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13 WordPress Plugins That’ll Save You a Ton of Time

Running a blog requires an insane amount of time.

In fact, there’s not enough time in your day to do everything (especially if you have a full-time job, too).

From learning new ways to get traffic and scheduling social media posts to building your email list and managing comments, you feel stretched to your limit.

And the more you learn and grow, the more you have to keep up with — it’s exhausting.

So what if I told you that you can add a squad of tools to your toolbox that will eliminate a ton of time spent on the more tedious aspects of blogging?

These 13 WordPress plugins are like having a full-time employee that shaves hours off of your blogging work week, so you can get back to doing the important things: writing and connecting with your audience.

Plugin #1: Beacon


If you’re committed to building your email list, content upgrades can increase your subscribers substantially.

My sitewide opt-in offer converts at a rate of around 10% while my content upgrades convert at closer to 25%-30%.

That means that for every 100 visitors to my blog, I can collect 15-20 more emails.

Impressive, right?

But adding content upgrades to every article you publish seems like a daunting task, right?

Not if you use Beacon.

Beacon allows you to create ebooks from your existing articles automatically, right on your WordPress dashboard:

WordPress - Beacon Plugin

If you have several blog posts that could go together in one cohesive ebook, or if you have a long piece of content that could do the same, Beacon can do that for you …

Without having to fiddle around with designing it yourself.

I made an ebook with Beacon for my guide on Instagram marketing in five minutes flat, and it converted at over 20% of visitors.

Massive results in a quarter of the time.

Plugin #2: Pretty Link


With Pretty Link, you can create shorter, more memorable links to any page you refer to a lot. This keeps you from having to hunt down their URLs all the time.

For example, affiliate links can be quite complicated and contain random sequences of numbers that are hard to remember. So if you refer to the same affiliate product a lot, you can create a simpler link like “http://yourdomain.com/productname.”

And you can do the same for any post or page to which you refer often. You can bring each URL down to a memorable keyword and won’t have to spend any time hunting down links.

Just compare:

WordPress - Pretty Link Target URL
WordPress - Pretty Link URL

You can see how the second URL would be easier to remember, can’t you?

And that’s not all. Pretty Link also saves time whenever you have to replace a link you’ve used a lot.

Say you were to change your username on Twitter. You’d have to hunt down every link to your Twitter account and replace them …

Unless you created a Pretty Link that says “http://yourdomain.com/twitter.” You can just go into your dashboard, edit the target URL, and you’re done.

WordPress - Edit Target URL in Dashboard

Plugin #3: SEO Smart Links


When you publish a new article on your blog, do you visit all your previous articles and link them to the new one?

It’s good for SEO and will boost your page views by helping more readers find your content.

But it’s way too time-consuming, right?

Enter SEO Smart Links, which is a plugin that automatically links keywords or phrases in your articles based on rules you set.

For example, I have an article about one of my coaching clients who built a $10,000/month business through one method I teach of finding clients. I set it up so every time phrases like “freelancing clients” or “find freelancing clients”  come up on my blog, they’re automatically linked to this article.

This makes it so I’ll never have to dig through my older posts to create internal links.

Note: This also comes in handy with affiliate links. You can make sure you never miss an opportunity to earn affiliate income by setting an SEO Smart Link.

Plugin #4: Yoast SEO


Let me guess …

When somebody says “SEO,” you want to run for the hills.

For new and even experienced bloggers, search engine optimization is like Mount Everest for beginner climbers. It’s the “holy grail” of traffic generation strategies, yet it’s daunting to execute.

So you could spend the next several months learning about SEO.

Or, you could save yourself hundreds of hours reading case study after case study, researching best SEO practices, and trying to decipher Google-ese by installing Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that guides you through optimizing each of your posts through a handy checklist to “grade” how well you’ve optimized your post:

WordPress - Yoast SEO Plugin

You should know the basics of SEO (so you don’t piss Google off), but with Yoast SEO, you don’t need to spend hours studying.

Plugin #5: MonsterInsights


Checking stats is as addictive as Candy Crush and just as unproductive too. When you break your focus from what you’re working on (i.e., important things like writing articles), you sacrifice about 20 minutes of productivity — even if you were only distracted for two minutes.

This is called “task switching” and it’s a huge time suck.

Cutting back on obsessive stat-checking is difficult once you’re hooked, but you can reduce the time you waste with MonsterInsights.

It’s a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress that shows you the most important stats right on your dashboard.

WordPress - Monster Insights Plugin

You’ll no longer have to leave your site to check analytics (and get drowned in the ocean of distracting figures). You can stay inside WordPress, get your quick fix, and move on to writing your post.

Plugin #6: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler


The speed of your website directly impacts your search engine results.

Meaning that if your blog is slow, Google will penalize you. And often, when your blog is slow, it’s one or more of your plugins that causes the issue.

This is a huge pain to fix.

First, you have to pull up Google’s PageSpeed tester. Then you have to begin disabling your plugins one-by-one. And after every plugin you disable, you have to test the speed again to see if you found the culprit.

That is, unless you let P3 Plugin Performance Profiler do all the heavy lifting for you.

P3 Profiler saves you the time of having to dig for problem plugins by reporting your activated plugins that are making your blog lag the most.

It even tells you the impact your plugins have on your page load time:

WordPress - P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

This saves you the time of having to test your site to try and find the problematic plugins.

So activate P3 on your blog, deactivate your top problem plugins, and get back to doing the important work of a blogger.

