I’ve talked in the past about how to improve your quality of visitor, by encouraging them to spend longer on your site and look at more pages, but what about getting them to come there in the first place, or getting them to come back? This post isn’t about related post plugins, it’s about the useful plugins that websites use everyday to find new readers, and encourage older readers to come back.
Sharebar – Social Media Slider
This plugin is actually the inspiration for this blog post, as we’ve been getting a lot of people asking us about it, and how we set it up. The one that I use onExpertPhotography is called Sharebar, but there other version such as Digg Digg, which is used on this site. They all do roughly the same thing though. They allow your readers to select the social media that they would like to share your content though, which makes it much easier for them, and encourages them to do so. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that it slides up and down the page as you’re browsing, so it stands out, and you know where to find it if you want to share anything.
Since starting my Twitter marketing, I’m always annoyed when a photography website doesn’t have this plugin, because it means that I have to go looking for a share button, which you shouldn’t have to do when you’re effectively doing them a favour. Having this plugin, as apposed to no plugin at all, makes a huge difference, which I notice immediately. You can add your @profile to the end of the tweets, so that TweetDeck will alert you when someone tweets your content, and as soon as my plugin was installed, I started receiving a lot more alerts. This means that more people are seeing my website, as well as my Twitter account, where if they follow me, there’s a very good chance they’ll see my site again.
Tweet Old Post
I installed this plugin on a whim, thinking that it wouldn’t really do much, but it couldn’t hurt. I had all my latest content set up to tweet through TweetAdder, but nothing set up to encourage people to view my older pages, most of which I consider to be lost in the archive. You can change the settings to include links, add additional text, how many it posts a day, and much more, you can even select the URL shortener.
So, from 5 minutes of work, you can have all of your older posts contribute to your twitter marketing, and start sending you considerable traffic if you have a strong following. My following has grown to over 3500 in just a few months, and it’s continuing to grow, as well as sending people to my Facebook. Facebook insights showed me exactly how successful my linking to the Facebook was when I looked at my Insights, it said that within 1 month, 635 people had come to my page, just from my regularly tweeting about it.
Facebook Social Plugin
This is a plugin that almost every decent blog has, or at least a variation of it. The official Facebook version is probably a bit better than the one than most, but less in keeping with my theme. The official version is a large square box to attract the readers attention, with details on how many people like the Facebook page, as well as some of the names and faces of those who like it. There’s also an option to click ‘Like’ right there on the page, without having to go through to Facebook, which I think is a real advantage to the alternatives as readers are more likely to click on it if they don’t have to leave the page. I switched to this plugin just recently, and I’m already noticing a big difference in the amount of likes that I’m receiving.
I can’t really talk about ways to get more traffic to your site, without talking about PopUp Domination. As many of you well know, PopUp Domination has been proven to increase your subscribers by 429%, by using a simple, but good looking light-box solution that pops up when a new visitor arrives on your site. It’s intrusive enough to get their attention, but designed well enough so that it’s clearly part of the website and not an unrelated advert. This is the only plugin on the list that you actually have to pay for, but over 8000 people already have, and that’s a lot of happy customers. The product is only $47 dollars, and if you’re not happy with it, you can have your money back within 60 days. Building a list is a very important step to making money online, because you can start to contact people directly who are interested in what you have to sell.
Show Top Commentators
This plugin in a great way to encourage people to comment more often, because it starts to rank those who comment the most. It could be easily compared to becoming the major or somewhere in Foursquare, or karma on Reddit; it doesn’t mean anything, and you can’t do anything with it, but people want it anyway. You link the names, and website if they input it, along with the number of comments in your sidebar. This is a good way to grow your reader interaction, and make people want to come back to your site more than once. This isn’t a plugin that I currently use, because I think it would work better with a website with a stronger following, but I can see myself using this in a couple months.
Post to Twitter
Post to Twitter is a plugin that takes any content that you post on WordPress and then posts it to Twitter, which immediately notifies all of your followers. This sort of automation is accepted on Twitter, but not Facebook, because the number of updates per day is a lot higher than Facebook. Posting to Facebook is something that needs to be done manually because Facebook can detect what program is used to post, and that distances the fan from the post when they know that a machine wrote it. I’ve recently started to post less of other peoples material on my Twitter, and more about myself so that I can use it for traffic now, rather than growth of the Twitter page.
Facebook Comments for WordPress
This is a plugin that I’ve been meaning to get installed because of the way it works with Facebook, as well as WordPress. Besides the fact that it makes it way easier for people to comment on a post, it also means that they can share what they’ve commented to their Facebook page with the ‘post to Facebook’ function. By clicking on this function, it enables the readers to share their opinions in their Facebook feed, which is also sharing your website with all of their friends. By making it easier for them to comment, you’re actually helping people to find your website where they wouldn’t have before. The image below is from the black theme, but it’s also available in white.
All in One SEO Pack
This is one among the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress. It’s incredibly easy to use and works with most WordPress plugins by automatically generating META tags and optimizing your titles for search engines. It’s been downloaded more than 9 million times, making it one of the most popular WordPress plugins for SEO. It takes a lot of the hard work out of the equation, and doesn’t rely on you knowing the sort of knowledge that professional SEO guys know, to start getting good results. This is the sort of plugin that everyone should put on their blog if they’re trying to get a better response with Google, because Google is hard to understand, so it’s easier to leave it up to someone else who understands better than you.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This has got to be one of my favourite SEO plugins because it allows you to check how search engine friendly your content is, before you actually post it. You’re provided with a preview of what your post will look like in Google, and then you can input focus keyword(s) to see how many times they throughout the post, title, URL, etc. You can then change how the title appears in Google, as well as the description too, meaning that you can takes steps to make your content more SEO friendly, and make people want to click on them. All of this is edited from the post editor page, and it just becomes a part of how you finish up your posts, along with tags, excerpt, category and featured image.
upPrev Previous Post Animated Notification
This plugin was designed to emulate the “Next Post” buttons you see once you scroll to the bottom of New York Times web articles, and it’s the exception in this post. This isn’t about getting more traffic to your post, it’s a way of making someone stay on your site for longer, by clicking on more pages. I included this because I started to use it, and found that I was getting really good results and wanted to share with others. When a visitor reaches the bottom of the page, the preview will pop up for the next post in that particular category, and if you have your categories laid out well, you can greatly increase the amount of time that a visitor will spend on your site. The preview looks very professional, and the popup action attracts the readers attention without being too intrusive. It’s proven to produce more pageviews as it’s more effective than most related articles.