There are quite a few reasons for choosing WordPress as my personal favorite Content Managment System (CMS) – simple back end interface, Search Engine friendly (SEO Friendly), open source (so it’s free!) and my personal favorite, the massive amount of plugins that are available that add extra functionality to your website or blog.
Below I explore and discuss the benefits of 13 WordPress plugins that I have personally used on The Design Cubicle that will give your site an extra boost and provide a better experience for your visitors (plus some other great additions you can add).
Saves you time and frustration with spam comments. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service and filters them so you can easily scan them or delete them later.
BENEFIT: Stops all that nasty spam from getting to your reader comments.
An “out-of-the-box” SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
BENEFIT: Makes your blog “friendlier” and better seen by search engines (ie. Google, Yahoo, etc). Allows you to add a home title, home description, keywords (meta tags) and more.
Tip: try limiting your site to 10 keywords or less; this allows search engines to place importance on a few, dominate words providing better results when someone searches for your site.
CformsII offers unparalleled flexibility in deploying contact forms across your blog. Features include a comprehensive SPAM protection, Ajax support, Backup & Restore, Multi-Recipients, Role Manager support, Database tracking and many more.
BENEFIT: Easily customize contact forms for your website for your readers and contacts to get in touch with you. Fields can be added and customized to fit you and your visitors particular needs.
This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and Yahoo.
BENEFIT: Improves your sites visibility providing search engines with information about your site, in particular a list of the pages on your site, making it more discoverable and SEO friendly.
Automatically applies a distinctive style to comments by the post’s author.
BENEFIT: Helps your readers visually distinguish your comments from your readers.
Adds a list of XHTML compliant graphic links at the end of your posts that allow your visitors to easily submit them to a number of social bookmarking sites.
BENEFIT: Get your articles easily submitted to various social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Delicious, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati, and a whole lot more. Assists in increasing your sites traffic!
Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry.
BENEFIT: Provides a way for your readers to stay engaged and connected to a conversation. Sets the ground work for a community and discussion on your blog.
This plugin adds Woopra’s real-time analytics to any WordPress installation.
Live track over 40 different statistical events and analytics through Woopra’s rich and efficient desktop application or from the WordPress Dashboard. Check out more information about the features and download the desktop application on Woopra’s site.
BENEFIT: Provides you with the information you need to strenthen your site, thus improving your results and visitor interactions.
Makes use of Gravatars and MyBlogLog Avatars, places Gravatars, OpenAvatar, Wavatar, Identicon, monsterID or MyBlogLog Avatars in the comments section.
BENEFIT: Puts a face to your commentors. A nice touch to add more of a community feel to your site.
Very fast cache module. It’s composed of several modules, this plugin can configure and manage the whole system.
BENEFIT: Speed up the load time of your site. Works like a charm for those high traffic days and social media spikes.
Also try WP Super Cache for even more responsive load times.
Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog.
BENEFIT: Adds a more advanced page navagation, instead of the standard ‘previous’ and ‘next’ links – helps your readers get around more effectively.
Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display.
BENEFIT: Help readers discover similar content and related posts – adds to a more enjoyable and resourceful visit.
Display your RSS/Email subscriber count on your blog.
Harness the power of Google to create a search engine tailored to your sites needs.
- NOTE FOR ALL ABOVE PLUGINS: I have personally tested and approve all the above plugins using WordPress version 2.7.1. You can also search and download the plugins using WP 2.7′s built-in ‘Add New’ dashboard option.