All posts by Tony

I am involved in web training and consulting: AdWords, Blogging, E-commerce, Email Marketing with MailChimp, Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing and WordPress.

44 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Starting a blog for the first time is an amazing, yet intimidating experience.

Thinking that people are actually going to read – and even share – something you wrote. It’s unlike any other feeling I can describe.

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Starting a blog is hard work, and there are a lot of pitfalls along the way. Especially if it’s your first time. So many pitfalls, in fact, that we’ve come up with a full list of 44 things we wish we knew before starting our first blogs. That way, you don’t have to make these mistakes yourself!

But who are “we” exactly, right? Well, this post is a group effort. It features three bloggers chipping in and sharing their best advice on the topic.

So grab a coffee and get cozy, we’re about to review everything we’ve learned in the past 5+ years. Enjoy!

Read full article: 44 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

New ‘Contact Form’ Experience on Jetpack 5.2

Introduction: Contact Form – Jetpack 5.2

Jetpack 5.2 brings you a brand new Contact Form experience, a better explanation of recommended features, and several performance improvements.

New Contact Form

Jetpack’s Contact Form for WordPress is one of our most popular free features. And with good reason: it’s the simplest and most effective way of enabling your readers to get in touch with you be it for praise, complaints, requests or suggestions.

And now we’ve made it much simpler and faster to use.

[Click on a screenshot to enlarge it]

New 'Contact Form' Experience on Jetpack 5.2

The next time you add a contact form to a page on your site you will see a new visual interface right inside the editor instead of a popup. Enjoy a full editing experience including adding and customizing fields and labels, re-ordering them by dragging, and easily setting email subject lines and recipients.

To edit, simply click on the form itself, and hit the “edit” icon. You can edit or remove the existing fields, or add new ones by going to the bottom of the form and clicking “add field.”

screen shot of new jetpack contact form - Contact Form - Jetpack 5.2

Click on the contact form and then the “Edit” icon in order to add new, change the order of, or delete fields in your form.

 

Simply drag and drop your fields to organize their order the way you want them. Click “Update Form” at the bottom when you’re done to save your changes.

screen shot of new jetpack contact form - Contact Form - Jetpack 5.2

Click “Add Field” at the bottom of your new contact form to add new fields. Click “Update Form” to save your changes.

Recommended Features

When you install Jetpack on a new site, Jetpack recommends activating certain popular features that are most valued by users.

Jetpack has now improved this experience to better showcase and explain what the features and how they benefit your WordPress site.

Performance Improvements

Jetpack has also streamlined and reduced weight (file size) of the plugin as well as fixed bugs and introduced enhancements for stability. All these are under the hood ensuring a smoother Jetpack functioning with each version.

Full Changelog and Thanks

The changelog provides the full list of updates and changes in this release and if you have feedback please get in touch as always.

Install Jetpack on your site or upgrade your current version today and Jetpack know what you think.

Jetpack thanks contributors to this release:

Alexandru Bucur, Anthony, Artur Piszek, Ben Lowery, Brandon Kraft, Daniel Walmsley, Derek Smart, Donncha Ó Caoimh, Drew Butler, Elio Rivero, Eric Binnion, Filipe Varela, George Stephanis, Igor Zinovyev, Marko Andrijasevic, Michael Arestad, Michael Turk, Miguel Lezama, Mohammad Jangda, Payton Swick, Richard Muscat, Rob Landers, Stephen Edgar, Thomas Guillot.

Source:

Jetpack 5.2: New Contact Form Experience

Do you Need Training?

15 Ways to Get High-Quality Backlinks to Your WordPress Site

15 Ways to Get High-Quality Backlinks to Your WordPress Site

Do you remember when black hat SEO was a major problem? Google eventually caught on to these unethical SEO tactics employed by shady (and, let’s be honest, lazy) people, so it may not have had a chance to get too close to you. Nevertheless, if you’ve ever had a client ask if you knew where they could buy links from, that’s definitely a remnant of those black hat SEO days—and something you want to stay away from at all costs.

I think the worst part about black hat SEO was the aftermath. It’s not like building up backlinks was the problem. It was the manner in which people acquired those backlinks that was, since they basically tricked the search algorithms into rewarding quantity over quality.

Being a few years away from the pervasiveness of black hat SEO abuses, I think it’s time for us all to get back in the saddle and get over that fear that Backlinks = Bad. We know that search engines recognize a strong network of backlinks as a signal of authority (even if they won’t admit it). It’s just a matter of knowing how to gain those links through genuine link-building strategies.

In this article, I want to talk about what high-quality backlinks are and how to go about building up a strong network of high-quality backlinks to improve your site’s search ranking, all while still staying in the good graces of the search engines and your visitors.

The Various Ways to Use Links to Improve SEO

Let’s start with the basics. There are typically three kinds of links you’re interested in when building a WordPress site:

Internal links connect readers of your site with other pages of content within the site. This keeps them moving through related topic after related topic, which in turn helps demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

External links connect readers of your site with other websites. But why would you ever want to provide a link that could potentially push a visitor off your site? Well, it’s usually because you want to give a source credit for information you’ve included on your site. You know this back from high school. Quotes, statistics, and original research should always be cited. It’s also good for improving the user experience when you suggesting they do something and then provide them with a quick link to follow through on that action.

