WordPress is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day and new release. Perhaps even more popular than WordPress itself, are the plugins you can use to customize your WordPress platform installed on your domain. For more information on WordPress, check out Thord Daniel Hedengren’s article on Things to Consider before using WordPress as a CMS.
There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins available for use on your blog or WordPress hosted site. Not all plugins will work with each release of WordPress, and these plugins are usually not endorsed by WordPress because anyone with programming knowledge can create them. With this in mind, let us take a look at the top 10 WordPress plugins for site productivity.
This is a new plugin compatible with WordPress versions 2.2 and above. Installing this plugin will provide you with real-time visitor statistics to help you determine how well your site is doing. There is a customizable sidebar widget for you to show your statistics to your viewers. It aims not to provide daily, weekly, or monthly summary stats as some other analytics plug-ins do, but to show you live actions of your visitors as they on the site, while still providing you with information on keywords, hostname, and other stats like other programs. Use it in conjunction with an anti-spam plugin for an even greater edge, or use it as a standalone.
In order for your blog comments to work to your full advantage in terms of search engine ranking gains, the anchor text associated with the link to your website should be keywords you want to rank for, right? We can thank spammers for creating the no-follow fiasco—and the fact is, many blog owners will spam a comment which uses keywords as the name of the person leaving the comment. The Keyword Luv plug-in will help fellow commentators by allowing them to place both their name and keyword anchor text on the link—ensuring a fight against spam while saying thanks for commenting. To use the plug-in effectively, your blog should also have the
nofollow code removed in order for this plugin to function correctly. You can try the NoFollow Free plug-in to ensure it works. Download the file, unzip to the
/wp-content/plugins directory of your site, and manage your plug-ins from your dashboard. When a user comments on your blog all they need to do is enter their name like this: name@keywordphrase. The result will translate to this: John from ABC123 says “Great site!” Where ABC123 would be the link to his site—the keyword phrase he chose.
Help out fellow commenters by using this plug-in to fetch the most recent blog post from their blog. It will display at the bottom of their comment, and encourage participation in comment campaigns as it will help earn traffic all around. As with its aforementioned counterpart, CommentLuv works with Do-Follow blogs. This plugin works with WP versions 2.5 or higher, and is compatible up to the current WP version 2.6.2.
Need some extra help making sure your content is search engine friendly? There are several SEO plug-ins available for use with WordPress, but this one is great because it lets you customize the important fields just a bit more to push your optimization efforts a little higher. It allows you to change the meta title to include more keywords while still leaving your post title as you wish, make use of a post excerpt rather than posted on information in the meta description that displays with your link on a search engine result page, generate keywords from your categories, and combats duplicate content with a “no-index” feature. Download and install the plugin on your host, and use the dashboard to activate and use the features. This plugin works with versions 1.5 and higher, with compatibility to 2.6.2.
To ensure your site stays up and running in the event of computer meltdown, this plugin automatically backs up the database where your posts and other data are stored for archival and restoration purposes. This plugin works with versions 2.0.3 and higher. Customize your settings and data backup frequencies from within the plugin management dashboard.
Need to sell products within your WordPress hosted site or blog? This simplifies the entire process for admin and consumer, from catalog to shopping cart and payment processing. This plugin requires at least version 2.0.2. Simply download and install the plug-in to the appropriate directory and activate from within the dashboard, where customization also takes place.
Social bookmarking is a major component of web traffic, so why not give your readers motivation to submit your entries to various sites? The likelihood of submissions will increase if the ability is there in front of the user, as opposed to hoping that he or she will take the time to manually do it. This plugin allows users to submit the post via AIM, MySpace, Facebook, and various others. To use ShareThis, start by customizing the look of your widget and register for tracking purposes. This can be used with version 1.5 or higher, but is only compatible up to 2.6.
Want a way to link other relevant posts to your new ones without having to find them do it manually for each post? The WordPress Related Posts plug-in is what you are looking for. By monitoring the tags you use for each post, the plug-in pulls data from the MySQL database where your posts are stored, and then displays the appropriate list of related posts on your page. To use this plugin, download the file, unzip it to the
/wp-content/plugins directory, and then place the following command in your template code:
<?php wp_related_posts(); ?> To change the output of the plug-in, click Manage > Option > WordPress Related Posts. This plug-in requires at least WordPress version 2.3, and is compatible up to 2.6.2. Newer versions of WordPress have a separate plugin management area in the upper right of the dashboard.
Simplify the delivery of your podcasts with the Podcasting plug-in. Download and install the plug-in, and begin recording podcasts—making RSS feeds a breeze, with multiple feed support and multiple podcast support. Embed a player in any post to encourage your readers to listen, and edit your episodes with ease. This plug-in works on WordPress versions 2.5 and higher.
Twitter is an excellent way to notify followers of new blog posts, but it is easy to forget to post the tweet. This is where Twitter Tools comes to the rescue, fully integrating your blog and twitter account so as to automatically post a tweet to notify followers of a new blog post as soon as it publishes. This plugin may be used with WordPress 2.3 or higher.
This list represents only a small portion of the total amount of WordPress plugins out there available for your use. With this list, we have covered social networking, analytics, podcasting, SEO, site backup, e-commerce, and enhancement of user experience. Factoring in all of these things to your WordPress site will help you in the long run.