Browse Free WordPress Plugins Like A VIP

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The official WordPress plugin repository contains over 27,000 plugins. Separating the good from the bad as well as the good from the ‘was once good but no longer works’ can be a challenge. Opposed to the theme directory, the plugins are not actively reviewed by a large team of dedicated volunteer reviewers. This leaves the plugin directory full of functional plugins. Luckily, there are some curated lists of plugins that meet the highest standards and work with the most recent version of WordPress. Recently I found two places where plugin standards and continued functionality are rigidly enforced.

WordPress VIP Plugins

WordPress VIP may be a service beyond the needs and budget of most WordPress users, but the list of plugins that meet Automattic’s standards for use with a WordPress VIP site is available to anyone. WordPress VIP Plugins are plugins available in the regular plugin directory that meet the quite rigid VIP Plugin standards.

Tidy Repo

Tidy Repo is a curator list of plugins who have met these standards set by the curator Jay Hoffmann:

  • I’ve tested the plugin on a live WordPress install, with the wonderful WP Test loaded in, on different themes, and with other plugins also installed.
  • Plugins are run through the Plugin Performance Profiler and assessed for performance.
  • The plugin is more or less actively maintained, and has been updated in the last six months to a year, depending on it’s functionality.
  • Plugin authors provide a level of support consummate with the complexity of the plugin.

What Is The Real Conversion Rate?

email-146039_640Conversion rate–the percentage of total visitors that take a desired action–is an important analytic for any site. For an eCommerce site, the conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that complete a purchase. On an advertisement driven site, it is the percentage of visitors that click and add. On a personal blog this metrics is generally calculated based on what percentage of visitors sign up for the mailing list. Building an email list is what I’m personally focusing on right now, but it’s important to not lose site of the real goal–new clients and new ways to serve the community.

Next week, I will show you how I set up different ways to get visitors to this site to opt-in to updates to this series. Hopefully you noticed the slide-in subscribe box at the bottom of the page. I also have a pop-over programmed to appear whenever you’re about to leave the page. Try moving your mouse towards the back button and you will see what I’m talking about.

Pretty cool, right? I’ll be showing you how I did that, set up the mailing list and create the link between WordPress and MailChimp necessary to send posts to subscribers as well as other ways to build your mailing list as this series goes on. I’ve doing this work for my site with the goal of increasing my email list subscription conversion rate.

After all, I’m not in the business of sending emails. I’m in the business of creating WordPress support systems and educational materials as well as building and nurturing user communities If I had 1000 page views in a month and two sign-ups for my email list, and my only goal was to build a mailing list, I’d be disappointed by that miserable conversion rate. But, if 2 of those 1000 page views turned into leads for new clients, I’d be a very happy boy.

Update 13 January 2014- For a great article on calculating a target conversion rate, see this great article by John Turner.

Yes, one leads to the other, a good email list keeps people coming back to a site. Each time they someone comes back to a site, the more likely they will be to think of me when they need my services. Still, it is just as important to not lose sight of the actual goal–serving the community and getting new clients.

Why An Email List?

Email might not be the flashy new trend, but it is the least filtered way to reach people online. Tweets get buried in your follower’s timelines almost instantly, and let’s not get started on having to pay to reach followers on Facebook. Email, on the other hand, is a direct line to people. Syed Bahlki has a great article on why building an email list is so important.

I will not rehash the entire article or the great presentation on the same topic that I saw Syed give at this years WordCamp Orlando. The most important take away from what Syed is talking about is that your newsletter isn’t just a way to get people back to your site, it’s an opportunity for engagement and an invitation to conversation. Not every one wants to discuss their needs and concerns publicly–via social media or in the comments on a website. This is why the real call to action in an email should be an invitation to respond to it with any thought or concerns about its contents.

That, after all is the point of all of this, to start conversations with the people who need what you can offer. So, keep that in mind when you come back next week to learn about creating opt-in forms, setting up mailing lists and sending posts to subscribers. Mailing lists are a great resource, but they can be more than just a way to get people to keep coming back to your site–they can be a way to start a conversation.

Of course, if you want to discuss anything I’ve been writing about, or any other ways I can help you with your WordPress site or business, feel free to send me an email. My address is and I promise to reply to anything you send. I’d love to know how I can help you.