, , ,

WordPress SEO

Everybody who is blogging has heard some things about SEO. You realize that it is vital for your site to have great SEO. WordPress is to a great degree all around coded which is the reason many call it SEO well disposed. In any case, the genuine SEO advantage originates from WordPress modules WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin is by far a complete SEO solution that is available for WordPress. It has received over a million downloads. We use WordPress SEO plugin to improve our on-page SEO.

Unlike most other plugins this plugin is way more than simple meta tag additions. We use it to add custom post title, meta description, and meta keyword for our posts, pages, and taxonomies (tag, category, etc). When writing the meta information, WordPress SEO plugin shows you a Google search result snippet preview, so you can see exactly how your content will look when someone searches for it in Google. It even has the ability to get you verified Google authorship for your site.

It helps us create XML sitemaps that support images. It also gives us the ability to have an advanced configuration such as removing a specific post, page, post type, or a taxonomy from the sitemap. It notifies search engines automatically once your content is published.

It allows us to add custom RSS footer for our WordPress posts.

It has the social integration that lets you show you the correct title, description, and image for Facebook using the OpenGraph metadata. It also allows us to add twitter cards in WordPress.

It has tons of other cool features that you can read about in our WordPress SEO by Yoast article.

, ,

Learn how to add and activate themes in your WordPress site

The first thing you need to do when you want to install a new WordPress theme is to login to your site admin page. Once there, go to Appearance -> Themes.

Activate themes

Here, you will see all the themes you have currently installed in your application. To add another one, simply click on the Install Themes tab.

On this page there are two ways to add a new theme. You can either use the search field which will return results from the WordPress.org theme directory or you can upload a theme from your local hard drive. In this tutorial we will show you how to add themes in both ways.

Choose and Install a theme from the official WordPress theme directory

The easiest way to install themes to your WordPress site is if they are listed in the official themes directory. This allows you to search for the theme you need directly from your site admin page. Each theme in the official directory has to have Tags that describe its functionality allowing you to easily search for the right theme.

If you know the theme’s name, you can simply search for it.

wptheme2

However, usually that’s not the case. This is why, you can use the Feature Filter. For example, you can search for a Black and White, Two columns theme that has Flexible Width. Simply check those tags and press the Apply Filters button.

You will now see all themes that meet your search. Hover over any of them and you will see two options – to see a demo of the theme or to install it. Once you choose which theme you want to use for your site, press the blue Install button.

wptheme4

Your WordPress application will download and install the theme for you. Simply click the Acticate link on the next page you will be redirected to.

That’s all – you can go to the front page of your site to see its new looks.

it10

Upload a theme you have already downloaded

If you have a theme that’s not listed in the WordPress.org directory, you can simply upload it from the Themes -> Install Themes section in WordPress. To do this click on the Upload link at the top of the page.

Now, click the Choose File button, select the archive of your theme from your local computer and press the Install Now button.

thms8

In few seconds, WordPress will upload and extract the theme archive for you. All you need to do next is to press the Activate link under the message for successful theme installation.

theme activate

That’s it! You can now go to the front end of your site and see the newly activated theme.

, , , ,

How to Start Your Own Podcast (Step by Step)

No matter your age or technical skill set, you can easily start your own podcast by following the step by step process outlined in this article.

Here is an outline of everything that we will cover:

  • What is podcasting & how podcasts work?
  • Things you need to setup your podcast
  • Choosing the best web hosting and domain name
  • Setting up a media hosting service
  • Choosing the proper podcasting equipment
  • Recording your first podcast
  • Publishing your podcast with WordPress
  • Uploading your media files to Blubrry
  • Setting up Smart Podcast Player Plugin
  • Adding your first podcast in WordPress
  • Previewing your podcast with iTunes
  • Submitting your podcast to iTunes
  • Podcasting resources to help you grow

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is Podcasting & How Podcasts Work?

A podcast is an episodic series of audio files which users can subscribe to download and listen.

In order for your podcast to work, you need to have an audio file and an RSS Feed that users can subscribe to stay updated and download new episodes when they come out.

Because WordPress comes with a built-in RSS feed system for blogs, many podcasters choose to use WordPress as their podcast website platform.

You can connect your podcast website with podcasting apps like iTunes to make it easier for millions of users to listen and subscribe. We will cover this later in the article.

Now that you know what is a podcast and how it works, let’s take a look at how to setup a podcast.

Things You Need to Setup Your Podcast

For a professional podcasting setup, there are few things that you will need to get started.

The first thing is a website or blog where people can find more about you and your podcast.

The second thing is the equipment to record your podcast.

Lastly, you need to have the right tools to publish your podcast on the internet, so you can get maximum subscribers and reach.

We will walk you through the whole process step-by-step.

Step 1. Website Setup: WordPress Hosting and Domain Name

The most important step in building a website is to choose the right platform. Thankfully you’re here, so you won’t be making any rookie mistakes.

We recommend using WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress for setting up your podcasting website.

WordPress is free to use, you can install plugins, customize your site design, and most importantly make money from your site without any restrictions

There’s no catch. It’s free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself.

In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting.

A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. This is what people type to get to your website. For example google.com or dreamsspark.com.

Web hosting is your website’s house on the internet. This is where all your files and images are stored. Every website needs web hosting.

The typical cost of web hosting is $7.99 per month and a domain name usually cost around $14.99 per year.

This is a lot for someone just starting out. Thankfully, Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.

In real numbers, this means you can start your podcasting website for $2.95 per month.

We recommend using Bluehost because they are one of the official WordPress recommended hosting providers, and one of the largest web hosting service in the world.

After signing up with Bluehost, please refer to our step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog. You will be up and running in no time.

Step 2. Setting up a Media Hosting Service

The next thing you will need is a good media hosting service. Your podcasts are large audio files.

Serving these large files from your web host will consume a lot of server resources. This will make your website slow and often unresponsive.

For best user experience, we recommend that you use a podcast specific media hosting platform like Blubrry.

