Archive for the ‘WordPress Tips’ Category

15 Expert Guides to WordPress: Tips, Techniques, Plugins and More

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Powered by legions of fans and armies of developers, WordPress has evolved from a humble blogging platform to a flexible, robust and ubiquitous CMS.

Expert WordPress Tips and TechniquesWordPress now powers one out of every six sites on the web, and half of all sites built on a content management system (CMS)—more than 60 million websites, including 45 of the Technorati Top 100 sites. (See below for sources.)

Nevertheless, it’s not perfect. So if WordPress is your platform of choice,  how can you overcome or work around its shortcomings and quirks? Optimize the speed of your site? Extend it, socialize it,  keep it secure, back it up, SEO it, and measure your results?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 15 expert guides to WordPress tips, tricks and plugins.

WordPress Tips, Tactics and Facts

The Top 10 Most Infuriating Things about WordPress and How to Fix Them by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

A guest author on Jeff’s blog, the enigmatic “Jamil,” provides a remarkably helpful and even entertaining look at 10 top shortcomings of WordPress and how to avoid, overcome, or work around them. Even if some of the “fixes” aren’t particularly helpful (the recommended solution to plugin incompatibility is prayer, and the answer to the notoriously unhelpful default WordPress search functionality is “Get literally any other search bar”), you’ll lean a few new things here and enjoy doing it.

WordPress is the Emerging Monopoly in CMS #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserJust how popular is WordPress? According to Berrie Pelser, “Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power (their websites)…By March 2012, with about 72.4 million users for the content management system, the WordPress grew as the largest of its type on the planet. It provided hosting to more than 50% of the CMS users and more than 45% of the top 100 sites as rated by Technorati.” You’ll find those and many more such stats in this fascinating infographic.

How to Create Different Widgets on Different Pages Using a Plugin by SteamFeed

Rachael ButtsRachael Butts supplies a tutorial on how to use the Display Widgets plugin to “display different widgets on different pages, thus allowing you to have custom sidebars on your WordPress site.” She also offers tips for using the plugin, such as to customize the sidebar menu based on the page your visitor is viewing.

Custom Post Types – WordPress Evolves Closer to a Content Management System by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe engaging Debra Murphy explains what WordPress custom post types are and writes that “Theme developers can now use custom post types to create an array of content that can be edited through the visual editor and used anywhere on the site,” such as image galleries or product catalogs.

My Favorite Things to use with WordPress by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (again) reviews eight of her favorite “things” to enhance WordPress, including the Woo Themes framework, Simpicity theme, Gravity Forms plugin for creating and managing forms,  and MailChimp for email marketing.

How to Speed Up a WordPress Site

5 ways to speed up WordPress by Rainbow Fire

A handful of excellent tips for reducing your blog’s load time (and related user frustration), among them installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache (“using a caching plugin can prove a vital way to speed up WordPress by ensuring that only the first visitor to your page needs to go through the entire process. The plugin will save the data from this first visitor, and serve it directly to any subsequent visitors thus reducing the strain on your database and the user’s browser”).

4 Things to Speed Up Your WordPress Site by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (once more) offers four quick tips for increasing WordPress speed, such as using a content delivery network (“CDN’s load your website from a local server, say one in England, so your website for this user would be very fast because it is not pulling from a server in the States”). If your visit volume justifies this, starter plans are surprisingly affordable.

Top WordPress Plugins and Reviews

7 Must Have Plugins For Starting A Blog by Geekless Tech

Garen ArnoldGaren Arnold recommends plugins to cover basic functions from commenting and social sharing to SEO and, for security, Backup Buddy: “Backup Buddy is a fantastic plugin which will allow you to backup your mSQL databases automatically…There are a lot of similar plugins that do the same; this one is paid but well worth the money.”

37 Top WordPress Security and SEO Social Media Plug-ins 2013 by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (again) lists more than three dozen top security and SEO plugins for WordPress along with brief descriptions of each, including Digg Digg (“Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!”) and Simple Login Lockdown (“A simple way to prevent brute force login attemps on your WordPress installation”).

10 Time Saving WordPress Plugins by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonBrad Knutson serves up thoughtful reviews of “WordPress plugins that webmasters, developers and bloggers use to save time every day,” from the comment spam-squashing Akismet to Social by MailChimp, which very helpfully publishes “comments, retweets and replies as WordPress comments. When you share your post across multiple social media platforms, the conversation is often carried on in many different places. This plugin aggregates your conversations and keeps them in one place.”

30 Most Popular WordPress Plugins – infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (yet again) highlights a list of popular WordPress plugins, this time in infographic form. Among the recommendations here are the self-explanatory WP-DB-Backup and WP-Polls, as well as WPTouch, which “automatically transforms your WordPress website for mobile devices, complete with ajax loading articles and smooth effects.”

Starting a WordPress Blog? Make Sure Your Have these Plugins Installed by Techetron

Mushfiqur RahmanMushfiqur Rahman reviews his top 10 must-have plugins for a new blog. Beyond a few obvious choices (Akismnet, SEO Yoast, Google SML Sitemaps), he also includes Broken Link Checker for automatically finding broken links, WP Mobile Detector for automatically detecing device type and serving up the proper display of your blog, and Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin.

