Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to use In-Page Analytics and how it can help boost conversions

Google Analytics is most certainly complex, so naturally there are a few options and features that go unnoticed.

So where do you begin if you’re trying to get more advanced and need a place to start? In-Page Analytics is probably one of the most under-used features that can also be the most impactful to a small business.

By looking at these specific analytics you can figure out which areas of your site are most important and which links visitors are clicking when they are actually on your site.

Once you can understand some of the details associated with user patterns, you can reformat your site and optimize in ways that ultimately will boost your conversions.

How to access your In-Page Analytics

The purpose of In-Page Analytics is to be able to tell what is working visually and what is not. In order to see your In-Page Analytics data you will need to sign into your Google Analytics account. Before you can do anything specific with the report, you will have to enter the URL for the page on which you want the report to launch. You enter that URL when you edit the settings for a Reporting view.

You can access this report two ways:

  • Access-Way #1
  • Sign in to your Analytics account.
  • Navigate to your view.
  • Select the Reporting tab.
  • Select Behavior > In-Page Analytics.
  • Access-Way #2
  • Select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
  • Drill into a page and select the In-Page tab.
  • This opens the report for that page.

In both cases you access the report through the ‘behavior’ section. Once, you click on In-Page Analytics, your website’s home page will display the exact percentage of where users are clicking on your site. Below shows where you can find the In-Page Analytics report and what it looks like:

in-page analytics

Once again, the job of the In-Page Analytics report is ultimately to infer the number of clicks on a page element (CTA, links, etc.) from the number of times that page appears as the referrer to subsequent pages.

In this way you can see which elements are leading to the more popular subsequent pages on your website. In many cases this is not just a preference of content, but something that stood out more than other elements on your website.

Customizing In-Page Analytics

According to Site Pro News, you can also customize in-page analytics for the needs of your site, which Site Pro News also touched on here. This can directly help to optimize your site, which in turn will help boost conversions.

Here are two ideas for how you can customize the report:

Importance of setting the date range

Just as with any report, you may customize your date range by clicking on the date panel located on the top right-hand side of your analytics dashboard and choosing your own date range.

This will allow you to understand exactly what was up on your site or any changes you have made, and when. Periods of time are incredibly important to consider with this analysis, so I recommend clicking the ‘Compare To’ button to see if you’re making improvements:

setting date range

Keep in mind that the only way to say whether or not your numbers are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is to compare them to what they were in previous months, and this is especially true with this report.

Every website is different, so you’re in a competition with yourself first and foremost before worrying about competition.

Using Segmentation

There are a lot ways to segment your data on the in-page analytics platform. This will allow you to look at how users arrive on your site (for example) and then the ways that they navigate it once they are there.

You can separate, as the screen shot indicates, by categories such as ‘made a purchase’, ‘referral traffic’, ‘direct traffic’, or ‘new users’. All of this can be used to optimize your site and figure out what focus you need to have to boost conversion rates.

To create a segment, click on All Users. This will take you to a screen where you can ‘Add a Segment’ (as shown below). You can then click to create a recommended segment or create a custom one. The screenshot below, for example, has segments for Bounced Sessions, Direct Traffic, and Converters. Just hit ‘Apply’ at the bottom when you’re finished.

add segment

Note: If you’re new to segmentation, segmenting your email lists is probably one of the easiest and most important places to start. Check out this article to learn more.

Making the Most of In-Page Analytics for Conversion Rates

Just as we discussed above in the section on data customization, there are a lot of different ways to make the most of your data to enhance your conversion rates. Segmenting data is one of the more successful ways to focus on who is finding your site and how these differences might effect interaction.

If you are interested, check this out this video on the visual context for your In-Page Analytics data from Google…

So now that you know how to read the data and what to look for, it’s important to understand how exactly to customize it. Below are some tips on customization that will help you make the most of your data for conversion rates:

  • Make sure you segment or have a category for each of the streams/referral sites that people may be coming from-whether it be social media or other sites.
  • For each channel, you want to construct a separate report (this includes direct traffic as well). This will give a clearer picture of the differences in where your audiences are coming from.
  • Make adjustments as you see fit. For example, if you have a CTA that is either not being clicked, or people are leaving your site once they do, then you probably need to readjust and reconfigure the way this particular element is presented. There may also be differences for certain audiences that you want to account for, but remember to prioritize places where you are getting the most traffic from.
  • Find out where maximum click happens. For example, if it happens on the top left side of the page, then put your conversion links there. Always check this when you run your analysis and make sure you adjust accordingly, as this can change over time.
  • Make efforts to reduce whenever exit rate is high, especially when it is on most-linked or top pages on your site.
  • Make it a goal to check back on a regular basis, as you do with your other analytics, so you are conscious of what needs to be adjusted over time

The Takeaway

It is difficult to understand why In-Page Analytics are as underused as they are when they provide such valuable insight. Definitely do not miss out on the opportunity to look at this as a tool of change and boosting conversion rates. The ability to segment your visitors and see how they interact with your site is very valuable; so start now!

Do you have experience with Google’s In-Page Analytics? Let us know in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you.

How to Add Facebook Like Reactions to Your WordPress Posts

Do you want to add Facebook like reactions to your WordPress blog posts? Emotional reactions allow users a way to provide quick feedback on your articles. In this article, we will show you how to add Facebook like reactions to your WordPress posts.

Adding Facebook Type Reactions for WordPress Blog Posts

What is Reactions?

Facebook recently added more ways for users to show their reaction on posts in their timelines. Aside from just clicking like on the post, they can also show other expressions.

Facebook reactions

However this Facebook feature is not yet available for WordPress sites. You can still use the old Facebook like button.

However there are other WordPress plugins that allow you to engage readers with post reactions or with points system.

Since Facebook’s implementation is the fastest and more visually appealing, we found a WordPress plugin that allows you to add facebook like reactions to your WordPress posts..

Let’s see how you can add the functionality similar to Facebook reactions in your WordPress blog posts.

Setting up Emotional Reactions in WordPress

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Reactions page to configure the plugin settings.

Reactions Settings

For automatic display of reactions in your blog posts, check the boxes next to Show reactions button and Show reactions count options.

By default, the plugin allows registered and logged in users to react. You can change that by unchecking the box next to ‘Users must be registered and logged in to add reaction’ option.

After that click on the Save changes button to store your plugin settings.

You can now visit your website to see the plugin in action.

