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.

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

Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs?

When starting a blog, one of the most common questions you might think of is which are the most popular types of blog? There are many different types of blogs covering a wide range of topics, interests, and audiences. For a successful blog, you need… Read More »

The post Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs? appeared first on WPBeginner.

When starting a blog, one of the most common questions you might think of is which are the most popular types of blog? There are many different types of blogs covering a wide range of topics, interests, and audiences. For a successful blog, you need to plan ahead and choose the niche that works for you. In this article, we will share the most popular types of blogs that you can start right away.

Most Popular Types of Blog

What Should You Blog About?

To decide the niche of your blog, you need to know about your passion. Every niche has its own audience who search for content related to their interests. Writing about your passion helps you continuously come up with great content ideas as your blog grows.

You don’t just need to plan for content. You also need to choose a WordPress theme, optimize for SEO, and improve performance of your site. These are the tasks that are not directly related to writing but equally important for the success of your blog.

Let’s take a look at the most popular types of blogs that exist:

1. Fashion Blogs

Fashion blogs are one of the most popular types of blogs on the internet. It’s a big industry with a huge global audience. Fashion bloggers get invited to major events, receive special perks, merchandise, and even business deals by top fashion brands.

Fashion Blogs

These types of blogs are good for creative people with a keen eye for style and fashion. You can start a fashion blog and start making money online by following our guide.

2. Food Blogs

Food blogs are another popular blog type. It attracts a lot of readers who are interested in recipes, ingredients, healthy eating, fine dining, and other food related stories.

Food Blogs

Many food bloggers just start with something as simple as their local restaurant reviews. However, as their blog grows so does their interests and target audience. They start covering other food related topics as well. Take a look at our guide on how to start a food blog.

3. Travel Blogs

Travel blogs are becoming more popular each day. Due to cheap air travel, people are traveling more than ever, and they are always looking for travel tips, advice, and destination guides.

Travel Blogs

These blogs make it easy for other travelers to learn about a destination they have never been to. If you are a traveler, then we recommend you to create your travel blog.

4. Music Blogs

Music blogs has a wide audience who search for critiques on the best and trending music. Music lovers enjoy songs from different languages, cultures and norms.

Music Blogs

The music industry has big potential for bloggers to write about different types of music like jazz, pop, heavy metal, famous singers, and more.

5. Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle blogs are the most popular type of blogs you can find online. They have a variety of readers, interested in topics ranging from culture, arts, local news, and politics. This gives the blogger a wide range of topics to cover, making it easier to plan their content strategy.

Lifestyle Blogs

Lifestyle bloggers get opportunities to be an influencer, write for other publications, become a speaker, and partner with businesses who are working to make a difference in the society.

6. Fitness Blogs

Fitness blogs has been a hot trend since they cover important topics like health and general fitness. People all over the world rely on the internet to seek advice on how to stay fit. It’s a great opportunity for fitness instructors to start a fitness blog and get clients online.

Fitness Blogs

These types of bloggers/instructors write about diets, diet plans, workouts, supplements, and more. Fitness bloggers can also create video content to explain different exercises to their audience. They can monetize their website and videos using Google AdSense and affiliate marketing.

7. DIY Blogs

DIY blogs are very interesting and have a huge audience. It has multiple sub-types like arts and crafts, construction, wood-work, metal-work and more.

DIY Blogs

These interesting DIY activities would encourage visitors to try new stuff and share it with the trainer/blogger. DIY blogs may involve a lot of communication which is great for blogging.

8. Sports Blogs

Sports blogs are another interesting type of blogs online. Every country in the world has different sports and every sport has its own stars. Sports blogging may also include bloggers who are writing paid content for teams, athletes, and other organizations.

Sports Blogs

The other format in sports blogging is to write about latest events all over the world. Furthermore, bloggers share live status of multiple sports on their Twitter accounts automatically linked to the blogs.

9. Finance Blogs

A lot of us need help and advice to manage our finances efficiently. This gives finance blogs a wide audience ranging from serious investors to families trying to save for a better future.

Finance Blogs

Personal finance blogs share advice for businesses, investors, startups, individuals and families. It’s a good blog niche for the people interested in the complex world of managing money and generating wealth.

10. Political Blogs

Political blogs have perhaps the most passionate audience of all. They cover news on politics, analysis of political news, and can quickly build a very large engaging audience.

Political Blogs

It has become common for the big political affiliates to hire their own blogging team. These bloggers share the agenda of the political party and write about their policies / plans to attract more people towards the representatives.

11. Parenting Blogs

Parenting blogs have a huge, passionate, and highly engaged audience. New parents worry a lot and are always willing to improve their parenting skills.

Parenting Blogs

Mom blogs and dad blogs have different styles of writing. These blogs may involve activities with kids, guidance on food, techniques for early home education and more.

12. Business Blogs

Business blogs are the professional blogs related to the corporate agencies, industries and others. They offer a casual way to communicate with customers and educate them about a businesses product or service.

Business Blogs

OptinMonster’s conversion rate optimization blog is a great example of a business blog. It educates users about converting website visitors into customers using the best conversion optimization software in the world.

13. Personal Blogs

Personal blogs belong to individual writers who share their experiences, adventures, and daily life with their audience. The purpose of personal blogging can be anything like making a difference through positive stories or influencing readers with own views.

Personal Blogs

Personal bloggers also include photographers who share photos online to get more work, vloggers who create videos on their daily life routine, chef/cook who share recipes on the blog, and more.

14. Movie Blogs

Movie blogs share news and reviews of new movies and the film industry in general. They have a large audience on the internet. Bloggers are invited to watch premium shows before the public release of movies, so they can write reviews and generate buzz about an upcoming movie.

Movie Blogs

15. Car Blogs

Car blogs are usually about luxury and sports cars. They cover a wide range of topics including latest car models, their features, engineering, and more. They can even partner up with local car dealerships for business opportunities. These blogs have all the information about modern cars, vintage cars, safety tips for drivers, and more.

Car Blogs

Many people get attracted to good cars and spend a lot of time in reading about features of their favorite cars online. It’s a great niche to adopt as a blog type for car lovers.

Some bloggers also write about car financing tips, financing calculators, corporate and banks offers, and finance schedules. It helps the reader find cars in their budget without visiting showrooms.

16. News Blogs

News blogs cover local news and are a great way for journalism students to build up their resume and sharpen their skills. They can cover a wide range of topics or limit to a particular news section. News blogs are not just about sharing news. They also include opinion pieces to share blogger’s own perspective of the news.

News Blogs

The news blogs are updated more frequently to cover latest happenings. News can be about anything like climate change, scientific innovations, technology, politics, religion, and more. Big media outlets have several bloggers to work on each of these sub-types in news blogging.

17. Pet Blogs

Pet blogs have a great readership online that includes pet owners, animal lovers, animal shelters, and people looking for pets. Pet bloggers share tips on keeping pets healthy, pet grooming, pet food, and training.

Pet Blogs

Animal foster homes also write about their efforts to protect and save animals. Pet bloggers can partner up with businesses selling pet care products to generate revenue.

