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A Beginners Guide to WordPress CSS

A Beginners Guide to WordPress CSS

You want your WordPress website to look great on every device and for every visitor but your out-of-the-box WordPress theme only gets you about 90% of the way there.

There are still a few things you’re concerned about — things that CSS could help you fix.

This beginner’s guide to WordPress CSS will give you a walk-through on how to edit CSS in WordPress to help you build a more beautiful, intuitive, and better-performing website. Most CSS classes for WordPress would take you through these same steps.

An Introduction to WordPress Editing

When using WordPress, you can customize CSS using one of three different editors that the service provides. 

Visual Editor

The visual editor is a post and page edit feature of the platform. It has been described as WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). That means everything on the page, as you can see it, is exactly the way it will look to a website visitor.

This is an editor that will allow you to create content without coding. There is a toolbar at the top of the page that is similar to familiar programs like Microsoft Word. You can use the tools found there to alter your text and the appearance of the site. 

There is also an Add Media button which enables you to include images or videos in your post. WordPress plugin developers can also add buttons on your visual editor toolbar to help you create more features and styles for your live site. 

Drag-and-Drop Editor

A Drag-and-Drop Editor is one of the simplest ways to edit your site. It uses an elementary concept as the basis of its platform. You grab something, you pick it up, and you place it somewhere else. 

While drag-and-drop is not a standard WordPress feature, there are several editors that can be installed that will give you this easy-to-use editing platform. 

When using the Drag-and-Drop Editor, you can select an element of your site and drag it to a new location. You effectively drop the element in the desired location. If you’re unhappy with how that looks, you can start over again and move it somewhere else. 

Theme Editing

Theme editing refers to your ability to edit the theme or template of your WordPress website. 

There are two different kinds of themes that you would edit: Parent Theme and Child Theme. The Parent Theme is a full and complete WordPress theme, with all of the proper elements in place. A Child Theme has the look and feel of its Parent Theme, but it can be modified. 

The way you will edit your CSS WordPress theme differs based on which theme you’re using. Visual themes use the Visual Editor while drag-and-drop themes use the Drag-and-Drop Editor. 

For more on editing your WordPress theme, check out “Understanding the WordPress Theme Editor.”

What Does CSS Mean in WordPress?

Your WordPress website is built with a variety of languages including HTML, PHP, CSS, and MySQL. 

For now, we’re going to focus on HTML/CSS.

HTML acts as the content structure for your website (text, images and other media, hyperlinks, etc.) and CSS dictates how that content looks (e.g., colors, fonts, positioning of elements, margin, and padding). 

Let’s use a quick example. 

A simple line of text in HTML might use a <span> tag. But to change the visual characteristics you must use CSS. The <span> only defines the content, not how it should look. 

Here are some examples of visual properties we could change with CSS.

  • Font color
  • Font size
  • Font family
  • Background colors

Imagine it like a house. HTML represents the rooms, layout, and architecture. CSS represents the paint, choice of trim, and flooring. 

CSS gives the house its “look.” Every house has floors, rooms, and walls, but how you paint and arrange those floors, rooms, and walls is what makes the house uniquely yours. CSS can be used to add elements or take others away. You can hide page titles on WordPress with CSS.

Where Do I Find CSS in WordPress?

To find the CSS files for your WordPress theme, look under Appearance then select Editor and select the file marked style.css. 

From this window, you can edit the files directly and then Save

An Introduction to CSS Syntax and Selectors

CSS is comprised of style rules that are interpreted by the browser, and then applied to the elements of your document. 

The Parts of a Style Rule

  • Selector − A selector is an HTML tag at which a style will be applied. This could be any tag like <h1> or <table>.
  • Property − A property is a particular characteristic of an HTML tag that can be changed. An example of this might be “color” for text elements. 
  • Value − Values are assigned to properties. For example, color property can have value either red or #F1F1F1. View the complete Mozilla CSS reference to view all properties and possible values for each property.

Syntax

The syntax of CSS is a series of rules consisting of a selector and a declaration block. 

The selector block points the code toward an HTML element. The declaration block changes the property of that selector based on a series of values. 

selector { property: value }

To add more rules (as many as you want), it is standard practice to give each property, value, and declaration its own line. That would look something like

selector {
  property1: value;
  property2: value;
}

Selectors

There are many different selectors you can identify through syntax in order to change the properties of an HTML element. 

Some of them include:

  • Type selectors
  • Universal selectors
  • Descendant selectors
  • Class selectors
  • ID selectors
  • Child selectors
  • Attribute selectors

How Do I Use CSS in WordPress?

You can use CSS in WordPress to control

  • Color, size, and style of text,
  • Spacing between paragraphs and headers,
  • How images and other media look,
  • How your site looks on different screen sizes, and more. 

1. Control the Color, Size and Style of Text

First, you would want to decide on a HEX or an RGB color value that matches the color you want. You can use a free tool like Canva to see a number of different values for colors on the spectrum.

To target all paragraph tags (<p>) we need to write the CSS rule so that the selector targets those <p> elements.

p {
  color: value-will-go-here;
}

Let’s pick a nice red out from a color wheel. We’ll use #ea1520. 

That would mean the rule is

p {
  color: #ea1520;
}

And we’re good to go! 

Add that to your theme stylesheet (style.css) and all the <p> tags should be red once you reload the page.

Now, what if we also want to change the size and the font style adding elements like bold or italics? We just need to write rules for all of those properties on their own lines in the same target above. 

p {
  color: #ea1520;
  font-size: 26px;
  font-style: bold;
}

The documentation for the font-size and font-style CSS rules can be found on their appropriate documentation pages at developer.mozilla.org

2. Control Spacing Between Paragraphs, Headers, and More

The colors and sizes all look great — but what about the spacing? 

Is everything too cluttered? Or worse, is everything way too far apart and making the website hard for people to navigate?

This is where you want to embrace the use of the margin property. 

The margin is the space around an element, including the top, bottom, left and right. 

If you want more space between headings and the paragraph that comes after them, you would want to increase the bottom margin on that heading tag.

The Mozilla documentation for the margin property has an interactive example that lets you test several margin rules on a particular element to see how it reacts on the page. 

Once you understand the margin property well, let’s write a rule that adds margin-bottoms to every heading.

h3 {
  margin-bottom: 25px;
}

Now our H3 headings should have at least 25 pixels (px) of empty space below them for all screen sizes.

3. Control How Your Images Look

Through CSS you can affect the placement of your images along with the borders around them, how tall and wide they are, and more. 

Here are some examples of coding that you can use for the borders, scaling, and centering of your images.  

Border:
img {
  border: 1px solid #ddd;
  border-radius: 4px;
  padding: 5px;
  width: 150px;
}

<img src="http://blog.nexcess.net/paris.jpg" alt="Paris">

Image scaling:
img {
  max-width: 100%;
  height: auto;
}

Image centering:
img {
  display: block;
  margin-left: auto;
  margin-right: auto;
  width: 50%;
}

4. Control How Your Site Looks on Different Devices and Screen Sizes

You’re able to control the look of your site across various devices. That’s important in today’s climate with users accessing web content through their computers, cell phones, and tablets. 

