There’s no shortage of options when it comes to WordPress hosting. However, the biggest decision for many is the choice between unmanaged and managed WordPress hosting. The latter is often more expensive – so you need to understand what you’ll potentially get for your money.
The fact is, managed hosting comes with a lot of benefits. For example, most managed WordPress hosts will take care of backups for you, as well as keeping your site running in tip-top shape. These perks (among others) are often enough to opt for managed hosting.
In this article, we’re going to break down the major differences between managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting. Then, we’ll go over five key benefits you get from managed services, to help you decide if they’re a good fit. Let’s talk hosting!
Unmanaged and Managed WordPress Hosting: A Quick Comparison
Looking for a suitable hosting provider in the current climate is pretty great. You can find outstanding plans for little outlay, and many providers offer all sorts of perks to get you to sign up.
For example, unmanaged hosts usually offer a boatload of storage and ‘unlimited’ bandwidth, even with shared plans. Others will throw in free domains, automated WordPress setup, round-the-clock support, and more.
Much like any plan, if you choose a good provider, unmanaged hosting can offer amazing value. However, there’s much more value by opting for managed WordPress hosting. For example, managed providers like Kinsta optimize their entire infrastructure exclusively for WordPress. Fine-tuned servers, WordPress optimized caching and database all help to achieve better performance.
In a nutshell, managed WordPress hosting is all about simplifying your workflow, by letting the experts take control of business-critical elements. However, managed hosting can be more expensive. Next, let’s discuss how the positives and subjective negatives combine!
5 Key Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting
While this section will focus on the general benefits of managed WordPress hosting, chances are that the higher the service’s reputation, the more benefits you’ll enjoy. Let’s start with a broad perk!
1. You Don’t Have to Worry About Day-to-Day Website Maintenance
Running a website is more than just uploading new content and dealing with visitors. For example, you need to make sure your plugins and themes are up to date, backup your site occasionally, and much more besides.
Generally speaking, WordPress enables you to easily take care of site maintenance tasks. However, while each task is minimal, combined they can become a time-sink. One of the primary advantages of managed WordPress hosting is they often take care of these basic maintenance tasks for you.
In practice, this means you’ll get more time to focus on other critical tasks. What’s more, if you currently utilize third-party site maintenance, you could even save money here too!
2. You Get Access to Expert Level WordPress Support
However, there’s a difference between being acquainted with WordPress and being an expert with the platform. Ideally, you want whoever’s providing you with support to fall into the latter category. WordPress experts are able to troubleshoot issues faster, provide WordPress-specific advice, and generally make your life easier all-around.
Finding this level of technical support is much more common if you opt for a managed WordPress web host. After all, you often pay a bit more than the alternatives, but the cost translates to overall better service.
3. Managed Hosting Offers Better Website Security Out of the Box
WordPress’ popularity is a double-edged sword in some aspects. For example, while the platform is inherently secure, it’s also a prime target for attacks, mainly due to user error (such as forgetting to update WordPress’ core, themes, and plugins). As such, there are many sites vulnerable to security breaches.
Most web hosts take some steps to protect you from attacks. However, managed WordPress hosting often goes a step further. In most cases, you’ll get automatic WordPress, plugin, and theme updates. You also get free Secure Socket Layers (SSL) certificates and setup (in some cases). This is vital for ‘encrypting’ your user’s data, and keeping it out of hackers’ hands.
Finally, automated backups represent a solid ‘reset’ in case the very worst happens. As such, the quality of backups provided by a managed WordPress host is closely aligned with their quality of service.
4. You Get Better Performance for Your Website
If you want your website to succeed, performance is essential. In other words, your pages need to load quickly – both the back- and front-ends.
There are myriad elements that can impact your site’s performance. However, your choice of web host and plan play a significant role. With managed WordPress hosting, you often get a far better performance across the board.
This increase in performance is partly due to better infrastructure, but it’s also because managed hosts often integrate your website with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), use caching plugins, and much more. In other words, they configure WordPress so you get great performance from the moment you set up shop.
5. You Get More Time to Focus on Content Creation
Overall, the biggest benefit of using managed WordPress hosting is the greater control you get over your time. Opting for an unmanaged plan can see you spending a lot of time taking care of maintenance, website optimization, security, and more.
Admittedly, managed hosting can sometimes be more expensive than other plans. However, the time you receive in return could repay that cost manifold.
For example, you can use the extra time to focus on improving your website’s quality and increase your content output. This should let you grow at a faster rate, and offset the cost of using managed hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting offers a lot of perks that other services – especially unmanaged ones – can’t provide. For example, you may get access to one-click staging website functionality and daily backups. Plus, the support provided tends to be of a better quality too.
Let’s recap five of the top benefits of managed WordPress hosting:
Day-to-day website maintenance is ‘outsourced’ to your host.
You get access to expert-level WordPress support.
Managed hosting offers better website security out of the box.
Performance improvements are usually an inherent aspect.
You get more time to focus on content creation.
Do you have any questions about whether to opt for managed or unmanaged WordPress hosting? Ask away in the comments section below!
Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy. When he’s not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.
2018 is almost coming to an end. It is very evident that the world of advertising and promotion is now driven by the influencer culture. While brands are attracting new customers with their smart approach to inbound marketing, smarter businesses are targeting content marketing to make things happen. So, if those are the two hot-selling cakes that every online business should probably swear by, how about we talk about the remix here. Advertising works on account of the integrity of the seller or their representatives. As per a report, a majority of B2B service and product buyers – 95% – consider content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings. Hence, it is crucial that brands and businesses inculcate the essence of trust and familiarity in their content as well as their promotional strategy.
