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Don’t Sell Products, Sell Superpowers

posted on May 18, 2022

Superpowers are, well, powerful.

Being able to breathe underwater, be invisible, or turn green and big when you’re angry is something that so many people want to be able to do.

These abilities are simply fantasy of course, but even just the idea of it, is still very appealing.

For example, what if I tell you that there’s a product that can make you feel like you’re flying? Of course I will — at the very least — intrigue you, right?

Well, this is the exact strategy that Red Bull use in their marketing campaigns.

You can tell that the statement “gives you wings” is a very powerful idea. 

The product doesn’t just give you any kind of energy, it provides the kind of energy that makes your body feel so light, it’s like you’re moving with wings from one place to another.

This idea of selling “superpowers” has made Red Bull one of the leading brands in their industry for over 20 years, and you can copy this strategy for your business too.

Being Different is Common, Being “Super” is Not

This article is inspired by a Twitter thread from the user @heykhan where he said:

Great copywriting isn’t about what your product can do, it’s about what your product can help the reader become.”

Every single product brand has their own unique selling point (USP) that they will push through their ad copies. Which means that unless your product has a crazy strong USP (50 times cheaper/more effective than competitor, or something along those lines), there’s a chance that the audience will only see your product as being different, not better.

This is where the idea of your product having a “magical effect” can help.

Do you remember the advertisement for Axe, the men’s deodorant? Widely known as “The Axe Effect” ads, they show that just by spraying the product on your body, people will immediately flock to you. Now that’s a superpower that surely every men wants!

You want to tell the audience that your product is special, and that it will affect them in ways that no other products can.

Let People Know How Extraordinary Your Product Is

Let’s try a more practical example:

We are a copywriter in charge of making an ad for a mattress product. 

We can write the USP of our product on the ad copy like:

20% softer than other products

Made from high quality, environmental-friendly materials

And so on.

This is by no means a bad thing.

We want to tell the audience the strength of our product.

But let’s face it, everybody else is doing the exact same thing. Which means that the ad copy itself might not become a very strong reason as to why the audience should choose our product.

As a copywriter, we can do better than that.

What if we use some “superpowers” on the ad copy? Something like:

Feels like sleeping on the clouds

Or..

So soft, it drove nightmares away

That sounds so much more appealing, right?

And the great thing is, we can still put our product’s USP on the ad copy so that the reader has even more incentive to buy!

This method requires you to have a very imaginative mind.

You need to put your product on a make believe land and picture how it operates there.

Nobody hates imagination, and when the audience can see how your product affects them in these mythical ways, you’ve captured so much more than just their interest.

Your product could give buyers extraordinary results, and you should let them know.

The post Don’t Sell Products, Sell Superpowers appeared first on SiteProNews.

6 Tactics to Increase the Conversion Rate on Newly Built Sites

posted on May 18, 2022

Standing in an era of constant technological revolution, businesses need to know who to get a lead on and distinguish themselves. Your website is your business card and the source of customer acquisition as well. Whether you operate an escape room in Bangalore or a fashion boutique in NYC, it is essential for every business to optimise their websites to ensure better sales and profit. We have compiled a list of tips that can give you a head start. Here are 6 tactics you can use to increase your conversion rate through your newly built websites:

1. Use CRO Planners

Experimentation is the most effective technique to reduce risk in decision-making while allowing yourself the creative freedom to explore new possibilities. As a result, it’s critical to collect and evaluate your site data regularly to understand more about your users and their tastes. This information should help you decide where to focus while optimising your efforts. 

A conversion rate optimization (CRO) program, also known as a conversion rate optimization plan, is a digital marketing approach that organisations use to improve the conversion rate of their website or app. CRO tools entail examining a complete website for conversion barriers and then optimising web pages to increase conversion. You’ll be able to examine and build a strategy for raising your conversion rate with the help of a CRO planner.

HubSpot CRO planner, for instance, includes guidance on how to conduct a site assessment, pinpoint areas for conversion funnel improvement, study users on your site, and conduct A/B testing and experimentation.

2. A/B Testing

A/B testing (also known as split testing) is a method for improving your website’s conversion rate. For example, if you’re undecided between two headline options for your page, you may run an A/B split test and see which one performs better.