Below is an example of CSS code that can rearrange your page for a device with a maximum page width of 480 pixels. 

@media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) {
        div#wrapper {
            width: 400px;
        }

        div#header {
            background-image: url(media-queries-phone.jpg);
            height: 93px;
            position: relative;
        }

        div#header h1 {
            font-size: 140%;
        }

        #content {
            float: none;
            width: 100%;
        }

        #navigation {
            float:none;
            width: auto;
        }
    }

How Do I Edit CSS in WordPress?

You can edit CSS in WordPress manually via an FTP client or with the assistance of a plugin.

Adding CSS to WordPress Manually

In order to manually add CSS to WordPress, you’d have to be using a Child Theme which is more malleable than a Parent Theme and can be changed easily. Custom CSS that you add to a Child Theme will override the styles set down by the parent. 

Here’s how to add custom CSS to a Child Theme:

  • Use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to the site. 
  • Locate the root folder. Usually, it’s called “www” or features your site’s name
  • Once there, navigate to the wp-content/themes directory where you’ll find folders for all of your themes. Select the Child Theme you set up. 
  • Right-click on the file and select View/Edit. The file will open with your text editor. 
  • Add your WordPress custom CSS directly to the theme. 
  • Save the changes and close the editor.

Adding CSS to WordPress With a Plugin

There are a number of plugins that you can use to add additional CSS to your WordPress site or defer unused CSS from WordPress. 

The Top 5 CSS Plugins for WordPress

  1. Yellow Pencil
  2. SiteOrigin CSS
  3. Simple CSS
  4. Theme Junkie Custom CSS
  5. Custom CSS Pro

Using any of these options, you’ll be able to gain access to the backend of your site and add your custom CSS WordPress code. Other plugins are able to complete advanced functions like optimize CSS delivery on WordPress using style.css files. 

In Conclusion

This walk-through to CSS for WordPress provides a simple guide for beginners much like early WordPress CSS classes would. 

With CSS, there’s always more to learn and more exciting ways you can use it. Our recommendation is to start small. For instance, make a simple change to your WordPress theme which defines the color of your footer’s background. If you find your WordPress CSS not updating, go back and re-read these sections to get a better handle on what went wrong. 

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to reach out to our CSS experts!

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WordCamps Are Going Virtual – Here’s What Happened at WordCamp Denver

WordCamps Are Going Virtual – Here’s What Happened at WordCamp Denver

If you’ve never been to a WordCamp before you’re missing the best part of the WordPress world. While the software is great – it’s the size and giving nature of the community that makes it special.

I sat down with my friend Nathan Ingram – who has been to 50-60 WordCamps – to discuss what virtual WordCamps are like, some of the advantages of WordCamps going virtual, some of the things to watch out for, and our best advice to get the most out of attending a WordCamp.

Maximize Your Screen Size

Virtual WordCamps are great but there’s a few things you might not expect. One of the first is what they actually look like. For WordCamp Denver, we tried to show the speaker, their title, and their slides. 

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All of this is great as long as you have a big enough screen to make sure their slides are legible.

Tip: make sure you watch virtual WordCamps on a laptop or desktop.

Attend the “Soft” Sessions

For WordCamp Denver we added a few “soft” sessions like yoga on Friday and How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee Saturday morning.

While these aren’t strictly WordPress related, they’re a great way to connect with your community. The chat was very active during both sessions and people happily shared non-WordPress things with each other.

Tip: You’ll always have another email to answer. Instead, take the opportunity to connect with your community both before, after, and during the event.

Bookmark Your Favorite Sessions

For WordCamp Denver we had three tracks going on both days. There is always a ton of great content and you won’t be able to watch it all.

I’ll admit it – I’m lazy and if I don’t have to prepare for an event I won’t. But if you can spend even 10 minutes reviewing the schedule & speakers ahead of time, you should be able to find the sessions most relevant to you.

And since this is a virtual event you don’t have to go all day. You can conserve your energy and pop in for the sessions most relevant for you and then go back to regular work or life.

Tip: Bookmark your favorite sessions and schedule your day around them.

Ask Your Questions As They Come Up

One thing you might not realize is that there’s a 20-30 second delay between the speaker talking and you seeing the video on your end. That means it can be really hard to come up with good questions when the speaker asks.

Instead you can ask questions throughout the talk by dropping them in the chat. A moderator will collect them, prioritize them, and ask them at the end. This makes asking questions really efficient and you won’t forget a great question if you drop it in the chat immediately.

As a side benefit sometimes the attendees will answer your questions or help you elaborate. 

Tip: Ask questions as soon as they come up. It helps the dialogue in the chat & will make sure those questions won’t be forgotten.

Feel Free to Check Different Tracks

One thing that’s hard to do at a physical event is to switch tracks. I don’t want to step over someone, open doors, or maybe even step in front of the camera.

I kept three tabs open almost all day and had all three live streams running and I flipped back and forth muting & unmuting the different tracks. It let me hear a little bit from each speaker and then join the session that made the most sense for me.

Tip: You’re allowed to watch all of the tracks and pick your favorite. You won’t hurt any speakers’ feelings by switching tracks and you won’t disturb anyone – so do it!

Focus on One Or Two Changes

There’s a lot of really good sessions at a WordCamp and I think Nathan sums it up perfectly:

“WordCamps are like a firehose…”

People often leave WordCamps with notebooks full of ideas. But those exciting ideas can easily turn into procrastination because you don’t know where to start.

Tip: After you’ve finished watching a WordCamp, focus on implementing just 1 or 2 things. If you focus on 1 or 2 things you’ll be able to get them done.

Getting The Most out of a Virtual WordCamp

Virtual WordCamps are still sorting themselves out and the format will likely change as we move forward. While some things aren’t as easy to do as they were before – there are also a ton of benefits for virtual events.

With these tips we hope you can get the most out of the WordCamp near you!

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How Your WordPress Blog Can Benefit From Custom Taxonomies

How Your WordPress Blog Can Benefit From Custom Taxonomies

When you think about blogging, it’s easy to pick a theme and immediately focus on creating content. Unfortunately, because the newest content is typically displayed first, as a blog post gets older, it slowly disappears into the archives—and very few people think about their blog archives.

Here’s the problem: Most of those older blog posts still have value! They are evergreen content that visitors would find helpful, it’s just hard to find them.

Lucky for us, WordPress has default taxonomies—categories and tags—that are used to classify and organize blog posts with relevant terms. Each category and tag creates an archive of all content assigned to it. This is how many websites organize their blog posts.

What is a taxonomy?

“Taxonomy” is just a fancy way of describing whichever system you use to organize and classify information. 

While categories and tags work great for most sites, if you’re a content creator, chances are, you can do better. You can create custom taxonomies in WordPress that use terms relevant to what your blog is about. For example, if you have a podcast, instead of using categories and tags to sort episodes, you might want to use taxonomies like guest, topic, industry, or type.

How does it work?

Clear taxonomies sort your content, create high-value archives, and improve site search results, especially when paired with solutions like Search WP or ElasticPress.