Influencer marketing is the most effective channel for customer acquisitions. Since influencer marketing has become as popular as blogging for business, brands are roping in other people who happen to be highly followed and trusted by their followers (also, target audience) so that they can successfully pitch their offerings to a definitive set of audience. Correspondingly, marketers are making an average of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing with 70 percent earning $2 or more and 13 percent earning $20 or more.
With such a strong potential for bringing new clients onboard and also generating a strong return on investment, it is highly recommended that you, as a business, must effectively implement the mixed value of Content Marketing and Influencer Marketing. You may ask, ‘how’, here’s a brief guide.
Weaving Content Marketing & Influencer Marketing together
Using this mixed strategy can help new businesses get a grip on customers who can assure sale, for more than half of the time. On an average, content marketing churns a conversion rate for businesses and brands that is six times higher than those that don’t use Content Marketing. On the other hand, influencers build their reputations on a foundation of trust. Mingling these two can bring about impeccable brand conversion results. Here’s how you can power your Content Marketing efforts by supercharging them with Influencer marketing.
Choosing the right set of influencers
Once you have finally made the decision to go with Influencer Marketing as an effort, you need to identify your target audience and figure out the respective influencers, in terms of their industry. While choosing the right influencers, you need to understand that the image of this chosen influencer(s) has to align with your brand image. Secondly, this influencer should have quite a reach amongst their followers and must have a trust base with them.
Talking business on terms
Once you have compiled a list of probable influencers, you will have to clear your business terms with them and finalize the working terms such as the investment per influencer post, the kind of content chosen for a particular influencer, and obviously the terms and conditions laid by the influencer. Just remember that this is going to be a long-term engagement and any relationship mishap can deeply affect the reputation of your brand in the eyes of the followers.
Influencer-specific Content marketing campaigns
Running multiple Content marketing campaigns is a common instance for brands. This holds true for influencer marketing as well. You can obviously hire many influencers to endorse your offering. This way, you would be able to promote more and more offerings, using a particular campaign; ensuring that a particular influencer sticks to a particular campaign, gaining more trust in the particular product/service. Hence, aim to hire different influencers for different campaigns and run them in a parallel manner.
Creating content for Influencers
Well, when you hire your influencers, you must decide beforehand if you will be creating the promotional content for them or if their payment package includes the clause where they create worthy content for your brand/business. Regardless of the content creator here, your concern must be the quality of the final content that goes out to the followers, so that more conversions happen.
For each influencer you hire, you must have a content policy in place which is mutually agreed upon by both the parties. Your influencers can approach your inbound marketing strategies by promoting content either in the blogs, Images, or Videos format.
Collaboration with reputed and well-followed influencers can be of huge help for the promotion of your offerings. However, it is very important that you set targets for experienced and rising influencers, alike. These targets will put your hired influencers in a spot that they really need to put in work in order to promote your product and churn out the right value of your investment.
Equip influencers with tools to help programs succeed
Some marketing campaigns require the use of certain tools by the influencers in order to drive in a higher percentage of conversions. It is the responsibility of the business to make this a point that if their influencers are not equipped with the right tool, they must provide them at the earliest. However, a lot of brands put this out in their agreement as a clause/pre-requisite.
Focus on ROI of your Influencer Marketing pursuits
Influencer marketing content delivers 11X greater ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. But, to make sure that you are actually driving a great ROI on your efforts, you must employ tools to manage influencer relationships. These tools such as Dealspotr, Klear, GroupHigh, and Traackr offer standardized metrics across teams, brands, and geographic locations to help you scale your influencer strategy.
Putting all that time and effort into building great content requires a lot of brainstorming and entrepreneurial pressure. This holds true for established businesses as well as startups. So, you must leave no stone unturned in order to promote it. Putting together your content marketing campaign with a smart influencer marketing move can help you serve a deeper part of the funnel.
Hence, to build a B2B influencer marketing program or just a capable Content Marketing plus Influencer Marketing mix, you must play all your cards right so that you can effectively use Content Marketing and Influencer marketing together.
Pawan Sahu is the founder of MarkupTrend. He is a Digital Marketer and a blogger geek passionate about writing articles related to WordPress, SEO, Marketing, Web Design, and CMS etc.
Content is everywhere and any brand, no matter how huge it is, cannot surpass its prominence. Content marketing is becoming more and more popular, and it is an asset that works when it is about the actual product/service/brand marketing of any business.
Ranging from Social media posts, Videos, Illustrations/Photos, Infographics, Interactive content such as quizzes to Case studies, Ebooks/White papers, Content has managed to become the favorite tool of marketers from around the world. There is a reason behind the huge success of Content marketing. Effective Content Marketing that has come around as a result of a well-organized content strategy is helping brands attain their long-term business goals with ease.
Under a well-crafted Content strategy, defined targets are set and the performance to achieve these targets is constantly analyzed. Measuring and monitoring your Content marketing performance is just as important as creating a well-laid content strategy. But, how do you do it? What are the some of the most basic determinants that help you measure and monitor the performance of your content? Let’s find out.
The engagement and conversion that you expect from your content are only going to come to you after your content is discovered by people of the Internet or technically speaking, your target audience. The number of visitors that your content is able to attract and engage is a true indicator of how well your content is performing. If this traffic i.e. the users and the sessions, keeps on increasing over the period of time, that’s good news for you and your content strategy.
You must create a record of the traffic on your website or web resource throughout months and gauge the difference in the monthly performance. There will be certain months when the traffic is quite good. Do more of what you did with your content marketing strategy during those months. It will help you progress.
