Top 15 Resources for Free Photoshop Brushes 2016

Free Photoshop Brushes

Photoshop, the world’s most widely used graphics editing software, has been responsible for the art of millions upon millions of visuals that we find on the internet today. Lightroom is of course another contender for the first position, but mostly in the context of editing photography directly, rather than creating actual graphics. With more than 26 years of experience (existence), Photoshop is still being frequently updated and new content is being added and released.

Learning Photoshop has never been easier, thousands of tutorials, thousands of courses, personal mentoring, and plenty of guides on how to begin editing and managing your photos with Photoshop exist, yet it remains clear that Photoshop isn’t a tool that’s very friendly to beginners, and the learning curve can turn out to be rather steep, challenging, and quite difficult at times. Often we see graphic artists create STUNNING pieces of work with Photoshop, but what we usually don’t read about, is the intense amount of hours that went into learning Photoshop to the extent where such work as possible.

In reality, anything worthwhile knowing will require a certain amount of time to achieve a state of perfection, Photoshop is one of those things. Businesses can benefit greatly from having one of their designers know or learn Photoshop, as it can be used to create custom content for social media, blogs, products, and other marketing related areas that could greatly increase the visibility of your brand, given that you are creating new content that hasn’t been seen elsewhere.

Brushes in Photoshop allow to quickly create different experiences with the visuals you are creating, without having to create your own image elements, a brush enables you to use a specific set of visual elements that you can quickly add to your creative artwork with a single click of a button. Where to get Photoshop Brushes? We got you covered, with a proper list of more than a dozen great Photoshop brushes resources where you can download thousands of brushes within a single search entry. All these sites feature free brushes, with no strings attached.

Brusheezy

Free Photoshop Brushes at Brusheezy

The Eezy family is on point when it comes down to graphic design resources; vectors, themes, video materials, are all part of the Eezy family of free resource sites. And Brusheezy has been a long part of this family that has managed to make a statement to the Photoshop community — come join an open-source community of designers who happily share their free brushes with other members of the community, as well as visitors from search engines, without expecting anything in return. Yes, a premium Brush section is of course present, the site has to sustain itself in some way, but thousands of free brushes are awaiting your downloads right now. Download pages are UI friendly, offering a tiny description alongside a huge download button, as well as license ownership.

Download

My Photoshop Brushes

Free Photoshop Brushes at MyPhotoshopBrushes

My Photoshop Brushes has been one of the longest running brushes resource on the web, and still, even after many years of running successfully, the resource manages to surprise and lighten up with new and exciting releases being added to the database frequently. Brushes are divided in categories and tags that make the searching for a brush process much easier, much more pleasant. Once on the download page, there’s a download count, license information, and the download button to click straight away. Other available downloads on this site are PSD files, patterns, shapes, styles, and gradients. A tiny tutorials section exists to help graphic designers learn about the process of installing new Photoshop brushes, and how to go about getting it done most effectively.

Download

BrushLovers

Free Photoshop Brushes BrushLovers.com

BrushLovers is a brand name, it’s a brand that only wants to focus on Photoshop brushes, and make the best possible experience for graphic designers who are seeking this type of content for their next project. BrushLovers content spans across a multitude of varied categories that will cater even to the most unusual, most creative, most inspiring needs of a designer. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a brush for yourself, or a client that wants to have unique work done for him, within a single search on BrushLovers you will be presented with hundreds of unique brush designs that will be hard to match by anyone else.

The only thing to remember is that you should always carefully read and analyze licensing details for all of the brushes, just so you don’t run into copyright issues down the road. If you ever get confused by some of the information, reach out to the team of BrushLovers and they will gladly give you a hand where necessary.

Download

Photoshop.cc Brushes

Photoshop Free Brushes 2016 Photoshop

Photoshop.cc as a resource for people who work with Photoshop has become invaluable. The site archives thousands and thousands of resources for Photoshop, including Brushes, Strokes, Fonts, Shapes, Styles, Patterns and PSD content. There is so much to choose from, but luckily for us, all content is carefully categorized to make the searching process seamless, and also pleasant. Keep an eye on the most trending content to indulge into a brush experience that delivers only spectacular results.

Download

Brushes by All Free Downloads

Photoshop brushes for free download about 2 368 photoshop brushes. sort by newest first

We have given some previous credit to All Free Downloads already, these guys are giving back to the community more than just Photoshop brushes, but also vector graphics, and PSD content that has helped millions of designers to perfect their final touches of an important visual design. The public library of All Free Downloads brushes is consisting of over 2,000+ unique Brush packages that offer a wide selection of categories and concepts for brushes. Watch out for that licensing information, but try and have as much fun as possible with these exciting brushes you now get to play with.

Download

FBrushes

Free Photoshop Brushes Photoshop Patterns and Textures Fbrushes

FBrushes (Free Brushes) works in three different categories: brushes, patterns, and textures. All of which are available for Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. The content is free, it’s diverse, and it delivers on a promise of catering only the highest-quality brush content you will find anywhere. Yes, some of the brushes are dating back centuries ago, yet you will still find use for them when working on retro designs, but don’t forget that FBrushes is home to some of the most downloaded brush content on the web as well, needless to say, many of the free brush resources websites are. Each one has something unique to offer, so take advantage of those offers and get experimenting.

Download

QBrushes

Photoshop Brushes QBrushes.net

A little short of 3,000 brushes, QBrushes will ensure that you no longer need to work endless hours on creating layer patterns that look great on your existing designs, instead — go to QBrushes to find the exact brush that you need for your project, just type its name in the search box and whola.. your brush is available for free download. And if it is not, remember that there are so many more resources to check out in this list already, and so many more yet to come. Designers can also submit their own brushes for gaining that little extra exposure.

Download

EasyElements

Free Photoshop Brushes EasyElements

EasyElements offers a couple sets of traditional brushes, like heart shapes, music symphonies, ribbons and splatters, the easy stuff to get you started with. And seriously though, who can say not to free content.

Download

Brushes Download

Photoshop Brushes Brushes Download Free Photoshop Brushes Layer Styles Gradients Tutorials Icons Powered by BroHost

Brushes Download has been archiving brushes for quite some time now, the site is part of a network of graphic design resource websites that enlist all content Photoshop, and all content graphic design. The Brushes Download resource is categorized in different sections to make the process of finding the right brush for you easy, and reliable. There’s an archive of tutorials that’s going to be helpful for beginners who wish to enlighten themselves more about Photoshop, how big of a role brushes play in the Photoshop experience, and how to become a better Photoshop user through general practice.

Download

inObscuro

Free Adobe Photoshop Brushes inObscuro

inObscuro is a personal site of Nela Dunato, a graphic designer who has spent the last 10 years building exciting Photoshop content and sharing it for free through the inObscuro website. Nela also provides premium resources for those who can recognize her sharp skills in creating unique Photoshop content, and you won’t find even a close copy of anything that she has to offer. She’s an artists, and her work speaks for it.

Download

Obsidian Dawn

Obsidian Dawn Resources Photoshop GIMP Brushes Tutorials Images Patterns and more

Obsidian Dawn has existed for over a decade, it’s a household name for Photoshop users who are seeking original, artistic, creative and authentic Photoshop content for their projects. The resource has been featured in some of the most prestigious design magazines, and design startups known to man. Quite a few tutorials to choose from too, take some time to learn more about Obsidian Dawn and what it might have to offer for you.

Download

Photoshop Support

Free Photoshop Brushes Adobe Photoshop Brush DIRECTORY PhotoshopSupport.com

Photoshop Support is possibly the longest running still-active Photoshop resource that offers Photoshop tutorials, resources and tools for making all Photoshop users more experienced, and also more inclined to use Photoshop for visual image editing. You will find resources of ALL kind for ANY situation imaginable, and they’re all free to access and use.

Download

BrushPortfolio

Free Photoshop Brushes from BrushPortfolio.com Original High Resolution Photoshop Brushes

Brush Portfolio is a gallery of high-quality Photoshop brushes that are available for free and instant download. The brushes found on Brush Portfolio are unique, and will be hard to find elsewhere, unless someone has intentionally copied the content to their own website. The resolution and quality of brushes over at Brush Portfolio is of the highest quality, which will end up making the creative process for your visuals a breeze. The site hasn’t been updated in a long time, but Brush Portfolio remains as a good quality resource for finding Photoshop brushes that might just be what you are looking for.

Download

WOW Brushes

Free Photoshop Brushes Custom Photoshop Brush for Download

WOW Brushes archives only the best of the best Photoshop brushes, and offers them all for free download within the index of more than 20+ unique pages of free content to download instantly. The site hasn’t been that active as of late, but the archive of brushes remains, and we strictly recommend our readers to avoid the comments section on WOW Brushes as it seems it has been completely taken over by spammers. Other than that, a great resource to browse while you have some time to spare.

Download

Get Brushes

Get Photoshop Brushes

Last up, we are looking at Get Brushes. A tiny resource of Photoshop brushes by an old-school developer who is only trying to share his passion with the world. All available brushes are divided in sections, and each section contains a reasonable amount of free content.

Download

Getting Photoshop Brushes for Free

Photoshop resembles a programming language, something that requires patience and trust in order to fully master it, although full mastery isn’t ever possible, the number of skills grows each time we open the program and try to create something new, much like you do in programming. Photoshop brushes is one of those elements that can really adjust the way an image is presented, but more important than that, the way an image is built, and how each of the brush strokes affect a visual, and how we can combine brushes together to create new, exciting, and wonderful pieces of digital artwork.

Take a moment to indulge in this roundup of the best websites for free Photoshop brushes, you won’t anything out that that can match these directories of brushes, we know — we hand-picked them all!

Divi 2.7: New Time Saving and Split Testing Features

Divi 2.7 Theme Update

Divi from Elegant Themes – one of the most trusted and well-established WordPress theme houses – is arguably one of the leading WordPress themes available today. It’s a theme we’ve reviewed in detail before, so if you aren’t already aware of its power, be sure to read our hands-on Divi theme review.

While there are many good reasons to choose Divi as the foundation for your website, including its intuitive drag and drop page builder, its library of attractive templates, or the wealth of useful page elements, perhaps one of the highlights of Divi is that it just keeps on getting better and better.

Divi is a theme that has evolved considerably since its initial release. New features and tools have been added with each update. Now on version 2.7, a lot has changed since its launch in 2013. This includes the addition of some exciting new tools that will help grow any business promoted with a Divi-powered website.

So, whether you’re an existing Divi user or you’re still in the process of selecting a theme for your next project, here are the newest features that have been added to this theme with the arrival of Divi 2.7.

What’s New in Divi 2.7?

Divi 2.7 Theme Update

It’s fair to say that the three main highlights of Divi 2.7 are focused on split testing, portability, and page options. So let’s look at each of these upgrades in more detail.

The Divi Leads Split Testing System

Divi 2.7 Split Test Tool

Whether you’re building a website for yourself or for your clients, the one thing we all want from our sites is results.

These results could come in the form of more sales, increased subscribers, greater clicks, or simply better levels of engagement. Whatever type of website you’re working on, it will have a purpose.

With the arrival of the Divi Leads split testing system, you now have an easy way to measure and improve how effective your website is at delivering against its goals and providing value.

Thanks to the power of the Divi Builder page creation tool, designing stylish landing pages has never been easier. Now, with the new split testing and content optimization tool, you can ensure that your sales pages not only look great but are also delivering the best results possible.

With Divi Leads, you now have a way to test and compare the different modules and elements that make up your pages designs. This could include split testing sales copy, images, content layouts, button designs, and almost everything else on your page.

Divi 2.7 Split Test Menu

Simply use the new split test feature to create a copy of a page element. Then, make your changes to the new version and sit back while Divi Leads figures out which variation performs the best.

Divi 2.7 Split Test Slider

If you want to build websites that convert, Divi Leads helps remove the guesswork to show you exactly what works the best with your audience, against your goals.

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Upgraded Portability

Divi has become increasingly popular with web designers who are seeking a tool that can speed up the website creation process. Thanks to its library of prebuilt templates and simple yet powerful page builder tool, entire workflows were streamlined almost overnight.

Elegant Themes has recognized this, and with the release of Divi 2.7, reusing and sharing website configurations and layouts has become even easier. Now there’s no need to start from scratch when working on a new project. Simply import your tried and tested settings to quickly jumpstart the web design process.

As part of the refinements of version 2.7, it’s now possible to be more selective about which settings and configurations you export, rather than simply copying over a whole website structure.

Even if you aren’t a web designer, the improved portability of Divi 2.7 should be of interest to you. Now you can swap and share website layouts and settings with others or between your own sites, helping you to save time and effort.

New Divi Builder Page Settings

In the past, when using Divi Builder to create custom page layouts, applying a uniform look and feel to your work could be time-consuming. Each module of the page would have to be edited individually, in order to create a good level of consistency throughout your design.

Now with Divi 2.7, that’s a thing of the past. The Divi Builder tool now features higher-level settings that control the entire page, saving you from having to edit each module individually. This is another great time-saving feature of 2.7, which will appeal to all levels of user, from single site owners through to agency developers managing countless client sites.

Divi 2.7 Update Final Thoughts

The most exciting part of this announcement is the Divi Leads split testing system. As you can’t improve what you can’t measure, you’ll now have a way to test and optimize your content for the best results, no matter the goal of your website.

