How Many Google Resources Are You Using On Your WordPress Site?

If you have tried to ignore the vast amount of resources that Google keeps releasing, then you might be in a shock once you do take a peek. Google has a wide variety of services and applications that easily integrate into WordPress and can be a huge help. Here is a quick look at some of the most popular Google applications and how they can be used with your WordPress blog.

Most Popular

Analytics
When it comes to website analytics, Google is definitely one of the most popular options on the market. You can gather detailed statistics regarding pretty much anything. Plus, you can either use a plugin, or add the tracking code directly into your theme.

Font Directory
If you are only looking at the latest Google tools, then the Font Directory might be the first to catch your eye. It can implement all of the CSS needed to make each font cross browser compatible. You can either use WP Google Fonts plugin or a quick @import command. There are more than 100 fonts and the database just keeps growing.

YouTube
Need I say more?

Feedburner
Great way to track RSS feed subscribers. You either love it or hate it.

Adsense
Lot’s of plugins to choose from if this is how you want to monetize your blog. While it may not be everyones favorite, it is still one of the higher (if not highest) paying networks out there, especially for newer/smaller blogs.

Getting Popular

URL Shortener
There are a couple of different plugins that allow you to integrate the Goo.gl URL shortener Why wouldn’t Google have their own short link service – they have everything else.

Chart Tools
Google Chart Tools have actually be around for a while, but didn’t really get noticed by a lot of people until the year or so. It is handy little tool that will create charts that are really easy to embed into your websites.

Website Optimizer
If you don’t like any of the WordPress testing plugins like MaxA/B, then the Google Website Optimizer might be worth a look. It will help you create a variety of different experiments for your website. Overall, this tool can get too intense for some people, but once you get comfortable with it, it is an excellent resource.

There a lot more Google applications and tools than the ones listed above, but they haven’t seem to really work their way into a lot of WordPress blogs. Some are restrained by geography such as Google Checkout (only the US and UK) and some are more for collaboration/behind-the-scene uses such as Google Docs.

You may not find all of these tools and applications helpful, but there are so many available that you never know what you might find useful.

Should Your WordPress Blog Have a Formal Comment Policy?

If you are running any type of blog, there is a good chance that getting comments is something that you strive towards. Not only does it mean that you created helpful or engaging content, but it is also a way to build reader loyalty. At the same time, you must monitor all of your comments to prevent spam or comments that are malicious in nature. So the big question is whether or not a formal comment policy would be beneficial or a waste of time. Here is a quick look at both side of this issue to help you decide where you stand.

A Formal Comment Policy Should Be Essential

Encourages Good Comments While Eliminating Bad Ones
The most obvious reason to have a formal commenting policy on your WordPress blog to hopefully prevent “bad” comments, while encouraging positive ones. In the end, it is probably more about preventing low quality comments and spam more than anything else. This is particularly true if you have a specific stance on SEO strategies, such as using keywords as the name of the commenter. It also let’s people know that if the comment is off-topic that it will be removed.

Creates a Sense of “Safety”
No one wants to hang around your blog only to be bashed and berated by someone else. With a formal blog commenting policy, you are letting people know that you are taking an active interest in what they are doing. More importantly, it lets them know if someone is being malicious, that they can let you know so that the situation can be remedied. This can create a much more open community and keep your loyal readers active.

A Formal Comment Policy Is a Waste of Time

The People Who Will Break It, Won’t Read It Anyways
The big question about creating a commenting policy is whether or not the rule breakers would actually read it anyways. If they did, would they follow it? While there may be a few instances where someone could break the “code of conduct” because you didn’t tell them to play nice and stay on topic, most probably won’t.

It Can’t Stop Automation
In most cases, the biggest offenders of your comment policy won’t be real people, but rather automated tools. They obviously aren’t going to read it, because they can’t. Moreover, the people who use automated tools tend to favor the shotgun approach. They are posting thousands of comments and simply hoping that some stick. This means that even with a comment policy, you will still end up deleting all of these automated comments.

In the end, most people prefer to take the “better safe than sorry” approach, which means that creating a policy is probably better than not. Even if it won’t stop every problem, it can eliminate those borderline issues where someone honestly made a mistake and didn’t notice it. Plus, over the period of a few months or years, eliminating those borderline cases can add up to a lot of saved time and headaches.

