I’m often asked for advice about starting a blog. A lot of you know I use the freely available WordPress to power davidairey.com, Logo Design Love, and Identity Designed, but few of you know what WordPress plugins I’ve installed to make the most of the publishing platform.
WordPress plugins installed here
Comes as standard with all WordPress platform downloads, and checks reader comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam. Those comments that do are automatically filtered into a “spam” folder.
- All in One SEO Pack
Automatically optimises page titles and META tags for search engines. Easily override the predetermined titles and tags using form fields. In effect, you can have your post headlines say one thing e.g., “Are you serious?” and your page titles (usually the same as your headlines) say another e.g., “David Cameron new Prime Minister” for search engine rankings.
- cforms II
Effortlessly creates easy-to-use web forms, sending the results to your chosen email address. I use this on my contact page, and when supplying potential clients with a few initial project questions.
- Feedburner Feed Replacement
Directs all feed URLs from WordPress to Feedburner (the third-party subscription service I use). It’s by Steve Smith of Ordered List, but the plugin is no longer available for download, so I’m curious if I should just deactivate this one. The FD Feedburner plugin looks like it does the same job, though, so maybe it’s worth keeping.
- Google XML Sitemaps
Another for the search engines. It automatically generates and updates your sitemap, so search engine robots can easily and quickly crawl/index your content.
- Highlight Author Comments
Allows me to self-style my own comments in every post thread, so mine appear slightly different from other commentators. Good for those who scan the threads looking for post-author replies.
Particularly useful, and lets me add text and/or images to the foot of my feed. I’ve added a line of text saying, “Published on David Airey, graphic designer” where the David Airey, graphic designer part links back to my homepage. This means all those splogs that republish my feed without permission are giving a continual stream of links back to my site. (Update: I’ve explained the plugin a little more in this post: How and why to add feed-specific content using WordPress.)
- Quick Cache
Stores a static version of every page visited for a set time of one hour. This means that if I’m getting a sudden flood of traffic, the burden on my web host is greatly reduced (helping to prevent my site from going down).
- Subscribe To Comments
Adds a checkbox so commentators have the option to receive email updates when new comments are added after theirs. Hugely helpful for generating chat and a sense of community.
- WordPress.com Stats
Google Analytics is great, but it’s too much for getting a quick look at where site visitors are coming from. This plugin puts an extra tab in the WordPress dashboard, and a single click shows the sites from which visitors arrive, what search engine terms are being used to direct traffic my way, popular posts, what people are clicking, and any new links to my site from elsewhere.
- WordPress Related Posts
You see the “Related posts on David Airey dot com” section below? That’s automatically generated by this plugin, helping increase clicks to other (normally related) pages on my site.
- WP Page Numbers
Shows clickable page numbers at the foot of the homepage and category pages (instead of next page and previous page)
- WP Twitip ID
Adds an extra field in the blog comment thread, allowing commentators to enter their Twitter ID for display. According to the plugin page, this one’s no longer supported, and has been replaced by the newer TwitterLink Comments.
Keep in mind that each plugin will add to the load-time of your site. If I was half-decent at coding I’d probably do away with “WP Twitip ID” and the “Highlight Author Comments” plugins. You can get the same result by using a piece of code, instead. I just haven’t bothered to find out what it is.
Hopefully this list has given the WordPress users among you an idea or two.
Can you recommend any other plugins?