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22 out of every 100 new domains registered operate out of WordPress because of its usability and plethora of plug-ins. Between SEO tools, social icons, and miscellaneous additions, a writer can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Here are our top picks for plug-ins and why they will make your (blogging) life easier.
Shortly after a blog article is published it tends to disappear into the void, only to be seen in the occasional reference or internal link. This plug-in matches related title keywords, body keywords, tags and categories to give readers options of similar articles to read. It lowers your bounce rate and brings old articles back into the sunlight. After all, you work so hard on those articles, don’t let them fall into the abyss shortly after getting published.
If you don’t want to toy with related posts based off of keywords and titles, try the Popular Posts plug-in. Like the prom king and queen from high school, the popular posts are regularly brought to the front of your site based on a predetermined time frame. Do you write regularly and post several articles a day? Set the plug-in on popular posts in the past 24 hours. Do you only get around to posting once a week or so? Set it for 30 days and guide viewers to both your most recent posts and evergreen posts that still get a lot of traffic.
This plug-in also brings traffic to old posts by periodically tweeting out old articles. You determine how often and what the format is and then let the plug-in take over. One of the most important features of this app is the Exclude Posts view to pick out the non-evergreen articles that you want to keep in the past. You don’t want “2008 Social Media Predictions: MySpace is Here to Stay!” getting unironically shared with followers.
Bloggers live for comments, nothing gives them the warm-fuzzies like someone complimenting a point or asking a follow-up question. The joy of a comment is immediately deflated when they see the note is actually spam that made it through the filter. Block Spam By Math creates an extra step to keep out bots without making genuine readers spell out bizarre, unintelligible words. 5+8 = ability to comment.
Take a moment to thank those real human beings who make it past the math problem and comment on your articles. This page automatically redirects people to any page of your choosing, whether you want to ask them to sign-up for the newsletter or thank them for commenting with a cute video of baby pandas. For those who geek out over analytics, this is the plug-in for you. Test this app to see if people convert and sign-up, go back to your main page or bounce off. The more you test, the more you can see the best way to utilize this tool.
If you find that utilizing the Comment Redirect plug-in increases your bounce rate and decreases conversions – aka the antithesis of blog success – try Thank Me Later, it sends an email to blog commenters. Pick when you want it sent: 5 minutes after commenting, 5 days after commenting, etc. and the email will automatically go to their inbox. Use the email space to highlight the top articles and comments of the week, link to social channels and add the thank-you baby panda video. Thank Me Later is meant to bring readers back to your site, so use your follow-up pitch wisely.
This is one of the highest rated WordPress plug-ins out of thousands of different options. Contact Form 7 opens the door to customized contact forms and lets users manage multiple forms at once. It’s helpful for writers who want to build their email list or increase sign-ups for updates without having to build out their own templates.
This plug-in does exactly what it sounds like. It scans through all of your posts and pages to find broken links and compiles them in a list. If the internal link is broken you can go and fix it, if the external link to a page no longer exists, you can either find a different source or change the copy to omit the need for a link.
This plug-in is able to track the most basic analytics (like traffic to your site) and the more advanced (meta data of each page, loading time, site speed etc.) It’s perfect for writers who are looking to optimize and track every post they create, or just get a gist of how many people visit their site.
Typos. They are a part of life. As humans we can only triple-check our work and catch as many as possible. The Front-end Editor lets users edit blog articles directly from the site instead of continuously going back into the dashboard. It also lets writers know when someone else is editing the page (front or back-end) so users don’t override each other’s changes.
As good writers and editors spot more typos, they keep revising, updating and perfecting. Enter Revision Control, where users can delete the long list of revisions that come with publishing or limit the amount of revisions allowed per post. This plug-in is good for those who lie awake at night worried about that one comma in that one article.
Relevanssi took the current search algorithm on WordPress and made it better. It shows results by relevancy instead of by date. The current WordPress search results are from most recent back and will pull any article that contains the word that people searched. This plug-in brings articles directly related to the topic to the front page. For example, a pet care blog might mention kittens almost daily in blog posts, but users who search “kittens” only want to read articles that focus on their care and cuteness, rather than those that only mention them in passing.
Writers and editors check their editorial calendars with the frequency that they check emails or the diapers of their infants. This tool lays out the content that’s in WordPress, breaks it down and labels the status of each article. WordPress currently alerts you to the status of an article and the publish date, but this plug-in gives users a more visual representation of what they’re working with.
This is another one of the top rated plug-ins for WordPress because it caters to the beginner who barely knows what SEO stands for and also to the intermediate and expert who love fine-tuning and diving into the nitty-gritty of optimization. The app automatically generates meta descriptions and finds keywords, but lets users change them and update them as they wish. Its flexibility is its strength.
Will all of these plug-ins your site must be looking good! You’re optimized, keeping spam to a minimum and building a community of quality commenters. It would be a shame to lose all of your hard work and content because of a hack or bug. This plug-in sends your content to your DropBox account, just in case the worst happens. You decide how often that happens: from every day to once a month. Plus, you get to choose what gets archived and what gets ignored if there are any articles you want to leave unprotected to fend for themselves.
This plug-in adds a box to the top or bottom of different posts welcoming visitors and inviting them to share content on different social networks. If the visitor came to your site via StumbleUpon, it will show the logo and invite them give your page a thumbs up. You can set up a personalized message for each different way that visitors make it to your set.
iControlWP was made for users with multiple WordPress accounts. This plug-in allows you to update your layout, posts and plug-ins from one platform, rather than only working with one at a time. As you’ve worked your way down this list you’ve become a WordPress Pro, not go out and create some awesome content!