Category: WordPress Plugins.

views-imgRecently, I was introduced to a new plugin that I simply cannot live without as part of my WordPress development toolbox. I enjoy creating WordPress websites and blogs for clients, but what makes them unique and pleasing to the eye is something that comes from the client and what THEY want, not what I want. I do have some say-so in how I believe the client should lay out their website or blog, but ultimately, it’s up to the client in how they want their website to look, to flow and whether or not it’s suited to drive traffic to it. 

So what’s the plugin called? It’s the ‘Views’ plugin and it’s exactly what every WordPress developer or website designer needs to have when they are creating websites for clients. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of it.

In short, the Views plugin allows you to display content any way you want, regardless of the WordPress theme you decide to use on a website. As a matter of fact, you can build a complete website just by using the Views plugin. That’s just how good it is. This really opens up how some themes can be unflexible, but with the addition of adding views, you can expand the possibility of how you want elements to display on your site.

Let me show you just a couple of examples of how I was able to customize three pages on a recent client website I designed.

Below is an example of a blog summary page, but notice it only has one blog post on it, showing as an excerpt with a ‘read more’ link to the full blog, but also notice there is an hyperlinked button image that takes you to a blog archives page. But the blog archives page is two columns of blog titles that you can click on and get to the full article for each title. This is not standard for any blog directory where you assign a page to show your blog posts on. These are “views” I set up within the Views plugin and it allows me to embed the “view” into a regular page, so it shows exactly how the clients wants it to show.

blog-summary

blog-directory-links

Another example is how I was able to display the client testimonials on a page. Each testimonial is a blog post, but so that they do not show up in the recent posts, I made sure the testimonials category I created is not visible on the website, but just on the Testimonials page (screenshot below). Then in the “view” I set up, I created the testimonial posts, in two columns, so they only showed an excerpt with a read more link to the rest of the testimonial. Again, this is not standard with the theme the client chose for their website. Now there are ways to dig into the functions code of a WP theme, but unless you are an expert developer and you know what you’re doing, I suggest using the Views plugin and it takes out all the guess-work for you. 

testimonials-two-column

Note: I’m not an affiliate of the Views plugin, but just a happy end user of the product! This plugin got me out of a jam when my client requested special layouts for her website.

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marketingsuccessOn today’s second installment of the “Blog Traffic Series” posts, I want to cover a subject that can be a challenge to many that have either contemplated having a blog, but have not followed through with or they have started a blog, but have not been consistent in producing interesting and readable articles…better known as FRESH CONTENT.

Producing fresh content is key in a number of ways. Let me share with you tips that will help you get a “fresh” perspective on starting and continuing with your blog writing and posting.

Post Fresh Content Often

Posting fresh content daily or weekly provides your major search engines information that they will find “newsworthy” and will most likely crawl your site more often, putting your words or keywords at the top of the “keyword chain”. Thus, this will help your placement on a search page, preferably at the top of page one of a Google search.

Post and They Will Come…and Stay

The more content you provide on your blog or website, the more your visitors will stay on your site longer because they are interested in what you are writing about. It’s a great way to display your expertise in your niche market too.

The more content you provide on your blog or website, the more your visitors will stay on your site longer.… Click To Tweet

Make Your Blog Visible in Social Media

And here’s an obvious reason you need to post blog articles regularly…such an easy way to market your website beyond just your website or blog. I’m referring to social media marketing, of course. There are a number of ways you can connect your blog so it’s posted on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. And if you have a decent following on one or all five of these popular social media platforms, then you have yet another reach beyond just your regular website or blog traffic.

Here’s just a quick list of the social media plugins I use that are associated with my blog here on the Digital Marketing Maven website:

So remember the next time you don’t feel like blogging or don’t feel you have enough time to blog, reconsider what you may be missing in terms of traffic and business conversion. Hopefully Monday’s article will inspire you. 🙂 And I’m not saying this because I’m being really challenged with writing a blog post every day for the month of January either! LOL Make time to write fresh content for your business. You may not see the increased traffic results or increased client interaction overnight, but you will see long-term results as long as you stay consistent with blogging. That goes for any kind of marketing for your business…just be consistent with it! 

