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The Top 7 Social Engagement Plugins To Drive Free Traffic To Your Blog

By Ana Hoffman
39 Comments

The very survival of any blog lies in the hands of its readership. No readership, no blog; I am sure we can all agree on that.

There are numerous ways you can cultivate an active community around your blog that goes way beyond simple traffic generation.

After all, who wants the kind of traffic that comes and leaves to never come back, right?

Our ultimate goal should always be to make sure that our blog is sticky enough to turn the first-time visitors into fans and loyal readers and that’s what I’d like to talk about today – how to get them to stay, read our fabulous content, and share it with others.

I get asked on a daily basis what all those fabulous social engagement plugins I use on Traffic Generation Cafe are.

All the plugins we will be talking about today have been designed with one goal in mind: to keep your readers interested and to get them to share your content within their social networks.

I suppose that’s two goals then…

Let’s dive in.

1. COMMENTLUV PREMIUM

Plugin Description: Adds CommentLuv links to comments, protects you from spam, encourages Twitter followers, adds keywords to names and increases traffic and community.

Take a look at the screenshot below to see just one example of how Commentluv Premium encourages your readers to share your content.

commentluv social sharing feature

And that’s just one feature of the plugin.

Not only does CommentLuv encourage your readers to interact within your blog, it also has several ways for you to promote YOURSELF and YOUR blog when commenting on other CommentLuv enabled blogs.

This plugin is my first pick for reader engagement, traffic generation, and link building hands down.

Side note: I am currently holding a CommentLuv Premium Giveaway on my blog; just click on the CommentLuv Premium link above to learn more.

2. COMMENT REDIRECT BY YOAST

Plugin Description: Redirect commentators who just made their first comment to a page of your choice. On this page, you could ask them to subscribe, like you on Facebook and lots more.

How I use it: I created a Thank You page for all my first time commentators, where I help them navigate my blog a bit, offer suggestions for great content on Traffic Generation Cafe, and yes, provide a way for them to subscribe to my list should they choose to.

You can take a look at my page here: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/thank-you-for-commenting/

comment redirect plugin in action

It’ll give you an idea of what you can say, but I dare you to make yours even better – don’t just copy what I said please!

3. CONTACT FORM 7

You should ALWAYS have a contact page on your blog!

Nothing can be more frustrating than jumping through hoops and loops trying to contact the blog owner; sure way to loose some readers.

My contact page is simple – it lists some frequently asked questions, like guest posting for Traffic Generation Cafe, requests for product reviews, consultations, etc. and then provides the form to contact me if the reader’s question hasn’t been answered above.

No, I don’t get much spam through the form and don’t see any need for captcha, etc. – I find them annoying, as do you, I am sure.

4. REPLYME

Plugin description: Send an email to the comment author automatically when someone replies to their comment.

It definitely adds the kind of personal touch your readers might be craving. It’s always great to learn that our comments are read and responded to, and that’s exactly what this plugin will help you with.

The plugin is very versatile and can be customized however you’d like to.

Mine looks like this – this is what my commentators get in their email when I answer their comment:

customize replyme plugin

See that yellow field where I invite my commentators to join my list? This great tip on how to build an email list came from Wayne Lambert from TheProfitShare.com – check out this great promote myself online page on his blog.

If you need some guidance on how to optimize the plugin for your blog, take a look at this DragonBlogger.com post.

One note on Justin’s post: at the very end Justin mentions that it might not be such a great idea to provide a link back to your blog for the commentator to see the response as opposed to simply showing them the response in the email itself. I personally find those links annoying and never click on them.

5. SHAREBAR

sharebar plugin settingsPlugin Description: Adds a dynamic bar with sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that changes based on browser size and page location – usually, this is what you’d see to the left or right of a blog post no matter how far up or down the page you are.

What I like about this particular plugin is that it can be customized with different colors and it’s obvious, yet understated.

Tip on that: don’t use too many icons. The more you use, the less likely your readers are to do anything. Stick to the ones you actually get a good response for.

6. TWITTER @ ANYWHERE

This is another popular question – which plugin creates that great Twitter box at the end of my posts?

twitter anywhere plugin settings

Easy to customize and I get very high response rate with it.

7. TWEET OLD POST

Plugin Description: Tweet Old Posts randomly picks your older post based on the interval specified by you. The primary function of this plugin is to promote older blog posts by tweeting about them and getting more traffic.

It’s entirely automated and hands-free and gives you an opportunity to bring more social media traffic to the post that otherwise might be simply buried in your archives.

Marketing Takeaway

And there you have it – my top 7 picks to build a stronger community around your blog.

