3 Amazing WordPress Blog Plugins to Power up your Site

WordPress blog plugins to power up your site

This might be the most important article you read this year.

Okay, a bit of hyperbole, but if you’re trying to get bigger results from your blog, this will be damn good.

In this article we are looking at the 3 WordPress blog plugins we use the most often on this site.

Think of a plugin like an app on your phone. They can be a waste of time and actually slow down your site…or they can be amazing and make life oh-so-much-better. Add to that, most plugins are free, or at the very least have a free version.

Here they are:

1. Better Click to Tweet
2. Insert Post Ads
3. Editorial Calendar

I’m going to spell out the steps for each of these WordPress blog plugins below. You can also grab some popcorn and watch this 12 minute video.

Video roll:

01:00 Better Click to Tweet
4:38 Insert Post Ads
10:26 Editorial Calendar

1. Better Click to Tweet

This might be the simplest improvement you make to your blogs results—make it easy for readers to Tweet about your blog. In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time.

In our goldfish-like attention world, nothing is better than saving your customers’ time. Click To Tweet

Better Click to Tweet is a simple, free plugin that makes it super easy to let your readers, with just 2 clicks, share your post to all of their followers on Twitter. And that one tweet can put you in front of thousands of followers loyal to that reader.

There are similar tools, like Click to Tweet and plugins like sumome and social warfare offer a click to tweet option.

This video explains how to install the plugin.

Once you have the plugin installed adding a click to tweet is easy:

Copy a quote from your blog you want readers to share. Click on the location in your post you want to insert the click to tweet. Click on the blue bird in your menu bar, paste the quote and you’re done!

more blog traffic

2. Insert Post Ads

This WordPress blog plugin is amazing! I first came across it on Mike Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner’s blog (which has become like a Wiki for how-to social media). I noticed there were ads for his conference on every blog post. And I knew he had thousands of posts – clearly it wasn’t possible to have inserted the ad manually. That’s when I had a peak at his source code and viola!..Insert Post Ads (Thank You Mike.)

On any WordPress site, you can insert a banner for a webinar, live event (like Stelzner did for his conference), book sales, optin, content upgrade, a sale event or your daughter’s lemonade stand.

Within a few minutes your advertisement/offer/announcement is on every blog post on your site. And just as quickly you can remove it.

more blog traffic

Here’s how this clever little plugin works…

Once you have the plugin installed (did I mention it’s free?).

1. Drop the banner image you want displayed into a draft page on your WordPress site. You won’t be publishing this page – it’s just there so you can quickly get the html code from the image.

2. Click on the image, go to edit, and select “Link to Custom URL” and paste the link to the event or sales page you want to promote. Click “Update” to save the banner. Now that you have a linked banner, you need to load that into the Insert Post Ads plugin.

3. Click on “Text” to display the HTML code for that page (if you’re getting confused, watch the video on this page.) Copy the code for that banner into your clipboard. Click “Save Draft” to save your page in WordPress.

4. Go to your Insert Post Ads plugin “Post Adverts > Add New Posts.” Enter the name of the new insert where it says “Advert Title.” Paste the HTML code into “Advert code:” Choose “Display the advert After Paragraph Number” and choose a number. Click “Publish”

That’s it. It’s going to seem like Greek (no offense to all the Greeks who read my blog), but once you’ve done it, oh let’s say 114 times, it gets easier!

I encourage you to write out the steps so next month when you go to replace the banner it’s much quicker.

3. Editorial Calendar Plugin

I think I saved my favourite of the WordPress blog plugins for last.

Imagine having all your blog posts – past and future – nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! That’s what the Editorial Calendar plugin (yup, free as well) will do.

Imagine having all your blog posts - past and future - nicely organized and displayed on a calendar. Automatically! Click To Tweet

All you have to do is install the plugin and presto! it populates with all your posted blogs and – this is my favourite part – it lists all your draft posts in a tidy list in a right-hand side bar.

But, wait, there’s more! (thank you Steve Jobs for that one.)

more blog traffic

You can do a quick edit of a draft right from the calendar. You can also move your draft posts on the calendar and it will automagically update the posting date on the draft.

If you aren’t using a more robust tool, like coschedule or post planner, Editorial Calendar is a slick, nibble alternative. And if you collaborate with an editor or assistant, this tool will save you tons of emails back and forth about dates.

You’re welcome.

Ready to learn more? Here are 3 of our most popular articles on this topic:

7 Types of Call To Action to Move your Blog Readers to Action
Your end of year blog tune up
51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year

Why you should be republishing your old blog posts

Maybe you work too hard?

