Premium Series: Pippity Popup Plugin Review

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

Pippity is a WordPress plugin that promises to make your popups less annoying to visitors. I use a popup (or hover over) to promote my newsletter and the two free ebooks you get for subscribing. The optin does pretty well with the fairly basic AWeber popup I used, so I thought it would be interesting to test.

Setting up the popup is very easy. Simply choose from one of the many themes, as shown in the screenshot below

You simply have to do a few steps for each theme, it’s all point and click stuff:

– Choose the theme you want. There are quite a lot of choices by default.
– A lot of themes have color choices too so choose the combination you like, or select your own colors.
– Enter the text for each section you want to use.
– Set the appearance options. How long before the pop-up appears? How many days before you show it again to the same person? How many pages should they have viewed before it appears? Should it appear on Posts only page?
– Finally enter your newsletter subscription form code. Pippity will automatically extract the relevant info and connect it up.

If you want to see how my pop up looks go here and it will be forced to appear for you.

You can create many different popups and test what change in conversion rate they generate. Below is an example of the screen straight after installing the plugin and setting up the forms – hence the figures are all zero. In a few weeks I’ll update this to show the latest figures.

Pippity — People Pleasing Popups Positively Increasing Sign-Ups

Overall I’m impressed as to how easy the plugin is to use, and how many features it has. The plugin is low priced for one site and you can get an attractive popup that is customized for the experience you want to give your visitors. In under 5 minutes.

It will take longer to tweak and get exactly what you want, and test different variations and combinations of course. I haven’t used it long enough yet to say whether it is better than the standard AWeber one, but I wouldn’t have installed it if I didn’t think it would be.

It’s very fast too, it hasn’t made a measurable difference to my page loading speed, and it currently works with AWeber, Madmimi, MailChimp, Constant Contact, 1ShoppingCart, Get Response, Campaign Monitor, Graphic Mail and iContact.

BTG logo Summary

Where I use this: Right here on Blog Tech Guy.

Pros: Lots of templates; easy to use; no coding required; custom CSS allowed.

Cons: Not free, but nothing anywhere near as powerful as this plugin is free.

Cost: From $49.

From: Pippity (affiliate link).

The Story of a Plugin – Part 1: Stop Messing Around

Those of you read my site and emails regularly will probably have heard of Pro Blog Stats, a WordPress plugin created by myself and Andrew Rondeau that pulls in stats from multiple sources and reports them into your WordPress dashboard. It’s a massive time saver and allows you to easily and quickly see actionable data about your site performance without all the associated hassle.

Pro Blog Stats gives you over 50 different statistics about your blog or WordPress website – all on one page, within your WordPress dashboard. With Pro Blog Stats, you no longer have to log in to all your different accounts (like Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook) to see your statistics. Enough of the sales pitch though, this is the story of how this came to be….

The Genesis of an idea

I used to work in the corporate world, for a couple of very large companies, which employed thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) of people. A lot of my job involved numbers and statistics. George Bernard Shaw once said:

It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics.

Who am I to argue with him? I spent a lot of time analyzing those statistics and creating recommendations from them and implementing them. However I spent 10x that amount of time gathering the data.

Organizations large and small often have huge volumes of data. In one case I dealt with it came in on reams of dot matrix printer paper. This isn’t 30 years ago, less than 10.

Volume of data is not so much an issue with powerful computers and database tools, however what the biggest issue was, and still is, is the large number of different locations this data is held. In the blogging world you can have your traffic stats in Google Analytics, real-time stats in Clicky, RSS subscribers in Feedburner, Facebook and Twitter followers on their sites, StumbleUpon shares in your SU account, AWeber subscribers in your AWeber account, and so on for seemingly forever.

One day in my job, my boss asked me for a report. Several hours later he came over to ask whether the report was ready, and I replied that I was still working on it. His response? “Stop messing around and get me the report!”.

However I haven’t been messing around (in fact he didn’t say messing, it began with an F…), I had been trying to put together a report from 12 different sources with about 30 different pieces of data. It was actually 27 pieces of data. I remember because later on I had to do it two or three times a week.

The idea of a dashboard to report sales or display statistics is nothing new, however achieving this goal can be extremely difficult. We worked for weeks to produce a report that saved a large amount of time and hassle, not only for me, but my boss could not request report and have it in a few minutes instead of a few hours.

Pro Blog Stats was born of a similar frustration with the amount of effort and time it was taking me and my clients to monitor performance and progress of our WordPress websites and blogs.

The initial idea for the plugin came over three years ago now, and in the next part I’ll go through the process we’ve experienced with it.

