By Brody Dorland published June 27, 2011

22 WordPress Plugins for Content Marketers

As WordPress continues to dominate the blogging world, I thought it would be helpful to share with you my favorite WordPress plugins for content marketers – plugins that will extend the functionality of your website or blog and expand the reach of your online content.

I also hope this post opens dialogue regarding what plugins you are using to reach more eyeballs and bring more value to your audiences.

A Caveat

The one thing I love about WordPress is also the thing that can wreck a site. WordPress gives you the ability to add new widgets, features and functionality with ease, but you need to be careful not to clutter your site with things that are “nifty,” but not necessarily valuable. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

If you need a great case for simple sites, read Erin Kissane’s recent book, The Elements of Content Strategy. She talks a lot about the intersection of content, user experience, design and how to provide your visitors with a great content experience. With that caveat out of the way, let’s geek out!

Productivity Plugins

Editorial Calendar – If you are  blogging, the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin will allow you to add post ideas/drafts within a calendar interface so you can plan ahead and ward off writer’s block.

Content Scheduler – Content governance is being talked about a lot these days, and the Content Scheduler plugin is a nice little tool for facilitating this practice. When you write/edit a post or page, you can specify a date in the future when this content should be reviewed. Plugin settings let you determine what happens when the expiration date is reached.

 

VoicePress – VoicePress adds a little microphone icon to your post/page editing screen and allows you to verbally dictate your content. As I’ve mentioned on CMI before, I’m a fan of “talking it out.”

Optimization Plugins

Search Engine Optimization –There are a host of SEO plugins that can ensure your content gets as much Google juice as possible. The most popular is the All In One SEO Pack.

XML Sitemap – This is a must for any website regardless of its purpose or platform. Google XML Sitemap automatically creates and updates an XML-based sitemap, which is a more efficient and the preferred way for search engines to index your website’s pages and blog content. And when you launch a new blog post, this plugin automatically pings Google to let them know that some new “spider food” awaits.

Webmaster Tools Verification – Getting your site “verified” through each search engine’s webmaster tools service is an often overlooked but important step when launching a new website. As a site owner, you should have a webmaster account setup in Google, Yahoo and Bing. With those accounts, you can now get your site “verified” in each search engine, which basically tells them that you’re a real person (not a robot) connected to a legitimate website (not a spam site). Sites that are verified rank better than non-verified sites. As you’re going through the verification process, one option is to add a meta tag within your site’s header code. The Webmaster Tools Verification plugin makes it easy to add these verification meta tags within your site’s header code.

Caching – Keeping my tech speak to a minimum, let me just say that you should have a caching plugin installed on your WordPress site to help your site load faster for visitors. W3 Total Cache is the most recommended plugin, and it is very easy to install and configure, regardless of your technical ability. Just sticking to the default settings should provide a noticeable speed increase, but tech folks will love the advanced options to tweak performance even more.

A/B Testing – Max A/B is a relatively new plugin that gives you the ability to create two versions of a page and easily facilitate a split test that will run for a specified time period. I’ll be the first to say that I don’t test enough, mostly because tests and testing platforms can be cumbersome to set up. I don’t have an excuse now.

Mobile Optimization – These days, you should be paying attention to how your website visitors are interacting with your site via mobile devices. If your mobile traffic is significant, you should have a mobile template or mobile CSS stylesheets in place. If that isn’t justified yet, the WPTouch plugin for WordPress is a nice option that helps you create a mobile theme for your website/blog in minutes.

Content Amplification Plugins

RSS Syndication – Your WordPress site already provides an RSS feed, but tracking and managing your RSS subscribers is not a native feature within WordPress. Google’s Feedburner is a great tool to handle all this and the FD Feedburner plugin is easy to configure and deploy. Grab your site’s RSS feed, burn it in Feedburner, copy/paste your new Feedburner feed URL into the plugin and Feedburner will start providing you with great stats on the fans that can’t get enough of your content.

Social Sharing – We all know how content can spread online, so providing a sharing mechanism is a must. There are several WordPress plugins for adding this functionality, including: SexyBookmarks, AddToAny, AddThis and ShareBar.

