Have you ever wondered which WordPress plugins could help your content marketing efforts?
You’re not the only one but the problem is there are thousands of plugins out there, both free and paid – finding which plugins will actually help your blog can be a challenging and time consuming task.
To give you a helping hand, I’ve put together a collection of some of the most useful plugins available.
If you use WordPress and you’re serious about blogging and content marketing – you’ll find this post helpful.
These plugins will save you time, improve your editorial workflow, make it easy for your readers to share content, build your email list faster and lot’s more.
Let’s dive in!
As this is a fairly large post, I have broken the plugins down into categories and added quick links so you can easily navigate. Just click on a link and you’ll be taken to the relevant section:
- Improve your editorial workflow
- Make it easy for your readers to share your content
- Grow your email list and generate leads with these plugins
- Make SEO easy with these plugins
- Test, monitor and increase conversions
- One more super helpful plugin
In the past I’ve juggled editorial calendars using clunky spreadsheets that have ended up costing me valuable time.
The editorial plugins below will help you save time, stay organized and collaborate easier.
Organize your content with Editorial Calendar
If you want to get a bird’s eye view of your publishing schedule, Editorial Calendar is the perfect plugin to help you.
What I like about this is that you can drag & drop your blog posts onto other days of the week which makes it easy to adjust when posts are scheduled for.
I wouldn’t say this plugin is a necessity but if you prefer a more visual approach, it’s great. And it will likely save time if you find yourself adjusting your post schedule.
Improve your workflow with Edit Flow
Sometimes a calendar isn’t enough.
If you’re working with contributors or publishing a large amount of content, you can use Edit Flow to design your own editorial workflow.
You still get access to a calendar but you also get additional features such as custom statuses, editorial comments, groups and more.
Being able to create your own post statuses may not seem like a big deal but it can be so helpful!
Save time and increase your reach with CoSchedule
CoSchedule is an editorial calendar app that ties directly into WordPress with a helpful plugin.
Aside from being able to plan and schedule posts you can use this plugin to schedule social media messages, monitor social shares as well as improving your editorial workflow with their handy CRM.
You can choose to access CoSchedule directly from within WordPress or via the web app.
One of the features that I find incredibly useful is the social scheduling functionality which makes it easy to schedule new messages and integrates with Buffer.
I’ve used the other editorial plugins on various sites but I find CoSchedule to save me the most time, partly due to the social sharing functionality.
Price: Starts at $10/month with free trial available.
If you want to expand your content’s reach, it’s essential to make it easy for people to share your content – these plugins will help.
Add share buttons with Simple Share Buttons
If you want a simple plugin that makes it easy to add social sharing buttons, Simple Share Button Adder is a great choice.
It’s highly customizable giving you options to choose from a large number of social networks and choose whether or not to display share counts.
There’s plenty of styling options but you can easily use custom CSS if you want to take things further.
Display share buttons and track shares with Monarch by Elegant Themes
I love the idea of being able to display larger social sharing buttons and have plenty of options for exactly where these buttons appear.
Monarch makes it easy to display eye-catching social sharing buttons and gives plenty of locations to display them as well as various styling functionality.
You can display slide-ins and popovers to accelerate social shares, I don’t personally use these but the option is there. You can also display share buttons on images.
You can also display social media follow icons and view social sharing analytics. Although analytics rely on the plugin being used to share – will give you a good idea of how many people are using your share buttons.
Price: $89/year (get access to 80+ themes and some other great plugins – cancel whenever you like)
Note: For alternative social sharing plugins, see this post.
Encourage social sharing and drive more traffic to your website with Social Warfare
Social Warfare is a new addition to this list.
After some recommendations in the comments from great folks like Danny Brown and David Hartshorne, I decided it was time to check out this plugin and see what it can really do.
Right out of the gate, I love the look of the social share buttons but there are a few features that have so much potential to boost shares and drive more traffic.
These features include:
- Custom Pinterest images and descriptions – I’ve found that taller images get more traction on Pinterest but the size of my featured images are horizontal. Thankfully this plugin will enable me to upload Pinterest-friendly images while keeping my featured images the way they are.
- Add sharable quotes in posts – I’ve got another plugin for this which works really well but I like the idea of having this built into my regular social sharing plugin. These “click to tweet” style quotes are a growing trend, I’ve found them to work very well.
- Custom tweets – Sometimes you may want to include hashtags in tweets when your posts are shared but most plugins use the default title within WordPress. Adding hashtags to post titles in WordPress isn’t a good way to go but Social Warfare provides the perfect solution.
- Hide social share counts – When you display high share counts it looks impressive and people are usually more likely to share (we call this social proof). Usually, the problem is that low share counts can have a negative impact. Fortunately you can set a minimum share count to ensure you avoid any negative social proof.