18. Gaming Blogs

Gaming blogs cater to a large community of gamers looking for articles about latest games, gaming hardware, events, game cheats, and more. This community has grown significantly in the recent years.

Gaming Blogs

Most gaming blogs belong to gamers, reviewers, and official communities of big game developing agencies. They have international events for gamers and reward plans for the winners. It’s a popular blog type and growing everyday.

Once you have chosen your blog’s niche, the next step is to find blog post ideas that you can use on your blog. You can check out this massive list of blog post ideas that you can use right away.

That’s all. We hope this article helped you find the most popular types of blogs. You may also want to check out our guide on how to track user engagement and increase your blog traffic.

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 Revealed: Which are the Most Popular Types of Blogs? appeared first on WPBeginner.

11 Important Pages that Every WordPress Blog Should Have (2018)

If you recently started a blog, then you might be wondering what are the most important pages that you must have on your blog? Pages allow you to add useful information about your blog without affecting your regular blog post schedule. In this article, we… Read More »

The post 11 Important Pages that Every WordPress Blog Should Have (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.

If you recently started a blog, then you might be wondering what are the most important pages that you must have on your blog? Pages allow you to add useful information about your blog without affecting your regular blog post schedule. In this article, we will share the most important pages that every WordPress blog should have.

Important pages each WordPress site should have

Why Add Pages to Your WordPress Blog

WordPress comes with two default content types called posts and pages. While posts are used to write blog articles, pages are used to create content that is not part of your regular blog post schedule.

To learn more, see our guide on the difference between posts and pages in WordPress.

Pages are normally used to add static content that is not supposed to change very often. For example, an about us page.

Keeping this content separate from your blog posts, help users easily discover it. You can also manage your pages easily, rearrange them, add them to your navigation menus, and even use page builders to create custom layouts for each page.

That being said, let’s take a look at some blog page ideas that you can use on your WordPress blog.

1. About Page

This is a must have page for almost all websites on the internet. You can name this page “About Us” or “About Me” depending on whether you have a business blog or a single-author personal blog.

You can use this page to tell users about people behind the website, its purpose, mission, values, and what users should expect to find on your blog. The about page helps build trust among your audience as they get to know the real people behind the scenes. You can also use this opportunity to showcase your most popular content.

About page

2. Contact Page

Your blog readers, advertisers, and potential business partners all need to find your contact information. A contact page allows users to quickly and easily send you a message or learn how to connect with you without leaving a public comment on your blog.

You will need to add a contact form to make it easy for users to contact you. However, you can also add your email address, location map, and social media profiles to offer more ways to connect with you.

Contact page

3. Disclaimer Page

If you make money online from your WordPress blog, then you must add a disclaimer page. This is where you can let users know about how you make money from your blog. For example, if you display banner ads or promote affiliate products, then you can inform users that this is how your content is monetized.

You can take a look at WPBeginner’s Disclaimer page for inspiration.

4. Privacy Policy Page

Privacy policy page basically inform users about the data you collect on your website as well as how you and other third-parties may use this data. Even if you are not collecting any user data, third-party tools on your website like Google Analytics can still set cookies.

If you are using Google AdSense, then you are required to add a privacy policy page to your website.

You can find many privacy policy templates and generators online. Alternatively, you can also take a look at our privacy policy page and use it to create your own.

5. Terms of Service Page

If you run an online store or offer services on your blog, then you need a terms of service page. It is a legal document so getting professional legal help is highly recommended. There are also online templates that you can use, but do so at your own risk.

It allows you to limit your liability in case of misuse of information and services provided on your website. It can also be used to inform users about their responsibilities regarding the copyright and trademark, and how they can use your website, product, or services.

6. Start Here Page

Start here page

As your blog gets older, you will have a lot more content to showcase on your front-page. This may leave new users a bit confused about how they can make the most out of your blog. This is where a Start Here page comes in handy.

The purpose of this page is to introduce new users to your most useful content. This give users a clear idea about how they can benefit from your content, and what are the resources that they should check out first.

Take a look at WPBeginner’s Start Here page to see how we use it to engage with new users.

7. Products / Services Page

If you are using an ecommerce platform like WooCommerce to sell products, then it will automatically create a shop page that you can just add to your navigation menus.

On the other hand, if you are selling products or offering services without using an eCommerce plugin, then you will need a product or services page for them. You can also create a parent page to list all your products and child pages for individual products with more details.

Check out WPBeginner’s WordPress plugins page as an example of a typical products page.

8. Custom 404 Page

WordPress automatically displays a 404 error page when it cannot find a specific piece of content. Normally, the 404 page is very plain and is not very useful.

Typical 404 error page

You can replace that plain page with a custom 404 error page and give your users more opportunities to discover content and continue browsing. For detailed instructions, see our article on how to improve 404 page template in WordPress.

9. Archives Page

WordPress automatically create a date, category, and tag based archives. However, the information is still scattered across different pages and may not allow your users to get a bird’s eye view of your most valuable content.

This is where a custom archives page comes in. It is a simple page that you can use to display your popular posts, compact archives, top categories, tags, and more.

For detailed instructions, follow our guide on how to create a custom archives page in WordPress.

10. Advertise Page

Many blogs rely solely on ads to monetize their content. The easiest way to do this is by signing up for Google AdSense. However, you can also sell ad spots directly to the advertisers.

To do this, you will need to create an ‘Advertise’ page with information about available ad spots, your average monthly page views, and your audience demographics. Don’t forget to add a contact form at the end so that advertisers can quickly contact you.

You will need a WordPress ad management plugin to display and manage ads on your website. We recommend using AdSanity because it allows you to easily manage ads whether they are self-hosted or third-party ads like Google AdSense.

11. Write for Us Page

If you run a multi-author WordPress blog and are looking for more writers, then you need a write for us page. This page simply allow users who are looking for blogging gigs to discover the writing opportunity on your website.

You can use this page to tell users what your blog is about and what kind of content you are looking for. Most importantly, let them know how they will benefit from writing on your blog. Don’t forget to add a contact form for users to quickly send you a message.

We hope this article helped you learn about important pages that you should have on your WordPress blog. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress SEO guide for beginners 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.

The post 11 Important Pages that Every WordPress Blog Should Have (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Use the WordPress Desktop App for Your Self-Hosted Blog

Do you want to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress.org blog? WordPress desktop app allows you to easily write and edit blog posts without being distracted by other browser tabs. In this article, we will show you how to use the WordPress… Read More »

The post How to Use the WordPress Desktop App for Your Self-Hosted Blog appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress.org blog? WordPress desktop app allows you to easily write and edit blog posts without being distracted by other browser tabs. In this article, we will show you how to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress blog.

How to use WordPress desktop app for self hosted WordPress site

Pros and Cons of Using the WordPress Desktop App

WordPress desktop app is created by Automattic, a company founded by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. It is also the company behind JetPack and WordPress.com. For details, see our article on the comparison between WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.

WordPress desktop app offers an improved user experience for self-hosted WordPress websites, which is particularly great for users looking for a distraction free editor to create content.

However, just like everything else in the world it has its own pros and cons.

