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How to Use BuddyPress to Create a Social Network with WordPress


When you think of social networks the big three jump out at you, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Social networks offer something that traditional sites can’t offer to the same degree: community. On all of these websites there is a constant flow of communication between its members and to the public and that is something that you may want to take advantage of.

You may be hesitant to use one of the big three for your own purposes though. They are liable to change the functionality of the service so that it doesn’t do exactly what you want anymore. You may simply be talking about confidential information that you don’t feel comfortable having on a third party server somewhere no matter what assurances you are given.

If that sounds familiar then the answer to your problems could be BuddyPress. It is a WordPress plugin that according to its creators, Automattic, is “Social networking in a box”. In this post I’m going to explain what BuddyPress is, why you may need it and show you how to install and expand on it.

Why You Should Use BuddyPress

15+ Best BuddyPress Plugins You Must Have

While the current crop of social networks are extremely useful at building a large community, they may not be ideal if you only want to create a small social network for your company, niche interest, sports team, or something else altogether.

You may have a company where you don’t feel comfortable creating a group or area on an external website, or those sites just aren’t exactly what your looking for. You want your employees to be engaged with each other online in a social way, but you want to have complete control over everything about the website they use.

BuddyPress gives you these options and is extremely easy and quick to setup on your own server. Using BuddyPress gives you a more private and intimate social network. It can be a social network where you control every aspect and use only those features you think are necessary.

Let’s take a look at how you install BuddyPress.

How to Install BuddyPress

How to Install BuddyPress

If you decide to try BuddyPress then installation is simple. All you need to do is search for it in the WordPress plugin directory (which when you’re logged into WordPress is under Plugins > Add New) and click the “Install Now” and then “Activate” button.

BuddyPress Settings

Once the installation is complete you will notice a new BuddyPress option under your Settings tab. This is where you are able to choose your BuddyPress features, pages and more via 3 main sections.

BuddyPress Components

The first section is for Components. I would recommend leaving the components for “Extended Profiles” and “Account Settings” active, and then selecting a few others that you think you will use. For example you might want to enable “Notifications” for your users or “Private Messaging” to encourage users to get to know each other one on one.

BuddyPress Options

Next is the main Options section, where you can enable or disable various member features. This is also where you can choose between the legacy or nouveau BuddyPress design.

BuddyPress Pages

Then if you click on the Pages section you’ll find the options to set (you guessed it) your main BuddyPress pages. Depending on the components you enabled you’ll have different “Directories” page options.

Also, if you’ve enabled the “Membership: Anyone can register” option on your main WordPress Settings page, then you’ll also have the option to choose Register and Active pages for new members to signup for your social site.

Note: If you haven’t created or set a page for one of your components, you’ll see a notice like the one in the screenshot above. Just click the “repair” link to automatically create and assign a page for your component to quickly solve the issue.

BuddyPress Menu Items

After you finish the basic setup for BuddyPress you may see a few new tabs in your WordPress dashboard. These may include Activity, Groups and Emails.

Activity is a running feed of everything that happens on your BuddyPress site. This is only available for the admin, and it lets you filter the activities by type, such as “Created a group” or “New member registered”.

The Groups tab allows you to create and manage user groups on the site. These groups come in three types:

  • Public: These groups are open to every member of the site. All communication within these groups can be seen and searched through.
  • Private: These groups are open to every member of the site. All communication within these groups can be seen and searched through.
  • Hidden: These groups are completely hidden from everyone and can only be accessed through invite by the group admin. They never show up in the group directory or through any searches on the site. Content can only ever been seen by members of the group.

The Emails tab includes all of the default email messages used by BuddyPress. This includes email address verification for newly registered users, account activation, a notification email for when a member replies to another member’s post, group invitations and more. Depending on the components you have active you will see more or less email templates. You can customize the text and design of your emails using built-in options – here is a great guide on how you can customize BuddyPress email templates.

BuddyPress Widgets

BuddyPress Widgets

You are also given a selection of new sidebar widgets to use. They are:

  • (BuddyPress) Groups
  • (BuddyPress) Members
  • (BuddyPress) Recently Active Members
  • (BuddyPress) Who’s Online

As well as these widgets a login widget is created in your sidebar for members to use to login, or register an account if that is something you allow.

Key Features of BuddyPress

We mentioned a few of these briefly above, but let’s dig into the juicy key features of the BuddyPress social plugin.

Activity Stream

BuddyPress Activity Streams

The fundamental feature of BuddyPress is the Activity Stream. Each member can post updates to their own activity stream from their profile.

Each stream can be followed by any member using RSS or email notification. And using the @ symbol followed by the member username allows you to mention that user in your stream, in a very similar manner to the one currently used by twitter.

Streams can be commented on and tagged as a favorite by members to enhance discussions. Each group also has its own activity stream that is controlled by the group visibility.

User Groups

BuddyPress User Groups

We’ve already touched upon one of the key features of BuddyPress: User Groups. Creating multiple groups allows you to segment the communications occurring between members of your site and allow them to have focused discussions within each group.

They also allow you to keep conversations private to a selection of people if that is something you need to do. An example of ideal group use would be for a company that wants to separate their discussions by department, or location.

Members and Friends

BuddyPress extends upon the core WordPress user system. Users are now “Members” and can do several things that are more in line with your social media user expectations. Members can be friends with other members allowing for a more focused social connection. They can follow other members activity feeds, as well as participate in various group discussions and communicate directly with other members.

Extended User Profiles

BuddyPress Extended User Profiles

The basic user profile in WordPress doesn’t offer a great deal of customization. BuddyPress changes this by adding new options and features. When users log into their profile they’ll see new options for their activity, notifications, messages, friends and groups (again depending on the components you’ve enabled).

BuddyPress Edit User Profile

When users click on their Profile > Edit option, they’ll be able to edit personal info like their username, profile image, cover image and any other custom fields you’ve added.

BuddyPress Custom Profile Fields

And speaking of custom fields – BuddyPress does include an option for you to add completely new fields into the user registration. You can make these fields a requirement in order to register or simply a means for the members to share more information about themselves within their profile.

Extending Your BuddyPress Installation

As with WordPress, BuddyPress can be expanded upon using a multitude of plugins created specifically for it. Here are a few plugins to consider.

BuddyPress Groupblog

BuddyPress Groupblog

While there is one blog associated with your site, this plugin allows you to extend the Groups options to add a single blog to each group created. From there group admins can assign user roles for the blog.

Learn More About Groupblog

BuddyPress Activity Plus

BuddyPress Activity Plus Free WordPress Plugin

This handy plugin makes it easy for users to promote each other’s posts with familiar Facebook-style share buttons. The plugin also allows members to embed images, video or links into your activity stream that makes sharing media on your site simple.

Learn More About Activity Plus

Youzer Advanced User Profiles

Youzer Advanced User Profiles

Youzer is a premium plugin (unlike the other free add-ons we’ve mentioned), however it’s a definite must-have if you’re serious about building your own social network with BuddyPress. This plugin adds options for badges, emoticons, social login, comments, at mentions and so much more (checkout our full Youzer review to see what else this plugin can do).

Learn More About Youzer

BuddyPress Docs

BuddyPress Docs

This plugin adds collaborative documents to your BuddyPress community. This way members and groups can collectively work together on projects, events, meetups and more.

Learn More About Docs

rtMedia Gallery for BuddyPress & bbPress

rtMedia Gallery for BuddyPress & bbPress

rtMedia adds a new media tab for BuddyPress user profiles and groups. This way members can connects and share images, videos and even slideshows of themselves or group events.

Learn More About rtMedia

There are far more than this small selection of plugins (here’s a collection of our picks for the best BuddyPress plugins), and a complete list can be found on the BuddyPress.org website.

The Best Private Social Network?

BuddyPress is a simple and highly customizable solution for creating small social networks. It may be exactly what your looking for if you need to make use of a social community while retaining the privacy and control of your own website. The best way to find that out is to download a copy, install it on you server and give it a try.

Are you a BuddyPress user? What do you think of this social network for WordPress and what recommendations do you have for extending its functionality? Have you tried BuddyPress and decided that it’s not for you?

Please let us know your answers to these questions in the comments section. If you have any other questions or comments about BuddyPress, we’d love to hear them too.



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Youzer Review: Feature-Rich BuddyPress Add-on for WordPress


If your WordPress website has a community aspect or has multiple users, then this Youzer review will introduce you to a useful plugin that could help improve your site.

Built to enhance the BuddyPress and bbPress plugins, as well as the core WordPress functionality, Youzer is a powerful set of tools that adds templates and other features to your website. This review will cover the best features of Youzer in more details. Highlights from this plugin include lots of communication and networking tools, membership and directory functionality, and lots of templates and customization options.

Get Youzer for WordPress    View All Demos & Features

So if you’d like to know more about why we thing Youzer is one of the best BuddyPress plugins available and what this plugin can do for your social website, then read on for our full Youzer review.

What is Youzer?

User Profile Page

Youzer is a commercial WordPress plugin that has been built to enhance the BuddyPress plugin. Therefore, if you’re creating a social website using BuddyPress or you’re already running one, Youzer is aimed in your direction.

Once BuddyPress is active on your site, you can then install Youzer and start adding the selection of templates to your site. These templates cover the user login and registration pages, the user profile pages, and the social wall and global news feed areas to name just a few. As this Youzer review will demonstrate, all of these templates and the other features of this plugin can be heavily customized through the visual interface of the control panel.

This section of the Youzer review will now explore the best and most useful features of this plugin to help you decide if this is the right tool for upgrading your BuddyPress WordPress community website.

Youzer Integration Options

Youzer works with WordPress and as well as upgrading the user profile features of this publishing platform, Youzer also integrates with some other plugins and services. Primarily, Youzer has been built to enhance and upgrade the functionality of the BuddyPress and bbPress plugins. However, the integration options don’t stop there. For example, you can use the Youzer plugin to integrate your site with the MailChimp email marketing service and grow your list at the same time as providing a feature-rich interactive environment for your audience.