Find Out How Well Your Blog Is Really Doing!

Many of you know, Andrew and I have been collaborating on a plugin called Pro Blog Stats.

It has taken us over a year for this final stage, and thousands of dollars – but now we are proud and excited to say:

Here is our first ever WordPress plugin!

It’s been tweaked and tested by many beta testers and some of them are hooked.

Why?

Pro Blog Stats gives you over 50 different statistics about your blog or WordPress website – all on one page, within your WordPress dashboard. With Pro Blog Stats, you no longer have to log in to all your different accounts (like Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook) to see your statistics.

And, yes, there is a free version of the plugin.

I won’t list all the statistics here (there are too many to mention) but they include:

– Google Analytics
– Twitter
– Facebook
– Alexa
– Pages indexed
– Backlinks
– WordPress.com Stats

…and many more.

It’s important to note that the plugin will NOT slow your site down. Once configured the only time the plugin does anything is when you request a report. The rest of the time the stats are gathered by our server, not yours. So unlike some other stats plugins, it will not slow down your site.

Many of you will know how vital it is to monitor your statistics, to keep abreast of how many visitors you have, the bounce rate, number of subscribers, number of backlinks, time spent on your site and so on.

By monitoring these statistics you can determine what impact your on-line decisions and work are having.

Do you get more visitors if you blog every day, or four times a week?

Did your subscription rate change as a result of your latest blog post?

Monitor your statistics… check the impact and repeat them if positive (or stop if negative).

Of course, you do need a history of your blog stats to see the trends, and the quicker you start using Pro Blog Stats the better. From the day you install and use the plugin, it will keep a history of your stats. A couple of days later you can compare and see what stats have improved. Then compare again a couple of weeks, or months later!

So there we have it… our WordPress plugin… now available for download.

The personal e-mails from our beta testers has been extremely positive. This plugin will make a big difference to the success of your blog.

Make sure you get your free version of the plugin by going here today:

Pro Blog Stats

We’d really welcome your feedback to see how the plugin can be improved, so get in touch and tell us what you think.

Premium Series: Ninja Affiliate Plugin Review

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

Ninja Affiliate is a WordPress plugin from MaxBlogPress that allows you to create easy redirects to affiliate links and automatically link keywords to affiliates. For example, my affiliate link for this plugin is
http://www.maxblogpress.com/go.php?offer=lifegoggle&pid=31
however I have changed to
https://blogtechguy.com/go/maxninja
because it’s easier to remember, easier to type, and looks nicer.

It helps a lot with very long affiliate links, ones like you get from Amazon that are very long.

However the best feature is that often I don’t need to remember the affiliate link at all. For example if I type AWeber now it should change that to my affiliate link automatically. The screenshot below shows you what I have set up for Max Ninja Affiliate, but you can choose whatever keywords you like for each affiliate links.

Max Ninja Affiliate

For the keywords, you can choose a maximum you have per page (I have 4 automatic ones maximum), use nofollow, open in a new window and exclude them from appearing on Pages (so sales pages etc can be excluded, though this can also be set on an individual Post/Page basis).

You can also choose the wording used in the link, and, if you want, have a drop down in the formatting icons on the write/edit Post page.

Often people are worried about people stealing affiliate commissions, especially if you use a service like Clickbank and don’t use EasyClickMate or something similar. So you can also cloak links if you wish,

The settings page tracks raw clicks and unique clicks but (of course) cannot measure conversions. It does give an indication of how well your links are working, but a report by post/page would be more useful, especially if you write about an affiliate product quite often.

Finally if the affiliate changes your affiliate URL, such as when they change affiliate management system, instead of having to dig through every post and page to find the links or run a database query, you can simply change the original affiliate link URL in Max Ninja Affiliate and it will mean all the other links will automatically work again. This saved me a lot of time when Thesis / DIY Themes changed system.

Overall I’ve been using this plugin for a while now. It’s simple to setup, can insert links automatically, works like a URL shortener and is a great time saver and aid for sites that use affiliate links. I also use it to save me adding other frequently used links, not just affiliate links, so it is even more useful. For $37 it is an excellent investment.

BTG logo Summary

Where I use this: Right here on BTG.

Pros: Easily create short URLs; Simple to use; Can automatically link keywords

Cons: Sometimes links words in headlines within posts, but a minor gripe.

Cost: $37

From: Max Blog Press (affiliate link)

Premium Series: WP InstantPay Plugin Review

In my Premium Series I’m taking a look at Premium WordPress plugins and WordPress themes that I personally use, either for myself and for others. All opinions are my own and not influenced by affiliate commissions or anyone connected to the product.