Pros

Here are the advantages of using the WordPress desktop app on your computer to manage your self hosted WordPress.org website.

  • Offers a nice user interface to manage your website
  • It syncs your content fast and offers a great writing experience
  • Offers a clean distraction free writing area to create your content
  • Allows you to perform website management tasks without opening your browser like updating plugins and answering comments.

Cons

Following are the disadvantages you need to consider before using the WordPress desktop app for managing a self-hosted WordPress site.

  • It doesn’t work while offline. This means you cannot write posts and just save them to your computer using the desktop app.
  • Doesn’t load custom fields created by plugins in the post editor. For example, if you are using Yoast SEO, then you will not be able to edit post’s SEO settings from the app.
  • Requires you to install the JetPack plugin and sign up for a WordPress.com account.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to use the WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted WordPress.org site.

Using WordPress Desktop App for Self-Hosted WordPress

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

Upon activation, you will be asked to connect JetPack to a WordPress.com account.

Connect JetPack to WordPress.com

You need to click on the ‘Setup Jetpack’ button to continue.

This will take you to the WordPress.com website. If you already have a WordPress.com account, then you can login. Alternatively, you need to click on the sign up button to create a new account.

Login or sign up for a WordPress.com account

After sign up, you will be taken to the pricing page. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Start with free’ button.

Get free account

WordPress.com will now create your free account, and you will be redirected back to your website.

Next, you need to download and install the WordPress Desktop App on your computer.

WordPress app login screen

After installation go ahead and launch the app. You will see the login screen where you need to enter your WordPress.com username and password to login.

Once logged in, you will see the WordPress.com reader screen where you can explore content and follow blogs. To manage your website, you will need to switch to the My Sites tab.

WordPress desktop dashboard

You will now see your website title in the left menu along with other website management sections. In the right column, you will see JetPack traffic reports.

Using the admin bar on the left column, you can edit and create posts, pages, and custom post types. You can also add a new blog post by clicking on the write button at the top.

Adding content to your site from the app

The content editing area offers a very polished user experience.

On the right column, you will find post settings like status, post scheduling, categories and tags, featured image, and more. To the left, you have a distraction free writing area with a rich text editor.

Writing posts in WordPress desktop app

You can add photos and galleries to your article by clicking on the ‘Add’ button in the editor. You can close the settings column by clicking on the gear icon at the top.

Now let’s take a look at the Comments section.

The WordPress desktop app allows you to easily manage comments on your website. You can reply to comments as well as approve or delete comments pending moderation.

managing comments in WordPress desktop app

The themes section in the app allows you to manage themes installed on your website. You can also install a new theme without leaving the app.

Managing themes

However, you cannot customize your theme inside the app. Clicking on customize will open the customizer window on your website in a new browser tab.

The plugin section allows you to install, upload, and activate plugins directly from the app.

Manage plugins

The app will also notify you of plugin updates, and you can update them directly from the app. You can also optionally choose to auto-update plugins that you trust.

Updating plugins from the app

Now, let’s review the Sharing section.

Here you can connect the JetPack plugin to popular social media websites and automatically share new posts on social media.

Enabling social sharing in WordPress.com

If you want to add new authors and users to WordPress, then you can do so directly from the ‘People’ section in the app. It shows all registered users on your website as well as users following your blog using the JetPack follow feature.

managing users via WordPress app

You can click on the add button to invite new users and click on existing user accounts to view their details and delete accounts if needed.

The Settings section inside the app allows you to manage WordPress settings from the app. Some of these settings are specific to the app and JetPack plugin while others are WordPress settings that you would normally manage in the admin area.

Settings panel in WordPress app

If you manage multiple WordPress sites, then you can add them to the app and manage them from the same dashboard.

Any new website you add should have JetPack installed and connected to the same WordPress.com account you are using in your app. After that you can simply click on the add new site button at the bottom right corner of the app to add them.

Add new site to WordPress app

We hope this article helped you learn how to use WordPress desktop app for your self-hosted website. You may also want to see our list of best mobile apps to manage your WrodPress site.

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 Use the WordPress Desktop App for Your Self-Hosted Blog appeared first on WPBeginner.

Beginner’s Guide: How to Center Align a Video in WordPress

Do you want to center align a video in WordPress? By default, if your video’s width is less than your article area, then WordPress automatically aligns it to the left leaving extra white space on the right side. In this article, we will show you… Read More »

The post Beginner’s Guide: How to Center Align a Video in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to center align a video in WordPress? By default, if your video’s width is less than your article area, then WordPress automatically aligns it to the left leaving extra white space on the right side. In this article, we will show you how to easily center align a video in WordPress.

How to center align a video in WordPress

Why Center Align Videos in WordPress?

By default, when you embed a video in WordPress it is automatically aligned to the left. This is because videos are external content embedded in the content, so WordPress is unable to guess how you would like to display it.

As a best practice, it automatically aligns it to the left. Leaving it up to you to adjust the alignment if needed.

Left aligned video in a WordPress post

We don’t recommend uploading videos directly to WordPress, but the same thing will happen with uploaded videos if their width is less than your content area.

That being said, let’s see how you can easily center align a video in WordPress or make it wider so that it looks good with in your content.

How to Center Align Video in WordPress

If you want your video to fill the width of your content area, then the best way to do this is by adding a YouTube or Vimeo video URL directly in post editor instead of using the embed code.

By simply entering the URL, WordPress automatically tries to display the video that fits your content area.

Add video URL to embed video in WordPress

However sometimes for one reason or another, you may need to use the embed code. In that case, you will need to add some simple HTML around your video’s embed code.

First, you need to switch to the text editor on post edit screen. After that, you need to add the following HTML code around your video embed code:

<div style="text-align:center;">

/// your video embed code goes here

</div>

You can now save your changes and preview the post or page. Your video will be neatly aligned in the center of your content area.

Video aligned to the center

Another approach is to increase the width of your video manually to fit the content area. To achieve this, you simply need to add or change the “width” parameter in your embed code.

<iframe width="760" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4YpyiJ05YOg" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

If you are uploading a video directly in WordPress, then you can increase the width by using the video shortcode.

After inserting your video using the default media uploader, switch to the ‘Text’ editor and increase the width parameter in video shortcode.

[video width="720" height="360" mp4="http://example.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/your-vide.mp4"][/video]

Video shortcode

We hope this article helped you learn how to center align a video in WordPress. You may also want to see our comparison of YouTube vs Vimeo to see which one is better for 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.

The post Beginner’s Guide: How to Center Align a Video in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

10 Highest Performing Google AdSense Banner Sizes & Formats for Your WordPress Site

One of the most common questions beginners ask after signing up with Google AdSense is which are the highest performing Google AdSense banner sizes? Some Google AdSense ad formats are more noticeable which means they get more clicks and bring more revenue. In this article,… Read More »

The post 10 Highest Performing Google AdSense Banner Sizes & Formats for Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.

One of the most common questions beginners ask after signing up with Google AdSense is which are the highest performing Google AdSense banner sizes? Some Google AdSense ad formats are more noticeable which means they get more clicks and bring more revenue. In this article, we will show you the highest performing Google AdSense banner sizes and formats, and where to place them for best results.