You make two different versions of your page (version A and version B, let’s say), each with a distinct title. A/B testing software sends half of the traffic to page A and the other half to page B. In both the page layouts, there should be a similar call to action. At the end of the process, you assess how each of the versions fared against each other.

 The page with the highest conversion rate and the most people taking action is the best option. Ideally, you should run multiple A/B tests going on your site at any given moment, especially if you’re just getting started. There is no way to make something absolutely flawless in marketing, be it your web page or design process. The only way to discover what works and what doesn’t is to test constantly. Examine which headlines, colours, copy, layout, and CTAs are most effective for your target demographic. Experiments should be creative.

3. Convey Your Value Proposition

A value proposition is the promise made by a corporation to provide value to customers if they choose to acquire their goods. A value proposition is a business or marketing statement used by a firm to explain why someone should invest in a particular product or service. It plays a vital role in making a positive first impression by informing potential clients that you offer exactly what they require.

Your value proposition is a succinct explanation of why a user should choose your products/services over those of your competitors. As a result, the first step in converting visitors is to clearly communicate what sets you apart and why investing in your firm is a good idea. Your value proposition should be communicated through headlines, graphics, and prose, with a focus on your Unique Selling Point (USP). 

According to marketing experiments, your USP should be summarised in ten words or fewer. You should also emphasise the advantages of the product or service rather than the characteristics. Benefits allow potential buyers to envisage their lives with your product, whereas features are easier to glance over and dismiss. 

Conversion rates can be boosted by clearly defining and repeating your value proposition across multiple site sections. in making a positive first impression by informing potential clients that you offer exactly what they require. Your value proposition is a succinct explanation of why a user should choose your products/services over those of your competitors. 

As a result, the first step in converting visitors is to clearly communicate what sets you apart and why investing in your firm is a good idea. Your value proposition should be communicated through headlines, graphics, and prose, with a focus on your Unique Selling Point (USP). According to marketing experiments, your USP should be summarised in ten words or fewer. 

You should also emphasise the advantages of the product or service rather than the characteristics. Benefits allow potential buyers to envisage their lives with your product, whereas features are easier to glance over and dismiss. Conversion rates can be boosted by clearly defining and repeating your value proposition across multiple site sections.

4. Ensure Easy Navigation on Your Website

When someone visits your website, they expect it to be simple and easy to navigate. One of the most significant parts of website conversions is excellent navigation. To facilitate this, you must make sure that you understand your audience and can perceive how they will engage with your material. 

The next step is to work out the most intuitive ways to organise and deliver it. It is crucial to focus on user experience. Creating a website that prioritises customer experience allows users to browse through it easily. Choosing the right website layout encourages users to spend more time on your site and explore it, thus increasing the chances of conversions. of them converting.

5. Incorporate Multimedia Components Into Your Landing Pages

I am sure you can understand when it so happens that you place an order at a restaurant. You receive a dish that looks nothing like what you expected. When users download your content offers, you don’t want this to happen. It is vital to set your expectations practically and at the same time make the best effort to outperform yourself. Include photographs and videos of your product or service on your landing pages to avoid this. Multimedia features increase the trustworthiness of your website. It’s also the favoured method of content consumption. Try including images of graphs and charts, as well as video testimonials, on your website to enhance conversion rates.

6. Live Chat

Longer wait times are one of the most aggravating factors that cause visitors to procrastinate. Statistics say customers are 59 percent more likely to buy if brands respond to their questions in under a minute. Using live chat to enhance website conversion rates is one of the most effective ways to increase conversions. Live chat allows you to provide real-time assistance to your website users, which is exactly what they expect. 

When you engage clients when they are most in need, conversions and customer happiness improve, providing you the best return on investment (ROI). Businesses that offer live chat see a 34% increase in customer satisfaction and a 2.6x reduction in customer service expenditures. When you are able to support your customer base with accurate information instantly, it ensures that they can make informed decisions faster. 

Work towards customising your consumer support chat systems with empathy statements. This will not only allow customers to feel more heard and understood but also create a dynamic of faith between them and your organisation. Delight your customers. In fact, popular market studies suggest that more than 60% of consumers would return to a website offering live chat. It helps to deliver real-time responses to customer queries, unlike reactive channels that significantly impact buying decisions.

Conclusion

For all firms, the internet provides fair competition. The length of time that a website has been running isn’t a criterion for its success; it is the conversion metrics! With the right conversion metrics observed, your new website can compete with the best in your niche.

