There are many thousands of WordPress plugins you can use for free, and there are also more you can buy for different purposes. According to WP Beginner, as of September 2012 there were more than 21,000 free plugins in the WordPress plugins repository! The question is; do you have to use all of them? You have probably seen a sidebar of a blog with a mile long list of awards and a multitude of links to other pages. Some people go as far as including hundreds of flashy widgets. If you are thinking of using several plugins, you should first learn why using too many of them will impact negatively on your readership.
They May Slow Down Your Website
This is, perhaps, the most annoying feature of using too many WordPress plugins. This slow down occurs because every plugin you use sends a server request when each of your readers loads the site. Imagine the effect of having fifty plugins when ten users are on your site. What about a hundred plugins with a thousand users? Do you really want your site to be that slow?
Some WordPress Plugins are not Secure
Just because a plugin works well does not mean that it is secure. Some plugins, especially the free ones, can be exploited by hackers who can then hack into your site. For example, users of some plugins such as WP Total Cache and WPTouch have been asked in the past to update their passwords after it was realized they were not secure. Since it is not always easy to know upfront which plugin is safe and which one is not, you will be doing a great deal of service to your site by installing only the minimum number necessary.
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.
Thanks to the huge success of the iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, and other mobile devices, Apps have become all the rage. The problem for many webmasters and WordPress users is that most smaller WordPress websites/blogs can’t afford to have a custom app developed for their WordPress site.
Of course, thanks to beauty of the open source nature of WordPress, WordPress users have access to all sorts of great WordPress plugins. I recently found myself debating whether or not to develop an app for WordPress Hacks and decided that first I would look into what free WordPress plugins were available. My goal was simply to find one which would display a WordPress blog to mobile browsers in a mobile friendly format.
Based upon roughly 2 million downloads plus great reviews, far and away the best plugin I’ve found to accomplish this is one called WP Touch. For those that haven’t heard of WP Touch, this WordPress plugin automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, and will display this theme when your WordPress blog is viewed from an iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, Palm Pre, Samsung and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile device!
The admin panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your WordPress website to mobile visitors, all without modifying a single bit of code or making any changes to your standard WordPress theme. The mobile theme also includes the ability for visitors to switch between WP Touch view and your site’s regular theme if that is what they prefer.
If you are looking for a more feature-rich product, I discovered that users can also purchase a Pro version of WP Touch which includes a slew of new features like more style, color and branding customizations, themes, 10 languages, more advertising options, web-app mode, and even iPad support.
Ever notice how many features the standard installation of WordPress lacks? YouTube embedding, stats, and even a specialized Twitter widget? Well, if you have a self hosted blog at WordPress.com, these features are all given to you. In fact, many of these features are forced upon you by the sponsoring company, Automattic. Wanna learn how to get all of that “cloud-power” for your WordPress site?
If you are one of the people who would love to have these features at your disposal and already has a WordPress.com account, keep reading. Otherwise, you’re losing out on a great plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites!
Twitter has exploded in popularity over the past year as many mainstream media sources have been using the service to communicate with their readers/viewers, but did you know that bloggers can now use Twitter to promote their content as well?
While searching for a WordPress plugin that could automatically publish my blog posts on Twitter, I was thrilled to discover the WordTwit WordPress plugin. With this plugin, simply upload and activate, then enter the Twitter login information for the account you want the tweets to appear under. Once done, all your WordPress posts will start to appear on your Twitter account (almost instantly from my experience).
When setting up a WordPress blog that allows for multiple authors, it seems many people think all that is involved is to setup additional author profiles and/or start accepting guest posts. Unfortunately, it really isn’t that simple if you want to create a high quality WordPress blog.
Setting up a multi-author WordPress blog may require you to use a number of WordPress plugins to support a variety of functions. Ideally you’ll also want your theme to be hacked to help maximize the exposure your authors get. Examples include creating a “Write for Us” page, creating author profile pages, setting your theme to display the author’s profile below their posts, etc.
Multiple Author WordPress Plugins
Here are a couple WordPress plugins that we’ve covered in the past that are ideal for multi-author WordPress blogs:
- Author Exposed – Adds a full featured display of the authors profile.
- Role Manager Plugin – Allows you to control what the various WordPress user roles can and cannot do.
And here are a few other WordPress plugins that you may also have an interest in (we use a few of these here at WordPress Hacks):
- Author Advertising – Plugin that allows you to share Google AdSense income or other advertising between multiple authors.
- Blog Metrics – Collects blog metrics based upon the author of the posts.
- List Authors Widget – Displays a list of authors in your widgets panel linking to the authors.php page.
- Multiple Authors – Allows multiple authors to be listed for an individual WordPress post, automatically keeping track of who has edited the entry.
Multiple Author WordPress Hacks
Here are a few WordPress Hacks we’ve published in the past to help you hack your WordPress theme to be more multi-author friendly:
- How to Add an Author Page to Your Theme
- How to Change the Author Archives Permalink
- How to Single Out Author Comments
- How to Link Author’s Gravatars to Their Posts
- How to Add Bio Information to Your Posts
- How to Create a Maximum Size for Your Images
- How to Use Multiple Stylesheets
I’m sure there are also some WordPress plugins or WordPress hacks which aren’t listed above. Have any multiple author tools or resources you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments so we can update our post!
