Have you ever wondered what WordPress plugins can help you promote your business? Have you wondered if WordPress.org is the right choice of blogging platform for you?
In this episode of the Blogcentric podcast I’ll look at 10 plugins that can help you build and sell from your small business blog.
As soon as you install WordPress you’ll start getting spam comments. I’ve no idea why this happens but it’s a common occurrence. The solution is Akismet. It blocks spam comments before they reach you.
Once you’ve installed the plugin you’ll need to get an ‘API Key’. This isn’t as complicated as you might imagine and Akismet walks you through the process. Seriously, don’t even try setting up a site without it.
There are lots of social share button bars available but I’m really loving Sumome. If you are reading this on my blog you’ll see the share bar at the top or side of this post.
Why did I choose this one?
- It looks good and works well on mobile.
- Stats – you can see how many shares you’ve had over the last 7 days and to which networks. You can also see which pages got the most shares (this is always fascinating to me – it’s never what you expect)
- Layout – there are lots of options to choose from for where the sharing bar appears. You can also tell it not to show the share bar on certain posts and pages
3. New Share Counts
I’m cheating here. This isn’t a plugin but it does fix one very annoying problem. You may remember a while ago I had a bit of a rant about Twitter taking away share counts. Bloggers all over the world sighed as their Twitter share counts just stopped appearing overnight.
New Share Counts works in conjunction with Sumome (and some other plugins) and restores your Twitter share count number. It’s not 100% accurate as it can only collate tweets from 7 days before you install the code and onwards but it’s a big relief to see them back on sites.
To add New Share Counts to your site you’ll need to visit the website, enter your website link and connect up to Twitter. You’ll then get a bit of code you’ll need to add to your site.
4. Mailchimp For WordPress
Using this plugin you can create forms that visitors will complete before they get access to an ebook or other resource. Once they fill in the form they are directed to the download on your site.
If you want to see this in action here’s the one I created for the Customer Persona Worksheet download recently.
The basic package is free but this only allows you to create one form. The premium package is available for a one off payment of $57 and is ideal if you need to create multiple forms.
5. XYZ Insert HTML Snippet
Scroll down to the bottom of this post. You see the banner? If I was to add that by hand each time I blogged it would take time. If I wanted to change it to a new offer I’d have to go to each individual post to edit.
Insert HTML Snippet makes the process much easier. Instead of adding the call to action banner to an individual post I add the HTML code to the XYZ HTML editor and save.
Now I can add it to any post from the post composition window. Find out more about how it works here.
I first heard about Leadin at the INBOUND conference last year but I had no idea how cool it was going to be. When people come to your website and fill in a form, whether it’s a contact form or a mailing list sign up Leadin collects data on them.
Leadin will tell you:
- How often they have visited your site before
- The number of pages they have looked at
- If their email is connected to any social accounts it will show you these
- If their email is connected to a business it will show you public information about that company
Leadin also has pop up windows and slide up sign up forms (like you see on this site) that will help encourage more subscribers. You don’t have to use these tools though as it integrates with most existing plugins as well as Mailchimp.
Co-schedule is a plugin I’ve written about before. It lets you build a content schedule for your blog. It’s amazing how much better and how much more consistent your blog will become when you start planning ahead with co-schedule.
Co-schedule displays your schedule as a calendar. It’s a great way to plan your posts in advance and I’ve found once I have them scheduled in I’m much better at getting ahead of schedule.
You can also schedule your blog shares for social media from Co-schedule. It adds a section to your blog post editing window that allows you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts and even Google+ posts into the future.
The basic Co-schedule package is $15 per month.
As you know if you are a regular listener or reader, I am taking search engine optimisation seriously this year. I’ve used Yoast for years now but it’s only recently I’ve been taking it seriously.
Yoast has loads of functions but it’s really the blog post optimisation that I use and need. When you write a post there is section in the editor that lets you tell Yoast what search term you want that post to appear for. Once you enter this you’ll get a report on how well you have optimised and how you can improve your post for SEO.
9. Click To Tweet
It’s great to have your social sharing bar on your site but you can offer site visitors more opportunities to share using Click To Tweet. This plugin lets you add big ‘Click to tweet’ sections to your posts (see below). When a visitor clicks them it constructs a tweet for them from the highlighted text.
[Tweet “Click to Tweet makes it easy for readers to share quotes from your blog posts”]
Not only can this mean more shares and more interesting shares but it also helps quotes from your post stand out. Find out more about how it works here.
10. Instant Articles for WP
As I write this Facebook have just made instant articles available to all. What are instant articles?
When you are on a mobile device and click a link on Facebook it can take some time to load, this can mean that people don’t hang around and wait and abandon your website before it loads.
Instant articles solve this problem. They are versions of your blog posts that is stored within Facebook, because users don’t leave Facebook to read they load really quickly. This means you are more likely to retain readers.
However there is a downside. Because your posts are stored on Facebook readers aren’t visiting your site. All that work you put in to create a high converting website are wasted. Of course you can still include call to actions in your text but it won’t be as powerful as a website visit.
For that reason it’s probably a good idea to share some posts in their original form and others as Instant Articles.
The WordPress plugin helps convert your articles to the correct format for Instant Articles. I’ve just installed it and am still playing with it but I know it’s going to be crucial for anyone who has an audience on Facebook in the future.
Bonus – Thrive Content Builder
Because one of the above wasn’t technically a plugin I’m adding a bonus plugin. It’s one I couldn’t neglect because I’ve found it so useful on the We Teach Social site.
Landing pages can make a huge difference to the number of conversions you get from your website. They are web pages that take all the distractions away from visitors and just focus on what you are selling or offering. Here’s one we created for my recent Facebook course for We Teach Social.
So if you have a specific product, service or event you are promoting you should look at Thrive Content Builder.
There are lots of landing page tools out there. Some are very sophisticated and have a lot of features, Thrive Content Builder is more basic but it’s price reflects this.
There is a one off cost for this tool of $67 and it’s well worth the investment if you want to sell from your website.
One last one. If you are worried about plugins slowing down your site here’s a plugin that will tell you which ones might be the culprits. (I haven’t tried this plugin yet).
What plugins do you use? Are there any you couldn’t live without? I’d love to hear your suggestions and recommendations.
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