Here are a few examples to show you how it works:

Example 1: Recipe Blogs And Food Blogs

Food bloggers are a perfect use case for custom taxonomies, as they write about and share recipes for specific meal types, diet types, and ingredients. With custom taxonomies, instead of generic categories and tags, you can use classifications relevant to food-related content.

Three sample custom taxonomies for food bloggers would be:

  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, drinks
  • Diets: vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, keto, Whole30
  • Ingredients: eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, sausage, cheddar cheese

Example 2: Travel Blogs

Travel sites can also benefit from custom taxonomies by using them to classify content with travel-specific terms. From city, state, county, and country, to types of trips like road trips or resort vacations, there are a plethora of classifications to choose from.

Three sample custom taxonomies for travel bloggers would be:

  • Activities: hiking, biking, camping, fishing, rock climbing, dining, beach combing
  • Places: restaurant, museum, national park, state park, beach, hotel, amusement park
  • Type: road trip, day trip, resort vacation, weekend getaway, week-long vacation

Example 3: Fashion Blogs

Like food blogs and travel blogs, another type of blog that should be using custom taxonomies are fashion blogs. From brands and retail stores, to pieces of clothing and accessories, fashion bloggers are already classifying their content. Custom taxonomies just make it even easier.

Four sample custom taxonomies for fashion bloggers would be:

  • Clothing: pants, blouse, tank top, maxi skirt, shorts, skirt, cocktail dress, sundress
  • Accessories: necklace, earrings, bracelet, handbag, hat, sunglasses
  • Brands: Prada, Old Navy, Forever 21, H&M, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Gucci, Express
  • Occasion: business, casual, cocktail, formal, on the town, athleisure, workout

Custom Taxonomies Classify Content With Relevant Terms

As you can see, categories and tags are perfectly fine general form of content classification, but when you leverage custom taxonomies, you can sort and organize your blog content with relevant tags that are specific to the content you are creating, which will in turn, improve your visitors’ on site experience and help them find the content they are looking for quickly.

If you publish new blog posts regularly and you have a good amount of traffic, you know that site speed and performance are critical to your long-term success and search engine rankings. With Hostdedi Managed WordPress hosting, your blog will run lightning fast so users & search robots can access your content quickly.

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What is WordCamp? – Hostdedi Blog

What is WordCamp? – Hostdedi Blog

If you’ve never heard of  WordCamp before you might think it involves playing lots of Scrabble in tents in the woods. But WordCamps actually have nothing to do with camping & nothing specific to do with words or spelling.

A WordCamp is (in non-pandemic times) an in-person gathering of WordPress fans in a specific geographic region with the goal to learn more about WordPress.

Who is WordCamp For?

WordCamps are for anyone who wants to learn more about WordPress. You could be a blogger looking for the best ways to edit, schedule, and update your posts. Or you could be a plugin or theme developer seeking information on security, performance, and best practices. Or you could be interested in starting a business on WordPress – like someone who wants to start their own WooCommerce store.

In short: if you want to use WordPress, you can go to a WordCamp. There’s no secret handshake and no entry test. Just come to a WordCamp and mingle with fellow WordPress fans!

What Topics are Covered at WordCamps?

WordCamps truly cover anything and everything related to WordPress. If you want to browse some of the content yourself, you can check out WordPress.tv where most WordCamps upload their videos. But to give you just a taste, here are talks you might see at your local WordCamp:

Beginner Topics

Blogging / Writing / Content Marketing

Business

Development

Design

WordCamps are Locally Organized

Every WordCamp is a little different and can have a different focus. That’s because they’re locally organized by volunteers. Each local community will have a different focus. So your local WordCamp will focus on issues that matter in that community.

Meet Your Local Community

WordCamps also feature speakers from your local community. You won’t be learning from a plugin developer from New York City or San Francisco. You’ll be learning from someone who lives down the street.

That way, it’s much easier to reach out to them, partner with them, or even hire them. To share a personal story, I met Brian Richards at WordCamp Chicago in 2013. We kept in touch for years, shared advice back and forth, and in 2018 when the stars aligned, we launched a collaborative project called WooSesh which we’re still running today.

How Much Does It Cost To Attend WordCamp?

If you’ve been to other tech conferences you know they can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Tech conferences are great but incredibly expensive.

Something that sets WordCamps apart from other events is that it’s organized by volunteers and there’s no corporation trying to make a ton of money. That means they’re incredibly cheap for attendees. WordCamps are limited to $25 per day, so if you have a three day WordCamp the maximum it costs is $75.

One of my first technology conferences was three days and it cost $2,000! Clearly, you get incredible value from a WordCamp.

WordCamps in a Pandemic

Up until this point I’ve focused on what WordCamps are like in typical times, but we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so WordCamps have become virtual.

Obviously, an online conference feels different. You don’t have those hallway chats like you do at an in-person event. But they’re also more flexible. You can view the schedule, and jump in for just a session or two if you like. 

And of course you don’t have to drive or reserve a hotel room. This means they’re a lot cheaper. And virtual WordCamps are entirely free.

That’s right – a big fat zero dollars.

Find Your Local WordCamp

Are you ready to try a WordCamp? You can find a schedule of WordCamps on the WordCamp Central website.

You can also try WordCamp Denver which is virtual (and free) June 26-27.

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Choosing the Best Free WordPress Popup Plugin for Your Site

Choosing the Best Free WordPress Popup Plugin for Your Site

WordPress popup plugins are a must for savvy website owners who want to catch visitors’ attention quickly. Fortunately, popup plugins are also cheap or even free for users to install on their sites. 

With the large selection of free WordPress popup plugins has to offer us, it can be hard to make the right choice. We’re here to spare you the frustration of testing every free WordPress plugin out there — use our list to simplify your research. 

What Is a WordPress Popup Plugin? 

A plugin adds functionality to your WordPress website. Popup plugins allow you to customize, deploy and manage plugins to help with your marketing. 

Many different software publishers have created their own popup plugins and made them available for direct download and installation to your site. 

How Can I Find the Best WordPress Popup Plugin Maker? 

To find the right popup plugin for you, think about how you’ll be using popups. Refer to the list below to learn more about some of the free popup plugins available for WordPress and decide on one to try out yourself. 

Sumo

Sumo

Grow your email list with the free Sumo popup plugin. Create timed plugins and view metrics for your popup’s performance from inside Sumo to see how well your marketing is doing and make adjustments. 

Sumo has a free version offering most of the tools you’ll need including access to all of the apps inside the platform (as long as your site has less than one million visits per month). If you’re interested in premium support, you’ll need to pay $20 or more a month for access, depending on your website traffic. Traffic beyond one million visits per month requires an enterprise account. 

For site owners who don’t necessarily want premium support and who still want advanced apps and analytics, the free Sumo plugin is tough to beat. 

Popup Maker

Popup Maker

Although it’s free, Popup Maker offers unlimited popups and includes user targeting via cookies and trigger conditions. This plugin provides startups with many of the same tools and tricks that many people would expect only large enterprise websites to have. For your business, it may give you a helpful edge against your competition. 

The $16 per month Extensions Bundle and $15 a month Individual Extensions accounts offer extras such as use on unlimited websites, advanced integrations with other helpful apps, and more. 

