Since 1953, the superspy James Bond has traveled the world foiling clever plots and outwitting dozens of worthy adversaries. But while Bond is a one-person army, his success frequently relies on brilliant inventions prepared for him by Q.
Without his rocket-launching cars, exploding watches, and sword canes, would he have attained his many successes? Even James Bond relied on special tools in his adventures to protect the free world – so why do we try to build our blog communities all by ourselves?
Thankfully, you don’t have to build your blog on your own.
To help you become the James Bond of the blogosphere, we’ve built an arsenal of free plugins to help you build your email list and increase your social shares.
List Builder: Email Subscribe Popover
Facebook fans and Twitter followers help increase your reach, but email lists stand alone. You see, Facebook and Twitter are “rented” platforms. You can build a following and reach out to your followers, but ultimately the platform is still owned by another company. You must follow strict standards (like 140-character tweets), and your messages only reach some of your followers.
Email lists are “owned” media. Within a few minimal restrictions (like following privacy laws), you have complete control over your email’s length, design, and content. More importantly, email is a direct form of communication, so you can count on most of your subscribers actually getting your message.
So email lists are powerful, but how do you build your own email list?
If you’ve ever tried, you’ve probably realized that only a small portion of your website visitors even notice your subscription form – much less subscribe!
That’s why we built List Builder:
This non-annoying popover gets your readers’ attention much more reliably than a standard sidebar form.
In less than five minutes, you can install this plugin on your website and watch your subscriber numbers start climbing!
Pro Tip: Simply installing the popover can significantly boost your email subscriptions, but you can take it even further by creating a signup incentive.
Here are a few popular incentives:
- Email series
Try adding one of those to your List Builder popover, and you’ll be surprised how much it will improve your conversion rate.
Image Sharer: Social Sharing For Images
Yet when people share your articles on social media, most of them probably just share your headline without bothering to add an image.
Image Sharer makes it easy for people to share your images on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest by adding beautiful share buttons when someone hovers over one of your images, like in this example from a post here on the LKR blog:
Not only do these extra buttons encourage more people to share your article, but shares from these buttons generate more clicks than normal because the photos increase interaction.
And the best part? You literally can get all of this working on your blog in about two minutes. Just activate the plugin and type in your Twitter handle – everything else is handled automatically!
Pro tip: So now it’s easy for people to share images on your blog, but what can you do to choose and create better images that people will want to share?
You’ve actually got a couple of options:
- Infographics (like the one from KISSmetrics below)
Even if you don’t have time to create a complicated cartoon for every post, you can increase your shares by choosing unique and powerful images.
Look for photos that are:
The better the image, the likelier it is that people will want to share it!
You know how some blogs add “tweet this” links to parts of their articles? Highlighter takes it to the next level by making your entire article tweet-ready.
When one of your visitors stumbles upon something in your article that they particularly like, they simply highlight the selection and an on-demand share box makes it quick and easy for them to share the highlighted quote on either Facebook or Twitter.
You can see it in action here, where I’ve highlighted a sentence on a friend’s blog:
Even better, once someone has shared a particular quote from your page, that quote remains highlighted on your page for future visitors – encouraging more people to share who might not have tried it on their own.
Medium has a great feature where visitors can select text and share. Kindle has a great feature that shows you popular highlights from previous readers. Highlighter combines both of those into one supercharged plugin.
Like Image Sharer, everything works automatically – you simply need to install the plugin and add your Twitter handle.
Pro Tip: Your readers can now easily share quotes from your article, but have you written quotes worth sharing? In every article you write, make sure you include at least a few quotes that you would want to share.
Here are a few things people are likely to share:
- Actual quotes from someone else
- Thought-provoking ideas
- Anything written by Seth Godin
Find a way to craft short, pithy sentences filled with value, and people will quote you.
Now Start Growing!
So there you have three free, powerful tools to increase your blog’s growth. Total time required to install? About 5 minutes.