The 17 Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media, SEO, and Better Visitor Engagement in 2013 by Maximize Social Business

Neal SchafferNoting that “WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day,” Neal Schaffer explains the importance of minimizing page load time and some tactics for increasing your site’s speed, then reviews his favorite social media and SEO plugins including JetPack Publicize, Scribe SEO and Social Author Bio, which provides “fully integrated Google Plus Authorship.”

15 Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2012 by iMediaConnection

Noemi MadridNoemi Madrid reviews more than a dozen plugins for integrating your content with and sharing it on social platforms, including plugins specifically developed for interaction with Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest, Storify, YouTube, and even MySpace.

The Complete Set of Social Media Plugins for WordPress by Web Teacher

Tom ChuWhile this isn’t a “complete set,” guest author Tom Chu does serve up helpful reviews of half a dozen social media plugins ranging from Sociable and ShareThis for general social sharing to “deep integration” plugins like Social Metrics, which “displays your site’s social media performance statistics and gives them back to you in an intuitive way to help you to understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve.”

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The Ultimate List of The Best WordPress eCommerce Plugins

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

What’s better than getting an expert’s opinion on the best ecommerce plugins for WordPress? How about getting the opinions of 10 experts!

That’s what you’ll find here: the combined and consolidated wisdom of 10 top WordPress experts on the best WordPress ecommerce plugins (and which ones to avoid), along with the number of downloads to date, user ratings and additional information. A complete list of references is provided at the end of the post.

Best e-Commerce Plugins for WordPress

Image credit: The Wondrous Design Magazine

As with many things in life, which alternative is “best” largely comes down to: “it depends.” The plugins below provide various levels of functionality, customizability, price, popularity and other features. Which is best for you depends on your application, the type of product(s) you are selling, the geographic area in which you sell, your level of sophistication, your budget and other factors.

The three sets of plugins below, compiled from reviews by top WordPress experts, are divided into (mostly) free, premium, and possibly obsolete.

Popular, (Mostly) Free WordPress eCommerce Plugins

To start, here are 26 (mostly) free ecommerce plugs available through WordPress.org, plus 1o more (generally fee-based) scripts and plugins available from third-party sites. These are sorted in descending order of popularity (number of total downloads to date), though keep in mind—just as in high school, the most popular isn’t always the best.

WP e-Commerce

Price: Free
Included in: 9 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.8
Based on: 746 ratings
Downloads: 2,049,822
Last updated: July, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“No Worpress E-Commerce line-up would be complete without WP e-Commerce from GetShopped.org as this was the forerunner in the WordPress E-Commerce stakes. Alas for us therein lies the problem – the plugin has become overstretched, buggy and whilst we have found that the support offered has improved overall it still feels lacking. To focus on the best bits the plugin offers an interesting slant on shopping with their premium ‘DropShop Drag & Drop Cart Widget’, but in reality the actual usefulness of the plugin is limited as users tend to find it easy enough to simply add an item to their basket. The plugin however does cover Digital Downloads and also you can easily monetize your NextGen Gallery with another premium ‘add-on’. On the negatives WP e-Commerce mainly lends itself to WP e-Commerce themes and this makes setup and indeed updates a real pain. We’ve found that fixing a bug on one set of templates is then totally overridden and replaced by a set of new bug on update – for a developer that is pretty tiresome.” – Slick Media

“This is a fully feature-rich plugin that is free of cost. This adds a shopping cart to your blog rather easily and quickly…The only downside is that this plugin requires frequent maintenance and this can become a really cumbersome task.” – All Blogging Tips

Despite its popularity,  this plugin earned more “1” ratings than “5” ratings.

eShop

Price: Free
Included in: 8 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.8
Based on: 282 ratings
Downloads: 429,264
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Utilize eShop if you want customers to create profiles to sign up on your site to purchase your products and services. It also allows you to view basic statistics and download your sales data for your convenience. Also enjoy multiple gateways like PayPal, WebtoPay, iDeal, and other popular portals.” – Shareaholic

“eShop (free) has most of the features that put it in direct competition with the top three plugins…Yet, it is completely free.” – WinkPress

Unless you need special features that this plugin doesn’t include, it is possibly the best of the bunch.

WooCommerce

Price: Free
Included in: 7 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.1
Based on: 244 ratings
Downloads: 359,893
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“WooCommerce (free) is the first ecommerce plugin on this list because since its recent introduction, it has quickly gained popularity and community support. It is based off of Jigoshop (which is definitely worth checking out also). WooCommerce is free, and it’s backed by plenty of premium extensions and themes.” – WinkPress

“The WooCommerce plugin is built by the WooThemes company. With WooCommerce plugin you can transform any WordPress-powered website into a powerful eCommerce store and sell anything beautifully. It allows to keep an eye at incoming sales and reviews, stock levels, general store performance and statistics from the WordPress dashboard. An integration of successful themes with WooCommerce can give a huge impact to any business giving the ability to grow sales on the web.” – TemplateMonster Blog

With its 4.0 rating, another legitimate contender for the “best” title.

WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart

Price: Free
Included in: 3 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.3
Based on: 118 ratings
Downloads: 2003,893
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Simple PayPal Shopping Cart by Tips and Tricks HQ is the most downloaded and highest rated lightweight shopping cart plugin on WordPress.org. I like the way it works. It outsources location-based shipping and tax calculations to PayPal. It is simple to use, yet highly customizable.” – WinkPress

“The WordPress Simple shopping cart can be easily integrated to any existing site or Facebook profile in minutes. (It’s) very easy to use.” – Durham Web Designer

Jigoshop

Price: Free
Included in: 4 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.0
Based on: 119 ratings
Downloads: 129,485
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Set up shop in minutes with physical and downloadable products or even services. Jigoshop provides you with the features necessary to set up an eCommerce web site lickety-split. With the option to create a multitude of product types and apply detailed attributes customers can easily refine your catalog, ensuring they find what they’re looking for in just a couple of clicks.” – DynamicWP

“Jigoshop is a WordPress eCommerce plugin that is developed by professionals with years of experience delivering online shops for global brands. After installation, with all that features available, you can adjust your future online shop within several minutes. With Jigoshop plugin you can create multiple product types, apply detailed attributes making sure that your customers will find any product with just a couple of clicks. Inside the dashboard you get sortable sales graphs, incoming order/review notifications together with stats on your stores performance.” – TemplateMonster Blog

Ready! Ecommerce Shopping Cart

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.9
Based on: 119 ratings
Downloads: 98,255
Last updated: September, 2012

 

What the reviewers had to say:

 

“Actually better to say shopping cart plugin which have lots of features along with free themes. Some unique features of this plugin: Manual Payment Options for users (via checks/or through money orders), PayPal Payments Standard, PayPal Payments Pro…Show as featured : Special Products, Gifts, Coupons Pack added.” – BLOGVKP

 

Though it was featured in only one expert review, the fact that this plugin has the highest overall rating (4.9) based on input from more than 100 users makes it worth checking out.

Ecwid Shopping Cart

Price: Free
Included in: 5 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.0
Based on: 44 ratings
Downloads: 93,399
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Ecwid is free ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It is a fully featured shopping card system that is pretty easy to install and set up. You can set this plugin with few key strokes and clicks.  Ecwid is also customizable so you can have it the way you want it.” – HostingTag

“It is always said that the best things in this world are priceless. So is true for this plugin because it is free to use. It is a shopping cart system which is easy to install and even easier to. It is fully customizable so you can decide how it looks on your site.The drawback is that this plugin uses Ajax, so SEO value of website is affected. Moreover the users who do not have JavaScript enabled will not be able to use it.” – All Blogging Tips

Quick Shop

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.7
Based on: 40 ratings
Downloads: 87,492
Last updated: May, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Quick Shop is a popular lightweight cart plugin. It only works with PayPal, but it provides more flexibility than usually expected from a plugin in its category. It allows the merchant to set the currency and even provide free shipping for orders exceeding a certain amount.” – WinkPress

“This is useful with the themes that have a sidebar installed as this plugins gives a sidebar shopping cart option in your cart. The plugin requires PHP 5 and you need to make your own CSS. The plugin is really customizable though.” – All Blogging Tips

Welcart

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.4
Based on: 11 ratings
Downloads: 87,981
Last updated: October, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Welcart is a program made in Japan, which assists you to build e-commerce system on WordPress. It has not only simple shopping cart function but also other functions necessary to run your store, such as “Order management function” and “membership function”. Welcart corresponds to various types of WordPress template. 8 widgets included in the program will help your blog to become an online shop. Note that the community page is in Japanese.” – DynamicWP

wpStoreCart

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.5
Based on: 72 ratings
Downloads: 79,908
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“wpStoreCart is a free, open source, and full featured e-commerce platform built atop of WordPress. It is easy to use, lightweight, heavily supported and constantly updated with new features.” – DynamicWP

“wpStoreCart (free) has most of the features that you’d need in a shopping cart, but I found its features to fall a little short of meeting customer requirements.” – WinkPress

MarketPress

Price: Free (standard) or $39 (upgrade)
Included in: 4 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.1
Based on: 62 ratings
Downloads: 71,302
Last updated: June, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“We’ll cut to the chase and say that MarketPress is probably the best WordPress E-Commerce plugin for a WordPress Multisite Configuration. Like all wpmudev plugins, MarketPress is fully WordPress MS compatible. This is a killer feature as it means that when installed on WordPress Multisite all products, product tags, and product categories from across the network are indexed globally. They are then displayed on your main site/blog marketplace pages or with a set of powerful global widgets or short codes. This means that MarketPress is powerful enough to enable you to create an entire Shopping Network like Etsy or Shopify within a WordPress framework.” – Slick Media

“MarketPress is the easiest to use, best designed and most powerful ecommerce / shopping cart plugin available for WordPress today.” – DynamicWP

TheCartPress

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.9
Based on: 51 ratings
Downloads: 71,519
Last updated: October, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“The Professional WordPress eCommerce Plugin. Use it as shopping cart, catalog or framework. You can extend its functionality with plugins and themes to customize your store exactly in same way that you do with WordPress. It is compatible with many existing plugins in the WordPress repository.” – DynamicWP