Youzer Social Features

Another of the highlights of Youzer is its social features. By integrating the Youzer plugin with BuddyPress, you can use this plugin to add some really useful features to your community or social networking website. Some examples include the highly functional social wall and the functionality for facilitating friendships and connections among the users on your WordPress website. While BuddyPress does provide some of this functionality out of the box, Youzer makes this aspect of your website even better.

Youzer Review Social Wall Feature

You can also enable other core social and community features with Youzer, including groups, messages, mentions, and notifications. This all helps to enhance your WordPress website and make it a more social place – something that’s vital if you want your community to flourish.

Youzer Membership Features

Youzer also has lots of templates for the pages your visitors might see if you’re running a membership site or similar type of project. As well as the professional look of these templates, you’ll also find that they contain some useful features, such as captcha fields and the ability to limit login attempts to help keep your website safe and secure.

When setting up these login and registration templates for your WordPress website, Youzer gives you lots of options. For example, you can easily choose to enable social logins. Therefore, your visitors can sign up using Facebook, Twitter, or an account from other supported networks.

You also have the option of using popups and configuring the Ajax loading effects to customize how your visitors can access the login and registration forms of your site. Youzer also makes it easy to choose which fields are included in any forms you use, helping you to capture all the information that you need from your users.

Youzer Directory Features

BuddyPress Member Directory Template

Whether you want to add a members directory to your WordPress website, or you want to improve the directory areas of your BuddyPress or bbPress powered site, Youzer has some useful features in this area. In the plugin package, you’ll not only find templates for displaying the members, but also a group directory and a global newsfeed.

Youzer Profile Features

User Profile Page Content

Regardless of whether you’re using BuddyPress, bbPress, or WordPress on its own, Youzer can really help you to improve the user profiles on your website. Among the features for enhancing this aspect of your site, you’ll find a selection of different templates, multiple widgets for displaying user profiles, and the option of adding custom tabs to your profiles.

Easy Customization Options

As people are using BuddyPress in many different ways, it’s vital that you can customize any add-ons that you install. Thankfully, in this regard, Youzer doesn’t disappoint. After activating Youzer on your BuddyPress-enabled WordPress website, you can access the plugin control panel to customize how it all works.

Youzer Admin Panel

The Control Panel

Customization options covered by the control panel include the colors used by the plugin, the layout settings, and other display property options. You can also choose the layout styles of the templates provided by the plugin, including the appearance of the author boxes.

Control Panel

User Profile Features

As well as the general settings, Youzer also gives you a good amount of control over the user profile features of the plugin. Due to this, you can easily define how the user profiles are activated and displayed on your WordPress website. Some example options and settings include the ability to make user profiles private, allowing users to delete their own accounts, and setting default profile and cover photos.

Layout Options

Layouts and Widgets

As Youzer is a highly customizable WordPress plugin and BuddyPress add-on, it’s easy to choose from the selection of layout options to control how your profiles and other elements on your site will look. If you plan to use any of the Youzer widgets on your website, then they too can be customized through the plugin control panel. Thankfully, all of the different widgets can be customized independently from each other to ensure your site works and looks the way that you want it to.

Social Login Settings

Membership Settings

If you want to give your visitors the ability to sign up to your website themselves, then the membership settings let you configure how this aspect of your website works. Some of these features that you can make use of include the optional social login, the ability to enable the anti-spam captcha form fields, and the login attempt limiting tools that can help keep your site secure.

Enabling Add-Ons

Finally, when setting up Youzer in your WordPress Dashboard, you have the option of enabling a small selection of premium add-ons. These optional tools can add even more features to your website, including social sharing tools, the ability to create unlimited custom members types, and offering more BuddyPress activity reactions to your users. You can also find quick links to the plugin documentation on the Youzer control panel.

Youzer Plugin Pricing Details

As mentioned, Youzer is a premium WordPress plugin that’s available for purchase from the CodeCanyon marketplace. The current price of Youzer is $39. This includes lifetime access to plugin updates and six months of support from the plugin creators. You can extend this support period to 12 months for the price of $12.75.

Considering the large volume of useful features in the Youzer plugin, this is a fair price to pay.

Youzer Review Conclusion

Youzer Profile Widgets

Although there are many great add-ons for BuddyPress and bbPress, there aren’t many, if any, that are more powerful and packed with features than Youzer.

If you want to quickly add a large selection of high-quality templates to your BuddyPress community website, then Youzer is hard to beat. Simply upload the plugin file to your WordPress website and then pick and choose which features to enable before configuring how they will work on your site.

If you really want to create a community focused website with WordPress, then a plugin like Youzer is essential.

Get Youzer for WordPress    View All Demos & Features



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Amelia Plugin Review: Easy Appointment Booking for WordPress


Not all WordPress booking plugins are all they’re made out to be. Some of them lack the features needed for you to run an efficient appointment operation, while others look old and outdated. You don’t want either of those, but it appears that the Amelia booking plugin wants to ensure that all users are happy with both functionality and style.

In this Amelia booking plugin review, we’ll talk about its best features, why we think it’s one of the best appointment booking WordPress plugins available and how it’s a highly customizable booking engine for many types of businesses.

Learn More About Amelia    View Amelia Appointment Booking Demos

What Makes the Amelia Booking Engine Different?

Amelia is considered an enterprise-level booking plugin. Therefore, your entire team can log in to the engine and manage the appointments that come in. It’s a fairly lightweight system, yet you still receive a full suite of tools for things like managing services, locations, customers, and payments.

All of this is done through the WordPress dashboard, where all of the Amelia settings and tools are consolidated into one sleek user interface.

So, if I were to argue the two things that make the Amelia booking engine stand out, I would say the backend and frontend interfaces. We already talked a bit about the backend, but it’s important to realize how smooth the bookings go through the plugin.

First of all, the Amelia booking plugin can be customized for several types of industries. for instance, a law consultant would have no problem making a powerful module to bring in new clients.

Here are some of the other businesses that are known to get the Amelia plugin:

  • Spas and salons
  • Gyms and personal trainers
  • Repair centers
  • Private clinics
  • Beauty salons
  • Psychologists
  • The tourism industry
  • Any type of doctor
  • Many more

Amelia Booking Plugin Review: Demos

And that’s what’s great about Amelia. You begin by grabbing a template and adding the fields needed for your booking engine. Then, you’re able to adjust the branding to fit your current theme, all without having to code the module yourself. This is a step-by-step booking wizard that guides customers through the appointment process for the least amount of confusion possible.

The Best Features from Amelia

With the Amelia booking plugin you can customize the booking engine for your own business and integrate a payment system for your customers to send you money right away. In addition, there’s plenty of information on the backend for you to see how many appointments have come through and what you need to manage.

What else can you expect from Amelia?

Multiple Employees, Hours, and Locations

The Amelia engine is pretty flexible with your hours and employees. For instance, it allows for bookings with several employees. The plugin has options for selling multiple services or breaking them down into categories.

I also enjoy the business location features, which means that a gym would be able to collect appointments based on the location closest to the customer.

An Easy Calendar to Manage

A calendar is viewable on the front and backend. This means you’re allowed to see and show filters based on staffing, locations, and services. In addition, Amelia includes a joint calendar view with options for revealing different views like monthly or daily views.

Amelia Joint Calendar

A Booking Interface with Search Tools

Amelia provides a search bar, which has become the norm for many booking websites. This way, the user is able to type in a few keywords that match their search preferences. After that, the booking engine decides which results are the most relevant to the customer.

Amelia Booking Plugin Review: Booking Interface with Search Tools

A great example of this would be for a personal trainer in a gym. That particular gym might have dozens of trainers on staff, but I personally only like two of them for my training regiment. Therefore, I would tell the booking engine that I want John as my trainer on a certain date.

The Amelia booking plugin would then deliver all of the available times for John on that date.

A Catalog for Services and Categories

Services are often broken down into special categories. For instance, a yoga gym has all sorts of classes, some of which aren’t appropriate for all customers. So, you can have a beautiful grid-based gallery to showcase all of these services. This works with a shortcode, so the gallery can be inserted anywhere on your website.

Amelia Booking Plugin Review: Services & Categories Catalogue

Combine this with the step-by-step booking wizard and the search bar and Amelia makes for a wonderful user interface.

How Much Does it Cost?

The Amelia booking plugin is sold through CodeCanyon. The individual site license (as of August 2018) is $49, which is an incredible price for such a powerful appointment plugin. The individual license means that you can use the plugin on your own site or a client’s. The catch with the individual license is that you can’t charge end users through the booking plugin.

Extended licenses are also sold at CodeCanyon for $245. With this license, you’re able to charge end users through the engine.

So, as you can see, the pricing is rather reasonable. However, this only gets you six months of support. If you’d like to extend the customer support to 12 months, the price is just $16.50 (well worth it in our opinion).

As with all CodeCanyon plugins, there’s no requirement to extend your support. The $49 fee is a one-time payment that provides the plugin with updates for life.

Customer Support from the Amelia Developers

Amelia Booking Plugin Review: Support

Customer support for Amelia is provided by TMS-Plugins. This company is known for its responsive and helpful replies, which is essential when your business relies on a booking engine to keep customers coming through your doors.

As mentioned in the pricing section, Amelia users receive support for six months with a regular license. You can extend this support to 12 months and continue paying if you’d like even more than that.

TMS-Plugins has a ticketing system on its own website so you can directly interact with the support squad and not have to keep jumping back to CodeCanyon to ask your questions. From what I’ve experienced, the support team is very responsive and knowledgeable for this particular plugin.

You can also check out the reviews and comments on the CodeCanyon marketplace. Many of the reviews state that the Amelia support team is friendly and responsive, even when you’re asking silly questions.

It’s also nice to see that the comments are filled with replies from the developers, which is great for all of your presale questions. Overall, it appears that you shouldn’t have any problem getting in touch with customer support if you pay for Amelia.

Who Should Consider the Amelia Booking/Appointment Plugin?

I would argue that if you need a booking or appointment engine for your business, consider Amelia as one of your number one choices. It’s risky to install a free plugin and try to run your entire business around it. There’s no guarantee of quality support, and who knows if the plugin is going to be around in two years?

With Amelia, you receive an excellent support team, a booking engine with lots of features, and the customization options you need to fit the booking tool into your current website.

