Once you have your self-hosted WordPress blog up and running, there are FREE WordPress plugins that you can download (or upload from external sites) that can help you grow your traffic, your audience and your income!
Free WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
- Yoast SEO— I recommend this plugin to help you with your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). The plugin allows you to choose a focus keyword and then provides advice and a rating system (red, yellow and green) to determine how well you have SEO-optimized your post.
- Akismet Anti-spam— This is a must-have for your blog. There’s nothing worse than getting a million notifications of comments on your blog, only to find out that they are from spammers. Akismet will save you SO MUCH time by filtering out spam comments.
- Comment Reply Notification— Building a community of loyal followers is crucial to growing your blog. When a person takes the time to comment on a blog, it means you’ve put out an engaging piece of content that has resonated with them. I always reply as soon as possible to commenters, and I want them to know that I’ve responded since they are not likely to stalk the comment thread to see if I did! The Comment Reply Notification plugin sends an e-mail to the commenter to let them know that you have replied.
- Inline Related Posts— A great way to reduce your bounce rate (visitors who visit your page and leave shortly after clicking on it) is to show your reader posts that are related to the one they are currently reading. While you can share related posts at the end of your article, people don’t always read that far. I have found success reducing my bounce rate by placing related posts within my article. The Inline Related Posts makes it easy to do this, and it’s not hard to set up at all. It pulls related posts according to the tags used in the original post. For example, if I write an article on half-marathon training plans and use the tag “half-marathon,” it will pull other posts that used the “half-marathon” tag.
- Sumo Smart Bar— SumoMe is a free (with paid upgrades available) service that allows you to easily add and customize social sharing bars, pop-ups for a mailing list, Facebook likes, etc. to your website. I use SumoMe for the social sharing buttons you see on the left-hand side of this post. It’s a great way to boost social shares and blog traffic!
- Optin Forms— One thing that most bloggers wish they had started earlier is a mailing list. A mailing list is not only a great way to share your content, but it can also be used to market products you may develop in the future. Having a great opt-in form will help jumpstart your mailing list!
- WP Popular Posts— Another way of reducing your bounce rate is to get more eyes on your most popular posts. Since these posts are already popular, it’s likely that new readers will enjoy them too. The WP Popular Post plugin allows you to display your most popular posts in a sidebar widget. It also links them to your home page to give them more SEO traction. 🙂
Check out more of the Blogging Tools tools that I use on my blogs and recommend to my social media clients! If you are looking for places to find paid blogging and social media posts, check out my round-up HERE.