While plug-ins for the WordPress blogging platform are in abundant supply, I try not to depend on too many of them due to the fact that I don't want to have to worry about them breaking every time a new version of WordPress is released. That being said, there are four plug-ins as well as one adjustment (or hack) to the post template itself that I feel are essential in order to have a great WordPress experience.

Dofollow

Created by Semiologic, the Dofollow plug-in for Wordpress allows you to remove the "evil nofollow attribute" from your comments. By default, the WordPress blogging platform adds the "nofollow" attribute to any links within comments added to posts. The original idea behind adding nofollow to blog comments was to thwart comment spam. However, nofollow hasn't done anything to slow down comment spam on blogs. In fact the only real way to battle comment spam is to either moderate all comments or use some kind of CAPTCHA function to at least stop "automated" spam.

So, if you wish to reward your commenters with a "followed" link as I do, simply install this plug-in and activate it. All comments will now be free of the "nofollow" attribute. It is as simple as that.

SEO Title Tag

Created by Netconcepts, the SEO Title Tag makes is easy to optimize the title tags across your WordPress-powered blog.

Features include:

  • Override a page's or a post's title tag with a custom one.

  • Includes a title tag input box in the "Edit Post and "Write Post " modules.

  • Allows for mass editing of title tags for all posts, static pages, category pages, tag pages, tag conjunction pages, and archive by month pages.

  • You can define the title tag of 404 error pages.

  • Handles internal search result pages too.

  • Title tags of category pages can optionally be set to the category description.

  • If you choose to keep the blog name in your title tags, the order of the blog name and the title are automatically reversed, giving more keyword prominence to the title instead of the blog name. There is also an option to replace your blog name with a shorter blog nickname.

WP Mobile

Ever visited your blog on a mobile phone and then gasped at what you saw? WP Mobile is a nifty plug-in that creates a PDA friendly interface for your blog. You can see it in action by visiting your site in a mobile browser. I am able to view a mobile version of every site I installed this plug-in on via my Blackberry Curve but others have reported various issues. Therefore use at your own risk. It seems like it either works or doesn't work. There are no settings -- just install and activate. You should then be able to automatically see a clean mobile version of your blog when visiting it with a mobile device.

Wordpress Automatic Upgrade

Of the few plug-ins I do use, this one is by far the most valuable to me. In fact, I wish I would have discovered this plug-in a few upgrades ago! The Wordpress Automatic Upgrade automatically upgrades your WordPress version to the latest files provided using the 5 steps provided in the upgrade instructions.

Here is what WPAU does:

  1. Backs up files and makes available a link to download them.

  2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.

  3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips them.

  4. Puts the site in maintenance mode (a 'maintenance' screen will appear to your users).

  5. De-activates all active plug-ins and remembers them.

  6. Upgrades WordPress files.

  7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.

  8. Re-activates plug-ins.

The plug-in can also can be run in a automated mode where in you do not have to click on any links to go to the next step.

I ran it in a step by step mode in which it worked beautifully with the exception of reactivating plug-ins. However, seeing that I use so few plug-ins, reactivating them manually was easy as cake.

Customizing the "Read More Tag

Finally, not a plug-in but more of an "adjustment" to the way WordPress works  - customizing the "read more" function. First of all I don't like how WordPress displays the entire contents of a post by default on the most recent posts page or in many cases, the home page of the blog. I am familiar with Movable Type which allows me to add an excerpt that shows on the home page and which then links to the entire post.

To avoid having WordPress list a post in its entirety on the most recent posts page, you can insert the "more" tag at the point which you want to prompt readers to click on a link to "read more." Problem solved, right? Not exactly.

What bothered me about this function is that by default, when you click on the "read more" link, the web page loads and then "jumps" to the spot where the <--more--> tag is set in the post. If you do not want that "jump", you can change the default function of how this works by editing the following line in wp-includes/post-template.php (prior to version 2.1, the code is found in wp-includes/post-template.php):

Change -

$output .= ' <a href="'. get_permalink()
. "#more-$id\">$more_link_text</a>";

to

$output .= ' <a href="'. get_permalink()
."\">$more_link_text</a>";

or

$output .= ' <a href="'. get_permalink()
.'">$more_link_text</a>';

Only downfall to this manual adjustment of is that the next time you upgrade WordPress, this file will be replaced by the newer version and as such, wipe out your modification. Therefore make a note of this so you can change it again after upgrading.

Keep in mind that there are multiple plug-ins available to customize and improve your WordPress blog as well as multiple modifications you can make so that it functions the way you like. These are just a few of the essentials I employ.

What about you the reader? If you have a favorite plug-in or set of plug-ins or "hacks" that make the WordPress experience better, I'd love to hear about them in the "comments" section of this post.


