How do you choose the right one for your particular site?
There are lots of things to consider, but one way is to get solid recommendations from those with experience.
In this series on WordPress plugins (yep! there’ll be more!), we ask other small business folks for their recommendations — and to share their measurable results.
This time we’re talking about marketing!
There are a lot of fabulous plugins out there to help you market your small biz. A few that I use on this site to streamline my efforts include ContactMe, Digg Digg (for social sharing buttons), and the Testimonials Widget.
But sometimes we need our marketing to be more than easy. We need it to produce results. Here are 10 plugins with results that make a difference:
Fenesha Hubbard of UpliftingHer.com recommends:
Author Spotlight (Widget) – Author Spotlight widget displays the profile of the author(s) with website link and profile picture or gravatar on the Post (Single) page. The widget automatically detects the current author(s) of the displayed post, just drag and drop the widget on your Single page sidebar and you are done.
Measurable Results: 21% click rate on the links posted inside the widget site since it was added to the site.
Belkis Cardona-Rivera of Belkis Marketing says:
My must-have plug-in is the All-in-One-SEO Pack. This is a great plug-in for beginners and advance users since it makes it easy to add your SEO titles, keywords and description to your posts and pages, which helps your keyword strategy. If you create a keyword strategy to optimize your website around the keywords that are relevant to your business and which keywords consumers are using, you are increasing the chances of consumers finding you through search engines. You can then design and optimize your website by using something like the All-in-One-SEO pack.
Measurable Results: 10.71% increase in traffic in the last month (combined with keyword strategy and consistent dynamic content).
Nick Armstrong, Small Business Storyteller, says:
Check out What Would Seth Godin Do? This plugin sets a specific message up wherever you want one, that treats new visitors different from experienced visitors. So based on an arbitrary measure that you can set — if the user has been to your site X times, they see one message, if X+1, they see a different message, and so on.
Measurable Results: Subscriptions to my newsletter increased 30% over the span of the first two months it was installed. Since then it’s boosted by about 10%. I’ve had similar results (one client went from 0 to 60 signups in the first two weeks, another client had a 20% increase followed by a 15% increase after the first three weeks).
Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe recommends:
The Aweber Web Form Plugin from your WP Plugin Directory allows you to add a check box to your comments giving commentators the option to subscribe to your list when they leave a comment.
Measurable Results: About 10% of my email subscribers come from that little checkbox – not too shabby and definitely worth adding to your blog.
Note: There is also a plug-in called Newsletter Sign-up that is supposed to offer the same function for other email services. These plugins don’t work with the Disqus comment plugin.
Ian Aronovich, CEO of GovernmentAuctions.org, says:
We installed the WPTouch plugin, which let us set up a mobile version of our blog that folks can check out on any smartphone.
Measurable Results: We’ve gotten about a 12% increase in mobile traffic since we installed WPTouch and typical mobile visitors now stay three times as long.
Eli Natan of Promoting Group recommends:
The Related Posts plug-in automatically takes the information off the content of your blog post and matches it with previous posts. It’s great for SEO and internal linking structure.
Measurable Results: Before we installed the plug-ins, we’ve only got close to 1% our blog posts readers to call or fill out the website form, now it is 15% of our blog readers. According to our Google Analytics, for every blog post that we have added related posts links, we get an average of 30 clicks. Out of that 30 clicks, we’ve get average of 5 calls, that is almost 15% of the clicks become interested enough to call.
Kiesha Easley of WeBlogBetter.com says:
I use CommentLuv (there is also a premium version) because it has both on-site and off-site benefits. On-site, it encourages readers to interact and leave comments. It also encourages them to retweet and share my posts on Facebook and Google+ by requiring them to do so if they’d like to unlock more of their own blog posts that they can choose to have displayed as a link after their comment. Off-site, it allows me to market my blog further because I can choose which specific blog post I want to promote when I leave a comment. When I comment on other sites that have this plugin enabled, I can choose exactly which of my recent posts I’d like to display. If it’s interesting enough — if my title is catchy, it draws even more people to my site. Now that the plugin has been upgraded, I can even track which of my posts bring in the most clicks.
Measurable Results: Since installing the premium version in September 2011, search engine traffic is up by 8% and comments have almost doubled.
Note: CommentLuv is not compatible with the Disqus plugin.
Adam W. Warner of WP Pro Business says:
Measuring the success of our social marketing campaigns has been something we’ve struggled to find a solution for in the past, especially a cost effective one. The Social Metrics plugin provides a wealth of useful information in measuring the social reach of the articles and tutorials we publish on WP Pro Business.
Measurable Results: We can now see exactly how many times our articles are shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, Digg, and LinkedIn — and adjust our campaigns accordingly.
Brankica Underwood of Live-Your-Love.com recommends:
Comment Redirect by Yoast because it lets you send your first time commenters to a specific page on your site. Why is this good? You can send them to your subscription (opt in) page or a special offer page or even give them a special freebie for being so nice to comment on your blog. A nice gesture they didn’t expect can go a long way.
Measurable Results: When I first put it up, my RSS subs went up nearly 250%.
Note: Comment Redirect is not compatible with the Disqus plugin.
Denise Wakeman, online visibility mentor and founder of the The Blog Squad says:
Tweet Old Post will breathe new life into your older posts. This one is really cool. The plugin will automatically and randomly tweet a link to one of your older posts. You set the frequency and age of the post. You can also exclude posts (especially good if you blog about events and time-sensitive content). After you install it, connect it to your Twitter account and customize your settings: the prefix content (I use “encore” and I’ve seen “from the archives”), minimum age of post before it goes into rotation, and exclude any posts you want to skip.
Measurable Results: I see new retweets, traffic and comments on old posts when they get posted as an “encore.” Most posts get 2-3 days of visibility and they fall off the radar. This keeps you great content circulating and helps direct new readers back to your blog.
A final note from Tea:
So what’s the deal with the Disqus plugin? And why would you choose to use it if it’s not compatible with all these other plugins?
Good question! I use Disqus on this site* because I’ve found that it really simplifies my life — especially in terms of keeping out SPAM comments.
And while the Disqus Comments plugin has some awesome functionalities, there are unfortunately some things you can’t do with it. Here’s a quick run down of things to consider before you make your decision:
Some of the Pros of Disqus
- It has a great anti-spam feature. Probably the best around, even better than Akismet!
- It looks beautiful and it’s extremely functional for commenters.
- I’ts easy to install and set-up.
- You can moderate comments directly from email.
- You can integrate administration across several different blogs/sites
A few Cons of Using Disqus
- No DO-follow links in comments
- Can’t control where to forward users after they comment
- Can’t automate e-mails to commenters
I’ve asked the folks at Disqus to comment on why it isn’t compatible with these other plugins and if they’ll be adding some of these functions to their own code sometime soon. Here’s what they had to say (from an email):
…Disqus is used across many different platforms so we have to ensure that it works consistently on each. When you start adding additional support for things such as WP Newsletter and CommentLuv we have to take into consideration how opening our system up to this type of integration will effect Disqus over-all. While we don’t currently offer this functionality, we’re always actively looking for more ways to improve our product and appreciate feedback such as yours to use in this process.
I suppose we all just need to keep telling them what we need.
In the meantime, what did we miss? Do you have a recommendation for a WordPress plugin that helps you market your business better? Let us know in a comment below. And tell us what your results have been using the plugin, too.
*Update: Because of this post, I’ve disabled Disqus and am trying out another plugin to help with SPAM. Will measure the difference in engagement, etc. and report back!