Constituting up to 19% of the internet these days, WordPress is easily the most popular CMS out there and there is a reason for that: it’s the most robust and flexible CMS out there by far. Moreover, the massive community keeps coming up with new ways to make the platform even more awesome.
For this reason, WordPress is my platform of choice when it comes to launch a project and learn fast while building a minimum viable audience. However, WordPress on its own is not necessarily covering everything you’d like it to do. This is why I have listed 10 (and a few bonus) plugins you should consider using to make your site even more awesome.
For a lean marketer, SEO is a very important source of traffic as it can be both inexpensive and very targeted. Joost De Valk who has specialised in WordPress SEO offers us This plugin and it literally covers 99% of everything you will ever need to do on page SEO for your site.
This little plugin covers things such as:
- Page titles
- perma urls
- basic keyword research
- page level keyword usage and targeting
it does it all with a level of granularity that is rarely seen in free plugins. don’t hesitate, put it on all your sites.
There are a ton of google analytics plugins for WordPress, so why this one? Well it allows you to do things that would otherwise take a bit of java script hacking in just a few clicks comfortably from your WordPress dashboard. Here is a few things you can do with it that most other plugins won’t do for you:
- filter out logged in users
- track external link clicks
- segment traffic and page views per category
- segment traffic and page views per authors
- segment traffic per tag
These can be very important metrics to collect in order to understand what works and doesn’t (when it comes to writers performance for example).
Internal linking while often under estimated is both good for SEO and user experience. It allows both people and search engine robots to navigate your site contextually. However, implementing it can be a pain in the ass if you want to do it all manually. This nifty little plugin allows you to automate the process while adding smart rules such as a maximum number of links per page or adding attributes on the links (like nofollow).
While we talked a lot about SEO so far, social is equally as important when it comes to connecting with your audience.
It first allows early adopters to recruit more early adopters for you and is a great metric to see whether people like what you’re doing or not. Here again, there are hundreds of alternatives when it comes to integrating WordPress with the major social platforms.
However, Flare is a relatively new comer and works great as a side share bar (that’s the one you see on the left) and adding social buttons at the top and bottom of your posts. Alternatively you can check Digg Digg out.
When setting up pre launch experiments, you’ll want to be collecting the emails of the people who expressed interest in the project. For that you can either go with complicated 3rd party integrations or you can use this free email plugin. It does everything you need to do with an email list under 1000 users.
Some of the main features are:
- list management & segmentation
- auto responders
- drag and drop email builder
- Double opt in
If your list is under 400-500 people you don’t even need an email server and can simply use your hosting to send those emails. Great for bootstraps!
Developed by the guys at WordPress.com, this plugin adds all the goodness of the platform to your self hosted install. Some of the great goodies that come with this plugin are:
- Akismet anti spam protection
- Social commenting
- AI powered proof reading of your posts
- Extra widgets & short codes
- CDN delivery of your images (improves site speed)
- Better Gravatar integration
- Site stats such as external links, best performing pages, traffic referral sources
That plugin just enhances the overall goodness of WordPress, it’s not 100% mandatory but it is worth it just for Akismet, the free CDN and the proof reading.
To go together with Wysija, I use Hybrid Connect. It is probably the best opt in form design and a/b test plugin out there. It’s intuitive, plugs in with most auto responders and has many ways of displaying opt in boxes such as a widget, under your posts, as a pop up, short code etc.
Most of the opt in boxes you can see on this site use this plugin and overall I can say this plugin has tripled the email opt ins of most of the sites I’ve been using it on. Great great buy and easily replaces more expensive alternatives like pop up domination.
Wether you want to get feedback from your users, sell something, get people to contact you or gather leads, forms are the bread and butter of user conversion. This plugin is by far the best drag and drop form builder available for the platform.
Gravity forms plugs in with the main 3rd party you’ll want your forms to work with such as paypal or mailchimp and its powerful nested condition builder allows you to build flexible forms that take care of any contingency.
It also has a mini CRM built into it so you can deal with answering any form submission and collaborate with several people directly inside WordPress. A must.
Broken links both hurt your usability and SEO. This simple plugin monitors it all for you and allows you and emails you when something breaks. VERY handy, especially combined with SEO smart link.
While not perfect, this little free plugin does the job if you only mildly care about search rankings. It can track an unlimited number of keywords from inside WordPress. It shows decent graphs and tracks the original position of a given keyword against the current position.
Very good to gauge your SEO effort over time. It also tries to show you the number of visits from that keyword since the last rank check but obviously with the rise of not provided, this number is not completely accurate.
Do you have other plugins you consider would be helpful for lean marketers? Let me know in the comment section!