Once you are done creating your content and putting it out for the consumption of your audience, you optimize it as the next step. If your website or a certain landing page is performing well, that means that the corresponding content is doing well. If your content is doing well, it will show up organically in search engine result pages and drive organic engagement. This is, in fact, a very clear indicator of your Content marketing performance.
All of us are well aware of the vastness of the Internet and the content present on it. If people/your targeted audience is taking out their valuable time and are browsing through your website, that’s good. However, this is not finished work. If your visitors are just casually dropping by and leaving in a split second, that’s bad news. Your visitors will stick around for a while if they consider your content to be worthy of their time.
On-site time is a proper indicator of your content performance. If people like what they see or read, they will stay for a longer time, and go through more of it. So, always make sure that you create your content in the manner that people like to stay and look for more of it. Gauging the pages per visit is also a great way to measure and monitor your content marketing performance.
Before everything else, your content is supposed to serve the purpose of easing the customer journey of your audience. When your content is the right kind, and it has been strategized well, it will engage the right buyers, at the right time. Hence, it will add more qualified leads to the funnel and drive in a higher chance of conversion.
Earlier we talked about visitors, users, sessions, pages per visit and other similar elements that determine the capacity of your content marketing. Next up, measuring the percentage of returning visitors is also a great way to see if or not your content is performing at par with the content strategy. It is a usual instance if new site visitors come to your website once in a blue moon. However, what truly should happen is that these visitors should be retained and they should come back to consume your content and engage with it on a daily basis.
So, you think your content is great, and it is capable of churning expected results for you? You might be right in this assumption but if the brand awareness around your brand or business offering is not happening, is your content even performing?
Your content marketing should be such that people can find answers for their queries through your content. This content should be able to acquire qualified leads; leads that already know your product but are not sure if they will give their money to your brand. In the follow-up, your content is performing well if it is driving conversions.
Social sharing & Reputation
Your content should be such and so good that once people come across it, they are ready to share it further in their circles. This content can be an explainer video of your business offering or a simple giveaway landing page meant for the promotion of a particular content campaign. Whatever the case may be, this content should serve the purpose.
Having social sharing buttons and the share counter on your website/blog is a smart move. It not only provides new site visitors a space to share your content, but it also serves the purpose of convincing reluctant audience when they happen to see the sharing counter for your content. Hence, if your content is a champion, more and more people are going to derive value out of it and share it with the people they care about.
Conversion & Sales
The simplest gauging meter of all is the conversion and sale driven by your content. Great performing content is able to attract the audience, engage them, convince them into spending more time around exploring more content, and eventually, it is able to convert those leads into customers. However, it is simpler said than done. You must resort to using tools like Google Analytics, KissMetrics, CrazyEggs, and other Heatmap tools that will help you gain deep insights into the process of understanding your conversions and sales.
Gauging the performance of your Content Marketing is equivalent to tapping an endless ocean. Well, that might be a bit exaggerated thing to say but what we really mean to imply here is that you need to have a very broad knowledge base if you really want to know your metrics right. Thankfully, there are so many simpler as well as advanced measurement and monitoring tools available in the market to help you measure your content marketing performance, improve it, and eventually achieve your business objectives.
Pawan Sahu is the founder of MarkupTrend. He is a Digital Marketer and a blogger geek passionate about writing articles related to WordPress, SEO, Marketing, Web Design, and CMS etc.
The popularity of Blogging as a mainstream profession has boomed over the last decade. In fact, the number of bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million in 2020. It is fair enough to say that each of us might even closely know a blogger in our close circles. Almost half of the bloggers probably started their blog as a hobby, while the other half was largely about making some income.
Blogging has also become a preference for business brands that now accept the value of blogging in terms of their marketing. It is safe to say that Blogging is quite a rage these days. But, all blogs don’t make it to the mark and become popular, right?
If we explore the reasons behind the failure of budding blogs, we can arrive at some factors that are behind this failure. The incapability or failure to properly market the blog is probably the top reason for blogs dying out sooner than expected. Marketing the content of one’s blog is crucial and it requires time and devotion to keep the engine running. Most bloggers don’t do that.
Yet another reason; most bloggers give up when they don’t see the expected traffic or subscribers coming to their website. The lack of readers worries them so much that they decide to stop putting in any more efforts and let their blog die. Also, not having the necessary knowledge about bringing up a blog can be the death of a blog.
Since a lot of people start blogging as a part of their hobby, they tend to have an alternative such as a supporting job. This obviously, can take away the effort margin required to create, publish, and market the content that they push out through their blogging channels.
So, how should new or inexperienced bloggers plan the marketing of their blogs so that they can gain the traffic and subscribers they aim for, and also retain the existing audience?
Here are our tips to help you plan the marketing of your blog.
Make your website speedy
Way before you begin to market your blog and its content, you need to fix the loading speed of your blog. Did you know that if your blogging website took more than 2-3 seconds to load, your visitors will be quick to abandon it, at an alarming percentage? So, why take the chance of killing your own blog.
Your blogging site’s loading speed is a huge determinant of the User-experience on it. If you don’t put in efforts into the direction, you will end up driving away your own visitors. So, before you start investing in all the marketing tools and resources, make sure that you invest in a reliable and decent web hosting service. Implementing ‘Caching’ on your blogging website is also a welcome move into this direction.
Lastly, optimizing the images on your blog is also an important step to take care of the existing load on the server bandwidth; hence, speeding up your website. This brings us to the talk about using images on your blog to make it more appealing to the visitors. As per a report, blog articles with images get 94% more views. So, invest in good quality images to complement the content on your blog so that you can drive in more views.
Ease the navigation on your Blog
Imagine a scenario where you were able to market your blog well and the traffic came gushing in, but what happens when the audience can’t find a way around to look for the information they want to access?