The post 6 Tactics to Increase the Conversion Rate on Newly Built Sites appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Combine Email Marketing With Blogging

posted on May 18, 2022

Regardless of the niche of your business, email marketing strategies and blogging have the same fundamental goals: to share value and promote your product, service, or organization. 

Search engines do not index emails; thus, they are frequently regarded as parallel lines that do not intersect. As a result, we see them as two distinct marketing channels.

But why not combine them to get more tangible outcomes in a shorter amount of time?

Emails are excellent tools to  help your blogging, increasing site traffic, on-page activity, and average visit length, all of which increase your search rankings. 

There are various approaches to build that bridge between blogging and email marketing and boost your results.

1. Increase Traffic Through Emails

Keeping your audience informed about your special offers and new blog content is critical. It sounds like a no-brainer technique to encourage more visitors to visit your website, yet most businesses overlook it. 

Write an email with a summary that entices your subscribers to learn more, and include a link to an article.

If your company’s blog content is helpful and well-researched, you may turn readers into part-time link builders. There is a good chance that there are bloggers, industry experts, and thought leaders on your list.

They frequently sign up for newsletters in the hopes of finding unique case studies or reports to include in their articles. Make a report and send it via email if you have unique information to share with a larger audience.

Some readers will follow the link and visit your resource, while others may repost and link to it on their websites. 

To do that, you can use email newsletter software which has all the necessary features to make your life easier.

2. Grow Your Email List Through Content Upgrades

An email list is essential for a successful email marketing campaign. Crafting an effective email marketing list is one of the most vital parts of every marketer. Leveraging your blogs and creating content upgrades is one of the easiest ways to convert your readers into subscribers.

To do that you need to have a sign-up form to your website and use the content as a lead magnet to encourage people to opt-in for your email list. 

Pro Tip: To have success with this approach you need to have a relevant lead magnet to the article that your readers engage with at that particular time. Another approach is to create more generic content that can help your readers achieve something or can make their life easier.

3. Increase Time People Spend on Your Website

For Google to understand if your content is helpful enough to rank it high heavily depends on the amount of time people spend on your site. By inviting your subscribers to post comments under your article in an email, you may encourage them to join in a debate.

You may send a follow-up email to your subscribers after receiving an email about a new article, highlighting the most controversial comments and asking them to offer their thoughts on the topic. 

You can dramatically boost user engagement and even revive unengaged subscribers this way. You may also enhance the average time on site by including a link to your website’s search bar in your emails. With this approach, you can get users to view many pages at once.

4. Remind About Your Previous Evergreen Blog Posts

Valuable content is vital to your rankings; thus, you spend a lot of time creating it. Unfortunately, it is frequently forgotten before it loses its significance. So, why not send out emails to remind people of your articles?

You could, for example, create an editor’s selections or the week’s most popular content newsletter. If you design it wisely, it is regarded as another attempt to get your material recognized and a handy approach to ensure that your subscribers do not miss anything vital. 

Ensure you’re providing facts that you’d be interested in learning about and offer some key insights into the value your audience will get if they follow your links in the email.

5. Add Social Media Buttons Encouraging Readers to Share Your Content

People are more inclined to share your blog posts if they are truly valuable. You may make their lives easier by allowing them to do everything from their mailbox. Most email marketing services will enable you to modify share buttons and add them to your emails.

More shares mean more traffic to your site and social signals, which are essential aspects of SEO results. 

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if your emails are helping your blog’s traffic, utilize UTMs to see the source of your traffic and which sorts of emails are doing best. You can then optimize your email campaigns and drive more traffic to your content.

The Takeaway

Combining email marketing and blogging doesn’t have to be difficult.

Examine your existing blog posts, your content marketing goals, and your subscribers’ demands. Then craft a strategy for utilizing your email in combination with your blog posts.

Start by going through all of your content marketing pieces to ensure they’re all working for you.

Ensure you’re not losing out on any opportunities to supply your audience with engaging, relevant, and extremely helpful material in methods that are convenient for them.

Email is one more channel that can amplify your reach, and your blogs are a great fuel to skyrocket this strategy. Use the tactics above to ensure that you are on the right track and pivot when you reach a plateau.

The post How to Combine Email Marketing With Blogging appeared first on SiteProNews.

