It’s no secret that I like WordPress – In addition to beng one of the easiest ways to make a website or blog, it’s easily EXTENSIBLE. When I say extensible, I’m referring to the fact that it’s easy to add functionality. There are tons of cool plugins that add some awesome functionality to your pages. With most, all you have to do is activate the plugin and it will have added some functionality to your site!
I should also note that ALL of these are WordPress plugins I am using on this site! and yes, I am only using free versions.
1. WordPress SEO by Youst
Search engine listings area longer term strategy, but something you should be doing on your blog 🙂 This not only does the optimization, but makes it easy to update the SEO title and description (what actually shows up in a search engine) and reminds you all the places where you need your “focus keyword.” If you’re new to SEO, this does a lot for you and at the bottom of every post, you get a very simple interface to get it right. Oh, and my favorite part, it also will create the XML sitemaps that search engines use. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
2. WordPress Backup to Dropbox
I use a free dropbox account to easily have files replicated and shared on my laptop and desktop – but this WordPress plugin is nice enough to keep a bacnkup of your entire wordpress site. Like all backups, hopefully uo’ll never need it – but you’ll be glad to have it if you ever do! http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-backup-to-dropbox/
3. Google Analyticator
If you have not already, go get a free Google Analytics account!!! The most important thing you can do is track the statistics of your website. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not – plus get an idea where your traffic is coming from (is it from Facebook? Twitter? A search engine?) It’s amazing how many people don’t look at the traffic they get on their site. I think it’s because you would need to copy and paste the Google code into EVERY page. This tool connects it to your website and Google Analytics account.
4. WP Click Tracker
I track links for everything. It’s good to see what people are clicking on and how often. It’s also great to know WHERE people are more likely to click. A great use for authors is your “buy links” for your book. It can give you a good idea how many people are going to Amazon, BN, ITunes, Smashwords, or elsewhere from the links on your page! Yes, I like data and you can dig this same information out of Google Analytics. The nice thing about this is that you get a lot of data – right in your dashboard of your WordPress site.
5. WP Socializer
You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to share posts – this adds the sharing buttons above and below your posts…and a nice floating bar on the side. You get to pick which social networks and where you want to include them. Want a different look? it has different templates with larger and smaller sharing buttons depending on the design of your site. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-socializer/
6. Pretty Link Lite
Pretty link lets me make easy links that are both trackable and easy to change. Let’s say that the Amazon link to your book is some long, hard to remember path (it’s even longer if you use an affiliate ID for many sites) – like this example (one of my wife’s books):
You might post a link to this in a few different places including several web pages, Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even other social networks. I can make a quick link like this:
It saves me the time of finding the link or remembering a tough url. I always know that the link is my domain name/ my book name! Also, if I need to change the link at some point, I can change it in the plugin and it works for everywhere I have used the link! http://wordpress.org/plugins/pretty-link/
7. Broken Link Checker
This plugin rocks!!! It periodically checks EVERY link on your site. You’ll be amazed that sometimes a link gets changed, redirected, or just mistyped. This will save you a huge headache of figuring it out yourself! Instead, you’ll get an email if a broken link gets detected. You don’t even need to find the broken link in the page! In the plugin, you get a list of broken links and can update it there across multiple pages. Very powerful time saver! http://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/
I’d like to say that there aren’t any bad people on the Internet…but almost every public site has multiple hack attempts. They run programs looking for weakness and trying to exploit them. This plugin stops automated attacks. Just look at how many attacks they’ve stopped on my site:
9. WP Hashcash
I hate spam and I’m sure you do to. The built in comment system in Facebook uses a specific post method to post a comment. Without going into too much detail, spammers have programs that directly call the command. This plugin can tell how the command is getting called and with good certainty if it is getting called programmatically. This will make 90% of the spam go away and the best part is that users will not see any change – that’s right no CAPTCHA box or any difference. It just filters out people not viewing/loading the page 🙂 It won’t get all of them, but it really will get rid of most! If you get 20 spam messages a day – it will immediately drop to 1 or 2! By default, it will drop these messages into the spam folder, but you can set it to delete after you get a feel for how it works. BTW, I’ve used this plugin for over 2 years and have never had to retrieve a comment from the spam folder. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-hashcash-extended/
10. WP Touch
We used to only need to worry about how our site looked on a computer – but a good amount of traffic views our site using a mobile device! looking at my own Google Analytics report, approximately 25% of my traffic is viewed on an iPhone or Android. This plugin makes your site mobile friendly – so well worth installing! http://wordpress.org/plugins/wptouch/