19 Jul 2017

Integrating MailChimp and WordPress

If you’re keen to enhance your online presence, you should be paying close attention to e-mail lists. Subscribers can play a pivotal role in making your blog a long-term success, but you do need the right tools to create a useful and valuable list. MailChimp is one of the world’s top e-mail service providers, whilst WordPress is the most popular CMS on the planet. These tools can both support us in our quest to create a subscribers list.

The benefits of MailChimp

There are many trusted e-mail service providers on the market, so what makes MailChimp so special? Not only is the plugin free to use, it has a simple email subscription widget and there’s little to no chance of you facing issues with corruptions or compatibility. Designing an email and setting up a campaign is also easy, and you can manage your campaigns either from the WP or MC sides. There are many different analytics to look at, allowing you see the different ways your audience responds to different kinds of media. You can also use A/B testing to find new ways to serve them more efficiently.

Get the plugin

To get started, you will need to get the MailChimp plugin from the WP plugin page, download and install it. You will need to activate the plugin. You can also get the plugin from your dashboard. Just go to Plugins>Add New and type MailChimp for WordPress into the search box.

You will need an API key if MailChimp is to function. Make sure you click on the “Get your API key here button.

Once you have clicked to get your API key, you will be taken to the MailChimp site. Once you have registered you will have access to the key. You then need to copy and paste it into the plugin dashboard.

Create your e-mail list

After you have taken these steps, you can start creating your e-mail list, which will help you keep track of subscribers. You will need to add details including company name, address and other information. There is a notification section beneath the form. You can have the notifications sent to9 any of your e-mail addresses. These notifications will tell you about user activity and let you know when someone has subscribed or unsubscribed. It is wise to opt for a daily summary to stay in the loop without being bombarded with notifications.

Make a signup form

You can create a signup form by using the down button on the generated list. To make sure this form appears on your site, you need to go to the widget section and click on Appearance> Widget to make a text widget. Give your widget a simple title and put the code into the widget area. This code will activate the widget.

Exporting old subscriber details

If you need to import an old subscriber lists to your MailChimp account, you can export the list in CSV format or as a delimited text file. Upload the file to MailChimp and edit necessary fields. MailChimp also makes it easy to create and send out newsletters. The templates allow you to build newsletters within moments and distribute them with just one click. You can use the Create Template button for creating a template and follow the instructions. The template will support drag and drop.

The campaign set-up wizard

The campaign can be orchestrated with a wizard. MailChimp has four campaign types including regular, plain-text, A/B testing and RSS campaigns. Once you are ready, you can send the newsletter and press the confirm button to finalise everything. MailChimp will tell you if it finds any errors. You can schedule your campaign by setting the date and time. Paid users can also take advantage of other options including Batch Delivery, Timewarp and Send Time Optimization.

WordPress and MailChimp

MailChimp is widely agreed to be one of the finest newsletter service on the market, and is a great match for WordPress. WP and MC have large active communities that can help you if you ever do run into problems whilst using them or integrating them with one another. WordPress has been the most popular CMS on the market for many years and is extremely SEO-friendly. In fact, it’s said that the main search engines including Google look very favourably upon sites that have been created with WordPress.

WordPress is open source software that is free to use, free to edit and free to distribute. The vast majority of leading hosting companies offer one-click installation of WordPress. It’s always a good ideas to ask about WordPress service before you commit to a hosting package. There are many great reasons for opting for MailChimp too, including the way that enables you to send out newsletters to Twitter followers with one click.

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18 May 2017

How to Post to Facebook from WordPress Automatically

Are you interested in posting to Facebook from WordPress automatically? If so, read on. There are various good reasons for sending posts to Facebook automatically, and two of the main advantages of doing so is that it can boost your social media following and traffic levels. Facebook has more than a billion users, which means neglecting to tap into such a useful is unthinkable for anyone wishing to grow traffic levels and increase exposure.

To build up a strong following on Facebook, you need to take steps to engage with the community. There are many ways you can publish to the social media network automatically. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways you can do this.

