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I hope inspiring visitors to take action ranks atop the reasons you chose to host a WordPress blog.
Of course, your primary focus should be to publish educational content to help your readers tackle the tasks that’ll contribute to their success.
Let’s assume you’ve got that down. And now, let’s look at a list of killer WordPress plugins to help you master some of the tricks of the trade, aimed at magnifying reader engagement.
There’s no shortage of WordPress plugins.
A thread on Quora suggested there are at least 20,000 freebies. In fact, access to free plugins is one of the reasons WordPress is the dominant content management system (CMS) in play today.
There’s also no shortage of posts, e-books, and sites that list and recommend WordPress; however, I’ve found many of them overkill.
I don’t mean to suggest this article is your end-all, be-all rundown of effective WordPress plugins, but my aim was—based on my experience and research—to create a short and super useful list of plugins that’ll help you inspire visitors to take action.
You’ll find some plugins here that you haven’t yet experimented with, and should. Enjoy.
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Taking action online calls for clicking. In your content, you need to call attention to where you want readers to point their mouse or finger. An attention-getting call-to-action button will increase conversion rates on your landing pages, sales pages, or any pages.
You can quickly create attractive buttons on your WordPress website with MaxButtons from Max Foundry. The plugin puts you in the graphic designer’s seat with an editor offering options to choose fonts and colors, apply shadows to the text or box, gradients, and borders of your button.
With the Pro version, over 5,000 buttons are ready made, and you can add all kinds of icons to make your buttons stand out. Various integrations are offered as is Google Analytics event tracking.
MaxButtons offers pre-made buttons for all popular social media platforms and every other action you can think of.
I’ve been experimenting with free and paid opt-in forms for years and am blown away with the capabilities of Leadin, a feature-rich freebie from HubSpot.
Leadin not only helps you capture leads by creating and placing opt-in and contact forms, but it also delivers insights for everyone who fills out any form on your website.
“All Contacts” is a free CRM system that shows you the pages your contacts have visited and the social networks they use.
You can setup Leadin to sync to your email tool (and it need not be HubSpot), and there’s no need to replace existing forms.
The plugin even features an analytics tool to show you what sources of traffic and content are driving your contacts. The service can also send you an email with a link to the new contact record with all of their visit history.
Can you think of a better way to qualify prospects and win business than conversing with them?
Bontact is both a free and affordable subscription-based plugin that enables your sales and service employees to talk to customers on any device at any time. Visitors choose their preferred channel: chat, voice, text, email, Facebook Messenger, Skype, video call, or screen share.
Bontact offers a mobile app so you can serve site visitors from anywhere.
Ever found a blog post or piece of content you absolutely had to share with your followers, but couldn’t find the button you needed to do so? It makes you crazy, right? What do you do? Nothing.
Some publishers place their share buttons or bars atop the page in hopes you’ll (1) share it before you read it or (2) scroll back to the top after reading.
Some place their share buttons at the bottom of the page hoping you’ll read every word, make your way to the bottom and then share it. Another mistake, or at least, a risk.
Many still stash their sharing app in a sidebar on their blog post pages. Bad call. On mobile, they get bumped down and appear beneath the article.
The smart thing to do is to install a plugin to create a share bar that remains on-screen at all times. Share from SumoMe does just that.
On a desktop, the vertical share bar is onscreen as you scroll. And for mobile, it’s always onscreen at the bottom—whether the reader holds the smartphone vertically or horizontally.
SumoMe’s Share is:
How can a share bar be smart?
Turn on the SumoMe share smart mode and your share bar shows shares in “most to least” order, either vertically or horizontally.
Share is just one of more than 10+ tools designed to grow your website traffic offered by SumoMe in free and paid versions.
Images attract eyeballs. Images pull. Images inspire clicks. Don’t make me repeat research findings you’ve read 100 times.
So… What are WordPress users to do when they want to display an image in their sidebars? Most WordPress developers would say, “Write code.” Most WordPress users would respond, “Blech.”
But because you read this post, you’ll have a better answer: Image Widget. This plugin, by Modern Tribe, makes it easy to add image widgets using the WordPress media manager you know (and may or may not love).
Once installed, the widget guides you through the process of selecting an image to display and linking it to your destination page. Image Widget also makes it easy to include alt text (for SEO), add a caption, resize and/or align your image.
Here’s an example from the ClickWP blog on how to use Image Widget to create an affiliate link in your sidebar. I’m not sure why the image is cropped incorrectly, but the widget makes resizing an easy task.
Contextly is an affordably priced plugin created by publishers, for publishers. It’s tempting to label it a “related content” widget because it does indeed serve readers recommended content at the end of posts and in sidebars.
However, unlike recommendation engines you commonly find on news sites, Contextly links are entirely internal. So visitors aren’t inspired to go away; they’re invited to stay onsite and consume even more content. The idea is to turn new readers into regulars.
Shortly after its launch in 2014, Contextly added functionality to point visitors to videos and products as well.
Here’s a look at the Contextly recommendation module, which can highlight articles or any content on your website. You can program the plugin to rely on its own algorithm or curate recommended content manually.
Social Locker’s concept is simple. It asks visitors looking for access to your content to share it first. On the WordPress plugin directory page, the authors suggest you ask people to “pay” with a like, tweet, or +1, to:
Social Locker is free, however a paid version collects leads and unlocks extra themes and additional social buttons.
Want to make it easy for your visitors to tweet about your content? Do the work for them.
With Click to Tweet, a free plugin from CoSchedule, you can create tweetable content while creating your post or page on WordPress. A little bird shows the reader a ready-made tweet is just a quick click from appearing in their Twitter stream.
Marketing automation is an explosive area. While it’s proven its merits, many of the companies offering marketing automation platforms (MAPs) have proven it takes time and resources to implement it effectively.
Inbound Now is a panacea. While it operates as a plugin, it’s really a suite of plugins that will help you take advantage of essential marketing automation functions:
Inbound now makes it simple to increase conversion on your WordPress site with a series of plugins for creating landing pages and CTAs.
Inbound now offers a basic package for free and access to a library of templates and more features with its paid packages starting at $99/year.
You have quite a few plugin options for adding comment features to your WordPress blog. In my opinion, Disqus is the cream of this crop.
With Disqus, readers can join the discussion thread on your blog simply by granting access to one of their social media profiles. Users are given a variety of options including subscribing to receive updates when the stream has new content via email.
The plugin’s social media integration makes it less of a hassle to leave comments and also displays the commenter’s avatar, which I believe helps inspire readers to chime in.
Disqus has additional features to inspire interactivity such as threaded replies, a voting system, and the ability to add images and video. The plugin is set to automatically adapt to your site’s design and color scheme. And my favorite feature: Disqus instantly gives your blog a “Recommended Content” feature.
Notice how Disqus adds a suggested content section to my blog? That’ll help inspire readers to click around and stick around. It even previews the commentary stream from the suggested posts.
Your posts should have author boxes to encourage interaction with readers. While you can easily tackle the task with your basic WordPress functionality, the Fancier Author Box plugin enables you to step it up and become something more compelling.
Fancier Author Box presents your photo, title, and bio beneath your post as well as a tabbed system of social profiles and links you select.
Here’s a Fancier Author Box demonstrated by the creator of the plugin.
Note that in addition to social profiles, I’ve also included a tab that showcases my latest posts.
With these plugins in your toolbox, you’ve got what it takes to have a super great website and an awesome audience who will take action for you.
Do you have any WordPress plugins that we missed?
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