Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It

We’ve been doing interviews with several pros about freelancer self care. It’s always helpful to hear from the experts, and we wanted to pull all their good ideas into one place. Taking care of yourself is an important part of any freelancer’s business. Unfortunately, most of us put it off or don’t even think about it … until it’s too late.

Why Self Care Matters

We don’t take self care seriously until something serious happens.

For Jennifer Bourn, it was her husband’s cancer. For Michelle Schulp, it was chronic pain. For Patrick Neve, becoming a parent inspired him to take better care of himself.

When Jenny Beaumont lost her mom to cancer, she re-prioritized her life. She remembers working on her laptop in the hospital room with her mom, missing out on some of those final moments:

“None of us knew how to just be there with one another, to spend that time talking about things, or just sitting in silence, to accompany one another through those most difficult of times. Those are moments I can’t take back, but which have now reshaped my attitude toward life in a positive way.”

Don’t wait for something serious to force you to take self care seriously. Take care of yourself now.

“The life of a freelancer can drive you mad if you don’t find balance.” –Patrick Neve

All the freedom of freelancing means you can abuse that freedom. You can work long hours and never take breaks—and you won’t last long.

It’s crucial that you understand the importance of taking care of yourself.

Freelancer self care is just as important as finances or contracts or marketing. Consider it another part of your business that you absolutely cannot neglect.

Know Yourself

The first step to taking care of yourself is to know yourself. Everybody relaxes and recharges in their own way.

  • Introverts want to hole up by themselves, while extroverts want to hang out with other people.
  • Some people think a good vacation is a whirlwind tour of action and excitement. Others want to drop into a hammock and not move.
  • Some freelancers like to think about code 24/7. Some need to spend time with something completely different so they can come back with fresh eyes.
  • We all have different strengths and weaknesses, different areas where we need to grow. Part of taking care of yourself is learning and growing, but that will look different for everyone.
  • How often do you need breaks? Do you like long sessions of work followed by long breaks, or shorter work sessions interrupted with shorter breaks? Can you recharge your batteries over a weekend or do you need a solid two-week vacation?

Freelancer self care is all about figuring out what works for you.

And to make it harder: What works for you can change over time. The ideas and hobbies you found energizing a few years ago might not work the same today.

The bottom line is that you need to pay attention to yourself. When are you feeling stress? What helps relieve that stress? Figure out what works and what doesn’t, listen to your body, try different things.

Freelancer Self Care Starts With Health

Every single freelancer we talked to about self care mentioned health. You need to eat right, you need exercise, you need good sleep.

“The thing that motivates me to stay healthy the most is that I’ve recognized that my eating, exercise, and sleep directly impact my work and my business.” –Brian Casel

If you’re not healthy, you’re going to have a hard time getting work done. Again, take action before it becomes a crisis.

It starts by recognizing the sedentary nature of computer work. Sitting all day long is incredibly unhealthy.

You can’t chain yourself to a desk all day. You need to get up and move around. Brian Casel uses a standing desk. Patrick Neve drinks from a 32-ounce jug to force himself to get up. Jennifer Bourn leaves her phone in the next room so she has to get up if she wants to check it.

Simply forcing yourself to get up and move around is a good way to disrupt a sedentary lifestyle. But it takes more than that.

Several of our freelancers made exercise a priority by starting the day with it. And exercise doesn’t have to be a sweaty, intense affair. Jenny Beaumont starts the day with yoga and goes on walks with her husband in the evening.

Mental Health

Physical health is important, but don’t forget mental health. All that stress can weigh on your mind and result in serious issues. Depression is not uncommon, and sometimes you need some help.

There can be a temptation to self medicate when you find yourself in a dark place: “Having that extra beer or shot to make yourself feel better starts you down a dangerous path,” cautions Adam Soucie. “When you’re teetering on the edge, mixing either with your stress and possible depression is a recipe for disaster.”

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, talk to somebody.

“Having someone to talk to about your deepest and darkest thoughts without judgment is incredibly helpful,” Adam Soucie says, describing the benefits of therapy.

For more on the value of mental health, check out these resources:

iThemes founder Cory Miller has been up front about his struggles with mental health and most recently his efforts at physical health (the two are certainly linked). There’s no shame in taking care of yourself.

Give Me a Break

Taking care of your health is a good foundation for self care. Now you need to be proactive about taking appropriate breaks to rest and recharge.

“Every day we need rest: It’s not something that we should push back until the last possible moment. We need to pace ourselves and take care of ourselves every single day.” –Jenny Beaumont

You should take regular breaks throughout the day. Getting up from the computer and walking around, letting your eyes rest, allowing your mind to unplug—even five minutes can make a difference.