Which brings me to backlinks. These are links that point back to your site, but appear on other websites. Let’s say you published a hilarious infographic on the differences between dating in the ‘90s versus dating in the ‘10s. You may find that a whole bunch of dating sites, women’s and men’s e-magazines, and maybe even Buzzfeed want to embed a copy of it on their blogs. In turn, they’ll likely give your site credit with a backlink. (Basically, an external link, but in reverse.)

Internal and external links are both important for creating a strong impression on your WordPress site. However, high-quality backlinks are even more important as they demonstrate to search engines (and readers) that you’re a trusted authority around the web, and that your content is so good that others can’t help but drive their own traffic to it. Of course, these backlinks are only going to be beneficial if:

  • They’re genuine (meaning you didn’t pay someone to plant them).
  • They’re relevant and, consequently, drive relevant traffic to your site.
  • They come from reputable sources.

It’s this last point that can give marketers some pause since backlinks from websites with poor reputations can negatively affect SEO. So, if there were ever a reason not to want to actively work on building a network of backlinks to your site, that would be the one caveat. However, it should be easy enough to work around this. So long as you’re creating connections with reputable and high-authority websites, and paying attention to where your backlinks come from, you should be fine.

15 Ways to Get High-Quality Backlinks to Your WordPress Site

According to a 2015 study done by Moz, they found a very strong correlation between top ranked sites on Google and external links. Of the top 50 search results they assessed, they found that 99.2% of them had at least one backlink. While it’s not impossible to rank without a backlink, the evidence suggests that if you want to make that coveted first page of search results, you need at least one high-quality backlink.

Okay, so now that we got that out of the way…

We know that backlinks are awesome for SEO. We also know that we need to be careful when going about obtaining them. Here are some tips on how you can inspire popular, high-authority, and well-trusted websites to link to your website:

#1. Write Actionable Blog Posts

Well-written and informative blog posts are awesome. It’s basically like you’re giving away free lessons to your visitors in exchange for their patronage. However, if you want to motivate them to link back to your site within their own content, you have to give them something more. Blog posts that provide actionable tips—usually in list format or a step-by-step guide—will give others the opportunity to leverage your expert guidance for their own benefit.

#2. Write Guest Articles

This is really no different than writing content for your site. The only difference is that you have to follow someone else’s guidelines before it gets published. If you do go this route, don’t stress over embedding links to your site within the article; in fact, most outlets frown upon that. Simply just ask if you can put one link in your bio. If the site has a high enough profile, that one link is all you’ll need anyway.

#3. Blog on Third-Party Sites

Backlinks - Medium The Cooper Review
The Cooper Review has its own site and yet the author posts content to Medium regularly.

Perhaps the best place to put well-thought-out and informative posts is on third-party blogging sites. Obviously, that’s not to say these sites wouldn’t benefit from how-to articles. It’s all about creating content for the right place and the right time, and these sites are usually about straight-up thought leadership content. LinkedIn and Medium are good ones to look into.

#4. Develop Long-form Content

Writing a piece of content that discusses the merits of adopting an older dog is nice when you want to connect with your audience, but writing a guide on the 100 ways to help an older dog adapt to its surroundings would most likely elicit a stronger response. If you really want people to link to your content, create something truly of value. Long-form content like e-books, white papers, and manuals work best for this.

#5. Create Tutorials

Another way you could create helpful content others are dying to link to is by developing tutorials. Whether you’re a WordPress developer who recorded a live WordPress training session or a web designer who has created an infographic on the 15 tips for mastering the latest design trend, these creative tutorials that come straight from the expert are always an attractive sell.

#6. Write a Case Study

Backlinks - Kissmetrics case study
Great example of a well-done case study being embedded AND linked to on other sites.

Before I write any new content, the first thing I do is search for statistical evidence of the point I want to make. The way I see it, my audience will have an easier time listening to me if I point them to solid proof.

That’s why case studies are so powerful. Find a client’s before-and-after success story, write it up with tons of visuals and statistics, and publish on your site (with client’s consent of course). If your case study makes a solid argument for why CTAs belong above the fold, others may find your data valuable enough to link to and use in their own work.

#7. Showcase Partner Logos

This is one of those tit-for-tat situations, but nevertheless is one that will work if you get a valuable backlink out of it. If your business partners with high-profile companies, talk to them about showing off your logos on each other’s websites.

#8. Provide Reviews for Others

Yes, it can be annoying to receive a testimonial or review request from someone when you’re in the middle of a rush rebranding job and barely have time to stop and collect last month’s invoices. The next time this happens, however, I’d urge you to just say “yes”. In exchange for a testimonial or review, you can ask them to include a link back to your site.

#9. Get Your Link Out on Social

Backlinks - CMSWire Links
CMSWire includes a backlink to their site in their Twitter bio, in their self-promotional posts, and even in the name of their Twitter page.

Although Google has made it clear they don’t (or, more accurately, can’t) use social media as a ranking factor for websites, that doesn’t mean social can’t be used for backlinking opportunities. You can:

  • Add your site’s URL to all your social media profiles—for your company, yourself, and maybe even encourage employees to do so as well.
  • Promote your content and business’ products or services through posts on social.
  • Create videos, slideshows, and other visual content for niche social media sites (like YouTube or Instagram) and include a link back to your site in the description.

#10. Show Off on Social

While you work on generating your own backlinks, don’t forget to encourage others to share your content as well. The worst way to do this? “Hey guys, I just published this article. Please share it for me!” The best way to do this? Talk about topics on social that are relevant to your business. Trust me, people will take notice—especially if you’re sharing their content and tagging them. Quid pro quo is alive and well on social media.

