How To Add Google Analytics To WordPress

I get asked a lot how to add Google Analytics to a website. For WordPress this is really easy.

1) Go to http://google.com/analytics and sign up and add your website. They will give you some tracking code but just leave that page open for now.

2) In your website’s WordPress admin dashboard to Plugins > Add New and search for ‘Google Analytics for WordPress’

google-analytics

 

3) Click Install Now, confirm and then click Activate.

4) Once done, go to Settings > Google Analytics. The easiest way to add the tracking code is to click the blue ‘Click here to authenticate with Google’ button. If you’re still logged in to Google Analytics you should just follow the steps to ‘Grant Access’ and then select your site in the dropdown. Then click the blue ‘Update Google Analytics Settings’ button to save.

However often this step fails for some reason, so you can check the box to ‘Manually enter your UA code’. This is the code in the tracking code given to you in Step 1) above. Write down the number you see beginning with UA- and then type that into the box, including the UA- part.

google-analytics-2

Then click the blue ‘Update Google Analytics Settings’ button to save.

Where do I view Google Analytics in WordPress?

Another source of confusion is once the above is all set up and working, where in WordPress do you view Google Analytics? The simple answer is you don’t, you do it on http://google.com/analytics in your account.

The Five WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using

This isn’t going to be a long post, or sales pitch but is a list of the plugins I install and tell you to install again and again.
Editorial Calendar

1) WordPress SEO by Yoast

Greatly improves your Search Engine Optimization. Install and activate it and read the guide here (long but worth it).

2) Akismet

This comes with WordPress – activate it and add your API key, and protect yourself from spam.

3) WooCommerce

With version 2.0 coming very soon, WooCommerce is the best shopping cart plugin I’ve used for WordPress, and it’s free. If you don’t need a shopping cart to sell physical or digital products or services then you of course don’t need this.

4) W3 Total Cache

This speeds up your site by making static copies, but please, please refer to your web host for the best way to configure this. Usually it’s simple for shared hosting (page and browser cache on; database and object cache off; minify on if you know what you’re doing) and it can have a big effect on performance.

5) A Contact Form plugin

Having a contact form on your contact page not only looks professional but protects you from spammers. For free I like Contact Form 7, and for paid I love Gravity Forms (which I use on my own site). Gravity Forms has many benefits such as multi-page forms, email newsletter subscriptions, conditional fileds (if this is selected, show that) and so on.

BONUS 6) WordPress Editorial Calendar

This makes scheduling posts, seeing when posts are scheduled, and changing scheduled posts much easier. Simply shows a calendar with your blog posts (and times) marked on. For sites with multiple authors, or if you schedule a lot of posts, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

CrankyAds Plugin Review

CrankyAds is an advertising plugin for WordPress blogs and I thought I would give it a review. I don’t run ads on this site, but many clients do and for years I’ve been recommending Max Banner Ads as a way of managing your adverts, but this doesn’t allow you to take payment, manage campaigns or have many other statistic features that can be required.

CrankyAds looks like a solution to these problems and as it’s run by old friend Yaro Starak (with another online friend Blaine Moore now working for CrankyAds) it’s definitely time for a look at it.

Installation

CrankyAds is a WordPress plugin so installation is a breeze. Just download from their site and then in WordPress go to Plugins > Add new. Select Upload and browse to the zip file to upload, and then select Activate.

When returned the plugin page, a nice Start here message is shown under their plugin:

I’m a little disappointed that for a free plugin they’re not in the WordPress.org plugin repository, as it would make installing it, and updating it, easier, but that’s not unusual.

First use

Clicking on the Start here take you to the settings page. However you have to either register an account or sign in with your current account details. Registration is done on the settings page and is quick and easy. Once done you are taken to the Zones setup page. Zones is a familiar term if you’ve ever used advertising software and essentially refers to the regions or areas of the site you want to sell ads on. So you may have a header zone, a sidebar zone, or a footer zone. What is nice is the page shows a couple of YouTube videos walking you through step by step how to step up zones, which you can open in a new window to follow along.

Adding a Zone

This is as simple as giving the zone a name – like Header zone, a description and then selecting whether it is to have image ads, text ads or video. Then you set the size, the amount (and currency) that you want to charge for that ad space, and the duration that charge is for (i.e monthly).

If you want you can have multiple prices for a zone, so if they sign up for a year instead of monthly it would work out cheaper.

