Category Archives: Blogging Tips

WordPress as a Media Powerhouse

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform, this we know.  And blogging started as a means to distribute information quickly and easily.  Some might argue blogging changed the internet, and turned it into something useful to the non-nerd.  As both WordPress and the internet have evolved, they have become so much more than tools to disseminate text.  WordPress has evolved along with the web as a means of managing and distributing media.  If done right, WordPress can be as powerful as any custom-made or commercial solution for media management.  The following are tools and methods for building a media powerhouse on top of the WordPress framework.

1. Use the Core

WordPress has come with a pretty powerful media management tool built in since version 2.5 (and has evolved with each subsequent version, significantly so in version 3.0).  The media library lets you upload media, manage some of the descriptors and parameters, and attach it to content.  This is particularly useful for themes built around media display.

wordpress media library

2. Enhance the Core with a Plugin

The freely available Media Library Assistant Plugin artfully expands the functions of the core media library.  It adds some impressive features such as bulk editing, a powerful gallery, taxonomy support and other reporting.  This might be my next go-to plugin when building a media-driven WordPress site.  Some of these features could certainly be considered for a future version of the core, but in order to keep things slim, why not leave it to the plugin developers to keep it lively?

media library assistant

 3. Enhance with a Theme

WordPress themes have come so far over the years.  Head over to your favorite premium theme provider, we like Themeforest.  And pick out a premium quality theme that is built to manage and display media.  Some themes are built for static media like images, others for video and even audio.  Some select themes are good for displaying all types of media but choose them carefully to ensure they support your preferred media types.  Also be sure users with all different types of technology can enjoy your site.  (ie: tablets running safari vs. tablets running Chrome vs. laptops running Firefox)

wordpress media theme

4.  Integrate with media services

Most internet users manage, browse and share media from social networking sites like Facebook, and media sharing sites like Flickr.  WordPress has the capability to fully integrate with these services using third party plugins.  This is a two way street, if your site is focused on distributing media, you can use a plugin to share your media with sites like Flickr.  If your site relies on media from other sources, make sure it is easy to pull it in from outside.  The Media Manager Plus plugin lets you do just that, pull media in easily from sites like Flicker, 500px and Instagram.

media manager

5. Embed Media like a Pro

WordPress is very good at inserting static media.  Embedding videos and audio or streaming media can take more effort and not work consistently.  This pro plugin, called Cincopa, is built to make that process easier.  The basic version is free but limited, specifically around storage capacity and file size.  Cincopa lets you upload, edit (resize), encode, distribute, track and even skin video files via WordPress.  The company claims their easy to use wizard is intuitive and makes the process of managing video quick and easy.  They include support for the major media players which is nice to know.  They also let you display media in galleries easily, which WordPress does not do well (for video files) and does very well (for image files).  Cincopa comes prepackaged with 40 skins which should work for most, but not all.

cincopa

Did I miss some key media management feature?  Please share it in the comments below.  We read every one!

Creative Uses for WordPress

WordPress is most known as the world’s most influential and popular blogging framework.  However, it can be used in some really creative ways.  Ways that stretch conventional uses and, at times, push the WordPress core to it’s limits.  So why use WordPress to create something really creative?  It’s a blogging engine, not a blank slate for your wildest dreams.  I’ve found, it actually IS a blank slate.  Although it comes pre-packaged with lots of features as a powerful blogging tool, it is quite simple and versatile out of the box.

I have started multiple web projects that had very little need for a blogging feature, but I’ve chosen to build the application on WordPress because it makes creating and managing dynamic content very easy.  The following are examples of some creative and innovative uses for WordPress.  Have an example I missed?  Leave a comment below.

WordPress as a Wiki

Wikis were made famous by sites like Wikipedia, the community-managed encyclopedia.  They are essentially user-moderated content pages that can be used for any collaborative project.

Popular URL Aggregator

Some of the famous examples include PopURL and AllTop.  These are just RSS feeds essentially, aggregated and moderated for quality content.

alltop

WordPress as an Image Sharing site

A popular example of this includes ffffound, an open image sharing site that no longer accepts new registrations.

