Larry Brauner
What’s the big deal about WordPress?

In Website vs. Web Presence, I emphasize the role of social media in web marketing.

Darren Rouse, the author of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, shares in a video his blog-centric approach to web marketing in which social media sites (which aren’t under our complete control) serve as outposts for our blogs and web sites (which we do control).

For further discussion about the control issue and the trade-offs, read How to Start a Blog Made Easy and Creating a Home for Your Blog.

Choosing WordPress for Blogs

Blogs and Web Sites Which We Own and Can ControlWordPress is popular software for setting up and managing our own blogs and web sites which we are able to control.

Using popular software is like buying a popular car. It’s easy to locate parts and easy to locate mechanics. With WordPress it’s easy to customize using add-on modules and easy to locate technical help when we need it.

Bloggers who use WordPress appreciate the way its functionality can be expanded or customized using plugins, which are add-on software modules (that are easy to append from within a blog’s control panel and often about as easy to use).

Choosing Plugins for WordPress

WordPress PluginThe best way to choose plugins is through word of mouth recommendation. Most WordPress plugins are free. However, if we don’t choose the plugins that are correct for us, our blogs will not perform the way we wish.

I’m sharing my top dozen WordPress plugins. I use more than twelve, and I’ve tried many others. These are the twelve WordPress plugins which I find the most handy for social marketing:

  1. AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget - One of many widgets available which enables readers to easily share and bookmark blog content. There’s an option to register with AddThis and track the widget’s usage.
  2. Akismet - A must have! Without this SPAM filter, life can be quite unpleasant. :-(
  3. All in One SEO Pack - Has had competition, but apparently, this plugin has proven to be reliable and well maintained. It provides control over meta tags and other aspects of SEO.
  4. Easy Icon - Helps set and determine the blog’s icon so the visitor can see the logo on browser title bar. Really is easy!
  5. Google XML Sitemaps - Another must have. Helps Google find all the blog’s content. Works quietly behind the scenes.
  6. Link to Me Textbox - Not a must have at all, but this plugin makes it easier for readers to link-in from their own blog and gives them a not too subtle hint. Cough. Cough. ;-)
  7. Nofollow Case by Case - This is the plugin which I referenced in The Blogger’s Guide to Links and Comments. I love it, but not everybody wants a dofollow blog.
  8. Really Simple Sitemap - Strongly recommended! Helps create a site map like mine that’s helpful for both readers and search engines.
  9. Simple Tags - Has many features. My favorite is the auto-complete feature.
  10. Tag Managing Thing - Offers basic tag management. I like the combination of this plugin and the previous plugin.
  11. Ultimate Google Analytics - In my opinion, the easiest way to incorporate Google Analytics in one’s blog.
  12. WordPress Mobile Edition - Creates an interface enabling mobile users to access the blog. Why not?

Your choice of plugins depends upon your needs and objectives.

Be Careful About User Registration

I have a suggestion that has nothing to do with plugins but is important to mention. Disable blog registrations! Do not let blog visitors set up accounts. Letting in strangers creates an unnecessary security risk.

Instead, set up a subscription system that enables readers to subscribe by RSS feed or email. I’ve found that FeedBurner and Aweber work very well together.

What Are Your Favorite WordPress Plugins?

It’s your turn to share some of your favorite WordPress plugins. You can share as many as you like, but please, explain what each does.

Do not list any plugins which have already been listed. However, if you’ve had a bad experience with a plugin that has been listed, feel free to explain.

I’m especially interested in hearing from other social marketers.

Here ya go. Comment away! :-D

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24 Responses to “Why WordPress? Plus List of My Top Dozen WordPress Plugins”

  1. DeBorah Beatty on November 16th, 2009 1:35 am

    Personally there are a few that you already mentioned, like Akismet, and Google XML Sitemap, but I also love Woopra and Followme, My Page Order and let’s not forget WordPress Database Backup.

    My whole site is built on WordPress. So nice to have everything so easy to manage.

  2. Mel Smith on November 16th, 2009 1:52 am

    Larry,

    I like the WP-ShortStat plugin, It gives the visitors time and where they come from and which page they end up on, with unique and hits stats along with RSS info.

    I tried to get Google Analytics set up but it never matured so I gave up on it.

    I’ll check out some of yours I haven’t tried yet. Thanks, Larry

    Mel

  3. Larry Brauner on November 16th, 2009 2:22 am

    @DeBorah Which of the database backups do you use?

  4. Debbie Morgan on November 16th, 2009 10:34 am

    Hi Larry,

    I haven’t set up a blog yet but this information is very helpful for when I do. Thanks so much. This is a gold mine!

    Deb

  5. Watch Anime Online on November 16th, 2009 1:08 pm

    I use All in One SEO, XML Sitemaps, GD Star Rating, Post-Plugin Library, WordPress.com Stats, WP-Polls, WP Post Thumbnail, and a couple others, but I don’t remember them lol. I do agree Wordpress is the king of blogging, however!

