Five Steps to Sell a Product with iThemes Exchange

iThemes Exchange is our free ecommerce plugin, designed to get you online and selling fast. Setting up your online store shouldn’t have to be complicated. Here are some basic steps you can follow to sell your products online using iThemes Exchange.

Be sure you’ve downloaded and installed Exchange on your WordPress site.

1. Select Your Product Types and Choose Payment Gateways

After you activate Exchange you’ll be taken to the iThemes Exchange Setup screen. From this screen you can choose your product type(s), shipping options, and payment gateways. We recommend PayPal and Stripe for secure payment transactions.

iThemes Exchange Setup Product Types and Payment Gateway

Note: to select a membership product type, you’ll need the membership add-on.

We have tutorials on payment gateways:

If you scroll down the iThemes Exchange Setup page you can adjust settings like the currency you would like to use and which email address system notifications (like sales!) should go to:

email settings iThemes Exchange

Once you’ve set these items, you’re ready to start adding products to your site!

2. Focus on SEO

Before we get to adding products, you’ll want to make sure your site is set up so that search engines can find those products you’re adding.

You want people to find your products when they’re searching for them on search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. Adjusting your permalinks in the WordPress dashboard is a great way to set up your site to be SEO friendly, driving more traffic to your site.

To update permalink settings, go to Settings in WordPress and turn on permalinks. It’s helpful for people to find the product names that are on the product pages also in the URL. For example, if I’m selling an ebook entitled “How to Set Up Your First WordPress Site” I want the URL to include keywords like “Set Up First WordPress Site”.

Permalink Settings in WordPress

You’ll want to use any of the settings that include the post (or page) name for best SEO results.

3. Add Products

Time to add your products! When you hover over Exchange in the WordPress nav, click Add Product to get started. In this example, we’re adding a Physical Product.

Add Products in iThemes Exchange

From the Add Product screen you can add all the details about your product including images, product description and even more details in the Advanced section of the product details.

Add New Product in iThemes Exchange

After you’ve added all details, click Publish and you’ll be able to see your product in your live store.

4. The Checkout Process

Do you want to have a Buy Now option? Or would you like to direct users to purchase from a cart page? In this example I want shoppers to use a cart to check out (so I can use the Abandoned Carts Add-on to recover sales) so I changed the purchase button label to match the action.

Exchange purchase button edit

For even more flexibility with your purchase buttons, check out the Purchase Buttons Add-on in the Pro Pack.

5. Don’t Forget Customer Messages

Be sure to change the email address so that the emails are sent from the store owner/manager that way if there is a reply it will go to the right person.

There are several customer message opportunities built into Exchange. You can edit after purchase messages per product, the welcome message users see when they log in, and more.

The message your customer see when they purchase a product is important and you have the ability to customize that email notification right from your Exchange settings.

In this screen we added a special after-purchase message to this shirt on iThemesSwag.com

iThemes Exchange Customized After purchase message

Watch the webinar tutorial to learn more about setting up your online store with iThemes Exchange:

BONUS: More Ways to Learn Exchange

Get Exchange Now

iThemes

WordPress Developer Andrew Norcross Shares Business Lessons

WordPress Developer Andrew NorcrossAndrew Norcross is a passionate WordPress developer. You’d have to be to tattoo the WordPress logo on your hand.

Norcross isn’t much for the traditional. He’s tried the 9-to-5 life and keeps coming back to his own business, Reaktiv Studios. They do custom WordPress development as well as products with Design Palette Pro.

Eager to give back to the WordPress community, Norcross creates free plugins, is a conference regular, organizes WordCamp Tampa and makes WordPress core contributions.

We talked to Norcross to glean some business insights:

What was your first breakthrough in business that made you successful and how did it come about?

I don’t think there was one big “breakthrough” event, but rather a series of small wins and lessons.

I was fortunate to get involved at a time when WordPress was growing, but wasn’t the crowded space it is today. I put in a lot of time and effort and made a lot of mistakes, but was lucky that I could recover from them.