Most smart podcasters use a separate podcast hosting service to serve their podcast files. It is the smartest and most efficient way to run a podcast.

Here are few reasons why we recommend Blubrry:

  • Blubrry is optimized for podcasting using WordPress. They offer a powerful plugin called Blubrry PowerPress which makes it easy to manage your podcast from WordPress site.
  • It comes with the large user community consisting many successful podcasters behind it. If you need help, then join the forums to learn from others who are podcasting for a long time.
  • Blubrry comes with great tools like ID3 tagging, iTunes optimization, automatic media artwork management, etc.
  • They have a top-tier content delivery network which makes your content delivery faster and more reliable.

Step 3. Choosing Proper Podcasting Equipment

As your podcast grows, you will learn about new tools that you can use to produce higher quality podcasts. However, as a beginner, the most important tool that you need is a good microphone.

Please do not use your computer’s built-in microphone to record your podcast. Your users will instantly notice the terrible sound quality.

There are 3 popular mic choices among podcasters.

podcasting-equipment Podcast

Samson C01U (USB) – Entry level Microphone

Rode Podcaster (USB) – Best USB mic.

Heil PR-40 (XLR connection, not USB) – This is what the Pro’s use. You will need to buy an audio mixer as well.

Other equipment that you probably want to purchase: mic arm, shock mount, and a pop filter. We purchased the Rode Podcaster kit that came with a Mic Arm and shock mount.

You would also need a decent headphone. We’re using Sony MDR7506.

Once you have the right podcasting equipment, you will be ready for the next step: recording your podcast.

Step 4. Recording Your First Podcast

To record your podcast, you will need an audio recording software. This software will help you record and edit your audio files.

The best podcast recording software which is used by most podcasters is Audacity. It is a free, cross-platform, and open source software capable of recording studio-quality professional podcasts.

After installing Audacity, you need to open it up and create a new project from the File menu.

To record your voice, simply click on the record button.

Now feel free to record your podcast. Don’t worry about awkward pauses, breaks, coughing, or any glitches you might make while narrating.

You can edit the recording as many times as you want.

audacity

You can also import music files from File » Import and set them as background music.

Audacity is a very powerful tool, and it is not possible for us to even cover its basic features in this article. However, TeamAudacity has an extensive Wiki with detailed tutorials specifically written for new podcasters.

We will recommend you to go through these tutorials. It will take you some time to become familiar with the software, but it’s totally worth your time and effort.

Once you have recorded your podcast, you need to export it.

Most podcasters export their audio files in the MP3 format because it creates smaller file sizes with good quality.

You also need to be smart about naming your podcast files. Remember podcasts are episodic series, so it would be best to use a naming practice that uses episode or serial number in the file name.

Some suggestions would be WPB001.mp3 or WPBep001.mp3.

Save the final version of your podcast file to a separate folder on your computer.

Step 5. Publishing Your Podcast with WordPress

After you have created a few episodes, and you are satisfied with their quality, it’s time to learn how to publish your podcast with WordPress.

You will need to login to the admin area of your WordPress site.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the Blubrry PowerPress Podcasting plugin.

Upon activation, you will see a PowerPress menu item in WordPress admin menu. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

setupblubrry

If you are using Blubrry to host your podcasting files, then you need to click on the button to configure Blubrry statistics and hosting services.

Clicking on the button will bring up a popup where you need to enter your Blubrry hosting account email and password.

Next, you will need to fill out rest of the information on the settings page. Provide a title for your podcast and fill out iTunes fields.

These iTunes fields for description, category, subtitle, artwork, etc will be used in your podcast’s RSS feed, and iTunes will use them to place your podcast in their directory (more on this later).

powerpress-settings

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Your WordPress site is now ready to publish your podcast.

Step 6. Upload Media Files to Blubrry

Before you publish your podcast with WordPress, you first need to upload the podcast file to your media hosting service, Blubrry.

You need to login to your Blubrry hosting account and then click on Podcaster dashboard.

Next, you need to click on ‘Upload New Media Files’ link under podcast hosting section.

This will bring you to another page where you need to click on the Upload New Media button and start uploading your podcast files.

uploadfiles-1

After you have uploaded your podcast media files, you will be able to use them on your WordPress site.

Step 7. Setting Up Smart Podcast Player

Most podcasters use WordPress plugins to display a podcast player on their website. This player allows users to listen to a podcast directly from your website.

The problem with most WordPress podcast player plugins is terrible user experience for your subscribers and listeners.

Patt Flynn, one of the well-known podcaster, realized the problem and decided to solve it by creating a solution for his website. That’s how Smart Podcast Player came to life.

Smart Podcast Player adds a beautifully built podcast player which allows users to play, share, and download podcast episodes from the player itself.

sppfull

It is mobile-ready out of the box which means your podcast player looks and works great on all devices.

It is a paid WordPress plugin and pricing starts from $8 per month. This price entitles you to premium support and access to tutorials and videos.

First, you will need to install and activate the Smart Podcast Player plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Smart Podcast Player page and enter your license key.

You can get this license key from your account on Smart Podcast Player website.

Next, you need to click on the ‘Player Defaults’ tab to setup plugin settings.

spp-defaults

You will need to provide your podcast feed URL. Since you are using PowerPress, your podcast feed URL will be like this:

http://example.com/feed/podcast/

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

Next, you need to provide your iTunes subscription link. Since you haven’t submitted your podcast to iTunes yet, you will need to come back here and fill this when your podcast is available on iTunes.

After that, you need to enter your show name and artist name.

Smart Podcast Player comes with beautiful design options and allows you to match your podcast player with your WordPress theme. Under player design settings, you can choose theme and color for your podcast player.

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Now that Smart Podcast Player is ready, you need to disable the podcast player that comes with PowerPress.

Since you are using Smart Podcast Player, you don’t need PowerPress to add a media player to your posts.