We are talking about simplifying the navigation on your blog so that visitors tend to easily find their requested information and that they spend more time on the blog, looking for other related content.
Hence, if your blog is for the purpose of selling professional services or any other services/products, for that matter, you must know that as per a report, 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. Hence, it is an obligation for bloggers to make the navigation on their blog seamless and easy.
Create good-quality Content
Nothing can drive substantial traffic to your blog and retain the readership more than good-quality content can. It imparts value to the blog audience. Your blog exists for the purpose of delivering content to the audience; content that is valuable information to them. Essentially, it should be original, high on readability, and free of inaccuracies or grammatical errors.
Here’s a quick tip: way before you decide to start a blog, you must identify the correct niche that you would like to explore for your audience. You should have a fair hold on the subject matter of this niche and should be passionate about further research so that you can keep adding value to your content as and when you explore new topics under the same niche.
Coming back to the need of creating good quality content for the purpose of marketing it, one must also know that Plagiarism or skimming content should be highly avoided. As a matter of fact, Search Engines can penalize your blog for using the plagiarized content.
Hence, as a blogger, your content should be of high-quality, free from Plagiarism and errors and most importantly, it should create value for the audience. Once you accomplish these, your blog marketing will become as easy as a pie.
Consistent blogging is the Key
To be able to market their blog, bloggers need to be consistent in their posting so that their existing audience has something to consume periodically. A HubSpot report has mentioned that company blogs that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published zero to four monthly posts. This further emphasizes the importance of consistent blogging.
Since WordPress happens to be the ultimate blogging platform among the many other choices of website platforms, a lot of people use it for blogging. If you are a WordPress blogger, you can use the Editorial Calendar plugin to make sure that you can schedule your blog posts for regular blogging.
Engage with other bloggers
To be able to reach out to a new set of audience for your blogs, you must ethically engage with other bloggers, their content, as well as their audience. What you can do is go through their blog posts and regularly comment on them and provide them with subtle feedback as well. You must also invite them to engage with your blog and provide you feedback on the same. A little friendly competition will help all the involved bloggers grow their blog. Collaborating for guest posts or Live guest sessions is also a good idea to drive in new blog subscribers.
Share your content on Social Media
The best way to market your blog is to talk about it on social media. You must share your blog updates on your personal as well as blog’s social media channels so that people can stay updated about whatever is coming next on the blog. Enabling social media sharing of your blog posts will help your site audience further share the content of your blog among their circles.
Keep updating the design of your blog
One of the prime steps you need to take to keep marketing your blog efficiently is by constantly updating it with the latest design trends so that it stays visually appealing for the audience. A refreshed blog design will help you retain the existing subscribers by driving away the monotony.
The average word count of top-ranking content (in Google) is between 1,140-1,285 words. So, aim for the count to make your blog posts more reachable.
Optimize your content for the Search Engines.
Bring in subscribers through Email marketing.
Build overall organic engagement for a long-term blog performance.
Keep reviving your old blog posts that were quite popular when published back in the day so that you can keep the traffic looped.
Adding Podcasts to your blog marketing strategy can help you bring more engagement.
Maintaining the accuracy of your blog information is crucial
Effective blogging has become a marketing strategy pre-requisite for mainstream blogs as well as big brands that look forward to engaging their audience with quality content.
Going back to 2013, there were 152 million blogs on the internet. It’s almost 2019, and the competition is way more grueling, thanks to the exploding count of the blogs over the Internet. Hence, it is essential to have an edge over others when it comes to creating value blog content as well as marketing it. We hope that our article will help you drive significant insights into what you can do to market your new blog effectively and help it grow each day rapidly.
Pawan Sahu is the founder of MarkupTrend. He is a Digital Marketer and a blogger geek passionate about writing articles related to WordPress, SEO, Marketing, Web Design, and CMS, etc.
Convincing your visitors to be your customers isn’t the easiest thing at hand. The fastest way to get your customers to ignore you is by not standing for anything. Most people are used to liking things in which they can find a semblance of their personalities.
This is important in communicating with customers and convincing them. By knowing their pain points, goals and by finding out what motivates them you’re unlocking the secret to convincing them.
Here are 4 principles that make this easy.
Use the principle of reciprocity
When we do something for others, others like to do something in return. It isn’t charity. And when you do something for your visitors build the expectation that you expect a return in kind from them as well.
Ask something for exchange when you’re giving away something valuable. Highlight the value attached with the receivable and you’re making your proposition more convincing.
The Guardian is a pretty good example. They don’t run ads on their site unlike similar sites like Business Insider. If you run adblocker when visiting BI you get popup asking you to remove the ad blocker to access the site. Neither do they gate their content like some others—say 5 free articles per month and rest for subscription. Guardian favors and runs a subscription business and after each article they ask you for a favor.
Something like this:
Considering the quality of the articles and wanting to read the articles and keep supporting the newspaper many do subscribe.
The perceived value of what you give away has to be equal or apparently equal to what you’re requesting for in return. Only then will people be inclined to do your bidding.
Use the principle of liking by telling the world more about your brand
When a 3 year old girl wrote to Sainsbury asking why their Tiger bread wasn’t called Giraffe bread despite resembling a giraffe, the company promptly wrote a letter back to her in agreement.
She also got a £3 coupon from them.
And the company followed up by changing the name to what was suggested. The letter of the little girl was first posted on her Mother’s blog which shortly went viral on Twitter and later on other social media channels.
When Sainsbury retorted with their letter and rechristening their popular bread the world went wild with the story.
In real world people are influenced by someone they like. This also applies to brands. If people like you they’re going to remain loyal and purchase from you.
