Thursday, October 13, 2016 by Alex IvanovsNote taking is as old as the world itself. Trying to stay on top of hundreds of things at once is a task that not many people have the ability to cope with, and needless to say that keeping notes is fairly inexpensive, yet one of the most productive things we can do. Whether it's writing down the list of things we need to do, or important points from a talk we have just attended, keeping notes help us remember the most important things when we most need them. WordPress as a blogging platform could be considered one big notekeeper in itself, but not all of us see it that way and not all of us want to see it that way, which is why a select few developers have gone out of their way to publish WordPress plugins for keeping notes, in several different categories. For the most part, using these plugins is going to extend the functionality of your WordPress publishing platform as a platform that you can also use for direct content editing, though most importantly -- to keep notes. If you're still looking to build your WordPress site, check out HostGator's WordPress hosting.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 by Syed Balkhi
As a writer, you may be looking for ways to enhance your WordPress blog and expand the reach of your content. The good news is, there are a vast number of WordPress plugins that can help. The bad news is, it can be difficult for writers to choose the best ones. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about that.
In this article, we will share the 9 best WordPress plugins for writers that can enhance your blog and expand your reach.
Don’t have a website yet? No problem. Get your site published in minutes with HostGator's one-click WordPress installs. Learn more here.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the best WordPress plugin for ranking your blog posts in the search engines. It optimizes your page title, meta description, focus keywords, sitemap, social metadata, and much more.
This plugin is a must-have for any content writer. (See this guide on how to install Yoast SEO.)
Cost: Free with multiple price tiers
2. Edit Flow
Edit Flow helps your editorial teams to collaborate on your posts and pages.
This plugin adds an editorial calendar to your dashboard so you can look at your monthly content plan. It also creates custom statuses for keeping track of the key stages in your workflow. You can even communicate with your writers and editors in the private editorial comments.
3. Monster Insights
Monster Insights helps you to monitor your daily blog traffic with Google Analytics.
This plugin allows you to easily setup Google Analytics on your WordPress site with just a few clicks. It highlights your most important stats, so you can easily grow your blog traffic and get a clear idea of how you are doing at a glance.
Cost: Free or pro version at $89 / yr
WPForms is the best WordPress plugin for adding forms to your site. Its features make it the most powerful and user-friendly WordPress form builder on the market.
This plugin creates contact forms and custom form types with a powerful drag & drop builder. It also includes simple and beautiful form templates that you can start with to save you time. Plus, you can create high performance forms with their smart conditional logic.
Cost: Free with paid upgrades starting at $39 / yr
5. ClicktoTweet by CoSchedule
ClicktoTweet is one of the easiest ways to get more shares for your content.
It is a simple WordPress plugin that encourages readers to share your content by adding Click to Tweet boxes in your blog posts.
6. Revision Control
Revision Control gives writers more control over the WordPress post revision system.
You can save revisions of posts or pages in your WordPress backend. It allows you to set the number of revisions for your content, and these settings can be changed according to your needs. You can also delete post or page revisions from Revisions post meta box.
7. Co-Authors Plus
Co-Authors Plus is the best author box plugin that adds multiple authors to one post. If you have two or more contributors working on one post, then this is the plugin for you.
You can add bylines to WordPress posts, pages and more with the search-as-you-type input box. It allows you to list the authors anywhere on your site using template tags. It also has multiple templates for displaying the authors.
8. Post Forking
Post Forking allows writers to create an alternate versions of their content for a collaborative approach to WordPress content curation.
This plugin gives authors the ability to submit proposed revisions and to edit published posts without the changes appearing immediately.
9. TinyMCE Spell Check
TinyMCE Spell Check helps you to identify the mistakes in your posts and correct them by adding a spell check button.
With this plugin, you no longer have to copy and paste your blog posts into a Word document to check for errors: you can do it right within your WordPress backend.
Cost: Free to try with upgrades starting at $29 / month
WordPress plugins make it so much easier for writers to enhance their blog and expand the reach of their content. Now that you know the best ones, choose one of the above plugins to start with. You’ll see the improvement in no time.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 by Kevin Wood
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to monetize your website. You already have the traffic and readership, but you don’t have something to sell. Instead of spending all that time creating a product, you can recommend similar products to your audience and receive a commission for each sale.