Google AdSense Banner Sizes

How to Properly Setup Google AdSense Ads in WordPress?

Before getting started, you will need to sign up for a Google AdSense account. Once you have signed up, see our guide on how to properly add Google AdSense in WordPress.

By default, you can easily place AdSense ads in your website’s sidebar. Some WordPress themes may also have dedicated areas to display ads.

However, the best way to manage your Google AdSense ads in WordPress is by using an ad management plugin. We recommend using AdSanity, it is super easy to use and allows you to easily insert ads into sidebars, post content, and anywhere else you want.

Why Some Google AdSense Banner Sizes and Formats Work Better?

Google AdSense comes with several banner sizes and ad formats that you can add on your website. However, not all of them produce the same level of results.

Ads that are closer to the content and easily visible upon page load will get you a higher CTR (click through rate). You need to make sure that you choose the ad size that is easily noticeable. Some of the Google AdSense ad sizes are too small and some could be too large to affect user experience.

Next, factor that affects ad performance on your website is how many advertisers are running ads for that format. Some ad formats and banners are more popular among advertisers which means using them gets you a larger inventory and better paying ads.

Lastly, some ad formats are optimized for mobile devices. If mobile users make the most of your traffic, then these ads are going to perform better on your website than other sizes.

Top Performing Google AdSense Banner Sizes and Formats

Most website owners try different banner sizes to determine which formats work best for their websites. Google AdSense engineers also continuously run their own tests to see how ads are performing on participating websites.

We have done several testing with Google AdSense over the years on our own websites. Below are the top performing Google AdSense banner sizes and ad formats that offer the best value for your advertising real estate.

1. The Medium Rectangle (300×250)

Medium rectangle

This ad format supports both display / text ads, and it can also be used on mobile layouts. The best part about this ad size is that it’s easy to fit in the sidebar or inside the content area without annoying users.

That’s why this ad format gets a larger ad inventory which means more and better paying ads for your site. Since it’s perfectly-sized for in-content ads, it is also reported to have the best CTR for most websites.

2. Large Rectangle (336×280)

Large rectangle

Large rectangle takes the second position on our list. It is larger and more noticeable than the medium rectangle ad above, but it may not fit in all website sidebars and is not mobile optimized.

If your website’s sidebar or content area is a bit narrow, then the ad could squeeze the content which is not good for user experience.

That being said, the large rectangle could easily outperform medium rectangle on your website if placed inside the content area in between paragraphs. It supports both image and text ads.

Due to its size and ideal placement next to content, this ad size gets a better ad inventory as well.

3. The Leaderboard (728×90)

Leaderboard

The leaderboard is a traditional banner ad size that is perfect for website header. It supports both text and image ad formats but doesn’t support mobile ads.

Since the leaderboard is ideal to be placed on top (inside or immediately after the website header), it gets more ads which means better ads for your website. Due to its size and prominent placement, it performs fairly well on most websites.

4. Half Page aka Large Skyscraper (300×600)

Half page

Large Skyscraper is a wide vertical banner also known as half page due to its size. It gets attention from advertisers who want more ad space to effectively communicate their message during retargeting.

It is becoming more popular among publishers because it tends to give more exposure for brands which means better paying ads.

You can place the large skyscraper in the sidebar or next to the content. However, due to its size it may not be a good fit for all websites.

5. Large Mobile Banner (320×100)

Mobile banner

Large mobile banner is a mobile ad format, and it is an equivalent of the leaderboard ad format in terms of effectiveness but for mobile devices. Ideally it works best when placed on top just below the header.

Since mobile traffic makes up a good chunk of users for most websites, this ad format gets a better ad inventory.

It can be placed as a less intrusive ad and as an alternate to the medium rectangle ad format.

6. Mobile Leaderboard (320×50)

mobile leaderboard

Mobile leaderboard is half in height compared to the large mobile banner ad format. It is slightly less effective but also less intrusive and offers even better ad experience on smaller mobile devices.

Mobile ads are popular among advertisers which means it gets a sizable ad inventory. With proper placement, it can work really well with your mobile traffic.

7. Wide Skyscraper (160×600)

Skyscraper

The wide skyscraper is a vertical banner ad that is designed specifically for narrow sidebars. It supports both image and text ad formats and is popular among advertisers.

It is a less intrusive ad option and can easily blend in with your website design. However, it is less effective than wider half page banner ads which tends to draw more user attention towards ad.

8. Portrait (300×1050)

Portrait

Portrait is a slightly wider and longer vertical banner. Due to its size, this ad format attracts brand-centric advertisers who want more ad space for their message.

It is ideally placed next to the content or in the sidebar where it is more noticeable as your users scan the contents of your page. The tricky part is to implement it without affecting user experience on your website.

9. The Billboard (970×250)

Billboard

The billboard is another brand-centric ad format. It is a wide horizontal banner ad that can be ideally placed on top or bottom of your pages. It tends to get better ads due to the space it offers to the advertisers, but it has a smaller ad inventory.

Depending on the content and keywords of your website, it could be a hit or a miss if it fails to attract enough ads for your website.

10. The Square (250×250)

Generally larger ads are considered more noticeable. However, not all websites are designed in the same fashion. If you are using a minimalist WordPress theme, then this small square ad format could beautifully fit in your layout and still be noticeable.

The downside is that it has a smaller ad inventory which could result into low paying ads. However, if your website is in a competitive industry, then it can work really well without affecting user experience.

More Tips to Make the Most out of Your Ad Space

We are often asked by users how they can make more money with Google AdSense? Since each website is different, there is no single perfect answer to this question.

Here are some tips to make sure that you are fully utilizing your website’s potential when using Google AdSense to generate revenue.

  • Test different ad placements – Try different ad formats to figure out which formats give you a better CTR and which formats give you better ads.
  • Display multiple ads – Google AdSense allows you to use up to 3 ad units on a page. Try different placements and ad formats to test which combinations work best for you.
  • Think of users first – While ad revenue is important for the survival of many websites, you also need to think of your users. Placing ads in a way that affects user experience would affect your website’s user engagement as well as your WordPress SEO.
  • Optimize website performance – Research shows that faster websites usually get more engaged audience which means higher CTR for your ads. See how to speed up WordPress and boost performance.

We hope this article helped you find the highest performing Google AdSense banner sizes and formats. You may also want to check out our comprehensive guide on other ways to make money online to supplement your Google AdSense income.

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 10 Highest Performing Google AdSense Banner Sizes & Formats for Your WordPress Site appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Start a Fashion Blog (and Make Money) – Step by Step

Are you looking to start a fashion blog but don’t know where to begin? It is easy to start a blog, but the difficult part is to be successful and make money from it. In this article, we will show you how to start a… Read More »

The post How to Start a Fashion Blog (and Make Money) – Step by Step appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking to start a fashion blog but don’t know where to begin? It is easy to start a blog, but the difficult part is to be successful and make money from it. In this article, we will show you how to start a fashion blog as well as share tips on how to make money from your fashion blog.

Starting a fashion blog and making money

Why You Should Start a Fashion Blog?

