Check out my new guide for starting a blog to learn how to go about properly creating your own blog.
When you’re running a blot there is a lot to learn. If your blog is simply to share with family and friends, it’s easy enough. If you’re looking to make a real impact with your blog and possibly make some money, there’s a lot more to it.
To help fellow bloggers and those looking to create a blog, I’ve been writing this series about what I’ve learned about blogging and what I recommend doing. I’m not saying you have to follow my advice word for word, but there is bound to be some lessons you can take from it.
If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:
- Importance of Blog Statistics
- Google PageRank, Not Just About Links
- Blog Link Building – Not All Links Are Created Equal
- Optimizing Images For Your Blog
- With Blog Networking It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
- Importance of Blog Networking
- Advanced Keyword Strategy For Your Blog
- Effectively Using Keywords On Your Blog
- Optimal Blog Keyword Research for SEO
In my starting a blog guide I mentioned that I would be eventually writing a post about WordPress plugins. Rather than leave people waiting, I’ll stick to my word now. Plus it should help make that guide more complete.
Top 10 WordPress Plugins I Recommend
In my opinion the best thing about WordPress is all the great plugins available and all the extra functionality they can add to your blog. You are not at the mercy of WordPress to come out with new features. Instead countless programmers have been kind enough to create plugins, most of which are completely free.
When you start out, it can be difficult to know which plugins to install. It’s tough enough to know which extra functionality you should have and just as difficult to choose a suitable plugin for each purpose. So here are the plugins that I personally use and recommend:
- All in One SEO Pack: This is a crucial plugin that ensures your blog is more search engine friendly by making various changes to your blog structure. Now I’m sure a lot of the bloggers out there use a plugin called Yoast instead, but I find this one does everything I personally need. I suggest you compare the 2 to decide which one is right for you.
- CommentLuv: This plugin has limited benefits for the blog owner, but I find it is a nice way to give back to fellow bloggers who comment on your blog. This plugin links to each commenter’s latest blog post. Do be aware that this plugin does create extra work with removing broken links that develop over time.
- ELI’s Related Posts Footer Links and Widget: I have no idea if this is one of the better related posts plugins out there, but I find it serves its purpose quite well. To help your SEO, it helps to have solid internal linking to other pages on your blog. This plugin automates that and also encourages people to browse your blog more.
- Google XML Sitemaps: While search engines will find your new posts on their own easy enough, it is a good idea to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find all of your blog’s content. This plugin creates a XML format sitemap automatically. You can also submit this sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools to see if there are any potential problems that Google can detect.
- Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin: Unfortunately part of accepting comments on your blog is opening up your blog to every spam marketer out there. Some of those spammers are armed with automated software that finds blogs like yours to blast with spam comments. To combat this you should either use a Captcha plugin or this plugin which adds a check box to your comment form. A check box doesn’t sound like much defense, but it does manage to block 99% of automated software comments and doesn’t annoy real commenters.
- Revision Control: I think this plugin isn’t as well known as people don’t appreciate its benefits. Basically it prevents having your database cluttered up with every single revision of your posts. Think of how many times each of your posts is auto-saved or manually saved. All of those revisions just slow down your database. Since Google cares about how slow or fast your blog is, do what you can to speed it up.
- Secure WordPress: If any of you have ever had a blog or website hacked, you understand the importance of protecting yourself from hackers. This plugin changes various elements of your WordPress installation to make it more difficult for hackers to easily gain access to your blog. Trust me, you don’t want to be forced to deal with something like that after the fact.
- Socialize: This plugin provides the social sharing buttons at the bottom of my posts. While you don’t necessarily need to use this specific plugin, I find that this one works well and provides a fair amount of customization. You should use some kind of plugin to encourage people to share your content. Without such a plugin you end up missing out on some of those benefits.
- W3 Total Cache: This is another plugin that helps speed up your blog to keep Google and your visitors happy. There are numerous caching plugins out there, but I’ve heard this is one of the best ones. A caching plugin will create static versions of your pages which load quicker than dynamic pages that load content from your database.
- WP-DBManager: This may be the most important plugin on this list. When you’re building up a blog, the last thing you want is to lose all of your hard work. To prevent that from happening you can use a plugin like this one to automatically create backups of your blog. Then if you somehow mess up your blog, you have a backup copy that you can restore. Think of it as insurance against the worst case scenario.
While these are the plugins that I use and recommend, I can’t guarantee that they are the very best out there. New plugins are being created all the time and existing plugins are being improved upon.
So if you have any favorite plugins that I have not included in this list, I welcome you to mention them in the comments below along with why you recommend them. Thanks!