Use IFTTT

IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That’ and enables you to automate online accounts and define applets. Applets connect two online accounts, searching for triggers on one account and performing actions on the other account when they are found. To make IFTTT post automatically, you need to sign up for a new account. Once you have done this, click on your username and select ‘New Applet’. The IFFFT wizard will then be launched. You will be asked to choose a service, so look for WordPress by typing it into the search box. After this, you will be asked to connect your WP site. Click on the connect button and enter your WP site address and login details into the pop-up. You will then be able to select from various triggers, including opting for posts in certain categories to be published or simply posting all posts.

You will then need to pick the ‘that’ part of the applet, in which case will be Facebook, which you need to search for then select. You can either post to a personal Facebook account or your business or service’s Facebook Page. You will need to give Facebook permission in a pop-up. Click on ‘Create a Link Post’ and decide how you wish to post to appear on Facebook.

Use a WordPress Plugin

This process gives you extra control despite being slightly more challenging to set up. It enables you to publish posts in different categories and tags and allows you to custom post types. To get started, you can install the AccessPress Facebook Auto plugin. When this is activated, you will see a new item called ‘AccessPress Facebook Auto Post’ in the WP admin bar. Click on it to go to the settings page. Check the box by the ‘Auto Publish’ option so auto-posting can occur. You then need to enter the Facebook application ID and secret keys, which you can get from the Facebook Developers website.

Use the ‘Add a new app’ button and enter a display name for the app. You will also need to give your email address and pick a category. To continue, click the ‘Create App ID’ button. An app will then be created by Facebook. Click on the Dashboard link on the next screen to go to the dashboard and see your ID and secret keys (click on the show button for this). Copy and paste the keys to settings page of the plugin in WordPress.

Go back to the app dashboard page and click ‘Choose Platform’. You will then be able to select a website as your platform. After this, you will be redirected to a Facebook page explaining how the app can be used on sites with few code snippets. Go to the ‘Tell us about your website’ section and key in the URL of your WP site. Click next to save the URL and the setup process will be almost completed. Go the App Review page so you can make your app public. You can now use your Facebook app on your WP site. Go back to the settings page for the plugin, enter your app ID and secret keys before clicking ‘save settings’ and click the ‘Authorize’ button to link the plugin with your FB account.

You will then be sent to Facebook and will be asked for permission in a popup. Click ‘continue’ and tell Facebook who can see the posts the apps adds. Allow permissions to post. You’ll then be returned to the plugin settings page on your WP site. Add your FB account ID in plugin settings. After this you’ll be able to auto-publish posts that come under specific categories and tags. The Facebook Auto Post plug in will then be able to share your posts automatically on the social media network.

Adding Facebook comments your WordPress site

You may also wish to add Facebook comments to your WP site. There are many advantages to doing this. Using Facebook comments can boost your site’s visibility on the network, and users can even share comments they make with their Facebook friends to give you more exposure and traffic. We actually generate a lot of traffic to our site from FaceBook. People using Facebook to comment can’t benefit from the cloak of anonymity, which makes them less likely to post spammy comments on your site. One disadvantage is that some people may feel unhappy about commenting with their social media profiles because they prefer the sense of anonymity.

Acting as the admin of the Facebook add enables you to be notified when new comments are left. There will be a Facebook comment moderation tool in your plugin’s settings page, and you can add new moderators in the settings link. Many WordPress site owners have experienced significant benefits after allowing WordPress to post to Facebook automatically and enabling Facebook users to post onto their WP sites.

Why use WordPress?

The benefits of running a WordPress are numerous. WordPress is famously easy to use and you can manage your site from any internet-connected computer or device. WP sites are looked upon incredibly fondly by search engines and you don’t need to get help from web designers when you wish to update your site. You can expand your site as your business grows and enhance the functionality of your site via a plethora of plugins.

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13 Feb 2017

Does my business need a blog?

If you’re asking yourself the question about whether your business needs a blog then you’re already a step closer to discovering the power of a successful blogging strategy. If you are looking for new ways to expand your business, then marketing and more specifically blogging is a tested and proven method.

If you’re wondering what blogging can bring to your business, then wonder no more because we have rounded up some of the key benefits into a quick summary:

 

Improves the SEO of your website

In other words, more people will be able to find your website through search engines. Because you will have more pages and more links, this improves the search engine ranking. Obviously, if more people visit your site, this will lead to more customers. SEO ranking has been around for some time but now it is becoming a marketing method that even smaller businesses are investing time and money in. If you haven’t started tapping into it yet, the chances are that your competitors are and will be taking your potential customers with them.

