5 WordPress Plugins That Will Get You More Comments With Less Commenters

It is always a little depressing when you check in on your WordPress blog, only to find out that no one seems to commenting. There could even be times that you don’t think that you could buy a comment (although you definitely could). The biggest reason that many blogs end up with few comments is because they are focusing on the wrong thing. Most people assume that the only way to get more comments, is to get more traffic. While more traffic will never hurt, you can also increase your number of comments by get the maximum input from the people who are already leaving comments. Here is a quick rundown of 5 very powerful plugins that you can use to get more comments with less commenters.

1. Subscribe to Comments
This may seem like a pretty simple plugin, but it is incredibly powerful. Once someone leaves a comment on your blog, there is a good chance that they would come back and leave another one. The key is keeping them actively engaged in the conversation. By alerting them whenever a new comment is posted to the article that they commented on, they are much more likely to come back and see what was added to the conversation and leave another comment of their own.

2. WordPress Thread Comment
This plugin is effective for a similar reason as the Subscribe to Comments plugin. This plugin makes it possible for someone to reply directly to another comment. Their response will be nestled below the comment that they are addressing. This plugin is useful for two reasons. The first is that it is easier for a new person to join the conversation and second, it is easier for people holding a conversation to stay organized and on point. While this plugin does little more than add visual appeal and organization to your comments section, it has proven itself to be very useful in terms of getting people to leave multiple comments.

3 & 4. Show Top Commentators and Community Cloud
Both of these plugins are designed to reward people who leave the most comments during any particular timespan. The Show Top Commentators plugin is the most well know plugin that offers this type of function, however the Community Cloud plugin makes it a little more interesting. Instead of having a list of top commentators, it creates a tag cloud of everyone who has left a comment. The more comments someone makes, the larger and bolder their name is. If anything else, it is definitely an eye-catching way to give credit to your top commenters.

5. Comment Luv/Keyword Love/ Etc.
There are a growing number of these styles of plugins. They get people to leave multiple comments by simply giving them an incentive to do so. For example, with Comment Luv, a link to their latest post will be added to the bottom of their comment. With Keyword Love, they can get a backlink with the anchor text that they want. While this also opens up your blog to spammers, if effectively monitored, it can be a great way to get more people to comment more often.

In the end, there are a growing number of plugins that you can use to boost the number of comments on your blog. The key is trying to not only get everyone to comment, but to get them commenting multiple times.

3 Things to Look For In an Autoblogging Plugin

Autoblogging isn’t for everyone, but it has garnered a much larger following over the last year or so. In many ways, an autoblog is very similar to creating a website that uses multiple RSS feeds to aggregate stories. With this rise in popularity, not only has the number of autoblogging plugins grown, but they have improved dramatically as well. If you are looking for an autoblogging plugin for your WordPress site, then there are a few key characteristics to pay special attention to.

1. Ability to Spin Content
One of the most important things to consider when choosing an autoblogging plugin is whether or not you want the ability to spin the content. This is a feature that is fairly new to autoblogging plugins and has not yet become a standard feature. The reason that spinning content can be useful is because many autoblogs have had problems because they are almost completely duplicate content. By spinning the articles before they are published, you can avoid this. At the same time, there has yet to be created a spinning software that provides consistently readable content. In many cases, the spinner will rely on a database of synonyms, which can quickly render an article very difficult to read.

2. Ability to Add More Than Content
Another newer feature that can be found with some autoblogging software is the ability to add more than just text. They can also pull images and videos from around the web and them to the post as well. The obvious benefit is that this will not only make the post more engaging, but can also make your autoblog, look less like an autoblog. Plus, it makes your content as a whole more unique. The drawbacks to this are the same as with using a content spinner. Since the images and videos will be added to the post based upon a keyword, there is no guarantee that they will actually be relevant to the article itself.

3. Number of Content Sources
You should also consider where the content is coming from. Some of the most basic autoblogging plugins will pull articles only from article directories (particularly ArticleBase). While this may be enough, this is entirely dependent on your niche. With some of the more advanced autoblogging plugins you can not only pull content from article directories, but also from sources that provide an inherent opportunity for affiliate commissions such as Amazon, LinkShare, Commission Junction, and Shopzilla. In some cases, the plugin may even be able to pull content from multiple sources and mix it together.

If autoblogging is something that you are interested in, then at least give yourself a chance to be successful by making sure that the plugin has all of the features that you need. Along with the basic features found in every autoblogging plugin, you should also consider whether or not the content will be spun, whether you can add images/videos, and the number and type of sources that you will be able to pull content from.

5 SEO Areas Your WordPress Plugins Must Address

Some people have 10+ plugins on their WordPress site, solely dedicated to improving their search engine optimization. On the other hand, there are people who rely on one or two comprehensive plugins. Regardless of which approach you prefer, it is essential that your plugins cover 5 basic aspects of search engine optimization. Here is a quick look at these areas and how plugins can help.

1. Speed
Until recently, this area was lacking in terms of available plugins. However, since Google announced that website speed would be a factor in their algorithm, a number of additional plugins have been released. There are a variety of different things that these plugins can do ranging from basic caching and minifying to database optimization and integrating cloud hosting. Unless your website has a lot of traffic and bulky pages, the increase is page speed will be minimal. This means that these types of plugins may not be necessary on smaller blogs until they have grown considerably.