Be sure to include breaks as a part of your daily routine. That should also include having an end to your work day. Working late into the night might have worked in school, but it’s not a viable long-term solution.

“It’s really important for agency workers and freelancers alike to have set work hours. Once those hours are over, work stops. Period. You have to have a life away from your code or design.” –Adam Soucie

Regular short-term breaks, whether it’s a 15-minute walk around the block or putting work aside to actually enjoy the weekend, are important. But you should also include regular long-term breaks—also known as vacation.

Vacation

Taking a vacation can be a real challenge for freelancers: “Vacation is a pretty foreign concept for me,” admits Jenny Beaumont.

Paid vacation is a nice perk of full-time employment, but it’s something freelancers have to figure out for themselves. Taking time off usually means not making money, and for a lot of freelancers that’s not happening.

To make vacation a reality, freelancers have to plan for it and schedule it. That means setting money aside (both to cover the lost income and to pay for the actual vacation) and clearing your calendar.

It can be a real challenge, but it’s worth it. Jennifer Bourn says it’s one of the best perks of freelancing: “We typically take seven to eight weeks of vacation each year, plus long weekends throughout the summer, and all major holidays.”

As a freelancer, you set the rules. So if you think you can’t manage a vacation, you need to change the rules.

Our freelancers have some tips for how to make the most of your vacation (once you do manage to make it happen):

  • The anticipation of vacation is the best part: “We almost always have our next vacation planned,” says Brian Casel. “If we don’t have some kind of getaway planned in the next few months, we (especially me!) get antsy and it makes work less enjoyable.” (This is one of the lessons from Happy Money).
  • Time to readjust: Michelle Schulp tries to take a day on either side of her vacation to adjust. You need a day to step away and unplug, and you need a day to step back into things.
  • Unplug from email: “I would always recommend steering clear of emails while on vacation,” says Patrick Neve. “Email can easily eat up hours of time that would be better spent creating memories with the ones you love.”
  • Leave work behind: “It’s all about being present in the moment and allowing everything else to fall into the background,” says Jennifer Bourn.
  • Turning work trips into vacation: A lot of work trips do double duty as vacations for Michelle Schulp, and she makes that work by taking time for meaningful social connections. That energizes her and makes it more than a work trip.

Jennifer Bourn has also written a couple posts about how to make vacations happen: How to Take a Vacation From Your Business Without Freaking Out & How to Take a Real Vacation Even If You Own A Business

Reward Yourself

Vacation can be a powerful reward, but you also need more regular rewards. You should have small, daily or weekly rewards—whether it’s taking a few hours off in the middle of the week or a special snack or treat.

Figure out the reward that motivates you, even if it’s as simple as a sticker.

“We have to reward ourselves once in a while. It’s easy to feel guilty for doing this, but if you never reward yourself, you’ll burn out.” –Patrick Neve

Learn New Things

Freelancer self care doesn’t have to be all vacations and rewards. Sometimes taking care of yourself means improving yourself. Sometimes you need to learn new things or stretch your creative muscles with a side project.

Maybe you need to take a class and push your skills. Or maybe that class should be in something completely different from your daily work.

“Never stop learning and never stop trying new things.” –Brian Casel

Again, you need to know yourself and what works best for you.

Interact With Others

Another way to take care of yourself is to hang out with the people who inspire and sharpen you. Go to some events and spend time with your people.

Maybe rubbing shoulders isn’t what you need. Maybe you need to invest in people. Look into mentoring an up and coming freelancer. Inspire the next generation of coders.

Sometimes passing on what you’ve learned and investing in others can recharge and refresh you. You’ll gain a new perspective and a sense of accomplishment you won’t get from keeping everything to yourself.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Freelancer self care isn’t just about taking time away from work. It’s also about working better.

Taking breaks and getting exercise and all the things we’ve talked about above will actually make you more productive.

That’s right, take some time off and get more work done. It’s magic!

Not really. You’ll be happier, more engaged, and more energetic. You’ll attack your work with more vigor and brain power, you’ll have more stamina, you’ll do better work in less time. And getting things done will make you feel even better. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.

So take a look at how you work and find ways to be more productive.

You can find some advice in the book, Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe. The premise is that busy is a myth and should never be a goal. Instead of rushing around working harder, we should work smarter.

A lot of taking care of yourself is about how you work. Some tips from Busy for a better work life:

And yeah, if you’re too busy to read five blog posts about being busy, we summarized it for you in one.

Our list of 99 productivity tips can also help you work smarter, not harder.

