One of the reason so many bloggers flock to WordPress has to do with the number of great plugins available to help them customize the experience for their readers. There are plugins to help make your blog more spiderable to the search engines, plugins that foster community building, those that make media integration and breeze and lots more.
Here are some of my personal favorite WordPress plugins that I think bloggers and small business owners can benefit from.
Feel free to share some of your personal favorites below!
- Akismet: If you’re using WordPress, then you probably already know about Akismet. It does a pretty good job of detecting spam comments and holds them in a moderation cue for you to approve or delete on your own time. Also neat is that it’s designed to “learn” what is or is not spam based on what you’ve told it in the past. So, the more you use it, the more effective it becomes. Can’t ask for much more than that.
- All-in-One SEO Pack – The Ultimate SEO WordPress plugin, allowing you to easily set custom titles for posts, pages, categories, archives, tags and searches. You can also designate noindex for duplicate content areas like archives, tags and categories reducing potential canonical issues in the search engines.
- Google XML Sitemaps -Creating an XML Sitemap can be very technical process, but with the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, you just activate it and customize the settings. Keep in mind that if you’ve signed up with Google Webmaster Central and Bing’s Webmaster Center tools, you can get notified of any crawl issues they’re experiencing.
- Headspace2: Headspace makes tagging and managing your meta data much more streamlined. Once activated, you can use Headspace to “suggest” tags for a particular post, which are generated from the content of that post or through Yahoo suggestions (you decide). You can also mass edit meta data, as well.
- Robots META: Use Robots META to prevent the search engines from indexing extraneous or duplicate content areas like your search results, feeds, login and admin pages, privacy pages, archives and more. You can also use this plugin to easily validate your account with Google Webmaster Central and Yahoo Site Explorer.
- CformsII: Highly customizable form builder plugin that allows you to create custom contact forms for specific pages on your site. Setup auto-responders, tell-a-friend functionality, file attachments and comprehensive form tracking. It offers very simple customization and cloning.
- WP Super Cache: Are you expecting a lot of people to visit your site? Use WP Super Cache to reduce potential problems with your host and survive a flood of traffic without the site going down! The plugin works by serving HTML versions of a page to visitors versus the heavier, PHP scripts. If you plan on being “social” this is a must-have.
- All-in-One Video Pack – All-in-One Video Pack includes every functionality you might need for video and rich-media, including the ability to upload/ record/import videos directly to your post, edit and remix content with an online video editor, enable video responses, manage and track your video content, create playlists, etc.
- Widget Locationize: Use Widget Locationize to define where your widgets should be displayed. Assign widgets by tag, category, single pages and exclusions of those.
- WordPress Thread Comment: If your blog receives a lot of comments, it can be overwhelming for users to follow a conversation. With threaded comments, they can more easily see who responded to whom without having to sort through dozens of unrelated comments.
- Comment Redirect: This plugin gives your first time visitors a unique experience by redirecting them to a page on your site (maybe a newsletter sign-up, upcoming events or even a custom page designed just for your first time visitors). Make them feel welcome and they’re more likely to visit in the future.
- Sociable: Sociable is the power plugin for social media integration. Use it to add social buttons to the bottom of your posts making it easier for users to share or bookmark your content. Select which social networks your users are most likely to be a member of and embed it at the bottom of your posts or in the template of your site,
- Related Posts: It’s important to cross-link related content on your site for both users and the search engines. Use related posts to generate a list of similar posts based on the content of that specific post. This will be automatically generated each time you publish a new post and you choose the number of posts to display.
- Subscribe to Comments: Allows commenters on your blog to subscribe to comments via email so that they’re notified that the conversation is continuing.
- What Would Seth Godin Do: Allows you to welcome new visitors to your site and encourage them to sign up for your RSS feed or newsletter. A nice way to personalize your site for new eyes. (One of my personal favorites for community building.)
There are a TON of great plugins for the WordPress platform, but these are some that I’ve found to be extremely valuable. Definitely check out the plugin directory for additional ones or share your own personal favs in the comments.