WP InstantPay is a WordPress plugin that combines an easy payment system for selling your own products and an affiliate system, right in WordPress.

Like most e-commerce systems, after installing the plugin you add your product and set how much you want to charge for it. You then enter your Paypal details, upload your product to a secure location and then create your sales page.

The plugin comes with templates for your thank you page(s) and download pages. Integrating with Paypal in the early versions was a little time consuming and while the help takes you through it step by step it could be daunting for the less technically minded. However, the latest version of the plugin streamlines that process and solves a lot of hassles.

You can also integrate the plugin with AWeber (at the time of reading GetResponse should be available too), so buyers and affiliates can automatically be added to (the same, or separate) email lists.

Just the above would be worth the $67 price (coupon code SUMMERTIME will get you 50% off until Monday 6th June 2011!).

However, it’s on the affiliate side that the product has a notable difference. It removes the need for you to do any work.

For those of you who had had affiliate systems know, there are two ways – a system that does commission payments for you (like Clickbank and Shareasale) and those where you have to make affiliate commission payments yourself, like iDevAffilliate. The former are expensive to set up and maintain, while the latter are cheaper but require more effort.

What WP InstantPay does is split the payment between you and the affiliate at the time of payment, so you never receive the money, the affiliate gets it instantly. The benefits of this are obvious, the affiliate gets paid instantly, and as you never receive the money you don’t need to pay affiliates.

You can see this process if you buy through my affiliate link and if the coupon code of SUMMERTIME is still valid you can see how that works too).

Refunds are even processed automatically, it is really hands off.

The plugin even allows you to split the payment further, with Equity Partners. So if you’ve developed a product with someone else you can have e.g 50% going to an affiliate, 25% to you and 25% to your partner who developed the product with you.

What I also like is the constant improvements. Recurring payments are coming soon (great for membership sites or subscriptions), along with integration for membership plugins, coupon codes (unlimited per product), and even support for physical products.

I have been impressed with their support after I messed something up in the database (hey, I like to play but even I ask for help when in trouble!), they were friendly, responsive, and very helpful.

Overall I’ve been very impressed with the plugin so far, it makes selling (at least digital) products easy, and takes the hassle out of creating all the necessary pages for thank you, affiliates, downloads, and sorts out payments before they get to you which is a great time and effort saver.

BTG logo Summary

Where I use this: For my new eBook – Create Your Own Best-Selling Product In Under 7 Days.

Pros: Easy e-commerce; Automatic affiliate payments; Fantastic support

Cons: Paypal a little tricky to setup in early versions; Paypal checkout page could be confusing for inexperienced buyers who see payment going to two people.

Cost: $67 (coupon code SUMMERTIME will get you 50% off until Monday 6th June 2011!)

From: WP InstantPay (affiliate link)

Adding a Forum to Your WordPress Site

Most people associate WordPress (WP) with blogs, whether free or self-hosted. It’s easy to understand why this is so: WP is the most robust and user-friendly free blogging platform online. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that WP also offers an effective forum solution as well.

Continue reading Adding a Forum to Your WordPress Site

Simple Squeeze Pages

Squeeze pages, or name squeeze pages, or even landing pages to some, are simple pages that attempt to do nothing but get a visitor to perform a certain action. Usually this is to sign up for a free report, or click on a call to action button.

You can see a good example at my Income Blogging Guide page. This uses the Squeeze Theme from Unique Blog Designs (and converts fantastically by the way!), but what if you don’t what to change the entire theme of your blog and want to create a squeeze page on your current site? This is where the Squeeze Plugin comes in.

Rather than explain in text, I’ve created a short video of me using the tool for the first time. As usual, demo’ing a product I’ve never used before has mixed results….

So while my design isn’t great (I could sort that out in a few minutes), the ease of use is fantastic.
Why do all the smartest marketers create squeeze pages on their site?

1. Squeeze pages are the most effective way to build a list of targeted customers.

2. It’s a great way to provide free or special offers to those who matter most.

3. Squeeze pages are proven to convert as well or better than any other form of info collection.

4. The list that you build is full of people who want to buy what you’re selling.

5. You’ll make more money!

This is great news because everyone knows building an email list is the #1 thing to do for ANY website. Squeeze Plugin will allow you to build powerful squeeze pages on any website running WordPress, you can buy here for $97, but you can use a 15% coupon code for you: B7E77 I’m not sure how long the coupon lasts but it’s valid now.

I would recommend creating a new page template for the Page you wish to use for the plugin, that not only removes the sidebar like the template that comes with the plugin, but one that removes the navigation bar and any footer links or widgets. Besides that Squeeze Plugin will make things much easier.