It also helped that due to some things in my personal life, I had begun freelancing without much (none, really) of a safety net so I had extra motivation to make it work.

Can you share a few of those mistakes and what you learned?

Oh wow, there are so many it’s not even funny.

But a few core ones that took more than a few times to grasp:

  • Learning client red flags.
  • Listening to my gut when something didn’t seem right.
  • Only promising what I can actually deliver.
  • When I mess something up, owning it 100%.

You have a WordPress tattoo, so clearly WordPress means a lot to you. What is it about WordPress that’s impacted your life so deeply you wanted a tattoo?

Well, I’ve got a lot of ink—about 120 hours total. So while I’d love to say that it was something really deep and meaningful, it just happened to work well into the coffee cup tattoo I was getting on my hand.

But to the question itself, WordPress does mean a lot to me. It’s what pays my bills and supports my family, and it’s provided me with a fantastic community of people that I’d otherwise never have met.

WordPress Developer Andrew Norcross and his WordPress Tattoo

You’ve worked full time jobs as well as running your own business, Reaktiv Studios. What keeps bringing you back to running your own business?

I worked for two companies for a total of 18 months in the middle of my now 8-year career. It was a combination of being exhausted running my company solo, wanting to purchase a home and getting married, which brought two more kids to the family. So the insurance, steady pay, etc., was nice. It also gave me a chance to work on some cool projects that I wouldn’t have gotten as a freelancer.

But ultimately I’m just not that good at working for other people, as I’ve never done well with authority. So when I re-launched Reaktiv full time, my wife took on the management side of the business while I focused on the development side. It’s worked out amazingly well.

What’s your best advice for working with clients?

First off, do the work.

It seems odd to say, but so many issues are avoided by just delivering on your promises.

From there, it’s a matter of communication. Let them know what’s happening. Get them involved when they need to be (and push them out when they don’t). And most importantly, be the professional.

You’ve switched from custom development to selling products with Design Palette. How has that changed your business?

Reaktiv does both. We still do at least 50% client work, if not more. But moving to the product space was a combination of having a marketable idea, and knowing how to build it. It’s been nice in terms of revenue, but also to see a project through over the long haul and watch as it matures and evolves. It’s given me more insight to managing a project, as most client work is simply build/ship/repeat.

In another interview you were asked about the first question you’d ask a developer in a job interview, and you said you’d want to see their code before a word is spoken—and if they didn’t have public code, they wouldn’t be a good candidate. Why is having public code so important to you?

I know there are a few scenarios where there isn’t public code, usually when someone works for a company that doesn’t allow them to push things live. But it’s still important to see public code.

First off, it shows they are involved with the community at some level.

But in detail, it gives me insight into the person as a developer. Do they follow best practices? Do they cut corners? If there’s enough code to review, has their skill set grown? These are things you can’t get in a verbal interview.

What books have helped you build your business?

I don’t read a lot of business books, too many are either so high level/theory based that it’s not actionable info, or so hyper focused that it’s only relatable to the writer’s experience.

But the books by Mike Monteiro and Erika Hall from Mule Design are fantastic, and I’d strongly suggest everyone read those:

iThemes

WordPress Training

 

Concept of communication of information by display through websites, blogs and world wide network has revolutionized the trade at all levels. It has become a way of life in developed world. It has made successful ingress in the developing world. It is worth noting that developing world is many times larger than developed world. Therefore it is not wrong to conclude that there is immense scope of adoption of e communication in times to come. The race is already on. One can feel left behind if one does not board the band wagon today. We must prepare ourselves for it by proper training. 
 
A stitch in time saves nine. WordPress training works like a magic wand to close the gap created by time lapsed. It immediately puts you in step with the world in this race. Acesoftech Academy You can design your website of international standard and launch it to promote your business. Having acquired the status of a professional after training with Sohanasoftech you can make websites, launch and manage for others and can earn a handsome living.
Sohanasoftech has carried out thorough analysis about the training of WordPress for the present and future users. Knowing your day to day commitment, pocket size and educational back ground we have devised short courses that can be sufficient to give you a start in the field of web designing and managing. You can build upon it by taking additional courses as per your requirement. It is important to take the first step in practical business. Your indulgence in market will dictate you its requirement. You would like to brace yourself with additional knowledge of WordPress to prepare yourself for the competing market. 
 
