7 Best WordPress Real Estate Plugins Compared (2018)

Are you looking for the best WordPress real estate plugins? WordPress is used by many real estate websites to showcase listings and get new customers. In this article, we have hand-picked the best WordPress real estate plugins that you can use to grow your business.… Read More »

The post 7 Best WordPress Real Estate Plugins Compared (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best WordPress real estate plugins? WordPress is used by many real estate websites to showcase listings and get new customers. In this article, we have hand-picked the best WordPress real estate plugins that you can use to grow your business.

Best WordPress real estate plugins

How to Make a Real Estate Website Using WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world. It is easy to use and flexible enough to make almost any kind of website imaginable.

There are two different types of WordPress which often confuses beginners. First, there is WordPress.com which is a hosted solution. Second, you have WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. See our article on WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for a side-by-side comparison.

We recommend using WordPress.org because it allows you to use all WordPress features out of the box without any restrictions.

To start your own self-hosted WordPress.org website, you will need a domain name and website hosting.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. They’re offering our users over 60% off and a free domain name.

Once you have purchased hosting, head over to our guide on how to make a website for step by step set up instructions.

That being said, let’s take a look at the best WordPress real estate plugins that you can use. These plugins will allow you to easily add your real estate listings and attract more customers.

1. IMPress Listings

IMPress Listings

IMPress Listings is one of the best WordPress real estate plugins. It is easy for beginners to get started, and flexible for advanced users to create powerful real estate websites.

It is mobile responsive and works with any WordPress theme. You can add as many details for each listing as you want with images and video support. Listings are beautifully displayed in a grid layout, and a single listing page allow users to get all the information they need including location maps.

It also allows you to import listings from your MLS database and support IDX integration with an addon plugin. It comes equipped with contact forms so that interested buyers can directly contact you.

2. WP-Property

WP-Property

WP-Property is another all-in-one WordPress real estate management plugin. It includes an easy to use interface to add and manage all your listings. You can add detailed information with tons of fields to add rooms, bathrooms, area, features, and more.

Listings are beautifully displayed on your website and the plugin website also offers free themes that you can use. It includes Google Maps support, powerful search feature with filters, SEO friendly URLs, featured listings, and more.

It is available in multiple languages and can be easily translated into any other language. It also comes with sidebar widgets and shortcodes that allow you to display listings through-out your website.

3. Estatik

Estatik

Estatik plugin is another excellent option to manage your real estate listings in WordPress. This powerful plugin comes with an easy to use property management system allowing you to easily add listings to your website.

It includes photo gallery, property search widget, Google Maps support, built-in social sharing, and multilingual support. It also includes a fields builder which allows you to easily add new fields to your listings.

It has an ajax powered search feature with auto-complete. Users can also sort listings by price, date, and popularity. Plugin developer also provides paid IDX/MLS services and add-ons to add more features if needed.

4. Easy Property Listings

Easy Property Listings

Easy Property Listings is another powerful and highly customizable WordPress real estate plugin. It allows you to easily build a real estate website without touching code and without changing themes.

It has a beginner friendly listing management interface which makes it super easy to manage your properties. It comes with mobile-friendly listing templates to display your properties in a grid layout or a single listing page.

Advanced features include support for REAXML, JUPIX, worldwide MLS systems, translations / multilingual support, advanced maps, and more. Paid addons and extensions allow you to add many other features including a real estate agents directory and management system.

5. WP Real Estate

WP Real Estate

WP Real Estate is a relatively new real estate plugin for WordPress with tons of cool features. It can be used for buying, selling, and rental properties as well.

It includes an advanced search feature, Google Maps, IDX/MLS integration, contact forms, custom fields, and list or grid layout views. It also comes with shortcodes and widgets so that you can display different real estate listings throughout your website or create your own landing pages for different properties.

6. AgentPress Listings

AgentPress

AgentPress requires Genesis theme framework and is designed to work with their own AgentPress Pro theme which helps you quickly create a real estate website.

The plugin adds a listings custom post type and taxonomies to help you categorize properties. You can also use widgets to add listings search to a widget ready area.

7. WPL Real Estate

WPL Real Estate

WPL Real Estate plugin is flexible and powerful WordPress real estate management system. It has an easy to manage section to add your listings with a filterable search feature for the front-end. It has real estate agent profiles, Google Maps, different listing views, and a powerful custom fields feature to add property features.

It can be integrated with MLS/IDX services as an additional paid feature, other customizations are also provided by the plugin developer as a service. It already works well with some of the best WordPress themes in the market.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress real estate plugins for your website. You may also want to see our list of the best WordPress real estate themes.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 7 Best WordPress Real Estate Plugins Compared (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.

6 Best Product Review Plugins for WordPress

Are you looking for the best product review plugins for WordPress? If you regularly add detailed product reviews on your website, then you can use a product review plugin to make them more SEO friendly. In this article, we have hand-picked the best product review… Read More »

The post 6 Best Product Review Plugins for WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best product review plugins for WordPress? If you regularly add detailed product reviews on your website, then you can use a product review plugin to make them more SEO friendly. In this article, we have hand-picked the best product review plugins for WordPress.

Best product review plugins for WordPress

Why Use Product Review Plugin in WordPress?

What do you do when you want to buy something? If you are like most people, then you probably check out product reviews to compare different options.

That’s why there are so many popular reviews websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Rotten Tomatoes, and more. Even Amazon, world’s largest online store features product reviews so prominently.

Many WordPress site owners write product reviews to make money online. Some get paid directly by the company for the review while others use affiliate marketing to earn revenue.

You can write a product review as a blog post. However, a plain blog post does not use product review format supported by search engines. This means your article will not be highlighted in search results as a review.

SEO Reviews Snippet

For better SEO, you need to write your reviews with schema.org rich snippets format. A product review plugin helps you easily write search engine friendly reviews that also look great on your website.

Let’s take a look at some of the best product review plugins for WordPress.

1. WP Product Review Pro

WP Product Review

WP Product Review is the best WordPress product review plugin. It comes with a detailed settings section allowing you to choose how you want to manage and display reviews on your website.

Adding a product review is quite easy. Simply select the product review option when writing a blog post and the plugin will show you all settings to write your review. You can break down your review into features, add images, pros and cons, and more.

It comes with sidebar widgets allowing you to showcase your reviews. You can also use it to collect user submitted reviews or allow your users to add their own rating and reviews in the comments. All reviews are displayed in schema.org rich snippet format for maximum SEO benefit.

For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to create a niche review website in WordPress.

2. All in One Schema Rich Snippets

All in One Schema Rich Snippets

As we mentioned earlier, your reviews need to be in a proper SEO friendly format. All in one Schema Rich Snippets plugin allows you to write different types of posts using the rich snippets format including product reviews.

Simply select ‘Item Review’ from a drop-down menu when writing a blog post, and the plugin will show review options like reviewer name, product name, and star rating. It will display this information below your blog post with the correct SEO friendly markup.

The plugin can also be used to add articles, products, recipes, software and more. For detailed instructions see our article on how to add rich snippets in WordPress.

3. WP Review Pro

WP Review

WP Review is another excellent option to add product reviews in WordPress. It is beginner friendly and quite easy to use. Upon activation, simply write a new post and select the review type.

It supports three types of review ratings stars, points, and percentage. You can also add different ratings for individual features if you want. It also supports user ratings which simply allows users to submit their own ratings for a product.

It also comes with styling options located under Settings » WP Review page. From here you can choose your own colors for the review box to match your theme colors.

4. Rich Reviews

Rich Reviews

Rich Reviews is a simple free plugin that allows you to add reviews of your own products, services, or website. You can also allow your users to submit reviews.

It uses shortcodes to display reviews, and you can display a review anywhere on your website including posts, pages, and sidebar widgets.