#11. Update Your Gravatar

Backlinks - Gravatar
Gravatar is really so easy to set up. If you’re planning on being active on other sites, you’d be smart to get this profile (and your backlink) set up.

Did you know that Gravatar is part of the Automattic family? This means that any website—including your own WordPress site—linked to Gravatar can pull in the profile you’ve created there. This ensures that your website URL will show up on any site where your Gravatar bio does (like when you comment on another blog).

#12. Create Profiles on Q&A Sites

As a WordPress professional, you know how strong the community is around it. There are a number of opportunities to get involved with that community and to lend your input when your expertise is needed. Sites like Stack OverflowQuora, the WordPress forums, and, of course, the WPMU DEV community.

#13. Upload Your Portfolio

Backlinks - Dribbble Example
An example of how your URL backlink will appear on a portfolio site.

Do you have a design portfolio or something free to give away like a plugin or wireframe kit? Hop on sites like Dribbble, create a profile (with a link to your site), and start sharing.

#14. Get Interviewed

Are you a local expert? Or perhaps you developed a new technique or product that others would find valuable? Maybe you just helped a major Fortune 500 revamp their website? Whatever waves you’re making in your part of the world, use it to get interviewed by podcasts, local new sites, or niche bloggers. In exchange for the interview, they’ll likely give your site a shout-out.

#15. Issue a Press Release

Backlinks - Press Release
Here’s a snapshot of PlayBuzz’s press release where they garnered two links back to their site.

Along that same vein, if you have something truly newsworthy happen to you (like one of your sites won an Awwward or you just sold a million copies of your plugin), issue a press release about it. And not just on your website. Use a service like PRweb so it’ll get picked up by other news channels that will link back to your site, too.

Once you’ve got this backlink train in motion, don’t forget to review the backlinks coming in to your site. You can find a list of these by going to Google Search Console; look under Search Traffic > Links to Your Site. If you find any questionable links (meaning they’re irrelevant or come from inappropriate sites), you can disconnect them.

Wrapping Up

Black hat SEO made things a little hairy for marketers and web developers for a while. But now that those shady SEO tactics are, for the most part, gone, we can focus on using positive link building strategies for our sites. A strong network of high-authority backlinks can speak volumes to the credibility of your business, so take some time to think about how best to get your site in front of others and motivate them to link back to it from their own sites.

Source:

15 Ways to Get High-Quality Backlinks to Your WordPress Site  posted on  wpmudev.com by  Suzanne Scacca

Social Media displaces Phone Calls and emails in the UK

Social Media displaces Phone Calls and emails in the UK

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence Apps and Platforms Briefing subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

Teens and adults in the UK aged 16-24 spend the majority of their time communicating via social media on their mobile devices, according to a recent Ofcom report.

This is a major departure from the communication habits of older age groups in the UK, and highlights how social networks and messaging platforms are changing consumer behaviors.

  • The study found that, on average, UK teens and adults aged 16-24 spend an average of 4 hours and 14 minutes communicating daily. That’s almost double the average of social media time spent among all adults, which clocks in at 2 hours and 10 minutes.
  • Most of this time is spent in social networks and messaging apps for the youngest demographic. The youngest cohort, 16-24 year olds, spend the majority of their time communicating through social networks (27%) and messaging services (35%).
  • Older age groups showed a propensity to spend more texting, using email, and calling. For those 25+, the majority of time is spent communicating through email (35% UK average) and phone or video calls (20% UK average).
  • The decline of emailing and phone calls in the younger age bracket appears to be due to the rise in instant/photo/video messaging and social networking.

The varying behavior among different age groups is likely attributable in part to the tendency for younger generations to look to “umbrella services,” or larger services that bundle tools that enable them to complete a number of daily tasks. A user on Facebook or Facebook Messenger, for example, could place a video or phone call, send personal messages or business-related messages, and interact with social content like pictures, video, and posts from friends, without ever departing the Facebook ecosystem.

Source: Social media displaces phone calls and emails in the UK – Business Insider

4 Ways to Use Social Media SEO to Improve Your Search Engine Visibility 

A very useful article by Elegant Themes’ Dan Virgillito :

Did you know: 571 new sites are made and 70 new domains are registered on the internet within a minute? And that’s just counting a minute. You don’t even want to contemplate the average number of websites created within a year. Generally speaking, the competition for high search engine visibility is fiercer than ever. Even for established websites it’s a tough ask. That is where overlooked tactics like social media seo can give you a competitive edge.

On the whole, social signals / links don’t have a direct impact on the search engine rank of a website. They’re easy to manipulate, which is why search engines don’t give them a lot of importance. Yet, social media benefits search engine rank in unexpected ways.

Specifically, social media seo works in the following ways:

  • Webpages that gain social traction are indexed faster in search engines. The catch is that audience sharing the content must be active and earned.
  • The likelihood of other websites linking to your content increases when it gets shared and promoted on social media. Links are a major driver for search engine rank.
  • A strong presence on social media could boost brand awareness and positive reputation. The more popular your website, the more it will be searched for.

Point in fact, social media seo interaction certainly influences search engine visibility.

But it requires more than just creating a social media profile. Here are 4 tips to help you benefit from social media seo.

1. Fill Your Social Media Profiles with Relevant Information

Include as much relevant information as possible about your website while filling out your social media profiles. Most importantly, include the name and URL of your site, as well as the keywords you want to rank for in the description and the updates you post.

