How Combining Nelio A/B Testing and WPML Can Help You Increase International Customer Conversions

Published in WordPress.

If I asked you what is the first thing to do when trying to attract foreign clients to an online business, you might think the answer is obvious.

And it is. To sell to clients who speak another language you need to translate your website.

Not only is the answer simple, so is choosing the best way to do it. WPML is the most popular plugin for translating WordPress websites. And with good reason.

WPML comes with its famous Advanced Translation Editor to make translating quicker, is compatible with the most popular plugins and themes and is trusted by the most respected translation services.

The next step is to work out the best way to keep customers on your website to eventually make that all important conversion. By using Nelio A/B Testing you can quickly identify the best strategy for your different customers in each country. You can use Nelio A/B Testing to test your content, themes, widgets and pretty much anything else to see what works best for who.

Using Nelio A/B Testing and WPML plugins.
Screenshot of Nelio A/B Testing with WPML.

The good news is WPML and Nelio A/B Testing are completely compatible. Before we go through how you can use WPML and Nelio A/B Testing together to boost your international conversions, let’s look at why you need each plugin.

Why You Need to Translate Your Website for International Clients

When your clients are browsing your website you want to give them as many reasons as possible for them to make a purchase. Equally, you want to avoid giving them an excuse to not buy your product. A low hanging fruit which achieves both of these aims is translating your website to their native language.

Translating your website will build customers’ trust in your company as well as ensuring they feel comfortable using your pages. 72% of customers prefer to use their native language when shopping online. And while you might think the price is an important factor in making a purchase, 56% of consumers say that obtaining information in their own language is actually more important to them.

Clearly, one of the quickest and easiest ways to get customers on your side is by speaking their language.

Why Use WPML to Translate Your Website

WPML takes care of everything a business website needs to translate its website and welcome new clients:

  • Localize your website – You can use WPML to not only translate your content but to change your currency, translate all strings (site’s taglines, admin texts etc) and many other features. For example, Zespoke uses WPML to translate from English to German and change the currency from pounds to euros.
  • Quicker and higher quality translations – With WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor, you can translate content in less time than ever and more accurately.
Translating repeated texts.
  • Multilingual SEO – WPML will ensure you rank highly on Google searches in other languages by updating Hreflang links, organizing your languages on different pages and facilitating high-quality translations.
  • Partnership with major translation services – WPML is fully integrated with major translation services around the world. This means they are able to provide your high-quality translations quickly and pain-free.
  • Compatible with plugins – From Yoast to Elementor, WooCommerce and many others, WPML works seamlessly with the plugins which you need to run your business.

Why A/B Testing Is Important For Your Business

Once you have translated your website you are still left with an important question. How do I know what content will actually increase my sales in a particular country? The best way to find out is through A/B testing.

Despite the A/B testing myths you might have heard, A/B testing is a risk-free way to try out different marketing and advertising methods to see which one is the most effective with your particular audience. Perhaps you need to change your headings? Or you need a different theme? Or simply a different image? With A/B testing you can test all of these out and more.

By split testing, you can use your data to your advantage. You can add changes, measure the results and better understand what works and doesn’t work with your customers. The end result is increased conversions.

Why Use Nelio For Your A/B Testing

If you are using WordPress for your business then Nelio A/B Testing is the best way to increase your conversions through split testing.

  • Test everything: Whether it’s pages, posts, custom types, widgets, themes, heatmaps or anything else you can test it with Nelio A/B Testing.
Heatmap Example
Heatmap Example
  • Do everything on WordPress: By using Nelio you can carry out all of your testings without having to leave the WordPress admin.
  • Compatible with WordPress hosting providers: Nelio’s flexibility means you can use it with the most popular hosting providers including WPEngine, Kinsta and Pagely.
  • Instant updates: As soon as you find your winning formula you can automatically update your pages.

How WPML and Nelio A/B Testing Work Together

You can combine WPML and Nelio A/B Testing to split test your translated pages. The best part is it’s as easy as split testing a non-translated page.

Let’s imagine that you have a real estate website in English which you have translated into French. You now want to see which headline works best on your French translation.

Here is one of our real estate posts in French:

French ad for sale a house.
French ad for sale a house.

On your WordPress dashboard, all you need to do is:

1. Head to the French language section of your website by clicking the French flag.

2. We can now follow the normal split testing instructions as we would on a non-translated page.

3. In the Nelio A/B Testing -> Experiments click Add New and then Add custom post type experiment.

4. Fill out the basic information for your Experiment including the Name, Custom post type and Original custom post.

Custom post type experiment with Nelio A/B Testing
Adding a Custom Post Type Experiment with Nelio A/B Testing.

5. We now want to create an alternative page for our French real estate page. We will add a Name for the alternate page, add the Source (the link to the original page) and then click Create to create our new page

6. Once we name our page, we can click Save Experiment and edit content to start editing it.

7. We can now change the title of our testing page. Let’s try Maison contemporaine avec piscine.

New version of the ad
New version of the house ad created with Nelio A/B Testing.

8. Now that you have defined your experiment and created your page, you can head to Experiments find it and click Start.

Now that our test is up and running we can keep track of our results in the Dashboard.

Showing the results of the experiment
Showing the results of the experiment after its creation.

Try WPML and Nelio A/B Testing Together

You can now try WPML with Nelio A/B Testing out for yourself. Download WPML today to start the process of welcoming new customers from around the world.

Have you already used both plugins to A/B test your translated pages? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Featured image by Duangphorn Wiriya on Unsplash.

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9 Tips For Mastering The WordPress Block Editor.

Published in WordPress.

The WordPress block editor is very intuitive. But even if you’ve been using it since its first release, it’s possible that there are still tricks and little things that you haven’t noticed and that can make part of your work as a writer easier. And that’s why I think it’s worth spending a few minutes of your time to reading this post that will help you master the block editor.

If you’re still with the classic WordPress editor and don’t know how to get started with the block editor, I recommend that you read this introductory article to Gutenberg by David.

Assuming you’re already familiar with the new editor, here’s a list of new features or tricks that you may not be familiar with. I’ll start by commenting on some new blocks that make it much easier to create content and, then, some tricks you can use in the editor that can be practical for you.

#1 Add A Button

With the classic WordPress editor, if you wanted to add a button in the middle of a post or a page you basically had two options: either switch to HTML mode and write the code, or use some plugin that created a shortcode for the button in question.

The block editor already incorporates the button block that allows you to quickly create a button in the middle of a post:

Layout elements blocks of the Gutenberg editor.
Layout elements blocks of the Gutenberg editor.

The Button block allows you to create a button in which you define its appearance, the background and font colors, and you can even add a CSS class.

Creating a block with the WordPress block editor
Creating a button in this post is very easy!

It’s that easy! And the result is a button like this one, which you should click you want to subscribe to Nelio Content 😉

#2 Add a Table

As with the button, adding a simple table with the classic editor also meant doing it with HTML and CSS or with some plugin. In fact, it was often easier to create the table with any other editor and then insert it into a post as an image.

Now you have the Table block that you’ll find in the set of Formatting blocks.

Formatting blocks of the Gutenberg editor.
Formatting blocks of the Gutenberg editor.

After selecting the Table block, you must indicate the number of rows and columns that you want to create by default. But don’t worry, then you have the option to add or delete rows and columns. You can also indicate the style of the table.

Creating a Table block with the WordPress block editor.
Creating a Table block with the WordPress block editor.

In this way, you can create the following table with some features of Nelio A /B Testing very easily.

BasicProfessionalEnterprise
$29 /mo$89 /mo$259 /mo
5,000 tested page views35,000 tested page views200,000 tested page views
1 site5 sites10 sites
For IndividualsFor Small BusinessFor Large Businesses

#3 Embed An External Element Just By Copying And Pasting

Other blocks that can be very useful are embedded types, which allow you to embed external elements such as videos, Facebook posts, tweets, etc.

Some of the blocks of the Gutenberg editor to embed third party elements.
Some of the blocks of the Gutenberg editor to embed third-party elements.

