In the last article, we went over some of the essential plugins that every WordPress user should be using, such as Zemanta, BackUp Buddy, SEO Friendly Images, and more. This article will talk about a few more essential plugins to help you with just about any WordPress site or blog, and just like in the previous article, most of these plugins are completely free.
- If you missed the previous part, read Part 1 here
Plugin #1: W3 Total Cache
What’s a problem that so many WP users suffer from? It’s web pages that load too slowly… It’s a proven fact that a slower loading web page, even one that only loads a few seconds slower will drastically increase your bounce rate. With most sites, other than consolidating images, there’s really not too much you can do about it. However, this is exactly what W3 Total Cache will do for you. It can improve site performance by a multiple of 10, if it’s fully configured, that’s huge. While I wouldn’t call it an “SEO” plugin, the boost in site performance can also definitely help you to rank higher in Google as well. W3 Total Cache is also pretty much the only plugin of it’s kind, so there’s no need to look for alternatives… there really aren’t any. This is a mandatory plugin for ANY WordPress site or blog. Highly recommended.
Plugin #2: Google XML Sitemaps
Speaking of plugins that help you rank higher in Google, Google XML Sitemaps is another very important one. As the name implies, it refers to generating a site map on your site, that will not only help users navigate your site more easily, but will ALSO help search engines like Google index all the different posts more easily. I don’t know of any other plugin that will get your posts indexed as easily than this one can. It will literally notify all the major search engines every time you upload new content to your blog. Handy. Also, users love it when sites have site maps, because they just make everything easier to find, so, if you’re using WordPress, this is yet another plugin that you should be using, don’t leave home without it.
Plugin #3: Sociable
This is a great plugin particularly if you’re using WordPress for an actual blog, rather than any other type of website. Blog owners know that when you write a new post, getting the word out about it can be kind of tough, so why not allow people to quickly and easily share it amongst their social networks? With Sociable, you can easily do this, and allow users to quickly and easily share posts throughout countless social networks, and social bookmarking sites. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, and StumbleUpon, are all available, just to name a few. It gives you the power to set up a tall “skyscraper” that you put these buttons into, and then users can just click on the button for the social network or bookmarking site they want to share it on, hit a couple more buttons and they’re good to go. The truth is, the easier you make it for people to share your content, the more likely they’ll be to do so. No one’s going to share any of your posts if it’s a huge struggle for them. So, if you’re a blogger, Sociable is a must.
Plugin #4: Google Translator
The World Wide Web is all about staying connected. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world speaks the same language, so, if you want to make your site’s content available to more users and more countries, then getting Google Translator is the way to go. It takes the power of Google Translate, and puts it into a convenient sidebar. All users have to do is pick their language, and they’re good to go… it will automatically translate all of their site content for them. Granted, the translation isn’t going to be absolutely perfect, but it will be pretty good, and most likely good enough for anyone who speaks that language to understand what you’re trying to say. So allow more people worldwide to read your blog by setting up Google Translator.
Well, that wraps up Part 2 of this series. We’ll be going over a few more very interesting plugins in the third and final part of this series, including the mandatory Google Analytics for WordPress. But using the plugins mentioned in this post will make your site faster, easier to share, more connected to the world, and give it a site map that will help visitors and search engines browse your site easier, so use them all, and enjoy the benefits!