The Perks of Freelancing

Finally, the perks of freelancing really make taking care of yourself easier.

Brian Casel, Jennifer Bourn, Patrick Neve, and Jenny Beaumont all said that a flexible schedule was one of the best perks of freelancing. That flexibility means you can tackle family drama and finish work later. Or work extra hard now so you can take a three-day weekend. You’re not punching a clock and following someone else’s demands. You make your own rules, and that freedom allows freelancers to breathe easy.

That’s quite a boon to self care.

“The biggest ‘perk’ is just giving myself permission to prioritize self care,” says Michelle Schulp.

Get more insights on freelancer self care by reading the complete interviews with our experts:

So freelancers, take care of yourselves.

The post Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It appeared first on iThemes.

Powered by WPeMatico

WooCommerce: How Day of the Week Data Boosts Your Shop

Knowing day of the week data can improve your WooCommerce store. Do you know which days of the week are busiest for your e-commerce shop?

day of the week data

For example, restaurants are crazy busy on Saturday night and dead on Tuesday night. It’s pretty obvious: You can see the line out the door or the empty tables.

Those busy and quiet days aren’t so obvious with a WooCommerce store. You need solid “day of the week” data to sort out which days are popular and which aren’t.

How Does Day of the Week Data Help?

You better believe restaurants respond to their own day of the week data. They staff up on their busy days. They want to fill every table and keep them turning over. That means a top-notch, well-oiled staff of cooks, servers, bussers, and hosts. No restaurant manager in their right mind would start a rookie waiter on Saturday night.

Restaurants also react to low-traffic days. Tuesday nights are often ‘kids eat free’ nights, a marketing trick designed to lure in families on an otherwise slow night.

Online Day of the Week Data

The world of e-commerce is certainly different from the realm of restaurants. But day of the week data still matters.

E-commerce shopping studies for when people shop online reveal some helpful online shopping trends:

  • Monday brings in the most sales, followed by Sunday.
  • Consumers generally shop more at the beginning of the week than the end of the week.
  • The prime online shopping hour? 8 p.m.
  • Wednesdays and Tuesdays are the best day to email shoppers.

But that’s general data across a wide swath of e-commerce shops. The same trends may not hold true for your store.

All kinds of factors may mean a different trend in your shop. You need to know your own data. Don’t assume what works for other stores will work for yours. That’s a rabbit hole of poor decisions and poor results.

What Now?

OK, so day of the week data is helpful, and you need to find your own trends. Now what? How can your WooCommerce store take advantage of this day of the week data?

We’ve got five suggestions:

  • Big splash: If you want to make a big splash, launch your biggest initiatives on your biggest days. Roll out the big sales or the hot new products when you’ve got the most eyeballs.
  • Nice and easy: On the other hand, if you want to make sure a promotion is working or test a new product, launch on your slowest days.
  • What’s your goal: Have a goal in mind and experiment. If you want to make more money, is it smarter to boost your biggest sales day even higher or try to salvage a slow day? Pick one, try something, and see what happens. Your day of the week data will tell you what works and what doesn’t.
  • Staff up: Make sure your customer service is ready to respond on your busy days. You might need to shift schedules or plan creatively.
  • Fix it: Do your maintenance, updates, and training on your slowest days. Give yourself time to fix anything that goes wrong without worrying about jeopardizing your busy days.

You can make better decisions when you’ve got the right data.

Track Day of the Week Data with iThemes Sales Accelerator

Knowing your day of the week data can empower you to make the right changes to make your WooCommerce shop more profitable. But you can only do that with the right information. You need the right data, which you can get with our WooCommerce reporting plugin, iThemes Sales Accelerator. Sales by day of the week is one of the data points offered in our WooCommerce reports plugin, iThemes Sales Accelerator.

iThemes Sales Accelerator

Download iThemes Sales Accelerator

The post WooCommerce: How Day of the Week Data Boosts Your Shop appeared first on iThemes.

Powered by WPeMatico

18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

2018 is officially here. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Your WordPress website could probably benefit from some renewed attention and updates, and the New Year is the perfect time to revisit your business or blogging goals.

In this post, we offer 18 WordPress New Year’s resolutions if you’re in need of some inspiration. Choose one, tackle them all or write your own—you decide!

wp resolutions

The Key to Successful New Year’s Resolutions: SMART Goals

SMART Goals, described by Paul J. Meyer in his 2003 book, Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Apply the concept of SMART Goals to your New Year’s resolutions for the most success in achieving your goals.

18 New Years Resolutions for Your WordPress Website

  • 1. Start running scheduled, automated website backups.

Does your WordPress site have a reliable backup strategy in place? Are you relying on host backups alone?