So when people share and engage with your social media updates, they’ll basically aid your brand awareness efforts. For instance, Dom & Tom Inc included important information about its blog post in the update it shared on its Facebook page, leveraging social media seo.

optimizing profiles for social media seo

Source: Facebook

The SEO title of the post is mentioned in the description. This will also get passed around when social media audiences share this update and tag their peers in the comments section.

Potentially, it could result in searches like “things to keep in mind when building apps for kids Dom & Tom” or “Dom & Tom tips for building kids apps,” bringing an indirect increase in Dom & Tom’s search engine visibility.

2. Striking Up Conversations Is an Integral Part of Social Media SEO

Undoubtedly, social media provides an easy way to start a conversation with your target audience to offer value and address pain points . Launch inquiries, post useful tips, start a general discussion and reply to the audiences’ comments with helpful tips.

Then, engage people in the conversation directly. Such engagements are key to creating and retaining an interactive community. Social media seo would encourage your existing customers to return while helping you develop authority for potential ones. Not to mention, a satisfied audience would be willing to spread the word about your company.

For instance, WordPress.com engages its Facebook audience by answering their queries in the comments section.

social media engagement and seo

Source: Facebook

When implementing this tactic, you can also capitalize on the immediacy of response, which 72% of customers listed as critical. Fast response will increase the willingness of people to recommend or praise your brand on social media.

Indirectly, it will result in SEO gains when someone mentions your name on their blog as a helpful resource.

3. Partner with Social Media Influencers

By and large, social media influencers can multiply the visibility of your social media content. Though increased readership won’t directly boost your search engine rank, you’ll create a gateway to more links in the future through this social media seo tactic.

For instance, if an influencer with 5 times bigger following than what your social media efforts can muster shares your content, it would be a boon for your visibility as the influencer’s audience start Googling you up. As a result, your published pieces will have better value after syndication.

Therefore, start connecting with relevant influencers to build a cycle in which they promote your content and talk about your brand. For instance, Kissmetrics partnered with Jeff Bullas and Ann Handley, two of the most respected content marketers, for a webinar.

social media seo influencers

Source: Facebook

The update was shared on social media. Both influencers also informed their audiences about the collaboration. On the whole, it resulted in increased brand awareness for the Kissmetrics brand.

Note: In such influencer-based collaborations, you’re likely to earn nofollow links from the influencers’ social media pages and dofollow links from their websites when they mention your name.

4. Create & Push Captivating Content

Eventually, social media seo comes down to developing compelling content and experiences that your audience will love to discuss and share. Ensure that your video, infographic, visual, text, etc. is unique and in line with the social experience.

Once your content sees some engagement, push it via social media advertising to create a healthy buzz. The incoming traffic will likely result in increased engagement, which could result in more external links. Actually, it’s quite rare to see a highly linked-to page with no social media shares. You can even use hashtags for better reach.

Check out the content shared by Blugraphic on its Facebook page.

Shareworthy content is essential for scial media SEO benefits

Source: Facebook

In one of the posts, they’ve made an album for Giraffey Free Uppercase Condensed Typeface. Other updates include videos and animations in actions. This is the kind of captivating content that social media audiences love to see and share.

Final Thoughts

While standard SEO practices continue to be the first preference when it comes to increasing search engine visibility, it seems that social media seo is fundamental for building authority. Therefore, put some effort into optimizing your social media profiles, connect with the right influencers, and post quality updates on each social media network. You will be surprised to see the ROI these endeavors bring overtime.

Source: 4 Ways to Use Social Media SEO to Improve Your Search Engine Visibility | Elegant Themes Blog

Need Social Media Marketing Training? >

This Week’s Must Read Blogs – 16 May 2017

Hi everyone, a couple of articles I found useful:

Security

New WannaCry Ransomware and How to Protect Yourself

This is another Wordfence public service announcement (PSA) that describes new WannaCry ransomware variants that have emerged in the past few hours and describes how to protect yourself against the WannaCry ransomware, also known as the WannaCrypt ransomware. Read the full article >

Plugins

Useful WordPress Plugins to Integrate Your Site with Google Services 2017

Figuring out how to integrate your WordPress website with a couple of useful Google services? It should not be difficult! There are lots of reliable WordPress plugins that are ready to connect your site with popular Google services. A very interesting article by MottoPress’ Ann Taylor. Read the full article >

New Themes

Photopress

Photopress is a simple WordPress theme for Photographers, Designers & just about any creative out there. Learn more >

11 Examples of Divi Small Business Websites

The world is filled with small businesses and there are more started every day. With that comes the constant need for new websites. There are lots of small businesses websites built with Divi to provide design inspiration for your next project. In this article we will take a look at 11 examples of Divi small business websites to help you with design ideas for your next Divi project. Read the full article >

WooCommerce 2.7 Launches Awesome ‘Product Gallery’

Improved Stats and Distraction-Free Editing-Jetpack for WordPress

It’s often the little things that count — especially when it comes to your stats and writing. Based on valuable feedback from the community, Jetpack has just launched a few improvements that they think you’ll really love.