If you are collecting user-submitted reviews, then this plugin allows you to manually approve each review before publishing it. The plugin’s settings panel comes with detailed instructions on how to use it.

5. WP Customer Reviews

WP Customer Reviews

WP Customer Reviews plugin allows you to collect customers reviews as well as create your own product reviews. Upon activation, simply edit a blog post where you want to add a product review and check the reviews option.

Next, you need to go to the Reviews » All Reviews page and click on the add new button. After that, you can select the post and write your review. The plugin also allows you to enable user submitted reviews which you can then approve and publish to display on your website.

This plugin also allows you to customize the review form shown to users and comes with a how to use page with detailed instructions.

6. Site Reviews

Site Reviews

Site Reviews allows you to collect customer reviews for your products, services, or local business. It comes with a simple settings page allowing you to control how you want to gather reviews, and how you want to display them. You can customize the review form and display it anywhere on your website using a shortcode.

You can also display reviews using the shortcode. The plugin adds an easy to use shortcode inserter on the post edit screen to manually display reviews, review form, and review summary.

We hope this article helped you find the best product review plugins for WordPress. You may also want to see our list of the best testimonial plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 6 Best Product Review Plugins for WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to setup Signed Git Commits with a YubiKey NEO and GPG and Keybase on Windows

This week in obscure blog titles, I bring you the nightmare that is setting up Signed Git Commits with a YubiKey NEO and GPG and Keybase on Windows. This is one of those “it’s good for you” things like diet and exercise and setting up 2 Factor Authenti…

This commit was signed with a verified signature.This week in obscure blog titles, I bring you the nightmare that is setting up Signed Git Commits with a YubiKey NEO and GPG and Keybase on Windows. This is one of those "it's good for you" things like diet and exercise and setting up 2 Factor Authentication. I just want to be able to sign my code commits to GitHub so I might avoid people impersonating my Git Commits (happens more than you'd think and has happened recently.) However, I also was hoping to make it more security buy using a YubiKey NEO security key. They're happy to tell you that it supports a BUNCH of stuff that you have never heard of like Yubico OTP, OATH-TOTP, OATH-HOTP, FIDO U2F, OpenPGP, Challenge-Response. I am most concerned with it acting like a Smart Card that holds a PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) key since the YubiKey can look like a "PIV (Personal Identity Verification) Smart Card."

NOTE: I am not a security expert. Let me know if something here is wrong (be nice) and I'll update it. Note also that there are a LOT of guides out there. Some are complete and encyclopedic, some include recommendations and details that are "too much," but this one was my experience. This isn't The Bible On The Topic but rather  what happened with me and what I ran into and how I got past it. Until this is Super Easy (TM) on Windows, there's gonna be guides like this.

As with all things security, there is a balance between Capital-S Secure with offline air-gapped what-nots, and Ease Of Use with tools like Keybase. It depends on your tolerance, patience, technical ability, and if you trust any online services. I like Keybase and trust them so I'm starting there with a Private Key. You can feel free to get/generate your key from wherever makes you happy and secure.

Welcome to Keybase.io

I use Windows and I like it, so if you want to use a Mac or Linux this blog post likely isn't for you. I love and support you and your choice though. ;)

Make sure you have a private PGP key that has your Git Commit Email Address associated with it

I download and installed (and optionally donated) a copy of Gpg4Win here.

Take your private key - either the one you got from Keybase or one you generated locally - and make sure that your UUID (your email address that you use on GitHub) is a part of it. Here you can see mine is not, yet. That could be the main email or might be an alias or "uuid" that you'll add.

Certs in Kleopatra

If not, as in my case since I'm using a key from keybase, you'll need to add a new uuid to your private key. You will know you got it right when you run this command and see your email address inside it.

> gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG


------------------------------------------------
sec# rsa4096/MAINKEY 2015-02-09 [SCEA]

uid [ultimate] keybase.io/shanselman <[email protected]>

You can adduuid in the gpg command line or you can add it in the Kleopatra GUI.

image

If not, as in my case since I'm using a key from keybase, you'll need to add a new uuid to your private key. You will know you got it right when you run this command and see your email address inside it.

> gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG


------------------------------------------------
sec# rsa4096/MAINKEY 2015-02-09 [SCEA]
uid [ultimate] keybase.io/shanselman <[email protected]>
uid [ unknown] Scott Hanselman <[email protected]>

Then, when you make changes like this, you can export your public key and update it in Keybase.io (again, if you're using Keybase).

image

Plugin your YubiKey

I installed the YubiKey Smart card mini-driver from here.  Some people have said this driver is optional but I needed it on my main machine. Can anyone confirm?

When you plug your YubiKey in (assuming it's newer than 2015) it should get auto-detected and show up like this "Yubikey NEO OTP+U2F+CCID." You want it so show up as this kind of "combo" or composite device. If it's older or not in this combo mode, you may need to download the YubiKey NEO Manager and switch modes.

Setting up a YubiKey on Windows

Test that your YubiKey can be seen as a Smart Card

Go to the command line and run this to confirm that your Yubikey can be see as a smart card by the GPG command line.

> gpg --card-status

Reader ...........: Yubico Yubikey NEO OTP U2F CCID 0
Version ..........: 2.0
....

IMPORTANT: Sometimes Windows machines and Corporate Laptops have multiple smart card readers, especially if they have Windows Hello installed like my SurfaceBook2! If you hit this, you'll want to create a text file at %appdata%\Roaming\gnupg\scdaemon.conf and include a reader-port that points to your YubiKey. Mine is a NEO, yours might be a 4, etc, so be aware. You may need to reboot or at least restart/kill the GPG services/background apps for it to notice you made a change.
If you want to know what string should go in that file, go to Device Manager, then View | Show Hidden Devices and look under Software Devices. THAT is the string you want. Put this in scdaemon.conf:

reader-port "Yubico Yubikey NEO OTP+U2F+CCID 0"

Yubico Yubikey NEO OTP+U2F+CCID 0

Yubikey NEO can hold keys up to 2048 bits and the Yubikey 4 can hold up to 4096 bits - that's MOAR bits! However, you might find yourself with a 4096 bit key that is too big for the Yubikey NEO. Lots of folks believe this is a limitation of the NEO that sucks and is unacceptable. Since I'm using Keybase and starting with a 4096 bit key, one solution is to make separate 2048 bit subkeys for Authentication and Signing, etc.

From the command line, edit your keys then "addkey"

> gpg --edit-key <[email protected]>

You'll make a 2048 bit Signing key and you'll want to decide if it ever expires. If it never does, also make a revocation certificate so you can revoke it at some future point.

gpg> addkey

Please select what kind of key you want:
(3) DSA (sign only)
(4) RSA (sign only)
(5) Elgamal (encrypt only)
(6) RSA (encrypt only)
Your selection? 4
RSA keys may be between 1024 and 4096 bits long.
What keysize do you want? (2048)
Requested keysize is 2048 bits
Please specify how long the key should be valid.
0 = key does not expire
<n> = key expires in n days
<n>w = key expires in n weeks
<n>m = key expires in n months
<n>y = key expires in n years
Key is valid for? (0)
Key does not expire at all

Save your changes, and then export the keys. You can do that with Kleopatra or with the command line:

--export-secret-keys --armor KEYID

Here's a GUI view. I have my main 4096 bit key and some 2048 bit subkeys for Signing or Encryption, etc. Make as many as you like

image

LEVEL SET - It will be the public version of the 2048 bit Signing Key that we'll tell GitHub about and we'll put the private part on the YubiKey, acting as a Smart Card.

Move the signing subkey over to the YubiKey

Now I'm going to take my keychain here, select the signing one (note the ASTERISK after I type "key 1" then "keytocard" to move/store it on the YubyKey's SmartCard Signature slot. I'm using my email as a way to get to my key, but if your email is used in multiple keys you'll want to use the unique Key Id/Signature.

