ApinaPress http://www.apinapress.com Wed, 01 Jun 2016 10:35:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Improve the WordPress Commenting System with These 13 Plugins http://www.apinapress.com/how-to-improve-the-wordpress-commenting-system/ Sat, 19 Dec 2015 13:10:34 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=4427 how to improve wp comments

Comments are a reliable indicator of the popularity of a website,  and having a lot of comments clearly indicates an active follower base. Unfortunately, the default commenting system of WordPress doesn’t come with that many management options.

While the default options are perfect for starters, advanced users will definitely benefit from additional options. If you want to get these options, you need to install third-party plugins. There are both free and paid plugins for comment management.

In today’s post, I will introduce you to the best comment management plugins for WordPress. Let’s start with the free ones first.

Free Plugins

disable comments WordPress plugin

1) Disable Comments

If you want an effective solution to disable comments in specific post types, this is the plugin for you.

Disable Comments plugin allows the site admins to disable commenting on different post types like pages, post, attachments or other custom post types. You can also choose to disable commenting on the entire site.

Once you disable commenting on a specific post type, the comment relevant options will be removed from the quick edit section and the other sections.

However, if you are looking for a solution to disable commenting only on a single post, you don’t need a plugin. You can easily do that by editing the post and going to Screen Options > Discussion and then unchecking the ‘Allow comments’ option.

disqus

2) Disqus Comment System

Disqus is a highly popular comment management system. Disqus users can comment on any website which has Disqus commenting enabled. This plugin allows you to add Disqus commenting in your WordPress site. In order to use the plugin, you will need a free Disqus account.

An advantage of using this plugin is the auto comments backup feature. Therefore, the comments will remain in place even if you move your website to a new host or change the database.

The nicely designed threaded comments and replies will encourage visitors to engage in the conversation. They can also get email notifications and subscribe to comments.

As well as that, users can log into the commenting system via social media or their Disqus account, removing the need to sign up with your site as well.

cleantalk-spam-protect

3) Anti-Spam by CleanTalk

While Akismet works fine for basic spam prevention, some people need a more powerful and more effective system. For that purpose, Anti-Spam by CleanTalk could be an excellent choice.

With support for the default commenting system, plugin-based commenting systems, and contact form plugins, this plugin can effectively block spam comments everywhere.

You can choose to move the spam comments into a special folder or delete them automatically. The plugin will check for spam comments in the registration form, contact, comments and custom comment forms. You can enable or disable any of these forms separately.

In order to use the plugin, you will need an access key. You can get the access key for free from CleanTalk website.

comments evolved

4) Comments Evolved for WordPress

If the visitors need to register themselves in order to comment in your posts, only a few of them will go through the process. At the end, you will get fewer comments than you deserve. A practical solution to this problem is to allow your visitors to use their existing accounts to comment on your website.

Comments Evolved for WordPress enables that feature in your WordPress website. By using this plugin, you can allow your  visitors to comment on  your website using their Google+, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress.com, Disqus, or Livefyre accounts to log in. You can choose the order and label for each account. It is also possible to hide the icons.

facebook comments vivacity

5) Facebook Comments by Vivacity

The aforementioned plugin allows the visitors to use different accounts for commenting. However, if you are looking for an exclusive solution to allow Facebook comments, this is the plugin for you. In order to use the plugin, you will have to create a free Facebook app.

You can choose to enable Facebook commenting in the posts, pages and the home page. You can also choose to allow Facebook commenting for only specific pages.

Other customization options include choosing the colour scheme, number of comments to display, comment box width, title, display comment count, etc. The plugin is available in lots of different languages. Lastly, you can choose to display or hide the default WordPress commenting system.

wpdiscuz

6) wpDiscuz

wpDiscuz is a really interesting plugin to provide a fresh redesign to the default WordPress comment styles. If you are bored with the familiar interface of the default commenting system, Disqus or Facebook comments, you should definitely try this plugin.

Compared to the other comment plugin, wpDiscuz offers a lot more admin options. After installing and activating the plugin, you will find the options in the Comments > WpDiscuz Settings page.

You can choose to enable commenting on posts, pages and/or attachment pages. It is also possible to define the minimum and maximum length of the comments. And from the ‘Background and Colors’ tab, you can customize various appearance options. It is also possible to provide custom CSS.

comment guestbook

7) Comment Guestbook

If you have always wanted to create a guestbook in your site, this is your chance. By using the free Comment Guestbook plugin, you can easily create a guestbook of comments in your WordPress site. In order to do that, install and activate the plugin. Then, paste the following into a new page and save the page –
[crayon-5ad9de1d26f1d702058120/]
You will find all the customization options in the Settings > Guestbook page. The plugin will also create a custom widget. To use the plugin, go to Appearance > Widgets and find out the widget titled ‘Comment Guestbook’. Drag the widget to your desired place and configure the available options.

wp ajaxify comments

8) WP Ajaxify Comments

By default, WordPress reloads the page/post when someone leaves a comment. If the comment has any validation error like empty comment body or invalid email, the visitor will get an error message in a blank screen. They need to go back to fix the issue.

WP Ajaxify Comments attempts to make the process simpler by adding AJAX functionality into commenting system. As a result, the whole page will not be reloaded for adding a new comment. Instead, the visitor will be provided with a success or error message right on the page.

After activating the plugin, you have to enable it by going to the Settings > WP Ajaxify Comments page. On that page, you will also find lots of customization options for personalizing each aspect of the plugin.

livefyre

9) Livefyre Comments 3

If you want yet another alternative to the default WordPress commenting system or Disqus, you can give Livefyre a try. Livefyre Comments 3 is the official WordPress plugin for the service. In order to use the plugin, you will require a free Livefyre account.

You can control the comments from the Livefyre dashboard. It is possible to filter the comments by the user, network, time, location etc. And with the strong moderation options, you can easily control the conversation quality in your website. The plugin will automatically implement all the changes in your WordPress website immediately.

wp ajax edit comments

10) WP Ajax Edit Comments

By default, WordPress doesn’t allow the non-admin users to edit their comments. If you want to have that feature, this is the plugin for you. This interesting plugin allows your visitors to edit their comments for a specific period of time. You can define the time from the AEC > Behavior page of your website.

The behaviour page provides a lot of admin options for the comment editing feature. For example, you can choose to allow editing the name, email address, URL for the registered and anonymous visitors. You can also disable trackbacks, pings and no-follows from this page. The ‘Appearance’ page allows you to choose the look of the comment box.


 

Premium Plugins

So far, I have discussed only about the free plugins. But there are some premium comment management plugins too. Let’s take a look at some of the best premium comment management plugins.

facebook plugin comment dialog

11) Facebook Plugins, Comments & Dialogs for WordPress

If you want closer integration with Facebook, this plugin could be an excellent choice for you. This premium plugin doesn’t only integrate Facebook comments with your WordPress site; it also comes with several other useful features.

The plugin comes with options like integrating Facebook like, send, follow and share buttons, embedded post, and embedded video etc. As all of these features are provided as widgets, you can easily place them in your desired locations.

With the help of this plugin, you can simply disable the default WordPress commenting system and introduce Facebook commenting in your website. It is also possible to enable Facebook commenting for some specific posts or pages only.

commentator

12) Commentator WordPress Plugin

Commentator WordPress Plugin is a very powerful option for totally changing the default commenting system in your website.

Powered by AJAX, this plugin will make all the commenting activities instant and fast. Besides the visual redesign of the commenting system, the plugin allows the commenters to add image and video files in their comments.

For unregistered users, it is possible to register or log in by using their existing social media profiles.

After logging in, you can up or down vote any comment. Comments can also be sorted by best, picked, oldest, newest etc. You can easily customize the icon, or color, and choose from various available colour schemes.

wordpress comment rating

13) WordPress Comment Rating Plugin

If your website receives a lot of comments, you will need some kind of sorting options to outline the most popular and/or useful comments. By using the WordPress Comment Rating Plugin, your visitors can rate the comments based on their usefulness, value or other aspects.