 

The stats prove that you should!

Did you know that B2B companies that blog get 67% (stats taken in 2015) more leads than the ones that don’t use blogs? In a world where the percentage of online sales are increasing at a rapid rate, (increased by 11% in the UK in 2015) you can’t afford to miss out on operating with an online channel. This trend looks like it is here to stay and will only increase over the next few years. There is an App for all big stores these days, making online purchases much easier than walking into a shop and having to actually find items!

 

Improves the credibility of your business

If you are creating high quality blogs that demonstrate your expertise, this will influence people’s perception of your business. A blog is your channel to show people just how good your business is and what your business can do for your customers. You can build trust with customers and they will return to you for products and services once this trust is established.

 

It aligns to your Social Media Strategy

You can increase your social media following via your blog and encourage people to share your blog via Twitter, Facebook etc. to increase your customer reach. If you create a really useful blog, readers will be compelled to share it with their network or specific people that they think will be interested in the topic. If you don’t have a fully developed Social Media Strategy, it is time to develop one. Read Forbes’ Top 7 Social Media Trends That Dominated 2016 for some inspiration.

So, going back to the question ‘Does my business need a blog?’, I think we have successfully answered this question with a definite YES! If you are not taking advantage of all of the benefits that a blog brings then you are missing a vital part of a successful marketing strategy. Get that blog created now and don’t waste any more opportunities to generate leads for your business.

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02 Jan 2017

Should I Start Blogging in 2017?

If you are a business owner then you have probably thought about starting a blog, or if you haven’t given it any thought then maybe it is time that you did! If you’re not sure exactly what a blog is, take a look at this handy guide – Introduction to Blogging. It can take less an hour to setup a blog and get started. All you need is a solid hosting provider and some content to get started!

When blogging was first introduced there was a conception that it was for people who like to have their say and give their opinion on whatever area of expertise (or in many cases lack of expertise) that they held without always adding any great value.

In the current day, blogging has transformed into a powerful business marketing strategy that business owners can’t afford to miss out on and I’ll explain why:

 

  1. Search Engine Optimisation

The key to getting increased traffic to your website is to rank highly in the search engines. Publishing a regular blog will enable you to rank higher as you will have more content that gets indexed. Links to your website will also influence the SEO ranking. In order to get other sites linking to yours you’ll need to create great content that adds value.

 

  1. Attract new Customers

If you can write a blog that people either enjoy reading or find useful, then they are more likely to do custom with you. Let’s say for example, you are a Plumber and you write a blog on how to fix a dripping tap, people who want to fix their dripping tap are likely to head to the Internet for the solution. Whilst you might think this is doing you out of business because you are advising them how to do it themselves, they may not have found your services otherwise. Plus, they will remember your website (or their internet browser will) when they are looking for someone to do a bigger plumbing job.

If you create a blog that is great quality, people are also compelled to share it with friends and family, increasing your reach every time your blog gets a share! Find out more about how Social Media Marketing can help your business.

 

  1. Boost your Reputation

If you have high quality, valuable and professional content in your blog then your business will be seen in the same way. Credibility is a big factor in marketing and you can get ahead of the competition by creating blogs that boost your reputation as a highly competent business. Try and become an “expert” in your field and start writing quality content focused on your market.

 

  1. It doesn’t take much time or money

If you already have a website then you probably already have the blog functionality available to use. Writing a blog every fortnight shouldn’t take too long, especially when you’re writing about something that you know inside out. If you’re not confident with writing or you want to develop something really creative and don’t have the skills yourself, you could pay someone else to do it at a fairly reasonable price. You will probably find that the investment turns out to more than pay for itself.

  1. Interact with your Customers to find out what they want

One of the great things about blogs is that people can add comments. Perhaps there is a service that people want and you currently don’t provide because you thought there wasn’t any demand. If Customers use comments to ask for this service, you’re getting that you couldn’t get through and channel other than social media.

There are many other great reasons to start writing blogs but these ones alone show you that you should start blogging if you haven’t already. You can even do it part time to start off with and see how it goes. Maybe it’ll give you enough income to leave your job!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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01 Apr 2016

Self-Hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com

Let’s be honest, in this day and age, not many of us have the time to deal with all the technical ins-and-outs of setting up a new website. So when it comes to choosing WordPress as your CMS, the difference between self-hosted and a site at WordPress.com often means all the difference between getting set up quickly, albeit sacrificing some level of control in the process.