Facebook type Reactions in WordPress

If you only want to show reactions on selected posts and pages, then you need to disable automatic display by unchecking the first two options in the plugin settings.

After that, you can use the [reactions] shortcode in your posts and pages where you want to display reactions.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you add Facebook like reactions to your WordPress blog posts. You may also want to see our guide on adding a post rating system in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Add Facebook Like Reactions to Your WordPress Posts appeared first on WPBeginner.

Our Favorite Facebook Tool + 16 Amazing Pages That We Draw Inspiration From Every Day

The truth is, there’s so much to do on social media that, as a social media manager, I have to choose my battles wisely when it comes to steering my time and deciding which creative strategies to pursue. 

Luckily, there are an unlimited amount of resources out there to help social media marketers like us to decide which strategies will provide the biggest payoff when it comes to Facebook marketing.

But, more often than not, those resources give a general overview of various social media strategies and high-level tactics, leaving us wondering where we can turn to for ideas for specific images, copy, hashtags, videos and content that is working right now for top brands. 

That’s where my favorite Facebook tool comes in – A tool that is 100% free to use.

The Facebook “Pages to Watch” feature has completely changed the way I go about Facebook marketing on a daily basis. Many of you probably know about and use this tool regularly, but I’d love to provide a brief guide on where to find the Pages to Watch feature and how you can use it to improve your Facebook marketing. 

After that, we’ll get into some good stuff and I’ll share with you the 16 Facebook pages that we watch like a hawk and draw inspiration from every day.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

Facebook Inspiration, facebook, social media marketing,

How to Find and Use Facebook’s “Pages to Watch” Feature

For Facebook pages with more than 30 likes, Facebook offers a robust Insights tool that gives social media marketers the ability to analyze a ton of great data from their page. 

facebook page insights, facebook, insights, social media

From there, you’ll be taken to your page’s Insights dashboard where you’ll find the tool of all tools – Pages to Watch – directly under the “5 Most Recent Posts” section.

facebook, pages to watch, facebook insights

Next, simply click “Add Pages” and begin adding pages by typing their brand name into the search box. Once you’ve added a brand page to your list, you’ll be able to see the following stats:

  • Their total page likes (and the % +/- change from the previous week)
  • How many times they’ve posted to Facebook this week
  • Their total engagement count for the week

Pretty cool!

Where it gets even better is when you click on a specific brand’s icon in your list. Facebook provides a detailed view of every one of their posts from the current week – ranking them from the “most engaging” to “least engaging.” This allows you to quickly check the top posts from every page you follow in a matter of seconds.

Netflix, pages to watch, facebook insights

So you’re all set to go with the Pages to Watch feature, but which pages should you follow?

My first instinct was to follow all of the pages that I follow personally on Facebook, which was a perfectly fine route to go for me as a beginner. However, I quickly realized that a lot of the pages that I follow personally are not relevant to Buffer’s audience.

Here are a few ideas to develop a relevant watch list: 

  • Top peers in your space
  • Brands that you admire in your space
  • Brands that have a strong social media presence in your space
  • Influencers in your space
  • Top brands from around the world (this one’s for fun)

How I utilize Pages to Watch

I like to go in and quickly check the pages that we follow 3-4 times per week to make sure that I have my finger on what’s trending in the industry. What I am looking for are posts and content that have major potential to be successful on Buffer’s social media. The are 3 key factors that I consider when browsing pages: 

  1. Posts with high engagement (50+ likes, 15+ shares, and 10+ comments)
  2. Posts with low engagement, but contain beautiful images, awesome copy, or great content. I love these because it allows us to improve upon content that has potential to be engaging
  3. Specific trends across the board. In social media, things tend to pop up and fade quickly and so it’s always fun to jump on trending topics that are relevant to Buffer

Another key factor that I take into account is a brand’s overall engagement per post and if they’re trending upward or downward. To so do, I quickly divide their total weekly engagement by the number of posts. If a brand with a similar audience size to Buffer is averaging a lot more likes per post, I’ll try to dig in and study the images, content, and copy they are using to see how we may improve on our own.

I recommend that you follow around 12–16 pages so that you’re not overloaded with content, but that you get a nice variety of brands and creative ideas to pull from.

If you’re looking for a good place to start with pages to watch, here are 16 amazing pages that we draw inspiration from every day. In other words, they are crushing it on Facebook!   

16 Amazing Facebook Pages that Inspire Us

  1. Netflix U.S. 

Facebook, Facebook pages, Netflix

Why it Rocks: Netflix is a great example of a brand page that speaks in the language of their audience. They post high-quality images with captions that resonate well with their core users. Netflix understands the fine art of brevity and isn’t afraid to “go there” from time to time. If you’re looking for quippy, clever captions, then Netflix may just be your daily inspiration. 

  1. Shopify 

Facebook, Facebook pages, Shopify

Why it Rocks: Shopify has the art of video marketing on Facebook down to a science. They post a great mix of original video content that points to their blog along with fun, light-hearted videos that are meant to simply delight their audience. They’re also a great example of a brand that is using the Facebook “Shop” feature on the top of their page – driving sales directly from social media. 

  1. Square

Facebook, Facebook pages, Square

Why it Rocks: Square is an awesome example of a brand page that proves you don’t have to post several times per day to receive a huge amount of engagement on Facebook. They only post the “best of the best” of their content and it really pays off for them. Square also has a great sense of who their audience is – sharing photos and videos that are highly relevant, speaking to the finance-minded user. 

  1. The Next Web

Facebook pages, facebook insights, social media, The Next Web

Why it Rocks: The Next Web has really burst on the scene as huge player in the Facebook space – Covering everything in the world of “Internet Technology.” Not afraid to post multiple times a day, The Next Web makes a strong case for the power of putting your content out there as often as possible. What makes The Next Web notable is their ability to summarize major stories in just a few, catchy words. 

  1. WeWork

Facebook, Facebook pages, WeWork

Why it Rocks: WeWork is a fabulous example of a brand page that does a solid job of mixing up content types and posts. Scrolling through their Facebook page you’ll find a variety of links, photos, and videos. It’s also fascinating to see the how they are able to tell stories about the people in the WeWork community and around the world. 

  1. Creative Market

Facebook, Facebook pages, Creative Market

Why it Rocks: Creative Market does an incredible job of finding and producing the best “creative” content to share with their audience on a consistent basis. Looking at their top posts week after week, it’s a mix of original and curated video content that is highly relevant and shareable. The shareability may be part of the reason why they’ve just passed the 215,000 fan mark. 

