- Useful guides
- WordPress Resources
- Best WordPress Plugins
- Free WordPress Themes
- How to Guides
- Part 1 – First Steps
Best WordPress Plugins
After the Deadline
After the Deadline is a plugin for WordPress that provides you with:
- Contextual Spell Checking
- Advanced Style Checking
- Intelligent Grammar Checking
It is free, open source technology that claims to use ‘artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find your writing errors and offer smart suggestions’. It is recommended for those who require a greater level of accuracy for their blog writing – for example company blogs, or blogs on serious issues.
The Author Image plugin for WordPress lets you easily add author images on your site. You can add them next to your profile, or next to your author name on each post. It is simple to set up and copying and pasting a little of snippet of PHP code you can easily add your image exactly where you want it to appear.
CommentLuv is a plugin that gives those leaving a comment on your site a little reward: a small link back to their latest blog article at the end of their comment. CommentLuv attempts to get the latest post from the comment author’s blog feed and then places a small link back to it. It is a good way of encouraging people to comment on your blog, as they might get extra traffic to their blog in return.
Force Word Wrapping
This plugin is designed to stop long links from horizontally stretching the page – which can really affect the look of your blog. For example, you post a long link in your content and it actually stretches the content box over the sidebar. This plugin does not break the link, it merely splits it onto as many lines as it needs – it wraps it just as text is wrapped in your post.
Math Comment Spam Protection Plugin
Any blog with comments enabled unfortunately attracts Spambots (little computer programs that exist to leave comments on blogs advertising stuff to buy). WordPress does have spam protection pre-installed, but this relies on software recognising when a comment is spam and when it was actually written by a human being, this can lead to genuine comments being deleted. Math Comment Spam Protection works differently, it works by asking the person writing the comment to answer a simple maths question. Spambots cannot yet do this, so if the Maths question is answered correctly then the plugin knows that the comment is being left by a human being and not a spambot.
An advantage of this type of spam protection is that an easy maths sum is normally easier than trying to read a scrambled word and type the letters, which many spam protections use.
No Self Pings
A ‘ping’ is the little comment left underneath a blog post to let you know that the post has been mentioned elsewhere by another blog. This is a good way of keeping track of who is talking about your blog, and you can visit the blog talking about you to find out what they are saying. However, a ‘self-ping’ might not be quite so useful, as all that is doing is mentioning that you have mentioned one of your previous posts in a new post.
This is not to say that this isn’t useful, some bloggers like this because it forms an effective link between posts that they believe are clearly linked or provide context to each other. Other bloggers do not having their comments cluttered with self pings and this plugin is essential for them.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation. A very useful plugin with a huge range of features
When you visit some blogs you will see that directly underneath a post there will appear a short list of ‘Related posts’. This plugin will do the same for your blog by producing a series of related posts underneath each post that you write. It works using keyword matching. A useful plugin that most bloggers would want to use.
Twitter is an excellent social media tool that can generate substantial amounts of traffic to your blog. If you are not already on Twitter I highly recommend that you get on it and start spreading your blog posts through it. This plugin simply adds a little ‘Retweet’ button on each blog post which makes it easy for others to spread the word about your post on Twitter. One good day on Twitter can give you huge amounts of traffic. If your content is good, Twitter will spread the word.
WordPress Mobile Edition
This excellent plugin gives mobile users accessing your blog the option of viewing it using a mobile friendly theme or they can view your standard theme. This is an essential plugin for making your blog as accessible as possible. Visitors not using a mobile phone or PDA are not affected and go straight to your normal template.
WordPress Thread Comment
This plugin makes it easier for people to reply to a certain comment. For example, if person writing comment number 20 wanted to aim their response at comment number 4, they could post their comment directly underneath comment 4 – in a threaded way. This plugin makes it easier to have direct discussions in your comments. Useful if your blog posts create debates between readers. Also makes it easy for you to respond to reader comments as well.
This plugin allows users to email your blogpost to a friend. This is a well used feature and a good way of gaining new readers.
This plugin allows you to tidy up your WordPress databases in a few clicks. It should be used with caution, but you should consider using a tool such as this to keep your blog running as quickly as possible. It can help to remove a large amount of surplus data – such as post revisions that you no longer need but can take up valuable MySQL storage space. Features:
- Remove the existing wordpress post revisions
- Remove all the comments in the spam queue
- Remove all the un-approved comments
- Rename one username to another username, it’s designed to rename default “Admin” user to something else
- Apply MySql optimize commands on your database tables without phpMyAdmin.
- Display Database table statistics.
WP Super Cache
This plugin provides static caching for WordPress. It generates html files that are served directly by Apache without processing comparatively heavy PHP scripts. Using this plugin is said to speed up your WordPress blog significantly.
This is a powerful anti-spam plugin for WordPress. It does come with your WordPress installation, but you need to register at WordPress.com in order to get your unique API key and activate the plugin. Be warned that sometimes it can stop legitimate comments so you might want to review the comments being marked as spam just in case they are legitimate.
Google XML Sitemap Generator
A useful way of making sure Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com and others are aware of your blog and are notified of updates to it. A good plugin to ensure your blog has a good chance of having a decent page rank in search engines.
All in One SEO Pack
This plugin optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines. Features include:
- Advanced Canonical URLS
- Fine tune Page Navigational Links
- Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
- Generates META tags automatically
- Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
- You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want
Contact Form 7
Every blog should probably have an about page, and after that every blog might like a contact page so that readers could get in touch with you if they want to. This plugin allows you to create customised contact forms complete with spam filtering and CAPTCHA (type the word that you see before pressing submit). You may need to add anti-spam and CAPTCHA seperately to this plugin, see the website for details.
Broken Link Checker
This plugin will monitor your blog looking for broken links and will let you know any that are found. This helps to improve your Google ranking as dead links reduce it. Features:
- Monitors links in your posts, pages, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
- Detects links that don’t work and missing images.
- Notifies you on the Dashboard if any are found.
- Also detects redirected links.
- Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
- New/modified posts are checked ASAP.
- Each link can be edited or unlinked directly via the plugin’s page, without manually editing each post.
SEO Smart Links
SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
SEO Smart Links can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.
Further SEO Smart links allows you to set up your own keywords and set of matching URLs. Finally SEO Smart links allows you to set nofollow attribute and open links in new window.