Most Valuable Business Blogging Plugins & Services
If you are, like me, blogging for your business, you already know that the blogging landscape is always changing. Always evolving, growing and improving. Sometimes it seems impossible to keep up with the latest trends, plugins, and services. As a real estate agent, I rely on my blog to share the latest information about the market, home improvement and tips for buying and selling your home. Over the past year, I've discovered many useful business blogging aids and this is the time to share the best of the best.
WordPress Commenting System
Google the phrase ‘WordPress Commenting Systems', and you will come up with tons of options. Most of them focusing on the big 5: Disqus, Facebook, Livefyre, Google+ and JetPack. I've tried them ALL (yes, I like to experiment) and found all of them lacking in one way or another. For me, a comment system must have these features:
- Easy to use
- Comments become part of MY post
- Easy to customize with pics and videos
- Look good
- Fast and responsive
After trying all of these, I stumbled across WP-Discuz (not to be confused with ‘Disqus'). It has everything I was looking for. Most surprising I found that, once a comment is approved, it becomes part of that blog posts' code. It's not hosted on someone else's servers. (As I already mentioned, I am a real estate agent, NOT an SEO expert, but I believe having the comment as part of your page's content is a good thing?)
Best of all, this plugin is free. Out of the box its already great, and there are add-ons you can use to customize (yes, there is a small cost for the add-ons).
Blog-Writing Service: Textbroker
About 90% of my posts (nearly 700 of them) were written by me. If you have a ‘real job' outside of blogging, you will already appreciate that ‘time' is a limited commodity. Finding some spare time to write blog posts can be difficult. So, lately, I've been accepting guest-posts to help publish relevant content. But when even that is not enough, I can rely on a great blog-writing service called Textbroker. For as little as 3-cents per work, I can find great writers to write about nearly any subject matter. In a 1-day turn-around time.
So if you are a busy lawyer, home stager, plumber, florist, butcher-baker-candlestick maker, there is no more excuses for doing your own business blogging. For around $15 bucks you can have someone write a post about anything in your niche. Update your website and feed google at the same time.
Easily the most valuable lessons I've learned this year came via a FREE podcast from Brandon Gaille, a blogging SUPERSTAR who gets around 2 million visitors to his blog every month. He has a FREE (did I say that already?) Podcast, filled with 15-25 minute episodes covering vital blogging subjects like “The Perfect Blog Sidebar Formula” and “Turning Old Blog Posts Into Top Performers” and dozens upon dozens more.
Brandon's talking style is entertaining, and his content is superbly valuable. One word of caution: Don't listen and drive! I mean it! It's easy to become engrossed in the subject matter and forget about the fact you're driving a 2-ton hunk of metal down the freeway.
This podcast is available on I-Tunes as well as Google Play and Stitcher.
Scheduling Tool for your blog: Co-Schedule
I recently wrote a more in-depth article about this great scheduling tool, and the more I use it, the more I love it. For serious business blogging, this tools allows you to link to your social media profiles. For $15 per month, you get to link to 5 profiles (ex: your facebook profile AND page, your linkedin profile, a twitter profile and your G+ page). $30 per month gets you 10 profiles, and goggle analytics, Google Docs and Evernote integration. One really cool feature is that you can click on ‘Old Blog Post' and share something you're written in the past, right from the scheduler.
Although not a FREE tool, they do have a 14-day free trial. Check out the Co-Schedule Tool.
Sharing your Facebook LIVE video to your blog
It seems that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting 5 articles telling us that facebook LIVE is THE TOOL for the next year and beyond. If you're on facebook, publishing a LIVE video update about your latest business event, specials, etc is going to be very important. So you've posted your live video, now what? This tool by Hani Mourra allows you to post (automatically) your live video as a blog post.
But it does SOOOO much more than that. It also helps collect you collect e-mail addresses for subscribers. You can even share regular videos, which you had posted to your facebook page or profile (as opposed to ONLY LIVE videos). Plus it transfer facebook comments, which were made for your LIVE video, onto your blog as well.
At $67 for one site, and $97 for 3 websites, this plugin is WELL worth your investment if you are a serious blogger and incorporate facebook marketing with your business blogging efforts.
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