When using WordPress as my content management system, I have 5 plugins of choice that I consistently use. The plugins each serve a unique purpose and add the features WordPress lacks, but needs the most. Each of these plugins are free, some having a premium option. All of them are available through the WordPress Plugin Dashboard and can be installed automatically.
Contact Form 7 is an email form builder for WordPress. Contact Form 7 is quickly installed from the WordPress Dashboard Plugins screen and allows your to build one or many email contact forms. You can quickly create web forms for pages and posts, not just for a standard contact page.
It is completely customizable and is edited with simple HTML. There is a small wizard that helps you create simple to complex forms. From the dashboard you can also manage and edit the web forms around your website without having to make changes to each page or post.
If you need to specify multiple recipients of the web forms, you can create as many mailers are you need with each being customizable to include all or very little of the submitted information.
If you don’t know it by now, SEO is essential to the livlihood of a website. All-in-one SEO is one of the top SEO plugins for WordPress. I currently use it on many of my websites to get my SEO under control quickly and effortlessly. This plugin manipulates the web page head to include the keyword and description meta tags. Each tag can be manually entered or it can be automatically generated based on the page content, categories, and tags.
All-in-one SEO also dynamically changes the title for each page or post type, as well as for categories, tags, archives, and search results. One of my favorite features of this plugin is the ability to quickly add in verification meta tags from webmaster tools for each of the major search engines.
In order to get your website indexed quickly and crawled on a regular basis, you need to take advantage of a website XML sitemap. Like a user sitemap, which includes all pages of your website in a hierarchal format, an XML sitemap excludes the styling of a web interface, but carries the essential information needed by search engines to quickly index your website and include it in the search results.
After installing this plugin, you can simply visit http://yourdomain.tld/sitemap.xml to generate your sitemap and submit it to the leading search engine webmaster tools. From that point on, anytime your site is updated, the XML sitemap will make the search engines aware and your site will be crawled in no time.
Redirection isn’t usually included as a top plugin for WordPress, but I wouldn’t go without it. Redirection is an extremely powerful redirection tool that can be a saving grace for your growing website. Redirction keeps track of your page and post URLs. If you modify a URL of an existing page or post on your website, Redirection automatically creates a redirection from the previous URL to the new one. This is important if the pages with changed URLs had many backlinks across the internet. Any visitors coming to view your site from the old URL will not see a 404 Page Not Found error, but will simply be direct to the page at the new URL.
Redirection can also help you tracks link clicks and redirect any ugly links you may have on your website. It is also great from creating manual affiliate cloaking links that use your domain name, instead of a URL shortening service or PHP script.
Another saving grace for a growing website is the WP Super Cache plugin for WordPress. Often website will have growing pains with their web host. This can include service outages from too much traffic or from too much server load. It is a terrible thing for a website to go offline for any reason, so to decrease the bandwidth and server load your website may cause, the WP Super Cache plugin create static HTML pages of your dynamically generate PHP/MySQL pages. Static HTML pages require far less bandwidth and far less server resources to load rapidly.
Instead of upgrading your hosting package or completely moving to a new host, this plugin can save you some time and money. The WP Super Cache plugin is also handy for those moments when your website traffic spikes, your static pages are always available and your server won’t explode from over use.
Want more? Contact Mediaryte to get your local small business blog off the ground and working for you. We are here to build your local small business web presence.