Are you blogging? Are you a webmaster to maintain a site for yourself or other companies? No matter which type category you fit into, WordPress is for you! The great thing about WordPress are:
- It is FREE.
- It is highly customizable with tons of plugin you can use.
- It is very user friendly and professional.
In this post, I am going to run through 13 great FREE plugins that you should install to turbo charge your WordPress blog! You will be able to safe guard your blog from hacker and spammer, make your blog SEO friendly and hence more traffic to your blog and put your blog marketing on steroid.
1. Keep Hacker & Spammer Away From Your Blog
It is highly advisable to create a new admin account with a name you desired (avoid being called “admin”) and delete the username “admin” account. Lots of hackers use brute force to hack into the WordPress account with “admin” as username because they also know this is the default setting when you first install WordPress and tons of people are just too lazy or are not aware to change the username and delete the “admin” username.
After that, you should install Login Lock plugin to protect your blog. Generally, it will automatically block IP addresses for too many failed login attempts. As the administrator of the blog, you have the right to set it to block the IP for a certain period of time (i.e. 1 hour, 2 hour or a day, etc…) This will keep the hacker away from using brute force (such as with a decoder to unlock the password by trying various combination) to hack into your WordPress account.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP) will add a client side generated checkbox to your comment box and ask them to confirm that they are not spammers. As it is generated via Java script from client side so the spam bot cannot see that and hence keep the automated spam bot away. It is more convenient for the reader to tick a checkbox than to solve the captcha.
2. WordPress SEO
WordPress SEO by Yoast (Refer to my update on Why I Dumped All In One SEO Pack)
On page SEO is crucial for the blog if you would like to attract organic traffic. The only plugin that I use for is WordPress SEO by Yoast (I’ve just removed All In One SEO Pack on all my WordPress sites)
All In One SEO Pack. It is a handy plugin that allow you to modify the title tag, description tag and the keyword tag. Put your keyword into all these tag and put some creativity when you craft out the title and description to attract more people to click your post when they found it on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Below is the setting I used:
Change Permalink Setting
Under Settings > Permalinks, change to custom structure. You can use /%postname%/ or /%category%/%postname%/. The purpose is to make the permalink SEO friendly (and also user friendly).
Image Alt tag
Whenever you upload a image, remember to insert the alt tag, as shown below:
If you do not enter alternate text (i.e. the alt tag), Google will not be able to recognize what the image is all about. So, make sure you insert relevant keyword and use the keyword as the filename of the image.
SEO slug will help you to remove the common words like “a”, “the”, “what”, etc…to further improve the search engine optimization. When you have a post such as:
“/How to Improve SEO Ranking”
It will turn it into “/Improve SEO Ranking”.
Once you finished installation, you are good to go. No further setting is required.
Internal Link Building
Internal link building another critical WordPress SEO factor you can tweak immediately. One quick way is to install “Yet another related post plugin”. This plugin will automatically add relevant posts at the bottom of your post as shown below:
Apart from that, I manually add in the internal link to other relevant post with Anchor Text. Otherwise you can try out plugin like SEO Smart Links. I prefer to do it manually because I have full control of the posts I would like to link to with specific anchor text.
This will help to fix up any 404 error page. whenever there are 404 error page, you can redirect to your main URL or any URL you would like your visitors to see. This is a great plugin that will save you lots of traffic!
3. Blog Promotion
Do you know that as a built in function of WordPress, it will automatically ping and notify a number of websites when you update or finish a blog post? This is a great function but when you edit and save your post for too many times, you might be marked as a ping spammer, though your intention is only to fix up some typos or revise your post.
Ping Optimizer will fix up the problem for you.
Google XML Sitemap will generate a sitemap for your blog so that the major search engine such as Google, Yahoo and Bing can better index your blog. Remember to check “Notify Yahoo about update of your Blog” and apply for a application ID for yahoo (it is free) so that it will notify Yahoo when you have a new post.
With Commentluv, you will be able to encourage your visitors to leave a comment and hence have more interaction between you and your readers. Your readers would be happy to leave the comment as they gain extra link to promote blog post on your blog. You will get more content and interaction on your blog. This is a win-win for both!
Do you like to add some call to action or something you would like your readers to check out every time they finish reading your blog post? Add post footer will be able to do that. With this plugin, you can easily leave an opt in box or an ads to direct people to your product after the post. This is a great way to promote within a blog post.
This is a great tool that I love. You can customize the greeting message to your visitors depending on their referral URL. It works with referral from Facebook, Google, Stumble Upon, Digg, Delicious, etc…Take a look of the screenshot of WP Greet Box on my blog (you should see it above this post too).
Basically, this plugin generate a customized greeting message and remind them to subscribe to the RSS feed!
Are you into smart phone? I am not anyway…However, there are just too many people carry smart phone and use their mobile to access internet everyday. So, we should optimize our blog for the mobile guys! WPTouch will automatically transform the blog theme to suit for mobile platform such as iphone, android, etc…
By doing this, don’t be surprised when you see more traffic to your blog from mobile device!
This plugin will remove the “no follow” attribute from the comments and hence encourage more people to leave comments on your blog. You can set o meet your criteria such as only remove the “no follow” attribute when they leave 5 comments or above. I’ve set to 3. So, do remember to leave a comment whenever you visit my site so that your link will become “Do Follow”.
However, do keep an eye for human spammers…
Odiogo Listen Button (Update 30 Sept 2011)
Ever wonder what is the “Listen Now” just under the blog post title? This is a great plugin by Odiogo that automatically convert your text to become a podcast. Now, blog is not a conventional blog anymore. People can actually listen to your blog. On top of that, you can setup your own ITunes Podcast Channel, just like me –> Blog On ITunes, using the feed created by Odiogo. Feel free to leave me a review on ITunes Store:)
Great Plugins To Suggest?
Are you using any other plugins to turbo charge your WordPress blog? Feel free to share them in the comment box!