10 Best Strategies to Start Gaining Income From Your Blog

posted on May 18, 2022

These days, we see more creative ways to capitalize on blogging as the digital space expands and grows more complex. It is no longer just a journal to share your experience, thoughts, and feelings with the online community. Instead, it’s a way to share your knowledge, expertise, and experience with compensation (if you are smart about it). Therefore it’s critical to have a solid plan in place. You can’t just wake up one day and say to yourself, “Ok, I want to make more income. I’ll start blogging because it seems the easiest way to start.” Then you read some articles and pray you’ll be making money one way or another. Successful bloggers work extremely hard, consistently produce high-quality posts, and know how to market themselves.

This article will expand on ten strategies to monetize your blog and earn passive income. Although blogging is relatively easy to start, it’s becomes challenging to find a competitive edge to earn good money because of its low entry barrier and crowded bloggers.

Before you dive into reading ten different ways of earning with a blog, keep this mental framework in mind:

  • Stop thinking about monetization. Reframe your mentality towards added values and target audience
  • Find a niche to connect with that audience
  • Commit to a personal productivity plan
  • Select and leverage marketing channels like social media

Now to ten ways to get that extra income!

1. Coaching and Consulting

It seems like everyone’s trying to become a coach nowadays, offering personal advice on topics ranging from increasing income, managing personal finance, maintaining work-life balance, or starting a business. It’s your task, then, to stand out from the noises.

Take a pen and paper. Start with the brainstorming process.

Brainstorm as many ideas as you like within your talent stack (see definition of talent stack). Then pick one as your niche, develop a roadmap for your customers, and the desired output they can envision for themselves if they complete your coaching lessons.

For example, financial coaching for mom-to-be: In six months, you will learn all the basics of mastering your household finance and become an efficient “momager” who can balance your household expenses with little headaches.

Another strategy you can work on to resonate with your readers is to improve your storytelling. This strategy will enhance your vulnerability in a journey filled with challenges you overcame. Most people relate to a story rather than a rigid guideline or bombastic promises. Once you get your authentic story to the readers, they will start coming to you to learn more. Your words have touched them. Afterward, you can leverage your experience and knowledge to offer coaching lessons. Again, make sure you are an expert at the subject. You don’t want to be a wannabe who patches different sources from the Internet into a coaching session for your clients.

2. Digital Products

E-commerce digital products yield better sales with a blog. Blogging brings potential customers closer to understanding your brand and your products’ concrete values.

People love reading about how to use a product and what they will get out of it to fit into their daily life. For example, you can make an instructional video (vlog) or write a detailed blog about using digital planners to plan trips abroad or special occasions. Present the message on the added values clearly, which saves time and hassle. Or you can pitch them on how to use digital stickers in an everyday journal or note-taking to spark creativity and festivity.

Many online coding and design boot camps take the same approach. They offer their content, insights, and lessons in the form of short blogs to build trust and authority on the subject before students are convinced to sign up for their courses.

3. Physical Products

If you are selling camping gear, you may want a blog dedicated to educating your readers about the best camping gear and all the components that make the niche stand out. Incorporate the niched value you offer. Don’t just offer camping gear. Too broad and cliche. Offer a category to meet a need.

Hone in the unique aspects of the topic in your blog. For instance, discuss eco-friendly and easily disposable camping utensils; you demonstrate the importance and where these products can be used in your blog with detailed instructions and examples. Make it convenient for your readers to have space to imagine how they can use it to fulfill their needs, and they will continue to come back to your blog to learn more!

4. Affiliate Marketing

There is no digital world if you haven’t heard of the concept of affiliate marketing. It exists in multiple formats such as social media posts, YouTube videos, and unsurprisingly, blogging. Think of a salesperson who gets a commission every time he successfully promotes a product. Companies will look for you once you have the number to back up your influence. So, as usual, niche up your blog. Build a habit of writing and promoting a post every day to drive traffic to your site, and no sooner than later will you find yourself increasing your income threefold by promoting products on your blog.

You are not under as much pressure to make a sale as a salesperson. Instead, you can focus on driving value home to your readers by envisioning yourself using and benefiting the product. Make sure you affiliate yourself with a product you trust and envision using. Otherwise, your writing will fall flat, having to keep promoting something solely because you are receiving a pay bump.

