Which five of all those WordPress plugins should you be using?
WordPress is one of the – arguably the – best platform for bloggers. It's SEO-friendly, comes with professional and helpful support and, crucially, you have total control over your blog at all times. However, its functionality leaves room for improvement, and there are thousands of plugins available, literally – some 40,000+ at last count – that you can install to give your blog a leg-up.
Hosting providers will often provide you with the basic start-up tools you need to get going – when you buy UK2 Domain Names for instance, you receive a free one-page website you can use straight-off or develop further, and a free email address with up to 200MB storage. But for your blog to really work for you, you need to look at installing some plugins. Here are some of the most indispensable for bloggers…
The Jetpack plugin is packed with useful features that will help your blog make a big impact. Just to reel off a few, it lets you share new posts automatically over your chosen social media platforms (and makes it easy for visitors to share it themselves), saving you time; at the end of every post it shows links to related content, helping visitors find their way to the topics that interest them and thereby increasing engagement; it has its own proofreading system which comes in very handy if your spelling or grammar lets you down from time to time, and it lets you easily embed content from sites such as Slideshare and YouTube without the need for additional or complex coding.
And that's just the start of it. Jetpack has positive implications for your traffic growth, your security, your SEO, and your site's appearance. Best of all? It costs you nothing. Nada. Jetpack is free of charge, and installing it is a breeze. If you're serious about your business blog, Jetpack is vital.
Broken Link Checker
Manually going through every post you've published on a regular basis to check for broken links or images that don't show up is a hugely time-consuming task. Broken Link Checker automatically monitors your site's content to spot problems in posts, comments and pages. When it identifies an issue, you can update it from the plugin page rather than having to visit each individual post. The plugin can be a bit of a drain on bandwidth, so it may make sense to run it only weekly rather than full-time, but it's a great way to keep your site up-to-date and save you a lot of effort.
One of the worst things that can happen to any business blog is for the content to be lost, either by user error or other catastrophes such as hacking. Regularly and securely backing data up off-site takes a load off your mind, and even if your hosting provider already offers back-ups, it makes sense just to have that extra layer of security. Especially when, like Vaultpress, it's so inexpensive. And if something should happen, you know that your blog can be fully-restored with just a couple of mouse clicks. If you're adding new content to your blog on a daily basis, that peace of mind is worth paying for.
The principal aim of any business blog is to get that content shared as widely as possible by as many people as possible. Frizzly, a free social sharing plugin, makes that a lot easier. Essentially, whenever someone hovers their cursor over an image on your blog, Frizzly puts a share button there for Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook, reminding them to click. The blogger gets to choose which images have the buttons and which don't, and where the pin description comes from. This is obviously a really useful plugin if your blog is image-heavy.
Another major time-saver, and one that should work wonders for your search rankings, All-In-One is a WordPress plugin that automatically optimises your titles, submits your Sitemap to Google and Bing, generates Meta tags and carries out many other essential tasks, straight out of the box, so it's particularly good for beginners. It also allows more advanced users to tweak every function to their liking.