If you are a digital content marketer, you should be well-versed in a wide array of WordPress plugins.
What plugins exactly? All kinds: formatting, social, SEO, lead generation, form builders, and more. But, much like everything else, the market is so saturated that it can be hard to find the right ones. While nothing replaces your own research, we’ve compiled a list of what plugins your WordPress site needs.
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What Plugins Do You Need? Start Out With Formatting
Before writing content, you should probably brainstorm how you want things to look.
Obviously, overall web page design is not what we are discussing here. WordPress plugins are designed to improve on the base product and tailor the experience to your needs.
If you need a “Read More” function for your long-form content, there’s a plugin for that.
Need to save space and improve page speed with SEO optimized images? ShortPixel Image Optimizer is the plugin for that.
Do you use ads on your WordPress site and need to better manage them? You’ll need AdSanity with its widgets, easy setup, insights, and ad calendar.
Speaking of things that might be on your site sidebar, Inline Related Posts can help there. You can encourage users to spend more time on your site without distracting them from the current page.
You can even easily integrate A/B testing into your WordPress process. Test different landing pages, e-commerce products, and more with Nelio A/B Testing for WordPress.
But the one you definitely need to incorporate is Akismet Anti-Spam. This plugin helps to filter comments that might be spam. Pro-tip: it does require the Akismet.com API key to use.
Follow up With WordPress Content Tools
The biggest thing people notice about your site is probably (hopefully) the content of it. As such, that is the first place you should start when considering what plugins to use.
Speaking as a writer who has worked with many types of CMS platforms, WordPress is preferred. But only when you have a plugin such as Smart Editor to assist the standard interface.
Beyond that, consider editing and proofreading plugins to prevent errors. Everyone has, undoubtedly, heard of Grammarly by now, but it isn’t the only game in town.
Proofread Bot also does a great job of finding pesky syntax, grammar, and clerical errors. You can use its standalone site or have it integrated into various platforms such as WordPress.
For some meta-knowledge that veers into SEO, I would recommend FD Word Statistics. Except that it doesn’t have support anymore and hasn’t been updated since 2016. A similar plugin known as Word Stats also helped improve readability. But it hasn’t been patched the last three major WordPress updates.
Chances are, another key plugin that helps readability could have been a catalyst for this.
Next, Add In the SEO Plugins and Web Tools
Yoast SEO for WordPress is a mainstay for any content marketer worth their salt.
It combines the functionalities of many plugins all-in-one, but its SEO integration may be most helpful. You can set multiple keywords and Yoast reviews your post, pointing out errors. Recent updates also include tips for improvement and recommended keywords.
But Yoast SEO isn’t the only powerhouse plugin you need on your radar.
Jetpack for WordPress offers a host of features:
- Marketing services such as insights and analytics
- SEO tools for various search engines
- Automated social media posting
- Comprehensive ad program
- All kind of themes for every website
- Customization tools
- “Lazy” image loading to optimize the mobile experience
- Security features to spot malware, add daily/real-time site backups, and more
With at least 4 million active installations, JetPack is a definite plugin competitor.
Most SEO related plugins are so comprehensive that you only need one. The only other plugin in this category that I’m recommending is a rich snippets plugin.
Rich snippets can help you own that Google snippet real estate. The plugin All In One Schema Rich Snippets can help with many SEO related facets such as:
- Ranking higher in search results
- Parsing relevant information for search engines for snippet results
- Allowing for interactive snippets
- Ensure the right information gets displayed on Facebook
There is more that this plugin does, but with these few bullets, you can see its merit. Given the increasing importance of Google questions and snippets, it might soon be a required plugin.
What Plugins are Good for Email Content Marketing and Forms?
When it comes to email marketing, MailChimp has a significant chunk of the market. It seamlessly integrates with many programs and platforms. And it has one of the cutest icons of all time, I’d say.
But it isn’t the only game in town when it comes to email marketing and form building.
WPForms is probably one of the simplest to implement and use. The drag and drop form builder is mobile ready, has lots of templates, and is easy to embed in posts, sidebars, etc.
Though Contact Form 7 has more than 5 million active installations, it isn’t quite user-friendly. At least, not for an average user looking for basic features. For an expert content marketing genius like yourself, it might be just what you need, amirite?
Lead Generation and Marketing Plugins
Turning site visitors into customers is simultaneously easier and harder than ever. But this isn’t a time to talk strategy; we are dealing strictly with tools now.
Elegant Themes offers the Bloom plugin for lead generation and email opt-in. The goal: to convert site visitors into loyal fans and up your email subscribers. But again, this isn’t the only plugin that does this particular thing.
OptInMonster offers another conversion optimization option to bolster sales. They also have an adorable mascot that resembles Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.
For WordPress users who also use affiliate marketing, there’s a plugin for you, too.
Though the name ThirstyAffiliates is dubious, its a unique tool to manage affiliate links. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress as “just another button on your Visual editor”. For someone like a cosmetics brand or even a home improvement brand, it could be life-saving.
Social Media Plugins You Can’t Live Without
This is the big one every content marketing dreads: social media plugins.
Speaking as a former content marketer myself, the ever-changing social landscape is tough to maintain. Harder still is keeping up with each and every new social media plugin update.
Given Facebook’s recent algorithm change, you might expect your plugin needs to change, too. Fortunately for you marketing pros out there, you are g2g with your B2C. I’ll see myself out…
Let’s start easy with the Click to Tweet plugin. It adds a birdie to your toolbar and you can embed click-to-tweets anywhere.
The Floating Social Bar plugin works like a formatting tool, adding a share bar to your site. It aims to boost social shares while maintaining site speed.
Revive Old Post allows you to auto post to various social media platforms. It is integrated with Google Analytics, allows for lots of post customization, and is compatible with URL shorteners.
Blog2Social works similarly to Revive Old Post with a few differences. Most notably is that it has a higher rating, but lower user base. It might require some testing to figure out which one works best for your needs.
WordPress to Buffer does exactly what it says: updates the Buffer app with WordPress posts. If your content marketing teams uses Buffer, boom — this one’s for you.
You can also send web push notifications using plugins like OneSignal. With their 50,000+ user base, they send more than a billion notifications per day.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t Overdo It
This list is, by no means, totally exhaustive, but it is dense. But remember, as mentioned in various articles, quality over quantity.
While a plugin like … may be well-designed, it might not be what suits your needs best.
You also want to make sure that there isn’t too much feature overlap.
Does Plugin A do what Plugin B can and more? By process of elimination, you should use Plugin A over Plugin B then. This is a no-brainer, but you get my meaning as you extrapolate the concept further.