WordPress as a Contact Manager

There are lots of reasons to manage contacts with a WordPress site.  It can also act as a CRM.  I once built a contact manager for an agency with about 100 employees that wanted help keeping track of them.

contact manager

As a membership Directory

Similar to a contact manager, a membership directory offers some features designed to interact with members.  Such as signing up and managing one’s own profile.  This opens up a world of pay-for-membership opportunities.

WordPress as a Twitter clone

I don’t quite see the utility of creating a twitter clone.  But I suppose this could be useful for busy tech support departments or other situations in which contacts must be made quickly and publicly.

twitter clone

WordPress as a Forum

One of the most ubiquitous features of a web site is a forum.  A forum provides an organized way to discuss or ask questions while allowing others to see the content.  Forums were made popular with support services because they reduced call/email volume by allowing people to see the solution to their problems immediately.

As a News Aggregator

Be careful with news aggregators.  Some sites just compile content from other people’s sites and it makes for lame, useless content.  When done well, and tastefully, people can compile interesting news from their niche of interest.

news

WordPress as an Invoicing System

Run a freelancing business from your WordPress site?  Why not integrate your billing as well?  There are plugins that allow you to bill customers, accept payment and track outstanding invoices easily within WordPress.

WordPress as a Job Board

WordPress can do one thing exceptionally well: build community.  With that community you can disseminate information, gather information, or even publish job listings.  This works best if your website already has authority related to an issue.

wpjobboard

As a social bookmarking service

WordPress can be used like Digg, Reddit, or other similar social bookmarking services through which people can share interesting content and vote it up or down.  Again, hard to break into this service unless your site already has authority and ranking.

WordPress as an Auction Site

Yea, it can do that.  Some plugins let you turn WordPress into an eBay clone, or at least the major features.  Find your niche and become the vertical market auction site of your choice.

wpauctions

What did I miss?  I’d like to hear about other wild and crazy ways people are using WordPress to break the mold.

 

 

WordPress as a Public Relations Tool

Almost every business has (or should have) a public relationships strategy.  Closely integrated with marketing, a public relations strategy addresses how the public perceives the company.  This scales with the business market.  For example, a local pizza shop needs to address how it interacts with the local community while a national corporation needs to be concerned with local communities where it operates as well as the overall public opinion in the marketplace.

What some companies still struggle with, and many have learned the hard way, is that social media and new media are an vital to a good public relations strategy.  For example, I do not go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a website.  Period.  This is not because I want to punish the for being stubborn, but because I only eat out occasionally, and I’m not about to spend my limited restaurant budget on a place who’s menu I have not vetted as appealing.

Any good public relations strategy includes multiple platforms for user interaction.  Gone are the days when a business disseminated information on their product and brand while the consumer blindly accepted it.  Here are the days of the 24-hour news cycle, interactive communications strategy, and here-today-gone-tomorrow businesses that failed to recognize the changing tide.

These examples are perhaps the most poignant example of a business’s public relations strategy dying at the hands of a fool that was given too much authority over the brand through their social media accounts.

Part of a good communications strategy is a steady, professional, interactive blog.  Blogs are no longer plain corporate web-drones, spewing press releases.  They can now be fun, engaging and huge marketing tools.  Some well-executed corporate blogs include:

Zappos

Zappos, the web’s most popular shoe store, blasts mostly deals and promotions but also funny quips and behind the scenes looks.

zappos

Starbucks

Starbucks seems to use their blog platform for social and community messages.  But let’s be real, their widely publicized “responsibility” philosophy is as much a marketing strategy as it is a corporate philanthropy move.

starbucks

Whole Foods

Whole Foods uses their blog to help consumers use (and buy more of) their products.  A nice double-feature.

wholefoods

The most successful corporate WordPress blogs have the look and feel of a personal weblog, similar to the rants and raves that some CEO’s post.  At the end of the day, the web visitor wants to feel like they got something out of their visit, similar to a visit to a bricks and mortar store.

Good WordPress PR strategy

WordPress can be a powerful tool, used for good or evil.  A solid PR strategy can catapult a business into success, or topple it from the top.  The following tips make up a solid, but not comprehensive, PR strategy when using WordPress.

