Do you want to increase blog engagement? Plugins can add features that encourage visitors to interact with your blog. In this guide, we'll share 9 WordPress plugins that inspire readers to take action.
Did you know that 70% of your visitors will leave your website, never to return?
Most of them won’t read through your entire blog post– they’ll skim it. And unless you get their attention and compel them to stick around, you will lose those visitors forever.
That’s why you need to have strong calls to action throughout your blog. You need to motivate visitors to take the action you want them to take, whether that’s signing up for your email list, sharing your blog post, or simply hanging out on your site longer.
Before we dive in to the list, I’d like to briefly note that this isn’t your average blog post on WordPress plugins. I’m not going to show you a list of plugins that seem fancy but don’t really do much.
I’ve actually used and tested all of the plugins on this list.
The sad reality is, most plugins are not that good.
Some are even terrible–full of bugs, security holes, and are hard to use.
What I will do is show you only the plugins that I think are the very best for increasing user engagement on your website.
Sound good? Let’s dive in.
What is a Plugin, and Why Use One?
First things first. Some of you might not know what the heck is a plugin.
Let’s clear that up.
Long before Apple used the now famous line “There’s an app for that”, the WordPress community had their own saying. Yes, you’ve guessed it. The saying goes, “There’s a plugin for that.”
Any feature you’d want to add to your website, you could add with some kind of plugin.
Plugins make it easy to add features without knowing how to write even a single line of code.
WordPress is designed to be “lightweight” as much as possible. And plugins offer custom functions and features so you can tailor your site to your specific needs.
The official WordPress plugin directory features almost 50,000 plugins that are free to download. And apart from free plugins, there are also thousands of commercial ones.
In this post, I’ll cover both free and paid plugins. But I promise– I’ll only recommend a paid plugin when there’s no better alternative available for free.
OK, now you have a sense of the virtually unlimited possibilities for what you can do with plugins. But, before you go in a plugin frenzy, stop for a sec.
In some cases, plugins can also negatively impact the performance of your website. Some plugins create a lot of new files that could slow down your website.
So before installing any plugin, carefully weigh the benefits. Install only the ones you need. Because when it comes to your website speed, every second counts.
Without further ado, here are the WordPress plugins I recommend for increasing reader engagement…
Buttons highlight the calls to action on your website. They can be used on your homepage, sales page, landing page, shopping cart, or any other page to tell visitors what to do next.
Whether you are asking someone to “Buy Now”, “Sign Up” or “Read More”, you are going to need appealing buttons that stand out.
Great buttons lead to increased click-through and conversion ratesby grabbing the attention of your visitors and encouraging them to click.
MaxButtons is a standout plugin for creating awesome call to action buttons. You can create your own by choosing fonts, colors, or by applying shadows and borders. Or, choose from a range of pre-designed buttons. You add them to any page on your site quickly and easily using a simple shortcode.
This is just a fraction of their Library.
The fact that they offer over 5,000 buttons means there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find exactly what you need.
MaxButtons comes in a free and a pro version, which adds some neat features such as icon support, Google Analytics event tracking, and multi-line text. Both versions have pre-made buttons for social sharing.
Looking for a social sharing plugin? Look no further. Social Warfare is the only social sharing plugin you’ll ever need.
Not only does it work and does an amazing job, but it also doesn’t add all that unnecessary bulk you get with some other plugins.
Its super slick design is beautiful and makes you want to click the buttons every time. It works seamlessly on mobile, no matter the screen size. You can customize it to suit your needs. It’s also lightning-fast and won’t impact your site speed.
And did I mention it’s beautiful?
Social Warfare also has some unique features hiding up its sleeves.
For instance, have you ever changed the permalink of your blog post, or maybe switched from http to https (SSL)? Do you know what happens to the number of shares when you do? I have, and guess what happens…
Your social share counts get removed. Erased. Eradicated.
I had over 1K shares on my post when I switched from http to https. The number of shares immediately dropped to less than 200. So frustrating.
Luckily, Social Warfare has a feature called Share Recovery. It adds the share counts of your previous permalink to the number you have now. And it works.
Turning this on totally made my day!
The other feature I love is the ability to add a different image for Pinterest.
You know how Pinterest likes that your images are tall and vertical? Well, I don’t like how that kind of image looks on my blog. But, of course, I want to have success on Pinterest.
Enter Social Warfare’s Pinterest-specific image feature. This feature allows you to upload a Pinterest optimized image that isn’t visible on your blog post but gets used whenever someone shares your post on Pinterest. Neat.
Social Warfare is a freemium plugin. You’ll get some features for free, but you’ll have to pay for premium. For $29/yr it’s well worth it.
If you want to grow your email list, then this plugin is a must-have.
There are a lot of conversion rate optimization plugins out there, but very few reach the level of OptinMonster.
A simple way to describe what this plugin does is it uses opt-in forms to turn your visitors into subscribers. And it does that with a success that can make your email list explode.
OptinMonster comes with some slick out-of-the-box integrations. And it gives you a ton of advanced options to customize your opt-in forms.
