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Dec. 17, 2020

191: The Technology and Tools You Need for Your Marketing Infrastructure (Part 1: WordPress Plugins)

191: The Technology and Tools You Need for Your Marketing Infrastructure (Part 1: WordPress Plugins)

As we approach the end of the year, it's time to do an audit of our digital and social presence. One of the audits that I recommend you do on an annual basis is for all of the technology you use to support your marketing infrastructure to help you Maximize Your Social Influence. I intended this episode to be more comprehensive, but there are so many tools and apps that I would recommend, after going through Content Management Systems and WordPress plugins, I decided to divide this into a two-part series.

Even if you are not using WordPress or you think you have all of the plugins you need, I highly recommend you give this episode a listen so that you can hear about some functionality that your current website might not have!

Links for Select Tools Mentioned in the Episode:

Previous Episodes Mentioned:

  • 187: What If I Told You You Already Had Enough Content to be Successful?
  • 91: Announcing the Social Tools Summit
  • 71: Neal's Fave Social Media Productivity Tips & Tools
  • 28: How to Audit Your Social Media Presence

Reference Links for Neal Schaffer:

Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Do you have the right technology infrastructure in place to maximize your social influence in 2021? Are there some tools, some apps missing, that might be able to help you yield more influence and grow your business bigger and faster in 2021? Well, if you want to hear about all the different technology and tools that I use, listen in for this next episode of The maximize your social influence podcast. Welcome to the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners grow their businesses using innovative marketing techniques, leveraging the concept of digital influence throughout digital and social media. Hey, everybody, how are you all doing? Neal Schaffer, welcome to episode number 191. of the maximize your social influence podcast. Well, somehow we survived this year. And I was just on a call where I said, I hope I don't have to say unprecedented anymore, because I think this year, I've said unprecedented and unprecedented amount of times. But as we look towards the next year, and hopefully it'll be a better year for all of us, it's always good to take a look and do a audit. Now, I look as you should all at my analytics of all of my digital properties regularly. And I noticed that even though I wasn't promoting it in social media, one of my old episodes on how to conduct a social media audit. In fact, this is episode number 28, called How to audit your social media presence. This is something I recorded several years ago, that recently I've seen a lot of people listen to. So I put that together with the fact that we are at the end of the year, and you're probably looking for advice for the next year. And also, for those of you that know me, I am the co founder of a conference called the social tools summit, the social tools summit ran back about, you know, a few years ago, and we ended up doing four events to in Boston, where my partner was located, and to one in San Francisco, one in San Jose in the Silicon Valley area. And we were able to reach hundreds of marketers, decision makers, and talk and learn all about the technology, the marketing technology that companies we're using to help. So I have a lot of that experience, a lot of tools companies reach out to me, asked me for their feedback. So I'm very well versed in the space. And I wanted to share with you I thought, well, what a great opportunity to really share with you all the different technology that I use. And maybe you'll hear about a tool you've never heard of, or maybe Wow, I didn't even know that there's a tool that can help me do that. Those types of aha moments may come out. Now I'm going to try to link to as many of these as possible in the show notes. So after you're done visiting his podcast, or if you just want to go to the show notes go, there'll be in the description have as many links as possible. And this you know, I almost see this as being a chapter similar to how in the age of influence, I had a chapter on influencer marketing tools, I almost see this being a chapter in my upcoming book, titled TBD. But I am starting to create more and more content around it. So this might serve as a preview of that. But let's jump into the topic of all the different tools and technology that you can be using to maximize your social influence. As you know, I like to divide things between web, email and social because that's where in a digital world our audiences are. So let's begin with the web. Now, you know, hey, if you want to skip forward on some of this, you can, I'm hoping that even if you are a very advanced marketer, or someone's very proficient, you're still gonna find one or two things that you didn't know. So with that being said, some of this stuff is going to be basic stuff, which a lot of you may know, but some of it you may not know. So let's get going. Alright, so the internet, the web, right? Obviously, we need to have a website and websites run on something called content management systems or CMS for short. The most common and popular CMS in the world is WordPress. WordPress, not WordPress, I guess you could almost call it WordPress kunju. And my properties I've only used WordPress exclusively now. There are other small businesses, startups, entrepreneurs, that will use one of the other three very famous sites where you can easily build your own website