  1. Social Media Examiner

Facebook, Facebook pages, Social Media Examiner

Why it Rocks: Many of us know Social Media Examiner’s blog as a leading resource in social media news and know-how, but their Facebook page is also a wonderful example of how to be successful with sharing top social media content from around the web. I like to think of it as similar to an RSS feed of popular and useful articles. SME also puts their cover photo to good use by promoting their major annual event – Social Media Marketing World.

8.  REI

Facebook, Facebook pages, REI

Why it Rocks: REI does a wonderful job of promoting beautiful fan content across all social media channels – With their Facebook and Instagram pages as the hubs. Their hashtag campaign, #OptOutside, has been used more than one million times on social media and connects people from across the world, people who love the outdoors. If you’re looking for ideas for a user-generated content campaign, REI is a great place to start. 

9. Neil Patel

Facebook, Facebook pages, Neil Patel

Why it Rocks: Neil Patel does an amazing job of studying his audience and knowing exactly what they love on Facebook. He’s not afraid to experiment either – Sharing everything from quote graphics and curated content to text and picture-only updates. If you’re looking for actionable insights and ways to shake things up, then look no further than Neil Patel. 

  1. Brain Pickings

Facebook, Facebook pages, Brain Pickings

Why it Rocks: Brain Pickings’ Facebook page is the poster child for super interesting content and perfectly branded updates. They’ve found a unique niche in the market that a massive audience has embraced with open arms. I love their About section as well: “A cross-disciplinary library of interestingness culling ideas that shed light on what it means to live a good life.”

  1. Livescribe

Facebook, Facebook pages, Livescribe

Why it Rocks: As social media customer support becomes more and more critical for companies, those who have already been experimenting with different ways to support their customers will be well-ahead of the curve. Livescribe’s “Customer Service” tab is one of the first things you see when you arrive on their page. From there, customers can ask questions, share an idea, report a problem, or simply give praise.

  1. Spotify

Facebook, Facebook pages, Spotify

Why it Rocks: What I love about Spotify is that they’re not afraid to speak in the language of their users. They’ll often be found using words and phrases like “dope,” “epic,” “ridiculous,” “peep it,” etc. While this may not be a viable strategy for a lot of brands, it definitely works for Spotify. They also do a great job, like REI, of featuring and sharing their audience’s stories on social media. 

  1. Robinhood

Facebook, Facebook pages, Robinhood App

Why it Rocks: Quirky, yet beautiful graphic design and insightful articles on investing, Robinhood App has exploded onto the Facebook scene in 2016. 19,000 Facebook fans and counting, Robinhood boasts an unusually high engagement rate for a brand – averaging several hundred likes, comments and shares per post. This is a great page to watch in the coming months as they continue to grow as a company and their Facebook strategy evolves. 

14. Gary Vaynerchuk

Facebook, Facebook pages, Gary Vaynerchuk

Why it Rocks: You may know Gary Vaynerchuk from his podcast and book “#AskGaryVee,” but did you know he has a rockin’ Facebook page as well? Gary shares an engaging mix of business and personal content – Giving us all a look inside what it’s like to live the life of an entrepreneur. I find it very inspirational because it demonstrates the power of authenticity and personality on social media. No frills, no fluff, just the real Gary Vee. 

  1. Lyft

Facebook, Facebook pages, Lyft

Why it Rocks: Lyft does a wonderful job of harnessing the power of word of mouth when it comes to Facebook marketing. Scattered throughout their feed are contests, big announcements, coupons, deals, partnership celebrations, user stories and more. They make it really easy for their audience to want to share their content. It’s straight forward, well-designed, and often includes a relevant call-to-action.

  1. Duolingo

Facebook, Facebook pages, Duolingo

Why it Rocks: I love going to Duolingo’s Facebook page for inspiration because of their high-quality content and simple graphic design. They are very much focused on quality over quantity – only sharing to Facebook a few times per week. Like other successful Facebook pages, they utilize catchy captions and design to encourage users to share their posts with their friends and family. 

Over to you

Which Facebook pages do you follow for creative inspiration or just simply LOVE? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below so that I can add them to our list!

The post Our Favorite Facebook Tool + 16 Amazing Pages That We Draw Inspiration From Every Day appeared first on Social.

Facebook Delivery Insights Will Help Marketers Get More Value From Ads (Plus How Ads Get Shown On Facebook)

Facebook is introducing Delivery Insights to its Ads Manager tools. Delivery Insights will tell advertisers how their ads are competing at auction and provide recommendations on how to tweak ads to make them more competitive.

The social network delivers ads to its users based on bid price, ad quality and user interest,  evaluating billions of pairings of individual people and individual ads each day, looking for the right mix of message relevance and potential business value.

According to Facebook, the new feature identifies under-delivering ad sets and explains why the under-delivery is happening and highlights suggestions for specific actions an advertiser can take to make their ad more competitive at auction – in-turn helping them to increase the performance of their advert.

pablo (41)

Delivery Insights will begin rolling out globally to Ads Manager in a few weeks, and advertisers will find this feature in the “Delivery” column in the campaign and ad set level, as well as in a standalone tab under “Tools.”

John Hegeman, Facebook’s director of engineering for advertising delivery, e-commerce and analytics, said in a statement about Delivery Insights:

“We built our ad system to create as much value as possible for people and businesses. With this in mind, we’re focused on helping marketers better understand how our ads auction works, and how they can improve their results, through an education program we’re launching this week. In the coming months, we’ll also begin introducing new insights in our ads interfaces to help marketers ensure their ads are shown to the people they want to reach.”

How ads get shown on Facebook

The core belief behind Facebook ads is the idea that people should see ads that are relevant to them and ads should deliver as much value as possible.

With more than 3 million advertisers all competing for attention in more than a billion users news feeds, Facebook use what’s called an ad auction to deliver ads.

The ad auction pairs individual ads with particular people looking for an appropriate match. The social network’s ad auction is designed to determine the best ad to show to a person at a given point in time.

The auction starts with an advertiser submitting a request for an ad to be shown to people. To submit the request, advertisers define their target audience, set an objective for their campaign and place a price bid for each click or conversion. Then, each time there’s a chance to show an ad to a person in the advertiser’s selected audience, Facebook run an auction to determine whether they should see the ad from that advertiser-or different ad.