  1. Respond to consumers.  Comments are worthless unless people respond.  Nothing irks me more than writing to a business and receiving no response.
  2. Be cordial, kind and humble.  In this world, the customer IS always right.  This counts extra in the web world.  I tell my parents that email and social media communications need extra courtesy, more than normal discourse.  What could be a perfectly innocent comment in real life could easily be perceived as angry or rude online.
  3. Be honest.  Applebee‘s took major social media heat after a real life problem moved into the virtual realm.  And the ding-dong running their social media strategy lied, copied/pasted and backtracked in an attempt to get control of the disaster.
  4. Offer value.  As I previously mentioned, corporate blogs that simply distribute boring news and announcements and press releases are worthless.  Blogs should be dynamic platforms for engaging with consumers.  And they should demonstrate a businesses nimble nature, writing about topical issues that relate to their brand.

What is YOUR PR strategy with WordPress?

Building a powerful social network with WordPress

WordPress is many things.  A blogging tool, a business tool, a constituent relationship manager (CRM), a community gathering place, even a social networking platform.  With the right plugins and powerful theme, WordPress can be given the tools to create a social networking platform that rivals the big boys.

Why build a social networking platform on WordPress?  There are lots of good answers to this question.  Not the least of which is the WordPress platform is one of the simplest, fastest and most secure platforms on which to build.  Additionally, WordPress comes to you lean and clean, without unnecessary add-ons.  (This is why I switched away from Joomla! years ago).  With WordPress, you can pick and choose the features you need, and leave the rest.  But I’m preaching to the choir here, aren’t I?

When building a social network on WordPress, you have several choices.

The all-in-one solution: BuddyPress

buddypress

BuddyPress is a ready made collection of plugins that were built to work together.  The BuddyPress core enables the individual plugins and thus, is required.  Every other option is up to you.  The latest version is 1.7, released April 8th, 2013.  Known as “Totonno”, BuddyPress 1.7 brings some cool new features to the old BuddyPress.  The full feature list is available on the official Codex, but here are some of my favorite new and old features:

  • BuddyPress can now work seamlessly with almost any WordPress theme.  Previously, a WordPress admin would have to find a BuddyPress compatible theme, that problem is no more.
  • Rich group administration makes it easier to manage subgroups within your WordPress social network.
  • Installation is now much easier.  Previous versions of BuddyPress required quite a few steps for the admin, now the whole thing is automatic.  Suh-weet.

The options

BuddyPress has the capability to offer the following features for a social networking site:

  • Rich user registration
  • Customizable user profiles
  • Messages between users
  • Connectability between users (think Facebook friend function)
  • Full integration with bbPress, the forum designed by the creators of WordPress
  • User blogs, each user can write their own blog
  • And lots more with plugins for BuddyPress

Themes

BuddyPress also comes with a small collection of theme designers that are striving to make WordPress themes specifically for BuddyPress sites.  I’ve found the free stuff to not be worth it, but the premium BuddyPress themes at ThemeForest are really nice.  With Totonno, you can also use any other WordPress theme you love.

The analysis

BuddyPress seems to be the oldest project that adds social networking functionality to WordPress.  Age doesn’t guarantee the top choice, but it does lend itself to a more comprehensive solution.  But there are others you should consider before making a choice.

The minimalist solution: WP Mingle

wpmingle

The options

Mingle is newer and smaller, but has real promise.  It offers many of the core features of BuddyPress, with a vibrant community as well.  Features include:

  • User profiles
  • Friending between users
  • Profile posting and commenting
  • Member directory
  • Email notifications

WPMingle is very simple with a smaller but vibrant community of developers building plugins to support it.  It seems to be mainly supported by the primary developer, Blair Williams.  Blair is the genious behind Pretty Link, a heavily used WordPress link redirect and cloaking plugin.

Plugins developed for WPMingle include integration with AWeber, a forum, donation button and friend request widget.

Themes

Blair recommends Thesis Theme, because WPMingle has not been tested or developed to work with everything.  A serious drawback, but the theme shouldn’t be your only parameter when choosing a WordPress social networking option.

The Analysis

WP Mingle would be better if you just need the features listed above.  If you are looking to build a truly powerful social network, consider going with BuddyPress.  With any larger, more comprehensive plugin, you may loose some flexibility with customizations.

What did I miss?  Please comment below to make this article even better!