We tend to go with people whom we can like. Charming personalities have attracted us from time immemorial
Have you ever thought what makes someone likeable?
By giving your business a personality you can give it a life of its own and influence others.
Look at the image of the child. Eye gaze is most concentrated on where the baby is looking at.
Evolution has wired us to follow the human gaze and look for faces. Even in inanimate objects we tend to pry open faces.
By giving your business a human face and attaching a personality to it you would be able to reassure that real humans are running the show.
The first thing on the site you see are the employees who are their greatest resource build trust for anyone visiting the site and so on.
And don’t commit social media blunders that can immediately make you or your brand distasteful.
Every product claims to do certain things. But people online don’t have any proof of that. How to make people believe that what you’re saying is true?
Just show them that the product works.
Testimonials are words from customers who’ve used your product in the past and were satisfied with what they got. Given that online reviews are trusted as much as recommendations from friends there’s no reason why they’d doubt you.
Conversions happen when people realize that the product they’re reading about on the page, the one that they read reviews on is for them. They have to want them and realize that it’s specifically for them.
Use copywriting to achieve this. Offer understanding and sympathy and show them you’re in the same boat as they are and understand what you’re going through.
In a related example, if you’ve ever seen Clickbank weight loss products you might have noticed several after and before pictures.
These are shown not just for proof but to elicit empathy.
When people see that you understand their problem quite well they don’t have any reason not to trust you.
What do you think of these principles as outlined above that persuade people to like and purchase from you? Every act is rooted in psychology that got wired into us tens of thousands of years ago as we evolved. Those hard-baked behavior patterns can’t be erased easily and can be used to persuade, covince and promote.
What do you think?
George is a marketer and writer who has over 8 years of experience helping startups and big-shot companies deliver stellar marketing campaigns. Read his post on Startups.
WordPress is so flexible, in so many ways, that there are numerous options for selling photos on your site.
The most notable methods are as follows.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Not because it specializes in selling your photos. But rather, it’s a nice overall eCommerce plugin. It’s specialty is the ability to sell anything. Out of the box WooCommerce is not ideal for selling photos, though. To do that, it’s recommended to either use the WooCommerce Photography extension ($79 a year) or Envira Gallery Pro and its WooCommerce extension ($99 a year).
It’s worth noting that no matter which of the WooCommerce options you utilize, it is not a traditional photo eCommerce system. It is still set up like a general eCommerce system, so there is a lot of up-front work required to sell photos.
Easy Digital Downloads
As the second most popular eCommerce solution for WordPress, it was a good idea for Easy Digital Downloads to produce an image eCommerce option. The EDD Download Images extension allows store owners to sell the download of image files. The extension does not offer the ability to sell prints, though.
When it comes to selling photos, the most popular solution is NextGEN Pro. It’s a premium extension to the very popular WordPress gallery plugin, NextGEN Gallery.
NextGEN Pro uses a true gallery system and pricelist system to make it painless to offer galleries with pricing for digital downloads and/or prints. There is also the ability to override individual images inside of a gallery to use a different pricelist or not make it for sale.
The plugin goes for $99 a year and comes with additional eCommerce features which are useful for selling images, like protection, selling from originals and not the smaller resized front end versions and much more.
The Call to Action on a landing page could easily be the most critical element present.
It’s at this point the visitor is made to decide whether to stay or fly away.
Optimizing call to actions can lead to much higher CTR and conversions. But with so much bad advice flying around it can be a bit hard to separate the chaff from the wheat.
In this post, I will attempt to clear the air around the subject and give the most practical actionable advice by showing you the characteristics that most high converting buttons share.
The Call to Action should be the obvious choice
CTA button optimization doesn’t begin with the button. Far from it. Buttons are merely a vehicle to carry out the intended action. The build-up towards the action starts much before that.
A well-tuned landing page is a primer to this process. And a page designer who knows his job must guide the visitor through the process.
At the end the CTA should culminate into a climax, transforming itself to the ultimate and obvious choice. So much so that the visitor can’t move past without clicking on it.
This isn’t the easiest achievable thing. You might first make mistakes and put out call to actions that are there just for the sake of being there. As you understand your customers better, gather feedback and cycle through many conversations that would change. When you gain more experience regarding what customers want the CTAs would evolve to something well-attuned to customers desires.
You can never go wrong with urgency. There are only a handful of emotions that can launch us into action as much as the fear of missing out.
You’ve probably seen this type of approach on websites that run deals or limited time offers. Internet marketers are notorious for plugging each of their sales with a countdown timer.
According to Susan M Weinschenk, author of Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click “If there is a limited availability of something, we assume it is even more valuable, and we want it even more.”
This is the very reason why Apple fans don’t miss any launches and even resort to camping out in the open to the first few to get their hands on with the latest model as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Positioning the Call to Action
A lot has been debated on above the fold versus below the fold.
Most marketers imagine that the perfect spot for placing the CTA button and offer is right off the bat at the top so that it’s the first thing visitors see.
While the above “theory” may hold for hundreds of cases, it isn’t true for everyone.
In fact above or below the fold, placement has to do with the complexity of your offer.
Higher the complexity, more the explanation needed and lower should the CTA go. Don’t take this as a rule of thumb. Test and find which placement works better.
To that end, they ran a test on a B2C landing page.
Variant one had the CTA at the bottom of a long landing page.
In the second variant, the CTA was placed at the top of the landing page- above the fold. Contrary to expected results the CTA at the bottom resulted in a 304% conversion lift.
A complex offer may require that the visitor reads and understands what’s on offer. He has to go through testimonials and examples prior to making a decision. That takes time and content and probably warrants a bottom of the fold placement.
Here’s the graph that shows you where to place your offer.
