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Five WordPress plugins to help you up your online game

A couple of weeks ago, I spent my Friday geeking out at Lyon’s first Wordcamp. Take all of Lyon has to offer in terms of WordPress fanatics, add some guests from Grenoble and Paris, spice up with visitors from Nice, Marseille, put all of them on a barge on the Rhône river, bring up the temperature and feed them with coffee and sweets… and you’ll have an idea of what went down that day. Among other very interesting conferences, I particularly enjoyed the plugins-related sessions which inspired this list of…

5 WordPress plugins that will change your site for the better

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Dowloads

Easy Digital Downloads is a complete e-commerce solution for selling digital products in a light, performant, and easy to use plugin. Rather that attempting to provide every feature under the sun, Easy Digital Downloads makes selling digital simple and complete by providing just the features you need.

Our favorite feature: the earnings and sales charts.

The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars


Updraft Plus

UpdraftPlus simplifies backups (and restoration). Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Microsoft OneDrive, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, OpenStack Swift and email) and restore with a single click.

Our favorite feature: the automatic backup on a repeating schedule

The ratings: 4.9 out of 5 stars

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Our favorite feature: the built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality

The ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars



BuddyPress is a suite of components that are common to a typical social network, and allows for great add-on features through WordPress’s extensive plugin system. Enable registered members to create profiles, have private conversations, make connections, create & interact in groups, and much more.

Our favorite feature: the ability to showcase your community members by creating an unlimited number of profile fields.

The ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars


Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 15.41.20

SumoMe will make it easy for your readers to join your email list, share your articles and optimize with analytics.

Our favorite feature: the simple email integration with MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor

The ratings: 4.1 out of 5 stars


The one about the new “Call-to-Action” button on Facebook

Something new appeared on your Facebook Page… Suddenly, next to the “Liked” button, at the bottom of your Cover image is a new button called “Call-to-Action”. “But, what is this?!?!”, you wonder… You will not wonder long thanks to the infographic below proposed by the one and only, Charlotte.


Social Media in 2015 – The Happiness Factor

By Deanna Ayres

Social Networks. Blogs. Internet communication. vectorWith the New Year quickly approaching, many people are focused on their resolutions. For marketers and social media marketing agencies, however, the focus is on the changes that will come for social media in 2015. In January 2014, Facebook was predicted to significantly decrease in usage and, therefore, importance from a marketing perspective. By the end of the year, though, Facebook has overcome its death sentence and is reporting record growth in the number of active users and ad revenues.

The example of Facebook shows how difficult it can be to predict the future of social media. Keeping this in mind, let’s dive into a few of the major predictions of what’s to come for social media in 2015.

The Emergence of Scommerce

The first successful steps towards a scommerce system were introduced in 2014 through campaigns on Twitter and Pinterest. For ecommerce brands, this development was especially exciting. The increased efforts to simplify the social network driven buying process for online shoppers with platforms including Twitter and Facebook was underway and, in 2015, users will begin to reap the benefits. Allowing consumers to purchase directly from social media webpages is a no-brainer with massive potential for marketers and social media marketing agencies.

By creating another streamlined sales channel, companies can set themselves up for a major spike in sales. It is important to consider, though, that providing a way for customers to purchase products directly from social media can undermine the purpose of these platforms. At its core, social media is about customer engagement and building genuine relationships between the customers and the business. By pushing sales into this arena, companies are walking a fine line between building valuable relationships and increasing sales. Nevertheless, scommerce is one of the major changes predicted for 2015.

New social networks

At first glance, it may seem that social media is relatively saturated, with the presence of powerhouse platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. There is, however, space in the market for niche social networks, tailored to the areas where the powerhouses are perceived to fail. Lack of privacy, the collection of personal data and increasing pervasive advertising are just a few of the areas that new networks like Ello, Yik Yak and tsu are looking to build their businesses around.

While these platforms may initially attract those users who protest the larger networks for reasons of privacy, for example, it may be difficult for them to maintain their user base at a level that can rival Facebook’s 1.3-billion user global community. In 2014, there we dozens of new networks that thrived by linking themselves to existing communities to capitalize off of groups and get them to join a new network. Dedicated niche networks for cooks like Foodie and for fitness addicts like Fitocracy are already up and running successfully.