But you can also, instead of creating a block of this type, directly copy and paste the URL you want to embed and automatically insert the item in question. Just paste a link such as https://youtu.be/7SzwJQ55jus and let WordPress do the magic:

#4 Use The Spacer Block To Increase The Space Between Blocks

This is one of the blocks that perhaps you didn’t know existed either: the Spacer block. Its function, as its name suggests, is to increase the spacing between blocks.

The Spacer block has by default exactly 100 pixels but you can customize the height of it as you want. Just position the cursor over the blue dot below the block and increase the size by dragging the blue dot as far as you want.

Spacer block
Customize the size of the spacer block by dragging the blue dot.

In addition, you can also use an additional CSS class to define how you want the spacer block to be. This can be very useful in the creation of pages.

#5 Information On The Number of Words and Structure

In the classic editor, you would select a post and, automatically, get number of words in that post. Now, where is this information in the block editor?

Don’t worry, in the toolbar you have this information at all times very handy by clicking on the icon of a circle with an i. And it doesn’t just count the words, it also tells you the structure of the whole post or page you’re editing.

Information about top toolbar.
In the upper toolbar you’ll find the information icon about the number of words and structure of your postor page.

#6 Move The Block Toolbar To The Top

By default, when you are editing a block you have the block toolbar floating on top of the block itself. The big advantage of this is that you have it more at hand but the problem with floating toolbars is that they can cover part of the previous block.

Floating toolbar block
Floating toolbar block in the WordPress block editor.

As you can see in the image, the toolbar is covering part of the previous headline. If this is impractical or annoying, you can easily change it. Click on the three dots of Show more tools & options and check the Top Toolbar option.

Checking Top toolbar option.
Checking Top toolbar option.

Once checked, you have the toolbar fixed at the top of your editor.

Fixed top tool bar.
Fixed top tool bar.

#7 Use The Slash (/) As A Shortcut

The block editor gives you some shortcuts so you can be more efficient editing your posts. The first one you should use is the slash, /. As easy as starting to type the name of a block with the slash and it will show you the types of blocks you can add:

Start typing with a slash
Start typing with a slash and choose the type of block you want.

#8 Learn About Other Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the features that the new editor has incorporated is that you have many other keyboard shortcuts that can help you be much faster typing. To know them all, click on the three dots of Show more tools & options:

Keyboard shortcuts.
Look at the keyboard shortcuts you have available in the editor.

Alternatively, you can also access this help with the shortcut or Ctrl H (for Mac) or Alt H (for Windows). And below I show you the shortcuts that I think you may find most useful.

Global actionsShortcut in MacShortcut in Windows
Display this helpCtrl  H  Alt H
Save your changes SCtrl S
Undo your last changes ZCtrl Z
Redo your last undo ZCtrl  Z
Show or hide the settings sidebar ,Ctrl  ,
Open the block navigation menuCtrl  O Alt O
Switch between Visual Editor and Code editor    MCtrl  Alt M
Block actionsShortcut in MacShortcut in Windows
Duplicate the selected block(s) D Ctrl D
Remove the selected block(s)Ctrl  o Alt Z
Insert a new block before the selected block(s)  TCtrl Alt T
Insert a new block after the selected block(s) YCtrl Alt Y
Change the block type after adding a new paragraph/ /
Text formattingShortcut in MacShortcut in Windows
Make the selected text bold B Ctrl B
Make the selected text italic I Ctrl I
Underline the selected text UCtrl U
Convert the selected text into a link KCtrl K
Remove a link K Ctrl K
Add a strikethrough to the selected textCtrl  D Alt D
Display the selected text in a monoespaced fontCtrl  X Alt X

#9 Convert A Block Into Header With Hashtag (#)

You might consider this as a keyboard shortcut. Gutenberg’s block editor supports three types of headers: H2, H3 and H4. When you are typing the block by default is paragraph type. But you can turn it into a header very easily: start typing the new paragraph with ## for H2, ### for H3 y #### for H4. Try it and you’ll see how easy it is.

Conclusion

The first experience you have with the new block editor after years of using the classic WordPress editor may not be what you were expecting. But it’s normal, changes are difficult.

In the beginning, you might not be able to find certain things or think the editor is slower to use… And it’s true: the block editor still needs improvement in quite a few aspects. But if you learn to master it, little by little you will see its advantages and you will see that there are things that you couldn’t easily do before that you can now do.

Our recommendation? Go ahead and give the new editor a shot—you’ll soon forget how the classic editor worked!

Featured image of Rana Sawalha on Unsplash.

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How to Launch a New Version of Your Product Breaking Backward Compatibility

Published in Inside Nelio.

A few days ago, my colleagues at Nelio and I were discussing the future of our plugin Nelio A/B Testing and its upcoming features and improvements. As an A/B testing platform, the plugin requires continuous updates to keep up with the new versions of WordPress and make sure everything works as it should. Keep in mind that it is the first plugin we ever launched for WordPress, at the end of 2013, and it has been in continuous evolution since then.

The arrival of Gutenberg in WordPress opened new possibilities for split testing. And this raised an interesting question: should we make an incremental improvement of our product or would it be better to start from scratch and launch something completely new that takes full advantage of WordPress blocks?

We have not yet decided which way to go, but I thought it would be interesting to discuss what the problems of launching a new version without backward compatibility is and how we can mitigate or eliminate them.

So today I’ll explain two solutions to launch a new version of your service breaking the compatibility with previous versions in a way such that your customers won’t suffer this decision.

A Note on Backward Compatibility

As Chris Lema said some time ago in his blog, “backward compatibility is one strongly held and embraced by the WordPress project. (…) [It] is a value not just for developers. It’s a value for end users. And [if it’s broken], it’s the end user that will end up with the message saying their site no longer works.”

Make sure your users don’t end up with a non-working plugin.

So what exactly does it mean to break backward compatibility? How can we break it? Here are a few examples:

  1. Changing the API with which our plugin can be extended (functions, hooks, etc).
  2. Modifying the structure of the database.
  3. Changing the API of our cloud (if our plugin uses one).
  4. Moving to a new business model and, therefore, shifting to a new paradigm of updates, features, etc.

Consider, for example, our A/B Testing service. Roughly, this is how it works:

  • The user can create A/B tests on their website. In essence, an A/B test consists of the page you want to test, one or more variations of that page, and the conversion goals we’re trying to improve. All this info is stored in WordPress.
  • A cloud component is responsible for tracking visits to a website that uses Nelio A/B Testing. Similar to what Google Analytics does, this component collects the information, processes it, and generates a summary of digested results. And, exactly as GA does, this data is sent using a tracking script.
  • Finally, there’s a view in the plugin that connects to this cloud through an API. The view pulls the digested results and shows some stats and graphics to the user.

A plugin like Nelio A/B Testing can change in many ways and, if we are not careful, one of these changes might result in a “broken plugin”. For example, let’s assume we want/have to update the API of our cloud. In this case, we’re forced to update our plugin as well, since the tracking script and the results view depend on that API. Therefore, a new API requires a new plugin. But here comes the problem: this new API also means our users are now forced to upgrade, as previous versions of our plugin won’t be able to communicate with the new API.

Now put on your users’ shoes: a plugin that worked smoothly and flawlessly, is no longer working because of an update you made in your cloud. Not cool. Not cool at all

Possible Solutions

Breaking backward compatibility is not a trivial issue. It’s something that requires careful consideration. And, in any case, the most important thing is to opt for a solution that does not leave your current users with a non-working plugin. Especially to those who are paying you for your service.

If we are sure that what suits us best as a freelancer or as a company, for whatever reason, is start from scratch with a completely new version of our product and get rid of backward compatibility, there are two solutions. With them, we will be able to make a clean slate while making sure our users will still be able to use what they had before.

Launch a New Product (opt-in)

The first solution we have to launch a version that’s not backward compatible is not to do so. Instead, launch a new product!!

By launching a separate product, we avoid breaking backward compatibility, but we are forced to ask users to switch to the new version.