Podcast Syndication – If you or your clients are delving into podcasting, you’ll need to configure a podcast syndication plugin that helps convert your RSS feed into an iTunes-ready podcast feed. Podpress and Blubrry PowerPress are two well-supported plugin options that come equipped with full iTunes support and audio/video players that make it easy to embed your media files within your posts.

Most Popular Posts – Inevitably, some site visitors would rather just skip to the best stuff. Adding the WordPress.com Popular Posts plugin references your site stats and provides a list of your most popular posts in the sidebar widget.

Related Posts – I’ve always liked giving website visitors the ability to dig deeper into certain topics. When your blog content supports the various product/service pages within your website, the Yet Another Related Post Plugin will automatically display a few post headlines that relate to the current page topic. It’s up to you where you want the headlines to display (below your content, sidebar widget, etc.).

Conversion Plugins

Contact Forms – Regardless of your website’s purpose, you need to provide a way for site visitors to contact you. Although you may prefer to be contacted via a phone call or email, realize that prospects may be doing online research at midnight in their underwear. If they find what they want on your site and want to initiate an inquiry, they need to have that ability at that moment. Using a plugin such as Contact Form 7 gives you the ability to easily create a contact form that will email you their contact details.

Email Subscription – If email is part of your marketing mix, you’re probably using a service like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. Most major email service providers now have plugins that allow you to add an email subscription form to your WordPress site.

Pretty Link – This plugin can be used in several ways, but from a conversion standpoint I like using Pretty Link to create simple, contextual URLs that can be used in email marketing, print media and traditional advertising situations. For example, a landing page is created for a tradeshow promotion. The WordPress URL might be quite long, but Pretty Link lets you create a short, “pretty” URL with the tradeshow name (yoursite.com/cmworld) to improve memorability, click-through rate and conversions.

Feedback Plugins

Commenting Systems – A commenting function obviously comes standard with WordPress, but adding a plugin like Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across the web. You may also want to check out Facebook Comments for WordPress. Here’s a great article for more on that.

WP-Polls – Need to poll your visitors? WP-Polls makes it easy.

WP Survey and Quiz Tool – The more we know about the needs, wants and pain points of our customers, the better chance we have of creating valuable content. WP Survey allows you to create and publish a survey and put it virtually anywhere within a WordPress page or post.

Analysis Plugins

Google Analytics – You obviously want to make sure your WordPress site is plugged into Google Analytics (or another analytics program) to monitor the effectiveness of your content. Google Analyticator is my preferred plugin as it’s easy to set up and provides a traffic graph from the last 30 days right on your dashboard.

Blog Stats – While Google Analytics will give you a robust set of stats, it’s nice to have a simple stats program you can dig into without leaving WordPress. Jetpack by WordPress.com offers a host of tools including a stats module that displays your daily page views, top posts, top pages and top keywords.

What other content-marketing-related plugins are you using?

Author: Brody Dorland

Brody is an online marketing consultant, blogger, podcaster, and co-creator of DivvyHQ, a cloud-based editorial calendar application that helps you manage your content, ideas, editorial teams and production schedules all in one place. Follow Brody on Twitter @brodydorland.

Other posts by Brody Dorland

  • Anonymous

    Nice list.  I will try Disqus after seeing it on many other blogs.  I’d also recommend Duplicate Post (http://lopo.it/duplicate-post-plugin/).  It’s a great way to copy a post so you don’t have to recreate the structure, format, tags, featured image, etc.  Also Onswipe makes your blog look “flipbooky” on an iPad.

    thanks for the great content.

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Great suggestions John! I’ll have to take a look at Onswipe…Wish I had an ipad to test it…;o(

  • http://www.webfadds.com Scott Frangos

    HI Brody — great list.  I particularly like the feedback section you included since all studies and experience I have show that tweaks and updates based on real user feedback pays off.  Thanks also for pointing out Max A/B… another important way to make sure your site delivers maximum ROI.

