The viability of WordPress (WP) as a blogging tool is non-existent without the existence of WordPress plugins. These are part of the features that enable bloggers to extend the abilities of their blogs beyond their base installs. Plugins are integral in the addition of widgets. They are also useful in undertaking SEO activities. Currently, WordPress boasts of 18,000 plugins in its database. The following are ten of the most popular WordPress plugins:
1) Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 allows web developers and bloggers alike to manage numerous contact forms. They can also undertake a customization of WP’s mail contents and form. This is usually a flexible process that involves the use of simple markups. Contact Form 7 supports CAPTCHA, Akismet-based spam filtering and Ajax-oriented submitting.
This plugin uses the cloud power from WordPress.com to supercharge self-hosted WordPress sites. It boasts of numerous features that comprise email subscriptions for comments and blog posts. It also allows users to submit comments via social networks. Jetpack comes embedded with widgets that display the most current tweets while commenters can benefit from Hovercard popups via Gravatar.
3) WordPress SEO
The Yoast-made plugin allows bloggers to preview the appearance of their posts in search results. As such, they can adjust certain features of their posts to their liking. These include the title and meta descriptions. WordPress SEO also analyzes the post to check for availability of images, subheadings, meta descriptions and alt tags among others. This enables bloggers to add anything that they may have forgotten.
Its packages do not end there; WordPress SEO also creates XML sitemaps automatically before sending a notification to various search engines. Bloggers can also increase their SEO rankings. This is usually possible through the addition of links to RSS feeds.
4) WordPress Importer
Thanks to WordPress Importer, bloggers or web developers can transfer content from WP export files. Examples of such content include comments, authors, post metas and custom fields. It is also possible to import pages, custom posts, tags and categories.
In today’s world, many people make use of WordPress for hosting a successful and useful site. However, depending on WordPress is just the beginning. You need to build a site that will actually work for readers or you will not keep those readers for very long. One of the mistakes that many people make is creating a site that has low or poor performance. This happens simply because they are making wrong choices when they build their site. Have you noticed that your own WordPress site seems to be slow to load, frustrating, and just plain hard to use? If so, then you need to go through a few steps to improve the performance of it.
Limit the Plugins
It may be your first reaction to choose a wide variety of plugins to a site simply because they can be useful, eye catching, and fun. However, as with anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad. When you use too many plugins, then you can actually slow your site down to the point that it can be slow loading and difficult to load. In order to improve the performance of your WordPress site, be sure that you are limiting your plugins on each of the pages. Some of the plugin options that can be major culprits in a slow site would include the following:
- Requiring HTML to resize images instead of resizing them by hand
Choose the Right Theme
One of the best ways to build a WordPress site that is high performing, fast loading, and easy to use is to choose from Premium WordPress templates that are designed to be streamlined. These themes are designed specifically for both performance and attractiveness of the site. Choose a theme that will help you limit the chances for performance busting features from the very beginning.
Google offers a content delivery network that can work with the JQuery library. This means that if users find your site through Google, their computer will most likely already have that JQuery information on their computer. This leads to a faster loading site. If you want your site to be high performance, then choose to use JQuery that comes from the Google content library.
WordPress is a very handy tool for website creation when you use it wisely. By taking the right steps and avoiding the right things, then you will be able to build a site that is higher in performance.
This article was provided by Olga Ionel, a writer at ThemeFuse.com, who is a leader in the Premium WordPress templates industry. Olga is fond of sharing SEO and blogging ideas.
Have you considered Managed WordPress hosting? Managed WordPress hosting is becoming an increasingly popular option among many professional WordPress bloggers and top webmasters these days as these services will often take care of all the technical aspects of WordPress for you, allowing you to focus on creating and sharing great content. As an added bonus, these companies will also typically answer your technical questions, make sure your WordPress content loads quickly, and install your WordPress theme and plugin updates. Examples of popular managed WordPress hosting companies include WPEngine, ZippyKid, Page.ly, and Synthesis. These top companies provide similar services and features but all offer a few extras to try to seperate them from the pack.
