Coupon Plugins: A Free Way To Add Value

Ways to Add Value: Coupon For Your Customers

There was a case study I did recently where I posted on a fashion blog about a new type of hat-wear that’s been coming into fashion: the wide-brimmed hat. After talking about what it is and why it’s becoming popular, I put a small list of coupon codes that connected to Lids’ website (where they could presumably buy this hat). I used a coupon code plugin that makes you click the button to reveal the coupon code (a new browser window opens up and takes you to Lids.com). Now, normally when I blog about a new fashion trend and put a link to Lids.com at the end of my post, I’ll get a couple dozen sales and $70-80 in commission.

The result of my coupon experiment? Over $500 in commissions that day. Most were for the hat, but there were also lots of other items people purchased that day.

My jaw hit the floor. I was expecting/hoping for a marginal increase in sales, but I wasn’t expecting anything that substantial. But it does demonstrate a very valuable piece of advice that you’ve probably heard before: people like it when you give them things for free.

The Forces at Work:

There were two forces that led to this massive increase in sales: giving value to my readers (at no extra cost to me), and the type of coupon plugin I was using. I’ll explain the type of coupon plugin first, because it’s very simple and straightforward.

The coupon code plugin is one that requires you to click on the button to see the promo code. This prevents people from copying and pasting the code and then not using your links to go to Lids.com. Or they can simply use their memory to remember what the code is. I have tried the ‘honor system’ when it comes to giving promo codes, but as honorable as I feel about it, the clickable coupon codes massively increase the amount of clicks/commissions.

Which Plugin?

First, I collected some promo codes from one of those coupon sites (update: here’s the link for those that requested it: http://coupongo.org/lids-coupon/. Then, I found a coupon code plugin that I could easily install into my WordPress site: JCcoupon. The plugin is completely free to use, but I ended up paying for the premium version because it had a better styling option. I think the premium version cost $70. Which may seem pricey, but if you consider that I managed to make $5,000 in commissions from one post alone, it paid for itself many times over already.

Giving Value:

JCcoupon- example
You can see an example of the JCcoupon plugin here. I went for a different style.

The best thing about giving promo codes to customers is that they cost nothing: you can find them for free, and your customers will be grateful that you have made their online shopping purchase easier. There are people who would have bought that hat bag regardless. But for those who were undecided, or thought: I’ll buy it later, the promo codes gave them a compelling reason to buy it right now: if you make your purchase right now it’ll be cheaper, and it’ll be easier than shopping sometime later, where the promo codes may not work and you’ll have to go searching for some valid ones yourself.

The benefits speak for themselves: I spent maybe three minutes collecting coupon codes, and I spent about 20 minutes browsing for a coupon plugin (which I’ll never have to do again). It’s a simple way to add measurable value for your visitors.

Long Term Benefits?

The only downside is this: promo codes expire. You don’t want to have to keep updating every post on your website with these codes. But with my fashion blog, 95% of my website visitors read my posts within the first few days of it being published.

The other thing you can do is to keep updating the discount code in the WordPress plugin, which will then update on every post without you having to do anything.

Let me explain: lets say you always put three coupon codes to Lids.com at the end of your post so that your website visitors can save on their purchase. You add these coupons to your posts using a shortcode. Let’s say the shortcodes are ‘code1’, ‘code2’, and ‘code3’. What you can do is update these particular coupon buttons each week, as Lids always has two or three coupons live at any given time. So if you update these particular coupon codes, every post that has these coupons on them will update themselves.

So even if your website traffic tends to come in through organic search, and your posts are two or three months old at that point, the codes customers see will always be updated and valid.

mobile wordpress

WPTouch – Mobilize Your Website

A short PSA before we start this blog post: I keep getting asked by readers if they need an SSL. The short answer is that if you run any type of a site where you are asking people to login, create a profile with sensitive information, or give you payment info, then you should. I looked around a bit, you can find someGoDaddy SSL Coupon codes here to help you get a steep discount. The best deal was 30% off.


Let’s be real, you do half of your internet browsing on your phone or other mobile device because you can do it while lying on the couch with no pants on. The other half you do at work on a desktop when your boss isn’t looking. I look at Facebook pretty much exclusively through apps on my phone and iPad, and nothing annoys me more than when somebody posts a link to an article or website, and it comes up all tiny and zoomed out because there isn’t a mobile version. I have neither the time nor the patience to zoom in and then scroll back and forth cause the text doesn’t adjust to fit my screen. It’s 2014 people, you need a responsive mobile version of your site.

