There are hundreds, if not thousands, of WordPress plugins available for download. How to find which ones are worthwhile to install on your blog? I’ve already talked about the essential WordPress plugins in my previous post. So today I’ll present some optional but very beneficial and handy WordPress plugins for you to choose from.
This list includes some of the user-oriented plugins that you should definitely consider installing on your blog. Usually people land on your blog from search engines, or links from other sites, thus they tend to read that particular post they landed on and leave. These plugins will promote your blog and encourage readers to explore your site beyond the landing page.
- Related Posts – Displays a list of other related posts based on matching keywords within the article. Usually they appear at the end of your post and you can control the number of the generated related entries.
- Top Posts By Category – Returns a list of Top most viewed or commented posts on your blog. You can customize it to display the posts by category or regardless, and control the number of the most popular posts.
- WP-notable – Adds social bookmark links/icons (16 in total) to each blog post. The links include sites like digg, del.icio.us, newsvine, fark, furl, reddit, magnolia and much more.
- Share This – This is another plugin that encourages visitors to post your blog posts t various social bookmarking sites. But it also allows your readers to share your article with others by email. Originally I had wp-notable installed on my blog, but switched to Share This because it adds less clutter to my post, plus includes two options. It’s a little bit more difficult to customize though, you might need to fiddle with the PHP code a bit and CSS to adjust the colours and some other options. Alex King does provide instructions for this plugin, so you can give it a try.
- Digg This - Detects when your post has been dugg by digg users; automatically sends an email to you informing that your post has been dugg and displays a link back to the digg post for users to digg your story. You can also display a digg vote box next to that post displaying the number of diggs and the link to “digg it”.
These plugins help you with persuading your visitors to come back to your site, to comment and even benefit from being a loyal reader of your blog.
- Subscribe To Comments – Very often people comment on someone’s blog but then lose track of that site and never check back to see if anyone has replied to their comments. This plugin allows readers to receive email notifications of new comments that are posted to a post where they left a comment.
- Show Top Commentators – Who doesn’t want to get a link back to their site? Well this plugin displays readers with the most comments to your blog, with their names, linked to their website if there’s one. So you’ll encourage more feedback and discussions from readers and reward them for their active participation.
- Tiger Style Administration – If you’re not too impressed with the look of your WordPress Administration area, then this plugin will allow you to “freshen it up”. There are several plugins that give you this option to change the Admin’s interface, this one is my favourite. Recently someone has come up with a Digg Styled WordPress Dashboard plugin but wasn’t sure if it’s okay to release it.
- WP-SlimStat – You definitely need to track your blog statistics. There are various statistics tools available, including Google Analytics. However I wanted to have an easy and quick way to access my blog stats while I blog. After trying several different statistics plugins, I’ve stopped with this one. It has a very nice interface and comes with lots of statistical perks (summary of hits and visits for today, yesterday, by week, by month, search strings, recent and most popular resources, domains and much more)
Since I haven’t monetized my blog I can’t give you any personal recommendations on this topic. I found Lorelle’s article on Monetizing WordPress Plugins very exhaustive and helpful.
WordPress Codex has a complete list of plugins and plugin resources, carefully categorized and easy to search through. I recommend you to check it out and see if there are any other plugins that are worth installing on your blog. You might want to install some gallery or forum related plugins, polls, widgets, translating plugins, etc. The list is endless, it all depends on your blog’s needs.
Another way to look for plugins is to simply type your keywords on Google. That’s how I find most of my information on the internet.
I’m sure my list of plugins is not an extensive one, but hopefully some of you will find it helpful. I’ll continue posting about other WordPress plugins after trying them on my blog.
What are your favourite plugins and what do you use them for? I’m sure we can all learn from each other.