So, is a managed WordPress hosting service for you? Deciding whether or not to sign up for one of these services will likely come down to your personal needs. If your website/blog attracts a lot of traffic and you use WordPress frequently, managed hosting could be an attractive option. On the other hand, if you’re just a casual blogger who just wants the basics from WordPress, managed hosting might be an unnecessary expense. Before you start paying for this type of hosting, it’s good to keep in mind that companies like ZippyKid and Synthesis can make your life as a WordPress user easier, but they’re not perfect solutions for everyone.
Here are some of the pros and cons of managed WordPress Hosting:
- Your site and content will load faster. People are a lot more likely to leave your site or spend less time on it if it loads slowly.
- You’ll have someone to turn to when technical issues arise. Trying to call one of the big hosting giants like HostGator or GoDaddy when you’re having WordPress problems won’t get you anywhere. The tech support people at big hosting companies don’t know anything about WordPress. You’re paying managed WordPress hosting companies to know the ins and outs of the popular content management system. So, you get the kind of support you need from companies like WPEngine and ZippyKid.
- Your content and confidential information will be more secure. Managed WordPress hosting means you don’t have to worry as much about malware, vulnerabilities, and other security issues. It also means that your data is backed up regularly to ensure you don’t lose any of it, even if something crashes or a security issue arises.
- You don’t have to spend as much time learning about WordPress. Many WordPress users spend hundreds of hours every year researching WordPress how-to guides and taking free WordPress classes to become better at using the content management system. Since managed WordPress companies take care of all the technical stuff, you don’t have to waste any of your precious time learning how to install a new theme or get a new plugin to work.
- Managed WordPress hosting is costly. It generally ranges in price from about $30 a month to a few hundred dollars a month, depending on how many WordPress installs you need managed. If you’re a perpetually broke college student who blogs for fun, managed WordPress hosting probably isn’t for you.
- You have less control. If someone else is managing all the technical aspects of your WordPress accounts, you don’t decide what gets updated and changed to improve efficiency. Someone else does. If you like to be in control, managed WordPress hosting might not be the best fit.
- You have to pay extra when one of your posts goes viral. Most basic managed WordPress hosting packages, the ones that cost you around $30 a month, only allow a certain number of visitors to your site each month before they charge you extra. Usually the number of visitors allowed is around 25,000. If 1.3 million visitors check out your site one month, you have to fork over quite a bit of extra money to the hosting company. You could avoid this by paying for a more expensive package that allows more visitors per month, but that would just end up costing you more too.
Overall, if you can justify the price of managed WordPress hosting, there’s definitely good reason to look into it, especially if you want to make your life as a WordPress user simpler.
This article was contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who frequently researches and writes about a variety of topics, yet her main interests include education and the validation of accredited online universities.
For over half a decade now WordPress users have enjoyed the flexibility that open source has to offer to potential bloggers and website developers, but one thing I’ve picked up from running this website is that learning to code or even basic website building techniques isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re someone who has had trouble finding the right look and feel for your WordPress website and/or have settled for a boring template that many other websites use, now would be a good time to consider trying out a template builder such as Ultimatum.
Ultimatum is a drag-and-drop template builder used with WordPress to create unlimited layouts for your website, allowing you to skip the search through endless free and premium WordPress themes trying to find the right look for your website or blog. Instead easily create your own custom look and feel!
- True drag-and-drop layout builder
- Flexibility to assign any layout to any page (unlimited templates)
- Powerful Style Editor (create unlimited CSS options)
- Ultimate SEO (Become Google’s best friend)
- Unlimited Slideshows (These aren’t your grandfather’s slides)
- Support for FlexSlider (for responsive layouts), Supersized for full screen slideshows, zAccordion, Nivo, Anything Slider, S3 slider and Slide Deck
- Responsive layouts
- Unlimited Forms
- Creates native mobile web apps (Developer Edition only)
- BuddyPress Social Networking Intergration (Developer Edition only)
- Integrated WooCommerce e-commerce toolkit (Developer Edition only)
- The most powerful Shortcode Generator you’ll ever see
- Custom Post Types and Taxonomies
- Unlimited Fonts
- Multi-Language Support (Es bueno!)
- 12+ powerful widgets
- Automatic updates
- Explanatory video tutorials for all major functions
- Responsive support (that means someone actually listens!)
