I have 3 different blogs (1, 2, 3) that are powered by WordPress, which is without a doubt the best blogging platform out there. The good thing with WordPress is that it is open source, which means anyone can create plugins to improve WordPress’ backend to fit one’s needs.
There are 12 plugins that I find extremely useful and I would like to share them with you.
Akismet used to be a plugin you had to install once WordPress was set up. It now automatically comes with WordPress. Unless you have an old version of WP (2.1 and older), this plugin is already installed.
Akismet is a smart spam filter. Every time someone comments on one of your posts, Akismet checks its database to see if the commentor might be spam. How does it know it’s spam? Simply because WP users make it smarter by telling Akismet what is spam and what is not. Let’s say I receive a comment from someone and I realize it is spam. I will click “spam” and Akismet will put it in its database of spam. Now next time this spammer comments on someone else’s WP blog, Akismet will check its database and block the comment automatically.
One thing I am not sure of is how many times a commentor has to be checked as “spam” before Akismet adds it to its database. If you know, please let me know.
One thing WP lacks is a contact form, should someone want to be in touch with you. This plugin is a simple way to add a contact form to any page or post by simply dropping [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] anywhere in the post or page.
The form is highly customizable and usually integrates perfectly with your CSS. You can choose what email address you want to send the form to, customize the messages, and much more.
This plugin will display related posts at the bottom of each post to give more exposure to you other posts. For example, if someone is reading a post on your blog about the new iPhone 3G, you can set the plugin to show any number of related posts. The reader may then see another posts about the subject and go read it.
You can choose how many posts you want to display, add basic HTML code before and after the post title.
WP lets you choose how many posts you want to display per page. The problem is you can only choose a number that is reflected on all pages. In my case, I want certain pages to show 100 posts (ie. my archives pages that are just links to the posts, without any excerpt), and I want other to show only 10. DiffPostsPerPage will do just that in a very easy way.
This plugin adds a checkbox to your comment form so that reader can opt in receiving follow up comments. Easy set-up and provides additional incentives to read your blog to your visitors.
This is the one plugin you want to use to improve your blog’s SEO. WP is pretty flexible but doesn’t allow you to give unique meta descriptions for individual categories, pages, and posts. All In One SEO does all this and more.
Among others, it will let you choose your pages, categories, posts’ title, description, and keywords. It also autogenerates meta descriptions by using the first few words of your post or page. Lastly, you can have “noindex” and the like generated for archives, categories, and tag pages if you seem to have trouble with duplicate content.
If you’re a little into SEO, you know that providing Google with a good and updated XML sitemap is very important. Problem is you can’t manually keep track of all these posts you’re creating and update your sitemap regularly.
First, XML-Sitemap will build the sitemap in a normal XML file and in a gzipped file should you want to. It will upload the sitemap to your server. If set properly, the plugin will also ping Yahoo, Google, and MSN automatically to let them know your sitemap has been updated.
XML-Sitemap lets you choose what pages you want to include in the sitemap, set your changes frequencies and pages priorities.
It is a powerful tool that will considerably help you. Thanks to this plugin, Google crawls my iPhone site several times a day and indexes pages sometimes within minutes of being posted!
By default, when someone leaves a comment on your blog and gives his URL, WP adds a “no-follow” tag to this URL. This means that when GoogleBot comes crawl your page, it’s going to see this link but it will not follow it, thus not giving SEO juice to the website.
Why am I using a “do-follow” tag? For one big reason… By being a “do-follow blog”, my blog is added on a bunch of websites and blogs. This brings many back links to my site. The downside is that every once in a while I have a spam comment. In most cases, those are caught by Akismet but I sometimes have to delete them manually. All in all, this plugin is very beneficial to my blog.
This plugin creates a new theme for your blog that is specifically designed to fit the iPhone screen. Now every time someone accesses your blog from an iPhone, the plugin will switch your current theme to this iPhone theme, making it easy for your reader to navigate your blog without having to zoom in and out all the time.
WP recently released its own native iPhone application but I find it very limited in what you can do with it. WPhone will create an iPhone-friendly version of your admin panel and offer you all the features of WP. It is a great tool to update, edit or delete posts on the go.
The name says it all…. Twitter Updater will automatically update your Twitter status every time a post is created, edited, or published. You are able to customize what you want to send and how you want to send it. I set mine to only update Twitter when I add a new post and to Tweet the title of the post as well as a link to it. If too longs, links will automatically be shortened by tinyURL.
This plugin is great to display your Flickr images on your site. You can set it to display your full photostream, a group, a set, or tags.
You can display up to 20 images. Just add <?php get_flickrRSS(); ?>anywhere in your template to instantly display your Flick feed.