There are millions of bloggers write about WordPress tutorials. The major objective for them is to promote relevant products and earn sales commission through affiliate marketing. Almost every single WordPress tutorial site out there offers deals and coupons related to WordPress themes, plugins and hosting services. However, there are no dedicated plugin that offers all required features for creating a coupon site. After searching and trying, we found WP Coupons plugin and here is a genuine review after using the plugin for some time.
Coupon Plugins Vs Coupon Themes
You have two options for creating a deals and coupons website.
- Plugins – use a coupon plugin to add additional deal pages in your existing site. In this way, you can keep your existing site and install additional plugin on the same WordPress installation. Generally, coupon plugins do not slow down the site and integrate smoothly with an existing theme.
- Themes – if you are planning to launch a complete coupons website then purchase a coupon themes like CouponXL from themeforest. You will have plenty of options to customize coupons based on vendors, stores, etc.
Plugins are the ideal way for creating deals and coupons pages in WordPress site, as you need a blog to drive traffic to your coupon pages. If you are planning to use paid advertising then consider using a full-fledged theme.
Why WP Coupons Plugin?
In our earlier article, we have explained how to create a coupon or deal page using WP Coupons and Deals plugin. However, after testing different plugins we found WP Coupons stand out from the crowd due to the following reasons.
- Lightweight plugin, the zip download is around 121KB in size.
- Beautiful archive layout with multiple options to customize the view.
- Attractive single coupon cards that can easily improve your click through rate (and hence your affiliate earnings).
- Nominal price, on top with 30% discount.
- Decent documentation and demo pages.
- The developers Brain Jackson and Brett Jackson are the brothers behind the marketing blog woorkup.com which also uses the plugin. In addition, they also own the perfmatters performance optimization plugin.
- The plugin is existing and continuously developed for the past 4+ years.
Purchasing WP Coupons Plugin
WP Coupons plugin is not offered through free WordPress repository. You have to purchase it directly from the developer’s website.
- Go to WP Coupons website and click on the “Buy Now” button.
- This will take you to the pricing plans page.
- Select your plan based on the number of websites you want to use.
- On the checkout page, make sure to enter any coupon codes if you have and purchase the plugin.
- After purchasing, you can login to your account and download the plugin file and get the license key.
WP Coupons offers three pricing plans based on the number of sites you want to install the plugin. For a single site, you can get the plugin for $29.95 per year. In our opinion, this is a nominal price for a good plugin.
Most of the time you will get some discount deal on their website. You can enter the discount coupon during the checkout process to get the discounted price.
All plans come with one year free support and plugin updates. After the expiry, you can get 15% discount on the renewal price by default.
Installing and Activating
Installing WP Coupons is similar to any other plugins on your WordPress site.
- Go to “Plugins > Add New” section in your WordPress admin panel and upload the zip file you have downloaded from WP Coupons website. The zip file should be with the name “wp-coupons.zip”.
- Alternatively, you can unzip the file and upload the extracted folder inside “/wp-content/plugins/” directory. You can do this by using File Manager app from hosting account or remotely logging to your server using FTP client.
After installing and activating the plugin, it will create a menu item called “Coupons” in the sidebar. In addition to this, the plugin also creates an item “WP Coupons” under “Settings” menu. Using these menu items, you can create and manage all coupons on your site.
First thing you need is to activate the plugin by entering the license key under “Coupons > Settings > License” settings.
This activation will be linked instantly to your account on WP Coupons site. In case if you want to install the plugin on different site after activating, you can deactivate it first and use on another site.
How the Plugin Works?
Before we explain how to use the plugin for creating your coupons, it is necessary for you to understand how this plugin works. Because it works completely different than WP Coupons and Deals plugin.
- WP Coupons will create a custom post type on your site named “coupons”. All your single coupons are similar to standard WordPress posts with a custom post type coupons.
- You can add categories (called as Types) and tags to the custom coupon post type when creating content.
- You can use shortcodes to insert single coupon anywhere on the site.
- All categories will be automatically linked to an archive index page with filter. This is a master index that shows all coupons like blog index in standard WordPress site.
In addition to automatic index page, you can also create custom archive pages using shortcodes and customize the appearance.
In summary, you have to create coupon pages similar to creating posts. There are customization options to redirect the coupon page directly to the affiliate product page which we will explain in the below sections.
Go to “Coupons > Settings” or “Settings > WP Coupons” section to view all the available plugin settings. You can customize the archive, single coupon and style each element on the coupon card. Plugin settings contains five sections:
- Display Options
- Style Options
- Link to your coupons page
Let us briefly check the available options under these section.
Under this section, you can control the display behavior of the coupons archive, single coupons page and single coupon panel.
Coupon Archive Settings:
Here are some important stuffs you can do with “Display Options”:
- Choose whether you want to use custom template for coupon page or use your theme’s post or page template.
- Change the slug for the archive URL. By default, the plugin uses “coupons”, you can change this to “deals” or “offers” as per your convenient.
- Choose archive layout design – default is 3 columns layout and multiple options are available like list, compact, 4 or 5 columns, etc.
