After we launched Flight Drummers Magazine over a year ago, we spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to find 'The Best Wordpress Plugins' on Google and went through 100+ plugins before we were finally satisfied with it. So, to help save you from the same mistakes and wasted time, we've compiled a list of 10 Wordpress plugins that we believe are essential to your blogging success in 2014. Let's get started.
This is probably going to be your most valuable blogging tool when it comes to long-term traffic growth. Yoast allows you to structure your post snippets (what they look like in Google and Facebook,) add an SEO title/meta-description, and choose a focus keyword to help with your on-page SEO. Alongside optimizing your posts/pages as you write them, it will also analyze each post/page as you visit them by displaying the on-page SEO analysis in your admin bar with a grey, red, yellow, or green dot.
A personal favorite that we've used with countless clients, the Ad Plus List Building Popup integrates with any autoresponder service, is fully responsive, can store optin information into a .csv file, has on-site analytics, allows optin popups, social share popups, exit popups, and a whole lot more. On average, this fantastic plugin has increased our email subscribe rates by 450%. If you want 4-5x more subscribers, this is a must.
If you've ever blogged on a Wordpress blog in the past, then you know how out-of-control comment spamming is nowadays. (Flight Drummers received more than 37,000 spam comments in less than 6 months in 2013-- insane..) This handy plugin will completely fix that problem. Simply install it, get your free API key, and watch your spam get caught in it's trap. Beautiful.
This plugin is for the more advanced bloggers who have a basic knowledge of code conditions. It's very nice for telling certain widgets to only appear on particular posts, pages, categories, etc. (In fact, we use this plugin quite heavily on Flight Media Blog.)
For Example: Let's say you have a blog that talks about marketing and guns. (I know, those don't go together, but for the sake of analogy, bear with me.) You want to run a poll on the marketing sidebar asking readers whether they use Social Media Marketing or Email Marketing as their prime marketing strategy, but you don't want it to appear on the sidebar for people reading gun articles because it isn't relevant to them. With Widget Logic, you can use their prewritten 'logic code' to tell the widget where to appear. In this case, you could make it only appear in the 'marketing' category with the code, "is_category(array(your marketing category ID))".
This is a very nice plugin to have if you have a blog with multiple categories or writers. It allows your site to complete a LIVE search for relevant posts, pages, etc. while someone is typing in your search bar. This can help lower your [tooltip text="bounce rate" gravity="nw"]the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.[/tooltip] by speeding up the search process on your site for readers.
Although this is a small investment, it's worth every penny. Lead Rocket Pro allows you to create full landing pages within your Wordpress site without needing to change themes or custom code. This is extremely useful for eBooks, white papers, downloads, etc. to help build your list. The first week we used this plugin with Flight Drummers, we received 126 confirmed optins to one landing page. It's basically a 'drag & drop' capture page builder, so if you don't have a landing page, then this is a must. Even Hubspot's study proves that more landing pages greatly increases lead subscribe rates.
Everybody knows the important role social media plays in content marketing. This fantastic plugin floats alongside the reader and does nothing short of encourage social sharing! It looks fantastic and helped Flight Drummers get nearly 2k shares on an article written in the second month of blogging.
User engagement is the lifeblood of a blog. Without it, you will typically get demotivated, lose drive, and eventually stop blogging. We've used more than 10 commenting systems over the last year and Disqus, by far, blows them all out of the water. It allows readers to leave comments as guests, Disqus users, or via social media. It's ease-of-use keeps people interacting and rating comments more often.
This amazing plugin really helps lower your bounce rate, rack up more traffic, and gain more subscribers. It displays related posts at the bottom of every post, often leading readers onto a rabbit trail of good, relevant content.
If you don't know much about SEO, it's important to know that on-site SEO is also affected by the amount of internal links your pages/posts have and how relevant they are. The only problem is that linking to other articles within your blog can take quite a bit of time if you do it manually. That's why SEO Smart Links is one of the best plugins to help minimize the effort of searching and linking relevant articles. SEO Smart Links allows you to create keywords & phrases that will automatically link to a URL of your choice. For example, whenever the keyword 'SEO' is used in a post on Flight Media Blog, smart links will automatically create a hyperlink to http://blog.flightmedia.co/4-simple-steps-to-sexy-seo/. (It will only do it once in the article, though, to minimize a massive amount of internal links in each article.)
Which one of these Wordpress Plugins is your favorite? What are you using to make your blog more effective?