Category Archives: Search Marketing

Best WordPress Directory Plugin – (Review Updated For Winter of 2019)

The Internet is full of directories. In fact, your website might already be listed on some directories right now.

Depending on the scenario, directories have multiple applications and use cases. For example, Yelp is a popular option for consumers to find a restaurant or service in a specified area based on their search parameters, while a directory like Angie’s List connects people with contractors for things like electrical work, landscaping, and plumbing.

Both of these websites are very different, yet, they are both directories.

Essentially, directories are databases. They serve as an easy way for users to find more information about a particular subject or business.

Regardless of your business type or industry, there’s a good chance you can find a way to implement a directory on your website. Law firms use website directories to list their lawyers and employees. Real estate companies have directories for their listings as well as their agents. A retail chain probably has an online directory for its store locations.

If you’re using WordPress, adding a directory to your website is simple. You just need to install a plugin.

Key features of a WordPress directory plugin

Since the word “directory” is so vague and has tons of potential applications, it can be a bit challenging at times to find the best WordPress directory plugin for your website. So before I go through my list of the top options for you to consider, I want to briefly explain what to look for in a directory plugin.

  • Payment options (for those of you who will charge for directory listings)
  • Location-based searches with integrated maps
  • Fully customizable form fields
  • Easy ways to add and adjust directory listings
  • Ways for customers to rate and review businesses
  • Back-end tools
  • Front-end submission features
  • Shortcodes that make it easy to add a directory anywhere on your site
  • Media support

You won’t necessarily need every feature on this list. It really depends on your company, your website’s purpose, and the type of directory you’re trying to create. As we continue through this guide, you’ll see these features and many more offered by the directory plugins I’ve listed. So use this list as a reference to help you find the best WordPress directory plugin for your site.

1. GeoDirectory

GeoDirectory has one of my favorite search interfaces of all the directory plugins on the market. With GeoDirectory, you’re able to create a massive global directory on your website. This is a great option for those of you who are looking for a free WordPress directory plugin as well.

They make it easy for website visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for without sacrificing the look and visual appeal of your website.

This plugin offers a front-end form that allows other businesses and users to submit listings, so scaling your directory is limitless.

When someone searches for a business on your website, the listings are displayed by proximity, so users can see the closest and most relevant options to them first.

As the name implies, GeoDirectory is integrated with Google Maps. There is a large and clickable map next to every listing in the directory. Users can find directions to the location directly from that map without having to leave your website.

While most of the features are free, you can buy add-ons for things like:

  • Paid listings
  • Reviews
  • Multi location support
  • Advanced search
  • Events
  • Option for businesses to “claim” their listing

GeoDirectory is also multi-site compatible, so I recommend it to developers who will add it to their clients’ sites or to those of you who plan to build a network of directories.

If you’re building your directory website from scratch, you could also consider purchasing the directory themes from GeoDirectory as well. But, this plugin will work with any theme, so you’re not obligated.

Merchants with listings on your directory will have access to Google Analytics data. This feature will show them how much your site is helping their company. You can use that to potentially justify your pricing if you plan to charge for listings.

Overall, GeoDirectory is a top option for anyone who wants to build a large and scalable business directory.

2. Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro

Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro made my list is because its potential applications are seemingly endless. You can use it as a platform for classifieds, similar to Craigslist, or go a completely different direction and use this plugin for something like a directory of movie ratings. Maybe you want to add a travel guide directory, wedding directory, restaurant guide, or real estate portal to your website. All of these options are possible with the Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro plugin for WordPress.

Similar to other plugins on our list, Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro is free to install. But it offers premium add-on features that you can purchase. One of my favorite add-on features is the listings slider.

The plugin has a user-friendly interface for businesses to manage their listings on your website. This area also lets those businesses see their payment history and renew their listings directly from the platform. This plugin can integrate with Stripe, PayPal, and WooCommerce for payment processing, and even supports offline payments, meaning you can accept checks from local businesses that don’t want to pay online. This can be a way for you to save some money by avoiding a payment processing add-on. Merchants will automatically be notified via email when their listings expire. They will also receive a confirmation message when payments have been received.

Advanced Classifieds & Directory Pro lets you organize listings by category, which is something you should take advantage of. An advanced search widget is also available from Advanced Classifieds and Directory Pro, so users can narrow their options by category, location, keywords, and more. All of these flexible features make this one of the best WordPress directory plugins you’ll come across.

3. Business Directory Plugin

The Business Directory Plugin is an all-in-one option for WordPress directories. It offers some of the key features that I look for in a directory plugin:

  • Media support
  • Customized form fields
  • Payment processing

You can also purchase add-ons to enhance your directory with the Business Directory Plugin. If you’re going to use these add-ons, I’d recommend buying the package. The combo pack is $199.99 for a single site and $399.99 for multiple sites. It may sound pricey initially, but considering the price for each add-on starts at $69.99 and $139.98 (for a single site and multiple sites, respectively), it’s actually a great deal.

