The best part of using WordPress to run your site is the sheer availability of plugins that will allow you to do almost anything. Borrowing heavily from the Apple model where Apps elevated the iPod into so much more than a portable personal music player, Plugins have transformed WordPress into much more than a simple blogging platform. Most of the widely available plugins are free – the upside for their creators is that their plugins provide keyword backlinks back to the creator’s site, which significantly enhances their profile with the Google and Bing Search Engines. Although there are nearly 24,000 plugins currently available on WordPress.org the following Plugins are ones that I use on each new site that I create. For me, finding a great new Plugin can be like finding buried treasure. Here are five plugins that I use on every one of my sites.
1) WordPress SEO by Yoast – Getting some love from the search engines will keep fresh traffic coming to your site. Understanding what these search engines are looking for can be difficult and the criteria seem to change every 18 months. This is where the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast comes in handy. There are 2 aspects of the plugin that I find extremely helpful. Firstly, a red/yellow/green stoplight indicator is shown in every single post, which tells the site administrator the degree of optimization (along with practical hints on how to achieve better results). Secondly, the plugin has a built in sitemap feature that updates Google and Bing on the site’s content.
2) Quick Cache – Having a fast site is not only important from your reader’s perspective but is also a factor in the site’s relative ranking on any of the major search engines. This plugin helps to speed up your site by snapping a photo at various intervals. When somebody tries to upload your site, they will be shown images of your content (as opposed to the actual content itself). This little trick saves time because the site does not need to re-render images or obtain third party feeds (such as a twitter feed) every time a page is viewed. There are several cache plugins available, but none (that I have tried) are as simple to use as Quick Cache. It does have all the bells and whistles of a more complicated cache program, however for the majority of bloggers, hitting a simple “on/off” button is about as much time they want to spend worrying about caching.
3) Wordfence Security – The default WordPress security feature has some well known deficiencies. Give yourself peace of mind and install the Wordfence Security plugin. There are 2 versions of this – free and premium. The free version is sufficient for most users and will lock your site down after a predetermined number of incorrect login attempts. The free version will also scan your site at regular intervals, and will alert you to malware and virus like activity.
4) Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – Have you ever been on a blog and read a terrific post, then where shown a list of related posts at the end of the article? This is YARPP. This plugin uses an algorithm to search for other posts within your site and will present a Top 5 list of similar content. The plugin is easy to configure and works right out of the box.
5) Tiny MCE Advanced – The word processing functionality within WordPress for bloggers writing articles is sub-standard. The Tiny MCE plugin provides much more control over the look and feel of the various posts. With this plugin, tables can be created and formatted, media can be inserted, text can be highlighted, and media can be embedded.
Ryan is passionate about helping new and experienced entrepreneurs earn money online. On his blog, you will find ethical tips and strategies on article writing, niche sites, and app development so that you can take control of your own financial destiny.