as well. They're called Squarespace Weebly and Wix now I had one client build a site on Squarespace, they've now moved over to WordPress. Squarespace is great. I also built a site for my son's elementary school PTA on Wix. And I know that it's very, very easy to build on that as well. If you just want to get something up and going, you know, any of these three sites are great, but if you want to get serious about having a robust digital presence of, you know, for SEO for e commerce, for everything else, WordPress, obviously is going to become the highest recommended. It does have a little learning curve, but once you get over it, it is extremely powerful. And what really makes it powerful, you know, Wix Weebly, Squarespace, they're saying we're gonna give you everything you need, and you're gonna pay us a monthly fee. WordPress is open source, they don't do that. But what happens is the entire community of WordPress developers, and it's a huge community worldwide, they get together and provide lots of plugins, there are literally hundreds, if not 1000s, of plugins that provide you more functionality for your site on my site right now, let me just go into my plugin directory I currently and I've had as many as 50 plugins, believe it or not going at once, and that obviously slows down your site. I currently have 26 plugins that are active on Neal Schaffer calm. And I want to go through the plugins because these are things that you may not know exist, but do exist. Or if you are using Wix or Weebly or Squarespace, you may go, huh, I don't have that functionality here, maybe I should consider switching to WordPress. And you might find out about another plugin that you always wondered how I did that, or how others do that. So I want to give you all this information. This you know, I share everything on the podcast, that is the reward you get for investing your time with me. And it's the least I can do to thank you for subscribing and listening to me. So this information is not in any of my blog posts unless you try to sort of read 10 different blog posts on 10 different subjects and, and try to tie it all together. So here's an idea of the plugins that I use, that I think are unique to a CMS that you would not find in a Wix or Weebly or Squarespace. So for instance, adding buttons for social media sharing, this is something that's very common to any CMS, I'm not even I'm not even gonna go there, you all know, you need that you all probably have it. And it's readily available. But things like one of the plugins I use is called 404 page. And for four pages, a plugin that lets you customize your 404 page, your four, four pages where people end up, if they get to your site, and the page doesn't exist. A lot of people make mistakes, they copy and paste and miss a letter. They you know, they see it on a website, they try to copy it into their browser. And you'd be surprised at just how natural even if, you know, you're being really careful maintaining your content, you're always going to get the so having a page that you customize, that allows people to be able to better navigate to your site and find the information we're looking for, I think is a great thing. I think all the CMS as I talked about provide you defaults. But the defaults don't, aren't really inviting, and they don't generate more page visits. So that's something that you should definitely look into the ninja plugin, or one of the Ninja plugins that I use that I would recommend is something called ad inserter. Ad inserter was originally made to allow you to inject ads like Google ads, AdSense everywhere out throughout your blog. But if you have internal promotions, for instance, any blog post of mine that you go to Neal schaffer.com, you will see that I promote my book on Amazon. And I also promote a free download version of my book. And both of these are done through this ad inserter plugin. So if you want to promote, you know, any lead magnet like I'm doing, you can customize this ad inserter plugin to be able to inject not just in sidebars, but actually inside the content inside specific categories URLs, the whole bit, it's extremely customizable, extremely powerful, and it's free. So definitely check out ad inserter if you're in need of a plugin like that. Some of the other unique plugins that I use, well some of these are going to be more general than others. But hey, you never know. So category. Now I'm not going to do that one that's to normal co schedule co schedule is a great plugin that allows you to visualize your editorial calendar and if you collaborate with other bloggers, it allows you to manage all the communication and collaboration it is the plugin that I've use with all of my you know, 20 something bloggers that that contribute content to my site, and you know co schedule in addition to that can help you schedule things to publish on social media. Once your blog post is published from within WordPress. So great plugin. Some of the features are free, some require fee, but definitely check that out if especially if you have an editorial team fanciest author box when you go to the bottom of my blog posts on Neal schaffer.com. You'll notice that there is an author box that includes links to recent posts and includes their latest Facebook feed and Twitter feed. And this is a four fee plugin that I found called fanciest author box They're highly recommend all the other, you know, author box plugins out there just are not very attractive, or they do not offer those sorts of features. So that's a four fee one. But I think if especially if you have guest bloggers, or even if you want to make yourself look good, at the end of each of your posts that comes