Plugin #7: UpdraftPlus


If your blog has never gone down, it probably will at some point, whether it’s because of hosting issues or a broken plugin or theme.

These issues can often be fixed quite quickly, but sometimes it’s not that simple and it wipes some of your blog’s history clean. Worst case scenario: You lose a ton of content.

Unless you install UpdraftPlus, a WordPress plugin that backs up your blog and stores your backup files in DropBox, Google Drive, or whatever remote storage solution you use.

WordPress - UpDraft Plus

This essential plugin will save you time in two ways:

  1. You won’t have to spend hours on the phone or in online chat with your web host trying to restore the last backup of your site.
  2. You won’t have to backup your blog manually. UpdraftPlus will run automated backups on a schedule, so you don’t have to remember to do so yourself.

Trust me, when your website does inevitably break, you’ll be glad you had the foresight to install this plugin.

Plugin #8: Akismet


Have you ever logged onto your blog’s WordPress dashboard and seen comments like this?:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin

Thanks for the compliment, “Petite Clothing.”

These are spam comments that are a huge time waste.

There’s nothing quite as mind-numbing as sorting through comments to identify what’s real and what’s left by robots.

Which is why all bloggers must use Akismet – WordPress’s most popular anti-spam plugin which filters out all spam comments with remarkable accuracy:

WordPress - Akismet Spam Plugin - v2

Plugin #9: WP Broken Link Status Checker


Broken links hurt your SEO and your reader’s experience of your site.

So you need to make sure your links are all in good order, right?

Except that would take hours upon hours. You’d have to go through your posts periodically to check for broken links, testing each one as if you were a reader.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Instead, use WP Broken Link Status Checker.

This plugin runs scans which will check all of the links on your website on autopilot based on your own parameters. You can check for internal links, or make sure that your reader won’t bottom out when they click on a link you placed to another blogger.

WordPress - Broken Link Status Checker Plugin

Plugin #10: ManageWP


When you have more than one blog, you can get even more overwhelmed keeping track of everything.

You have a million tabs open on Google Chrome, you waste a ton of time each day flitting between each tab (often to bring up the wrong one), and you can hardly keep up.

Well, look no further, because ManageWP will make your life a whole lot easier.

ManageWP is a WordPress management system that connects your blogs to a single dashboard.

I have three blogs, and this plugin saves me a ton of time going from one to the other. It provides me easy access to each one with a single click, and also provides an easy overview of the security, performance, and analytics of each one.

ManageWP is a must-have for anyone who manages multiple blogs.

WordPress - Manage WP Plugin

Plugin #11: Enable Media Replace


About a year ago, I hired a web designer to overhaul my blog, Unsettle.

When the design was finally done and pushed out to the world, I began to notice little problems:

I needed to replace my old logo on all of the pages it still showed up on. My headshots were out of date on my old content and pages, and a lot of the blog images I had created were no longer relevant.

I had some work to do.

First, I had to upload the new logo, headshots, and blog images to WordPress.

Then, I had to comb through the pages of my blog to update these images, eating up hours of time (and a lot of patience, too).

But then I stumbled across Enable Media Replace: a WordPress plugin that lets you replace the piece of media (in my case, the images) rather than uploading new ones and hunting them down.

WordPress - Enable Media Replace Plugin

Plugin #12: Appointments+


You’ve been there.

You’re trying to book a coaching call, or a time to meet with a potential freelancing client, or maybe just trying to set up a call with a reader, but you can’t find a time that works for you both.

So you spend what feels like hours in your email inbox proposing, rejecting, and rescheduling.

If this sounds familiar, this plugin will give you huge relief. Appointments+ is a plugin that allows you and your clients or readers to book appointments right on your WordPress website …

WordPress - Appointments+ Plugin

Allowing you to get out of your email inbox and save time, frustration, and back and forth.

Note: This plugin is only available as part of a larger package which costs $49/month. On the other hand, you won’t need this plugin until you have enough clients to afford it. (And the package includes other useful plugins as well!)

Plugin #13: CoSchedule


You know the feeling …

You have a million ideas for blog posts (or maybe, like me, you have a million half-written drafts), and you’re overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep everything organized and keep yourself focused.

Sound familiar?

Then try CoSchedule. It will help you manage your editorial calendar and your social media promotions all in one spot, saving you the time of having to flit between different apps.

Plus, you can post to your Facebook Group right from your WordPress dashboard, and it shows how well your social media posts did, saving you from having to find your analytics in a different app.

CoSchedule is another paid plugin, but it’s a huge time-saver that will leave you feeling far more organized and put together.

Get Off the Blogging Hamster Wheel


Sometimes, blogging feels like you’re on a hamster wheel.

You’re busy all the time, but you’re not getting anywhere fast.

My guess is that’s because you’re spending time on some tasks that, while crucial, won’t propel you forward.

So get off the blogging hamster wheel. Automate the boring stuff with these 13 WordPress plugins so you can get back to the meaningful work: the work you thought you were getting into when you started your blog.

And watch your productivity soar.

Sarah Peterson writes insanely useful guides on marketing and entrepreneurship at Unsettle.org. Get her report, 10 Free Tools That Reveal the Product Your Audience Is Begging For to finally start making money from your blog … the right way.

 


 

A helpful reader has informed us that P3 Profiler has not been updated in some time. We are in the process of researching an alternative and will update our recommendation shortly. Thanks for your patience!

 

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A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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