Still not sure how this Ultimatum thing works? The developer offers a demo site or you can check out this video:
And thanks to Mighty Deals, you can currently grab the full featured Ultimatum Developer’s Edition for just $57.00! That’s more than 50% off the standard price of $125.00 and will work on unlimited websites. If you’re instead just looking for a setup for a single website or blog, the single license may be your best option at just $35.00, instead of the normal $65.00. However this deal has an expiration date so click here to take advantage of this deal while it is still available.
Disclaimer: This review was sponsored by Mighty Deals
Related Posts Plugins are an amazing way to keep a visitor engaged on your site. By doing some magic on the backend of a site, they can make tailored post suggestions according to the content on-page. Tailored recommendations will boost average time on site, average page views, and the like. Related posts are also awesome ways to add advertisements to a site.
Unfortunately, related posts plugins can also destroy a site’s performance, or bring it down entirely.
Many related posts plugins work by creating a “FULLTEXT index” on the “posts” table in MySQL. This is a mechanism to make complex queries against the content of posts. For example, “posts which contain A and B but not C or D.” Usually, this means indexing categories, tags, specific keywords, and a number of other data points and querying them later.
It’s a cool way to search, but MySQL wasn’t built to make queries like this.
In MySQL, FULLTEXT indexes consume high loads of resources at run-time, particularly for larger sites with proportionally large databases. Under heavy traffic loads, this will slow the entire site down, or crash it entirely.
To make matters worse, when changes are made to (large) tables with FULLTEXT indexes, rebuilding that index can take hours and hours. Sometimes rebuilding will even fail, producing a corrupted MySQL table. This can happen when you do something like upgrade to the latest version of WordPress.
Now, I don’t want to be too hard on related posts plugins. They will work if your site isn’t getting a ton of traffic. However, many aren’t good practice if you’re building a site to scale. We’ve actually disallowed them at WP Engine because we don’t want to unnecessarily slow sites down.
That was a lot of bad news. Here’s the good news!
There are TWO PLUGINS that achieve “related posts” functionality, but do it off-server, so that you don’t bog down MySQL.
Nrelate has 3 different plugins based on whether you want your most popular content or related content to display, as well as if you want the related post to “fly out” at the reader. All three are available in the WordPress plugin repository. LinkWithin will make recommendations to related posts based on several factors, including title, tags, and content.
How they work
Nrelate creates its own, secure, RSS feed, and feeds your content directly their servers. This means their pinghost is added to your Update Services. So each time you update your blog with new content, nrelate gets the feed and can analyze it for related posts. Then, they use Natural Language Processing inside a database designed for search to analyze your content and make related recommendations.
LinkWithin similarly analyzes your content off-server. They have a context engine that looks at categories, tags, keywords, and a few other aspects of your content in order to make recommendations. LinkWithin used to redirect traffic through their site, but no longer. You get all the SEO juice from the links.
Both plugins accomplish the related posts functionality off-server. I’m personally a big fan of nrelate’s strategy of using the RSS feed to get the content and then processing it with NLP. I was also able to speak on the phone with both developers from nrelate in the writing of the article, which indicates the support they’re providing their plugin.
LinkWithin has secure processes to pull your content, and there are zero known security issues with their plugin.
When I spoke with nReleate, they talked about how their RSS feed can only be accessed with a random key that is generated when you install the plugin. They hired Mark Jaquith to build this part of the plugin with airtight security.
With nRelate, you can either show your content as one of six sizes of thumbnails, or as very simple bullets. The plugin automatically creates a thumbnail from the featured image, but you can also specify which image to use. If you don’t have any images on your post, nrelate will actually pull one from their image library. You can see examples of their ads on Huffington Post and Endgadget.
LinkWithin relies heavily on featured images from your page in order to provide thumbnails. If you don’t set featured images, the plugin won’t show any. It also provides very customized sizing of images that are optimized for your site.
You can add your advertising networks to nRelate (they have their own ad network) and serve your ads along with the recommended content. Linkwithin does not currently support advertising.
Your css is automatically adopted by nRelate, so the thumbnails and font styling will automatically look like your design, but you can still customize things as you like.
Nrelate is also in the following languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
Check out both of those plugins to see which one works for your needs. Both of them offer significant speed and scalability benefits to your site.
Are you using a related post plugin for your site? How has it affected your traffic? Have you noticed any performance issues?