The 5 Best Wordpress Forum Plugins

The 5 Best WordPress Forum Plugins

The 5 Best WordPress Forum Plugins

When it comes to choosing the right plugin for your forum, there are a few options that instantly stand out such as SimplePress and bbPress, however there are some other options that have started to gain some notoriety as well. Keep in mind that when you are choosing your forum plugin, it is important to consider what you want to do. Some of these plugins are better to create a forum in addition to your regular site, whereas others are better suited to operate in a forum-only environment. Here is a quick look at the 5 best forum plugins that should be at the top of your list.

The 5 Best Plugins to Add a Forum to Your WordPress Website

1. bbPress
It’s hard to argue against a forum plugin that was designed by the creators of WordPress. Not only it is very powerful, but it was designed with the goal of being flexible and extremely lightweight. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate bbPress, it is probably for the same reason – added plugins. There are a huge number of additional plugins designed solely to affect how bbPress operates and appears. If your goal is flexibility and smaller footprints then managing these additional plugins is probably worth the extra effort that it takes to manage them. However if you want a single no fuss solution, then you might want to look elsewhere.

2. SimplePress
SimplePress could be the most powerful and holistic approach to managing a forum on your WordPress website. There is a laundry list of features in every category including: integration, security, SEO, forum management, extensions, components, and much more. There is a reason the SimplePress and bbPress are of the considered to be the top 2 solutions. They both extremely powerful and flexible The big difference is what you want your forum to look like and how much time you want to spend managing all of the moving pieces.

The Rest

While most people will immediately point to SimplePress and bbPress, there are 3 other plugins that are getting more popular as time goes on. They are ccForum, WP Forum Server, and Mingle Forum. All of these plugins take a little different approach to creating and managing a forum.

  •  Mingle Forum – A simple goal: Keep It Simple! This plugin can be installed and ready to go in less than 5 minutes. While it may not be as feature rich as the rest, it is stable, secure, and easy to use.
  • WP Forum Server – WP Forum Server is a stable fork of WP Forum. It has overcome a lot of the problems that used to plague WP Forum and is worth a second look. If you want to turn your sight into a forum-only website, then it is a great choice.
  • ccForum – If you don’t like any of the previous options and want to integrate outside software, specifically myBB Bulletin Board, then this is the plugin for you. Keep in mind that this is not a stand alone forum plugin, but rather a way to integrate myBB.

Wordpress- opup Plugin Popup Domination

6 Best Free and Premium WordPress Popup Plugins

The 6 Best Free and Premium WordPress Popup Plugins

Even though many website visitors state pop-up offers are annoying or undesirable there is no arguing that using a pop-up WordPress plug-in will dramatically increase opt-ins and convert visitors into subscribers. Some webmasters say that finding the right pop-up plug-in is difficult, if not impossible, but there are actually a number of excellent WordPress plug-ins – both free and premium – you can choose from. This is a quick overview of 6 of the best WordPress pop-up plug-ins (including both free and premium options).

Free and Premium WordPress Popup Plugins

1. PopUp Domination

Wordpress- opup Plugin Popup Domination

One of the most well-known pop-up WordPress plug-ins is PopUp Domination. Its website states that it can help you grow your email list by up to 524%. It offers a variety of professional, customizable and high quality designs to choose from. There are multiple theme designs with lots of colors which can be customized by adding multiple bullet points, full paragraphs, images, and even customizable button text. It offers three different pricing options. The standard license is $47, the Plus licenses $77, and the Pro license is $97. In general the available features with each plug-in is the same. The difference is in regards to how many websites you can use the license on.

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2. Optin Monster

Optin Monster
Another great premium option is Optin Monster. Its primary selling point is the ability to use more user targeting by targeting specific pages, categories, and even specific user behavior to determine which pop-up to display. It even includes an A/B split testing module which allow you to continually tweak, track, and customize your pop-up content for maximum conversions. It also includes unique analytics to help you gather historical data for further optimization. This plug-in has four different pricing options – Basic, Plus, Pro, and Ultimate. They range from $49-$349. For the most part, the primary difference is how many sites you can use the plug-in on although the Pro and Ultimate options do include several additional features such as priority support, exit intent, and Optin types.

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3. Pippity

WordPress Popup and Lead Capturing Plugin
The final premium WordPress pop-up plug-in to consider is Pippity. Pippity is often considered a compromise between pop-up domination and opt in monster. It includes numerous customization features and visual display options while also including a robust set of built-in analytics and split testing tools. There are three different pricing options include personal, business, and developer. The price ranges from $49-$164 and includes one year of access and support updates.