If you are passionate about fashion and style, then you must have seen some top fashion bloggers and influencers on Instagram.

These fashion blogs not only provide a platform to the bloggers, but they also bring lots of opportunities their way. You will be surprised to discover the many ways fashion bloggers make money from their blogs.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, designers and top brands spend over a BILLION dollar each year advertising on Instagram alone.

Top 10 Fashion Blog Examples That Are Crushing it in 2018

Top fashion blog examples

Apart from money, a fashion blog allows you to express yourself in the most creative way. Here are some of the top fashion blog examples that you can follow for inspiration.

  1. We Wore What – (Danielle Bernstein)
  2. Sincerely Jules – (Julie Sariñana)
  3. The Blonde Salad – (Chiara Ferragni)
  4. Gal Meets Glam – (Julia Engel)
  5. Song of Style – (Aimee Song)
  6. Kayture – (Kristina Bazan)
  7. Wendy’s Lookbook – (Wendy Nguyen)
  8. Atlantic-Pacific – (Blair Eadie)
  9. The Chriselle Factor – (Chriselle Lim)
  10. Gary Pepper Girl – (Nicole Warne)

One thing you’ll notice about each of the top fashion blog examples above, is that they all have their own unique voice, personality, and taste in fashion. These fashion bloggers bring their own unique perspective to highlight their favorite products, merchandise, and brands.

If you believe that you have a unique take on fashion and style, then you should definitely start a fashion blog.

While setting up the fashion blog part is easy, like all important things in life making the blog popular and monetizing it requires effort.

However if you do it right, then you’ll certainly find the experience to be rewarding and fulfilling.

What You’ll Need to Start Your Fashion Blog

Fashion blogging

First, you need to choose the right platform to build your own fashion blog. You have plenty of choices, but each one of them have its own pros and cons (see our comparison of the best blogging platforms).

For example, you can start a free blog on a platform like WordPress.com, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.

These are called free blogs, and they are very limited in terms of features and flexibility when it comes to growing your personal brand. Most important limitation is your ability to make money from your content.

What about Starting a Fashion Blog with Instagram?

Instagram is awesome, but you don’t own it. You can build a huge following and all of this can go away immediately if Instagram decides that your content violated some of their policy.

We are not saying that you shouldn’t use Instagram. You must use it to build a large audience, but you will need a central platform that you can control where you can keep the audience coming back for years to come.

The best way to build your fashion blog is by creating your own website with complete ownership and full control.

Now the question is, how could a beginner with no knowledge of coding can build a website?

This is where WordPress.org comes in. It is a powerful website builder which gives you absolute control and full ownership of your website. It’s important not to confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. They’re two different platforms. (See our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details).

There are three things you need to start a fashion blog using WordPress.org:

  1. Domain name – This will be your website’s address and what users will type in browser to visit your blog (Example, wpbeginner.com).
  2. Web hosting – This will be your blog’s home and where you will store all your website files.
  3. Your undivided attention for 30 mins

Yes, you can start a brand new fashion blog in 30 minutes, and we’ll walk you through the whole set up step by step.

In this tutorial, we will cover the following:

  • How to Register a Domain Name for Free
  • How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
  • How to Install WordPress
  • How to Find the Perfect Theme (website design) for Your Fashion Blog
  • How to Add Content to Your Fashion Blog
  • How to Get More Visitors to Your Fashion Blog
  • How to Make Money from Your Food Blog
  • Resources to Learn WordPress and Grow Your Fashion Blog

Ready? Let’s get started.

Setting up a Fashion Blog Using WordPress

A domain name typically costs $14.99 / year and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.

That’s a lot for beginners who are just starting out.

Luckily, our friends at Bluehost are offering a free domain, a free SSL, and a 60% discount on hosting to our readers.

Basically, you can get started for as low as $2.75 / month.

← Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer →

NOTE: At WPBeginner we believe in transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we use personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

Let’s go ahead and setup your web hosting + domain so you can get started.

First you need to go to the Bluehost website and click on the get started button.

On the next screen, you will be asked to choose a plan. We recommend either the basic or plus plans. You can always upgrade later if you need to.

Next, it will ask you to choose a domain name for your website.

Choose domain name

Domain name is your website’s address and this is what your users will type in their browsers to visit your blog.

You need to choose a domain name that reflects your personal voice. It should be unique, creative, and interesting. For more details, see our tips on choosing a great domain name for your website.

After you enter your domain name, you need to fill out your details to complete the purchase.

You will receive your account details in an email sent to the address you provided during signup. This email contains your web hosting dashboard link and login information.

Once you have purchased hosting, the next step is to install WordPress. You can do that by following the instructions in our step by step guide on how to start a blog.

Choosing a Design for Your Fashion Blog

Fashion blog design examples

A blog about fashion and style cannot just go with a plain looking business or blogging layout. Your website needs a design that represents your unique sense of style and creativity.

Most fashion bloggers are not website designers, so how do create a website design that is unique, elegant, stylish, and of course creative?

Luckily there are thousands of pre-made WordPress templates that you can choose from.

Our editors have hand-picked the best WordPress themes for fashion blogs that you can check out. All themes in the list feature creative designs with flexible options to easily make them uniquely yours. Most importantly, all of them are responsive (aka mobile friendly) which means they look good on mobile and tablets as well.

Each of these themes comes with its own settings page. This is where you will set up the theme, add your website logo, choose colors, and select basic settings.

Depending on which theme you choose, you will find tons of customization options. We recommend striving for simplicity in your website’s design for a cleaner look.

Add Useful Content To Your Fashion Blog

Gal Meets Glam - a top fashion blog

Once you have a functioning design in place, you can start working on content. We recommend adding the static content first.

Static content are pages that are common among all websites on the internet. This includes a contact form page, about us page, and a privacy policy page.

If your theme includes a page builder plugin, then you can use it to create other static landing pages as well.

Next, you would want to start adding articles / blog posts. See our guide on how to add a new blog post in WordPress and utilize all the features.

Now, this is where you will develop your own voice. Your blog posts need to be entertaining, informative, and helpful. Running a blog means, you will need to regularly come up with new ideas for your blog posts. Check out these 73 types of blog posts that are proven to work, and you can easily adapt them for your fashion blog.

We recommend choosing a consistent frequency for your articles. Busier and larger websites post new content every day. You can start by adding a few posts per week and then gradually increase your frequency to daily updates.

To come up with regular blog post ideas, visit popular blogs in the fashion industry to gather inspiration. See what these top blogs are doing and replicate it on your blog.

Hashtag fashion on Instagram

We are not saying that you should just steal / recreate the same content.

You just need to gather topics, collect ideas, and get inspiration. After that you should use those ideas on your blog by adding your own unique voice, style, and flavor to it.

Optimize Your Fashion Blog to Get More Visitors

Once you start adding useful content, the next step is to make sure that users can find your website.

Here is how you ensure that your website gets visitors and those visitors engage with your content.

Start Working on Your Website’s SEO

Improve your blog SEO

Most popular blogs get a large portion of their traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. Marketers use SEO, Search Engine Optimization, to optimize their website for higher rankings.

