Making a quick visit to the official plugin directory at WordPress.org, I’m somewhat amazed that currently there are nearly 35,000 plugins available there. We’ve known it for a long time now, but WordPress indeed is a great platform to run our sites and effectively make our website-related headaches less annoying.
That being said, what are the specific plugins that you should get if you’re planning to use guest blogging for marketing?
Now, I’m not talking about things like WordPress SEO by Yoast here, or Jetpack. What I mean are plugins that can be of direct benefit to guest bloggers or business owners who have hired guest bloggers.
Therefore, the list I’m just about to share with you is geared at making it easier to manage your guest posts, keep track of the results, as well as help you convert people coming to your site from those posts.
Get it at https://wordpress.org/plugins/leadin/
Leadin is a very clever plugin for gathering info about the visitors coming to your site. While you probably already have some form of visitor tracking set up – like Google Analytics, or Clicky – Leadin can give you a much more detailed view.
More specifically, it tracks every visitor and records the traffic source they’re coming from, the pages they’ve visited on your site, and finally the opt-in forms they’ve filled in (this is huge).
What this means in plain English is that you can use the plugin to find all visitors coming from a particular guest post, and check if they’ve converted and signed up to your email list (or taken any other action). This gives you a great tool to see which sites work and which don’t in terms of landing guest posts on them.
2. MailChimp for WordPress
(Note. Since I mostly use MailChimp for my various project, I’m listing a MailChimp plugin here. If you happen to be using a different email newsletter service, you will have to use another plugin that’s dedicated to that service.)
This is the main MailChimp plugin for WordPress. The thing that sets it apart is that it integrates with your email list in the background through an API key that you can generate inside your MailChimp account.
Because of this, you don’t need to worry about the source code of the signup form going out of date or simply ceasing to work one day for whatever reason. The plugin handles all the technical stuff and simply makes it possible for you to just worry about the marketing difficulties of converting a guest post visitor and forget about all the code-related issues.
The free version of the plugin allows you to generate one form. With the PRO version, you can build as many forms as you wish and place them on different landing pages.
3. Pretty Link Lite
In simple terms, this is your private link shortener for your WordPress site. The way you use it is by creating what’s called a pretty link and then using it in your guest posts as the call to action link.
Now, this pretty link can point to whatever landing page you set up on your site. What it does is very simple. It acts as the middle man and just redirects the visitor straight to the destination page, and at the same time records the click and gives you some stats on that visitor.
The question here is why would you need a middle man, right?
Well, much like with every marketing campaign, your goals for guest blogging will likely change over time. However, there’s rarely a possibility to come back to all of your past guest posts and alter the links you placed in them. When you’re using a pretty link, you can simply change the redirection on your end and point the links to another page on your site.
4. Custom Error Pages
There’s one unfortunate problem that you can come across when guest blogging. And that is bloggers editing your links and messing up their destinations while doing so. Every once in a while, this will simply happen and there’s not much we can do to prevent it. What we can do, however, is prepare things on our end, so that the visitors don’t end up on a standard 404 page after following a bad link.
So the first thing you need to do – even before getting the plugin I’m listing here – is adjust your theme’s default 404 page. Depending on the theme you’re using, there might be a visual interface to take care of this, or in the worst case scenario you will have to get your hands dirty and edit the 404.php file manually.
The goal here is to effectively make the 404 page one of your landing pages. In other words, create your 404 page in a way so it brings value to the incoming visitor and also helps you advance some of your goals. The fastest solution is to simply duplicate your main landing page for guest blogging and save it as the 404 page.
Now, about the plugin. While you can handle the 404 page yourself, Custom Error Pages will help you set up custom pages for other errors (401 and 403). So in the end, by tuning your 404 page manually and then handling the other error pages with the plugin, you are completely covered in case a visitor comes to a page that didn’t load properly.
Get it at http://sumome.com/
SumoMe is a new creation of Noah Kagan. Although the way you integrate it with WordPress is through a plugin, it’s actually much more than that. In short, SumoMe is a complete platform consisting of different modules and designed to help you capture visitors, convert them into leads and learn how they interact with your site along the way.
Here are some of the included modules: Scroll Box, Heat Maps, Smart Bar (displays at the top of your site), List Builder (displays a pop up with your opt in form), Content Analytics, and more.
This can be a great tool if you’re looking for something that would let you better interact with all the visitors coming to your site from guest posts.
6. Public Post Preview
This is a very handy plugin for sharing your work-in-progress with other blog editors. Quite simply, with Public Post Preview, you can generate a custom preview link for any post draft that you have saved in your wp-admin.
The plugin enables you to get feedback from the editor without having to convert your post to Word and send it via email. Simple and easy to use.
For the most part, the plugins listed here aren’t the most popular ones on the web. Some of them have only a couple thousand of downloads. However, you’ll quickly find out that they can be very helpful if you’re serious about guest blogging. So in the end, I do encourage you to give them a shot for at least a month and see if they make your work just a little easier.