  6. Dawn on November 16th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Hi Larry,

    I love Wordpress! All of the plugins make it so versatile for just about any type of industry. I put many of my clients’ business websites into Wordpress because it’s easy for them to manage and cost efficient if they make their own website updates and modifications.

    A couple of my favorite plugins are NextGEN Gallery which is a nice and easy to use photo gallery with a Flash slide show option and Contact Form 7 which is a contact form that is very flexible. It allows quizzes, drop down menus, check box fields and so much more on your contact page. My client has found these features to greatly enhance his initial consultations because he gets an overview of exactly what his clients are looking for before he even meets them for the first time!

  7. Larry Brauner on November 16th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Thank you Dawn for your long response and your cool suggestions.

  8. DaisySoapGirl on November 16th, 2009 2:09 pm

    Fantastic overview of WordPress. Right now I blog with Blogger but see a need to investigate WordPress more. Thanks for this helpful post.

  9. Market Segmentation on November 17th, 2009 1:06 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for this great list of Word Press plug-ins.

    I’ve had the All In One SEO tool on my blog for a long time, but after a Word Press upgrade a few months ago, it quit working. It still shows but doesn’t save what I put in it.

    Do you have any idea what’s wrong with it?

    Warmly,

    Linda P. Morton

  10. Larry Brauner on November 17th, 2009 5:32 pm

    Off the top of my head I have two suggestions.

    1. Make sure you’re using the most recent version of the plugin.
    2. Make sure that the plugin settings still seem to make sense

    The first is my main concern.

  11. Eunice Coughlin on November 17th, 2009 9:24 pm

    I like your list. Some I’ve heard of, some I haven’t and wish I had before using another one that does a similar job. I use Google Sitemap Generator and it was a real bear to set up.

    One I use that you haven’t mentioned is YARPP (Yet Another Related Post Plugin). It lists posts related to each other, which is a great time saver when linking to other pages on your site.

  12. Larry Brauner on November 17th, 2009 9:52 pm

    Not sure exactly which sitemap generator you’re using Eunice.

    YARPP is another good one. Only one problem: What is the correct way to articulate the double “P” at the end of this acronym? :-P

  13. Tina T on November 18th, 2009 11:23 pm

    I agree about Akismet, an absolute lifesaver. I just disabled All In One SEO because I was too lazy to upgrade it, but maybe I’ll rethink this since everyone has such good things to say about it.

    I like CommentLuv and the WP Backup plugin. Apparently WP databases can be quirky when you back them up through your host instead of using the plugin. I discovered this the hard way, and now I only back up using the plugin.

  14. Pauline Bennett on November 19th, 2009 5:26 am

    Hi Larry, I am just starting out and have not got anything set up yet so your information is great for me, thanks. I am a complete newbie so I am gathering all the information I can before getting started.

  15. April on November 20th, 2009 3:34 am

    Wow, there is so much I don’t know about WordPress! I am learning as I go. This post is very helpful. I am going to try a plugin now.

  16. Will on November 20th, 2009 6:47 am

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks a lot for this list and glad to have discovered the tag plug-ins which I’m now using.

    One plug-in not on the list which I find very useful is Broken Link Checker - as it “does what it says on the packet” … and has saved me quite a bit of time in that respect.

    By the way, with regard to blog registrations, I’ve just unticked “Membership” in “General Settings” … but am not absolutely sure if this was the right (or only) thing to do. Could you please confirm it’s ok … or point me in the right direction? Thanks!

    Wishing you a great weekend

    Will

  17. Larry Brauner on November 20th, 2009 12:50 pm

    That’s right. In Settings > General > Membership, you’re un-checking “Anyone can register.”

    You have a great weekend too Will.

  18. Will on November 20th, 2009 2:49 pm

    Thanks Larry, will do !

  19. Warren Contreras on December 19th, 2009 8:17 pm

    I am still learning about all this, but since I also use Twitter I like the TweetMeme Retweet Button plugin. It gives visitors a quick easy way to provide a plug if they like what you write.

  20. Ramit on December 25th, 2009 9:35 pm

    Great list of plugins. I just added the Sociable plugin to my site was initially debating over AddThis and Sociable.

    What do you think of Sociable ?

  21. Larry Brauner on December 26th, 2009 9:03 pm

    I think Sociable is a useful plugin. It’s largely a matter of personal preference.

  22. WordPress Blog Sites are Perfect for Your Small Business on July 8th, 2010 3:55 pm

    […] blog site is any website, which has been created and is managed with a blog tool like WordPress — even if that website has no blog at […]

  23. Frank Roberts on April 7th, 2011 5:18 pm

    Wordpress is the single best thing for anyone wanting to set up their own web presence and your list of plugins help make a good thing great! There are so many plugins to choose from now that offering the benefit of your experience and knowledge is a huge help to those of us who are drowning in information overload. Thanks!

    Frank
    Webmaster and Plugin Fan

  24. Dropshippers on April 19th, 2011 7:59 am

    Backup buddy - I learned the hard way and lost my site,I now always backup with this.

    No index, no follow - helps the flow of PageRank go to the right pages instead of the pointless ones like privacy, contact e.t.c.

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