WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS). It has grown from a simple CMS known as b2/cafelog in 2003 to the most widely used CMS on the Internet. As of January 7, 2012, 62.38% of the web’s top million websites use WordPress. The primary creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, of Automattic has developed a number of clever plugins and add-ons, such as Akismet, Gravatar, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, Polldaddy, and more that add functionality to blogging platforms.
For someone who is unfamiliar with web programming, WordPress makes it easy to create fresh content with an easy-to-use interface. As it is popular and open-source developers have created lots of easy-to-use plugins and add-ons that extend WordPress’s functionality so that it can better integrate with social media networks and the content can be found by search engines. These plugins help you get the most out of your web content.
Get the most out of your WordPress content with these free tools:
- Social media integration is becoming increasingly important for branded blogs to remain relevant in both search rankings and the everyday activities of consumers. Recent studies have found that the average American user spends almost eight hours every month on Facebook alone. That makes Storify’s new plugin an extremely useful tool for marketers, as it allows publishers to embed social media stories with ease. Sometimes exchanges between brands and customers on social media networks don’t stand out as much as they should. These exchanges should come to embody your brand’s customer service and have come to embody traditional “testimonial” marketers have been dependent on for a century. With the new technology of social media, you can now see that these testimonials are real people giving their honest opinion. That’s what motivates the world’s top brands to participate. To better document and present your brand’s customer service on social media channels you can use the Storify plugin, which allows you to simply paste URLs to the individual social media posts. WordPress takes care of the rest. As a bonus, the plugin adds SEO-friendly versions of your stories to each post, ensuring that your stories get properly indexed by search engines.
- This WordPress SEO plugin allows content publishers to edit the meta information of posts and pages so that the content, headline, and description of the page are indexed in search engines in the best way possible. After picking a focus keyword, the plugin provides a guide for how well your content reflects that keyword. The plugin even provides a snippit preview of what your entry will look like on a search engine’s search results page. More and more, search engine results are giving local, smaller businesses the chance to show up in the web’s top search results. This is because search engines have begun to include things like the geographic location searches are occurring in into their search algorithm. So while optimizing your posts with keywords related to your industry or area of expertise, consider adding geographical references to case studies or testimonials where your products or services are sold.
This SEO plugin even offers the ability to automatically generate sitemaps. Sitemaps are used by search engines to properly index websites. For example, if a section of a website was about “marketing,” the sitemap would indicate the articles linked to and from that section of the website. This allows search engines to get a more accurate read on how well your site illustrates a given topic. This sitemap generator automatically updates itself when new content is created, and then notifies search engines of its creation, ensuring that your fresh content is delivered to search engines immediately. Otherwise, your content would have to “wait” to be found by a search engine scraper, which could take up to a week depending on how often your site is updated.
- “Slick” social share buttons is a plugin that creates a customizable tab that allows your readers to share articles to their social networks. The plugin can be configured so that it appears as an expandable “share” button, hiding the numbers and buttons that to most web designers are an eyesore. Like the Storify plugin above, social share buttons are important to include on a website so that your content can be spread through an organic online network of social media users. These consumers love to share cool stuff with their friends – so let them!
- HungryFeed is a WordPress plugin that inserts RSS feeds onto blog posts, pages and sidebar widgets. The RSS feed content becomes a part of your page, and can be customized using CSS rules. This is a great way to include a section of the site that updates on its own from a reliable source. RSS feeds can even be configured to include customized topics and keywords on your site. This way, rather than simply following your source’s RSS feed, your audience will be compelled to check back on your site for your uniquely defined feed of information. In addition, these RSS feeds will keep sections of your site updated with fresh content should you be unable to update your site from time to time.
My passion is flying. On weekends I get a thrill hopping into a little Cessna and wandering around the countryside at 4,000 feet. I wanted to share my passion with aspiring pilots, so in the summer I started a blog.
From working with our clients I’ve always known that it isn’t easy to create and keep up social media. I’ve now learned that it is vastly more difficult to do so recreationally. The reason isn’t a lack of content. I’m too busy–and recreation too often takes a back seat to ‘things that can’t wait’ or ‘must be done’.
This experience has taught me a valuable lesson: marketers can become like doctors who only see the illness, and overlook the person. (more…)