If you do want want full control of your website and plenty of advanced features to go along with it, then picking up the self-hosted WordPress will be a wise choice, otherwise going with the WordPress.com option will get the job done.

By “job” I mean, sharing your content with rest of the world.

About Self Hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com

First, it’s worth pointing out  that there is huge confusion between these two options, and the moment we sign up for a WordPress account, the confusion increases further.

This happens as the core WordPress team asks us to create our first website, and we do it as it is extremely simple. If you still haven’t signed up for an account, then go ahead and do it.

The moment you setup the first website after getting a free account, you’ll get behind that blog and will have access to its Dashboard area.

This is where we first start to see some big differences. To explain them, let me provide a clear definition of both the options.


WordPress.com option

Have you used Blogger platform in past? It’s a Google-owned platform, allowing users to quickly setup an online blog and start sharing their thoughts. If you’ve used it or even seen it in action, then WordPress.com is almost a replica of that idea.

Wordpress.com post editor

It offers a free platform to setup a blog within half an hour (or even less, depends on how far you wish to play with the customizations) and start sharing your thoughts. It works like a normal website and can get tons of organic traffic too.

There is an inclusion of social media integration to help your thoughts share quickly, and a built-in Like system, so that other bloggers on the platform can appreciate your work.

For the record, there is also a premium option if you pick a custom domain and enjoy a few other enhanced features, though you’re still fairly limited when compared to the all-consuming web building prowess of a self-hosted WordPress site.


Self Hosted WordPress option

In this option, you need to buy a hosting server and a domain name separately, and then using some software tools (like SimpleScript), WordPress script is installed on your hosting account. This is the first and prime difference as you’ve to do the installation, manually.

Self-Hosted WordPress Dashboard

The moment that installation is complete, you gain access to the Dashboard area behind the newly created website. Go ahead, login into the system with the credentials (either you chose or using the WordPress’s default).

Now the second difference will appear,  with the WordPress dashboard presenting many more options than its .com counterpart. It can let you pick your own theme, change every possible setting, customize the way you like it, and even add third-party functionalities, better known as Plugins.

About Plugins

When we talk about plugins, we’re essentially referring to a tool which uses code  to add a particular functionality to your site which isn’t offered by the core WordPress platform.

Self Hosted WordPress Plugins Page

Now, because of this Plugin option, you can use most types of software or script into the system, which is compatible with the WordPress core inside. For example, you’re allowed to use Google Analytics to keep a track of every visitor arriving on the website and noticing its activities. Like this, there are lots of powerful tools available online which makes the web way faster, way more functional and way more enjoyable.

And, all this is possible because of Plugins.

Themes

Plugins aren’t the only thing which can add a functionality, a powerful Theme can also be a big help in adding user interaction and visual attraction to your new site.

Wordpress themes

Assuming you’ve picked the Self Hosted option, you can install and use any sort of compatible theme available online. There are many premium and free themes available to pick and trust me, the more you spend, more functionality you can get.

Usually, the Premium theme these days come up with their own Options Panel available in the Dashboard area, which offers a GUI tool to bring possible changes into the visual and functional part of the website.

Again, this isn’t possible in the WordPress.com option. Even if you find few options to bring customizations, still they will be limited to a certain level.

So, in other words, WordPress.com is an option where the core WordPress team picks what’s best for you, and in the Self Hosted WordPress, you’re allowed to pick whatever you think is best for the website.

Making the decision

If you wish to customize, develop, and manage a website which is truly according to your taste and requirements, then go ahead with the self-hosted WordPress option, as the other one doesn’t have any such options. All it can promise you is a base platform to quickly share your content of multiple types like videos, and images.

Which one are you picking?

So, now you’re aware of the exact differences between these two methods of starting a website (just a blog in WordPress.com case). I personally picked the self-hosted option as I’ve to learn everything about WordPress, how it works and how I can make a living out of it. If my plan was just to start a blog, I would have definitely picked the WordPress.com option.

Did I leave anything uncleared? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll try my best to clear up the confusion.

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