In addition, the plugin works with a wide range of businesses and industries such as doctors, gyms, and salons. So, give Amelia a try and check out the demos before making your purchase.

Learn More About Amelia    View Amelia Appointment Booking Demos

If you have any questions about this Amelia booking plugin review, let us know in the comments below. Or if you’ve used the plugin and want to share, we’d love to know what you think of this powerful booking plugin.



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The 5+ Best Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugins


Affiliate marketers sometimes lose commissions when web users intercept links, making them their own. On the other side of the coin, as a product or service provider, it can be hard to keep track of each of your affiliates to ensure that they’ve been paid without error. Which is why affiliate marketing WordPress plugins are so helpful.

Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or sell products that you have other affiliate marketers promote, you can run your business more smoothly with one of these free affiliate marketing WordPress plugins.

With the above in mind, this post will compare the best free affiliate marketing WordPress plugins to make money with WordPress, so that you can start keeping track of affiliate links and commissions effectively!

What’s the Deal with Affiliate Marketing Plugins?

In case you’re new to affiliate marketing, let’s briefly review the reasons why these plugins are so helpful. Affiliate marketers are endorsers. They present a product or service before their audience and in essence communicate, “I used this product (or service), and it was phenomenal! I think you’d love it, too.”

They may not use these words exactly, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. Successful affiliate marketers usually promote products and services they’ve used and know work well based on their experience. Intimate product knowledge helps them communicate benefits and features while removing the barrier of trust between them and their audience.

Upon joining an affiliate marketing program, you’ll be assigned an affiliate link. It’s used to track the number of individuals that make a purchase based on your referral. That makes your affiliate link vitally important. Using the plugins below can help you protect your link, easily add links to your blog content, track your own links to verify commissions, and more.

And if you’re looking to set up an affiliate program to sell your products and/or services, you can benefit from these plugins as well. Among those benefits is making accurate payouts and obtaining more sales. Without further ado, let’s compare plugins!

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Affiliates Manager Free WordPress Plugin

Affiliates Manager Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugin

Affiliates Manager helps you to manage the affiliates who advertise your products or services. With this plugin, you can:

  • Set parameters for and track your affiliates
  • Recruit and manage affiliates
  • Integrate it into your existing e-commerce solution
  • Assign different payout rates per affiliate

There’s no limit to the number of affiliates you can recruit and manage with this plugin. You can manually create an affiliate account, or have each person complete a registration form on your website, and pay your affiliates a fixed amount or sales percentage.

Affiliate Manager automatically assigns an affiliate login page and provides your affiliates with a username and password. Using the Manual Commission tab, you have the option to manually award affiliate commissions. There are over a dozen add-on options as well.

2. Easy Affiliate Links Free WordPress Plugin

Easy Affiliate Links Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugin

Easy Affiliate Links is for the affiliate marketer who simply wants to track, cloak, and categorize his or her affiliate link accounts. Why cloak your affiliate links? Sometimes affiliate link codes are obvious. Perceptive blog readers might notice it, and then decline to make a purchase because they feel taken advantage of. Or instead of refusing to make a purchase, that reader might simply delete that portion of the link prior to making their purchase.

Primarily you want to protect your commissions. Your goal as an affiliate is to earn commissions, and you can’t do that if someone strips your unique identification code from your referral link. Easy Affiliate Links also gives you the option to assign the nofollow attribution to your affiliate links, which signals website crawlers (like Google) to ignore your affiliate link, which helps maintain the integrity of your website in their eyes.

When creating blog posts, inserting an affiliate link is extremely easy.

Easy Affiliate Link Visual Editor

If you’re using the visual editor to compose your blog post, you’ll see a blue link as in the image provided.

Easy Affiliate Link Text Editor

Using the text editor, you’ll see, easy affiliate link as an option. After clicking either link, a box will pop up for you to choose which affiliate link to insert into your blog post.

3. Thirsty Affiliates Free WordPress Plugin

Thirsty Affiliates Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugin

Thirsty Affiliates has over 10,000 active installs and a bunch of features. This WordPress affiliate plugin is very similar to the one just mentioned, with a few added features.

One addition is image assignment. This is a cool feature because when inserting affiliate links into your blog posts, you now have the option to insert a preassigned linked image or banner as opposed to linking to text.

Another cool feature is their Quick Add option. If you hadn’t already uploaded a link you’d like to insert into your blog post, you can quickly add that link by clicking a button and then completing each field. There’s also an option to hide these buttons, removing them from your text and/or visual editor. You can also assign your affiliate links to categories, then choose whether or not you’d like the category included in your URL.

4. Affiliates by itthinx Free WordPress Plugin

itthinx Affiliates Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugin

Affiliates by itthinx is another free affiliate marketing WordPress plugin that can be used to start your own affiliate program. This plugin makes it easy to create your referral program, set the terms and track visits to your site.

The plugin also includes a set of easy to use shortcodes that can be used to display affiliates’ referrals and traffic statistics on their account page. This way they can keep track of how well their promotions are going.

Affiliates is compatible with popular plugins like Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms and BuddyPress. Plus the developers offer free extensions for reCAPTCHA, Imports (if you’re moving from another affilaite plugin to inport your affilaite accounts) and Affiliates WooCommerce Light (if you want to add affilaites to WooCommerce).

5. Amazon Link Free WordPress Plugin

Amazon Link Free WordPress Plugin

Coming in at over 10,000 active installs is the Amazon Link affiliate plugin. Upon setting up this plugin, you can assign your default country and enter affiliate IDs for relevant international Amazon websites. This helps ensure that you earn commissions from international site visitors. You collect commissions not only for the product(s) you recommend, but for the entire transaction.

Display images, link text, or insert one of a dozen templates into your blog post, page, or widget. Templates include:

  • Buy from Amazon button
  • Amazon product banners
  • MP3 clips widget
  • Wishlist

If it’s more convenient, you can create your own template. Additional options include:

  • Generating product links using shortcode
  • Creating channels of affiliate tracking IDs
  • Link localization based on site visitor’s nationality

6. WooCommerce Free WordPress Plugin

WooCommerce Free WordPress Plugin

You may be familiar with WooCommerce as one of the most popular e-commerce systems, but you might not have know that it’s also one of the best affiliate marketing WordPress plugins. With WooCommerce you can easily add and promote affiliate products via your own website.

To add affiliate items to your WooCommerce store simply add a new product with a description and photo gallery per usual. Then select the “External/Affiliate product” to add your affiliate link, custom button text and price.

WooCommerce Affiliate Product

Note: WooCommerce allows you to add affiliate goods to your store by default. If you want to build an affiliate program for your store that other users can signup for you’ll need to add an extension such as the Affiliates WooCommerce Light.

7. Book Review Free WordPress Plugin

Book Review Free WordPress Plugin

If your affiliate sales come from book reviews, you can connect and cloak affiliate links using this plugin. Book Review works with links from any online store. After determining your basic setup:

  • Review box position (top or bottom)
  • Background color
  • Border color and width
  • Post types in which to appear

An information box will be embedded into each blog post. If you selected pages or other post types, the box will appear there as well.

Wordpress Book Review Plugin Fields

Upon filling out necessary fields, your book review box might look something like this:

Testing WordPress Book Review Plugin

Additional fields can be added through the plugin’s settings. You can also customize the rating system; instead of stars, upload your own images. To save time, add custom affiliate links and images that’ll appear in each review. This is a clever way to recommend a product while tracking your affiliate commissions.

Conclusion on the Best Free Affiliate Marketing WordPress Plugins

You don’t have to lose track of affiliate sales or attribute sales to the wrong affiliate. Instead, use this list to determine which WordPress affiliate marketing plugin would be most appropriate for your website. If you’re an affiliate marketer, it’s probably imperative for you to cloak and accurately track your affiliate links. If you commission affiliate marketers, you’ll want to keep track of them all and send them the appropriate payment within a reasonable time frame.

Do you find our collection of free affiliate marketing WordPress plugins helpful? Are there ones you use that aren’t listed here? How do you manage affiliate marketing tasks on your website? Let us know in the comments section below!



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12+ Best Hotel WordPress Themes for 2018


A website offers you a lot of exposure. And for the hotel and hospitality industry, you need a site that is not only beautiful but also easy to use. Enter the best hotel WordPress themes (in our opinion), and your search for the perfect template ends here.

We’ve covered the best booking form plugins before, but today’s post is a sampling of some of the best hotel WordPress themes on the web. Feel free to use any theme in this collection to create a booking website or display your hotel services.

Suffice to say, all themes on this list are responsive and follow the best web standards. Just choose one, create a child theme, customize away and take your hotel business to the next level.

If you’re ready, let’s start in on our picks for the best hotel WordPress themes (a quick note – we could only cover so many today, but if you have a theme to add let us know in the comments section).

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. Oceanica Hotel WordPress Theme with Booking System

Oceanica Hotel WordPress Theme with Booking System

Oceanica Hotel Booking WordPress theme comes with a stylish, elegant design and a custom WordPress booking system. So, if you are building a website for a hotel, bed and breakfast, apartments, vacation rental or a similar establishment, this theme is an ultimate solution for your purposes.

Oceanica is fully customizable – it comes with unlimited colors, 3 header and 1 footer editable menus, full-screen and grid layouts, native WordPress functionality integration, and many more great features.

This hotel theme is powered by the MotoPress Hotel Booking plugin for WordPress, which is fully hospitality business dedicated. With its help, you can create an accommodation listing in a beautiful way, enable live payments and synchronize all your bookings across travel channels like Airbnb.

Moreover, the booking system lets you create a flexible seasonal pricing and set rates for accommodations, offer online room reservation with or without a payment, sell extra packages and services, block booking option for certain dates, configure automatic or manual booking confirmation control, create discount coupons for travelers, view and manage all bookings via a handy backend calendar, sync all direct site bookings with those from online travel agencies like Booking, etc.

2. Bellevue Hotel + Bed and Breakfast WordPress Theme

bellevue hotel wordpress theme

Bellevue offers you unique modern layouts that breathe life into your hotel website. Multiple layouts also mean you have more design freedom at your disposal.

