In the last post, we discussed why WordPress should be your content management system (CMS) of choice. One of the biggest selling points of WP is that there are literally thousands of pieces of code, called plugins, available that can dramatically affect your site’s look, functionality and profitability.
There are many so called “premium” plugins for sale out there, but with a little work you can usually find a free one that will get the job done just as well, if not better. Many developers ask for a small donation if you like and use their products. It’s optional but good Karma to throw a little something their way!
So, what are the best free ones out there? Without further ado, here are the seven WordPress plugins that you need to have if you’re serious about making your site a success.
A site loaded with themes, photos, videos and plugins will often load slower than it should. If you’re site takes too long, you’ll lose visitors and even be penalized by Google in the search engine rankings! WP Super Cache makes all of that go away by increasing your load time and even lowering the CPU processing needed to view and edit your pages.
There are a million programs out there that have been developed to leave fraudulent comments on your blog in order to get backlinks. Askimet roots these suckers out and puts them aside for your review.
All you have to do is install the plugin, visit their site (link) and get a free API key. They do require you to pay a $5 monthly fee if you are running a commercial business, but personal blogs are free.
A huge part of proper SEO is getting the right links in place. Most people only think about backlinks, but Google and the other search engines want to see that your site has a solid web of internal links too. Why do it all manually when this bad boy will identify keywords in your blog that you specify and link to other posts that are related?
Blogging and web development is fun and all but if we want to keep the lights on and the servers humming, then we need to make some money from this deal. Using Google Adsense, Yahoo! Ads, other ad networks and affiliate networks is the best ways to do that.
There is some code to deal with, though. Depending on your theme and whether or not looking at source code makes you break out in hives, this might be more of a challenge for some website owners than others. Advertising Manager allows you easily insert these ads and manage when and where they are seen.
All in One SEO Pack allows you to easily set up the meta tags search engines use to understand what your site is all about. You can do this for the entire site as well as individual posts and pages. It also allows you to set up your permalinks to maximize their SEO value.
This plugin is vital if you want Google to know when you update your site. It generates a XML site map to make it easier for Google to find and navigate your site. It also sends out updates on set schedule that is configurable by your site’s different elements (pages, post, archives, comments, tag pages etc)
You undoubtedly know the power of social media and you also know that most people are lazy. Even if you’re the Ernest Hemingway of blogging, the time and effort it takes for your readers to log into their social media accounts and share your post with the world is a big hurdle to things going viral.
Share This inserts an easy to use and configurable drop down menu of the most popular social media sites, so your reader can immediately share it. There are also email options in case they want to share it the “old school” way.
I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.