“If you’re an advertiser and you’re getting a chance to show your ad, you’re going to take away the opportunity from someone else,” Hegeman explained to Wired.

“The price can be determined based on how much value is being displaced from those other people. An advertiser will only win this placement if their ad really is the most relevant, if it really is the best ad to show to this person at this point in time.”

Factors that determine the winner of an auction

To determine which ad wins the auction, Facebook assigns a total bid value to each ad, which is calculated based on three factors:

  • The advertiser’s bid value for the outcome they care about
  • The estimated action rates that the person seeing the ad will lead to the advertiser’s desired outcome
  • The ad’s quality and its relevance to the person

Here’s a little more on each of these three factors:

Bid value

When you create an advert on Facebook you’re asked to choose how you’d like to bid: automatically or manually.

Automatic: An automatic bid is one Facebook makes for you on an auction-by-auction basis. The bid is calculated with the goal of spending your entire budget and getting you the most of the result your ad set is optimized for.

Manual: A manual bid is one you make that tells Facebook the maximum amount you’d be willing to pay for the result your ad set is optimized for. For example, if you want website conversions and a you know conversion is worth $10 to you, you could set your bid at $10.

Ad quality and relevance

Facebook estimates how interested a person will be in seeing your ad with measures of its quality and relevance. If your advert has received some negative feedback, that could decrease its value here, likewise, positive reactions and the person has a history of being interested in what you’re advertising, that can increase its total value.

To keep tabs on your ad quality and relevance Facebook ads manager has a super-useful relevance score for each ad and also enables to you keep tabs on both positive and negative feedback. The relevance score is displayed as a number between 1 and 10 while positive and negative feedback will be shown as a rating of low, medium or high.

score

You can find the relevance score and positive and negative feedback from within Facebook ads manager.

Estimated action rates

An estimated action rate is a measure of how likely the eligible person is to take the actions required to get you the result you’ve optimized for. Below is an example Facebook use to explain how estimated action rates work:

If you’re running an ad for cooking equipment that’s optimized for purchase conversions, you’re probably targeting it to people who are interested in cooking. However, cooking equipment’s relevance to someone’s interests doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to purchase cooking equipment. That’s why we factor in estimated action rates. From the pool of people interested in cooking, we try to find those that are most likely to complete a purchase.

Winning an auction

In each auction, the ad with the highest total value wins, and winning means the ad gets shown to the person in consideration. This means an ad that’s high quality and very relevant can beat an ad that has a higher advertiser bid, but is lower quality and has less relevance.

Facebook Delivery Insights will help advertisers to see how campaigns are performing and understand what they should modify during the campaign to increase their likelihood of success.

Over to you

I hope you found this post useful and would love to hear your thoughts on Facebook Deliver Insights once they’re rolled out globally.

I’d also be keen to hear your tips and best practices for creating highly relevant and high-performance ads on Facebook. Share your thoughts in the comments and I’d be excited to join the conversation. 

The post Facebook Delivery Insights Will Help Marketers Get More Value From Ads (Plus How Ads Get Shown On Facebook) appeared first on Social.

How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress (Step by Step)

Are you looking to add a contact form on your WordPress site? Every website needs a contact form, so people can contact you about your products and services. In this WordPress tutorial, we will show you how to create a contact form in WordPress (step by step) without touching a single line of code.

Create contact form in WordPress

Why Do You Need a Contact form?

You might be wondering why do I need a contact form? Can’t I just add my email address on my website, so people can email me?

That’s a very common question from beginners because they are afraid that adding a contact form requires code knowledge. The truth is you don’t need to know any code. This step by step guide to adding a contact form is written for absolute beginners.

Below are the top 3 reasons why a contact form is better than pasting your email address on a page.

  • Spam Protection – Spam bots regularly scrape websites for the mailto: email address tag. When you post your email address on the website, you will start to receive a lot of spam emails. On the other hand, when you use a contact form, you can get rid of almost all spam emails.
  • Consistent Information – When emailing, people don’t always send you all the information that you need. With a contact form, you can tell the user exactly what information you’re looking for (such as their phone number, budget, etc).
  • Saves Time – Contact forms help you save time in more ways than you can imagine. Aside from consistent information that we mentioned above, you can also use form confirmations to tell the user what are the next steps. Such as watch a video or wait up to 24 hours to get a response, so they don’t send you multiple inquires.

Below is an example of a WordPress contact form that we will create in this tutorial.

Preview of a contact form in WordPress

After creating the form above, we will also show you how you can easily add it on your contact page, or in your site’s sidebar using a WordPress contact form widget.

Sounds good? Ok so let’s get started.

Step 1. Choosing the Best Contact Form Plugin

The first thing you need to do is choose a WordPress contact form plugin.

While there are several free and paid WordPress contact form plugins you can choose from, we use WPForms on our site and believe it’s the best option in the market.

Below are the three reasons why we think WPForms is the best:

  1. It is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin available. You can use the drag & drop builder to easily create a contact form in just a few clicks.
  2. WPForms Lite is 100% free, and you can use it to create a simple contact form.
  3. When you are ready for more powerful features, then you can upgrade to WPForms Pro.

Now that we have decided on the contact form plugin, let’s go ahead and install it on your site.

Step 2. Install a Contact Form Plugin in WordPress

For this contact form tutorial, we will use WPForms Lite because it’s free and easy to use.

You can install this plugin on your site by logging into your WordPress dashboard and going to Plugins » Add New.

Go to add new plugin page to search and install WPForms plugin

In the search field, type WPForms and then click on the Install Now button.

After the plugin is installed, make sure you activate the plugin.

Installing WPForms Plugin

If you don’t see the plugins menu or want more detailed instructions, then please refer to our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Step 3. Create a Contact Form in WordPress

Now that you have activated WPForms, you are ready to create a contact form in WordPress.

In your WordPress dashboard, click on the WPForms menu and go to Add New.

Adding a form in WordPress with WPForms

This will open the WPForms drag & drop form builder. Start by giving your contact form a name and then select your contact form template.

WPForms Lite only comes with two pre-built form templates (Blank or Simple Contact Form). But you can use these two to create just about any type of contact form you like.

For the sake of this example, we will go ahead and select Simple Contact Form. It will add the Name, Email, and Message fields.

Creating a new form in WordPress with WPForms

You can click on the field to edit them. You can also use your mouse to drag & drop the field order.