Top ways to promote your WordPress site

Someone once said about blogging: “never before have so many people said so much to so few”.  I find this quote hilarious because it really does capture a lot of blogs quite well.  What makes the internet so powerful is always what makes it so bloated.  The ability to broadcast information instantly and efficiently to as many people as may find the information valuable.  But information that nobody sees is useless.  That’s why a WordPress blogger needs to do more than write, they need to promote.

We all have dreams of content we write going viral, and our blogs gaining instant credibility, being read by millions every day.  But that happens to a tiny fraction of us.  The rest need to work tirelessly to write quality content and distribute it as widely as possible.  Here are some solid, white-hat methods for distributing content and promoting your WordPress site.

1.Write quality content!

I had to insert this one even though it is not a direct “promotional tool”.  I also listed this as the top method for promoting your WordPress site because I believe strongly that writing quality, unique and useful content is the most important step in creating a popular website.  If people find your content useful, they will share it among their network and promote it for you.

2. Guest blogging

This is one of the oldest tricks in the playbook, but it work.  Offer to create quality, unique content for similar websites.  Don’t fill the content with links back to your site, rather just one link in your author byline.  This method goes along with numbers 5 and 7, relating to building relationships with other WordPress sites.

By writing unique content for other websites, you are doing them a favor and building a long term connection that will benefit you over time.  They may offer to return the favor.  In the least, you will garner new readers from their traffic.

3. Promotions and Giveaways

I’ve done this a few times here on Pingable and other WordPress sites I run.  It is easy to set up a promotion and it generally works at building traffic and readers.  One method is to identify a resource you already have, such as a product or service, and give it away to a lucky visitor.  Another method is to partner with a member of the WordPress community, such as a theme producer, and give away someone else’s product.  They benefit with free publicity and the “winner” benefits by getting something for free.  It’s a win-win-win.

I have even done this with physical products on a non-WordPress site I run.  I worked out a deal with a manufacturer of tech accessories to give one of their products to a lucky reader.  People were entered into a drawing by liking my site on Facebook or following on Twitter.  I earned a lot of followers that month!

4. Submit content to social sharing sites

Some websites have sprung up in the last few years that are essentially clones of Digg, or vertical market within that focuses on a specific area such as WordPress.  These sites let you submit links to articles that visitors then vote up (or down) based on usefulness and appeal.  These sites can be useless or incredibly helpful.  Again, your content needs to be good or else your efforts on these websites will be for nothing.  Some examples of social sharing sites include:

5. Build relationships

Why on earth do you need to build a relationship with other (competing) websites?  Because even on the internet, relationships are everything.  Working together, two WordPress admins can boost traffic to both of their sites.  The first example of this is guest posting described above.  But two collaborating admins can also share links, swap ads, trade content, liven the comment discussions and offer tips and feedback.

I have been consistently surprised at the positive response I’ve received when blindly reaching out to webmasters who’s sites I liked.  People are often friendly and approachable, willing to talk about collaborations most of the time.  What types of collaborations?  How about joining forces?  One of the best ways to guarantee success is to combine your assets and time.

6. Offer a unique resource

This one is big.  I once ran a very small WordPress powered site (that I’ve since sold).  I made a couple hundred dollars writing some quality posts for a very popular site.  I took that money, and paid someone to develop a custom theme that I then gave away on my blog.  Not only did this garner new loyal readers, it raised the value of my site so that when the time came to sell, it was worth the normal price plus the value of the custom theme that came with it.

What’s also helpful about this strategy is the fact that people really have to link back to you, giving you credit.  You then become the resource everyone is talking about, instead of being one of the everyone talking about someone else’s resource.  Of course, people will steal the resource and not give you credit.  But those people far outweigh the honest ones.

7. Comment and interact with colleagues

This one is a great way to promote your site.  Let me be clear: this is not about plastering the internet with links to your blog.  This is about generating good, honest discussion.  Many websites allow you to insert a link with your username which is good.  But if you engage in healthy discussion about a topic related to your site, many people could see it and convert to readers.  Again, don’t spam, don’t simply comment for the sake of commenting.  Engaging in a friendly discussion and visitors will follow.

What did I miss?

There are thousands of ways to promote your WordPress site out there, which ones are your favorite?  Leave them in the comments below and I could add them to this post.

