There are hundreds of WordPress Plugin posts on the web. Each explaining a few “must have” plugins you should install and use on your blog.
I have always been very big into plugins, but only if they really helped my site perform better in social media, SEO, or making my life as a webmaster easier.
I have always sort of gone off the assumption that if I use them, then everyone else must use too… right? However, the number of times that has proved itself to be false has inspired me to go ahead and do my own wordpress plugins post.
Here are 5 WordPress plugins you are just stupid not to use.
1. WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin:
It used to be a huge hassle to update your wordpress blogs, especially if you have a whole bunch of burners or off handed sites you don’t actually check that often. It wasn’t until I got hacked a few times and had Google remove one of my ranking sites for injected porn links, that I finally decided that updating was a must.
Luckily for me it was around the same time the WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin came out. I was nervous at first but then figured that the site was already removed so why not give it a shot. I added the plugin and gave it a shot.
Here is what WPAU does;
1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips it.
4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
6. Upgrades wordpress files.
7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
8. Re-activates the plugins.
The process is super simple and takes about 3 to 5 minutes to complete.
WordPress was basically built to crash. Anyone who has ever had any decent spike in traffic has probably spent a few hours on the phone convincing their server company it is not a DOS attack and to please bring your site back online.
There are just way too many calls to the database for any server to handle.
“When it is installed, html files are generated and they are served without ever invoking a single line of PHP.”
That is why you need to cache your pages so that you can handle the traffic spikes when they come. And if you read this blog then it is likely those traffic spikes are going to come sooner than later.
Super Cache is easy to install and easy to use.
One of the downfalls to WordPress is that it uses a single header file for every single page. If you are not skilled at php it can be very difficult to write the Title and Meta lines in your Header file to give each page an individual Title and Description.
Since your Title and META description are important aspects to help your sites SEO and increase your click through rate on the search engine results pages, you need to make sure each page has a unique and relevant title and description.
The All-In-One SEO Plugin does this for you with some basic initial setup.
3. Head META Description Plugin:
One of the downfalls to WordPress is that it uses a single header file for every single page. If you are not skilled at php it can be very difficult to write the Meta lines in your Header file to give each page an individual Description.
Since your META description is an important factor in your click through rate, CTR, on search engine results pages, you need to have a good description for each page.
The Head META Description Plugin uses the first part of your content from each page as your meta description so it is relevant and unique to each page you publish.
Head META Description provides four user-configurable variables. These are:
- $default_blog_desc – Setting this overrides the use of the tagline (Options > General in WordPress) for the default description on your blog. If you don’t use the tagline, edit this line. Default value is
- $post_desc_length – Length of the description in words for post and Page descriptions (the first # words of the excerpt, or post content). Default value is
- $post_use_excerpt – This tells the plugin to use the excerpt for description on posts, if one exists. Set this to
0(zero) to force post content as description. Default is
- $custom_desc_key – Name of the custom field key used to override post or Page excerpts for descriptions. Default is
Everyone knows they should give images on their site an alt and title tage, but it is just so time consuming, especially if you are using a lot of images.
SEO Friendly Images is a great plugin that “recognizes two tags, %title (post title) and %name (filename of the picture). By combining these two tags and additional words (photo, picture etc..) you can create relevant alt and title tags automatically for all images.”
The MediaRSS plugin is my favorite right now and it simply gives you a way to embed media into your rss feed.
“Media RSS” is a new RSS module that supplements the enclosure capabilities of RSS 2.0. RSS enclosures are already being used to syndicate audio files and images. Media RSS extends enclosures to handle other media types, such as short films or TV, as well as provide additional metadata with the media. Media RSS enables content publishers and bloggers to syndicate multimedia content such as TV and video clips, movies, images, and audio.
MediaRSS was initially written by Yahoo but since its release, it has become widely adopted and used across the web.
All of the above plugins have been very easy to install and use. I highly recommend you take the time to grab them all and add them to your blog, as they do nothing but help you with SEO, Social Media Marketing, and making your webmaster life easier.
