I’m sure you have seen lots of articles named something like “best 30 plugins for WordPress” or “The coolest 60 plugins for WordPress” etc. In my post today I’m not going to make another collection of links but rather list just a few plugins that I’m using in my own blog. Of course, I haven’t added all of them from the very beginning. Depending on the task set before me I had to make some studies followed by experiments and make tests, tests and tests. I will explain why I find these plugins extremely useful as well as speak about some widgets that are worth using.
Akismet is a perfect spam catcher. Not sure how they do this, but 99% of spam comments will get under I’ve had the problem with Akismet only once actually shortly after installation. For some reason it was recognizing uberVU – social comments (the post mentions on twitter) as spam but once I approved it, the Akismet learned the algorithm and now it’s saving me from hundreds of funky comments. There’s also a cool option to “Automatically discard spam comments on posts older than a month” which means that spam comments for the early posts won’t even be added to the Spam” section of blog comments, they will be deleted automatically.
A simple plugin allowing to add Google Analytics to your blog pages and enjoy a variety of tracking options available at Google Analytics account. Once you upload and activate the plugin go to the Settings section in the main menu and look for Google Analytics. Here’s the place where you can make a Google Analytics WordPress Configuration. All you have to do is enter your Analytics Account ID and click on save. Now you can go to your Google Analytics account and track visitors, traffic sources, search keywords and most popular articles.
As a blogger and project manager I know that it’s highly important to keep blog visitors on the website as long as possible, especially if you are selling ads and are going to earn something from them. This is where Yet Another Related Posts Plugin comes on arena. It allows to show links to related posts at the end of the article, and you can set this relatedness by a number of options, such as keywords in the text, titles, tags, categories etc. You can define the number of links to show and the period of time to check on related articles from your previous posts. You will find related posts section under the main Sections menu of the blog admin area.
Seeking blog promotion and popularity I had to look for a nice plugin that would allow submission of the article to social networks on the fly. I might have tested around 10 plugins before I found and fall in love with Sociofluid. This plugin adds keen social network icons below the post that get bigger on roll-over. SocioFluid settings can be found under the main Sections menu of the blog admin area. There are 20 bookmarking site you can choose from (including my favorite Twitter, Digg, Facebook and Stumble) and you can also choose from the several icons sizes. You can define whether to display SocioFluid Bar for posts in home page or browse pages, to show it on the top of the page or after the article, whether the icons should open in the new window or not.
Dean’s Permalinks Migration plugin helped me to stay on board once I decided to update the URLs structure of the links on my blog to more friendly ones. I’m sure all of us do this from time to time having read some cool articles about SEO friendliness or deciding to test this or that option and to test the results. When your articles have been indexed by search engines and there are other websites linking to you, it’s vital not to lose this audience. What Permalinks Migration plugin does is it changes your permalink structure without breaking the old links to your website. The settings are quite simple and understandable. Once you have updated the permalinks structure in the General settings section just enter the old permalink structure and the plugin will be automatically sending visitors from the old urls to the new ones.
The reason why I needed the banner plugin is that I wanted to convert traffic from the blog into product purchases from the main website. I wanted to add the product pics, have them in rotation and link all of them to according product pages. If compared to the other multiple banner plugins I have tested, Banner Plugin doesn’t have many options like conversion and visitors tracking, multiple campaigns with multiple banners, deducting the cost per click from the deposit etc. But it’s extremely easy to work with, you don’t have to go to the blog code to update a single thing and it’s widgets supported. That means that having uploaded and activated the plugins you just add the pics and the links, save the settings and then simply drag and drop the banner widget into the sidebar. A perfect solution if the simple banner is enough for your needs.
All in one SEO Pack plugin is meant for advanced blog owners and allows to enhance your blog in terms of search engines friendliness. You may skip this one if you’re not into SEO yet as this one requires some basic SEO knowledge. One of the things that I like is that there’s a direct link to options configuration panel right from the plugins section and you don’t have to dive into the settings and check where they could have been added. All in One SEO Pack allows to set the titles structure of blog pages, use noindex attributes for the sections you’d like to close from the search engines and set meta title and meta description for the blog main page without going into the blog code.
Summing this up, I’d like to say that this is definitely not a full list of nice plugins and that I might need more in the future depending on the goals I set. But the factor that plays the most important role for me and makes me test tens of plugins is the simplicity. Since I’m not a programmer I always look for simple solutions that won’t require much of my time and where I wouldn’t have to go into the blog source code and perform significant changes. I hope this article will be useful even for those bloggers who have been working with WordPress for some time by now and will save you some time.