Anyone involved in blogging or marketing knows that WordPress is a great content management system (CMS). It enables people to build professional looking websites with powerful functionality without knowing anything about coding. Pre-built templates and WordPress plugins make the job easy. Although, of course, a bit of coding knowledge can always make a site that bit better.
Anyone running a business should check out WordPress too if they aren’t already using it for their website. Even big brands such as Sony Music and The New York Times use this highly popular platform for their websites.
Whilst there are other CMS’s such as Joomla, Drupal, and Magento, WordPress is by far the most popular. It has over 60% of the market share across the globe. Its popularity means there is an enormous range of templates to suit every type of business. There are good freely available templates to professionally designed and supported versions.
A WordPress website allows teams with minimal technical knowledge to add new content quickly and easily to grow conversions, followers and leads. But there’s more to this CMS than ease of adding content. It is also a highly useful tool for ensuring a website is found across organic search and social media. How? By using a few of the many WordPress plugins available.
The Pros & Cons of WordPress Plugins
A plugin is effectively a piece of code that is added to a website to provide certain functionality for those without coding experience. It makes improvements to a website cheap and easy with little or no developer input required.
Just a word of warning – don’t go mad adding multiple plugins to a site – many can significantly slow down the load time of the website. This can have a negative impact on user experience, which will have a knock-on effect on conversions. But a few carefully selected plugins can enhance user experience and boost digital marketing efforts at the same time.
So, let’s dive right in and take a look at the 5 best-of-the-best plugins that every WordPress website should have installed and configured. These all have free versions so there’s no excuse for not giving them a try. They also have paid Pro versions with extra functionality should you need it.
Here Are 5 WordPress Plugins to Skyrocket Your Digital Marketing:
Any individual, SME or organization should know and understand their website data. There is a wealth of useful information within the data that can help grow a business. So the first plugin that every website should install is one that allows you to collect and analyse that data.
Google already provides a free tool to monitor website data called Google Analytics but to make use of that data the website needs to be configured to collect it in the first place. Enter MonsterInsights – one of several plugins to quickly and easily add a Google Analytics tracking code to every page on a website.
What makes MonsterInsights stand out from the crowd is the fact that you can view and analyse your website data right from within the WordPress dashboard in real time. No need to login separately to a Google Analytics account.
For those already familiar with using Google Analytics reports or who want a clean, simple WP dashboard, a simpler alternative is available with GA Google Analytics by Jeff Starr.
We all want fast websites whether we’re at home or work with a fast internet connection, or out and about in a remote location with only 4G (or even 3G) to rely on. Web visitors will quickly lose interest if it’s taking too long to load a landing page. Speed is fundamental to converting visitors and boosting revenue.
So the second essential WordPress plugin is one to automatically optimize your site for speed – conveniently called Autoptimize. There are multiple configuration options for this plugin but the defaults are the best place to start. However, once you are familiar with the tool consider implementing the image compression functionality available in conjunction with the ShortPixel plugin. Again this is a free plugin but has limits on how many images can be bulk optimized.
3. Yoast SEO
We can’t mention WordPress websites and plugins without mentioning SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the digital marketing process that helps a website reach page 1 of Google for relevant search terms. It’s a long-term marketing strategy often used in conjunction with paid advertising to drive web visits and conversions.
The most popular plugin to assist with optimizing pages on a website is Yoast SEO. It’s simple and intuitive to use and highly recommended, but for those with some experience building optimized websites, there is an alternative fast snapping at the heels of Yoast’s success in the form of the plugin RankMath.
Another word of warning – even the best SEO plugin will only optimize in the most basic way. For those serious about SEO as a marketing strategy consider a technical SEO audit to highlight more advanced opportunities to outsmart the competition and rank on page 1 of Google.
But for novices Yoast is one of the best WordPress plugins for basic SEO tasks such as:
- Customize page titles and meta descriptions
- Set up SEO-friendly URL structures
- Optimize content for search and readability
- Create XML sitemaps
We all know that social media is a time-consuming activity and there is simply no substitute for real human interaction with followers and potential customers. However, a nifty plugin is available that can automate some of the social media tasks right from within a website. This plugin is Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) by NextScripts, which can be configured to post to a wide variety of social media networks based on activity on your website.
For instance, when you add a new blog post, SNAP can publish a nicely formatted post on social media in real-time. A great way to easily inform followers that the new post is live. Depending on the social media networks chosen it can also automatically add an image and an excerpt of the blog to encourage viewers to read the full post.
It won’t solve all your social media headaches but it will keep your social network ticking over.
As a bonus feature (albeit unsupported) SNAP can also schedule all old blog posts to be published on social media on a rotating cycle. Unlike social media scheduling tools like HootSuite, there is no need to create an actual social media post. It’s all created automatically based on blog posts. Great for when you’re on holiday!
5. WPA SEO Auto Linker
A good internal link structure helps web visitors find their way around your website. This improves user engagement and user experience. Visitors who can easily find what they are looking for are much more likely to convert into customers.
Search engines like Google also use the internal link structure of a website as a ranking factor. This helps them determine which parts of the website are the most important and, hence, which pages to serve up in the organic search listings. That means the most important pages on a website should be frequently linked to from other pages on the website. And that doesn’t just mean from a menu item. The link will carry more weight if it is positioned within text content on a page.
You could try and remember to link to at least one of your important pages every time you add new content but that isn’t a particularly fool-proof method. And if you already have a website with several hundred pages that is going to be a tough task to add internal links.
Instead, try using Arjan Olsder’s plugin WPA SEO Auto Linker to automatically link to your important (cornerstone) content. It has a super simple setup process too.
To Sum Up…
There you have it, 5 essential WordPress plugins that can skyrocket your digital marketing efforts. What are you waiting for? Go get them installed…
Have another WordPress plugin you love? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below.