highly recommended, we also have and this is one of the getting really technical types of plugins, called featured images in RSS for MailChimp, and more, what happens is, when you have an RSS feed for your blog, and you want to email people updates of your blog, automatically using RSS to email features that most email marketing software support, it doesn't pull in the image. So you have a text on the email that just doesn't look very attractive. If you can pull in the image and include that in the email, it's going to make it look all the more attractive and engaging. And that's the only thing this plugin does. It's a free plugin, you put it in there, you configure it. And if you're sending RSS to email, emails, this will pull in the featured image from your post. So it does one thing, and it does it really, really good, highly recommended. The next one is a paid plugin as well. But I really like this one from an SEO perspective. This is called link whisper. And it's one of those plugins where you do a lot of research in the internet and you happen to find it, you try it out, it's awesome. And it's something I don't see a lot of people talking about. And maybe it's your first time hearing about it as well. But link whisper basically analyzes your pages, and gives you recommendations based on AI as to where you should build internal links internal links are, I'm not going to say the most important thing for SEO. But they are something that helps, especially when you have posts that you don't want to prioritize that have too many internal links, or the flipside that I think most blogs have is you have a lot of posts that don't have any internal links. And if they don't have any internal links, then they just may not even appear on Google search results. Google may not think well, if you didn't link to them, then why should google serve them up in search results because you obviously don't value them. So link whisper is an awesome, awesome plugin, it's part of my monthly process every month, I will make sure that all of my blog posts have at least X number of minimal internal links. And then I will also build out internal links for all of my new posts that were published in the last month. So that's one that comes highly recommended. Another one this is a free one is sometimes you go to a blog post, and they have Table of Contents at the top that have hyperlinks that allow you to easily navigate to the section you want to go to. I don't do this on all of my posts. But on some of the posts that require I think it would be good to have a table of contents because they're on the longer side. Or maybe they have a long list of things. I use one called lucky WP that's one word table of contents. So if that's what you're looking for, I highly recommend that I recently had someone reach out to me say, Neil, I see you have that widget on your site that says you have X number of followers on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, literally those six networks, you know, how did you do that? I do that through a plugin called monarch plugin. This is part of Elegant Themes. So it is a four fee plugin. But it allows you to easily create a widget to show off all of your social media followers size, which obviously helps in building credibility. And I know you might be interested in that. So it is a feature of a social sharing plugin. But you can use it exclusively for that widget, which is exactly what I do on the sidebar, as well as in the bottom bar of my site. One thing that I recently added was push notifications. I was doing a little bit of internet research and I saw just everybody and anybody seem to have these push notifications, things that pop out at you, when you go to a website, do you want to be informed of future notifications? So I said, What the heck, why don't I try doing it? I put it out. I use technology called one signal. That's one word one signal. COMM is a free plugin. Really, really easy to implement. And I noticed and I'm looking at my dashboard right now as we speak. Well actually let me go to my dashboard that I now have, let's see how many subscribers I have. I now have 144 users. That did not exist a week ago. So it's not the biggest of numbers, and you're not going to get that many clicks or what have you on them. But hey, it's 144 people that I might be able to have them view one of my push notifications from new blog posts that I didn't have before. So I still don't know how many clicks and how much traffic it's going to generate. But it's free and if it's something you've wanted to try doing I always recommend like with everything in marketing, you need to try and experiment with it and decide whether or not it is good for your in your use case scenario or not. So moving forward, this is another really, really important plug in from an SEO perspective that I'm excited to see how things go. When I published my first revised post yesterday, I recently had a podcast episode talking about you, you know what if I told you, you already have all the content you need for your website. So, in that scenario, over time, as we build out our library of content, it becomes more and more important to maintain our old content and revise it regularly. And as part of revising it, and building asset we might be adding more to it. And what I mean by that is, I have two very strategic categories of content. One is based around tools, and one is based around statistics. So the top 64, influencer marketing tools, the top 31 statistics about influencer marketing, those are examples of what the posts may be titled, what happens over time is that your competitors are upping their game, they're trying to out skyscraper, you