If your WordPress blog has been around for awhile, chances are there is some clutter in your MySQL database. For these situations, Joost De Valk of Yoast.com has an easy to use WordPress plugin called Optimize Database.
This free WordPress plugin simply needs activated, then whenever you click Optimize Now, the plugin runs an
optimize table command on your WordPress tables, effectively defragmenting it. This is very useful for tables that are frequently updated. If you’d like to learn more about why this WordPress plugin might be necessary, you can read more information on this post.
Great plugin Joost!
[Download the Optimize Database Plugin]
Although I personally am not a major Twitter user, I do see the value in the service and have made several attempts to use it more often. For many others, it has become an addiction and possibly even a major time sink.
One trend we are starting to see more often lately is Twitter being integrated into WordPress blogs. In the past we’ve featured a couple methods to integrate Twitter into your blog such as How to Add a “Tweet This” Link To Your Blog and How to Display Most Recent Twitter Entry. Even more recently there have been some WordPress plugins released to further integrate Twitter into your WordPress blog:
- Tweetbacks – This recent plugin by our friend Joost De Valk displays any “tweets” about your blog post below that post in the same way trackbacks/pingbacks are often displayed on WordPress blogs. You can read more information about the plugin and how to install it here. A similar plugin called TweetSuite was released recently as well.
- Twitter Comments – Works similar to Gravatars, but displays the comment author’s Twitter avatar instead. If a Twitter avatar is not available, it will then attempt to locate a Gravatar to use instead.
Due to the popularity of WordPress, I would imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg and many more Twitter WordPress plugins will follow over the coming months/years. Out of curiosity, for those of you that are heavy Twitter users, what have you done to integrate Twitter into your WordPress blog?
Update: I just ran across this post over at Profit Blogger which shares more than 20 Twitter WordPress plugins that already exist.
Are you looking for another way to monetize your WordPress blog? Back in November 2008, I wrote about a new premium WordPress plugin called Auction Thumbs. After that post was published, there seemed to be a lot of interest in this type of product. This seems to be because people are quickly discovering they can make a lot of money online by doing nothing more than simply sending traffic over to eBay for relevant auctions! In this post I will be discussing a similar WordPress plugin which has actually been around for over two years now called PHP Bay Pro.
PHP Bay is an eBay affiliate script that comes in two forms. The first is a stand-alone API version which allows non-WordPress PHP based websites to quickly and easily add eBay keyword based content advertisements to their website. The second version is the one which will apply to our readers, and that is the easy to use PHP Bay WordPress plugin.
PHP Bay Pro lets you take advantage of the 80 million auctions on eBay by adding relevant auctions to your WordPress blog. When users click on the auctions, they are taken to that auction on eBay. Then once people buy ANY item on eBay, you earn a commission, even if it wasn’t what you referred them for. In fact, you get commission for any auctions won over the next 7 days by that person. If that wasn’t enough, if someone signs up for an eBay account within 7 days of clicking on your eBay auction link, you also get a very nice commission (can be as high as $40.00 I believe, but usually around $15.00 each).
Here is the feature list you get with PHP Bay:
- Earn revenue through the Ebay Partner Network or other popular programs like PepperJam, Mediaplex, TradeDoubler or Affilinet!
- Add keyword rich Ebay items to your php based web site that encourage impulsive buys!
- Easily Integrate into any New or Existing WordPress Blog!
- Thousands of free WordPress templates available across the web to create virtually any type of site!
- List auction items regionally from 17 different countries!
- List items by postal code (zip code) for localized results.
- List items from specific Ebay categories.
- Listings displayed in language and currency of selected country.
- Listings displayed in rows or specified number of columns for a Web 2.0 look and feel!
- Access to our active members only forum that offers a tremendous value in how to get more out of phpBay Pro, strategies, tips and tricks and much more!
- Use on as many sites as you own! phpBay Pro is not limited to one domain. It can be used on one, or hundreds of sites with one license!
- Comprehensive user manual with illustrations, in PDF format, for both the WordPress version and the API version, that will walk you through, step-by-step, to install and get working quickly with phpBay Pro!
- Upgrades are free for the life of the product! phpBay Pro is nearly two years old with three major upgrades made with suggestions from our user base!
If you are considering buying this WordPress plugin, make sure the topic your WordPress blog(s) covers will convert well on eBay. Product based websites which cover something that is often bought on eBay seems to convert the best (electronics, pictures, etc.). If your blog covers free products or some sort of service, chances are using a WordPress plugin like this won’t be worth your effort and will annoy your readers.
If you decide you’re interested in PHP Bay Pro, it looks like it is currently available for $79.00. I believe they used to have a free version as well, but I’ve not been able to track that down so they may have removed it since I bought my copy of this plugin last year.
For any bloggers that maintain an “Advertise” page on their WordPress blog, you might want to check a recent guest post by our friend Jean-Baptiste Jung over at Pro Blog Design. In his guest post, Jean explains how to manually create an auto-statistics page for advertisers. As with all of Jean’s posts, you’ll get the code you need and more.
Count me in the camp of people who prefer to manually code something into their theme; however, I think this would also be a great idea for a WordPress plugin. I know a lot of plugin developers have asked for ideas in the past so there you go!