They have add-ons for premium features like:

  • 2Checkout gateway
  • Discount codes
  • Ability for businesses to claim listings on your site, similar to Yelp
  • Google Maps integration
  • File attachments module
  • PayPal gateway
  • Ratings
  • Stripe integration

Even though you’ll have the option for premium add-ons, you can install and use this plugin right out of the box for free. The plugin also comes with a built-in reCAPTCHA tool to avoid spam listings on your directory.

The Business Directory Plugin also has a featured-levels module. This is perfect for those of you who are using this directory to generate recurring sales by implementing subscriptions. Here’s how it works: You can set up your site to offer specific features for paid listings. For example, a business that pays to be listed can have unlimited character counts, images, and maps, whereas a free listing wouldn’t get these features. Business Directory Plugin even lets you specify between payment tiers based on the features you offer.

This  plugin really gives you all of the tools that you need to compete with the giant names in the directory industry. I’m not saying that all of you should try to be the next Yelp or TripAdvisor, but if that’s your goal, you should definitely consider trying the Business Directory Plugin. I think it’d be super smart to create a directory in a very niche area that’s not well-represented or easily searched for in an existing directory.

4. LDD Directory Lite

LDD Directory Lite is extremely easy to install, which means you can get a directory up and running on your site in just minutes.

It’s another free WordPress directory plugin with add-on options available for purchase. Compared to some of the other plugins out there, these premium upgrades are fairly inexpensive, ranging around $10 to $20.

The LDD Directory Lite shortcode makes it possible for you to add a directory to any page or post on your WordPress site. Once the shortcode is added, the directory gets generated automatically. This solution makes it one of the most lightweight (hence the name) directory plugins available.

Once the plugin is installed, you have seemingly endless customization options. You completely control how the directory looks and feels on your site. Some of the top add-ons include social media and Google Maps integrations.

By using this plugin, you’ll benefit from a modern design. It’s ideal for WordPress users who aren’t too tech-savvy and don’t want to play around with confusing features, but still want a good looking result.

LDD Directory Lite is compatible for front-end submissions. It’s easy for website visitors to view your listings and navigate without any trouble as well.

You can set up email notifications related to listings. Businesses that have listings on your site have the power to customize and make edits from the front end as well.

I recommend it to anyone who wants a simple directory plugin that’s powerful and won’t weigh down your website.

5. Directories Pro

Last, but not least, is the Directories Pro WordPress plugin. It’s extremely responsive and uses caching to optimize the performance of the directories from both desktop and mobile devices.

The plugin offers an advanced search and filter for your visitors. You can even enable an auto-suggest feature in the search forms.

All of the fields are completely customizable. Each listing can have fields like tags, locations, reviews, and categories.

One of the best features of Directories Pro is the content display editor. It’s easy for you to use the drag and drop editing options to customize the directory without having to use any code. Some of the other top features include:

  • Map integration
  • Paid listings
  • Claim listings
  • CSV import and export
  • Customized email notifications

With Directories Pro, customers can rate and review the listings on your directory without having to register, login, or create an account. So you’ll likely get more reviews that will improve your directory.

It’s easy to build multiple directories with this plugin as well. You also have the option to clone or migrate your directories from one site to another. All of these features make Directories Pro one of the best WordPress directory plugins for developers and average users alike.

Conclusion

There are so many different ways to add a directory to your website.

Some of you might be trying to create giant business directories that will compete with the big players in this industry. Other websites will create local directories in niche categories. You might even just want a directory for something simple, like your staff.

Regardless of your situation, you can add a directory to your WordPress site with ease by installing a plugin. So use this guide to narrow your search. Look for the option that has the specific features you need to help you find the best WordPress directory plugin for your website.

Google: SEOs Don’t Manipulate Google They Manipulate Web Sites

Sometimes Google's John Mueller has these one liners that I just want to share with the SEO community. He said on Twitter "SEOs don't manipulate Google, they manipulate websites." Of course, the Google guidelines mention bad players manipulating the Google search results but here John is being nice and explaining SEOs help web sites in search.

Steve Irwin Google Doodle For 57th Birthday On Friday

On Friday, February 22nd, it would be Steve Irwin's 57th birthday. I am pretty sure most people know the name Steve Irwin. He was the legendary, fun and entertaining Australian zookeeper who were and is still part of many people's lives. Now his family, wife, son and other children continue on his legacy after he passed years ago due to an accident.

Best WordPress Popup Plugin – (Review Updated For Winter of 2019)

Popups are a controversial topic, to say the least. Are they effective? Are they annoying? Do they work?

