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« Does Your Music Always Come Out the Way You Want It To? | Main | 4 Reasons Why Fans Are File-Sharing Your Music (And Why They Can't Be Changed) »
Monday
Oct112010

7 Best WordPress Plugins for Passive Promotion

I’m convinced that WordPress is the most powerful and easily implemented website platform for musicians. Most of my social networking efforts are aimed at directing traffic to my band site, which serves as my base of operations. Countless free plugins allow me to add new features and customize to my heart’s content.

I recently overhauled both of my WordPress sites (colortheory.com and passivepromotion.com are functionally identical), exploring all the popular plugins from each category. Despite my best efforts to keep things lean and mean, I ended up installing 23. All are free, as is WordPress. The only thing I’ve paid for is the Thesis theme, which handles the look and feel of the site, search engine optimization, and other behind-the-scenes details I don’t care to figure out on my own.

I don’t have time to babysit my sites every day, so I’m always on the lookout for new ways to “set it and forget it.”

Here are my seven best WordPress plugins for passive promotion:

Thank Me Later

Ever read an article, made a quick comment, and never visited the site again? Thank Me Later automatically sends out an email to anyone who leaves a comment on your site, after a pre-defined amount of time. I use it to suggest subscription options, remind the commenter to check back for replies, and invite him or her to connect with me personally.

Digg Digg

In my opinion, only two share options matter anymore: Facebook and Twitter. Both offer official buttons, and I suggest using them rather than third party alternatives, because they are both recognizable and trustworthy. It’s possible to insert the proper code directly into your site’s theme, but Digg Digg takes all of two minutes to set up and offers a high degree of customization.

WPtouch iPhone Theme

This one is almost too good to be true. Install it and poof! Your site has a mobile theme. It automatically kicks in when someone accesses the site from their iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung Touch or BlackBerry Storm/Torch. Definitely a must have!

Disqus Comment System

The comment system built into WordPress does the job, but Disqus (and its chief competitor, IntenseDebate) steps it up a notch. It offers threaded comments and replies, subscribe and RSS options, reply by email, built-in spam protection, and some fancy widgets. More importantly, it connects you to the same large discussion community that you see on big name sites like Mashable.

WordPress Popular Posts

This plugin showcases the most popular posts on your site in the sidebar, based on criteria you select. So far it’s done a good job of featuring my best content. Still, I wonder if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy machine, making the posts it highlights even more popular than they deserve.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

If WPP doesn’t do the trick, here’s a second method to get visitors to click through to another post. YARPP automatically compiles a list of related posts, and appends it to the end of the article. You can restrict results by category or tag, and select how much weight to give the post title versus body. I’ve read that it can slow sites down, but a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache more than makes up for it.

Smart 404

Losing visitors from a mistyped URL is a thing of the past with Smart 404. It searches for a matching page and redirects to it automatically. If it doesn’t find a match, it can display a list of suggestions on your 404 page.

For completeness’ sake, here are the rest of the plugins I use:

Align RSS Images
Audio Player
Broken Link Checker
Contact Form 7
FD Feedburner Plugin
Clean Options
Google XML Sitemaps
Lightbox 2
No Self Pings
Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu
RSS Footer
Smart YouTube
Thesis OpenHook
W3 Total Cache
WordPress.com Stats
WP-DB Manager

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Brian Hazard is a recording artist with sixteen years of experience promoting his eight Color Theory albums. His Passive Promotion blog emphasizes “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion. Brian is also the head mastering engineer and owner of Resonance Mastering in Huntington Beach, California.

References (2)

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Reader Comments (11)

Well done Brian, I wish I'd written that! The point is, there are two options, one can either download and host a wordpress website/blog (which is what I would recommend) or sign-up with wordpress.com for a free account. Both are easy to get going and the rewards can be bigger than you'd ever think possible!

Ah this is fantastic, what a great resource.
Thanks for sharing.
Matt

October 12 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Rod

GigPress of course!!!

October 13 | Unregistered Commenteratmoravi

Thanks for the kind words!

GigPress does look pretty nice for those who gig. Alas, I do not.

October 14 | Registered CommenterBrian Hazard

I really enjoy your articles Brian, great job.

October 18 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Very helpful, I will be using several of these because of you. Thank you.

October 19 | Registered CommenterNate Talbot

One more for you!

I just updated colortheory.com to be HTML5 compatible, so that audio plays back properly on iPhones and iPads. The old widgets from Soundcloud and Official.fm rely on Flash, so I swapped in widgets from Bandcamp wherever possible, and hosted my own mp3 files using a WordPress plugin called WPaudio. You can see it in action on my site here.

November 8 | Registered CommenterBrian Hazard

Always one step ahead aren't we Brian! Im a web developer and music tech enthusiast and your still ahead! Guessing your using these services more than me, need to step up my game!

Thanks for this great solution :D

November 8 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

very helpful information,but i think blogs and forums can also help to promote your music online.

Great Article! I am an indie musician and love meeting like minded folks. Music is my passion in life and it reflects in my work. I will be back here often to read your new posts!

September 9 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C. Michelson

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the best plugins available. For your photos and images, I’d like to share this one I’m using lately http://wordpress.org/plugins/iframe-embed-for-momentme/. Embeds a photo gallery with a 360° view, providing you with a multi-point-of-view experience and its free.

June 16 | Unregistered CommenterDylan Smith

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