Cart 66 Lite

Price: Free
Included in: 5 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.9
Based on: 41 ratings
Downloads: 68,391
Last updated: August, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Use this plugin if your site is dedicated to offering several products and services. The  plugin’s features will make shipping both physical and digital products easy, and you can experience the Amazon S3 integration for all of your digital products. You can also manage orders effectively and use custom fields for products. Collect recurring payments for subscriptions, memberships, and payment plans. Memberships behind a pay wall. Sell access to content on your website. Protect any blog post or page so that it is only available to paying members. Setup teasers where a part of the page is public but the rest of the page is only visible to paying members. Create membership feature levels (i.e. basic and premium memberships) and fine tune the access to your content. Show or hide content based on the logged in members feature level.” – Shareaholic

“Cart66 is a WordPress e-commerce plugin that gained huge popularity among theme designers. Cart66 plugin works with any WP theme, that’s why it’s easy to implement a shopping cart on any WordPress website. You simply create your product and place it, via shortcode, on any page or post. Theme designers are taking Cart66 even further by incorporating features like custom post types and a rating system. Cart66 comes equipped with a powerful admin panel. Set your currency, choose which countries you want to sell to, charge tax by zip code ranges or states, manage orders, view sales reports, track your inventory and start selling.” – TemplateMonster Blog

Note the depending on your needs, you may need to the paid version ($89) of this plugin.

Zingiri Web Shop

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.7
Based on: 56 ratings
Downloads: 64,851
Last updated: August, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Zingiri Web Shop is a WordPress plugin that turns a great content management system into a fantastic e-commerce solution.” – DynamicWP

Yak for WordPress (Discontinued)

Price: Free
Included in: 4 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.9
Based on: 71 ratings
Downloads: 60,811
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“YAK stands for “Yet Another Kart,” but in my opinion, this shopping cart really stands out from the rest.  This free WordPress plugin is one of my favorite shopping cart solutions because it allows the user to create products from either posts or pages and also includes a basic XML feed. You will enjoy the configurable shipping address feature and your customers will love the plugin’s order tracker. ” – Shareaholic

“If you already have an online retail presence, and want to create a blog to make sure your customers are constantly updated about the latest products and services offered by you, then this YAK plugin is an unbeatable option for you. This is an open-source shopping plugin which allows categorization of products and services, and gives the users a pool of multiple payment options.” – All Blogging Tips

Though the reviewers liked it, note that this plugin, like WP e-Commerce, received more “1” ratings than “5” ratings from users.

WP Online Store

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.6
Based on: 30 ratings
Downloads: 46,153
Last updated: September, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“WP Online Store (free) is an integration between osCommerce and WordPress. It has a fairly good rating on WordPress.org. Premium add-ons and services are offered on the plugin’s website.” – WinkPress

WordPress Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.7
Based on: 27 ratings
Downloads: 44,672
Last updated: October, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“WordPress Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart allows you to add an ‘Add to Cart’ button on any posts or pages. It also allows you to add/display the shopping cart on any post or page or sidebar easily. The shopping cart shows the user what they currently have in the cart and allows them to remove the items. You can also add a form between the cart validation and the paypal submit if you choose a 3 step process.” – DynamicWP

DukaPress

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.2
Based on: 48 ratings
Downloads: 32,900
Last updated: January, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“DukaPress (free) handles shopping cart integration with WordPress in a smart and efficient manner. It also has more pre-built themes than the average plugin.” – WinkPress

WP Auctions

Price: $35-$279
Included in: 3 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.7
Based on: 23 ratings
Downloads: 29,862
Last updated: May, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“This plugin is acclaimed among many WordPress users as the best Auction plugin there is, so a little investment for auctioning items on your site via this plugin is probably worth it. Enjoy 3 bidding engines, registered only users and reserve price features as well as options for Pro and Pro Plus plugin.” – Shareaholic

Are PayPal Plugin

Price: Free
Included in: 3 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.7
Based on: 19 ratings
Downloads: 18,431
Last updated: February, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“You can use this plugin if you want to provide privileges to access exclusive content of your blog, only to the registered users. It will restrict the guests from seeing the hidden content. It is basically designed to sell stuff which cannot be shown to all people , like digital arts or intellectual property. Instead of showing the content to the unregistered users, they are shown with the actions they need to take (such as registering with you via a minimal payment) to view that content. Google’s bot can index that hidden content though, so users can search for it but they cannot see and access it without registration. This plugin uses Pay Pal – IPN (Instant Payment Notification) protocol so that the payment and content delivery processes are quick and automatic.” – All Blogging Tips

ShippingEasy

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  5.0
Based on: 1 rating
Downloads: 599
Last updated: July, 2012

What the reviewers had to say:

“Shippingeasy is a powerful online platform which gets integrated with your WP eCommerce store completely. You get complete set of custom features from tracking to setting up shipment prizes. Actually its like an addon to wp-ecommerce plugin. This plugin utilizes the api of Shipping easy.” – BLOGVKP

Premium (Mostly) Fee-Based Third-Party WordPress eCommerce Plugins

These are listed alphabetically, as ratings and download information was not available in all cases.

