Plugin Reviews Would you like me to review a free or premium WordPress plugin? If so, then go ahead and contact me and I’ll do my best.

Review: ThemesHound WordPress Theme Search Plugin

Searching for WordPress themes can be time consuming. The WordPress ThemesHound Plugin tries to solve that problem with a centralized theme database.

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WordPress Plugin Review: SlideDeck 3

Most premium WordPress themes come with image gallery and image slider shortcodes built in, but when it comes to handling different types of media, including social media, few compare to SlideDeck 3.

So what does SlideDeck 3 do that other media sliders don’t? It handles uploaded content in a breeze. You can throw photos, video, text and html code at it and produce some truly original individual slides with interactive content. You can also add “dynamic content” which is data pulled from social media accounts, from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, Instagram and Flickr. Continue Reading

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Get Tweets and Facebook Likes in Exchange for Free Content

I received an email from a wpliving reader asking how I went about getting tweets and Facebook likes in return for content on what has become the most popular post on wpliving: 65+ Free Seamless and Tileable Wood Backgrounds for Bloggers and Web Designers. Here is the original question:

I really like the idea of giving away some downloadable content in exchange for a like or tweet or other social site share. Can you explain how you accomplished that?

In this post, I’ll showcase two plugins that allow you to do this. The first is a premium plugin called Viral Lock. That’s the one I tried using on my blog. There’s also a great free plugin called wpLike2Get that has similar functions. Check that out below.

Setting up Viral Lock

To get started, here’s a quick snapshot of the end result:

There are several ways of going about this, but it’s almost certainly going to require a WordPress plugin of some kind. The plugin I opted for is called Viral Lock – Like, Google+1 or Tweet to Unlock. It’s a premium plugin available for download on CodeCanyon.

Once you install the plugin, you get a little blue lock icon on your WordPress composition screen. All you have to do then is upload your content, retrieve the direct url to download the content from your server and paste the url in your WordPress blog post. Highlight the url in the post and click the blue lock icon to wrap it with a short code snippet. Publish the post and you’re good to go.

The plugin comes with a number of options including the ability to select different social media services that visitors can click to unlock the content. The main ones are Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

This is a simple but very effective way of generating some social media buzz around a specific post on your site and an interesting alternative to paying for content with cold hard cash.

WPLike2Get

So this plugin works in the same way as Viral Lock. First you install it by going to your WordPress admin panel, select “Plugins” then “Add New” and search for WPLike2Get in the search box. It should come up and you should be able to activate straight away.

Once installed, you can then configure your preferred social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter etc.

Here’s a screenshot of the options panel:

Once you’ve configured the options you can then insert a simple shortcode in your WordPress post. It should look something like this:

[wpsm_codebox style=”2″][l2g name=”Download this awesome file” id=”999″ facebook=”true” twitter=”true” gplusone=”false”][/wpsm_codebox]

Here’s a screenshot of the output on a German language website:

So there you have it, two great plugins that should help you drive some traffic to your social media accounts. These are great options for running competitions or getting your audience to interact with your blog. Enjoy.

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WordPress plugin review: SlideDeck 2 the king of content sliders?

In this review, I take a look at a major WordPress plugin called SlideDeck 2 developed by the US web design agency Digital Telepathy.

Sliders have become a staple element in WordPress theme development and most themes come integrated with some form of slider to showcase photos, video and text.

However, and I’ve said this in the past, although we’re starting to see some innovation in slider technology with animations and more extensive customisation sets, most sliders are still pretty basic and typically involve a series of photos with some overlaid text.

That’s where most sliders stop and where SlideDeck 2 begins. SlideDeck 2 is a feature-rich, multi media content slider for WordPress. You can create entirely custom slides using anything from google maps, videos and photos to text, html code and tweets. All this can be done on a slide by slide basis or in a more automated way using the dynamic source input option. All this is explained in detail in the video above.

I’ll say it outright, I was thoroughly impressed by this plugin. I like the user interface, I like the ability to customize pretty much anything you want and crucially, I like the way it performs.

This review is split into 3 main parts. In the first part, I offer a little bit of background information to the plugin and I cover its core feature set. In the second part, I look at the admin side of the plugin showing you how to actually build a slider. Then in the final part, I provide an example of a SlideDeck 2 slider at work on wpliving. If you want to see it in action, head over to my post on how to create cool and free video intros.

SlideDeck 2 was a joy to work with and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to harness rich media content on their blog and from their social media accounts. Let me know what you think about this plugin in the comments below and stay tuned for more WordPress goodness to come.

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