When I coach my WordPress Workshop, one of the first things I suggest to new bloggers is to install WordPress plugins. Plugins are little apps that make your blogsite do more things to enhance your social media profile and improve your search engine optimization, (SEO) among others.
The addition of WordPress plugins for social media and SEO is limited only by your imagination. Best of all, most plugins are free, so you can install as many as you like.
Here are some of the WordPress plugins for social media and SEO I use on all my blogs.
Google XML Sitemaps
A Sitemap is an XML file that lists a site’s URLs with additional metadata so that search engines bots can more intelligently crawl the site. Google XML Sitemaps offers the map to the search bot and submits it regularly to the search engines
All-In-One SEO Pack
This WordPress plugin helps with search engine optimization once the search bot shows up with your site map in hand. All in One SEO Pack generates Meta tags, optimizes titles, and sets Meta descriptions and keywords.
Simple 301 Redirects
301 Redirects are important when you point pages from one URL to another while hoping to maintain your page rank. Simple 301 Redirects allows you to create a list URLs that you want to 301 Redirect to another page or site.
The Inbound Writer plugin places a dashboard next to your post editor to help you gauge your search engine optimization as you work, and it offers suggestions on how to improve your score. It makes blog writing into a verbal race to the top.
Social Media Plugins
The Digg Digg plugin describes itself as “All in One Social Vote Buttons” and integrates the most popular social media icons into your pages. The icons can be laid horizontally or float vertically to make it easy for readers to vote for your page.
Social Media Widget
Here is a widget that allows you to put social media icons in the sidebars of your blog in a similar way as Digg Digg, but without the counters. Social Media Widget settings require you to input the URLs for your social media sites and offers the option of up to six Custom Services.
Facebook Page Publish
A real time saver, Facebook Page Publish sends an excerpt of your new post straight to your Facebook page. It requires connecting to an app in Facebook, but once finageled, it can work well. Customizations include post excerpt, link URLS, post author, post categories, plus four thumbnail options.
TweetMeme Retweet Button
TweetMeme adds a Twitter button to your post to allow people to retweet the blog as well as displaying the number of times it has been retweeted.
Other Essential Plugins
By far the most essential plugin, Akismet kills comment and trackback spam on contact “even while you sleep.” In the past 1.5 years Akismet has caught over 7,000 pieces of spam on my blog, Tasting Room Confidential. And when I look at the crap it shows me in the spam queue, I gotta love it.
While WordPress has the built-in capability to collect names and emails of blog Users, it won’t automatically notify an email list when you add a new post. Here’s where Subscribe2 comes in. It sends email alerts in four formats, Plain Text Excerpt or Full Post, HTML Excerpt or Full Post. Works every time.
A CAPTCHA is a challenge-response test attached to contact or comment forms block spam sent by robots or cyborgs. ReCAPTCHA offers a contact form and CAPTCHA test. However, it won’t stop spam manually sent by a human. That’s a job for Akismet.
WP Mobile Detector
The WP Mobile Detector plugin automatically detects if the visitor is using a standard mobile phone or a smart phone and loads a compatible WordPress mobile theme for each. If you want people to easily read your blog on their phone, this plugin presents a plain view.
Although these WordPress plugins are technically free, the authors are not volunteers. They are professional developers who’d like a donation if you use their product. Or they offer a Pro version you can buy. Either way, it’s good karma to contribute financially if you’ve enjoyed their plugin.
And, as the Cat in the Hat said, ‘That is not all, oh no, that is not all!” There are many more WordPress plugins for social media and SEO to discuss and I’ll feature others in future posts. Meanwhile, please tell me what plugins you find essential to the blogging experience. I’d love to know about them.
Next WordPress Workshop is November 22 at Blenz Coffee, Broadway at Heather. Maximum 3 bloggers. Reserve Now