Mailchimp Popups

There are many different types of Mailchimp popup options, so we’ll review a few of the more common choices here. 

Mailchimp’s Own Popups

Mailchimp

From within the Mailchimp platform, you can create a popup form and have Mailchimp automatically install to your page or you can generate HTML code that you can paste into your WordPress page. Which option you choose may depend on whether or not you want to do this part yourself. 

MC4WP

MC4WP

MC4WP allows you to design your own forms and popups or link to existing forms on your site. This plugin gives you a variety of different options for how you use Mailchimp and WordPress together, giving sites more flexibility. You can create an unlimited number of forms and direct visitors anywhere on your site after they respond to your popup. 

MailChimp Forms by Optin Cat

MailChimp Forms by Optin Cat

Optin Cat has a free plugin that lets you create and use Mailchimp popups. You can use analytics with the free version, but the premium version allows you to unlock more design choices so you can customize your popup to your site. 

Icegram

Icegram

Icegram gives users a lot for free — unlimited campaigns, unlimited popups, and zero branding. This plugin does a lot more than create and manage popups. It has helpful templates and analytics tools to enable you to get the most from your popup marketing. 

From there, Icegram also offers you the tools to collect leads, essentially giving your site a light version of a CRM. For $97 a year, you can upgrade to the Pro version and get additional analytical tools and themes. 

GetSiteControl

GetSiteControl

A variety of different popup and widget styles are available with GetSiteControl, making it easy to find a format that will fit your website. 

To unlock the full features of GetSiteControl beyond a free trial, you’ll pay $9 and up per month, depending on your website traffic. Many features are available with all of the GetSiteControl plans — in contrast with other popular popup plugins which typically don’t include things like exit-intent popups and unlimited users. 

Optin Forms

Optin Forms

Create, customize, and design popups that integrate with popular email software such as Mailchimp, GetResponse and iContact. When you’re ready to post, create a shortcode or have the plugin post your popup form for you. 

The Optin Forms plugin is a good choice if you’re creating a popup to help you build your email subscriber list. It’s also completely free. 

Hustle

Hustle Plugin

Hustle is a versatile popup plugin that lets you collect leads, build your email list, and target popups to user intent. Even if your visitors are using ad-blocking software, Hustle has popups that can reach your customers.  

The Hustle plugin works without a hosting membership from Hustle’s developer, WPMU DEV, but a $49 a month membership unlocks full Hustle features and other apps and bonuses you may use with your website. 

Yeloni Exit Popup

Yeloni Exit Popup

Make widgets and exit popups while still keeping the user experience positive for your visitors. Yeloni has a lot of advanced features (with a low price tag) which let you use unlimited contacts and even receive support from the Yeloni team with the free version. 

Upgraded plans cost $10 a month and up, depending on the version you use and whether you need a license for a large number of sites. 

Layered Popups

Layered Popups

Layered Popups for WordPress lets you create animated, multi-layered popups. If you want to create exquisitely-designed animated popups or craft layered popups that are more a part of your site’s content than the usual ad or slider, Layered Popups may be for you. 

A standard license for the Layered Popups plugin is $21 and gets you access to design, popup creation, management, and analytics features. 

How to Use WordPress Popups in Your Marketing 

Popups in WordPress can have different uses, and with advanced user targeting, new uses for popups are developed by site owners all the time. Many websites use a popup to collect email addresses to build subscriber lists for newsletters and special offers, although use for email marketing is by no means the only way you can put popups to work. 

How to Build a WordPress Popup 

If you want to know how to add a simple WordPress popup to your website, then the tutorial or walkthrough for your plugin will likely have the answer for you. 

Generally, all you have to do for a simple popup is designate which inputs you need from users (such as name and email address) and which design choices fit your needs (like popup text, size, color, shading, graphics). These popup plugins are generally straightforward to use without advanced technical skills, making them ideal for WordPress beginners. 

Here are a few ideas for how to use your popup plugin more effectively. 

Contact Forms

Create contact forms for your website that allow visitors to quickly get in touch with you. These popups forward user information directly to your email so you have a stream of new leads when you’re ready for them. 

They work best if you give people an incentive to get in touch — a newsletter, free offer, digital download, discount code, or another carrot to encourage them to hand over their information and request contact from you.

Email Lists

As you build your business, you’ll probably also be putting your email newsletter or email list together. Including a popup on your site for this purpose makes it easier to start collecting opt-in subscribers to your list. 

You could connect this popup to user tracking and exit intent rules, allowing your site to present this popup at precisely the right time. 

A/B Testing 

As you develop your marketing strategy with popups, you can use a/b testing to compare the results of different popup designs and copy combinations. Many popup plugins include the ability to test two different popups with the same target demographic. This helps you make a clear decision and have an obvious winner. 

For instance, let’s say your two popups say “Contact Us Today” and “Let Us Help You.” Which one gets a better response? Run them both and find out. Then, pick the best one and run it full time. Keep testing new designs this way and you’ll learn more about your website visitors and what really makes them tick. Change up design, rewrite copy, use different offers, etc. until you get the results you want. 

Is Your WordPress Popup Working? 

With analytics, you’ll know very soon. Be sure to keep your WordPress popup plugin working properly by updating it whenever the developer releases a new version. Review the built-in analytics with your software to determine if your popups are resonating with your audience. 

Compare data with traffic and other website analytics, and you’ll be ready to start troubleshooting trends or fine-tuning your popups to get better results. The important thing is to see this as a continuous improvement project. Test, refine, and keep going.

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The Basics of WordPress Automation Marketing

The Basics of WordPress Automation Marketing

Have you ever felt stressed about the amount of time that tedious, repetitive marketing tasks require every single day? Trust me, you’re not alone. 

Today, we want to give you the gift of two magical words: marketing automation. Whether you run a basic WordPress site or a full-fledged online brand, marketing automation will help streamline your marketing efforts and free up your time for other important tasks. 

And once you know how it works, you may actually believe it’s magic!

What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation executes marketing campaigns across numerous sales channels with no action needed by a marketer. In practice, it accomplishes two things.

  • It lets you unload repetitive tasks that usually fall under your marketing purview.
  • It lets you maximize your marketing efficiency.

What Is Marketing Automation Primarily Used For?

Marketing automation has three main uses: sales, workflow optimization, and marketing intelligence.

Sales

Sales is the most important use for marketing automation. With an automated campaign, you can engage (or re-engage) leads passively. Meanwhile, you’re capturing sales that might otherwise have fallen through the cracks. So marketing automation is a tool to boost sales as well as your return on marketing investment.

Workflow Automation

Marketing takes a lot of your time and energy. But with marketing automation, you can streamline your marketing efforts so that things like budgeting, digital asset management, and other marketing tasks can run independently. Then you can put the time you’ve saved into other aspects of your business.

Marketing Intelligence

Automated campaigns often rely on customer ID numbers and URL tracking codes to monitor a customer’s conversion journey. Additionally, most automated campaigns are trigger-based, meaning your marketing materials are delivered after a customer meets a certain behavioral trigger. When combined with A/B testing, automated marketing campaigns can tell you a lot about how customers and leads are engaging with your brand and inform new marketing campaigns. 