It’s the end of the day, you’re exhausted – all you want to do is veg out and watch Marie Kondo spark joy in someone else’s cluttered bedroom.

Instead, you’re writing a new blog.

You know your blog is important, but maybe there’s an easier way? A way that could even get you better results.

We call republishing old blog posts “re-loving”.

Before I get to that, I want to explain a very powerful discovery we’ve made at BlogWorks.

Every week we’re working with business owners who have blogs. They have come to us either because they want us to promote their blog or help write their blog, or both.

But what we discovered is that the good old Pareto 80/20 principle is hard at work. And about 20% of their posts (these are the “hot” topics) attract about 80% of the traffic.

Most blog owners need to look at the 80/20 rule. About 20% of your posts attract about 80% of the traffic. Click To Tweet

Your blog and the 80/20 principle

Pareto 80/20 rule
Data tells us that the good old Pareto 80/20 principle is hard at work

Think about it: if you knew that 20% of the products in your store or services were hot sellers, you’d promote them more, right? Of course you would.

But, of course, nobody bothers to check the data (not you, of course) because the data is hidden in the techie world of Google Analytics.

So, there you are: sweating over another blog post and not knowing what topics are hot topics.

Let’s fix that…

How to re-love your old posts

The strategy with republishing old blog posts is to give each article a quick make-over to update the content, refresh the look and then to republish with a new date. And the goal is more traffic and you get a blog posted without a lot of effort.

Before, I get into the steps that we use, I want to emphasize “without a lot of effort” – this can either be a four hour project or a 30 minute one. Your goal is the latter. That means one cup of tea, coffee or glass of wine, but not longer than 30 minutes.

Boundaries created, let’s dive in.

Instead of always writing new posts, why not republish old ones? Click To Tweet

Step 1: Make a list of old blog posts to re-love

Remember the principle here is to find blog posts that are performing well, but need an upgrade. Start with your Google Analytics list of top 50 blog posts. Open up Analytics, change the date range to the last 6 months. Next, go to Behaviour > Overview. Once you see the chart (bottom right-hand corner), click “see full report” to get the expanded version and click the drop-down “show rows” to “50.”

Google Analytics list

Now you have the top 50 pages, by traffic, on your site. This is chart if full of bread crumbs: you are looking at how your readers have voted on your blog—essentially they are telling you what they want more of.

A good place to start your republishing old blog posts exercise is with the most popular blog posts that are more than one year old. To get that list, print the chart and write the published date beside the top 20 blog posts.

The oldest posts in the top 20 are the ones you’ll be re-loving.

top blogs and dates

Step 2: Create a publishing schedule

If you find yourself trying to remember what blog topics you’ve already published and keeping track of future topics, you are going to love this solution:

A great (free) plug-in we’ve started using is called Editorial Calendar. Once installed, Editorial Calendar will self-populate with all your published blog posts. Cool right?

editorial calendar

A neat trick is to click “Show unscheduled drafts” to see a list of all your draft posts and then click and drag them to the date you want. You can “hold” a publishing date by starting a draft blog post with the date you want (watch this video to learn how).

A simple plan is to mix one new post with one re-loved post per month. Or double it up if you publish weekly.

Step 3: Give the post a quick make-over

Now for the fun part!

The goal here is to update facts, clean up your writing, maybe refresh images and then be DONE. Google is looking for a “substantial update” for it to do the magical reindexing we want to move up to first page. But you don’t need to make this another writing project!

Here’s a quick shopping list of what to look for:

  • Break up those looooong paragraphs and keep your readers moving down the page.
  • Insert “cliffhangers”, like: “But, before I get to that…”, “And there’s one more thing…”, or “Has this ever happened to you…?”
  • Include keywords into your post. Don’t overdo it, but if your post is about “change management” make sure it’s in some of your subheading (h1, h2 tags.)
  • Insert a Click To Tweet to make it easy for readers to share.
  • Update your Featured Image.
  • Insert links to “anchor posts” – these are posts on your site you want readers to go to, or to your products and services pages. While you’re at it, remove unnecessary links that take readers off your site.
  • Update your CTA (Call To Action) – do you want social shares, the reader to take action, or just comments? Make it clear what action you want them to take. As a friend once said, “If you don’t A-S-K you won’t G-E-T.”

Your final touch before changing to the new publish date and hitting publish is to add a short announcement at the top of the post to let readers know this is information is current, like:

“This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been completely updated.”

or: “This post was originally published in 2017 and was completely updated Jan. 2019 for accuracy and your reading pleasure.”