This should help you when choosing button placement
Use color and contrast to dictate the visual hierarchy of the button
Different emotions are attached to different colors.
Some choose red, some green, still others blue and the big orange on their CTAs.
In most cases, conversions aren’t about the color but about the difference, you can bring between the call to action and the rest of the content on the page.
If you go by case studies, then red is the color of choice.
Let’s understand the impact of colors from this case study by RIPT Apparel. RIPT Apparel tested color of their buy now button to see if it makes any difference to their bottom line.
Below you can see the original version:
Here’s the variant with the new button:
The conversions went up in the second variant with the green button.
So this should prove that green colored buttons are best for conversions.
No, not so soon.
If you observe the original image you will see that the buy now button blends in with the rest of the image.
It’s lost. And only a good hard look reveals it. Most visitors landing on the page simply missed the buy now button and this was the reason for low conversions.
The new button effectively brought itself to the front and center and invited clicks. In fa,ct, it could have been the first thing you noticed on the page
When they tested the button color once again and replaced it with yellow the conversions improved by 6.3%
According to Go-Globe, “53%% of websites lack a clear call-to-action button that takes users 3 seconds or less to see.
Lack of contrast is probably one reason why visitors miss seeing the call to action button.
That’s not to say that you can cut down on research.
The overall color scheme of the product needs to match the preconceptions and general interests of the target audience in mind.
A feminine color like pink shouldn’t be used when selling bikes or men’s products.
Such clear-cut boundaries may not exist in all niches but based on your research you should be able to find colors that are well accepted in a particular niche. The test these different colors and see for yourself which brings the highest lift in clicks.
Finally, remember that call to Actions are buttons. They’re not text, hyperlinks, gifs or images. Don’t make it into anything other than a button.
The last thing you want is someone telling you is that it’s easy to do.
Even though there are zillions of case studies proclaiming a particular button, button size, color, shade of color or image as the only thing you need for the perfect CTA, that simply doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion that which you etch down on would reveal its truth.
You cannot simply hack around time and feedback. But reading a post like this and others will give you a general sense of how to base your conjectures on. You will discover specific ways to optimize elements on the page that will get you results.
A powerful CTA is within reach. You just have to work towards it.
George started ThinkingNE to share the latest cutting-edge advice on conversion rate optimization and digital marketing.
Lead generation must be a top priority with your online marketing strategy. While it is essential to give your website a professional look to instill confidence in your potential customers, it is equally important to convert potentials leads to loyal readers or clients.
In this post, we will be looking at the best WordPress lead generation plugins that are the most effective to generate and convert leads into a database of potential customers.
First and foremost, let us ask what a “lead” is? A lead is defined as a contact (person or company) that has shown enough interest to any of your products or services, showing to request information (like a contact form, for example).
There are numerous plugins and tools available which can assist you to generate leads.
Icegram is a powerful tool to improve the engagement of visitors to your website. You can use it to create popups, call to action buttons in the header or footer, floating boxes, reminders, chat, and more. And the best news is that it’s absolutely free!
Popup Domination comes with a wide variety of options to create and configure popups on your WordPress page or blog. It also comes with the ability to create split testing (A / B). You can also install chat support to interact with visitors. The analytics that comes with the plugin will tell you what is working and what you need to improve upon. This plugin also cost less than ten dollars per month.
Lead Pages is a marketing tool that allows you to automate your inbound marketing and many other lead generation processes. You can use it to convert visitors to leads, and generate more sales with automated processes that can improve with each interaction.
MailOptin is the ultimate WordPress lead generation and email automation plugin proven to grow and engage email list subscribers. It grows your email mailing list by displaying targeted opt-in forms across your WordPress website with popups, slide-ins, notification bars, in post subscription forms, sidebar widgets and lots more.
MailOptin ships with so many different templates you can customize to your heart content. And it integrates with many email marketing providers such as MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, ConvertKit and many others
Unlike other alternatives in the market, MailOptin goes a step further to ensure your email list subscribers, readers or customers are nurtured and constantly engaged using its suite of event-triggered and automated emails such as new post notification and email digest with lots of other automation constantly being added.
Do you want to increase your email list? OptinMonster is among the best WordPress lead generation plugins which give you the chance to create and use forms on your blog to get information from your website audience and readers. It helps you create opportunities to convert your visitors with popups, sidebar, widgets, forms, etc., It comes with a wide variety of different templates to collect information with. And it is compatible with many email marketing providers such as MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, among others.
A well-targeted list gives you the opportunity to increase your marketing profits. More people can be reached at the click of a button. It is a very professional option to convert visitors into subscribers. OptinMonster allows you to optimize forms and to test their efficiency.
It is a very comprehensive plugin, with a flexible configuration and complete analytical system. It is a premium plugin, and if you can afford to spend some money, OptinMoster is very effective. The most basic plan costs just a few dollars per month.
Sumo is another good tool to create email lists, analyzing heat maps, pop-ups, content interactions, social sharing, and more. It has many applications, and you can start with the free version, although the free version has limited features and a link back to the site of the developer.
This plugin has been my favorite for several reasons. It has a lot of interesting features, but for this article, I’m only going to focus on the social sharing aspect With Sumo, you can add a popup button in almost any part of your blog. It also allows you to customize the buttons to your taste by changing the shape and colors of the buttons.
I’m sure you’ve already seen more than one blog that had a sidebar with a blue button underneath with a crown. That is the Sumo plugin. It also has another very interesting feature: you can access the statistics to know the effectiveness of your lead generation campaign.
With its highly customizable features and the fact that most of the functions are free, Sumo has become one of the plugins most WordPress users employ to capture leads on their blogs. It is also fully responsive, so it looks good on any mobile devices.