What Is an Automated Campaign?

An automated campaign is a trigger-based marketing campaign built with a marketing automation tool. An example would be an automated email campaign that sends an email to a subscriber when new content similar to content they’ve already read or shown interest in is published.

There are several different automated campaigns with common ones being email, social media, and live chat.

What Do Marketing Automation Tools Do?

Marketing automation tools are meant to offload some of the more repetitive and tedious aspects of marketing. Every tool has its own function, or set of functions, depending on what the tool was designed to do. For instance, Mailchimp and Drip are marketing automation tools for email, allowing you to set up automated email marketing campaigns. Similarly, Buffer is an automated marketing tool for social media, giving you the ability to schedule social posts and monitor their engagement data.

What Is the Best Marketing Automation Tool?

The best marketing automation tool is the one that addresses your most critical marketing challenges. So let’s go over some of the most useful tools for the key aspects of marketing automation.

WordPress Marketing Automation Tools for Email

Marketing automation can be particularly useful when you have a mailing list, subscriber list, or if you frequently send emails to your customers. With email marketing automation, you can more effectively generate and warm leads for your website or business.

Drip Marketing Automation Plugin

Drip Marketing Automation Plugin

Offering a highly popular plugin, Drip was conceived as a comprehensive eCommerce customer relationship management platform. However, the Drip Marketing Automation Plugin is focused primarily on automating your email marketing campaigns. The plugin can be used for free with up to 100 subscribers, after which you’ll need a Drip subscription starting at $49 per month for unlimited emails and up to 2,500 subscribers. The platform for notable for the in-depth customer data it collects and analyzes.

MailChimp for WordPress

Mailchimp for WordPress

Mailchimp can help you build your audience and automate marketing without needing a plugin. But with a third-party plugin like MC4WP, you can more easily take advantage of Mailchimp’s more diverse features and integrations. For instance, with the MC4WP plugin, you can integrate Mailchimp with such tools as Ninja Forms, BuddyPress, and WooCommerce. Mailchimp itself is free to use, although some features (email templates, A/B testing, etc.) require a subscription starting at $9 per month.

Groundhogg

Groundhogg

As an all-in-one WordPress and eCommerce marketing automation platform, Groundhogg lets you craft compelling emails without leaving your WordPress dashboard. It also lets you build automated customer journeys just as you would with an expensive analytics tool. Using custom combinations of 18 different Groundhogg actions, you can convert leads more efficiently. With plenty of add-ons and integrations, Groundhogg’s core features are free although a Groundhogg subscription starting at $7 per year, is necessary for certain integrations.

WPMktgEngine

WPMktgEngine

WPMktgEngine is half email marketing automation tool and half customer relationship management platform. It excels at both, and offers tons of configuration options for your automated email triggers. Meanwhile, the plugin continuously collects customer data to provide you with an in-depth understanding of what’s driving conversion. It even lets you craft engaging emails from your WordPress dashboard. WPMktgEngine requires a subscription that starts at $44 per month (paid annually) for up to 2,500 leads.

WordPress Marketing Automation Tools for Live Chat

Traditionally, live chat tools require someone to be actively monitoring incoming messages. But a live chat marketing automation can help mitigate those shortcomings while directly your audience in real time.

HelpCrunch

Helpcrunch

Though billed as a comprehensive sales and customer support platform, HelpCrunch’s standout feature is its live chat widget. You add the chat widget to your site, and then HelpCrunch routes messages from customers to the corresponding messaging app so you can respond anytime, anywhere. A feature called AutoPilot ensures that when you’re unavailable, a bot will respond to your leads, collecting their contact info for a follow-up. To use the live chat feature, you need a HelpCrunch subscription which starts at $15 per month per team member.

Jumplead Marketing Software

Jumplead Marketing Software

Jumplead is a live chat service with a WordPress plugin that is well suited to WordPress marketing automation. It shows you who is on your site so you can engage them directly. The plugin also collects contact information so that those you chat with can be integrated with your mailing list and other marketing efforts. After a 14-day free trial, a Jumplead subscription starts at $49 per month for up to 3,000 monthly visitors and up to 2,000 contacts.

Marketing Automation Tools for Social Media

Building an audience on social media requires a large investment of time and energy. Social media marketing automation is a way for you to get the most out of that investment by automating social shares, re-shares, and other related capabilities.

Buffer

Buffer

The purpose of Buffer is to reduce time spent sharing content on social media. Automatically add new posts to your Buffer queue using the Buffer-recommended third-party WordPress plugin, or by using Zapier to connect the two platforms directly. With a free Buffer account, you can automate up to 10 posts between up to three social accounts per month. If you need more social accounts and posts, Buffer subscriptions start at $15 per month for eight social accounts and up to 100 posts.

IFTTT

IFTTT

Even though it doesn’t connect to WordPress, IFTTT provides a ton of useful applets with which you can set up triggerable events between different platforms. It even offers a collection of applets for marketing. With IFTTT, you can make sure the profile photo for each of your social media accounts is the same across, document all your Instagram posts in a Google Sheets spreadsheet, and track tweets using a specific hashtag. It’s a lot of power in a tool that’s completely free to use.

Revive Old Post

Revive Old Post

Revive Social offers two great plugins for lead generation, one of which is Revive Old Post. The purpose of the plugin is to periodically re-share existing content on social media so that it continues to drive traffic to your site. Besides periodically re-sharing existing content, you can also set it to share your content immediately after publishing on up to 50 different social accounts. Revive Old Post requires an annual subscription that starts at $75 for a single site.

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Site?

Whether we’re talking about the investment of your own time or a paid employee’s time, marketing can quickly become quite expensive. Especially when you’re looking to grow or scale your business. As the saying goes, time is money. 

With marketing automation, you gain back some of the expense of marketing while maximizing your return on investment.

Make Hostdedi Your Partner for WordPress Marketing Automation

Hostdedi can help you build a fast, efficient, successful website with our Managed WordPress hosting & Managed WooCommerce hosting.

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Happy 17th Birthday WordPress – Hostdedi Blog

Happy 17th Birthday WordPress – Hostdedi Blog

Today WordPress turns 17 years old. If you’ve been in web development a long time you’ll know that the only thing that stays the same is how fast things change. 

Just since I started dabbling in web development in college all of these happened:

  • We learned how to lay things out with HTML tables
  • Then we learned how to use CSS for styling and layouts
  • We learned how to use Javascript for interactive elements
  • Then came Javascript frameworks like Prototype which was quickly eclipsed by jQuery
  • Then server side languages became really popular like ASP & PHP
  • The world moved onto Ruby on Rails and Python for a bit and it seems like React and JavaScript frameworks are having a comeback

The web world is constantly moving and most technologies only last 2-3 years before people abandon the technology for something new & shiny. But that’s most technologies, and today we’re talking about WordPress, which turns 17 years old. One more year and it can buy lottery tickets.

What Makes WordPress so Special

WordPress isn’t just surviving. It’s thriving. According to W3Techs WordPress powers 36% of the internet and it’s still rising. 🤯

So today I want to discuss what makes WordPress so special. Why does WordPress thrive while other technologies – even the most popular – only last a couple years?