Owning a website means protecting your online investment, and one of the best ways to do that is with something as seemingly boring as backups. WordPress doesn’t have a built-in backup system, so it’s up to WordPress admins to have a backup strategy in place.

A WordPress backup solution should offer these four components:

  1. A complete website backup. You need to backup your entire WordPress website installation (the database + all WP files). A database backup alone won’t cut it.
  2. Scheduled, automatic backups. Backups need to run automatically at scheduled intervals, depending on your site activity and traffic, like hourly, daily or weekly.
  3. Support for off-site backup storage. Backup files must be stored off-site in a safe, secure location, not on the same server as your website.
  4. A way to restore your website from a backup. If your website crashes, you need a way to restore your WordPress website quickly & easily from a backup file.

Note: While your website host may offer backup services, it’s important to know how their backup system stores your website data, how accessible it is to you (can you download the files yourself?) and how quickly support can restore your latest backup in the event of a server crash or error.

Tip: Install a WordPress backup plugin such as BackupBuddy. BackupBuddy was designed specifically to backup WordPress websites and also offers a real-time WordPress backup feature with Stash Live (included for free in BackupBuddy 7.0+). BackupBuddy offers customizable automatic backup schedules and supports multiple off-site storage destinations for your backups.
  • 2. Start practicing good WordPress security measures.

How secure is your WordPress site? Do you know the most common WordPress security issues? Spend some time this year to review WordPress security tips (such as using a reputable hosting provider and keeping your software updated) to minimize your risk of being hacked.

Tip: Install a WordPress security plugin such as iThemes Security. Run the WordPress security check feature to analyze your site and activate the recommended security settings.
  • 3. Update out-of-date themes, plugins and WordPress core.

Are you running out-of-date versions of WordPress core or any themes or plugins on your site? If so, you could be running software with known security vulnerabilities. While it may seem like a chore to keep up with constant updates, keeping everything updated is a very important part of maintaining your WordPress website.

Tip: Use a service like iThemes Sync to manage multiple WordPress sites. Instead of logging into each individual site, Sync gives you one dashboard to perform updates. Sync also sends daily update notification emails to let you know when new updates are available.
  • 4. Set up two-factor authentication.

Are you using two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login? If not, you may want to consider implementing this important security measure in 2018.

WordPress two-factor authentication (or WordPress 2-step verification) adds an important extra layer of protection to your WordPress site’s login and admin area by requiring 1) a password and 2) a secondary time-sensitive code to log in.

While it may seem like a hassle to add another component to your login, two-factor authentication is still one of the best ways to secure your login, making it nearly impossible to be compromised. At the very least, set up two-factor authentication on all online banking or financial accounts.

Learn more about WordPress two-factor authentication and how it works. The iThemes Security plugin offers two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login with support for multiple two-factor apps and other methods.
  • 5. Start using a password manager.

Are you using a password manager yet? If not, you might want to review these important reasons for why you should use a password manager (in addition to two-factor authentication) to protect your online identity. Adding a password manager to your online workflow may actually speed up your logins and give you peace of mind as well.

A password manager such as LastPass remembers your login information for you, allowing you to use complex passwords for all your logins across the web. Check out this recent free training webinar on Getting Started with LastPass.
  • 6. Blog more.

Blogging may fall to the bottom of your to-do list, especially when you’re juggling other high-priority tasks. But maybe 2018 is the year you resolve to blog more. Realistically, can you blog daily? Maybe twice-weekly? Maybe just weekly? Make it a priority to blog more frequently to bring in more traffic to your website.

Need blogging ideas and inspiration? Download our free ebook: Blogging Isn’t Dead: Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Power of Blogging.
  • 7. Develop an SEO strategy.

How’s your SEO strategy? Are you seeing success with your targeted keywords and phrases, qualifying leads through quality content? If not, and you need to brush up on your SEO knowledge, set aside time each week or month to work on your website’s SEO. Little changes can mean big results!

Check out this giant library of free SEO training with SEO Expert Rebecca Gill.
  • 8. Optimize images on my website.

One bad habit a lot of website owners get into is not optimizing the images they upload to use in their posts or pages. Do you know large image files can have a BIG impact on page load time? Are you optimizing your images for the web? Stop uploading huge image files to your website and optimize them instead. Even in the era of retina displays, images should still not climb above 500KB in size. Yikes.

Use a plugin such as Smush Image Compression and Optimization to resize, optimize and compress all of your images.
  • 9. Update my website’s design.

Is your blog looking tired or outdated? Is 2018 the year you need to roll out a new website design? Perhaps it’s time to overhaul your entire website, but maybe all that’s needed is to “freshen up” your theme or design.