This guarantees that current users have an operating plugin that works as usual. In fact, they will never be able to upgrade to a version that “breaks things”, simply because that new version will never exist; you’re launching a totally new plugin and putting your efforts in updating this new plugin, which means they’re “freezed in the past”.

This, of course, raises some serious problems that need to be addressed:

  1. The users that we already have will not know that there is a new version of our product, unless we tell them so. This means we need to promote our “new plugin/service” in the old one, which looks odd… but works fine.
  2. Launching a new product is very difficult. All the effort you made with the previous product (creating a brand for it, positioning it, getting reviews, active installations…) are lost and you’re forced to start from scratch.

This is an opt-in solution: we launch a new product and invite you to stop using the old and get the new product. This is what WordPress did (sort of) several months ago when they released Gutenberg as a plugin: you were the one who decided if you wanted to use Gutenberg in your site by installing the plugin on your website.

Launch an Update that Breaks Backward Compatibility (opt-out)

Another option is the inverse approach, or the opt-out solution: release an update of your product that breaks backward compatibility and, in parallel, launch a new product with the old version. In this way, even if the new version isn’t backwards compatible, we offer our users an alternative so that everything works as they’re used to.

By launching a new version, all users will be able to see and discover it (wow effect). But if they’re not interested in it, we’ll also offer them the option to use the previous version, which would be released as a new product.

This method solves the two problems we raised in the previous solution. On the one hand, all users will know from the very first day that there’s a new version of our product/service, and they can see and try out what’s new.

On the other hand (and perhaps more important), we continue to profit from all the work we had done so far, since we simply launched a new version of a well-established product. You’ll keep the brand, the reviews, the stats… nothing will change, as you’re not starting from scratch.

As you can imagine, this is the opt-out solution: whenever a user updates their plugin, they’ll see the new version (even if they don’t like the fact that it breaks backward compatibility). But you’re also giving them the opportunity to switch back to the old version by installing a new product. This is what WordPress did last December when it introduced the block editor in its latest update and offered users the possibility of using the old editor by installing the Classic Editor plugin .

In Summary

Breaking backward compatibility is not trivial, since it can have big implications for your users. In general, we would not recommend doing it. But sometimes it’s the only option you have.

If you have to do so, I recommend you implement one of the two solutions we’ve seen today. With them, you make sure your users will have a backup plan so that “everything works as it used to” and nobody will complain about “things being broken”. Of course, as a counterpart, you’ll have to maintain two products (even assuming that the “old” version happens to have minimal maintenance), but this is a topic for another post.

Now tell me, have you ever faced a problem like this? How did you solve it? What would you do?

Featured image by Dietmar Becker in Unsplash.

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15 Mistakes You Should Never Make With WordPress

Published in WordPress.

33% of all the websites you can find on the Internet are WordPress. This is: 60% of all websites that use a content manager (CMS) are WordPress (data extracted from W3Techs).

WordPress is popular because it’s easy to use, you have a lot of themes and plugins that allow you to create a web as attractive and complex as you want, it’s safe, it’s in your language, and it has a large support community willing to help you in whatever you need.

But watch out, although this ease of learning will earn you confidence, our experience has shown us that many WordPress users don’t take the necessary precautions to not get more than a displeasure and that their websites stop working. So here is our basic list of what NOT to do in WordPress to sleep easier and, little by little, gain many more visits.

#1 Hiring An Inadequate Hosting Service

We tirelessly repeat that hiring an adequate hosting service is one of the best investments you can make when you create a website. This will make you not have to worry about many of the points that I tell you below, because your hosting service will already take care of them.

With a good hosting service you make sure you have a support and quality service for any problem that may arise, you’ll know that you use current technologies on your website, which means more security, and you’ll appreciate that it’s easier to manage your website.

#2 Forgetting to update your PHP

PHP is the language code used by WordPress, as well as its plugins and themes. And as it happens in all existing code and software, it gets better over time, new optimized versions are released and support is no longer available for the most obsolete ones. If you look at the support dates for each version of PHP, you can see that as of February 2019, the only two versions that are supported are 7.2and 7.3.

Versions support PHP.
Versions of PHP with active support (in green), with only
security fixes (in orange) and without any support (in red). Source: PHP Supported Versions

Our recommendation is that you ideally have version 7.3 or version 7.2 installed. Any version prior to 7.1 can cause security problems. Although surely if you have already contracted a good hosting service, you can forget this point.

#3 Ignoring Core Updates, Plugins and Themes

For security and to make sure you have the latest features of your WordPress, theme, and plugins you have installed, make sure you have their latest versions. But remember, as I told you recently, perform the update process safely. And precisely the two following errors that you shouldn’t commit are directly related to security updates.

#4 Not Backing Up Regularly And Before Any Update

I think the title itself is explanatory enough. No software is 100% secure. All contain some vulnerability and can be hacked or for reasons of incompatibility you may come across updates that break your site.

Make sure that if you find yourself in a situation where everything breaks down, you have the peace of mind that you’ll be able to recover the previous version before the misfortune occurred. This point is usually already covered with a good hosting company.

#5 Not Having a Staging Server For Testing

Surely if you do a minor update of a plugin you can do it directly on your website without problems. But leave your passion for risk for other tasks, not for your website. Do any change in your website in a staging server, where you can try it safely, as I told you in how to update your WordPress securely. With a good hosting provider, this is extremely easy!

Create a staging in SiteGround
For example, the SiteGround hosting service offers you the “Staging” tool to create a copy of your site in which to perform the tests you want.

#6 Installing Plugins Without Knowing Why and Without Warranties

When we buy any device or software, it seems that the more functionalities and the more capabilities it has, the better it’s going to be. And then you only end up using a small percentage of all the possibilities included in that product includes, but it does no harm, does it?

For example, why do you buy a washing machine with 15 special programs, if you only use two? Surely, the worst thing that can happen to you in this case is that you’ll pay an unnecessary extra cost… But with plugins the consequences can be much worse. For example, don’t forget to read the dangers that you can find if you install multiple SEO plugins in your WordPress.

WordPress plugins can save you a lot of work but install only those that will be essential to you. The more plugins you have, the more risk of lowering the performance on your website, as well as encountering more compatibility and security problems.

#7 Installing A Theme Just Because It’s Nice

When we talk about themes we are already entering the world of design, and this means you’re looking for something sexy and appealing. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to install a theme whose aesthetics you don’t like.

A theme not only has to be beautiful, you have to make sure that it includes the latest design trends, is responsive, and, more importantly, meets the objectives you have set for your website. So before making such a critical decision as choosing the theme of your website, learn everything you need to know about WordPress themes.

#8 Using admin As Username

When you create a website, often for convenience, you create a single user with admin permissions to manage everything (updates, install plugins, etc) and name it (how else?) admin.

To avoid taking risks, I recommend you to create a new admin user who is not called admin and eliminate the original admin. Leaving this user with this name is a way to compromise by 50% the security of the username/password combination!

#9 Not Creating At Least One User Other Than The Admin

I’d like to remind you that, even if you are the only person who manages and writes on your website, you should also create a new user for yourself with the Editor or Author role. This user is the one that you should use to manage the contents of your website. And in fact, it should be the user that you use every day.

Limit yourself to using the user with admin privileges when you need to perform tasks that are exclusively administrative and thus reduce the chances of making unwanted mistakes.

#10 Ignoring The Comments Of Your Posts

One of the objectives of your website should be to interact with your visitors and readers. How many times do you leave a comment on a website? Surely only when you are grateful for the value that the published information has given you or when you think that you can contribute something of value to the information in question.

To configure aspects of the comments on your website go to the menu Settings » Discussion on your WordPress.
To configure aspects of the comments on your website go to the menu Settings » Discussion on your WordPress.

To comment, on the part of the reader, requires a much greater effort than simply reading. Appreciate it and answer properly.

#11 Maintaining The Structure Of Permanent Links By Default

The permanent links define the structure that the URLs that we use to access the different contents of our website. By default, the structure of WordPress is the “Name of the post” (which you can see selected in the following screenshot), but you can change it to what you like.