If you think I have missed a very important or useful WordPress plugin, I encourage you to please comment on this article with the plugin name and what it does.
If you have a really great plugin but would rather not share it will the world, you can email it to me so I can enjoy it as well. Don’t worry though, if you send me a plugin in private, I will not blog about it.
Thanks Brent for the recommendations.
I’m curious though why you prefer the Head Meta plugin over the all in one seo plugin? I’ve been using this one for a while and believe it to be one of the stronger additions to my site with regards to managing meta tags, key words, and other seo stuff.
It can be found @ http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
Reminds me to get the automatic update plugin installed. I also have not updated from the old cache plugin to super cache. Nice list.
PS: Logo looks great on the site.
Levi, I’m compelled to side with you on the All in One SEO plugin. It’s a great plugin and much more flexible than any other SEO plugins of their class 🙂 I pinged Brent about it directly, but I figure you should know (especially given your comment) that I endorse it as well!
Thanks for the tips. Question:
As my list of essential WP plugins grows, how on earth do you deal with all the issues that installing a long list of plugins creates.
I find in the past that some of my plugins duplicate functionality or cancel each other out, producing bugginess that I need to hire a developer to peek under the hood and fix, because I don’t have the time to be doing this.
Do you install and debug plugins yourself, or do you hire someone to help you. If hiring a WP developer is the way to go, I would love a reference, please DM me.
Great post… I use All-In-One-SEO on all my wordpress sites and that wordpress upgrade plugin sounds great.
These are cool plugins..^^ I’ve tried some..surely I will also give a try the other plugins..^^ anyways thanks a lot for sharing it with us!
MediaRSS plugin is also a great way for sites like Digg to get your images for potential thumbnails… 😉
I agree with all your recommendations, except the SEO image friendly plugin. Anything that “automates” images tags can only be detrimental for WAI’s purpose. Instead of actually recognizing the image, this plugin will “stuff” the alt attribute with irrelevant “keywords.” I am sure you already know that the main purpose of the alt is not SEO but accessibility. The best way to go is to learn how to create effective alt text – and WebAIM is the place to start.
So then, how do you guys rank Headspace (2) vs All-In-One SEO? I’ve used both, but it seems like Headspace has a huge following. I just…. can’t figure out why. LOL.
Hi all great information here and good thread to comment on.
Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?
Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?
Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..
Hello to you from London That’s a great blog you have going there and I look forward to more posts
Now that your copy is humming, how is your search engine optimization? Did you at least look into some basics? Search Engine Optimization is the act of making your website search engine friendly and more likely to appear under the keyword phrases appealing to your targeted audience.
Fantastic! I will remember thise plugins as I begin the process of converting my static html sites to dynamic. Thank You
Yep – I would agree with that.. Thanks for the line.
All in one SEO pack is no longer maintained and will not be updated in the future, plus it is only second rate compared to Headspace. Headspace might require more setup, but it far more powerful than AIOSP.
I completely agree with your 5, I recently wrote an article with my top 10. I did not have your #4 and #5 but would also suggest Google XML Sitemap, DiggZ-ET (Digg plugin), Sociable or Add to Any, and reCAPTCHA can be very useful. Great post, very helpful – I will try the SEO friendly images plug-in.
the ALT tag is not coming in the big images but it is only showing the ALT tag in the small images
Thank you so very much for taking the time to compile this. It is exactly what I was look for!
Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
Your, Raiul Baztepo
Great point and very interesting food for thought. I’m not sure I have any clients I can replicate this with, but will bear in mind for the future. Regards
First time I saw WordPress Automatic Upgrade Plugin is here on your site. I have just downloaded it. Lucky for us, the plugin's author listens to users' request, otherwise he would have permanently had it retired (no further updates, that is). Plugin number 4 looks promising too, but I prefer to put in alt and title tags to my images myself. Well, at least for now while I'm still not that busy. Thanks for this information.
Thanks.. This post is a little dated. I need to do an updated one, but time is my enemy.
Nice list, I like all in one SEO though…
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