other Notable Features…

…include list building tools, contact management, free coaching, awesome support, archives and so on. Then I saw the pre-made templates! What a huge collection of beautiful email templates. Seriously, the Constant Contact website is made for the small business person.

Constant Contact is ideal a solution if you want to stay clear of the excessive and obtrusive in favor of minimalism. Unlike most email marketing services, Constant Contact is totally laid back. I enjoyed the clean layout and the homely feel. There’s custom coding but the Drag & Drop email builder wins, so yeah.

I nearly brushed off Constant Contact at first, but further investigations now confirm many email marketing services could borrow a leaf from these guys. An email service of this caliber needs a corresponding WordPress plugin.

Get Constant Contact

Constant Contact Forms by MailMunch

Constant Contact Forms by MailMunch – WordPress Plugins

…and the day is saved. MailMunch, the author behind this plugin, is a company that simplifies email marketing by focusing on customer acquisition and lead generation. This email marketing plugin is the culmination of hours of hard work, Liz Gannes and an email marketing outfit offering exciting features for low prices.

This WordPress plugin, just like Constant Contact, is underrated. I was biased myself until I checked out the available features. To whet your appetite and get things going, you can build opt-in forms out of this world what with 5 types of forms, about 20 alluring themes, countless form fields and a form builder that accepts custom HTML.

Of course, the best features are locked away in the premium plans that start at $6.30 bucks a month. You’d need the Agency plan to enjoy the whole set of features, which costs $34.30 per month. The free plan has two fully-customizable themes and the basic features you need to start collecting emails.

Setting up the whole thing is straightforward you’ll be done in few minutes. All the forms you create using this plugin work (I should know, I tested), and they subscribe users to any Constant Contact list you desire. If a contact already exists, the plugin updates the subscriber automatically.

Truly, we would need an entire review to cover all the other features we haven’t mentioned including a gracious UI, detailed analytics, autoresponders and an intuitive email builder among others. Simply put, Constant Contact and this lead generation plugin go well together like bread and butter.

Related: They have a second plugin, the MailMunch WordPress plugin that integrates with Constant Contact in a similar manner.

Download Constant Contact Forms by MailMunch

Mad Mimi

Mad Mimi Email Marketing Create Send And Track HTML Email Newsletters

Mad Mimi is a beautiful ESP with a totally unique approach to email marketing. But even with a horde of features, these guys manage to make it all easy for you buddy. I managed a mailing list at Mad Mimi and I can’t complain. This highly powerful service has the appeal of a mobile app.

Everything from signing up, creating forms and emails as well as connecting with your subscribers is as easy as A, B, C. The form builder is awesome, with all the features you need to create beautiful newsletters no matter the occasion or season. You can even add forms to your Facebook page for free!

Of course, they have a forever free plan that lets you store 100 contacts and send unlimited emails. Pro plans cost between $10 and $369 bucks a month, depending on your needs. Every plan has an awesome list of features to get you up and running in a jiffy.

The admin dashboard is a joy to work with. Treat yourself to a design experience out of this world with the amazing drag-and-drop builder, integrate your promotions with social media, create RSS feeds and manage your audience like a boss with Mad Mimi. Export your lists easily if you’d like to move things around and so on.

Mad Mimi being one of the greatest email marketing services, we need to link it up with one of the best list building plugins for WordPress.

Get Mad Mimi

Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads the Ultimate List Building Plugin for WordPress

The ultimate list building plugin for WordPress, Thrive Leads comes with a 30-day performance guarantee. This just means if you don’t like Thrive Leads in 30 days, you’re free to ask for your money back. That’s right, they don’t offer a free version. Thrive Membership costs just $19 bucks a month and includes unlimited site licenses and all ThriveThemes products.

They offer three other one-time plans. You can go for the single-site license that costs $67 bucks, the 5-site license at $97 or the 15-site license package for $147 bucks. The choice here depends on your needs, even though the Thrive Membership sounds better.

Another great addition to Thrive Leads. This is exactly why I recommend Thrive Themes to everyone as the one stop solution for their online marketing. Thanks again Shane! – Gary Kaminski

The features list stretches from here to the moon and back. We’re talking about things like SmartExit+, SmartLinks, A/B Testing, beautiful animations, laser-sharp targeting, interaction-based triggers, every opt-in form type, amazing reports, and countless integrations with popular email marketing services, including Mad Mimi.

Link Thrive Leads to Mad Mimi or just about any email marketing service, and you have a powerful list building solution for your business, whether you’re a beginner, a pro, an agency or a huge corporation. No, really, you won’t need to go elsewhere.

Get Thrive Leads

GetResponse

Email Marketing Software GetResponse

Bringing up the rear is GetResponse, last on our list but definitely not least in terms of features and usability. You can start right away with a 30-day free trial, no credit card required. After signing up, which involves SMS verification, you arrive at a pleasant dashboard.

Here, you can choose to add contacts, build a form or create a newsletter. Just three buttons, which is a far cry from the extensive list of features, themes and options GetResponse is best known for. For instance, you can copy & paste, upload or import your contacts from a third-party service such as Google Docs, SalesForce and so on.

The form builder blows every all other email marketing services out of the water! I kept scrolling down what seemed like an impossible number of gorgeous themes in multiple categories and formats. You can create forms for a Facebook campaign just as easily as you can create a sidebar opt-in form.

getresponse-newsletter-builder

GetResponse Newsletter Builder 🙂

That’s not the end. The form builder comes with a Color Magic feature that imports your site’s colors to customize and use on your forms as you will. At your disposal, you have 7 List Builder apps for fixed bar, download, exit pop up, scroll, shake, image box and sign up box forms.

You can quickly build your forms using the plain HTML editor, and with all the integrations GetResponse packs, you probably won’t need a plugin after all. You can link your forms to your WordPress site, WooCommerce store and Facebook page among others.

In the newsletter department, you can either use the drag-and-drop or plain HTML builder to whip up emails that deliver quite a punch. The drag and drop builder ships with a million and one newsletter templates and more features than you will ever need.

Get GetResponse

Contact Forms by WPForms

Contact Form by WPForms – Drag Drop Form Builder for WordPress – WordPress Plugins

We shall pair GetResponse with Contact Forms by WPForms, since the latter is a simple but fully-fledged masterpiece just like the former. At first looks, you might dismiss this plugin as well as GetResponse, but once you get through the door, the goodies sweep you off your feet.

Contact Forms by WPForms has over 90k active installs at the time of writing. Just install and activate the plugin on your site. Next, you need to create a form. This is where the excitement begins. The plugin ships with an intuitive drag-and-drop builder that streamlines the entire design process.

And is the form builder laden with features or what? The sheer number of available options in the free version will make your head spin. You will, however, need the $99 pro version to integrate with your GetResponse list. The free version allows you to connect with Constant Contact only.

With all the features you get, including integration with payment gateways, Contact Forms by WPForms Pro version doesn’t sound so bad after all. Plans start at just $39 bucks a year, but remember GetResponse comes with many other integrations.

Download Contact Forms by WPForms

Final Words

What a huge guide into the world of email marketing, but there’s so much we couldn’t possibly squeeze everything in this post. There are many other email marketing services for WordPress out there, and don’t get me started on the list building plugins. Perhaps you’re privy of other email marketing tips we left out.

I’m huge fan of MailChimp and the MailChimp for WordPress plugin, but that’s just me. Which is your favorite combination? Which email service provider do you use? If you have a question or suggestion, let us know in the comments!



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