WordPress is one of the most powerful tool in the internet entrepreneur’s arsenal. Between the free and open source nature of the software and the massive library of excellent themes available, if you need a great website fast, I ubiquitously recommend WordPress.
One of the best things about WordPress is the amazing plug-in development community. But with over 11,000 plug-ins, which ones should you use? Neil wrote a great post over on Quicksprout about some plug-ins he likes – I thought I’d add a few more of my favorites.
If you look at the bottom of this post, you’ll see some cool AJAX bookmarks that pop up when you scroll over them. This is the Sexy Bookmarks plug-in. While it’s probably not as effective as generating re-tweets and facebook shares as Sharebar, I get a lot of my traffic from niche communities like HackerNews, so I want to encourage sharing and upvoting on those sites. (I think those sites are more effective at building links because it gets your content in front of the ‘linkerati’ at a higher rate than tools like facebook and twitter.)
Contact Form 7
A website is a way to broadcast your message – shouldn’t they be able to communicate with you? One way you can do this is through a contact form. (You may say, “well, they’ll just email me,” but I’ve seen the difference in contacts you get between email and a contact form, and it’s huge.) While there’s lots of ways to make contact forms in WordPress, Contact Form 7 is the most fully featured. And you can also include Akismet-based and CAPTCHA-driven spam protection, for when you start having spam issues.
After the Deadline
Everyone needs an editor. Unfortunately, good editors are hard to come by. If you’re like me, most of your friends and family in the immediate vicinity have no idea what you’re talking about in your articles, so finding a qualified editor on short notice can be tough.
Fortunately, software has once again come to my rescue. After the Deadline is a product from Automattic which serves as a beefed up spelling and grammar checker for writers. While it’s not as good as a talented human editor, it identifies passive voice, repeated words, grammatical errors, and overly complex expressions – great for light editing of blog posts before publishing them. Highly recommended.
Dynamic Content Gallery
I don’t use Dynamic Content Gallery on this blog, but if you’re doing something where every post has an image (as I do on some of my affiliate sites), DCG makes your site look incredibly professional. It creates a beautiful, highly customizable jQuery slideshow of your post images on your front page, like here. It’s a lovely effect.
In the last two months, I’ve gotten more than 250 unique visitors on mobile devices – predominantly iPhones. They deserve an excellent experience tooo, so I installed WP Touch iPhone Theme, which shows iPhone users a beautiful version of the site, customized to look like a native iPhone app.
I read lots of blog posts on my iPhone – generally via a click-thru from Twitter – so I think plug-ins like this are important, and will become more important in the coming years as mobile browsing increases.
I wanted to put Feedburner on this list, but it’s not really a plug-in, so I’ll go with this one. FD Feedburner redirects all of your blog’s various feeds through Feedburner. That way, they subscribe to your Feedburner feed instead of your regular feed.
If you don’t use Feedburner, you really should. Feedburner lets you measure your RSS feed subscribers, and additionally, makes it possible to subscribe from the link to your feed (as opposed to displaying XML text to confused users.) Perhaps even more conveniently, Feedburner enables people to email subscribe to your blog.
Subscribe-Remind adds a call to action and a link to your RSS feed at the end of each of your posts.. This ensures people who enjoyed your post become subscribers, so they can continue to enjoy your writing in the future.
Thanks for reading! Please share some of your favorite WordPress plug-ins in the comments – I really want to learn about some cool new ones!