It’s easy to get focused on design rather than content. If you aren’t blogging regularly, a new design can be a distraction from actually writing and producing content for your blog. Sometimes it’s best to work with the website you have now, make changes and get creative. Make some changes and get creative. At the end of the day, your goal as a blog owner is to focus on producing new high-quality content.

Check out this post for tips and ideas before you embark on a total redesign: 5 Ways to Freshen Up Your WordPress blog.
  • 10. Update my portfolio.

What did you accomplish in 2017? What major projects did you complete? Does your website reflect your latest client work or product releases? Resolve in 2018 to spend some time updating your portfolio with project photos, summaries and client testimonials.

  • 11. Get informed about Gutenberg.

A major update is coming soon to the WordPress. Do you know about the Gutenberg WordPress Editor? If you don’t know already, the Gutenberg a new page builder that is being designed to integrate with WordPress core. Gutenberg will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to every up-to-date WordPress website. When in use, it will replace TinyMCE as the default content editor. With Gutenberg, content is added in blocks of various types from the WordPress backend.

Spend some time in the next few months reading up on Gutenberg and preparing for how it will change the WordPress editor. Check out this post: The Gutenberg WordPress Editor: 10 Things You Need to Know.
  • 12. Get involved in WordPress community.

Did you know WordPress has a thriving online and in-person community? Are you participating? Have you attended a WordPress meetup or a WordCamp? These WordPress focused meetups and events bring WordPress users together to share knowledge, solve problems and network. Who knows! Maybe you’ll make a new friend or two.

Find your local WordPress Meetup group and check out the WordCamp Central schedule.
  • 13. Set up (and review) website analytics.

Do you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console properly set up on your website? What about WooCommerce analytics to track sales data for your store?

Analytics offers a ton of insights and clues as to what’s working (and what isn’t) and your website, but some website owners get quickly overwhelmed by the setup required and the data in the reports. Maybe this is the year you finally tackle your analytics and translate the data into actionable steps to improve your website and e-commerce performance.

Check out the recent 12 Days of Google Analtyics webinar to help sort through your data. Run a WooCommerce e-commerce shop? Install iThemes Accelerator, our new WooCommerce reports plugin, for instant in-dashboard analytic reports.
  • 14. Raise my prices.

Are you charging enough for the work you do? Have you raised your rates in the past 12 months? Why not?

You should raise your rates at least 5% a year. (Seriously!) Most markets can support a 5% increase in rates. Communicate your rate increase to your existing clients, and raise both your hourly rates and your service contracts in 2018.

Need help pricing your services or help in dealing with clients? Check out the Freelance Summit hosted by Nathan Ingram.
  • 15. Start building (and using) an email list.

Do you have an email list currently for your website or blog? Are you emailing that list consistently with updates, tutorials or promotions? Email is still one of best performing marketing platforms based on ROI, so spend some time in 2018 either building your email list, working on your email strategy and actually sending emails. To help build your email list, use an opt-in incentive such as a free download (think ebooks, templates, worksheets, videos, etc.)

Use a tool such as OptinMonster to help drive your email signups, then integrate OptinMonster with an email marketing service such as MailChimp.
  • 16. Write an ebook.

Writing an ebook can seem overwhelming. But if you already have a blog post series on a similar topic, you can easily compile those posts into an ebook. Ebooks downloads can be as simple as a PDF (if you’re not comfortable yet with EPUB or Kindle), and you can offer the download directly from your website as a way to build your email newsletter list and position yourself as an expert.

Some tools and services will do the work of compiling blog posts into ebooks for you. Check out Beacon, which also offers a WordPress plugin, to turn your blog posts into a well-designed PDF.
  • 17. Learn a new coding/design/marketing/other skill.

What do you want to learn in 2018? Do you need to improve your HTML, PHP, CSS or JavaScript skills? Web or UX design? Digital and content marketing? Set aside time each month (maybe Friday afternoons) to watch tutorials or take online classes. Be sure to track your progress and compare how far you’ve come in a year. Commit to constantly learning and growing in 2018.

Check out iThemes Training for professional WordPress training and other online training sites such as Lynda.com or Skillshare. If you don’t already have one yet (or if you haven’t used it in a while), take advantage of your local library card.
  • 18. Have more fun and practice self-care.

One of the most meaningful resolutions you can make this year is to have more fun and practice better self-care. This may mean different things to different people—from committing to eat healthier, exercise more, get outdoors, get better work/life balance or spend more time with the people you love. What do you enjoy doing? Do more of that. Maybe it’s finding a new hobby or returning to an old one that got lost in the midst of being a grown-up. How will you have fun and take care of yourself in 2018?