Regarding customization options, you can choose custom FontAwesome icons, icon colors, size etc. You can also provide custom CSS to provide your own styling.

While the plugin is available in English and German languages, it’s possible to translate it into other supported languages too. Other useful features include IP address, cookie detection, auto updates, comment resorting etc.

Conclusion

The default WordPress commenting system doesn’t let you do anything else other than editing, deleting or marking comments as spam. The plugins mentioned above provide you with lots of additional comment management options.

Which plugin looks the most interesting to you? Have you used any of these plugins before? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

The post How to Improve the WordPress Commenting System with These 13 Plugins appeared first on ApinaPress.

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Black Friday 2015 Offers and Deals http://www.apinapress.com/black-friday-2015-offers-deals/ Fri, 27 Nov 2015 08:19:11 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=4402

Black Friday is here once again, and whether your are stuffed full of turkey or had a normal working Thursday, there are plenty of deals available!

Below is some of the best deals available for WordPress themes and plugins, as well as hosting.

Themes

StudioPress (Genesis framework)

When: November 27th - 30th

For: All StudioPress Themes for $399.95

Code: no code needed

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ThemeIsle

When: November 27th - 1st December

For: 35% off every theme and plugin

Code: TIBF2015

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Elegant Themes

When: November 27th - 28th

For: 25% off Elegant Themes membership

Code: No code needed

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Template Monster

When: November 25th - 30th

For: 60% off Everything

Code: No code needed

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CSSIgniter

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Tesla Themes

When: November 27th - 2nd December

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Code: 50OFF

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CyberChimps

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ThemeFurnace

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iThemes

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Themify

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For: $100 off Lifetime Master Club membership

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Plugins

Beaver Builder

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OptinMonster

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Thirsty Affiliates

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99Robots

When: November 27th - 30th

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AffiliateWP

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Hosting

Wp Engine

When: November 27th

For: 30% off your first payment on shared plans

Code: WPEBF30

When: November 28th - 29th

For: 30% off your first payment on shared plans

Code: WPECW30

When: November 30th

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Code: WPECM30

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Flywheel

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Code: blackflyday15

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The post Black Friday 2015 Offers and Deals appeared first on ApinaPress.

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6 of the Best Recipe Plugins for WordPress http://www.apinapress.com/6-of-the-best-recipe-plugins-for-wordpress/ Fri, 30 Oct 2015 08:31:27 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=4347 6 of the Best Recipe Plugins for WordPress

Food blogging is huge, just search for your favourite dish and you will find numerous recipes available.

Any food blogger serious about their site will need a solid recipe plugin that can do certain things:

  • Make the bloggers life easier when it comes to adding recipes
  • Have good looking recipe cards
  • Make your visitors life easier by providing all the relevant info they need in an easy to digest manner
  • Be SEO friendly, to make it easier for search engines to find the recipes

I’ve reviewed several of the best recipe plugins for WordPress that are out there right now, that would be suitable for beginner bloggers and food blogger pros alike.

TL;DR

[themify_box style="light-green highlight rounded" ]The best of the bunch is definitely WP Ultimate Recipe. It is a powerful tool that covers every base, can be used easily and is a delight for visitors to use.[/themify_box]

Comparisons

WP Ultimate Recipe Cooked EasyRecipe Simmer for Recipes Zip Recipes Recipe Card
SEO Friendly
Easy to Use
Rating System
Unit Conversion
User Submissions
Print Option

WP Ultimate Recipe

WP Ultimate Recipe

When first viewed, WP Ultimate Recipe looks daunting as it has numerous menu pages and lots of detail. This detail though is what makes WP Ultimate Recipe an incredibly powerful recipe plugin.

Recipes can be added in two ways: either via the normal recipe editor that is very similar to how WordPress posts work, or by copying and pasting in some text and selecting which bit is the ingredients, instructions etc. This latter option makes short work of adding recipes from other online sources.

The recipe adder has all the details you would think you need: serving amount, prep and cook times, detailed ingredients, easy to add instructions (with the ability to add an image per instruction!).

The plugin has a built in unit conversion system, and its ingredient support is amazing. When you add an ingredient to a recipe, the system saves this as a separate item in the plugins inner workings, allowing you to set some defaults for it, including the nutritional information. That information is even generated for you!

WP Ultimate Recipe also comes with an admin & user rating system built in. As well as that is a favourite system for logged in users, which is a great way to help entice and keep people as registered users of your site.

Further to that, the plugin also allows user submitted recipes.

The settings and options will definitely take some time to go through and tweak to your liking, but they are really powerful and flexible: everything you need is baked right into the plugin.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/wp-ultimate-recipe" ]Download WP Ultimate Recipe[/themify_button]

Cooked

Cooked - A Super-Powered Recipe Plugin

If you’re looking for a recipe plugin for WordPress that has everything you need, and is easy to use, the Cooked might be the one for you.

Like most other decent recipe plugins, Cooked uses a custom post type system, meaning that adding a recipe is nearly as simple as adding a post.

You can add in ingredients and instructions and the plugin will convert them to tickable items on the front end: very nice for users with a tablet computer in the kitchen!

The plugin allows for nutritional data to be added, and though the available options will cover most bases, you are limited to those and cannot add in your own types. There’s also no automated system to get nutritional data so you will have to know it or find it out when adding a recipe.

The settings for Cooked are detailed enough for most food bloggers and are very easy to use.

The plugin comes with 8 pre-designed templates for the single recipe view and a few variations for the recipe overview.

Unlike other recipe plugins, Cooked does not merge recipes into the post feed; instead it has them separated out on a page with a shortcode.

The recipe overview also has a handy filtering system, allowing users to find the right type of recipe they are after. Sadly, this cannot be turned off.

On a positive note, Cooked also provides a rating system and user submission system.

Overall, Cooked is a solid plugin for beginner or casual food bloggers.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/cooked" ]Download Cooked[/themify_button]

EasyRecipe

EasyRecipe

This WordPress recipe plugin doesn’t separate recipes from posts which is a little unusual. Instead you add the recipe to a post via a button in the editor.

This will pop up a modal window allowing you to insert the recipe details. One good aspect of this is that should you ever stop using the plugin the recipe details will stay as they are inserted with HTML.

However, not everyone will want their recipes intermingled with their blog posts; from an admin view point it could end up being a nightmare.

The free version is somewhat basic, not even allowing you to insert an image, and it also limits you to one recipe per post.

The looks of the recipe card are not bad, clean and crisp, and you get to choose from 9 different styles.

The plugin also allows you to test the different templates and even customise specific aspects such as font size, all from the front end, so you can find the right one that fits in with your website theme.

EasyRecipe allows user submission, but only with the premium version.

Like with Cooked, EasyRecipe allows for nutritional data but limits it to a specific set of nutritional values, though these are fine for most people.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/easyrecipe/" ]Download EasyRecipe[/themify_button]

Simmer fro Recipes

Simmer for Recipes

This recipe plugin is perfect for those wanting to add basic but complete recipes to their WordPress website.

Simmer for Recipes adds recipes as separate recipe post types, and you can add the standard data of ingredients, instructions, prep time, servings and yields.

Where Simmer differs from other WordPress recipe plugins, is that it is also a portal for a SaaS (Software as a Service) system of simmer itself.

This means that you can extend the plugin by purchasing one of the following:

  • Tinypass for Simmer – an extension to allow for micro payments so you can monetise your food blog
  • Recipe Connector – a way to combine and order posts and recipes
  • Membership – a way to join the Simmer community and get additional benefits.

None of these additonal addon plugins stop you from using Simmer for Recipes, but can possibly (for a fee) enhance the plugin and your site.

Other than that, Simmer for Recipes is a fairly simple recipe plugin with a blog style recipe card, and limited options.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/simmer-for-recipes/" ]Download Simmer for Recipes[/themify_button]

Zip Recipes

Zip Recipes

Another plugin that inserts recipes directly into posts, Zip Recipes is the successor of Zip Lists.

