An important part of building a WordPress site or managing a blog is knowing what plug-ins to use. Whatever you want your site to do, there’s likely to be a plug-in out there to help you. I doubt I know a portion of what’s available, but to get my various WordPress sites to the functional states they’re now in I quickly grew attached to a selection of invaluable add ons. These are my go-to site tools, my 9 most useful and most used WordPress plug ins. And they’re all free. With any new website, for any purpose, I’d likely use the same 9 plug-ins again – here’s why:
1. WordPress SEO
The most useful WordPress plug in in a list of useful plug ins – WordPress SEO by Joost makes Search Engine Optimisation as simple as entering your keywords into a few conveniently placed boxes. It re-organises your URLs, keeps an eye on your indexes and has an excellent Page Analysis tool that will tell you how well each page or post you write performs for SEO. Visit the site here.
2. Social Media Widget
Adds links to all your social media sites in a handy widget with a selection of icons. All your readers need do is click on an icon to be whisked away to your other internet profiles. And every time I look at it, it seems to have more options for social networks. Though maybe I don’t look at it very often. Get it here.
3. W3 Total Cache
Caches your site so it’ll run quicker for visitors. Enough said, it’s here.
WordPress generally comes with this one already installed, but be sure to activate it properly. It stops a lot of the irritating comment spam that a blog tends to attract. For more info, here’s their website.
5. Jetpack by WordPress.com
WordPress.org gives you all the freedom in the world to build your site, but the .com blogs have more of a community going. Jetpack gives you a chance to get back in touch with the .com community, installing all the options you’d have there. Most useful of which are the social media sharing buttons that you can add under every page and post. Here’s the plug in.
6. Follow button for Jetpack
A little add on to Jetpack, the follow button. The link in the plug ins doesn’t seem to go to an external site, but a quick search on your plug ins page should bring it up top of the list.
A brilliant little plug in that means anyone who posts a comment can link their comment back to their own blog. A great way to share more articles with one another. Check out CommentLuv here.
8. Exclude Pages from Navigation
A slightly more eclectic plug in, this one is useful for building webpages that don’t appear in your menu. This might be for landing pages, email subscription pages, or additional information pages, for example. Whatever the case there are bound to be times when you don’t want a page to clutter up your menu – with this plug in, all you have to do is tick a box when posting and the page is hidden. Here it is.
9. Google authorship widget
Linking your WordPress site and your blog to your Google profile lets your name appear in searches. People like clicking on search results where they can immediately see who wrote it. Fact. Maybe. Anyway, this is one of the easiest ways to ensure Google recognises the author of the site, putting your profile in a widget, as my one is to the right there. Again the external link doesn’t seem to work for this one, but if you search ‘Google authorship widget’ on your plug in page it’ll come right up.
Happy tinkering, fellow WordPress users – I hope this list helps. If you’ve got any plug ins you find indispensable, please share them in the comments below.
If you found this useful, you may also be interested in my short free eBook, An Introduction to Business Blogs, available here.