I reached out to some of my long time WordPress friends to find out.

Democratize Everything

I love WordPress because it pioneered the democratization of the web. Anyone, even people who can’t code, can stand up a simple website, a magazine, or even a store using WordPress. Looking towards the future is exciting because now that we have everyone publishing, the next set of interesting problems come up for us to solve: how do we best deliver this content? How do we make this experience not only democratic, but also delightful? How do we improve?

Christie Chirinos – Product Manager for Managed WooCommerce hosting

WordPress made it possible for anyone to publish. Because WordPress is open source & GPL licensed you don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. You don’t need to get approval from a board, submit an application, or explain to anyone what you’re doing.

You can set up WordPress on a host and start building.

I love that WordPress is versatile enough to serve content creators, store builders, and big businesses while at the same time providing the warm hug of a unique collaborative social community.

Mendel Kurland, Agency Developer Advocate

Mendel Kurland, who many of you know if you’ve been to WordCamps in the past 5 years,appreciates the versatility. WordPress was born a blog and it evolved to sell t-shirts, manage memberships, and power enterprise businesses. It’s incredibly flexible which is what makes it so appealing.

WordPress is whatever you make it – you can keep it super simple or build something exceptionally complex while still maintaining its ease of use. The flexibility empowers you to scale as big as you want, when you want, and how you want. Also, when you use it, you’re joined by one of the most diverse communities in the world. With an enormous global community and more than 300 local communities, it’s easy to find, share, and collaborate with other people who love WordPress as much as you do.

Jess Frick, Product Manager for Managed WordPress

If you want to make a blog chronicling bread baking  🍞 during a pandemic go for it. If you want to start your eCommerce empire selling bread machines, go for it. And if you’re just hungry for warm oven-baked-bread (as I am ✋) then start your own photo blog where you eat bread and post pictures of it. WordPress does it all. 

Once this pandemic is over, I strongly recommend you check out your local WordPress community. The code behind WordPress is only half the magic. The rest is in the community.

Opportunities & Growth

WordPress as a software tool has given me a career I never thought existed. WordPress as a community has given me a life I never thought I would be able to have.

Andrew Norcross, Senior Engineer & Developer Advocate

There’s an entire ecosystem built in & around WordPress and if you look, you’ll be able to find a place where you can sell your skills and expertise. WordPress has a thriving community where designers recommend copywriters who recommend website builders who recommend hosting companies who recommend premium plugins.

The industry is growing and it’s incredibly open. We’re all here to support each other.

Financial Freedom

It’s pretty gauche to quote yourself so I won’t add a quote of my own, but I will add something important that builds on the previous point.

WordPress has enabled me to constantly experiment. Over the years I’ve:

  • Sold websites as a freelancer
  • Sold both Ninja Forms & WooCommerce plugins
  • Wrote 3 books about WooCommerce
  • Helped organize both in-person and online conferences

I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to work in an industry where everyone is experimenting. I’ve been able to experiment and play with WordPress on the weekends and evenings and earn a little extra money. And while the money is great, it’s really that extra knowledge that’s helped me. If you like learning and making a little money while you do so there’s still so much untapped potential.

WordPress is Special

WordPress is special. Not just to the people who work at WordPress companies but to people who want to build a website, run a store, develop a career, and people who want to belong in a community.

So, from all the WordPress nerds here at Hostdedi, Happy Birthday, WordPress!

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My Secret Weapon Training Clients on WordPress

My Secret Weapon Training Clients on WordPress

At the end of every WordPress project, after the final website is launched into the world, there is one final task to complete: educating the client on how to use WordPress. The length and depth of the training depends on not only the client’s technical savvy and familiarity with WordPress, but also the complexity of the website itself.

When it comes to educating clients on how to use WordPress, there are several common ways freelancers and agencies fall short with clients:

  • They fail to account for the depth of training that will be needed based on the client’s knowledge and complexity of the site, so the cost of the training is not properly accounted for in the client agreement.
  • They try to cram all of the training into one single training session and it is rushed and stressful.
  • They cover too much and the client feels overwhelmed, and begins to tune out.
  • They don’t prepare the client for the training sessions and properly set expectations about what can be achieved.
  • They start from scratch and reinvent the wheel with every client.
  • They are surprised by the client showing up to a website training with members of their team—and now they’re teaching a group instead of an individual.

When starting out my own agency, I unfortunately experienced all of these scenarios which used up valuable time, added stress to my day, and made it harder for my clients to do what they wanted to do. 

As I worked to establish repeatable systems and processes, I created a client management system to improve the client experience and increase profitability. As part of that process, I began to explore options to not only deliver better WordPress training to clients but make it more enjoyable, engaging, and stress-free.

My goal was to:

  • Provide detailed, consistent WordPress training (no matter who was delivering it).
  • Ensure all clients have a baseline understanding of how WordPress works.
  • Shorten the WordPress training sessions to no more than 60 minutes, including client Q&A.
  • Reduce the total number of training sessions per client.
  • Reduce the amount of beginner questions asked by clients during the training.
  • Reduce the amount of support clients required in the 30 days post-launch.

WordPress Training Videos

One of the solutions I came up with was offering my clients a set of WordPress training videos that would take care of the basics. 

The idea was that these pre-recorded videos would get the clients up to speed on how to use WordPress and I would then only be responsible for providing training on the custom features created for their unique website and answering their questions. I also had the idea to provide all clients who sign a monthly support agreement continued access to the videos as a bonus.

But here’s the thing: 

I didn’t have time to create all of the WordPress training videos I needed. I didn’t have the right equipment to do it. And I didn’t want to be responsible for recreating them every time WordPress pushed out an update.

Luckily, that’s when I discovered WP101. 

With the WP101 Plugin you can provide clients 31 WordPress training videos right inside their WordPress dashboard, which is awesome. But what I love most about WP101 is that you don’t have to use the plugin. Instead, you can choose to embed the WP101 WordPress training videos on your website with the white label option, which keeps clients coming back to your site over and over again.

How I Leverage The WP101 Videos

For several years, the WP101 suite of WordPress Training Videos—which now includes Gutenberg—has been an integral part of my client website training process. Leveraging the WP101 videos has not only saved countless hours of time but provided more value for my clients while helping boost profits.

Let me explain…

STEP 1: Introduce The WordPress Videos

I introduce the collection of WordPress videos to my client during the development stage of the website build, providing them with a secret URL and a password. While my team is building out the site, I ask the client to watch all of the videos—each less than 5 minutes in length.

STEP 2: Make The Videos A Prerequisite

When planning the official website launch, I set a date for the WordPress training session with my client. At this time I do three things:

  1. I remind them to watch the training videos provided
  2. I ask them to write down any questions they have
  3. I let them know that watching the videos is a prerequisite to the hands-on training. If they don’t watch the videos, we reschedule the training session, which also delays the client receiving the keys to the site.

STEP 3: Host A Quality Training

By making the WP101 videos a requirement for the website training session, I guarantee every client is showing up to the session with the prerequisite understanding of how WordPress works and how to use it. 

