This guest post is by Amy Edwards of Bubble Jobs.
Once you’ve set up your WordPress blog and installed a couple of the iconic plugins, it can be easy to kick back and relax – you’ve done all the hard work setting it all up, right?! Wrong! The great thing about WordPress is that it’s constantly evolving and improving so there are always new things to learn – and plugins are no exception!
Just like smartphone apps, WordPress plugins are designed to give you a helping hand. Generally speaking, plugins are there make your blog more effective in terms of visitor engagement, usability and design – and they can even help you to make your posts more effective in the search engines too!
Classic plugins like the All-in-one SEO Pack and OnSwipe might still be reigning supreme in the plugin download chart (if there is such a thing!) but that doesn’t mean they’re short of competitors. In fact, since the start of the year, some really great WP plugins have been released which are well worth a browse. Here’s a round-up of our top 10 picks!
SEO Smart Links
We all know that interlinking our posts can help to strengthen the internal structure of our site and increase page rank but how many of us actually do it? With the SEO Smart Links plugin you can stop feeling guilty because this will do it for you. The plugin automatically finds keywords within the body of your post and links it to a similar post on your blog, leaving you free to concentrate on creating quality content. Explore SEO Smart Links.
Tweet Old Post
Want to make sure you get maximum exposure for your blog? This plugin is the perfect option for making sure your old, classic posts don’t get forgotten and does pretty much what it ‘says on the tin’ – it sprinkles your old posts among your tweets. Rather than just being a basic tweet automation plugin, Tweet Old Post lets you add hashtags and lead-in texts to make your tweets look natural and authentic. Get Tweet Old Post free.
With Pinterest making a name for itself in the social networking world, it seems only right that a WP plugin should be released to help blog owners connect their posts to the popular social network – enter Pinterest Pro. This plugin is all you need to cash in on the current popularity of Pinterest – essential for anyone that runs a fashion, design or creative blog. Find Pinterest Pro at Code Canyon.
If you need to install a form on your WP blog then Gravity Forms is the plugin for you. Possibly the best form plugin ever to be released on WP, Gravity Forms does much more than just stick a swanky form on your blog or site – it also acts as a mini CMS, allowing you to organise your leads and add notes to individual entries. See how GravityForms works.
WP Video Gallery
Although WP already does a pretty good job of handling video, there’s always room for improvement and that’s where the WP Video Gallery plugin comes in. Designed to make it easier than ever to install and embed videos into your chosen blog, this plugin ensures your videos play seamlessly across all platforms (mobile, desktop, tablet) and browsers and even comes with customisable skins so it integrates neatly into any blog.
A bit like the classic PageLines plugin, the Visual Composer plugin makes it quick, easy and fun to create a stylish, modern blog without any prior coding knowledge – perfect for anyone who’s more into the marketing and content side of their blog than the actual nuts and bolts. Simple to use, this plugin converts your WP dashboard into a ‘drag and drop’ interface so you can put together a UX-friendly page in next to no time.
The next step up from world renowned WP SEO plugins like the All-in-one SEO Pack is the SEO Pressor. Super-clever, this plugin acts a bit like your very own SEO expert, analysing everything from your post titles and keyword density to your H1s and H2s and making suggestions to help you to optimise your site/blog more effectively. Learn more.
Special Recent Posts
OK, so there are already loads of Recent Posts-type plugins out there but this one is a bit special. Rather than just pulling up a boring text string of recent posts, this plugin pulls in a thumbnail image to accompany each post and an excerpt of the post – both of which you can customise to suit the format of your blog. Read more on the Special Recent Posts plugin page.
W3 Total Cache
If your blog is annoyingly slow and you’re worried that slow loading times might be putting off visitors it might be time to take a look at the W3 Total Cache plugin. Claiming to make your site “10 times faster than before”, this plugin is fully customisable and caches every single element of your blog/site which allows your visitors to read your posts in super-quick time. Learn more about W3 Total Cache.
Last but not least is the super-cool HelloBar plugin. A bit like the cookie strap lines you see on pretty much all sites at the moment, the HelloBar plugin allows you to create a special, personalised message for your blog visitors in a simple line which can be placed at the top or bottom of your posts. From encouraging visitors to sign up to your RSS feed to appealing for guest bloggers, the HelloBar plugin is a great interactive plugin that can really help to grab your visitors’ attention. Visit hellobar.com.
Amy Edwards is an experienced online content manager and has a wealth of experience working with both direct and agency clients. She’s currently working as an SEO Manager for Bubble Jobs.