Check out our recent interviews with WordPress freelancers on freelancer self care. They share a ton of great advice and insights!

Here’s to an amazing 2018.

The post 18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 appeared first on iThemes.

Powered by WPeMatico

12 Ways to Boost Best Product Profit in WooCommerce

A successful entrepreneur figures out what’s working and does more of that. A successful WooCommerce store does the same thing. Pay attention to stats and optimize what’s working.

best product

Knowing your best product is an important indicator that can help you boost profits. It’s the kind of WooCommerce data you can track in our WooCommerce reporting plugin, iThemes Sales Accelerator.

We’ve got 12 suggestions to make more of your best products:

1. Figure Out Why

Before you run around trying to optimize your best product, you should figure out why that product is selling so well. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s a mystery. But the more you know about why that product is hot, the better you can optimize it.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • How long has the product been selling well? Is this a recent spike or has it always been a strong seller?
  • If it’s a recent spike, what might have caused that spike? Is it something internal (like a recent feature or sale) or external (new fad, cultural phenomenon, etc.)?
  • Is this a product you’d expect to do well or is it a surprise? Either answer can have helpful implications.
  • By what margin is it the best product? Is it just edging out other products or is it an order of magnitude better? You don’t want to single out and double down on a product that is only doing marginally better than other products in your store.

As you figure out why this product is doing so well, you can start to narrow in on areas for improvement. For example, if one of your marketing emails caused the spike, you better take a close look at that email and see if you can replicate the results. If your best product is a surprise, you should look at your audience and try to sort out if this is a fluke or if you missed something key about what your audience wants.

2. Create Best Product Content

Keep the sales of your best product going by creating content focused on that product. You’ll boost your SEO and increase conversions by educating consumers. You also set yourself up as an expert.

Ideally, your best product is a natural fit in your store, so all of this content helps boost your status as an expert in your category.

If your best product is an outlier, then you should tread carefully. Think about how this product connects to the rest of your store and focus on those connections. You want the success of this product to spread to the rest of your store.

3. Invest in Successful Referrals

Look at your site analytics and pay attention to what’s driving traffic to your best product. Invest in the top performing channels and dump the underperforming ones.

For example, if SEO is driving sales, you might invest in Google AdWords and redouble your SEO efforts. If sales aren’t coming from social media, maybe you stop trying so hard and definitely ditch the Facebook ads.

4. Featured Product

Are you highlighting this product on your homepage or featuring it in other areas? You want to sort out whether or not this exposure is helping create your top-selling product or whether it’s something else.

If featuring is driving your best products, then you can be extremely strategic about what you feature and when. If you feature another product, will it become the best seller? Pay very close attention to what you feature and how well it sells, and be careful that your experiments don’t kill off sales.

If what you feature has little impact on your best products, then you can safely experiment with highlighting other products, knowing that you’re not risking your big sales.

5. Who’s Buying?

A good store knows its customers. So who’s buying your best product? Are you seeing regular customers coming back for more or is this a steady stream of newbies?

If you’ve got regular customers driving your best seller, you want to figure out everything you can about those regulars so you can create more regulars. You should also make sure you’re keeping those regulars happy.

If you’re bringing in newbies, then you need to worry about two things: First, are you doing everything you can to make them repeat customers? Second, it might be a product that doesn’t generate repeat sales, so what can you do to generate even more newbies?

6. Power Up Profitability

So you’ve got a product that’s selling well. Are you making as much money as you can on that product? Now is a good time to look at the margin on this product and see if you can make more money on a successful product.

You’re moving a greater quantity, so maybe you can negotiate a better wholesale price. Or maybe you should research a cheaper source (though be careful not to sacrifice quality).

If this is a product you create, look at getting a better deal on the materials. Or buy in bulk to get better deals. Are there ways you can optimize your production process? Figure out ways to make the product cheaper so you can increase your profit per unit.

It’s a lot of work to optimize your profitability on every single product, but you can maximize that effort by focusing on your best product.

7. Experiment With Pricing

Once you maximize profitability on your best product, it’s time to experiment with pricing. You now have the most latitude to change the price. Remember: Dropping the price is not the only solution. Raising the price could be a very real approach to make more money.

Pricing is always a challenge. It’s tempting to overthink or assume that cheaper is always better. That’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes customers are willing to pay more than you think they will. And sometimes a lower price will drive enough sales to make up for the lower profit margin.

Don’t just guess. Test different pricing strategies and gauge the results.