Price: Starts from $24/year (cancel anytime).
Display tweetable quotes using Better Click To Tweet
Displaying Tweetable quotes can be a great way of encouraging social shares.
I’ve tried this myself on a number of posts and seems to work great.
With Better Click To Tweet you can easily make quotes tweetable by adding the plugins shortcodes.
These tweetable quotes will look like the image above.
There are alternatives like ClickToTweet.com but this requires that you create links and add them into WordPress directly. I’ve found this to be more time consuming than using a plugin.
Take tweetable quotes further using TweetDis
If you’d like a smart set of designs to choose from as well as additional features – TweetDis is a great alternative.
There are a number of great designs to choose from. You can integrate with URL shorteners such as TinyURL and Bitly.
You can also use TweetDis to make parts of regular text and images tweetable.
Price: starts from $27.
It is essential to provide a next step for your readers and joining your email list is a great next step.
Email is personal, it’s immediate and the email list that you grow is ultimately yours. And 73% of marketers agree that email marketing is core to their business.
So whether you would like to reach your followers easier, want more leads or both – building an email list is essential.
The plugins listed below will help you grow your list faster and easier.
Display opt-in forms, split test and more with Thrive Leads
When it comes to building an email list, it’s important to have a plugin that makes things easy for you and easy for your readers.
This means it must be easy for you to deploy opt-in forms and the right features to make it easy for your readers to sign up.
One of the most feature packed is Thrive Leads, it supports:
- In content
- After post
- Ribbon (top or bottom)
- Shortcode placement
- 2 step opt-ins
Since reviewing Thrive Leads earlier this year, the plugin has continued to be developed.
More recently, a new feature was added enabling the use of multiple choice opt-in forms.
You may have seen the likes of sites like Quicksprout use these – instead of displaying an opt-in form straight away, you’ll be asked something like “do you want more traffic?” and if you click yes, you’ll be presented with an opt-in form.
The idea behind this is that when someone makes a small commitment, they’re more likely to sign up.
You can also run various split tests with Thrive Leads. For example if you want to see whether an after post opt-in will convert better than a widget – you can do it.
There’s built in reporting too, plenty of templates, a drag & drop editor and any autoresponder that supports custom HTML forms is supported.
Price: Starts from $67.
Offer content upgrades with Content Upgrades Pro
One of the most effective ways of growing an email list is to use the content upgrade technique.
The idea is that when you write a blog post, you put together a bonus piece of content related to the post. This could be a checklist, cheat sheet or even just a PDF version of the post.
Content Upgrades Pro is one of the newest plugins in the market but it’s extremely promising.
I don’t currently use this plugin; I’m using LeadPages (I’ll talk about this more in a moment) but it’s an expensive tool and can initially be difficult to justify the cost which makes Content Upgrades Pro a great solution.
There’s a free version too but features are limited and a powered by link is displayed. But still, it’s a great way to try before you buy.
Price: Starts from $27. A free version with limited features is available.
Create custom landing pages and page layouts with Thrive Content Builder
Landing pages are essential to the growth of your email list.
The idea here is that you offer exclusive downloads (or lead magnets) from a page that has no distractions. No menu elements, no social media widgets.
One page with one goal – and that goal is to convert.
This is where Thrive Content Builder comes in. It enables you to create custom landing pages using a handy drag & drop interface.
You get access to plenty of smart landing pages templates but what makes this even better is that they’re all designed in sets.
So for example, the landing page template in the image above is from a set that also includes; a thank you page, confirmation page, 2 step opt-in landing page, video lesson page, sales page and a video sales page. All in the same style – perfect for keeping consistency.
You can also use Thrive Content Builder to create custom page layouts that utilize your existing theme.
This works for both posts and pages. For example, when a reader subscribes to my email list I give away access to a bunch of resources – I created the download page using this plugin, here’s how part of it looks:
And similar to Thrive Leads, any auto-responder that uses custom HTML forms is supported. This will include MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber and a lot more.
There are also integrations for smaller email providers such as ConvertKit and Drip.
Price: Starts from $67.
Access a suite of lead generation tools with LeadPages
LeadPages is more than just a plugin – it’s a lead generation platform.
The main use of LeadPages is to quickly create and deploy landing pages. There’s a huge number of landing page templates and LeadPages takes care of the hosting as well as file delivery.
The one gripe I have is that customization options are limited but in most situations I’ve found a template that does what I need to do. If I don’t, I’ll use Thrive Content Builder to build something custom.
I’ve been a customer for a long time so I’ve learned to appreciate the stripped back customization options because it makes it much faster to customize pages.
