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The Best Combination of Plug-ins To Revamp Your WordPress Blog

September 17th, 2013

WordPress was first released on May 27, 2003 and till February 2011 it has been downloaded more than 32.5 million times. Like its founder Matt Mullenweg, we would like to know whether you’ve used WordPress without plug-ins, Browsers without add-ons or toolbars, and a smartphone without apps.

When a user installs WordPress on a Web server, he/she has to focus on the plug-ins first even before start writing. However, one can easily get confused while visiting WordPress Plug-in Directory as it has total 132333 plug-ins till today and its collection is still growing day-by-day.

In order to save you from investing your precious time in finding out the best ones and help you to focus on your writing, here we’ll highlight the most important and trusted plug-ins. If you are going to setup the WordPress for the first time or already have it, then please have a look at our compilation of plug-ins.

Smooth Slider

A slideshow on your home page and categories’ pages highlights the latest or selected posts. This plug-in has fully customizable CSS and its content is detectable by search engine robots along with Lynx, a command line-based browser.

Smooth Slider

Steps to configure Smooth Slider:

  1. Install the Smooth Slider plug-in and activate it.
  2. At Dashboard, go to Appearance Tab >Editor.
  3. If your theme has home.php then open it else you have to select Index.php.
  4. Paste following code at the location where you want to display the slider: –
    <?php if ( function_exists( ‘get_smooth_slider’ ) ) {
    get_smooth_slider(); } ?>
    To insert the slider before list of articles on home page or categories’ page use following piece of code:
    <?php if ( function_exists( ‘get_smooth_slider’ ) ) {  get_smooth_slider(); }
    if(have_posts()) : while(have_posts()) : the_post();
    ….(rest of the loop code)
    ?>

Post Highlights

In case if you do not like the Smooth Slider then here is one more plug-in to add slideshow on your blog’s home page – Post Highlights. Again, it is a highly customizable plug-in and its highlight box cross-fades between images. See a sample below: –

Post Highlights

Steps to configure Post Highlights:

  1. Install the Post Highlights plug-in and activate it.
  2. At Dashboard, go to Manage>Posts and check the box under Highlight column.
  3. Go to Post (near Settings) and customize the slideshow.
  4. Go to Appearance Tab>Editor, open Index.php. If your theme has home.php then you can use it.
  5. Paste the following code where  you want to show Post Highlights
    <?php if(function_exists(“insert_post_highlights”)) insert_post_highlights(); ?>

Note: It’s a breeze to manage the Smooth Slider and Post Highlights for your WordPress blog. Noteworthy that dynamic slideshow having moving images and/or content will attract more visitors’ attention than static content.

PodPress

If you are hosting digital media files with your blogs like sound or video then this is specially crafted for you. In 2010, Diffusion Group predicted that the U.S. Podcast Audience reaches 56 million. Want to target this large amount of podcast listeners or allow your visitors to access your media files on podcast? , then use PodPress. Not only this brings additional and attractive benefit for your visitors but it also targets the audience who is not visiting your Website.

The Podpress plug-ins have inbuilt media player supporting AVI, WMV, ASF, FLV, QT, MOV, MP4, OGV, OGG, RM, MP3 and other popular formats. You can generate unlimited number of podcasts and view their usage statistics in graph shapes. One can access the released podcasts on smartphones, iPods, iTunes, RSS2 Readers etc. It also allows applying a preview image to Video Podcasts.

WP Post Ratings

Most of the visitors like the ratings of the articles. This plug-in allows the visitors to rank your posts and lets you know what your visitors like the most. In fact, it helps you to focus on the most liked topics of your visitors. It is quite easy to install and use this plug-in.