You can do this by visiting PowerPress » Settings page and scroll down to the ‘Blog posts and pages’ section. Click on ‘Disable’ under ‘Display Media & Links’ option.

disaplyppp

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Step 8. Adding Your First Podcast in WordPress

Everything is now in order, and you are ready to add your first podcast in WordPress.

To publish your first podcast, you need to go to Posts » Add New page.

It is highly recommended that you create a separate category for your podcast episodes. This will allow you to keep your podcast episodes separate from rest of your content. You will also be able to easily publicize your podcast feed later on.

After that, you need scroll down to the bottom of the page, and there you will see ‘Podcast Episode’ box.

Blubrry hosting users need to click on the folder icon and select the file they uploaded to Blubrry media.

Other users need to paste their media file URL in here. Click the Verify button to make sure that you have posted the correct URL.

Now you need to scroll back up to the post editor section. Give your blog post a suitable title and add a description of this podcast episode in the visual editor.

You will notice two buttons in the visual editor labeled SPP and STP. These buttons are added by Smart Podcast Player plugin.

insertspp

The SPP button allows you to add the full Smart Podcast Player which contains all your podcast episodes. Users can play them one by one.

However, since you are creating a blog post for a specific podcast episode, you need to click on the STP or Smart Track Player button.

Select ‘Play a specific episode of your podcast’ and then provide the URL of the Media file you want to be played.

You can get the URL of the media file from ‘Podcast Episode’ meta box where you just added the episode.

 

mediafile

After adding the media file URL, click on the build shortcode button.

You will see a shortcode appear in the post editor area.

That’s all, you can now publish and preview your blog post and you will see your podcast episode live with a beautiful player.

Congratulations, your WordPress podcasting site is ready to go live.

Step 9. Previewing Your Podcast with iTunes

Now that you have set up your podcast website with WordPress, it is time to submit it to iTunes and getting more subscribers.

Before submitting it to iTunes, you might want to check how your podcast will look in iTunes. To do this, launch iTunes and go to File » Subscribe to Podcast and enter your feed URL. Your feed URL will look like:

http://www.example.com/feed/podcast

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

Once you enter the URL in iTunes, it will fetch the feed and display it. As you can see in the screenshot below, it fetched the artwork, description, subtitle, etc.

testingpodcastinitunes

If everything looks good, this means you are ready to submit your podcast to iTunes.

Step 10. Submitting your Podcast to iTunes

To submit your podcast to iTunes, you need to download and install the latest version of iTunes on your computer. Next, Launch the iTunes and click on the iTunes Store button on the top right corner of the screen.

iTunes will now access iTunes Store. Click on the Podcasts menu, and then scroll a little to find the Podcasts Quick Links section. There you will see a link to Submit a podcast.

This will open the Podcast submit process. You will need an Apple ID to submit your podcast to iTunes directory. If you are not already signed in, iTunes will prompt you to log in.

The first thing you will need is your podcast feed URL. Your podcast feed URL will be like this:

http://example.com/feed/podcast

Don’t forget to replace example.com with your own domain name.

Since you are using PowerPress, your feed will already include tags required by iTunes Store for podcasts.

Upon submission, your podcast feed will be submitted to iTunes review queue. After approval by iTunes review staff, it will be added to iTunes directory, and you will be notified via email.

Podcasting Resources to Help You Grow

Congratulations on starting your podcast with WordPress. If you want to make your Podcast successful, then we recommend you join:

We hope this article helped you start a podcast with WordPress.

, , ,

Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared

WPForms

WPForms is the most beginner friendly WordPress contact form plugin. Make a WordPress forms plugin that’s both easy and powerful.

Contact Form Plugins

Pros

WPForms’ drag & drop online form builder makes it the most user-friendly form plugin for WordPress.

WPForms Lite is available for free in the official WordPress plugin directory meaning you can install it on as many sites as you like for free.

The premium version allows you to extend the functionality and build multi-page forms, email subscription forms, payment forms, order forms, use smart conditional logic, and more.

There are documentation and guides available along with email support to help you when you need it.

Cons

While the lite version is free, you need to upgrade to Pro to unlock more powerful features.

Even though WPForms is powerful, the #1 goal of this plugin is to make it user-friendly. That’s why it doesn’t have the more complex features that some other form plugins offer.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is a paid contact form plugin that has all the advanced functionality one can ask for.

gravity form

Pros

Gravity Forms is a powerful contact form plugin for WordPress.

With the help of additional add-ons, Gravity Forms can be used to create surveys, quiz, user submitted content, and even web directory.

It comes with premium support options like FAQs, knowledge base, forums, and email support. This means that help is available when you need it.

Cons

Gravity forms do not have a free version, so it can be a bit expensive than other WordPress contact form plugins. However, if you are using it on multiple sites and projects, then the cost should not be a big deal.

Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms is a freemium contact form plugin for WordPress. It can be used to create a highly interactive form with very little effort.

ninja form

Pros

The base plugin for Ninja Forms is available for free from the official WordPress repository. This means you can download and install it on as many sites as you like.

There are premium extensions which allow you to extend Ninja Forms functionality such as connecting with Campaign Monitor, Freshbooks, Salesforce, SMS notifications, etc.

There is a helpful community support option, as well as documentation, guides, and email support.

Cons

Even though the main plugin is available for free, the extensions are not. Buying two or more extensions or even the developer bundle will cost you nearly the same amount as Gravity Forms.

Bonus: Contact Form 7

Although we don’t recommend Contact Form 7, this list cannot be complete without the oldest most downloaded contact form plugin in the official WordPress plugin directory.contactform7

Pros:

Price is probably the most important advantage of using Contact Form 7. You are free to install it on as many sites as you want.

There are several third-party plugins that act as add-on plugins for Contact Form 7. Most of them are available for free.

It is great for creating a basic contact form for your blog.

Cons:

Contact Form 7 can be a bit difficult to set up for absolute beginners. The user interface is not very intuitive.

