5 WordPress Plugins you Don’t Use that Boost user Engagement and Monetization

5 WordPress plugins you don't use that boost user engagement - and Monetization - Duct Tape Marketing

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Running a blog or online publication is no easy feat. Especially when you are looking to monetize and boost engagement at the same time. Users engage in pages that are built to suit their needs. Therefore, it’s no surprise that they steer away from the ads that appear overly promotional and fail to blend into the context of the rest of the site.

Thankfully however, intrusive ads are not the most common way to boost monetization. In fact, WordPress offers plenty of monetization plugins that enhance the user experience and help to achieve engagement at the same time. Read on to discover some of my favorites:

1. TrenDemon

As we mentioned before, your users come to your site in order to achieve something. Whether its knowledge, a sense of belonging, or entertainment–your site can help provide much of it through insightful content. But remember, content that appeals to one person, does not necessarily appeal to someone else.

That’s why there’s TrenDemon. TrendDemon delivers personalized content recommendations– ensuring your users discover the most valuable material every time they visit your site. Their advanced algorithm detects the most beneficial user journey for each user segment.  As a result, the tool boosts conversions by around 380%. Of course, not only is this plugin great for conversions, but because it guides the user along his or her most ideal path, it’s likely to increase both your engagement and monetization as well.

As an added bonus, you can also choose to monetize on their unique Media Exchange Network, specifically geared for online publishers.

2. Comments Reloaded

Every decent blogger knows the importance of responding to your user’s comments. It goes without saying that if a user takes the time out of his or her day to share insights and cultivate conversation surrounding your content, that it’s both respectful and beneficial for your community to respond. By doing so, you keep the conversation flowing and help to better educate your users. Just as important, you acknowledge your user’s efforts and encourage them to continue to engage in your content.

But what happens when your overworked content/community manager misses a comment? What if they respond too late? The results of this small faux pas can be detrimental to building a robust community full of flourishing conversation. That’s where Comments Reloaded comes in. Comments Reloaded automatically notifies you via email everytime someone comments on your post. This way, you can respond to each and every comment in a timely manner for a better real-time conversation.

3. TinyPass

TinyPass is a simple, yet powerful tool specifically created for content monetization. Whether you choose to charge for particular articles, a section of content, or even an ebook–TinyPass sets up an easy to use pay wall that is simple and unobtrusive. In addition, you are able to take control, setting the price as low as just two cents, making it easier than ever to monetize.

4. Viglink

The goal of all content should be to provide useful and meaningful advice. Often times, in order to do that, we link to products, services, and other articles that help the reader accomplish a specific task. Since these links naturally serve the purpose of the article, they enrich the content and make it more valuable to the end user.

However, as we know, someone else is gaining something from these links other than just the reader. When you link a product, often times, that product is getting a free advertisement or at the very least, an SEO benefit by being mentioned in your article.

Viglink helps you benefit from those mentions. The plugin recognizes specific words in your content and helps suggest various links that would work for specific keywords. The links you add are then easily monetized as the brands that are mentioned within the content bid to be featured. As a result, you instantly benefit by being able to link to the most useful products and services while also monetizing in one easy step.

5. Easy Tweet Embed

Just as it sounds, Easy Tweet Embed helps your users easily tweet a quote from anywhere within your content. Since often times the most valuable part of your content isn’t necessarily the title, Easy Tweet Embed makes tweeting meaningful content instantaneous. Your user simply clicks on a relevant sentence and the quote will automatically be featured in their Twitter feed.

Of course, part of engaging in content is discussing and sharing. It goes without saying that Twitter provides a great open platform for sharing and discussing ideas. That’s why Easy Tweet Embed is so useful for promoting deeper audience engagement. By using it, your users will be able to have a deeper interaction and connection to your content and promote it to their friends.

Producing great engagement and monetization strategies is a necessary part of building a successful blog or online publication. Though it’s important to consider an advanced methodology to do most of the work, having tools to help you get in the right direction is not only smart, but extremely worthwhile. Do you have any more plugins to add? Comment below and let us know.