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4. ITRO Popup Plugin

The first free pop-up plug-in to consider is the ITRO Popup Plugin. It is a very lightweight plug-in which offers a variety of customization options and utilizes a user-friendly interface to modify all of the necessary settings without tweaking the code. While it can be a stand-alone plug-in and works very well for many website owners, it is actually part of a larger package – ITRO WordPress Marketing. This package includes a lot more than a pop-up plug-in. It also includes time-based visualization, short codes, and a variety of additional integration options for the pop-up plug-in.

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5. PopupAlly

Another great free pop-up plug-in is PopupAlly. It is most well-known for allowing you to quickly install and setup your first pop-up within five minutes by using the built-in pop-up editor. It creates a light box pop-up plug-in and notes that it has increased conversions on some websites by over 300%.

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6. Optin Revolution Lite

The final free option to consider is Optin Revolution Lite. It states that this may be one of the best ways to create a lockable WordPress pop-ups to grow your list of subscribers. It supports a variety of third-party list building tools such as AWeber, iContact, and MailChimp. One thing to keep in mind is that there is also a Pro version which includes a town of additional options. In most cases, website owners will either eventually upgrade or switch to another plug-in. While the Lite version is solid it can feel like it is lacking at times in terms of available features and customization.

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Magic Members Review

Magic Members Review

While many membership sites are built from scratch, a growing percentage of membership sites are born from blogs and websites with unrestricted access to their content. These are the sites that often have the most trouble finding membership software that seamlessly allows them to integrate a members-only section or entire membership site into their current online asset. The Magic Members plugin has a few unique design features which makes it a great solution for this purpose.

Magic Members is Built Specifically for the WordPress Platform

The first characteristic that makes Magic Members ideally suited for turning regular sites into fully functioning membership site is it is built specifically for the WordPress platform. A majority of the popular third-party membership site management software isn’t built for a specific platform. Instead they all have additional modules or plugins designed specifically for integration purposes. Since Magic Members is built specifically for the WordPress platform it effectively leverages all of the built-in features and characteristics of WordPress to streamline the integration and setup process. This makes it an ideal solution for websites that already have content managed by the WordPress platform.

Magic Members Makes Permission Setup Easy

Another reason Magic Members is a great solution for turning regular sites into membership sites is because of how the permission set up is designed. Users can simply point-and-click to determine what content is freely available to the public and what is protected behind the membership payment wall. This can be done on a post-by post basis or by selecting specific categories. This eliminates a lot of the legwork typically found in other membership site management software. Additionally, Magic Members supports the new Custom Post Types feature WordPress recently introduced. All of this can be easily accomplished by following the step-by-step instructions included with the purchase of the Magic Members WordPress plugin.

Magic Members Utilizes Custom Widgets and Shortcodes

Another great feature of using this plug-in is the ability to utilize custom widgets and shortcodes. In fact, it includes a variety of custom widgets out-of-the-box including Login, Register, Text, and Status widgets. This streamlines the process of integrating specific membership features into an existing website. Along with managing content, these tools can also be used to protect downloads from being accessed by unauthorized members or guests. This is accomplished the same way you protect content which is by assigning specific permission levels based upon the different levels of access you offer.

There are a number of quality membership site software-based solutions however few of them are designed specifically for the WordPress platform. Magic Members is not only designed specifically for the WordPress platform by effectively leverages many of the tools and capabilities of WordPress to streamline the integration and setup process. This makes it the ideal solution for people who are currently managing a blog or website and want to turn into a membership website.


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Pretty Link Pro Review

Pretty Link Pro Review

Pretty Link Pro is a popular WordPress plugin that has been around for some time.  Its primary purpose is helps you manage all of your links.  It accomplishes this through a variety of different tools and features.  As sharing links continues to become more important, especially through social media platforms, this plugin offers a way to keep track of every link and provide valuable metrics.

A Quick Overview of Pretty Link Pro

The developer behind this plugin has been incredibly active in the WordPress community for quite a while.  This bodes well for the longevity of this plugin.  It is important to remember that there are actually two versions of this plugin available.  Along with Pretty Link Pro, there is also a free version (Pretty Link Lite).  While the free version doesn’t have nearly as many features, it does provide a great way to test out the basic functionality before purchasing the Pro version.

There are currently two different licensing options available for the Pro version.  They are the Blogger Edition ($37) and the Developer Edition ($97).  The primary distinction is how many websites the plugin can be used on.  THE Blogger Edition can only be used on one website while the Developer Edition can be used on an unlimited number of websites, including websites developed for clients.