Sohanasoftech has solution to train you for all levels of expertise of WordPress. At higher levels we will make you understand the theme, philosophy of WordPress along with its technical integration with other soft wares and hard wares that make things happen. Our aim is that you learn to optimize WordPress to the best and be a cut above others when your website appears on the net. Finesse in your design, lay out, approach toward theme given by the customer and ease of use of website should speak for itself. 
If you are keen and ambitious to learn WordPress leave rest to us. We promise to chisel you into an expert. 

Android Development Tutorials

Android is actually an absolute operating environment based upon the Linux V2.6 kernel. In the beginning, the actual operation target for Android was the particular mobile-phone arena, in addition to smart phones as well as lower-cost flip-phone devices. On the other hand, Android’s full range of computing services and wealthy functional support has the actual probable to pull out away from the mobile-phone market. Android can be helpful for other platforms and applications.

The actual Android platform may be the creation associated with the Open Handset Alliance, a group of organizations working together to build a better mobile phone. The actual group, led through Google, includes mobile operators, device handset manufacturers, component manufacturers, software solution and platform providers, and marketing companies. From a software development standpoint, Android sits smack among the open source world.

This particular tutorial is expected for anyone attracted in beginning Android development on Eclipse while using the Android development tools plug-in. It offers insight into the particular salient features associated with an Android app, along with a brief explanation of the basic components.

Android is undoubtedly an open-source software stack made for mobiles and other devices. It truly is combines as well as portions of several dissimilar open source projects. Typically the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is tasked with the preserving and a lot more expansion of Android. Many device manufacturers have brought to market devices running Android, and perhaps they are readably available everywhere.

Android may be the major Os for developing applications in today for assorted reasons. The principle reasons currently being that it must be Start Source and also spontaneous. Furthermore this uses Java with regard to development, that’s somewhat a good effortless language in order tooted also develop in.

You cannot run standard Java bytecode on Android as it uses a special virtual machine. Android supports 2-D and 3-D graphics while using OpenGL libraries and supports data storage in a SQLite database.

The operating system controls the life period of the application. At any time the Android system may stop or destroy your application. The actual Android system defines a life cycle for activities via pre-defined methods.

By providing an open development platform, Android presents developers the facility to construct awfully rich and ground-breaking applications. Developers are free to take good thing about the product hardware, access location information, run background services, set alarms, add notifications in order to the status bar, and much, way more.
 

How to Stop Neglecting Your Freelance Website & Make It Awesome

In today’s digital age a website is the storefront for any freelance website developer. Without a site, you basically don’t exist. You need a website.

C’mon. You’re web developers. You know this stuff. It’s the same pitch you give to those backward clients who still want phonebook ads.

Of course you already have a freelance website pitching your skills. Please.

But is it working? Is your freelance website doing you any good? It’s easy for your site to fall to the bottom your to-do list. Simply put: You’re too busy building awesome sites for your clients to have an awesome site yourself.

That’s a problem. Let’s talk about how to fix your freelance website.

Why You Need a Freelance Website

Before we get too far, let’s remember why you even need a freelance website. You know the website pitch—you give it all the time. But there’s a problem. Traditionally we say the cobbler’s children have no shoes.

Web developers frequently have the same problem. Or you have a website—it was easy to build an awesome freelance website in your early days when you weren’t busy. But your site gets older and crustier with each year that goes by. Not cool.

If you’re trying to sell yourself as a builder of websites, then you better have a website for yourself. And it probably shouldn’t suck.

