The Top 4 Plugins to Turn Your WordPress Blog Into an Amazon Store

If you have been thinking about adding an Amazon store to your WordPress site then choosing a quality plugin is a good idea. Sure, you can simply use the standard Amazon store that you can create from your Amazon Associates area, but it isn’t the best looking thing ever made. If you have a great looking website, then the standard Amazon store can end up looking a bit clunky and unprofessional in comparison. Here is a quick look at 4 Amazon store plugins that are consistently considered to be the best on the market.

1. ReviewAZON
ReviewAZON is consistently towards the top of every list. The best part about this plugin is that it easily integrates into most WordPress themes without any problem. It allows you to search Amazon products and bulk import them, which saves a lot of time. You can even set up automatic postings so that you are consistently adding content to your blog. One of the best parts is that you get to pick and choose what information to display. There are currently 25 different pieces of information to choose from ranging from the customer ratings and reviews to the complete product details. It also easily integrates with PHPOStock and phpBAY so that you can add additional revenue streams.

2. WP Zon Builder
WP Zon Builder offers a lot of flexibility so that you can either build an entire website based upon Amazon products, or simply insert them into your post content. In terms of flexibility, this might be the best option on the market. One of the best aspects of this plugin is that your customers can leave their own reviews directly on your website. In terms of SEO, this is one of the strongest plugins as well. Along with automatic posting, it also integrates with a variety of other scripts and plugins including: PHPOStock, PHPBay, YouTube, All-in-One SEO, and any plugin that uses short-codes

3. Associate-O-Matic
Associate-O-Matic is a stand alone script, however they include a WordPress plugin that makes integrating it fairly simple. At the same time, some people may have problems depending on what theme and additional plugins they use. Fortunately, the support is excellent, so if you have any problems, they can help you out. If you want to purchase a script that can work by itself or with WordPress, then this is your best choice.

4. phpZon
This plugin has been around for only a few years, but it has grown up fast. In terms of simplicity, this is the way to go. However, it does lack some basic features such as automatic posting and built-in 3rd party integration. It is also the least SEO friendly option on this list.

In general, the top 2 on this list are the most popular for WordPress users because they are specifically designed for WordPress and offer the best features. However, if they don’t seem like the right solution, then Associate-O-Matic and phpZon might be what you are looking for.

Extra Tip:
If you haven’t decided which theme to use, take a look at magazine themes because they allow you to organize and highlight the best products very easily. Plus, they look great and convert well.

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Choosing the Best WordPress Forum Plugin

The whole point of integrating your WordPress site with a forum plugin is to make the transition as smooth as possible. For some popular forum scripts this simply isn’t possible. On the other hand, there are others which are tailor-made for this purpose. While there are very few quality plugins that can achieve this, the ones that do exist are great at what they do. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular options for you to choose from.

Simple Press
It is impossible to find a list of forums plugins without Simple Press on it – and for good reason. This is considered by many to be the best solution available without question. It has several years of development under its belt. During this time, it has built a very active and supportive community as well. It not only integrates user profiles and logins, but also all let’s you use BuddyPress as well. It also has the essential features of a quality forum script including: private messaging, subscription management, and simple integration with other WordPress plugins.

bbPress
If there is a plugin that will give Simple Press some competition, it is bbPress. A few years ago, bbPress was the de facto best solution for turning your WordPress site into a forum, however the lack of support can create a problem. However, for a while it’s future seems a little unfocused and it has fallen behind. Fortunately, the development community seems to have jumped back on board and bbPress could easily compete with Simple Press after it’s next release.

phpBB
Unfortunately, there isn’t a really easy way to integrate WordPress and phpBB, although there are a few plugins that can help. WP-United was looking to be a good solution, however the project has froze and is now very outdated. Two current options are WP2BB and phpbb_Recent_Comments. With the first plugin, it simple creates a new forum post every time that you post a new article. This allows everyone in your forum to see all of your recent blog posts. The second plugin will pull the recent topics from your forum and display them on your WordPress site. While these are far from perfect solutions, it does give you a way to tie WordPress and phpBB together.

Other Options Include:

ccForum – Integrates myBB bulletin board and WordPress
Tal.ki Embeddable Forums – Adds a very simple forum to your site
WordPress Forum Server – Another simple (but effective) forum plugin
Mingle Forum – lightweight, secure, and easy to use. Plus a growing number of skins.

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Autoblogging With WordPress Q&A

Autoblogging is becoming an increasingly popular use for WordPress blogs and the tales of success can be found everywhere. But what is the real story? Here is a quick look at the most commonly asked questions regarding autoblogging and WordPress.

What is Autoblogging?

In case you somehow haven’t heard of it yet (lucky you) – autoblogs are small applications that were created so that you don’t have to write your blog content yourself. The goal is to make it easy for your blog to grow in size fast, without actually doing much work. In most cases, the content that is added to your website comes from article directories. Some autoblogging programs will even add images and YouTube videos. Some of these applications will spin the content as well.

Why Do People Use Autoblogs?

Autoblogging is design to achieve one goal – to make money. Since much of the content is reposted from somewhere else, even if it is rewritten by the application, quantity is definitely the priority because everyone agrees that quality and uniqueness will go out the window. While some webmasters will try to use autoblogs to promote affiliate products, a majority of them have ad networks on their sites like Adsense.

Can You Really Make Money With Autoblogs?

Sure, you can make money, but it probably won’t make you rich. A really good autoblog will normally generate double digit income on a daily basis, however most of them will get $2 or less. Again, it is all about quantity. Not only quantity in terms of content, but also the number of blogs in your network. A lot of them will be losers, but there will also be a few winners.

How Do You Set One Up?

