I realize not everyone has a self-hosted website. I also realize that not everyone who is self-hosted uses WordPress, but because WordPress is so popular, today I’m going to share three free plugins I use to boost my site’s visibility and gain more readers.
First of all, a quick education on what a plugin is. In really simply terms, it’s an add-on to your website that gives you more functionality. Wish your website could do something that it doesn’t currently do? There’s probably a plugin for that – for self-hosted WordPress sites. If you’re using the free WordPress.com option, these won’t apply.
These aren’t the only plugins available, and not all plugins are free (but we have to start somewhere). Use your friendly Google search to find plugins or go directly to www.WordPress.org and do a search. Adding plugins to your self-hosted site is as easy as going to the plugins tab on your website dashboard, doing a search, and uploading and installing the one you want. I highly recommend reading reviews before you add something new to make sure you’re getting something good.
One of the best tools to grow your blog views (and potentially your book sales, erotic authors) and to create an audience who comes to your website more than once is through subscriptions. Yes, those of us using WordPress can get people to follow using the “Follow” button or by subscribing directly to your blog. But what if you want to talk to those people outside of your blog? What if you want to send them a really great offer? What if you have a book for sale?
Newsletters and emails outside of blog posts are a major tool in online marketing. As much attention as social media gets for growing your audience, email lists are the backbone of any online marketing plan. SumoMe offers both free and paid options for creating email lists. It can be synced to nearly any email provider you’re using – although, remember to read the Terms of Service for email providers because very few are adult-friendly.
You can choose between the obnoxious pop-up in the middle of the screen, a bar at the top or bottom of the screen, a slider form, and more. When you sign up for SumoMe, you’ll also be added to their newsletter, and they send out great online marketing tips which is a major bonus.
JetPack isn’t a single plugin with limited functionality. It’s actually a bundle with several things it can do. It helps with your widgets. It lets you turn a non-responsive website into a mobile friendly one. I recommend it for anyone who self-hosts and uses a basic WordPress theme that doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles.
For helping you attract more readers, it’s got a few key functions to pay attention to:
- Site Stats – much more comprehensive than the basic stats
- Sharing – social media buttons for each post
- Publicize – automatically publishes to your social media accounts when your post goes live
- Enhanced Distribution – content goes to Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and other search engines
Word to the wise. Some of these features are familiar to anyone who uses the free WordPress.com option, but in a self-hosted theme, they’re not always an automatic. If you make the switch to a self-hosted site, these features aren’t always going to be a part of the theme you use – especially if you pick a free one.
SexBundle is the adult-friendly internet’s answer to something you’ve probably seen a million times on vanilla sites. You ever get to the bottom of a vanilla article and seen something like “From around the web” or “You may enjoy…” and when you click them, you’re taken to a different site? The sex blogging/writing world didn’t have that (as far as I know) until SexBundle. Now we do. When you sign up, add the plugin, and share your content, you gain a greater reach over a longer period of time.
Why is this an important plugin to consider? Very rarely does anyone stay on a website for more than a few minutes. SexBundle gives those readers something to click on that may be relevant to what they want to read. It also gives your content the opportunity to be seen on someone else’s site. The idea is about reciprocity. Sure, your reader clicked away to someone else’s site, but you also gained a new viewer when they clicked over to yours.
Does it work? Well, I haven’t added new content to SexBundle in months (an oversight on my part) but I still get a few dozen clicks to older posts of mine each week. Some of those readers move on, but some stay and look around. A few have become loyal followers. It works best when everyone submits fresh content on a regular basis (something you can do from your site once you add the plugin).
I recommend sharing only your best content – a hot piece of flash fiction, something sexy and educational, a really great offer (with no expiration date), one of your favorite reviews to write (toys, books, whatever). This will likely be someone’s first introduction to you as a writer and blogger. Make sure it’s good stuff.
It feels a little overwhelming, I know. There are so many things you can add to your website. You probably think you need them all. I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’ve added all of these slowly over time. JetPack was the first one because it did so much. Then months later came SexBundle. Finally, after a personal recommendation from another blogger, I went with SumoMe. I’d heard of it for vanilla marketing for a while, but I’d hesitated because pop-ups aren’t my favorite thing, but if you set them correctly (read: so they’re not obnoxious), they really do work.
Okay, now I’d love to hear from you. If you’re self-hosting and using WordPress, what plugins do you use? And if you’re still on the fence about going self-hosted, what makes you hesitate? Share in the comments below!
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