WordPress Plugins Every Blog Must Have – How to Start a Blog. Another one of the great perks of starting a blog using WordPress is something called a plugin. It’s simply a little application that you can upload from your WordPress dashboard which allows you to have some other functionality that wouldn’t otherwise be a part of your site.
You can find WordPress plugins for a whole variety of different tasks, and new ones seem to be coming out at a rapid pace. Most plugins that you find are free of charge, although there are some paid plugins that you can purchase directly from developers online.
Google Sitemap Generator
Having a sitemap plugin (such as Google XML Sitemaps) is also very critical to the overall success of your site and bringing in more traffic. This is a simple plugin that generates a sitemap you can then submit to Google Webmaster tools.
By submitting the sitemap, you’re letting Google know about your new website and inviting them to come and crawl the information on a regular basis. Obviously, you want Google to come to your site as often as possible.
Best of all, once configured it will automatically notify Google of new posts you publish and updates to existing posts, so it’s a “set and forget” type of thing.
So why would you use plugins? Some plugins are specifically designed to help you generate more traffic from the search engines. One very popular plugin is called All In One SEO. This plugin has several fields that you fill in with your keywords, site name and description among other things.
Then, this information is automatically coded into your webpages so that it makes your website more attractive to the search engines. In the old days, you would’ve had to program this into your website yourself, but thankfully the use of plugins on WordPress came about allowing anyone to have these features.
If you search in the plugins directory, you’ll find all kinds of different options available to you in order to quickly and easily add these pages. You’ll simply click a couple of buttons to install the plugin, configure it with some information and you’re off to the races!
There are also a whole variety of paid plugins available online. For instance, many people like to sell products from Amazon.com. You don’t want to have to go into Amazon, find products and generate your affiliate link over and over and over again. Here’s an Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer plugin to alleviate the hassle of adding these products your website.
In fact, some of the plugins like Amazon Showcase WordPress Plugin pull products that you specify and drip feed them on your blog. So, while you’re asleep or on vacation, content is automatically being added to your site at your specified intervals of time.
Although you always want to add unique content to your blog in order to make it a great experience for the user and more attractive to the search engines, some bloggers find that having a little bit of automated content allows them to beef up their site without sacrificing quality. Also, because many people are interested in selling products or services on their site, these plugins allow for products to be added easier and faster.
The Automatic YouTube Video Posts Plugin allows you to add media content to your site such as music and videos. You can automatically import videos from your YouTube account corresponding to the topic of your blog. Even though you could lose a little bit of your traffic from people clicking off your site to read more, this kind of content can also pull more interest from the search engines to your blog.
There are other plugins like the Social Media Widget which will make your site more social media friendly. These days you can often find examples such as Facebook & Twitter button on websites. This option allows people to easily share your content on their favorite social networking sites.
So, if you write a particularly interesting or controversial blog post, users are able to click a button and share it with all of their friends and followers. This is a great thing to have on your blog because it allows you to go “viral” easily.
Another great plugin that is free to use on WordPress is the Fast Secure Contact Form. You definitely want to have a contact form available on your website so that your users can get in touch with you with questions and comments about your site. Also, from a legal standpoint you want to make sure that you have a way for anyone to contact you in case there are legal issues with your site.
Some other types of WordPress plugins that are popular these days are link cloaking plugins like Pretty Link. These allow for you to mask your affiliate links in such a way as to not alert the search engines that your links are going out to a page to sell a product or service. Instead, they make the links look more SEO friendly.
You can use this plugin to manage affiliate links in one central place. You should never put a direct affiliate link in an article, because if that affiliate link breaks later due to articles being syndicated (copied, etc.), you might lose that revenue. However if you use your Pretty Link URL then you always have control of the affiliate link and can change it easily.
You can also use a plugin like Efficient Related Posts or YARPP (our personal favorite) that pulls up other related posts on your own website. For example, if you write a post about organic gardening and you have written posts in the past related to organic gardening, then it will show a list of related posts so that the reader can find more information on your blog.
This simply improves reader loyalty while also keeping people on your website longer. The longer they are there, the more likely they are to click on an ad or an affiliate offer.
As you can see, WordPress offers all kinds of great perks in the way of plugins. Make use of these plugins to increase traffic to your site and improve overall reader loyalty.