 

The Complete Guide to WordPress Editing: Part 1

Whether you’re completely new or have been blogging for a while now, you’re probably still not using everything available to you as a blogger on WordPress. It took me a few years of blogging and developing plugins before I really started getting it. I’m going to save you time and write up what I’ve learned here.

This complete series on writing and editing posts with WordPress will cover…

  1. Customizing Your Interface & Getting to Know Permalinks
  2. Mastering Text Formatting For Your Posts
  3. Leveraging Post Scheduling & Post States
  4. How to Make Private and Password Protected Posts
  5. How to Enable and Disable Comments & Understanding Trackbacks
  6. Finding and Using Theme-Specific Options

First, you’re going to learn about the hidden options you never knew existed. Later in this post, we’ll review how to create custom permalinks (and why you want to).

Customizing Your View: Show & Hide Sections

The Problem: Not Knowing Your Options

Have you ever been working your way through a WordPress tutorial and thought you were missing a field in your WordPress installation? There’s a good chance that you never knew you could show and hide different parts of the interface. Every blogger makes constant use of certain features in WordPress, but who wants to get weighed down by constantly staring at the features they hardly ever use? The question is: How can you make sure you see what you want, and hide what you don’twant?

The Solution: Finding Your Options

It’s pretty simple. If you look up in the right hand corner of your browser, you’ll see two tabs: Screen Options, and Help. If you click on the the gray box that says Screen Options, a whole new world will be opened to you. Quick Guide:Everything you see with a ticked box next to it will display. You can toggle all of the checkboxes to enable and disable each section as you see fit. The problem is, some of these options may sound strange and new. Don’t fret, because we’re going to delve into all of your options through this series.

Writing Your Title & Customizing Your Slug

The Problem: Ugly Links That No One Remembers

You may or may not know that writing a killer headline might make or break your post — but that’s for you to learn about on copywriting and marketing blogs. Once you’ve crafted the perfect post title, you’ll write it in the clearly marked box “Enter title here”. If you are using custom permalinks (you probably are), WordPress will do its best to create a nice URL for you based on your title.

What’s that? The word permalink stands for “permanent link”

For example, a post titled “The Amazing Spider-man Isn’t So Amazing” will default to a slug such as: the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazing

What’s that? A slug is the unique URL friendly set of letters that follows the base of your website’s domain.

Depending on your domain and settings, the final permalink might then be: http://example.com/archives/the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazingShorter URLs are very popular lately for a myriad of great reasons, so you’ll want to shorten it.

What’s that? URL friendly means no uppercase letters, special characters or spaces. It is acceptable to substitute a dash instead of spaces for human readability.

The Solution: Easily Creating Short, Memorable Links

Underneath your title, you’ll see a label that says “Permalink”, with the base of your URL such as: http://example.com/archives/ …followed by the new slug of your post. In order to customize that slug, you’ll click on it. Doing so will open an editing box, like magic! It’s here you can insert your custom slug. In this example, you might choose: spiderman-not-amazing …so that your final URL is short, easy to read and remember. Such as: http://example.com/archives/spiderman-not-amazing You can use this feature to include keywords in your URL, sum up the post in fewer words, and make the link easier to remember for your potential readers.

Great Resources to Learn WordPress

WordPress is simple, powerful and easy to learn.  But it still takes some time to learn to be a pro.  And you will never know everything there is to know about this amazing blogging platform.  As each version comes out, there are new features and structures to understand.  There is always a new trick or tip, no matter how long you have been working with WordPress.

These are a few excellent resources help you learn WordPress.  These are targeted to both experts and newbies.

1. The official documentation.  This is regularly updated by a slew of editors and developers.  Most often, if you Google a WordPress term, the documentation is one of the first results.  There’s a reason for that!

2. WordPress Lessons.  Another official resource, WordPress lessons are targeted towards newbies and intermediate users with specific tasks in mind.

3. WPQuestions.  A Fiverr style website where you can ask a question, name a small price, and people will answer it.  The site takes a cut and the answerer gets paid.  Some people are making a modest living on this site.

4. WP Apprentice.  They are a paid site with a lot of free videos as well.  They will teach you mainly simple tasks aimed at beginners.