> gpg --edit-key [email protected]


gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.6; Copyright (C) 2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

sec rsa4096/MAINKEY
created: 2015-02-09 expires: never usage: SCEA
trust: ultimate validity: ultimate
ssb rsa2048/THEKEYIDFORTHE2048BITSIGNINGKEY
created: 2015-02-09 expires: 2023-02-07 usage: S
card-no: 0006
ssb rsa2048/KEY2
created: 2015-02-09 expires: 2023-02-07 usage: E
[ultimate] (1). keybase.io/shanselman <[email protected]>
[ultimate] (2) Scott Hanselman <[email protected]>
gpg> toggle
gpg> key 1

sec rsa4096/MAINKEY
created: 2015-02-09 expires: never usage: SCEA
trust: ultimate validity: ultimate
ssb* rsa2048/THEKEYIDFORTHE2048BITSIGNINGKEY
created: 2015-02-09 expires: 2023-02-07 usage: S
card-no: 0006
ssb rsa2048/KEY2
created: 2015-02-09 expires: 2023-02-07 usage: E
[ultimate] (1). keybase.io/shanselman <[email protected]>
[ultimate] (2) Scott Hanselman <[email protected]>

gpg> keytocard
Please select where to store the key:
(1) Signature key
(3) Authentication key
Your selection? 1

If you're storing thing on your Smart Card, it should have a pin to protect it. Also, make sure you have a backup of your primary key (if you like) because keytocard is a destructive action.

Have you set up PIN numbers for your Smart Card?

There's a PIN and an Admin PIN. The Admin PIN is the longer one. The default admin PIN is usually ‘12345678’ and the default PIN is usually ‘123456’. You'll want to set these up with either the Kleopatra GUI "Tools | Manage Smart Cards" or the gpg command line:

>gpg --card-edit

gpg/card> admin
Admin commands are allowed
gpg/card> passwd
*FOLLOW THE PROMPTS TO SET PINS, BOTH ADMIN AND STANDARD*

Tell Git about your Signing Key Globally

Be sure to tell Git on your machine some important configuration info like your signing key, but also WHERE the gpg.exe is. This is important because git ships its own older local copy of gpg.exe and you installed a newer one!

git config --global gpg.program "c:\Program Files (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe"

git config --global commit.gpgsign true
git config --global user.signingkey THEKEYIDFORTHE2048BITSIGNINGKEY

If you don't want to set ALL commits to signed, you can skip the commit.gpgsign=true and just include -S as you commit your code:

git commit -S -m your commit message

Test that you can sign things

if you are running Kleopatra (the noob Windows GUI) when you run gpg --card-status you'll notice the cert will turn boldface and get marked as certified.

The goal here is for you to make sure GPG for Windows knows that there's a private key on the smart card, and associates a signing Key ID with that private key so when Git wants to sign a commit, you'll get a Smart Card PIN Prompt.

Advanced: If you make SubKeys for individual things so that they might also be later revoked without torching your main private key. Using the Kleopatra tool from GPG for Windows you can explore the keys and get their IDs. You'll use those Subkey IDs in your git config to remove to your signingkey.

At this point things should look kinda like this in the Kleopatra GUI:

Multiple PGP Sub keys

Make sure to prove you can sign something by making a text file and signing it. If you get a Smart Card prompt (assuming a YubiKey) and a larger .gpg file appears, you're cool.

> gpg --sign .\quicktest.txt

> dir quic*

Mode LastWriteTime Length Name
---- ------------- ------ ----
-a---- 4/18/2018 3:29 PM 9 quicktest.txt
-a---- 4/18/2018 3:38 PM 360 quicktest.txt.gpg

Now, go up into GitHub to https://github.com/settings/keys at the bottom. Remember that's GPG Keys, not SSH Keys. Make a new one and paste in your public signing key or subkey.

Note the KeyID (or the SubKey ID) and remember that one of them (either the signing one or the primary one) should be the ID you used when you set up user.signingkey in git above.

GPG Keys in GitHub

The most important thing is that:

  • the email address associated with the GPG Key
  • is the same as the email address GitHub has verified for you
  • is the same as the email in the Git Commit

If not, double check your email addresses and make sure they are the same everywhere.

Try a signed commit

If pressing enter pops a PIN Dialog then you're getting somewhere!

Please unlock the card

Commit and push and go over to GitHub and see if your commit is Verified or Unverified. Unverified means that the commit was signed but either had an email GitHub had never seen OR that you forgot to tell GitHub about your signing public key.

Signed Verified Git Commits

Yay!

Setting up to a second (or third) machine

Once you've told Git about your signing key and you've got your signing key stored in your YubiKey, you'll likely want to set up on another machine.

  • Install the Yubikey SmartCard Mini Driver (may be optional)
  • Install GPG for Windows
    • gpg --card-status
    • Import your public key. If I'm setting up signing on another machine, I'll can import my PUBLIC certificates like this or graphically in Kleopatra.
      >gpg --import "keybase public key.asc"
      
      gpg: key *KEYID*: "keybase.io/shanselman <[email protected]>" not changed
      gpg: Total number processed: 1
      gpg: unchanged: 1

      You may also want to run gpg --expert --edit-key *KEYID* and type "trust" to certify your key as someone (yourself) that you trust.

  • Install Git (I assume you did this) and configure GPG
    • git config --global gpg.program "c:\Program Files (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg.exe"
    • git config --global commit.gpgsign true
    • git config --global user.signingkey THEKEYIDFORTHE2048BITSIGNINGKEY
  • Sign something with "gpg --sign" to test
  • Do a test commit.

Finally, feel superior for 8 minutes, then realize you're really just lucky because you just followed the blog post of someone who ALSO has no clue, then go help a co-worker because this is TOO HARD.


Sponsor: Check out JetBrains Rider: a cross-platform .NET IDE. Edit, refactor, test and debug ASP.NET, .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin or Unity applications. Learn more and download a 30-day trial!



© 2018 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

How to Blog Anonymously Using WordPress

Do you want to blog anonymously using WordPress? There are many users who want to start a blog but don’t what to put their real name on it. In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to easily blog anonymously using WordPress while keeping… Read More »

The post How to Blog Anonymously Using WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to blog anonymously using WordPress? There are many users who want to start a blog but don’t what to put their real name on it. In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to easily blog anonymously using WordPress while keeping your personal information safe.

How to anonymously blog using WordPress

Note: This guide is not for journalists or whistle-blowers doing high-risk work. They should use something like TOR or other tools. This is for an average blogger who wants to blog anonymously.

Anonymous Blogging Pros & Cons

There are many users who simply want to blog anonymously to express their opinions. Most of them want to remain anonymous because they fear it may affect how people see them in real lives. Some want to do it just to be more creative.

There are pros and cons to blogging anonymously, and it’s important that you understand them before you start blogging.

Pros of Anonymous Blogging using WordPress

  • Freedom to express your opinions without being judged
  • Protect your personal identity and information
  • Creative and artistic freedom

Cons of Anonymous Blogging Using WordPress

  • Not able to meet with people who follow your blog
  • Limited monetization options, you can still use Google AdSense, but you will have to share your personal information with Google.
  • If someone is really determined, then they can still trace your blog back to you.

That being said, let’s see how to blog anonymously using WordPress.

How to Start an Anonymous Blog using WordPress

There are two types of WordPress websites. First, there is WordPress.com which is a hosted blogging service, and then you have WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. For comparison, see our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

There are other blogging platforms as well. However, we recommend using self-hosted WordPress.org to have complete control on the privacy and ownership of your website.

You will need a domain name and a website hosting account to start your self-hosted WordPress blog.

We recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider. They’re offering our users a free domain and 60% off their web hosting.