However, the improved portability of page layouts and settings shouldn’t be overlooked. Neither should the new page settings. Time-saving features aren’t as exciting as new tools, but when time is money, being able to speed up and improve efficiency can be just as beneficial.

Divi was already a powerful WordPress theme. The builder tool makes creating almost any type of website a breeze while the useful content modules can replace countless plugins and upgrade the functionality of your website in multiple ways. Now with a lead optimization split-testing tool, you can now create websites that not only look great but are also proven to deliver against their goals.

Did I mention that the Divi WordPress theme, along with 86 other themes, can be yours for just $69? Now has never been a better time to join Elegant Themes.

Find out more about Divi 2.7 now

Self Hosted WordPress.org vs. Free WordPress.com – What’s The Difference in 2016?

Wordpress Com Vs WordPress Org

One of the best features about WordPress is that it’s super easy to get started with. But which do you go with: WordPress.org or WordPress.com? What’s the difference anyway?

I still remember taking my first web design and development class back in the 10th grade and, though I was eager, it took me almost a month to create a small security services website that consisted of 3 pages in total – and I was quite pleased about it too. After all, I was the only one in class who had managed to add a handmade custom animation to the site. HTML/CSS was fun, PHP could get a bit frustrating sometimes, but never did I think that I could do the same thing in 15 minutes or less using WordPress!

Many people head over to WordPress because of the convenience and flexibility it offers, but there are still a few confusions that one can run into, and one such confusion is choosing between the free WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress. In this post, I will be addressing this confusion by breaking it down into the variables that will be of the most importance to the users, namely, the cost, development options, restrictions, upgrades, and maintenance.

But before we jump into the comparisons, let’s go over a brief overview of the two options we have at hand.

Free WordPress.com

WordPress.com

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the solution for setting up a free website without having to worry about anything else that comes with the creating a website such as, security and anti-spam filters, finding a hosting provider, or maintaining your website.

WordPress.com guides the user with a simple installation and setup process by having them sign up, choose the blog name they want, and then jump straight into designing their website. No hassle and no headaches.

This convenience comes at a cost though (albeit not one that you pay from your bank). The trade-off between flexibility, server space, and resources comes to center stage which we’ll cover in more detail in the following sections.

Self-Hosted WordPress

WordPress.org

WordPress.org

In a nutshell, self hosting your WordPress site means downloading your own copy of the WordPress content management system (CMS), finding a domain provider, and signing up for a hosting service to host your site on the Internet. Users can get their copy of the WordPress CMS from WordPress.org for free.

With this option, all you get is the software that will power your website and you’re responsible for everything else – domain, hosting, maintenance – every single thing. Although it might sound a tad overbearing, at first, there is another way to look at it: you have full control over every single detail of your website from its structure to the level you’d like to operate it on. The only limitations your site will subject to depend on the hosting plan you sign up for.

It’s hardly a surprise that WordPress currently holds over 50% of the current CMS market share. WordPress.org’s support forum is also definitely worth a mention here as it is one of the greatest resources of online knowledge within the WordPress community.

Self-Hosted WordPress vs. Free WordPress.com

Now that you understand what each of the two options are, let’s navigate around the major points of both to familiarize ourselves with their ins and outs in order to make an informed decision on which one is best for your online business’s requirements. In this section, we’ll draw out an elaborate comparison of self-hosted WordPress vs. free WordPress.com contrasting some of the most important factors webmasters take into account before reaching a knowledge-backed decision.

Cost

From building a house to getting a website, cost is something universal to anything that you might want to get and, therefore, must be analyzed in-depth in order to make the optimal decision based on both your budget and needs.

When comparing the costs associated with self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com, there are for major factors that are associated with cost:

  1. Domain name.
  2. Hosting service/plan.
  3. Storage space.
  4. Advertisement removal.

The cheapest option is to sign up with WordPress.com, not be picky about domain names and activate the default themes and plugins you get with the website. This basic, stripped-down alternative won’t cost you a dime and your WordPress.com site will be live on the web. Even so, if you want a domain name of your choice, the option to purchase premium themes, remove advertisements, and get more storage space on the server, the otherwise free WordPress.com becomes costly.

On the other hand, WordPress.org is a far more cost-efficient option with which you can get the domain name from a registrar and unlimited server storage space (depending upon your hosting plan). You won’t even have to pay extra to remove advertisements.

With that brief overview out of the way, let’s dig into the four major factors associated with both options and evaluate their individual costs in detail.

Self-Hosted WP

The costs associated with self-hosted WordPress.org are easy to understand and depend mostly on the hosting provider you opt for. Let’s quickly recap what it means to be on a self-hosted WordPress installation before we continue. Self-hosted WordPress means that you will download a copy of the WordPress CMS and purchase a hosting plan for your site.

  • Domain name. With self-hosted WordPress.org, you’ll be required to purchase a domain name from a domain name registrar. Often times, users can purchase a domain name from their respective hosting provider instead of a third party. The average price of a domain name extension (for instance, .com, .net, or .org) starts at $10.
  • Hosting service/plan. Most new webmasters opt for a shared hosting plan with a reputable hosting service. The hosting provider you decide to go with may charge you as little as $3.49 per month as part of a promotional package, however, the average price of hosting is estimated at $5 per month (exclusive of add-ons – security, maintenance, etc.). Check out our post on How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website? – A Beginner’s Guide for more information.
  • Storage space. The cost of purchasing additional server resources such as more space, CPU, or memory can cost $25 per month on average. That said, with a basic shared hosting plan, you get around 50 GB of storage space from the get go which reduces the need to purchase additional space for some time.
  • Advertisement removal. WordPress.org doesn’t come with advertisements packed onto your site so you don’t have to worry about removing them.

Note: The prices given in this section are based on Bluehost’s Shared Hosting plan.

Free WP.com

Things get a bit trickier with free WordPress.com. As we discussed above, WordPress.com is free for everyone to create their website with but it comes with some pre-set limitations and restrictions. What if you’re absolutely fine with WordPress’s free, high-quality hosting service but want to fully avail the little control that you have over your free WordPress site – even if it means spending some money?

  • Domain name. Starting at $18 per year, you can pick a custom domain name offered by WordPress.com. This ensures that your website’s URL will look something like www.mywebsite.com instead of www.mywebsite.wordpress.com.
  • Hosting service/plan. Hosting with WordPress.com is completely free. All users get high-quality hosting service free of charge.
  • Storage space. Unlike self-hosted WordPress, with free WordPress.com, users get only 3 GB of storage space on the server. To increase the storage capacity, users have to pay an additional amount per year. The additional costs are listed below:

wordpress-com-pricing

  • Advertisement removal. WordPress.com is entitled to displaying advertisements on your website. Users can permanently eliminate all advertisements from their site for $30 per year.

Maintenance

WordPress.com handles site maintenance and development for their users but with a self-hosted site, you’ll have to take care of that yourself too (or outsource it!). One thing to be certain about here is that regular WordPress updates are guaranteed by Automattic for both WordPress.com and WordPress.org ensuring your site is safe from malware and security threats.

WordPress site maintenance and development includes updating plugins and themes, ensuring plugin compatibility after WordPress core upgrade, and measures to take if your site faces unprecedented downtime.

Self-Hosted WP

With self-hosted WordPress you’re completely on your own. Every aspect of development and site maintenance depends entirely on you. Every time a plugin needs to be updated, a notification appears on the admin panel and webmasters are required to handle it manually. Failing to update plugins and themes or accidentally activating incompatible resources simultaneously can lead to problems.

A webmaster with ample knowledge of site maintenance should go for WordPress.org. There are several plugins and forums out there to help you ensure your site’s upkeep isn’t compromised but taking responsibility for it is a huge commitment in itself.

Free WP.com

WordPress newbies who are testing out the blogging waters or dipping their toe into the online business world often don’t have the technical skills or the budget required to handle the maintenance and development of their site on their own. If you fall into a similar user persona, it’s in your better interest to let the folks over at Automattic take care of it on its own.

Those of you who don’t have the skills, time, or budget to devote to maintaining and developing their WordPress site should go for free WordPress.com. On the other hand, if you have the skills and time to take care of your site then self-hosted WordPress is best for you. Lastly, those of you who don’t mind outsourcing their maintenance and development tasks should check out managed WordPress hosting or a service that takes care of WordPress site upkeep such as Stylemix.

Restrictions

Depending upon how much control you require over your site’s customization, files, and database, the option you ultimately go with becomes much easier to decide. The short version of this section is that WordPress.com gives you restricted access whereas with self-hosted WordPress you get full control over your website.

Self-Hosted WP

As the saying goes,

With great power comes great responsibility.

One of the biggest reasons webmasters opt for self-hosted WordPress is that it ensures full control and full ownership of the WordPress site. The only limitations you’re bound by are those set by the hosting plan you opt for. With self-hosted WordPress, you can use any theme or plugin you fancy (free or premium), enable advertisements, customize your site’s appearance, add custom code to your files, and even tweak the database if need be.

Free WP.com

With free WordPress.com, you have limited control over your website and you don’t actually own it. WordPress.com users cannot upload premium plugins, they get limited space on the server, and come with advertisements added to the site’s pages. Webmasters don’t even have access to their site’s core files which basically means that if your site is hacked, you can’t restore it because you never made backups of the site’s files.

WordPress.com, however, does provide users a way out of these restrictions. Users can pay for premium upgrades to overcome each of the shortfalls that come with free WordPress.com.

Which One Is Right For You?

It all boils down to this: both WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress are great options and it all depends on three factors:

  • The nature of your website/online business.
  • Your technical expertise.
  • The amount of time you can invest in it.
  • Your budget.

For instance, if you’re thinking about operating an e-store or an e-learning website then it’s best to go with WordPress.org simply because WordPress.com doesn’t offer e-commerce functionality. If you’re designing a website for a client with a large-scale business, going with self-hosted WordPress would be the best choice which enables your client to make design alterations and leverage full control over the website.

But what if you want to operate a simple blog and don’t need powerful functionality? In such cases, it’s best to go with free WordPress.com. You’ll have your site up and running within minutes, won’t have to worry about maintenance, and you’ll be able to share your content with the world – all without having to reach for your wallet.

Conclusion

All things considered, we heartily recommend WordPress.org to anyone who’s serious about their online business and hope to go big. It’s cost efficient, reliable, and gives you full control over your website which eliminates the risk of losing years of progress in a split second.

That said, WordPress.com is a great way to start out in the blogosphere and acquaint yourself with the WordPress CMS. The best part is that you can always migrate your free WordPress.com installation to self-hosted WordPress.org whenever you’re ready to take things to the next level.

Which do you prefer and why: free WordPress.com or self-hosted WordPress.org? We’d love to hear from you so let us know in the comments section below!

Awesome WooCommerce Plugins to Extend Functionality : Part III

Woocommerce Logo

Post Series: WooCommerce Extensions

  • 1.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part I
  • 2.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part II
  • 3.Awesome WooCommerce Plugins to Extend Functionality : Part III

WooCommerce is a popular platform for building and running an online store. It comes with a whole range of functions to run a business of any size. There are many extensions made specially for WooCommerce either to add functionality to WooCommerce or to carry out a specific unique task with WooCommerce.

To get to know WooCommerce Extensions a little bit in detail, I have written a 3 part series of articles on some WooCommerce Extensions. This article is the Third Part in the series of articles. To check out extensions dealing with Product Pricing, Product Display and Printing and Invoicing, check out Part I and Part II

If you’re on the look out for WooCommerce Plugins to help with Marketing, Social media and Payments that you are interested in, head over to Part II of the series.

In this part we will get to know extensions that help with,

  • Shipping and Delivery
  • General Utility
  • Miscellaneous

Shipping

Ship Station

Shipstation is a plugin from WooThemes that helps to automate the shipping process. You will no longer need to manually print labels and weigh each package individually. It is integrated real-time into shopping platforms. Orders can be imported from WooCommerce with all the details of weight and product options. The preferred shipping method of the customer and any special instruction can be included.

Shipstation

Shipping label is created and the details of shipping carrier, shipping status and tracking number is posted back to WooCommerce. A standard or customized email can be sent to the customer when the product is shipped.

Shipstation is web based and so you can access the shipping function from anywhere. The plugin is free for 30 days after which you will have to subscribe to monthly subscription plans ranging from $25 per month to $125 per month.

Weight/Country Shipping for WooCommerce

Most shops do not charge for delivery at flat rates. The rates will vary depending on the weight of the package to be delivered and the country of delivery. Weight/Country Shipping for WooCommerce will calculate shipping rates based on the weight and destination. Countries for which the same rates will apply can be grouped together. Or you can set rates on a per country basis.

21 Weight -country shipping

You can do much more with the premium version of the plugin. Multiple rates are possible for a single group of countries or a particular weight slab. You can set any number of groups and any number of rates. If the delivery is free upto a certain weight, you can set the charges to zero for that weight range. Carts with zero weight are also supported and maximum cart weight can also be set. Default rates can be set for shipping to a country that is not on any group.

You can purchase the premium plugin for $5.

WooCommerce Advanced Shipping

This plugin, WooCommerce Advanced Shipping, lives upto its name, offering a number of options for shipping the product. It applies conditional logic using parameters such as country, zip code, subtotals, quantity, weight or size specifications. You can work out and apply your own shipping rates with suitable conditions and arrive at your own table.

