How To Create a Coupon Code site with WordPress
Today, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of creating your WordPress coupon site with no coding skills or special technical knowledge required.
Everyone likes a bargain, and this day and age, shoppers are becoming ever savvier when it comes to searching for the best deals. So it’s no wonder you’re now planning to create a coupon code site with WordPress. After all, as an affiliate marketing tool, it can be an easy and effective way to grab yourself a slice of that multi-billion dollar pie known as the eCommerce industry, all without having to deal with the trials and tribulations of running your own online store.
What’s the Easiest Way to Create a Coupon Code Site With WordPress?
Ignoring the complicated and expensive option of paying a developer to code up a bespoke solution, you have two main options for building your coupon site:
- Use a WordPress coupon theme
- Use your existing theme with a coupon plugin.
In our experience, using a purpose-built theme like Clipper proves to be the easier option, especially if you’re building your site from scratch. Once installed, you’ll have all the tools you need to not only add and manage your coupons but to present them in the kind of user-friendly way that leads to a successful website.
However, if you already have a site set up and simply want to add codes to it, then using a coupon plugin may be the best way to go. That way, you can add on the features without having to completely revamp your design.
The good news is that both options are relatively easy, making it possible for even complete beginners to create a quality coupon site.
Here’s how it’s done:
Using a WordPress Coupon Theme
WordPress themes combine all the design and functionality elements of your website into one complete package, which you can then edit and customize as you see fit. A quick search online will reveal literally scores of themes specifically designed to help you build your WordPress coupon site.
Out of them all, we prefer Clipper, a popular theme from AppThemes, the same team behind other single-function themes like JobRoller. Today, we’ll focus on building a site using this theme. If you choose a different one, you’ll find that there will be some differences in how things look and operate, though many of the basic steps you’ll need to take should be fairly similar.
1. Download and Install the Theme
Assuming you’ve already installed WordPress on your hosting server, your first task is to download Clipper from the AppThemes website. The theme will come in a zip file with a readme file and a second zip file inside.
Unpack this second zip file. Then, from your WordPress dashboard, click ‘Appearance’ in the left-hand menu, then go to install themes > upload.
With that done, upload and activate your theme, and you’re ready to start configuring it.
2. Configure Your Theme
Looking at your left-hand menu, you’ll notice two new options:
First, we’re going to dive into Clipper, which offers you everything you need to customize the look and feel of your website, as well as manage multiple functionality options.
After a quick look at your dashboard, head into ‘Settings.’ This is divided into four key areas:
Here, you can take your pick from five different preset color schemes, connect your social media accounts, and change your logo and favicon.
Prevent spam by enabling reCaptcha and customize options for reporting expired costs.
If you’re combining coupon affiliate programs with general PPC advertising, here’s where you’ll manage your ad placements.
By default, Clipper automatically uses link cloaking to mask your affiliate IDs from links. If you want to change this setting, the ‘Advanced’ tab is where you’ll do it.
Elsewhere in your Clipper menu, you’ll have the ability to configure email notifications (such as for new user registrations), import any coupon codes you already have, and view general system information about your WordPress set-up.
Unless something goes wrong, you can likely get away with running your site for years without ever using this last tool, though the first two may prove useful from time to time.
The importer is especially helpful if you already have a bunch of codes ready to populate your new site. All you need is to format them in a CSV file and upload it to your site.
Manage Your Coupons
Now we can take a look at the Coupons menu.
If you’ve used WordPress posts or pages in the past, then this should look very familiar to you.
By default, the Coupons menu lists all of your existing coupons, including those published live on your site, those still in draft form, and those scheduled to be published at a later date.
Each entry in the menu provides an at-a-glance look at all the relevant coupon information, including:
- Store Name
- Coupon Code
As with posts and pages, you can click on each individual coupon to edit it, or use the other options in this menu to add new coupons as well as managing your tags and categories.
As you go about the day-to-day business of managing your site, this is where you’ll spend most of your time creating and maintaining your list of coupons.
For now, you can use it to populate your site with any coupon codes you already have, and voila, your new site will be ready to launch.
Creating a Coupon Code Site With a WordPress Plugin
Themes like Clipper may make it easy to build a dedicated, single-purpose coupon site with WordPress, but we get it:
They’re not for everyone.
Maybe you’re already running a website around a particular niche and simply want to add a section where visitors can access coupon codes for a select number of affiliate partners. Installing a coupon-based theme right now would mess up the rest of your site, so it’s just not an option, is it?