Site Stats

  • Today First: Now when you visit a site’s stats, you’ll see the Days view first, with data displayed for the last 30 days. A quick click on the arrow will take you to yesterday’s stats, or you can click on any bar to view full stats for a specific day.

switching-days-stats2 - Improved Stats and Distraction-Free Editing — Jetpack for WordPress

  • See More Information at Once: To better work with wider displays, we’ve extended the display area and have included three columns of statistics. The Weeks and Months views now also display up to 30 periods (if that data is available).
  • More Insights: Click the arrow next to a stat’s title for summaries of various periods, including a new All Time tab, list of Likes, and device previews. Clicking the Insights tab will show you detailed historical data for the entire site.Improved Stats and Distraction-Free Editing — Jetpack for WordPress - all time views - 1
  • Other improvements include an Average per Day view, Follower Totals, and the option to Download a CSV of your stats data.

Distraction-Free Editing

We’re proud to unveil some design changes to the WordPress.com editor that are available to all Jetpack users. It has the same great features you’ve come to expect, but with a cleaner, more refined experience — and a few new improvements, like a distraction-free writing mode.Improved Stats and Distraction-Free Editing — Jetpack for WordPress - 3

For those interested in the behind-the-scenes work that went into these improvements, you can read the full interview with Matías and Joen, the two designers who helped build this new experience.

We really hope you enjoy these new features. Feel free to contact us with any feedback or questions.

POSTED ON BY RICHARD MUSCAT

Source: Improved Stats and Distraction-Free Editing — Jetpack for WordPress

10 of the Best Shopping Cart Plugins for Your WordPress Website

 

Choosing a shopping cart plugin for your WordPress website is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make. After all, a faulty or poorly designed plugin that delivers a subpar user experience will chase users away. The effect on your bottom line doesn’t bear thinking about.

Fortunately, contemporary cart plugins are more than simply a passive way for customers to hold products while making their final purchasing decisions – modern solutions boast sophisticated, polished features. In this post, we’ve selected ten top shopping cart plugins that all seamlessly integrate with your WordPress site.

If you’re ready to take a look with us, let’s get started!

What to Look For in a Shopping Cart Plugin

WordPress shopping cart plugins are simply a way to enable the sale products through your WordPress website. While the exact features you need are going to be based on your own requirements, there are a few ever-present features that matter:

  1. A slick, easy-to-use interface.
  2. Top-flight support for many of the top payment gateways (such as Stripe and PayPal).
  3. Suitable customization options.
  4. Compatibility with your chosen theme.

Payment gateway support can’t be stressed enough. You’ll want to ensure that your plugin choice supports as many payment gateways as possible, without compromising on features.

As for compatibility and customization, you’ll want a suitable theme that can offer flexibility and power. Divi includes the Shop module out of the box, which offers integration with WooCommerce. In addition, the theme also comes bundled with the Divi Builder – an intuitive front end editor that can help make your website stand out.

10 of the Best Shopping Cart Plugins for Your WordPress Website

Before we take a look at our list, you’ll notice that some popular choices are missing. This is down to the criteria we’ve used to make our selections – some plugins simply couldn’t meet our standards when it came to reviews or ratings, while others hadn’t been updated in a while. What’s left is our pick of ten of the best shopping cart plugins for WordPress. Let’s take a look!

1. WooCommerce

The WooCommerce plugin.

First on the list is our recommended e-commerce plugin, WooCommerce. It enables the sale of digital and physical goods, and shoppers are offered the option of instant downloads. The sale of affiliate goods from online marketplaces is also supported. Flat rate and free shipping options are provided, as is the option to create real-time payment calculations.

In addition, WooCommerce also offers a number of free and premium extensions to enhance both yours and your customer’s experience through features such as recurring subscriptions, memberships, bookings systems, and more.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to sell both digital and physical goods.
  • Offers a number of free and premium extensions to enhance WooCommerce’s functionality.
  • Offers the option for global shipping.
  • Supports bank transfers, cash on delivery, and PayPal.

Price: FREE | More Information

2. eCommerce Shopping Cart

The WP Easy Cart plugin.

eCommerce Shopping Cart is a streamlined shopping cart plugin that slickly integrates with your WordPress website. It’s similar to WooCommerce in that it lets you sell both digital and physical products, along with gift cards.

There are a number of payment options available, and the plugin includes several in-built marketing and promotional tools – such as offering coupons. What’s more, eCommerce Shopping Cart includes baked in analytics and social sharing options for each item.

Although the plugin is free to download, you’ll need to purchase a license, which starts at $50 per site.

Key Features:

  • Supports almost all of the most popular payment services.
  • Offers tiered pricing, B2B pricing, featured products, and more.
  • Supports global shipping.
  • Includes marketing and coupon tools.
  • Integrates c-commerce conversion tracking.
  • Offers social sharing options.

Price: From $50 | More Information

3. Cart66

Cart66 WordPress Plugin

Cart66 stands as perhaps the most secure e-commerce WordPress option available – for a start, it helps to ensure online stores are PCI compliant. It supports both digital and physical products, and enables customers to create accounts when purchasing items.

Cart66 also includes a recurring billing engine that plays nicely with its 102 supported payment gateways, and enables you to include taxes and discounts at checkout.

Cart66 offers a 14-day free trial, but after that, the plugin starts at $9.99 a month.

Key Features:

  • Enables customers to create accounts, including storing credit card information and order history.
  • Offers a built-in email center that keeps you in touch with your existing customers.
  • Includes a recurring billing engine.
  • Supports over 100 payment gateways.
  • Offers incredible security and support, including PCI compliance.

Price: From $9.99 per month | More Information

4. Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart

The Ecwid plugin.

Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart is relied upon by over a million sellers worldwide.  It’s an e-commerce solution with support for more than 40 payment options, and 45 different languages.