To change the settings of the permalinks in your WordPress go to the menu Settings » Permalinks.
To change the settings of the permalinks in your WordPress go to the menu Settings » Permalinks.

The problem with maintaining this default structure is that your blog posts and pages are not distinguishable. So, for example, we’d have that the price page of your products could be https://example.com/pricing/ and any post could be https://example.com/how-to-install-wordpress/. As you can see, there is no way of knowing that one thing is a page and another part of the blog.

One way to fix this problem is to use the structure /blog/%postname%/ and your posts will now look like this: https://example.com/blog/how-to-install-wordpress/. Remember, permanent links are key to SEO.

#12 Inserting Images Without Rights

It is a lack of professionalism and honesty to insert images without having the copyright to publish them. We have already commented more than once there are a lot of image banks from which you can extract free images to use on your website. Many of them with very attractive, high-quality images that might not even require you to mention the author if you do not want to.

We personally like to mention the authors of the images we use, even though their licenses don’t require us to. It’s the least we can do as a thank you and give them the credit they deserve.

Pexels Screenshot
Screenshot of Pexels website where you can download images for free.

#13 Not Considering Performance

Surely you’d like to be the first on the results page of any search engine, am I right? In this case, don’t forget that search engines take into account the performance of your website. So make sure your website:

  1. loads quickly,
  2. includes images with reasonable sizes and properly compressed,
  3. does not contain too many scripts that slow it down, and
  4. is accessible to all users.

And if you want to know more about this topic, don’t miss: How to be the first in Google in 5 steps.

#14 Ignoring Mobile Users

We’re getting more and more access to the web with our smartphones and tablets, so you should also make sure that your website is optimized for them. Sure, your website has to be responsive and the forms should be adapted for mobile devices. But there’s more!

Mobile data connections are, in many cases, worse than what we can have at home. So the loading speed of your website is important not only for Google but for all your readers, as we do not like to wait. And it is for this reason that Google is promoting the use of the AMP project (Accelerated Mobile Pages, accelerated mobile pages) or Facebook has designed a platform called Instant Articles for content publishers. You can read a short introduction to AMP and Instant Articles for more details.

#15 Not Using The Tools Provided By Google

Thanks to Google Analytics you can know very curious data about your website that will help you to know who your readers are and to improve your content. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website you are totally lost about what is happening on your site.

But Google Analytics is not the only tool you should use, Google Search Console are a set of tools also free to help you optimize, analyze and check the status of your website in your search results as explained by Google in the following video.

Conclusion

Creating a website in WordPress takes some time, but it’s not that complicated. Avoid making any of the mistakes mentioned here if you don’t want all your work to be in vain. Follow these recommendations and you’ll see how your readers will appreciate it!

Featured image of NeONBRAND in Unsplash.

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Understanding Bounce Rate

Published in Online Marketing.

We love web analytics. They are the best tool to know if we are improving or not. Today we are going to focus on one of the most forgotten ones: the bounce rate . Despite being less known than other vanity metrics such as the number of visits, it is an important metric to take into account. In fact, the bounce rate is key within the pyramid of web optimization .

If you want to know what the bounce rate is and why it is important, keep reading .

The Bounce Rate in Detail

According to Google , the bounce rate of your website is calculated as the amount of sessions that only visit a single page of your website divided by the total number of sessions . In other words, a bounce occurs when you receive a visit to your website and the visitor leaves without visiting any other page .

If someone visits a page on your website and then leaves without interacting or visiting any other page, we will say that this visit has bounced.

Scooby Doo Hello GIF by Boomerang Official - Find & Share on GIPHY
Someone access your website, takes a quick look and leaves.

As an example, if half of your visitors only visit a page of your website and then leave, your bounce rate will be 50%. Therefore, to improve the engagement of the website we are interested in reducing this bounce rate.

How to Know The Bounce Rate of a Page?

To know what the bounce rate of our website is, what we need is a web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics .

Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to the Behaviour menu, then to Site content and finally to All Pages . There you will find different information about your pages, including the bounce rate.

Screenshot showing the bounce rate of a particular page on our site in Google Analytics.
Screenshot showing the bounce rate of a particular page on our site in Google Analytics.

It’s that easy to see the bounce rate of your pages with Google Analytics. If you use a different tool, surely they will provide this metric because it is quite common.

What is an Optimal Bounce Rate?

This is the million-dollar question. And the thing is that it depends on the type of website you have and the traffic that reaches it.

For example, if you have a blog where you purely write content, it is usual to have a high bounce rate (as you could see in the previous screenshot where one of our posts was shown) since many readers go directly to read the content (they come from social networks or Google) and then leave.

On the other hand, if you are analyzing a landing page of your website, it is more usual that its bounce rate is lower, since the main task of this type of pages is to direct you to another one by doing some action (visit the pricing page, fill a form, etc).

And if you want specific numbers, there are many websites out there who comment that bounce rates between 26% and 40% are excellent, that the average is between 41% and 55%, and that 56% to 70% are above the average . They also indicate that with a bounce rate above 70% you have a problem unless you are a blog or a news page (pure content, as I explained before).

Even though this analysis seems a bit simplistic, I leave the numbers and then you decide whether you believe them or not.

The Bounce Rate And The Exit or Abandonment Rate

When looking at your web analytics tool, be careful not to confuse the metric of the bounce rate with the exit or abandonment rate. They are not the same. Both measure similar concepts related to the exit of a visitor from a specific page of your website. But, I repeat, they are not the same.

As I said before, the bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who land on a page and leave it before interacting with it . On the other hand, the exit or abandonment rate measures the percentage of visitors that leave the website after having visited a certain page, but they may have come from another page of the same website. Therefore, all bounces involve page exits, but not all exits are bounces.

On What Occasions Can a Bounce Not be a Bounce?

There are many reasons why a visitor can generate a bounce. These are some of the most common:

  • Click on the back button of the browser to return to a previous web.
  • Enter a new URL in the browser.
  • Close the browser or the current tab.
  • The session expires after a certain time (usually after 60 minutes of inactivity).

However, there are moments when our web analytics tool may be tracking bounced visits wrongly.

Google Analytics puts in the same bag a visitor that access your page and runs away; the one who enters your page, spends a while reading the content, and eventually ends up leaving thanks to a link that you have included there; and the one that arrives at your page, reads all its content in detail, and then, once satisfied, goes away.

For Google Analytics, all these cases generate a bounce of equal conditions, but it is clear that what is really happening is not the same. Also, if we look at it from a SEO perspective, would it be fair if Google positions all the pages in the previous scenarios with the same score? Surely your answer is no.

Well, don’t worry because in addition to the bounce rate, Google also takes into account the average time spent on the page to decide how good it is and position it according to it. That is why despite having a very high bounce rate, the page that we have shown you in the screenshot of our Google Analytics has a good positioning. The average time of stay of visitors in it is more than 5 minutes. Not bad at all!

Adapt Google Analytics to “Better” Measure The Bounce Rate

If it bothers you that Google Analytics counts as a bounce the visitors that spent some time in your page (which might indicate they have read its content), I have good news: it is possible to modify Google Analytics so that it avoids counting as a bounce those sessions that have a minimum duration. To do this you only have to send an event to Google Analytics after the time you decide (for example, 30 seconds).

Assuming that in your website you use the Google Analytics script by default, which defines the JavaScript object ga, what you have to do is put the following line after including the tracking code:

setTimeout( ga( 'send','event','Fix the bounce rate', 'Minimum session time of 30 secs.'), 30000 );

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a hack, but you decide whether or not to apply it to your analytics. After doing this you will see that your bounce rate starts to drop, since you will stop marking as a bounce those visitors to your website who only come to read content and then leave.

In case you’re wondering, we didn’t apply this hack to our website because we like to see the complete data, even when that implies that in blog posts we have high bounce rates.

How to Reduce The Bounce Rate of a Page?

As I said, once you have applied the previous modification to better adjust the way to track your visitors with Google Analytics, your bounce rate should decrease, showing the pages that really have a bounce problem.

In those pages you should carefully analyze what is happening and try to understand why your visitors leave without further interaction. We leave you a couple of tips so you can work on those pages and improve them.