If you want to add new field, simply select from the available fields on the left.

Adding new fields to your form

When you’re done click on the Save button.

Step 4. Configuring Form Notification and Confirmations

Now that you have created your WordPress form, it’s important that you properly configure the form notification and form confirmation.

Form Confirmation is what your website visitor sees after they submit the form. It could be a thank you message or you can redirect them to a special page.

Form Notification is the email you get after someone submits the contact form on your WordPress site.

You can customize both of those by going to the Settings tab inside the WPForms form builder.

We usually leave the form confirmation as default Thank You message. However, you can change it to redirect to a specific page if you like.

Setting up form confirmation

The best part about WPForms is that the default settings are ideal for beginners. When you go the notification settings, all fields will be pre-filled dynamically.

Setting up form notifications

The notifications by default are sent to the Admin Email that you have setup on your site. If you want to send it to a custom email address, then you can change that. If you want to send the notification to multiple emails, then just separate each email address by comma.

The email subject is pre-fileld with your form name. The from name field is automatically populated with your user’s name. When you reply to the inquiry, it will go to the email that your user filled in the contact form.

Step 5. Adding WordPress Contact Form in a Page

Now that you are done configuring your WordPress contact form, it’s time to embed it in a page.

The first thing you need to do is either create a new page in WordPress or edit an existing page where you want to add the contact form.

We will be using the WordPress contact form shortcode to add the form in a page. Simply click on the Add Form button at the top and select the form you want to add.

Adding your contact form to a page in WordPress

A contact form shortcode will be added in your page content. Now go ahead and save your page to preview it.

Here’s what the form would look like on a sample WordPress page:

Preview of a contact form in WordPress

If you only wanted to add the contact form on page, then you’re done here. Congratulations.

If you want to add a contact form on a sidebar or another widget ready area, then go to step 6.

Step 6. Adding WordPress Contact Form in a Sidebar

WPForms come with a WordPress contact form widget that you can use to add your contact form in a sidebar or basically any other widget-ready area in your theme.

In your WordPress admin area, go to Appearance » Widgets. You will see a WPForms widget that you can easily drag into any widget ready areas of your theme.

Add form using a sidebar widget

Next, add the title for your widget and select the form you want to display. Save the settings, and visit your website for the preview.

We hope this article helped you create a simple contact form in WordPress. You may also want to check out our comparison of the 7 best WordPress backup plugins.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create a Contact Form in WordPress (Step by Step) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Three early results of Google removing right-hand side ads

About a month ago, Google introduced what now seems like a very obvious change to its results pages: it removed paid search ads from the right-hand side.

Apparently Google made this change based on years of testing. These tests showed that no one was really clicking on these ads and it would better align with the mobile experience if they simply weren’t there.

The impact of this means there will be less inventory, and ranking at the top of the page is potentially even more important than ever before.

So now that we are a few weeks into this change what is the impact? Did everything the industry predicted come true?

To understand the impact I ran a keyword level report that included the Top vs. Other segment, looking at three weeks post and prior to the change.

There are three things to note:

1) Inventory is down

As expected, with no more ads on the right-hand rail there are less ad spots available. As a result we are seeing a 19% decrease in total inventory. The majority of that reduction is within the Other bucket.

impression changes

2) Traffic shifts

You can see from the data below that traffic for positions below the organic listings has shifted up significantly and dropped in lower positions due to inventory restrictions. You also see an increase in traffic to positions 3 & 4 in the Top ads. While the increase is still noticeable, it is still <5% of total traffic in the post-right-hand-side-ad world. This implies that either we don't manage a lot of brands that have 'highly commercial' queries or that the impact of adding a 4th position is still pretty small.

traffic by position other

3) Despite these changes CTRs and CPCs are down

The fact that click-through rates are up isn’t that big of a surprise given the fact that more ads are seen by searchers, so you would expect more click-throughs to occur. What is really good news for advertisers is the fact that consumers are responding well to the new layout of the page: CTR is up {12%) and CPCs are down (-11%). Hopefully this will help overcome the reduction in overall inventory.

post right rail changes

So what does it all mean?

This is a big change that seems to be having the expected impact of reducing total inventory, but increasing the amount of traffic as a percent of total impressions.

Advertisers need to be taking a look at their own data. Are they seeing different data? Are CPCs going up in certain areas given competition? Is the incremental CPC worth it to your business, or does the reduction in CPC allow you to spend more in other areas?

Staying close to your Top vs Other data segments and detailed data points will allow you to respond to this change in a smart and sophisticated way.

Digital transformation: are you asking the right questions?

Twitter turned 10 last week. This post isn’t about Twitter, but it made me realise how long I’d been working in the social media field (it’ll be nine years next week).

I’m reasonably convinced I got my first social role because I just happened to be doing social when the whole thing became popular. This happens a lot in marketing. Something new comes along and we all hop on board, until everyone is doing it and it’s gradually subsumed by another area of marketing. In Twitter’s case a slightly wonky mix of PR and CRM.

Digital transformation is probably the biggest of those ‘new, shiny things’ to hit the marketing world in the past five years, and it’s unusual in that it actually attempts to connect marketing up with other parts of the business.

It has become the teenage sex of the digital world; Everyone is talking about it, but you’re never quite sure how far anyone has really gone. Hundreds of articles and whitepapers now exist (I wrote a few of them myself), focused on the three key areas of DT: people, processes and technology.

As with social media though, there comes a point when people start to realise that, hey, maybe we should have a clear goal in mind here?

A great deal of resource is being put into transformation projects, some are successful, but in a lot of cases they are slightly disjointed. Getting the new tech is probably the easiest part. Putting the new processes in is time-consuming but can be done with regular training and a step-change approach.

The people part is probably most difficult, because it not only requires new skills, but often a cultural change as well.

And here’s the rub. The differentiation that makes companies into successful digital enterprises.

As an example, let’s have a look at Barclays.

Barclays_Pingit

Image via VisMedia

Barclays has invested heavily in digital, with a multichannel and multi-platform approach. And just so you know this isn’t me slighting the company, it has done a very good job. I can now easily access my finances via any device; I rarely need to visit a branch. I no longer receive paper updates, and I can easily send payments directly from my phone. Services and resources are delivered successfully in a variety of formats.

But there is a gap. And in the case of financial services it has allowed a new wave of digital-first fintech enterprises to fill a gap in the market.

