Here at Attacat we just love WordPress. Oh okay well since you ask… we’ll tell you why! Here goes. Wordpress is the world’s leading Content Management System (CMS) and for good cause. Its popularity and open source license brings a huge number of benefits to us as well as our clients:
- Extensive out of the box functionality
- Good (known) compliance with web standards including search engine friendliness and accessibility
- It can adapt to the needs of your business as it grows
- No license fees
- Huge number of developers who know WordPress inside out are readily available. This allows you to move your site should your little heart desire.
- Very flexible for marketing purposes.
And last but not least!
- Huge number of compatible “plugins” that can be used to extend the platform to do many functions that even 5 years ago would have required £10s of £1000s of development.
How convenient that this last point should bring us onto the very topic for this post. Yep, Plugins!
Our favourite content management system’s popularity has produced an incredibly rich and varied world of plugins, providing users more flexibility and control over their site’s functionality. Plugins essentially offer custom functions that either enhance existing features or add new and otherwise unavailable features to your website. Currently there is a rather scary number of plugins available, 29,642 and counting. So how and where on earth to start? You may already have your trusty favourites and your developers will certainly be armed with theirs. Here are just a few of ours – and there’s one for every kind of Atta-geek!
WordPress SEO By Yoast (for the SEO geek)
Downloads to date: 8,383,982
Current Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
- This would be our first pick of the many, many SEO plugins. The name of the game is to improve your site’s technical SEO but first and foremost is to help you write better content. The plugin forces you to focus your content around a keyword and then makes sure you also focus that keyword elsewhere. In short, this method of content creation helps to give every page and post a clear SEO focus.
- The plugin’s Linkdex Page Analysis functionality will manually point out any SEO elements missing on a page. For example, it checks whether you’ve got your meta descriptions in place and also if your meta description contains your focus keyword. This function helps you to keep everything consistent and create content that search engines enjoy.
- The plugin also creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of their existence. These XML sitemaps include the images too which means that your images can be more easily found by those little search engine spiders too.
- The plugin also makes it quick and easy to do 301 redirects and canonical tags, making the “fun” jobs fun-er!
Online Backup For WordPress (for the paranoid geek obsessed with backing stuff up)
Downloads to date: 350,496
Current Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- This free little number is an important one for developers. It allows you to easily backup your website database (settings, pages and comments) and file system (media, themes, and plugins.)
- Back up data can be sent in three ways, via email, zip file or to a free online secure data center. Oh, oh and the plugin even encrypts your data for you to keep it nice and secure.
Google XML Sitemap Plugin (for the SEO-conscious developer geek)
Downloads to date: 12,243,227
Current Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
- This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap designed to help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With this structure in place, it is much easier for the crawlers to see the complete picture of your site and retrieve it’s contents more efficiently – so everyone’s happy.
- We think this plugin offers more than the WordPress SEO by Yoast sitemap feature. It is simple to setup and supports custom posts and taxnomies, providing automated updates to the XML sitemap when pages change.
- Additionally it nudges search engines when new content is published, helping your content get the attention it deserves.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) (for the content-conscious geek)
Downloads to date: 2,833,670
Current Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars
- This plugin automatically displays related posts, pages and custom post types at the end of your blog posts – introducing your readers to other relevant content on your site. This ones a no brain-er if you have a keen interest in promoting your blog and keeping your readers hanging around on your site for longer.
- The templating system allows you (if you’ve got some developer skills/friends) advanced control of how your related post results are displayed. Have a go at integrating the related posts straight into your theme.
- It comes complete with reporting functions and with opportunities to earn money by including sponsored content *small print* – this is a pro feature.
Share Buttons by Add To Any (for the social butterflies)
Downloads to date: 2,887,193
Current Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars
- In our opinion, this is the cleanest and most useful social plugin for WordPress. This sharing plugin helps people share, bookmark and email your posts and pages using services such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Reddit, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and over 100 more sharing and social bookmarking sites.
- It allows you to pick and choose what social networking icons you want your audience to see and where exactly you want them to see them. It also allows your audience to share using email which is pretty handy for mobile users.
- This ability to customise means it’s a lot cleaner than other social plugins and means your pages aren’t cluttered with superfluous social buttons.
- It is expertly optimised for WordPress, supporting lots of theme features (HTML5, widgets, etc) and is also nicely integrated with our old friend Google Analytics.
Other notable WordPress plugins we likey
- Akismet – Comment spam checker
- Contact Form 7 – Manage and customize multiple contact forms
- Raw HTML – Use raw html in your posts without WordPress sticking their nose in
So there you have it. You can explore WordPress Plugins via the Official WordPress Plugins Directory. For instructions and information on downloading, installing, upgrading, troubleshooting, and managing your WordPress Plugins, see Managing Plugins.
Have you come across a cool new plugin or feel your favourite one has been royally cheated or overlooked? Go on, leave us a comment. The geekier the better.