Setting up an autoblog is super-simple, which is why the concept is so attractive. All you need to do is install and configure an autoblogging script. Some of them can even be managed as a plugin. Some of the most popular scripts include: WP Robot, AutoBlogged, FeedWordpress, and Autoblog Samurai. Depending on which one you choose, they will draw content from article directories, Amazon product listings, RSS feeds, and several other sources. Once you set it up and hit go, it runs entirely on it’s own.

Why Wouldn’t an Autoblog Make Money?

There are a number of reasons that an autoblog would fail. The most common reasons are that they get deindexed or the ad networks cancel your account. Google has taken a very hard stance against autoblogs and if you are lucky, your site will be listed for a few months. After that, there isn’t much you can do. This is because none of your content is unique. The same is true for advertiser accounts. There have been a growing number of stories about Adsense publishers getting their accounts banned because “they offer no valuable content to the reader”.

In the end, you can give this strategy a shot, but don’t rely on it. There are a lot of potential pitfalls and a marginal up-side at best.

What Is the Best Way to Integrate Facebook and WordPress?

Integrating Facebook and WordPress is incredibly easy and frustratingly difficult at the same time. This is because there are so many different ways to do it. In the end, it is really a matter of deciding which website is more important. Some people try to push people from their website towards their Facebook profile or Fan Page, whereas others use Facebook primarily to bring in traffic. Still others use Facebook as a method of social proof or to establish themselves within an industry to gain instant credibility. Here are a few WordPress plugins that you can use to accomplish all of these goals without going overboard.

Facebook Comments for WordPress
The Facebook Comments for WordPress plugin does exactly what the name implies. It allows you to turn your comments section into a Facebook comments section. The only potential drawback is that people without a Facebook profile (yes, there are still some) can’t leave a comment. On the other hand, it is the perfect way to merge your Facebook profile and WordPress blog together. All of the comments made via your blog will be posted on Facebook and any comment made on Facebook in response will be published on your blog. Another benefit is that this plugin can go a long way in preventing a lot of comment spam.

WP-FacebookConnect
The WP-FacebookConnect plugin has shown to be another great way to integrate your WordPress site with your Facebook profile. While it can do a variety of different things, the primary features include the ability to publish content to your Facebook news feed, allow guests to sign on with their Facebook account, and pulls avatar photos from their Facebook profiles.

WordBook
The WordBook plugin is a simple tool that will automatically add your recent posts to your Facebook profile. Additionally, all of your posts can be found through a “Recent Posts” Facebook boxes tab. This is a great plugin because it uses your RSS feed, which means that it will normally update your Facebook status immediately whereas some other similar applications have some delays.

Facebook Fan Box
This plugin allows you to add a simple Facebook Fan Box to anywhere on your website. All you need to do is insert a small line of code into your theme.

Sociable WordPress + Facebook Connect Plugin
If you only want to use one plugin to integrate Facebook into your blog, then this is it. It offers you a wide variety of different tools and options to choose from. The best part is everything can be added through widgets, which means no hand-coding. The widgets that it creates includes: Facebook Connect Login, Last Visitors, Facebook Friends on this Site, Comments/Activity Feed, User Profile, Community Members, Invite Friends, Facebook Avatars, Send Comments to Facebook, Share Counter, Request User Email, and several others. It pretty much does it all. The best part is that you can manage all of these things from a centralized location instead of mixing a handful of plugins together.

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How to Avoid Twitter Integration Overkill

When developing your WordPress website, you will come to social media integration at some point. Across the web, it seems like the biggest problem is Twitter integration. Not that you can’t do, but it is overly done. Every bit of space on your page is important, which means that you need to utilize it as best as possible. The problem that some people run into is that they want to make sure they are integration with the most popular social media networks, especially Twitter and end up with way too much. It is a little extreme to see Twitter all over you page. Not only is it distracting, but it can take up valuable space.

The best way to overcome Twitter integration overkill is to simply to choose your plugins wisely. At some point, enough is enough. In most cases, the best thing to do is choose one or two plugins that accomplish everything that you need. There is no reason to have your most recent tweets in your sidebar, your comments section, and your footer. It’s just unnecessary Take some time and really plan you page layout so that you get the Twitter exposure you want, without sacrificing other things.

Here are a few of the most comprehensive Twitter plugins that can give you everything that you need, without all of the extra that you don’t.

WP FollowMe Plugin
If you want to use your blog to get more Twitter followers then this plugin is going to be a good choice. Essentially, it ads a vertical Follow Me floating banner on the side of your website. This offers a number of advantages. First, it is telling your readers to follow you. A simple call to action like this can do wonders for building your list followers. Second, because it is floating on the side of your site, it doesn’t actually take any space away from your blog itself. It is unobtrusive, but still stands out. In terms of maximizing the space on your page, this plugin is ideal.

Twitter Widget Pro
This plugin lets you use a simple widget in your sidebar to display your recent Tweets. Depending on what other ways you are integrating Twitter, this could be a bit of overkill, especially if you are displaying Tweets in your comments. On the other hand, if this is your primary nod to Twitter, then it is a great choice. The default layout can be a little bland, but it doesn’t take much to add a lot of style to it.

WP to Twitter
the WP to Twitter plugin is ideal for people who want their new posts to automatically be added to their Twitter feed. It adds a small screen below your post in the admin area where you can create your own Tweet. A lot of similar tools will automatically send a Tweet with your title, but not much else. This plugin gives you full control over what your Tweet actually says. Plus, it doesn’t add anything to your actual web page like some others will. Again, a great space saver.

Integrating your WordPress site with Twitter is important, but it is not the most important aspect of your website. Try to choose your plugins wisely to get the maximum benefit while taking up the minimum amount of page space.

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