The plugin allows you to enter a single recipe into a post, and includes the following:

  • Ingredient list
  • Instruction list
  • Admin star rating
  • Time to cook
  • Yield & Serving size
  • Basic nutritional info

All of these are pretty standard fare.

There’s nothing bad about Zip Recipes, and it is ideal for those bloggers who only occasionally add a recipe or two.

The plugin does use shortcodes in the posts, so if you decide to change plugins later you will need to re-enter any old recipes.

There was one thing that bugged me, though it doesn’t affect the use of the plugin: you have to register your name and email (and provide anonymous site data) via the plugin before you can actually use the plugin.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/zip-recipes/" ]Download Zip Recipes[/themify_button]

Recipe Card

Recipe Card

This recipe plugin is free and does a great job of converting your WordPress site into a proper recipe blog.

It too inserts recipe cards directly into posts rather than having them as separate entities, but if that isn’t a big deal to you then you should check this plugin out.

It offers a large variety of built in style templates, making it one of the best plugin in this list for choice of readymade styles.

While the style options are extensive, the plugin lacks any other options.

It’s easy to enter a recipe and (depending on the template you choose) the plugin automatically sources nutritional data from Yumprint, which is quite cool.

It offers a print mode and user rating, though the users must sign up for a Yumprint account before they can register their vote.

Being tied to a third party service, and being unable to disable this may not appeal to everyone, but Recipe Card is a simple and easy to use recipe plugin.

SEO Friendly Easy to Use Rating System Unit Conversion User Submissions Print Option

[themify_button style="green large rounded" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/recipe-card" ]Download Recipe Card[/themify_button]

Comparisons

WP Ultimate Recipe Cooked EasyRecipe Simmer for Recipes Zip Recipes Recipe Card
SEO Friendly
Easy to Use
Rating System
Unit Conversion
User Submissions
Print Option

Wrapping Up

By far the best of the bunch, WP Ultimate Recipe is most definitely ultimate! It can cater to both casual and professional food bloggers alike. It does have a learning curve when considering the wealth of options available to you, but the basics are simple enough for anyone to get started with.

Coming in second place I would recommend Cooked: it has a solid amount of options, looks great and is easy to use.

The rest of the plugins are of course great, though they have certain downs sides such as Recipe Cards automatic integration with Yumprint, and Simmer for Recipes lack of options and features.

Overall, whatever your recipe needs, one of these recipe plugins will surely fit the bill.

The post 6 of the Best Recipe Plugins for WordPress appeared first on ApinaPress.

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Easy Azon Pro Review http://www.apinapress.com/easy-azon-pro-review/ Sat, 18 Jul 2015 17:02:05 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2572 Easy Azon

Affiliate marketing is still a profitable way to make money in this online world of ours. There are naysayers out there who feel it has had its day, yet companies still use affiliates to drive traffic and sales of their products.

Companies such as Amazon still generate vast amounts of cash, both from affiliates and for affiliates.

However, anyone with a site that promotes Amazon products knows how much of a pain it can be to find Amazon products and insert the Amazon links into the site. It’s not difficult, just time consuming and boring, especially if there are a lot of links.

Easy Azon to the rescue

Easy Azon can help with this pretty much every aspect of this process. It allows you to search for Amazon products while writing your post, review etc., and insert links directly into the article.

It also uses geolocation to track where the user is from and change the links to match the Amazon store closest to the visitor.

This one seemingly simple change can help improve your affiliate income dramatically, as someone who is based in the EU won’t generally buy from the US version of Amazon, instead they would look to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de or one of the other EU based versions of Amazon.

Multiple accounts

The hardest part with expanding your Amazon account to include other countries is that they are all separate. You actually need to sign up for each one individually in order to benefit from the commissions – if you send someone to Amazon.it but haven’t registered for the Italian version then you’re just wasting an opportunity to make money.

Easy Azon can’t sign up for you (now that would be an awesome feature!) but it can at least provide the right links so you don’t miss one by accident.

Link Variety

Linking to an Amazon product in your post is as easy as adding an image: click a button, search for the product, click a couple more times to add the right links and boom, you’re done.

The free version, whilst useful, only allows you to add text links and has limited options (just new window and no follow).

The pro version though, that has some great features that can provide alternatives to just text links.

Text Links: standard links that can be inserted directly into your articles.

Image Links: Images are pulled direct from Amazon and you can select the size as well. The images are hotlinked from Amazons servers so there is a small chance the images may break, but it’s Amazon so it’s only a small chance.

CTAs: This option inserts small “buy from Amazon” buttons.

Infloblocks: These are medium sized boxes that contain an image, text link, prices and a CTA button. These are perfect for adding into product reviews or side bars.

[caption id="attachment_2582" align="aligncenter" width="228"]Easy Azon link types The various ways you can add a link[/caption]

Those various link options are, by default, added via shortcodes. This method has pros and cons. The pros are that if you insert it using a default setting, and then change that setting later, they are all automatically updated. The cons are that if you disable the Easy Azon plugin for whatever reason, your links will be useless.

Luckily, Easy Zon also allows you to insert all of those link types as HTML code as well should you want to. In that case reverse the pros and cons above: no easy settings changes, but future proof links.

Out of the various link options, I love the image link, especially with the option to select an image size!

The weakest in my opinion has to be the CTA: while you have various sizing and colour options, it’s still just (in my mind) a crappy Amazon button.

I don’t think this is a limitation of Easy Azon as such, they’re just helping you use Amazons own buttons, but I would have loved to have seen a more customised CTA option.

[caption id="attachment_2586" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Easy Azon add amazon link The main link creation screen[/caption]

Easy linking

One thing I found by accident was, if you highlight a word or phrase and then click the Easy Azon button, it will automatically search Amazon for that phrase. Simple things like this make me very happy.

Optional Options

Each link type also comes with a variety of options, the defaults for which you can set in the main settings page.

There are some link type specific options such as button type, image alignment etc, but the general options are:

New Window

Oddly enough, this option opens the link in a new window. I rarely use this, as my aim is to get them to Amazon not whether they stay on my site, but it can be useful.

No Follow

Turn on/off the nofollow attribute on the link. This is good to stop Google bots from ending up at Amazon.

Tracking ID

This defaults to the first tracking ID, but if you add more you can select on a per link basis which ID it uses. This is ideal for tracking specific products or campaigns.

[caption id="attachment_2580" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Easy Azon add link options The image link options[/caption]

 

Add to Cart

This is an interesting option. If this is set, when the user clicks the link rather than heading to the product page, it adds it to the cart and opens up the cart.

Cloak

This option left me a little unsure, as Amazon terms state quite clearly that link cloaking their links is forbidden, as their terms state:

In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site

Source: Amazon.com

Easy Azons links would obscure the fact that they link to Amazon, which might get you in hot water, so be very aware of that!

Localization

More on this below but this option enables/disables localization on a per link basis.

Product Popups

This option is global only, but it needs to be mentioned as it is rather cool! Your text links can have the option to have a pop up appear when the link is hovered. This instantly shows a pop up with brief product details, price, image and CTA button.

Easy Azon tooltip

This can certainly help your links stand out from default affiliate links, and strengthens brand awareness and trust as you know straight away that these are Amazon products.

The Local Web

The localisation aspect of Easy Azon is by far its biggest asset. Your site is likely to receive visitors from a wide range of countries, not just your own, so limiting them to one version of Amazon is just plain silly: it makes financial sense to geolocate the visitor and serve them the right site.

You can do this with one click in Easy Azon, simply make sure the option is turned on and you’re done.

Of course, there are further options to make this more flexible. For instance you can set which countries are redirected to which site.

EU countries make a perfect example: should Finland be sent to Amazon.de or Amazon.co.uk? You decide!

Easy Azon add link localization countries

As well as granularity with countries, you can also set up the plugin to be granular with products.

If you have a product in the US store, it doesn’t necessarily mean the UK store will stock it. What you can do though is add the Product to the Localized Products section, and add similar products from the other stores, so when a UK visitor clicks through they at least get something similar rather than a 404 error.