For details, see our article on how to start a WordPress blog with complete step by step instructions.

After you have installed WordPress, let’s make it anonymous.

Using Whois Privacy

When you purchase a domain name, you are required to provide contact information, like name, address, phone number, and email address. This information is publicly accessible and anyone can look up for it.

To protect customer’s privacy, many domain name providers offer a service called Whois privacy. For a small fee, this service displays their contact information instead of yours. If someone sends an email to the address displayed on WHOIS privacy page it will be forwarded to you.

You can purchase domain privacy during the set up on most hosting companies. For example, Bluehost provides you an option to do so during the sign up. We normally don’t recommend it due to the additional cost, but since you want to create an anonymous blog, you would want to check this option.

Domain privacy

If you didn’t purchase it during set up, then you can always enable it from your hosting account’s dashboard under the domains section.

Using a Blogging Email Address

Next step is to create a new email account to use for your WordPress website, and your author profile in WordPress. You can use a free email service provider like Gmail or use a more private email service like Proton Mail.

After you have created an email account, you need to add it as a WordPress administrative email address. This email address is used to send WordPress notification emails.

You can do this by going to Settings » General page in the WordPress admin area and add your new email address there.

Adding admin email address in WordPress

Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Next, you need to add the same email address to your author profile page. Simply go to the Users » Your Profile page and add the email address under your contact info.

Change your author profile email address

Don’t forget to click on the Update Profile button to save your changes.

You can also use gravatar to display an anonymous profile picture next to your author bio under your blog posts.

Tip: If you are not receiving WordPress emails, then see our guide on how to fix WordPress not sending emails issue.

Using a Psuedonym for Anonymous Blogging

You will need to choose and use a pseudonym on your blog. For better WordPress security, you cannot just use admin as your username or author name. You will need to think of a different nickname that you can use to sign your posts.

To add your pseudonym, you need to visit Users » Your Profile page and add the name next to the Nickname field. After entering your nickname, click on the drop-down menu next to ‘Display name publicly as’ option and select your nickname.

Pseudonym

It’s important that you don’t add your real first and last name in this user profile.

Don’t forget to click on the Update Profile button to save your changes.

Using a VPN

VPN is a Virtual Private Network that helps you secure your internet connection and protect your identity.

Normally, all your internet traffic travels through different servers spread across the world. Hackers and governments can spy on this traffic and see what you are doing online.

VPN acts as a network between your computer and outside world. All your internet traffic goes to a VPN service where it is encrypted and sent to the destination using a random server in a different geographic location.

How VPN works

Here is a list of the best VPN service providers. We recommend using IPVanish. They offer military grade encryption with hundreds of servers. They also have the easiest software to turn on VPN with the click of a button on any device including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

We hope this article helped you learn how to blog anonymously using WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress

Do you want to create a referral program in WordPress? Referral programs are a great way to get more people to promote your products to a larger audience. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a referral program in WordPress and… Read More »

The post How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a referral program in WordPress? Referral programs are a great way to get more people to promote your products to a larger audience. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a referral program in WordPress and get more customers.

Creating referral program in WordPress

Why Create a Referral Program in WordPress?

Referral program or affiliate program allows you to get more people to help you sell your products and services. In return, you pay them a small commission on each sale they make. For more details, see our ultimate affiliate marketing guide to see how it works.

In simple terms, it is like building your own sales army without paying them a salary.

These affiliate marketers use tools and plugins to create marketing content. They make money online by referring their users to right products and services.

To manage a referral or affiliate program, you will need a tool that can manage your affiliate program. It will allow affiliate marketers to join your referral program. It will also help you track sales and traffic sent by each affiliate partner.

Why Use AffiliateWP to a Create Referral Program in WordPress?

For this tutorial, we will be using AffiliateWP plugin to create a referral program in WordPress. It is one of the best affiliate management plugins for WordPress.

Like everything else in life, AffiliateWP has it’s own pros and cons that you should consider.

Pros of Using AffiliateWP

Following are some of the benefits of using AffiliateWP to manage your referral program in WordPress.

  • Very easy to use and blends in your WordPress site like a native app.
  • Very cost effective with plans starting from $99/year to $499 for a lifetime license.
  • Integrates with WooCommerce stores, Easy Digital Downloads, PayPal, Stripe, and more
  • Large number of addons including free, paid, and third-party add-ons to extend AffiliateWP
  • Real-time affiliate tracking with detailed reports for you and your affiliate partners

Cons of Using AffiliateWP

Here are some of the disadvantages of using AffiliateWP to manage your referral program.

  • It has limited reach compared to affiliate networks which already have thousands of affiliate marketers actively looking for products to promote
  • It does not come with advanced fraud detection features that are offered by popular affiliate networks.
  • There is no automatic payout system, and you will have to manually send payments each month
  • Does not calculate taxes and 1099 forms for payouts. As a business owner, you will have to manage it on your own.
  • It is less convenient for affiliate partners. They will have to create an account and login to view their reports, compared to affiliate networks where they can see all their earnings at one place.

A good alternative to AffiliateWP would be ShareASale, which is a large affiliate network with thousands of skilled affiliate marketers actively looking for new products to recommend.

For a more detailed comparison, you may want to see this article on setting up your own affiliate program by Syed Balkhi (Founder and CEO of WPBeginner).

With that being said, let’s take a look at how to create a referral program in WordPress using AffiliateWP.

Creating a Referral Program in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the AffiliateWP plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Affiliates » Settings page to enter your license key. You can find this information under your account on AffiliateWP website.

Enter your license key

After activating your license key, you need to select a page to be used for Affiliate Area. AffiliateWP automatically creates one for you, but if you want to use a different page, then you can select it here.

Next, you need to choose the terms of service page. You can check out affiliate program terms pages on other websites to create one for your own site. After creating the page you can select it here.

After that, you need to review other settings on the page and set them up based on your own referral program policies.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Next, you need to switch to the integrations tab on the Settings page. From here you need to select the integrations you want to enable. AffiliateWP supports most popular eCommerce, membership, contact form, and LMS plugins.

AffiliateWP integrations

Click on the save changes button and then switch to ‘Emails’ tab on the Settings page.

AffiliateWP allows you to edit emails sent out to your affiliates. You can also upload your business logo, create your own email templates, and choose the email address you want to use to send out affiliate emails.

Email notifications

Note: If you are unable to receive email notifications, then follow our guide on how to fix WordPess not sending email issue.

Lastly, switch to the Misc tab on the settings page to set up advanced settings for your affiliate program. The first option on the page is to allow affiliates to register themselves. You can check this if you want affiliates to be able to sign up for your referral program.

Misc settings

Next, you would also want to enable reCAPTCHA to prevent bots from registering as affiliates.

You will need to carefully review each setting and change them as needed. Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Adding Links to Your Referral Program

Now that you have set up your referral program, the next step is to add links to it. For example, if you have enabled affiliate registration, then you may want to add a link to affiliate area so that interested marketers can register themselves.

Simply go to Appearance » Menus page and add your affiliate area page to a navigation menu. For detailed instructions, see our beginner’s guide to adding navigation menus in WordPress.

Add link to affiliate area

Clicking on the link will take users to the affiliate area where they can register to join as a new affiliate, or login to their account to see their reports.

Affiliate area

Managing Your Referral Program in AffiliateWP

AffiliateWP comes with powerful tools to manage your affiliates, view reports, and effectively run your affiliate program without leaving WordPress.

To view affiliates that have joined your referral program, simply go to Affiliates » Affiliates page.

Affiliates

On this page, you can see a list of all your affiliate partners, their earnings, unpaid earnings, referral visits, and more. You can edit any affiliate account individually.