Improve Content And Its Link Structure

Think about the visitors and put yourself on their shoes. Only then you can get to understand why they leave your pages. Are you providing value to them? Do you solve a problem?

One of the best ways to see a decrease in the bounce rate is to improve the content of the page. And when we talk about the content, I also include links or calls to action. It is possible that the visitor does not interact with the page because he does not know or does not understand the options he has.

And if you’re selling something on that page, remember to review the highest level of the optimization pyramid, of which I spoke earlier in this blog. You will have to persuade the visitor to end up becoming a client: show testimonials, give him confidence, tell him how good you are and how much your product fits his needs…

A/B Test Everything

It will be of little use if you make changes in the content or design of your pages to try to improve their usefulness and thus reduce the bounce rate in them if you do not compare the changes made and the current version in the same conditions and following an appropriate method.

Search an A / B testing tool with which you can try the different modifications on your website. At the end of the tests, you will see if your modifications have improved or worsened your bounce rate, and the best thing is that you will make decisions based on scientific data and not opinions.

Summary

The bounce rate is a useful metric to measure the level of satisfaction of your users, along with the average time on page. If someone enters your page and leaves it without clicking on a second page, that’s a bounce.

You should not worry about SEO if you have a high bounce rate but the average time spent on the page is also high. The search engines will take into account the combination of these factors to position.

But if you have high bounce rates with low average times on page, you should keep an eye on your pages. Surely something is happening that is causing your visitors to run away from your website. In this case, propose improvements in your content and structure and validate them with A/B testing.

Featured image by Sammie Vasquez via Unsplash.

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Update Your WordPress Securely

Published in WordPress.

Do you know how often you should update WordPress, the themes and the plugins? Don’t doubt the answer: ALWAYS (or as soon as you can).

The more time you let go without having everything updated, not only maybe you will miss interesting new features, but also run the risk of seeing how things stop working properly, finding incompatibilities between plugins or your theme, or having a security breach in your web.

That said, the update process is not trivial. First, you have to know in what order to upgrade. For example, it would not make sense to update a plugin that serves to adapt to a new version of WordPress without having previously installed that version. But what if you update WordPress first and then you find that the plugins you have installed on your website are not prepared for this change? Precisely this has been one of the most important problems we have suffered with the new version 5.0 of WordPress.

Further, note that not all updates are always secure. More than once an update of a plugin makes it suddenly incompatible with another plugin, breaking something that was previously working well.

Seeing clearly the need to keep our website updated, let’s see how to make sure that we do it safely.

Automatic Update of the Core, Plugins, and Themes

I start from the premise that your website uses a good hosting service that guarantees you a minimum at the start. That is, you have:

  • PHP version 7.2 or greater.
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater or MariaDB version 10.0 or greater.
  • HTTPS support.

And if that is not the case, it’s 2019! Time to find a better hosting provider, maybe? 😉

That said, let’s go to the subject of automatic updates: as you should know, after WordPress version 3.7 (October 2013), by default, WordPress automatically performs minor Core updates. This ensures that certain vulnerabilities are fixed.

So if you already installed WordPress version 5.0, you have already moved to 5.0.1 that solved security problems, to 5.0.2 that solved 73 errors and to 5.0.3 that fixed 37 errors and included 7 improvements in the editor of blocks. But when version 5.1 appears, don’t expect it to update automatically – it’s a “major” update and, as such, you have to update it.

And I take this opportunity to remind you how the software version numbering system usually works:

  • 2.0 – an update from version 1.0 to 2.0 is indicating that the software is a totally different version to the previous one.
  • 2.1 – an update from 2.0 to 2.1 is a major update in which there may be new features that did not previously exist.
  • 2.1.1 – it is a minor patch in which an error is being corrected or a security breach detected is solved. It should not imply any problem if the update is automatic.

Plugins and themes are not updated automatically by default but you have several alternatives to automate them. If you decide to automate some updates, minimize the risks making a backup of your WordPress before following the steps that we explain.

Activation in WordPress

If you have a corporate website or a blog, you want to automate the updates, and you are a risk lover, then you can add the following line in the wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );

In this way, your WordPress will always be updated automatically. Remember that although you should always have your WordPress updated, the automatic update of this is not without risks, as it can cause incompatibilities with your plugins.

Activaction In The Hosting Service

Many hosting services have their own tools that allow you to activate automatic updates and indicate which plugins you want to be updated automatically. If you enable automatic updates for certain plugins, the recommendation is that you do so only with those plugins that don’t have any impact on the front-end. For example, these can be automatically updated:

  • SEO
  • Analytics
  • Admin tools such as duplicating posts or columns
  • Broken links testers
  • Redirections
  • Optimization of the database
  • Backups
  • Security

This way, if something fails, at least it won’t have a negative impact on what your visitors see.

The competent hosting companies backup your website before doing the automatic update in case the update is not done correctly. Their tools automatically check if your website is working correctly and if they detect any errors, they will revert the changes and notify you.

Updates with Easy Updates Manager

In the same way that there are hosting companies that have their own tools for automatic updates, Easy Updates Manager is a free plugin that you can use in a WordPress to manage the updates.

With this plugin, you have the flexibility to customize what type of updates you want to automate:

Easy Updates Manager
Easy Updates Manager Setup.

You can also tell it to notify you by e-mail each time there is a new update.

Updates with ManageWP

Another alternative to manage plugins and themes effectively is to use the administration panel ManageWP. With this tool you can manage all the WordPress sites you want under the same administration interface, similar to a native WordPress. To do this, register to ManageWP and then add and activate the ManageWP Worker plugin in all the websites you want to manage.

You can manage the backup copies and customize the core, plugins, and themes updates as you want for each site.

The most outstanding features of the free version of ManageWP are:

  • Create backup copies automatically and restore them with just 1 click,
  • Update plugins to new versions, with just 1 click, on all WordPress sites at once,
  • Update the themes of each installation,
  • Manual review of security and optimization,
  • Review and manage the latest comments,
  • Optimize the database of the WordPress installation (delete transitions, revisions, temporary …),
  • View the Google Analytics statistics for each site, and
  • Consult performance and positioning reports.

In addition, from ManageWP, you can access the Dashboard of each WordPress with a single click, saving you having to access the URL of each of them. And with the premium plans you can also make backup copies on a regular basis as often as you indicate or automate the security check and optimization among other features.

Manual Update

Finally, if you want to stay calm and make sure that an update doesn’t break anything in your WordPress, you always have the option of doing it manually with your supervision.

As you know, in the WordPress Dashboard , you are informed at all times of the updates that you have pending to install on your site.

Pending updates
You’ll see the number of pending updates in your Dashboard. For instance, in this screenshot there are three.

Remember that we have already said that it is not advisable to go just update everything. The safest way to make any change to your website is to have a hosting service that offers you a staging environment and a production one; so you can make changes in staging quietly while the production environment is responsible for serving your users. When everything works correctly in staging, you can copy it to production.

But if you do not have this service, then the first step is to create a new backup .

Manual Core Update Via FTP

In the case that you are going to update the Core, WordPress recommends that you first deactivate all the plugins that you have installed. You can do this easily by selecting them in the list of plugins, marking them all and applying the option of Deactivate .

#1 Replace WordPress Files

  1. Download the file of the latest version of the Core and extract the package locally on your computer.
  2. Then access your files via FTP. Delete wp-admin and wp-includesdirectories.
  3. Via FTP, upload the new directories that you have extracted and have in the local wp-admin and wp-includes.
  4. In the case of the files in the wp-contentdirectory, do not delete or overwrite this folder.
  5. Next, copy the rest of the files overwriting the ones you had.
  6. And finally, check wp-config-sample.php in case you have to make any changes to your wp-config.

#2 Update the Installation

  1. Once the files are updated, go to the WordPress Dashboard. If there is a need to update the database, WordPress detects it and will show you the link that takes you to/wp-admin/upgrade.php. Follow the link and complete the steps indicated to update the database.
  2. You only have to go back to the list of plugins and reactivate them all. You can do it all at once or, alternatively, one by one while checking that everything is still working as expected.