You can also have multiple ads per zone. This is especially useful for sidebar 125×125 ads where you might have 4 or 6 ads slots, not just one like in the header.

Once done you have the choice of adding a widget to display the zone or you get given the template code to add to your theme in the exact location you want the ads.

Advertiser Setup

Below is a screen shot of the default ad in my sidebar on a test side, and also the auto-generated page a potential advertiser is taken to when they click on an ad.

If there are more zones than just one, the plugin highlights the zone that the person had clicked so they know which one is relevant to them.

If they like what they see they can click Order now. They are required to login to (or register for) CrankyAds as that is where their (and your) campaigns are managed.

Pros

There’s a lot to like about the plugin.

  • It’s free and doesn’t add any branding to the zones (it does on the advertise page, but as advertisers need a CrankyAds account this is no problem for me)
  • Setting up an account is quick and straightforward
  • Adding and configuring zones is really easy and the preview shows you what you’re getting so there’s no doubt
  • Makes taking payment really easy
  • Advertisers have control over their ads without any involvement from you
  • You can allow advertisers to have multiple campaigns per ad slot they buy
  • You can upload your own ads/campaigns to fill in the unsold zones with your own, perhaps affiliate, ads
  • The upcoming marketplace will make it easy for potential publishers to find your site. For this CrankyAds will take a portion of the payment as a fee, but ads sold directly through your site do not incur this fee of course

Cons

This is more of a wish list than a cons list.

  • The plugin should be in the WordPress.org plugin repository (apparently it will be soon)
  • There should be other default locations built in. Max Banner Ads uses hooks to allow you to select to insert ads within a post or at the end of a post, or just in the first post etc. This would really help people with no technical knowledge to insert ads in their desired location
  • The automated Advertise here page should have configurable design or at least an option for dark websites. I would like to be able to change the colors, wording on the button and add some other text at the beginning of the page

Summary

CrankyAds is a great, free, easy solution to adding adverts to your site and making it easy for advertisers to sign up completely hands off for you. You can download it here

What Do Your Customers REALLY Think?

The world of online business can be a lonely place and sometimes it can feel as if the busy Internet entrepreneur is posting up words, only for them to become lost in the ether of the World Wide Web, jostling for attention amid adverts for cheap services and downloads. Even the most hardened business owner can occasionally feel isolated when it comes to gauging how they are getting on in relation to providing a great customer service. The fact is, all online business owners can benefit from opening up feedback mechanisms to establish contact with customers and people who share their business interests.

The trick to getting reassurance that you are on the right track with your business, products, and services is to ask your customers how they feel about them. It may sound obvious, but many people forget to ask their service users for feedback, even while every other element of their online business is carefully attended to. Feedback for an Internet business owner is the equivalent of getting assignments marked at college, or getting a “thank you” card in the post after cooking up a great meal for friends. It’s a way of gaining reassurance that things are going well, and that all your hard work is paying off.

Directly soliciting feedback provides a number of advantages for your business, my own Testimonials page id proof of that. In addition to offering you reassurance that you are doing a great job online, it provides the following benefits:

Helps shape future direction.

Knowing what your customers are looking for, supports you in making enlightened decisions about your future strategic direction. Working “blind” to develop your site is much more difficult than using feedback from your customers to inform you where your business should be heading.

Boosts your motivation.

When you receive customer feedback, you no longer have the uncertainty that posting into the ether without acknowledgement can bring. By asking for regular input from your readers, you are able to ascertain that the articles you post, and the services you provide, are doing a good job in connecting to your online audience and forging positive relationships with clients.

Opens up communication channels for networking.

Customers who regularly visit your site and provide feedback are often the right individuals with whom you can forge business relationships. Those visitors who share a passion for your industry are usually great contacts for ongoing collaborations. Asking for their input into the direction your business should go can work wonders when it comes to building up a great network.

A free evaluation service.

Obtaining feedback directly from your customers, generates a strong evaluation of your blog and business. Instead of paying an agency lots of cash to develop metrics for your success, feedback can achieve the same result for free. If you’re not sure how well a certain blog post or site revamp has been received, all you need to do is create a poll and ask people for their opinion on the new changes.

Lets you inside the mind of your visitors.

Feedback can come in all forms, from survey results and online polls, right through to comments and emailed responses to your questions. When it comes to asking for feedback, there are few vehicles out there as feedback-friendly as the blog. The platform itself is designed to be interactive, built as the archetypal two-way medium for offering up your own opinions, and finding out what people think. Because of this, there are some great tools out there to do just that.