Truthfully, the answer depends on who you ask.

According to a study from Sumo that analyzed nearly two billion popups, the average conversion rate for a website popup is 3.09%. The top 10% of high-performing popups convert at an average rate of 9.28%. Some websites saw conversion rates that topped 50%.

Let’s put these numbers into perspective. According to a recent study from Impact, the average conversion rate for any website landing page is 2.35%. The top 10% of websites have an average conversion rate of 11.45%. So popups on average outperform the average traditional landing page. And, the average conversion rate of the highest performing popups are still in the ballpark of the highest performing landing pages.

On the flip side, HubSpot reported that 73% of consumers dislike online popups. Although this study focused on pop-up advertisements, as opposed to popups for something like email opt-ins.

I could spend all day arguing both sides of the spectrum. But I’m not here to convince you to add popups to your website, or talk you out of implementing them either.

Popups are like anything else. It’s all about context and application. To give you an analogy, think about social media marketing. Social media marketing works (in theory), but that doesn’t mean every company has success with it.

I created this guide for those of you who’ve already decided you’re ready to add popups to your WordPress site. I’ve narrowed down the top seven options so you can find the best WordPress popup plugin for your website. Let’s dive right in.

1. Ninja Popups

Ninja Popups is definitely one of the most popular WordPress popup plugins on the market. I’m not saying you should always follow the crowd, popularity is usually a telling sign when it comes to quality.

Of the reason why Ninja Popups is one of my favorite plugins is because they offer an extensive list of features, the popups are extremely responsive and work well on mobile devices in addition to desktop browsers and it’s easy for anyone to configure this plugin, even if you don’t have any coding experience.

With Ninja Popups, you can customize the design of your popups to match your trending website color schemes. Ninja Popups also lets you customize things like the size of your popups and colors of the buttons. This is important because this plugin also offers A/B testing. You can try different variations of your popups to see which is the most effective and yields the highest conversions. In addition to the A/B tests, Ninja Popups has a detailed analytics page. You can see other KPIs with charts to help you improve your popups. This plugin has page level targeting as well, so you can have different popups for each page on your site depending on your goals.

The regular license for a single website starts at $26, making this plugin extremely affordable. It’s ideal for nearly any type of popup campaign you want to run.

2. Layered Popups

The Layered Popups plugin lets you create popups that are, you guessed it — layered. Basically, these popups can have multiple layers, which can attract the attention of website visitors and let you get creative. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to implement website popups that are far from boring and separate themselves from the crowd.

This plugin has a visual editor, which makes it easy for anyone to create and make changes to the design of these popups. Layered Popups has several options for display modes as well. These are some of the options for triggering a popup:

  • Exit intent
  • Scrolling
  • Idle pages
  • Once per session
  • Once every specified number of days
  • Every visit
  • HTML element click
  • Specified delays

These options make it easy for you to get more email subscribers without annoying your website visitors.

Layered Popups is also compatible with some of the top email marketing platforms on the market. As a matter of fact, the plugin supports 56 of these email systems, but some of the biggest names include:

  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • GetResponse
  • AWeber
  • Campaign Monitor
  • Active Campaign

So it’s safe to assume that whatever software you’re using for email is on this list.

When you install Layered Popups to your WordPress site, you’ll have access to more than 150 templates. You can also create an unlimited amount of A/B tests for different elements of your popups. With pricing starting at just $21, this is definitely one of the best WordPress popup plugins available.

3. Popups by OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a popular lead generation software. Some of you might even be using this platform to help you with other marketing strategies. More than 700,000 websites have used OptinMonster for something. In addition to its standard lead generation solutions, OptinMonster also has a WordPress plugin called Popups by OptinMonster.

I like this plugin because the drag and drop builder is easy for anyone to use, regardless of their technical skill level. In addition to popups, this plugin allows you to create other campaigns like:

  • Slide-in forms, or scroll triggered boxes
  • In-line forms
  • Mobile-specific forms
  • Floating headers
  • Footer bars
  • Welcome gates

OptinMonster has advanced targeting based on personalized behavior for each unique website visitor. This technology is made to trigger popups at the most optimal time to drive conversions. They specialize in popups with exit intent technology. The software can determine when a website visitor is going to leave your page based on their browsing behavior. For example, if they open a new tab, there’s a good chance they are going to navigate to that tab. So that’s a time when an exit intent popup would be triggered. This is great because you don’t want popups to be intrusive to a user’s browsing experience, but you do want to catch visitors before they leave.

OptinMonster claims that this plugin has helped some websites boost conversion rates by up to 785%. While I can’t guarantee you’ll get those same results, I’d definitely say it’s worth a try.