I’ve tried a lot of other plugins in the past, as you can imagine, but these are the ones that I’ve stuck with so far – they are tested and true and get the job done.

Word of caution: there is a great number of plugins available out there and the number seems to be growing by the day. There’s a good rule of thumb when it comes down to adding plugins to your blog: the less, the better.

Too many plugins can become more of a distraction to your readers, plus they can significantly slow down your blog loading speed.

If you are curious to see what other plugins I use on my blog, take a look at my internet marketing tools page – you’ll find a list of must-have plugins and nothing beyond that there.

Are there some incredible plugins I am missing out on?

Let me know in the comments!

wp plugins

About Ana Hoffman

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it?
Ana does, and she freely shares her web traffic advice that doesn't suck on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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39 Comments

  • “COMMENT REDIRECT BY YOAST” sounds interesting going to give that a go. As you have already got some sort of commitment from your visitor, and to get more out of them such as following you on your Social profiles, subscribing to your blog and also downloading your eBook, would be much easier.

    Are you still using “Tweet Old Post” – what would you say is a good interval between tweeting old posts?

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Ana

      There are two settings for Tweet Old Post, Wasim: one for regular intervals, which I have set to 3 hours apart, and it also adds a random post here and there to make it appear less deliberate.

  • Hi Ana,
    Many useful plugins to increase traffic to blog, but I do not think it is good with all seven on a page, I see far too many blogs on the internet with too many plugin so the entire page looks like a blinking Christmas tree.

    • Ana

      The thing is that only a couple of these are on-page plugins; the rest add functionality in different ways.

  • Some of these plug-ins sound great, but I wonder about load times and other conflicts like I get with some other plug-ins (WP-Super Cache…). How many is too many?
    Thanks
    Mark

    • Ana

      I don’t think there’s a good answer to this question, Mark – these are the 7 I use on my blog and don’t have any apparent trouble with loading times.

      It also depends on your blog settings, your theme, and other plugins that determine whether any of these will cause a problem on your blog.

  • I’ve got a few of these like the sharebar, which is great and gets a bit of usage but really didn’t think that deeply about these WP plugins which could help develop a readership!

    Will definitely be installing some of these tomorrow – really like the tweet one!

    Thanks.

    • Ana

      Growing a blog is all about growing your readership – and these plugins are definitely great for that.

  • Great set of plugins you’ve mentioned here Ana, quite a few of them I dont use at the moment but I do see them all the time on blogs, and its nice to get more acquainted where they are coming from exactly. And you hit it on the head with your less is better analysis. Too many of those social media icons and it does get overwhelming! Really, in my opinion the main focus should be on facebook, twitter, and Google plus. You can eliminate at least one of them though as certain websites might not have a target audience for Google Plus, or facebook, etc.

    -Jean

    • Ana

      CommentLuv Premium is my favorite one that does it all, Jean, as far as social network sharing is concerned.

      All the new added features are meant to do one thing: evoke better response.

  • Some interesting marketing ideas with these plug-ins Ana. We may have to test a few of them out here on EJ when the new design launches soon :-)

    • Ana

      I think a better social media angle will definitely greatly benefit E-J, Yaro. And of course, we all look forward to the new design!

  • I am currently experimenting with the Livefyre plugin which enables readers to easily send their replies and comments to social media outlets in addition to commenting on posts and bring in comments on facebook fanpages into the WordPress post itself as well. It does replace some of the WordPress default commenting plugins, but I am hoping it can bring in a richer engagement experience for readers in the long run. Jury is still out so far.

    The new Commentluv definitely looks promising by rewarding readers with more posts to display by compelling them to share your article.

    Tweet Old Post I am finding to be more of an annoyance to twitter following if not culled properly, it can tweet out older posts that have no more relevance unless you are methodical about putting posts in categories you “block from Tweet Old Post” or you restrict it to only tweet out very recent comments.

    I find that using a combination of Twaitter (for repeat tweeting of specific articles) combined with a Dlvr.it which can broadcast the same published post (feed) a few times per day is sufficient in most cases.

    Sharebar is essential in my opinion if you have a blog with columns on the left or right, but doesn’t work well if you have a blog with columns on both sides. Yes it puts the buttons at top or bottom of post but not as effective.

    The last thing to mention is that when using a contact form (Contact Form 7) is fine, but something like Formidable Pro is worth the investment. The tracking features and reporting as well as the ability to set “redirect’ pages that a user get’s sent to after filling out the form can lead to more engagement and possibly more sales if leveraged properly as well.

    • Ana

      All worthy notes, Justin.

      The one big problem with Livefyre is the lack of link building capabilities for your commentators – definitely reduces possible readers’ engagement.

