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

51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year

get more business from your blog

It’s a New Year. The holidays are over, your relatives have returned home.

And it’s time to get serious about your business and your blog.

You want more traffic—the right traffic.

And you probably want to spend less time doing it. Oh, and one more thing…

You also probably want to be more consistent publishing your blog.

Right?

Well, we are here to help.

First, if you are struggling to get your blog published, let us know. We are more than a social media company and can also help get your blog published.

Next, we got all of our elves to compile this ultimate list for you:

Here you’ll find everything you need to spark new ideas, improve your results, save time and, YES, also get more business.

Okay, let’s dig in with: 51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year.

Planning 

  1. Plan your next 3 months of topics with a Content Calendar.
  2. Block writing time on your calendar.
  3. Visit 10 blogs in your niche and get ideas for future topics.
  4. Create an avatar for your ideal audience(s) – all of your writing should attract your avatars.
  5. Research your competitors: what hot topics are they writing about? 
  6. Mix up your Content Calendar with video, infographic, illustrations, lists, book reviews, or interviews.
  7. Plan for seasonal campaigns, like New Year, summer, spring cleaning, Black Friday, etc.
  8. Install the free plugin Editorial Calendar to organize your future blog posts in a single dashboard.
  9. Plan for at least one extra-long (1,500-2,000 words), epic post that readers will love to share.

Writing

  1. Once a week read blogs about your topic using Feedly.
  2. Read Stephen King’s “On Writing: a memoir of the craft
  3. Experiment with short posts (see Seth Godin and Derek Sivers).
  4. Include “cliffhangers” (like: “Before I get to those solutions, let me ask you a question:”) to tease readers to continue reading your post.
  5. Choose one time of day to do your writing and build a habit around it.
  6. Use a writing template to get your posts started faster and end better.
  7. Use Evernote to collect articles and ideas for future blog posts.
  8. Let people in: share a personal experience and lessons learned.
  9. Answer common questions. One or two great solutions to one problem are better than 10 so-so solutions.
  10. Start every post with a personal story, questions, interesting fact or bold claim—get your readers’ attention!
  11. Spell check every post(!)
  12. Position yourself as an expert in your industry by sharing your original ideas, models, and solutions. 
  13. Make readers feel smart by sharing clever, unique solutions to important questions (and they’ll be more likely to share your posts!).
  14. Take a speed typing course and have a goal to complete each post faster.

Publishing

  1. Create an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of all the steps to publishing your blog.
  2. Revise old posts with updated information, new images and better CTA’s and republish.
  3. Save time by writing all of the social media updates for your blog at one time.
  4. Save time with every new blog post by outsourcing some or all of your publishing SOP.
  5. Post date your new blog post to come out on the same day of the week and at the same time.

Getting results

  1. Use your top 3 blog posts to find clues for what readers are attracted to.
  2. Make it a goal to grow your email list this year and review all the CTA’s that point to your email opt-in.
  3. Declutter your website sidebar and make it easier for readers to make one choice.
  4. Link your posts to “anchor” posts – these are posts you most want visitors to read.
  5. Include a CTA (Call To Action) in every blog post (ask for comments, ask for shares, link to survey, etc).
  6. Install the plugin Insert Post Ads to quickly insert banner ads in your blog posts.
  7. Keep readers on your site longer: end every blog post by recommending 3 related blog posts.
  8. When you email your list, only include the first 200-300 words of your new blog post with a link to “read more…” 
  9. Limit the links leaving your site and link to more related articles on your site.
  10. Ask for action: comment, share, read a related post or get a free opt-in offer.

Better numbers

  1. Benchmark your main traffic numbers (users, bounce rate, time on site) in Google Analytics.
  2. Create a goal for traffic and list size for this year.
  3. Update the Lead Magnet gift that goes with your email opt-in.
  4. Find all broken links on your website with tools like Broken link checker, or Dead link check.
  5. After publishing on your site, publish your blog post as an article on LinkedIn.
  6. A site that loads fast loses fewer readers. Test the loading speed of your site.
  7. Optimize every post with keywords, especially in your headline and first paragraph.

