Top 10 WordPress plugins — Part Two
In part two of our Top 10 plugins for WordPress Ralph Averbuch looks at five more tools that can help lighten the load for the budding blogger or small business.
In my previous blog I covered a range of tools which have helped us achieve our objectives via our WordPress-driven website. In this second part we’ll look at another five handy tools that make life that little bit easier.
One little word of warning (again). Multiple plugins + a fussy theme can lead to all sorts of interesting incompatibility issues. I use a last-in, first-out principle if a plugin just refuses to play nice or causes anything else to act oddly. So while these 10 plugins all work for me and in combination on the ENNclick site, this may not be the case with a different WordPress theme. You’ve been warned!…
6. Blubrry PowerPress Media Plugin
To its credit today’s WordPress is a good bit more media friendly than in the past. Yet it doesn’t provide a comprehensive set of podcasting tools to make the act of adding audio or video to posts or pages any easier. Blubrry’s PowerPress Media Plugin fills that void, providing a handy set of tools to allow you to update various podcast directories, including iTunes. It also offers a host of other tools, such as ready-to-go embeddable players.
All of this can then be controlled from the main edit page, making the act of adding audiovisual content that little bit more straightforward.
7. Akismet Comment and Trackback Spam Plugin
You know when you first login to your admin screen chances are you’ll be faced with a module from Akismet. For many people, Akismet is a real must-have as it can greatly reduce the comment and trackback spam you inevitably get on your site. If the odd one does get through, just mark it as “spam” on the moderation screen and Akismet will learn to spot it in future.
The one downside with this plugin is that it’s not free for commercial businesses. Personal blogs can use the plugin for free or make a voluntary conribution. However, at time of writing a small business will pay the equivalent of USD5 per month.
Yet, with spam a huge time-sink for any successful and/or popular website, adding this plugin may be worth every penny.
8. Microkid’s Related Posts
If you regularly update content on your site (and you should for SEO purposes) over time you’ll begin to realise that you have a wealth of information in the form of previous posts which are relevant to the content you’re about to publish.
You could manually search for past posts and add links to them from the bottom of your current article. But with this plugin you don’t have to.
With Microkid you simply search for relevant keywords and it serves up suggested posts for you to select as a handy ‘related content’ segment to your new update.
This plugin seems very simple yet, in truth, it’s hugely powerful, encouraging people to explore past content that otherwise would be gathering digital dust, and in doing so, staying that little bit longer on your site.
No doubt you’ve read many an article heralding the impending demise of email. Don’t bet on it! Email remains, by far, one of the most effective ways to reach people you want to maintain contact with.
Subscribe2 allows you to add an email sign-up feature to any WordPress-powered website, which ensures you capture the email contact details of anyone interested in being updated about new content you post to the site. This is an absolute must-have on any website. You do not want to miss the opportunity of capturing a person’s personal contact address in order to establish a regular line of communication for the future. It’s a fundamental of permission marketing.
Subscribe2 also allows you to specify what type of website update you want to send out your email alerts for, and enables you to personalise these email messages.
Subscribe2 isn’t the only plugin allowing you to capture emails from site visitors but it’s one of the simplest to set up and, to my mind, one of the best.
10. Google Analytics Dashboard
If you do a little research on what you can do to personalise the main dashboard in WordPress you’ll discover that you can move around the various modules as well as collapse or remove them. You can also add new ones.
The Google Analytics Dashboard is a case in point. It kind of sells itself in the name. It allows you to preview key analytics in your dashboard, without having to leave the site or open up a new browser tab to visit your Google Analytics account.
Yes it’s fantastic being able to delve into the minutiae of data about who clicked what, when and how long they stayed on the site, or even what page was the last they saw before leaving… etcetera, etcetera. But Google Analytics can overwhelm with granular data; in truth most of the time what you’ll want is a quick overview of how your site is trending and what pages or posts are getting traction with site visitors.
That’s why this simple dashboard module is an absolute must. In our case it’s positioned so it appears above all other dashboard data.
Q. What are your favourite WordPress plugins? I’m always looking for good ones to join my Top Ten – leave a comment below.
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