    While I agree that All in One SEO is often cited, I have to disagree after years of testing and using alternatives that it is as useful as either HeadSpace, or the newer (and my current favorite), the SEO Plugin by YOAST – http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/

    Yoast’s plugin is much cleaner, and more fully featured including built in XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs, and a host of SEO tightening features that outshine the competition.

    Cheers -
    Scott

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Thanks for your comment Scott! Yes, I’ve previewed a few other SEO tools and there are certainly some that provide more tools and a much better experience. Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll definitely have to check out Yoast’s new plugin. 

  • Rachel Nislick

    Great post. I agree with All in One SEO. Will have to check out pretty link.

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Thanks Rachel! We originally started using Pretty Link to provide custom links to affiliates of The Publisher Method™ (http://thepublishermethod.com), but we realized the power of using it for many other promotional initiatives as well. Good luck with it!

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  • http://www.reportcontentwriter.com/ Rachel Agheyisi

    Great to have all these options described in one post — easy to print/work through/save for later. In short, a useful addition to my reference folder. Thanks, Brody.

    I recently did  the verification for my WordPress blogs using the webmaster tools from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. By the way, these are not new blogs; I’d hesitated doing it for so long because I thought I needed to learn CSS or some scripting language and frankly, I was afraid I’d do something to mess up my sites in the process.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find it was easy to obtain and upload the meta tags and get the verification confirmation. No techie expertise necessary!  To their credit, the folks at WP are really making the platform more user-friendly while expanding access to these nifty tools  – even for users of the .com version like me.

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Great to hear Rachel! The platform truly is amazing…

  • http://twitter.com/BrandSprouts Joellyn Sargent

    Hi Brody, thanks for the list, I’m always looking for new tools. I have some of these, and will try a few more. VoicePress looks great, but the link goes to a page that says “Account Suspended.” Bummer.

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Well that is a bummer. Wonder what happened there…? Maybe they got slapped by their host for too much traffic…;o)

  • Anonymous

    Hello Brody, great post.

    I would like to introduce your readers to another plugin which is excellent for content marketers. Our GTS Translation plugin is guaranteed to drive more international traffic to your site by providing high quality translation, and SEO of your translated content.

    The GTS Translation plugin provides human quality translation by allowing you to combine automatic translation and human post-editing (crowdsourcing). Your blog content is initially translated by our translation server. The content is then post-edited by human translators through our online editing system. You can use the GTS community of translators, or you can assign the post-editing to your own community of translators to maintain complete control of the process. When you use the GTS Translation plugin, translated content is cached in your WordPress database and indexed by search engines. This will increase the traffic to your website and grow your international readership.

    You can find more information and download the plugin from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gts-translation/

  • Greg T

    We must be on the right track, we already use a lot of these. Just Installed Article tools + Syndication, it’s very useful if you want to syndicate your articles to other blogs and track them.

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  • http://www.wellplannedweb.com/blog/ Deana Goldasich

    Does anyone know of a good lead-gen plugin for WordPress — one that “gates” content such as white papers? I’m all ears!

    • http://www.allurenewmedia.com Brody Dorland

      Hey Deana…We use Mailchimp for email marketing, list management AND for delivering lead-gen pieces like ebooks and whitepapers. If you use Mailchimp, here’s a tutorial to help with setting this up: http://www.dragonblogger.com/mailchimp-tutorial-sending-reward-sign/

      The main function here is that your email marketing platform provides you with the ability to output a subscription form that you embed on your site. When a visitor wants to download your gated piece of content, they’re essentially “subscribing” to a list. You can then deliver the document via email or a link once they’ve confirmed their email subscription. Most email platforms will give you the ability to execute this scenario and then you can tweak the different touch points (verification emails, email templates, forms, thank you pages) so that the content flows for your specific lead-gen situation.

      Hope that helps…

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    Cool list, thank you for posting Brody

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    This W3 Total Cache works pretty well. It makes your site load fast, I used this plugin to my different client wordpress sites.

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    I also used All in One SEO Pack and it works pretty good. I recommend this to all wordpress site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djlist Daniel James List

    I’m a huge fan of Yoast SEO plugin. It covers all of the SEO necessities as well as XML sitemaps.