Or perhaps you’re just not particularly smitten with Clipper’s design and don’t want your new venture to look exactly the same as every coupon site out there. You’d rather use that beautiful theme you found on your own and add coupon functionality to it.
Again, you’ve got a wealth of options at your disposal here.
If you’re already running WooCommerce on your website, then the Advanced Coupons plugin comes highly recommended. This lightweight add-on enhances WooCommerce’s existing coupon features so that you can run coupons for deals such as Buy One, Get One Free, and free shipping.
If you’re not using WooCommerce, then the popular Coupon Creator plugin is your next best option, and it’s this tool that we’ll focus on today.
Here’s how it works:
1: Install Coupon Creator
You can either download the plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory and upload it to your site or, to make things easier, go select the plugins option from the left-hand menu on your WordPress dashboard. From there, go to add new and type ‘Coupon Creator’ into the right-hand search bar.
Done right, this will bring up the plugin as the first search result. All you need to then is click ‘install now’ followed by ‘activate.’
2. Add New Coupon
This will create a new option in your left-hand menu called ‘Coupons.’
Select this, followed by ‘Add New’, and start creating your first coupon.
Along with a help tab that features some handy troubleshooting tips and tutorials in case you get stuck, you have four main sets of options to play around with here. These include:
Here’s where you can decide whether to create a text or image-based coupon, describe the offer (for example, 50% off or free shipping when you use code WPLIFT), outline the terms and conditions, and customize the color of your text.
Border and Background
As the name implies, this tab gives you some style options to tweak the look of your coupon.
By default, every coupon you create is set to run for an unlimited time period. If you need to, you can use this option to set an expiration date and even flip between the standard US date format (MM/DD/YY) and the typical format used in other countries (DD/MM/YY).
Here’s where you can add links to your affiliate partners.
Underneath the main tabs, you’ll find tools that help you optimize your coupons for social media and search engines. It’s best to only use these tools if you know what you’re doing as they can be a little complicated.
To the right-hand side, you’ll be able to set the category (or multiple categories) for your coupon to help your website visitors find it.
3. Adding Coupons to Your Posts and Pages
Once you’ve created your coupons, you now have two options for adding them to your website pages and blog posts.
1. Use the Add Coupon Button
After opening the post or page you want to add a coupon too, you’ll find a new button labeled ‘Add Coupon’ next to the usual ‘Add Media’ button. This is the quickest and most simple way to post your coupons.
2. Use Shortcodes
Alternatively, you can use shortcodes.
When you head to your main coupons page, you’ll see that each individual coupon has its own shortcode.
Simply copy these codes and paste them into your site, and you’re good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions About Creating a WordPress Coupon Code Site
Can I Use WooCommerce to Create Coupon Codes?
Yes, technically you can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best option.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin available, empowering users with everything they need to turn basic WordPress websites into dynamic online stores.
The plugin comes with its own basic set of coupon tools, but these are tailored towards helping store owners off discounts on their own products.
Sure, it might be possible to use WooCommerce coupons to promote third-party affiliate offers, but the results will be nowhere near as effective or as elegant as you’d get using a purpose-built theme or plugin.
How do Coupon Sites Make Money?
The majority of discount coupon websites make their money through a process called affiliate marketing.
To increase sales, many companies offer affiliate programs that website owners can sign up to. In doing so, they agree to promote that company’s products and services in exchange for a commission fee.
For example, you might sign up as an affiliate of a company selling high street fashion. You add a coupon to your website, advertising 30% off that company’s range of summer dresses. When a shopper uses that coupon to buy a dress, the company pays you 5% of the profits.
Final Thoughts: Building a Coupon Code Website is Just the Start
If you’ve read this far, then you’ve no doubt learned everything you need to know to get started on creating a coupon site of your own.
You’ve learned that it takes no special knowledge and no ability to code. You’ve also likely got some idea in mind about whether you’re going to use a purpose-made theme or simply utilize one of the countless WordPress coupon plugins available.
Whichever approach you use, there’s one final thing we need to remind you of:
Building your coupon site is only the start.
‘If you build it, they will come’ may be fine for Kevin Costner movies, but it sadly doesn’t apply when it comes to attracting visitors to your website. Instead, you’ll need to invest just as much effort -if not more- into marketing and promoting your website.
Social media, email newsletters, and PPC advertising will all prove invaluable in building an audience for your site, turning it from just another coupon platform to a powerful affiliate tool that generates revenue for you while helping your visitors find those all-important bargains.