Another great feature which I make good use of is LeadBoxes – this allows you to display clickable popovers, timed popovers or exit intent popovers.
I use the clickable popovers here on Blogging Wizard to offer post specific bonuses (content upgrades).
Here’s an example of how this would look:
The WordPress plugin that LeadPages provide makes it easy to add your landing pages and add timed/exit intent popovers.
You can also use LeadPages with any HTML based website and all major auto responder services are supported (e.g. MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, Infusionsoft and more).
Price: Starts from $37/month.
When it comes to SEO, there are only two plugins that I’d install on every site I use. The best part is that they’re easy to use and free.
Take care of your on-page SEO with All in One SEO Pack
For a long time, I’ve been a supporter of the Yoast SEO plugin. I’ve used it on countless sites but a recent update has ruined the usability of the plugin.
But the great thing about WordPress is that there are always other options.
All in One SEO Pack was the first SEO plugin I ever tried. Since then it’s received plenty of updates and it has all the essential features you need.
What I particularly like is that outside of the general settings, it gives you the option to enable or disable certain features.
So if you don’t want to have the import/export feature enabled, you can disable it to ensure you’re only using what you need to use.
Price: Free with a premium version available.
Take control of redirects and fix broken links with Redirection
If you change a URL in WordPress the result is that anyone trying to view the old URL will be shown a 404 error page.
Whether it’s your readers or search engines like Google – broken links can cause huge problems.
So what should you do? Add redirects to ensure anyone accessing the old URL finds their way to the new one.
You can either do this manually via a .htaccess file or you can use the Redirection plugin.
Personally I prefer to use the Redirection plugin because if I change the permalink for a blog post, a redirect is added manually.
There are also situations where people will link to your website with an incorrect link – you could let them know about it, they may or may not update it but what you can do is add a redirect on your own blog to ensure people find the correct post. I’ve found Google Webmaster Tools is a good way of finding these.
Internal broken links can also be an issue but I’d recommend avoiding the use of a plugin for searching for these – tools like Xenu’s Link Sleuth are a great alternative.
If you’re serious about improving conversions – whether it be your email subscription rate or product sales, you need to be able to run tests and then monitor your results. These plugins will help.
Optimize your post titles with Title Experiments
The titles of your blog posts are incredibly important. They can make or break a post.
With the Title Experiments plugin you can easily split test headlines. In the visual editor you’ll see an option to add a new title just below where you’d usually type your title.
The plugin will then display different titles to different people in order to find the best performing title. The downside is the statistics are very basic in the free version.
Price: Free with pro version available.
Monitor your traffic and conversions with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free analytics package which is easy to setup and provides lots of actionable data.
For most of my sites I use Yoast’s plugin (Google Analytics For WordPress) to connect to Google Analytics. I could add the code manually but I prefer the ease of use that the plugin provides.
It makes it easy to ignore logged in users – this is a great way to stop data from being skewed.
We talked about plugins to grow your email list earlier and while some of these include reporting functionality, you can setup goal tracking in Google Analytics to get even more data.
The way this works is by adding the URL for your confirmation page – after you’ve done this you’ll be able to find out exactly which traffic sources are converting for you.
This tutorial was written a while back but explains the process in depth.
There’s one particular plugin which does so many things that it deserves it’s very own category.
Take your content further with SumoMe
SumoMe is a collection of apps to help you grow your traffic.
You can add these apps to any website that supports HTML but there’s a dedicated plugin for WordPress.
I use a few of these apps here on Blogging Wizard, but there are a lot more. Let’s take a closer look:
- Content Analytics – Find out how much of your content is being read.
- Heat Maps – Find out exactly where people are clicking on your posts/pages.
- Image Sharer – Add share buttons to images.
- Share – Add share buttons to your posts/pages.
- Highlighter – When text is highlighted, this app will display a prompt encouraging people to share.
- List Builder – Add targeted popovers to build your email list.
- Scroll Box – Display an opt-in form as people scroll down a page.
- Smart Bar – Add a bar across the top of your content which displays an opt-in form or call to action.
- Contact Form – Straight forward contact forms.
All of these apps can be used for free but there are paid plans to add extra features.
Price: Free with paid plans available.
We’ve covered a number of powerful plugins in this post – all of which can be helpful for different things like SEO/social/list building etc.
Below I’ve put together some next steps for you to help you get the most out of this post:
- Identify what you need help with (increasing subscribers for example)
- Pick a plugin that will help you
- Try it out and see how it improves things or helps you
- Come back to this post to try another
Ultimately be careful with having too many plugins – try to prioritize and use them sparingly so your page load times aren’t impacted.