Best of all, if you’re dealing with digital products, then the commission you receive will be much higher than the typical commission that’s offered from most physical product retailers.
Yet, you might be struggling to find out the best ways you can actually sell and promote these offers to your audience. Luckily, WordPress has your back. There are a slew of great plugins you can use that’ll simplify your affiliate marketing efforts.
Below we highlight five different plugins you can use to bolster your affiliate marketing efforts, or help to get them off the ground.
Note: Whenever using third-party plugins, be thoughtful of your resource usage to avoid any surprises from your hosting provider.
In some cases you might not be interested in promoting and selling others’ products, but instead have recruited people to promote and sell your own digital courses and guides. In this case, you’re going to need a way to track and manage the sales of your own affiliates.
The WordPress Affiliate and Referral plugin will enable you to easily manage the affiliates who are promoting your products. This plugin has features like:
- The ability to manage and track affiliate performance
- PayPal integration to easily pay affiliates
- Integration with your existing eCommerce system, such as, WooCommerce
- The ability to setup referral banners and links for promotional use
If you’re planning on selling Amazon products for an affiliate commission, then you need to be using this plugin. EasyAzon will save you a ton of time when you’re trying to create a link for the Amazon product.
This plugin is a must-have if you’re promoting Amazon products, just look at a few of the features this plugin has to offer:
- Add Amazon affiliate links to your pages and posts without leaving the WordPress dashboard
- The links will automatically adjust to the visitor’s geographic region
- The plugin allows readers to automatically add a product to their cart, which can increase conversions
Thirsty Affiliates can be seen as an all-in-one affiliate solution. Essentially, it’s a link-cloaker, which allows you to create affiliate links that don’t look like affiliate links.
This increases the chances of your visitors clicking on the link, as it doesn’t resemble a spam link, or a link from an untested source.
Some additional features of this plugin include:
- A tool to choose the correct affiliate link for your product
- Allows you to add media files to your links, such as images or video that pop-up when the link is hovered over.
- An automatic link-shortening feature
- A lot more, there are additional add-ons that can be purchased to extend the functionality of this plugin
Pretty Link Lite allows you to shorten and cloak any affiliate links you’re using across your entire site. This is a very small and simple plugin that does this task incredibly well.
Plus, there’s a nifty tracking feature built into this plugin, so you can see which links are garnering you the most clicks and if any links are underperforming. Since this plugin isn’t specifically created for affiliate website it has other useful features like:
- Allows you to create 301 and 307 redirects
- Can export the link data into a CSV file to more easily analyze
- Automatic creation of URL slugs for each link
If you have a sidebar ad that you’re trying to use to sell affiliate products, then the Custom Sidebars plugin will help you reach your goals. Most affiliate programs will come with a set of image-based ads you can use to promote their products.
All you have to do is install the plugin, upload your ad images with a tracking code, and you’re all set to begin generating revenue. This plugin comes equipped with a ton of useful features including:
- Display custom widgets and sidebars depending on page or post type
- Easy WordPress integration
- Well-coded, so it won’t slow down your site
WordPress is a great choice when you’re building an audience to sell and promote products to. The plugins above will help to more easily manage and promote your digital goods.
Did you know? HostGator has an award-winning affiliate program! If you're interested in earning up to $125 per qualifying signup, click here to learn more.
What WordPress affiliate plugins do you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments below.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 by admin
As a marketer, you’re great at growing a website, but you probably don’t know how to make one from scratch. That’s not a problem because you can easily create one using WordPress.
WordPress makes it super easy to create a website by installing “plugins.” Just like on your smartphone, plugins are “apps” you can install to give your WordPress website more features, and without having to write a single line of code.
But the problem with WordPress is that there are over 44,000 plugins to choose from, and the majority of them, well… suck. Some of plugins are so bad that they can dramatically slow down your website, which may have negative consequences to your search ranking results.
Fortunately, with this list, you’ll only see the best WordPress plugins recommended by the best marketers. Everyone mentioned in this list have built several websites and have tons of experience using WordPress plugins.
