I want you to read my blog. Heck, I want everyone to read my blog. Isn’t that the name of the game here? There isn’t really much point in writing blog posts if no one is reading them, right? It makes me think of the old question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it really make any sound?
Obviously, the most important part of blogging is that you write engaging, interesting, relevant, readable content. Every post might not meet all four criteria every time, but that should be every blogger’s goal. After all, you don’t want to put your readers to sleep.
Now that you have great blog posts, you need to let the world know so they can read and share your posts. You should be publicizing your posts through Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon and other social media platforms and groups. You should also be reading and commenting on blogs that complement yours and might attract like-minded readers. In addition, there are WordPress plugins you can add to help attract readers and get the word out.
Here are six of my favorite WordPress plugins (in no particular order) that have helped increase traffic and improve readership on my blogs.
CommentLuv automatically places a link to your commenters’ latest blog posts. Allowing your commenter a link from your blog can encourage some commenters, especially those familiar with the very popular plugin, to visit and comment more often in an effort to attract more traffic to their blogs. CommentLuv gives you the option to set the links to do-follow or no-follow. CommentLuv comes in free and premium versions, with the premium version giving additional options if visitors +1, Like or Tweet your post. In addition, commenters can leave their twitter names and offer stats to track your links. http://comluv.com/
I LOVE this plugin. It does exactly what it sounds like. You can use it to automatically tweet old posts from your blog at specified intervals. Instead of letting those great posts languish on your blog and fade into obscurity, this plugin keeps them in the information flow. It does have a setting to exclude specific posts or complete categories, so you don’t accidentally retweet an expired special or old giveaway. Tweet Old Post is free. http://www.ajaymatharu.com/wordpress-plugin-tweet-old-posts/
Don’t be put off by the name. Sexy Bookmarks is a very professional-looking plugin. Sexy bookmarks makes it easy for your readers to share your content across the web. With more than 80 different sharing platforms to choose from, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumbler, StumbleUpon and Google Plus, it’s a one-click operation for your readers to help publicize your blog and recommend your posts to their readers and followers. Sexy Bookmarks is a free plugin. http://sexybookmarks.shareaholic.com/
Are you looking for a way to keep readers on your site longer? Hoping they’ll stick around and read a few more posts. nRelate displays up to 10 related posts from your blog at the end of each post to make it easy for readers to spend more time on your blog. Anything that encourages visitors to read and comment more and stay longer is a good thing for your website, right? Longer time means more opportunities to convert those readers into subscribers and customers. nRelate is a free plugin. http://nrelate.com/
This nifty plugin emails a little thank-you note to your blog commenters, letting them know you appreciate their comments. The email is completely customizable—you decide what you want it to say and what kind of format you have. You can also have up to four different messages so frequent commenters don’t always see the same message. This is a great way to make sure no one gets overlooked since you can’t always be right there to respond when someone comments. http://blog.pipvertise.co.uk/wordpress-plugin-thank-me-later/
I’ve used other SEO plugins in the past, but I have found this one to be one of the simplest and most versatile. It has a host of options for optimizing not only your posts, but your entire blog. It offers on-page content analysis so you can optimize before you publish and without exiting from your post. In addition, if you’ve used another SEO plugin previously, this one has an import feature. WordPress SEO also has a built-in XML sitemap generator and it pings the search engines automatically for you after you publish new content. This is also a free plugin. http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/
Do you have any favorite WordPress plugins or one you think I should know about? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.
Marie Leslie is the chief Creative Genius at Marie Leslie Media. With 30 years experience as a professional writer, editor and photographer she has had work published in many regional and national magazines. Marie currently writes and teaches about business and social media, helping people to understand and make use of the ever-changing internet. She offers social media training and set up, including blog set-up and optimization as well as blog writing & social media management services.