Step 4: Make some noise

Once you’ve launched your newly republished post it’s time to make some noise. Send some posts to your social channels (of course if you are using BlogWorks, we’re all over that), fire off an email, maybe shoot a quick video.

Remember, you’re newly republished post is going to be new to your audience. So, don’t be shy about announcing it’s arrival.

Note: if your permalink setting includes the date your blog was published (like: www.myblog.com/blog/2012/12/leadership) republishing old blog posts will change the date in the URL and you will lose any existing SEO links. This article explains how to avoid that.

Well done! You’ve been strategic and re-loved your hard work from the past. You’ve also saved time AND published exactly what your readers told you they want more of.

Plus, now you have more time to watch Marie Kondo spark joy.

17 proven strategies for building a better blog

blog traffic

In this post we are sharing one of our most popular slide decks published on SlideShare. It’s advice from the gurus that is not only really smart, it’s actionable.

PRO TIP: Once you scan through these, go back and choose just one to work on this month. For example, you might want to put more attention on your headlines – great! Go through your underperforming posts and rewrite the headlines using keywords (don’t change the URL of the post – just the headline).

Here’s the complete list:

  1. think: long road
  2. build your avatar
  3. don’t guess – ask them
  4. think like a publisher
  5. do the grunt work
  6. don’t make it all about you
  7. survive the first draft
  8. be a name dropper
  9. solve problems
  1. each post is a product
  2. give readers what they want
  3. great headlines
  4. include eye candy
  5. make it about them
  6. use a template
  7. spread the good news
  8. be consistent

SEO 101: Using Keywords in Your Blog Posts

SEO 101: Using Keywords in Your Blog Posts

Using keywords is a major part of any good blog. Without them, your content won’t be found in search engines like Google!

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be daunting at first, but once you learn the basics, it isn’t so bad.

In this post, we’ll discuss the most basic of SEO principles: Researching, using and ranking for keywords.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Research Your Keywords

Before you write a blog post, you should know what keywords you want to rank for. (But before you do that, make sure you have Google Analytics set up!)

To find your keywords, you must first know your topic. What are you writing about?

Pro Tip: You should be writing about a single topic. One of the most important factors to ranking in Google include covering every sub-topic within your main topic. Don’t be too random in your topics or it will hurt your SEO.

Once you have a topic in mind, start by searching for it in Google.

For example, let’s say we’re writing about “How to get more traffic to your blog”. Here’s what comes up:

Use Google to find keywords

From this one simple search, we now know what else people are searching for. We can add “how to get more traffic to your blog for free”, “how to get more traffic to your blog wordpress” and “how to get more traffic to your blogger” as potential keywords to use in the article.

Next, let’s take a look at the related searches at the bottom of the page:

Find keywords with Google's related searches feature.

It’s like our birthday! We now have eight more keyword phrase ideas to add to the list.

Pro Tip: You can also use these methods to generate topic ideas. For example, “how to get more traffic to your blogger” can be a different topic than getting traffic to a regular blog. Also, you can continue to look at the suggested and related searches for each of these new phrases, increasing your potential for ideas.

Another great way to do keyword research is a tool like SEMrush. They show you the difficulty of ranking for a keyword and tons of other information as well. You can do a few searches for free, but after that you have to pay.

Alternatively, just plug your keywords into the Google Keyword Planner to get some interesting info.

Using Keywords in your Blog Post

Once you’ve got a good list of keywords, it’s time to add them to your post.

Personally, I like to write the post first, then go back and add in the keywords where it makes sense. This makes it easier to focus on writing so you don’t interrupt your flow.

Don’t over-stuff your article with keywords!

A good rule of thumb is to put your keyword in once for every 300-500 words. Any more than that and Google may flag you for keyword stuffing and push you out of search results.

Besides adding them in your copy, you also want to put them:

  • Once in your title
  • In your heading tags (h2, h3, etc.)
  • In image alt text
  • In your meta description (this doesn’t effect SEO but may effect click-thru rate which in turn affects SEO)
  • In your URL

There you have it! A super quick guide to using keywords in your blog posts.

Conclusion

Finding and using keywords doesn’t have to be as complicated as it looks. While this article only covers the absolute basics, it still gives you a fighting chance to rank on Google.

Of course, there is more to SEO, like backlinks, usability, site speed, and more. We didn’t cover any of these in this post. If you would like us to cover them in a future post, leave us a comment to let us know! Comments help us understand what you want to read about and directly affect what we write about.

Also, don’t forget to share this article if you found it helpful!