Continuing from our previous article, let’s take a look at how to further improve your already awesome WordPress blog. With this, I meant installing plugins. Before you wave this idea away and insist that you don’t need any plugins, check out WordPress’ Plugin Directory. With over 19,000 plugins available and being downloaded more than 300,000,000 times, you know that you are going to lose out if you ignore them!
Plugins are software that add specific abilities to applications, from backups to scanning threats to software management. But which plugins do your blog need and which to choose from? That is what I plan to share with you today. Here are some of the recommended WordPress plugins that you will find helpful when you start a new blog.
Backup and Restore
While most reputable hosting providers like Bluehost, will offer complimentary backups, usually on weekly basis, they do not guarantee these backups. Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is essential that you manage your own backup too. This plugin helps generate automatic and customized backups and storing them. These backups can then be restored to your blog or a new location.
- Subscribe to Comments
Like the name suggest, this plugin gives your commentators the choice to sign-up for subsequent comments notification via email. This way, your readers are automatically informed of your responses and you can maintain a healthy conversation with your readers. This plugin even allows your readers to manage their subscription functions eg change their email addresses.
There’s an increasing number of people surfing with mobile devices. One major complaint is how the website seems distorted when viewed on a phone or a tablet. MobilePress plugin improves your mobile visitors surfing experiences. It allows you to customize mobile themes, track analytics and include ads. On top of that, it is also SEO enabled.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress, you will realized that there are certain features that are not available compared to if you hosted at WordPress.org. With this plugin, you are able to include advanced features such as have access to your detailed website statistics, easily embed media from popular sites like YouTube, Digg, and Vimeo, use WP.me URL shortener, and many more!
- W3 Total Cache
Reduce loading time, improve site performance by 10 times and saving your bandwidth by up to 80%. Sounds awesome? Of course it does and this plugin proudly claims to do these and more.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
This plugin displays a list of posts that are related to the current entry. There are quite a number of features that you can customize eg how your posts are displayed, related post search algorithm (eg relevant titles, contents and tags) and which categories to be disallowed.
With these lists, your visitors are encouraged to click on these related posts and hence, reduce bounce rate, and increase pageviews!
This spam-filtering plugin is pre-installed in your WordPress site. It attempts to check your comments for spam. But to activate it, you will need to register with WordPress.com and obtain an API key. This key is free for personal blogs though commercial blogs will need to apply for a paid API key.
- All in One SEO Pack
This is a multi-functional WordPress SEO plugin. Some of the things it does include SEO integration for WordPress e-commerce sites, and automatically optimizes your post titles for search engines. The latter allows you to add your own post’s title and description for search engines’ indexing, instead of the default post title and your post’s first few words. It is flexible enough to suit both beginners as well as advanced users.
- Google XML Sitemap
When you start a new blog, you would want it to be indexed by search engines as quickly as possible. One way is to install the Google XML Sitemap plugin. It will create an XML sitemap that enables search engines’ crawlers to crawl to your blog more efficiently. And when you publish new posts, this plugin will also notify the search engines.
As you progress further, you would be able to discover more and more WordPress plugins that are helpful and will take your blogging experience to a different level. Some, you will find, are also specifically designed for specific blogs eg e-commerce and group writing project. Until then, check out the list above and feel free to leave your thoughts below.