Nadav ShovalNadav Shoval is the CEO & Co-Founder of Spot.IM, an on-site community that brings the power back to the publisher. Prior to Spot.IM, Nadav has developed and founded 4 technology startups. Spot.IM is his fifth venture. Nadav is a technology erudite and a sports addict.

The Panama Papers and WordPress Security

A hacker with a hood with laptop. Online network danger.WordPress is without a doubt the best, most flexible platform for a small business website. We suggest it for every business we work with, and half of the tools we recommend are WordPress plugins or add-ons. Simply put, if you aren’t using WordPress for your website, you are missing out on tons of functionality.

But, like an operating system on your computer, with all that functionality comes some concern for security.

Recently, hackers were able to access over 4.8 Million emails from the Panamanian law and accounting firm Mossack Fonseca. The resulting data leak, dubbed by the press as the “Panama Papers,” was the largest in history, and contained evidence of tax evasion by countless public officials and figures worldwide.

Some cyber security firms are blaming Mossack Fonseca’s outdated WordPress website as the source of the breach.

So what does this mean for you, your website and your business? Are you at risk for a data breach? The simple answer is no, but you must keep your guard up and your website up-to-date.

The Panama Papers

The Panama Papers are just the latest and largest in an increasingly common trend of high-profile data leaks. Unlike recent data leaks from large retailers that targeted credit card numbers and financial information from individual customers, this leak was focused on the release of sensitive data to the press to embarrass world leaders and tax evaders.

The leak has been a massive, worldwide story, and journalists haven’t been able to sift through all of the data yet. There are over 2,600 GB of leaked data, which is more than any other major data leak in history combined. For context, the Wikileaks data leak of 2010 was just 1.7 GB.

Not only do the papers contain information on tax evaders, which is legal but frowned upon by most countries, they also contain evidence of more serious crimes such as money laundering and fraud.

The leak directly implicates 12 current or former heads of state in these activities as well, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has already resulted in the resignation of Iceland’s Prime Minister.

Also, several other world leaders are indirectly implicated, like Prime Minister of Great Britian, David Cameron.

How did this happen?

WordFence has a nice breakdown of the nitty-gritty details, but a majority of the data was captured by exploiting a weakness in Mossack Fonseca’s WordPress website.

Mossack Fonseca was running a plugin on their site called Revolution Slider. The plugin ran most of their visual features and is a pretty popular and powerful WordPress design tool.

Every plugin or add-on can add a vulnerability to your site. Developers are not perfect, and it is impossible to create a perfect code the first time. That is why most plugin developers release regular software updates. Unfortunately, Mossack Fonseca hadn’t updated the plugin and left some vulnerabilities that were patched in later versions. Wordfence has a video of how hackers were able to exploit this plugin.

Once inside the website, the hackers were then able to access Mossack Fonseca’s email server because they had another plugin that allowed them to send mail through the website. This plugin had no vulnerabilities and was fully updated, but once the hackers were in, it was already too late.

Should I be worried about my site?

The answer to this question isn’t that simple. Mossack Fonseca was a target here mainly because they were involved in potentially illicit activities with high-profile clients and lots of money. The hackers were sophisticated, more so than your general cyber-criminal, and would probably only target businesses like these with high stakes.

But any small business can be at risk for cyber crime, particularly if you handle some of your commerce online. There are plenty of cyber criminals looking to make an easy buck off stolen credit card information.

That’s why you should take away the following lessons from this incident: pay attention to your website, and update your plugins regularly.

Be sure not to leave your website running in the background without maintenance for too long. Hackers and criminals move quickly, and developers are forced to respond just as quickly. If a developer releases an update that includes security features, assume it is because someone somewhere has figured out a way in. You must be willing to update your site regularly to prevent the next person from figuring it out.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443.jpgAlex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

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