The Best WordPress Plugins for Community Building & Engagement

The Best WordPress Plugins for Community Building & Engagement

Engagement is more than a buzzword. Entire businesses are built on their ability to successfully cultivate a community that is both engaging and informative. In the online world, community is big. Every webmaster wants tasty stats like high traffic numbers, pageviews, and clicks, but the reality behind those numbers are people.

It’s people that drive those numbers. If your business is not engaging, your traffic will never be all that it can be. In other words, it won’t convert. Lucky for you we have compiled a big list of WordPress plugins that will help you ratchet up engagement and turn visitors into fans.

WordPress Plugins for Search & Stats

There are two plugins that every WordPress blog or site should have installed and these are Askimet and WordPress SEO. What do these have to do with engagement you might ask? Allow me to explain.

Akismet

This plugin was created by Automattic (the makers of WordPress). It works great for filtering spam comments from legitimate ones, which is important. If you do not have a way to automate spam filtering you’ll be bombarded with spam and will have trouble responding back to legitimate readers.

WordPress SEO

This one is an absolute must. In order to create a site that is popular and engaging you want to be found in the search engines. WordPress SEO by Yoast helps get you there by giving you an easy way to edit your title and description tags. Plus, it adds an XML sitemap to your blog and makes it a no-brainer to add Twitter cards and Google Authorship.

Jetpack

You should never be ignoring Google Analytics, but if you want a sneak peek into the performance of your site and would like to check out stats within your WordPress dashboard this is the plugin for you.

WordPress Plugins for Commenting & Discussion

You cannot have engagement without having a platform that makes conversation easy. These plugins help in many ways; from online forum-like discussions to social media enabled comments, you’ll find them here.

Commentluv

This plugin is first on the list because many bloggers use it and installing this plugin on your blog will usually help with engagement right out the gate. What is unique about this plugin is it allows commenters on your blog to have a link back to their last post (if they use WordPress).

Comments Evolved

This was once known as Google+ Comments for WordPress, but as the name suggests it…evolved. The earlier version allowed people using Google+ to easily comment when signed into their Google+ profile. There are a ton of benefits to being active on Google+, including more visibility in search. What makes comment plugin even more powerful is the fact that is integrates comments from Facebook, Disqus, and WordPress. It even includes trackbacks.

bbPress

As you may already know, we’re big on forums. There is nothing cooler than to be able to have forum functionality added right into your WordPress site. This plugin stands out above the rest for the simple fact that it was created by none other than Matt Mullenweg (the creator of WordPress). It’s lightweight, built for speed, and made to seamlessly integrate. What more can you ask for?

WordPress Plugins for Social Engagement

Digg Digg

First on the list is Digg Digg. This plugin adds a floating social media bar to your posts or pages (or both). You can configure it how you like and choose where you would like it to appear on the screen.

Social Locker for WordPress

This is a unique plugin that gives you the ability to “lock” content on your posts and pages that can only be viewed by the reader sharing your post via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Unlike the other plugins we have mentioned, this is a paid only plugin found on CodeCanyon.

WordPress Plugins for Lead Generation

Contact Form 7

This is a contact form plugin that works great, don’t cost a dime, and integrates with Akismet and CAPTCHA. It allows you to embed different contact forms using shortcodes that can be configured individually.

Gravity Forms

Think of Gravity Forms form software on steroids. It’s a paid-only plugin, but it is definitely worth the price if you are looking for easy integration between payment gateways, email marketing software and more. You can create a variety of forms with a few clicks. They also have support to help you along the way.

Pippity

This is another paid plugin, but if you are a serious marketer or are trying to build a list this should be in your toolbox. Pippity gives you the ability to create beautiful plugins, but the real value comes from being able to create unique pop-ups that appear only on certain pages and posts. You can also time pop-ups to only appear after someone has finished reading your post or viewed the page for a certain time.

ClickDesk

Did you know WordPress has live chat and support plugins? Well, now you do. Clickdesk comes in three flavors: free, lite, and Pro. The free version has plenty of features, including social integration, but limits you to only 30 chats per month.

Magic Action Box

What is especially useful about this plugin is its ability to add optin forms after every post. This is essential if you are wanting to build a solid email list or you are wanting to create a good-looking call-to-action after posts. Available in free and paid versions. (Although, the free version is rather limited).

WordPress Plugins That Encourage Clicks

Hello Bar

HelloBar is a great tool that allows you to add an eye-catching call-to-action at the top of your site. Installation is easy — just grab the code and paste it into a text widget. You can also do A/B campaigns and it comes with its own analytics that allows you to track clicks.

Related Posts by Zemanta

Keeping visitors on your site should be your main concern. You want low bounce rates and people staying on your site. The best way to do that is to encourage clicks within your site (plus have plenty of good content). Related Posts by Zemanta gives you an easy way to display related posts after each one of your blog posts.

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