I get questions from time to time about the plugins I use for WordPress. There are a lot of choices of plugins out there and sometimes it can be quite hard to find ones that actually do what you want them to do. Many others do the job but they slow down your site so much that they are not worth having. Some, in all honesty are plain junk.
Now I am not talking about plugins that will put Bible verses on your website, or give you cute Christian pictures, or make a dove fly across your screen. I am talking about plugins that will help you accomplish your mission of getting the word out about Jesus. They will help you create more creative content, harness the power of social networks, have good comments with almost no spam, and make your blog posts search engine friendly. I hope that this is the type of article that will give you practical help and advice concerning WordPress plugins.
A Plugin To Help You Make Your Content More Creative
My friend Mark over at Razor Swift went wild when I shared with him this plugin to give him more options in how he formats, uses font size and style, and embeds pictures and videos on his site. It has a ton of options. It is called Ultimate TinyMCE. Just place that name in the spot where you search for plugins and you will be able to find it.
I use three social networking plugins for this website. The reason I use two is because I like having a social slider on the left of the page and ways to share the post at the top and bottom of the articles. This website thrives on social traffic. People who share our articles with their friends, drive 1/3 of the total traffic to this website. If you are ignoring social sharing, you are ignoring the future.
WP MashSocial Wigdet
Scroll up to the top left of the page sidebar. That is called the WP MashSocial widget. It is based on the widget used by mashable.com. It gives all your visitors the opportunity to like your social profiles and follow you. It is a very clean and sharp looking widget and is highly effective in getting people to start following your website.
Socialize allows you to place social sharing icons not only at the bottom of your post, but at the top as well and allows you to choose which social networks to display. I particularly like the option it gives to embed in the beginning of your post, the social sharing buttons that are most important to you instead of putting all of them there. I also like how you have the choice of top, bottom, or both places to display the social sharing buttons.
Po.st is used by many major websites. Up until a month ago, they had to code it into their sites but now they have came out with a WordPress plugin for Po.st. It is the slider that I am using on the side. The reason I like this plugin is that after a person uses the plugin to share something on their social network, a display ad is shown which you can earn money on. It is one way to monetize your website without ever using any more ad space.
If you are like me, I hate spam comments. I use to get 2000 or more spam comments per month. Most of them would be filtered but not all of them. Now with the comment system I use, you no longer have to deal with spam and you can reward people who comment with a link to their latest blog post. It also keeps your comments on your WordPress site rather than shifting them to a third party. This is better for search engine results. What is the comment system? Well it consists of 3 plugins.
This is the basic comment system. It gives you the option to allow people to place a link to their previous blog post when they comment. It also gives you the option on how many links a person can place within the comment itself. This blocks a lot of spammers right there since they try to put a lot of links in most comment spam.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin
Subscribe To Comments
This plugin allows people to subscribe to the comments being made on an article. They are notified by email when a new comment is made. This increases your return traffic and amount of comments that you get on your website. It helps your comments become a conversation between people.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far the most powerful plugin for search engine optimization. It helps you set up your posts in the most search engine friendly manner so you get better search engine rankings. It covers things like heading tags, keyword density, meta descriptions and a wide variety of other things. This plugin alone will increase your traffic and visibility among searchers. It also has many other features to help your entire website be more search engine optimized. I could do a whole post on this plugin but honestly just do a search for it, and you will find many quality articles about it, including one from the developer himself.
CopyLink is a simple program that puts a “read more” tag and hyperlink at the end of any post that somebody is trying to copy and paste. This prevents those that are just scraping your content to use it elsewhere from doing so with an automated system. If they do, they end up giving you credit and a backlink.
Related Content by Wordnik
Related Content by Wordnik is a great plugin that I was privileged to be a beta tester for. I got a free tee-shirt out of the deal! Woo Hoo! It is the fastest of the related content plugins out there and it has one bonus that the others do not offer. You have the option of linking out to other similar articles on other websites. Now I personally do not use this option because I am concerned that I don’t send traffic to websites that are not family friendly or spiritually in agreement with this site, but I have received traffic from other websites who are using this plugin. When you have a related content plugin, you have people who click through to other articles on your site which gives you better stats and better signals of a good user experience. A good user experience is part of having a good SEO plan in place.
SEO Smart Links
SEO Smart Links is a nifty little program that takes the keywords that you input into the plugin and the posts that go along with those keywords and combs your website and when that word shows up, it links to that post. Let me give you an example. Say I have a post that talks about the cross of Christ. I place the keywords “cross of Christ” into the plugin. I then give it the address to that post. It goes through my entire blog searching for the words “cross of Christ”. It then puts a link on all the references to that word that it found. You can control how many links per post that it adds for you. This shows the search engines that all your pages are related somehow and the entire subject matter is tied together. It also gives people another option to read another post and increases the amount of time they stay on your site.
A WordPress Plugin to Build Your Return visitors
Many people use a mailing list in spammy ways. Honestly I hate being spammed all the time by people using my email address this way. However there is an ethical way to use a mailing list to build the amount of people that return to your website. You can offer them to sign up to be notified when there is new material to read. I use this plugin.
AWeber Web Forms
If you will take a look at the bottom of this post, you will see a form to sign up for a daily digest. We post multiple articles per day, so I offer a daily digest of the articles that were published every day. Once you get things set up, it is automatic. It pulls the latest articles from your RSS feed. It sends out a mailer to the mailing list all by itself. Now it is not a free plugin. The service costs 20 bucks per month, but if you are serious about building traffic and having continual growth, I highly recommend it.
Finally, I am going to share with you the WordPress Plugin that handles all my advertising that I sell myself. I started out with BeaconAds, but got irritated that they charged 30% of the revenue and all the leads were generated by me. So basically I was giving them a third of all the ad revenue I generated and the only thing I received in return was the ability to serve and count the ad clicks or impressions. That all changed when I found this plugin.
OIOpublisher Ad Manager 2.55
This plugin does everything that BeaconAds, BuySellAds, and any of the other third party ad hosting companies offer. You can set it up to accept paypal and google checkout plus a variety of other services. You can designate the size and type of ad and the type of tracking whether it is cost per 1000 impressions, cost per click, or a monthly rate. You can place other ad networks in place to fill your unused inventory. It gives you everything you need to sell your own ad space and not pay any middle man. It costs a one time fee with unlimited upgrades. I think it runs $47.00 now. For me, it paid for itself in the first month. I sold more ads and I didn’t have to give anyone a 30% cut of the revenue.
How Do You Get All These WordPress Plugins?
If you are a WordPress.com user, you might be stuck. They limit the plugins you are allowed to use. However if you are a self hosted WordPress site, then all you have to do is copy the bold section of the plugin you are interested in, go to your WordPress Site, click the link for plugins in your right sidebar, click search for plugins, and past that title in the search bar. It will show you the plugin I am talking about. You then click install and you are on your way.
I hope that this article has been helpful to you. Please let me know if it has.