Basic installation and configuration of the Coil Web Monetization plugin

Introduction

Welcome! This post is the second in a series about Web Monetization and WordPress.

Table of contents

In this article, we’ll start with a fresh, default installation of WordPress. We’re going to end up with a web monetized site that can receive real funds. We’ll walk through all the steps in between so you can follow along and get up and running with your own site. Whilst I’m using a fresh, default WordPress install here, most of the steps will apply to adding Web Monetization to an existing site.

Preparation

What you’ll need:

  1. A computer, an internet connection and an up to date browser – Chrome, Firefox or Brave will all work fine.
  2. A fresh WordPress install you have administrator access to – available to access on the web. For the sake of simplicity, I recommend that if you want to follow along with the tutorials, you use a fresh install with the latest version of WordPress, a default theme (2021 currently) and no plugins. You can use your existing site but some themes and page builders will deviate from the tutorial screenshots. Some themes and page builders may not even work with the Coil plugin (the world of WordPress is wondrously varied). I’m actually going to use a theme I really like called Blocksy which I find super flexible and nice to use.
  3. A government-issued ID – you’ll need this to open an account with Uphold to receive funds.
  4. A way to see the Web Monetization in action as a visitor to the site. You don’t need this to start receiving funds but obviously it’s useful to be able to see it working!
    1. Coil account ($5/mo at Coil or grab a free trial by contacting me here) so that you can see Web Monetization in action.
    2. https://testWeb Monetizationnetization.com/ gives you a way to test without having to have a Coil account.

The end goal

Actually there are only two steps you need to take to Web Monetization your site.

  1. Create a digital wallet – there aren’t many providers that support Interledger/Web Monetization yet. We’ll use a service called Uphold. Note that we’re starting with by far the hardest and most clunky part of the whole thing – please don’t get put off by this initial step!
  2. Implement a meta tag in your website’s header – we’re going to use the Coil Web Monetization plugin to do this but if you prefer you can just implement the header through your theme or via a script management plugin. There are advantages to using the Coil plugin around ease of management, flexibility to control Web Monetization and a way to receive updates to the implementation if that does evolve over time. 

Tutorial

  1. Go to Uphold (affiliate link or just go to https://uphold.com/)
  2. Create a digital wallet (follow the guide here to do this – it’ll take 10 mins or so: https://Web Monetizationnetization.org/docs/uphold/). Make sure to keep a copy of your payment pointer handy!
  3. Log into WordPress admin panel
  4. Add Coil plugin (search “​​Coil Web Monetization”, install, activate)
Screenshot of a WordPress admin screen showing the Coil Web Monetization plugin
Screenshot of a WordPress admin plugin search screen showing the Coil Web Monetization plugin
  1. Go to Coil settings and add your payment pointer from step 1
A screenshot of the Coil Web Monetization's main settings page in a WordPress admin screen
A screenshot of the Coil Web Monetization’s main settings page in a WordPress admin screen
  1. By default, your site is now ‘Web Monetized and public’ which means that everyone can still read your content but that Web Monetization will still kick in.
  2. You can test this by visiting the front end of your website (make sure you either have your Coil add on setup and connected to your Coil account or use the Simulate Monetization bookmarklet from the preparation step 4 above.

The end result of all this is that you should see the browser add-on wake up and start transferring funds as per the screenshot below.

A screenshot of a website with the browser in view and the Coil web monetization browser add on showing that funds are flowing successfully
A screenshot of a website with the browser in view and the Coil web monetization browser add on showing that funds are flowing successfully

Troubleshooting

  • If you’re not using a default WordPress theme (TwentyTwenty, etc) then you may need to adjust your CSS selectors to match your theme. There’s guidance within the Coil plugin to show you how to change these.
  • Have you installed the Coil browser add on and connected to a funded Coil.com account? Or used the test bookmarklet?
  • If you have any other issues, shout out in the comments below!

Conclusion

We’re done! You’ve Web Monetized your site and completed by far and away the hardest part of this whole content series – nice work! To recap:

  1. We created a new digital wallet
  2. We installed the Coil WordPress plugin and connected it to your new payment pointer
  3. We enabled Web Monetization on your whole site

Good work. Hit me up on Twitter and ask me to visit your site and see the funds being received!

What’s next?

In the next article, we’ll use the Coil WordPress plugin to add some nuance to how we monetize the site. We’ll create a new custom post type and then selectively monetize your site by post type. This is a powerful way to evolve your site’s Web Monetization strategy.

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