Here’s why you need a freelance website that works:

  • Bring in Business – Your site should be a continual pipeline of new business. You might not need new business today, but who knows what will happen down the road (or, you know, next week). Those referrals could dry up and you’ll be in trouble. So keep that marketing funnel full with a solid freelance website.
  • Establish Credibility – We’ve been at this Internet game for a while now, but there’s still that pesky question of credibility. Anyone can set up a site and claim they’re an amazing developer. But having a solid freelance website gives you a chance to prove your credibility with quality content, social proof, in-bound search and more.
  • Build Your Brand – “This is often where many freelancers mess up,” says freelance developer Jared Atchison. “You can have all the technical skill in the world, but without a brand to support it, you won’t succeed with your own business.”
  • Home Base – With all the social media options and portfolio platforms, it’s tempting to abandon your freelance website. But those sites will come and go. You need a solid home base to serve as your online hub.
  • SEO Goodness – You want people to find you online, especially when they search for your name or your town and “web developer.” Good search engine optimization (SEO) only happens with a good freelance website.

Web Is Not #1

Now let’s be realistic. Your freelance website is probably not your primary source for clients.

As freelance developer Bill Erickson told us in an interview earlier this year, “I could take down my website right now and still have work coming in—that’s how important word of mouth is.”

Other avenues for potential leads are arguably more important than your freelance website. But you still need a site.

A freelance website is the foundation that makes word of mouth, email, social and every other channel more effective.

Your freelance website is an anchor to bringing in new business. Those word of mouth referrals will go to your website to contact you. Those Twitter followers will check out your freelance website to learn more about you. Any email campaign is going to push people to your site.

Seeing the trend? Your freelance website is central for incoming leads. You can’t keep pushing it to the bottom of your to-do list.

How to Make Your Own Site Happen

OK, OK—we’ve all fallen victim to the cobbler’s shoe problem. But what do you do? How do you make your freelance website a priority?

Remember the Importance

The first thing you need to do is accept how important it is. We all know how important a website is, but you need to remind yourself. We allow our excuses to dilute this truth and we keep pushing it off. Meanwhile our crusty site gets even worse and those leads click the contact button less frequently.

Put It on Your Calendar

Making your own stuff a priority requires carving out the time. You need to literally put it on your calendar.

This should be part of a regular effort to work on your own business, creativity and skill. Web designer Brian Casel is a big proponent of this:

“Make an effort to break off a chunk of your time—maybe 20%—to work on your own projects.”

It’s Good For You

One way to make that happen is to remember it’s good for you. More from web designer Brian Casel:

“Don’t be completely involved in just client work. You want to be doing stuff for yourself as well. That’s how you get better, that’s how you push your own creative style further.

“Maybe that’s redesigning your own site. I do that every six months just because I want to. That’s a great way to flex the creative muscles. Just because the time is not billable doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using the time to be creative.”

Outsource Your Site

It may feel like cheating to outsource your own site, but it’s a legitimate way to get it done. Maybe you just outsource the portions you don’t like doing—the writing, the graphic design, the grunt work. You tell your clients to bring in professionals all the time, so why not do it yourself?

Just because it’s your freelance website doesn’t mean you can’t get help to create it.

Scale Back Your Plans

You also tell your clients to scale back their dreams when they’re being too unrealistic. It’s OK to do the same thing yourself. Maybe you don’t have time to build the freelance website of your dreams. But instead of putting it off, create something smaller. Start small and work up to the site of your dreams. Some progress is better than no progress.

What Your Freelance Website Must Have

So you’ve come to terms with the importance of your freelance website and you’ve found a way to make it happen. Now what do you need to do to make it better?

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s what your site needs to have:

Contact Page

Yes, people need to be able to get in touch with you. Duh. Do we really need to mention this? Yeah, we do. Because listing contact info alone isn’t good enough.

  • Make sure your contact info is accessible from every page. If you don’t put the info itself on every page, make sure it’s in the menu on every page.
  • Think through your strategy: How do you want people to contact you? Phone, email, web form? How do you process each of those requests? Make sure you have a system in place.
  • If you’re brave enough to post your email address, consider steps to minimize spam.
  • If you’re using a contact form, consider that every field will lower your response rate. Do you really need a perspective client’s mailing address? Keep it simple. And test that contact form!
  • Consider giving people options. A web form may be the best way to contact you, but some people like to pick up the phone.