Since it is a free plugin, support options are limited.

There are several third-party add-ons available for Contact Form 7, but the official plugin website doesn’t have an add-ons directory which makes it difficult to find add-ons to extend the functionality of the base plugin.

Which is the Best Contact Form Plugin for WordPress?

The plugins we mentioned in this article can all help you create a contact form plugin. However deciding the best contact form plugin varies based on your needs.

If you’re a beginner and don’t want to spend any money, then go with WPForms Lite.

If you’re a business owner and want to create powerful forms without learning code or hiring a developer, then go with WPForms Pro version.

If you’re a developer trying to build more complex forms, then go with Gravity Forms.

Our overall pick for the best WordPress contact form plugin is WPForms.

We hope this guide helped you choose the best contact form plugin for your WordPress site.

, ,

BEST ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT WORDPRESS PLUGINS

Showing ads on your website is an excellent way to earn money online, you already know that. But did you know that some specialized WordPress plugins can make it a lot easier to add, edit, and manage the ads?

Yes, that is right. These WordPress plugins will take care of all the tedious management tasks, and enable you to focus on more important tasks like publishing useful content, promoting your website, and so on.

So, without further ado, let’s check out the best advertising management WordPress plugins and choose one which meets your requirements.

1. Ads Pro Plugin

Ads Pro is a fully featured plugin to help you sell ad space, display ads, and manage the existing ads on your WordPress site. It allows you to display single, grid, slider, video ads on 20+ ad locations including the sidebar, pop-up, and exit-intent message. There are 25+ ready-made ad templates to help you show ads in these locations. Changing the ad location is very easy – you just need to drag and drop the ad to your desired location.

You can schedule the ads to be displayed on your preferred times. It is possible to limit the number of times these ads are displayed for a user per session. The powerful geo-targeting options will help you enable or disable the ads for specific cities, provinces, or countries.

The plugin also works perfectly with bbPress and BuddyPress, which means you can show ads on your discussion, community, or social media sites as well. The advanced ad blocker detection will protect your ads against different blocking tools. Thanks to the front-end panel, the users can perform their usual tasks without accessing the backend.

The plugin supports three billing methods – CPC, CPM, and CPD. You can choose to show ads with any of these methods. You can get payments by using PayPal, Stripe, direct bank transfer, or any payment method supported by WooCommerce. The fully responsive plugin also comes with detailed statistics and A/B testing features.

You can purchase the Ads Pro Plugin for $37.

2. WP PRO Advertising System

ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT

WP PRO Advertising System comes with all the features you need to manage advertisements on your WordPress site. It allows you to display ads on more than 18 strategic locations including prominent places like sidebar, various parts of the post, corners, and pop-ups. There is also a custom option to help you place the ads on any other location you want.

WP PRO is provided with two unique features to detect inactivity or scrolling of the users. You can assign specific ads for these conditions. The multisite-supported plugin works great for displaying and managing advertisements on all the sites of your network. What’s more, it is also possible to show ads on MailChimp newsletters.

The plugin comes with a fully functional visual banner creator. This feature allows you to create animated HTML5 banners that look great on all screen resolutions. The drag-and-drop interface makes it really easy to create the exact layout you want.

Automatic AdBlock detection is another notable feature of WP PRO. This helps you to deal with the annoying ad blockers and ensure the best output from your ads. Detailed statistics will help you track the performance of your advertisements. You can check out the number of clicks, impressions, and CTR rate for a day, month, year, or all time.

The plugin is priced at $29.

3. WP-Insert

WP-Insert-Plugin

Wp-Insert makes it a lot easier to manage advertisements on your WordPress site. It’s my personal favorite. This powerful WordPress plugin allows you to show the ads at the top, bottom, left, or right corners of the posts and pages.

The intuitive midpoint detection algorithm allows you to insert ads precisely at the midpoints of your content. It is also possible to show ads on the sidebar, thanks to the custom ad widgets. The integrated graphical user interface enables you to determine when and where the ads should be displayed.

The plugin comes with several customization options to help you style the ads. You can use the built-in A/B testing feature to find out the best-performing variation of your ads. When customizing the ads, make sure you are following the advertiser guidelines.

Wp-Insert comes with geo-targeting, which allows you to deliver ads to a specific target audience. The plugin also includes dedicated templates for the legal pages including copyright, privacy policy, disclaimer, terms, and conditions, etc.

4. WP In Post Ads

Here’s another feature-rich plugin to help you deal with advertisement management on your WordPress site. Like the other similar plugins, WP In Post Ads also comes with a number of ways to show ads in different places on your website. These locations include the common choices like showing ads after the post title, after content, after X number of paragraphs, etc.

The plugin also comes with custom ad shortcodes, which allow you to show the ads anywhere you want. Want to enable or disable any of your ads for a specific period of time? WP In Post Ads has taken care of that. You can decide when to show or hide the ads. It is also possible to control the ads for specific posts. Another notable feature enables you to hide the advertisements from the logged in users.

Built-in ad view tracker will help you track the performance of your ads. The plugin allows you to perform A/B tests to test different styles and find out which one gets the most number of views. You can integrate the ads with Google Analytics to get detailed statistics.

You can get the plugin for $29.

5. WP Quads Pro

WP-Quads-Pro

Do you use AdSense as the primary monetization method on your WordPress site? If you do, WP Quads Pro will be the ultimate destination to help you manage the ads. The simple setup process of the plugin makes it very easy to control the ads on your website.

The advanced layout controlling options will help you get the exact look you want for the ads. Thanks to the fully responsive design, you can rest assured that your ads will be perfectly optimized for various screen sizes and resolutions. What’s more, the plugin is also capable of showing ads on your AMP pages.

WP Quads Pro comes with a few conditionals to help you control the ads on mobile devices, custom post types, and based on user roles. As the developers followed all the web best practices in the plugin coding, it won’t have any impact on the page loading speed. The plugin also comes with full support for the popular caching plugins.