8. Efficient Shipping

How often do you order something small from Amazon and it comes in a giant box three-fourths full of that air pillow packaging? It’s hardly efficient. (Though knowing Amazon, they’re probably taking advantage of some archaic shipping loophole and saving money, even if it is a total waste.) You’re shipping a lot of your best product, so make sure your shipping is the best.

Take a look at how you’re shipping your best product and see if you can maximize your efficiency. Maybe there’s a better sized box or a better way to package it that can reduce costs.

9. Up-Sells, Cross-Sells & Bundles

Once a customer makes the decision to buy, a standard sales technique is to get them to buy more. There are a number of strategies that can help you make more money with your best product.

  • Up-sell: If you like our best product, you’ll love our better product! Suggest a different version of your best product that has more features or a higher profit margin.
  • Cross-sell: Since you’re buying our best product, you’ll also need these. Offer a complementary product the customer will need anyway. Such as cables with a new TV, a case with a new phone, etc.
  • Bundle: Get our best product along with this other awesome product and save! Pitch your best product along with another frequently purchased product and offer a discount for buying them together.

All of these options can be ways to increase your average order value, one of the 10 WooCommerce data points you need to follow.

10. Diversify What’s Best

If your best product is a red knit hat, maybe you should sell other knit hats. Experiment with other colors and patterns. Figure out what’s the draw and then consider other factors you can vary.

This is the standard product cycle for really popular fads. Imagine the fidget spinner:

  • First the plain, boring product takes off and sells like crazy.
  • Then variations are introduced, fun colors and new patterns.
  • Then cheap knockoffs and expensive premium versions (gold plated!) hit the market.
  • Then more complicated variations come out, like the mini fidget spinner or the light up version (glow-in-the-dark or light up versions usually mark the end of any toy fad).
  • Finally, the more enterprising latch onto the fidget toy factor and start offering a broader range of fidget toys.

Chasing fads can be exhausting, but on a smaller scale offering variations of a popular product can be a way to drive sales.

11. Best Category

Your best product is an obvious focus, but you should also pay attention to your best category. Top product categories will tell you why people are coming to your store. That can help you make better choices about what products to offer, what to highlight, where and how to advertise, how to grow your store, and more.

12. Optimize Your Entire Store

It can be tempting to chase your best product in hopes of boosting your profits. But don’t do it at the expense of your store. Popular products may come and go. Your store is a long-term investment.

Use your sales data to identify those best products and make the most of them. But make sure those efforts also benefit your store over the long haul. Grow your customer base. Build relationships with customers. Focus on the fundamentals.

Optimize your product page so you can get better conversions on your best products, but those improvements can also help across your entire store.

Extra Tip: Don’t Be Myopic

It’s easy to be seduced by the exponential sales of a best product. You should capitalize on those opportunities, but recognize them for what they are. Every fad is a bubble that will one day pop.

Milk your best product, but also be looking for the next best product. Remember that you’re growing an entire store, not selling a single product.

Track Best Product Sales Data with iThemes Sales Accelerator

Knowing your best product can empower you to make the right changes to make more money. But you can only do that with the right information. You need the right data, which you can get with our WooCommerce reporting plugin, iThemes Sales Accelerator.

iThemes Sales Accelerator

Download iThemes Sales Accelerator

The post 12 Ways to Boost Best Product Profit in WooCommerce appeared first on iThemes.

Powered by WPeMatico

WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017

In this post, we round up the most cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins added to the WordPress Plugin Directory from July to December of 2017. This roundup includes our top picks from each month so you’ll have a “best of” recap of our favorite new plugins.

1. Postmenu

The Postmenu plugin allows you to duplicate/clone posts, pages, menus or menu links (items of menu). Easily add your posts or pages to the menus and control who can see the content on the web using “User Roles” in the menu.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • An incredibly powerful plugin that does a number of useful admin tasks.
  • Adds 3 options to the post/page list:
    • Duplicate – copies the post/page as is with –copy appended to the title
    • Advanced Duplicate – specify the new title, slug and other items to be copied
    • Menu Link – opens a UI to the menu editor right in the post/page list
  • Also adds Duplicate, Duplicate and Edit, and Advanced Duplicate to the Add New button in the post/page editor
  • On the Settings > Postmenu page:
    • Control where the postmenu functions are displayed and what roles can access them
    • Duplicate full menus

2. WP Pexels

wp pexels plugin

The WP Pexels plugin helps you search millions of free photos from pexels.com then insert into content or set as featured image very quickly.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Pexels.com is a free stock art website with some excellent images
  • Super easy setup – just activate the plugin. It adds a button in the WordPress editor
  • Not the most intuitive interface, but not bad either.
  • Search for your image – pagination is handled by a drop down (not the best UI)
  • Select your image and you get three options
    • Insert – inserts the image into the page or post directly from Pixabay (does not add it to the media library)
    • Save & Insert – saves the image to your media library and inserts the image into the page or post (only available in the Pro Version – $15)
    • Featured – saves the image to the media library and sets it as featured image.
  • Similar plugin available from same author for Pixabay, but limited to 640px images.