Credit Card Payments WordPress

Price: $21
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  5.0
Based on: 10 ratings
Downloads: 175

What the reviewers had to say:

“This script allows you to have a quick & easy payment terminal for your clients to pay with major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover) on your WORDPRESS website without leaving it. Installation and configuration of the script takes less than 5 minutes (however you do need to have SSL and one of 4 merchant accounts (PayPal, OptimalPayments, Moneris US or Moneris Canada, Authorize.net).” – DynamicWP

GetShopped (Discontinued)

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“GetShopped (free) is one of the earliest shopping cart plugins for WordPress. It used to be a little shaky, but its more recent versions have seen tremendous improvements. While official support for the plugin is lacking, its community is huge.” – WinkPress

Market Theme

Price: $55
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“Market Theme ($55) is a very user-friendly shopping cart solution for WordPress. While its features are limited, it is very reliable and easy to use. It’s very affordable at $55 only and it is backed by a solid satisfaction guarantee.” – WinkPress

PayPal File Download for WordPress

Price: $20
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“PayPal File Download for WordPress is the easiest way to sell digital content to your visitors. Easily sell and automatically deliver e-books, PDFs, ZIPs, and any other kind of file to your customers—with built in IPN , email delivery, and download expiry.” – DynamicWP

PayPal Payment Terminal for WordPress

Price: $12
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  5.0
Based on: 43 ratings
Downloads: 267

What the reviewers had to say:

“With PayPal being ubiquitous for online shopping, splurge a little on this plugin and enjoy features that allow you to view all of your  transactions, sort your transactions list, and also gives you and the purchaser automatic notifications throughout the purchasing process.” – Shareaholic

Shopp

Price: $55
Included in: 3 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“This is an excellent plugin but comes with a price tag of 55$. What you will be getting is a single license to this plugin, some extra plugins and modules, and priority for support. This plugin is specially designed for big firms which can use this as a solution to all their online shopping problems.” – All Blogging Tips

ShopperPress

Price: $79
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“ShopperPress ($79) has plenty of shopping cart options and features and plenty of appearance customization features. Yet, it is very easy to use thanks to the setup wizard and the extensive online documentation. It also includes more than 20 child themes. For its features, it is fairly priced at $79 only.” – WinkPress

Templatic eCommerce (Discontinued)

Price: $65
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“Templatic Ecommerce ($65) is a shopping cart solution by Templatic. It’s a collection of different themes that are all powered by the same shopping cart code. Each ecommerce theme from Templatic costs $65. Buy one of these if you’ve fallen in love with the designs — as there’s nothing special in the functionality..” – WinkPress

Tribulant

Price: $55
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews

What the reviewers had to say:

“Tribulant Shopping Cart ($55) provides plenty of bang for the buck. It is full of advanced features, such as integration with shipping carriers, but only costs $55.” – WinkPress

Wpdeposit

Price: $15
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  4.0
Based on: 14 ratings
Downloads: 89

What the reviewers had to say:

“I love Themeforest’s WPdeposit for any site that needs a deposit system for advertisements, subscriptions and the like. Aside from offering PayPal, Authorize.net and iDeal as gateways, manual bank payment is also an option. The plugin also comes with a full developer guide that can be used to create and customize a module for your site.” – Shareaholic

Free but Possibly Obsolete Plugins

These last five plugins haven’t been updated in a while, so they may or may not still be supported. Caveat emptor.

ArtPal

Price: Free
Included in: 2 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  5.0
Based on: 3 ratings
Downloads: 7,329
Last updated: February, 2010

What the reviewers had to say:

“This is another free WP plugin for selling online. This was originally created for the artists to sell their art work online through their own blogs and websites. One can seamlessly integrate his/her Pay Pal account with this plugin and leave the rest on this plugin. This plugin does real time sales update, so as soon as your product is sold it will be excluded from your catalogue. You need not worry about your product being sold twice.” - All Blogging Tips

FatFreeCart

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.0
Based on: 6 ratings
Downloads: 5,035
Last updated: May, 2009

What the reviewers had to say:

“FatFreeCart works with PayPal and Google Checkout. I think it’s very underrated. It supports product variations, taxes, and shipping & handling fees. It also has a nice ajax-powered shopping cart view. While the plugin is made by e-junkie, it works completely independently of the e-junkie service.” – WinkPress

WP Live-Shopping Widgets

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  3.4
Based on: 5 ratings
Downloads: 3,437
Last updated: August, 2009

What the reviewers had to say:

“This plugin is one every eCommerce site should use. Using this widget, you can showcase featured shopping offers in the sidebar of your website. Use the “live-shopping” widget to create custom badges, buttons and banners that pull in your products and draw attentions, clicks and hopefully new sales!” – Shareaholic

MiniCart

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  2.6
Based on: 5 ratings
Downloads: 3,056
Last updated: November, 2009

What the reviewers had to say:

“This provides a button which can easily be embedded into blogs and websites to accept payments or even request donations. This can be helpful if your blog is shared across the internet via RSS because it allows every blog entry to act as its very own mini store. MiniCart will implement a mini-shopping-cart. The users will be able to buy one item at a time. You can embed the items into posts. This can also be used as a donation plugin.” – All Blogging Tips

Lbak Google Checkout

Price: Free
Included in: 1 of 10 reviews
Overall rating:  5.0
Based on: 3 ratings
Downloads: 2,678
Last updated: November, 2010

What the reviewers had to say:

“LBak Google Checkout, as the name implies, only works with Google Checkout. It is very simple, yet very usable. It is for merchants who deal in U.S. dollars and charge a fixed shipping rate per product. The plugin also supports product variations. The original author of this plugin no longer maintains it.” – WinkPress

