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Internet marketers are, generally, very familiar with WordPress and the use of plugins to enhance and optimize blogs. They are, undoubtedly, an essential part of the arsenal of add-ons and features you can add to this ever popular blog platform. They are easy to install and easy to get carried away with!
It is easy, for example, to stuff your blog with countless plugins that end up adding little overall to the user experience and only end up clogging up your interface. So how do you chose between the plethora of plugins that are available and how do you know which ones are suitable for your internet marketing business?
Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Much will depend on how you wish your user to interact, what you want to achieve and the functionality you are prepared to service.
Any recommended plugin list is problematic and, to some extent, should be treated with caution. It is important in this context to be really clear about what you are trying to achieve with your blog and how the plugin will help you get there. Take the simple list of important plugins below and rate them in importance to your requirements. Generally speaking it is best to restrict yourself to those that you see as most important and relate best to your objectives. Try not to install plugins for the sake of it. The list here tries to cover the essential aspects of any site, regardless of the niche:
1) All In One SEO Pack (relates to: SEO)
This plugin is widely accepted as essential for anyone wishing to optimize for the search engines.
Once installed it will basically take care of optimizing your titles and META tags.
2) Sociable (relates to: Traffic)
This will automatically add links to your favourite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed. Best to use this with a URL shortening service if you link to TwitThis. Are you concerned about social networking for your site? Certainly an effective tools for spreading the word about your site without much effort.
3) Google Analytics (relates to: Tracking and Analysis)
Most types of sites need some kind of tracking service and Google Analytics is the best free service you can tap into with this plugin. This plugin is pretty much essential for any kind of site.
4) WP-Spam Free (relates to: Unwanted mail)
Another common, almost ‘must have’, plugin is the WP-Spam Free. Regardless of your niche and intention you need to protect you site from comment spam, including pingback and trackback.
5) DB Backup (relates to: Data storage)
This allows you to easily backup and store your posts and entire WordPress database. Nothing worse than losing all your hard work!
6) Google XML Sitemaps (relates to: SEO)
This helps search engines find your site. It supports Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN. You want these guys to know where you are!
7) WP-Post Views (relates to: Tracking)
Simply lets you know how many times your posts have been used. Dead simple but very handy to gage popularity.
8) WP-Post Ratings (relates to: User Interactivity and tracking)
A neat plugin that allows users to post ‘ratings’ for individual posts. You have to think whether this is the sort of function you want your readers to have and if you have enough readers to make it worthwhile. Also, useful as a tracking tools to see which posts and topics are most popular.
9) Video Widget (relates to: User Interactivity)
Again, if your blog uses video then the Video Widget allows you to display videos from many video sharing sites including YouTube, DailyMotion, Google Video, Metacafe, Revver, MySPace, Blip.TV, Quicktime, Windows Media Player among others.
10) Disqus Commenting System (relates to: User Interactivity)
If your blog has a lot of people commenting then a very handy and quite advanced plugin is the Disqus Commenting System. It basically replaces your standard comment template with one that is more advanced and allows you to do a whole range of fancy tricks like seeing comments made by the same user on other sites.
These are only a handful of the many plugins that are currently on the market. While some are commonly regarded as essential to any blog (you should always ‘backup’ data), others will depend on the type of blog you run and what you aim to achieve. Be sure to have these clearly in mind before installing any plugin.
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