If you've been blogging for quite some time, then you probably know that the soul of every blog is "Traffic."
Without traffic, blogging is meaningless. I mean what is the point in having a message if no one sees it.
There are several factors that contribute to website traffic increase. Some of these include; search engine optimisation (SEO), social media engagement and get this: "word of mouth". I'll be posting more articles related to these factors in the coming weeks.
Thankfully, WordPress does come with some SEO features out of the box. Furthermore, there are plugins available to help you achieve just about anything you want. These are the primary reasons why WordPress is my CMS of choice when it comes to blogging.
If you haven't done so, please read my article on how to start a WordPress site the right way.
For this post, I'll be discussing 7 essential WordPress plugins to turn your site into a traffic magnet. While these plugins help a great deal, you still need extra efforts to achieve growth in traffic.
Are you ready to know these plugins?
I'm going to divide the content based on what each plugin does. Please, use the table of contents below to navigate content easily.
When writing articles, you have to ensure that web crawlers and people can understand your contents. When crawlers understand your contents, they become easy to rank for a particular keyword.
Likewise, when people understand your content, it leads to better engagement.
Here are some WordPress plugins to help you better optimise your keywords.
This is the most preferred WordPress plugin when dealing with website optimisation. To date, it has over 3 million active installs which confirms the popularity of the plugin. The plugin also has over 4.8-star ratings.
The Yoast SEO plugin provides the following features;
My favorite feature of the plugin is the content analysis tool that enables you to write better content. This analysis tool has two tabs containing readability and keyword analyses respectively.
Keyword Analysis (Page SEO)
From the photos above, you can clearly see that Yoast SEO has simple guides which users can follow. Furthermore, there are colour indicators that let you know what you're doing right or wrong.
In the event that a green indicator is missing, simply follow the guideline when editing your content. For example, I make a sentence shorter where I receive a warning that I've exceeded 20 words.
To re-iterate, following the guidelines by Yoast SEO plugin ensures that both search engine and readers understand your content. When this happens, visitors spend longer period engaging with your content.
A properly ranked content that is highly engaging leads to higher rankings and social shares which result in traffic increase.
Word of Caution: It isn’t absolutely necessary that you must get a green check mark. Remember Yoast SEO just provides you with suggestions. You know your content very well. Your best bet is to ensure that your readers easily understand your content.
It is very surprising that so many people pay less attention to image optimisation. A properly optimised image can lead to traffic gain through image searches.
What consists of a properly optimised image?
A properly optimised image is an image which is sized properly and includes the correct title and alt tags. Ideally, you want the title and alt tags to contain the keywords you are going after. (Please see next section for information about image sizes).
The SEO optimised images plugin lets you to dynamically add SEO friend title and alt attributes. This means that when you make changes to your tags, your database remains untouched.
If you are unsure about image optimisation, this plugin is a great guide for you.
Your page speed plays a very important role in traffic size. Google has indicated that page speed is one factor its algorithm uses to rank pages.
Let's think about it for a second...
When your page loads faster, it improves user experience which means users can easily browse through your site's pages. They also stay on your site longer leading to reduced bounced rates.
From the web crawlers' perspective, a slow page speed means that they can only index fewer pages. This is because crawlers do have an allocated crawl budget when indexing sites.
Now that we've established why page speed is important, let's look at some WordPress plugins that help improve it.
Although sometimes overlooked, image size does play a major role in overall page speed. A small sized image will definitely load faster than a large-sized one. You can imagine the effect on your page speed when you have multiple large-sized images on a page.
To prevent problems with image sizes, always make sure that your images are no larger than they need to be. You must also ensure that you properly compress your images.
Luckily, with the smush image compression and optimisation plugin, you never have to deal with image compression issues.
WP Smush rigorously scans every image you upload or have already added to your site. Furthermore, it cuts all the unnecessary data and scales it for you before adding it to your media library. You are also able to set the maximum width and height for your images.
My favorite feature of the plugin is the bulk optimise option. This option allows you to optimise all your previously uploaded images at the click of a button. All you need to do is go to settings- WP Smush- bulk optimise and voila you are done.
Page caching is another great way to improve page load time. For an easier explanation, it means taking a snapshot of a page so that on next load, the snapshot loads.
Let's step back a bit to really understand caching...
WordPress runs PHP scripts and queries that consume server resources and as a consequence, page load time increases.