This plugin stores your data entirely in the cloud, with unlimited storage, automatic upgrades, and backups. It also offers mobile iOS and Android apps free of charge, which enables you to turn your device into a Point Of Sale (POS) station.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to store your data in the cloud.
  • Offers iOS and Android apps free of charge.
  • Includes support for Facebook.
  • Provides a secure HTTPS checkout, and more than 40 payment options.

Price: From FREE | More Information

5. PayPal Shopping Cart

The PayPal Shopping Cart plugin.

PayPal Shopping Cart is an e-commerce solution that lets you place PayPal branded Add to Cart and View Cart buttons anywhere on your website. Payments are (of course) handled by PayPal via credit or debit card.

While the plugin is free, transaction fees will apply. There’s also a PayPal Pro offering that extends the functionality of the plugin, and enables some basic customization of the buttons, along with more options for setting taxes and discounts.

Key Features:

  • Offers a quick cart button creation feature based on your item’s details.
  • Supports 25 currencies and 18 languages.
  • Includes two button styles, and a choice of shop and payment URLs,

Price: FREE | More Information

6. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart

The WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plugin.

WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart does what it says on the tin – it offers a simple, minimalist shopping cart for your site. The plugin integrates seamlessly into any page, post, or sidebar of your WordPress site. Like some of the other choices in this list, it enables you to sell both physical and digital products including audio files, PDFs, photos, videos, and more.

WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is free, but transaction fees do apply.

Key Features:

  • Enables you to whip up an Add to Cart button with a variety of shopping and pricing options at your disposal.
  • Lets you sell a wide range of media types, along with physical goods.
  • Offers a minimalist approach. It’s light on code, helping to keep loading times to a minimum.

Price: FREE | More Information

7. Ecommerce WD

The eCommerce Shopping Cart plugin.

Ecommerce WD provides a user-friendly setup, paired with some advanced functionality including smart sorting, filtering, and searching of products. It works with PayPal out of the box, and enables you to set tax and shipping to groups of items, rather than on a product-by-product basis. It also offers a guest checkout feature, and social media integration for your products.

Ecommerce WD has a free tier, with premium versions offering additional theme support and other perks.

Key Features:

  • Enables users to create an unlimited quantity of categories and products.
  • Lets you find information via a sophisticated search feature.
  • Enables you to create tax types and shipping methods by group rather than by product.
  • Offers template customization and social network integration.
  • Includes guest checkout functionality.

Price: From FREE | More Information

8. Selz eCommerce Shopping Cart

The Selz plugin.

Selz eCommerce Shopping Cart is suited to the non-coders, and integrates with almost every WordPress theme. It’s a robust, full-featured shopping cart solution for the sale of physical products, services, and digital downloads.

The plugin provides secure download links for all digital items sold, and your store’s functionality can be bolstered via a variety of free and premium apps including PayPal support and MailChimp integration.

Finally, Selz eCommerce Shopping Cart is free, although transaction fees apply – and you only pay when you make a sale.

Key Features:

  • Offers secure download options for digital goods.
  • Supports delivery options for physical product sales.
  • Provides an app store to help enhance your store’s functionality.
  • Supports one-click selling and sharing for Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
  • Includes a Facebook-specific store template.

Price: FREE | More Information

9. Easy Digital Downloads

The Easy Digital Downloads plugin.

Easy Digital Downloads is an e-commerce plugin solution aimed at – you guessed it – digital downloads only. The mantra of the plugin is to simply offer everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s minimalism at its finest!

Amazon, PayPal, and test payments are supported right off the bat, and there are numerous premium extensions to help enhance your store further. Finally, Easy Digital Downloads is entirely free – meaning no transaction fees apply to your sales.

Key Features:

  • Includes a test payment feature.
  • Offers users their full purchase history, along with the ability to re-download files.
  • Enables you to set variable prices and multiple price options for each product.
  • Offers CSV and PDF data export options.
  • Includes a robust promotional code system.
  • Lets you offer customizable purchase receipts.

Price: FREE | More Information

10. Jigoshop

The Jigoshop plugin.

Finally, we have Jigoshop. This is a dynamic e-commerce solution, which positions itself as a powerful alternative to WooCommerce. The plugin enables a high level of user control, and the sizable development team regularly cranks out updates and fresh features.

Like WooCommerce, Jigoshop has a large number of extensions to help enhance your store. The plugin itself is free, although some extensions have a cost attached.

Key Features:

  • Lets you sell both digital and physical products.
  • Includes functionality to group your products.
  • Offers affiliate product support.
  • Enables stock management and advanced reporting.
  • Offers over 100 extensions, with more available each month.

Price: FREE | More Information

Conclusion

With so much to lose by choosing the wrong shopping cart plugin, selecting from the myriad of choices available can seem like a daunting exercise, especially when so much of your e-commerce success depends on you choosing the right one.

The ten shopping cart plugins we’ve listed above all provide the basic features you’ll need to get up and running, but each also has their own unique features. If you take the time to investigate the functionality of each solution, we’re sure you’ll find one that suits your particular e-commerce needs.

Do you use any of these shopping cart plugins, and if so, how are they working out for you? Let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to subscribe to the comments so you don’t miss out on the conversation!

Article thumbnail image by Profit_Image / shutterstock.com.

Source: 10 of the Best Shopping Cart Plugins for Your WordPress Website | Elegant Themes Blog

Tutorial: How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery 

Step-by-step written instructions plus video tutorial on how to create a WordPress video gallery using the Posts Table Pro plugin.

