When I first started the company seven years ago, I did everything myself and everything was done manually. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to find and set up some WordPress automation tools to keep me sane. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of plugins, SaaS products, and tools. Many have come and gone, but a few good ones have stuck around and I’m very thankful for them.
There is a false belief that marketing and selling on the internet is quick and easy. Well it isn’t. There are a lot of components that go into making marketing efforts successful.
The reality of the situation is that internet marketing opens the doors to the world and with it anything is possible. I believe it truly is an open book of options for the every day person and that anyone can use the internet to achieve their goals.
But success only comes with planning, due diligence, and hard work. Adding in the right tools can help put the focus more on planning and creativity, with less emphasis on boring day to day activities. This shift not only keeps you happy, it also drives a lot better results.
Work Smarter With These WordPress Automation Tools
Today I’d like to share some of my favorite tools for automating WordPress and my daily workflow. Some are found within the dashboard of WordPress and others are third party applications. Some are free and others are paid for on a monthly or annual basis. All of them are worth their money.
Akismet – If you are using WordPress to blog and you have comments turned on, Akismet is a must use plugin. It efficiently monitors incoming comments and addresses any spam without any interaction by the user.
AutomateWoo – This is a powerful extension for WooCommerce that provides follow up communication based on user defined workflows. We use this plugin to automatically alert theme buyers that their subscriptions are expiring and request they renew to receive continued support.
Dlvr.it – I recently found this software service and I’m loving it! We own a number of social media profiles and this tool helps automate postings based on RSS feeds. I use it to share Web Savvy posts, as well as articles from my favorite websites and blogs. It offers a lot more options then HootSuite and is significantly more user friendly.
Follow-Up Emails – This is another WooCommerce extension that I use for onboarding new buyers of our stock Genesis themes and online SEO courses. I have multiple emails scheduled to send after an order has been processed. They give information on using the new theme or course, as well as answer many of the common questions I’d receive time and time again. This WordPress plugin drastically reduced my support time and has increased customer satisfaction.
Gravity Forms – We purchased a developer license of this WordPress plugin years ago and I believe it is one of the best WordPress plugins available. The developer is solid, the plugin is robust, and the user interface is excellent. Each custom website we build uses Gravity Forms and I make sure every stock theme is styled for it.
Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On – This Gravity Forms extension connects MailChimp to WordPress inquiry forms. Subscribers are automatically fed over to MailChimp and added to the appropriate email list.
Hotjar – This is a tool I recently discovered based on a referral from another WordPress developer. It’s like people watching at the mall, but on your very own website. If you want to know what people do when they open your website, this tool is amazing. It even offers a free trial. This tool will save you time in user surveys and in design.
iThemes Sync – Sync allows you to manage updates for all your WordPress sites from one place. It connects with BackupBuddy which will automate remote website backups and keep you protected. The iThemes team is very solid and they produce excellent plugins. Since we manage 50+ different WordPress websites, this tool is a key part of keeping us as efficient as possible.
MailChimp – This is a third party software solution that provides email campaigns and RSS based emails. While I will occasionally send out individual emails to groups of users, we actively use this service to send weekly newsletters to blog subscribers. MailChimp uses our blog’s RSS feed to automatically populate the newsletter and send it on a preset day and time.
Simple URLs – This plugin helps me quickly link to external websites and track usage of these hyperlinks. I use it for linking to destinations that are frequently referenced in blog and support forums. It’s free and saves me lots of time. It’s also great for managing affiliate links.
Subscribe to Comments – This plugin is another free piece of software that I’ve used for years. It allows users to request notification on blog comment updates for a specific post. It helps build engagement and increase visitor satisfaction.
WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration – This WooCommerce addition connects WooCommerce sales to Google Analytics reports. This allows GA to track sales and report on important data such as sales by source, sales by day, etc.
WooCommerce MailChimp Subscribe – This WooCommerce extension not only saves me time, it has drastically increased the subscribe rate to our weekly newsletter. It drops in a check box on our shopping cart and asks buyers to state whether they’d like to subscribe to our blog. Quick and simple, but responsible for producing thousands of subscribers.
WP 101 – I subscribe to WP 101 and include these how to tutorials in every custom website we develop. Not only does it help answer basic WordPress questions, the videos are automatically updated and pushed to WordPress with each new software release. That means I know my clients have the latest information available to them at all times and I don’t have to do a thing. As with the other tools, this plugin is a double win because it saves me time and makes my clients happy.
Yoast SEO – I’ve used the Yoast SEO plugin for years. It helps automate some SEO efforts, by providing a SEO grade per post or page. While it isn’t everything needed for SEO, it does help deliver feedback and solid produce XML sitemaps for search engines.
What Tools Do You Use?
I’ve given you 14 tools for WordPress automation, but there are hundreds available. What tools do you use and love?
Drop a comment below and tell us about your favorite plugins and add ons for WordPress automation. You might have a hidden gem I’ve never heard of but need to use.