WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) around – not just because of how easy it is to install and use, but also because it can be customized in a lot of ways. I like to keep things simple, so there are only a few plugins I actually use. However, these plugins are so useful, I’m not sure if any WordPress website is living up to its potential without them.
Must-have WordPress Plugins:
If you’re having a hard time getting the right pages indexed by search engines, or if you’re seeing duplicate content pop up in the site:domain.com searches, then chances are you haven’t installed this plugin or its not set up right.
The All in One SEO Pack combines a few essential features. First, it creates a handy module for writing meta descriptions and meta keywords for each post and page. Secondly, the plugin’s option screen allows you to choose to put “noindex” into your archives, categories, or even tags. I’ve organized my own WordPress sites by categories, so I’ve got archives and tags set to “noindex” and the search engines leave them out of the index. Combined with some robots.txt modifications, this mod, and the next mod, all the duplicate content can be filtered out.
If I had any complaint, it is that the categories often pick up all of the meta keywords of each post in that category. Then I installed the newer version and the issue had been taken care of! I might even see another SERP bounce (knock on wood).
Want the search engines to know exactly where all of your content is at? Give them a roadmap … errr… sitemap. Most engines will appreciate a sitemap, and if you’re still having any problem getting pages indexed after using the SEO pack and a good robots.txt, this is all you’ll need.
If you’re like me, you don’t actually have a page that shows the full text of all the latest posts. Unfortunately, this requires a small “hack” in the current version and I have to assign that task to a URL anyway. With the sitemap.xml file, I get an automatically updated sitemap but can edit that page out to not be included.
I’ve been using this plugin for a while on one of my other WordPress websites, and have just recently installed it here too. Basically, the Nofollow Case by Case addon will take “nofollow” off comment links but allow you to put it back in if you like.
Now, I’m a comment hawk. I don’t want any spam to get through but I don’t want to miss good comments either. And those good comments are worth plunging into that pile of spam so they are also worth a valid back link.
Personally, I like if people would put a first name before their keyword based anchor text – you need something to call them if you’re responding to the comment and you want them to know its directed at them! At the same time, if its a really good comment I’ll let the full anchor text go. Not only have they contributed to the discussion in a meaningful way, they’ve shown some guts too – no one wants to get caught up in Akismet! (By the way, I don’t use Akismet because I think people are too heavy on the filtering and I think comments should be reviewed personally as long as volume allows)
That’s it. Three plugins. If you want to go minimalist like me, this is all you’ll need.
If you don’t want to go “nofollow” free, then you really only need the first two. Heck, if you build a static WordPress site you could write your own sitemap file (the plugin is probably still quicker). There’s no way around the SEO pack, and I imagine in the future this will probably be implemented into the core software of future WordPress versions (some of it already has been incorporated).
Don’t get me wrong – there are other great plugins for almost any use you can think of. There are probably even three or four more I should be using to get the most out of my site!
Got any favorites or just a plug-in project of your own? Leave a comment, all links “do-follow!”