WP Post Rankings

Steps to configure WP Post Rankings:

  1. Install the WP Post Rankings plug-in and activate it.
  2. If you want to add ratings in each post then include following code line in Index.php after
    <?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?> :
    <?php if(function_exists(‘the_ratings’)) { the_ratings(); } ?>
  3. There is no need to include above code if you do not want ratings on each post.
    • Simply type [ratings] in the content of selected post and this will show ratings on the selected posts.
    • Type [ratings id=”n” results=”true”] if you want to embed the ratings of other posts.

W3 Total Cache

Suppose you are opening a Website and it is taking 15 minutes to open Web pages. Will you like such a slow Website and visit it again? Everyone answers – NO. Speed matters while visiting any Website and that’s why major search engines prefer the sites with good loading speed. You can use W3 Total Cache plug-in to speed up your WordPress blog.

Install and properly configure W3 Total Cache then you will notice improvements in scores at Google Page Speed and Yahoo! YSlow test.

W3 Total Cache

Note: If you face any problem like slash URL etc. then switch to “Disk (basic)” Page Caching Methods in the W3 Total Cache configuration panel as shown above.

WP Tuner

WordPress Plug-in Directory has more than one plug-in for your single purpose. You have to add plug-ins for customization, showcase, highlights, security, cache, social media, podcasts etc. More number of plug-ins at your WordPress panel slows the performance of your blog site even if you’ve employed a cache plug-in.

WP Tuner helps you to identify the performance of each installed plug-in. It queries your blog and counts load times. You can view the statistics to analyze the Website performance.

WP Optimize

If you edit a post 10 times to improve the content, the WordPress will create 10 revisions of that particular post. In simple words, suppose your post is of 10KB in size then 10 revisions yields 100KB overhead for MySQL. This will slow down the performance of database and in turn, slows your Website. If you want to solve this problem then use WP Optimize plug-in.

WP Optimize

It can:

  1. Remove all WordPress Post Revisions,
  2. Remove comments in the Spam Queue,
  3. Erase unapproved comments
  4. Show database table statistics
  5. Run MySQL optimize commands on database tables without needing you to login at phpMyAdmin
  6. Rename usernames even the proprietary “admin” name

WP-SpamFree

You can stop the automated scripts or robots to enter the excessive comments on your blog. Use this exciting “WP-SpamFree” plug-in to control the comment spam, pingback spam, and trackback spam. Using this plug-in, you can

  1. Create a contact form.
    • Create a New Post.
    • Type <!–spamfree-contact–> in Visual Editor.
    • Click Publish.
  2. Disable trackbacks and pingbacks using configuration panel of plug-in.
  3. Allow or disable users behind proxy servers to comment.
  4. Log all comments.
  5. Use two methods to create cookies.
  6. Display spam stat counter on your blog Website.
    • Paste following code to display large-size counter
    • Paste following code to display small-size counter

You can replace the ‘1’ id with the image IDs displayed at WP-SpamFree page at polepositionmarketing.com.

All-in-one SEO Pack

Search Engine Optimization plays an important role to popularize a Website and bring more visitors’ traffic to it. If you are new to SEO then here we can help by mentioning one of the best SEO plug-ins for you. ‘All-in-one SEO Pack’ is a simple plug-in to install and use. You can perform the professional search engine optimization of your Website using it.

All-in-One SEO pack plug-in automatically

  • Provides advanced canonical URLs to resolve critical canonical URL issue for search engines
  • Generates META tag, which are necessary for search engine to recognize the keywords in a post
  • Optimize the Permalink structure
  • Backward compatible with other plug-ins like Ultimate Tag Warrior, Auto Meta and others.

No Self Pings

The internal linking is a good option for the visitors to redirect them to other pages of your Website. However, the major search engine like Google do not like the excessive trackbacks and self pings. If you want to control the self pings and trackbacks, then use ‘No Self Pings’. Just install this plug-in and activate it. This will disable the self pings and trackbacks, and appeals search engines to rank your site better.

Combination of these plugins can meet your important requirements and help you to manage your blog effectively.  Comments and views about this post are welcome. You can also suggest if you know any other effective plugins which may help in blog management.

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