Check out the iThemes Training session on Contact Pages That Don’t Stink (members only) for more.

Portfolio

Your freelance website needs to show off your work. It should show potential clients the type and quality of work you deliver. Clients should see themselves in your portfolio, so don’t pick extreme examples that are outside your normal work.

“Don’t just list everything you’ve ever worked on in your portfolio,” says web designer Brian Casel. “Pick three to five really great projects that represent the type of work you want to get.”

Half a dozen amazing pieces in your portfolio is better than a dozen good pieces. Be picky.

And wowing your clients isn’t the point. Each example in your portfolio should showcase how you solved a client’s problem, as Brian suggests:

“Don’t just use screenshots. Put up case studies. Include testimonials: their problem and what solution you delivered. That shows the customer how they can benefit from what you offer.”

Not only does this make a better case to potential clients, but it’s also good for search engine optimization (SEO).

Credibility

Anybody can have a website. What makes you credible? Your freelance website is an opportunity to backup your claims. This is a chance to tout who you are and offer your laurels. Give some client quotes or brag about your WordPress contributions.

You could also point to what you do as a way to back up what you say. Any content marketing that shows your expertise, such as a blog, podcast, tutorial video, etc., will do nicely. You could also point to exterior sources such as social media. If you’ve got a big following on Twitter and are routinely talking about your business, featuring your Twitter account can be a good way to establish credibility.

What Do You Do?: Big Picture

When people visit your freelance website they need to know what you do. Quickly. People should be able to browse your homepage and know what you do. Sometimes we’re so close to our work that we miss this step and we get too specific too quickly. Communicate what you do in everyday language. Don’t use code jargon.

While it’s important you give that big picture perspective of what you do, make sure you’re showing focus. What’s your specialty?

“The number one way to bring in business is to focus on something.” -Justin Sainton

And Justin nails it: “For me the most effective method has really been focus. Honestly, those first two years, even four years, I was very generalized. I could do anything and everything and I was OK at it. I wasn’t known for anything.”

So your freelance website should give us that big picture perspective of what you do, balanced with the need to show your specialty. And make sure it’s in language your clients can understand.

That can be a tall order. Here’s how to make it simple:

  • “Web Developer” – Too broad. What’s your specialty?
  • “I specialize in SASS.” – What? Avoid the acronyms. Use English.
  • “I build WordPress sites for small businesses.” There you go. Much better.

What Do You Do? Nitty Gritty

Your homepage needs to give that big picture, easily understandable statement of what you do. But as you dive into your freelance website, you need to give more details about what you can deliver. This is where you explain your services.

But don’t give us a list of what you do. Talk about how what you do can benefit customers. This is the classic features vs. benefits distinction. Apple talks benefits when they say 1,000 songs, while Microsoft focuses on features when they say 4 GB.

Again, Brian Casel says it well:

“Most freelancers’ sites need to be less about you, less about the freelancer, and more about the customer. They really need to speak more to their ideal client and communicate the benefits that client is going to receive from choosing to work with the freelancer. Rather than saying, ‘I design websites and I love to use WordPress,’say something more along the lines of, ‘You can grow your business and manage your own website using WordPress, and I’m here to make it easy.’That’s the angle you want.”

What You Must Have

Those are some basics your freelance website must have: contact info, portfolio, credibility and what you do (both big picture and the details). Everybody needs those. But what’s going to make your freelance website stand out?

Ways to Make Your Freelance Website Work

Now that your freelance website has the basics that everybody needs, what can you do to stand out from the crowd and be effective?

Content Marketing

A powerful one-two punch is to show your expertise and deliver something helpful. Content marketing does both. Whether you’re blogging, creating tutorials, doing a podcast, hangout or something else, it showcases your skills and helps people out.