To view each sale made through a referral partner, you need to visit Affiliates » Referrals page. Here you will see all referral sales, affiliate partner, amount, and more. You can also click on ‘Reject’ link if you suspect a referral to be fraudulent.

Referrals

Viewing Your Referral Program Reports in AffiliateWP

Reporting is crucial to run a successful referral program, and AffiliateWP comes with powerful reporting features. Head over to Affiliates » Affiliates page for a full overview.

Reports overview

You can filter the reporting period by time and specific affiliate partner name. You can also view reports for affiliates, referral visits, and campaigns.

Sending Payments to Your Affiliates

Unfortunately, AffiliateWP doesn’t come with automatic payouts, which means you will have to manually send payments. AffiliateWP makes it easy to manage your payouts.

Depending on when and how often you want to pay your referral partners, you can head over to the Affiliates » Referrals page and click on the ‘Generate Payout File’ button.

Generate payout file

This will generate a payout file which is compatible with PayPal’s mass payment system. The file also works with Skrill and other payment services that support mass payment feature. It contains the amount and payment email addresses for all your unpaid referrals.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a referral program in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Create Interactive Images in WordPress

Do you want to create an interactive image for your WordPress blog? An interactive image allows you to highlight, link, and animate certain areas of your image. In this article, we will show you how to create interactive images in WordPress. What is an Interactive… Read More »

The post How to Create Interactive Images in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create an interactive image for your WordPress blog? An interactive image allows you to highlight, link, and animate certain areas of your image. In this article, we will show you how to create interactive images in WordPress.

Create Interactive Images in WordPress

What is an Interactive Image?

An interactive image has hotspot areas, highlights, links, colors, and more. It’s different from a simple image that you upload in WordPress. Interactive images are eye-catching and attract users to see details of the image. You can add description on different parts of an image, add links to pages, highlight sections, and more.

Description Demo for Interactive Images

In this image, you can see the description of fruits on mouse over to different bars. You can use these interactive images to boost user engagement and time spent on site.

Let’s take a look on how you can draw attention of your visitors with interactive images.

Creating Interactive Images in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Draw Attention plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you’ll see a new custom post type in your WordPress admin area. You need to go to the Draw Attention » Add New page to create an interactive image.

Add New Image

Start by adding a title for this new interactive image, so you can easily remember it. On this page, you can create interactive design on new or previously uploaded images. You can add a new image by clicking on the upload image icon, or you can select an image from your WordPress media library.

Upload or Select Image

Next, you need to click on Publish button.

After publishing, the plugin allows you to edit the image and highlight specific areas, add colors, links, draw hotspot areas, and more. You can scroll down to the Hotspot Areas section and expand the clickable area to preview image.

Simply move your mouse and draw clickable areas on the image. You can easily select the hotspot areas and expand them to create a selection.

Draw Hotspot Areas

After drawing the hotspot area, you need to scroll down to the Action dropdown and select an action for the selected area on image. If you choose Show More Info, then you can simply add a description to explain the hotspot area on the image. You can also add a link on the selected area by using the ‘Go to URL’ option.

Add Action

You can also manage general settings and highlight styling for action link, action text, info background and more. These settings can help in making your image more interactive.

General Settings

Next you need to click on the Update button and copy the shortcode to add it in your WordPress post or page.

Copy Shortcodes

The plugin allows you to create as many interactive images as you need using your previously uploaded or new images.

Clickable Interactive Image

Import and Export Interactive Images

If you are working on multiple sites and want to import / export interactive images, then it requires the same Draw Attention plugin on both sites.

On the first site, you need to visit Draw Attention » Import / Export page and check mark the images that you want to export. Next, click on the Generate Export Code button and copy the code.

Export Code Interactive Images

After that you need to go to the next website and make sure that you have Draw Attention plugin activated. Next, you need to go to Draw Attention » Import / Export page from WordPress admin and paste the code in import field.

Paste Code Interactive Images

Go ahead and click on the Import button and your images will be imported will all the interactive details that you added previously.

These interactive images are good for WordPress SEO and attract more visitors on your site. However, it’s recommended to compress images before you upload them to improve site performance.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create interactive images in WordPress. You may also want to check our guide on how to lazy load images in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create Interactive Images in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

24 Best WordPress Themes for SEO Experts

Are you looking for the best WordPress themes for SEO experts? As an SEO expert, you may want to choose a theme that showcases your SEO and marketing skills while helping you convert visitors into clients. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the… Read More »

The post 24 Best WordPress Themes for SEO Experts appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best WordPress themes for SEO experts? As an SEO expert, you may want to choose a theme that showcases your SEO and marketing skills while helping you convert visitors into clients. In this article, we have hand-picked some of the best WordPress themes for SEO experts that you can use for your website.

Best WordPress themes for SEO experts

Building an SEO Business Website Using WordPress

WordPress is the most search engine friendly website builder in the world. That’s why top brands are using WordPress for their websites.

There are two types of WordPress available. WordPress.com which is a fully hosted platform and WordPress.org also known as self-hosted WordPress. For a detailed comparison, see our guide on the difference between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

We recommend using WordPress.org because it instantly gives you access to all WordPress features out of the box.

You will need to purchase a domain name and hosting to build a self-hosted WordPress website.

We recommend using Bluehost. It is one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Once you have purchased hosting, follow our guide on how to make a website for step by step set up instructions.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best WordPress themes for SEO experts, consultants, and marketing experts.

1. Ultra

Themify Ultra

Ultra is a multi-purpose WordPress theme with complete ready-made designs suitable for SEO experts. All of these designs can be installed with 1-click including the demo content. You can then just go ahead and replace the content with your own to make it yours.

It includes a powerful drag and drop page builder, which allows you to edit any page layout with a simple point and click interface. Inside you will find multiple design options with several templates, header designs, blog layouts, page templates, and sidebars.

2. Spencer

Spencer

Spencer is an elegantly designed WordPress theme for SEO businesses, marketing agencies, and entrepreneurs. It has a modern business homepage style which is easy to set up with simple drag and drop widgets.

It has ready to use templates for to add landing page, contact form, about page, and a separate blog page. All theme options are neatly organized under live theme customizer which allows you to easily customize every option and set up your website.

3. Corporate

Corporate

As the name suggests, Corporate is a WordPress business theme designed to be suitable for any type of business including SEO experts and agencies. It ships with several ready-made landing page designs and a built-in drag and drop builder to easily edit them.

It has multiple layout choices for different page templates, smooth background color change effect, CSS animations, testimonials, and more. It comes with a beginner friendly theme options panel with 1-click demo installer and full customizer support.

4. Academy Pro

Academy Pro

Academy Pro is a powerful WordPress theme built on top of the Genesis theme framework. It is perfect for SEO websites selling online courses and training along with SEO services and other products.

It is super easy to set up with a widgetized homepage layout, custom widgets, and a theme options page. It is eCommerce ready with full support for WooCommerce.

5. Indigo

Indigo

Indigo is a multi-purpose WordPress theme suitable for SEO experts, agencies, and businesses. It takes a modular approach to design and allows you to just drag and drop modules to create page layouts. You also get several ready-made designs that can be installed with 1-click.

Other notable features include custom widgets, social media icons, contact form, Google fonts, and more. All theme settings are quite straightforward and easy to follow even for beginners.

6. Authority Pro

Authority Pro

Authority Pro is another powerful WordPress theme to build your online presence as an SEO expert. Built on Genesis framework, it features a fresh and modern design with a large header image, welcome message, and an email subscription form at the top.

It includes 4 widget ready areas, two navigation menus, and a unique vertical navigation menu. Theme settings are controlled by a theme options panel and live theme customizer which makes it quite easy to set up and use.

7. Roxima

Roxima

Roxima is a modern WordPress business theme perfect for SEO consultants and agencies. Its homepage features a large background image with your call to action and beautiful parallax background effects.

