When you think about it, it seems that the best things in life come in pairs. Peanut butter and jelly…green eggs and ham…iPod and Apps…WordPress and Plugins. WordPress was designed as a blogging platform, but with the proliferation of plugins over the past 5 years, WordPress has evolved into a robust internet site development tool. There are now almost 24,000 plugins now available for WordPress and all of the plugins listed below are totally free. Finding a lightweight, functional plugin is a little like finding a needle in a haystack. Allow me to clear away some of the haystack and show you five plugins that you should be using.
1) WordPress SEO by Yoast – Getting the attention of the search engines is critical in bringing traffic to your site. With so many changing rules around SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it is impossible for 99% of the population to know what really works and doesn’t. The best alternative to dedicating all of your time researching SEO and becoming an expert is to install the free WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. There are 2 things about this plugin that are fantastic – it provides a red/yellow/green rating on every one of your posts as an indicator for how well optimized each post is (and it gives practical tips on how to improve), AND it maintains a current sitemap (thus precluding the need for a separate sitemap plugin).
2) Dynamic Widgets – Within WordPress, widgets generate the content that you see in the left-hand or right-hand column of a site. There are hundreds of potential widgets out there – the key to making your site relevant to your reader is the ability to customize the content that they are seeing on each of your pages. Without the Dynamic Widget plugin, readers see the exact same column on every one of your site’s pages. With the plugin, you are able to customize every page in your site. This plugin is very flexible, and best of all, it is free.
3) P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – Have you ever noticed that a brand new site will load very quickly, then over time, seems to load slower and slower? This is because some of the plugins being used are creating drag on the site. I discovered P3 by accident after my site slowed to a crawl. This plugin gives you the incremental load time for each plugin used by your site. If you want a quick site, P3 is a must.
4) Socialize – Social Media has had a profound impact on marketing in the digital age. The Socialize plugin places social media icons alongside your articles to allow your readers to easily tweet, like, pin, Google+, Stumble, Digg, etc your page. The feature I like most about Socialize is that it floats in the margin of your blog and is ever present to the reader. It provides the option of 12 different social media platforms that are completely customizable on every post that you publish.
5) Tiny MCE Advanced – The word processing functionality within WordPress for bloggers writing articles is sub-standard. The Tiny MCE plugin provides much more control over the look and feel of the various posts. With this plugin, tables can be created and formatted, media can be inserted, text can be highlighted, and media can be embedded.
Ryan is passionate about helping new and experienced entrepreneurs earn money online. On his blog, you will find ethical tips and strategies on article writing, niche sites, and app development so that you can take control of your own financial destiny.