Web developer Carrie Dils talks about how content has helped her business:

“A couple of years ago I made a concerted effort to generate more content on my site (tutorials, DIY blog posts, etc.), and that’s led to a tremendous increase in what I call ‘stranger referrals’—people I have no connection to. At present, I generate over 60% of my business from total strangers who’ve discovered me online. I’m not a blogging mastermind or business guru, but I’ve been amazed at what a consistent online presence has accomplished for my business.”

Not only does content display your expertise, but it also serves as an introduction to potential clients.

“The best clients I get have actually sat down and read a bunch of my website,” says web developer Curtis McHale. “They get to feel like they know me—there are no surprises.”

Your freelance website can actually pave the way for a good working relationship.

Just make sure your content marketing is current. There’s nothing worse than seeing a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. If you can’t commit to keeping it current, then don’t do it.

For more on content creation:

Give Back

Another way to stand out is by giving back. Content marketing is one way to give back, but you might do less public efforts, like contributing to the WordPress community with code, upgrades, plugins, volunteering with a meetup or other efforts.

The downside, of course, is these efforts are less public. So you’ll need to find ways to make sure these things are reflected on your freelance website. You want these things to speak for themselves, not look like a self-serving pat on the back.

Freelance WordPress developer Bill Erickson has had luck with giving back:

“A lot of people with WordPress problems will Google how to fix it and find my stuff. Even if they aren’t technical enough to use it, they see my name over and over again, and they realize they should hire me when they’re ready for a developer. That’s helped.”

For more on how to give back:

Email List

Everybody talks about collecting an email list these days, and that can be an important way to capture potential customers and make sure you can reach out to them again. Building an email list of clients is important.

But be careful what you promise with an email list. Collecting email addresses and never sending anything to them is doomed to failure. If you only send an email once a year—or whenever you think of it—your open rates will plunge and your spam rates will skyrocket. Nobody will remember signing up for your email, and they won’t read it.

Just like your content marketing, your email list needs to be current. You must have a consistent schedule for sending out updates. And you have to stick with it.

Your emails can be short. All it needs to be is a quick check-in with potential clients and offer something of value. But you have to do that little bit. Otherwise it’s wasted effort.

For more on email marketing:

Stats

Make sure your freelance website has Google Analytics or some other stat system installed. Yes, this is no brainer stuff—but remember the cobbler’s shoes—stats are a place you might put off or overlook.

Dig into your stats and see what pages are working and which ones aren’t.

For more on stats:

Your Freelance Website Should Win

It’s not always your first love. But your freelance website should be awesome. Carve out the time to make it work. It will be well worth the investment.

iThemes

WordPress Developer

It could be very easy to work with WordPress but at times it gets really complicated. In this article, we are going to talk about the basic concepts of working with WordPress which are required to be understood by a WordPress developer. Before discussing any detailed concepts, you should understand the basic definition of WordPress. A WordPress is a free source for people to blog and share their ideas. It is a content management system which is required by people in order to maintain their websites or blogs.
 
There are many helpful WordPress development tricks which are required in order to develop a good blog or site. If you are just getting started with WordPress, you should get your hands on the WordPress Codex which is also known as the bible for new WordPress developer. This Codex will not only help you in the start of your journey but will also lead you to some successful pathways.

In addition to that, you can also take help from WordPress Meetup. This is a get-to-gather of WordPress developers from all around the globe who gather to share their ideas and views about the topic. This is indeed a useful platform where you will be able to meet many professional WordPress developers who may help you in many ways. You may attend guest speaker seminars and download tutorials to seek help and guidance. If you cannot meet up at such platforms, you could take advantage of those useful WordPress blogs that intend to provide information to every WordPress developer out there. You will get lots of information, news, tutorials and much more on these blogs. There are some blogs which will provide you the facility to upload your WordPress designs on that blog to receive feedbacks about the quality of your work.

There are many advantages of learning the art of WordPress development and some of these are mentioned below. WordPress should be installed on your web server which will be able to give you control over the weblog. A good WordPress developer will give controlled access to users in order to make sure that no scams could attack your blog. It is better if you let users make a separate profile by giving the information about their email addresses and external web pages. WordPress development is a wonderful knowledge to have especially if you need to work with blogs and web pages.

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