13 WordPress plugins to improve your blog
I like to compare my WordPress blog to an Apple iPhone.
An iPhone is great when you take it out of the box, but what makes it even better? Of course, I’m talking about the hundreds of thousands of Apps that you can add to the iPhone to improve what it can do for you on a day-to-day basis.
The WordPress platform is a bit like an iPhone in that it’s great when you get your blog ‘out of the box’ and setup, but it becomes even more powerful and better once you start adding plugins, which I like to think of as ‘apps’ for WordPress.
So, to make your WordPress blog even better here are a bunch of plugins that you can add to really help your blog stand out from all the others (note: some are free and some are paid-for plugins).
1. Popup Domination 2.0
Every successful blogger on the planet knows the importance of building a list, or a database of subscribers. It’s not enough to have visitors subscribing via RSS feed alone because then you have no control over that database and you do not get the subscribers’ email addresses onto your own database.
There are many autoresponder & opt-in services available such as Aweber, GetResponse, Mail Chimp etc that act as the back-end database which holds your subscribers’ data but this plugin by Michael Dunlop really helps to build your database faster and works seamlessly with pretty much any autoresponder software. When you came to this blog, you may have seen a popup type lightbox with an image of my free eBook asking if you wanted to download it. That is what Popup Domination 2.0 does – it helps to capture your visitor’s data easily and in a better looking way than a normal lightbox.
OK, not exactly a new plugin but I still see lots of blogs without easy sharing options and it doesn’t get much easier than having a ReTweet and a Facebook Like button plugin to add this to your blog.
You want to make it easy for your visitors to share your content and this is the quickest way to help them do this.
3. Twitter @ Anywhere
This is a cool little Twitter plugin that let’s your visitors send a Tweet about you or your blog without ever having to leave your blog. It allows you to embed a box onto a page/post and you can preset the Tweet that you want visitors to send.
If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can see it in action and see how it works. I have preset the Tweet and all you need to do is click the ‘Tweet’ button.
An easy way of adding testimonials with pictures onto any page on your WordPress blog. You can see it in action on my testimonials page.
OptimizePress is not actually a plugin, but an actual WordPress theme. It is the best option by far if you want to use WordPress to create stunning looking squeeze pages and long copy sales letters. You don’t need any HTML or CSS skills to make really good-looking pages, just this theme installed on your WordPress site and it makes it very easy to create the squeeze pages.
Watch the video to see its full capabilities.
6. After The Deadline
If you’re not the type of person who spends too much time proof reading your blog posts then this plugin is a must. Just before you hit the publish button, this plugin will scan your blog post for spelling & grammar mistakes so you can correct them before the post is actually published.
With the importance of a good quality article, this free plugin is somewhat of a godsend!
Another Twitter related plugin. This one is simple – when you publish a new blog post this plugin will push the title & link to your assigned Twitter account and publish a tweet telling your followers about your new blog post. Simple!
8. Broken Link Checker
If you have lots of links on your blog, it can get difficult to manage them all and ensure they are all working correctly. This free plugin solves this problem by flagging any broken links when you login to your WordPress dashboard and gives you various options to fix the broken link.
9. New2WP Author Box
Replace the default author box at the end of your posts with this free version which I think is better than the one WordPress uses by default. This version also allows you to include a link to follow the author on Twitter.
10. Pretty Link
Useful if you are an affiliate marketer because this plugin easily cloaks your links for you from inside WordPress and makes them ‘pretty’ (hence the name!) by using your own URL.
ugly affiliate link: http://secure.hostgator.com/~affiliat/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=surajsodha
Pretty link: http://www.internetmarketinghighway.com/hostgator
11. Backup Buddy
You don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way. If your blog gets deleted/hacked or you somehow lose your WordPress site it is a nightmare to get it back up and running, especially if you had lots of content on it and hadn’t backed anything up. For some, it could completely crush their business.
That is why you need backup buddy. It’s a paid plugin but well worth it.
12. Robots Meta
This plugin allows you to add all the appropriate robots meta tags to your pages and feeds, disable unused archives and nofollow unnecessary links. It’s important to structure your links correctly to avoid leaking ‘link juice’ from your site and this plugin helps you do that really easily.
13. Ping Optimizer
When you make changes to your blog, it will ‘ping’ various sites letting them know of the change. Excessive pinging, however, can harm your site and you could be classified as a ping spammer.
This plugin saves your wordpress blog from getting tagged as ping spammer as it allows you to set a limit on how and when your blog should automatically ping.
Feel free to comment below with your suggestions to add to this post.