Let’s get started...
1. Noah Kagan (Co-founder of SumoMe and AppSumo)
Noah was employee #4 at Facebook, Director of Marketing at Mint, and is currently the Co-Founder of SumoMe & AppSumo.
Suffice to say, Noah has built plenty of websites and many of them on WordPress. His favorite plugin is Share. Share makes it very simple for your visitors to share your content to their friends, family, and others. The more people that share your content, the more viral traffic you’ll get to your site.
2. Pat Flynn (Owner of Smart Passive Income)
Pat’s website, Smart Passive Income, has over 150,000 email subscribers and his podcast has been downloaded over 8 MILLION times. One of the most common questions he receives is which plugins his website uses.
Here’s his response each time:
Pretty Link: “Pretty Link allows me to take long links with lots of characters and quickly create nice looking, short and trackable links that are easy to share and remember. This is handy for me, but also handy for those listening to my podcast or watching my videos who don't have access to a computer or pen and paper!”
CoSchedule: “CoSchedule allows me and my entire team to be on the same page when it comes to our editorial calendar. It can even help you schedule your social media posts to promote your content ahead of time.”
3. Lewis Howes (Host of The School Of Greatness)
Lewis has built several multi-million dollar online businesses, including The School Of Greatness podcast, which has received millions of downloads.
His favorite plugins?
LiveFyre: “This lets me show all the social media comments from my podcast episode posts on the actual show notes blog post as well as comments people make on the blog. It's awesome to be able to have all the comments consolidated in one place under the show notes, plus I can moderate the comments easily from that plugin.”
Pretty Link: “I can make short, easy to remember URL links like http://lewishowes.com/book to redirect anywhere I want. This is super helpful to promote things like my books and podcast without the hassle of getting my developer to make special links for me.”
4. Chris Guillebeau (Owner of The Art of Non-Conformity)
Chris is both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He’s the author of The Art of Non-Conformity (translated into 20+ languages), The $100 Startup (300,000+ copies sold), and The Happiness Of Pursuit (NYT Best Seller).
For his personal blog, his two favorite plugins are:
Wufoo Shortcode Plugin: This plugin makes it super easy to include surveys into your site so you can gain a better understanding of your audience. Here’s what Chris had to say about it, “It helps me integrate awesome survey forms (example: http://chrisguillebeau.com/side-hustle-survey)”.
Widgets on Pages: The default WordPress settings makes it difficult to manage widgets on your page. But this plugin makes it super easy, as Chris said, “It makes arranging and updating things so much easier”.
5. Jeff Goins (Author of The Art Of Work)
Jeff is an author of four books including the national bestseller, The Art of Work. He also has a personal blog where he shares his reflections on writing and life. For his blog, these are his two favorite plugins.
Welcome Mat: Jeff was able to acquire 100,000 readers in just 18 months. To do this, he used Welcome Mat to display a full-screen call to action like a welcoming landing page to collect his visitors’ emails. What were his results? Here’s what Jeff had to say, “Crazy conversions on that thing!”
All In One SEO: On top of being an author, Jeff is also really good at SEO. Just type his domain into Ahrefs and you’ll see that he’s able to rank for some pretty competitive keywords. A big part of this is using the All In One SEO which automatically optimizes his site for SEO. Here’s what Jeff had to say about it, “Great simple tool to make sure all your metadata is solid.”
6. Sol Orwell (Co-Founder of Examine)
Sol has been an online serial entrepreneur for over 15 years, created 6 companies, and generated more than 8 figures. With all his current projects, he does not take any outside investments and instead bootstraps them all himself.
Which plugins does he use for his sites?
Yoast: “Why Yoast? Because it makes optimizing for Google, Facebook, and Twitter (modified tags are KEY for virality and social sharing) simple stupid.”
Facebook Comments Plugin: “I'm a big fan of associating comments with the actual person who makes it; it builds a one-on-one community aspect, makes it easy to comment (most people have FB), and keeps the trolls at bay.”