For starters, you get a live drag-and-drop builder that helps you to create the hospitality website of your dreams. For a head start, Bellevue ships with seven fully-customizable demos.

Additionally, the theme comes with 25+ page templates, 40+ widgets, and advanced theme options, all of which give birth to endless design possibilities.

Last but not least, Bellevue is easy to set up and comes with 5-star support.

3. Enfold Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

Enfold Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

Kriesi is a well-known WordPress theme author, thanks to masterpieces such as Enfold. Built on the Avia Framework, Enfold is a true work of art.

With 30+ demos, you don’t have to build your website from scratch. You can import the demos instantly, customize extensively, and even mix features from different demos.

Enfold features a drag-and-drop content editor that helps you to supercharge your layouts in ways unimaginable. Additionally, this hotel WordPress theme features a fantastic admin area and documentation.

To boot, customers often praise Kriesi for outstanding support, so you’re in good hands.

4. Hotel Master WordPress Theme For Hotel Booking

hotel master wordpress theme

Hotel Master offers you an elegant design and powerful features in one package. I mean, this hospitality WordPress theme comes with built-in features such as a booking system, galleries, reservations, and portfolios among others.

Hotel Master is the perfect WordPress theme for typical restaurants as well as hotels that offer accommodation. It is incredibly easy to customize and offers you unlimited options to turn your site whichever way you desire.

Still, the theme manages to stay clear of code bloat, meaning you get fast loading pages and better user experience. That must be the secret to a great theme; add all the critical features without bloat.

Hotel Master goes beyond design and offers you a hotel management system without enormous costs or a steep learning curve.

5. Belafonte Hotel WordPress Theme

Belafonte Hotel WordPress Theme

Belafonte is a stunning and minimal hotel theme. The clean layout, simple vertical menu, responsive design and elegant galleries makes this theme a great choice for picturesque locations looking to attract new visitors.

The theme uses easy page templates so you can have your hotel site up fast. Designed to showcase your photography, the Belafonte homepage features a slideshow for high-res imagery. Add your rooms and suites using page templates and sections for information, image galleries and rates.

Other notable theme features include social media links integration, custom theme widgets, built-in testimonials, WPML compatibility and support for most major booking plugins/services.

6. Hotel Calluna Hotel & Resort & WordPress Theme

hotel calluna wordpress theme

Large feature boxes, big fonts, and a crisp design earn Hotel Calluna a comfy spot on our list today. Don’t get me wrong; these aren’t the only features that make this theme the darling of many website owners.

While it is great to have a beautiful yet simple design, Bellevue kicks things a notch higher with built-in booking and reservation forms, calendar, the Easy WP Hotelier plugin, and unlimited customization options.

On top of that, Hotel Calluna ships with three header styles, custom shortcodes, WPBakery drag-and-drop page builder, one-click demo import, custom post types for events/offers, and a built-in mega menu among others.

7. Adomus Hotel WordPress Theme

adomus hotel wordpress theme

Adomus puts a spotlight on your content, with one of the homepage variations offering you plenty of space to post SEO content.

This hotel WordPress theme comes with the HBook plugin by the same author. HBook adds features such as booking forms, payment gateway integration, availability calendars, booking management and so much more.

Plugin-specific features aside, Adomus boasts of other features including, but not limited to, a one-click demo importer, drag-and-drop sections, and beautiful galleries.

Adomus is easy to customize, which means you can revamp your site in minutes.

8. Sailing Hotel WordPress Theme

sailing hotel wordpress theme

A spectacular result of what happens when you put HTML5, CSS3 and Bootstrap 3 together, Sailing offers you beautiful design and an excellent reservation system to run any hotel website.

This bad boy offers you complete control over every critical area of your hospitality business such as bookings/room management, pricing, reporting, payments, customer management, and so much more. With the included ThimPress signature booking plugin managing rooms, clients, arrival calendars, room availability, pricing, coupons and reports is easy.

The theme also comes with over five one-click demos, parallax effects, a drag-and-drop page builder, unlimited colors/skins, single or multipage layout, Font Awesome icons – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

9. Hotel Leisure WordPress Theme

hotel leisure wordpress theme

Perfect for spas, resorts, clubs, hotels and all hospitality businesses, Hotel Leisure WordPress theme arms you with the power you need to take the fight to your competition.

Then beat and leave them in the dust with super-fast pages and a plethora of features that earn you more customers on auto-pilot. Hotel Leisure doesn’t disappoint regarding design, but it is in the features department where this theme shines.

Hotel Leisure comes with hotel features such as two pre-built demos, Simple Weather plugin, WPBakery page builder, unlimited colors, SEO-friendly, CSS3 animations and social sharing integration among others.

10. Soho Hotel Booking WordPress Theme

soho hotel wordpress theme

We have seen theme developers do everything right but flop usability. Not QuiteNiceStuff, the power elite author behind Soho Hotel, a clean, feature-rich and easy to use hotel WordPress theme.

Soho Hotel is best known for features such as a booking system with live availability checker, ability to share data with Airbnb, Booking.com and other iCal supported services, seasonal pricing, and multiple payment gateways.

Also, you get coupon codes, unlimited colors, custom form fields, demo data, WPBakery page builder, and a handy theme options panel to mention a few.

11. TheGem Creative Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

TheGem Creative Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

A multi-purpose WordPress theme by all rights, TheGem is a fantastic theme for all types of sites, including your hospitality website.

Unlike some of the hotel WordPress themes on this list, TheGem doesn’t ship with dedicated hotel features. Still, it is a top contender regarding features and user-friendliness.

After all, you can always add hotel specific features using plugins. Moreover, the theme comes with 150+demo pages with two explicitly made for hotels.

TheGem ships with a ton of customization options, 14 blog styles, unlimited page layouts, 60+ design elements, and so much more.

12. Arcadia Hotel WordPress Theme

Arcadia Hotel WordPress Theme

If you like to keep things simple, you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with the Arcadia Hotel theme, a simple yet powerful WordPress theme for businesses in the hospitality industry.

Arcadia is a classic theme for spas, hotels, hostels, resorts and every other business that requires a laid-back design and a powerful booking system.

Notable features include accommodation management, booking wizard, events, testimonials, and unlimited skins among others.

The Arcadia Hotel WordPress theme focuses on your customer, placing the features they need the most at the front. For a professional but not overwhelmingly styled look, you may want to consider this theme.

13. Paradise Cove Hotel WordPress Theme

Paradise Cove Hotel WordPress Theme

Want a hotel theme that’s ready to go? Paradise Cove is a premium hotel and hospitality theme created by Themefuse that features easy options so you can start taking bookings asap.

Paradise Cove comes with user friendly page templates for the homepage, rooms, blog, services and more. This way you can get your site up and running fast! Other easy theme features include 3 styled sliders to choose from, so you can simply choose your favorite and upload your best property images, built-in Icon Font integration, a helpful weather widget for guests planning their trip, and customizable mega menu.

Don’t worry – this theme is also retina ready and mobile responsive, to give your guests a great experience on any device. Plus the built-in reservations system makes adding rooms and managing reservations from the WordPress admin a breeze.

14. Caballero Hotel WordPress Theme

Caballero Hotel WordPress Theme

Clean and elegant, Caballero is a perfect hotel WordPress theme for a secluded getaway, b&b or relaxing villa. This theme features classy custom fonts, responsive design, image galleries, rooms post type and more.

A unique feature of the theme is a customizable widgetized homepage. Simply insert elements, drop them into place and edit to have a one of a kind homepage featuring your hotel’s key features and suites. Add columns, rooms, pages, callouts and more using the custom Hermes widgets.

Other theme features include page templates (for rooms, packages, restaurants, etc), styled blog, WPML compatibility, and easy to use sample demo content to get started with the theme.

More of the Best Hotel WordPress Themes

Time to decide which theme is right for you to build a hotel website for your business. Once you pick a rock-solid hotel WordPress theme (like any of the ones on this list), add your info and start promoting your business online you’re sure to increase bookings.

What’s your favorite hotel WordPress theme? If we missed your pick for best hotel WordPress theme, mention it in the comments – it’s cool to share a gem or two.



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WP Optin Wheel Review: How to Boost Your Opt-in Rates Instantly


Seeing as traditional popups and such methods are no longer effective, it is time for a fresh approach: say hello to WP Optin Wheel, a brilliant plugin that puts the G in gamified opt-ins offering you a new way to grow your mailing list.

All over the internet, bigwigs say that the real money is in your email list, and we agree 100%. Email marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic and increase sales.

With a median ROI of 122%, email marketing is four times more effective than other forms of marketing including direct mail, paid search and social media. On top of that, email marketing is easy and offers you a tight hold on your target.

But long before you consider sending out that email blast, you need people to sign up. And for that, you need a formidable opt-in solution. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the beautiful WP Optin Wheel plugin.

Instead of throwing popups in your face (I know you hate them too), the plugin features a wheel of fortune to win fun prizes. Of course, visitors must enter their email address first to play 😉

I had the opportunity to test drive the WP Optin Wheel plugin, and here are my unbiased findings. If you disagree with my findings or have a question, please don’t hesitate to make your voice heard in the comments.

With that preamble, let us weigh anchor and sail.

What Is WP Optin Wheel?

wp optin wheel gamified wordpress opt-in plugin

It makes sense to start with some background information. What is this animal we call WP Optin Wheel, where is it from and what does it do exactly?

In the most basic sense of things, WP Optin Wheel is a gamified WordPress opt-in plugin that makes it fun for visitors to sign up for your newsletter.

Handcrafted by the cool guys at Studio Wombat, WP Optin Wheel comes with a fancy wheel of fortune. And as with any wheel of fortune, it features prizes such as a free e-book, product, WooCommerce coupons, discounts and so on.

To spin the wheel, the visitor simply needs to provide their email address and any other basic information you desire (like their name). Best practice however is to ask for the least amount of information, and in most cases, you only really need their email address.

Thanks to the option of integrating the plugin with various email marketing solutions, such as MailChimp or Facebook Messenger, you can grow your mailing list without breaking a sweat.

