Many of the articles you read about WordPress are about how you can modify the popular content management system to do whatever you want it to do. We’ve spotlighted the flexibility of WordPress on this blog many times. But, WordPress’ origins are still very much a part of its best functionality. While you can certainly run a fully functional ecommerce business through WordPress, it shouldn’t be forgotten that it’s still the best blogging platform around. It has been since its inception as a blog CMS over thirteen years ago.
If you’re looking to create a blog that will bring in visitors, provide a great experience for those visitors, and function at a high performing level, there are some things you can do to optimize user experience. Here are some tips and suggestions you can start implementing today to make your blog stand out in a crowded field. Remember, it’s never been more competitive out there for views. Any advantage to cut through the noise will be beneficial.
Make that Social Connection
It’s no huge secret that most online endeavors live and die thanks to social media. You can go from no traffic to viral levels of traffic with the right social connections. WordPress developers have tapped into this by creating a variety of social media minded plugins that add different kinds of social network integration to your blog. One really useful, but simple, plugin to be aware of is Better Click to Tweet. What the plugin does is it spotlights an important quote from your blog post in an eye catching block of text. By clicking on that block, a visitor can automatically tweet it out. Just like that you have a free advertisement to your blog. Depending on the social influence of your visitors, this can quickly rack up the page views.
For the opposite effect (spotlighting your own social activity) there is the Social Streams plugin. This handy plugin creates a widget on your blog that shows your latest tweets and posts on Instagram. This is an easy way to create eye catching image based content on your site by repurposing the content you’re creating anyway for your social channels. If visitors to your site aren’t familiar with your social media accounts, this is a convenient and fast way to make them aware and get them up to speed. They can easily follow you once clicking through on the Social Streams widget.
Social sharing is one form of engagement. It’s great for pulling in visitors from other locations. But, what about fostering a community on your blog? What do you have in place to keep your visitors on your site and involved in the discussion? A well managed comment system is a great way to bolster your visitor retention strategy. But, what user comment service do you use? WordPress has a default one built in, but many professional bloggers tend to go with a third party solution or at least a modification.
Two of the more popular comment options are Disqus and Jetpack Comments. Disqus is a third party company that creates engagement across a wide variety of platforms. The Disqus advantage is that users have a Disqus login that allows them to keep a commentary history across all sites that use the service, not just yours. This ability to create a singular identity that can travel with you across the web is like its own social network. As a site owner, Disqus offers flexibility for more interaction. It has an upvote/downvote functionality, the ability to thread comments, moderator tools, and spam detection.
Jetpack Comments is an enhanced version of the default WordPress comments. It offers many login methods for your visitors including login via WordPress, email address, or the major social networks.
Jetpack Comments, though, are site specific and don’t travel across every site that has it installed. There are also fewer sorting and threading options.
The Right Host
Getting the right WordPress hosting company is important. This is twofold. For one thing, you want a hosting company that can manage things for you so your time isn’t spent worrying about server issues instead of the consumer facing portion of your blog. Secondly, if you’re getting a lot of traffic, you need a host that can handle the traffic load. You need high performance hardware to ensure visitors aren’t met with slow load times or, worse, an inability to access the site.
A lot goes into creating the best blog possible. In some instances, you can’t do it alone. That’s why WP.Land is the WordPress hosting company to partner with. Only with the right hosting can you be sure that the backend of your site is being managed properly without requiring your constant vigilance. Your focus should be on the content of your blog, not service disruptions. If you’re looking to partner with a hosting company that specializes in WordPress and offers consistent, fast performance, contact the team at WP.Land today.