Scribe SEO – 5 Ways To Improve ScribeSEO Plugin

First, Scribe SEO is a brilliant tool. It’s a premium (aka paid-for) WordPress plugin that will help with SEO for your blog posts. It attempts to make SEO copywriting much more simple than it is now, and while you still need to pay attention to creating good headlines and interesting content, it may help with the final optimization steps that you’ve been missing.

One of my clients called it “one of the best tools I’ve ever bought” and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s not often something as easy and useful as Scribe SEO comes along. If you haven’t checked it out yet, there is a free trial on the website. Like with anything great out there, I think it could be even better, so there are a few things I would do to improve it.

1) Have the Review window open in a new browser window/tab. The hover over window is no good to anyone, it opens up over the content you’re editing and areas that you need to alter, so you need to close it to alter then go back to it for the next section and so on – I end up opening the post in another window so I can edit it there without switching back and forth. At least give me the option.

Scribe SEO Review window

2) When it tells me I need my primary keyword near the start of the title, it should tell me what my primary keyword is and say “Move Primary Keyword Scribe SEO to the beginning of the Title”. Otherwise I have to look it up to see if it’s different to what I think it should be. Lazy of me I know, but it’d be a time-saver of at least 5 seconds.

3) The Tags page/tab of the Review window should allow me to edit tags right there with the list of suggested tags. Even an “Add all tags” button would be nice and handy.

4) The SEO Best Practices page is the same on every review. I know that’s not a criticism, it’s a comment, but it is. Why it bothers me I have no idea as it’s a gold mine of useful info, but perhaps it could be linked to and stored on the settings page or something. I won’t lose sleep if that one is never addressed though…

5) The Scribe Settings page tells me how many evaluations I have left as of today, but when do they expire? So having 20 evaluations left as of today is all very well and good, but will that need to last me 25 days or 5 days? [Side note: For those wondering if evaluations rollover to the next month, they don’t.]

Yes, some of them are picky and personal, but when a tool (and an SEO tool at that) is this great it’s the little things from using it that can make it that little bit greater.

You can watch my quick video of Scribe SEO here, or take a look at the Scribe website here.

Blog Changes On BTG

After my visit to BlogWorldExpo in Vegas a week or two back I was impressed with a couple of different blog applications, and so have installed them on my Blog, and thought I’d mention them.

JS Kit Echo Comments

JS Kit

You may have noticed that all my blog posts had 0 comments for a few days. This was while the team at JS Kit imported my old comments into their system. Used by sites such as Technorati and Guy Kawasaki it essentially pulls in other places where your blog post is being talked about into your blog posts comments. This keeps your blog as the central hub for your online activity, which appeals to my sense of neatness adn order!

So Twitter tweets that mention your post, Diggs, or Friendfeed updates are added to your post comments. Facebook doesn’t seem to be on there yet but I’m hoping that will be added soon.

Give it a try below in the comments and see what you think. I’m still playing with it but it looks good so far. It costs $12 per year to use, and I was a little disappointed in how long it took for them to import my comments – 6 days. I did provide them with the wrong URL to login (oops), but over 24 hours for each email reply and no reply over a weekend is frustrating for a new customer.

Lijit Search

lijit

The second addition is the lijit search. I had a great demo from Perry Quinn at Blog World, their plugin essentially replaces the standard WordPress search sidebar widget. The search results are similar in a way to JS Kit in that they also show results from my extended network. So Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and various other sites are also searched and relevant results displayed in a Content tab on the results page. It’s at the top right of each blog post page so give it a go and see if the results work for you. I’m not 100% it’s all working yet.

Although I would turn them off if I could, the ads that appear on the results page are part of a revenue share, so if you’re looking at earning some money on your blog it may be worth giving lijit a try.

As always, I’m interested in your comments so please let me know what you think below.

Blog Tech Check Plugin Released

The first version of my new free plugin, Blog Tech Check. It’s available from WordPress.org now.

It will check if certain conditions are met by your WordPress install, such as if specific plugins are installed, the permalink structure is not default, etc. In the current version, the following checks are made:

– If user called “admin” is present
– Permalink settings are not the default
– Folder permissions are correct

Certain plugins installed and active:
– WP DB Backup
– XML Sitemap
– All in One SEO
– Subscribe to Comments
– Akismet

The plugin will suggest corrective actions to the user with on how to rectify any tested conditions which do not pass.

screenshot-2

Some checks are not successful, with help messages.

Not all failed checks are a big problem, some are just recommended.

More details can be found on the plugins page, or you can download it from WordPress.org.