WP Optin Wheel doesn’t get in the way of your content like traditional popup windows. Your visitors trigger the opt-in form by clicking on the gift box button as highlighted below.

wp optin wheel gift box button

Additionally, you can set the wheel of fortune to automatically slide in after a specific period. Moreover, you can add the opt-in form on a separate web page because, well, the bigger the better, right? Below is how the full-page version looks.

wp optin wheel full page demo

On top of that, WP Optin Wheel ships with a ton of customization options – but I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the surprise.

Now let us delve into the features department and discover what WP Optin Wheel has to offer as an opt-in plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce.

WP Optin Wheel Features

I think you will agree when I say: a WordPress plugin is only as good as the features it offers. Quickly, let us go over the features you’ll uncover once you activate WP Optin Wheel.

Integration With Multiple Tools

wp optin wheel integrations

Studio Wombat has outdone themselves as far as integrating WP Optin Wheel with your favorite tools goes. You can easily capture email addresses whether you use MailChimp, MailerLite, ConvertKit, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor, ActiveCampaign, Remarkety, Klaviyo or Mailster.

Furthermore, you can tap into the power of instant marketing thanks to seamless integration with Facebook Messenger, ChatChamp, and Chatfuel. This means you can send focused and behavior-based marketing messages in real time. What a great time to be alive right?

That’s not all, you can also integrate WP Optin Wheel with giant task automation service Zapier to move information between your web apps automatically. Then you have the added integration with Zero BS CRM, a formidable WordPress plugin that helps you manage all your leads directly from your site.

You will be glad to learn that integrating WP Optin Wheel with these tools is as simple as A, B, C. For most of the tools, you just need to copy-paste an API key and you’re done. If you don’t use any of these tools for one reason or another, the plugin allows you to save leads in your WordPress database.

Oh, by the way, WP Optin Wheel integrates fully with WooCommerce and WPML.

Multiple Display Options

wp optin wheel multiple display options

Displaying your WP Optin Wheel form is the stuff of fourth graders what with up to six options. The most obvious option is the use of widgets that let you display your popup as a bubble or gift box button. You can display the widget to the left, right or at the bottom of your website.

If widgets are not your cup of tea, you can choose to show your wheel after a set period. In this case, the popup appears after the visitor has been on your site for a pre-defined period, say 10 seconds. The timer allows you to show the wheel to the most engaged visitor.

Thirdly, you can capture leads as the visitors are about to leave your site thanks to the exit-intent feature. Exit-intent technology allows you to get some leads that you would have otherwise missed because, well, the visitor was trying to leave. Moreover, exit-intent popups are less intrusive than time-based popups.

You can also show your wheel of fortune after the visitor has hit scroll a number of times. And if you don’t like popups, you can use a shortcode to display the wheel on a separate page, post or sidebar widget. As you can see, there are plenty of display options.

Note – you can show the wheel on every page of your site or on a specific page. In addition, you can choose whether or not the visitor sees the wheel on subsequent visits. Couple this with instant messaging and you have a formidable marketing solution that works on autopilot.

Plenty of Customization Options

wp optin wheel customization options

What is the use of opt-in forms that you cannot customize to match your website? Studio Wombat understands this well, which is why WP Optin Wheel ships with more than 10 fully customizable themes (including seasonal themes such as Xmas and Halloween), 15 ready-to-use backgrounds, and unlimited colors.

You can design the wheel of fortune and opt-in form just the way you imagine. Designing beautiful wheels is a matter of point and click thanks to the intuitive theme customizer. You can set the number of slices, change the text, add HTML code, include links, define winning chance, and add coupons with a couple of clicks.

Furthermore, WP Optin Wheel comes with a powerful form builder that is a joy to work with. You can create opt-in forms that ask as much data as you require. I mean, the form builder comes with multiple form fields such as email, name, phone, address, and URL just to mention a few.

Other Cool Features

We would be here all day if we were to go through each feature there is, so here is a quick overview of the other cool features that make WP Optin Wheel an impressive opt-in plugin for all online marketers.

  • WooCommerce coupons – WP Optin Wheel fully integrates with WooCommerce, meaning you can create coupons as prizes automatically.
  • Statistics – WP Optin Wheel offers you statistics on how your wheel is performing. It shows you the number of people who have seen your popup, the number of people who optin to your mailing list as well as your conversion rate.
  • Email templates – Now, you can send prizes directly to the winners via email, which (if you ask me) offers you another way to break the ice and get the conversation going. You can customize the email templates in the backend.
  • Anti-cheat – WP Optin Wheel catches spam, fake and invalid email addresses long before they get to your mailing list.
  • GDPR-ready
  • Ability to log wins or losses on a separate log file
  • Developer-friendly

How to Install WP Optin Wheel

Now that you know what to expect, let us install WP Optin Wheel and create a test wheel so you can hit the ground running. Deal? Great.

You can either install the free version or spring for the premium version. For this review, we go with the latter option. Either way, installing WP Optin Wheel is easy, just like installing any other WordPress plugin.

Try WP Optin Wheel Free    Get WP Optin Wheel Pro

Without further ado, navigate to Plugins > Add New on your WordPress admin menu as shown below.

adding a wordpress plugin

As we highlight in the image below, you can 1) upload WP Optin Wheel Pro from your computer, 2) search the free version from the WordPress plugin repository, and 3) install/activate the plugin.

installing wp optin wheel

We shall install WP Optin Wheel Pro from our computer, meaning you need to click the Upload Plugin button in the image above.

Next, upload the plugin and activate it as we detail in the screenshot below.

activate wp optin wheel

Once the plugin is active, navigate to Settings > WP Optin Wheel Pro on your WordPress admin menu as we show below.

wp optin wheel menu item in wordpress admin dashboard

Next, you need to activate the WP Optin Wheel license key you received from the developer. Just copy-paste the key in the field and hit the Activate License button as we show below.

wp optin wheel license activation

Upon activation, WP Optin Wheel launches the admin options panel where you can see a couple of tabs including General Settings, Integrations, Add Wheel and Wheels.

wp optin wheel admin options panel

At this juncture, your WP Optin Wheel plugin is ready to use. Now, we just need to create a wheel of fortune. At this point, you can also choose to integrate the plugin with your favorite tools, e.g. MailChimp.

How to Create a Wheel of Fortune

Click the Add Wheel tab to launch the screen below.

On this screen, name your wheel for easy reference and then choose the tool you’d like to use to capture opt-ins. Note, you must first integrate your tool of choice but, WordPress and Zapier are already integrated by default. When done, hit the Next button.

The Design panel helps you to customize your wheel and opt-in form in ways unimaginable. Here, you get plenty of options such as backgrounds, themes, and colors. See the image below.

Choose your theme, background, and colors. After that, click the Next button.

Next, we have the Form Builder, which helps you create an opt-in form. It ships with a range of form fields (depending on the opt-in tool you choose in the first step) to create the perfect form.

We recommend keeping your opt-in form short; one or two fields are enough. Personally, I would ask for the email address only. Build your opt-in form and hit the Next button.

Next, we have the Chances & Slices screen, where you can customize your wheel slices extensively. You can also define chance to take full control over probability and decide which slice wins or loses.

Edit your slices to your heart’s content and click the Next button.

Finally, we have the Settings screen as shown below.

Here, you can define plenty of options for your wheel. You can choose your spin-button text, add disclaimer text, set winning/losing text, show/hide the wheel on certain pages, set exit-intent, secure your wheel of fortune, create email templates and make your form GDPR compliant among other things.

When you’re done, hit the Save button. Your wheel of fortune is now ready, and you should see it on your website after refreshing.

What’s It Cost?

WP Optin Wheel has four pricing packages. There is the forever free version that comes with basic features and is ideal for testing purposes. Next, you have the $49 package meant for a single site. If you have three sites, you can spring for the $99 package. For unlimited sites, Studio Wombat offers a package that costs $199 bucks.

All premium packages come with 1 year of free updates and support.

Real Customer Testimonials

WP Optin Wheel is an incredible plugin, but don’t take our word for it. Here is what happy users say:

As soon as I saw this plugin I thought it would have great potential for what I was looking for and was high quality and I was right. I needed some help to use it for what I needed and the customer support was great who answered all my questions and helped me figure out ways how I could use it for what I needed.

Would definitely recommend this plugin for quality and service.

Thanks – Garydock

And…

WP Optin Wheel is simply INCREDIBLE. There are several similar plugins, but this one has the best set of features, a REALLY easy to use set-up, a lot of customization abilities, and perhaps most valuable is the almost INSTANT SUPPORT from the developer. It took us 20 min start to finish to install and configure 3 different Optin Wheels, and we had a lot of questions, but the developer responded literally within minutes, walked us through the settings, and helped us make it 100% what we wanted. Functionality: A+++, Feature Set: A+++, Responsive Support: A+++. Could not ask for more, and super affordable (worth a lot more than it costs). Highest possible recommendation. – Virafend

And one more…

Super happy to have found this plugin! My opt-in rate and sales have shot up – no one wants to just “enter an email address for a 10% discount coupon”…they want the chance to win something! This plugin turns the opt-in process into a game, and it looks good too.

On top of that, the developer is super responsive and has even implemented a couple of my own suggestions, and did it in a matter of days!

First plugin I have ever reviewed – but I like it that much – akc123

As you can see, people have plenty of great stuff to say about WP Optin Wheel.

Conclusion

WP Optin Wheel offers you a formidable solution to boost your opt-in rates. On top of that, it is incredibly easy to use. You should be able to create opt-in forms for your own site in no time! The wheel of fortune makes subscribing to your newsletter so much fun, most visitors won’t even know they subscribed until they see the confirmation email. If you want to give WP Optin Wheel a try, grab the free version or upgrade to have access to all of the great features covered above.

Try WP Optin Wheel Free    Get WP Optin Wheel Pro

Do you have any suggestions or questions? Please let us know in the comment section below. Thanks in advance!



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How to Get Started With WordPress: 2018 Guide


So you’re looking to set up a new website. You’ve got a good idea of what your site will be about, what content you’ll have on it, whether you’ll be selling anything, the list goes on. Now to get started with WordPress!

