If you’ve read the first two parts in this series then you should be well on your way with writing your blog. But one thing that is very useful in making your blog more creative, and making usability easier, is: Plugins.
I’m not going to list every single Plugin available as there are plenty of resources that already do that, I’m going to list the ones that this blog is using and how it is useful to me.
Adman [ VISIT PAGE ]
Adman is a useful plugin that allows you to insert adsense into your posts. Usually with the standard WordPress installation it won’t allow you to insert adsense code into posts, therefore losing any adsense revenue you could potentially earn from your post.
With Adman it’s easy. You choose if you want Adsense at the beginning, middle, or end of every post (you can have all three!) and it will automatically do it for you for each post you make. If you only want the Adsense to appear on certain posts there’s a tick box when creating a new post that lets you choose if you want to disable it for that post.
Akismet [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin comes with WordPress but you can’t use it until you’ve registered an account at wordpress.com which will give you an API key you need to activate it. You don’t need to create a blogging account at wordpress.com, a simple non-blogging account will do. Once the plugin is activated you will notice its usefulness straight away.
When you’ve posted a blog, did you ever receive lots of spam comments?? Akismet will catch all the spam comments for you. Don’t worry though, you can check through the comments its caught to make sure no “real” comments went through. If any did, you can select it and tell Akismet that it isn’t spam, and it won’t catch any future comments from that poster. The same goes with normal comments, if any spam comments did get through, you can tick the spam tickbox and Akismet will remember that for the future!
All in One SEO Pack [ VISIT PAGE ]
Ahhh the SEO’s dream. This one allows you to create your own Title tags and Meta tags for each individual post. With the standard WordPress installation you can’t do that – usually it would create the Title tag from the Title you gave your post, and the meta Description from the first few paragraphs of your post. With the SEO Pack you can create your own tags that will mean something in the search engines.
Code Markup [ VISIT PAGE ]
I don’t use this one often, but sometimes if I’m writing about HTML/PHP code and want to display the code in a post, with this plugin all I have to do is place the code in < code > tags, otherwise the code wouldn’t appear correctly, or wouldn’t appear at all! Very useful to have if you write about HTML/PHP, or any code, alot.
Comment Relish [ VISIT PAGE ]
I only found this one recently but I think it’s a great way to increase readership. This plugin will send a thankyou email to new commenters on their first comment. A quick “thank you for your comment, we hope to see you again soon” is always nice to receive in an email from someones blog. The email is customisable so you can put whatever you like in there.
Dofollow [ VISIT PAGE ]
I’m a firm believer in the “Do as you would be done by” method. I’d like to think that when I write comments on other peoples blogs the link to my site will be worth something. This plugin allows all the links in my comments to be worth something.
Standard wordpress installation applies the rel=”no-follow” tag on all links left in comments, which basically means it isn’t seen as a “proper” link, therefore Google disregards it. It’s worthless. Adding the Dofollow plugin removes all rel=”no-follow” tags on all links in my comments meaning if you post your link here it is worth something.
Google XML Sitemaps [ VISIT PAGE ]
If you have a Google Webmaster account you can submit a sitemap for your site, either in .txt or .xml format. Once the sitemap has been submitted Google will visit your sitemap regularly to see what’s new there.
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin automatically updates your .xml sitemap for you every time you create a post, a page, or even edit a post or page. This makes it a whole lot easier than having to do it manually.
Show Top Commentators [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin is useful to encourage commentators back to your site. It will list the Top Ten Commentators for the month with a link to their site. Obviously the more comments they leave the higher their chances of being in the top ten are, and with the plugin shown on all pages, if you have a blog with 100 posts that means they’ll have at least 100 links to their site. If that isn’t an incentive to comment I don’t know what is.
Subscribe Remind [ VISIT PAGE ]
If you have a RSS feed that you’d like people to subscribe to, sometimes having a nice RSS image at the top of your site isn’t enough. This plugin will create a line of text after every post reminding people to subscribe to your RSS feed.
Subscribe to Comments [ VISIT PAGE ]
This plugin is must-have in my opinion. If you’re leaving comments at different blogs, and some of them you may want feedback on, it can be difficult remembering which blog and which post you commented on to go back and look at a future date. If they had this plugin, however, you wouldn’t have to remember.
This plugin allows you to receive emails when someone else has made a comment at a certain blog or post you’ve commented at. This is not only good for the commenters, but it’s good for blog-owners as if people have subscribed to comments, they’re going to receive an email every time someone else comments which means those people are likely to visit again to see what else is new.
WP-ContactForm: Akismet Edition [ VISIT PAGE ]
This is basically a script that allows you to insert a contact form into your blog. You will need to activate Akismet before it will work, but it’s a very useful plugin to have if you don’t know how to create a contact form. You’ll be amazed at how many people contact you if you have a contact form ready to hand.
For further plugins, check out 101 WordPress Plugins you may not have known about.