5. wp.Tutsplus.com. Part of the TutsPlus and Envato network, this marketplace has lots of tutorials about WordPress.  Some are free, many are paid or part of a membership plan.  But you can guarantee you’ll get quality instruction on WordPress.

Must Have WordPress Plugins for 2011

I build a lot of WordPress sites and these are, in my opinion, the must-have WordPress plugins for 2011.  I start almost every new WordPress install with these plugins, even if I don’t have a specific intention for them all at the time of development.  If for no other reason, these WordPress plugins will make your websites function at a top-notch level in 2011.

Jetpack WordPress plugin for 2011

Jetpack is a compilation of handy features for any WordPress installation.  It includes Gravatar Hovercards, WordPress stats (available as a standalone plugin), Twitter Widget, wp.me shortlinks, Sharedaddy social sharing plugin, and Shortcode Embeds.

jetpack wordpress plugin for 2011

Usernoise Contact Form WordPress plugin for 2011

Usernoise is an absolute must.  It is the easiest, smallest and best-looking contact form plugin available for WordPress.  It is super-simple to setup, but that means there’s not a lot of customization options.  Usernoise Plugin ads a floating “feedback” image on the side of your site, that when clicked, created a slick AJAX powered overlay contact form.

usernoise wordpress plugin for 2011

Donation Can WordPress plugin for 2011

Donation Can creates a widget that accepts both set and custom donations via Paypal.  It works magically, letting you choose fundraising goals like “Pay for our server costs” or whatever you’d like.  Set weekly, monthly goals, anything really.  Perfect for kickstarting your WordPress website development.

donation can wordpress plugin for 2011

Password Protect WordPress Plugin for 2011

Password Protect plugin is essential for development, especially if you’ve got a great idea that you don’t want stolen.  Make sure your WordPress install is not indexable by search engines, then install this plugin.  It will only show the front end to logged in users, ie: you.  You can even set a custom message to users who try and view your site.

password protect wordpress plugin

Facebook Traffic Pop WordPress Plugin

This plugin creates a floating Facebook like box that utilizes jQuery overlay to catch visitors for a set period of time.  They can either “like” you or wait for it to fade away.  This is a great, albeit pushy technique to increase your social networking presence.

facebook traffic pop plugin

Foobar Announcement Bar WordPress Plugin for 2011

This plugin expertly mimics the HelloBar which is a free but branded dropdown bar at the top of your page.  HelloBar limits what you can place in their bar, and asks for $25/monthly to unlock the best features.  That’s pretty steep, especially when this plugin only costs $9 once at CodeCanyon.

foobar wordpress plugin 2011

Google +1 WordPress Plugin for 2011

Despite how you feel about Google’s foray into social networking, savvy webmasters will need to adopt Google +1 as the next wave of content sharing.  This plugin is free, in the WordPress plugin directory and gives you tons of flexibility to choose how the button is displayed next to your content.

google plus 1 wordpress plugin

Most Profitable WordPress Affiliate Programs

There are many WordPress affiliate programs you can choose from.  But not all are worth the effort.  Bloggers love writing, that’s why they do it.  However you can also make a few dollars through affiliate programs rather easily.  Many bloggers prefer affiliate programs because of the higher payouts and because you can reduce the number of annoying advertisements shown to your readers.

Some WordPress affiliate programs pay out a couple dollars per conversion (a registration, product sale, etc.) and some offer over $100 per conversion.  Without any more delay, here is a collection of strong, profitable affiliate programs we have found useful here on Pingable.

WordPress Affiliate Programs

ThemeForest WordPress Affiliate Program

ThemeForest, an Envato marketplace is an excellent WordPress affiliate program.  It is simple to use because you simple add a short code onto any URL from the site.  Most themes on ThemeForest are high quality, which makes sales virtually happen on their own.

CodeCanyon WordPress Affiliate Program

Another Envato marketplace, although much smaller than Themeforest.  The conversions are fewer, but you can zero-in on quality WordPress plugins which are applicable and useful to your readers.  Watch this WordPress affiliate program closely because as it grows, so will the profits.

Elegant Themes WordPress Affiliate Program

ElegantThemes is one of large group of quality premium theme creators.  It may be their stylish design or the high quality coding, but for some reason this WordPress affiliate program converts quite well.  Perhaps it is because the membership only costs $39 for a year, and the user is given a series of excellent themes throughout the year.  (It was only $19 when I first joined).  The affiliate program pays at 50% which is a nice share of the profits.