It wouldn’t make sense to do this for every product, especially if you are heavily into affiliating Amazon, but for key products (read expensive ones!) this system is an absolute must!

Easy Azon add link localization products

Extensions

Easy Azon has two additional addon plugins that can also be purchased: Bestseller Azon and Tablezon.

Bestseller Azon

This plugin adds the ability to insert bestseller lists into your posts. These lists of links are generated from the category you choose or the category of the product you choose.

It can help increase potential click through’s by offering additional products to the visitor.

The bestseller lists are similar to the other link types and have similar options.

I was perhaps expecting a little bit more from this; I suppose I wanted to see a featured image etc, though the tooltip option works just fine with it.

Think of this extension plugin as a type of related posts plugin but for Amazon products instead.

Easy Azon bestseller azon

Tablezon

Tablezon for Easy Azon creates tables out of Amazon products, and in my opinion if you ge a copy of Easy Azon, get this extension too!

I can’t count the number of times I have toiled over creating tables for Amazon products, wasting my time and coming up with a variety of new swear words - Tablepress, you bring out the creative sailor in me!

Tablezon wasn’t anything like this. It was really easy to use and I was able to create a basic table in under a few minutes with various products on it.

It works by searching for products and adding them to the table list. Once you’re ready you turn it into a table and select the options.

At this point you can select which columns (attributes) you want the table to show, e.g. brand, list price, etc. You can also reorder the rows and columns by an easy to use drag and drop system. As is normal by now, you can also change the link attributes like nofollow, add to cart, etc.

The orientation of the bale can be shifted too, to make some handy comparison charts.

One thing that was missing for me was an image option, which seems like a bit of an oversight.

[caption id="attachment_2584" align="aligncenter" width="719"]Easy Azon tablezon Products to the side, attributes at the top[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2583" align="aligncenter" width="725"]Easy Azon tablezon comparison style Attributes at the side, products at the top[/caption]

The bad side

Easy Azon is definitely a brilliant plugin for Amazon affiliates: it’s easy to use as its name implies and has a ton of features built in.

The main downside I could see was when it came to editing: it’s not possible to “easily” edit a link once it’s been made. You would need to either recreate it or edit the shortcode manually. This applies to Tablezon as well.

There was also a few missing features, mainly image options in Tablezon and Bestseller Azon, but these are relatively minor points.

Bonuses

The people behind Easy Azon also throw in a few extras when you purchase it: a 13,000 word Amazon affiliate course and two themes designed for Amazon affiliates. Not too shabby!

Conclusion

Easy Azon is not perfect, but nothing is. The plugin is geared to making your life easier while creating Amazon sites and it definitely does do that.

When I asked for a review copy of the plugin, I honestly had no idea how it worked, I thought it might just be a link localiser, but it turned out to be much more than that.

For me, I can’t see how I would create another site that focuses on Amazon products without this little gem of a plugin.

[themify_button style="green xlarge flat" link="http://www.apinapress.com/go/easy-azon/" ]Find out more about Easy Azon[/themify_button]

The post Easy Azon Pro Review appeared first on ApinaPress.

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Geolocation in WordPress: What is it and why should you care? http://www.apinapress.com/geolocation-in-wordpress-what-is-it-and-why-should-you-care/ Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:05:19 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2554 WordPress Geolocation

Even if you have never heard of geolocation, I'm pretty sure you will have experienced it> especially if you live outside the US or have checked a US website while on holiday abroad.

Geolocation is a system that detects your computers current location, either in a broad sense such as country or even down to within a few feet or meters from where you are sat.

Many sites and apps use geolocation to improve the customer experience or restrict it, depending on need.

For example, a mapping system like Google Maps or Apple Maps, uses geolocation to detect your current position and give you an accurate route plot.

E-commerce sites, especially international ones, use geolocation to route users through to the correct location specific sub site, or to work out the correct taxes and shipping costs for you.

While geolocation is useful it can also be a pain in the rear! Take it from an expat living in a non-English speaking country, that some companies can be over enthusiastic with geolocation, and not offer alternatives (yes Google, I'm looking at you!).

However, when done right, geolocation can easily boost both user experience and website income.

There are numerous ways in which you can and benefit from geolocation with your WordPress website (the example below mainly focus on Woocommerce because, well, Woocommerce!).

E-commerce

The most common place you will see geolocation on the internet is on an e-commerce site.

If your business is selling products international, be them physical or digital products, you could benefit from incorporating geolocation in your site.

Changing Tax

The most obvious use is changing the tax rate on your products, especially with the new (and ridiculous) EU VAT tax changes! Even if you only sell inside the United States, each states tax rates need to be taken into account.

For EU Vat compliance you can use Woocommerce EU VAT Compliance which provides an easy way to help with that headache!

If you need a more general tax system, the Tax Display by Country for Woocommerce plugin should be up your alley.

[caption id="attachment_2566" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Tax Display by Country fro Woocommerce Tax Display by Country for Woocommerce[/caption]

Currency and Price

Some businesses charge the same amount for an item in the US as they do in South Africa, but sometimes it's good business sense to change pricing to reflect the local economy.

If that's something you want to achieve then I would suggest Woocommerce Currency Switcher plugin which will swap your prices over to the visitor’s country currency.

You could also try the WooCommerce Product Price Based on Countries which is free on the WordPRess.org plugin repository.

What if you simply want your international visitor to see what the price is in their local currency while still charge in yours? Then pick up the Smart Currency Convertor for Woocommerce plugin. This will auto detect the visitors location and allow them to easily see how much $10 bucks is in Euros, or Australian Dollars or whatever.

Another option that only changes the currency for informational purposes is the Currency Conversion Widget.

Shipping costs

Probably the best plugin for restricting shipping options in Woocommerce is Woocommerce Conditional Shipping and Payments, which has the added feature of restricting what payment gateways your visitor sees as well.

Product blocking

Sometimes you can't sell a product to another country because it's simply illegal to sell it there or even export it.

Using a plugin such as WooCommerce Geolocation Based Products can help with that. This plugin hides products based off of country or state code, so that your visitors from that location don't even see the product.

Catalog Visibility Options also does something similar, should you want to turn Woocommerce into a catalogue

Language

If your site has multiple languages, geolocation makes perfect sense. For example, if you are using a subdomain for your additional languages, you could also use the Geo Redirect plugin to send the user to the correct subdomain should they land on the wrong one. (Note, that plugin hasn't been updated in a while, but still seems functional).

WPML, the multi-language plugin for WordPress, has a redirect feature built in that can also achieve this.

The GeoReg Lite plugin is another option, but you would need to be able to code up the redirects yourself, but it has been updated more recently.

Content

Even if you don't run an e-commerce store, geolocation can still be useful.

For example, you may wish to show certain content (posts, or even parts of posts) to a visitor from Canada, while hiding it from all other visitors.

One of the best, and free, plugins that you can use for this has to be Geo my WP. It's fully featured and allows you to control posts, pages, post types by location. You can use it with BuddyPress and even search content by location (useful for directory sites!). It really is a Swiss Army knife for WordPress geolocation.

WP Pro Geo Targeting

Another option, that includes a shortcode feature for post content, is WP Pro Geo Targeting. This plugin also allows full posts to be shown by country.

If you are looking for something that can give you the data and allow you to do something custom, then I would suggest checking out GeoIP Detect - if you’re not comfortable coding though, I'd skip this one.

Adverts

It makes financial sense, as well as customer experience sense, to geolocate adverts. You're much more likely to have customers click and advert if it is relevant to them, which not all services or products are.

Two plugins that can assist with this are:

Geo Ads Switcher - a true geo location plugin for your adverts, whether they are from Adsense or custom made.

WP PRO Advertising System - This plugin actually doesn't have geolocation, but can use its sister plugin WP Pro Geo Targeting alongside this one to give you all the advert features plus geolocation.

The popular Ad Rotate plugin also has a geo targeting feature for adverts as well!