It’s so easy to embed video in WordPress these days, but it’s not so easy to create a video gallery listing all your videos in a grid. This article will teach you how to create a responsive WordPress video gallery using the Posts Table Pro plugin.

While Posts Table Pro isn’t just for videos, it’s one of the best WordPress video plugins around. It lets you add a WordPress video grid or video portfolio to your website.

You’ll learn how to add videos to your gallery using 2 different methods:

  • Embedding a video that is hosted elsewhere into WordPress, for example YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Directly uploading video to your WordPress website.

We’ll look at the different options for setting up your WordPress video gallery. You can choose which columns display, the column width, how many videos to display in each page of the gallery and much more.

The video gallery will be fully responsive and will resize to fit different screen sizes and mobile devices.

At the end of this tutorial, you’ll know how to create a professional-looking video gallery for your WordPress website. Your visitors will be able to watch videos directly within the video gallery. They’ll be able to search and filter to find the videos they want more easily.

#1 – Get ready to create your responsive WordPress video gallery

#1a – Install the Posts Table Pro plugin

You can add a video gallery to any WordPress website with any theme. The only essential video plugin is Posts Table Pro, which you need to create the video grid online.

#1b – Plan how to store the videos for your gallery

You also need to think about where you’re going to store the videos that will appear in your gallery. You’ll be using Posts Table Pro to create a searchable, sortable video table but first you need to add your videos and video playlists.

The Posts Table Pro plugin works by displaying posts from your WordPress website – this can be standard posts, pages or custom posts. This means that you need to add your videos within posts, pages or a custom post type.

If you want each video to appear in its own row of your WordPress gallery then you need to add each one as a separate post. If you’re planning to create video playlists then you need a separate post for each playlist (not each video).

In the screenshots and video for this tutorial, I’m using a ‘Video’ custom post type. This is the easiest way to organise your videos as you will have a dedicated area for storing videos in the WordPress admin.

If you’re a WordPress developer then you can create your custom post type programmatically. If not, I recommend the Custom Post Types UI plugin. This makes it really easy to create custom post types in WordPress without any technical know-how.

#2 – Add your videos to the gallery

Once you’ve installed Posts Table Pro and planned the structure for your video gallery behind the scenes, the next step is to add your videos to the website.

  1. Go to Video > Add New (if your custom post type is called ‘Video’. If not, add a new post using your chosen method).
  2. Add a title for the video.
  3. Embed your video in the main content area using one of the following methods.

Method 1 – Embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo

The most reliable way to store video in your WordPress gallery is to host it on a specialist video website. YouTube or Vimeo are the most popular, but you can embed from any of the files in this list.

This is a great way to store videos because:

  • It will save space on your web hosting account.
  • Dedicated video hosts automatically create multiple versions of your videos behind the scenes. This means that your videos will play for more people, whatever technology or device they’re using to access your website. You don’t have to worry about writing any fancy code to check the user’s device or serve alternate versions of your videos – it all happens automatically.
  • You get lots of extra features from specialist video hosts such as view counters, social sharing, annotations, mobile-friendly cards, monetisation through advertising, etc.
  • If you use a public video website such as YouTube then people can also find your videos directly via YouTube. This will help to increase your traffic. (If your video gallery will not be publicly available then I’d recommend Vimeo, which has more privacy settings. You can protect Vimeo videos so they can only be viewed on your domain.)

If you’re embedding videos from one of the files in this list then you just need to embed the URL of your video directly into the post. View your video on YouTube, Vimeo or whichever site you’re using, and copy the URL from the address bar at the top of your browser. To help you find the video URL, I’ve circled it in the screenshot below:

Where to find YouTube URL for WordPress video gallery - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Simply paste the URL into the content area for your WordPress post. WordPress will instantly convert it into an embedded video player.

Method 2 – Upload the video directly to the media library

You can also host videos directly on your WordPress website:

  1. Click the ‘Add Media’ button above the WordPress toolbar and upload your video file (e.g. MP4 or MOV).
  2. Select the video in the media library.
  3. Make sure the ‘Attachment Display Settings’ section is set to ‘Embedded Media Player’ and click ‘Insert into post’.

Again, WordPress will automatically embed a watchable video into your post.

WordPress video embed gallery - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Method 3 – Create a video playlist

Finally, you can add entire video playlists to your WordPress gallery.

  1. Click ‘Add Media’ above the WordPress toolbar.
  2. Click the ‘Create Video Playlist’ option on the left. (This will only appear if you have video files in your media library.)
  3. Tick all the videos you want to include in the playlist.
  4. Click the ‘Create a new video playlist’ on the right.
  5. On the next screen, add the caption that should appear for each video. Tick the boxes to indicate whether to show the video list and images in the playlist. Then click ‘Insert video playlist’.

WordPress will embed the playlist directly into your page or post.

WordPress video playlist - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

#4 – Add any further information about your videos

Next, add any further information that you want to display in your video gallery. For best results, I recommend adding the same fields of information to each of your video posts.

Examples of further information for a video gallery might include:

  • Categories
  • Tags
  • Description
  • Video length
  • ‘Buy now’ button

Set up any categories or tags using the standard WordPress functions.

The most obvious place to add any further information (e.g. text or buttons) is before or after the embedded video in the main post content. However this isn’t ideal because it will appear in the same column of the video grid as the media player. For most WordPress video galleries, it’s neater to add other information as separate columns. To do this, you can add it as an excerpt or custom field.