Whew! There you have it–three dozen WordPress e-commerce plugin options, from free to premium, to meet virtually any need. And now to acknowledge the experts…

Resources

10+ Best eCommerce Plugins For WordPress, All Blogging Tips, by Ammar Ali

Upgraded Shopify Widget: Embed Your Online Store Anywhere, Ecommerce Marketing Blog, by Serena Ngai

Top 10 eCommerce Plugins for WordPress, Shareaholic, by Nicole Crimaldi

Analysis of the Most Popular WordPress eCommerce Plugins, TemplateMonster Blog, by Alex Bulat

The Best WordPress Shopping Cart and Ecommerce Plugin, WinkPress, by M. K. Safi

MarketPress – WordPress eCommerce, WordPress.org

Top 5 Ecommerce Plugins For WordPress, Durham Web Designer, by Larry James

20 Best WordPress eCommerce Plugins, DynamicWP, by Eko Setiawan

Top 4 Best Ecommerce Plugins for WordPress, HostingTag

Best WordPress e-Commerce Plugins for 2012, Slick Media, by Glenn Eastland

Plugin Directory, WordPress.org

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12 (of the) Best WordPress Guides and Plugin Reviews of 2011

Monday, January 30th, 2012

WordPress is not only the most popular blogging platform, but is increasingly becoming a leading website content management system (CMS) as well.

Cost and ease of use are certainly factors, but one of the important reasons is its extensibility through plugins. These add-ons make it easy to add an incredible variety of functionality to the platform, from contact forms and photo galleries to social sharing and ecommerce capabilities.

How did WordPress emerge as the leading blog platform? What are some techniques, beyond the obvious, for search-optimizing WordPress content? Which plugins are the most popular / useful / vital? Get the answers to those questions and more here in a dozen of the best posts and articles about WordPress from the past year.

WordPress Guides and Commentary

How did WordPress win? by majordojo
***** 5 STARS

Byrne ReeseByrne Reese—former Product Manager of Movable Type and TypePad and employee at Six Apart, now a Partner at Endevver, a Movable Type and Melody consulting company—dissects the strategy used by WordPress to become the dominant blogging platform, in order to “see what lessons can be learned from WordPress so that others seeking to build a successful product can learn from it.” This brilliant article delves into the technological, economic, cultural and environmental factors behind the success of WordPress, and inspired more than 70 comments.

Web Traffic Tracking Alternatives to Google Analytics by uber.la

John McElhenneyJohn McElhenney provides helpful reviews of three simple and free alternatives to Google Analytics for tracking WordPress site metrics: JetPack Site Stats, Wassup Plug-in and Widget (which provides real-time stats including how many visitors are on your site or blog at any given moment) and Gaug.es (another real-time tool, which works on any website).

WordPress SEO – 10 Essential Actions by WP Blog Talk

Rob CubbonRob Cubbon details 10 best practices for optimizing WordPress content, from ideal use of keywords and plugins to sitemaps, redirects and image optimization.

WordPress Plugin Compilations and Reviews

90+ WordPress CMS Themes and Plugins by Tripwire Magazine

Dustin BetonioContending that “It’s actually pretty easy to turn WordPress into a CMS if you are using the right WordPress CMS Themes,” Dustin Betonio showcases a huge collection of “the best plugins and (premium WordPress) themes to turn WordPress into a CMS and build a professional website fast.”

Top 50 WordPress Plugins for 2011 to Zoom SEO, SMO & Audience Engagement by Zoom Factor

Pam MoorePam Moore reviews 50 of her favorite WordPress plugins, divided into categories for social sharing & engagement, design and image enhancements, search engine optimization, and development (e.g., the Flexi-Pages widget for adding sub-menu navigation and Mass Edit Pages for WordPress for making small changes to a large number of pages at once).

14 WordPress Plugins Worth Considering by JT Pedersen

JT PedersenJT Pedersen provides a short list of his favorite plugins for personal and corporate (non-ecommerce) blogs, including both popular favorites (the AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget, BackUpWordPress) and some interesting but lesser-known add-ons (Twitter Mentions as Comments, and WP Smush.it to improve load times).

11 WordPress Plugins You’ve Gotta Have by Social Media Today

Writing that he gets the opportunity to work with a lot of different plugins, and that “Every once in a while I’ll come across a new one that is just amazing and I wonder how I ever blogged without it,” Zubin Kutar shares his favorites including Google XML Sitemaps (also on my list of must-haves) and Contact Form 7 (“Probably the easiest to use contact form available” according to Zubin).

8 Excellent WordPress SEO Plugins by Six Revisions

Matt KrautstrunkMatt Krautstrunk offers list of “top-notch WordPress plugins for SEO to improve your WordPress site’s search engine rankings,” among them SEO Rank Reporter, All in One SEO Pack (another of my personal favorites), SEO Friendly Image (automatically updates images with alt and title attributes) and SEO Smart Links.

33 WordPress Plugins To Power Up Your Comment Section by 1stwebdesigner

Dainis GraverisDainis Graveris presents 33 plugins to “power up and evolve comment form possibilities and security,” including Disqus, WP Ajax Edit Comments, Comment Rating and Twitter Avatars in Comments. The English is a little rough but the list is fantastic.