#3 Clear the Cache

Don’t forget to clear the cache to finish the process of updating the WordPress Core and make sure that all your visitors are accessing the latest version of your WordPress.

And If A Problem Arises…

If there is a problem in the WordPress Core update, in the WordPress Codex they explain in more detail the whole process in more complex cases and the most common problems you can find and how to solve them.

Updating Plugins

Updating plugins, in principle, is much simpler. Just remember to make a backup first!

As you know the update of plugins and themes that are in the WordPress Directory you can do it directly from the Dashboard of your WordPress. But before updating any plugin, I recommend you read its Changelog where you can see if it is a major update or a patch with small changes.

Remember that the version number is a good indicator of the type of change that this update supposes. If it is a major change, look carefully for any new errors or incompatibilities this new version might have introduced.

In most cases the only way you’ll discover whether things work as expected or not is by giving the new version a try. So the best recommendation for major changes is to first test it in a staging installation and after seeing that everything works, make the change in production.

Updating Themes

The update of the theme of your website can be a bit more tricky since any type of customization that you’ve made to the theme or modification in the settings can be lost. So before encouraging you to update a theme, keep in mind the following:

  • Understand what kind of change it is.
  • Keep in mind any changes you applied to the theme will be lost after updating it, unless you applied them in a child theme.
  • If the new theme has new identifiers and classes in the HTML, your stylesheet may stop working.

Conclusion

Keeping a WordPress site up to date can sometimes seem like a cumbersome job. Do not procrastinate. It’s necessary for the safety and proper functioning of it. So don’t skim on time and resources to make sure your website is updated correctly and sleep more peacefullly. 😊

Imagen destacada de Wes Hicks en Unsplash.

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The Pyramid of Web Optimization

Published in Online Marketing.

We all want to improve. To get a better job, a better salary, a better house, to be better persons, to be happier, etc. The difficulty lies in knowing where to start, where to put more resources or what our priorities should be.

We have the same goal in the web world. We like to improve our website, the way we communicate through it, and our participation in social networks to attract more visitors. But the funny thing here is that most organizations still focus mainly on attraction and little or nothing on optimization.

Attracting more visitors to your website should be a priority, but also optimizing your website to make the visit profitable to both your visitors and your own organization. However, and going back to the beginning, it is difficult to know where to start when we want to optimize our website.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Image by Tim’s Printables.

Just as there’s no sense in saving to buy a Ferrari when you’re starving, you shouldn’t focus on just attracting new visitors if your website crashes all the time. This that seems so obvious is what Abraham Maslow explains in his pyramid of human needs, where as the most basic needs are met (bottom of the pyramid), humans develop higher needs and desires (top of the pyramid).

Following this same idea, Bryan Eisenberg adapts Maslow’s pyramid to the world of web optimization, creating his own hierarchy of optimization. As with Maslow’s hierarchy, Eisenberg’s pyramid indicates that only once the basic needs of the base are met, potential buyers can ascend to address the next need. As they reach the top of the pyramid, they are persuaded to perform the conversion action.

Eisenberg's web optimization pyramid.
Eisenberg’s web optimization pyramid.

In order to determine at what point of the pyramid we should devote our efforts to optimizing our website, we must start at the bottom and move upwards as the different aspects are covered. Let’s see step by step, each level of the pyramid in some detail.

Functional Optimization

It’s the bottom of the pyramid. If our website does not work properly, takes a long time to load or even breaks, we must focus on ensuring a sufficient level of reliability in terms of functionality before we want to optimize any other aspect.

In our blog we have already talked about this type of aspects, such as when we dealt with the issue of backups or the importance of choosing a decent hosting provider.

To find out the level of optimization of our website at the functional level we must study aspects such as the loading time, the number of requests to the server and its load, the file transfer from the server, service downtimes and 404 errors, or the quality of the images we use, among others.

For this task, some tools that can help us are:

  • Google Test My Site: Google‘s utility to measure the loading time of your website on mobile devices.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights: Google‘s utility to measure the speed of the web in general.
  • GTMetrix: utility that analyzes your website and details the improvements you should apply both at the server level and at the web itself to load everything better and faster.
  • Pingdom Tools: utility that like GTMetrix shows you the whole process of loading your website with suggestions for improvement.

Once you have covered the minimum functionality that your website needs to work, you can focus on the next level of the pyramid.

Accessibility Optimization

This is where you have to check if your website is easily accessible to your visitors. You should focus on whether the font combinations used make it easier to read, as well as whether you are using sufficiently large font sizes. You will also need to check the colors used on your web, as not everyone sees them the same way, so you will need to choose a correct color palette with enough contrast.

On the other hand, if your audience visits you from different geographical areas, bear in mind that you will probably have to offer the possibility of being able to access your content in their own language. In our case, we offer our content in Spanish and English, to cover the maximum possible amount of our audience but always bearing in mind that our resources are limited.

You can still find websites like this kebab stand in Berlin that work with Flash and are an example of anti-accessibility.
You can still find websites like this kebab stand in Berlin that work with Flash and are an example of anti-accessibility.

You should also make sure your website looks good on all kinds of devices, including smartphones and tablets. And you should also check that the different browsers are able to display your website correctly. This is quite obvious nowadays, but you can still find many websites with problems here, either by ignorance or simple laziness.

Usability Optimization

The usability of a website is essential. Facilitating the user’s life so that they can navigate our website without complications is key to optimization. A website with good usability is one that provides users with a simple, intuitive, pleasant, and safe interaction.

Make sure your website satisfies a minimum level of usability. Otherwise, you could end up with a website that is too complex for the visitor, such as this online store.
Make sure your website satisfies a minimum level of usability. Otherwise, you could end up with a website that is too complex for the visitor, such as this online store.

Maintaining a consistent design and similar to other websites within the same area, avoiding the abuse of animations that may distract and confuse the visitor, or placing navigation menus on all pages of the website are clear examples of recommendations to make your website more usable.

Intuitiveness Optimization

Does a visitor to your website know quickly what your organization does when they enter the main page? Is your purchase process simple and guided? If you don’t have a clear answer to these types of questions, you should dedicate yourself to improving how intuitive your website is.

Don’t force your users to take unnecessary steps or perform unnatural actions when they visit your website. If you ask them for information in a form, ask for what you really need and avoid all the secondary stuff. If you sell products, describe them well so that they always know what they are buying and thus avoid later problems. Make it clear to your visitors where they are, what they can do, and how they should do it.

If you have an online store, make sure that searching for products in it is intuitive for the visitor. This will make it easier for you to become a customer. A good example of this is the Amazon store.
If you have an online store, make sure that searching for products in it is intuitive for the visitor. This will make it easier for you to become a customer. A good example of this is the Amazon store.

All the messages that reduce friction during the actions that the visitor makes, anticipate their questions, and offer answers when the visitor asks them will be great to improve the intuitive aspect of your website and, therefore, its degree of optimization.

Persuasiveness Optimization

Only when you have all the levels of the pyramid properly resolved you can focus on reaching the top by working on the persuasive aspect of your website. This is where you have to include messages on your website to convince your visitor to end up performing the action you want, whether it’s a purchase, filling out a form, or reading content.

Hotel booking websites, such as Booking.com, are serious about showing persuasive messages to future customers.
Hotel booking websites, such as Booking.com, are serious about showing persuasive messages to future customers.

Establish a relationship of trust with your visitors by showing them the value you are going to give them and by generating peace of mind. This will make it easier for them to convince themselves to become your customers. It is very important that you work on the content and images to make your website more persuasive, avoiding crossing the thin line between persuasion and annoyance.

Final Remarks

Remember that you shouldn’t only focus on attracting new visitors, but you should also dedicate a minimum of resources on optimizing your website. For this you have the Eisenberg optimization pyramid that will help you understand the different levels of optimization. Following these levels is the only way to improve your conversion and get more leads and sales.

Are you already doing all this on your website? Tell us about your experience in optimization. Leave us a comment down below. Surely you have something interesting to say on this topic.