3. WP YouTube Video Optimizer

The WP YouTube Video Optimizer plugin gives you the ability to optimize the YouTube videos on your website. By default, if you use the direct embed code, then it downloads the YouTube player on every occurrence of a YouTube video. This plugin shows a video thumbnail to your viewer and loads the YouTube video only when the user clicks the play icon.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Could dramatically increase page load speed on pages containing videos.
  • Lots of shortcode parameters available and well explained on the plugin page.

4. Snippy

Use the Snippy plugin to quickly create your own custom shortcodes. A Snippy shortcode is built by combining bits. A bit can be a file, like a Stylesheet or a Script, or a piece of code, like HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The “code” bits can contain placeholders, which are automatically made accessible as shortcode attributes.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Super helpful plugin to set up shortcodes without having to get into PHP.
  • Create buttons, reusable calls to action and more simply.
  • A powerful way to customize a site for a client.

5. Media Library Organizer

The Media Library Organizer plugin is a simple, effective WordPress plugin that allows you to categorize and search images, video and other media in your WordPress Media Library.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A very handy plugin if your site has lots of media files.
  • Remembers user preferences on sorting and sort order.

6. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

The Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin allows you to resize, optimize and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher, brought to you by WPMU DEV.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Probably the best image optimizer for WordPress.
  • Image compression is offloaded to the WPMU servers so your site isn’t affected.
  • Recently directory smushing has been added to handle images outside the media library too … pretty sweet.

7. Admin Select Box To Select2

Admin Select Box To Select2

The Admin Select Box To Select2 plugin is used to convert all simple select boxes to select2.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Adds a searchable box to the top of all standard select boxes in the WordPress admin.
  • Can be very helpful if you have long lists of taxonomies or dates that you need to quickly filter through.

8. Classic Editor The First of (Probably) Many Gutenberg Replacements

wordpress classic editor plugin

The Classic Editor plugin restores the previous Edit Post screen and makes it possible to use the WordPress plugins that extend it, add old-style meta boxes or otherwise depend on the previous editor.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • This plugin allows you to turn off the Gutenberg WordPress editor entirely or use the classic editor on only certain pages or posts.
  • Uses Add New (Classic) and Edit (Classic) in a mixed use scenario.
  • Checkbox to turn off Gutenberg is under Settings > Writing.

9. Tabify Edit Screen

tabify edit screen plugin

With the Tabify Edit Screen plugin, you can make your post edit screen easier to navigate and manage by creating a set of tabs.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • It may take a moment to see how this plugin works, but once you do, it offers some splendid customization options for the page and post editor screens.
  • Move metaboxes to tabs within the settings screen.
  • Works for custom post types.
  • Control who can see tabs based on role.

10. Install FitVids – Embed fluid width Videos

The Install Fitvids plugin allows you to add responsive video embeds on your blog.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • The ability to oEmbed videos from YouTube and other media by simply placing the URL on its own line in the content is a nice feature of WordPress.
  • However, embedded videos are usually smaller than the content width and may not look fantastic as a result. And changing the width can be confusing for some.
  • This plugin installs the FitVid javascript which will automagically make all your videos go full width.

11. WP Optin Wheel

wp-optin-wheel-plugin

The WP Optin Wheel plugin can help grow your email list by offering your visitors a chance to win a coupon, or link through spinning the wheel of fortune. Users have reported that their signup rate increased by 20%!

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Creative way to increase mailing list signups.
  • Only available as a pop-up in free version. Pro version offers more options.
  • Pro version of WP Optin Wheel available starting at €35/year for one site.

12. WP Shapes

With the WP Shapes plugin, you can add a transparent image using a shortcode and make the inline content wrap around the images on one side left or right. Content looks in a shape based on the image.

Nathan’s Notes:

Watch the Webinar: WordPress Plugin Roundup – Best of July – December 2017

This post is based on the Best of July – December 2017 Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan demonstrates how to use each of these plugins so you can get a better idea of how they work. Check out the entire series of monthly WordPress Plugin Roundup posts here & register for the next Plugin Roundup webinar here.

The post WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017 appeared first on iThemes.

Powered by WPeMatico