Google Docs

My personal favorite feedback mechanism, Google Docs is streamlined and easy to use. Google Docs enables you to create a new form, selecting from a range of different designs. From there, you can add the types of questions that you want answered by your readers. A range of options are available, including radio buttons, multiple choice selections, and text box fields. All the results from your feedback document are added directly into a Google Docs spreadsheet, making it simple for you to examine and analyze your collected data.

Although Google Docs is a simple and useful application, it doesn’t allow the user to add their own logo to the form, and there’s no way to be notified when you get a new response to your questions. Apart from these two negatives, it’s still one of the best tools out there for, quickly and easily, gathering customer opinions.

Survey Monkey – A popular alternative for feedback purposes, this is a well-designed application that offers one hundred free responses to your feedback requests (which is often more than enough for the average small business).

Survey Gizmo – If you’re looking for a free WordPress plugin, then this is ideal. Survey Gizmo lets you run various polls and surveys from within your WordPress blog.

WP Polls – If you’re a little technologically challenged, this free plugin is a straightforward option, allowing you to easily add a quick poll to a blog page or sidebar in only a few clicks.

Gravity Forms – Gravity Forms is a paid-for plugin but I use it on this site and it has a dizzying array of features and is suitable for intensive data gathering. A single site license is just $39.

PollDaddy – PollDaddy is an extremely popular option for creating quizzes, surveys, and polls. You can choose to subscribe to the service for unlimited responses, or opt for the free WordPress plugin that accepts one hundred responses per month.

The Art of Translation

The World Wide Web is a bigger place than ever before. Whereas once we all ran our blogs and business sites secure in the knowledge that we were probably catering for a local demographic, now it is evident that we are writing for a truly global audience. Things are changing for the better, and one of the ways you can tell is that the comments folder on your blog is often full of spam in a host of different languages!

This leads us to a new responsibility as bloggers. For those of us who are writing without a specific location in mind, it seems that it is time to turn our focus upon the art of translation in the world of blogging. Whether we hail from a country where English is not our first language, or we are choosing to cater for a truly multi-national audience, we need to begin to think with more of a global reach to ensure our blogs are easily accessible to the widest possible audience.

According to the National Virtual Translation Center, there are over seven thousand official languages in the world. The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language puts that figure closer to ten thousand. Although it would be patently impossible to cater for each native speaker for all of these languages, there are things that we can do to broaden the scope of our blogs and accommodate as many as possible.

In the early days of the Internet, everyone seemed to be focused upon learning the basics, such as HTML for formatting our pages, and that meant that US English was hailed as the standard language for the Web. Since then, as more and more countries begin to regard online access as a fundamental human right, we are more conscious than ever before of the requirement to accommodate as broad a spectrum of demographics as possible.

Widening Your Scope

InternetWorldStats.com statistics suggest that there are an estimated 6,845,609,960 people online, across all of our continents. The Chinese language is the most widely spoken, followed by Hindi, English, Spanish, and Arabic. As Chinese is purported to be one of the toughest languages for non-native speakers to learn, it leads us to wonder how we can ever hope to access a truly multi-lingual community online.

As ever, WordPress comes to the rescue. There are resources available for people wishing to use the dashboard in their preferred language, and also translate their blog content into different languages. Until the days when the Babel Fish translation service from the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is available for us to translate languages automatically, the following steps can act as an interim procedure to make things a little more accessible.

Translating Your WordPress Admin

If you would prefer to use the WordPress admin panel in a different language to the standard English, it’s pretty easy to translate the backend of your blog. Luckily, most languages already feature in the WordPress translations service, and you can install a new language quickly. Follow this link to find the code you need, to move over to a new language in a matter of minutes.

If the language you are looking for is not readily available on the list of options, you also have the opportunity to produce your own translation. The following article shouws you how to support a bespoke translation.

Translating Your WordPress Theme

Some WordPress themes feature custom text, and this means that the translation for this needs to be undertaken separately to the admin areas. While a number of Premium themes may have a translation function built in to the code, the majority of WordPress users will find that they have to resort to manual editing of their theme to get the desired language to feature throughout their site. This is not as arduous or difficult as it sounds – it’s simply a question of accessing the relevant area and tinkering with it until you are happy with the result.

