Once you have decided to take the plunge and start your own blog, you realize there is more to it than just creating new and engaging content to present to the digital world. If you intend to be successful and attract more visitors you need to pay attention to various details that will help you understand and connect with your audience. You may also want to jazz up your site with interesting features that make it more appealing to a potential return visitor.
If you are using WordPress as your content management engine, you should be exploring the wonderful world of plugins. They can save you time when you are looking to add features and can improve the functionality of your website in ways you may not even have thought of yet. Maybe you want to start selling a product on your blog and are unsure of how to do it. A WordPress plugin will help you get your business up and running.
As defined by codex.wordpress.org, a plugin is a program or a set of functions, written in the PHP scripting language, that adds a set of features or services to the WordPress site. An API lets you easily incorporate the plugin into your site. There are thousands of plugins available. Some are free and some come with a financial cost.
With all those plugins out there, it might be intimidating when trying to decide which ones will add some value to your site. We have 5 suggestions for plugins that all bloggers should consider using on their website.
1. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
There are several different plugins that offer the advantage of integrating Google Analytics into your WordPress website. Whichever one you choose, you should definitely use the power in Google Analytics to help track and analyze traffic that your website attracts.
Google Analytics allows you to track the number of visitors and traffic sources in real-time. It lets you fine-tune your analysis and focus on particular pages or posts. The dashboard also enables tracking of various events such as downloads, emails, affiliate links, custom event categories, and many more. It is an essential tool to help you understand your website traffic and use that information to improve your site.
2. Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin
When you are running a blog there is a good possibility that you want comments from your visitors. It is a way to interact with them and gain insight into the ways that they are using your site. You can also look for ways that your users suggest that might make your blog even more popular than it is already.
Unfortunately, not all comments are created equally. You can inadvertently be spreading malicious content via spam comments or submission forms. The Akismet plugin checks all comments and filters suspicious ones that may be spam. Site moderators can unspam a comment if they feel that is an appropriate action. and you can track the number of approved comments by an individual user. This will let you see if there are particular users who perhaps should be banned from your site. This plugin is free for personal use and licensed for commercial sites.
3. Title Experiments
If you want to know how to create a website that attracts visitors, looking at your titles might be a good place to start. The titles of your articles and blog posts can be a determining factor in whether they result in any engagement with your visitors.
Title Experiments is a free plugin available at the wordpress.org site. It enables you to test your titles and determine which ones are most likely to get more clicks and potentially more revenue for your blog. You can have multiple titles for an article that are randomly displayed in your post list. Tracking which ones get more activity is easy and lets you tailor your future titles to better appeal to your audience.
This free plugin will give you the ability to conduct e-commerce on your WordPress website. In fact, it is the most popular e-commerce plugin and is used to power over 30% of online stores, according to venturebeat.com. WooCommerce gives you the ability to sell any kind of physical or digital product.
Using extensions to the plugin enables you to set up monthly subscriptions and offer member discounts. You can offer to ship in a variety of flavors such as flat or free shipping and the plugin lets you limit your shipping to designated geographic locations. You will have the ability to accept all major credit cards as well as accept bank transfers and payment through PayPal. This extendable plugin lets you design your storefront and control your customers’ data in a way that makes running an online store almost enjoyable.
This plugin is a form-builder for WordPress sites that is specifically designed with the non-programmer in mind. It enables the creation of contact forms, email subscriptions, payment forms, and other forms without the need to write a single line of code. There is a lite version which is free and contains most of the features the average user will need, and a premium version that adds additional functionality to the tool.
WPForms creates responsive forms that will display correctly on any device. You can link subscription forms with your online marketing tool to get a jump on leads. The plugin lets you create high-performance forms that employ conditional logic and your team can take advantage of the instant notification feature when a form is submitted.
These are a few of the plugins that could be considered essential to the prospective blogger who is running a WordPress site. The availability of these plugins is one of the reasons that WordPress is such a popular platform among website owners. They extend the functionality of your site with very little overhead and no additional programming on your part. Take advantage of the wide variety of plugins and find some that will improve the look and value of your website.
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