Best WordPress plugins to use
WordPress is one of the most popular professional blogging platforms today. There are many plugins available on WordPress that you can use to help you improve your blog’s potential to reach your desired audience and capture the attention of those that can aid in elevating your company’s image.
This gallery plugin has become one of the most popular downloads for WordPress in recent years. It has various features that one would think is something that WordPress already has and a gallery plugin is therefore not needed. NextGEN simplifies the uploading of large quantities of images as well as the management and display of these images.
Gallery management is centralized for your convenience and from here one can edit the details of your images such as the size,captions and tags. One can also add a personalized watermark to large batches of images. Create individualized albums for your images with their own descriptions.
When moving into the territory of displaying images, one can choose between a slideshow or thumbnail format. With slideshows you can automate the slideshow speed, the transition, the image order and add a navigation bar. Individual images can be displayed using one of five different lightbox effects.
Slider Revolution is one of many slider plugins that are taking advantage of the responsive design trend. With this plugin your blog slider can be viewed on tablets, a variety of mobiles, laptops and PCs without losing the original design. However, you can choose whether you rather want it to remain a static application instead.
Use this plugin to customize the way your slider transitions (there are about 20 to choose from), the amount of time between transitions, the style of your navigation buttons, image captions and when they appear as well as the amount of slots. It makes use of CSS animation with a fallback on jQuery. One can also include videos in your slider with the option of turning off autoplay. When using an Android phone or iPhone, the slider becomes touch-enabled.
When it comes to comments on your blog, you are never quite sure what you’re going to get. Spam may become an issue when you are trying to run a professional blog and Akismet can help with this problem. When you download Akismet, comments that come through your “Comments” admin screen is captured by Akismet, sent through a filter to distinguish spam from regular comments and then it is given a thumbs up or down according to its findings.
Your comments do not disappear as you have the choice to accept or deny these based on Akismet’s recommendation and your own judgement. You receive a comment status location where you can see what comments were marked as spam by Akismet and which one’s were agreed or disagreed upon by the moderator.
This plugin is quite similar to Akismet (as reviewed above) but the focus is different. Used by many well-known sites such as CNN and Wired, it relies on real-time updating and reply. Disqus allows you to comment using a social media account (such as Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter and so forth) and then you have the option of sharing your comment with those on your account. Alternatively, create a Disqus account by entering your e-mail and later create a profile to display with any future comments.
Moderators of the blog can mark comments as spam while readers can thumbs down a comment to indicate to the moderator that it is something they should potentially take a look at. Conversational threads are created and commentators receive email notifications when a comment they have posted has received a reply.
Another way Disqus is implementing the real-time factor is the fact that readers can see when a person is typing a reply. Also added to this interactive community is the fact that one can comment with photos and videos in the comment section. One can also see what articles the blog or site’s community is discussing the most. This plugin has the added benefit of being free to use for small personal blogs and businesses alike.
WP to Twitter
If you have a Twitter account to maintain while also publishing blog posts, WP to Twitter is a great option for saving time. This plugin will automatically posts link from your WordPress blog post to Twitter using your preferred URL shortening service.
The tags you use on your blog posts are turned into Twitter hashtags and you have a customizable template with which you can write a personalized Tweet every time. It supports the setting up of multiple Twitter accounts for each publisher and one can even set up scheduled Tweets that will be published in the future.
ShareThis is one of the most popular social media sharing plugins. You can share articles, videos, photos and more on 63 different social media sites, and also via your email account. When you click on the ShareThis button next to all of the other well-known buttons, a menu pops up where you can comment on the link you are about to share along with which platform you want to share it on.
The buttons have a variety of different looks such as a floating bar on the side of your blog, simplified buttons with or without the amount of shares visible and an “egg” that opens up when one hovers over it. ShareThis can be installed manually (by getting the code) or automatically for those with less technical knowledge.
Social Media Widget
A simple widget with which you can link readers to your personal social media accounts while they are reading a post or article. It contains icons for more than 50 services including MySpace, Facebook, Skype, Digg and much more. One can also create up to 6 personalized icons by simply providing a URL and one can link to email services as well.
One can change the sizes of the icons as well as their look. Adding animations such as fade, zoom and bounce, and customizing icons are more of the features that Social Media Widget provides. Choose where you want your icons displayed and how many per row you prefer.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO does exactly what the name says it does. It improves your SEO while you are working on WordPress. At the start of writing any blog post, you are forced to choose a keyword that will be the focus of your post and then WordPress SEO reminds you to use that keyword everywhere in that post.
See what your posts will look like in the search results, whether the post is too long or short and whether your meta description is contextually correct in the search results. This helps increase organic searches and increase your rankings. This plugin also looks at the images in your post and whether the alt tags contain your keyword. One can also control which pages are shown in search results to ensure that users only see the relevant posts.
Some of the other features of WordPress SEO includes XML Sitemaps functionality, RSS optimization, Breadcrumbs functionality for easy user navigation, social integration, and import and export functionality.