How To Set Up a Free Download with Email Capture in your WooCommerce Shop

Free Downloads in WooCommerce

I’ve had some clients in the past who wanted to set up a free download in their WooCommerce store, as an email list building strategy.

In reality it can be a little cumbersome to do a free download in exchange for an email address within a store context because it takes several more clicks on the part of the user, than it would for a typical opt-in form. The steps I provide here will significantly streamline the process. I wouldn’t recommend it as your only opt-in process, but if you really want/need to use your WooCommerce store for this, the method below will certainly ease the pain points.

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2 Ways To Safely Customize Your WordPress Site Without A Child Theme

2 Ways to Customize WordPress

This year (2016) I gave a talk at WordCamp San Diego as part of the Beginners’ Bootcamp, entitled “Customizing Without Hacking”. It was an introduction to best practices for customizing WordPress without doing anything that will break your site or make it a nightmare to maintain.

Learning from the beginning how to customize the right way will make your future-self’s life much easier:

  • Your changes will be future-proofed to keep each layer of your site update-able: WordPress core, themes, plugins.
  • Using WordPress best practices means that if you are building the site for someone else to maintain, or if you will have someone else helping you in the future, they won’t have be Sherlock Holmes to figure out how the site works.
  • You’ll have confidence and peace of mind when experimenting with your site, knowing that you’re not going to break something beyond your own ability to repair.
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The Most Flexible Featured Posts Widget You’ll Need

Flexible Posts Widget WordPress Plugin

Recently I had a client that needed to display a grid of images in a sidebar widget, each one of which would link to a different page. Previously they had hard coded all the images and links as HTML in a text widget but this was understandably a pain for the client to maintain and update.

I previously used Special Recent Posts as my go-to plugin for this type of thing (although I’m not sure it could handle Pages) but the free version is no longer being updated so I needed a new solution. Fortunately I found the Flexible Posts Widget plugin – the best featured posts widget I think you’ll ever need.

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Do You Need A Child Theme?

Do You Need A Child Theme

Creating a child theme is generally the best practice  for modifying or customizing an existing theme. However in a couple of cases there may be another, easier way, especially for beginners and non-coders.

Why Use A Child Theme?

If you need to modify your WordPress theme by editing any of the code, a child theme provides a way for you to do this safely. By “safely” I mean that it enables you to keep all your modifications separate so that you can continue to update the main, or parent theme in the future.

Let’s break that down a little further.

A theme is a set of files that lives on your server. In the screenshot below, I’m using an FTP program to look at my server but you would see the same thing if you used the File Manager from inside your web hosting cpanel. Once you navigate to the
wp-content folder you will then see the themes folder. Within that you’ll see a folder for each theme you have installed. In the screenshot below you can see some of the files and folders that comprise the Twenty Thirteen theme:

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How To Collect User-Submitted Testimonials On Your WordPress Site

Gravity Forms, Testimonials Widget

Just recently I’ve worked on two sites that needed a way to display testimonials and a way to collect them from clients via the website itself. With WordPress there are several ways you could achieve this, this is just the method I happened to come up with recently.

Most of the time, for testimonials I end up using the Testimonials Widget plugin. Mostly I like the widget that comes with it which rotates individual testimonials. It’s pretty user friendly to get up and running with as well.

Since I use Gravity Forms (cupcake, AKA affiliate link ) on pretty much all my client sites, it made sense to put the two plugins together to create the submission system. Gravity Forms comes built-in with the ability to have a user submit a form which gets saved in your WordPress site as a post. The Testimonials Widget plugin uses Custom Post Types to create a customized edit screen for adding new Testimonials. Fortunately there is a free plugin for Gravity Forms which extends that capability of saving form entries as posts,  to custom post types as well. It’s appropriately named Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types. Once the plugin is activated it integrates seamlessly with the usual Gravity Forms creation process. 

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What Happens If I Change My WordPress Theme?

What happens when you change your WordPress theme

When the same question crops up again and again, it’s time for a blog post!

Changing your WordPress theme can be a scary prospect if you’ve already invested a lot of time and effort building your site – what if you click the button and ‘poof!’ your site becomes dust?!

So here’s a guide to what will and won’t change about your site when you switch themes. Depending on the specific themes you are switching between your experience may be more or less tricky.

The overarching rule is that anything that is a core WordPress feature will remain, and all plugins and their features will remain, but anything that is theme-specific will no longer be available to you.

So let’s dig a little deeper into what this means.

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