WordPress itself is quite SEO friendly out of the box, but there are still things you can do to further optimize it. Follow our step by step WordPress SEO guide for improving your website ranking.

Improve Website Speed

Improve your blog speed

Speed is one of the most important factors that affects user experience on your website. It also affects your website’s search engine rankings as Google considers speed one of the top ranking factors.

You can make your website significantly faster by implementing certain performance tweaks in WordPress. We have created a complete step by step guide on how to speed up WordPress and boost performance.

Track User Engagement

Following user activities on your blog

Things your users do after arriving on your website are called user engagement. Highly engaged audience means, more page views and more success for your fashion blog.

This is where you’ll need Google Analytics. It tells you where your visitors are coming from, what they do on your website, and how you can keep them coming back.

Simply head over to our tutorial on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress, and it will start tracking your website traffic.

Google Analytics offers a lot of data. How do you figure out where to look for the information you need?

To answer this question, we have a separate article on how to track user engagement in WordPress using Google Analytics.

Start Making Money from Your Fashion Blog

Making money from your fashion blog

Ever wondered how fashion bloggers afford their clothes, makeup, and accessories? Actually, they don’t have to. Most successful fashion bloggers promote sponsored content where brands pay them to promote products.

Paid and sponsored content is the major source of revenue for many fashion bloggers. Here we will list the most effective ways you can start making money from your fashion blog when you’re first starting out.

1. Display Ads Using Google AdSense

Most websites on the internet rely on ads to generate revenue. Google AdSense allows you to easily display ads on your website and make money from your blog even when you’re just starting.

See our step by step guide on how to properly add Google AdSense in WordPress for detailed instructions.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to recommend products you love. You get a referral commission when your users purchase a product after clicking on your link.

To make money with affiliate marketing, you will need to find fashion products and brands with an affiliate program. The biggest affiliate partner you can sign up for is Amazon Affiliates. They have tons of products in fashion, clothing, and accessories that you can recommend and get paid for it.

See our guide on how to add and manage affiliate links in WordPress.

3. Build an Instagram Following

Instagram has placed itself as the top social network for fashion and style influencers. You need to join Instagram and start posting with relevant hashtags to make sure that your posts reach the right audience.

The best way to come up with an Instagram strategy is by following other top fashion blogs on Instagram. Study their posts, descriptions, and hashtags and try to replicate the same effect with your Instagram posts.

You should also network with other influencers and do S4S, share for share, campaigns. In this strategy, each party will share the other’s Instagram posts and tag them. It helps both people increase their following.

Another easy way to build Instagram following is by sharing your Instagram posts on your WordPress blog.

4. Brand Promotions

Allow brands to reachout to you

Reach out to brands, fashion startups, and agencies to partner up with them. The best way to find which companies are doing blog promotions is to keep an eye on top fashion bloggers and their Instagram posts.

For more ways to generate revenue from your fashion blog, see our guide on proven ways to make money from your blog.

Mastering WordPress Skills

WordPress is easy to use and beginner friendly. However, whenever you start using a new platform, there are always new things to discover and learn. This is where WPBeginner can help.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners. We have lots of helpful content which is created specifically for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.

To expand your WordPress skills you should check out:

  • WPBeginner Dictionary – Our WordPress glossary is the best place to familiarize yourself with the WordPress lingo
  • WPBeginner Videos – New WordPress users can start with these 23 videos to master WordPress.
  • WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials and guides.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we regularly upload new video tutorials to help you learn WordPress.

We hope this article helped you start your fashion blog and make money from it. You may also want to see our ultimate WordPress security guide to keep your blog safe.

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 Start a Fashion Blog (and Make Money) – Step by Step appeared first on WPBeginner.

What, Why, and How-To’s of Creating a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin

Do you want to add a site-specific plugin to your WordPress website? A site-specific plugin allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress website without relying on your theme. In this article, we will explain how to create a site specific WordPress plugin… Read More »

The post What, Why, and How-To’s of Creating a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to add a site-specific plugin to your WordPress website? A site-specific plugin allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress website without relying on your theme. In this article, we will explain how to create a site specific WordPress plugin and why it’s important.

Site Specific WordPress Plugin

What is a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin

A site-specific WordPress plugin is a standalone plugin that you can use to add all customization snippets that are not theme dependent.

When working on your website, you’ll often find WordPress tutorials asking you to add code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

WordPress doesn’t come with a site-specific plugin. You’ll need to create your own and then install / activate it.

Why Create a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin?

As we mentioned earlier that you’ll often come across tutorials showing some code that you can add to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.

These custom codes can be used to add new post types, taxonomies, shortcodes, and tons of hacks to improve your website.

If you add the custom code to your theme’s functions file, then it will disappear if you update or switch your theme. You can create a child theme and use the child theme’s functions file to save your code. However, your code will still disappear if you switch themes.

A site-specific WordPress plugin allows you to easily add custom code snippets to your WordPress website and make sure they’re theme independent. It is a standalone WordPress plugin which means it doesn’t depend on your theme, and you are free to update or switch your theme.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily add custom code using site-specific plugin. We will show you two ways to do that, and you can choose the method that works best for you (hint Method #2 is easier for beginners).

Method 1. Manually Create a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin

We know this may sound a bit geeky to beginners, but we will try to make it as simple as possible for you.

First you need to create a new folder on your desktop and name it after your website for example, mywebsite-plugin.

Creating your site-specific plugin folder

Now open a plain text editor on your computer like Notepad or TextEdit. You need to create a new file and save it as mywebsite-plugin.php in the plugin folder on your desktop.

Creating the plugin file for your site-specific plugin

Your plugin file needs specific header code so that WordPress can recognize it as a plugin. Go ahead and add the following code to your mywebsite-plugin.php file:

<?php
/*
Plugin Name: Site Plugin for example.com
Description: Site specific code changes for example.com
*/
/* Start Adding Functions Below this Line */
 
 
/* Stop Adding Functions Below this Line */
?>

You can replace example.com with your own domain name. Once you do that, your site-specific plugin is ready.

There are two ways to upload your site-specific plugin to your website. You can either upload it via your WordPress admin panel or use FTP.

1. Install Site-Specific Plugin from WordPress Admin Area

This method is easier and recommended for all users.

First, you need to create a zip file of your site-specific plugin folder.

Windows users can simply right-click on plugin folder and select Send to » Compressed (zip) folder.

Creating zip file in Windows

Mac users need to right-click and select “Compress mywebsite-plugin”.

Creating a zip folder on Mac

Once you have the plugin’s zip file, go to the Plugins » Add New page in your WordPress admin area and click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button on the top.

upload plugin

Next, click on the choose file button to select the zip file you created earlier and then click on the ‘Install Now’ button.

WordPress will now upload and install the plugin for you. Once its uploaded, you need to click on the activate button to start using your site-specific plugin.

Activate plugin

2. Upload Your Site-Specific WordPress Plugin via FTP

For this method, you don’t need to create a zip file. You will be uploading the plugin via FTP.

First, you will need to connect to your website using a FTP client.