It comes with custom widgets, several widget ready areas, page templates, unlimited color choices, and more. It is easy to use with tons of options in live theme customizer.

8. Create

Create

Create is a clean and professional WordPress theme perfect for SEO and marketing agencies. Its homepage features a highly engaging layout with beautiful slider on top followed by your most important content.

It has multiple header styles, built-in mega menu navigation, contact forms, icon fonts, and more. It ships with a slider plugin and works well with popular page builder plugins. It is easy to use with tons of options to customize it in any way you want.

9. Plum

Plum

If you are looking for a free WordPress theme for SEO services provider, then check out Plum. This multi-purpose WordPress theme includes a beautiful homepage with slider, CSS animations, a featured content area, and widget-ready areas.

It can be used with any top page builder plugins to create your own page layout if needed. It is ready for WooCommerce and can be easily translated into other languages.

10. Presence

Presence

Presence is a multi-purpose WordPress theme created for all kind of business websites. It comes with 10 ready-to-use demos including one for digital agencies, which would be perfect for SEO service providers.

It includes portfolio section, team members, testimonials, custom widgets, with flexible layouts and 6 color schemes. It is designed to work out of the box for beginners while offering tons of choices for advanced users.

11. Creativo

Creativo

Creativo is a stylish and powerful multi-purpose WordPress theme. It comes in 7 skins, 3 design layouts, multiple header styles, and unlimited color combinations.

It includes freebies like a page builder, slider, and live chat plugin to extend theme features. Inside you will also find portfolio and testimonial sections, sidebars, custom widgets, social media integration, and more. It is WooCommerce ready out of the box and has beautiful templates for shop and product pages.

12. Capital

Capital

Capital features a modern and professional business website look, which is perfect for SEO consultants. This WooCommerce ready WordPress theme comes with easy to use sections to add your services, portfolio, client testimonials, team members, and more.

It is quite easy to use with visual settings, live customizer support, and tons of easy to use options to make it your own. It is translation ready and can also be used to create multilingual WordPress websites.

13. Corner

Corner

If you are looking for a minimalist and distraction-free design, then take a look at Corner. This clean and simple WordPress business theme comes with a simple two column layout.

It features a narrow left sidebar and a wider content area with lots of white space. It is designed to work out of the box but offers color controls, custom widgets for Twitter, Flickr, and content discovery widgets. It is powerful enough to be extended with any page builder plugin or add an online store with WooCommerce.

14. Bulk

Bulk

Bulk is another excellent free WordPress theme that can be used to build any kind of business website. Designed to work with popular WordPress landing page plugin, it allows you to create engaging page layouts that help you win customers.

It is WooCommerce ready and can also be used as a one-page WordPress theme. All theme options are simple and easy to use allowing you to quickly set it up with minimal effort.

15. Koehn

Koehn

Koehn is a uniquely designed WordPress theme suitable for SEO experts, marketing agencies, and similar businesses. Its homepage features a fullscreen slider on top followed by widget ready areas, which allow you to just drag and drop content widgets to set up.

It also includes projects, team members, testimonials, and custom widgets for social media and content discovery features. It is tested for SEO and compatibility with essential WordPress plugins.

16. Atmosphere Pro

Atmosphere Pro

Atmosphere Pro is built on top of Genesis theme framework. It is a WordPress business theme featuring a beautiful full-screen header image with a call to action on top.

It uses large featured images and elegant typography to make your content stand out. Other features include a customizable header, custom widgets, theme options panel, and live customization support.

17. Atomic

Atomic

If you are looking for an elegant design with beautiful typography, then you’ll love Atomic. This multi-purpose WordPress theme is suitable for all type of business websites.

Its main features include large images, spacious layout, a customizable header, and full WooCommerce support. It is designed to work out of the box and requires a minimum set up.

18. Nayma

Nayma

Nayma is another excellent WordPress multi-purpose theme suitable for SEO experts, affiliate marketers, and agencies. It uses modules to build page layouts which allows you to just drag and drop elements to readjust design for your needs.

It includes ready to use modules for sliders, testimonials, portfolio, contact forms, and more. It comes with full WooCommerce support and can also be used for multilingual websites.

19. Highend

Highend

Highend is a feature-packed WordPress multi-purpose theme which is designed to be suitable for any kind of business website. It comes with several ready-to-use demo templates, including a beautiful landing page demo.

It ships with a drag and drop page builder, sliders, and icon fonts. Other notable features included are page templates, custom widgets, multiple sidebars and navigation menu styles.

20. Integral

Integral

Integral is a free WordPress business theme that can also be used as a one-page theme. It features a modern homepage design with a large background image, welcome message, and call to action buttons.

It comes with beautiful parallax background effects, multiple sidebars, projects and features section, and more. You can change theme colors, fonts, widget sections, and more through live customizer.

21. Propel

Propel

Propel is a stunningly beautiful WordPress business theme which is designed to impress and engage. It is a one-page theme, but works just as beautifully on multi-page websites.

Notable features include a portfolio section, beautiful animations, parallax backgrounds, fullscreen header, and more. It comes with a 1-click demo installer to quickly set up your website.

22. Potenza

Potenza

If you are looking for a more formal design for your SEO agency website, then take a look at Potenza. It is a WordPress business theme with a professional and corporate feel to it. It is a one-page WordPress theme with vertical navigation with links to different sections on the page.

The homepage is made up of widget-ready areas, which means you need to add content widgets to fill it up and you will be good to go. It includes a contact form, multiple colors, social media icons, Google Maps and support for popular page builders.

23. Float

Float

Need a more versatile WordPress theme for your SEO business? Check out Float. This multi-purpose WordPress theme is packed with multiple designs, layout choices, header, and navigation styles.

It includes an integrated page builder, templates for blog, shop, single pages, and posts. It has multiple sidebars and several custom widgets. You will find theme settings quite easy to follow with a custom theme dashboard with all the options.

24. Port

Port

Port is an amazingly elegant WordPress theme for agencies, SEO consultants, and other businesses. Its homepage has a fullscreen background image with a welcome message, your logo or business name, and a collapsed navigation menu. Other sections appear with parallax effects as users scroll down the page.

It has services, projects, testimonials, and video sections. Other features include shortcodes, contact form page, Google fonts, and localization support.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress themes for SEO experts. You may also want to see our ultimate guide on how to improve WordPress speed and performance for a faster website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 24 Best WordPress Themes for SEO Experts appeared first on WPBeginner.

Retrogaming on original consoles in HDMI on a budget

My sons (10 and 12) and I have been enjoying Retrogaming as a hobby of late. Sure there’s a lot of talk of 4k 60fps this and that, but there’s amazing stories in classing video games. From The Legend of Zelda (all of them) to Ico and Shadow of the Colo…

Just a few of my consoles. There's a LOT off screen.My sons (10 and 12) and I have been enjoying Retrogaming as a hobby of late. Sure there's a lot of talk of 4k 60fps this and that, but there's amazing stories in classing video games. From The Legend of Zelda (all of them) to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, we are enjoying playing games across every platform. Over the years we've assembled quite the collection of consoles, most purchased at thrift stores.

Initially I started out as a purist, wanting to play each game on the original console unmodified. I'm not a fan of emulators for a number of reasons. I don't particularly like the idea of illegal ROM come up and I'd like to support the original game creators. Additionally, if I can support a small business by purchasing original game cartridges or CDs, I prefer to do that as well. However, the kids and I have come up with somewhat of a balance in our console selection.

For example, we enjoy the Hyperkin Retron 5 in that it lets us play NES, Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Genesis, Mega Drive, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, & Game Boy over 5 category ports. with one additional adapter, it adds Game Gear, Master System, and Master System Cards. It uses emulators at its heart, but it requires the use of the original game cartridges. However, the Hyperkin supports all the original controllers - many of which we've found at our local thrift store - which strikes a nice balance between the old and the new. Best of all, it uses HDMI as its output plug which makes it super easy to hook up to our TV.

