- March 2, 2012
7 Must have plugins for Word Press
We have a lot of customers whom want Word Press as their CMS and why not? After all it is a simple to use interface and user friendly. Let me start by saying that I am not a developer or designer, but these 7 must have plugins are about as basic as they come and should be part of any Word Press installation.
Here is a brief overview.
Thousands of free plugins available to WordPress users give you the ability to design a website with custom features that meet your specific needs. However, searching through and choosing from those thousands of choices can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. Most website developers have the same basic goals that include ranking well in search engines, having regular traffic, and earning some money. These seven WordPress plugins can help you do just that, even if you are new to search engine optimization (SEO) and website development.
AddtoAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button
This plugin provides your website visitors with an easy way to share your site or individual posts with others through all the popular social bookmarking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Yahoo Buzz, MySpace, Reddit, and others. Sharing through email and bookmarking functions are also part of this plugin.
Once installed this plugin’s link will show up on your dashboard under your “Settings” menu as “Share/Save Buttons.” In the menu, you can select from several options for how the button will look on your site. This includes size options and which types of posts and pages you want it displayed on. Once your menu options are set, all your current and future posts will automatically show the share button at the bottom of the page.
All in One Adsense and YPN
This plugin is all you need to add Google and Yahoo ads to your blog or website. To start you’ll need to set up accounts with Google Adsense and/or Yahoo’s Publisher Network. You can choose to have only one set of ads (Google or Yahoo) on your site.
When you obtain your advertising ID, enter the number in the appropriate text box of the plugin’s menu, which you’ll find under the “Settings” menu listed as “Adsense.” In the menu, you’ll have several options for the ad size, number, color, positioning, and pages to exclude ads from. Once the menu is set up, every current and future post will display ads per your preferences. You can however, customize each post with a code to either exclude that individual post from displaying ads or start the ads below a particular point. These two codes are given at the bottom of the All in One Adsense and YPN plugin menu. Simply copy and paste the appropriate code into your post or page text as needed.
All in One SEO Pack
With the All in One SEO Pack plugin you don’t need to be a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. You just need to be able to fill in the text boxes this plugin provides for you. Once filled in, your website and each post will be optimized to help your site place higher in searches.
There’s two parts to this plugin that you’ll need to pay attention to. First, in the “Settings” menu, under “All in One SEO,” fill in the text boxes that relate to the theme of your blog or website. The “Home Title” and “Home Description” will show up as the title and description of your website in an internet search, so use your main keywords wisely while making it interesting to make people want to click on your site to learn more. In the “Home Keywords” box, enter your main site keywords, starting with the most important. Other options in this main menu will have default settings. If you are a novice to blog and website building, leave the default settings.
Next, you’ll see the All in One SEO Pack box in each page and post you create. This allows you to create a title and short description of that particular post using your main keywords. Like the main website title and description, this will be used by search engines when displaying that individual post in search results.
Fast Secure Contact Form
With the Fast Secure Contact Form installed, you’ll have a ready-made email form for website visitors to fill out and send to you. Using this plugin helps reduce spam as your actual email address is not made public. It also employs the use of CAPTCHA, the program that requires you to type in a given word to prevent mass emails and Akismet, which checks each email for spam. Installing this plugin places it under your “Plugins” menu as the “SI Contact Form Options.” In the menu, you can create a custom introduction, email address, and change some Askimet and CAPTCHA options. To place the contact form on any page you will need to add the given code (via copy and paste) to that page.
The Google Analyticator plugin puts a Google Analytics Summary directly on your WordPress dashboard. To set up this plugin, you’ll need to go to its menu (found as “Google Analytics” under “Settings”) and add your Google Adsense ID. Here you can also make any changes to the settings such as preventing the tracking of administrators and others who have access to the website as a contributor. The summary includes information from the last 30 days such as number of visits, bounce rate, average time a visitor spends on the site, top five pages visited, top five keywords searches that bring visitors to your site, and the top five referrers. This gives you the information you need right on your WordPress dashboard to understand where you website traffic comes from.
Google XML Sitemaps
Having a sitemap is important for search engines to better index your website or blog. The Google XML Sitemaps is another plugin that takes care of a key part of your website for you with only minimal effort on your part to initially set it up. In the settings, which you can access by clicking “XML-Sitemap” under the “Settings” menu, you can make changes to how your sitemap gets created. However, the default settings are usually fine for most people. This plugin will also notify Google, Bing, Ask.com, and Yahoo (if you have an application ID for Yahoo) about any updates and changes to your website.
When working with these plugins, don’t be afraid to experiment with the options and settings that each offers. If the results are not what you need, you can always start over with the plugin’s default settings or even uninstall the plugin at any time. Only by installing the plugin, changing its settings, and viewing the results on your website can you learn how these plugins work and how each can help you develop your website.