Plugins are a GREAT way to enhance you’re WordPress website.
The are easy to install and easy to use. But there are THOUSANDS of them out there, developed by companies and individuals, with not a ton of support (mainly just open source support). WordPress has their own, Jetpack, which I HIGHLY SUGGEST you install on your blog. You need to register with wordpress.com and activate it with your wordpress ID. It gives you TONS of helpful add-ons, like contact forms, subscription, analytics, easy galleries and more. I chose not to include it as a plugin in the list because it has become so widely used when you install wordpress now.
Here’s a list of the top 5 plugins I can’t live without as a WordPress blogger and designer.
This is the ultimate SEO plugin. When you install this plugin it adds fields below your posts and pages allowing you to add SEO meta data. It also gives you full control over the SEO settings of your website. Another great feature of this plugin is the SEO analysis. It reviews your posts and pages and suggests ways you can improve their SEO. WordPress SEO also automatically generates a sitemap of your website and pings google with the update. This truly makes optimizing on-page content EASY.
This is what it looks like below your post or page:
Allows you to display a list of related entries on your site for each post. It even supports thumbnails. This is a great benefit to both the viewer for user experience as well as for the website’s SEO. It allows the googlebot to find older content, easier. You can even display related posts in RSS feeds with custom display options.
This is an example of how you can make your related posts look at the end of a post:
This plugin helps with the cache of your website. For the normal user, you would never know how much this really help. What Total cache does is clear your cache after making changes to posts, images, plugins, pages… Every change is recorded and stored and that takes up space and slows down your website. W3 Total Cache installs a button “Performance” on your top bar, allowing you to clear your cache with one click. For larger blogs, THIS WILL REALLY SPEED UP YOUR SITE! There are more features and good support once you install the plugin as well.
It’s not just the name of the program, but also the plugin. This one is simply and necessary and the easiest way to install Google Analytics on your blog. There are a ton of plugins that do this, but I have the most success with the seamless use of Kevin Sylvestre’s Version. Jetpack offers limited analytics, which are awesome for just at a glance, but to take you’re blog to the next level, you’ll need to use google for your analytics program.
This is another plugin to make your life designing a blog much easier. When you are using galleries and images in wordpress, it automatically generates a thumbnail to a set size. YOU CAN CHANGE THE THUMBNAIL SIZE. But WordPress will not go back to older images and “regenerate” your thumbnails to the new size. That’s where this plugin comes in handy. It installs an option to manually regenerate new thumbnails.
These are by no means the only plugins out there. There are tons of other great ones, all serving different purposes. This list is the basics I install on all my sites, as soon as I get them running. I think they are essential to the ease and success of the WordPress content management system. Hope this was helpful for all you new WordPress bloggers out there. If you want to know about WordPress and how to use it, contact me about WordPress Coaching for Bloggers.