Tip: I recommend the Advanced Custom Fields WordPress plugin to create extra fields for storing data about your videos. For example you could create custom fields to add a description, video length and ‘Buy now’ button and display these as separate columns in the video gallery.

Later in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a WordPress video gallery with columns for title, content and excerpt. If you want to copy the exact shortcodes that I use in this tutorial then you need to add the video within the main content, a description in the ‘Excerpt’ field and also structure your videos into categories. You can use the documentation to add other types of column, for example custom fields – if you do this then your shortcode should be different from my examples below.

Finally, click ‘Publish’ for all your video posts. Now you’re ready to set up your video gallery!

#5 – Create your WordPress video gallery

Step 1 – Basic usage

You can add your video gallery to any post or page on your WordPress website, or even within a text widget.

Go to the page/post/widget where you want to add the gallery. In the main content area, add the following shortcode:

[posts_table post_type=”video” shortcodes=”true”]

Replace the ‘video’ in post_type=”video” with the slug for your custom post type, or ‘page’ if your videos are on pages. If your videos are on standard WordPress posts then you can ignore the post_type element of the shortcode as posts are displayed by default.

Adding shortcodes=”true” tells Posts Table Pro to display the watchable video player that WordPress created when you added your videos.

Using Posts Table Pro to Create Video Gallery - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Now, view the page/post where you added the shortcode to see the first draft of your WordPress video gallery.

You’ll see that the video grid has 4 columns – the title of each video page/post, the content where you added the embedded videos, the author and the date. It looks professional but probably isn’t the information that you’d want to include in a video gallery. So keep going…

WordPress video gallery - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Step 2 – Change the column headings

Go back to the shortcode that you added in step 1. We want to tell it which columns to display in the video gallery. Extend the shortcode as follows to display the video player in the left hand column, with further columns for title, description and categories:

[posts_table post_type=”video” shortcodes=”true” columns=”content:Watch Now,title,excerpt:Description,category]

In this shortcode, I’ve adde a colon after the content and title columns followed by the text that I want to use as my column headers. This will rename the content column to ‘Watch Now’, and the excerpt column to ‘Description’ – while keeping the default names for the title and category columns. You can do this for any column to change the title that appears in the header row.

Now update your page and see how your WordPress video gallery looks now. You’ll see that the categories are now much more relevant and user-friendly. You can click on a category to filter by the videos in that category. You can also type a keyword into the search box, or click on a column header to sort the grid.

WordPress video grid - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Step 3 – Change the column widths

You might also want to change the width of the columns. Posts Table Pro will set this automatically based on the content of each column. For a WordPress video gallery, you might want to make the video player column wider so that people can see your videos more easily.

To customise the column widths in the video grid, you need to add width=”” to the shortcode. Between the quotation marks, you should add numbers that add up to 100. Each number represents a column and the percentage of the table’s widths that it should occupy. For example:

[posts_table post_type=”video” shortcodes=”true” columns=”content:Watch Now,title,excerpt:Description,category widths=”40,15,30,15″]

There are 4 numbers in the width setting to represent the 4 columns in the video gallery. These 4 numbers add up to 100. The first column (content) has 40% and is the biggest to give more space to the embedded video player. The second column (title) has 15% as the video titles don’t need much space. The third column (excerpt) is slightly longer to allow for more text. The final column (category) is also quite small.

WordPress video library - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

Play around with the widths in your own video gallery to get the column sizes working as you want them.

Step 3 – Change the gallery link settings

By default, the title column in your WordPress video gallery is clickable. Clicking on it takes you to the single post page for each video. You can also click on categories to filter the video grid by that category.

You can disable some or all of these links if you like. For example, a lot of video libraries display a grid of videos and don’t wish to provide separate pages for each video. If this applies to you then you’ll want to disable the links.

To do this, add one of the following to the Posts Table Pro shortcode:

  • links=”none” – this disables all the links in the video gallery so that you can’t click on the title or category.
  • links=”category” – this disables the links on the video titles, while leaving the category links as they are. This is a good option if you like being able to click on a category to filter the video grid, but don’t want people to access the individual video pages by clicking the title.

Finished WordPress video gallery - How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery

#6 – Other video grid options

If you like, you can set up your WordPress video gallery by following the instructions in this tutorial exactly. However the Posts Table Pro WordPress video plugin is very flexible and you can configure it to your exact requirements. For example, you can:

  • Change the default sort order for your videos.
  • Choose which columns are displayed and what to call them.
  • Choose how many videos appear on each page.
  • Add dropdown search filters above your gallery so that people can filter by category or tag.
  • Change or hide the search and pagination links at the top and bottom of the gallery.
  • Add your videos in different ways – for example if you want to use the main content area for something else then you can embed the videos as custom posts instead.
  • Display other types of content as well as videos. For example you can use it as a WordPress image and video gallery plugin, or as a video and audio gallery with music playlists.
  • And much more…

Use the plugin documentation to find out what’s possible with Posts Table Pro and choose how you will use it for your own WordPress video gallery. With so much flexibility, it’s easily the best video gallery plugin for WordPress.

Getting started

Now you know how to create a fully featured, fully responsive video grid in WordPress. To get started, download the Posts Table Pro plugin and follow the steps in this tutorial to set up your video gallery online.

Source: Tutorial: How to Create a WordPress Video Gallery | Barn2 Media