Advanced Shipping

It is developer friendly and customizable. Two extensions are available – Shipping Zones which will help you create shipping zones based on area, zip code, country and Advanced Pricing which will help you treat one whole group of countries as one, such as the European Union. Prices can be per product, per category or per shipping class. If you want to insert a condition that isn’t there, get in touch with customer support.

You can purchase the plugin for $17 and be entitled to future updates and 6 months support. An extra 6 months support can be added for an additional $5.10

Table Rate Shipping for WooCommerce

Table Rate Shipping for WooCommerce adds a new shipping method directly to your WooCommerce settings. The plugin can categorize your destinations into various zones. You can charge additional fees for certain zones, and the rates can be fixed or variable.

Table Rate shipping

It can apply multiple rates for deliveries based on conditions put forward by admin, like destination, weight, price, volume, shipping class, any special transport requirements and more. Separate levels of service can command different rates – for example, a different rate can be applied for Express Deliveries.

This is the No 1 Best Selling WooCommerce Extension on CodeCanyon. Shipping rates can be computed inclusive or exclusive of tax. Rate bundling is possible for customers who purchase many items. The shipping option can be ordered to appear in the order that you want and the default option can also be set.

The plugin costs $22 and comes with 6 months support and future updates. Support can be extended to twelve months for an additional $6.60

General Utility

Ultimate Woo

It would not be fair to call UltimateWoo a plugin. It is an entire suite of plugins that gives you access to a number of modules. All you have got to do is install UltimateWoo and enable the extensions you need. Your WooCommerce functionality is immediately enhanced. To get an idea of what this plugin can do for you, just glance at the screenshot below. UltimateWoo also helps your shop to receive payments, analyse and report on various aspects, ship out orders, send out emails and more.

1 Ultimate Woo

The 78 extensions included would cost you a cool $5922, if purchased individually. You can choose to download the Lite version containing only 12 modules for free and receive limited support and updates. Or pick the Personal License for use on one WordPress website for $99, the Business License for use on 5 WordPress websites for $199 or the Developer License for use on an unlimited number of websites for $299. All premium licenses will receive regular support and one year of automatic updates.

WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates – WordPress Plugin

WooCommerce Amazon Affiliates converts your WooCommerce store into a powerful affiliate marketing enterprise, earning income by way of commission. With the Advanced Search and Bulk Import module, a store owner can search for products by categories and sub categories and select products. You can also choose variations of any product or select a price range.

Amazon Affiliates

The ASIN Grabber helps to browse through products and then import it into your store in bulk with CSV Importer. Content from Amazon is modified automatically and this means your products are in sync with Amazon products. You can use your Onsite Cart to collect products and checkout from Amazon. Or you can check out directly from Amazon too.

If a user is redirected to Amazon, the product will be added to your cart and kept there for 90 days. So if purchase is postponed, you will anyway earn commission on it. Cross selling is also permitted. This plugin can only be used as an addition to an existing or new WooCommerce store. A user cannot set himself up to be pure Amazon Store dealer.

A regular license, which comes with 6 months support and future updates will cost $34. For an extra $10.20, the support will be extended to 12 months.

WC Marketplace

WC Marketplace is a free extension that promises to turn your store into a marketplace. For a visitor , it would be very much like walking into a virtual huge multi store marketing complex. You can allow users to sell anything on your site, much like say Amazon, by registering as vendors on your site.

Wc Market Place

WC Marketplace is developed strictly according to WordPress coding standards and all the documentation is available for download. As it is free, with extensions being added continuously, this is a great addition for your ecommerce store at no extra cost.

Vendors can be approved in bulk automatically or individually and manually. They can be managed via bulk actions. You can set it that products can be uploaded automatically by vendors or only after manual approval. Set a threshold limit – product wise or vendor wise – for sales before commission is paid, and make a charge for withdrawal of commission. Payment can be made through PayPal.

The vendor page URL can be edited from your WordPress and vendor/s can be blocked. The product page can be linked to a vendor and vendors can set shipping from front end. Vendors can configure their own stores and export data in bulk. They can add or edit products and add coupons to products. They can get immediate notification of new orders, view the backend and withdraw their commission.

5 premium add-ons are available and these make it more attractive for vendors to register on your site. Vendors can view inventory reports, transactions and sales from the frontend. They can also view specific Google Analytics date and set their own stock alerts.

This plugin is developed by Dual Cube and has earned for itself an impressive 5 star rating.

WooCommerce CSV Importer

WooCommerce CSV Importer helps to import large product files and manage your products in WooCommerce with ease. It uses AJAX for importing, so there is no timeout during the import process.

13 CSV Importer

Once you have created the fields, put in separators and linked the fields to the columns, import of product files is accomplished in a jiffy. The plugin has been tested upto 10,000 products. Product variations can also be handled with the import variable product add-on. A few more add-ons like import attributes, custom fields, premium and taxonomies can be added to fine tune your import process. For a huge inventory, it can save days of work.

A premium plugin for the same functions is also available on WooThemes for $199.

Some more options which can help you to generally spruce up your WooCommerce are listed here,

  • WooCommerce Store Exporter is used for the reverse function of CSV Importer – exporting store details out of WooCommerce into files outside WooCommerce. It can export products by categories, variations, brands or tags and much more. The premium version will also export to an email address as well as schedule regular exports.
  • W3 Super Cache WordPress Plugin helps in efficient use of server resources by serving up static files to users who are not logged in or to those who do not leave a comment on your site. This helps in faster loading of products. Outdated and obsolete files are cleaned. This plugin is not specific to WooCommerce alone, but its use on a WordPress site will make your website faster and this is important for an eCommerce store.
  • WooCommerce Customizer- WooCommerce offers a number of filters to customize labels, button text and many other fields. But you have to use PHP code to use these filters. WooCommerce Customizer will help you to customize without having to use code.
  • WooCommerce Multilingual- Fully multilingual WooCommerce sites are possible with this plugin. Store pages can be translated, users can switch languages and order in language of their choice.

Miscellaneous

WooCommerce Bookings

WooCommerce Bookings is very useful when you want to sell your services by time (such as hotel rooms) or when you want to allot a particular resource to a particular time slot (such as an instructor to a class) or when you want to offer appointments.

bookings 3

With this extension, you can create booking slots and allot them on request. Email confirmations can be sent as soon as booking is completed. Reminders can be sent out closer to the dates booked. A booking calendar is handy, so that you have an overview of how many slots are available and how many are booked up. Customers can also view the slots that are available and make their pick.

If you notice that some slots are not really a favorite with customers, you can offer a discount on them. Special rates and off season rates can be offered. Multiple products can be managed – for example rooms in a hotel and seats on a bus for local tours. Buffer period between bookings can be set and altered. If you combine this extension with Product Add-ons, you can offer extras on the booking. Bookings can only be modified by the website administrator.

The price for this plugin ranges between $249 to $449.

WooCommerce Product Gift Wrap

WooCommerce Product Gift Wrap is a simple extension that allows customers to add a gift wrap to the product that they are purchasing. It sets up an option in WooCommerce Settings. The cost of gift wrap on a per product basis is displayed. When customers pick this option, the cost gets added to the cart. A simple extension that can add some delight to the process of gifting online. It is a must have for gift shops.

WC Product Gift Wrap

A premium extension for the same function is available on CodeCanyon and it allows free gift wrapping, different styles of gift wrapping at different prices. Images can be added, so that customers can pick the kind of wrapping they want. The option to gift wrap will appear on the car page and if the option is ticked , it will be added to their cart.

The premium extension can be purchased on CodeCanyon for $16. Future updates and 6 month support is included. Support is extended by 6 months when you pay an additional $4.80.

Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce

Order Delivery Date for WooCommerce will allow you to offer a customer the option to pick any date for delivery of their purchases. It uses the datepicker that is inbuilt in WordPress. This plugin will reduce the chances of the delivery person finding a locked door when he goes to deliver and save a second trip.

Order Delivery Date for WC

You can display the possible delivery dates you want and allow the buyer to pick a date. You can exclude days like Sundays or any special holidays. The date picked by the buyer will show up when you view the order, so you can take note of the specific instruction for delivery.

The premium version of this plugin will allow you to customize the calendar and allow cut off for same day and next day deliveries. The delivery date can be included in a custom email. Two months can be displayed on the calendar and the time range for delivery can be displayed.

WooCommerce My Account Widget

WooCommerce My Account Widget shows a whole lot of information about your customer in your WooCommerce shop. You can see the number of items in the shopping cart and the number of incomplete orders. The orders remaining unpaid and the link to the shopping cart is also displayed.

22 WooCommerce My Account Widget

When a customer logs out, the login form is displayed. It is compatible with WPML and is available in over 5 languages.

It was difficult to leave out a few extensions without atleast making a mention of them. So take a glance at a few more here,

  • WooCommerce Memberships will help you sell memberships in your WooCommerce store. Access to content can be restricted, and content can also be distributed to members according to a set schedule. Memberships are sold for the products created and tied to the memberships. Members can view all the information and privileges from the Members’ Area or the My Account section. You can create many types of membership plans and attach different perks, privileges and access for each. The extension can be purchased for $149.
  • To sell gift certificates on your site, you should try WooCommerce Gift Cards. You can create and manage gift certificates and accept payments for it through you regular payment gateways.
  • If customers have any question about a product, WooCommerce Product Enquiry for WooCommerce will allow them to ask the question right from the products page. It adds an enquiry button on the product page and gives you an opportunity to turn a visitor into a buyer.
  • Checkout Field Editor gives you an option to add custom fields in the checkout page of your WooCommerce. You can edit existing fields or remove them altogether. Text, datepickers and checkboxes can be added. You can do all this from the interface provided by the extension, without using any code. This extension can be purchased for $149.
  • WooCommerce Product FAQs helps viewers ask specific questions about products, see threads and get replies. Admin will be notified when any question is asked, with a link for making a reply. A quick method for getting more information about a product.
  • If you are dealing in multiple currencies, WooCommerce Currency Switcher will help in converting one currency to another in real time. It is available both as a shortcode and as a widget. The customer is allowed to pay in the selected currency. The premium version will convert currency automatically, based on the customer’s IP geolocation.
  • If your online store is dealing with digital products, you will not be shipping any products. The purchaser will download the digital product directly to his website after making the payments. WooCommerce Checkout for Digital Goods is a great plugin for selling digital products through WooCommerce. It is easy to install and skips all the unnecessary fields like address and phone numbers. You can purchase this plugin on CodeCanyon for $7.

Conclusion

This list concludes my three part series on useful extensions that add functions to your WooCommerce store. If you have found any plugin to be particularly useful to your WooCommerce, please share with us.

In case you haven’t decided on your WordPress Theme with WooCommerce integration you might want to head here to find the best examples. In case free themes is what you are after the best place for research is here

WordPress Spring Cleaning Toolkit – A Complete Guide How To Optimize Your WordPress Installation For Better Performance

WordPress Cleanup Performance

Post Series: WordPress performance – How to make your website faster?

  • 1.How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site ? A Complete Guide 2016
  • 2.Top 6 WordPress Caching Plugins To Make Your WordPress Website Faster
  • 3.WordPress Spring Cleaning Toolkit – A Complete Guide How To Optimize Your WordPress Installation For Better Performance
  • 4.How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website? – A Beginner’s Guide
  • 5.Top 20 Mobile Friendly WordPress Themes To Help With SEO And Website Usability On Mobile 2016

Every once in a while, you need to remove those pesky cobwebs to keep your WordPress running at full steam without any disruptions.

Unlike real cobwebs, you can not just suck them into a vacuum cleaner. You need a very specific set of tools and perform certain tasks manually, to rid your site of the menace.

When you are done, your WordPress site will be running smoother than ever.

Ohh, you don’t have to stick around to next spring to perform the next WordPress spring cleaning, start right away and revisit the cleaning exercise, when those cobwebs turn up again.

Of course, by the cobwebs I refer to

  • Unwanted/Unused Themes & Plugins.
  • Outdated Plugins & Themes.
  • Poor Website Security Measures.
  • Lack of Regular BackUps.
  • Images Not In Use.
  • Unused Tag.
  • Invalid Shortcuts.
  • Website cluttered excessively with social media sharing options.
  • Broken Links.
  • Multiple redundant post revisions.
  • Spam Comments.
  • Poorly Optimized WordPress Database.

Prior to WordPress spring cleaning, please create a site backup. You can use BackUpWordPress to do so.

I strongly recommend backing up everything, especially if it is the first time you’ve ever spring cleaned your blog. There may be a few things that you are unfamiliar with, we wouldn’t want to put you in a situation where you’ve caused irreversible damage to your site’s database.

So please backup your site, before we proceed any further.

Deleting Plugins & Themes That You Aren’t Using

how to delete wordpress plugins

How to delete multiple WordPress plugins

Find all the plugins and themes you no longer need, then deactivate, uninstall and delete them.

Some of these plugins may just take up a bit of space and not really affect site speed. However, failure to update all plugins and themes may leave your site vulnerable. You’ll have to keep updating all plugins and themes, this becomes an issue if you have 20 or 30 plugins and themes.