Once connected, go to /wp-content/plugins/ folder under remote site column. Next, you need to select your site-specific plugin folder and upload it to your website.

Uploading plugin via FTP

Your FTP client will now transfer your site-specific plugin folder to your WordPress website. This will install the plugin on your website.

However, you’ll still need to activate the plugin to start using it. You can do this by going to the ‘Plugins’ page inside your WordPress admin area and then click on the ‘Activate’ link below your site-specific plugin.

Activate plugin

That’s all. Your site-specific plugin is now ready to be used.

Adding Custom Code Snippets to Your Site-Specific Plugin

There are two ways to edit your plugin and add custom code snippets to it.

First method is to do it via WordPress admin area. You can go to Plugins » Editor page. You will see a warning message, and you need to click on ‘I understand’ button to continue.

Next, you need to select your site-specific plugin from the drop down menu labeled ‘Select plugin to edit’. The editor will load your plugin file, and you will be able to add code snippets in it.

Plugin editor

Once you are done, click on the ‘Update File’ button to save your changes.

If there is something missing in your code or it has potential to break your website, then the plugin editor will automatically undo your changes.

However, if the editor fails, and you see the white screen of death, then you can use FTP to edit your plugin file and undo those changes.

The second method is to directly edit the plugin file using FTP. Simply go to the plugin folder using your FTP client. Right click on the plugin file and then select View/Edit file.

Editing plugin file via FTP

You can also download the plugin file to your computer, edit it, and then upload it back.

Method 2. Using The Code Snippets Plugin

This method is a lot simpler and gives you a better way to manage your individual code snippets in WordPress.

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

Upon activation, the plugin will add a new menu item labeled “Snippets” to your WordPress admin menu. This is where you will manage all your custom codes.

To add a custom code, you need to go to Snippets » All Snippets page and click on the ‘Add New’ button at the top.

Adding a new code snippet

This will bring you to the ‘Add New Snippet’ page.

First enter a title for your custom code snippet. This could be anything that helps you identify the code.

After that you can go ahead and paste your code snippet into the code box.

Adding custom code

You can also add a description for the code in the field below the code box. You should use this area to write down what this code does, where you found it, and why you are adding it to your website. This will help the “future you” remember why the “past you” added this code.

Add your code description

You also have the option to assign tags to your code snippets which can help organize code snippets by topic and functionality.

Finally, you can click on the ‘Save Changes and Activate’ button. If you just want to save the code snippet without activating it, then you can click on save changes button instead.

The plugin also allows you to select where you want to run the code snippet. You can choose from admin area, front-end, or everywhere options.

If you are unsure, then keep the default ‘everywhere’ option checked.

Once you have saved and activated a code snippet, it would become effective on your website.

For more details see our guide on how to easily add custom code snippets in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn why and how to create a site-specific WordPress plugin. You may also want to see our list of useful functions file tips and most wanted WordPress hacks to best use your site-specific plugin.

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 What, Why, and How-To’s of Creating a Site-Specific WordPress Plugin appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money From Your Recipes (2018)

Do you want to start a food blog and make money from your recipes? Starting a new food blog can be challenging for beginners, specially when you are not a techy. Having helped over 100,000+ users start their own blogs, we are often asked about… Read More »

The post How to Start a Food Blog and Make Money From Your Recipes (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to start a food blog and make money from your recipes? Starting a new food blog can be challenging for beginners, specially when you are not a techy. Having helped over 100,000+ users start their own blogs, we are often asked about how to start a food blog and successfully earn money from it. In this step by step guide, we will show you how to start a food blog and make money from your recipes without any technical skills.

Starting a food blog and making money from your recipes

We have broken the process down, so it’s easy to follow whether you’re 20 years old or 60 years old. However if you need help, our expert team will help you setup your blog for free. → Click Here to Get Your Free WordPress Blog Setup!

What do you need to start a food blog?

There are three things you need to start a food blog using WordPress:

  1. A domain name (this will be your blog’s name that people will type to find your site e.g. wpbeginner.com)
  2. A web hosting account (this is where your website files are stored on the internet)
  3. Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.

Yes, you can start a brand new food blog in less than 30 minutes, and we will walk you through the whole process, step by step.

In this tutorial, we will cover the following:

  • How to Register a Domain Name for Free
  • How to Choose the Best Web Hosting
  • How to Install WordPress
  • How to Find the Perfect Theme (website design) for Your Food Blog
  • How to Write Recipes with SEO Friendly Formatting
  • How to Make Money from Your Food Blog
  • How to Get More Traffic to Your Food Blog
  • Resources to Learn WordPress and Grow Your Food Blog

That being said, let’s get started.

Step 1. The Right Setup

The biggest mistake new users make is starting off with the wrong blogging platform. You’ll not be making this mistake since you are already here.

We recommend using WordPress.org for your blog because it gives you access to all the WordPress features, and most importantly you can make money from your blog without any limitations.

It’s important you don’t confuse WordPress.org with WordPress.com. They are actually two different platforms. WordPress.com, which is a hosted blogging platform and WordPress.org is a free self-hosted platform. (See our comparison of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org for more details)

Now you might be wondering, why is WordPress.org free? What’s the catch?

There truth is that there’s no catch. It’s free because you have to do the setup and host it yourself.

In other words, you need a domain name and web hosting. See our guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting to learn more.

A domain name is what people type to get to your website. It’s your website’s address on the internet. Think google.com or wpbeginner.com.

Web hosting is where your website files are stored. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website needs web hosting.

A domain name typically costs $14.99 / year and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.

That’s a lot for beginners who are just starting out.

Thankfully, Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and they host millions of WordPress websites including some of our own.

They’re committed to giving back to the WordPress community since 2005. They have promised us that if you cannot get your blog setup within 30 minutes by following this tutorial, then our expert team will complete the process for you without any cost. They will compensate us, so you don’t have to. Simply contact us for free blog setup help.

NOTE: At WPBeginner we believe in full transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using our referral link, then we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you (in fact you will save money and get a free domain + free SSL). We would get this commission for recommending just about any WordPress hosting company, but we only recommend products that we use personally use and believe will add value to our readers.

Now that we have covered that, let’s go ahead and purchase your domain + hosting for your food blog.

Open Bluehost website in a new window and follow along.

First thing you need to do is click on the green ‘Get Started Now’ button.

Getting started with Bluehost

On the next screen, you need to select the plan that you want (basic and plus are the most popular).

After that, you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.

Choose domain name

Tip: Make sure your domain name is brandable. It’s also a bonus if it uses keywords you think your users will search for. This will help you get more traffic from search engines like Google. For more details, see our guide on choosing the best domain name for your blog.

Once you have selected your domain name, click on the next button to continue.

Now, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package information to complete the process. We recommend going with the 36 month plan because that’s best value.

On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you purchase these, but we generally don’t recommend purchasing them right away. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.

Optional hosting addons

Once completed, you will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, among other things. But most importantly, this is where you install WordPress.

Step 2. Install WordPress

In your hosting dashboard (cPanel), you will see small icons for different hosting features and services. You need to scroll down to the website section and click on the WordPress icon.

