As many readers have probably figured out I use WordPress to power my website. The great thing about WordPress is the amount of plugins available through the extension on WordPress.com. While plugins are fantastic for adding more features and functionality to your blog site they can also have a negative side effect if you pile up to many. The list of plugins I’ve put together below are good to use for just about anyone looking to improve their WordPress blog site. Of course, there are many more plugins available but these will get you off to a solid start.
The Google Sitemap Generator is a plugin that will generate a fresh XML sitemap every time you update your wordpress content.
What is a Sitemap?
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
The All in One SEO Pack is an essential WordPress search engine optimization plugin that will help setup your blog so that search engines can drive traffic to your website based on the unique content of each page or post. Note: You will need to input the meta information on each page. If you are not quite sure how to configure the plugin you can check out this tutorial by Michael Pick on Tubetorial.com
The Possibly Related Recent Posts plugin is a great tool for hooking your readers into articles similar to what they are already reading. I have my possibly related links appear directly under articles so when they will be more likely to click them. The link list is automatically generated on the fly by recency and the categories the current post is in. Does not use tags.
The CForms II plugin makes it easy to create contact forms for your blog. The plugin has excellent styling capabilities so that you can create a form that matches your blog’s design.
Note: This is a very nice plugin with a lot of customization options, however, I did have issues at one point with the ajax compatibility which made the forms malfunction. Not sure if it was perhaps a bug or what. I kept getting the “One moment please…” message. The problem was resolved by disabling ajax on each individual form’s settings. Quick fix. I will continue to use CForms II unless I can find something better. At that point I will edit this post.
Many bloggers will use comment systems that function only within their own blog site. I’m not opposed to it but I like the Disqus Commenting system because of the versatility is provides for members of the Disqus community. Rather than forcing readers to sign up for a brand new account at every blog, Disqus allows its users to maintain one account which can be used to comment on any blog that uses Disqus. Disqus also informs commentors when someone replies to a thread they are partipating on unlike the default commenting system. You would normally require a plugin like Subscribe to Comments.
Thanks for reading and I do realize that there are many more plugins which are useful for WordPress bloggers. I couldn’t possibly name them all but I think these will cover most everyone who wants to start a blog with a minimal amount of plugins.