The hassle of constantly having to update things you don’t need, is sufficient reason to get rid of themes and plugins that aren’t in use.

Updating Themes & Updating/Replacing Plugins

After you’ve deactivated and deleted the unwanted plugins and themes, update all themes and plugins that you are using or are likely to use in the near future.

This has to been done manually. But if you know your way around WordPress and are ready to get your hands dirty, try reading up WordPress.org’s page on enabling automatic background updates.

And apart from that keep an eye on what is changing with new updates, so that there aren’t any compatibility issues in the future. If a plugin hasn’t been updated for a while now, you should consider switching to an equally good or better alternate.

P3

Apart from that, I’d suggest that you see if there are any plugins that contribute significantly to site load. Once you identify them, try to find better alternatives. You can use P3 Plugin Profiler to find out which plugins are affecting you site speed and act accordingly.

Beef Up Your Site

A lot of the emphasis for deleting unnecessary plugins/themes and updating all remaining themes/plugins is based on reasonable security concerns. The notion that if left unupdated, it leaves your website open to vulnerabilities that may develop over time.

Wordfence

Two really good options to ensure your site’s security, Wordfence Security and iThemes Security. Both of these security plugins cover all your bases and keep your site safe from malicious scripts and hackers.

Use A Reliable BackUp Solution Regularly & Remove Unnecessary BackUps

There are multiple free and paid mechanisms to perform backups for your site regularly. The difference lies in where you decide to deposit these backups.

A backup has to necessarily be independent of the hardware your site relies on. In other words, you shouldn’t be storing your site and its backup on the same server. If something were to happen to that server, then you’ll lose your site.

So the logical thing to do would be to save your site’s files elsewhere, perhaps on Rackspace Cloud, Dropbox, Amazon S3 or Google Drive and lastly on your own personal hardware at home/office.

BackUpWordPress

There are a couple of plugins that can help automate the backup processes, personally I like BackUpWordPress. There are two other free plugins, but the user ratings on WordPress.org are rather polarizing. So I am refraining from recommending them.

Not only are backups created regularly but you can limit the number of backups, to ensure that it doesn’t take up too much space. The number of backups you should keep depends a lot on the frequency with which you run backups. Always backup your WordPress before any major updates or whilst adding new themes or plugins.

Remember so long as you choose to keep your backups on a server that doesn’t host your site, it will never affect site speed. So the number of backups is limited only to the size of the support storage.

VaultPress

If your site becomes popular enough and generates a lot of revenue, you might consider premium services like VaultPress or BackUpBuddy.

Site BackUps are not optional, if not a paid solution please do use a free BackUp service/plugin. You never know when you’ll need it.

Scrubbing Your Site Of Unused Images

Images in your WordPress gallery occupy quite a bit of space on your WP database’s content folder. Unnecessary imagery that your site could do without.

You can use Image CleanUp, to remove all the unused and unreferenced images. The plugin works by indexing all images and any unreferenced files are checked against meta data to verify, if the meta entry still exists. If there isn’t any, then it can be moved out of wp-content or deleted permanently.

Image Cleanup

Image Cleanup plugin interface

Over time the number of images that aren’t in active use grows and it clutters wp-content. The fun part of this plugin is you can move the images to a backup folder and out of the content folder. The images can be restored later, if the need should arise.

Removing Unused Tags

Deleting unused tags one by one can take up a great deal of time. Instead you can use Mass Delete Unused Tags. Please note that the plugin works like a charm, even though it hasn’t been updated for a two years. Check the screenshot below, I tested it with WordPress 4.2.2.

With&WithOutUnUsedTags

As you may notice the tags with a tag count zero have been deleted

You wouldn’t want to spend your time manually deleting over a hundred or a thousand tags. I’d advise that you use the plugin, if you have to delete a large number of tags that have no doubt clogged your WP. Especially, if you haven’t deleted them for the past year or so.

Deleting or Hiding ShortCodes

There are many shortcodes that you’ve used, some of which belong to plugins that are no longer in active use. Manual deletion of shortcodes is time consuming.

Use Remove Orphan Shortcodes to remove all shortcodes not in use. Or if you want to target a specific short code across all posts and pages on your WP site, use Unused Shortcodes.

Hide UnwatedTags

If you are concerned that it might somehow affect your site functionality or mess up your database, then try Hide Unwanted Shortcodes. This nifty little plugin hides your shortcodes, not the same as deleting them. But at least your visitors will not see remnants of deactivated plugins anymore. Hide Unwanted Shortcodes in effect achieves the same goal as the previous two plugins, without any of the risks attached with using the other two plugins.

Sorting Your Social Media Sharing Options

I’ve seen on many a WordPress site, the website is completely cluttered with social sharing options. Personally, if I am ever bombarded my multiple sharing options, I never visit the site again.

Most good websites ensure maximum accessibility of sharing options to the visitor. They do this, while ensuring that it never gets in the way of a good user experience. Never do anything that makes it more difficult to read or browse content on your site.

Assuming you are looking for a free plugin, I’d recommend you try Simple Shared Button Adder or Floating Share Bar. Again with Simple Shared Button Adder, it defeats the entire point of getting a simple plugin, if you add the share buttons everywhere.

Social Sharing by Danny

Or better still try Social Sharing By Danny, lightweight and minimal. This makes for an excellent sharing plugin in my opinion. For Colorlib we are using Jetpack and its social sharing module. Probably it is not the best social sharing plugin out there but since we use Jetpack for many things we decided to use its social sharing module as well.

If you’re looking for a premium plugin, I’d recommend Monarch.

Fixing Broken Links

Broken links are a real downer on any website. It makes for a very frustrating user experience and any first time visitor to your site is unlikely to ever visit again.

Checking for broken links is easy with Broken Link Checker, you can check all posts, pages, comments and other parts of your site. Once broken links are identified, you can either edit it, unlink the text, dismiss or mark the links as not broken.

While the plugin permits you to choose which parts of your site to check, what type of links to check, provides continuous/intermittent monitoring options, the plugin seems to be quite the resource hog. Better to use it manually, rather than have it working continuously.

The alternative to this plugin, is W3C Link Checker. This alternate choice does not run on your site’s server resources.

Broken Link Manager

Another option that seems to show promise is Broken Link Manager. This plugin can check, monitor and organise all your broken links. Apart from enabling different redirects for each broken link, a default redirect for all broken links can be set. And the plugin also provides 301 redirects.

301 Redirects are search engine friendly and ensure you do not suffer SEO loss due to broken links. In comparison, Broken Link Checker only prevents search engines from following broken links. That isn’t quite as useful as a 301 redirect.

I actually like it, over the other two options but it is relatively new. I’d approach it with caution and a bit of skepticism.

Deleting Multiple Revisions

I can’t quite recall a single time when I’ve written a post on WordPress site without saving it multiple times. When I’m was done writing my last post, I had accumulated 19 revisions. Say you were to publish a hundred articles, it would add up to over a thousand revisions. At least, it certainly would in my case. And this takes up space unnecessarily.

NumberOFRevisions

Reduce number of revisions in WordPress to reduce your database size

These multiple saves prove useful from time to time. But when you have published the finished article and are no longer in need of them, they simply take up disk space on your servers and load every time someone requests your website.

So let’s get rid of them. You can use Better Delete Revision to do this for you. Better Delete Revisions will delete the post revisions, tags, metadata and pretty much every other relationship of your revisions in your WordPress database.

BetterDeleteRevs

Better Delete Revision plugin notice

On the whole it will delete revisions, save space and make your WP database lighter.

However, the plugin will not touch revisions of currently scheduled, published or draft posts. Other plugin choices perform functions apart from deleting revisions, but this is the best plugin for getting rid of redundant revisions.

Another plugin you can use for the same purpose is RVG Optimise Database. But it offers many more optional functions.

Revision Control is yet another plugin that can be used to enable/disable revisions and limit the number of revisions for different posts and pages.

Clean Out Spam Comments Regularly

We all love engagement on our content, it’s why we spend time agonizing over producing what we think will appeal to and be helpful to our readership. But on the net, most comments are from spammers and spambots.

Websites receive hundreds, if not thousands of spam comments each day. So cleaning them from our sites regularly is important.

Spam Comments Cleaner deletes comments at regular intervals of time. You can choose how often you’d like the plugin to delete spam and you are set!

WordPressCommentsCleaner

WordPress scheduled spam cleaning

The pile of spam comments on your site will never become large enough to become an issue.

If you want a premium solution to handle spam comments and post revisions, you can use Manage WP to handle the same across any number of WordPress sites.

Optimizing Your WordPress Database

A critical part of any WordPress Spring Cleaning, Database Optimization. I kept it towards the end because there are a few plugins that not just get your WordPress database clean and free of clutter. But they perform other functions as well. Some of these functions were already covered in the post.

So you can read this part on the database optimization plugins, then decide whether you want separate plugins for certain purposes like cleaning comments and removing post revisions.

WordPress is run of a database, the health of that database is vital to the performance of your website. Every time something loads on your site, it is retrieved from a database. So the lighter it is, the faster and more efficiently your site performs.

WP-Optimize

WP Optimize is a powerful database cleanup and optimization plugin. It removes spam and unapproved comments, trash posts, remove trackbacks and linkbacks. The plugin can be set to run automatically every week, every alternate week or on a monthly basis.

Beware the plugin options in red, avoid them if possible. It’s best, if you perform a manual backup of the database before the plugin starts any optimization process. Site restoration to original state should always be possible.

WP-Sweep is probably better still than WP-Optimize. This plugin can be used to remove unused, orphaned and duplicated data.

WPSWeep

WP-Sweep plugin interface

This plugin uses proper WordPress delete commands as opposed to running direct MySQL queries. And as a result, data that is often orphaned by the other database optimization plugins, is also deleted when you use WP-Sweep.

WP-DB Manager is another option at your disposal, the main advantage of this plugin has over the previous two is that it performs database backups.

Using database cleanup and optimization tools will simultaneously take care of your spam comments, unused tags and post revisions. That being said database optimization tools are more difficult to handle. The potential for something going horribly wrong is definitely greater. But chances are nothing will happen, in which case using a database cleanup plugin and running backups prior to running database optimization, is a potent combination.

If you opt for a database optimization plugin, you do not have to worry about spam/unapproved/deleted comments, post revisions, auto drafts, orphaned data and unused tags.

So you do not need additional plugins, you can use one plugin instead of many.

Figure out which database optimization plugin works best for you. And then if one of the functions you need for WordPress Spring Cleaning aren’t there, look up the plugins mentioned previously in the post for specific functions.

Final Thoughts

You need to find the right combination of plugins and solutions for your WordPress site. I hope, I’ve helped you become aware of the essentials of WordPress Spring Cleaning and armed you with the necessary knowledge of appropriate plugins.

It is important that you arrive at the right frequency for performing full and partial WordPress Spring Cleaning. This depends on the size of your site’s traffic and the themes/plugins that you employ.

Tell me how your WP spring clean went! Cheers ?

Top 6 WordPress Caching Plugins To Make Your WordPress Website Faster

Wordpress Cache Plugins

Post Series: WordPress performance – How to make your website faster?

  • 1.How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site ? A Complete Guide 2016
  • 2.Top 6 WordPress Caching Plugins To Make Your WordPress Website Faster
  • 3.WordPress Spring Cleaning Toolkit – A Complete Guide How To Optimize Your WordPress Installation For Better Performance
  • 4.How To Choose The Right Hosting For Your WordPress Website? – A Beginner’s Guide
  • 5.Top 20 Mobile Friendly WordPress Themes To Help With SEO And Website Usability On Mobile 2016

Your internet experience is only as fast as the websites you visit. Typically, the best websites are also the ones with the quickest load times. A slow website makes for a terrible user experience and let’s not forget the impact that it is likely to have on your search engine rankings, Google have confirmed the same in the past.

If you run a WordPress site, a caching plugin can dramatically effect better site load times. Typically when you access any website, you request information from their servers. WordPress runs of a database and every time someone loads your site on their browser, they retrieve files in the form of CSS, images and javascript.

WordPress is dynamic, whilst this helps keep your website up to date and live, it also slows down your site. So to tackle this little problem, caching plugins were created. They help produce a static version of your website and this makes your website much much faster.

I’ll take you through a few plugins that can help speed up your WordPress site. If you aren’t currently using a caching plugin, you’ll certainly find it an interesting and rather important read. And if you are using a caching plugin then you’ll have a few more options to check out and find out which plugin works best for you.

If all these caching plugins fail you and it doesn’t make your site any quicker, then you’ll probably have to upgrade your host. But before you do so, try a few caching plugins and see how they work for your website.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache Header

This plugin is widely touted as one of the most powerful caching plugins with a plethora of options at the disposal of the user. It is used by Yoast (Author behind the most popular WordPress SEO plugin which we use on Colorlib as well), Matt Cutts ( Works on search quality & web spam for Google ), Mashable, Smashing Magazine and many other equally influential websites. That is a very impressive list of users.

Update(1): Yoast no longer uses plugin based caching and have switched to server side caching. Likely a similar caching we use for Colorlib which is combination between HHVM, Redis and fastcgi_cache.

Update(2): Matt Cutts has switched from W3 Total Cache to WP Super Cache. It’s similar to W3 but is much easier to setup and according to some benchmarks can deliver even better website performance under certain conditions.