[caption id="attachment_2568" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Geo Ads Switcher Geo Ads Switcher[/caption]

Affiliate links

Similar to adverts, many WordPress websites use affiliate links. Most are location neutral, but some, especially Amazon, are very much location specific. Combine this with the fact that a large number of the links are in the content itself and you have a bit of a nightmare.

The best solution for this is a plugin called Easy Azon.

This is really easy to use, and virtually one click can enable the plugin to dynamically change your Amazon links dependant on the country the visitor is on. This small change can drastically change your income, especially if your site focuses on Amazon affiliation!

Maps and route finders

One classic way to implement geolocation on your WordPress site is to use a mapping system.

For example, you could use a plugin like CP Google Maps to link an address in a post to a Google Map.

How about adding a map to your business website that geolocates the visitor and plans a route from them to your business? You can do that with the Google Maps Module with Geolocation plugin.

Blocking people

The final use for WordPress geolocation plugins is somewhat controversial: blocking people by country.

It’s awful to think that in this connected world of ours, that some websites will simply stop customers from viewing their site, or particular content based on their country of residence.

However, there are some good reasons for it too:

  • Not all content can legally be shown in other countries
  • As a business you simply do not sell outside of your own country
  • To block hackers/spammer/naughty people who are harassing your website from a particular country.

Blocking visitors on a country level is a big decision to make, but if more people from that country cause you problems versus the number that can benefit you then it is understandable.

On one of my sites, visitors from a certain non-English speaking country are hammering my site. From the stats, they never go anywhere but the home page, or the login page so it’s easy to deduce these are merely hackers and bots trying to worm their way into my site.

For that reason alone it makes sense to block that country, with little to no financial impact on my site.

The following plugins can block unwanted visitors:

My favourite out of that bunch has to be IQ Block Country, it’s easy to set up, works for both the front and backend, and it just simply works.

Conclusion

There are so many different ways that you can extend your WordPress site with geolocation, that the question is why would you use geolocation, but why aren't you using it already!

Just remember to have pity on us poor expats and take into consideration that being forced into a certain route is poor user experience.

Have you used geolocation on your WordPress site? Let me know how you did it and how it has benefited you, via the comments below.

The post Geolocation in WordPress: What is it and why should you care? appeared first on ApinaPress.

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The 8 Best Live Chat Plugins for WordPress http://www.apinapress.com/the-8-best-live-chat-plugins-for-wordpress/ Mon, 13 Jul 2015 22:04:20 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2530 The 8 Best Live Chat Plugins for WordPress

Running a successful online business requires a lot of different factors to come together and gel.

Focusing on your customers is incredibly important, and actively engaging with them can go a long way to improving sales.

Having a live chat system on your website can increase this engagement, as you will be able to help answer any questions your visitor has (which can also help you learn where your website lacks the proper information), overcome buyer objections, and guide your potential customer to the most suitable product: all in real time!

There is an increasing number of Live Chat plugins for WordPress, so much so that it can get a little difficult to figure out which is the most suitable for you.

Let's have a look at some of the best Live Chat plugins available for WordPress today!

Live Chat

Live Chat

This chat plugin from Screets is definitely one of the best on the bunch! You can use it for sales and support, and it's a simple, clean solution.

It's a single and cheap one off payment so it's a great solution for small businesses that need a simple to use chat system with no additional costs.

Features:

  • One time fee
  • Self hosted (on your WordPress site)
  • Multiple operators can talk to one client
  • Contact form for when staff are offline
  • Chat logs
  • Customizable skins

Live Chat different views

 

WP Live Chat Support

WP Live Chat Support

There's no better price than free, and that's definitely a "selling" point for WP Live Chat.

The plugin is a fully functional chat system, with no adverts, backlinks or powered by messages meaning it is suitable for professional business use.

There are two version, free and premium, and as expected the free version is somewhat light on features.

The premium version has all the bells and whistles you would expect and is reasonably priced ($19.95 with one year of support and updates).

Liver Chat (above) is better value in my opinion, but WP Live Chat is a solid competitor, well, the Pro version is at least.

The free version is great if you have a light visitor load, but a heavier load will see you begin to struggle with not being able to chat to more than one person at the same time.

WP Live Chat Support features

 

 

Tidio Live Chat

Tidio

Tidio is a solid live chat plugin with many great features. The downside is that you only get access to the majority of these features for a week: at that point you need to downgrade to the free level or pay $10 a month.

  • Easy to install and set up
  • Talk to anyone visiting your site
  • 3 designs and adjustable colour scheme
  • Mobile and desktop apps available
  • Contact form for when staff are offline
  • Email customers after chatting
  • Many third party integrations

I want to love this plugin, and it is good, but the fact you are teased with features that you actually can't have without paying is off-putting. However, out of all the live chat plugins that charge a monthly fee, it is the cheapest.

 

 

Chat X

Chat X

Another quality plugin from Screet, the makers of Live Chat. This is similar to Live Chat but rebuilt from the ground up using slightly different technology.

This new technology allows for faster communication (virtually instant, compared to a couple of second delay) and more concurrent users (approx. 50 instead of 5 - 10).

The new tech comes with a slight downside, as your conversation are stored, albeit temporarily, on a third party server.

This helps with the speed, but not everyone will go for that.

Chat X also supports SSL which is a nice addition.

  • SSL support
  • Multilingual support
  • Custom company avatar
  • Desktop notifications
  • See if user is currently writing
  • End visitor chat (back-end)
  • Last seen info (back-end)
  • Visitor connecting info (back-end)
  • Mobile or desktop info (back-end)
  • Active page info (back-end)
  • Full UTF-8 support (All languages)
  • Email notifications
  • Responsive
  • Full session support
  • Cache plugin support

Chat X offline

 

 

ClientEngage Visitor Chat

Visitor Chat

From the premium selection, ClientEngage Visitor Chat is not the cheapest option.

That being said, it is a fully featured live chat plugin with a few surprises up its sleeve.

  • Non-intrusive chat for your WordPress websites
  • Clear administrator chat-interface
  • View additional metadata of your visitors (pages they are on, referrers, and more)
  • One-time fee: no recurring costs
  • Works with network sites (acts like totally separate chat-installations)
  • Easy to translate
  • Windows-based client included
  • Don’t want to keep a browser window open all day long?
  • You are notified of new visitors in real-time and can start chatting straight through the Windows-based client
  • The chat disappears to your system tray until you have a visitor opening the chat
  • Adaptable Templates & Translations
  • Have a chat that fully blends with the look and feel of your website
  • Comes with four pre-defined colour schemes
  • You can create an unlimited number of new chat styles and you have full control over the CSS
  • All visitor-facing texts can be easily changed
  • Easy Integration & Use
  • Simply install the plugin through WordPress
  • Adapt the CSS to match your site’s design

I love that there is a Windows client thrown in with this plugin. No need to be constantly checking the browser, the client will ping you when there is a customer wanting to chat!

The admin dashboard provides a wealth of information about the customer while you're chatting to them, which is a lovely touch - especially the info about which page the customer is currently on, very useful for ecommerce sites!

Visitor Chat dashboard

 

 

Zopim

Zopim

With over 50,000 active installs and a 4.8 rating on WordPress.org, you know that Zopoim must be a good live chat plugin!

As with a lot of the live chat plugins on WP.org, Zopim is a freemium plugin: you get access to a basic plugin for free but if you want more, you're going to have to pay for it.

I was saddened to find out that the service is not only premium, it also costs quite a bit per user per month.

While this is a quality plugin, of that there is no doubt, I've seen just as many features on plugins like Live Chat and Chat X that are included in a one off price where Zopim will charge you $44 per user a month.

I see Zopim targeted at medium to large sized businesses, as the other plugins will probably not scale as easily and that, ultimately, will be what you're paying for: the scalability.

Add into that the analytics and reporting being tied to the higher payment tiers and this is definitely not one for small businesses.

Still, it is really good!

 

 

My Live Chat for WP

My Live Chat

Another freemium plugin, My Live Chat differs from the rest by providing nearly all their features even in the free version.

The difference comes from the number of agents you can have; the more you pay the more you can have.