Build a list by converting casual visitors into loyal subscribers with Thrive Leads. Whatever your topic, if you want to grow your blog, you must build an email list. Social networks can help you build an audience, but nothing draws people to your blog like a list of emails.
There are many email lists building tactics that you can use, but they all require one thing: an opt-in form. That’s why you need a tool that makes adding opt-in forms on your site, optimizing the forms by A/B split testing, and progress report generation a breeze.
Thrive Leads users have access to a large number of opt-in models and a detailed visual editor. You can then customize the existing templates or create your forms from scratch. It supports different types of opt-in forms such as sidebars, pop-ups, widgets, in-content, notification bars, scroll box, scroll mats, etc. You can make links or images that display a pop-up when clicked. This works great for adding content updates.
The developers of the Thrive Lead plugin have continued to update the plugin, regularly releasing new features.
Contact Forms & Website Analytics by Leadin
If you need an easy-to-use contact form and marketing analytics plugin for your website that helps you better understand your website visitors, Leadin is the best fit.
Do you need to have a better understanding of who is visiting your blog? Do you want to know more about your website visitors? Do you need help converting leads? Leadin is a plugin offering marketing automation and lead generation, tracking the behavior of the person visiting your blog and making it easier for you to create an opportunity for conversion. When converted, Leadin adds them to your list of contacts and make a report with its history.
If you fail to understand the behavior of your visitors, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. With the right kinds of accurate information, you can target your audience better and get amazing results. Leadin will help to get more ROI since your campaigns would be better targeted at the right group of people. You will know where and what to spend your advertising budget on.
Create beautiful optin forms easier than ever. At the click of a few buttons, your form would be ready to do whatever you need. You can choose a form design, customize it, and add your form to your blog with a simple mouse click. Lead generation has never been this easy and trying out the plugin will worth the effort.
Pure Chat – Live Chat Plugin
Pure Chat is a leading live chat software that allows businesses to engage their customers in real time from anywhere. The best thing about Pure Chat is that it has both a free and premium version.
Contact Form 7
While it is possible to create contact form through many plugins on WordPress, I always prefer Contact Form 7 because of its simplicity and ease of use. Contact Form 7 is an excellent plugin that will help you to maintain your correspondence without having to display your email conspicuously on your blog. You can create great looking forms for your readers to fill out.
If you are not generating leads and building lists, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers. Hence, the common slogan of “the money is in the list.” You need to convert as many leads as possible so that you can reach out to them right in their inbox. Leads generation is not as difficult as it used to be. You only need to pick the best WordPress lead generation plugins and put them to effective use.
It’s as if Squarespace popped up out of nowhere a few years ago and instantly grew immensely. It makes sense – they got the funding, created huge ads (including Superbowl ads), and created designs tools which make web design simple.
In fact, Squarespace makes having a website very simple.
Did you notice we didn’t say “owning a website” and instead said “having a website”?
You see, Squarespace is nice for man businesses because there is very little overhead. For the small price, you get a site hosted on their servers, maintained by them, with a nice design system.
Content Ownership with Squarespace
But you don’t own the content there. They do. Which means they can shut down your site on the fly, at any time, with no warning, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Sure, you can export your content to WordPress. Well, some of it. But that doesn’t help if the site is shut down.
Content ownership is important for businesses. Think of it like someone who runs their business off of Instagram promotion. The moment their account is suspended or a glitch deleted a profile, that business is dead in the water.
But having the content on your own website, which you control from nearly top-down (talk about that in a moment), means that if your social media account goes away, your content does not.
The design tool of Squarespace is impressive, don’t get us wrong. But it’s not nearly as flexible as page builders are for WordPress. Even some of the free page builder plugins offer more out of the box than Squarespace’s design tool. Plugins like Visual Composer, WP Bakery, Beaver Builder and Elementor. Each is powerful and easy to design in their own ways.
Content Ownership with WordPress
When it comes to WordPress the coin is flipped. With WordPress, you own everything, including the software that runs the website. I mean, you don’t legally own it. But you own is in the control sense. You can do what you want with it, like modify it, change the look of it, etc.
You own the content that’s on the site, where the data is stored and how it looks. The only part of the website you do not own is the actual host of the files. Unless of course, you’re technical enough to host it yourself (which is possible too).
With WordPress, you can keep a complete backup of your site somewhere else, like Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox or wherever. That means if your hosting company shuts down for some reason you can migrate your site elsewhere.
Making the Decision
Making the choice between Squarespace or WordPress is not something we can make for you. All we can tell you about are the benefits of WordPress. Whether that’s content ownership, design possibilities, integrations, reputation, and so on.
At the end of the day, the decision must be yours. You have to do the research to see what’s best for you.
If you’re not a fan of having to maintain a website or think about any of the technical stuff, ever, then maybe Squarespace is for you.
But if you want to join over 30% of the Internet and have your website driven by the most flexible and powerful content management system available, then maybe WordPress is for you.
If you aspire to take a cold, dispassionate, unempathetic ecommerce business to a position of great success, I have some bad news for you: you’re somewhat behind the curve. Unless you happen to have a product or service vastly superior to that of any comparable company (which isn’t tremendously likely), you’re going to need something more than your basic financial value proposition to win new customers and keep them coming back.
And even if you did have a product so good that it almost sold itself, why would you stop at that when you could yield even more sales from sprucing up your presentation? There’s really no practical reason to refrain from creating an in-depth promotional strategy for turning your brand into a household name — and at the core of brand, promotion lies storytelling.