You have 2 options, you can use a plugin that will detect if your visitor is using a mobile device and show them a mobile version of the site, or you can use a WordPress theme that is responsive and will adjust itself accordingly. I suppose that there is a third option of building your own theme and then making a regular and mobile-friendly versions, but I mean I’m a professional web developer and I wouldn’t want to do that. If you have nothing but free time and patience, then by all means, knock yourself out.

Mobile Plug-ins

So I’m going to talk about this one first, but it’s not my recommended option, well unless you have somewhat of a budget for your blog or website. If you have a spare $50, there are worse things you could spend it on than WPTouch Pro. Like two copies of Jurassic Park III on Blu-Ray, just awful and disappointing. I have used it once before back when it was free and it worked perfectly, the only thing I didn’t really like was that you pretty much lost the whole look and feel of your website. I probably could have spent some more time fiddling with it, but I have a short attention span and am easily distracted by shiny things or attractive people. Also, now they exclusively offer the free version, which might have way more theme and customization options.

Get the Plugin

If you are broke as hell and do want to use a plugin there is also WordPress Mobile Pack. This doesn’t show the pages from your blog or site, only the posts, which is a huge drawback. If you are using WordPress as a CMS and not a blog then it won’t show any of your website. Whomp-whomp.

Responsive Themes

If you are venturing out into the premium and paid theme territory, it’s highly unlikely that the theme won’t be responsive. You should still make sure, it might be labeled as mobile-friendly or mobile-enabled instead of responsive but they all mean the same thing. Which is that it will detect the size of the screen that you are using to view the website and adjust the images and text accordingly to fit on your screen instead of just showing the website at 15% of it’s normal size. Paid themes aren’t always super expensive, ThemeForest has some starting at $3 apparently. There are free themes out there that are responsive, this blog has collected a few of them.

Personally, I think a responsive theme is the way to go. You maintain all of the look and feel of your site, and your other plugins should all still work with it. And you can’t get free themes that will do that, can’t beat that pricing!

Are SSL Certificates a New SEO Staple?

The SEO (Search Engine Optimization) crowd has been abuzz lately with news that SSL Certificates are a new ranking signal in Google’s organic search results.

HTTPS Everywhere:

The announcement came from Google’s team at a new conference called “HTTPS” everywhere. They said that it’s a weak signal that they just introduced, but that it would likely increase in importance down the road.

Calm Down: it’s one of 200

The ranking signal is just 1 of 200 signals. I’ve never seen all 200 listed out at any one time, so I don’t really know what all these signals are. If you switchover to SSL encryption, don’t expect your website to suddenly jump 10 spots in search (wouldn’t that be nice though?).

How Much Do They Cost?

It depends on the type of SSL certificate you’re after. If you want a standard SSL certificate that works for one domain only, you can get one as cheap as $4.99. If you want to use one for multiple domains, then you need a UCC Certificate. This one is more expensive, but you can use this website to find coupons for both ssl and ucc certificates

Why is Google Doing This?

One main reason: The NSA. Now, SSL encryption only protects against a couple of security threats: phishing (website pretending to be what it isnt’) and eavesdropping. If all websites had SSL encryption, then the NSA isn’t able to eavesdrop on anything.

Google has added SSL encryption to search results, and has this secure layer built into their popular browser: Chrome.

That’s why SSL has been the bane of SEO’s for some years now: the extra encryption meant that Google no longer shared what website audiences were searching for when they visited your website. If you’ve been in Google analytics in the past year, you’ve noticed the “not provided” tab that accounts for almost all traffic. That’s because of SSL.

Essentially by pushing SSL, Google wants to create an inhospitable environment for NSA spying. There will be no data for them to collect, and then they will need to move on to other ventures.

When We Said “Buzz”, We Meant Tepid Interest:

There isn’t really any buzz in the SEO world because there aren’t many SEO’s anymore. After the Google updates targeted SEO’s instead of web-spammers (to be honest a lot of SEO’s used spam techniques as well), they were virtually all wiped out.

Google used to be able to make statements like these and get the SEO community all working for them: Google had an army of loyal followers that would do anything it said in exchange for a better ranking. But Google, like King Lear, had them all killed.