5. Ebooks Selling

Many successful bloggers see themselves generating a massive amount of profit through ebooks. There are many ways to put forth an ebook for your audience. Through email marketing, blog article link, cold calls, networking – give your potential clients a sneak peek or part of what is in your ebook; as they are hooked, present the rest with a link to your ebook.

Ebooks don’t have to have a niche. Before you decide to write an ebook and link it to your blog, conduct a quick survey to assemble the content the readers are looking for (you can use Typeform or Survey Monkey).

Next, plan the structure of your ebook. Writing a book can be overwhelming, but you will get there if you break it down into smaller manageable parts and commit to finishing the role every day. Don’t make the mistake of writing your ebook right away. Planning is crucial in the process. Organize related content into one theme or one chapter.

After finishing your ebook, you can hire a book cover designer for your ebook. Then, start marketing your ebook on social media channels, including Quora, Reddit or IndieHackers. The best way is to offer free tips and guidance, show proof (even better!) of yourself achieving it, and make it measurable. This way, you present yourself as a credible writer and expert on the matter at hand.

6. Online Courses

Although many sites make online courses with minor hassles, such as Teachable or Udemy, offering online courses with no mediator is the best way to control your income. Like coaching, you are flexible in structuring your courses and the medium you deliver.

It’s best to offer courses related to your blog’s niche to get the best response rate. Establish yourself early on as an authority on the subject with detailed articles and interactive Q&As with your readers. However, you should not offer online courses right in the beginning when your blog has not yet gained traction. Instead, drive traffic to your blog first by offering free courses or content. Then, once you amass a certain following and observe that your readers trust you and want to learn more, you can offer relevant online courses.

7. Subscription/ Paid Membership

You are probably familiar with the subscription box model from Amazon, Netflix, Ipsy. Guess what? You can do the same thing with your blogging business. Readers are always hungry for exclusive offerings and content. Imagine if you can persuade 100 customers to sign up for an exclusive membership for $5; that’s $500 a month. You’ll have to have a niche blog that few can compete with and offer insights because online content is broad and saturated. If you can’t provide something that targets a specific audience and meet their aching needs, your readers will probably look elsewhere. Once readers feel like they can obtain much value out of your blog, you are bound to increase that subscription by the month.

8. Donation

If your goal is nonprofit or you’re not ready to deploy the above monetization models, you can always maintain your blog by asking for donations for starters. As long as you show that you work hard to give away valuable content and generate measurable values, your readers will see through this and be willing to chip in. There are some WordPress plugins to start a blog with a donation already set up.

The key to running a donation blog is to consistently communicate with your potential donors and ensure your key messages and values resonate with them in every post.

9. Sponsored Posts and Reviews

Sponsored posts can earn you a good bit of income. Some bloggers earn $15,000 – $20,000/month on sponsored posts because they work with well-known brands to review or promote their products. Before reaching that level, you will have to churn out a good amount of high-quality blog articles that drive substantial traffic for brands to start noticing. So make sure you’re an expert at your subject and produce consistent articles every week.

10. Freelancing Blogger

In-demand freelance bloggers can earn about $250 per hour. That is $2000 per day! Don’t just stop writing persuasively; brushing up your skills on social media, SEO, psychology, business strategy will make you a competitive writer that brands are dying to hire. Being a freelance blogger grants you chances to apply for challenges with different companies without focusing on one brand, maintaining a website, and producing posts relevant to that brand every time. You can write blogs for emails, landing pages, UX, or tutorials. The opportunities are limitless.

Want to learn more about passive income other than blogging? Check out here for more ideas!

The post 10 Best Strategies to Start Gaining Income From Your Blog appeared first on SiteProNews.

The Importance of Rural Broadband Access for IT Leadership

posted on May 18, 2022

When managing an IT team of any size or expertise, it’s important to stay ahead of a variety of challenges that those in the field must overcome. From cyber threats to performance efficiency, cost control to compliance, there are many essential elements to bear in mind in such operations. Otherwise, your IT services risk falling behind – potentially even becoming less useful to business clients.

This is where rural broadband access can come in, as IT leaders and their teams operating in these areas once needed to rely on antiquated alternatives. That’s not the case anymore. Let’s explore the key reasons why you should consider upgrading your own services in order to better satisfy the IT infrastructural needs of others.

