When you think of creating a WordPress site, remember that’s just the beginning. Think of it as a blank canvas. Sure, it contains your site content. But now it’s up to you, to make it more engaging, to capture data and draw more followers. And it won’t happen without a little help. This is where a few really good plug ins can help.
What is a plugin, you ask?
A plug in is a software component that adds a feature or benefit to your site. The open platform design of WordPress.org has allowed for the development of literally thousands of really great and completely free plugins and if necessary, more pretty inexpensive options as well.
How do you choose?
Before writing this post, I did a quick Google search on plugins. What I found was a head-spinning number of articles written with top 10, 20, 30, even 40 plugins. How do you choose?
When selecting our site’s plugins, I wanted real-life experience to draw upon. I found user reviews to be really helpful. And of course, the idea that there are so many options also helps. If a plugin doesn’t work, you can just find another. My trials (and a few minor errors), lead me to these Favorite 5 WordPress Plug Ins:
- WordPress SEO – WordPress SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress blog, adding lots of features, eg. custom variables and automatic click out and download tracking. Just copy your customized account code from your established Google Analytics page and paste it on the plug in page on your site. Done.
- Email Before Download – This plugin seamlessly integrates two popular plugins (Contact Form 7 and Download Monitor) to create a simple shortcode for requesting an end-user to fill out a form before providing the download URL. Once downloaded, the site administrator can track all downloads within the dashboard.
- Formilla Live Chat – Free Live Chat. No strings attached. You’ll see the chat tab on the bottom of every page on our site. We set the hours and man this chat ourselves. After hours, the chat icon changes to an email icon. Support? Awesome. We recently changed our URL and had questions about the switch. One email to these guys and I got a reply within hours – outside of regular hours. They also use their plug in so live chat is available on their site as well.
- Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found. This plug in gives me peace of mind. As your site gets bigger, your posts more frequent, the chances of broken links will increase.
WordPress.org was created as, and remains a powerful blogging tool that has evolved into so much more, I think primarily because of the availability of plugins. I’m certain that as my skills increase this list will change. For now, these Favorite 5 WordPress Plug Ins do exactly what I need them to do — help to make us look good.
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