Good content produced at the right time is at the heart of any successful blog. Good content often needs a helping hand courtesy of sensible promotion too. All of which is to say that fiddling with the technical details can be a tempting distraction from main business at hand, but it can make a difference even if it isn’t the main factor in success or failure.
One of the reasons I’m sure a fan of WordPress (as used by Lib Dem Voice, on my own blog and also on Lynne Featherstone’s blog, which I helped look after for many years) is that there is a wide-range of free plugins available. These make it quick (and free) to add the sort of features to a site that can take considerable time or money with bespoke systems.
Here’s my current top ten recommendations for other political bloggers to try out. Cutting my list down to ten took some doing, and aside from those I chose not to include there are, I’m sure, good choices I didn’t even consider in the first place. So do use the comments thread to add your own suggestions.
My list of ten WordPress plugins
But first, here’s the top ten WordPress plugins list:
- WP to Twitter – generates tweets when new blog posts are published. It’s more poweful than some of the more popular alternatives, including features such as customisable text for each tweet, tweets triggered by new pages as well as posts and detailed statistics so you can see what does, or doesn’t, work.
- Post Templates – lets you create a set of templates for posts which commonly contain similar content. For example, our Blogger Profiles all have the same basic layout and questions, so using a template saves time when creating new ones.
- All in One SEO pack – does what it says in the name, giving you a wide range of features to optimise your blog’s appearance in search engines.
- Tweetbacks – display tweets about your posts as comments on your site, helping to draw together the different conversations about your posts in one place.
- Google Analyticator – marries up Google Analytics with the blog, making it easy to get the statistics that shows you how the blog is performing and gives the evidence to help decide what to do more of, what to drop or what to change.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – this adds the “other posts you might be interested in” type links at the bottom of stories, which is a great way of keeping visitors on a site by providing links to other related content. That’s no substitute for carefully selected cross-links within the body of blog posts, but it is a useful and automatic supplement.
- Schedule Planner – written by The Voice’s Ryan Cullen for original use on this site, it makes it easy for you whilst writing a post to see what other posts are due to appear and on which day.
- Akismet – essential for blocking comment spam. It’s not infallible, but it does most of the work most of the time, leaving you more time to write posts or eat chocolate.
- WordPress Firewall 2 – sits quietly in the background providing some extra security for your site at minimal effort.
- Optimise DB – another technical plugin, this one makes it easy to ensure the database behind your blog is in a healthy state (only applicable to self-hosted blogs).
What’s your view on this WordPress plugin list?
Hate any of these WordPress plugins? Use a WordPress plugin and are amazed that it isn’t in this list? Share your views in the comments below…