As a monthly paid service it does have added benefits over the pay once models, though that difference is somewhat slim. I liked the “proactive chat” option, which is kind of like a pop up for live chat!

One thing I wasn’t so keen on, and in light of the many, many security blips seen in recent years, something you may not be keen on either, is the fact that the chat data is held on their server not yours.

 

 

iFlyChat

https://wordpress.org/plugins/iflychat/

This plugin is aimed at communities rather than businesses, as it allows users on a site to chat in groups (both public and private groups).

This pretty much allows old school chat rooms to be had on your website!

It scores a solid 4.9 rating on WordPress.org, and has over 4000 active installs which is not to be sniffed at.

If their website is to be believed, then iFlyChat is in use by a number of big businesses as well, from Coca-Cola to the European Commission!

The free version allows up to 10 simultaneous users and one chatroom, and you can pay a monthly fee to increase this number.

Most communities benefit from live chatting, so if your website has an active community, then you should definitely check out iFlyChat.

The post The 8 Best Live Chat Plugins for WordPress appeared first on ApinaPress.

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Jump start your internet marketing career with Human Proof Designs http://www.apinapress.com/jump-start-your-internet-marketing-career-with-human-proof-designs/ Thu, 09 Jul 2015 11:06:44 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2492

[themify_box style="light-yellow rounded" ]

Disclaimer: I know Dom from Human Proof Designs and links in the article are affiliate links. Neither of those factors affect my opinion of Human Proof Designs.

[/themify_box]

Online marketing is often quite difficult to get started with.

This is generally due to the numerous topics it covers, some of which can become quite technical.

Topics such as:

  • SEO
  • Website creation
  • Backlinks
  • Writing articles
  • Analytics
  • Market research
  • Keyword research

The list goes on but those are the core aspects.

When you are just starting out, all of this can be quite overwhelming, even with helpful sites like Wealthy Affiliate.

A starting boost

My friend Dom realised that many of the new internet marketers were struggling and came up with an idea that helps new and experienced but time strapped marketers alike: Human Proof Designs.

His core service is to provide ready built (or even custom built) websites geared towards affiliate marketing.

These websites cover areas that confuse most newbies providing a great spring board to not only earn cash from but to learn from as well.

Website Creation

The main thing that Human Proof Designs focuses on, is creating you a clean and professional WordPress website.

The website is built using a premium theme and comes ready installed and set up with a variety of plugins that should be considered standard: an SEO plugin, a backup plugin, a contact form plugin, etc.

The sites can be hosted with Human Proof Designs for a cost or alternatively transferred to your own hosting -  the transfer is included in the cost of the site.

Keyword Research

Each site is focused around a particular niche, normally a type of product such as rangefinders for golfers, Pilates equipment, running shoes, etc.

Having the site focused on a specific area is helpful as it doesn't dilute the message of what your site is about.

The sites can usually still be expanded to cover a range of products and topics related to the original product should you want to.

[caption id="attachment_2501" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Human Proof Designs Earning Estimate Each site comes with a keyword breakdown and earning estimate[/caption]

Article Writing

Each site comes with 8 professionally written articles that are focused on the products and topics of the niche.

To use the Pilates example, the articles could be on Pilates mats, Pilates DVDs, Pilates exercises you can do at home, how Pilates benefits pregnant ladies and so on.

The articles are written based on the keyword research so you know that they are targeting quality keywords that stand a chance of ranking in the search engines.

You can also purchase article packs should you need more articles and not want to research the keywords and write them yourself.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a key focus for any website these days, no one wants to have poor SEO as it affects the search engine page ranks (where you appear in Google etc.).

The site creation team at Human Proof Designs know this and each site is set up with the theme, plugins and articles geared towards SEO, giving you a good base for your own SEO adventure!

Backlinks

While not included with the sites, Human Proof Designs offers a safe and reliable backlinking service to help boost your new websites ranking profile.

Training and support

Dom thought long and hard about the existing state of newbies in internet marketing, and wanted to provide excellent support and guidance for visitors to his site and his customers.

As such you can get access to his experience for free via his blog and mailing list.

He also offers some excellent online marketing e-books that can boost your skill set.

If you purchase one of his sites, you also get access to this Facebook group and can discuss issues and ideas related to your internet marketing journey.

This means that you're not just left alone to wonder what to do, you have a support network and plenty of information to help and guide you should you need it.

[caption id="attachment_2500" align="aligncenter" width="758"]Human Proof Designs Sites These sites sell out quickly, so make sure you get on the mailing list for early notification![/caption]

A springboard

These sites are setup to make you money, and while they may do a decent job with no further work, most likely you will still need to work on the sites.

Which is kind of the point. They are designed so that a newbie can get a feel for an affiliate website, how it's built and how it works and learn from it and apply that learning to the website to make it grow!

This type of site will not make you millions, but are capable of bringing in a reasonable monthly income. You merely need to make sure that the sites are maintained, feed them fresh content regularly  and watch them grow.

Final thoughts

These sites are perfect for newbie internet marketers who want to get their feet wet but don't quite know how. They are also ideal for experienced marketers who just don't have the time or energy to set up a new basic affiliate site.

For the price, which is on the low side in my opinion, you are getting a quality website from an experienced marketer, so you know the research is sound.

I think the best thing for you to do is to head over to Human Proof Designs and check out the sites for sales as well as the previously sold sites and see exactly how one of these can help jump start your internet marketing career.

The post Jump start your internet marketing career with Human Proof Designs appeared first on ApinaPress.

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15 productivity tips when using WordPress http://www.apinapress.com/15-productivity-tips-when-using-wordpress/ Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:21:41 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2507 15 productivity tips when using WordPress

WordPress itself is a great time-saver: long gone are the days when you needed to write your content directly in HTML!

That being said, there are still aspects of using a WordPress site to create content that could be speeded up and improved to help boost productivity.

You can take advantage of numerous WordPress plugins that can help you, as well as various changes to your work flow.

Here are my top 15 tips for boosting your productivity.

1) Brainstorm in bulk

Finding topics to write about or produce content for is often a sticking point for many WordPress users. The thing is though is that there are often thousands of topics you can talk about, regardless of your niche.

Producing a long list of content ideas, will mean that you will rarely be stuck for something to write about - check your list pick a subject and away you go.

Everyone's methods for this will be different, but what I tend to do is to use a mind map.

Start by writing down the core aspects of your niche, then branch from each core idea. Then take each branch in turn and expand that as well. An example from WordPress would be Themes:

[caption id="attachment_2527" align="aligncenter" width="1010"]Mind maps are awesome for topic brainstorming Mind maps are awesome for topic brainstorming[/caption]

As you can see from the quick example above, I've already generated a couple of ideas: reviewing a Themify theme and writing an article on Child Themes.

You can keep going like this for quite some time, generating dozens of topic ideas, often which will generate even more as you start to think about them in depth and compare them next to each other (what about an article on a child them for a specific Themify theme?).

A couple of hours doing this and you can easily have enough topics for the next year!

2) Write your content early and schedule it

Often, getting into the writing zone can be hard, but once you are it's usually easy to plough through several articles in one sitting.

Of course it's unlikely that you will want to publish all of that fine writing in one sitting, especially as Google et al appreciate regular content rather than burst content.

Luckily WordPress makes it ridiculously easy to schedule those posts.

15 productivity tips when using WordPress schedule posts

Instead of clicking the publish button, click the edit link next to the Publish immediately text just above the publish button.

This will change to allow you to edit the date. Do so and click OK. Then the Publish button will change to a Schedule button. Click that and your post will then be scheduled and automatically publish on the schedule date.

3) Eliminate distractions

Procrastination and distractions go hand in hand. Even if you are not inclined to procrastinate, outside distractions can impair your writing and work flow.

There are several things you can do to prevent this:

Close your email program - checking email is pointless if you are trying to work

Turn off your phone - if you get constant messages from friends or Facebook notifications, turn off the phone to avoid them for a while. We coped as a species without phones for a long time, a couple of hours won't kill you!