Update(3): We now use a completely custom built server side caching. It uses Nginx, HHVM and Redis as base but we have made some tweaks specially for Colorlib. This includes custom comment and bbPress forum thread handling to make sure that they are posted in real time. If you like how well our website perform, make sure to read our hosting guide to find out how you can achieve similar results.

It can cache pages, the WordPress database and objects, it can enable caching at the browser end. W3 Total Cache can be used for the minification of CSS and Javascript. It is also compatible with dedicated servers, virtual private servers and Content delivery networks, which is probably why this plugin can be scaled for use with very popular high traffic websites.

A WordPress newbie may find it daunting to negotiate through the plugin’s many options. That being said, W3 Total Cache offers tips on how to best use the plugin above the plugin’s settings page on your WP dashboard.

W3 Total Cache Guide

The tips actually seem more daunting than the advanced options themselves, how well you use this plugin depends on your ability to attend to each instruction provided. At the bottom, you’ll notice a “Toggle all caching types”, this is sufficient but doesn’t maximise the impact of the plugin.

Even an experienced user would find the instructions helpful because installing the plugin is only part of the process, it needs to be configured appropriately for full impact. Else you can simply choose to enable the default settings, it should be sufficient for most websites.

The plugin isn’t complicated, it is merely vast with a number of options. If you can get past the clutter of options and follow suggestions as presented by the plugin below your WordPress dashboard and may be watch a tutorial or two then it can speed up your website ten times over, which is an impressive feat.

At $99 per year for the paid version, you can enable fragment caching module for better performance with themes/plugins that use WordPress transient API and the paid version also provides CDN mirroring.

WP Super Cache

WpSuperCacheHeader

When I first used this plugin, it was far easier to figure stuff out than the previous plugin. The plugin settings screen greets you with an easy to use version of the plugin. There are multiple tabs, the first one titled “Easy” is displayed first. And it is easier when you aren’t bombarded with as many options as with W3 Total Cache.

WpSuperCache1

A simple setup with 7 tabs, ideal for new WP users and for experienced ones as well.

WP Super Cache creates a static HTML file which is served to users who aren’t logged in, users who haven’t left a comment on your blog and users who haven’t viewed a password protected post on your site. That pretty much means almost every visitor to your website.

This plugin caches files in three ways,

  1. Supercached Static files – PHP is completely bypassed and it served as such to unknown visitors.
  2. Supercached Static files ( served by PHP ) – Server more likely to struggle with large increase or bursts of traffic.
  3. Legacy Caching – Slowest caching method used for known users.

The difference between supercached served by PHP and not served by PHP becomes more apparent only when there is an increase in traffic, so much so that the host’s server struggles to keep up, else the differences are imperceptible.

You can selectively choose which sections of your website get cached. The plugin can be used to handle sudden spikes in traffic using Lock Down and Directly Cached Files.

WpSuperCache02

WP Super Cache helps get rid of your cache files as well, by deleting your cached files at specified intervals of time. The files can be preloaded, it will create supercached static files for your most recently published posts or for every page and post on your site. With preloading, dealing with cached files after they become redundant is all the more important.

WP Rocket

WPRocket

WP Rocket is a premium plugin that advertises speed and simplicity. And they certainly deliver results with little effort on the part of the user. The plugin is currently in active use on 26,000+ websites.

WpRocketUsers

A few websites cached by WP Rocket.

Plugin’s features include page caching which is activated immediately after installation & activation, cache preloading and images on request to ensure that images load only when needed. WP Rocket makes lighter, the HTML, CSS and Javascript on your website.

You can run an eCommerce site due to full compatibility with eCommerce plugins. It is CloudFlare compatible, can utilize browser caching. This plugin offers Google font and image optimization along with multisite and multilingual compatibility. In addition to these features, WP Rocket provides DNS prefetching and is extremely developer friendly.

A no nonsense plugin that simply works with a minimal number of problems, the settings panel is very much similar to Super Cache and easy to handle.

Image From- WpSeer

Image From- WpSeer, Click Image For A Detailed Review Of WpRocket

The plugin is priced at $39 per year for the personal version. The business version costs $99 per year available to 3 websites and the Pro version is priced at $199 for use with an unlimited number of websites. If you do not like the plugin for some reason, you can ask for a refund for up to 30 days. The support and updates will have to been paid for yearly, if you choose not to pay you will still be able to use the plugin but without support or updates. Generally trying the latter is not advisable.

Zen Cache ( Successor To Quick Cache )

Normally, I would have written about Quick Cache which is a well known caching plugin, but all updates for the plugin were halted about two months ago. The developers rebranded the plugin and dubbed it “Zen Cache”. They effected a name change to avoid the perception that it is a “simple” plugin.

Migrating from Quick Cache to Zen Cache is easy and your settings are carried over to the newly installed Zen Cache from Quick Cache.

But enough of that, Zen Cache/Quick Cache is a great plugin which requires minimal setup time and achieves what is expected of caching plugin with ease.

ZenCachePRO

A simple setup with an optional advanced panel for the experienced user. The light features are present only in the PRO version of the plugin.

There is little that this plugin can not accomplish for you, the setup is easy and intuitive to use. At the end of each option, there are a few tips to help you better utilize the plugin.

Zen Cache is priced at $39 per year for single site use, for multisite (unlimited number) usage the plugin will set you back $139 every year. Purchase ensures support for a minimum of three years after which a minimal fee of $9 or $29 per year is charged for continued support beyond three years. Unlike most premium plugins, they offer lifetime updates for a one time purchase. The purchase comes with a 30 day refund guarantee.

WP Fastest Cache

FastestCacheHeader

Fastest Cache employs a number of methods to cache your website. Mod Rewrite takes your dynamic WordPress and make it static. The cached files are deleted at appropriate intervals or based on events such as publishing a page or a post.

With Fastest Cache you can block cache for specific pages/posts with a shortcode. The plugin permits you to enable and disable caching for mobile devices and logged in users separately. Fastest Cache provides CDN support.

WP Fastest Cache

If you know what each of the caching methods will do for you, this should be a very easy plugin to handle. Just tick your caching methods and submit.

The plugin minifies your HTML, CSS and compressed with Gzip. It can combine CSS which helps reduce the number HTTP requests to your host’s servers, similarly it can combine Javascript as well. Fastest Cache also provides browser caching, which is useful for visitors who return to your website often.

Hyper Cache

HypCacheHeader

Hyper Cache has only 4 tabs on the settings page of the plugin. Obviously has lesser configurability but that works in favor of anyone who’s looking for a plugin to do the job with little or no tinkering.

With HyperCache you can cache at specified intervals of time, enable on the fly compression, clean caches when a new comment is made or a new post is published and enable browser caching.

HyperCacheSettings

Hyper Cache can be set so as not to cache specific pages or URLs and you can cache only the most recent of posts by blocking caching for posts older than a specified number of days. It provides support for CDN and mobile caching.

Which One Is The Best One ?

I’ve looked at the tests conducted by different people with differing recommendations for caching plugin.

Kim Tezlaff conducted quite a number of tests on three plugins, Super Cache, W3TC and Quick Cache. And the results are published on DashBoardJunkie. He concluded that W3 Total Cache is the fastest plugin followed by Super Cache and Quick Cache ( Zen Cache).

Kyle of Tutorial9 also conducted his own tests only to conclude that Hyper Cache and DB cache combination is the most potent one. You can find the results of his experiment on Tutorial9.

Those tests do provide a great deal of information, however they do not include WP Rocket which I feel would have certainly been just as good as the competition. So I’ll refer you to DevShed’s article by Charles. This test is very comprehensive, he has compared 20 caching solutions for WordPress. WP Rocket came out as the winner, with special mentions for WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

The fact is it is very difficult to figure out which among all the plugins is the best. In my opinion, WP Rocket certainly seems to have the edge. But rest of the pack aren’t too far behind at all.

If you’re selecting a caching plugin, then you should consider your requirements. Whether you’d need CDN support? Questions like this become pertinent to selection of the best plugin for your website. Because the differences in performance is largely imperceptible to average user.

Test Your Site With A Cache Plugin Fully Configured

You can use one of the following,

  • GTmetrix
  • WebPageTest
  • PageSpeed Tools

To keep track of your website regularly, you can access site performance under labs via your Google Analytics account, if you’ve added your website to GA. And most hosting services also provide access to basic page load speed information.

But if you are insistent on running a cache plugin and benchmarking your website thoroughly, it would come in handy if you understood the benchmarking methods used on our post. You’ll see that performing a thorough check is rather tiresome. It is only worth it, if you’re website receives sufficient traffic. Else one of the three aforementioned tools should be sufficient.

Based on your level of comfort with caching plugins you can select any one of the 6 plugins presented in this post. Try each one of them (even the paid ones have refund periods) and arrive at what works for you.

Be sure to use the same theme, plugins and same host for your tests. And also test a number of URLs (apart from just your website’s homepage) for some variability and to ensure that the test is fair.

Conclusion

Choose the plugin that you are comfortable with, spending an hour each day to constantly reconfigure your plugins simply isn’t worth it. The differences, when comparing these 6 plugins are marginal. But it can become a chasm depending on your ability to rightly configure the cache plugin in question.

Personally, if I read this article I’d look at the plugin screenshots check for the one that seems least daunting and try that one out first, provided it meets all my requirements. And then test your plugin. Compare it with similar websites that are known for their speed and popularity.

If you have very good results with your first try, you can stop there unless you need to specifically tackle a problem, like say a burst in traffic. Then it gets a bit trickier, I’d suggest strongly that you read the benchmarking methods used on our tests before trying your own tests.

If you were wondering, Colorlib uses W3TC in combination with Memcached for object and database caching and CDN management.

For every website there is a speed ceiling and once you’ve hit it, you need to upgrade your hardware perhaps a top notch CDN service like MaxCDN or CloudFlare.

If I’ve missed out on a great plugin or if you have an awesome internal caching solution that your host provides, please do weigh in on the comments section. I look forward to reading them!

I hope that you found the post informative about the WordPress caching choices available to you. And that you’ve found the right plugin for your site. ?

Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part II

Woocommerce Logo

Post Series: WooCommerce Extensions

  • 1.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part I
  • 2.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part II
  • 3.Awesome WooCommerce Plugins to Extend Functionality : Part III

WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform for online stores on websites built with WordPress. To add many unique functions to the WooCommerce store, a number of extensions are available. In this three part series of articles, some of the extensions are discussed with reference to the functions they can carry out. In the first part, Product Pricing, Product Selection & Display and Printing & Invoicing were covered.

This is Part II of the three part series of articles on WooCommerce extensions that you can add to your website. In this part, let’s take a look at extensions falling under these categories,

  • Social Media
  • Marketing
  • Payments

You can read Part I here.

Social Media

Using some extensions, you can use the power of social media to power your WooCommerce website. Social media influences buying patterns and affects purchasing decisions of customers in a big way. The extensions will below will help you tap into this potential.

Social Coupon for WooCommerce

Sharing a page from your WooCommerce site can earn instant discounts for a visitor. Such a system can be put in place by Social Coupon for WooCommerce. An incentive for sharing has the potential to increase the awareness of your brand and earn a following for it.

Social Coupon for WordPress

The coupon can be displayed anywhere – on the product page, on the checkout page or cart page. Once the page has been shared, the coupon will be applied directly to the cart. Discount can be applied individually to each social button. The text for the buttons can be changed, the layout can be customized and you can choose which buttons you want to enable or disable, as well as set an expiration date for the coupon.

A regular license will cost you $23 and brings with it 6 months support and future updates. You can extend support by another 6 months by paying an additional $6.90.

WooCommerce Social Login

WooCommerce Social Login allows users to check in via their social media accounts, as well as checkout from the same account pages. This means a user will not have to remember another username and password. Most social account holders usually stay signed in to their social accounts, so logging into the website is just a click away.

WooCommerce Social Login

These account holders will have the ease of one click registration. Registration details will be emailed to the account holder. The store’s customer accounts can be integrated with the social accounts of the customers. The users will be redirected after they login with social media accounts. The social accounts are tied to a WordPress user account and even if the social account is discontinued, the user account can still be accessed.

A shortcode will help you place the login button in any page and a widget will help you insert it in any widget area.

As a majority of the customers prefer to sign in with their social media accounts, conversion rates are likely to be higher. The extension costs $39 and it entitles you to 6 months free support and future updates. For $11.70 more, you can extend support to 12 months.

WooCommerce Social Media Share Buttons

WooCommerce Social Media Share Buttons is easy to set up and the buttons will align perfectly on your website. Though the number of active installs is only about 6000, it has earned a perfect 5 star rating.

Woocommerce Social Media share buttons

This free extension will add social media share buttons to the products page, just below the ‘Add to Cart’ button. With a bit of code, you can add it to other pages, posts and widgets. You can select from among 9 social media buttons, with all the popular ones being included as options.

This extension is great for instantly sharing popular products on social media platforms.

StoreYa

StoreYa is a free extension, although premium plans are available. It works by importing your WooCommerce store into your Facebook page and in this way it is a little different from other social media plugins. Your web store can be customized to fit into Facebook, while retaining the feel of your store or brand.