Install WordPress

On the next screen, click on the Get Started button. You will be asked to select your domain name. Choose the domain from the dropdown and then click Next.

WordPress installation

After that, you need to enter your Site Name, username, and a password for your site. You also need to check all the checkboxes and then click Install.

Website settings

The QuickInstall will start installing WordPress. You will be prompted to browse WordPress themes, while WordPress is being installed.

No need to do that right now. We’ll show you how to find the best WordPress theme for your food blog later.

Once WordPress is finished installing, you will see the success notice in the top header bar.

Installation successful

Click on the Installation Complete link, and it will take you to the screen with your WordPress login URL and password.

Installation finished

Congratulations, your WordPress website is now ready. You can continue login to your website by visiting the WordPress admin area.

http://yoursite.com/wp-admin

Don’t forget to replace yoursite.com with your own domain name. Once logged in, you will see the WordPress admin dashboard.

WordPress dashboard

Now you are ready to customize your food website’s appearance and start adding recipes.

Step 3. Choosing a Theme for Your Food Blog

Choosing a theme for a food and recipes blog

WordPress themes control your website’s design and appearance. There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes that you can install on your website.

However, not all of them are suitable for a food blog. You will need a theme that matches the look and feel of a food blog. Our expert team has hand-picked the best WordPress themes for recipe and food blogs that you should try.

Once you have found a theme that you like, head over to our guide on how to install a WordPress theme for step by step installation instructions.

Step 4. Choosing a Recipe Plugin that’s SEO Friendly

If you want your recipes to get traffic from search engines, then you need to make them search engine friendly.

The best way to write recipes is by using Schema.org formatting. Schema.org formatting allows search engines to display extra information like rating, preparation time, etc.

Recipe search

Now, we know this might sound a bit too geeky for beginners. Don’t worry, we will make it super easy for you to add recipes in schema.org formatting without any special skills.

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

You can also use the premium version of the WP Recipe Maker plugin to take full advantage of its extensive features like enhanced SEO, ingredient linking, user ratings, taxonomies, and more.

Once you have activated the plugin, you need to create a blog post or edit an existing one. On the post edit screen, click on the WP Recipe Maker button.

Launch recipe maker

This will bring up a popup where you can enter your recipe details. You will start by adding an image for the recipe, recipe name, description, serving, duration, and other information.

Adding a new recipe

After adding general information, click on the ‘Ingredients & Instructions’ tab and start adding ingredients and instructions.

Ingredients and Instructions

You can add ingredients and instructions as plain lists, or you can divide them into groups as well for different parts of the recipe.

Next, you need to switch to the Nutrition Facts tab and click on the calculate nutrition facts button.

Calculate nutrition facts

The plugin will now fetch Nutrition facts for matching ingredients. Once you are satisfied, you can click on the calculate nutrition facts button again, and it will calculate the values.

Now if you are satisfied with the recipe, you can go ahead and click on insert and close button.

The plugin will now add the required shortcode to your post editor. You can now save or publish your post and then click on the preview button to see your recipe in action.

Preview of a recipe in WordPress

The plugin comes with extensive settings including several styles and templates to display your recipes. You can go to WP Recipe Maker » Settings page to change the appearance of your recipes and other settings.

WP Recipe Maker settings

Step 5. How to Monetize Your Food Blog

After you have added a few of your best recipes, it is time to start making money from your food blog. There are plenty of ways to monetize your food blog and start earning from your recipes.

Here are some of the most effective ways to monetize your food blog.

1. Selling eBooks with Your Recipes

Selling ebooks

The most effective strategy to make money from your recipe blog would be to sell your own products or digital downloads. These products can be physical goodies and merchandise such as t-shirts, printed books, mugs, or they can be digital downloads such as ebooks.

To sell things from your WordPress blog, you will need WooCommerce. It is available as a WordPress plugin and will add an online store to your existing food blog.

You can also sell memberships on your website, allowing paid members to download ebooks, videos, secret recipes, or submit their own content. If you want to go the subscription route, then you will need MemberPress. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to make a membership website.

2. Display Ads Using Google AdSense

Display ads on your food blog

The easiest way to instantly start earning from your website is by using Google AdSense. It allows you to display advertisement on your food blog and earn money when your users click on those ads.

Adding Google AdSense to your website is super easy and requires no coding skills at all. See our guide on how to properly add Google AdSense to your WordPress blog for step by step instructions.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is another way to generate an income stream from your food blog. Basically you add links to affiliate products from your recipes and blog posts. Every time someone purchases those products using your link, then you will earn a commission.

You will need to find food related affiliate products first. Many top websites in the food industry offer affiliate programs. You can also join Amazon’s affiliate program and start recommending products from the world’s largest eCommerce store.

See our list of the best affiliate marketing tools and plugins that you can use on your food blog to boost your affiliate earnings.

For more monetization tips, see our article on how to make money online from your WordPress blog.

Step 6. How to Get More Traffic to Your Food Blog

Your food blog’s earnings directly depend on your website’s traffic. More users visiting your website means more earnings, brand recognition, and success for your website.

Here are some tips to get more visitors to your website.

Start Building an Email List

Email Marketing

More than 75% of visitors who visit your website, will not come back again. There is nothing wrong with your website. It’s just that there is so much content on the internet that your website disappears like a needle in the haystack.

Email marketing allows you to capture those users as subscribers, so that you can reach them via email and bring them back to your website.

See our guide on why you should start building your email list right away. Once you set up an email marketing solution, then check out our guide on how to do lead generation in WordPress. It will help you grow your email list like a total pro.

Create a YouTube Channel

YouTube

When it comes to food, videos are a lot more engaging than text. This is where YouTube comes in. It is not only the largest video sharing website in the world, it is also the second biggest search engine and the second most active social media platform in the world.

Creating a YouTube channel not allows you to add video recipes to your blog, it also helps you find new users who can become active subscribers, and your most engaged fans.

Utilize Instagram to Drive Traffic

Instagram

Food pics are instant hits among Instagram viewers. The popular photo and video sharing platform is rapidly growing and has very high engagement.

Upload your food photos and use hashtags, so that Instagram users can discover your photos. Easiest way to grow your Instagram following is by sharing your Instagram photos in WordPress.

There are many ways to bring more users to your food blog. See more tips to drive traffic to your new WordPress blog.

Step 7. Learning WordPress with More Resources

As you start using WordPress, you will quickly discover new things. Some of these new things may look too technical or complicated. That’s where we can help.

WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress resource site in the world for beginners.

Our goal is to provide helpful content that is easy to understand for beginners, business owners, and bloggers.

To expand your WordPress knowledge, you should check out:

  • WPBeginner Dictionary – The best place for beginners to start and familiarize themselves with the WordPress lingo
  • WPBeginner Videos – New to WordPress? Watch these 23 videos to master WordPress.
  • WPBeginner Blog – The central place for all our WordPress tutorials.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel where we regularly share video tutorials to help you learn WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to start a food blog and make money from your recipes. You may also want to see our complete 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 Start a Food Blog and Make Money From Your Recipes (2018) appeared first on WPBeginner.