Perhaps the most powerful element of WordPress – and likely one of the primary reasons it’s the most widely-used blogging platform in the world – is the diverse selection of plugins available to its writers. One might consider that diversity to be one of the platform’s weaknesses, too; the sheer volume of different plugins available can be downright overwhelming, particularly to someone new to the platform.
Thankfully, if you know what types of plugins your blog needs, the process becomes far less daunting. It then simply becomes a matter of knowing the best plugin in each particular category. Today, we’re going to look at a few such addons. We will likely as not revisit this topic at a later date with a new set.
All In One SEO Pack (SEO)
Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, search engine optimization is nowhere near dead. Although it’s certainly lost a bit of relevance in recent years, having a properly optimized blog still works wonders for your online presence. Not only that, a good SEO plugin allows you to focus your article around a single key topic, keeping you on-track and concise.
The All In One SEO Pack is currently the most widely-used optimization plugin in the world, and with good reason. This robust plugin is one of the only applications in its class to provide SEO integration for WordPress E-Commerce sites, and features support for Google Analytics, custom post types, and advanced canonical URLs. Further, the built-in API ensures that more advanced users can tweak the plugin to their liking.
If you don’t know how your blog is performing, you’ll have no idea what you’re doing wrong (or right). That’s why I’ve included Analytics as one of the five most vital plugins. In order to be certain that you’re promoting yourself properly and writing what people want to read, you need a measurement tool of some kind. Google Analytics makes the list because…
Honestly, it’s Google. If they know anything, it’s the metrics behind search and traffic.
Gravity Forms (Form Creation)
As far as form creation is concerned, your mileage may vary. Some blog authors may wish to turn their readers into sales leads and allow them to purchase goods and services through the blog. Others might simply wish to gather information about their audience through a survey, or set up some sort of registration form.
In every case, Gravity Forms is probably the best plugin on the market. It’s incredibly easy to create and maintain forms, and it’s equipped with a full-featured administration section that allows easy management of both forms and submissions.
WP Super Edit (Post Creation)
For many of us, the default WordPress editor might be enough. After all, we’re just putting words on the page, with a few images spliced in for good measure. More advanced users might wish for a bit more functionality – which is where Editor plugins enter the picture.
WP Super Edit offers exactly that, while making functions of the visual editor far easier to access. Using the plugin offers a great deal more freedom, allowing you to create even better blog posts for your audience.
If you’re going to engage with your readership, the comments section is as good a place as any to start. Truth be told, I don’t quite understand writers who disable comments on their pieces – it seems somewhat counterproductive to me, like the author is just screaming into the digital void. Anyway, the default WordPress commenting system is…well, it’s functional, but it’s nowhere near perfect.
Disqus is far superior, allowing users to comment using either their Disqus account or virtually any of their social media accounts. It’s simple, it’s convenient, it’s widely-used, and it’ll give you some great outbound links. What’s not to like?