StoreYa 1

StoreYa offers a number of ways in which you can improve the sales of your products. Group deals, scratch and win, InstaGallery, Like Box and tabs for other social media accounts will keep up the buyer interest in your products. But all this will be done from the back office of Facebook and not from your WordPress Admin. So, keep in mind you do not have much control over this. However, it has the advantage of reaching out to your customers in a personal way and may promote customer loyalty.

Users have also provided feedback that the extension is not totally free, but is free only for a certain period or for a limited number of products, after which you will be required to pay. So be cautious and check out the premium plans before you try out this plugin.

WooCommerce Instagram

WooCommerce Instagram will help to showcase your products directly on mobile devices using the interface and filters of Instagram. You can display Instagram photographs arranged in a grid in your website and tag it with a specific hashtag. This will also give an idea to customers how your products can be used.

Final WooCommerce InstaGram

Setting up this extension is easy and you have to simply connect your WordPress account to Instagram and add a hashtag to each product that you wish to be displayed on Instagram. Your customers can also post their pictures of your products under the same hashtag, creating a photo gallery and following for your product. This is free advertisement for your product.

This plugin can be purchased from WooThemes for a price ranging between $29 to $129.

Marketing

With most customers shopping online, marketing efforts have also shifted to the online platform. Email marketing is emerging as one of the surest ways to reach a targeted audience. The extensions below will help in your online marketing efforts.

WooChimp – WooCommerce MailChimp Integration

For integration of MailChimp with your WooCommerce store, simply use WooChimp. In an instant, you will have a powerful marketing tool, perfect for email marketing. All customers will be added to MailChimp automatically. While checking out, customers can have the option of signing up. Subscribers can be grouped and the performance of any campaign can be tracked. Not only that, it makes multiple mailing lists, merges tags and webhooks.

MailChimp final

WooChimp links your WooCommerce to your merchant’s MailChimp account, so all customer data is immediately available to MailChimp. And emails can be sent to appropriate groups at set times with automatic triggers. Auto response for often asked questions, promotional coupons, getting on board old customers with campaigns, automatic reminders, brand based campaigns, cross selling, bundle accessories or rewards – you can streamline all this with WooChimp.

To use WooChimp to its full potential you may need to purchase other compatible add-ons like MailChimp eCommerce 360 to track data related to individual visitors and forward it to MailChimp.

You can purchase WooChimp for $26 and it comes with 6 months support and future updates. Extra 6 months support is added for $7.80

WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart

Very often it may happen that a customer spends time browsing through your store and builds up his cart with care, only to leave it abruptly. It may due to a broken internet connection, or the price being too high or maybe he was simply distracted by something else. WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart can send an email to the customer with a link to his cart, so that he can resume the purchase at any time.

WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart_ final

Many reply templates can be framed so that each template can add incentives to the customer for clearing his cart through checkout. The extension works for both members and guests.

This plugin will cost you $29 and comes with future updates and 6 months support. On payment of an additional $8.70, you can extend support to twelve months.

Pushover

If you want real time information about your eCommerce store, Pushover is the extension for you. Sales and inventory levels are constantly updated with push notifications from your WooCommerce website to your android or iOS device. This is the fastest way to stay in touch with your eCommerce store and to always be on top of things in your store.

Pushover

You can be notified of new order, out of stock products, low levels of stock or any pending orders. You can receive upto 7500 notifications per month and the length of a notification is restricted to 512 characters.

You can avail of a 5 day trial period after which you will need to make a payment of about $5.

WooCommerce Availability Notification

WooCommerce Availability Notification is an extension that will allow you to monitor stock levels. It will automatically inform customers when a product is out of stock or when fresh stocks have been added to a favorite product. So customers get to know the exact stock level of the products that they are interested in.

Availability Notification final

The notifications can be customized to be very informative for each product, as well as variations of the product. The font color and weights can be adjusted for each type of notification. With a newly added feature, the notification can be edited in quick mode as well as bulk edited. The plugin is also WPML ready.

You can purchase a Regular License for this plugin from CodeCanyon for $17 and receive all future updates and 6 months support. To extend support to 12 month, pay an additional $5.10

WooCommerce Email Inquiry and Cart Options

With WooCommerce Email Inquiry and Cart Options, you can restrict or allow visitor access to your eCommerce site depending on the rules you set for them. Logged in users can have a certain level of access and other users or store manager can have a different access level. A pop-up email inquiry form can be attached to your product, that can be viewed comfortably from mobiles as well.

Final Email Inquiry and cart options

The rules for access can be applied to your entire catalog of products. An inquiry button can be added to every page. The pop-up form ensures that no space is taken away from your product display. The receiver email address and a cc email address can be set. A confirmation Sent success message will appear on the screen when an inquiry has been submitted by a customer.

The premium version can hide product prices, customize the pages and is WPML compatible. The price for the premium version starts at $39.

Payment

There are numerous extensions available for accepting payments with WooCommerce. I have chosen 5 extensions here that can do a fairly good job.

PayPal for WooCommerce

PayPal for WooCommerce is a free plugin that offers multiple options for payment – Paypal Express Checkout/ PayPal credit, PayPal website payments, PayPal Plus (Germany) and PayFlow Gateway.

4 PayPal for WC

PayPal maintains a data copy of all WooCommerce orders via PayPal transactions and so there will be no discrepancy between your WooCommerce and PayPal. Many plugins do not correctly process the PayPal response and this may lead to duplication of payments. Error handling is much better with this plugin.

The plugin uses your WordPress language by default, but it is is translation ready and can be used in any part of the world.

WorldPay Gateway for WooCommerce

WorldPay Gateway for WooCommerce allows you to accept payments in many currencies. It fits well for all sizes of business. All credit card details of the customers is taken care of by the plugin and you are not required to maintain these details.

Final WorldPay Gateway for WooCommerce

If the particular gateway or card is not available, you can request the author to integrate it with your WooCommerce.

The regular license for this plugin is priced at $29 and it comes with future updates and 6 months support. For additional 6 months support you will have to pay $8.70

Authorize.net Payment Gateway for WooCommerce

Add this free plugin and you can accept payments made with credit/debit cards using Authorize.net payment gateway. The payment is processed by secure servers of Authorize.net. SSL and PCI are not required. A message for successful or failed payment can be included.

Authorize

The plugin is easy to set up and integrate with your WooCommerce site without going through the hassle of SSLs. Authorize.net is a widely used gateway for processing Visa, MasterCard, Discover and many other cards. With support from Authorize.net not really upto the mark, you will find this plugin useful in useful in accepting payments through this gateway.

Stripe Payment Gateway for WooCommerce

Stripe.com is one of the easiest ways accept credit card payments online. Stripe Payment Gateway for WooCommerce allows you to accept payments through Stripe.com. This extension will store credit card details of the customer, allowing them to make payments more easily for subsequent transactions.

Stripe final

The plugin is easy to download and install. You can purchase a regular license for this plugin for $29 and it comes with free updates and 6 months support. An extra 6 months support will cost you $8.70

WooCommerce Accepted Payments Method

WooCommerce Accepted Payments Method will help you to inform a customer the payment options he has before he reaches the checkout page. This helps him or her know whether they will be able to complete the transaction.

WC Accepted Payments Method (dicplay)

The payment methods accepted by you can be displayed on the frontend using a widget or a shortcode or a template.

In case you haven’t decided on your WordPress Theme with WooCommerce integration you might want to head here to find the best examples. In case free themes is what you are after the best place for research is here.

That concludes Part II.

I’ll be back with more WooCommerce Extensions in Part III.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review: Build a Listings Directory with WordPress

ClassyAds Classifieds WordPress Theme

In this ClassyAds WordPress theme review, you’ll find out if this tool is the right option to help you to build a directory website. Whether you want to create an advertising directory or an online listings resource, ClassyAds aims to be the best options open to WordPress users.

By combining the ClassyAds theme with WordPress, you should have everything you need to build a classified advertising or listings directory website that has the potential to become a valuable resource for your target audience, as well as an income-generating asset.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Listing Example

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review: The Features

ClassyAds offers a combination of the essential features needed to build a directory or listings website with WordPress, alongside a high-quality design befitting of a modern theme.

When creating this theme, the development team wanted to make sure that ClassyAds was as easy to setup and use as possible. The goal was to help you to build a listings website with WordPress, with as little time and effort required as possible. Perhaps more importantly, the development team also put a considerable amount of effort into ensuring your audience finds it easy to use too.

filter

So let’s take a look at some of the features you’ll have access to when choosing this directory and listings theme, as well as some of the main reasons why you might want to choose this template in our ClassyAds WordPress theme review.

Listings and Advertising Management

When using the ClassyAds theme, you and your visitors will have the ability to publish listings or adverts on your WordPress website. The listing or advert content is stored as custom post types in your WordPress admin area.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Post Types

The Listings custom post type has its own set of options that can be used to configure how your directory website handles this content. These settings cover options such as how many listings to show per page, how to handle expired listings, and whether you want to organize the listings using categories or tags.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Listings Settings

Through the Listing settings, you can also define how submissions to your directory are handled. This includes whether you want to set a requirement that listings can only be submitted by a registered user on your site, how non-registered visitors can go about creating an account, and amongst others, whether new listing submissions to your directory require moderation before going live.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Submission Settings

There is also a set of options on offer that allow you to decide which pages on your site are used to display the listings submission form, the listings dashboard, and the listings themselves.

As you can see, with the ClassyAds WordPress directory theme, you get a good amount of control over how listings are accepted and managed on your website.

Listings and Advertising Submissions

Although you can add listings and adverts to your site through the standard WordPress post editor, a better option is to use the front-end submission forms that come with the ClassyAds theme. These forms give you and your visitors an attractive and intuitive way to add listings to your website. This is beneficial as it removes many of the elements of the WordPress post editor that may confuse new users.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Form

When adding content to the directory, users can preview their listing before submitting it to your site. Then, depending on how you’ve configured your website, the listings will then either be automatically published in your online directory or added to the moderation queue for manual review.

User Dashboard

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Dashboard

To make it easy for your visitors to manage your listings, the ClassyAds WordPress theme includes a front-end user dashboard. Through the dashboard, your logged in users can view their listings and then decide how to manage them. This can include editing or removing them from the site.

This is a useful feature as it helps to make your listings or directory website self-service, rather than relying on a team of administrators to manage the user-generated content. Again, as front-end forms are used, rather than forcing your audience to navigate the WordPress admin dashboard, the whole process is much more user-friendly.

Support For Multiple Predefined Regions

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Regions

Typically, when creating an online directory or listings website, you are going to want to organize your content by region. The ClassyAds theme and its optional add-ons make defining and managing these regions very easy.

Site administrators can create the regions in the same way they would create categories. Then your users can select from the predefined regions when adding a listing. By using predefined regions, you can ensure that your users aren’t creating custom regions themselves. This all helps to create consistency throughout your site.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Regions MenuIntuitive User Search and Filtering Tools

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Browse Listings

To help your visitors find the listings they are looking for, the ClassyAds WordPress advertising directory theme includes some very user-friendly search and filtering tools.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Search

This feature makes the whole process of finding the right content as intuitive as possible, turning your website into a much more useful resource.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Map

As well as the more traditional search tools on offer, there’s also a clickable Google Map your visitors can interact with. This gives them an easy way to find listings based on their geographical location.

Powered by WP Job Manager

In case you were wondering how the listing and directory functionality of the ClassyAds theme is powered, the good news is that the popular WP Job Manager plugin is the engine running behind the scenes.

Although WP Job Manager has been created as a plugin to help you build an online employment website with WordPress, as it’s such a flexible tool, it works equally well when it comes to creating a more general listings or directory site.

On the backend of your site, in the WordPress admin area, there is nothing to mislead or confuse you or your fellow administrators into thinking they are working on a jobs website. This applies to the front-end of your site too and there is little chance your visitors will be aware that this listings portal is powered by a job board plugin.

ClassyAds and WP Job Manager Add-ons

Another benefit of using the WP Job Manager plugin to power this theme is that there are a number of add-ons available for it. These add-ons are a mixture of free and commercial upgrades for your site and include some useful tools that you many want to consider using.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review WC Paid Listings

One popular add-on is the WC Paid Listings extension. This commercial add-on gives you the option of charging your users a fee for publishing listings in your directory. The WC Paid Listings add-on allows you to create multiple packages and pricing plans. This gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to deciding how to monetize your online directory.

Other useful add-ons you might want to consider using include the Bookmarks add-on. As the name suggests, this commercial add-on gives your visitors the option of saving or bookmarking any listings that are of interest to them, for future reference.

The Alerts add-on is another useful tool that allows your users to save their searches and create alerts. These custom alerts will then send out new matching listings via email. By using the Auto Location add-on, a location will atomically be suggested each time a new listing is added.

While using a job board plugin to power an advertising or classifieds website might seem strange at first glance, as WP Job Manager is so flexible, it works really well as the engine behind the ClassyAds WordPress theme.

Great Looking Modern Design

While all of the above features are great, if the theme doesn’t have a professional look and feel, it will be difficult to encourage your visitors to sign-up and start using your online listings directory. Thankfully, the design of the ClassyAds theme is of a very high standard.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Category Page

A great attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of the design of this WordPress theme. From the different sections of the homepage, through to the individual listings pages, and everything in between, your website will have a professional look and feel.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Design

This theme also includes many nice little touches, such as loading animations and subtle navigation aids, which help to elevate the overall experience you can offer your users. This can be especially important if you plan to monetize your website by charging a fee to accept listings.