You can purchase WP Quads Pro for €49 for a single website.

6. AdRotate

AdRotate-WordPress-Plugin

AdRotate could be an excellent choice for managing advertisements on your WordPress site. The plugin allows you to create your own ads by using HTML and JavaScript, or show ads from established networks like AdSense, Doubleclick, Chitika, DFP, JuiceAds, and so on. You can show the ads in all the strategic locations of your website.

You can group similar ads together to simplify the ad management process. It is possible to allow the advertisers to add, edit, and manage their ads on the site. If required, they can contact you right from the dashboard.

The easily digestible statistics will help you keep track the important performance metrics like the number of clicks, CTR rate, and so on.  You can export the statistics for further analysis. The plugin also allows you to sell ad space and accept payments through PayPal.

There is a premium version of AdRotate. Priced at €29 for a single website, AdRotate Pro offers additional features like geo-targeting, live ad previews, mobile ads, Google Analytics support, email notifications, and dedicated email support.

7. WordPress Ad Widget

WordPress-Ad-Widget

Looking for a simpler way to display advertisement on your WordPress site? Don’t like the cluttered interface and complex management options offered by other plugins? If you agree to any of these questions, WordPress Ad Widget will be a very good choice for displaying ads on your website.

Once you install and activate the plugin, go to Appearance > Widgets. You will find two new widgets there. The first one is for displaying HTML or JavaScript ads. There are two separate fields to provide the ad code and the advertiser name.

The other widget allows you to display image or banner advertisements. You can use any of the existing images or upload a new image. There are a few additional options that allow you to choose the ad destination, advertiser name, automatically resize the ad, and to open the link in a new window.

Which Plugin Should You Use?

Now that you know which the best WordPress advertising management plugins are, it’s time to decide which one you should use.

As you can guess, the choice depends on your requirements. If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, either Ads Pro Plugin or WP PRO Advertising System could be an excellent choice for you. On the other hand, WP Quads Pro should be your choice for managing AdSense ads.

, , ,

Beginner Mistakes to Avoid in UI Design

1- Not following a grid.

Grids help designers align elements on the page in relation to each other which often produces a neater, more logical design.
Although the grid-lines are invisible, most professional designers align their work to a strict grid, often made up of eight, 12 or 16 thin vertical columns. A well-implemented grid is a bit like a fairy godmother, it can transform your design from something average to something clean, clear and effective. Check out the same design and how the elements look aligned with a grid, and they look random and messy without it.

Mistakes to Avoid in UI Design

2- Consider the Fold and the different resolutions when you design a UI.

Keeping resolution consciously in mind when creating a new Interface will ensure less updating in the future and more success in maximizing visibility. I can’t count the number of times I have seen designers test their design only in their monitor, and when their design is published then they notice it looks wrong in all the other monitors/resolutions. And even worst, it looks bad on the client monitor.

Based on solid research, viewers do not like to scroll. Design your website so viewers obtain the majority, or preferably all, of their information from the upper-most part of the fold. The “fold” is where the screen gets cut off and a scroll bar is needed to see the bottom of the site. Think of most newspaper layouts. If you design with the fold in mind, your website will be successful in allowing viewers to get the information they need at a faster rate.

3- Not having a high contrast between your background and figures.

Elements are perceived as either figure (distinct elements of focus) or ground (the background or landscape on which the figures rest). A low contrast between these two results in a noisy design. The background competes with the content and the result is a messy and distracting look. See for reference:

4- Drop Shadows.

When adding a drop shadow to your elements make sure to do it in a “realistic way”. How does a realistic drop shadow look like you might ask? It has to be soft and blend with the background and to achieve that it is vital that you don’t use Black for your drop- shadows. Shadows in real life are not black, they are darkened versions of whatever they sit on top of because there is less light. See this image for reference:

drop

If you were trying to recreate that, I don’t think black at any opacity level would get it just right. If your object is sitting over an orange background use a dark orange, but not black with opacity!

5- Not Utilizing White Space.

Using white space helps to create focus, guide the eye in a particular direction, and create a clear visual hierarchy. By utilizing white space, you’ll avoid the ‘cluttered’ look that can impede your efforts to communicate with your audience.

Poor use of space around the elements just compounds the problem and the result is a cluttered mess with no clear purpose.

Don’t let text run up against the edge of an element. Give it space!

6-When Clickable Items Don’t Look Clickable

If you want a site visitor to click on an element, you have to make it obvious that the element is actually clickable. If it’s a link, either change the color or add an underline and if it’s a button — don’t forget to use a contrasting color to the web page. Also don’t forget to add a hover state, especially in the Menu Links: It’s a must for menu items to become highlighted when a user hovers over them.

7- Inconsistent icons.

When you mix squared corners with rounded corners, you don’t have a consistent look.
When you use a different color for each icon in your design, you don´t have a consistent look.
If you are designing symmetrical icons, make them all symmetrical and don´t mix them with asymmetrical ones.

In Conclusion.

User Interface design can be tough for a lot of reasons, but the biggest challenge is probably that there are so many ways to approach a problem. If you are starting your career in design, I would suggest to first dominate the basics: learn all the rules to later break them and go into more creative and complex layouts.

If you avoid these simple UI mistakes, your interface will be more focused, clean, and usable. If all else fails, remember, simpler is usually better. Happy designing!

, , , , ,

The most effective method to Install a WordPress Plugin – Step by Step for Beginners

Plugins enable you to add new elements to WordPress, for example, include a display, slideshow, and so on. There are a large number of free and paid modules accessible for WordPress. In this well-ordered guide, we will demonstrate to you best practices to introduce a WordPress module.

Before You Start

If you are using WordPress.com, then you cannot install plugins.

We often get complaints from users saying that they can’t see the plugins menu in their WordPress dashboard. It is because you are using WordPress.com, which has its limitations.

In order to use plugins, you will need to use self-hosted WordPress.org.

Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search

The easiest way of installing a WordPress plugin is to use the plugin search. The only downside of this option is that a plugin must be in the WordPress plugin directory which is limited to only free plugins.

The first thing you need to do is go to your WordPress admin area and click on Plugins » Add New.

Install a WordPress Plugin

You will see a screen like the one in the screenshot above. Find the plugin by typing the plugin name or the functionality you are looking for like we did. After that, you will see a bunch of listings like the example below:

pluginsearchresults

You can pick the plugin that is best for you. Since in our search, we were looking for Floating Social Bar which happens to be the first plugin, we will click the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now download and install the plugin for you. After this, you will see the success message with a link to activate the plugin or return to plugin installer.

A WordPress plugin can be installed on your site, but it will not work unless you activate it. So go ahead and click on the activate plugin link to activate the plugin on your WordPress site.

That’s all, you have successfully installed your first WordPress plugin.

The next step is to configure the plugin settings. These settings will vary for each plugin, therefore, we will not be covering that in this post.

Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload

Paid WordPress plugins are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. These plugins cannot be installed using the first method.

That’s why WordPress has the Upload method to install such plugins. We will show you how to install WordPress plugin using the upload option in the admin area.

First, you need to download the plugin from the source (which will be a zip file). Next, you need to go to WordPress admin area and visit Plugins » Add New page.

After that, click on the Upload Plugin button on top of the page.

uploadpluginwpadmin

This will bring you to the plugin upload page. Here you need to click on the choose file button and select the plugin file you downloaded earlier to your computer.

pluginuploadpage

After you have selected the file, you need to click on the install now button.

WordPress will now upload the plugin file from your computer and install it for you. You will see a success message like this after installation is finished.

plugininstalledmanual

Once installed, you need to click on the Activate Plugin link to start using the plugin.

You would have to configure the settings to fit your needs. These settings will vary for each plugin, therefore, we will not be covering that in this post.

Manually Install a WordPress Plugin using FTP

In some cases, your WordPress hosting provider may have file restrictions that could limit your ability to install a plugin from the admin area.

In this situation, your best bet is to install the plugin manually using FTP.

The FTP manager method is the least friendly for beginners.

First, you will need to download the plugin’s source file (it will be a zip file). Next, you need to extract the zip file on your computer.

Extracting the plugin zip file will create a new folder with the same name. This is the folder that you need to manually upload to your website using an FTP client.

You would need to access your host through the FTP manager. If you do not have your FTP username and password, then contact your WordPress hosting provider and ask them.

Open the FTP client on your computer and connect to your website using the login credentials provided by your web host. Once connected, you need to access the path /wp-content/plugins/

Next, upload the folder you extracted from the zip file to the folder on your web server/wp-content/plugins/.

ftppluginupload

After uploading the files, you need to visit the WordPress admin area and click on the Plugins link in the admin menu. You will see your plugin successfully installed on the plugins page.

installedplugins

You need to click on the Activate link below the plugin. Upon activating, you may need to configure the plugin settings. WordPress plugins come with their own settings which differ from one plugin to another so we will not describe them here.

We hope this helped you learn how to install WordPress plugins.

, , , ,

15 Things You MUST DO Before Changing WordPress Themes

If you have used WordPress, then you have probably switched themes at least once in your life. If you haven’t, and this is your first time, then it is even better. The beauty of WordPress is that it makes it very easy for users to change themes. It is literally few clicks away. But changing themes is much more than simply clicking activate. In this article, we will provide you with a checklist of things that you MUST do before changing WordPress themes. These steps are critical to making sure the process goes smoothly otherwise you can end up losing elements that you did not mean to lose.

1. Take Notes on Your Current Theme

Many WordPress users surf the web to find solutions to their problems. Often they find those solutions in form of snippets that they add manually in their themes such as the functions.php or another file. Because these changes were made once, people have a tendency of not remembering them. Go through your theme files and note down all additional code that you added. You also want to check your current theme’s load time because this way you can compare the two. Go to a site like Pingdom Tools or use YSlow to test out different pages (Yes different pages, not just the homepage).

2. Be cautious of the Sidebars

Changing WordPress Themes

You must make sure that your new theme is widget-ready. Sidebar widgets are really easy to use therefore a lot of users use it to customize it. We notice that sidebars are probably the most user-customized area of WordPress sites. People make tons of changes such as adding custom texts, images, links, advertisement, and other widgets. If you are using a widget-enabled theme, and you switch to a theme that is not widget-ready, then you will lose all of that. If you are using a widget-enabled WordPress theme, then this is not an issue.

Also, anything that you modify in sidebar.php file of your old theme, will be overwritten. So make sure that you add those codes in the new theme sidebar.

3. Don’t lose tracking

teacupanalytics

Most bloggers use some sort of analytics whether it be Google Analytics or one of the other services. A lot of us don’t use plugins to add the tracking codes. Some of us open the footer.php file and modify the codes. Some of our themes have a spot to place the Adsense code. Whichever one is your case, you want to make sure that you copy and paste your tracking code to your new theme. This is one of the things that is very commonly overlooked by users. Because it is so simple, most of us forget about it.

4. The Good ‘ol RSS are you working?

A lot of us use FeedBurner for our WordPress RSS Feeds. One of the parts of integrating FeedBurner into WordPress is pointing your default feeds to FeedBurner this way you can have analytics on your feed subscribers. A lot of themes like Genesis, Standard Theme, and others allow you to integrate FeedBurner from their settings panel. You need to make sure that you keep the feed directed to FeedBurner otherwise there will be two RSS feeds for your blog. The main WordPress one, and the FeedBurner one which is taking the info from your WordPress RSS Feed. Except, you will lose count of a lot of the subscriber that you had because they were subscribed using the /feed/ URL which no longer points to FeedBurner. Again, this does not mean you lose them, it just means that you can’t see them in the FeedBurner count.