It seems like you’re all ready to begin, right? But wait, what about your platform? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably chosen – or are considering choosing – WordPress as your site platform, but aren’t sure how to begin (or maybe you just need a refresher on how it works). This article will help make the process easier by taking you step by step on how to get started with your WordPress site.

Step 1: Find the Best Hosting for Your Site

Before you can use WordPress.org you need a hosting service. You can set up your own server and install WordPress on your computer, but when you’re just starting out it’s easier to subscribe to a service that already has servers set up and ready to host a WordPress site. Some services are free, and some are paid; we recommend using a paid one, as they will provide higher quality services and features.

Not sure which type of hosting or which host to choose? We completely understand (and we’ve been there before, WPExplorer has switched hosts a couple times before finding a perfect fit). There are a few different types of hosting to consider, all with their own pros and cons. You can read our guide on the best WordPress hosting, or take a look at our handy infographic showcasing the top hosting options we’d recommend to new WordPress users.

Best WordPress Hosting

Shared Hosting is what most new WordPress users start with. It’s an easy budget-friendly option that has enough resources to host a new website. Most shared hosts offer one-click WordPress installation, a reasonable amount of storage & bandwidth and sometimes a few perks (like Google Adwords coupons or even a free domain name). In our opinion the best shared hosting plan is from Bluehost. Starting at just $2.95 per month (with our special link) it’s a great option for those just starting out with WordPress.

Bluehost Shared WordPress Hosting

Managed VPS (which stands for Virtual Private Servers) is a step up from shared hosting. You still share a server with other users, but the server is partitioned into sections so you each have your own mini server for better security, privacy and website operation. Plus, with managed VPS you don’t have to maintain your server – the hosting company handles software updates and code WordPress updates for you so you can focus on your website. Our pick for the best managed VPS is Flywheel. They offer fantastic services like free migrations, built-in caching, automated backups and more giving you a lot of bang for your buck.

Flywheel VPS WordPress Hosting

And the last hosting option is Managed WordPress Hosting, which is when the hosting company fully manages your server for you. Managed hosting offers more features and website resources than shared, and many managed hosts will offer scalable hosting plans so you can start small and upgrade your server as your business grows. We’ve used managed hosting from WP Engine for years and are extremely happy with the quality of our hosting as well as the awesome service from their support team. They offer a great personal plan for new bloggers, as well as amazing premium & enterprise level plans for high traffic websites.

WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting

Step 2: Choose a Domain Name

You probably already have your website name, or a shortlist of names, picked out. That’s great! If you don’t, there are plenty of articles that can help you brainstorm ideas (just keep in mind your domain name should reflect the purpose of your site and be interesting enough to draw visitors).

The other part of naming that gets somewhat less attention is the domain name. In technical terms, a domain name is the part of a URL that identifies IP addresses (which identify computers or devices on a network) and web pages. More simply, it’s your web address. Every domain name has a suffix, such as .com or .org. You can register any domain name you like that isn’t already taken – for an annual fee. Some hosts will give you a free domain registration for the first year, and as part of the sign-up process, hosts will also automatically check to see if the domain is available for you to use. But you can always purchase a domain name directly from a registrar like NameCheap or GoDaddy.

After you’ve settled on a domain name, follow your hosting company’s instructions for completing the setup process (you’ll need to point your domain name to your host – just check their online docs or do a quick Google search to find specific instructions). Now the real work begins!

The next steps don’t necessarily have to happen in a particular order, as you can now access your dashboard and turn your attention to whatever you feel is most pressing.

Welcome To WordPress

At this point it can be helpful to view your site and have a look through your admin options so you know what you have to work with.

Step 3: Customize Your Site Design

WordPress defaults to a particular theme which you can stick with as-is, customize or change it to a new theme. WordPress has several pre-installed themes to choose from. To see the directory of free WordPress themes, click on Appearance, and then Themes. If you click the Add New button you’ll see a list of free WordPress themes from the WordPress.org directory along with details about the themes, and the option preview or install them.

Add New WordPress Theme

You can also choose to install a theme developed by a third party. Third party premium themes offer more variety and often include many more features than the themes you’ll find in the free theme directory. Themeforest is a good starting place to find a premium theme, or you can browse the many theme collections we’ve put together here at WPExplorer. After you’ve found, purchased and downloaded the theme you want simply go to the theme directory and click Upload Theme.

Uploading A WordPress Theme

The next screen prompts you to browse for the theme on your computer. Follow the instructions to install your theme. After installing your theme, you’ll need to activate it in order to use it.

Other parts of your appearance that you’ll want to customize are the widgets, menu(s), header and background. Aside from the menu, these can be changed with the theme customizer which you can find under Appearance (just below the themes option). Click on it to open up the love WordPress customizer:

WordPress Theme Customizer

WordPress comes preloaded with a number of widgets, some of which are activated and appear in your site’s sidebar. You can rearrange them as necessary, and if you want more you can always install a plugin to add new ones.

Add WordPress Widgets

Your theme may support different kinds of menus or multiple menus. If it doesn’t, menu plugins are available for installation. You probably won’t need to worry too much about your menu until you have several pages set up.

Step 4: Add Plugins for More Features

Depending on both how you’re using your site and on the functionality of your theme, you will likely need to install and activate various plugins. These add to what your site is able to do. Akismet is one plugin that WordPress comes pre-installed with; all you need to do is activate it. This one’s important because it defends your site against spam.

To install free plugins, visit the plugin directory by clicking on PluginsAdd New and browsing for a  plugin, or you can install plugins you’ve purchased from other sites by clicking on the Upload Plugin button.

If you’re interested, here are the three key plugins we use and recommend here at WPExplorer.

VaultPress

VaultPress for WordPress

Get VaultPress Backups

While most good hosting companies offer daily backups as a part of their plans, we highly recommend your backup WordPress on your own just to be safe. We use and love VaultPress as it’s affordable (it’s actually a part of the JetPack premium plans), easy to use (just install and link to your WordPress.org account) and it takes a full backup of your entire site – media included.

Akismet

Akismet WordPress Spam Protection Plugin

Get Akismet for WordPress

Just like VaultPress, Akismet is a part of premium JetPack subscriptions and we think it’s the best spam plugin for WordPress. Akismet helps filter out spam comments using its own algorithm and comments that Akismet users report. This way you can spend less time monitoring your comments and more time focusing on your SEO and content.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO plugin

Get Yoast SEO

For any website owner a good SEO plugin is key. There are a few popular plugins out there, but we use and love Yoast SEO. This plugin includes everything your absolutely need to get started on improving your SEO including sitemaps, default titles/excerpts, breadcrumbs, RSS feed display, open graph meta tags and on-page SEO tools (for key words, readability, etc).

In addition, we also suggest using a CSS live editor such as CSS Hero or Yellow Pencil to customize your site design if your theme doesn’t include enough styling options. For more useful plugins, checkout our plugin collections to find great plugins for maps, bookings, social sharing, translations and more.

Step 5: Create Key Pages

Unless it’s designed to be a one-page site, every website should have at least a couple pages, including an about page and a contact page. Depending on your site’s purpose, you’ll probably want other pages as well, such as a portfolio or gallery to show off your work. If you have products to sell, you’d want a store page. Keep in mind you may need or want to install plugins (like Contact Form 7, WooCommerce, etc.) in order to have these types of pages. We also recommend a blog page to house your news or posts.

Home

Homepage Template

Your homepage is the first page people will see when they go to your main url. Some themes will include a homepage template (like in the screenshot above), or you can use a page builder to create something custom. Whatever you choose just remember to set the Homepage you created under the Settings > Reading section and selecting the “Static page” option (note: your blog can be your homepage, and if that’s what you want to use as your main front page just leave the “Your latest posts” option selected). For more help, checkout our guide on how to create homepage.

Blog

Total Multipurpose & Blogging WordPress Theme: Mason Demo

Most websites will have a blog – in fact, many sites are just a blog! Depending on your theme you may not need to create a blog page, as many blogging WordPress themes are already styled so you can just get to work adding posts. Some however do include a custom blog page template, which you can use by going to Pages > Add New and then selecting the “blog” template from a metabox to the right of or below the main text editor. Once you save your page, you’ll also need to define it as your blog under the Settings > Reading > Static page as your “Posts page” option.

About

About Us Section

About pages are great for businesses to share company history, mission statements and team members. Or for independent bloggers to share notes on how they got started, their interests and their personal story. While not every site needs one it’s a good page to consider if you want to connect with your audience on a more personal level.

Contact

Contact Page Frontend

Pretty much every website will have a contact page. It’s fairly simple to create a contact page with WordPress, since there are a plethora of easy plugins compatible with popular themes. At the very least you can consider using one of these contact form plugins to add a simple form to your footer or sidebar, or a mapping plugin to showcase your locations.

Portfolio

Total WordPress Portfolio

For some businesses it makes sense to showcase your work, which is where a portfolio is very useful. To create an online portfolio you can either choose a theme or add a plugin that includes a portfolio custom post type. Custom post types add a new easy to find menu item in your main lefthand WordPress dashboard and often work just like adding a blog post, only they’re styled differently and include custom options specific to their purpose. So a portfolio will typically include options to build galleries, upload videos or even audio so you can show potential clientele how awesome you are.

Store

Total Glitz&Glam WooCommerce Store

Lastly, whether you want to sell your own goods in an Etsy-like shop or recommend items from affiliate stores on your own site you can build an online store with WordPress. Specifically with the free WooCommerce plugin. Similar to a portfolio, WooCommerce (and other e-commerce platforms like EDD or Shopify) adds a custom post type with custom options for your products such as digital/physical item, product gallery, product variations, coupons, shipping, taxes and more.

Step 6: Importing and Exporting Content

These tools often get overlooked in discussions about getting started. If you’re new to WordPress but not to blogging or website management, importing and exporting are handy tools to have, and easy to do. To move content from an old WordPress website, use the export tool to download and xml file of your site content.

WordPress Export Tool

To bring in your content from another site, use the import tool. If you purchase a premium theme it probably came with sample data (in the dorm of a .xml file) that you can import to help get you started. We recommend using the sample data if you need help figuring out how to use a theme or if you want to import an exact demo (especially when using themes like Total that have tons of sample demos to choose from).

