WordPress plugins are a dime a dozen. Just like a misguided kid in a toy store, blog owners may get carried away with downloading almost every plugin they come across for their WordPress-powered blogs. While plugins can help boost traffic, engagement, and conversions of your site (if used correctly), the blog performance will suffer due to the congestion of plugins operating in your blog. Some even run in conflict with each other, causing your blog to either crash or get its coding messed up.
The solution? Keep it simple! Let’s face it – you will only need at least five WordPress Plugins to run a high-traffic, efficient, and profitable blog! Below are WordPress plugins that you should highly consider and use for your blog to get rid of the rest.
If you really want to get serious with your blog, then you need to use a comprehensive and reliable tracking tool. The Google Analytics plugin lets you incorporate your tracking code on every single page on your blog. This provides you access to a wealth of information from arguably the best online tracking tool available, Google Analytics. You can view statistics on page visits, referral sites, demographics, conversions, and campaign, among countless others, to help you gauge and interpret the effectiveness of your current online marketing strategies.
This plugin is similar to downloading 10 more plugins, each with different functions. JetPack’s abundant features and services must be discussed individually to give you a better feel of what this plugin is capable of.
- E-mail subscription – You can encourage visitors subscribe to your site and send them blog updates to their e-mail. As a nice exchange, you get their e-mail address, which is valuable for lead generation and other advanced marketing campaign you plan on holding.
- After the Deadline – If you are not confident with your writing skills, you can refer to this feature for grammatical and word suggestions to improve on the quality of your content.
- Twitter widget – You can display your Twitter stream on your blog.
- WP.me URL shortener – This compresses character count of your blog post’s URL, which is important when posting on social media sites allowing limited characters, i.e. Twitter.
- Carousel – This feature aims to increase user experience by display a full-screen photo gallery area using your uploaded images on the blog.
As online marketing is slowly gravitating away from SEO and more into user experience, it has become much more important to display your social proof. This pertains to the number of tweets, like, shares, and votes people have made on your post. The logic here is that people will like your post if it contains relevant and compelling information about your topic. Therefore, the higher your social proof, the more trustworthy your blog posts becomes.
Digg Digg is a WordPress plugin that lets visitors easily vote for your post and display social proof. Once activated, you can choose from different social media sites that will appear as buttons on your posts. The buttons will then be shown on the header, bottom, or left side of your page, depending on your preference. TIP: the buttons are best displayed on the left side of the post since it scrolls down with you as you read along the post, similar to Mashable. It makes sharing and voting for the post much more convenient.
Search engine continues to drive traffic and sales to most blogs. By ranking as high as possible for a particular keyword, you increase the chances of your post to be visited. This plugin created by Joost de Vaulk helps you maximize your blog by making it friendlier to search engines. Every time you post an entry, you will choose a focus keyword to work with and builds a page analysis based on chosen keyword. Outside your post, WordPress SEO allows you to customize your meta tags, XML sitemaps, RSS, and other SEO-related features you can think of.
Page speed is an important factor in determining the site’s usability and even search ranking. The faster your blog loads, the more attentive the user is to your blog. A slow-loading blog gets abandoned easily, regardless of how good the site content is. To ensure that your blog is in tip-top shape, activate this plugin. The W3 Total Cache increases the loading speed of your blog tenfold compared to your blog without this plugin. This lets you retain viewership and increase the chances of funneling your users to your call to action. For a better explanation on how this plugin works, refer to this post at OSTraining.
I’m pretty sure there are plugins that you readers would recommend over the ones I’ve featured on this post. I encourage everything to share their opinions and talk about other WordPress plugins that you find most useful.