The prevalence of HDMI as THE standard for getting stuff onto our Living Room TV has caused me to dig into finding HDMI solutions for as many of my systems as possible. Certainly you CAN use a Composite Video Adapter to HDMI to go from the classic Yellow/White/Red connectors to HDMI but prepare for disappointment. By the time it gets to your 4k flat panel it's gonna be muddy and gross. These aren't upscalers. They can't clean an analog signal. More on that in a moment because there are LAYERS to these solutions.

Some are simple, and I recommend these (cheap products, but they work great) adapters:

  • Wii to HDMI Adapter - The Wii is a very under-respected console and has a TON of great games. In the US you can find a Wii at a thrift store for $20 and there's tens of millions of them out there. This simple little adapter will get you very clean 480i or 480p HDMI with audio. Combine that with the Wii's easily soft-modded operating system and you've got the potential for a multi-system emulator as well.
  • PS2 to HDMI Adapter - This little (cheap) adapter will get you HTMI output as well, although it's converted off the component Y Cb/Pb Cr/Pr signal coming out. It also needs USB Power so you may end up leaching that off the PS2 itself. One note - even though every PS2 can also play PS1 games, those games output 240p and this adapter won't pick it up, so be prepared to downgrade depend on the game. But, if you use a Progressive Scan 16:9 Widescreen game like God of War you'll be very pleased with the result.
  • Nintendo N64 - THIS is the most difficult console so far to get HDMI output from. There ARE solutions but they are few and far between and often out of stock. There's an RGB mod that will get you clean Red/Green/Blue outputs but not HDMI. You'll need to get the mod and then either do the soldering yourself or find a shop to do it for you. The holy grail is the UltraHDMI Mod but I have yet to find one and I'm not sure I want to pay $150 for it if I do.
    • The cheapest and easiest thing you can and should do with an N64 is get a Composite & C-Video converter box. This box will also do basic up-scaling as well, but remember, this isn't going to create pixels that aren't already there.
  • Dreamcast - There is an adapter from Akura that will get you all the way to HDMI but it's $85 and it's just for Dreamcast. I chose instead to use a Dreamcast to VGA cable, as the Dreamcast can do VGA natively, then a powered VGA to HDMI box. It doesn't upscale, but rather passes the original video resolution to your panel for upscaling. In my experience this is a solid budget compromise.

If you're ever in or around Portland/Beaverton, Oregon, I highly recommend you stop by Retro Game Trader. Their selection and quality is truly unmatched. One of THE great retro game stores on the west coast of the US.

The games and systems at Retro Game Trader are amazing Retro Game Trader has shelves upon shelves of classic games

For legal retrogames on a budget, I also enjoy the new "mini consoles" you've likely heard a lot about, all of which support HDMI output natively!

  • Super NES Classic (USA or Europe have different styles) - 21 classic games, works with HDMI, includes controllers
  • NES Classic - Harder to find but they are out there. 30 classic games, plus controllers. Tiny!
  • Atari Flashback 8 - 120 games, 2 controllers AND 2 paddles!
  • C64 Mini - Includes Joystick and 64 games AND supports a USB Keyboard so you can program in C64 Basic

8bitdo-sfc30-pro-controller-gamepad-538219.4In the vein of retrogaming, but not directly related, I wanted to give a shootout to EVERYTHING that the 8BitDo company does. I have three of their controllers and they are amazing. They get constant firmware updates, and particularly the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Controller is amazing as it works on Windows, Mac, Android, and Nintendo Switch. It pairs perfectly with the Switch, I use it on the road with my laptop as an "Xbox" style controller and it always Just Works. Amazing product.

If you want the inverse - the ability to use your favorite controllers with your Windows, Mac, or Raspberry Pi, check out their Wireless Adapter. You'll be able to pair all your controllers and use them on your PC - Xbox One S/X Bluetooth controller, PS4, PS3, Wii Mote, Wii U Pro wirelessly on Nintendo Switch with DS4 Motion and Rumble features! NOTE: I am NOT affiliated with 8BitDo at all, I just love their products.

We are having a ton of fun doing this. You'll always be on the lookout for old and classic games at swap meets, garage sales, and friends' houses. There's RetroGaming conventions and Arcades (like Ground Kontrol in Portland) and an ever-growing group of new friends and enthusiasts.

This post uses Amazon Referral Links and I'll use the few dollars I get from YOU uses them to buy retro games for the kids! Also, go subscribe to the Hanselminutes Podcast today! We're on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and even Twitter! Check out the episode where Matt Phillips from Tanglewood Games uses a 1995 PC to great a NEW Sega Megadrive/Genesis game in 2018!


Sponsor: Announcing Raygun APM! Now you can monitor your entire application stack, with your whole team, all in one place. Learn more!



© 2018 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

How to Instantly Switch Between User Accounts in WordPress

Do you want to instantly switch between user accounts in WordPress? Sometimes when testing new features on your website, you may need to switch back and forth between user accounts with different user roles. While you can manually log out and login to the new… Read More »

The post How to Instantly Switch Between User Accounts in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to instantly switch between user accounts in WordPress? Sometimes when testing new features on your website, you may need to switch back and forth between user accounts with different user roles. While you can manually log out and login to the new account, it’s not the most efficient use of your time. In this article, we will show you how to instantly switch between user accounts in WordPress.

Instantly Switch User Accounts in WordPress

Why and When Do You Need to Switch User Accounts?

By default, WordPress allows you to add new users and authors to your website. Each user on your website has a user role assigned to them which gives them permissions to perform different tasks on your website.

You can also allow users to register on your website and set a default user role for all new users by visiting the Settings » General page.

New Default User Role

As the site owner, you are automatically assigned the administrator user role on your website. This gives you complete control including the ability to manage all user accounts.

While testing new features on your website, you may need to see how things would look for users with different user roles and permissions. This is particularly essential when you are running a WordPress membership website or an online store. The manual way to do this is to simply log in using the credentials for each user account and test those features.

However, this would take a lot of time. Wouldn’t it be better if you could just switch to any user account instantly and then switch back when you are done testing?

Let’s take a look at how to instantly switch between user accounts in WordPress without entering passwords.

Using a Plugin to Instantly Switch Between User Accounts

First you need to install and activate the User Switching plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, you need to go to the Users page in your WordPress admin. On this page, you will see a ‘Switch to’ link next to each user account.

Swtich to Option

User switching is only available for users with an administrator user role. Once you have switched to a new user account, you can continue testing your website logged in as that user.

Switch Back Account

Once you are done, you can switch back to your own user account by clicking on the notification displayed on the screen.

We hope this article helped you instantly switch between user accounts in WordPress. You may also want to check out our guide on how to allow website visitors to submit blog posts in WordPress without logging into your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners – Step by Step

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online from your blog. It allows you to add a steady income stream to your blog’s monetization strategy. In this affiliate marketing guide for beginners, we will explain how affiliate marketing works, and… Read More »

The post The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners – Step by Step appeared first on WPBeginner.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online from your blog. It allows you to add a steady income stream to your blog’s monetization strategy. In this affiliate marketing guide for beginners, we will explain how affiliate marketing works, and how to get started right away.

Ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners

What is Affiliate Marketing?

By definition, affiliate marketing is a referral arrangement in which an online retailer (advertiser) pays you a commission when users purchase their product from your referral link.

Unlike other ad types which pays based on clicks or views, affiliate marketing works on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition), or CPL (cost-per-lead) basis. In other words, you only earn a commission when someone takes an action (i.e buys the product or signup for a free trial).

Because there is less risk for the advertiser, affiliate programs pay out much higher commissions to publishers compared to Google AdSense or other types of ads.