Eat and drink - make sure you have eaten before you start working, and have a drink close by that way your natural urges won't interfere with your content masterpiece.

Use the WordPress distraction free writing mode - this can help you to subconsciously focus by getting rid of the screen clutter.

[caption id="attachment_2515" align="aligncenter" width="375"]15 productivity tips when using WordPress distraction free One click for distraction free writing. Shame it doesn't work on the kids![/caption]

Find a quiet time and space -  especially if you work from home, finding a point in the day and the house where everyone will leave you alone is vitally important. Tell your kids to go play and only disturb you if it's vitally important and go hole yourself up in the quietest room of the house.

Ignore spelling errors - rather than stopping every 2 minutes to fix spelling and grammar errors, keep writing! You can fix the errors in the article once you have finished writing it. This will keep you focused on the core message of the content without losing your train of though due to a typo.

4) Streamline your writing/content generation process

Whether you write articles for your WordPress website or make videos, infographs etc, you will likely have a process in place.

Most probably you could streamline that process to help speed up the generation of the content.

With writing for example you can use the following process:

Research

Take your initial idea and see what information is already out their. This can spark ideas for the content piece or even for future content.

Outline

Make a rough outline of what the final article or whatever will be like. Note down what you will start with, what will follow and how you will end it. This outline can then be referred to while you produce the draft in order to keep you from going off on tangents.

Draft

As Nike says, Just Do It! Get the article written, get the video recorded, read the text for the podcast. If you make an error, just write/act/read it again. The errors can all be sorted in the next stage.

Edit and Finalize

At this point you need to go through your content, make sure that the outline was followed and fix any errors.

Add media and links

Only at this stage should you start looking at adding appropriate media such as images and links, or overlays and text bubbles.

Tweak the SEO

Even if you are using an SEO plugin, it makes sense to make sure the SEO aspect is correct and individual to the content.

Publish

Finally, you need to do the hardest bit: press the publish button and let the world see your creation!

All that might seem like more work, but once you have the process in place, it can actually speed up your writing, because you are not trying to do everything all at once and can instead focus on just one aspect.

As mentioned above, focusing on just one aspect is better than trying to do a bunch of things at once.

While a lot of managers and ladies might say that you can multi-task, the reality is that the human brain is really not suited to doing multiple things at once. However, it is ideal for focusing on one thing at a time.

By keeping that focus to a singular action, you can do that one thing to the best of your ability. This will show in the final produced content.

5) Speed up image sourcing

Finding the right images or your article or infograph is actually harder than it sounds to most people. Images convey a lot of meaning and feeling and can even change the message in your content - as the say, an image speaks louder than a thousand words.

Having some good sources for images you can use is vital. I often switch between using Pixabay, Flickr's Creative Commons and premium sources like DepositPhotos and CanStock.

Of course if you are using an image that requires attribution like a creative commons image, you need to make sure you add that in too.

[caption id="attachment_2518" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Speed up image sourcing Pixabay might be free, but it can still be a source of good images[/caption]

There are several plugins that can help speed up this process:

Flickr - pick a picture: This plugin lets you select an image from Flickr and add it into your content, it will even add attribution as a caption text.

ImageInject: Searches images on Flickr and Pixabay and automatically adds attribution when required.

Pixabay Images: If you dislike having to attribute and link back, then just use images from Pixabay as no attribution is required.

Getty Images: Getty are a commercial supplier of images and damn expensive too, but they recently changed their policy to allow images to be used on any NON-COMMERCIAL site. The problem is that the images are only linked to your site and not actually on it, and again, it cannot be used for commercial websites.

6) Automate some of your SEO

With the quality of SEO Plugins put there, there is no reason to not be using one for the majority of your SEO needs. Personally I like WordPress SEO by Yoast but there is also All in One SEO. Both allow you to set up the plugins so that the majority of your SEO needs are covered.

It's still advisable to tweak individual posts and pages SEO though. Luckily, both plugin add meta boxes into your posts/pages to make this a breeze.

Image SEO isn't handled by either of these plugins, so you will still need to do that when uploading images to your site (title tag and ALT tag). I also recommend making sure the image file name is SEO friendly: a-picture-of-a-dog.jpg, makes more sense than DSC9128337.jpg and search engines do use file names in their algorithms.

7) Learn WordPress keyboard shortcuts

Have you ever noticed the question mark icon in your WordPress editor bar above each post?

If not then you need to click it!

This will show you the various keyboard shortcodes that are available to style your article. Very handy for adding in a quick style as you go without having to find the right icon (I constantly use ctrl-shift 2 to mark a title when writing very long posts).

Some of the basic commands (use Control or Command plus the letter listed below):

1 Heading 1 2 Heading 2
3 Heading 3 4 Heading 4
5 Heading 5 6 Heading 6
n Check Spelling l Align Left
j Justify Text c Align Center
d Strikethrough r Align Right
u List a Insert/edit link
o 1. List s Remove link
q Quote m Insert Image
w Distraction-free writing mode t Insert More Tag
p Insert Page Break tag h Help
x Add/remove code tag

 

8) Learn markdown

If you're keen on formatting text as you write, then you should consider learning markdown.

Markdown is similar in some ways to HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), but is quite simple to use:

Titles are easy:

#this will make a header 1

##this will make a header two

So is highlighting words:

**need something bolding?**

*or in italics?*

What about a list?

* this

* will

* become

* a list

Markdown isn't supported in WordPress, so you will need a plugin to enable it. Two popular plugins for markdown are Wp-Markdown and the markdown module in Jetpack.

9) Take advantage of editorial calendars

Editorial calendars are plugins and services that you can use to plan out your content strategy. They help productivity by giving you an see overview of your content. This allows you to view previously published content and enables you to plan out when content should be published (combined with the scheduling of course!).

If you have a multi author website, these calendars also allow for users to see each others content plans to avoid duplication and to control content waves (especially when you have serialised content).

wordpress notes

10) Take note of your thoughts and ideas

Keeping track of your content ideas, both on a broad scale and for individual articles or content peieces, can become complicated.

If you have ever waded through piles of sticky notes and reams of notepads to try and track down an idea you had you know exactly how difficult it can be.

Luckily there are ways you can keep this under control.

WP Dashboard notes: This plugin allows you to add notes to the WordPress dashboard, and is a great way to keep a note of general things.

WP Sticky Notes: Add notes anywhere! This plugin allows you to add notes to pretty much anywhere on your site, and the notes can also be specific to users as well. Great for solo and multi author sites alike.

Peter's Post Notes: A simple plugin allowing you to have post and page specific notes.

Workflowy: One of my favourite sites, Workflowy allows you to keep track of information and displays it in a way that you can see all of it or just sections that you are currently focused on.

Evernote: One of the most famous note services, you can't go wrong with this fully featured service.

11) Manage all your sites quickly

Managing multiple WordPress installations is a pain. The constant logging in and logging out alone is annoying, but then needing to update all the plugins and themes, quickly becomes tiresome.

Services such as ManageWP, InfiniteWP and CMS Commander can quickly come to your aid, freeing up a bunch of time by updating all plugins, themes across multiple sites with one click.

12) Do not multi-task!

As mentioned earlier, multi-tasking is a big no-no. While many companies and such shout out that multi-tasking is the way forward, it is in fact worse to both productivity and your health to multi-task rather than focus on one thing at a time.

Multi-tasking itself is actually quite rare: rub your tummy and pat your head - that's multitasking. Doing one thing and then swapping to another mid way through and then back again: that's task switching not multitasking.

Reasons not to multi-task:

Loss of focus - being able to concentrate on one thing at a time and do that thing well is impossible if you have to keep switching focus to something different.

Brain Drain - it's more tiring to constantly switch your brains focus from one thing to another especially if they are vastly different tasks.

Error prone - swapping between tasks increases the likelihood that both tasks will have more errors in them, simply because you're not giving a single task your complete focus,

13) Track your time and computer usage

Your productivity would be boosted if you stopped doing things like checking your emails every five minutes, seeing what your friends are doing via Facebook, checking the news reports for your teams latest scores and so on.

