Must-have blog plugins for more engagement, traffic and leads

So you are serious about content marketing. You are pushing out a quality blog post at least once a month (I hope more) and sharing it out to all your social media profiles. Maybe you are getting a few likes on those posts.

But the real question is… are you getting new business from all your efforts?

Let’s be real here. What use is great content if you aren’t getting business from it? It’s nice to have people looking at your work, but the only way to keep this up forever is by getting paid for your efforts.

It comes down to making everything ridiculously easy for your readers.

In a world of incessant distractions and multitasking, people don’t have the time to copy the URL of your post, go over to facebook, paste it in and write a few words to go along with it.

It also helps to establish a bit of trust, and to help people find other content of yours that interests them.

So let’s dive in.

Absolute Must Haves

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I’m really hoping you already have these three parts checked off already. They are absolutely essential.

  1. Google Analytics
  2. A good SEO plugin
  3. Google Search Console setup

If you don’t have all of these three sorted, go away now and get that done. Seriously. That important.

Sharing

Shares, comments and engagement are some of the best way to get more eyeballs on your content. That’s never going to happen by making it difficult for visitors to share that content.

You have to make it so easy for people on your site to share it back to their social media, without ever leaving your website.

1. Share Buttons

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(Don’t click these…)

Yes, this one is pretty obvious. But you’d be amazed how often it is forgotten. Don’t feel bad if you did. It happens all the time.

You need to have some share buttons in or around your content so people can quickly share the entire article.

Some common options are buttons at the start or end of the blog post, floating on the side of the page, or stuck to the bottom of the web browser.

2. Shareables

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Sometimes also called “Click to Tweet”. These are little quotes which stand out in your article with large text and a different background. Right next to them is a little button which can share that exact quote along with a link to the visitors social media.

People love to show of quotes they think are worthy of being shared. Why not make it even easier for them?

3. Highlight to share

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To continue on from that, what if they see something in the middle of your article that really resonates with them? If they want to share that, they have to copy and paste it over to Facebook and maybe remember to post in your link or give you credit.

What if they could just highlight the sentence and share it with one click, including a link back to your site? Neat, huh.

Lead Capture

So you’ve got lots of people coming to your site for your great content. But what good is having loads of people walking through your shop if no one knows where to find the products?

You need to have a way of giving those people the option to hear from you again. There are lots of ways you can do this and I guarantee you will have already seen many of them in various places.

Prerequisite: Before you can capture email addresses, you’ll need somewhere to store them. Somewhere you can contact people at a later date to drive them back to your site or show them your products. By far, my favourite tool for this is ActiveCampaign.

Honestly, if you don’t already have an email marketing system, or are still using something old like MailChimp, Aweber… go sign up for a free ActiveCampaign account now.

There are a few ways you could incentivise people to give you their email address. We won’t go into detail here – that is a whole other topic. Usually, this would be something like an ebook, guide, 7 day email course or a content upgrade. If you don’t know what that last one is, you’ll see at the end of this post 😉

4. Contextual Lead Capture

This is a lead capture form that relates directly to the post your visitor is reading. There are two major ways you can do this.

You could add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your post which tells the visitor they can sign up to hear more, book a 15 minute free call or whatever you are offering. This CTA can automatically be placed at the end of every post on your site, or even according to what “category” of post it is.

The second option is to do a “content upgrade” where the visitor can opt-in to receive a more detailed version, or something that directly accompanies the content they have just read. For example, at the end of this post you will have the option to get a list of the exact tools we use for everything you read about in this post.

This is really powerful when done right.

5. General Lead Capture

This encompasses everything other lead capture on your site. They take many forms and are generally shown to everyone who visits your site, or a particular part of it. Some are more or less intrusive than others but you should try various ones out to see what works for you.

The common forms are:

  • Welcome Mat (large full screen opt in)
  • Popup
  • Slide In
  • Sidebar
  • Floating bar
  • In-line forms

Encouraging further reading

If a visitor gets to the end of an article and loves what they’ve read, you want them to keep reading more and more of what you have to offer!

You do this by making it easier for them (notice the theme here?) to find more relevant content that they love.

6. Related Content

When they get to the end of the post, the visitor should be able to easily find more content. You can do this in three ways automatically:

  1. Related Posts
  2. Recent Posts
  3. Popular Posts

Even better, you can manually choose the most related content for them to read.

Pro tip: If you refer to other posts in your writing, link over to those directly in that post! You can also use tools to automatically link certain phrases in your writing to certain posts automatically.

7. A good search

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The built in search for most websites sucks. If you set up a better search, it:

  1. Makes it easier for people to find content (there it is again)
  2. Tells you what people are typing in

Number 2 is huge. You’ll get analytics of exactly what people are typing in and finding (or not finding) on your site. If they aren’t finding it, I think you know what your next post should be about…

Adding Trust

Trust is important to build before asking for someone’s email address. The old adage that people must know, like and trust you before they buy often rings true.

Of course, your brilliant content will go a long way to establishing that, but there are some ways of helping it along.

Most trust elements aren’t really specific to your blog – like media mentions, social proof, trust seals and that kind of thing. However there is one thing you should definitely do…

8. Author Box

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The author box sits right after every blog post. It has your photo, a bit of info about you and maybe links to your social profiles (be careful with this, they are potential leak points where you will lose your audience).

It gives your audience a little snippet letting them know you are a real person as well as a pretty face.

Bonus Points

1. Image Sharing

This only really applies if you have a visual business or have shareworthy images on your site (of course with watermarks on them). Make it easy for your visitors to quickly share images on your site.

2. Headers aren’t for being social

How often do you see social icons in the header of a site? These little guys are perfect for losing your audience before they’ve even read your site. Unless you have a really good reason, just don’t do it. I guess this one was more a “must-not-have” than a “must-have”.

3. Making sharing easy on you

We talked a lot about making things easier for your visitors. It’s time to talk about making things easier for you. Get your hands on a tool which can help or even automate sharing across multiple platforms. We’re talking Hootsuite, Buffer, Edgar, IFTTT or whatever floats your boat.

And there we have it.

How many did you have out of the 8 main points? Let me know in the comments below.

Time to get cracking and set all of these up on your site.

There are so many different ways you can do all of this. Finding the right tools and plugins is kind of like walking through a minefield. There is a LOT of rubbish out there that can cause real problems on your site.

We’ve done the hard yards finding the best-in-class tools for all of them.

If you’d like to get your hands on that list, enter your name and email below.

Get the must-have blog plugins!

Enter your name and email to get a list of must-have blog plugins. There are free and premium options for just about all of them!

 

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James Rose

James is the co-founder of Content Snare and Aktura Technology. Once a web designer, his new priority is to help web designers and developers regain their lives, work less and get better clients.

He does this by writing helpful posts, building software and working with web designers to deliver the complex web development that they don't normally handle.

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Thanks for all the great insights and tools. There are not too many people I take notice of when they post stuff. Thank you.

Daniel Doherty
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