Although introducing new networks into the mix may seem overwhelming, there are niche markets that are underserved by platforms like Facebook and Twitter. For this reason, new niche networks are one of the major social media trends to expect next year.

Tell true brand stories

Over the past few years, consumers perceive companies as being more and more unreliable. The messages these companies have been sending out are increasingly manufactured, attempting to trick people into clicking on their social media content or coerce them into purchasing a product. Social media is focused on building relationships and increasing engagement, meaning that there is no room for these manufactured messages.

Great social media content isn’t about tricking the consumer, but about being remembered by the consumer days later. To achieve this, brands will need to start telling powerful stories, while staying true to your brand’s essence, and increasingly it will mean higher production values and more video. Remember that a heavily-promoted Facebook post can have even more reach than a TV ad run during the season finale of a popular television show.

By showing the brand on a more personal level, it allows the consumer to connect more to the brand, which should result in more conversions in the end. While brands have been trying to build this connection for years, the major difference in 2015 will be the focus on personalization. There is no reason to use one piece of content to reach all of the potential customers when companies can use simple targeting and basic adaptations to make it personally interesting to each individual. Research has shown, though, that people do not like meticulously accurate adaptations, because they feel stalked by the company. Simple adaptations will make the content appealing without putting it over the top.

The changes coming to social media can be described as a greater shift towards the consumer. Companies can gauge their potential success based on the happiness factor of their consumers. If they are happy and engaged by the social media presence of the company, they you can be sure that they will stay active with you on social media. Social media in 2015 presents opportunities for companies to behave differently and improve their business.

Deanna AyresDeanna Ayres is the SEM Strategist and Community Outreach Supervisor at The Marketing Zen Group. She loves to come up with new content strategies for and with her team and believes that connecting on a personal level is vital to success. Growing up in Europe has allowed her a unique insight into cultural differences in business & marketing. In her spare time she is a photographer, hobby cook with a love for coffee, gamer and geek. Follow her @deanna_ayres


The Social Video Starter Guide

By Ivan Serrano

The average American spends over 34 hours a month on their smartphone either browsing the web or using an app. However, since they are generally using their devices on-the-go, most don’t have the time to read scroll through long form text. Instead, videos have been growing in popularity due to its effectiveness at communicating information in a short amount of time. Not to mention, video is visually engaging and has more of an emotional impact than text.

Yet many brands still fail to embrace social videos. Many marketers still have not make video marketing a priority for their business for a couple reasons: they don’t think consumers want branded video content and their budget doesn’t allow for it. Studies show that consumers absolutely want branded content as 40 percent prefer to watching a brand video over reading text. Costs have also decreased over the years as production no longer requires an entire team to take and edit the videos.

Many companies simply don’t create videos because they don’t see how they can incorporate it into their brand. Luckily, even non visual brands can take advantage of social video marketing. Some of the most popular video content types are:

  • Tutorials/how-tos
  • Comedy/spoof
  • Product information
  • Announcements
  • Teasers

The most important part of all these videos is that they provide some kind of value to the consumer whether it’s information or entertainment. If you’re ready to get started on video, this infographic can provide you with details on the different video platforms and the best way to leverage them for your company and for its users. With all of these different sites available and the increasing demand for videos, there is no longer any excuse for not investing in social video. Brands that fail to meet this demand are losing out on engagement and ultimately sales.


IvanSerranoIvan Serrano is a web journalist living in San Francisco, California. He sticks to his strengths in writing, which are social media and business. You can follow him on Twitter at @IvanSerrano55




5 articles worth re-reading | November

Run In LyonWhether it’s the monthly Urban Solitude shot or the Words of Wisdom about “Tenacity“, this month has been about fighting our way to the top. I was very pleased to see that in one of the class I’m teaching, a group decided to give themselves the name “Team Go Further”, that’s the spirit my friends, that’s the kind of people I want to see in my future.

My personal tenacious act of the month was to run my first ever 10k, on October 5th, and because sometimes the timing in life is just perfect, that fell on the second anniversary of my quitting smoking. What was yours?

