Which Contact Form Plugin Is Right For Your WordPress Site?

There are a variety of quality plugins that can create and manage contact forms for a WordPress website, but not all of them are created equal. There are a variety of factors to consider ranging from overall complexity to theme integration. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular contact form plugins and what they have to offer.

Contact Form 7
The Contact Form 7 plugin is always in the discussion as one of the best free contact form plugins. It offers a variety of features including AJAX submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet filtering, and the ability to manage multiple contact forms. It was created to be a very user friendly plugin for people who do not want to mess with any coding themselves, while still getting a fully functional contact form. This is accomplished through their WYSIWYG form editor. Currently, it supports 10 languages.

ContactMe
The ContactMe plugin has continued to gain popularity, both with its free and commercial versions. Along with your WordPress blog, you can also integrate it with Facebook, Webs, and a variety of auto responder services. The best part is that even the most expensive premium account is less than $10 per month. When you look at all of the additional features that the Biz Pro account offers, it could be very good investment. Although the free version is more than adequate for most users. Another factor that helps ContactMe stand out is that the contact slider will be on every page and the form can be in light-box This both saves space and ensures that your visitors can contact you without having to go to a dedicate contact page.

Custom Contact Forms
With it’s recent updates, Custom Contact Forms has quickly gained a lot of attention from WordPress users. It’s creator makes the bold claim that it is more customizable and intuitive than either the Fast Secure Contact Forms or Contact Form 7 plugins. A lot of people get thrown off because the screen-shots haven’t been updated since version 1, but it is now in version 4.5. Some of the new features (comparing version 3 to 4) include a saved form submission dashboard widget, which is extremely useful. Other additions include: all form submissions will be saved in the admin panel as well as emailed to you; forms can send to multiple email addresses; and much more. If you have never given Custom Contact Forms a look, then it would definitely be worth a few minutes.

Fast Secure Contact Form
Very solid option that continues to improve with each new update. In a lot of ways, you will see similarities between it and both Contact Form 7 and Custom Contact Forms. If you want a version that will always be completely free and well supported, then it is as good as any.

Gravity Forms
It is impossible to talk about contact form plugins without mentioning Gravity Forms. While it is definitely the most expensive option on this list, it is also the most powerful and flexible. It offers so many different features that will be easier for you to just check out their site. If you are willing to spend the money ($39, $99, or $199) then it is hands-down the best option.

5 Best Affiliate Marketing Plugins For Any WordPress Website

When it comes to affiliate marketing, there seems to be more than enough affiliate marketing plugins available. The problem is deciding which ones are going to provide you with the maximum benefit. This means that they need to be easy to integrate, easy to maintain, and effective at what they do. One of the problems that many people run into is that there are so many different ad networks and ways to promote affiliate products, that choosing a single plugin is impossible. To make things easier, none of the plugins in this list are solely for 1 affiliate program. They either contain all of the major players or can be used with any affiliate program.

1. Pretty Link
The Pretty Link WordPress plugin should be considered a bare minimum for affiliate marketers. It provides two main purposes. First, it allows you to shorten the URL, but unlike popular shrinking services, it makes the URL look like it is part of your domain via cloaking and redirection. In most cases, you won’t need this plugin if you choose a plugin that has this feature integrated in it. However, if you are directly inserting everything, then Pretty Link is a good choice. Along with making your links look more trustworthy, it also has tracking features as well. This will let you know how well your links are actually doing.

2. WP-Insert
WP-Insert has always been on the most popular free WordPress plugins for affiliates as well as other types of advertisers. It is extremely powerful, yet simple to use. It is particularly helpful if you normally insert ads into your content. Along with the 10 ad widgets that are included, it also includes 20 custom add areas that are compatible with any theme. It doesn’t matter how you insert affiliate links in your site, this plugin can help.

3. WP Ad-Manager
This is a free plugin that is very similar to WP-Insert in terms of function, however it also makes rotating your ads simple as well. The big difference is that this plugin relies primarily on ad networks, so if you plan on creating a lot of custom ads and text links, it may not be as useful as some others on this list.