Affiliate marketing requires a more hands-on approach. You have to find a product or service that you believe will be helpful to your users. After that you have to strategically add it in your blog posts and other areas of your site, so users can purchase the product using your referral link.

How Does Affiliate Marketing / Tracking Work?

First, you have to find a company or product that you want to promote. You need to select a product or service that you believe will be relevant to your blog’s topic and useful for your audience. The product or company you choose will be called a ‘Merchant’.

Next, you have to partner up with the company by joining their partner program. This makes you their ‘Affiliate’. Some companies also use the terms associates, partners, etc.

Once you have joined their partner program (also called Affiliate Program), you will get a unique affiliate ID. You will need to use this affiliate ID in all affiliate links that you add in your website to promote the product.

You can promote the product by adding an in-depth product reviews, recommend it in your articles, display banner ads, sending an email newsletter, and more. All traffic you send to the merchant website with your unique ID will be tracked.

Once a user makes a purchase, you will earn a commission. Your payment is issued once your earnings reach a particular threshold typically 45 – 60 days.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

First, you need to make sure that you are using the right blogging platform, and you are allowed to run affiliate marketing campaigns on your website.

For example, if you are using WordPress.com, then there are some restrictions regarding the products and services you can link to. For more details see our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

On the other hand if you are on self-hosted WordPress.org website, then you can add any affiliate link you want and efficiently manage your affiliate campaigns.

If you haven’t created a website already, then you can get started right away. Simply follow the instructions in our step by step guide on how to start a blog, and you’ll be up and running in less than 30 minutes.

Next, you need to let your users know how you make money from your website by adding a disclosure page. See WPBeginner’s disclosure page and feel free to use it as a template.

You will also need to add a privacy policy and terms of service page to your blog.

These are amongst the must have pages for every WordPress blog. They not only save you from legal issues in the future, but they also help you build trust with your audience.

Finding Affiliate Products and Services to Promote

There are many ways to find products and companies that you can partner up with as an affiliate. Here are some of the easiest ways to find the products you can promote.

1. Become an affiliate for products you already use

First, you need to look at the products and services that you already use and find useful. This makes it easy for you to convince your users about the product since you already know the pros and cons.

Next, you need to go to the product’s website and search for terms like ‘Affiliate program’, ‘Partners’, or ‘Affiliates’. Many companies are actively looking for affiliate marketers to promote their products that’s why they add a link to their affiliate page in their website’s footer.

Finding affiliate programs to join

2. Look for products other blogs are recommending

Another way to find products is by looking at other blogs similar to yours. You will be able to find many similar blogs that are using affiliate marketing to make money.

But how do you know that they are promoting affiliate products?

First, look for the obvious and easily noticeable banner ads on their website. Take your mouse to the banner ad, and you will see a link in your browser’s status bar.

finding affiliate links

This link will usually have an affiliate ID. Affiliate ID helps merchants track which affiliate partner is sending them traffic / sales.

Sometimes these links may look like internal links, but when you click on them they will take you to a product website with affiliate marketer’s ID in the link. You will also find similar affiliate links through-out their content.

3. Join Bigger Affiliate Networks

Another way to find products to promote is by joining affiliate networks. These websites act as a middleman between affiliate marketers and merchants.

You will notice that many products and companies that you want to partner with already use an affiliate network. This helps you quickly find a lot of products that you can start promoting on your website.

4. Reach out to Companies

If you really want to promote a product but can’t find any information about their affiliate program, then you can simply ask them via email.

Some companies may not be actively promoting their affiliate program. If they have an affiliate program, then they can invite you to join.

What are Affiliate Networks? Why You Should Join Them?

Affiliate networks act as a middleman between you (the affiliate marketer) and merchants (companies that want to sell their products).

For merchants, they provide their platform as a service to list their products, track affiliate traffic, manage affiliates, and send payments.

For affiliate marketers, they offer an easy to use platform to search for products, sign up as an affiliate, track your campaign performance and earnings.

Following are some of the most popular affiliate networks that you can join.

  • ShareaSale – One of the largest affiliate networks with many high-paying affiliate products for almost every category imaginable. Popular WordPress hosting company, WPEngine, uses ShareASale to manage their affiliates. WPEngine’s Affiliate program offers a very generous payout to their affiliate partners.
  • CJ Affiliate (Formerly, Comission Junction) – Another top affiliate network with a huge number of merchants and products neatly organized in categories and easily searchable. Companies like GoDaddy, Expedia, and many others use CJ.
  • ClickBank – This is a large online marketplace for selling digital products in various categories from different vendors. It is easy to use and has tons of learning resources for new affiliate marketers.
  • Amazon Associates – Amazon is world’s largest ecommerce store with millions of products. You can sign up for their affiliate program and start earning by sending people to a website they already use for their online shopping.

Which affiliate networks should you join?

You should join affiliate networks that have the products you want to promote. You can join multiple affiliate networks for different products. We use all the above networks and few others.

Make sure that you always check the network program policies. You also need to review program policies of individual products and merchants. This will give you a clear idea about your earnings, payments, additional incentives, and more.

Affiliate Marketing Tips to Increase Earnings

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive into some more tips on how to actually make money from affiliate marketing.

1. Choose good products and companies to promote

As an affiliate marketer, you don’t have control over the future of products that you are recommending. That’s why you need to make sure that you are recommending the best products from reputable companies.

The best way to do this is by recommending the products and services that you have actually used. If you want to recommend a product that looks useful, then feel free to contact them to learn more.

If you ask nicely, most companies will gladly offer you a free account or copy to review / test their product or service.

2. Offer highly useful and valuable content

You can add affiliate links and banners anywhere on your WordPress site. However, simply adding links will not result in convincing your users to actually buy those products.

You need to convince your users by offering useful and valuable information about the product. Many affiliate marketers do that by writing in-depth product reviews, video reviews, product comparisons with pros and cons, and more.

3. Keep your audience in mind

Keep your website’s audience and their interests in mind when choosing the product. For example, if you run a fashion blog, then you would want to promote fashion accessories, clothing, and similar products that your audience would want to buy.

You also need to make sure that you are not just recommending products because they are offering higher commissions. If a user buys a product based on your recommendation, and it doesn’t turn out useful, then they will never trust your recommendations again.

Affiliate Marketing Plugins and Tools for WordPress

As your blog grows, you will be recommending a lot of different products. This will make it difficult for you to manage all the affiliate links, banners, and ads spread all over your website.

Luckily, there are excellent affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress that you can use to help with management.

1. ThirstyAffiliates

Manually adding links to your content becomes quite difficult as your site grows. You will have to copy the URL with your affiliate ID every time you mention the product and paste it into WordPress.

This is where ThirstyAffiliates can help. It is an affiliate link management plugin that allows you to easily add affiliate links in WordPress.

It also lets you change lengthy affiliate links into cloaked pretty links which are more user-friendly.

ThirstyAffiliates also has the option to automatically replace keywords with affiliate links which can significantly help you boost your affiliate revenue.

2. AdSanity

AdSanity is the best WordPress ad management plugin and a must-have for every affiliate marketer’s toolbox. It allows you to create banner ads from your WordPress site and manage them from a single dashboard.

AdSanity also makes it easy to insert ads into your WordPress posts, pages, and sidebar widgets. You can use it to manage your third-party ads like Google AdSense ads and banners as well. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to manage ads in WordPress with AdSanity.

3. MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to see where your users are coming from and what they do when they are on your website.

It also helps you track your outbound affiliate links using Google Analytics. This enables you to find out which affiliate links are clicked more often and help you discover missed opportunities.

Need more tools? See our full list of top affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

We hope this ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners helped you learn how to become an affiliate marketer. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide to bring more visitors to your website.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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