- Limit the number of coupons of the archive page and select the order for sorting the coupons.
Single Coupon Display Options
Similar to archive, you can also customize single coupon page:
- Select custom or post/page template for coupon page.
- Choose where you want to show the coupon card. There are three options available – top, right and left. We recommend you to test these positions and choose the best layout for your site. However, you can change the layout per coupon from the editor when creating a coupon.
- Show or hide title and breadcrumb. You can also use Yoast breadcrumb with WP Coupons plugin. This is a very good option that the breadcrumb will automatically link to the archive index page with filters.
Single Coupon Panel Options
This is an important section, you should customize properly as coupon panel is displayed on single page, archives and optionally on the widget. You can hide or show different sections like expiration date and set the link behavior. It is possible to directly link to the affiliate product page or your coupon page or splitting to link both in the coupons. You can also change the behavior of each coupon and customize accordingly from the editor.
This configuration section has two parts – one is to customize the coupon page by adjusting the width, padding and force the widgets. Second is to customize the layout and options for showing related coupons. You can show related coupons only on the coupon pages or on all posts on your site. This is a good option for increasing your affiliate sale by showing coupons below the content on each post.
The plugin allows you customize the color and font size of each element on the coupon panel. However, some elements are using common style that may look good on the single coupon but not on the archive page. You can text by using various colors and font size to finalize the design for your coupons.
Here you can customize options to use additional features on the coupon and archive page like enable click to copy for coupon code, add nofollow, exclude coupons from default search function, etc.
We have already explained that you need to activate license under the “License” tab. The last tab is a link that shows the coupon index URL on your site. You can click on it to open in the coupons page in a new browser tab.
As you can see the small plugin has extensive options to customize everything what you need. This is a reason we feel the plugin is a good option for affiliate bloggers who want to create deals page on their blog.
Creating Single Coupon
All the above settings are applied globally and you can customize the behavior of single coupon when creating from the editor.
- Go to “Coupons > Add New” menu and create a new coupon page.
- Create your content and assign category (Type), tags, featured images.
- Add details on the “Coupons Panel” meta box. Remember, the settings here will overwrite the global settings as explained above.
- Preview and publish your coupon page.
You can get the shortcode for single coupon and insert anywhere on your site. The plugin will also create a sample coupon code page, make sure to delete or update the page with proper content. Below is the coupon created with WP Coupons plugin and you can check out the complete coupon page here.
Coupon Archive Page
The plugin will automatically create coupon index page and use the “Types” for filtering. When you use the plugin’ template, you can add content to the archive page under “Coupons > Settings > Extras” section. Otherwise, you can create your archive page and use the shortcode to customize the display view. Check out the coupon archive page created with this plugin.
Checkout this article on their site on how to use archive and single coupon shortcode with multiple options.
Using Coupon Widget
WP Coupons also offers a coupon widget that you can use to showcase your coupon on the sidebar or footer. The beauty is that you can show different coupon on different blog posts by selecting it in the post editor (note, this is for individual blog post and not on the coupon page).
Support and Documentation
The plugin offers decent knowledge base and demo that you can check to confirm how the functionalities work. In addition, you can create support through their website to get response over email. We have reported an issue regarding the direct linking feature was not working. The developer Brett responded within a day and agree to fix the issue.
We have also requested additional feature to include list view for individual coupon that always show in the card view. The author included this feature in the next update which is a good sign of hearing out customers need.
Other Notable Features
- The plugin will create automatic archive page with filters, you can also disable this feature and create custom archive page.
- WP Coupons plugin allows you to use Yoast SEO breadcrumb. This is very useful to link breadcrumb trails to coupon index page with corresponding filters. Remember, many plugins like CM Tooltip Glossary does not link glossary index in breadcrumb. You have to hire their developers to build the breadcrumb even though the plugin is a premium plugin.
- Similarly, you can include coupon/archive URLs in XML Sitemap for indexing in Google.
- If you do not have content to create a coupon page, it is possible to use direct links. This will help the coupon linking the affiliate URL directly instead of your coupon page.
- You can force or randomize the coupon on the sidebar widget on each blog post. This is useful when you have reviews about the product and want to show affiliate coupon on the sidebar.
- It is also easy to auto update the plugin from admin panel after license activation.
Though the plugin is good for creating coupon pages, we feel there could be improvements in some areas:
- Documentation is very simple with few paragraphs and images. This is not sufficient for many users to understand the extensive features of the plugin.
- Some demos for direct linking or split linking can help users to get the meaning instead of explaining with text.
- Custom page layout can have more options to insert coupon like after title, after content, etc. The available three options (top, right and left) is not sufficient for all the cases.
- By default, you can’t use sticky widget to fix it when scrolling the content. You need another plugin for this purpose. As the plugin has custom template, probably this option can be part of the settings to avoid using additional plugin.
- Coupon shortcode is only available in individual page and not on the list page of the admin section “Coupons > Coupons”. Every time you have to edit the coupons page and get the shortcode which is a hassle.
There is also a huge feature request available on their site which you can refer if you want to suggest any new feature for the plugin.