2 . Link Control
The next area of SEO gets a huge amount of attention from plugin developers. It deals with your link structures, both in terms of basic navigation and more advanced in-page links. It can also deal with helping you manage which links are do follow or no follow. Some of the most popular plugins in this area include: SEO Smart Links, NoFollow Case by Case, SEO Friendly Images, and SEO Post Link.

3. Data for Search Engines
One of the most important areas to address is the data that is primarily used by search engines and spiders. This includes things like title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords. Basically, anything that will affect how search engines interpret your website. The reason that this kind of data is often overlooked by webmasters is because the average visitor will never know that it even exists, however that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. Although you do get some control over this with the basic WordPress core, there are a variety of popular plugins that give you even more control. This is also where you should address your robot.txt file as well.

4. Spam and Security
You may not consider dealing with spam and security issues a part of search engine optimization, and to an extent your right. However, if your site goes down or gets infected with malware, then Google will drop you from it’s rankings as soon as it finds out. In terms of spam, the big concern should be comment spam. Not only can this detract link value from your website, but it can also make it appear unappealing to your visitors. On the side of security, there are a few plugins that deal with adding extra layers of protection to the WordPress core and well as ensure that your website is always backed up.

5. Coding
The final aspect to look into is the coding of your website. In most cases, this will be taken care of by many of the plugins that are designed to speed up your website, however this is entirely dependent on which one you choose to use. Plus, there are some additional features that you may need such as adding specific Javascript or CSS to pages.

With the growing number of great WordPress SEO plugins available, it is impossible to pick out one or two that are better than the rest, however as long you make sure that these 5 areas of SEO have been addressed, you should have a website that is very well optimized, with very little effort.

The WordPress Plugin Directory – Following the Mob

If you aren’t sure which plugins to add to your WordPress site, then maybe a quick stroll through the WordPress Plugin Directory could help. It is always interesting to see what everyone else is using and how their tastes fall in line with you own. More importantly, it also shows you where the perceived “needs” are. If everyone needs a plugin to add a customized search bar, then you would assume that it would be one of the most popular plugins. Here is a quick look at the most popular plugins in the directory and some interesting notes about what this means.

Top 15

If you are looking at the top 15 most popular WordPress plugins, there are very few surprises. Towards the top of the list you have helpful tools like GTranslate, Google Analytics, WordPress Importer, All in One SEO, and SexyBookmarks. In the top 5 the only real surprise is the 3 star rating that WordPress Importer plugin received.

As you move through the rest of the Top 15, there are a number of useful plugins that every webmaster should be using anyways. These include a few galleries, spam prevention, and a handful of SEO plugins. If there is any other surprise, it would be that the number 11 plugin (ourSTATS Widget) has 2 stars. If it is a Top 15 plugin, you would think it would have more than 2 stars.

16-30

The next group of 15 seem to primarily fall into two categories: security and social networking/bookmarking. All of the plugins average a 4 star rating or above and are well known. This includes plugins like ShareThis, Smart YouTube, WP Security Scan.

The Rest

As you go farther down the list the results get pretty random in terms of purpose. Although this shouldn’t be surprising because everyone has unique needs.

So What Does This Mean For You?

With only a few exceptions, the most popular list in the WordPress Plugin Directory proves that overall WordPress users know which plugins are essential to effective website management. More importantly, the priorities seem to be fairly solid as well – starting with analytics and SEO, then moving to social media and more SEO, then ending with security. Realistically, security would probably be higher if there were less first-time webmasters using WordPress. Website security is sort of like backing up your computer. Most people don’t think it will ever be an issue for them, but once it is, it is a top priority.

In this case, following the mob will lead you in the right direction.

Managing WordPress Plugins on a Multi-Site Network

One of the biggest changes when WordPress 3.0 was first released was the new ability to manage multiple websites from a single installation.  This was the result of combining the traditional WordPress core with a similar installation known as WordPress MU (Multi User).  There are a number of unique benefits that this combination has created for website owners, especially those who wanted the best of both worlds.

The biggest problem now is deciding how to best manage everything from your themes to your plugins.  This is especially true for plugins because they tend to be updated much more often than themes are.  While being able to run multiple sites from a single installation does have it’s benefits, it also adds another layer of administration that needs to be dealt with.  Fortunately, Plugin Commander has made this process much easier.  If you switched from WordPress MU then you should already be familiar with what this plugin does.  It was formerly known as WPMUPluginCommander.

Plugin Commander makes it simple manage and update your plugins network-wide instead of on a site by site basis.  There are a few features in particular that stand out as being a huge benefit and saving a lot of time.

Automatic Plugin Activation
You can set it up so that any plugin that you want can be automatically activated for new blogs. This is especially useful for those core plugins that you use on every site. Even if there is a plugin that you use on most sites, it is easier to deactivate it from a few, then activate it on many.

Mass Changes or Single Changes
Another benefit is that you can mass activate and deactivate any plugin through the Manage Plugins area. At the same time, you also have the ability to activate or deactivate any plugin on a single blog as well. This versatility can prove especially useful if you are creating a network of sites in which each author gets their own site and you want them to have control over their own setup.

If you are allowing for single changes to be made by authors, then there are some additional plugins that you will need in order to make sure that everyone has the access that they need, without giving them full administrative control. While there are wide variety to choose from, some of the most popular include: role manager, author advertising, posts by author, user extra, and co-authors plus.

Using the Plugin Commander alone can be a huge time saver, but adding some complimentary management plugins, especially for authors, can help push your time saving efforts over the top.