Translating Your Content

One of the most valuable things you can do in terms of making your blog more accessible is to translate the content into different languages. If you are fortunate enough to be bilingual, this is an exercise which you can undertake yourself to attract readers from different countries. However, the majority of us do not have a strong enough grasp of a second or third language to make this a viable option when it comes to keeping our blog updated.

Although automated translation services will never be as effective as human translators, who have the ability to understand the nuances and shades of language, there are still functions available for WordPress that provide an adequate basic service. There is a great plugin called Google Ajax that you can use to enable your customers to translate the content of your blog; however, any automatic translation runs the risk of misinterpreting the material that you have written and producing a translated page that makes little sense to your readers!

As the global popularity of both blogging and the World Wide Web becomes stronger, so the facilities and services for translating your site should gradually improve to cater for the need to reach a broader audience in different languages. For now, we must be content with using what is out there, and modifying the way we write to make it simpler, both for our readers in different languages, and the automated translation services that attempt to do a great job on our behalf.

Social Media Bookmarking

People of all ages are now accessing the Internet, affording us the opportunity to reach a broader customer demographic than ever before. With social media becoming more and more important when it comes to influencing public opinion and creating trends, it’s evident that all online business owners need to get in on the action and have a strong digital media presence.

The rise of Facebook and Twitter, in particular, demonstrates that the Internet has influence and power when it comes to raising public awareness and generating customers. Like it or not, we live in a time where executions are announced over Twitter, and Facebook campaigns can alter the result of which record reaches number one in the charts. As a blogger, there is no more valuable tool to promote your site than social bookmarking. You can harness the power of social media in a number of ways, all of which are free, easy to do, and highly effective.

Social bookmarking is simply the process of a reader sharing your content with a number of widely-used social networks, which you should encourage in order to increase visibility and enhance customer engagement. The entire World Wide Web operates as a linked series of networked applications, all of which offer distinct advantages and services to the business blogger. WordPress is the ideal platform to connect to these services, making it simple and hassle-free to benefit from social networking online.

While it is possible to craft all of your social bookmarking messages by hand, it makes much more sense to take the efficient route to online marketing: Plugins. WordPress deliver a series of simple tools that streamline your communications processes and make it easy to join the online fray with the minimal effort and zero expense.

Link to Your Twitter Account

Twitter is an extremely powerful and convenient way of communicating a lot in a few words. Set up a Twitter account that outlines your products and services, and provides regular keyword-rich updates to your readers. Pick who you follow according to your specialized industry, and people will tend to follow you in return. Every time you update your blog, post the link to your Twitter account.

It has taken the site just five months to double the number of Tweets it had, from ten billion to twenty billion. As of April 2010, there are reportedly over 100 million user accounts. Everything you write on Twitter is indexed and can be found on the web.

WordPress supplies a great ‘Twitter’ application at: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/new-twitter-button/. This is the ‘daddy’ of Twitter sharing, in that it keeps a track of ReTweets and is very easy to add to your site. It is also a visible and familiar tool which visitors to your site will recognize and readily use, encouraging information sharing.

The Power of Facebook

Facebook is the hub of social networking and bookmarking. It’s simple to set up a page linked to your business, and update it as your blog posts go live. People use Facebook to follow products and businesses they like, so it makes sense that if you engage readers then they will follow you… especially if you make it easy for them. When you set up your profile, again use keyword-rich texts and keep your page up-to-date with useful information.

Facebook hosts over 550,000 third-party applications, and boasts 500 million active users. More than 150 million people engage with the site on external websites every month, and there are more than 150 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. A simple tool to benefit from this popularity is Facebook Like.

The new style of the Facebook Like button has spawned numerous plugins, but I like this one the best. You can choose where to locate it and add custom styling.

Generic Social Bookmarking Plugins

The following plugins for WordPress all link you up to a range of social networking sites and take the hassle out of repeat communications to your customers. I recommend all of them as they will each bring specific benefits to you as a business blogger:

Sharebar: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sharebar/
This is what I currently use on my site, the vertical bar on the left hand side with sharing options.

Sociable: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sociable/
This plugin features a wide choice of bookmarking icons and you can select and re-order the ones you want to use.

ShareThis: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/share-this/
The ShareThis application reduces the ‘footprint’ of the buttons to a single option with expandable categories. However, in order to get it up and running you will need to register an account when you set up the plugin, by visiting the ShareThis website.