 Most Prominent Features of Pretty Link Pro

There are a lot of features packed into this plugin but they can all be broken down into four categories – Redirection, Management, Automation, and Sharing.

Link Redirection

Pretty Link Pro allows users to instantly create a number of different types of link redirection.  The most commonly used options are the temporary and cloaked redirection.  Both of these options are great for affiliate marketers because it makes each link look “prettier”.  Another useful feature is the ability to create a 301 (Permanent) link redirection without leaving the WordPress backend.

Link Management

It is important to not undervalue all of the link management tools included in this plugin.  The most commonly used feature is the ability to create custom link slugs, which is what makes them prettier.  Additionally, all of the links being managed can automatically become no-follow links if necessary.  Along with keeping links organized, there are a variety of reports which provide valuable metrics such as conversion reports and Google Analytics tracking.

Automation and Sharing

The automation and sharing features are not the same, but they can overlap in terms of usefulness.  For example, the plugin can automatically replace keyword with predetermined links.  This is incredibly valuable for internal linking and automatically inserting affiliate links.  Additionally, all of the Pretty Links for pages and posts can be automatically shared via social media platforms like Twitter.

Pretty Link Pro has quickly become a must-have for most websites.  It is powerful, yet versatile which makes it a great tool for a variety of different applications.

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Is aMember Still a Good Option for WordPress Websites?

aMember has been around longer than most membership software programs. At first glance, you would assume that it would also be the best. While it does get high marks in many categories, there are still some defects that keep it from dominating the marketplace. With the release of aMember 4.0 a number of changes were made and many of the past issues were addressed. Overall, it is a much better product than the previous version. Here is a closer look at some of the most notable benefits and drawbacks to using aMember as your WordPress membership software.

Benefits of aMember for WordPress Membership Sites

Quality Content Protection

When it comes to overall content protection, aMember is definitely towards the top of the list. One of the biggest issues that many WordPress membership plugins have is that the content is protected exclusively through the WordPress framework. This means that if a member copied a link to a PDF file and shared it with others, then it would be readily accessible to everyone. By entering the direct URL to the PDF, the protections setup within WordPress has been bypassed. aMember allows you to protect files at the folder level. This ensures that entering the direct link will not leak access to protected documents or posts.

Excellent Support

One area where aMember excels is in its customer support. They have a very active community forum. Not only will other aMember users help you solve your problem, but the aMember staff always seems to be helping out as well. On top of the forum, they have also become well known for fast response times. In fact, they will even do your initial aMember install for you at no cost.

Easy to Expand and Customize Your Website Through Plugins

An issue that many membership site scripts have is that they don’t always play nice with other WordPress plugins. This is especially true if they aren’t designed specifically for WordPress. As a result, a number of membership site plugins designed specifically for WordPress have become very popular, such as the Magic Members plugin. For stand-alone membership software, aMember might be the most WordPress compatible in terms of working well with other plugins. This is largely because the entire program is scripted almost entirely in PHP.

Potential Drawbacks of aMember to Keep in Mind

aMember Have a Very High Learning Curve

The most common complaint surrounding aMember is that it is definitely not easy to use straight out of the box. As one of the more mature membership software’s, it has added a large number of features over the years. The end result is a fairly complex program. Once you get used to it, aMember is fairly easy use. At the same time, if you don’t have the extra time to really learn how the software works, then you can run into trouble.

Extra Integration Plugins Can Get Expensive

There are a growing number of plugins that have been developed by aMember that allows it to be integrated with a number of other 3rd party tools. These include: eFront, Invision Board, MyBB, SMF, phpBB3, and vBulletin among others. The problem is that each of these plugins has a price tag of $40.00. This can get expensive really quick, especially when you add in the license fee of $179.95.

Low Quality Affiliate Program

While aMember does offer a built –in affiliate management solution, there is still a lot to be desired. In fact, they even sell a plugin that integrates PostAffiliatePro to use instead of their own affiliate solution. While it can get the job done, it definitely doesn’t look good doing it. If you are serious about recruiting affiliates, then you will likely need to add a 3rd party solution.

Overall, aMember is everything you expect from membership software that has been around for more than a decade. It has a lot of features, is extremely stable, and overall is a quality solution. At the same time, some of the deficiencies are becoming even more glaring as newer WordPress management site plugins are quickly gaining traction and proving to be on-par with aMember in most aspects – especially if you are looking for a solution specifically for a WordPress website.