Until tomorrow…Day 15 of the UBC

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wp-open-graph

Today’s post is a focus on how to use the Facebook Open Graph Tag feature when using your WordPress blog. The Open Graph feature allows you to communicate to Facebook certain attributes, which also includes the image it should use as a default on a page, where it should pull the text from and what the content description should be.

There has been a number of times a client has asked me why a certain image will show up when they post their article or page URL to Facebook. It’s usually one they do not want to relate to the article or page they post. Well now you can tell someone that you can actually control that with what’s called the WP Open Graph plugin for WordPress.

The plugin allows you to do the following:

  • You can add Facebook meta data (open graph protocol) to any post/page/content type, edit it and share it the way you want to share it.
  • WP Open Graph automatically extracts data from the post title, excerpt, the “All In One Seo Pack” or the “WordPress Seo by Yoast” plugins.
  • It uses post thumbnails (featured image) for the image associated with the Facebook post.

Give the plugin a try and feel free to stop back by and let me know how it works for your WordPress blog by leaving a comment in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Until tomorrow (Day 13 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge)!

quiz-pluginToday’s WordPress Wednesday topic is on the Top Four Quiz plugins for WordPress users. Have you ever been on the hunt for creating and managing a quiz or test for students or clients in your business? Instead of having to search for these kinds of plugins for a WordPress (self-hosted) site, I have provided a comprehensive list of the plugins below for you.

1. WatuPro Plugin

The WatuPro plugin will allow you to create multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. Because you can use the default WordPress editor for this plugin, you can be creative as you like, even adding images and videos to your questions. It has a free lite version or you can get the “pro” or commercial version for $47.00.

  • You can create questions that have one or more multiple choice answers.
  • You can create different point levels for different questions in your test.
  • You can also award certificates for a successful completion of the test or quiz.

Here are a couple of screenshots of the plugin in action.

creating-questions

A quiz in action…

question-types

 

2. mTouch Quiz Plugin

The mTouch Quiz plugin was developed to be run on mobile devices so the big difference with their format is the big buttons that you can tap onto, making it easy to slide from one question to the next. It’s a free plugin, but for upgrades, there is a fee involved.

Here is an additional list of features provided by the developer of the plugin:

  • specify hints based on answer selection
  • give a detailed explanation of the solution
  • choose multiple correct answers
  • specify when the correct answers are displayed
  • specify if a question may be attempted only once or many times
  • specify point values for each question
  • include customized start and finish screens

 You can also be creative with the setup of the questions as it too uses the WordPress default editor for creating your questions.

A screenshot of the plugin below.

mtough-answering-questions

 

3. WP Survey & Quiz Tool

 The WP Survey & Quiz Tool plugin not only provides quizzes and surveys, but it also allows you to set up polls too. It’s a free plugin.

Here’s a good size list of their features to consider:

  • Unlimited number of quizzes.
  • Unlimited number of sections for quizzes.
  • Auto marking for quizzes with all multiple choice questions.
  • Ability to limit quizzes to one submission per IP address.
  • Ability to send customized notification emails.
  • Ability to send notification emails to a single email address, multiple email addresses or a group of WordPress users.
  • Ability to have notification emails only be sent if the user got a certain score.
  • Ability to have quizzes taken by registered WordPress members only.
  • Ability to have quizzes and surveys with or without contact forms.
  • Ability to have custom contact forms.
  • Ability to export and import quizzes.
  • Ability to have PDF certifications.

Here’s a screenshot of how the WP Survey & Quiz Tool looks like in action.

wp-survey-and-quiz-tool-quiz-results

 

Note: In order to insert a quiz into a post or a page, you must apply a shortcode. This is how it would look:

[wpsqt name=”Quiz Name” type=”quiz”]

For example, a quiz inserted into a page or post would look like this:

[wpsqt name=”Famous Inventors” type=”quiz”]

4. WPQuiz

The WPQuiz plugin is a very simple and easy-to-use plugin that’s great for an easy quiz without all the “bells and whistles”. It’s a free plugin as well.