SocioFluid: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sociofluid/
SocioFluid creates a great-looking bar of icons that can grow or shrink as you mouse-over each one. While there is a limited choice of icons, the plugin does look good on your site.

SexyBookmarks: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sexybookmarks/
This is one of the most popular applications for WordPress bloggers, as it looks good and is highly visible.

Let’s Contact Each Other

As busy Internet Marketers, we all know that customer comments, messages and feedback are the bottom line when it comes to blogging success. Knowing this, why do so many of us still forget to optimize our contact forms? Savvy bloggers are turning to smart software to clean up the contact options on their WordPress sites.

Picture the scene: You’ve just moved house. You’re living in a great new pad and you’ve invited all your friends over for a party. You have great nibbles, drinks and music to make the night go with a bang. You’ve decorated your rooms perfectly with balloons and streamers, and maybe even invited a cool band to play on the night. You’ve sent out the invitations and details of the event, and you’re all ready to boogie into the early hours. Your mates start turning up, and the party looks set to be one of the best you’ve ever thrown.
contact letter
Halfway through the night, four thousand people turn up and crash the party. You realize that your invitation has been posted up all over Facebook. Your house gets trashed, your carpets are ruined, and the police are hammering on your door with neighborhood complaints. There are empty beer bottles and pizza boxes everywhere, and cigarette butts ground in to your partner’s favorite antique coffee table. Things are not looking great. You spend the next four weeks cleaning up in the wake of the disaster, and you vow never to hold another party again.

You wouldn’t put your address details online for the world to find and drop in to see you – so why would you do that on your blog?

Getting to Grips with Contact Forms

A lot of sites I see these days still have their contact details listed as a clickable email link. This is the techie equivalent of wearing flares. There are a couple of reasons why having your email contact details in the format your-name@your-website.com is not the best idea, and why using a contact form on your WordPress blog is the way forward when it comes to optimizing your site.

The main reason it’s not a great idea to list your contact details as a plan email address is because it opens up opportunities for spammers to easily harvest your details. Spammers have software that trawls the net looking for people just like you to collect and add to their list of potential suckers, in readiness to bombard them with a deluge of noise. By having your address available for all to see, you’re telling spammers that you would LOVE to receive thousands of email messages about Viagra and Russian Brides.

The second reason why a contact form protects you is that a standard email clickable link on your site only works if you have a desktop email client installed (unless your reader has configured their browser to use a webmail service instead). If your visitor uses a browser-based service instead (such as Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail), clicking on your email address may result in a browser error.

WordPress to the Rescue!

Luckily, good old WordPress has a few solutions to this problem, the main one being the contact form option. The contact form is a great idea as it hides your email address and also allows you to ‘pre-qualify’ who can contact you.

This approach also provides you with an opportunity to place a link, directly to your FAQ page, (so people can solve issues themselves before they get in touch). You can even add in a CAPTCHA anti-spam option, to prevent automated spam submissions.

These features all lend themselves to getting your inbox organized, and make it easier to keep abreast of all your communications, ordering them and prioritizing them in simple ways. Blog technology is advancing all the time, so the days when we had to publicize our personal email address for the whole world to see are long gone. With a few simple plugins, you can reduce your administration and enhance your privacy, while making it easier for your new and existing customers to get in touch to engage your services.

Best WordPress Options

When it comes to adding a contact form to your blog there are a few options to consider. My personal favorite free tool is Secure Form Mailer. It isn’t housed in the WordPress.org plug-in repository, but it’s still quick and simple to install. Simply download the files, login to in your WordPress admin area, and then go to Plugins > Add New > Upload. It is getting a little old now and showing it’s age.

Another option is Contact Form 7. It’s not quite as good as Secure Form Mailer, but it works perfectly well, and this plugin IS in the WordPress.org plug-in directory.

The Way Ahead

A newer solution is a plugin called Gravity Forms. This software is an extremely powerful way of creating contact forms, and it also boasts the capability to route different requests to different email addresses. It enables you to schedule forms to appear at certain times, allows conditional fields, and even has an autoresponder function.

Technology is evolving to make life easier, and this program is showing us the new face of Contact Management. The Gravity Forms software can also be used for more complex creations such as online surveys and competition entries. This isn’t a free plugin, but it’s inexpensive and it provides you with many intelligent features in a highly intuitive, and simple, user interface.