The feature list is long, but here are some of my favorites:
- Create unlimited opt-in forms for use on different parts of your site.
- Built-in analytics and reporting: see which type of form is converting best.
- A/B testing: test different forms against each other to see which styles work best on your site.
- Page level targeting: show certain opt-in forms on specific pages, specific visitors, specific devices, specific times, or based on the visitor’s behavior.
- Opt-in themes: wide range of different design options and opt-in types available depending on price plan.
In addition, OptinMonster’s exit-intent technology is the best in the business. You can read all about how others are using exit-intent in their case studies.
Here’s how Social Media Examiner uses an exit-intent pop-up on their site.
Now, I know what you may be thinking… You hate popups and your audience hates them too.
Well, I suggest you take this plugin for a spin and witness how your growing email list proves you wrong.
Starting from just 9 bucks a month, this plugin is well worth the investment. And what you’ll get is so much more than your regular forms, slide-ins, and popups.
When I think of landing pages, I think LeadPages.
Are there alternatives? Of course, there are. Many of them might be just as great. But LeadPages ticks all the right boxes for me.
I won’t go into too much detail on the importance of using landing pages in this guide. Let’s just say that having well-designed and carefully thought out landing pages will take your business to the next level. That’s because landing pages have one single focus: to convert a visitor into a subscriber or a buyer.
A regular page (like your homepage or your about page) will typically have a menu, maybe even sidebars, links in the footer, etc. All these links are huge distractions that draw away your visitor’s attention.
Landing pages, on the other hand, have no distracting navigation menus so that the visitor can focus on your call to action.
Building landing pages with LeadPages is quite easy as you can just drag and drop each individual item. And there’s always an option to use a pre-designed template if you don’t like the hustle.
Here’s an example landing page template:
LeadPages offers a ton of integrations, A/B testing, and lead notifications. All pages are SEO-friendly, and work well on both mobile and desktop.
This easy to use form builder plugin will make your life so much easier.
With a simple drag and drop, you are able to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, client booking forms, surveys, or any other form you can imagine. And it only takes a few clicks. The form building interface is intuitive and easy to use—a step up on most alternatives.
Here’s what the actual form builder looks like.
There are a number of templates available, plus a good selection of basic and advanced fields. You can have a form configured and working in minutes.
The forms are all fully responsive and look great on any device. As I’m a website speed freak, I love the fact that it loads quickly and doesn’t harm the user experience.
Want to add a simple contact form to your website? Use the free WPForms Lite plugin.
But if you’re looking for more advanced stuff, WPForms comes highly recommended. The full version will add more form field options, file uploads, conditional logic, payment integrations, templates, and more.
This plugin does exactly what the name suggests. You pre-create tweetable content to make it easy for your readers to tweet about it.
These quote boxes are an effective way to increase your website engagement and spread the word on Twitter.
Customizing the appearance of the box on your blog requires a bit of work, though. You have to manually edit the CSS file. Even so, I prefer this plugin over its competitors because it’s light, quick to set up, and super easy to use.
Super Social Content Locker asks readers to share your content before they can access it. It’s a simple, yet powerful method for increasing blog engagement.
Basically, visitors are asked to pay for access to your content with a tweet, like, or +1. A piece of content could be anything, like a whitepaper, an ebook, a video, or a discount.
This plugin is great for driving traffic from social media. When readers share your page to get access to the content, their friends and followers see it and some of them will visit your website.
It’s also a nice tool to have for building your email list, and it will add some juice to your search engine rankings. (Google looks at your social shares as an indicator of article quality.)
Super Social Content Locker will cost you $25, but they do also have a limited feature free edition you can try.
This plugin is not the most feature packed plugin out there. Yet, I still think it’s my personal favorite.
Let me explain.
What I want from a related posts plugin is that it shows related posts. It’s as simple as that.
What I don’t want is a bunch of features I’ll never use and will just slow down my website.
Most similar plugins try to do too much. Developers include features that might sound nice, but in reality, they won’t make your website better. And they won’t encourage your readers to take action.
Related Posts shows the cached versions of posts and thus won’t lag your server. You can also place them within your content with a simple shortcode, or display it in a sidebar.
You’ll also love the feature that automatically links posts to each other. The plugin analyzes your posts and makes the connections for you. No more manual work if you don’t want to!
This lightweight plugin is available for free. To add some extra features, the pricing starts at $49/year.
Even if it’s your personal blog, I always recommend having an author box at the end of your posts.
Because it’s a great way to encourage interaction with your audience.
You can also disable the author box from displaying on the posts of selected authors. For example, you may decide that you want to show it for your guest writers, but not on posts written by your team.
The free version pulls your WordPress User Profile information. That includes your Gravatar image. The premium version gives you the ability to change that. (But then again, why wouldn’t you use the same image?)
Premium also comes with some extra under the hood features, like Lazy load for improved page speed, widget support, Google Authorship, etc.
There you have it. That’s my take on the best WordPress plugins that will inspire readers to take action.
But, let’s face it. The only way to find out how these plugins work for your business is to try them out for yourself.
So, go ahead and pick one of the plugins above and test it out. I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.