October 25, 2010 Jason

5 Essential’ish WordPress Plug-ins

You probably already know that WordPress is a fantastic blogging platform, but do you know how popular?  According toWordPress.com, in September 2010, there were over 27 million WordPress blogs.  A little less than half of them were selfhosted – meaning they installed the wordpress.org software on their own website.  The other half uses the free wordpress.com hosting platform.

So who’s reading your blog? Quantcast has some great stats on the wordpress.com hosted network.  It looks like there are more than 260 million people visiting one or more WordPress.com blogs per month, and they’re checking out over 2.1 billion pages each month.  Wow. Want more stats?  How about 350,000 new posts, on average, per day.  And somewhere in the neighbourhood of 400,000 new comments every day.  That’s some serious blogging – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Figure that the self hosted wordpress blogs will get similar numbers, and then add in the other platforms: blogger, livejournal, typepad, blogsmith – and many more.

Here are some excellent plug-ins that will help your WordPress blog be found easier, be shared easier, or just look cool.

WP-DBManager – If you aren’t backing up your blog regularly, you risk losing all of your content when (not if) your server fails.  This tool lets you tweak your database (important as Google is now starting to look at loading times), backup your database, and restore your database.  And the best part – you can create an automatic schedule to back it up for you.  If you don’t add any other plug-in, add this.

Sexy Bookmarks – If you are going to write something on your blog, make it easy for your audience to share it with their friends.   With this plug-in, you can choose which platforms you want to enable, and forget about the rest.  Love Delicious but hate Reddit?  A quick click and it’s done.

WPTouch – I know it only seems like everyone has an iPhone, but this plug-in turns your blog into a mobile-friendly theme.  Now folks with an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, as well as readers with an Android, Palm Pre, Blackberry Storm/Torch, or even a Samsung touch can view your pithy posts.  It’s quick to load, shows your posts in an easy to read order, and if your audience doesn’t like it, they can turn it off on their side.  Now that’s a smart phone!

Google XML Sitemaps –I am not an SEO guy, but I know that it’s important to let Google know when you have made changes to your website.  With this tool, every time you edit/publish/delete a post, it will automagically create a new xml sitemap and submit it to Google.  This lets Google know that you are regularly adding new content to your site, and the Google spiders can come and crawl all over your site – getting all your delicious content to share with everyone searching for it.

All in One SEO Pack– Like I said above, I am not an SEO guy.  This plug-in gives me the confidence that whatever I post is going to have an increased chance of being found.  There is a fair bit of debate about All in One vs Headspace2 – another popular SEO tool.  I’ve been using all in one for a while, and I’m happy with it for now.

There you go.  A few tools that I have found to help my blog, and I hope they will help yours too.  This is by no means a comprehensive list – since there are 11,526 plug-ins available and more coming every day – I know that you probably have a few that you like.  Please share them!

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