are there trying to make content that's better than you. And your content gets old. And Google always prefers fresh Well, they don't always prefer fresh new content. But I'd say that people, you know, if they see a top 60, for influencer marketing tools for 2020 post, and then they see a top 33 influencer marketing tools for 2021. Post, they might go to the 2021 posts because it's new and relevant. So at some point, once you have your library content, you get into spending your time revising content. And I finally found a plugin that allows me to do it in a sophisticated way. So the problem with WordPress is that you can update a post. And when you publish it, it's going to keep the old publishing date. And what you really want to do is assuming that you're adding a significant amount of new content, you don't want to like republish all your old posts and just change the letter to I think you want to do it responsibly, because you could be penalised by Google, they obviously see and know everything. So if you have a significant amount of new content, or you made significant revisions, you might want to republish it, and when you republish it, it gets a new publishing date, and it will appear in your RSS feed once again at the top. So and I talked about this in a previous episode, I won't go into further details on that. But the problem becomes, from a process perspective, that when you republish something, you want to do it right away, because otherwise, if you unpublish it, you put it down to draft, and then you revise it, and then and then publish it again, there's going to be a period of time where the search engines go, and there's not going to be any content live and they're getting a 404 error, right or, you know, content not found, that's something you want to avoid. What I was doing in the past was basically doing it in real time, I would revise something, and then I would try to publish it at that time to be my blog post for the day. So I finally found a plug in the net net is I find I finally find a plugin that allows you to schedule revisions of old posts. So you edit it like you normally do, they add a new checkbox, which says, you know, basically queue for revision. And once the scheduled time comes, it will republish this as a new blog post, without having downtime on the URL. So hopefully all that makes sense. The name of the plug in is called publish press revisions, great support, by the way, I reached out to them over the weekend. And even though I'm on the free plan, they got back to me right away. So I want to give a shout out to that. Definitely, if you are looking to republish blog posts in that process, I really think I'd go as far as saying published press revisions is sort of like the only plugin that I found that allows you to do that. So definitely check that out. While we're moving along along the list, as you can see is 26 plugins. But a lot of these have really, really cool functionality, which is why I still maintain them. The next one is called q2 w three fixed widget. What this allows you to do is if you were to go on a desktop and go to my site, as you scroll down, you see a widget that keeps that stays at the top, even though you're scrolling down, that's the widget to try to opt you into my email database. So you know, not everybody is looking at your website on a desktop. But I still find a good half of my audience is coming not from mobile, but they're they're looking at it from a desktop. So that is prime real estate and you want to make sure that your most valuable call to action is visible at all times. And you need this widget to enable you to do so it's free, really easy to install. And then you just choose which widget you want to appear at the top at all times. As you can see I'm presenting this alphabetically so now we are at the s. This s is the short pixel image optimizer. Now what this does is and there's a few other ones like it out there, but part of your website's speed is determined by how well optimized your images are. Short pixel has a free plan. If you are publishing a lot, you want to optimize a lot of images. I highly recommend that you get the paid plan and you optimize all of your old images using this. So like I said, it's called short pixel image optimizer. It will help you reduce disk space Reduce file size, and therefore allow you to have a faster website even with very rich images. Okay, the next one up still a few more Believe it or not, because there's a lot of as you can imagine WordPress plugins that start with a W. The next one is the URL shortener pro by my theme shop. This is a paid plugin. And I use this one, there's another one out there called Pretty Link, which a lot of people use, which I used as well, I use this one because it gives me a bit more in the analytics space, which is what I wanted and what you need to pay. In order to get advanced analytics in Pretty Link Pro, URL shortener pro basically, whenever I have a webinar, I want to know how many clicks I'm getting that webinar and I want to know where those clicks are coming from. So you can create a Bitly and do it Bitly is don't look good. So I will create a Neal schaffer.com link Neal schaffer.com, slash I was in a nimble webinar recently. So maybe Neal schaffer.com, slash nimble or Neal schaffer.com. Slash nimble webinar, a lot of affiliate marketers will do the same thing. They have an affiliate marketing program with Bluehost. So they'll say Neal schaffer.com, slash Bluehost. And that will hide the the ugly affiliate URL, and send someone directly to that website. So it makes the URL look good, right. But it also gives you some analytics as to how many people are clicking on it. So