WordPress Affiliate Program Tools

Ninja Affiliate

Ninja Affiliate is a powerful plugin for WordPress sites.  It automatically converts specific keywords to affiliate links for you across your site.  You can control how many keywords are turned into links to prevent spiders from identifying you as a spam site.  Although this tool does not necessarily provide a new source of income, it can very well increase conversion by dramatically increasing the number of links users can click.  The plugin costs $39 and seems to be well worth it, although Pingable has not yet adopted the plugin.

Pretty Link

Pretty Link is a free plugin that cloaks your links.  A smart user will find your affiliate link and remove it, perhaps using their own.  A link cloaker is not a sneaky tool, it is a tool that maintains the integrity of your links, letting you profit by providing useful information to readers.  We use Pretty Link here on Pingable, and it works out very well.

See Also:

Magic Affiliate, a plugin that lets you run your own affiliate program on your WordPress site.  This can be very useful if you sell something or charge for memberships to your site.  Offer tiered affiliate programs, signup bonuses, integrates readily with WP E-Commerce and Magic Members plugins.

8 Helpful WordPress Tutorials

Tutorials are all the rage right now, especially WordPress Tutorials. I understand why. There used to be a plethora of posts like this one for a while. Many people still write posts like this: “100 amazing themes” and “50 creative logos”. They’re nice to look at, helpful and inspiring.

However the trend is definitely towards tutorials. Look at Envato’s newest marketplace as an example.  And we at Pingable understand the trend.  Tutorial posts are more helpful in a tangible way.  Users can read a post and walk away with a real, measurable, helpful new skill set.

In light of this trend, we thought it would be nice to combine the two types of content.  Here is a list of 25 extremely Helpful WordPress Tutorials.

Free WordPress Tutorials

16 Vital Checks Before Releasing a WordPress Theme Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by Ludovico Fischer

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
This tutorial will help you check off those must-do steps before making your new theme public. You spent countless hours developing the theme, don't forget these steps. From protecting comments on posts to correctly paginating posts, don't forget any of these steps.

Designing the Post Meta Data Section

WordPress Tutorial by the Codex Team

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
Using post meta data is one of the most versatile and helpful features of WordPress. You can essentially generate all of your post excerpt information on the fly which can make for a rich user experience. This official codex tutorial walks you through creating this section of your design.

Creating Custom Fields for Attachments in WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by Andy Blackwell

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
WordPress custom fields are incredibly useful and versatile. They can turn a regular theme into a dynamic and user-powered design. However when displaying attachments the code needs some tweaking. This tutorial walks you through the necessary tweaking to make it work.

Fun Character Entities WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by the Codex Team

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
Using various character entities in your designs can make the user experience smoother. This can be navigation arrows, ampersands, etc. This tutorial by the official codex crew will help you incorporate those characters into your next design.

How to Integrate an Options Page into your WordPress Theme Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By Dan Walker

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
All of the latest quality WordPress Themes include backend (administrative) options themes to help the user utilize all of the incredible, complicated features coming standard with the latest themes. This tutorial will guide you in creating this feature for your next theme.

Premium WordPress Tutorials

WordPress, Beginner to Master Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By Dan Harper, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
This tutorial walks you through creating a complete WordPress site including a blog and portfolio. Written after the many new features in WordPress 2.7, this tutorials brings you up to speed before looking closely at WordPress 3.0.

Securing and Hardening WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By JT Pratt, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
WordPress is inherently secure as a blogging platform. However as it is converted into a CMS, more user data is being transfered and more opportunities to access core files are created. This makes it less secure. This tutorial will help you secure WordPress against data theft but also make it less prone to malicious attack and forceful entry. A must-read for any serious WordPress user.

Creating a Custom WordPress Portfolio Page Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By nuResponse, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorial
This tutorial will help you leverage the WordPress custom template functionality to create powerful design functionalities within your site. You will be walked through creating a portfolio page to display information in a unique way which can be applied in unlimited ways.

We hope you enjoyed these Helpful WordPress Tutorials.  These are some of the best free and premium tutorials we could find.  If you have your own must-read WordPress Tutorials, please leave a comment below!