Customization Options

To help give your website a custom look and feel, the ClassyAds theme includes support for the WordPress Customizer tool. This allows you to personalize some aspects of your website, all through an intuitive front-end user interface.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Customizer Colors

Other elements of your website you can personalize through the Customizer include the menus, widgets, background images, and the contact page. While the level of flexibility on offer here won’t rival some of the more customizable WordPress themes out there, as the design looks so good out of the box, you probably won’t need to make many changes anyway.

Other Useful Features of the ClassyAds WordPress Listings Theme

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Shortcodes

To help you get your listings website looking the way that you want, this theme includes a number of useful shortcodes. These shortcodes can be used to insert listings into any of the pages of your website. Not only that, but the shortcodes can be modified to filter the listings, such as only displaying listings from a certain region, on a certain page.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Partners

Another useful feature you might want to make use of, especially if you’re looking for a way to give your website some extra credibility is to use the partner tool to display the logos from companies and organizations you are working with. By displaying the recognizable decals from reputable businesses in your industry or logo area, you can increase the trust factor of your site, which in turn can help persuade your visitors to become signed-up users.

ClassyAds WordPress Theme Review Pricing Table

If you do decide to monetize your website by charging a fee to accept a listing, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the ability to create stylish pricing tables is taken care of for you. This then gives your visitors can easy way to compare the commercial options available to them when signing up.

In case you were wondering, the ClassyAds theme is fully responsive. This means your online listings directory will work just as well on mobile devices as it does on big screen desktop displays.

ClassyAds Listings Theme Pricing Details

The ClassyAds WordPress theme is available from the ThemeForest marketplace for the reasonable sum of $59. This includes access to all future updates, as well as 6 months of support from the theme developers. This support period can be extended to 12 months for $17.70.

It’s worth pointing out that if you want to monetize your website by charging your users a fee for adding a listing, the recommended WC Paid Listings add-on starts from $39.

ClassyAds Theme Review Final Thoughts

ClassyAds WordPress Theme

ClassyAds has a great look and feel that will help to give your website a trusted and professional appearance. This is vital if you want to convince your target audience to sign-up and start posting listings to your website – and even more so if you want to monetize your website by charging a fee for access.

The setup and demo content import process is a little more rough and ready than some other themes. Instead of simply heading over to a theme options control panel and hitting the import demo content button, you do have to do a bit more work. While I didn’t end up with a website that was an identical match of the online demo version, some content was imported into my site and I had a good base to work from when building by online listings website with WordPress.

As in most cases you’ll have your own custom needs and requirements when setting up your website, you probably won’t want your site to look exactly like the demo version that is used to promote this theme.

The fact that this theme is powered by the popular WP Job Manager is a great advantage. As this plugin has been tried and tested, you can rest assured that the listings portion of your website will function correctly. Thanks to the library of add-ons available for the WP Job Manager plugin, you are free to add extra features to your site as you need them, rather than being overwhelmed with unnecessary functionality from the outset.

Overall, the ClassyAds WordPress theme has a great design and a solid set of features. If you want to build an online directory or listings website with WordPress, this theme comes highly recommended.

Try the ClassyAds WordPress theme demo today

Top 10 Most Popular Google Maps Plugins for WordPress 2016

Google Maps WordPress Plugins

New age shoppers feel comfortable buying anything online, even high value stuff. But older folks feel safer buying from a shop window or, even if they buy online, look for a physical address to back up the web address of the shop. And if you can draw a map for shoppers showing your exact location on the face of this earth, they know they are not buying from some faceless entity.

Having a physical address, displaying your location on your website and putting down the exact directions for customers to find your place of business is somewhat assuring to customers and is not very hard to do, not when you use Google Maps.

An interactive map can be included in your website quite easily. You need to submit your location details to Google. This will also give your website a wider reach and your listings will show up on a Google search.

Plugins will help to add Google Maps to your website. You can embed and customize Google Maps and insert it into your pages and posts, and you can use it as a widget too. Adding local images or landmarks will help your visitors to find you more quickly. You can add a simple map or you can add a map with fancy features with the help of plugins.

Before you go onto embed Google Maps into your website using a plugin, you must check the API of the plugin. Google Maps uses two kinds of APIs: Static Maps API which is just a string of code that is inserted and displays images with no functionality, and JavaScript API which comes with all the functionality. The plugin that you pick must have the same JavaScript API version as Google Maps, otherwise you will be required to add an API key.

You may also wonder why you need a plugin, when you can download Google Maps directly into your website. Google will give you a code that you will have to insert into any page or post using the text editor. Done, your store will now be on the map. But that’s about it. You cannot add any details of your location, insert markers or give directions on this map. Plugins will make your maps interactive, customizable and will help you to totally lead your customer right upto your doorstep with landmarks, directions or any other pointers.

There are a number of Google Map plugins that you can use, and most of them are fairly competent. You can pick your plugin from the dozen listed here, depending on the features you want to include in your maps.

MapPress Easy Google Maps

MapPress Easy Google Maps will help you add an interactive map to your website. Just enter the address in any post or page and the plugin will automatically insert a map to your website. Add directions to your address. Create markers with HTML code and drag them about the map till you find the right spot for it. Add pictures and links as well.

MapPress

Map Press is multisite compatible as well as compatible with Google Map API v3. The plugin supports street view with real time traffic, and you can create multiple maps in a single page or post.

Premium version will let you choose from 200 marker icons to place on your map or you can download markers from anywhere you like. To show all your locations on a single map, you can create mashups. Link the map to your pages and posts or add a widget, if you wish.

To purchase the pro version, you will have to pay $29.95 for the Basic License which you can use with 3 sites and for a Developer’s license, you will have to pay $49.95 with no limit to the number of sites that you can use it on. These licenses entitle you to one year of support and updates.

WP Google Maps

WP Google Maps is great to add on contact page maps, for highlighting delivery area and many other similar needs. Choose from 9 map themes or create and add your own map theme. Insert markers simply by typing in the address and drag them exactly where you want them. Add animation to the markers.

Google Maps street view is supported, as is street locator, localization and map widget functionality. Roadmap, terrain, satellite and hybrid views are supported. Define the dimensions of the map and create it in no time at all. Many layers can be added – bicycle, traffic, transit and weather.

WPGoogle Maps

This plugin is compatible with caching plugins. You can use it without being saddled with any advertising links. Store locator functionality is available and you can filter the search for stores based on geographic location.

With the professional edition, you are not restricted to one map and can add as many as you like. Add markers, categories and directions to the maps. Show your visitor’s location on the map and make it the start or end point for directions. Hide all map markers until a store locator search is completed. Store locator search can be done by category and multiple map widgets can be added. The professional edition comes to you at $39.99

CP Google Maps

If you are writing a post about a location in a remote corner of the world, you would like your readers to have an idea where the place is on the map. CP Google Maps will let you insert a map into your posts directly. You can even include markers for the related posts. The number of markers you use can be adjusted in the settings.

When you insert the markers with related geolocation info into a template where many posts are displayed, post over which the mouse hovers will be highlighted. Readers can be led to the related posts. Markers are customizable and associated bubbles can open or be hidden.

CodePeople Post Map

Address can be stated normally or as point coordinates. The plugin is compatible with the latest Google Maps JavaScript API version 3. Google Maps in multiple languages is possible and any change you make to one map will apply to all the maps. Normal, terrain, hybrid and satellite views are supported.

In the premium version, points can be displayed with tags and routes can be drawn between the points. Multiple maps can be inserted in a page and maps can also be inserted as a widget in the sidebar. A visitor can get directions on the map. Style the maps and display user location if you wish. You can purchase the premium version for $19.99

Mapify.it

Mapify.it is one of CodeCanyon’s top selling map plugins. It is possible to use this plugin with any custom map, and not just Google Maps. And you can toggle between Google Maps and custom maps while maintaining Mapify features. Free PSDs are included in the plugin to help you get on with your custom map. This plugin allows use of custom pin-point graphics, pop-up galleries and any number of locations with tooltips on each.

Zoom upto two levels in custom maps and to many more levels with Google Maps. The pan effect of Google Maps is retained. The images that you use with this plugin can be .jpeg, .gif or .png files. If you are using transparent images, you get to choose the color of those images.

Mapify

Make every location interesting on your Google Map with unique photo and video gallery. And add any number of locations to it by double clicking or typing in the address. When you hover over a pinpoint you can choose what should appear – photo, video or text.

It is a perfect store locator, listing each location by address. The plugin can be used imaginatively in many ways – for instance to facilitate events where parking facilities or available hotels can be displayed along with images of your own product. Or share online the places you have visited in your travels by placing pinpoints on them.

You can purchase Mapify.it for $17.

Maps Marker Pro

Maps Marker Pro is a feature rich plugin that allows you to add pins to any place in your WordPress site easily. It is used on 88,412 websites. Once installed, you can add maps to your sites in pages, posts, widgets and templates using shortcode. The frontend offers the user a lot of choice.

The UI takes a bit of familiarizing, and the advanced editor will open up a few more options. You can create make believe maps for gaming or for photographs. Create a marker, set the map dimensions and assign a layer and the map is almost done. Geolocation support, size and zoom level for each marker or layer can be set. You can restore default settings at any time.

Maps Marker Pro

It works on mutisite installations. Data can be accessed from Bing, OpenStreet Map or Google Earth. Niche maps like Open Cycle Map for cyclists and Transport Maps for mass transit are available. Google Adsense is integrated.

The plugin includes minimaps, maps optimized for mobiles, full screen maps that use HTML 5 and custom Google maps styling. You can purchase a Personal License for $29, a Plus License for $79 and a Professional License for $149 and you can use it on one, five and twenty five domains respectively.

You purchase a license for life and for updates, you will have to subscribe annually.

The free version of this plugin is Leaflet Maps Marker and you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository.

Google Maps Widget

If you want to display a single, fast loading image of Google Maps in a widget, Google Maps Widget is the plugin for you. The widget can be located in any widget ready area. The location is not restricted to widgets, and any page or post can also display the map with the help of shortcode.

Google Maps Widget

You can adjust the map size, type of map – road, satellite, terrain or hybrid, zoom level, pin color, size and label, as well as the position of text. Links can be in the form of URLs or lightbox.

The premium version comes with about 50 extra features. Extra pins can be chosen from the 700+ pin library. The map can be of the road or satellite type. Header and footer text can be added and choice of skin colors is available. Google analytics is integrated.

There is no fixed price for the plugin and you can pay what you think is fair.

5sec Google Maps

5sec Google Maps is the number 1 top selling maps plugin on CodeCanyon. It won the Top WordPress Plugin Award from ThemePlugins.com. It does not need any setup, API keys or code editing. As it uses the local cache for mapping the address to the latitude/ longitude, it can load very fast.

5sec Google Maps WP plugin

The plugin can be inserted in sidebars, posts and pages. It supports full screen and direction to address support. Bubbles can be added for description and multiple pages can be supported in a page, with multiple pins per map.

This plugin should be your top choice if you just want to include a map with your address and no frills attached to it. The Purchase price of just $12 is an added attraction.

Interactive Google Maps

If you want to create many interactive maps and display them, Interactive Google Maps maybe a good choice for you. It is a suitable plugin when you want to show many places around the world, and so if you have a requirement to show your office locations the world over in a corporate website, or the projects your NGO is involved in various locations or the places of interest in a travel website, you now have an idea which plugin to pick.

Interactive World Maps 2

Regions in a map can be highlighted with coloring or using colored bubbles as markers in the region. When a visitor hovers at a particular spot, a tooltip with information can be made to appear. Different actions can follow when a user clicks in an active area – a new URL can open or a message can be displayed. If you are familiar with Javascript, customized action on clicking is also possible.

Many maps of the world, continents, regions and parts of a country are already included. Plenty of options are available – vary background color, vary borders, vary the dimensions of the map and color inactive regions. And with Visual Composer included, there is a lot you can do. Maps can be included anywhere, including in a widget in a sidebar or in the template using php. The maps will display in Mac products as well.

The plugin can be purchased from CodeCanyon for $21.

WP Google Map Plugin

WP Google Map Plugin is yet another feature rich plugin and it comes in two versions – lite and premium.

The lite version will allow you to show any number of Google maps on a single map and decide the latitude/ longitude bearing at which the map must be centered. On clicking a marker a URL may open up or a message window may appear.

WP Google Map Plugin

The maps can display in many ways – the default Road Map view, Google Earth Satellite images, a blend of normal and satellite views, terrain view, real time traffic view and show bicycle paths.

In the premium version, location details can be displayed in the message window and lists can be sorted according to address, category or location. Start and end location will be displayed in direction tabs. If you have too many markers, you can enable marker clusters.

Premium purchasers also have access to Snazzymaps and access markers from external sources. They can add any number of maps on pages and posts using shortcode, or in a sidebar using widgets. Shortcodes can also be used to add unlimited locations by address or by latitude and longitude bearings. Searchable and paginated location listing is possible. Display polygons and polylines and modify existing ones.

The premium version can be purchased from CodeCanyon for $28.

