Jun 2, 2011
One of the great things about a self-hosted WordPress blog is that you get to play with a powerful array of plugins. These are small bits of software that can add functionality, provide a better customer experience for your visitors and give you the technology to generate more traffic to your blog.
If you are a veteran blogger and have some technical ability most of the WordPress plugins available will be easy to use and manage and you should be able to stear clear of any pitfalls.
If you are new to the game you will need to be aware of the essential WordPress plugins to use, the ones to avoid and the more powerful but technically challenging ones that you might need help with.
So what is good about WordPress plugins?
I tend to split this into five different types. For each one I have given a link to the plugins that apply. This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are alternatives which may suit your blog better. These are the ones I tend to use on the blogs I write and manage that work and add value.
Traffic generation WordPress Plugins.
All in One SEO Pack – allows you to optimise posts and pages with keywords and appropriate titles and descriptions.
XML Sitemaps – easy way for you to create and submit site-maps to search engines.
Social Media WordPress Plugins.
Simple Facebook Connect- allows visitors to like your posts and pages and much more.
Xhanch My Twitter – visitors can see your recent tweets and connect with you on Twitter.
Subscribe To Comments Reloaded – allows visitors to subscribe to comments.
CommentLuv – I like this and intend to install it as it rewards other bloggers who comment by giving a link to their latest blog post when they have commented. Share the luv and it might come back to you. It does encourage more contribution from your audience.
Widget Context – you could do a lot of coding to manage where your sidebars with widgets appear on your blog. This allows you to customize your blog layout without coding knowledge.
Assessing blog effectiveness.
Feedburner Feedsmith – allows you to deliver user-friendly RSS feeds via a reader or email, get statistics on subscribers and see what people are reading.
WP Super Cache – speeds up delivery of your blog to visitors (helps with SEO as 9 out of 10 search engines prefer faster loading sites!) You may need a bit of geekery to get this working. I’ve had a bit of trouble getting this one to work myself. Possibly should be under the “Ugly” list as it might be a bit intimidating for the beginner.
Revision Control – how many times do you edit a post? You could have quite a few revisions bloating your database. This keeps your revisions at a manageable limit.
You will need to come back to Part Two for the bad and the ugly. This post expanded more than I thought it would.
What are your favourite WordPress plugins and why?