5. Backup!!

backupyourfiles

You never have anything to lose by creating a backup. As a precautionary measure, you should backup all of your theme files, plugins, and the database. Although nothing should happen, but you can never be to safe. You can use BackupBuddy to create a full-site Backup for you.

6. Maintenance Mode

wpmaintenancemode2

ou probably don’t want your users to see while you are making the switch because they will end up seeing a broken site or such. It is best to turn on Maintenance mode for 15 – 20 minutes that it may take you to make sure that everything is working properly. Once you have setup Maintenance mode, you are good to go ahead and activate the new theme.

7. Testing all functionality and plugins

Once you have the new theme activated, you need to make sure that you retain all the functionality and plugins still work. Remember that good old’ notes list that you created in step 1. This is the time where that can come handy. Go back and add any and all functionality that you want to bring the old theme into the new theme if you haven’t done so already. Try out all the features including but not limited to the commenting process, single post pages, search, 404 page, archive page, contact page etc. Make sure all of your widgets are still there and are working.

On the plugin front, you just want to make sure that the formatting is still the same. A lot of plugins utilize your existing styles to display their output. So you probably want to make sure that they still look good with the new theme.

8. Cross Browser Compatibility

Cross browser

Test your site in all browsers you have access to. Browsers have a tendency of rendering things differently. Especially Internet Explorer. You want to make sure that your design looks good in major browsers. Some pretty looking themes have a tendency of breaking in various browsers. So if a lot of your audience is using Internet Explorer, then you want to make sure that it is still accessible to them.

9. Make those Third Party Items look pretty

If you are using Google Adsense or another ad company that allows you to format them, then your best bet is to customize them. For example, your previous site was orange, so you had orange links for Google Adsense. Now if it is blue, then you probably want to take that into account.

Same goes for twitter widget, facebook like buttons etc. Adjust those with your new color scheme. If you are going from a light to a dark design, or vice-versa, then you need to make those changes.

10. Let your Users Know

announcement

Turn off maintenance mode, and write a quick blog post to let the users know. Notice, you only spent like 15 – 20 minutes on checking things. There is no way that you could’ve to catch all the bugs. By letting your users know, you can expect to get bug reports. Ask your audience via twitter, facebook etc to see if the site looks good in their browser. If they say YES, then its good news. If they say NO, then ask them to please take a screenshot of the issue. You can take a look at the issue and try to fix it. If you can’t fix it, then kindly ask the developer of the theme to fix it. Notice: unless you paid for the theme, these developers are NOT required to fix those issues for FREE.

People have all sort of browsers, screen resolutions, etc, so getting their opinion is important. Don’t forget to remind your RSS readers to visit the site as well, so they can see the goodies.

11. Pruning plugins

Themes are now coming pre-loaded with a lot of features. For example, if you are using Genesis or another theme that has BreadCrumbs, then you can get rid of Breadcrumb plugin of yours. The concept is simple. Get rid of things that you don’t need. One thing you should make sure though is often plugins can do the job better. For example, a lot of themes are coming with tons of SEO features. Genesis, Thesis, Standard Theme, and all others boost their SEO features. We’d rather use a much more powerful plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast. Make your choices wisely.

12. Take Baby Steps when Changing

babysteps

You are working with a new theme here, so it is probably best that you make changes carefully. Change smaller elements to make sure that it behaves properly in all browsers. Then once you are comfortable enough, then you can make drastic changes. It’s important to learn the structure and semantics of the new theme before you make huge changes. This will allow you to detect the problem right away.

13. Test Loading Time

Take the load time numbers that you had on your old theme (from item 1 of this checklist), and compare the two. See what you can do to improve load time by checking out Syed’s presentation on Slideshare.

14. Monitor Bounce Rate

After switching themes, you want to make sure that you are monitoring bounce rate. Some themes are just friendlier than others when it comes to navigating the readers around your site. If your bounce rate has increased compared to the previous theme, then you should probably work on that. Add related posts widgets, popular posts widgets, or simply have a better call-to-action for new readers.

15. Listen to your readers, and IMPROVE

suggestions

When a new design comes out, users always have suggestions. They either love a specific feature or hate a specific feature. Communicate with your audience using surveys or Facebook Polls. See what they would like to see improved, and then work on getting that done.

Do you have a checklist of your own when changing WordPress themes? would love to hear it if we missed something.

, , ,

How to Create a Custom Template in WordPress

Creating a Custom Template in WordPress

First, you need to open a plain text editor like Notepad on your computer. In the blank file add this line of code at the top:

1 <?php /* Template Name: CustomPageT1 */ ?>

This code simply tells WordPress that this is a template file and it should be recognized as CustomPageT1. You can name your template anything you want as long as it makes sense to you.

Once you have added the code, save the file to your desktop as,custompaget1.php

You can save the file with any name, just make sure that it ends with .phpextension.

For this next step, you will need to connect to your website using an FTP client.

Once connected, go to your current theme or child theme folder. You will find it in the directory/wp-content/themes/. Next, upload your custom page template file to your theme.

Now you need to login to your WordPress admin area to create a new page or edit an existing one.

On the page editing screen, scroll down to ‘Page Attributes’ section, and you will find a template drop down menu. Clicking on it will allow you to select the template you just created.

Custom Template

Now if you change the template and visit this page, then you will get to see a blank page. That’s because your template is empty and does not tell WordPress what to display.

Don’t worry, we will show you how to easily edit your custom page template.

Editing Your Custom Page Template

Your custom page template is like any other theme file in WordPress. You can add any HTML, template tags, or PHP code in this file.

The easiest way to get started with your custom page is by copying the existing page template provided by your theme.

Open your FTP client and go to your theme folder. There you will find a file called page.php. You need to download this file to your computer.

pagetemplate

Open the page.php file in a plain text editor like Notepad, and copy all its content except the header part.

templateheader

The header part is the commented out part at the top of the file. We are not copying it because our custom page template already has one.

Now you need to open your custom page template file and paste it at the end.