Companies like ZhongAn, Wealthfront, Klarna and Ebury. All have something in common. They all offer fast, tailored solutions. And tailoring means you are forced to really dig into your available customer data, and act on it quickly.

Traditional business structures exist for a reason. They allow any given business to deliver its services to the customer in at least a semi-acceptable fashion. But too often when we approach digital transformation, our goals are to expand on existing business, rather than exploit new opportunities.

We are using digital to deliver our services in a more efficient way, but that doesn’t mean the services themselves are actually better.

Customer-centricity is a term that gets bandied around a lot, and personally I believe it’s largely a result of culture. Actually caring about what you are doing and what people think of it goes a long way. And that isn’t to say that businesses attempting to transform themselves don’t care. Only that their focus is often on the wrong thing.

Size has something to do with this. Start-ups in particular do have certain luxuries available to them. If I start a business then I can, within reason, cherry-pick the exact tools I want to run my business, and hire the people I feel are the best fit to help me run it. People who already have ideal skill-sets. But much of this can be offset by investment, so it has to come down to attitude.

According to Cisco research, some 45% of businesses have boards that are not concerned with digital disruption.

In finance in particular this seems to be compounded. Research suggests that a majority of senior banking execs have not even heard of the biggest fintech startups, let alone become concerned about them.

In short, they see no reason to change.

But the startups of this world know that they are no longer dealing with single-channel audiences who insist on having their emails printed out. Services need to be delivered easily across multiple interfaces, in line with customer intent. They have to find out what a new type of customer wants, and give it to them quickly.

Conversely, they also have the luxury of time. If you are starting from scratch, then there’s plenty of room to prototype products, test them, launch MVPs and reiterate.

Businesses that are dealing with an existing model have none of this. They have busy people who are already struggling with deadlines. Who has time to take a step back and really think about how services are delivered? This becomes compounded where there’s a focus on short-term bottom line. It takes a rare individual to stand in front of the board and say with confidence: We are going to lose money for the next six months. But after that our income will increase dramatically.

This kind of leadership seems to be sadly lacking in many sectors, but there is evidence that things are changing. The best digital leaders tend to have a few common traits and chief among them is the being able to see value in unexplored areas.

A few years ago I had a conversation where I was told vociferously that Twitter could not make any money for my business. Because there is nowhere to input credit card details on Twitter. That’s an extreme case, and I hope, one that’s changed (Incidentally, Twitter brought in just shy of a million pounds in that particular year) as these new types of business leader have come to prominence.

It doesn’t always involve the type of full pivot that many startups take. I do not expect Barclays to turn into Uber at any point, but it does involve really understanding customer feedback at speed, and at scale.

There are so many factors in play here that this is threatening to turn into a novel already, but I think the key consideration here is that when implementing new processes, tools – and yes, people – it should all be done with one eye on the customer. Data and anecdotal evidence from user tests should be constantly collected and used.

Digital transformation is about making your business fit for purpose so whether you are setting goals or already implementing, don’t be afraid to start afresh. Digital should improve your services, but first ask yourself: Are these the services my customer really needs?

This article was originally published on our sister site ClickZ. We’re republishing a handful of their recent articles over the Bank Holiday weekend. Go give them some love.

Want to know more about the challenges and benefits of digital transformation? Make sure you check out Shift, our new event in London this May.

How to Send Email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP Server

Are you having trouble sending emails from your WordPress site? One easy way to solve this is by sending emails from WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server. In this article, we will show you how to send email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server.

Send WordPress emails using Gmail smtp servers

Why and When You Need Gmail SMTP Server for WordPress Emails

Your WordPress site sends emails to notify you of new user registration, lost password reset, automatic updates, and even notifications from your contact forms.

By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send out email notifications. However this function does not work as expected due to a number of reasons.

Most WordPress hosting companies restrict usage of this function to prevent abuse and spam.

Spam filters on popular email service providers check incoming emails to monitor if they are sent from an authentic mail servers. Default WordPress emails fail this check and sometimes may not even make it to the spam folder.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is the industry standard for sending emails. Unlike PHP mail function, SMTP uses proper authentication which increases email deliverability.

Gmail provides SMTP service that you can use to send out emails from your WordPress site. If you just want to send WordPress notification emails to yourself and few users on your site, then Gmail SMTP servers are the best option.

However, if you are planning on sending newsletter emails using WordPress, then you should use a mass emailing service provider, like MailGun or SendGrid.

Free vs Paid Gmail SMTP Service for WordPress

You can use your free Gmail account to send out WordPress emails. However, for better deliverability, we recommend using paid Google Apps for Work with Gmail.

With Google Apps for Work, you get your own professional branded email address such as (yourname@yoursite.com).

Google Apps require you to add MX records to your domain name which means that your emails will appear to be coming from your own domain name boosting authenticity and ensuring better deliverability.

We use Google Apps for Work in our business, and can honestly say it’s the best.

How to Send WordPress Emails Using Gmail SMTP Server

If you decided to use Google Apps for Work, then you first need to set up your domain to work with Google Apps. We have a step by step tutorial on how to setup a professional email address with Google Apps and Gmail.

Rest of the instructions are the same whether you are using paid or free Gmail account.

There are two ways you can connect your WordPress site to Gmail SMTP servers.

The first method uses OAuth Authentication. This is a more secure method to send emails using Gmail Servers.

The second method is by allowing Gmail to be used with less secure apps. This method is not recommended because it’s less secure. You have to type in your gmail password in WordPress which is visible to all admin users. It should only be used if you are unable to use the first method.

Method 1: Setting up Gmail SMTP using OAuth Protocol

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

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Gmail SMTP to configure the plugin settings.

Gmail SMTP plugin settings page

You will see a notice that requires you to create a web application with your Gmail account to generate API keys. These API keys will authenticate your site’s use of Gmail SMTP servers.

Creating an App and Generate API Keys for Gmail

First you need to click on the web application link provided in the plugin settings to create an app.

This link will take you to Google Developers Console website. You need to sign in with the gmail account that you want to use for sending WordPress emails.

Once you are logged in, a new project will be created for you with the Gmail API enabled in it.

Gmail API Enabled

Click on the go to credentials button to continue.

On the next screen, you will be asked where will you be calling the API from? You need to select Web Browser (Javascript) from the dropdown. Under ‘What data will you be accessing?’, select User Data.

Add credentials to your web app

After that click on the ‘What credentials do I need?’ button to continue.