7. Nathan Chan (Creator of FoundrMag)
Nathan is the creator of Foundr, a digital marketing magazine dedicated to helping entrepreneurs all over the world. He’s interviewed some of the highest profile entrepreneurs including: Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin and many more.
His favorite WordPress plugins?
Optimizely: “Great for A/B testing to find out what's working and what's not. It's extremely important for us as a data driven company to constantly re-work and out perform our conversion stats.”
Smart Podcast Player: “Looks amazing, and allows people to access our podcast easily. Our podcast is a big part of what drives traffic to our site, so it's important that we make it super simple for people to listen to episodes when they view our website.”
Pretty Link: “Nice little easy tool to create custom links that we use frequently!"
8. Justin Mares (Founder of Kettle & Fire)
Justin is only 26 years old and has started several successful companies, including: Programming For Marketers ($60K in 5 months), Traction Book (over 175 5-star reviews), and Kettle & Fire (6 figure business in less than 1 year).
Whenever he uses WordPress for his websites, these are his two must-have plugins:
SumoMe: “Makes capturing email addresses SUPER easy”
GoSquared: “It's a really cool real-time dashboard to use to evaluate traffic stats.”
9. Ryan Stewart (Founder of Webris)
Ryan is a leading digital marketing consultant who has been featured on many of the top blogs including Kissmetrics and MarketingProfs. For his clients, he often recommends these two plugins:
Yoast SEO: “It’s a pretty heavy plugin, but it's worth it. If you've ever optimized a non-WordPress site for SEO, you understand how much of a pain it is to change titles, metas, URLs, sitemaps, etc (especially if that site has thousands of pages). Yoast cuts through needing a dev or access to a site's root, it's incredibly powerful and the team at Yoast is constantly updating the software with new features.”
Live Composer: “It's a front end page builder that allows you to drag and drop pages, similar to designing in Weebly. My background is actually in graphic design so I've always been a HUGE believer in building content that looks amazing. Using a plugin like this also allows us to be agile, get things done quicker without having to go through Photoshop and our dev team. I don't use it to build websites, but it's incredibly handy to design blog posts and content / guides.”
10. William Harris (Founder of Elumynt)
William is a growth marketer who has helped several businesses grow exponentially. He’s been featured on publications such as: Entrepreneur, SocialMediaToday, Search Engine Journal, and much more.
As far as his favorite plugins goes, whether if it’s for his clients or for his personal blog, he highly recommends these two plugins:
Postable: “I love drafting in Google Docs, but hate having to reformat everything in Wordpress. Postable makes it super easy to migrate my Google docs articles to WordPress with literally a click of a button, which is a huge time saver.”
Plugin Vulnerabilities: “Because I really really really hate the idea of getting hacked, and want to keep my plugins up to date”
11. Sarah Peterson (Owner of Unsettle)
Sarah has built several passive income businesses and is also the Marketing Sumo at SumoMe. For every single online business she builds, she always downloads these two plugins:
List Builder: “List Builder is one of the apps that contributes the most to the growth of my email list. By creating a bonus for my most popular articles, visitors have to provide their email to access the bonus material. Since I don’t know how to code, I use List Builder’s Click Trigger feature to do all of this. I’ve created Click Triggers that convert over 70% for my content upgrades.”
Yoast SEO: “I love Yoast because it guides me through optimizing my content without me having to be an SEO expert. It makes SEO simple, and also allows for custom meta so you can control how your content shows up on different social platforms.”
12. Benji Hyam (Co-Founder of Grow And Convert)
Benji has built several websites, including ThinkApps where he was responsible for turning it into one of the top 30,000 US websites with the most traffic. For each of his websites, he installs these two plugins:
Revive Old Post: “It automatically takes old post from your blog and shares them on Twitter. All you have to do is set it up once, and it automatically schedules and tweets out old content.”
Shortcodes Ultimate: “It allows us to place nicely designed callout boxes and buttons on our blog, which helps us increase our conversions.”
These Plugins Are Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
We just gave you 25 of the best plugins determined by expert marketers. But there are still plenty of amazing WordPress plugins you should be aware of (we have blogs on the best WordPress plugins for photography, SEO, video display, e-commerce sites... just to name a few).