Your custom page file would now look something like this:

<?php /* Template Name: CustomPageT1 */ ?>
<?php get_header(); ?>
<div id="primary" class="content-area">
<main id="main" class="site-main" role="main">
<?php
// Start the loop.
while ( have_posts() ) : the_post();
// Include the page content template.
get_template_part( 'template-parts/content', 'page' );
// If comments are open or we have at least one comment, load up the comment template.
if ( comments_open() || get_comments_number() ) {
comments_template();
}
// End of the loop.
endwhile;
?>
</main><!-- .site-main -->
<?php get_sidebar( 'content-bottom' ); ?>
</div><!-- .content-area -->
<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Save your custom page template file and upload it back to your theme folder using FTP.

You can now visit the page you created using a custom page template. It will now look exactly like your other pages in WordPress.

You can now continue editing your custom page template file. You can customize it in any way you want. For example, you can remove the sidebar, add custom PHP code, add any other HTML you want.

You can add the content by editing the page in WordPress page editor screen. You can also leave the content area in page editor completely empty, and add custom content directly in your page template.

We hope this article helped you add a custom page in WordPress.


, , , , ,

How to Earn 3500$ from Bluehost Affiliate Program?

Affiliate marketing is an insane source to create an astounding measure of income from your web blogs. The genuine online business is the ones who either have their own particular items, advance outsider items (affiliate marketing) or offer administrations to their customers.

Bluehost has been my first ever web hosting that I counted on Alhumdulilah! Very soon, as I trusted their service thoroughly, I become their affiliate and decided to recommend it to everyone around me.

This post goes out to all the brothers and sisters who look forward to jumping into affiliate marketing and can’t figure out what to promote and earning a decent amount while doing so.

To set up a self-hosted website, you need a web hosting. So web hosting is one of the most common affiliate products that people promote online and making a living.

The following post is structured in the form of a FAQ which helps understands the topic better InshaAllah.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you promote third party products and when you make a sale, you earn a commission out of those sales.

For example, Bluehost offers 65$ to start with, on every sale a person makes for them. That is a one-time payment that they make to you, in a response to a life long customer that you gave to them.

How Do They Track The Sales You Make?

When you become their affiliate, they would give you a dedicated affiliate link, that is unique to you. When you share that with your readers on your blog or anywhere online, and when someone’s click that link, they’re redirected to Bluehost’s website.

Now if the visitor buys Bluehost’s hosting, you would get an email that you just made a sale!

That is a great moment! <3 So all of your sales are linked to your affiliate link and you get to see all the statistics and sources that brought you sale in your Bluehost Affiliate Dashboard.

How to Become Bluehost’s Affiliate?

You can simply head over to the following link and signup for their affiliate program.

bluehost affiliate program

You’d see the following form that you have to fill up. After that, you hit ‘Sign Up’ button and that’s all. Your application then goes into approval mode. They’d get back to you via email once your application is approved.

Valid Website/Blog
 Make sure that you have a valid website/blog URL that you have to put in the form. This shows them that you’ve a serious online presence.

Meanwhile, your application is under approval, you have to fill up Tax Form, which is required to withdraw your earnings.

How to Withdraw Bluehost Affiliate Earnings?

You can withdraw your affiliate earnings via:

  1. Paypal
  2. WireTransfer (For higher incomes)

How Much Does Bluehost Offer Per Sale?

By default, Bluehost offers 65$ per sale that you make for them. Though, there are odd cases. They often offer more amount per sign up like 100-125$ per sign up to a limited amount of blogs that they feel would be able to bring back more sales initially.

Also, once you start making 5-10 sales per month, they would increase your per sale bounty to over 150-200$ +. You can request that to their customer support and they happy do that 🙂

Though they need to see the sales stats that you made for them since few last months.

What does it take to Make 3500$ per Month With Bluehost?

Step #1 Increase per Sale Bounty (Optional/Request)

You can request their customer support to increase you an initial bounty to 100$ per sale. (A simple request)

Step #2 Plan to make 35 sales per month. 35 sales = 3500$ per month. (With 100$ per sale).

To make 35 sales, you have the following options:

Use Your Blog

#1 Place Banners

You can use different banners on your blog as shown below. I’ll share my personal banners in the following screenshots that I use and also there are tons of free banners in Bluehost’s affiliate section that you can use.

How to Earn 3500$ from Bluehost Affiliate Program

You can go to Dashboard >> Banner Or Widgets and find out various banner designs you of various dimensions that you feel would be suitable for your blog.

#2 Write Bluehost Reviews

You can write high-quality Bluehost reviews on your blog and use your affiliate links within the post. The more visitors would read your blog, the more sign up would you get. Generally, on average, you need 100-150 readers to your blog post (that talks about Bluehost) to make a sale.

Now you can do that maths. Though these numbers are not a surety. If you’re into a relevant niche where people would like to sign up for the new web hosting, you’d be surprised to see how many sales you can make easily. InshaAllah.

#3 Write Instant Reviews On Sales

Bluehost often sends the affiliates emails on various holiday occasions for massive discounts that you can offer to your readers. On moments like Christmas, Black Friday, 4th June etc Bluehost sales are amazing!

Even like more than 60-70% off. 🙂

SO by making the most out of these sales, you can get a huge spike in your affiliate sales by writing a quick blog post on these moments by offering your readers massive discounts 🙂

#4 Use Google AdWord Ads To Drive to Your Landing Page

I’ve seen so many people making the most out of Adwords ads to drive traffic to their blogs, that are actually meant to convert that traffic into the sales.

Though this can take quite some iterations to find out the best ad banner that you could use that would convert into your sales.

Be Aware
You can easily loose quite some money on this one, as Google Adwords is pretty expensive and you can easily loose quite some on that if you don’t have the most converting banners.

Conclusion

Hope these insights helped you out. Even if you aim to make 1000$ with Bluehost, I would recommend you to first set a goal. When you’d have a clear goal in mind, you can work on it and create more blog posts, more video content to market.