Be Engaging: Four Plugins That Foster Audience Loyalty

Ask any WordPress site owner what they most want and you’ll undoubtedly get an answer somewhere along the lines of “repeat visitors” or “loyal users.” Basically, they want people to return to their page again and again, whether it’s to buy their merchandise or engage their services, read the latest blog or just comment on topic-specific trends.

But how does one go about ensuring that their site doesn’t get just one-time visitors but rather garners a consistent and dedicated user base? Of course there are some absolute must-do rules to follow, such as offering new and consistently great content o,r for e-tail sites, giving your customers some sort of take-away value that will have them coming back for more. But what else can a site owner or administrator do to convert the chance user to a loyal reader? The “I-just-happened-across-your-page” visitor to the most dedicated sort of client?

Well, just as the old saying “there’s an app for that” goes, “there’s a plugin for that” is also quickly becoming an often-repeated mantra. Here are four plugins–some free, some paid—that are designed specifically to decrease bounce rates (the ugly term for users hitting the “back button” without exploring your site); increase page views; and generally encourage your audience to stick with you day after day for every new post, video or product or service launch.

  • Contextly is a great all-in-one plugin that builds audience loyalty through a diverse number of tools designed to keep readers, well, reading. Based on the “related post” concept that links subject material based on specific topics, Contextly identifies your most popular posts and gives personalized recommendations for returning users while creating a rich archive, with in-story sidebars. It also works to drive readers to your site over and over by analyzing user’s interests and detailing the content they like. And lastly, the tool—it’s offered as a free trial, but works on a paid subscription basis—gives your search engine optimization a serious kick by allowing you to add links in the body of posts that connect to previous stories and to Google “crawl” those links.
  • Loyalty.js is a jQuery plugin that tracks how many times a specific user has visited your site and gives insights on how to craft a custom experience based on that number. As the developers themselves state it, “Now, rather than having content rotate for every user at the same time, you will be able to ‘tell a story’ that always starts at the beginning and progresses as a user becomes more engaged.” Essentially, if you’re ever visited a site multiple times and each time you see the same content on the landing page, loyalty.js will alter where a repeat visitor ends up when they arrive at your site so they see fresh and new content each time based on the number of times they visited your page.
  • Bloggers will love Incrwd, an easy-to-use engagement program that actually uses “rewards” to encourage people to visit your site over and over, share your posts on social media sites and comment on your content on a regular basis. And as users accumulate reward “points” you can offer them redemption options—product giveaways, gift cards or any sort of personalized reward you want. Incrwd’s designers have shown that the program increases page views as well as time spent on a site, social shares, comments etc. while decreasing bounce rates. And the plugin also offers an analytic component that shows how the program is affecting the behaviors of your users; who your most loyal visitors are; and how those visitors interact with social media.
  • A premium plugin, Better Related Posts allows site owners to display related posts via a sidebar that’s widget sized. By analyzing tags, categories and other custom information from your site’s content (posts, videos, photos etc), it automatically determines which are the best and closest matches for the one the user is currently reading or viewing and offers them up as suggestions to the visitor. An incredible value at only $7, Better Related Posts is nice as you don’t need a lot of technical know-how to get it up and running, and it comes with free customer support directly from the developers for the first six months.

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