A Fine Balance of Bandwidth and Traffic Management

Broadband internet standards have come a long way since their fledgling days. Moreover, IT service providers can access a dizzying array of package options at competitive prices, so those in leadership positions are sure to be pleased with improved cost control in tandem with optimal performance. Gone are the days of settling for slower connections that can’t scale with your operations.

Virtual Services Made a Reality

IT operations with outdated networking of their own may be missing out on opportunities to better serve their clients. With the adoption of broadband internet, rural IT offices and service technicians alike can get in touch with clients more quickly, painlessly, and without being bogged down by issues such as transfer lag or connection drops. Not only do optimal upload and download speeds enable streamlined digital communications (especially important when so many of us are working remotely), but virtual solution implementations may be more feasible for your operations without straining your onsite network. From vCIO services to virtual machines, cloud monitoring, security monitoring, and more, your technicians will be well equipped to diagnose issues and perform various services more easily from afar, minimizing the need for site visits and subsequent interruptions of a client’s own day-to-day operations.

AI, Automation and Cloud-Powered Services

Again, many IT services can be safely and securely migrated over to a virtual format, so long as your company’s internet can satisfy the needs of technicians and clients. Monitoring, analysis, reporting, and risk-aware services all benefit from the upgrade, making the term “24/7” a realistic proposition. How? AI and automated services that harness the power of the cloud, meticulously refined and managed by your staff. That ability to collect, analyze, and act on real-time data points without having to pull a technician off a more intensive job represents a drastic increase in overall service efficiency.

The New Standard

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities positions broadband as a transformative tool to benefit everyone, not just IT leaders. It specifies in the publication, Broadband Access in Rural Canada: The role of connectivity in building vibrant communities, that: “Broadband has the power to transform rural Canada. Connectivity is now as important as roads and bridges to the sustainability of rural and remote communities, and to the success of rural institutions and organizations.” This statement not only applies to IT leadership and their staff but also to those they serve in rural communities. Every aspect, from setting up a server in a remote location to risk assessments, cloud migrations, security monitoring, permissions management, and everything in between benefits from a stable, fast, and reliable broadband connection. When we’re talking about the new standard of internet connectivity, we of course need to mention broadband’s dramatic effects on speed and reliability. A traditional dial-up connection won’t cut it when you need fast, reliable access to important files or websites. In many cases, even downloading a single document can take hours with dial-up or older internet. If your business needs to transmit lots of data or large files such as graphics or videos, then broadband is definitely the way to go. Moreover, when it comes to broadband speed, there’s no reason not to get the fastest option available in your area. Most providers offer plans that range from 5 Mbps to 100 Mbps (and beyond), you just need to find the ideal plan for your business, without sky-high prices and including unlimited data.

The reasons we chat about in this article are merely the tip of the iceberg; depending on your specific operations and the services you intend to offer, there are even more benefits to explore, especially as the world and every industry continue to transform towards increasingly online operations. In order to ensure you as an IT leader do not get left behind, your best bet is to discuss available options with a reputable local ISP, and bring your organization back to the forefront of leadership.

The post The Importance of Rural Broadband Access for IT Leadership appeared first on SiteProNews.

How to Find an Older Version of a WordPress Plugin

posted on May 17, 2022

Nearly all software in active development receives updates over time. These updates do everything from patch security holes to add new features to restructure the entire app, and they're essential to the smooth function of modern computers.

Modern websites are powered by apps and plugins, not just directly-developed code, so it stands to reason that they work the same way. Indeed, with WordPress, you have constant updates to WordPress itself and all of the various plugins and extensions you may use, up to and including your WordPress theme.

Unfortunately, sometimes a piece of software updates in a way you might not like. Maybe the developers remove a feature you wanted or change the UI rendering it no longer usable. Or, something in their update breaks compatibility or introduces PHP or JavaScript on your site, so you have to deactivate it and fix the problem.

This situation happens all the time with WordPress. These range from a minor notice in the backend that something is not compatible to a broken form or a site element that stops working. Worst of all is the dreaded white screen of death.

The standard solution to this problem is rolling back to a previous version that's causing you problems with your current WordPress version. The question is, how can you do it? There are several different methods, and I've written a step-by-step beginner's guide for as many techniques as I know.

Before this tutorial, though, a word of caution.