Getting your contact details optimized on your blog will ensure your virtual party can go with a swing… one where only your invited friends show up!

Gravity Forms Contact Form Plugin for WordPress

The Story of a Plugin – Part 4: The FAQ

You may wish to read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first where I talk about the idea for the plugin, early proofs of concept, and getting to the current release version.

There have been quite a few questions about the plugin, so I’ll try to answer some of them here.

What is Pro Blog Stats?

It’s a WordPress plugin that pulls in publicly and privately available statistics about your website(s) / blog(s) and pulls them into your WordPress dashboard.

What version of WordPress is required?

Version 3.1 and above is preferred. It may work on lower versions but that’s up to you!

Any other requirements?

You must have PHP5 or above. PHP 4 will not work, any decent webhost should either easily upgrade you or already be on PHP 5.

How much is it?

There are free and paid versions of the plugin. See our plans/pricing page for more details.

What isn’t it all free?

Gathering the statistics data from tens of sources and storing all that data is quite resource intensive and there is a cost associated with this. It costs us for you to use the plugin, even for the free version, so we have to recoup some of that cost with more intensive plans.

Will this plugin add tracking code for different services into my blog automatically? (Google Analytics, etc)

No, the plugin does not add any tracking code to your site. While it does not require any other plugins to run, you may wish to use plugins for services such as Google Analytics, Clicky, Postrank etc in order to add the tracking code and make the stats available to Pro Blog Stats (if your version supports those stats). Pro Blog Stats will not interfere with any of these plugins as it gets the stats directly from the services themselves and not the plugins.

Why isn’t AWeber included?
This is a common question! We did at one stage have AWeber stats in but their API does not provide a simple count of subscribers by list. To avoid storing any private data we had to do a one-time on-demand calculation that got this statistic. Due to the limits of the API this often failed and brought back incorrect numbers. Rather than provide incorrect numbers we have removed it from the plugin for now.

Do you store any passwords?
No, we avoid asking for any usernames or passwords. Where required we use authentication, like for Google Analytics.

Any other questions please let us know!

The Story of a Plugin – Part 3: The WordPress Years

You may wish to read Part 1 and Part 2 first where I talk about the idea for the plugin and early proofs of concept.

So the first thing to decide on creating a plugin (after, of course, deciding to make one at all!) is whether to do it yourself or hire someone to do it. Not having the skills or time (or really desire) to learn to do it myself I set about hiring someone to do it.

Finding a developer should have been relatively easy, but it’s actually very difficult. PHP programming skills are in high demand which means the best are either very busy or very expensive, or both. I don’t want to go cheap so I found a medium level US company to develop the first version of the plugin.

The Third Version

To be honest, this relationship didn’t go well. I won’t name the company as they’re still big in the WordPress world and it was really both our fault and a fault of timing. Neither of us understood the time and complexity that would evolve and the proposed 6 weeks turned into about 7 months.

The plugin worked, and produced a simple report as shown below. However it quickly became apparent that gathering the data on-demand like it did was taking too much time and causing problems with loading time and lots of zeroes – as you can see below.

So at this point I was speaking to Andrew Rondeau of We Build Your Blog about the plugin and the issues. He had some great suggestions, as well as providing validation of the idea and what I was trying to achieve. So it became our plugin rather than my plugin.

We did a lot of research and hired another company to do the next stage of development.

The Fourth Version

We needed to make the plugin more robust and not time out and cause problems. So the company we hired built a website that gathers the data for you. So when you run the plugin the data is pulled down from our server which already holds the data, rather than querying 50+ different statistics.

They also built the login system and everything that you still see on the site at this moment.

After a few months this version was complete. However (how many times have I said that in this series of articles?!) it became clear they didn’t really understand WordPress that well (the website is not built on WordPress, something we will be moving to eventually) and we wanted to deal with a company with more expertise in WordPress.

Another issue was that the plugin still required some user names and passwords, however we wanted (and have achieved) to remove the need for any user names and passwords to be stored on our server for security reasons.

The Current Version

So the company we have hired (and still used) cleared up a LOT of outstanding issues with the plugin, the website, and the (almost ready) affiliate system. A few weeks ago the plugin was released into the WordPress.org repository and there is a completely free version available.

In part 4 I’ll answer some of the commonly asked questions about Pro Blog Stats. In the meantime, why not download it and give it a try, it’s free!

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)