8 WordPress Plugins You Should Consider for Your Blog
You can find thousands of blog posts out in the web covering the best WordPress plugins. Most of these articles will cover the must-have plugins that most experienced WordPress users would already know of. Yes, I do love the core plugins, especially the ones that make your comments more social or that enhance tweets, shares, etc.
This post is aimed at those of you who enjoy trying out new things on your own before calling your developer for the final touches. I will walk you through a personal selection of plugins that complement those core ones you already use. Hopefully some of these below may become part of your must-haves.
1. # Protect your blog from your mistakes with WP Security Scan:
Are you a non-technical user that works away installing plugins, modifying your WordPress Theme or edits WordPress files? Sometimes we achieve great results and are very happy about it but may be jeopardizing our WP security.
This is a very useful plugin that Scans your WordPress installation for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions (and helps us learn from our mistakes).
Use it at least every time you alter your blog files or install new plugins.
2. # Invite readers to explore your blog further with “Yet Another Related Posts Plugin“
This plugin is responsible for those intelligent suggestions at the end of a blog post saying things like “If you enjoyed this article you might as well read…” Among the advantages, it can
dramatically increase the pages visits and time readers spend on your blog.
3. # Greet your visitors with a special message with Referrer detector:
This plugin allows you to display a special message for your visitors depending on which site sent them your way (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Twitter, etc). You can then prompt users to take action experimenting with messages like “Subscribe to our feed” or similar.
4. # Improve your pages loading time with WP Minify:
Again, if you are a non technical user, you may find that installing plenty of plugins may affect your page speed. Among other reasons, this may have to do with the amount of scripts present in your pages.
This plugin grabs those scripts and presents them in an organized way to improve loading time. Important: Consult your developer before trying this out. She may advice against it or may find it to be a gem. Please also explore WP-Cache in conjunction.
5. # Tell Google and users that a url has changed with “Redirection“
If you have had more than one blog or site or have been involved in re-developing a website you will know that url structures may have to change or content has to be moved from one place to another.
Please stay with me; it also affects your link building efforts so it’s important.
This plugin allows you to “tell a browser” that one url has moved from one place to another (technically called a “301 redirect”). To give you an example I recently spotted a competitor who redeveloped their blog. Originally it was located at www.competitorexample.com/blog and now they have all their articles on the very top level (www.competitorexample.com). This means that if someone visits the old url, they find nothing (technically called a 404 error).
Why is this important? Well, if you had a bunch of nice links pointing to that old /blog url like my competitor did, then your SEO will definitely suffer. You need to tell Google that this important url which was making you rank well has now moved to a new place. This plugin does that for you and you don’t need technical skills 🙂
6. # Take multilingual blogging to the next level with qTranslate
I have researched a lot for clients regarding the best way to have a multilingual blog or website. This plugin is by far the best solution for WordPress I have found. You will need help from your developer to adjust settings in the front end of your blog.
Important: These plugins may cause conflicts with other existing ones in use in your blog (e.g. All in one SEO vs. qTranslate Meta). It is definitely worth your time and money to get help from your developer on this type of move. This is actually true for every plugin you try out so where possible have a dummy “staging” installation of your blog to test new things.
7. # Manage editorial with Peter’s Collaboration e-mails & post notes plus the WP editorial calendar:
When used together, these three plugins can really ease the feedback process for a blogger and the editorial efforts. The collaboration emails and post notes will allow for communication back and forth directly through WordPress across the different revision stages, while also sending each party e-mail notifications.
All the history gets recorded on the post (back end). This way, if there is more than one collaborator on the editorial side, she can pick up where someone else left and continue the workflow towards publishing.
We are still testing these plugins over at Bloggertone because of it being a Multiblog installation with particular needs.
If you have a regular WordPress installation though, chances are that your needs will be easier to match and you will thrive with this trio.
8. # Finally, quickly password protect your blog with “Password Protect Plugin for WordPress“
This plugin does what it says it does. When activated, it will prevent content from displaying and require users to log in in order to view further. If you don’t have a separate staging installation where you test things, it means that every now and then you try out new plugins or make changes in the live website.
I have used this plugin for those “panic minutes” when you just need the world to wait a little bit while you tidy things up your end.
Have you tried any of these plugins? What others can you recommend? Leave your comments below.