In the ecommerce world, storytelling has several important functions. It succinctly explains the nature of a brand, it yields customer empathy and goodwill, and it makes products and services seem vastly more valuable. But storytelling can be tricky. How do you use it, particularly if you have little writing or creative experience?
In this piece, we’re going to cover 6 ecommerce storytelling tips that are really easy to follow.
See what your competitors are doing
This tip is certainly the most enjoyable and least strenuous of the 6! A common mistake that people make when trying to write compelling stories is trying too hard to shy away from other work for fear of unintentionally copying it. In reality, that’s only ever likely if you do very minimal research — the more widely you read, the less heavily your creative process will take from any one source, and the more easily you’ll be able to build something new from old elements.
Start by visiting the websites and social media accounts of your competitors (both de facto and de jure), and reading through their copy. Review their blog posts, their case studies, their product descriptions. Cast a critical eye over their advertising. What do they do well? What do they do poorly? How are their efforts perceived by their existing or prospective customers?
With all of the existing methods and approaches in your head, you can mix and match the features until you find something that takes all of the biggest storytelling strengths and deploys them in a unique fashion fitting your particular business. I assure you that it will be far, far easier than trying to start totally from scratch, and you’ll be less likely to write stories similar to those already out there because you’ll be able to specifically avoid that kind of similarity.
Keep things very succinct
Everyone’s in a rush on the internet. Barring the exceptional circumstance of finding super-high-quality content from a well-established brand, they’re not going to commit all that much time to follow your brand or product stories, so you need to get to the point. This isn’t about the complexity of what you have to say, and you can use sophisticated terms if contextually appropriate — just aim for brevity at all times.
Give each story a beginning, a middle, and an end, then add details and elaborations only when truly justified. If you read through your “About Us” page draft and can’t think of a strong reason why your backstory needed a detailed recap of your first tax audit, remove it entirely. Never be afraid to leave things out. You’re not writing an autobiography for posterity, you’re trying to frame your business in a way that will resonate with the reader. It’s art, not history.
Focus on emotions
Emotion is what draws people into a story, more than anything else. We want to identify with protagonists and relate their experiences to our own, and we need empathy for that, so be sure to include strong emotive terms in your stories where appropriate. Don’t simply explain what happened: explain how it made you feel. Have your successes made you proud? Elated? And what of your challenges, or even your failures? Did you ever doubt yourself?
And when it comes to product storytelling, what is it like to use the product? Does it inspire relief, generate joy, or nurture creativity? People are sold on benefits, not features, so look past the “objective” strengths of your value proposition and focus on how it will make the buyer’s life better in some meaningful way.
Assuming you’re capable of feeling emotion, this tip should be easy enough to follow. Just keep the concept of emotionality in your mind while you’re writing or reviewing a draft, and make sure that every story has some kind of emotional throughline.
Match your audience’s language
What kind of terminology should you use for your story? Should the phrasing be formal or informal? This entirely depends on the audience you’re trying to reach with your stories, which itself depends on the audience you’re trying to reach with your business. What demographics and segments are you aiming for? You should already have figured this out as part of your fundamental business model, plus you’ll have clues from your previous sales.
If you’re addressing readers likely to be high-income and eloquent, it won’t suffice to use incredibly basic language. You’ll need to carefully craft a story that will pass muster with relatively-harsh critics. If you don’t feel that you have the writing chops for that, consider bringing in a professional copywriter. A great brand story can be used for years (building equity that can pay off if you ever decide to sell the business), so it’s likely worth it.
If you’re addressing less well-read people with more everyday interests, you’ll want to steer clear of verbosity or you’ll come across as trying too hard and being pretentious. Think carefully about what kind of writing your targeted audience would like to read, and aim to provide it.
Follow a problem with a solution
Whether you’re recapping your company history or talking the reader through a hypothetical situation for a product or service, never forget that the bulk of ecommerce is about addressing pain points and/or creating happiness. Because of this, stories should almost-always be structured as sequences of problem/solution combinations.
Here’s an example: imagine that you need to write an ecommerce story, and it’s going horribly. You’re not sure where to start, the clock is ticking, and you start to feel very stressed. But then you remember that piece you saw about 6 ecommerce storytelling tips, and you hunt it down online. To your relief, it gives you a much clearer idea of what you’re doing, and you’re quickly able to work through a solid draft with zero stress.
This example established a problem (you’re confused and stressed about writing a story) and provided a solution (this piece helps you finish your draft stress-free). Understand the things that annoy your readers, introduce them to your story, and then bring in your product or solution to get rid of those annoying problems. Sticking to this format will really help you keep things succinct and compelling.
Optimize your presentation
It isn’t just the text of your ecommerce stories that has an effect on their success — in the digital realm, presentation is just as (if not more) important for getting your message across. At a minimum, you should be aiming for the following:
Spacing out paragraphs in digestible chunks to accommodate limited attention spans.
Using distinct and informative heading+p06p.s and subheadings to add clarity.
Employ stylistic elements such as bulleted lists and tables to add variety.
Include relevant high-quality images to provide an illustration.
How easy this will be — and how good the content will look when formatted optimally — will depend entirely on the structure and nature of your website. There are surprisingly many ecommerce sites that do not display content at all well, and plenty of them don’t even natively support text-centric pages for “About Us” histories.
Assuming you use a standard CMS for your store, you will have access to numerous themes capable of significantly improving the default presentation of your content. Users of Shopify or Magento, for instance, can draw from their respective theme stores, while users of WooCommerce can browse this wide range of WooCommerce themes, using the live demos to determine which one might best present their material.
Ecommerce storytelling is all about finding simple and effective angles you can customize for your business and present clearly. It is a challenging task, but if you take advantage of these 6 straightforward tips, you can make it a lot easier. Good luck!
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.