you can use it in a lot of different ways. I use it when I share stuff in social media as well, whenever I want to, whenever someone asked to apply to my podcast, I know that the URL is Neal schaffer.com, slash new podcaster. Because I'm using this so it's easy to remember as well. So I highly recommend you have technology like this on your website. If it's WordPress, definitely go and check that one out. All right. Another one that I like to use is where and I know that this is very much controversial, but I revise my posts a lot. And I don't necessarily republish them, but I do revise them a lot. So instead of Google saying that this post was published back in 2012, I want Google to know that this pilot post was revised in 2020. So it is a plugin called WP meta and date remover. If you are like me, you have older posts, maybe post a year or two ago, but you're revising them frequently. And you don't want what you don't want Google to see the old date stamp, this will actually remove or you have the ability to remove that data from the information that you send Google. So as I said, a little bit controversial, but something to think about. If you've seen other websites do that. And you've wondered, well, how do they do that? Why can't I do that myself. And believe me, just look at your competitors. There's a lot of websites that are doing that right now. Two more plugins to go. One is called WP rocket, which is just a performance plugin. There's a few of these out there. WP rocket is my choice. It is a paid subscription. But I've noticed that it worked the best in terms of PageSpeed. If you're ever wondering, you can do your own experiments with paid speeds. And use these types of plugins just do a search for WP rocket competitors, you'll find them. But I found when the settings are correct, it can definitely help improve the speed of my website. And finally, last, but certainly not least, is the Yoast SEO plugin, I do have the premium edition. You don't necessarily need the premium edition there were certain features that I wanted as well as access to support. But every WordPress site should have Yoast SEO plugin installed and activated every blog post should have the green light from this plugin from an SEO perspective. Wow, that was a lot of information. So I know in the teaser, I promised that I was going to give you the entire technology stack, I am going to have to split this into two podcast episodes. It's not something I like to do. But man, that was a lot of information. And that should be more than enough to keep you busy the next week, assuming that you're on WordPress, of all the different technology and hey, you know, if you already have a similar plug in that works great, awesome. But if I was able to give you you know, one or two ideas for plugins you might not have thought of before, you know, I'm really happy. And you know, provided you value added value to your day. So I'm going to try to put as many of the links to these in the show notes as a one stop shop for you to click on to to be able to access any of these and find out more what they are about. There's obviously a human side to influence but anything that we publish on the internet, there's obviously a technology side influencers are using the same technology that larger enterprises use. So all of this is in the backbone of influence really is not just you and your content and your expertise, but it is also technology. So I think it's important to bring that up once in a while on this podcast and I haven't done it in a long, long time. In fact, I mentioned that podcast episode about the audit that you should check out. I have done some about tools in the early days I used to interview a lot of the sponsors from the social tools summit if you're interested in what that was. I N announced it in Episode Number 91, announcing the social tools summit, but it's been since Episode 71, where I talked about Neil staves, social media productivity tips and tools. So listen to that. My next solo episode, I'm going to go further into all the other tools that I use outside of WordPress plugins. And I think it's going to be even even longer episode. But hey, I'll stop there. If you have any questions about this, feel free to reach out to me. As always, I do have some, I do continue to pick up new clients, my fractional cmo consulting service. But if your company is in need of my marketing help, or you are in need of my marketing help a minimum of one hour a week for three months at the bare minimum package, I can be of help, feel free to reach out and contact me, the link will be in the show notes as well. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you throughout the world that continued to write reviews and listen to this podcast. I know that we've had an uptake in the American charts. And as a born in the USA, native United States citizen that's obviously the one that I am most proud of. But I also want to thank those of you in Germany, in Norway, in Ireland, in New Zealand, in Italy. And in India. I want to thank you all for listening and helping me jump up in the charts in all of these countries as well. Wow, that was a lot wasn't it. Hope you enjoyed that episode. If you want to hear more episodes about the technology and the tools, hey, you know, leave a comment. Let me know I'd love to hear from you, and understand what your needs are. And make sure that you get the most out of this episode that you're investing your precious listening time into as well. So that's it for another week. We'll be back next week with another interview. Until then, wherever you are in the world, make it a great virtual social day. Bye Bye everybody. And sale nada