In this final installment of Your Website Sucks, we’re rapping about WordPress plugins. By now, you’ve read about Three Reasons Your Website Sucks (and one simple fix), some awesome premium WordPress themes and the power that CSS brings to a WordPress-powered website (thanks to Jason Nelson of Visual Adventures Web Design, WordPress-powered site specialists).
A WordPress plugin is simply an add-on for any self-hosted WordPress installation. Like plugins for Firefox. They are the Legos of WordPress, adding virtually limitless functionality to a simple WordPress-powered website or blog. Today’s post will list the ones that I find critical for my own installations and I’d love it if my readers added their own must-haves in the Comments section below.
If you’re not running the THESIS theme, you’re going to need a kickass SEO plugin. I was turned on to SEO Nova by @Trypnotik, who had previously turned me on to the Headspace plugin to meet my SEO needs. SEO Nova goes beyond both Headspace and the popular All-in-One SEO Pack plugin by leaps and bounds. You can code the page title, description and meta keywords, but you can also specifically code each post and page of your site to varied index/follow settings. Oh. My. Gawd. It has a savvy master control panel to set some universal settings site-wide as well. Visit the SEO Nova site and grab a look-see. This site and RedheadedFury.com both run SEO Nova.
Every blog or website should have a social bookmarking application. My choice is SocioFluid. Simply stated, I like the rollover/grow-shrink effect that catches a reader’s eye. You can custom select which social bookmarking sites show up in the bookmarking bar as well as set the size of the icons and designate whether they appear at the top of a post or bottom.
Wanna encourage visitors to connect with you on your other social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? I use SocialHomes. Pick your sites, enter your site-specific information, drop it in a widgetized sidebar and you’re good to go.
Akismet Spam Control
Spam blog comments suck serious nuts and Akismet controls them (albeit, sometimes too well) with ease. Akismet is already installed on every self-hosted WordPress blog – you just need to activate it with a WordPress API key.
Google Analytics for WordPress
If you’re not running Google Analytics as a component of your site’s metrics, for the love of God, why not? It’s the Google Monster, granted, but it’s pretty damn savvy for tracking your traffic, sources and helping you determine ways to generate revenue from your site through AdWords and AdSense. Google Analytics for WordPress is a simple plugin that requires the cutting and pasting of a tracking code and BAM! You’re off and running.