      I wouldn’t comment on a Livefyre blog for that reason alone, unless I am friendly or would like to get to know the blogger.

  • One more comment, update your theme and pad your right margin in your comment box more, it bleeds right up to the edge and looks a little close. Maybe add another 10px padding. (Just a suggestion)

  • Some of these plugins are a must for a blog, especially commentluv can do wonders to a blog, I wish I had the premium version but it will not be free, so maybe I will invest some money there and hope that it will worth it

    • Ana

      From what I know, the first CommentLuv Premium release will be fairly inexpensive, might be the best time to get it.

  • right now I am using Digg-Digg plugin, could you pls suggest me in choosing the right share plugin..

    • Ana

      I’ve used Digg-Digg in the past… I am not sure why I stopped using it. I think it’s because I couldn’t get it to float correctly, Raj. Nothing wrong with it, of course, if you can get it to work.

  • Awesome plugins Ana!

    I hardly knew about most of them, other than Twitter and CommentLuv Premium, which sure is catching up pretty well on most of the blogs!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • You should know that making use of these amazing plugins online entrepreneurs can get a lot of targeted traffic to their websites by doing nothing. Very helpful and informative blog post! Thanks a lot to Ana!

    • Ana

      Definitely, a hands-free way to generate some buzz about your posts, Terje.

  • Ana, your article is full of helpful information . Some of the links are known to me bur some are realy new and i think that they are realy usefull . Especially nr. two “Comment redirect by yoast ” .
    Thanks a lot, Ana !

  • I have seen most of this plugins from other blogs and your post has definitely convinced me to change mine and adapt most of your recommendations! I still love using disqus though. Do I need to give up disqus to install COMMENTLUV PREMIUM?

    • Ana

      I don’t know for sure, Ella, but my hunch is yes. It might come in later versions, but not with the first release.

      I think it might actually be a good idea to use the native commenting system on your blog in favor of systems like Disqus – from what I know and have read, many readers won’t comment on Disqus blogs because you need an account, even though it’s free.

  • thanks ana i use sharebar plugin and success, great tips

  • Thank you Ana!
    I find your post very useful…
    I’m already using some plugins that you mentioned.
    Others had seen them in action, on other blogs, but I did not know their name

  • Thanks Ana, Some nice plugins, Will give a try to comment redirect, looks like a good one to use and give little personal touch.

    • Sam

      Yes, Sanjeev. Many of my friends website use comment redirect. It has created a good user engagement on their website.

  • I like the new Commentluv. It not only gets the traffic from blog readers but it can make your blog look good with Google. :)

    • Sam

      I think it is just opposite. Some people take advantage of it and try to stuff their keywords in the post. I hate them the most !
      That is why even now when commenting on this blog, I use my name and not my keyword!

  • Sam

    Ana, I saw a plugin in a website – There was a small box in the right bottom corner that said recommended for you and a article link came up. Every time it was interesting and made my page views more on that website. Please let us know if you have come across any plugin.

  • Nice list. I’ve used sharebar for about a year on one of my blogs, and really like the way it floats along side the content, instead requiring readers to scroll up and down to find it (because they likely won’t). It gave me a format problem on one of my blogs, which I never did figure out, but switched to another social BM plugin.

    I know other bloggers that Use Comment Luv and swear by it too. I think I’ll try it out on one of my blogs tomorrow.

    For my contact forms, I’ve had great luck with Fast Secure Contact Form for WordPress by Mike Challis. It’s free, works great, and Mike’s a fellow Washington resident, so I like supporting his work.

  • Brady Lewis

    I really like the commentluv plugin. I thought it was a great idea fro
    The first time I saw it. I think it really encourages users to post comments.

  • Comment Redirect by Yoast sounds great. I like the fact you can engage the visitor one last time after they have decided to comment. It makes it feel like there was some kind of almost personal contact. I will definitely be giving this one a try.

  • Great post, Ana! I suggest you also take a look at Urtak, who just released a WP plugin. They have created a kind of hybrid comment/poll that is extremely engaging and enables everyone to contribute and answer questions about the content–it’s a great community builder.

  • Hi,
    a great overview of some of the best social plugins for WordPress. I’ve been running CommentLuv Premium on my blog and it’s has been slowly taking off – more comments are pouring in, but I also enjoy the additional opportunities it provides me on other CommentLuv-enabled sites.

    BTW, how does work for you to have both regular WP comments and FB comments below? Do you think it generally adds to the conversation on your blog? I see that more people are still using the regular WP comments, but I’ve toyed with the idea of adding FB comments on my blog as well. I would love to know your thoughts.

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