If you are reading this, then you must be already familiar with WordPress. An excellent CMS used by laymen and professionals alike, that gives your website a lot of room to grow by providing tons of templates and plugins. Tens of millions of sites across the world wide web are able to deliver excellent user experience and develop distinct character thanks to all the add-ons. In this post I will look at some of the best WordPress plugins for boosting community engagement on your website, so stay with me to learn how to get site visitors going.
While doing research for this article on boosting community engagement, I have decided to mix certain novel solutions with more traditional, but nevertheless important ones, to create a variety of options for you to pursue. Also included are trusted download options, so that you can immediately put the fresh ideas to test. Enjoy!
Let us start with a simple, yet highly important and underappreciated aspect of boosting community engagement. This plugin allows you to communicate with your audience in an unobtrusive manner right after they enter your website.
You can customize the color of your bar, the text font, text color and a number of other options, so that it fits perfectly with your site. Do not let some of the primary real estate on your webpage go to waste! Tell people what you are about or guide their actions to increase community engagement.
Here’s something rather traditional. Why not transfer democracy to the online realm and let people vote on issues important to them? This highly customizable plugin for boosting community engagement will let you gather opinions of your site visitors, so that you will be able to deliver a better experience and increase their involvement. Now multiple answers have also become possible. Check it out.
Now, this here is a different kind of animal. This plugin offers you the option to display a small box above each blog post, for example, containing some sort of message. The trick is to distinguish between new and returning visitors, which can be done using cookies. You can customize the message, its lifespan, and its location. The message can be excluded from certain pages if you wish so.
This is a chance for you to increase community engagement on your site using appealing content that will make them stay and, hopefully, return to your site in the future for more.
You might have seen or used this comment system already. Basically, it replaces the WordPress comment system and integrates seamlessly. It features things like SEO-friendly threaded comments and replies, support when importing already existing comments, auto-backup, notifications and reply by email, as well as powerful moderation and admin tools, among others. Give it a try.
The thing I personally find very useful when it comes to blogs, and I am sure most people will agree, is the related or recommended posts feature. The name of the plugin is quite self-explanatory, and if you create lots of engaging content you need to keep your readers going, instead of leaving the page after a single article.
Install this plugin to keep your audience busy and turn them into loyal subscribers or clients. Oh and by the way, this guy Matt Cutts, who knows his way around the Internet pretty well, uses it on his blog too.
This plugin is something different. It provides your community with a new way of getting engaged by creating lists, voting on the items included and sharing them on social media. Lists are extremely popular form of content online and it seems to be somewhat natural for people to look for them.
What is more, this embeddable content gets indexed by search engines and its social nature gives it high ranking in search results. All this designed with boosting community engagement in mind.
Why do I think this plugin is useful for boosting your online community engagement? First off, it will let users see that there are other people already engaging in the discussion and it may be worth it to see what they have to say, and second, it may prompt your audience members to contribute more, in order to become a top commentator themselves and gain exposure for their personal brands.
Is there really anyone in the online community who does not believe that social media are crucial in many ways and are probably here to stay in one way or another? No, I did not think so.
The Digg Digg plugin will add social sharing buttons for major social media websites in your blog posts with their live voting counter to increase community engagement. This is an omnipresent extension these days and its purpose is to make people share interesting stories with their social networks, and as a result, drive traffic to your website. Also, social media seem to be an ever-growing factor in terms of importance for SEO.
This neat little plugin provides real time web analytics. The data is very thorough and includes details for every visitor and action taken on your site. One of its most interesting features are heat maps for individual visitor sessions.
What is in it for you, is that you have the opportunity to collect quick feedback and be able to react and adjust to your visitors’ actions. You need to know what they are up to in order to eventually increase your community engagement.
Last but not least, consider installing live social chat. Mind you, this is not a simple two-way site admin – visitor communication tool. It is more of a medium for facilitating real-time communication among the people browsing your website.
Chatwee is a community-building device in its own right, allowing people to share opinions (and files) with each other as they read your articles or view products. It has many applications, depending on the type of business you are in. Take a look at the website to learn more about boosting community engagement in ways you might not have considered before.
Conclusions on boosting community engagement
Websites grow more sophisticated by the day. Long gone are the days of inexperienced users and simple information-presenting sites. It is all about interaction, reaction and involvement these days.
No matter what the purpose of your business is, you need to have people talking with you, about you and with other web users. If your main line of business is producing content, you must create readership, that will come back and discuss and share your articles. If you sell stuff, driving traffic to your online store is the objective.
Readers/clients are generally getting smarter and are looking for ways to be heard and participate in a larger discussion. Thus, you need to provide them with ways to express themselves, and the plugins mentioned above do just that, in addition to improving your SEO.
One other thing, though, do not create a plugin overkill by installing too many of them. Think about what might work for you and what do you want your online audience to do and act accordingly. Good luck boosting your online community engagement!