4. Max Banner Ads
If you are primarily marketing affiliate products through banner ads, then Max Banner Ads is an excellent choice. Along with ad management, it also provides tracking and rotating features as well. It also includes very helpful widgets which are a great way to integrate banners without actually messing with any coding yourself. Diversity and flexibility is what makes this one of the best banner ad managers on the market.

5. WP Affiliate Elite or MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate
If your primary concern is content based affiliate marketing, then either WP Affiliate Elite or MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate will likely be your best options. They make it easy for you to choose keywords and automatically convert them into affiliate links across your entire blog. The reason that using these types of plugins is important is because it allows you to not only insert affiliate links easily, but also change them whenever you switch products that you are promoting without having to go through every post manually.

In the end, finding the right affiliate marketing plugins is just as much about what specific promotion techniques you use as anything else. These 5 plugins combine to cover all of the main methods that affiliate marketers will use to promote products directly from their blog.

Top 3 YouTube Plugins For WordPress

When it comes to YouTube WordPress plugins, there are a lot to choose from. The problem is that a growing number of them either aren’t updated regularly or don’t offer much. It is a pain to switch from one YouTube plugin to another, so it is important that you choose the right one, the first time. Here are the top 3 YouTube plugins that you can use without fear. They are not only regularly updated and supported, but are also incredibly popular, which means that there is little chance that they will disappear in the future.

1. Smart YouTube
The Smart YouTube plugin became popular for several reasons, most notably because it is extremely lightweight, but also easy to use. It is very easy to customize so your videos look exactly the way that you want. Along with embedding single videos, you can embed full play lists as well. You can even utilize deep linking, which also you to start the video at a specific point in time. There is a sidebar widget as well. Plus, it doesn’t use any external sources to run. When setting up the plugin, you can customize the video template to wrap text around it or leave it at it’s default settings. You can also customize the size of the video in both normal and high quality mode. The best part is that this plugin will also include the videos in your RSS feed as well.

2. Daiko’s YouTube Widget
This is the perfect plugin if all you want to do is insert a few videos into your sidebar(s). You can also activate ThickBox so that the videos appear as a pop-up. It is important to note that if you are already running ThickBox and also activate ThickBox in the Daiko’s YouTube Widget, then there may be compatibility issues because WordPress will think that you have activated the script twice. This plugin hasn’t been updated in nearly 3 years, so using a more robust plugin that includes a widget feature may be a better choice. However, if all you want is a sidebar widget, then currently this plugin is still you best bet. Although two recent plugins that may end up replacing it in terms of function are My Recent YouTube Widget and YouTube Video Plugin To Show YouTube Videos From Widgets (long name, but still effective).

3. TubePress
TubePress offers both a free and premium version and they are each very effective and fully supported. If you are looking for a plugin that easily creates YouTube video galleries, then this is a great choice. You can populate your gallery from 19 different sources (YouTube and Vimeo). You can also include an interactive search so that your visitors don’t have to leave your site to find additional videos. There are also a wide variety of embedded player options as well. Currently, this seems to be the best comprehensive option on the market.

Including videos has become a near-essential element in many WordPress sites. Fortunately, there are now several very strong YouTube plugins to choose from. In the end, TubePress is probably the strongest on the market, however Smart YouTube and Daiko’s YouTube Widget are still both very strong choices as well.

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WordPress Shopping Carts

3 of the Most Popular WordPress Shopping Carts That You Can Get Setup Quickly

One of the reasons that WordPress has become so popular is because it doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge to make changes and personalize your website. The purpose of using WordPress shopping carts is to continue this trend of simplicity, while still getting all of the functionality that you need. There are a number of different shopping cart plugins to choose from, both free and premium. The key is making sure that you choose the right one for your specific needs. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular WordPress shopping carts that are being used across the web.