20 Great WordPress Plugins by Online Income Teacher
***** 5 STARS

Once you get past the spammy blog title and the annoying pop-up, Matt Smith has put together an outstanding list of plugins to perform a wide variety of tasks, from the Ackuna Language Translation Plugin (which, as the name implies, allows readers to translate your posts into many different languages) to Google Analytics Dashboard (which lets you quickly check on your GA stats without logging into GA) to Sharebar, a plugin that keeps social sharing buttons visible while visitors scroll down through your content.

15 Essential WordPress Plugins (Presentation) by Mykl Roventine

Mykl RoventineIn the presentation from the Minnesota Blogger Conference, Mykl Roventine (one of the smartest WordPress gurus I know personally) presents 15 of the best WordPress plugins that meet his strict criteria: he’s used it (or someone he trusts has0: it solves a specific problem; it doesn’t hog resources and degrade performance; it’s supported; easy to use and configure; and free (in most cases).

Blog Technology: Most Downloaded WordPress Plugins by Marketing Technology with @iamreff

John ReffordJohn Refford lists the top 15 WordPress plugins in order of popularity. Not too surprisingly, All in One SEO Pack, Akismet and Google XML Sitemaps top the list.

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Six Ways to Search-Optimize a Blog

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Many of the same principles apply to optimizing a blog for search as for optimizing a business website: use keywords in the body copy, post titles, subheadings, permalink URL, image alt tags and meta tags. But a blog also presents additional opportunities for search optimization beyond those that apply to standard websites (which is why Google loves blogs). Take advantage of these six techniques to help get your blog ranked highly in relevant searches, and increase your overall web presence.

How to Optimize a Blog for Search1. Categories: For the sake of user-friendly site navigation, standard websites usually have a fairly small number (generally no more than six or seven) top-level sections. Furthermore, some of these are virtually worthless for search (e.g.  investor pages, and “Contact Us” is almost always a top-level link even though this page has no search value).

But with a blog, you can create any (reasonable) number of top-level categories, and give these keyword-rich labels. For that reason, think about your blog categories carefully: create category tags that will be meaningful and useful to both human readers and search engine spiders.

2. Fresh content. Most B2B website content (other than items like news releases and upcoming events) and much B2C content as well is fairly static; once it’s written, it tends to stay pretty much intact for the life of the website. But Google’s recent algorithm changes (which Bing and other search engines will most likely try to mimic) favor fresh content, as least for certain types of searches. Authority still matters, but freshness is now a much more important ranking factor than it was in the past.

Blogs are one of the best mechanisms for publishing a steady stream of new content. They are also a great platform for responding to breaking news or the latest developments in your industry. So while an editorial calendar can help your blog posts on track and on schedule, it’s crucial to also build in the flexibility to write posts responding to current events in your industry. This both increases the relevance of your blog and takes advantage of new-to-the-world search phrases that won’t show up in keyword tools.

3. Syndication and blog directories. Content syndication and blog directory sites provide valuable backlinks as well as driving traffic directly to your blog. Technorati and AllTop are two of the general-topic blog directories. Nearly every industry has its own specific directories and syndication sites as well; for example, B2B Marketing Zone for B2B vendor and influencer blogs, and Social Media Informer for social media-related blogs. In addition, there are hundreds of smaller blog directories and RSS submission sites that can further increase the reach and visibility of your blog.

4. Social media. Sharing your content on social networking sites like Twitter and (most importantly) Google+ as well as social bookmarking sites creates links to your blog. More important, however, is that Google tracks social signals (the overall level of content sharing for your blog as well as the authority of those sharing it) as measures of the quality and authority of a blog. So while sharing your own content provides some SEO benefit, building and nurturing a network of authoritative people in your industry and producing content they want to share is even more valuable.

Add social media buttons to your blog to encourage readers to share your content. Tools like ShareThis, AddThis and Wibiya, or WordPress plugins like SexyBookmarks, make it easy to add buttons for any of the most popular social networks and bookmarking sites. Of course you can add these sharing buttons to a standard company website as well, but readers are far more likely to share useful blog content than ordinary vendor web pages; while 60% of all social postings link to published content (news sites or blogs), just 4% link to corporate website content.

You can also build high-authority backlinks through commenting on other blogs as well as writing guest posts (with embedded text links) for other industry blogs. Again, you could use these techniques without having your own blog, but many bloggers are more likely to consider publishing a guest post from a fellow blogger (whose writing they can easily evaluate) than from an unknown corporate or agency contact.

5. Clean code. Google and many other search engines reward sites that have fast loading time, use the latest best practices in web coding and are W3C-compliant with higher rankings. If all of that sounds a bit technical, don’t worry; most of the leading blog platforms automatically create fairly clean, compliant code. Free blog platforms like TypePad and WordPress produce clean code out of the box. Fee-based platforms like Compendium and HubSpot are also search-friendly.