If you were to actively track your computer usage it would become quite clear which areas are taking up your time.

Software such as RescueTime can easily pinpoint these areas for you as well. Another great option is ClockSpot, which although it's a premium option, it contains a lot of features.

Even if you're not too fussed by how long you're spending a day looking at pictures of cats, it's still a good idea to track how long your particular jobs are taking you.

Programs like Toggl can help with this. Knowing how long it takes you to write that article, add that CSS or create that infograph can help you to find ways to streamline your processes and help you get things done faster.

IFTTT - IF This Then That

14) Automate all the things!

Computers are designed to help alleviate mind-numbing repetitive tasks, yet we still find ourselves faced with these on a daily basis.

You can leverage the power of computers and the internet to at least automate some of your tasks.

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is an awesome website that allows you to automate app to app functions. It uses so called recipes to do this, you can either design one (it's not hard) or make use of the thousands generated by the community.

For example, I use a recipe that checks my RSS feed, and when a new item is added, it sends a tweet out. You can set the wording of the tweet, so it's like an automated tweet as soon as you hit the publish button.

I also use one that sends me a text message once a month reminding me to pay a bill.

There is a lot of apps available to be used such as Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Dropbox, Fiverr, Github, LinkedIn, Reddit, SMS, and so many more!

Best of all, it's free!

An alternative to IFTT that is very similar is Zapier.

15) Delegate and outsource

The one thing that most entrepreneurs eventually learn and yet is still hard to stop from doing is that you cannot do everything yourself!

If you already have staff in your business, then make sure that you are delegating to them. This is especially so, if they are better than you at something. I suck at art, so if I had an artist on staff, they would get a lot of that work delegated their way.

Of course, theirs a fine balance to be had and you shouldn't overburden your staff, but having them twiddling their thumbs is a waste as well!

If you don't have any staff of if you and your staff don't have time or the skill set to get a job done, then look to outsource it. There's no point strugglign with something, or doing something half-assed because you don't have the time or knowledge. Just pay someone to get it done right the first time and fast.

There are plenty of freelance job sites out there: Upwork (the new combined Elance and Odesk site), Fiverr.com, WordPress Jobs, and many more.

It does take some time, patience and skill to find reliable and skilled outsources, but it shouldn't stop you from taking the time to find them: in the end it will save you time and energy!

Conclusion

There are many different ways that you can boost your productivity, the above list certainly isn't exhaustive, but each item listed can help you if you let it.

More productivity will mean not only getting more stuff done, but freeing up your time to focus on new projects, and important things like family and friends.

Do you have any tips or know any services that can help with productivity? If so, let me know in the comments!

The post 15 productivity tips when using WordPress appeared first on ApinaPress.

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Hacked sites: why I now use ManageWP http://www.apinapress.com/hacked-sites-why-i-now-use-managewp/ Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:15:39 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2479 hacked sites why i use managewp

A little while ago I had one of my sites hacked. The amount of time, and therefore money, as well as blood, sweat and tears that went into fixing the site was unbelievable.

A few months after that, another one of my sites got hacked. With this one I at least knew the cause of the hack: outdated, well, everything! It looked like there wasn’t a plugin that didn’t need an update, the theme and WP itself certainly needed one!

That particular site was one I created a while back with good intentions of turning it into the next big thing. As happens, other work, life, and other projects took precedence and this tiny little WP site got promptly ignored for a long time. Because of this, nothing got updated.

At least fixing the hack on this one was simple: I deleted the site!

Not long after that, yet another of my sites got hacked. Once more this was a site of good intentions that never happened, though it had more content on it meaning that my delete the site trick wouldn’t work so more time and energy got devoted to that.

A saviour?

It was about this time that I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t keep track of the numerous sites I have and keep them up to date, especially with the frequency of WordPress and plugin and theme updates.

I had used ManageWP a while back, when I had much fewer sites and while it was good, it was still in its infancy. I knew that something like ManageWP would be needed in order to track everything and make sure updates happen in a timely manner.

I decided to have a look at a few of the different services available that handle managing multiple WordPress installations, the key players being: InfiniteWP, CMS Commander and ManageWP.

InfiniteWP

This product has a few advantages off the bat, well one in particular: it’s free! You can’t beat free that’s for sure.

The downside came with the program installation. It looked overly fiddly and complicated for me, someone used to this sort of thing, let alone someone who struggles with WordPress itself.

You need to download, install it on your server directly, set up cron jobs. That being said, once it’s done, it’s done, and adding sites to monitor to it is as easy as adding a plugin.

I suppose you could argue that for free, it having a bit of complicated set up isn’t a bad thing.

It certainly has a large and dedicated following, so perhaps one day I will give this one the attention it deserves.

CMS Commander

Like ManageWP, I tried CMS Commander when it first came out and it was OK, but it was also fairly new so rough around the edges.

The great thing about CMS Commander is that it is fully based in WordPress, even the site you log into to manage everything is a WP site. You gotta love that.

In a lot of ways I find CMS Commanders user experience to be better than ManageWP’s – it’s comfortable, and easily understood because of being built on WordPress. It makes finding things and updating things just that much easier.

The service still has a focus on auto blogging, with the ability to generate content from a wide range of sources. Some people might get a kick out of that, but I see it as unnecessary when all I want to do is manage my websites.

ManageWP

By now you probably have realised that I settled on ManageWP. I liked how easy it was to get going: log into my site, install a plugin, add the site to the ManageWP dashboard and away it goes.
You can even install the plugin from the ManageWP dashboard if you like.

The pricing is pretty good, though CMS Commander may have a slight edge as it keeps it simple: all features, just pay by site amount. Whereas ManageWP has a slightly more complex pricing system, it does mean if you don’t need all the features you don’t have to pay for them.

Unlike CMS Commander, ManageWP gives you a freebie in that subdomains (test.yoursite.com) don’t count towards your maximum site quota, meaning you don’t pay for them. This is great if you have a few sites with multiple subdomains like I do.

These aren't perfect

While services like these are useful, they aren't perfect, especially if a premium plugin or theme doesn't follow WordPress standards. For instance, I use the normally excellent Themify themes. The problem here is that they require you to visit the options page, click a link and login in order to update. ManageWP and its ilk cannot handle this complexity.

This is more of a Themify issue than any website managing system, but its the perfect example of why you cannot fully rely on services like ManageWP. You must still make sure to audit your sites regularly.

Another example of why 100% reliance on this type of service isn't advisable:

I recently went to check a site to see how the traffic was doing and discovered that there was an upswing in traffic (always nice!). However the traffic was weird. 100% of them landed on the front page and that's as far as they went.

Checking the site showed the problem, the caching plugin had gone haywire so there was no CSS formatting the site: it was just about usable but to an average visitor, it was broken.

You can see then that while services like ManageWP are invaluable to anyone with multiple sites to maintain, you should plan to manually audit the sites on a regular basis, just to make sure that nothing has gone wrong that ManageWP can't detect. You can even do this direct from the ManageWP dashboard.

The bottom line

If you have multiple WordPress websites, then I would strongly recommend getting access to a system to manage them.

All 3 of the systems listed have pros and cons, and while I would recommend ManageWP, all that really matters is that you have something to keep your sites up to date and therefore that little bit more secure.

Since re-opening my ManageWP account and actively using it to maintain my sites I have, touch wood, not had any other incidents.

Of course, even making sure your sites are up to date doesn’t fully rule out being hacked, but it sure as hell reduces the possibility!

The post Hacked sites: why I now use ManageWP appeared first on ApinaPress.

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15 Sites For Finding Free Images in the Public Domain http://www.apinapress.com/15-sites-for-finding-free-images-in-the-public-domain/ http://www.apinapress.com/15-sites-for-finding-free-images-in-the-public-domain/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 10:52:33 +0000 http://www.apinapress.com/?p=2408 Images are pivotal to a good website – without them your site will be a wall of uninviting text. Finding great images for your site is relatively easy as there are many, many sites out there that supply paid for and “free” images. Often though you either don’t have the cash, the desire to spend […]

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