The bigger your blog gets, the less time you can afford to spend sweating the small stuff. Luckily, there are a bunch of free WordPress plugins out there that will happily sweat the small stuff for you. Get these bad boys up and running, then let automation work its magic.
Looking to outsource the writing of your blog posts? Rather than have contributors email you content, then going to the trouble of transferring each one to WordPress, simply set them up with contributor accounts and install this notifier plugin. They’ll be able to log in, write their posts within the WP interface, and submit them for review once complete.
The notifier plugin ensures you get an email whenever a post is awaiting review. Then it’s just a matter of clicking through, checking the copy, and hitting the publish button. For extra automation brownie points, you can have the emails sent to an assistant to review and approve posts for you.
If you need help setting everything up as described above, here’s a handy how-to screencast.
I tried an experiment last year on my personal blog where I scheduled just one archived post to be tweeted out every night while I slept. The result was 10% more traffic per month. I was scheduling those posts manually, but with the Tweet Old Post plugin you can automate the whole thing.
I especially like that you can exclude certain posts from being tweeted out, so any duds you might have in your archive aren’t destined to fall flat a second time. Just be sure not to go overboard with this plugin and tweet out links to your blog every fifteen minutes.
A handy plugin for following up with new commenters via email. Create a custom message and set it to send a day or two after someone comments on your blog. By default, your automated message will only be sent once per email address, ensuring you won’t annoy your most outspoken fans. The follow-up emails also provide a nice opportunity to offer folks a free gift or entice them back with links to popular posts.
If you’re posting regular content to YouTube, use this plugin to get your latest video showing up on your blog automatically, and look all the fresher for it. The plugin works well right out of the box, but you also get a bunch of handy configuration options. Use the autoplay feature wisely!
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have regular, automated backups of your WordPress blog. There are countless backup plugins out there for WordPress, and I’ve tried many of them. Backup to Dropbox is by far my favorite because it automatically backs up both your database and your files to a secure location (Dropbox) complete with version control. And it’s free!
The plugin is pretty straight-forward to set up, but follow this tutorial if needed. What usually proves trickier is restoring your blog from a backup should the worst happen. Bookmark this screencast for just such an occasion.
I expect you already know that a sitemap makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your blog, but the hidden bonus of this particular plugin is that it automatically notifies Google, Bing and Ask.com whenever the content of your blog changes, thus getting your latest and greatest content indexed quick-smart.
Simple and effective. You’ll never have to worry about broken links again with this plugin, which emails you whenever it finds one pointing towards the abyss. Broken Link Checker also has just the right amount of configuration options for those who like to tweak. Besides checking links in your posts and pages, it will even scour your comments and blogroll, and also check that your YouTube videos are embedded right.
This plugin requires a little jumping through Twitter API hoops to get it all set up, but it’s worth it. It provides a space below the WordPress post editor for you to craft your tweet, so you don’t have to settle for the plain old title + link tweets that you see everyone else pushing out automatically. Like the best automation tools, this one helps hide the fact that you’re automating.
This is pretty much the same as WP to Twitter, but for Facebook. Simple, automated links pushed to your Facebook page or profile can be a thing of the past, as this plugin gives you complete control over how your update will appear. Schedule it along with your next blog post, then kick back and relax.
(By the way, if you’re looking for an equivalent plugin for LinkedIn or Google+, note that the latter doesn’t exist yet, and the only way to get your posts feeding through to the former is to use the profile applications they provide.)