6. WordPress plugins. WordPress blogs can easily be made even more search engine-friendly through the use of a few key plugins. You can find lots of posts about the best SEO plugins for WordPress, but a few of the absolutely key plugins are:

  • • All in One SEO Pack. Among it’s other features, this plugin makes it easy to add meta title tags and automatically create search-friendly URLs for each post.
  • • W3 Total Cache. This plugin uses caching and other techniques to dramatically increase the load speed of your blog and improve the user experience.
  • • Google XML Sitemaps with qTranslate Support. Sitemaps help the search engines more fully and accurately index a website or blog. For a relatively static business website, it’s easy to create an XML sitemap using an online tool then submit it to the major search engines. For a blog, which is constantly changing, using a manual process would be virtually impossible. Fortunately, this plugin creates an XML sitemap of your WordPress blog in a format supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search (Bing) and Yahoo,  and automatically keeps it up to date as you write new posts, add categories, and make other changes to your blog.
  • • WP Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information to help with SEO efforts, such as which keywords and referral sites are driving the most traffic and which landing pages draw the most search traffic. This plugin makes it a snap to add the Google Analytics tracking code to all of your blog pages and posts, and automatically include the code on new posts.
  • • Sexy Bookmarks. The Sexy Bookmarks plugin adds a configurable set of social networking and social bookmarking buttons to each of your blog posts, making it easy for your readers to share your content on their site(s) of choice. Sharing provides useful social signals to the search engines about the authority of your content and creates valuable backlinks.
  • • Do Follow. By default, WordPress applies the insidious nofollow tag to outbound links from your blog. This is done ostensibly to prevent your blog from passing authority to sketchy sites through comment and backlink spam. However, if you are moderating comments to your blog, those kinds of links shouldn’t be an issue. Do-follow outbound links to high-quality, relevant websites actually help with SEO as well as increasing reader satisfaction, generating more comments, and helping with relationship building.

Once you’ve developed and optimized an effective business website and launched a properly optimized business blog, the core of your web presence optimization framework is in place. Now you’re ready to take the next steps to expand that presence and work toward dominating in the search engines for your core terms.

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12 of the Best WordPress Guides, Hacks and Plugins of 2010

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

WordPress is no longer just the leading blog platform, but is now the most popular open-source CMS (content management system) as well. Among the many reasons for the popularity of WordPress: it’s affordable, search engine-friendly, reasonably easy to use, and extensible through an incredible array of plugins.

Best WordPress Plugins and Guides of 2010Discover some great sources for free and reasonably-priced themes, essential plugins you may not be aware of, SEO tips, and other interesting techniques and hacks here in a dozen of the best WordPress guides of last year.

WordPress Themes and Plugins

31 Websites Where To Find Free HQ WordPress Themes by W3Mag

The English is broken but the list of free template sources, like Wp Mojo, eBlog Templates and ThemeLab is excellent.

20 Excellent Free WordPress 3.0 Themes by Blogfreakz

Another excellent selection of free themes, including Heliumified which has a nice Apple-like look and feel.

Makisig WordPress Theme10 Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses by American Express OPEN Forum

Zachary Sniderman highlights 10 interesting free themes, along with recommendations on how each could be used and optimized.

32 Essential WordPress Plugins I Use…And You Don’t! by Andy Beal

An outstanding list of useful WordPress plugins from Andy Beal, author of Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online and the brain behind the Trackur social media monitoring tool.

25 Top WordPress Plugins You Should Know About by Ask WordPress Girl

Angela Bowman shares her “clean and simple list of the plugins I use most often on my WordPress sites” for SEO, feeds, forms, security, Twitter and more.

WordPress SEO

10 SEO Tips To Get Your WordPress Blog Ranking Highly In The Search Engines by SEOheap

Helpful guidelines on plugins, post titles, pages, permalinks and pinging improve the search engine rank of and increase search traffic to your WordPress blog.

8 Effective SEO Techniques Every WordPress Blogger Should Use by BloggingPro

Robyn-Dale Samuda offers guidance on navigation setup, image tagging, sitemaps, permalinks, plugins and more for search-optimizing a WordPress site or blog.

WordPress Tips, Techniques and Hacks

How I Create and Manage A WordPress Website by Graywolf’s SEO Blog

Michael Wolf likes to use WordPress to create “magazine or newspaper style site(s)…(because) it’s easier to administer, easier to get writers to upload and format their own content, and it has RSS and other social tools built in or that can be integrated very easily with plugins,” and in this post explains his process for setting up a WordPress site from keyword research and “evergreen” content to design and backups.

The Comprehensive Guide for a Powerful CMS using WordPress – Part one: 101 Techniques for a Powerful CMS using WordPress by Noupe Design Blog
***** 5 Stars
A nicely crafted and illustrated reference to how to do a variety of things with WordPress from setting up a static home page and custom navigation bar to adding breadcrumbs and widgetizing a theme, footer and page menu.Creating an Image Gallery with WordPress

5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with WordPress by Let’s Do It!

Zeke Camusio shows that WordPress isn’t just for blogging; it can also be used to build an e-commerce site, social network site, image gallery, email auto-responder system or message board.

Code to Create Custom Share Buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Delicious by B2B Online Marketing

If you want to make it easy for readers to share your blog posts socially—but find social media sharing tools such as ShareThis overkill because of the overwhelming number of options they present—here are simple code snippets to create custom sharing buttons for the most popular social networking sites.

35+ Most Essential WordPress Tricks and Hacks by Artatm

Ever wondered how to insert some standard text after each post? Automatically display each post’s word count? Number your comments, or make author comments stand out? Learn how to do all of that and more in this outstanding list of WordPress tricks, categorized into Post Hacks, Comment Hacks, Tags,categories and Archives hacks, Search hacks and Other General Hacks.

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