Attracting more readers

  1. Subscribe to BlogWorks(!) and let us promote you every day on social media.
  2. Write every post for your ideal client. Speak to them and answer the questions they ask you.
  3. Install the plug-in Better Click to Tweet (it’s free) and include at least 1 tweet in every post.
  4. Install the sumo or social warfare floating social share bars to encourage more readers to share your articles.
  5. Share your best stuff. You readers will be attracted (and will share) your best ideas, solutions, strategies, and resources.
  6. Finally, keep the faith—all successful bloggers started small and slow, persistence and consistency are more important than perfection. Keep writing, publishing and promoting!

Whoa! I know this was a long list.

And so we have two more thoughts for you…

First, you don’t need to do all of this. In fact, you don’t need to do half of it! 
Instead, choose one change you will make this month. Believe it or not, in our research we have found the most blogs never change! Year after year there is virtually zero attention given to plug ins, format, easy ways to share the post…nothing.
So, go easy on yourself and choose one thing for this month (my favourite would be to add the cool, free Editorial Calendar).

Lastly, you might have noticed that there are only 51 tips in our list, and not 52. That’s because you deserve a break! For at least one week, slack off. A great way to do that is to schedule your posts in advance (see #14 and #15 to save time.)

There you have it – great tips you can use one at a time. Have fun with it—your blog is a license to be creative and experiment. Do that and your readers will reward you with more readers. 

Looking for more articles on related topics?

Thinking of quitting blogging? Read this first …
Expert Tips: How to build a better blog
How to get 142% more blog traffic this year

Don’t Waste Your Error 404 Page!

How to create an awesome error 404 page

(Source)

It’s happened to the best of us: We click on a link, only to be let down by big “404: Page Not Found” message.

But can you think of a time when you landed on one of these pages and the result made you laugh or actually led you somewhere useful?

I can, and it’s great. Plus, laughing releases oxytocin, a chemical known as the “bonding hormone” – making your visitors laugh also makes them more likely to like you (or your brand)!

In this post, I’m going to give you a few tips for creating an awesome 404 error page right now and show you a few examples to motivate you!

Let’s dive right in.

Related Reading: Designing the Perfect Opt-in Offer

What Makes a Great Error 404 Page?

When it comes to making an error 404 page that really stands out, it needs to do three things:

1. Match your site’s design

When creating a 404 page, don’t make it look so radically different from the rest of your site that people don’t know it’s you. Use similar colors, fonts, and styles as the rest of your design.

2. Make it obvious there’s an error

This sounds like a no-brainer, but don’t get so creative they don’t realize they’ve made it to a broken link. Include the usual “404 You’re in the wrong place” message, but give them more.

Some typical wording includes:

  • 404 Not Found
  • The requested URL was not found on this server.
  • HTTP 404 Not Found
  • 404 Error
  • The page cannot be found

3. Link to useful stuff

Give them an obvious next step so they’re not left wondering what to do next! This could be as simple as returning to the home page, but I recommend adding links to your blog, popular pages, and any other resources you think they might like.

Resources to Help You Make a Better 404 Page

If you use WordPress, they’ve written a guide to help you create your 404 page.

Images and design will be a large part of your page, so you’ll want to make at least one good image. Here are a few resources to help you make your page the best it can be:

  • Canva – Easily create images of all shapes and sizes for free.
  • Fiverr – Hire a designer for as little as $5.

Canva screenshot

Related Reading: Warning: Your slow site load speed is a killer

5 Examples of Great Error 404 Pages

Need a little inspiration? Here are five of my favorite error 404 pages:

1. HubSpot

HubSpot Error 404 Page

I love HubSpot’s broken link page because it’s simple, to the point, and blends in well with their design. It also has a link to their blog, their product, and a signup form.

2. Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment 404 Page

Blizzard’s 404 page speaks really well to their target market: gamers. It’s clever, fun, and uses gamer lingo. Oh, and the broken menu is still clickable!