You can insert your quizzes into pages and posts using a shortcode.

The shortcode would be, for example:  [wpquiz id=2]  

Here’s a screenshot of the plugin in action.

wpquiz-quiz-results

 

If you have tested or used a quiz plugin yourself, please feel free to share the name of the plugin and the experience you had with working with it, whether it be a good or bad experience. You can leave your comment at the bottom of this blog post.

Until tomorrow (Day 9 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge)!

Well actually there are more than two things that can lead to blogging success, but I wanted to grab your attention today and share with you a couple of tools that I use to keep me on track with the January 31-day blog challenge. Since I’m blogging every day this month and I want to blog at least four days per week after the challenge, then I need to have a game-plan put together on what I want to blog about. 

blog-ideaFirst, I use what’s called a Blog Editorial Calendar spreadsheet that I put together a few years back and I just continue to use it now as it helps me plan my blog posts for a whole year. Plus, I’m old-school when it comes to planning things on paper (Yes, I do print it too!). You are welcome to download it HERE and use it yourself if you like…no strings attached! It’s pretty straightforward on how to complete it, but what I really like about it is how I name a theme around the days of the week so I know what I want to write about on those days (see screenshot below).

blog-calendar-snippet

 

NOTE: Don’t feel you have to complete the calendar for the whole year in a day’s time though. I start off by filling in the topic titles for three months at a time. Like any business, you may see changes in what you want to write about, so what you place on your blog calendar is never really set in stone.

Second, I also have installed on my WordPress blog what is called the Blog Editorial Calendar Plugin. I mentioned this in detail last year, but I’ll explain what it is here too. I’m able to use this plugin right inside my WordPress dashboard, meaning I can store all my titles and content ideas into it. I have all the information I need in one place and I can manage each post as I work through writing it and publishing it. 

With this blog calendar plugin, you can do the following:

  • View all your posts and when they’ll be posted
  • Drag and drop feature to change your post dates (my favorite feature!)
  • Quick edit your blog title, content and date of publish
  • Easily view the status of your posts

Here are a couple of screenshots of how the blog calendar plugin functions:

calendar-screenshot1
Under “Posts”, you can access the blog calendar by clicking on “Calendar”

calendar-img3

Quick edit section that allows you to add your initial content and ideas. You can set your time of publishing too.

And just so you know I really do use this tool, below is a snippet of my January blog calendar using the plugin. My only challenge now is to fill up each post with content. I can do this at any time and get ahead if I want to. It’s my goal so that I’m not scrambling every day to try and post to my blog at a certain time. I know I will get super-busy with client work, but I will be scheduling time in my daily work schedule blocks of time for blog content generation. If you are part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, then I know you are setting aside time to post to your blog daily too. 🙂

 

my-calendar-2014

Aletha’s blog calendar using the plugin 

Okay, so you are probably thinking that you can use either the spreadsheet for your blogging ideas or you can just use the blog editorial plugin. Well, I use both. I like having next to me, at my desk, a hard copy of my blog titles and ideas for a quick reference, plus if I have an idea pop in my head and I don’t have my computer up, then I can quickly write it down and just add it to my blog dashboard later on. It’s totally up to you if you want to use one or the other…or just use both for your blogging success this year!

Regardless of whatever blogging tools you use, I always stress consistency in what you write about and how often you write about it. If you are serious about blogging and you want to see the results of it in the form of increased traffic and increased client collaboration, then make an effort to put an iron-clad blog plan together. Make the time everyday to post to your blog. It’s like any other marketing that will increase visibility to your business.

I would love to hear any ideas that help you stay on track with your blogging efforts. Please feel free to leave your ideas and comments in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Until tomorrow (Day 5 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge)!