Gmail API setup wizard will now ask you to provide the URL of website authorized to use this API. Under ‘Authorized JavaScript origins’ you need to enter the URL of your website.

Under ‘Authorized redirect URIs’, you need to paste the URL shown on Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page in your WordPress dashboard.

Next, click on ‘Create client ID’ button to continue.

You will now reach OAuth Screen setup. Simply select your gmail address and provide a name for the App that is accessing your Gmail Account. In this case, it will be your own website name.

Setup OAuith Consent screen

Once you are done, click on the continue button to proceed.

You have successfully setup Gmail API with OAuth authentication enabled for it. You need to click on the Done button.

Set up complete for Gmail API

Now you will see the list of client IDs (apps) that you have created to access your Gmail API.

Click on the name of your website or project client to continue.

Client IDs

On the next screen, you will see the Client ID and Client Secret keys.

API Keys

Simply copy the keys and paste them in your Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site.

Gmail SMTP plugin settings

After that fill out rest of the plugin settings. You need to add your gmail email address in OAuth Email Address and From Email Address fields. You can enter your name or the name of your website in the ‘From Name’ field. In our emails, we use Syed from WPBeginner.

Next, select TLS for encryption and use 587 as port. Finally, click on the save changes button to store your settings.

After the plugin’s settings page reloads, you need to scroll down to the bottom and click on the Grant Permission button.

Grant permission

This will take you to Google Accounts where you will be asked to give your website permission to access your Gmail account. Click on the allow button to continue.

You will be redirected back to Gmail SMTP plugin’s settings page on your WordPress site. You will notice the SMTP Status icon has now turn green.

SMTP connected

That’s all, you have successfully setup WordPress emails to be sent using Gmail SMTP server. You can now click on the test email tab and send yourself a test email message.

Method 2: Setting up Gmail SMTP with Less Secure Apps Enabled

This method allows Gmail to be used with less secure apps. This method is not recommended and should only be used if you can’t use the first method.

Since security and spam is a main concern for most email service providers, it is likely that Google may discontinue this method at some point in the future.

If you are using Google Apps for Work, then here is how you can allow users to manage their access to less secure apps.

Visit your domain’s admin dashboard for Google Apps. Next, go to Security » Basic Settings and scroll down to less secure apps section.

Less secure apps settings in Google Apps

Click on ‘Go to settings for less secure apps’ link to continue.

On the next screen, check the option next to ‘Allow users to manage their access to less secure apps’. Don’t forget to click on the save button at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Rest of the instructions are the same for both paid and free Gmail accounts.

Simply visit the less secure apps settings page in your Google account settings and turn on access to less secure apps.

Turn on Less Secure Apps in Google Settings

Now that you have enabled less secure apps to access your Google account, it is time to setup your WordPress site to connect with Gmail SMTP servers using the less secure method.

First you need to install and activate the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Settings » Email page to configure the plugin settings.

WP SMTP Settings

Here is how to fill out the plugin settings:

  • From Email: Enter your Gmail address.
  • From Name: Enter your name or title of your website.
  • Mailer: Select ‘Send all WordPress emails via SMTP.
  • Return Path: Check the box to use the From email as return path.
  • SMTP Host: smtp.gmail.com
  • SMTP Port: 465
  • Encryption: Use SSL encryption
  • Authentication: Yes, use SMTP authentication
  • Username: Your complete Gmail address, e.g. john@yourdomain.com or john.smith@gmail.com
  • Password: Password of your Gmail account

Click on the save changes button to store your settings.

After saving your settings scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will see ‘Send a test email’ section. Enter an email address to see if everything is working fine.

That’s all, you have successfully setup your WordPress site to send emails using Gmail SMTP servers.

Troubleshooting Gmail SMTP Not Working Issues

We have seen issues of Gmail SMTP not working with certain shared hosting configurations.

Take the following steps to fix the Gmail SMTP issue:

  1. Login to your cPanel account and create an email account that matches your Google apps email address. This might seem strange because you’re not using your server, this step basically tricks your server into believing that you’re sending the email through the server.
  2. In your cPanel account, go to MX Records and change the MX routing from automatic to Remote. It might be a little tricky to find since each host now has custom cPanel interface, but look for a small link next to MX that says Email Routing: Remote Mail Exchanger.
  3. After that log back into your WordPress site and send a test email.

We hope this article helped you learn how to send email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP server. You may also want to see our list of the 5 best contact form plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Send Email in WordPress using the Gmail SMTP Server appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Create an Autoblog in WordPress

Recently, one of our users asked how they can create an autoblog in WordPress. An autoblog is an automated WordPress site that pulls content from other sources and publishes them. In this article, we will show you how to create an autoblog in WordPress.

Creating Autoblog in WordPress

What is an Autoblog in WordPress?

Autoblog or an automated blog is a website that automatically pulls content from other websites using RSS feeds.

Mainly the term is associated with content-scrapers and spam blogs. However, there are many perfectly good and profitable usage scenarios for autoblogging tools.

For example, an autoblog can be used to create a curated website that gathers news on specific topics and then presents them under one roof. An autoblog can also be used on company intranets and private websites.

Having said that, let’s take a look at how to create an autoblog in WordPress.

Creating an Autoblog in WordPress

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

The basic plugin is free, but for this tutorial you will need paid addons in the Advanced Feeds Bundle.

The pricing starts from $139 for a single site license with one year of support and updates.

Once you have installed and activated all the addons, simply visit RSS Aggregator » Add New to add a new feed source.

Adding a feed source

First you need to provide this feed source a title, and then provide the RSS feed URL.

Next you need to scroll down a little to the ‘Feed to Post’ section. Here you need to select a post type for imported feed items.

Feed to post

By default, the plugin will import posts as draft. If you want, then you can change that to published.

Don’t forget to check the box next to ‘Force full content’ option. Using this option, will allow WP RSS Aggregator to fetch full text of posts.

Next, you need to set up ‘Feed to post – images’ section. This is where you set up how your autoblog will handle images.

Feed to post images

It can automatically import images from feed sources and store them in your WordPress media library. It can also fetch the first image in the content and use it as featured image. You need to set up these options to match your own needs.

The add new feed source page has many other options. You can review them and adjust them to meet your own needs.

You can use keyword filtering to import or exclude content matching certain keywords or tags. You can also add custom content before or after the source article.

Click on the Publish Feed button when you are done.