Featured image by Paul Dufour via Unsplash.

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Best Free WordPress Courses and Tutorials from Beginner to Expert Level

Published in Uncategorized.

More than once you’ve heard the phrase that creating a website in WordPress is very easy. Let’s not fool ourselves: creating a simple website is easy, but if you want some advanced stuff, it isn’t. If you also add plugins without knowing very well what you are doing, your website may be in a state in which you no longer know where you are.

Kanye west help by OceanX
We’ve come across websites with Visual Composer and Divi editors installed at the same time. (source: oceanx en Giphy).

Even hiring expert designers to create your website (by the way, it will surely be one of your best investments), the more knowledge you have of WordPress, the easier it will be for you to see all the possibilities you have, make your own changes, and make sure you really have the website you want. The more dynamic and updated your website is, the better it will be positioned in Google searches.

And if you do not have a great flexibility of time or your budget is limited, you are very lucky that you have many free resources to learn WordPress. You no longer have any excuse not to know about the subject.

Now; without further ado, here’s the list you’ve been waiting for:

WordPress Lessons in the Codex

The WordPress Codex is the online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation.  The WordPress Lessons area of the codex is a good starting point to understand WordPress and WordPress themes. Some of the articles are a little dated, but they remain relevant.

WordPress Lessons of the codex.
WordPress Lessons of the codex.

Free WordPress Courses at Udemy

When it comes to any type of online course, the first site that comes to mind is Udemy. And indeed, you’ll find good videos of free (and also not free) WordPress courses.

WordPress free courses at Udemy
Some of the WordPress free courses at Udemy.

Darrel Wilson is one of the most popular tutors who offers plenty of videos with which you can learn about WordPress.

YouTube Tutorials

On YouTube you’ll also find tutorials for learning WordPress.

Tyler Moore

Tyler Moore, with more than 267K subscribers, offers a lot of courses and tutorials about WordPress for you to learn many tricks.

Tyler Moore YouTube channel
Tyler Moore YouTube channel.

Brand Schift, LearnWebCode Author

Brand Schift is a front-end developer, designer, and educator who has been building user interfaces for over a decade. He has great lessons, tips and examples about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and WordPress.

LearnWebCode Youtube channel.
LearnWebCode Youtube channel.

Kori Ashton

Every Wednesday, Kori Ashton releases a new WordPress tutorial. He covers topics including SEO tips, WordPress how-tos, and plugin roundups. 

Kori Ashton YouTube channel.
Kori Ashton YouTube channel.

WPTuts

WPTuts is part of the PsmegTV group who provide free, high quality training videos on a range of software topics. WPTuts focuses on teaching how to use WordPress, Visual Composer, Slider Revolution, Elementor, and more.

WPTuts WordPress tutorials.
WPTuts WordPress tutorials.

SiteGround Tutorials

SiteGround is a hosting company that offers a very comprehensive tutorial for you to learning how to create and manage your WordPress website.

SiteGround WordPress tutorial.
SiteGround WordPress tutorial.

WPBeginner’s Tutorials

WPBeginner offers a list of free resources with several types of content – written articles, videos, guides, and a useful glossary. If you are a beginner, this is a good starting point and the only requirement to access to all the information is to signup with your email address.

List of videos of wpbeginner.
List of videos of WPBeginner.

First Site Guide video tutorials

On First Site Guide video library you’ll find more than 40 short easy-to-follow video tutorials you need to set up and maintain a blog. Topics covered include WordPress, blogging basics, and niche blogging.

First Site Guide video list.
First Site Guide video list.

All WordPress Posts of Nelio’s Blog

Finally, if you want to become a WordPress expert, we continually publish posts on our blog where we explain WordPress news and tips to help you become a great expert.

Don't miss all posts on our Nelio's blog!
Don’t miss all posts on our Nelio’s blog!

And after you’ve created a great WordPress website, you won’t want to miss out on our free course on how to make your blog a success and make sure you stay up to date with all the WordPress news at 😉.

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If you know any other great WordPress tutorials, please share it with us on the comments section below. Our readers will love it!

Featured image by Ben White in Unsplash.

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Heatmaps – Try Them on Your Website With This Simple Script

Published in Online Marketing.

We always want to know what visitors do when they come to our website. Do they read all the content of the pages or just part of it? Do they see the button that leads to the pricing page? We have thousands of questions whose answers could help us to improve our website and thus increase the success ratio of our goals. Goals that, directly or indirectly, we want to turn into money 🤑.

Thanks to web analytics we have much of the work done. If you are a regular reader of our blog you know that Google Analytics can give you a lot of information about the behavior of your visitors. And it’s a free tool whose installation is very easy! But this is only part of what we can find out about our website. There are other techniques to understand visitor behavior. And today we will focus on heatmaps.

Why Heatmaps?

When we talk about usability in software one of the most common tests is to analyze the real behavior of users. This is done in a laboratory specially prepared in which a user is asked to complete exercises in front of the computer and everything is recorded for further analysis.

The most curious part is the recording of where the user is looking at with a camera that points to his or her eyes directly (a technique known as “eye-tracking”). In this way we can know exactly what coordinates the user is looking at and see what captures his or her attention and how he or she reacts to the user interface presented to him/her.

Analyzing eye tracking is something that is used in countless fields, even in supermarkets to see which products attract the most attention.
Analyzing eye tracking is something that is used in countless fields, even in supermarkets to see which products attract the most attention.

This technique gives you accurate information about user behavior, but it has some drawbacks. The main problems with this type of test are its high costs (you need a special lab with the right equipment), the complexity of analyzing the data you collect (converting coordinates into useful knowledge is difficult if you haven’t done it before) and its inefficiency (testing every user is slow, they have to be physically present in the lab, and you will need a more or less representative sample of these for the data to make sense).

A heatmap is a visual representation in which we observe different colors indicating the relevance of the different elements or areas that are part of the web. The warmer colors indicate a greater interaction in the zone while the colder ones show the opposite. In the following screenshot you can see that the left part, where the cheaper purchasing plans are defined, captures more attention.

In this heatmap we can see which areas receive the most attention on a pricing page.
In this heatmap we can see which areas receive the most attention on a pricing page.

Heatmaps are the low-cost version of conventional usability analyses. Here’s why. On the one hand, you don’t need a complex lab—any visitor on your website can participate in the test anonymously and even without knowing it. On the other hand, the cost is very low because you’re tracking the mouse cursor (not the eyes), which, sure, is less accurate, but it works quite well and has its scientific basis.

Therefore, heatmaps are the perfect alternative for you to understand how your visitors interact with the web without having to need a complex usability lab. In addition, there are other variants such as clickmaps, which only take into account the clicks and not the movement of the cursor, or scrollmaps, which mark the depth at which visitors reach moving vertically down the web.

A Script to Simulate a Heatmap in Your Web

If you want to try how to make a heatmap of your behavior on your website, you’re lucky because I’m going to explain how to do it easily. You don’t need to know how to program, just how to copy and paste.

The first thing you have to do is open the web page where you want to simulate the heatmap. Once there, open the browser’s JavaScript console. This is done differently depending on the browser and operating system you use. Find out how to do this here.

In my specific case I use Google Chrome on a Mac OS X system, so I just have to go to the menu View » Developer » JavaScript Console or press Alt+Command+J. This will open a view where you have access to a kind of terminal in the browser where you can paste JavaScript code.

Once you have done this, copy the following piece of code (which you can also find in my GitHub here):

The code you just copied makes use of heatmap.js, a JavaScript library that allows you to create heatmaps quickly on your website. Now paste it into the JavaScript console of the browser you have open and press enter to execute it. If everything has gone well and you won’t see any error, you can close the JavaScript console. Now, as soon as you move the mouse or click on the page you will see how the heatmap appears with the tracking of your movement and clicks.

 

This has only been a kid’s game, but it’s fun, isn’t it? Keep in mind that, for such an experiment to be valid, you’ll have to track your visitors transparently (i.e. they should not know their actions are being “watched”) and you’ll have to aggregate their cursor tracking data. This way, the data would be real and the conclusions you could draw about it would be valid.