1. PhPurchase
PhPurchase is definitely one of the most popular stand-alone shopping carts being used with WordPress websites. It can help you manage a variety of different types of shops with both digital and physical projects. Plus, it is billed as the most customizable shopping cart WordPress plugins available. While it is difficult to say whether or not this is true, there is a good reason to think that it might be. There seems to be custom fields for pretty much everything, which means you can make it do pretty much everything that you want.

2. WP estore
One of the most difficult things to do is find a quality WordPress shopping cart if you are selling services. WP estoree is definitely the shopping cart that you need to look into if services are primary commodity. It is extremely flexible and allows your clients to either pay directly with a credit card or through PayPal. You can also create recurring invoices and much more. Plus, it is designed to minimize the amount of time that you will need to spend actually creating the invoices.

3. WP e-Commerce
When it comes to creating a following, WP e-Commerce might be the best there is. They have had their shopping cart plugin downloaded nearly 900,000 times. It is exceptionally stable and secure. It also offers a variety of cutting edge social networking abilities that are difficult to find or integrate with most other options. They also arguably have the best storefront templates to choose from as well. They look great, as well as allow you to use PHP tags, shortcodes, and widgets. They are also one of the only plugins that rely on a one page checkout process which will decrease friction, which leads to lower checkout abandonment.

There are a lot of different WordPress shopping carts on the market, so it is important to not only look at what they offer, but also how you are going to be using them. You could buy the greatest shopping cart plugin ever created, but that doesn’t mean that it will be the best fit for your specific situation. Before you start your search, make sure to take a few moments and determine exactly what you will need your shopping cart to do for you. This will ensure that whichever one you choose, will meet whatever your needs may be.

3 Tips to Choosing The Best Affiliate Marketing Theme

Affiliate marketers are always looking for a way to streamline their website design and boost conversions. The right WordPress theme can go a long way in achieving both of these goals. The big problem isn’t finding the right theme, but finding the right theme to fit your method of promotion. There are a variety of different affiliate marketing tactics, so it is important to make sure that your theme compliments them. Additionally, the theme needs to be easy to work with and fast to setup. Here are 3 tips that help you find the best affiliate marketing theme to match your strategies.

1. Identify Your Focal Points
While your affiliate website will have a variety of different characteristics in order to promote a products or set of products, there should be one or two focal points that stand out from the rest. If you are an affiliate marketer that focuses on list building, then one focal point should be your opt in box. More importantly, it should be on every page of your website in a very noticeable position. If you leverage product reviews and social interaction, then you need to make sure that your WordPress theme not only allows it, but makes it a focal point. Regardless of what your focal point is, you need to make sure that your theme reflects that.

2. Choose a Theme That Makes Testing Easy
As an affiliate marketer, you will likely be testing a variety of factors, including your basic layout on a regular basis. There are a number of themes that allows you to make a variety of changes to layout with minimal effort. For example, the “Affiliate Theme” provides 6 different layouts that you can choose from. All you do is click on the one that you want and the theme takes care of the rest. Other themes that rely on the Parent/Child framework such as Genesis, Headway, and Thesis provide the same level of flexibility and ease of use.

3. Supports Multiple Page Layouts Simultaneously
Another way that many themes fall short for affiliate marketers is that they don’t make it easy to utilize a variety of different page or post layouts simultaneously. If you use a basic theme, then you will likely have to add a few plugins or do some custom coding in order to get the results that you need. Along with your basic layout, you will also likely need things like squeeze pages, sales pages, and review pages. The layout for each of these pages is going to be different because they are designed to meet different goals.

There are a handful of themes that have been designed specifically for affiliate marketers, such as the Affiliate Marketing theme. There are also a growing number of framework themes that are designed to provide maximum customization with minimal time. Both of these types of themes are likely to going to be your best option as an affiliate marketer. Remember, the key is making sure that the theme allows you to create the focal points that you need, allows you to test different layouts with minimal effort, and supports multiple page layouts simultaneously.

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