3. Magnt

Magnt 404 Error Page

Magnt’s 404 page actually went viral. It’s creative, clever, and includes a call-to-action button (return to the home page).

4. AirBNB

AirBNB 404 page

I love AirBNB’s page because it’s animated… and heart-wrenching. No one likes dropping their ice cream.

5. GitHub

AirBNB 404 page

GitHub speaks to their Star Wars fans with this one. What’s better: They put their search bar right there to entice you to continue.

Since we first posted this article the team at carwow passed along their take on the 404 page.  It’s an interactive 2d car game to test your driving skills. You can have a play at  https://www.carwow.co.uk/404

And then there’s this.

Now it’s off to you. Have you seen any great 404 pages or did you make one you’d love to share? Post the link in the comments below!

7 WordPress Plugins You Need to Create Amazing Content

7 WordPress Plugins to Create Amazing Content

Let’s face it:

It takes a lot of hard work to design a great website.

We spend hours making everything perfect. The design, the content, the copy…

…but, sometimes, the templates we use just don’t have all the features we need.

That’s where plugins come in.

WordPress powers more than 30% of the web, so chances are you’re using this amazing platform as well. We are, and we’ve found some incredible WordPress plugins that help us to create amazing content, and they can help you as well.

Without further ado, here are 7 plugins you need to install right now:

#1: Word Stats

Word Stats allows you to see the stats for your blog posts, including:

  • Number of words.
  • Keywords you rank for.
  • Post types broken down by number and percentage.
  • A graph showing monthly word count per post type.

However, the best part of Word Stats is its diagnostic table that links to posts that need your attention. It tells you when headlines are too short, long, or complicated.

A screen shot of the WordPress pluging, Word Stats.

#2: SumoMe

SumoMe is an amazing, all-in-one WordPress plugin. With this single plugin, you get:

  • An email capture pop-up.
  • Easy installation of Google Analytics.
  • A heat map to see where your customers click.
  • And much more!

A screenshot of the WordPress Plugin, SumoMe

#3: Better Click To Tweet

Have you ever seen blog posts with a box that says, “Click to Tweet”? They get that using a WordPress plugin like Better Click to Tweet.

For example:

Adding easily shareable elements to your #content increases your social reach. Click To Tweet

#4: OptinMonster

OptinMonster allows you to create high-converting opt-in forms in minutes.

It also allows you to segment your customers based on which form they fill out or which options they choose, A/B test to see what converts the best and create clickable text to show popup forms if you’re using a content upgrade or lead magnet.

Screenshot of the WordPress Plugin, Optin Monster

#5: Yoast SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an incredibly important part of building a blog. It helps you to increase your website traffic from search engines like Google and Bing.

The easiest way to master SEO is with the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin. It tells you exactly what you need to do to your blog post to improve the SEO.

Screenshot showing the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

#6: Pretty Link

Pretty link, as you probably guessed, makes your links look pretty.

So, instead of linking to “yourwebsite.com/some-crazy-long-url-for-seo”, your link would look like this: “yourwebsite.com/pretty-link”. But the best part is the analytics part of it; Instead of using a link shortener link bit.ly to track shares, you can just use Pretty Link.

Additionally, using this plugin lets you redirect from shorter URL links to your original longer one, which allows for easy sharing if you’re, say, speaking on a podcast. It’s much easier to say (and easier for your listeners to type) “yourwebsite.com/oneword” than a longer URL.

#7: Insert Post Ads by WPBeginner

If you monetize your blog through a program like Google AdSense, it would convert better if you place the ads in the right spot in your content, right?

Insert Post Ads allows you to do exactly that. You can place an ad anywhere you’d like mid-post.

Additionally, this plugin allows you to show off your own ads – if you’re, say, running a webinar or selling an eBook.

Conclusion

WordPress plugins are what make WordPress such an amazing platform. If you need something done, chances are you’ll be able to find a plugin to do it.

With these 7 plugins, you’ll be well on your way to creating amazing content and a website that looks and functions great.

What plugins do you use on your website? Let me know in the comments below!

Read Next: How to Get 80% More People to Read Your Blog Posts