Geo Mashup

Geo Mashup will turn your WordPress into a GeoCMS. This free plugin was created with customization possibilities in mind and ease of use was not a priority. However, many user requested features have been added over the years.

Geo Mashup

Location information can be saved on pages and posts and then presented on maps in many interesting ways. Other map providers like OpenStreet and Leaflet can be accessed for maps. Global maps can be filtered by category, custom taxonomy or custom post types.

The distance between the start and a searched location can be displayed using a GeoSearch widget. Markers can be clustered to present a neater appearance. Category markers can be connected with a colored line.

Click on a location and you get the address, this is possible with reverse geocoding. Geo RSS is automatically added to feeds.

Comprehensive Google Map Plugin

Comprehensive Google Map Plugin is an interactive plugin that installs both as a widget and as a shortcode. It is fully documented and the documentation will help if the information in the tooltip is not sufficient.

You get access to OpenStreet maps with this plugin. 250+ custom marker icons are available and you can group markers into clusters. All markers from published content can be collected and displayed in a single map. User location can be added to help in finding location.

Comprehensive Google Maps

Creating shortcode is possible with the shortcode builder and the code can then be integrated with post or page editor. Save the code and insert into pages and posts.

Comprehensive Google Map plugin is compatible with jQuery tabs, so maps display beautifully. The plugin is compatible with W3 Total Cache.

This free plugin was last updated 3 weeks ago and there is a word of caution that the official support and maintenance of the plugin has been discontinued. The plugin is one of the most downloaded Google Maps Plugin from the WordPress repository and therefore, it is included here.

Simple Google Maps Short Code

I almost didn’t include this plugin, but changed my mind on seeing the perfect 5 star rating, the sheer simplicity and over 10,000+ active installs. There is no setup page of any kind with this plugin. You simply have to paste a shortcode in a page or post, fill in the address and save it. Done, your map is ready. No customization is possible.

Simple Google Maps Short Code

Simple Google Maps Short Code will enable a shortcode that will help to embed Google Maps in any page or post. The codes will deliver cached maps with little impact on the performance of your website.

Which is the plugin for you ?

The simple fact is that there is no one choice. There are many good plugins that have not been included here, as the number of plugins available is just too large. The list here is only representative.

That being said, if you are looking at extensive features, try Maps Marker Pro or WP Google Maps or MapPress. WP Google Maps is also for those who want only a single map that is both simple and functional. For a no frills and fast loading plugin, take a closer look at 5sec Google Maps. If you want to show all your locations all over the world attractively, try Interactive Google Maps. If it is a simple, free and functional plugin you are looking for, Simple Google Maps Short Code or Google Map Widget should work just fine.

Have you tried any plugin that has worked out great for you ? Your feedback is welcome.

Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part I

Woocommerce Logo

Post Series: WooCommerce Extensions

  • 1.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part I
  • 2.Awesome WooCommerce Extensions to Extend Functionality: Part II
  • 3.Awesome WooCommerce Plugins to Extend Functionality : Part III

If you have a WordPress site and run an online store on it, you must be familiar with WooCommerce. WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform on the web today. It powers 30% of all online stores. Store owners love it as it gives them complete control to sell anything. Developers love it because it is free, open source, extensible and adaptable.

WooCommerce is used by websites all over the world. It is built for WordPress and is totally compatible with it. Physical or digital, shoes or software – goods of all types will find WooCommerce to be a great substitute for a shop window.

All the processes that you carry out for any brick and mortar store can be replicated on a WooCommerce platform – source inventory, stock up on goods, display them for viewing, display prices, discounts, receive orders, raise invoices, receive payments, ship products to customers, replenish stock, make up your account books – everything can be done with WooCommerce. You can even locate your customer’s address and calculate the tax applicable to his country.

While WooCommerce can do pretty much everything for an online store, it is possible that there may be a particular task that it cannot do. To add these tasks on a routine basis to WooCommerce would simply make it unwieldy. But if you still want these tasks added to your WooCommerce, you can look at extensions.

There are hundreds of WooCommerce extensions, both free and paid, from WooThemes as well as from other developers. They carry out a niche function and you can add them on to WooCommerce at will. Your WooCommerce functionality is immediately extended.

You must pick and choose the extensions wisely, as simply adding on plugins may lead to incompatibility and may slow down your website. You must consider what functions can really bring value to your store and your customers -for instance, if you are a gift shop, gift wrapping may be a useful add-on. Some plugins offer a bouquet of functions which may be more suited to you.

The way to go about this is to consider what functions need to be added to your site and search for the plugin that fits the bill. We have listed a few functions below and some top of the class plugins for each to make your search easier. These categories are not watertight and there maybe overlap in functions. The functions that you can consider adding to are,

  • Product Pricing
  • Product Selection and Display
  • Printing and Invoicing
  • Marketing
  • Social media
  • Payments
  • Shipping and Delivery
  • General Utility
  • Miscellaneous

To ensure broad coverage of the extensions and to make it easier to read, this article is being published in 3 parts. Each part will cover some extension categories.

Part I here covers Product Pricing, Product Display and Printing and Invoicing.

Product Pricing

WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing and Discounts

If you want to change the prices of your products for different customers or based on some marketing strategy or method, WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing and Discounts can help you. Product pricing rules and cart discounts can be managed easily with this plugin.

WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing Discounts

Come Christmas or Easter or Black Friday and you will witness that this plugin can handle the special sales promotions efficiently. Loyalty programs, rewards, club memberships, early bird offers, privileged customer programs or special discounts for individuals, the plugin can handle all this and more. The start and end date for the promotions can be fixed.

The powerful rule editor can apply discounts or special prices to different product categories, areas or volumes. The discounts can be a number or a percentage, and can be fixed or varying, before or after tax. Clubbed discount programs or special prices for bundled products can be set as well.

A regular license for this plugin will cost you $26 and will entitle you to 6 months support and updates. You can extend support to 12 months for an additional $7.80

WooCommerce Extra Products Option

WooCommerce Extra Product Options helps to create additional price fields on your product page. The fields can be created locally on the Edit page or globally. You can choose a name for the option, describe it, order the options any way you want and then put a price to the option. The fields can be placed at any selected spot.

WooCommerce Extra Product Option

It facilitates choosing products and product options and the price of each variation can be displayed. Global options can be tagged to hundreds of products easily. Conditional logic is enabled. Display can be normal or mounted on a slider or can be made to pop out on the screen.

While it is compatible with a host of plugins like Aelia Currency Switcher and WooThemes Composite Product, 6 plugins have been listed as known to be incompatible.

You can purchase this plugin at CodeCanyon for $19 and be entitled to future updates and 6 months support. To extend support to 12 months, you will have to pay $5.70 extra.

WooCommerce Bulk Discount

WooCommerce Bulk Discount is a free plugin that you can download from the WordPress plugin directory. Using this plugin you can offer discounts for certain products or products that are purchased in certain quantities. It is simple and extensive, offering you a number of discount options that can be applied to the cart.

WooCommerce Bulk Discount

You can apply discounts to the cart based on the total value of the cart or individually on a per product basis or on the number of items purchased. You get to frame any kind of discount policy for your store and implement it smoothly with this extension.

The bulk discount can be displayed in many locations – when the mouse hovers over a product, in emails, invoices, order details as well as on checkout page. You can turn off bulk discount if coupons are being used. The extension can be used in English and 6 other languages.

Some other extensions which can help in fulfilling a specific pricing option are listed below,

  • Loyalty Rewards for WooCommerce can promote sales by awarding loyalty points and allowing conversion into money value at the checkout point.
  • Product Bundles is a plugin that allows related products to be bundled together and sold. It makes up complex bundles that can be grouped together and sold. It also updates the inventory for each item in the bundle.
  • Smart Coupons is a one stop plugin that can generate gift certificates, coupons, store credits, gift vouchers, promo codes and other incentives. It messages customers and manages these incentives, maintains credit balances and deletes zero coupons. With a bit of coding the coupons can be made to look attractive.
  • WooCommerce Wholesale Price helps you to give a preferential price to a wholesale customer. There are many plugins out there, both free and paid, that do the same function. An extra field is added in the product page where you can indicate the status of the customer as wholesale. The price applicable in this case will override the default price.
  • Minimum Purchase for WooCommerce is a simple plugin that allows you to set the minimum number that must be purchased from your store. Only if the purchase satisfies the minimum number condition, it will be allowed to proceed to the checkout page.

Product Selection and Display

YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier

YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier will provide a zoom view of the product allowing your customer a closer inspection. The size of the zoomed image can be customized. A slider can be added to carry the products for display.

19 YITH Zoom magnifier Premium

A premium version is also available at $59 for use on a single site and for $99 for use on 6 sites. Use on 30 sites would cost you $149. With the purchase of the license, you would get one year of free support and updates. The premium version will let you place the zoom box where you want it and exclude products that you do not want to zoom.

Fancy Product Designer – WooCommerce plugin

If you want to create and design any kind of product from business cards to stickers, bottles to shoes, badges to mugs and anything in between, Fancy Product Designer is the right plugin.

Fancy Product Designer

Customers can choose colors, different images for different views, and view prices for each element of design addition. The plugin works with almost all themes and can be tagged to all the products or restricted to specific products.

The design created can be uploaded from Facebook, Instagram and some other social media, as well as shared on these social media platforms with the help of a custom link generator. If product customization is an option on your website, this plugin will add great value to it.

WooCommerce Product Filter

WooCommerce Product Filter helps to filter products using any criteria such as price, range, availability and size. It integrates well with your shop and archive pages. Filter settings can be applied using shortcodes or widgets. Layouts can be varied, individual filters can be customized and filters can be preset.

WooCommerce Product Filter

It can also generate important marketing leads by tracking the filters used by the customers, so you get to know what they are looking for.

This plugin can be purchased for $26 and comes with support for 6 months and future updates. For an additional $7.80, you can extend the support to 12 months.

If you need more options for displaying your products, check out the extensions here,

  • WooThumbs-Awesome Product Imagery will display your products to advantage using zoom, sliders, video, fade effects and full screen image gallery. Varying layouts are possible and using these options you can add any number of images to the variations of the products.
  • WooCommerce Products Slider will help you to display the products in carousel sliders that can be added anywhere. The sliders can be added using shortcode and admin settings. The images will be responsive, adjusting to mobiles with ease.
  • WooCommerce 360o Image will help you add a group of images to the gallery which will combine to display a dynamic and fully controllable image that rotates 360 degrees.
  • Woo Slider – Ultimate WooCommerce Product Carousel Slider is another plugin that will help create a carousel list of products. The plugin can display video, gallery or a single image. You can save the sliders that you create, just like you save posts and add them wherever you like by using shortcode.
  • YITH WooCommerce AJAX Product Filter will help you apply filters that you need to display the correct variations that are required. Filters by color, size, price will help customers find just the variation that they are looking for.
  • WooCommerce Dynamic Gallery will replace your product image gallery with a dynamic gallery with thumbnails in a single row. The dynamic gallery will display well on mobile devices also, and it comes with built in lazy load features.

Printing and Invoicing

WooCommerce PDF Invoices

The days of putting down a number on a piece of paper and passing it off for an invoice are over. A modern day invoice has to comply with a number of regulatory and tax requirements. WooCommerce PDF invoices takes care of all invoicing requirements. Any defect in the invoice can have serious monetary and legal consequences.

WooCommerce PDF Invoices

Immediately on completion of a sale, a PDF invoice is generated. It can be generated manually and stored before order is completed or charged. It can also be sent out as an attachment to WooCommerce mails. If you need it, you can also generate a proforma invoice. A single invoice can be downloaded or the entire set of invoices or invoices in a range can be downloaded in a zip file.

The invoice layout is professional and customizable. The invoice numbers are generated by a proprietary document numbering system so that there is no duplicate numbering or gap in invoices. Logo can be incorporated and adjusted for size. Supplier company details can be included. Tax applicable is computed and displayed. Content can be added in header or footer to include information about warranty, payment or anything else.

This plugin comes from RightPress for $26 for a regular license with 6 months support and future updates. If you pay a $7.80 extra, you get an additional 6 month support.

WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance

WooCommerce EU VAT Compliance will help in collection of EU VAT that is being imposed in the country of purchase with effect from the beginning of 2015. This VAT is applicable even if the seller is not located in the EU, so sellers all over the world will find this plugin handy in making sales to EU countries. This free plugin can identify the location of the seller and apply the correct VAT rate. Prices can be displayed inclusive of VAT.

EU VAT Compliance for WooCommerce

The premium version allows exemption for VAT registered buyers or restricts sales only for B2B customers and can show VAT in different currencies.

WooCommerce PDF Invoice and Packing Slip

When you send out an order confirmation to your customer, the WooCommerce PDF Invoice and Packing Slip automatically adds a PDF invoice to go with it. The plugin provides a template for the invoice which can be modified. Invoices can be generated in bulk and can be sequentially numbered.

1 PDF Invoices and Packing - template

While the plugin is free, there are some premium extensions available for features like Proforma Invoice, Credit notes and advanced template.

In case you haven’t decided on your WordPress theme with WooCommerce integration you might want to head here to find the best examples. In case free themes is what you are after the best place for research is here.

That concludes PART I.

I’ll be back with more WooCommerce Extensions in Part II and III.