All of the campaigns built with the Popups by OptinMonster plugin are mobile friendly and highly responsive. The plugin integrates with your email marketing software as well. You can run A/B tests with this plugin. And you’ll have access to Google Analytics data for all of your campaigns.

4. Icegram

Icegram is another popular WordPress plugin with tons of features. It’s a top option if you want to implement more than just popups to your website, without having to install multiple plugins. In addition to popups, the Icegram WordPress plugin offers:

  • Overlays
  • Inlines
  • Floating action bars
  • Messenger slide-ins for live chat integration
  • Toast notifications
  • Sidebars
  • Interstitials
  • Tabs
  • Stickies
  • Ribbons
  • Badges

Icegram offers advanced targeting options for elements like:

  • Time on page
  • User activity
  • Exit intent
  • Scrolling
  • Call-to-action targeting
  • Geotargeting based on location parameters

Icegram will work with your email marketing service as well as your form and lead capture plugins that you’ve already installed. Icegram lets you run A/B tests to see which campaigns are performing the best as well and you’ll get detailed analytics and reports for everything you implement. As you can see, your options certainly won’t be limited here.

5. ConvertPlus

The ConvertPlus WordPress plugin is designed for driving conversions with popups. Here’s what the plugin offers

  • Popups, of course
  • Fullscreen popups
  • Top bar information
  • Bottom bar information
  • Slide-ins
  • Sticky boxes

One of my favorite features of ConvertPlus is the template selection. You can take one of the 100+ templates and make slight tweaks to personalize it for your own website content.

ConvertPlus has more than 700 fonts that will make your popups stand out. They offer custom CSS, animations, and background settings as well. You’ll also benefit from real-time analytics for your popups and other campaigns. This information will help you track KPIs like views, clicks, and conversions.

This plugin integrates with email marketing software, as well as other CRM solutions such as:

  • WooCommerce
  • Contact Form 7
  • Zapier
  • WP Registration Form

6. Bloom

The Bloom WordPress plugin is designed specifically for email opt-ins. There are six different ways to display these opt-in forms on your website.

  • Automatic popups
  • Automatic fly-ins
  • Inline opt-in forms
  • Below content forms
  • Widget area forms
  • Required opt-in for content unlock

The last option is something that’s unique, and makes this plugin stand apart from other available options. Here’s how it works: Depending on what your website is offering, you can restrict content to the average user. This is a great way to entice opt-ins or registrations. In order for a website visitor to gain access to premium content, they’ll need to opt-in first.

Popups can be triggered based on a number of different actions.

  • Delay based on time
  • Triggered based on scrolling
  • After comment popups
  • Post-purchase popups
  • Inactivity popups

Bloom also works with 16 different email marketing platforms, including:

  • Campaign Monitor
  • AWeber
  • MailChimp
  • GetResponse
  • SalesForce
  • HubSpot
  • iContact
  • ActiveCampaign

Bloom has hundreds of templates for your popups. You can also customize things like the borders and edges of your popups. The color options are virtually unlimited, so you won’t have to worry about finding a color scheme to match your website design.

7. Elementor Pro

With Elementor Pro, you can build any type of website popup from scratch. Like some of the other plugins we’ve seen, Elementor Pro has other features that will benefit your website.

You can create popups for specific reasons like:

  • Capturing leads
  • Making announcements
  • Keeping users on the page with exit intent notifications
  • Growing your email list
  • Content lock and upgrades
  • Full screen welcome mats
  • Generate sales by showcasing products and upsells
  • Build login forms

Elementor Pro offers advanced targeting options as well. For example, you can trigger a popup after a specified number of page views or a specified number of sessions. You can even control popups by the device a user is browsing from.

Popups are triggered based on actions such as scrolling, clicks, page loading, inactivity, and exit intent. You can show certain popups on posts with specific tags, authors, or categories. This plugin also offers WooCommerce integration.

I like this plugin because it allows you to hide popups for users who are logged in. That way you won’t be asking for an email address that’s already been added to your subscriber list.

Subscriptions start at $49 per year for Elementor Pro, which is a bargain, in my opinion, considering all of the advanced features you’ll get for that price, plus design elements that are second to none. You can create beautiful popups that are visually appealing and attractive to your audience.

Conclusion

Do popups work? That’s a conversation for another day.

For those of you who are ready to add popups to your website, you’ll need to install a WordPress plugin that will make this process much easier for you.

So what’s the best WordPress popup plugin?

It all depends on what you’re looking for. I’ve narrowed down the top seven options for you to consider.

You’ll want to install a plugin that lets you create the type of popups you want, but also integrates smoothly with any other software you are using.

Some plugins have more templates and custom design features than others. While other popup plugins offer better analytics, A/B tests, and advanced targeting options. You’ll even find some options with all in one features.