Why You Should Be Careful with Old Versions

In the intro to this post, I mentioned that one of the main reasons apps get updates is to patch security holes. It's one of the biggest drivers of updates for any software. The typical life cycle for a piece of software is to have active development for a while, then have those updates drop off in frequency, then fall into "security-only" updates, where the app gets no new development or additional features beyond fixing security issues.

This phenomenon can be seen in pretty much any level of software, from a minor plugin to entire operating systems themselves. Microsoft allows you to pay for extended security updates to old versions of Windows, even though they don't do any other development or updating for the platform.

All of this brings me to my point:

Rolling back to older versions of plugins can open up security vulnerabilities on your site.

When a critical vulnerability is known, attackers will scan the internet, looking for:

  • WordPress sites that run the self-hosted WordPress.org software.
  • WordPress sites that have the plugin and the necessary files in question.
  • WordPress sites that are actively using vulnerable files.

Then they'll exploit the vulnerability to compromise the site. If you think this won't happen to you, it happens thousands of times per day.

Will it happen to you if you use a slightly older plugin version? Probably not. The older the plugin is, the riskier the rollback potentially is. Maybe the update you're reverting from wasn't a security update. Perhaps it's not a widely-used plugin, so there aren't many people using it, so there's not much incentive for roving gangs of bots to scan for it. Whatever the case is, the risk is low, but it's there.

Just exercise caution if you're going to use an old version of a plugin or an outdated version of WordPress, especially one that is visible or accessible to users on your site. It can potentially put your site at risk. My recommendation is to check the update every few weeks or months (depending on the development cycle of the plugin and the reason you reverted) to see if they've fixed the issue.

Let's talk about the different methods you can use to find and revert to old versions.

Pro Tip: Disable "automatic plugin updates" on any plugins you want to keep on an old version. WordPress will automatically update them overnight to the latest version and leave you in the same state you were before starting this process.

Method 1: The WordPress Repository History

If your plugin was hosted on the WordPress plugin directory, the chances are that the old versions of the plugin are available for download directly. It's part of their archiving and troubleshooting options and helps developers use old versions for testing and other purposes.

How can you find it? Of course, it only works if the plugin you want is hosted there. Plus, if you used a paid upgrade from a free version, you might be able to find the free plugin but won't be able to access the paid features, depending on how the plugin works.

First, find the plugin page for the plugin in question. For example, Akismet, the widely-used anti-spam plugin, has this page. On that page, look in the right-hand column for the link that says "advanced view." This section takes you to advanced metrics and options for the plugin on a page like this.

At the bottom of the page, you see a drop-down box labeled Development Version. This area allows you to select a version before the current one and download the package of all the files necessary to install it.

Not all plugins have this directory of old versions, and it's not always entirely comprehensive, so it may not go back to beta or super early releases for a lot of plugins.

But, if all you need is one version back, it's usually good enough.

Method 2: Free WP Rollback Plugin

WP Rollback is a plugin that automates the first method for you. All the Rollback WordPress plugin does is take the updater code and allow you to choose the version of the plugin to downgrade, rather than just updating to the most recent version.

This tool adds a rollback link to each of your plugins with old versions available in the WordPress "Plugins" menu. You can find and install it here.

Since it works the same way as method one, it has the same limitations.

It won't work for paid versions of plugins, plugins not on the WordPress directory, or plugins that don't have older versions available. It only works on plugins that are freely available from the WordPress directory and that have older versions available.

If you notice that some of your plugins on your list have the rollback button, and others don't allow you to choose an older version of the plugin, this is why.

Another option you might have is to use something like Rollback Update Failure. This plugin is something that you install ahead of time, and it monitors your site for anything going wrong and breaking when something updates and will gracefully roll it back.

Note that this only works if the update fails; if it works but you don't like the new version, you're out of luck on this front.

Method 3: Check GitHub

Another option is to check if the plugin is available on GitHub. GitHub is the go-to repository for coding projects, everything from tiny niche apps to massive projects. Many different WordPress plugins maintain their code on GitHub, and you can often find their project pages.

Not all projects are as comprehensively organized or easy to navigate, but many are. For example, one of the major WordPress plugins for SEO, Yoast, has a page for their plugin here.

You can browse through their project and see old versions, often sorted by release or with tags for the version.