You can now visit your posts section, and you will see feed items imported into your WordPress site.

Repeat the process to add more feed sources if you need. You can check the status of your feeds by visiting RSS Aggregator » Feed Sources.

Autoblog feeds

Quickly Adding Multiple Feed Sources For Your Autoblog

Adding each feed source, and configuring them one by one can be a tedious task. Here is how you can quickly add multiple feeds at once using the same settings.

Go to RSS Aggregator » Settings and click on Feed to Post tab. Here you can configure the default settings for the feed to post addon.

These settings will be applied to all the feed sources that you add in the next step.

Feed to post settings

Next, you need to visit RSS Aggregator » Import & Export. Under the import box, you need to add name and url of your feed sources.

Separate name and feed URL with a comma and a space. Add one feed source per line.

Bulk importing content from multiple feeds

After that click on bulk import button to quickly add all the feed sources to your WordPress autoblog.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you create an Autoblog in WordPress.

Editor’s Note: Word of Warning

If you’re creating an autoblog that’s public, please do not scrape full content or images because you will be subject to copyright infringement.

The best use of an autoblog is either when it’s used inside a company intranet. If you’re creating a curated news site, then pull in summaries and link to original source for full article.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create an Autoblog in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Content marketing: nine tips for herding your stakeholder cats

As content marketing types, we’ve all been there. After all that ideation and PM and creativity, it turns out that just getting your content reviewed and approved can be the hardest part of the whole process.

Check out these tips for herding your stakeholder cats…

herd cats

Image credit: Rich Bowen on Flickr

Marketing professionals cite ‘chasing feedback’ as the biggest barrier to getting content live, according to our most recent survey of the UK’s culture of content.

But when it comes to engaging with those all-important content stakeholders, common sense, courtesy and dash of kidology can get you a surprisingly long way…

Don’t see stakeholders as the enemy

It’s tempting to demonise your content reviewers and approvers, to see them as heartless crushers of creativity and editorial intuition. But they have a job to do, and often a very important one, like preventing your company being sued, minimising product misinformation or protecting the brand.

Seeing these people as colleagues or collaborators in the content process is a much more constructive mindset.

See them as users or customers instead

Learn to live with the idea that your stakeholders are one of your audiences. This means understanding how they tick and what their needs are.

It doesn’t mean you start writing everything in turgid compliance-speak or non-plain legalese, but it does mean realising that if you need someone’s approval of your 30-page product microsite, expecting them to turn that round in half an hour on a Friday afternoon is unrealistic and possibly even a tad disrespectful.

Work out your stakeholder journey map

Apply the idea of customer journey mapping to your internal sign-off process.

Look back at the last substantial piece of content that you got signed off, and work back through all the interactions with stakeholders that were required to get it out the door.

Where were the inefficiencies? What could you have one differently? What can you learn for next time?

Establish your critical stakeholder set and sign-off path

When you plan your next piece of content, work out who actually needs to see it and sign it off – not everyone who might ‘have a view’, but everyone who has to have seen the content on a business-rule basis.

Then it’s worth spending some time at the outset with these people understanding what they need from you to help make this happen as smoothly as possible.

What sort of timeframe do they need? Can they review raw content or do they need to see final proofs? What are the key issues they’ll be looking out for?

Q: Which of your stakeholders has the most negative impact on content quality?

/IMG/132/330132/content-interference

Bring your stakeholders on the journey

It follows from the above that there’s a lot of value in engaging stakeholders up front, getting them up to speed at the outset about the idea behind what you’ll doing. This often works much better than just throwing them content executions for review at the last minute, when they have little context and time is pressing.

We’ve also found that stakeholders often have valuable insights at the outset about what is likely to be a sticking point and what will sail through, so saving lots of time and effort further down the line.

And marketers are sometimes pleasantly surprised in these conversations to find that some things they’d assumed would be a problem, actually aren’t.

Have a clear, well-documented brief

Early stakeholder interactions are important. But it’s vital too that you’ve circulated a detailed brief explaining what you’re aiming to do.

Getting feedback on this doc and making sure that all key stakeholders have seen it helps to crystallise all that initial goodwill that comes from proactively engaging with reviewers and approvers, and it can of course avoid a lot of misunderstandings later on.

Tell stakeholders it’s OK to find nothing wrong with the content

Sometimes reviewers add stuff because you asked for comments, and they feel they’re not doing their job if they don’t find something to say.

But you can use those initial engagements to explain that the content you’ll be presenting them will be in a finished state, not a work in progress, so unless there’s something essential it’s more than fine if they have nothing to add from their side.

Also, make it clear that you only need people to speak from their area of expertise – the legal person, for instance, doesn’t need to weigh in on use of commas or tone of voice (unless these have legal ramifications).

Stop asking for feedback

Rather than apologetically asking, ‘Please can I get your thoughts by Thursday?’ – thereby implying you expect there’ll be loads of things that need changing in your work – present your work with pride and confidence.

Tell your reviewers you’re very happy with it and you’re looking forward to seeing it live. If they have any comments, give them a realistic but strict deadline when you need to hear back from them.

Says Sticky Content founder Catherine Toole:

Watch the wording of your cover emails carefully. Tell the stakeholders you are satisfied with the quality of the content, that you have checked it and think it ready to go live. (If you aren’t, don’t circulate it.)

Ask stakeholders to sign off, not just comment. In one example we know of, a content professional working in a large, hierarchical not-for-profit was able to reduce amendments by 80% by following this simple advice.

Offer some education

Sometimes things don’t get signed off because reviewers don’t get why you’ve done something in a certain way.

A heading feels prosaic to them but to you it incorporates a valuable keyphrase, for instance. Or you’ve stripped back the language because you’re thinking about optimising for mobile.

Or you’ve highlighted benefits (not features) using bullets and bold because they’re a proven aid to scannability (and because users tend not to care about features).

Because they come from very different domains, stakeholders may very well not be aware of the nuances of digital content best practice. But they’re often keen to find out more and grow their understanding of what everyone understands to be an essential area of business knowledge.

We’ve seen some great results – in terms of both positive sentiment and streamlined sign-off processes – from running initial digital best-practice workshops designed to give stakeholders a better idea of what good looks like here, and so help make sure that their feedback supports rather than fights this.

This article was originally published on our sister site ClickZ. We’re republishing a handful of their recent articles over the Bank Holiday weekend. Go give them some love.