Many real estate entrepreneurs and professionals have started blogs for their businesses over the last few years which is a great way to engage clients and partners, build expertise, market services, and feature properties for sale (for wholesalers and realtors). One of the most popular platforms for blogs is WordPress and its very powerful thanks to extensions called plug-ins.
There are some great related posts on the BiggerPockets blog on the topic of using blogs efficiently:
8 Tips on Running Your Blog Quickly and Efficiently
7 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Real Estate Blog Without Search Engine Listings – Part 1
7 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Real Estate Blog Without Search Engine Listings – Part 2
Today’s post focuses specifically on plug-ins that will help you with your blog in a number of ways. Here’s a list of my top 8 free must-have WordPress plugins for your real estate blog. There are several other plug-ins which I’d deem as nice to have because they have super cool features, but these are the ones I don’t think any blog should be without.
I’ve linked to the WordPress.org plug-in page for each of these plug-ins, however I’d suggest that if you want to install them, you do so within your WordPress admin site (click on Plug-ins icon, select “Add new”, and then search based on the plug-in name).
2 Plug-ins That Will Save You From Some Serious Grief
Akismet: The best anti-spam plug-in for WordPress. You’d be surprised (well maybe not) at how many spam comments would show up on your blog if you didn’t have something like this to block them.
WordPress Database Backup (WP-DB-BackUp): Need I say more? Once set up, this will handle automatic backups for your blog…the recovery of files is easy in the unfortunate event that you screw something up or your blog is hacked and you lose your posts.
3 Plug-ins That Make Social Media Sharing and Engaging Easy
TweetMeme: Provides a “Retweet” button that allows for quick and easy sharing on Twitter.
Facebook Like Button: Provides a button that allows for quick and easy sharing on Facebook.
Note: There are tons of great plug-ins for social media sharing. I focused on these two because I tend to keep things simple and Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media sites that your readers would share with. If you want something that will allow sharing with just about every social media and bookmarking site under the sun, check out Sexy Bookmarks.
A Comments Plug-in – like Subscribe To Comments or DISQUS: I didn’t want to recommend one specific one here simply because I’ve used a few and have liked them all for a variety of different reasons. That being said, having a solid comments plug-in is a MUST to engage with those who are reading and want to participate in discussion on your blog articles. Check these both out and see which you like better. Check out CommentLuv as an addition to your comments plug-in as well.
3 Plug-ins that Help With Search Engines and Analysis of Your Blog
Platinum SEO Pack: To put it simply, this plug-in optimizes your WordPress blog for the search engines. This is one of those plug-ins that non-techie and non-internet marketer folks may not fully appreciate, but use it anyway and even review tutorials to understand why and how to use it. Once you know, you know!
Google Analytics for WordPress: If you’re not already using Google’s free Analytics tool, you’re missing out on some really solid information about your blog. How much traffic are you getting, where is it coming from, which keywords are leading people to you, etc. This plug-in helps integrate your blog with Google Analytics.
WordPress.com Stats: Yes, I know I just recommended that everyone have Google Analytics. However, some people just want a quick and easy view of their top posts and traffic sources, and this plug-in provides a really nice dashboard right in your WordPress admin site. I’ve found this plug-in to be very useful when I just want a quick overview or when I want to see the keywords that lead people to the site (because the list will likely be different from the one you see in Google Analytics).
Hope you find this to be useful! Feel free to add any other “must-have” plug-ins that you recommend to others. Today I wanted to focus on the bare essentials, but I think a follow up post on top “nice-to-have” plug-ins will be a great and useful one as well!