If you master JavaScript you could set up a system yourself that will track and send the data to the server where you can then aggregate it and give the final visualization. But if this is not your case, there are many heatmaps tools out there, but the one we recommend for WordPress is Nelio A/B Testing, where you can create heatmaps in a very simple way.

If you feel like it, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment with your experience. I’m sure that the information you get from heatmaps will be very useful for you to better understand your visitors and act accordingly.

Featured image by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash.

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Top 7 Types of Lead Magnets to Get More Prospects and Customers

Published in Online Marketing.

Today I’ll tell you about lead magnets. If you don’t have one on your website, or rather, a good one on your website, you should keep reading this post to discover a new way to get more leads and customers.

What Is a Lead Magnet and Why Do You Need Them?

A lead magnet is an irresistible offer about certain information, service, or any other type of experience with sufficient value for prospects to give you in exchange their email address or any other information that may be useful to you to eventually turn them into clients. A lead magnet can also be used by the reader at that moment to perform an action that helps you to become known, such as sharing on social networks the post they’re reading or talk about you.

For example, when you leave any of the posts in this blog, you may see the following lead magnet:

FREE COURSE


HOW TO SUCCEED

WITH YOUR BLOG

Join our Newsletter and get the course lessons straight to your inbox to take your blog to the next level

I suppose that since you want to achieve success with your blog, it didn’t take you a second to subscribe to our mailing list in order to receive the course 😉 Or didn’t you?

Today we are all fed up with receiving many emails with advertising or information that we have not explicitly requested. And although this is much more regulated with the new GDPR, in general, we are reluctant to sign up for mailing lists. In fact, when you discover a blog with content that you find very interesting, why should you join their mailing list if you can already visit the blog whenever you want? This is where the lead magnet can be that little push you need to give your contact details.

Beware! If your goal is to get an email from a user and then blast them with advertising, without bringing anything valuable, they will quickly unsubscribe from the list or mark your emails as spam. So your goal should be for that user to receive exactly the information he or she would like to receive. And surely, if everything you tell them is interesting, they will also be interested in the products or services you offer.

Building lead magnets

For a lead magnet to convert, that is, for visitors to do the action you want them to do, you need to define and design a set of elements that are part of the whole conversion process.

First of all, you must define and create what “star product” you are going to offer your audience. For now, don’t worry about that. Later on, I’ll tell you 7 fantastic lead magnet ideas that you should try.

Then, define how you want to present that offer to your reader: will it be an offer that will be integrated in the middle of a post, like the one shown above? Will it be a pop-up window that will appear when the reader is about to leave your blog? Will it be an ad that is always visible on one of your landing pages? Or a simple button with a very attractive call to action?

You’ll also have to decide where you will store the data of your subscribers and which mail server you will use to send the different emails of your marketing campaigns (Mailchimp, MailPoet, Marketing360, Hubspot, etc). And you must understand how to connect your website with this mail server, so that the latter can store all the contact details you collect.

You’ll need to define the form or landing page where the user will enter their contact details. If your offer is integrated in the middle of a post, the same offer will already include the form to fill in. Alternatively, the form can be a new window or landing page to which the user lands after clicking a button.

Remember also that you must include the information necessary to be compliant with the GDPR. Don’t forget this to avoid possible legal problems in the future.

You’ll have to define a thank you page for subscribing. Don’t leave your new fan in doubt as to whether he has registered correctly to your super lead magnet.

Finally, make sure that the new contact receives the information you promised. And establish what other actions you should take to keep your new subscriber loyal and become a customer.

The Lead Magnet Ideas You Should Try

Now that you know the process to follow when you want to embed lead magnets in your website, let’s take a look at 7 ideas you should try.

#1 Mini-eBook

If you are an expert on a subject, there will be no reader who is reluctant to read the complete information you can offer. If it’s just what the reader was looking for, they won’t hesitate to subscribe and read your mini-ebook from top to bottom.

A mini-eBook may have the following index:

  • Introduction
  • Theoretical framework
  • Practical application
  • Tools
  • Advice and Errors
  • Conclusions
  • Sources
  • Glossary

As you can imagine, the creation of a mini-eBook can give you a lot of work but Anum Hussein tells you the steps you must follow to create an eBook.

Logo design inspiration ebook example.
This Logo Design Inspiration eBook, for example, is perfect for a designer seeking inspiration for their next logo.

#2 Complete or Definitive Guide

A complete guide on a topic can be very useful for anyone looking for information on that topic. For example, if you already have a set of articles published on your website that make up the guide in question, it costs very little to offer the reader the possibility of downloading the same information in a single PDF file. In this case, what you are offering the reader is to always have the guide in question at hand.

This example of lead magnet can be found on Brian Dean’s website with his definitive Link Building for SEO guide.

Lead magnet example: Brian Dean's definitive Link Building Guide.
Lead magnet example: Brian Dean’s definitive Link Building Guide.

Another option is that, instead of having the complete guide published on your website, you only have part of it, and you offer the link so that your readers can download the rest of the information.

#3 Checklists

As you well know, we love lists and we love to complete them: shopping lists, orders, the list of what to take with you on your camp or trip, etc. A useful and practical list is a good lead magnet for readers. And as it’s an easy resource to create, many bloggers easily point to the creation of this kind of lead magnets.

Lead magnet of a checklist for productive meetings.
Lead magnet of a checklist for productive meetings.

And remember, not only do they have to be lists of actions or tasks to perform, they can also be lists of questions such as, for example, what you should do when you want to hire someone or a certain service. Anyway, as you can see, with the lists you have a lot of options. And this is a much easier resource to create than the previous ones!

#4 Templates

Surely when you have had to do or update your resume, the first thing you have looked for are examples and templates. And so did you when you had to create a business plan or a formal letter, a planning of a certain topic, a submision, etc.. Templates are very useful resources to perform certain tasks and, therefore, they’re another great technique to get more leads.

Buyer persona template lead magnet example.
Example of template to download: Buyer persona template by Filestage.

For example, a fantastic template could be a spreadsheet with pre-defined formulas that we use for more complex calculations, such as a free excel template to calculate the LTV and CAC ratio of your business:

Example of excel template lead magnet for download.
Example of excel template lead magnet for download by Corporate Finance Institute.

#5 Mini courses (off-line or on-line)

When you want to learn about a specific topic, you easily sign up for any free course on it. This type of lead-magnet is again a pretty safe bet to get leads. The courses also allow you to get to know and talk about your products and services in a much more colloquial way than with other alternatives, thus generating a closer relationship and trust with your audience.

Example of lead magnet course by QuickSprout.
Example of lead magnet course by QuickSprout.

If you don’t know where to start in order to create your course, in leanWorls you have an ultimate guide on how to do it.

#6 Free Trials

If you offer products or services, users who have already tried it are more likely to become your customers. Don’t hesitate and let people try your product, and you’ll see how well it works. A lead that is already willing to test your product for free is much more likely to become a real customer than one to whom you have offered information only.

And as an example: do you want to receive a free month of Nelio Content Premium and sign up for our Newsletter? Just fill in the following form and I will send you a code so that you can subscribe to Nelio Content Premium with the first month totally free. 😉

Yes, I want to subscribe to a free month to Nelio Content Premium!

#7 Discounts

Another alternative to get the contact details or, better yet, have your reader become your customer directly from the beginning, is to create a discount on your product and offer it to the reader exclusively.

For example, a reader interested in subscribing to Nelio Content has probably visited our pricing page. If, instead of subscribing, they leave the page, a new pop-up window will appear with which we offer them a discount code so that they can subscribe.

Example of discount lead magnet by Nelio Content.
Example of discount lead magnet by Nelio Content.

Conclusion

Increasing traffic to your website is not enough to get more customers and it’s critical to look for mechanisms to increase the conversion rate. How? Optimize your website with A/B tests and create the lead-magnets that we have proposed here. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.

Good luck with your project!

Featured image by chuttersnap on Unsplash.

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