June 25, 2008





David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as GoGuides.org, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.






Comments(22)

I'm pretty new to the WordPress blogging world, and was very excited when I saw this on Twitter. Very helpful--thanks!

Good stuff david. Thanks.

I'd add Akismet, WordPress.com Stats, Wordpress Database Backup, Feed Footer, and Google XML Sitemaps.

It can never be mentioned enough how critical it is to back up. It's amazing how many people never back up their blog, which when blogging for business, means you could LOSE YOUR BUSINESS to some type of disaster. OUCH!

Good post. I second the vote for Google XML Sitemaps. I also like Admin Dropdown Menu (makes WP UI much better), ShareThis, and WP Ajax Edit Comments

Happy Blogging!
Jason Baer - http://www.convinceandconvert.com

What Google site maps version do you recommend. Andy Beard suggested one but I hate fooling around with my darn mod rewrite in php.ini file. Anybody got a real link to a full ini file that they recommend? My Godaddy one is empty and I lost the full one I wrote in a blog move when I changed to Wordpress from the blog software I wrote.

That was a bright idea, writing my own blogging software. LOL Don't worry that gun I keep shooting myself in the foot with never seems to run out of bullets.

What Google site maps version do you recommend. Andy Beard suggested one but I hate fooling around with my darn mod rewrite in php.ini file. Anybody got a real link to a full ini file that they recommend? My Godaddy one is empty and I lost the full one I wrote in a blog move when I changed to Wordpress from the blog software I wrote.

That was a bright idea, writing my own blogging software. LOL Don't worry that gun I keep shooting myself in the foot with never seems to run out of bullets.

BTW your comments submit errors if you don't click the button. If you click enter on your keyboard it throws a header error.

Great post - I had never heard of the wordpress automatic upgrade plugin before so I will certainly take a look at that.

Thanks,
Suzanne

I will recommend the All-In-One-SEO Pack over the Title Tag, this comes handy to customize most part of site in which SEO impact is felt.. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/ !

Customizing the "Read More Tag

Cheers,
Vinay

That is a great article. My blog is just a few months old and after reading your article I have looked into installing some plugins, but it seems that they don't work for wordpress.com but only for wordpress.org Is that correct?

Great article, thanks for the advice.

With regards the Customizing the "Read More Tag" there's 2 easier ways to do this.

1. Install the Post Teaser SEO Plugin at http://www.google-adsense-templates.co.uk/wordpress-seo-plugins

This is based on the original Post Teaser plugin, but edited for SEO reasons. Instead of the anchor text "Read More" (bad SEO wise). It creates anchor using the title of the post. So-

Continue reading "Name of Post"

Also works well with the aLinks plugin which is brilliant for linking from keywords you choose from your posts (got an EO version of this plugin at the above page as well).

2. There's a way to do similar using standard WordPress coding using the excerpt tag.

David

I'd absolutely add "subscribe to comments" if you want to build community (it's on this site) and minimally- have a stats package that's easily accessible. We like PopStats- but, I'm sure there are lots of others out there.
I'm a big fan of Spam Karma II over akismet, very few false positives.
Share this and all in one SEO pack are also critical.

I also forgot that I just posted a WordPress SEO article, this is good code if you do not want to add the All in one SEO pack. I prefer to code the theme for SEO myself, that way I know exactly what is going on.

http://www.keywebdata.com/?p=117

I coded my theme myself and used these 4 items and it ranks well. This all comes to me from experts in SEO.

Look deeper into the use of nofollow, read what Andy Beard has to say, he is a blog SEO authority.

You also want Andy's nofollow version of socialize, all the links to social sites use nofollow. Just search Andy Beard and socailize, the link is on his site.

wordpress automaticly upgrade plugin is great :)
thanks ...

I'm currently using "NoFollowFree" instead of "DoFollow." Have you used both and do you have a recommendation of which one is better?

Thanks for the post.

I already use some of plugins you talked about here and i am very happy with them!

I’m glad that dofollow is starting to become a big trend.
I think it restores the natural order of the web where sites link to each other.
I understand why google initially recommended nofollow due to SPAM.
Now that there are several plugins that can protect against spam in a blog,
I no longer see the reason for nofollow.

Great article! Thanks for the useful information!

If you don't want to keep updating the post-template.php file ("more" hack) with every WP update, you should try using the "seemore" plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seemore/

Thanks for sharing these WP plugins.
I have Automatic upgrade isntalled on my blog, but never used it - a bit scary to mess things up.
Hope by following your instructions it should go smoothly :-)
regards,
Andy

Will this plug help us improve the ranking of our own blog? Or is just an ego boost that comments get left?

Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.


Search Engine Guide > David Wallace > My Essential Plug-Ins for WordPress Blogs