WordPress Plugins make blogging a much simpler process if you know which ones to use. I can remember when I started my blog how frustrated I would get when I would read that I needed to add a code, change a setting, or how to optimize for search engines. Ugh! I can’t say those days are over completely, but I can say the challenges have been greatly reduced by finding and using these great WordPress plugins.
I’m going to list 10 of my favorites here. If you end up like me, you will have a page full of plugins that all serve a purpose. The ones I choose for you today will be based on how much time they have saved me from learning technical jargon, coding, and css. (YUK!) The less time you have to spend on these frustrating processes, the more time you will have to spend doing what you set out to do…Blogging!
- All in One SEO Pack – If you want people to be able to find your blog (this is why you started it, right) you need to learn a little bit about how search engines work and what they look for, such as title optimization, keywords and description tags. This plugin will simplify the process of adding these to your posts, but you should still do a some research on basic SEO to understand what keywords are best suited for your site.
- Broken Link Checker – Search engines hate broken links. Whenever you add a link to an image or a trackback to another blog you’ll find that the host of the blog/image may move or remove that link. This plugin will tell you on your WordPress dashboard whenever it finds a broken link then give you the option to change it or de-link. Saves you the time of rummaging through your old posts checking for errors.
- Contact Form 7 – Forming relationships with your readers is your blog lifeline. Replying to comments is important, but sometimes there is a personal note, request or even a joint venture that doesn’t belong in your comments. Using this plugin will set up a Contact form for you automatically that you can add to a new page as your Contact Us page. Simple!
- Enforce www. Preference – This little guy…I love him! In my researching on SEO when I started out, I found many experts saying how important it is to decide which domain you want to use & force all your traffic to that one. Do you want people to go to www.MarketLikeAChick.com or just MarketLikeAChick.com (no www.)? John Chow explains why this is important, but for the life of me I could NOT figure out how to do the coding and access the files he & others were talking about! This baby, he does it for you! Can you see that the frustration had thoroughly set in?
- FeedBurner FeedSmith – This plugin is for those using FeedBurner for their feeds. It detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.
- Google XML Sitemaps – To get your blog indexed and crawled by search engines you will need a sitemap. Don’t know how to create one? This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO
- Optimize DB – This plugin let’s you optimize your WordPress database tables with one click. It runs an optimize table command on your WordPress tables, effectively defragmenting it. This is very useful for tables that are frequently updated. MySQL is a great database, but it doesn’t clean itself up the way it should sometimes.
- Tidy Up – I can’t tell you how many hours I spent when I first started out trying to figure out why my feed was not working. I would run a FeedValidator, and it would come back with errors that said things like “error on line 45″ with what they though was an explanation of what it was. For the non-technical inclined it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. How do I find line 45 & if I do find it, what do I do to fix it? Errors with your feed are usually in the coding somewhere, possibly caused by you pasting directly from a Word doc, or by trying to “fix” things in your code editor only to screw them up more. (who? me??) This plugin runs an HTML Tidy on all posts and comments to keep things, well…tidy. No more problems with my feed. Yay!
- WordPress Database Backup – Install this now! If you ever try to get creative and be brave in your technical abilities & dive in where you have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, this will save you. As with your hard drive on your computer, your WordPress database is extremely important to backup as well! Be aware that if there have been comments on your blog since your last backup, and you need to restore, those will be lost. Yes, I learned from experience. Perhaps I could have copied the comments and added the manually after the restore. Not sure, but just know what to expect.
- WP Super Cache – This plugin creates a static html page and serves that up to visitors of your blog instead of the dynamic php pages. Visitors who are logged in to your blog, or who have left a comment, will see the dynamic php pages instead of the static, cached pages. By creating and using a static page that is cached the activity on your server will be reduced and it will run faster.
Hopefully this list of plugins will save the beginner blogger (and maybe even some more experienced) a little of the frustration that I went through! If you have any questions about installation that you can’t get answered from the plugin site, let me know and I’ll see if I can help you out. What other plugins have you used to help out? What area of your blog do you feel you need more help with?
Please leave your comments and share with others!
All My Best,
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August 11, 2009 11 Comments