WordPress Import Tool

Step 7: More Info to Get Started with WordPress

This article discusses the important parts of getting started with WordPress. However, if you’re still feeling lost, here are some more resources for you:

WP Explorer has a ton of other resources to help you learn more about using WordPress. Browse our blog and other articles to get familiar with it!

Conclusion

Whether you’re new to owning a website, or simply new to WordPress, it can be tough to finally get started with WordPress. Having a guide and other resources is invaluable in situations like that. Using the tools we’ve provided here can help make the process smoother, and get your site up and running even quicker.

What do you wish you had known when first starting your WordPress website? If you’re starting out now, what would help you feel more confident about it? Let us know in the comments!



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The Best Online Tools to Track Your Competition


When you run any business or website, you need to keep tabs on the business environment around you. It’s important for benchmarking yourself, setting standards, achieving goals, as well as monitor and improve SEO. Fortunately, that’s not too hard in this internet friendly world. There are many free online tools that can help you find out what’s happening in your niche and be inspired by it. Besides using them to track your own website’s metrics, you can also use these online tools to track your competition.

If you’re wondering why at all your should rely on online tools to track your competition, here are some solid reasons:

  • You can stay up to speed with the latest trends and events
  • It can be a source of inspiration when you’ve run out of ideas
  • Helps you strategize and keep up with the competition
  • Helps you to set standards for your own business or website
  • There’s no harm in learning from those who have got it right

Which that said – let’s get into some of the best online tools to track your competition.

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is your go-to tool to keep track of any keyword that you want – your name, your business or your competition. You can keep the search words as narrow or as detailed as you wish. Google Alerts searches the web for any mention of these words, and alerts you via email. Even if the keywords are mentioned as a link, you’ll get to hear about it.

Online tools to track your competition - Google Alerts

You simply need to choose the words that you want to track, and specify the sources that you want Google to monitor. The sources can be as varied as blogs, web, news, videos, books or discussions. You can keep it to any particular geographical region or cast your net all over the globe. Emails can be received at any time you select, or even as a digest in a single mail.

Besides helping you keep tabs on the social mentions of your company, you’ll also know how visible your competition is.

2. Site Explorer

How do you identify the top websites in your niche? Site Explorer can help you out here. It helps you to identify sites that enjoy maximum domain authority and research backlinks. This gives you a measure of the steps you’ve got to take to make it to the top of your domain.

We all know that high quality backlinks can boost your SEO. Using Site Explorer, you can find out the top sites in your niche and then browse through the recently discovered links that point back to your competitor’s site. By simply comparing with the backlink profile of your competitor, you’ll have a fair idea of how to improve your own backlink profile.

Link Explorer

Link Explorer (still in beta) is soon to replace this tool. The new tool uses more refined algorithms to determine domain authority and analyze backlinks. And, with a free Moz account you can raise 10 queries a month. The tool also shows up a spam score which reveals how many similar sites have been penalized by Google. You’ll be able to judge the quality of inbound links to your site and track both your own and your competitor’s URLs.

3. Tools that help find out CMS/ Themes/ Plugins

Very often, we come across features on other websites that we then want to implement on our own. How do we know what software was used by that website to implement that feature? Well, these online tools to track your competition can help out here too.

First off, you may want to know what CMS the website is using. To do that, simply visit What CMS and type in the URL of the website. This tool is fairly accurate and detects over 378 content management systems. Another tool IsItWp, checks if the website is using WordPress as well as the theme and plugin details.

What CMS

To find out the theme or plugins that any WordPress website is using, try What WordPress Theme is That. You can also find out using browser extensions such as WPSniffer for Chrome (or try one of the other tools we recommend in our guide on how to tell if a site is using WordPress).

The important thing to remember here is that these tools may not show up custom made themes or plugins. But in such cases, you can right click on the website and look up the code that is revealed to detect CMS, themes and plugins.

And if your competition has a super fast website, you’ll want to know more about their hosting services. There’s a tool for that too – WhoIsHostingThis. While it’s not always accurate (a CDN can throw you off-course), it’s worth a try.

4. builtWith

builtWith is a favorite with many web designers. This website profiler tool can reveal a number of technologies used on any page. It covers well over 25000 internet technologies that include analytics, advertising, hosting, CMS and more. The Internet Technology Trends helps you keep track of internet technology usage changes on a weekly basis.

builtWith

You can find out which sites use shopping carts, analytics, hosting and filter results by location, traffic, vertical and more. You can gather much of the information you need about other websites to improve your own sales intelligence as well as market share.

builtWith is a better tool than many in the same class, and for faster results you can simply activate a chrome extension.

5. SimilarWeb

Similar Web gives you an overview of any website whose URL you feed in – your own or your competitor’s. What’s more, if you add another URL, you can compare the two websites, either in its entirety or on a page by page basis. That’s great for checking up on how you measure up to your peer websites. It also ranks your website in terms of traffic it receives globally, as well as on a country and category basis.

SimilarWeb

For any URL you type in, it breaks up the traffic into many groups – traffic from mobiles/ desktops, total visits over a period of time, duration of visit, bounce rate and the number of pages per visit. Many other metrics are also tracked – country wise breakdown of traffic, sites linking back to this URL and the top keywords that generate traffic. You’ll also find out about total percentage of traffic generated by each social channel and other websites which your users also visit. A list of similar and competitor sites is also available.

6. Alexa

The last tool in our list of online tools to track your competition is Alexa. This page ranking tool comes from Amazon, and is great if you want to keep track of competition that’s spread across the globe.

Alexa

It allows you a closer look at your competitor’s keywords and links, and compares your website with that of your competition. You’ll be able to compare traffic metrics of multiple websites and more. The basket of competitive analysis tools includes audience overlap, top sites, find similar sites, sites linking in, unique visitors, site screener and top sites.

Alexa is also available as a browser extension for easier access.

Final Thoughts on the Best Online Tools to Track Your Competition

No business or website operates in isolation. If you want to attract traffic to your website and increase the conversion rate, it’s important to know what’s happening in your business environment. These online tools to track your competition can help you stay on top of trends and events in your niche. They are all excellent tools to help benchmark your own performance against your competitors and peers, as well as potentially generate new leads as you optimize your own site.

If you have any questions or comments to add just leave us a note below. We’d love to know your thoughts!



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How to Sell Music Online with WordPress (3 Easy Steps)


Creating and running an online store takes some work – there’s no sugar-coating that fact. However, if done right, you can turn your online store into a viable business. In order to achieve this level of success you’ll need to design your store to match the type of product you’re selling, and if you intend to sell music online there’s a bit more to consider.

For instance, your store will need to be set up differently to offer products such as music, as opposed to clothing or electronics. You’ll need a way to easily sell digital files on your store, such as the popular WooCommerce plugin, as well as a method for displaying your music in a clear and organized way.

While you can always sell your tunes through iTunes or BandCamp, it’s a great idea to offer your own music, bonus tracks or even limited edition memorabilia (like custom vinyl records) in your own store. In this post, we’re going to show you how sell music online with WordPress. Specifically, how to use WooCommerce and the WooCommerce Product Table plugin to sell your own music online. Let’s get to work!

1. Install & Setup WooCommerce to Sell Music Online

Before we get started, we’ll be assuming you have a WordPress site set up and ready to go. WordPress is both powerful and flexible, and can be easily used to create a thriving e-commerce store.

With this out of the way, the next task is to add WooCommerce to your site. This simple but feature-rich plugin transforms your WordPress site into a functional storefront adding easy options for you to actually sell music online with WordPress:

WooCommerce Plugin

To get started, navigate to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard. Use the search field to find “WooCommerce”, and click on the Install Now button:

Install WooCommerce

After a moment, a new button labeled Activate will appear. Select that as well, and WooCommerce will be fully set up on your site!

At this point, you’ll be taken to a brief setup wizard:

WooCommerce Setup Wizard

We highly recommend going through these few short screens. They’ll help you configure your new store, establish important pages and set up key elements such as shipping prices. For more information, see our complete guide on how to install WooCommerce.

2. Add Your Music to the Store

Once you’ve installed WooCommerce and gone through the setup wizard, you’ll have an empty store on your hands. This means it’s time to add products.

WooCommerce provides a special WordPress custom post type to make adding products east. Custom post types are similar to adding blog posts, just with different options specific to the post type (other post types might include portfolio, testimonials, staff or events calendar). To add a new WooCommerce item from your dashboard, go to Products > Add New:

Add a New WooCommerce Product

Here, you can create your first product. You’ll want to start by giving it a title and description using the first two fields. In the right-hand sidebar, you can also assign the product to one or more categories, give it some descriptive tags, and even upload images.

However, the ‘meat’ of WooCommerce is found in the Product data section:

WooCommerce Product Data

This is where you’ll add all the vital information about each item. Since your goal is to sell music online, the first thing you’ll want to do is check both the Virtual and Downloadable boxes at the top. This will change the options you see slightly, to account for selling music files online rather than physical products:

WooCommerce Downloadable Products

Then, you can proceed to enter in a price for the item, and upload the file(s) customers will receive upon purchase under Downloadable files. You can also configure whether there should be a limit to how many times the files can be downloaded, and if they’ll expire.

The rest of the settings in this section are optional, although you may want to look through them anyway. In addition, check out the Product short description field right below. There, you can add embedded audio players, so customers can hear what your music sounds like.

To do this, click on Add Media. Upload the audio file from your computer, fill in its details, and make sure to choose Embed Media Player under Embed or Link:

WooCommerce Embed Media Player

This will add a simple audio player to the short description field:

WooCommerce Media Player Short Description

Once you’re done setting up your first product, click on the Publish button to make it live on your store. Then, repeat this process until you’ve added all the songs, albums, and so on that you’d like to sell.

3. Create a Product Table to Display Your Music

Technically, the first two steps are all that’s required to get your store up and running. However, a traditional WooCommerce setup is not necessary the best way to sell music online.

If you leave things as they are, customers will need to navigate to each individual product page in order to check out all your music, listen to sample tracks, and order what they want. This slows them down considerably, which can lead to lost sales. What’s more, music files typically don’t need a lot of complex description or large images, and the default WooCommerce layout draws extra attention to these elements.