Every time a user accesses a page, this process is repeated again.
What do you think is the case when there's a stored memory of that page? You guessed right... That page loads faster as there's no need to the page's scripts. Here is an image to properly illustrates what we are discussing.
Of all WordPress plugins, W3 Total Cache is my favourite plugin when dealing with caching. The plugin has over 1 million downloads and has a 4.5-star rating.
Some of its key features include;
For benefits, here are some reasons why you should have W3 Total Cache installed;
Pro Tip: Page speed improves user experience. Having a great caching plugin like W3 total cache leads to significant improvements in page speed. When your pages load faster, users are happy and, in turn, leads to high CTR
You've written an amazing content that people love. Now, what??? You need a simple system in place that encourages people to share your content with their friends. Never assume that your readers will act in a certain way. You need to make them act the way you desire.
Your contents must have simple share buttons that are visible. Doing so encourages your readers to share your content on social media especially when it is very engaging. Content shared across social media platforms lead to more eyes seeing it.
What happens when this is the case? Yup! an increase in referral traffic from social media.
There are several excellent WordPress plugins for social sharing. But, my favourite is Social Warfare by Warfare Plugins.
The Social Warfare plugin is a simple, lightweight plugin that helps your content shared the way you want. Furthermore, the plugin is highly customisable and allows you place buttons in a manner that is visible to your readers.
This plugin creates a popular post widget for your site. This widget organizes posts based on the ones that get the most shares.
Do you want to display your popular posts based on a specific social media platform? Never worry, because this plugin lets you do that.
Social Warfare’s Popular Posts widget also allows you to display and customise the look with:
A great addition to Social Warfare's arsenal is its "click to tweet" feature. Here is an example of this feature in action;
Pretty neat huh??? As you can see, this feature is easily
Here is a snapshot of what the plugin's dashboard looks like.
If you are looking for a great social sharing plugin, you can never go wrong with the Social Warfare plugin.
You've probably heard of the importance of having an email list. If you aren't sure of its importance, having an email list lets you build a strong relationship with your list. This is because you are able to create email campaigns to several segments of your list.
Additionally, having a mailing list has been proven to bring in more traffic than any other medium. How is this the case?
Let's do some thinking...
As someone who has a list, you can control all that happens in your campaign. For example, you can direct your list to a sales or webinar page as the case may be. As you can see, this is better when you compare social media or search engines that undergo algorithm changes.
Now that we've understood the importance of list building, let's look at some WordPress plugins that aid in achieving this.
A good list building technique involves having a great call to action. Boxzilla is a lightweight plugin that lets you create flexible call to action boxes that pop up or slide in at just the right time.
Here are some of the reasons I like this plugin:
With this plugin, you no longer have to wonder how that amazing site has a great looking call to action. And did I mention, this plugin works perfectly with the popular Mailchimp for WP plugin. (This is another plugin I recommend for list building).
To achieve great success with traffic, it is necessary to regularly keep track of your traffic sources. In doing so, you are able to know what works and what doesn't.
Knowing what works enables you to focus on things that yield great results. Therefore, making you an effective blogger.
For example, my analytics reports that an article brought 80% of referral traffic from Pinterest. As a smart blogger, I must note the importance of Pinterest to my overall traffic.
Next, I must examine the factors that made that article become a hit on Pinterest. Was it my title structure? Time of posting? and so on. Deducing these factors means that I can now narrow my focus, thereby, resulting in easier tasks and greater outcomes.
Let's not forget that all these processes were possible because there was an effective analytics system.
Okay, that is out of the way... Phew!!! Let's now look at my favorite WordPress plugin for analytics.
Is there any need in having an analytics plugin when you can access your site's activities via Google Analytics? You're probably justified in asking this question. There's no need if you prefer accessing Google Analytics directly.
But, if you love having all your tools in one place, then this plugin is necessary.
The plugin has over 13 million downloads making it the most popular Google Analytics for WordPress.
Still not convinced, here are some reasons why you will love this plugin:
Here is a report snapshot from within GA by MonsterInsights.
As you continue your blogging journey, the goal to have an increased audience remains. And this is the case for all bloggers whether you're a beginner or seasoned blogger.
While it's advisable to continue learning various ways to increase site traffic, you already have some pertinent info above. Thus, I employ you to take advantage of it and give these plugins a test.