5 articles to help you go further

4 Tips to Better Manage Multi-Author Blogs
Do you have more than one person writing for your blog? There are a number of unique challenges when it comes to writing content for multi-author blogs. For example, you may be in a position where you need to give feedback to your contributors, or you may be wondering how to leverage the audiences of your individual writers to drive more overall traffic to your blog. Here are 4 power tips you can implement on your blog to make sure your writers get the feedback they need and provide your blog maximum exposure at the same time.

3 Ways to Create Highly Valuable Blog Content
Do you struggle coming up with content ideas for your blog? Or maybe you create plenty of blog posts, but they get few views and even less engagement? If you find that creating engaging content is challenging, keep reading. This article will identify some of the best tips, tools and tactics for creating blog content that helps grow your business.

You are not your browser history.
I’m a 26 year-old from Montreal, a 27 year-old in Vegas, and a retiree with a penchant for photography. Mostly I’m unemployed. I’m a gamer, a fashionista, an occasional beer drinker, and a dog owner. I graduated from a community college, I like to travel, and I wear glasses. Also, I might be Jewish.

How Technology is Transforming the Career Market
The match-making market to connect companies and teams with candidates who possess the right skills is ripe for change. As is the case with many industries, the first phase of technology integration is about transferring offline or analog processes online. In the recruitment industry, we saw a generation that helped assist companies and candidates by putting them all onto one platform, then using a keyword optimized version of search to take people from awareness though consideration and conversion.

45 Incredibly Useful Web Design Checklists and Questionnaires
Designing websites can be a long and complicated process. Dealing with clients, designing prototypes, coding, programming, and testing – there’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to make sure gets done. That’s where checklists can make your life a whole lot easier. With lists of points covering multiple areas from content to usability to accessibility to standards, you’re a lot less likely to overlook important parts of a site.


5 articles worth re-reading | October

Croix-RousseThis weekend I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte at my local Starbucks. Yesterday was a rainy Monday.  Tomorrow is October 1st. I’m starting to spot pumpkins here and there on the market. The leaves are yellowing by the minute. No doubt, fall has risen.

If September was a month for renewed energy, projects and objectives, I declare October a month for new perspective. What best than enjoying this new light fall sheds on our daily life to see things in a different way. Did you notice how beautiful that tree was outside your window?

September 20th was “Patrimony Day”: twice a year, France opens the doors to its most famous monuments, for free, and gives people a chance to see the un-seable, like the backstage of Lyon’s Opera House, which I visited last spring. This picture shows how I was able to see my lovely Croix-Rousse in a way that I ignored until I was able to climb up to main ballroom of the Opera.

My city, so pretty!

5 articles to give you a new perspective

7 Ways to Use Yelp to Improve Your Local Business
Are you wondering how to best use Yelp for your business? If you run a local business like a restaurant, Yelp should be an essential cornerstone of your online presence. Launched back in 2004, Yelp continues to be the go-to resource for millions of visitors looking for information about local businesses. Is your business doing all that it can to attract new customers from the ever-growing audience on Yelp?

9 Facebook Marketing Tips From Top Experts
Are you looking for creative ways to improve your Facebook marketing? Facebook continues to be the social media platform of choice for many businesses. So the SocialExaminer’s team spoke with top Facebook experts to find out the hottest marketing tips businesses need to know today.

5 Ways to Grow Your Exposure With Instagram
Wondering if the rapidly growing Instagram photo sharing community could benefit your business? As teens quickly migrate to Instagram, could their photo sharing addictions include your pictures? Instagram was the smartphone photo sharing tool of choice long before its acquisition by Facebook and the release of an Android version. And it’s growing faster than ever.

5 Ways to Use Google+ Events for Your Business
Google+ Events is yet another way Google+ is competing with Facebook, representing a new opportunity for marketers. Most marketers and businesses have been using Facebook Events to promote everything from webinars to company fundraising events within their Facebook community. Now, Google+ has a competing service with new bells and whistles.

4 Facebook Plugins to Drive More Traffic to Your Content
Do you want more of your content shared on Facebook? Are you wondering how to make it easy for people to share your site or blog content on Facebook? Which Facebook widgets are best? Facebook recently introduced the Facebook Recommendations Bar—which is different from the Facebook Recommendations Box—and the Like Button and the Like Box. But what are the differences and how do you decide what will work best for you? And then how do you install them?