Kevin@InvestItwisely just published his list of plugins he uses on his blog. I think this is quite useful, especially to new bloggers. I know I didn’t waste a lot of time in the beginning because I found a couple of long lists from experienced bloggers on which plugins and services to install and use.
Instead of discussing all the plugins I use, I’ll just discuss three I have installed to which I attribute a 50% traffic increase. You can see the stats here. The first plugin was installed in January. The second plugin was installed in June. The third was installed in July.
The What would Seth Godin Do-plugin is responsible for showing the box at the very top of the top. If you are a new reader, it will show you some of my most popular/captivating (according to what statistics tell me) posts. When people hit this blog the first time, odds are they will stick around to read those posts(*) and thus be more likely to come back compared to if they landed on the blog a day where I was discussing pancakes.
LinkWithin is a plugin that shows similar posts to your current post. Most “similar post” plugins compares tags, but if you, like me, are not very good at keeping your tags consistent, the suggested posts won’t be very similar. Conversely, LinkWithin is eerily good at picking them out. The probably that someone clicks on a post is substantial.
Old Post Promoter
The Old Post Promoter promotes old posts (makes sense, right?) by sending them to the front page. This is useful to bring some of the old posts back to life. It seems to be a fact of life that readers don’t really care to comment on posts which are much older than a few days even if the content is evergreen/timeless. Since I hate repeating myself, why not let a plugin repeat it. This is also a way to recycle posts to new readers from a time when there were fewer readers. This solves the regularity issue and I can keep writing on top of the OPP. My old wish for the OPP is that there would be a limit for 730 days instead of the current 365 days. The plugin is somewhat delicate. I wouldn’t abuse it to repost midly aged stuff. Hence, unless your blog is at least one year old, I wouldn’t use it. I was and am concerned that readers would be turned off by old stuff, but so far I have only heard positive comments.
Also, it takes some pressure off from having to come up with new stuff day in and day out.
For new bloggers I also recommend installing a stat system like google analytics or sitemeter to see where people are coming from. You should also comment a lot. Old bloggers tend to be swamped in requests, etc. and don’t have the time (or energy) to follow every new blog in town. The way to get their attention is to write posts about their posts. A ping/trackback definitely gets mine. The second best way is to comment a lot. If you leave 5-10 quality comments on a specific blog per month, readers of that blog will notice you and click through to your blog. If they land of one of your great posts (that’s why you use the WWSGD plugin!!), they’re likely to stick around. Don’t constrain your commenting to one blog or a clique of blogs. Expand your horizons.
In general, it holds that the best networking is done by other bloggers who are about “your size”. Unless you’re a rock star, bigger blogs will not gain from collaborating with you, and conversely, you wont gain from collaborating with small blogs. This is simply due to everyone having limited time and a desire to maximize the return on effort seeing that there are more than 500 personal finance blogs out there and you probably not having time to work with all of them.