PlugIns are essential for any WordPress Blog. But be careful not to load up your site with too much junk! Loading up your site with more than what is needed results in long load times and can lead your readers astray. The following are the top 10 plug-ins I use and highly recommend for your site or blog.
Of course in no way is this list finite – it’s ultimately just my opinion. That being said the following list of plug-ins are incredibly vital to your blog’s survival and will make life a whole lot easier (and in some cases prettier too). So let’s get on with it!
10. WordPress Database Backup
Think of backing up your wordpress blog in the same way as backing up your computer. It is just as important for obvious reasons. You never know when you might do something foolish messing around with your database or accidentally screw something up. However, much life backing up your hard drive, backing up your database can be a daunting task to many. This is where WordPress DataBase Backup comes in making the entire process fast and painless.
WordPress cache is all about smoothing out the user experience on your site. By preloading and formatting your data, Wp-Cache allows for faster load times and smoother navigation of your entire site. This plug-in will also make it so that your site will be capable of handling large influxes of traffic from social networking sites – for that time when you finally make it big and strike gold.
Most blogs nowadays have a built in adsense feature which makes the entire process of formatting ads into your site that much easier. But for those of you who aren’t blessed with this luxury, the Adsense-Delux plug-in is for you. If headaches have ever resulted form you trying to stick adsense into your site without error codes and text wrapping in weird ways then get this plug-in right now.
7. Easy Contact Page
A contact page is a must have for any site. But that is easier said than done as rerouting requests and ping inquiries to your email in an orderly fashion is often times a job for a paid service such as Awebber. Easy Contact plug-in allows you to create a beautifully simple contact page that is fully customizable and routes to any email.
6. External Links
External links makes it easy to process all outgoing links, rather than ones just within the content. You can also add an icon next to your outbound links of choice. Have the power to open all links in a new tab or window instead of going through each and every post. Finally,with the External Links plug-in you can also add the rel=nofollow option to all links which can boost your page rank depending on how you’ve been linking.
5. Google XML Sitemap
Create a sitemap of any wordpress blog or site that is easily read by major search engines like Ask.com Yahoo, Google and MSN search. Every time you update your blog or make changes to your site, the Google XML Sitemap generator will notify these search engines of your changes and it will be logged right away.
4. Stat Press
Google Analytics is a given in my mind. Everyone who considers themselves a Blogger must have a Google Analytics account. Viewing the analytics of your site is a task that shouldn’t be overlooked and can help you increase your traffic and quality of your blog. Stat Press is there to work in tandem with or as a stand alone plug-in next to Google Analytics. It breaks down your traffic in tons of different ways and is an incredible asset to any good blogger.
Wow. I owe my sanity to this plug-in right here. Spammers work in packs like wolves. They will pick out and target a blog – and if it seems weak, allowing the spam comments even for just a minute they will attack in full force. On a previous blog to this I once was attacked by spammers and in just one day I had 400 pending comments that were all over a page long full of links. Akismet works with its advanced database pinpointing and eliminating even the most cunning spammers while allowing legit comments to flow through unimpeded. No damn captcha codes or messy equations here. Bring down the hammer on those dirty spammers, get Akismet.
2. All in One SEO
The updated Platinum SEO pack may be newer but it isn’t any better. I still recommend All in One SEO because of its reliability (Platnium SEO has had problems and in many cases isn’t compatible with certain themes) and because of it’s simplicity. You can tweak the SEO of your blog with All in One Seo by adding to or changing the title, description and keywords of your posts without actually changing the asthetics of your blog.
Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in or YARPP for short is an amazing plug-in. It will dramatically add to the look, feel and usability of your site. By including related posts below or above your content (below is optimal in my opinion) you can keep the reader flowing through your content after they’re done reading. Instead of digging through your posts to find another piece of juicy content to sink their teeth in, related content will be posted right after your post allowing them to just keep on reading! If you have analytics, watch the average time on your site and I gurantee it will double after you’ve installed YARPP.
Now let’s talk about the asthetics of your blog…
Don’t get me wrong here; making your blog elegant is not the same as filling it with a bunch of multi-media and crap. The following plug-ins are perfect to give your blog that extra sparkle of professionalism without intruding on the user experience.
- Author Image: Not just for people with multi-author blogs, Author Image is also a cool thing to have on your personal blog as well. It is a nice touch to your site and brings that extra bit of personality to your readers and first time visitors.
- Sociable: One of my favorite plug-ins, Sociable adds some nice looking icons below your post to allow the reader to bookmark your site on any number (up to 100) of social bookmarking sites. Choose from dozens, literally over a hundred, of different sites to include; from stumble upon to Twitter. It’s fully customizable and can be tailored to fit your needs. Sociable will add that extra bit of awesomeness (yes awesomeness) to your blog without taking anything away from the user. View my blog post on Sociable here.
- Post Footer: Add some ads or add some fully customizable html text to the bottom of every post. This is a must have accessory for any blogger as it allows them to add their message or what needs to be said below every post or every page. Add Post Footer makes life much easier.
- WP Cumulus: Display your site’s tags, categories or both in a flash animated 3D box that is definitely eye catching. WP Cumulus doesn’t make life much easier but will give you a touch of uniqueness.
This list will keep building as I continue to blog – but for now this is it in terms of the asthetics. Remember you don’t want to overload your blog with too many plug-ins that add looks to the content as this can dominate the user experience (your content needs to be the center of attention not your plug-ins) and make your site slow and cumbersome.
If anyone has something to add to either of these lists please feel free to list them here