In case you aren’t one of the cast of thousands (slightly exaggerated) that regularly reads the great content we generate here, a blog adds a lot of SEO value to your website. If you don’t have a blog as part of your current content strategy, then you need to set one up. As always, I recommend WordPress.
Once you have a WordPress blog, I highly recommend you socialize it – make it easy for people to spread your content virally through social media. If you don’t socialize your content, it’s going to sit on an island waiting for the search engine to rescue it. Socializing can bring your blog traffic it probably wouldn’t otherwise get.
Think about it this way – most social media sites (Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon) have way more users than your site ever will. Don’t try to compete. Instead, make your content available to more people through those different mediums and bring in extra traffic.
Here’s a review of some of the ones we’ve used:
Disqus Comment System (download)
From my experience, this is the best commenting system available. If you want comments on your blog, you need to use this. There are a lot of features, but the coolest part is that it integrates with Facebook and Twitter. That means that commentors can elect to have their comments automatically post to the Facebook wall or Twitter account. From a moderator’s perspective, you can either approve all comments or let them all ride. You can also build your own commenting profile that works all over the web on other sites that use the same commenting system.
TweetMeme ReTweet Button (download)
I rank this plugin as a “must-have”. First of all, Twitter is the hottest thing out there and is not going away anytime soon. If your readers are on Twitter, this is the most effective way to make your content re-tweetable. What’s cool is that you can easily see who else has ReTweeted your content by just clicking the grey box. This week they just added an analytics program (with a 30 day free trial) that sounds like it might be valuable.
Facebook Share Count (download)
I first saw this being used on Mashable. It’s just one click to post a blog entry onto your Facebook wall. And the counter updates pretty much right away. Out of all of the Facebook plugins I’ve tried so far, this is the best one.
This plugin adds a little button to the beginning or end of your blog post that allows people to share your content with virtually any bookmarking or social media site available. I used to think this one was really cool because it’s so comprehensive. But from what I’ve seen, it offers too many choices. Plus, only really techy people know what it is (and click on it). Also, this one is kind of a pain to install. You need to wait to get an email from the developer and then paste some code into the settings in WordPress. For these reasons I have switched to Sociable.
This is my pick of the moment for plugins that allow you to share your content. I like it’s simplicity. As a reader, you see the logos of the site you want to share it on, and click it. No scrolling to find the one you want. This too has the option to add share buttons for seemingly every single bookmark website out there. The difference between this and ShareThis is that it’s way easier to pick which ones you want included on your lineup.
Give these plugins a try and let me know what you think. I’d also love to hear about any other you’ve tried and either liked or disliked.