This means I can skip over that information during the live training. Instead, my time with the client is focused on the specific features built for their site, the plugins used, and the questions clients might have, which results in a better, more engaging, higher value training.

STEP 4: Provide Ongoing Access To The Videos

If a client signs on for ongoing, monthly website support, they receive continued access to the WordPress training videos for as long as they remain a client. This means that when they have turnover on their team, they can have their new staff watch the videos and get up to speed or if they forget something, they can watch the video and get it done quickly. This single step alone has practically eliminated all post-launch client support requests, which has saved time, reduced resources, and increased profits.

My Advice To You

As you can see, while my goals were lofty, they all were achievable with the right tools.

Some of you might read this, click over to the WP101 Plugin site, see the price for the Professional Plan (which is worth every penny), and think: 

“I don’t want to pay their annual fee. I’ll create my own videos.” 

Truthfully,  yes, you could do that. But to do so you would need to invest in the right audio/video and sound equipment, write each individual video script, record all the screencasts, perform hours of editing, create splash images, and upload the final videos to a video hosting site, which you also need to pay for. Then after spending a crazy amount of hours to finish the videos, WordPress will push out an update, they’ll change things in the user interface (UI), and you’ll have to do it all over again.

So my advice to you is: 

  • Think about how much your time is worth and consider how much you charge per hour and how many hours this would take you.
  • Then think about the amount of stress you already have in your life and ask yourself if this will create more stress by piling on more work.
  • Finally, check out the WP101 Plugin again, do yourself a favor, and just say yes. Buy it, integrate it into your workflow, and benefit from their hard work and ongoing updates.

Editor’s note: WP101 videos are included for free with our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce hosting

When you build in efficiencies that benefit you by saving time and increasing profits, and benefit the client by delivering a quality product that adds value to their experience, everyone wins. Plus, when the client’s last interactions with you as part of their website project are positive, engaging, and valuable, they’ll remember those good feelings later and provide a better testimonial.

The Tools You Choose Affect Profitability

While choosing to leverage the WP101 videos in my agency has helped improve the level of services I provide clients, the biggest impact is the effect that decision has had on my ability to land monthly support clients and increase the profitability of my projects. 

What’s amazing about this approach is that you can do the same thing with other tools like Hostdedi’ Managed WordPress hosting, which takes care of image compression, automatic updates for WordPress and plugins, automatic daily backups, automatic SSL, and staging environments, as well as access to developer tools and no pageview/traffic limits.

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How to Become a Freelance WordPress Developer

How to Become a Freelance WordPress Developer

With more than 35% of all websites using WordPress, you can tell it’s absolutely massive and is very much still growing. There is still a ton of room for good people to do good work and create a thriving business with WordPress. Today, we’re going to look into becoming a freelance WordPress developer.

I’m going to talk about getting started as a WordPress developer but you can use this same advice if you are a designer or even a writer in the WordPress space. Yes, you will need to find different teaching resources, but the most important elements, like making good decisions and building your reputation, are essentially the same across different fields.

WordPress.org Homepage

Start With Why

If you want to start your own business, it needs to begin with a pretty good reason. Sure, the freedom of working where & when you want is great, but you can get that with many jobs now. You don’t need to take on all the terrible parts of running a company yourself to get freedom in where you work.

That means you need to have a separate reason to run your own business outside of having freedom. One of the reasons I work for myself is that in addition to getting to write what I want, I get to take the time to help parents run a business that lets them be an awesome father or mother. Taking a job at a company would mean that I can’t sit down in the middle of the day to write about being a dad running a business.

I accept all the downsides of running my own business because I get to help the parents I interact with be the awesome people they dreamed of being. When I’m having a down day because someone hasn’t paid me, I remember someone I’ve helped and keep pushing forward.

Ask yourself:

  • Why will I put up with the hard days of working for myself?
  • Who specifically can I help by working for myself that I can’t help otherwise?

Understanding Your Value

The next thing to tackle when you work for yourself is understanding the value you bring to the table. 

When you’re starting as a developer it’s easy to think that the most valuable thing you bring to the table is writing code for your clients. Your clients also think that this is the highest value thing you do for them but you’re both wrong!

Coin jar

The most important thing an experienced developer brings to the table is the wisdom to make good decisions. When you know which of the 10 WordPress form plugins suits this project best, you are bringing value to the table. 

Making the right decision about putting code in a plugin or in the theme is another valuable bit of knowledge that clients don’t have. The code you type out is simply the visible evidence of that knowledge.

A good way to start talking about value with your client is in your initial email with them. I’ve shared my initial client email previously. Please note, the questions center around the value that the client expects from the project. I don’t worry much about the hours that something will take when I’m starting to talk to a client. At that point of the process they don’t even care.

The only thing a client cares about is that your fees provide value to them. They want to know that if you’re going to charge $5k to build their site, they’re going to get at least $10k of value out of it in the next year. If you want to charge well for your services, then you need to show your clients that they will get value from the work you do.

If you leave the value question to chance then you’re not going to win much work.

Ask yourself:

  • How can I show my client they’ll make 3X or more from my work?
  • Where can I help a client avoid known problems?

Learning the Field

WPSessions

There are a few steps to learning any field. First, it starts with some research so that you know what the best sources of information are. One good spot to start for almost any field is LinkedIn Learning. They hire top professionals in the industry to provide training.

For WordPress development you can get some deeper dives once you’ve got a handle on the basics:

The biggest mistake that people make as they start learning anything is waiting for too long to get their work out there in the world. You will always be better tomorrow. Your code will be cleaner, your writing will be more concise, and your design will be tighter.

Start putting your work out there by picking a personal project, building it and then sharing it with people. Share it on social networks and ask for feedback. Most people in WordPress remember everyone that helped them and are happy to spend a few minutes helping someone that is just starting out.

Finding Your First Freelance Job

Jobs.WordPress.Net

Now, how about finding your first job as a WordPress professional? Do you know where to start?

When you don’t know anyone you’re going to need to use places like Craigslist, Upwork and Fiverr to find clients. When I started out on my own, I made a rule that I needed to make 10 new contacts a day with potential clients. Sometimes at the end of the day, that would be done just by new emails coming in via an ad on Craigslist but other days I’d search far and wide for anyone to contact about doing work for their WordPress site.

Two popular places to get started at are Fiverr and Upwork so let’s take a quick look at both options.

Fiverr

Fiverr is no longer people doing jobs for $5. You can put a range of prices on your work. On Fiverr, you put your ad out there and then customers come to you to get you to do the work. You don’t have to come up with a custom proposal for each project you want to work on.

Even 10 years into building sites on WordPress, I’ve used Fiverr to try out new services because of the built-in audience. I may reduce the prices a bit to hit the audiences that Fiverr attracts, but otherwise, it’s the same service I’ll use with clients once it’s been tested, adjusted, and validated as something people want.

Upwork

Like Fiverr, Upwork has a built-in audience of projects. Some companies will only work with contractors that use Upwork as a platform. If you’re looking for a large selection of projects, then you can log in to your Upwork account and select from a huge volume of projects.

The downside with  Upwork is that you have to create a proposal for each project you want a chance at working on. That adds a bunch of unpaid administrative work to your plate.