That’s why we decided to crowdsource, curate, and brainstorm all of the best, plugins out there - no matter what you need. We then organized it so you can easily find the exact plugins that are relevant for your business.
Wilson Hung writes actionable step-by-step guides for SumoMe. Join our Sumo community of over 450,000 subscribers to learn how to grow your website and build your email list. Click here for the 57 best WordPress plugins to help you take your website to the next level.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016 by Syed Balkhi
If you want to get organic traffic to your site, optimizing your blog posts for search engines is critical. Wordpress SEO plugins can really help to simplify and speed up this process. However, with the myriad of SEO plugins available, it can be overwhelming to know how to choose the best one(s).
In this article, we will share the 9 best WordPress plugins to optimize your blog posts for SEO and grow your organic traffic.
Don’t have a website yet? No problem. Get your site published in minutes with HostGator's one-click WordPress installs. Learn more here.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin that exists today.
It allows you to add an SEO title, meta description, and meta keywords to all your posts and pages.
You can also optimize your pages, archives, categories, image titles, breadcrumbs, XML sitemaps and more. The entire list of features is extremely long!
Cost: Free and premium versions are available. A single site license of the premium version is $69 per year.
2. All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack is a comprehensive SEO plugin, and the #1 most downloaded WordPress plugin (over 30 million downloads).
This plugin features Google Analytics support, XML sitemap support, advanced canonical URLs, automatic post title optimization, automatic META tag generation, and it automatically notifies search engines about changes to your site.
Cost: Free and pro versions available. The pro version starts at $39 per year for the annual plan.
3. Google XML Sitemaps
Google XML Sitemaps has been supported for over 9 years, and has been rated as the best WordPress plugin. It generates a special XML sitemap that helps search engines to crawl and index your blog. (Sitemaps make it easier for them to see the structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.)
This plugin also automatically notifies all major search engines whenever you create a new blog post or make changes to your site.
Note: It's typically not a good idea to install multiple plugins that do the same thing. Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, and Google XML Sitemaps all share functionality, so choose one to avoid causing any issues.
4. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a quick caching engine that turns your dynamic blog content into static html files. This significantly speeds up your site and improves your search engine rankings.
This plugin has been heavily tested in real world conditions, is currently enjoyed by over 1 million active users.
5. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker monitors your blog posts and your entire website content, looking for broken links and notifying you if any are found. Fixing broken links is not only important for the user experience, but it is important for SEO as well.
This plugin has the option of notifying you via the WordPress dashboard or via email. You can also choose to automatically prevent search engines from following broken links.
6. Rel Nofollow Checkbox
Rel Nofollow Checkbox adds a checkbox to the Insert/Edit Link dialog box, allowing you to quickly and easily add the nofollow tag to your links. This is important for controlling which pages you want to give credit to, and which pages you don’t want to give credit to as far as the search engines are concerned.
For example, you can use the nofollow tag to give credit to another site for an infographic you used in your post, without fully endorsing that site.
7. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery helps your images and photo galleries to rank in the search engines.
With their Deeplinking Addon, you can create dedicated, SEO friendly URLs for any image in your photo galleries.
Also, with their Standalone Addon, you can create unique URLs for each of your galleries, so they aren’t tied to a specific blog post and the search engines can index them separately.
Cost: Free and premium licenses available. Premium licenses start at $19.
Redirection allows you to manage URL redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and tidy up any loose ends that your blog may have. Especially when you are migrating pages from an old website, or when you’ve changed the directory of your WordPress installation, it is important to redirect your URLs to the new ones.
This plugin allows you to create 301 “moved permanently” redirects, which is recommended for SEO and passes between 90-99% of ranking power to the redirected page.
9. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets improves your SEO by creating a short summary (a rich snippet) of your page in the search results. This gives search engines only the important information that you want them to display, and includes interactive elements like photos, star ratings, price, author, etc., to help you stand out from your competition in the search results.
This plugin helps you to rank higher by increasing your click through rate.
SEO can seem complicated at first, but with the right plugins it’s a whole lot simpler than you might think. Choose one of the plugins above to start with today, and you’ll be well on your way to higher rankings.