If you run a WordPress site, you’re already on the right track when it comes to search engine optimization. WordPress has inherently SEO-friendly features. But did you know there are a number of ways you can increase visibility with non-robot visitors as well? After you’ve been writing on a blog for a while, content inevitably gets buried. Many bloggers add an Archive link to their main navigation and call it good, but there’s much more you can do to shine a little light on the chronological “graveyard” of entries. The good news is, they’re all quick-fix plugins. So if you’re not code-savvy, read on and worry not.
Offer a Subscription ~
You can easily stay in touch with readers by allowing them to request email notifications whenever additional responses are added to an entry. It’s a great way for visitors to monitor a discussion after they’ve left their comment and moved on. Any time I see this feature, I use it. It’s just too easy to forget where I’ve left comments, and on what topics. When a blogger offers this I know I don’t have to worry about going back to check for any updates to the conversations I’m interested in. I can get it all from my inbox.
Reveal Related Entries ~
Whether you’re looking for better click-through, or just trying to get your readers to spend more time on your site, displaying related posts on single entry pages is a good way to do both. The Ultimate Tag Warrior, which I just wrote about the other day, is one of my favorite plugins. It will take some time to get all your entries tagged if you’ve been blogging for a while, but once you’re done, you’ll have terrific flexibility at your fingertips when it comes to showing older content. For example, you can list related entries for a post, related tags for a post, related tags for a tag… or all three just by calling a function. Since you can easily style any list with CSS, the display is seamless. There’s also excellent help documentation.
Give Readers the Good Stuff ~
If you want people to click past your home page, I recommend the Top Posts plugin. You can, of course, show your top posts site-wide if you want, but at least get them up on your index page. It will draw more readers in than without it. You can customize the list to show most popular posts by visits, or comments. The drawback is, you can’t do both. You’ll have to pick one. Also note that it takes a little while for the plugin to “realize” which posts are actually your most popular.
Show off Recent Entries ~
Showing your most recent entries is a good idea, because readers can then see what’s going on at a glance. Maybe they haven’t visited in a while, or maybe they are just finding your site for the first time. Give them a broader view of what your blog is about by showing 4 or 5 recent posts. It’s likely something will catch a reader’s attention if your current entry doesn’t do the job. You don’t need a plugin to add this functionality; you can just add a snippet like this:
<?php query_posts(‘showposts=5′); ?>
<?php get_archives(‘postbypost’, 10); ?>
Add Recent Comments ~
Ok, to be fair and honest, I haven’t latched on to this idea yet. I’ve seen bloggers using this feature, and it seems like a great way to give readers an overview of what others are saying. The only reason I haven’t implemented this is to avoid the glaring fact that I’m not getting a steady stream of comments yet. There, I said it. Whew! 😉 As readership grows and responses become more frequent, I’m sure I’ll be giving this a test-run. I only mention it because it seems to be popular on a great many blogs. There are a ton of plugins for comment management and so forth, but here are a few specifically for recent comments:
Alternatively, you could use something like the Show Top Commentators plugin to encourage and/or reward visitors who participate in discussions, by prominently displaying who has been the most active. This could help to “sticky up” your blog as well.