Instead, you can show off everything you have to offer on a single page using a product table. This is an organized, visually-appealing way to display your music. Customers can see everything available in your store at once, and you can provide all the key details while not overwhelming them with information. Plus, they can add everything they want to their carts right from this page. You can even embed sample audio players directly into the table for each product.

To set up a page like this, you’ll need the WooCommerce Product Table plugin:

This tool is optimized to work smoothly with WooCommerce, and lets you customize exactly what your product table looks like and how it works. After purchasing the plugin, you can install it like any other third party plugin. Go to Plugins > Add New and select the plugin file you downloaded. Activate the plugin, then, go to WooCommerce > Settings in your dashboard. Navigate to the Products tab, and select Product tables to enter your license key:

WooCommerce Product Table Settings

The many settings on offer here enable you to tweak how your product table works. For instance, under Columns, you can customize exactly what information will be displayed:

WooCommerce Product Table Columns

Make sure to include an image for each item, as well as short-description (so your media players will be included).

Filter dropdowns is another crucial setting:

WooCommerce Product Table Filters

By enabling this, you’ll place drop-down menus above your table, which will let customers sort it by key attributes such as categories. This makes it easy for them to find what they want quickly.

Finally, check the box labeled Shortcodes in table. This is required if you want your embedded media players to work properly:

WooCommerce shortcodes in Table Setting

For more information on all the settings you can modify, you’ll want to take a look at the plugin’s documentation.

Save your changes when you’re done, then open up a new page (via Pages > Add New). Click on the Toolbar Toggle icon, then select Insert Product Table. This will place a shortcode on your page:

WooCommerce Product Table Shortcode

This shortcode pulls in all of the settings you just customized, and sets up your product table automatically. You can see what it looks like using the Preview button:

WooCommerce Audio Table

If you like, you can continue to tweak your product table until it’s just right. Then, go ahead and publish it! You’re ready to sell music online. Customers can then use it to see all the music you have available and make purchases easily.

Conclusion

The best stores are optimized to match the type of products they offer. For instance, you’ll need to design your store carefully when you’re aiming to sell music online with WordPress. WooCommerce is an excellent starting point, but you’ll also want to provide customers with a streamlined way to explore your music and make selections as well as add other WooCommerce extensions for more features and functionality.

Do you have any questions about how to set up your WooCommerce items or design your product table? Ask away in the comments section below!



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10+ Best WordPress Store Locator Plugins to Display Shop Locations


If your business has multiple locations, WordPress store locator plugins can prove to be useful additions to your website. Motel chains, gas stations, chain stores, beauty parlors can all benefit from adding store locator plugins. They help users find your business locations easily. These plugins rely on Google Maps for displaying locations. Consequently, you’ll be able to take advantage of Google Maps features as well, such as the different map views, geolocation and directions to reach the nearest store. Additionally, if you happen to provide any kind of directory services, these WordPress store locator plugins can help display the physical location for the listed services.

Let’s drive straight in (please note – these are in no particular order, just our top 10+ picks).

Disclaimer: WPExplorer is an affiliate for one or more products listed below. If you click a link and complete a purchase we could make a commission.

1. WP Store Locator Free WordPress Plugin

WP Store Locator Free WordPress Plugin

WP Store Locator is a free plugin that adds all your locations on a map that you can totally customize. The map and the driving instructions can be in the language you prefer. You can add custom labels for each location, and help users find the locations using multiple filters like radius or category.

WP Store Locator helps display any number of stores, and allows you to change the language from the admin panel. Working with shortcodes, you can add details such as opening hours, addresses, landmarks or phone numbers. Nine retina ready marker icons are available, and you can drag any of them to the exact location on the map in the editor. If you have a concentration of stores in any area, the marker clustering feature will prove handy. And what’s more, premium add-ons are available for bulk import, to gather statistics or to add a search widget.

2. Store Locator Plus Free WordPress Plugin

Store Locator Plus Free WordPress Plugin

No matter whether you have two stores or thousands of stores,the WordPress Store Locator Plus plugin can create a location finder on your website. Without too much setup involved, you can create a page, enter your locations and add a shortcode. Many international brands such as Bosche use this plugin to help users find their stores.

Working from the Admin panel, and with the help of add-ons, you can customize using CSS and HTML. Add-ons allow you to add many more features to customize user experience such as turning search option on or off, categorizing locations, creating SEO friendly per location pages and more. It works with third party add-ons to add social media links to all your locations, to add custom fields to your locations or to allow users to manage locations. It also teams up with Gravity Forms to build forms, and Event Location Manager to link events to your locations. The free plugin supports multiple countries and languages.

3. Agile WordPress Store Locator Plugin

Agile Store Locator

For a complete location management system rich in features, look no further than Agile Store Locator. It comes with a complete backend management system to manage themes, styles and markers. It allows you to import /export store locations, manage categories and display locations on customized maps. Not only can you customize your display, a number of ready made templates are available.

A single store can show up in multiple categories. Besides, at any point of time, stores that are open alone can show up by toggling an on / off Time Switch. The plugin includes many templates, including an accordion template with a hierarchy of countries, states, cities and stores. If the number of locations is huge, the marker clustering, custom filters and category markers can help to narrow down a search. The info window content can be customized, and any store location you create can be duplicated with a single click. You can also track searches, top stores and top locations using the Analytics Bar Chart. On the Admin dashboard, you can access all the stats relating to stores, searches, categories and markers.

4. Super Store Finder For WordPress

Super Store Finder

Super Store Finder for WordPress comes with an intuitive responsive design and a powerful WordPress store locator admin section. From this admin screen, you can manage map settings, categories, tags and notifications and customize styles, colors and labels. It supports many languages, as well as full width Google Map display.

Super Store Finder includes a flat theme store locator and a neat store filter with collapsible panel. The built-in geolocation feature allows users to find the exact location of your store and the shortest route to reach it. The zoomable street views can walk a user right to your store’s doorstep. You can upload beautiful images or videos to help viewers get a peek into your store. The plugin allows you to use custom markers and search stores by region or other filters. Using CSV files, bulk import of store addresses is possible. To pinpoint exact locations, simply drag and drop markers. Add-ons that extend the range of features are also available.

5. Advanced Store Locator for WordPress

Advanced Store Locator

You can use Advanced Store Locator to display your store locations in three ways – on a Google map, on a list or on both. Not only that, you can write a post about any location on your WordPress blog and then link the location to this post using shortcodes. A neat way to attract readers to your post, as well as offer information about that location to users. Store information can also be offered in related posts. Users can also search for a location by address, use a street view to find your location and get directions to it.

Working off the built-in interface, you can quickly add, edit or delete stores, and automatically geocode addresses. Relying on addresses or zip codes, users can search for the store that’s nearest to them. On a secure https URL, the plugin can detect a user’s location and display the nearest store.

6. WordPress Store Locator Plugin

WordPress Store Locator

The WordPress Store Locator Plugin allows you to add as many filters as you like. It supports live filtering and shortcodes on any page. If you link the product categories to the store categories, you can enable auto filtering on product pages. The number of results that show up on a search, the information to be displayed and the related call to action buttons can all be customized. You can also set up defaults for your new stores to make it easier to add them.

Using this plugin, you can add a store locator button to your WooCommerce Product page. The locator will then popup in a modal. The info window can be set to display contact information, call-to-action, store image or opening hours. With more than ten possible layouts and 90+ options, there’s little you cannot do to help users find your store.

7. Local SEO for WordPress Plugin by Yoast

Yoast Store Locator

The Local SEO for WordPress Plugin by Yoast has a WordPress Store Locator functionality bundled into it. You’ll need to purchase an annual license to use this location finder feature though.

The plugin allows users to filter stores or any other location by radius, state or zip codes. Simply by clicking buttons and ticking options, you can add your store address to the page. Your working hours can be added in the same box as the address. Or, using shortcodes, you can insert them separately. The shortcodes can be added to any page or post, or to the location pages itself. You also have the option to add a WordPress store locator widget in any widgetized area of your website.

8. Advanced Google Maps Plugin for WordPress

Advanced Google Maps

If you are operating only a limited number of locations, you can simply rely on a Google map plugin such as Advanced Google Maps Plugin for WordPress. You can mark those locations on the map and help with directions too. This top selling mapping plugin specifically is GDPR compliant, includes support for multiple map filters, offers multiple routes (a great feature for folks to quickly find and get to your store locations) and the super helpful “search nearby” feature to fins your closest location.

9. VO Store Locator Free WordPress Plugin

VO Store Locator Plugin

VO Store Locator is a free plugin that includes tools to help marketers, franchises and distributors. It allows you to customize pin colors on a per tag basis to differentiate locations. Built-in features like auto-location to find the store nearest to your current locale, and turn-by-turn directions make your storefronts easy to find. Plus the plugin recently updated to work with the Visual Composer drag & drop page builder so you can include your custom maps on any post or page layout.

10. SimpleMap Store Locator Free WordPress Plugin

SimpleMap Store Locator Plugin

SimpleMap Store Locator is an easy-to-use international store locator plugin that allows users to search the database using zip codes. It helps make your locations stand out with customizable tags. Other great features include unlimited locations, customizable map search results, easy settings options (no code needed) and a quick edit feature for realtime map and database updates.

11. Locatoraid Free Store Locator WordPress Plugin

Locatoraid Store Locator Plugin

Locatoraid is yet another WordPress store locator plugin that’s lightweight, responsive and includes many configurable map styles. Specifically, the plugin comes with an auto-geocode function so as you add locations your customers can instantly find them. The easy to sue shortcode makes inserting your map (with defined search text placeholder, radius, layout, etc) a breeze – just edit the parameters when you add the shortcode to any post, page or widget text area. Plus there are customizable map styles to ensure your store locator matches the look of the rest of your website.

Wrapping up the Best WordPress Store Locator Plugins

You really have a number of options to put your stores on a map to help your customers. Have you tried any of them? Let us know which one worked for you. If you wish, you can also get very imaginative while displaying your locations on a map.



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