When I started my most recent blog, I searched the web for high-quality WordPress plugins to install. After a lot of trial-and-error, I settled on ten well-made plugins that increased my blog’s traffic and readability. Although some of these plugins are well-known, most of them are relatively unknown. All of them, however, should be installed on every WordPress blog.
Akismet – Although it is already installed when you download WordPress, you will need to activate it. This plugin’s goal is simple – stop all spam. Its main advantage over other spam stopping programs? It actually works…well mostly. Because it aggregates information from all users, this program stops nearly all spam. However, occasionally it will also block legitimate comments and file them as spam.
All in One SEO Pack – This plugin should be added as soon as you want traffic. Really. Easy to use, it optimizes you blog’s meta data for search engine use. The All in One SEO Pack can increase you search engine traffic almost instantly. For example, I installed this plugin the day that I started my blog, and the same day my blog was indexed by Google.
Contact Form 7 – After having trouble getting another contact form to work, I found Contact Form 7. Easy to setup, I used it to get my contact page up and running in less than an hour. While this plugin has plenty of varied features, it is also very simple. So far, I have not had any trouble with spam, but it will be interesting to see as time goes on how it handles spam emails.
FeedBurner FeedSmith – If you want to see how many subscribers you really have, get Feed Smith. This plugin makes Feedburner your auto-discovered feed. If you have not been using this plugin in the past, you will be amazed by the jump in “reader numbers”. In reality, this plugin will create new readers, but it will make your Feedburner stats more accurate.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Using this plugin encourages your readers to continue reading after they finish one post. Many times here on ProBlogger, I have read more articles after seeing an intriguing title in the “related posts” section. This plugin is easy to set up, but it does have some useful options. For example, you can display the titles only, or you can show the titles and a short excerpt. This plugin will start working well after you have published ten or so posts. If you try to use it too early, there will be not related posts for it to link to!
Thank Me Later – Do you want to invite one-time commentators back? Install Thank Me Later. This plugin will automatically thank your commentators via email a set amount of time after they comment. You decide what to write and when to write it. (It is best to thank them a day after they visit.) Worried about annoying frequent commentators? You can easily set the plugin to only email an individual commentator once.
WP Ajax Edit Comments – If you have commented on TwiTip, Darren’s other blog, you probably noticed the “Edit Your Comment” button. The WP Ajax Edit Comments plugin creates that button. In addition, it will count down how much time is left before the comment become permanent. For your readers, therefore, this plugin is useful, but what does it do for you, the blogger. If you are signed in, this plugin gives you the option to “de-link”, delete, or edit a comment.
Subscribe To Comments – This plugin helps engage your readers in commenting discussions. How many times have you asked a question on a blog, left, and never checked back for the answer? If you install Subscribe To Comments, your readers will not have to suffer the same difficulty. By checking the “Subscribe to Comments” box when they submit a comment, your commentators will receive emails when new comments are posted on that particular post.
Redirection – Most likely, you will not use this plugin immediately, but you probably will find it useful after your blog has been running for a while. This plugin creates and manages nifty little 301 redirections. Imagine you wrote a guest post, but the link back to your own site linked to a nonexistent page! With this plugin, you can easily redirect all the traffic from the wrong page to the correct page. It is important to install this before you need it, because when you need it you will probably want to create a redirection as fast as possible to save your traffic.
MobilePress – Is your blog optimised for mobile phone viewing? Most likely not. Mobile optimization gives your blog an important advantage over your competion. By installing MobilePress, you can quickly and easily optimize your blog for your mobile viewers. For example, in mobile web searches your blog will have a little “Mobile Friendly” icon next to it, making your blog stand out. This plugin also creates a seperate mobile theme for your blog that is automatically displayed on mobile devices. Overall, this plugin will build traffic by making mobile users feel more welcome at your blog. Obviously, these ten plugins are only a beginning. What other plugins have you found useful?