One benefit to checking GitHub is that plugins that aren't in the WordPress repository can be found there. Sometimes that even includes paid versions of plugins, though you'll still need whatever license and activation key the code uses. They can't just make their premium code freely available, after all.

GitHub isn't necessarily going to get you what you're looking for, but it's an excellent option if the WordPress directory doesn't have what you're looking for. You can also sometimes find plugins there that have since been removed from WordPress's directory.

Method 4: Check Your Backups

Do you maintain regular backups of your site? You should. All kinds of things can go wrong with a WordPress website, pretty much any time, from a hacker compromising it to a hardware crash to corrupted files or a botched upgrade. You never know what disaster can happen, and backups are one of the primary ways you insulate yourself against them.

Even if you maintain backups, what kind of backups do you keep? If you use a WordPress backup utility, you may not be backing up everything. For example, you might be limited to your data and not your files if you go into your hosting and back up your SQL databases. Backing up your SQL database only grabs your DB, not your plugin files.

The trick is comprehensive backups. If you back up your old files and code – especially if you maintain backups of the zip files for plugins you use – you should have old versions.

If you happen to have an older version on hand, it's pretty easy to pick through those zip files to extract and restore an old version of the plugin.

Just remove the existing version and upload the old version with FTP or by zipping up the folder, visiting the "Plugins" section in the WordPress dashboard, and clicking "Upload Plugin."

Once again, make sure auto-updating is turned off, so it doesn't just install and immediately update back to the broken version.

Unfortunately, this only works if you have backups. You might be able to check your email and see if your backup plugin ever notified you of a successful backup in the past, but that's increasingly a long shot.

Method 5: Look for Old Mirrors

Did you know that Google effectively finds just about anything you're looking for? Of course, you did. You can use all sorts of search operators to refine searches and remove more recent versions out of the equation.

The trick here is to realize that there are a lot of sites out there that host mirrors of software and downloads to insulate any one source from disappearing and making a download unavailable. Often, those mirrors aren't taken down when a new version updates, so they can still be available.

You can also use archiving services to locate mirrors. Archive.org, home of the internet archive and the Wayback Machine, can let you browse older archives of sites and find links that may still work to third-party downloads.

There's one significant risk to this method: you have to trust a third party to have verifiable and safe downloads. There's a small but non-zero chance that a mirror site may have been compromised and their downloads laced with malware, especially if they're older and poorly maintained.

Different plugins throughout the industry work in different ways, so you need to find the right combination of query elements that work. Either way, go to Google and search for the plugin's name and the version number you're looking for. Consider additional operators, like searching for pages with the precise filename in the title, the keyword "download," or filetype .zip, or whatever else seems to work.

Method 6: Ask the Developer Directly

If all else fails, why not ask?

By nature, most WordPress plugins are developed by businesses or developers trying to build a name for themselves. Names are attached to plugin uploads, and most of the time, there are contact emails available. They aren't constantly monitored, but you can use a little bit of internet detective skill to track down a valid contact email for a developer who doesn't seem to check their official email.

In order, I would recommend:

  • Check their profiles on the WordPress site directory, GitHub, CodeCanyon, or another website that they use.
  • Check their business website. For example, Yoast has a contact page on Yoast.com.
  • Identify the developer and find them on social media. Twitter and LinkedIn are the two most likely to get a response since they're the more professional platforms. Reach out to the developer there.
  • Use various methods to look up publicly-available email addresses. Tools like Hunter.io, Find That Email, and Voila Norbert all give you options to track down email addresses to try.
  • Try checking WHOIS information. These days most domain registrars protect customer information to prevent doxing, but you may find a valid contact email.

If these fail, there are a few other options you can try.

The tricky part here is getting into contact with the developers. Usually, they'll be happy to offer an old version up for download, though it's not always the case. It never hurts to ask, though!

So, there you have it; six different methods you can use to find an old version of a plugin. Once you have it, though, now what? Roll back to the old version, but keep checking to see if whatever problem you had with it has been fixed. You don't want to run with an outdated plugin any longer than you have to.

If you reverted because of a change in functionality or design you don't like – rather than it being broken – you may be out of luck if the developers don't revert their decisions. In that case, you'll be left looking for an alternative instead. Good luck!

The post How to Find an Older Version of a WordPress Plugin appeared first on Content Powered.

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