The 4 Best WordPress Plugins to Boost Subscriptions and Opt Ins

WordPress Plugins to Boost Subscriptions

There are a number of different ways that you can get subscriptions on your WordPress website. The two most common are either getting people to sign up for your RSS feed or your email list/newsletter. There are several free plugins that you can use to boost subscriptions as well as a handful of excellent premium plugins. This list does not include plugins that are designed to get people to follow you on social networking sites or bookmark your content on bookmarking sites, rather it focuses solely on getting opt ins or sign ups.

Free Plugins

What Would Seth Godin Do
This plugin has been around for a while and is still incredibly popular. It is not only very easy to use, but it can also ensure that you target new visitors rather than harass recurring visitors. It simply adds a box to the top of whatever page the visitor enters your site on. You can customize this box to say whatever you want. In most examples, it is used to get people to sign up for your RSS feed, although you could promote your list as well. It is a very simple plugin, but also very effective.

Subscribe2
Subscribe2 is another popular free plugin. It is designed so that you can collect emails and notify subscribers whenever you publish a new blog post. There is also a premium version that will allow you to send full HTML emails as well. If your goal is to simply make sure that they get an email every time you add content to your blog, then this is as close to a hands-off solution as you will get.

Premium Plugins
Pop-Up Domination 2.0

There are a lot of different pop up plugins that you can use, but Pop-Up Domination 2.0 definitely offers the most professional looking templates. It has also proven itself to be very reliable. This plugin is definitely most effective when combined with a free download of some sort. It is easily integrated with pretty much any autoresponder service out there. Plus, unlike most pop-ups, when it is displayed, the rest of your website will be shadowed so that it gets the full attention of your readers.

MaxBlogPress Subscribers Magnet
Compared to most other premium WordPress plugins that deal with getting people added to your list, it is definitely one of the most expensive. However, it is also one of the most comprehensive. You can add sign up forms anywhere on your website from the admin area. Plus, it has a built in tracking feature which will help you track subscription rates and improve them.

It doesn’t matter how new your blog is, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be trying to get people to subscribe to your RSS feed, newsletter, or both. When you are just starting out, one of these free plugins could be a great way to get started without feeling overwhelmed. Once you are more established, upgrading to one of the premium plugins might be a good way to significantly boost your results.

5 WordPress Plugins That Will Drive Traffic To Older Posts

One of the biggest potential drawbacks of most blogs is that once your post leaves the homepage, it may never be seen from again. There are a number of things that you can do such as create a “best of” post to guide new readers back to older posts, but that means that you aren’t sharing any new content, which for some blogs is it’s lifeblood. This means that you need to find ways to drive traffic to older posts, without detracting from your latest ones. Here is a quick look at 5 WordPress plugins that can get this taken care of with very little effort.

Traditional Related Posts Plugins

These plugins are designed to take up the least amount of space on your page, while still getting traffic for your older posts. All of these utilize basic text links to achieve this.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
At one point in time, it seemed like every day brought forth another related posts plugin. This aptly named plugin has proven to be a mainstay for people looking to at a short related posts section below their content or in their sidebar. It grabs posts that are within the same category as the one that your visitors are reading. It seems to have been around forever and is still regularly updated, so don’t worry about it going anywhere in the future.

Easy Random Posts and Easy Popular Posts
Both of these plugins are created by the same person and do the same basic thing. You simply install the plugin and add a quick line of code to your element and the plugin will take care of the rest. The only decision is whether or not you would prefer to show visitors random posts or the most popular posts. If you want to diversify where the traffic is headed, then the random posts plugin is probably your best bet because once a few posts get really popular, it can be difficult to knock them off the list.

Image Reliant Related Posts Plugins

As websites become more interactive it should not be surprising that more emphasis has been placed on creating a more visually appealing way to display previous posts. There are a number of different services that have created plugins for WordPress. While a growing number of these services are available, two of them tend to stand out from the rest.

LinkWithin
LinkWithin was one of the first successful examples of adding images to your related posts plugins. It is important to note that instead of a plugin, you will get code for a widget that can be easily added to your WordPress website. You can also choose whether you want to highlight 3, 4, or 5 posts. It uses the thumbnail image that you tied to the post that was referenced. If there was no image, then a generic image will be added automatically.

OutBrain
OutBrain is a more recent option that operates under the same basic parameters as LinkWithin. There are several unique benefits to OutBrain. The first is that you can raise money for charity by including sponsored ads in your listings. In most cases, this will only be a link to one article, so you will still be able to promote your own internal content as well. The second benefit is the information that will be gathered. You will see the click thru rate for each article, most clicked articles, and much more.