Both of these platforms are valuable under different circumstances. Decide which one is right for your current situation, timelines, and gaps in current project load.

Other places to find WordPress work

If you don’t have your daily quota of new contacts, start to go through these sites to make sure that you reach out enough potential clients to keep your business going. To really take your career to the next level though, you need to start building your reputation in your field.

Use Blogging to Build your Reputation as a Freelance WordPress Developer

If you’re working for yourself, your goal should be to position yourself as an expert so that customers come calling looking for your expertise. To get that happening you need to take the initiative and start showing customers that you are an expert before they work with you.

One of the easiest ways is to start publishing your own content on your site. When I began my WordPress journey every time I’d have a problem that I had to look up and solve I’d write a blog post about the problem and the solution. I’d make sure to title my content with the search terms I had used at the beginning of my journey.

This quickly got other developers to notice me, and 10 years later Hostdedi asked me to write for them. I write for Hostdedi now because someone on their team noticed my work and started to follow me.

If you can, take the time to write something and add a screencast explaining the problem. Some people will prefer the video and others will prefer to read through the text of your post, or maybe even just jump to the code. Even if you’re just starting, teach what you’re learning once you have a bit of a handle on it.

When I was writing about WordPress code issues, a single post solving a problem brought in $15k that year alone, and then $10k a year for the next five years based on a single client that found that content. My quick easy fix was something they could do themselves, but they had a bunch of other problems with their eCommerce site that they needed me to fix. Even a few weeks into your learning journey, what feels easy for you will be amazing to someone else.

Becoming Your Own Boss Takes Work

Working for yourself is not all beaches and breaks. It takes lots of work to succeed as your own boss, but you can do it. To build a successful WordPress Development business make sure you have a solid reason why you’re working for yourself. Take the time to understand the value you provide to your clients so you can charge properly. Learn to find your ideal customers, and market yourself as a professional.

If you can do these things, then you can become a freelance WordPress Developer and run a business that you love to work in.

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What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

What Prospective Clients Need Before Making The Decision To Hire An Agency

Imagine what business would be like if you didn’t have to pitch and sell, or seek out and convince new clients to hire you. Imagine how different your business would be if your pipeline was consistently full and potential clients said “yes” with excitement after only a conversation or two.

It’s possible. Providing clients with the information they need to know quickly and effectively will turn your agency into one that persuades them to work with you almost instantly. By identifying clear data points for conversion, you’re able to build a client acquisition strategy that resonates and converts. 

Key to this is understanding what your leads and prospective clients need to feel, know, and learn to make a confident buying decision. While every client may present a unique situation, budget, timeline, and set of project requirements, the way they decide whether or not to hire you is ultimately the same.

How Buying Decisions Are Made

Buying decisions are made with the heart and justified with the head.

How many times have you purchased something you wanted even though it wasn’t in the budget? Each time you’ve done so, it was probably because that thing triggered emotions so strong that you threw logic out the window and made the purchase. You saw it and felt happy, excited, relieved, or even nostalgic.

Like you, your potential clients make buying decisions based on feelings and emotions. They want to do business with other people — people who they know, like, and trust. Ultimately, they make decisions about who they hire based on how they feel and how strong their connection with the service provider is.

Once a lead feels in their heart that hiring you would be a good decision, it’s up to you to make sure the head or brain is satisfied with the fine details and logic — their brain is looking to justify the emotional buying decision. Whether they realize it or not, there is a mental checklist of information they need to get so they can feel good about taking action. This is where you must follow up on promises of solutions and results with facts, figures, data, and social proof.

A lead who is on the fence about hiring you is one who is dealing with a battle of heart (emotion) and head (logic).

  • SITUATION 1: Their heart is saying yes while their head is saying no. This happens when it feels right, they like you, and they want to say yes, but there are logical details that are missing or have not yet been addressed and the lead needs clarification and reassurance.
  • SITUATION 2: Their head is saying yes, but their heart is saying no. This happens when the contract, the fee, and everything you discussed is right, but for one reason or another, emotionally they’re just not feeling the partnership.

Your job as a business owner and service provider, is to help your audience connect with you and your brand emotionally. To do this, you need to build a relationship with your leads and provide prospective clients with the critical information they need to sign a contract. Some of this will be done in conversation and on sales calls, but most can be done on your website with the right approach.

Once you’ve built up a sales pipeline, it’s vital you keep your agency sustainable. Learn how

A Foundation For Lead Generation

To stay in business and grow your business, you need to generate a consistent pipeline of new leads, which means you’re expending time, effort, energy, and resources on brand awareness tactics, marketing campaigns, and lead generation strategies. With so much effort dedicated to developing leads, the worst thing that could happen is that a prospective client reaches your website, fails to make an emotional connection, and leaves without taking action.

To avoid this, it is imperative that when a new visitor reaches your website, they can quickly discover what it is about, confirm they’re in the right place, and find more valuable information.

When potential leads find your website:

  1. You want them to feel like it’s their lucky day because they found exactly what they needed
  2. You want them to feel like you “get them” and that your services were designed just for them.
  3. You need the right information to help them self-identify as a perfect fit or near perfect fit for your services and/or packages

But how do you get a visitor to self-identify as a prospective client and become a hot lead? And, how do you turn your website into your best salesperson that generates leads for you around the clock?

Your website can become a solid foundation for lead generation that works when you’re not working by implementing the four-step Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach.

Know

  • Help people learn more about you and your background, what you do and how you do it, who you serve and why, and what results you get. 
  • The basic web pages that typically help leads get to know you are the Home page, About page, Services page, Contact page, Thank You page.

Like

  • Help people get to know your personality, form a connection with you, and decide if they like you, like your perspective, and like your approach. 
  • This content offers glimpses into your personal life, showcases your personality, and shares your opinions and is typically found on the About page, Media page, and Portfolio page, as well as in case studies and blog posts.

Trust

  • Establish credibility, reliability, and trust by positioning yourself as an expert, providing value and quality content, and showing a history of proven results. 
  • This content typically includes the About page, Testimonials page, Portfolio page, Media Page, and Privacy Policy and Disclaimer pages, as well as blog posts, case studies, as seen on logos, and links to interviews and features.

Convert

  • Help people take action—contact, click, register, enroll, sign up, buy, subscribe, download, opt-in, call, email, join, or purchase. 
  • This content includes the Get Started page, Contact page, Sales pages, and Landing pages, as well as opt-in offers, pop-ups, and registration pages.

By applying the Know, Like, Trust, Convert approach to your website, visitors who are a great fit for your services will naturally self-identify as an ideal client and receive the exact information they need to move forward in the buying process. As a result, the quality of inbound leads your WordPress agency receives will improve and more leads with convert to paying clients.

Managed WordPress Hosting Is Better For Clients

When beginning a new website project, the last thing a client wants to do is figure out what website hosting company they should choose. Make it easy for your clients by recommending Hostdedi Managed WordPress Hosting. Managed WordPress Hosting takes care of image compression, automatic updates for plugins and the platform, automatic daily backups, automatic SSL, and staging environments, as well as access to developer tools and no pageview/traffic limits.

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