We’re big fans of WordPress at Adlet and one of the main reasons is because of all of the plugins available. We’re always looking for ways to make the blog better, for both us and our readers, from making it easier to comment and share to providing information and beating the dreaded spam.
Whenever we think of a new feature to add the first place we head is to the WordPress plugins directory as odds are, there will be a plugin to suit our needs.
We have a tried and tested list as well as some firm favourites and we’ve put together a round up of the ones that really float our boat, in no particular order.
The SweetCaptcha plugin is one that we’ve featured before and a much more user friendly way to keep the spam out without driving your readers crazy. Commenters simply drag the co-ordinating graphic on the left to the image on the right to verify that they’re not a bot.
2. WP User Avatar
The standard avatar image given for each author on WordPress is a randomly generated one, unless you are also using Gravatar. There is no way to upload an author image direct to WordPress, which is where this handy little plugin comes in.
WP User Avatar allows you to simply upload your picture to the author profile under Users and it will be displayed alongside their name and bio under their posts.
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast
If you have a blog or website, you will already know the importance of SEO. The plugin we use, and one favoured by a lot of WordPress users, is Yoast’s WordPress SEO.
This powerful plugin makes it easy to optimise your blog posts with a box that sits below each of your posts when writing and editing. Under the General tab you choose your focus keyword and define your SEO title and Meta Description.
Switching to the Page Analysis gives you a traffic light score of red though green based on certain criteria such as frequency of the keyword, readability and important must-dos like alt tags for images and out-bound links to help you improve your ranking further.
4. Simple Share Buttons
Share buttons are a must have for your blog if you want to allow people to easily share your posts across social media and websites such as reddit and StumbleUpon. There are lots to choose from and in essence they all do the same job.
The plugin we have picked is Simple Share Buttons. It is quick and easy to set up, with lots of customisables, from placement to styling and a good range of image sets-you can even add a custom set if you want.
Another one that we’ve featured before, CommentLuv is a great plugin for sites looking to increase comments and traffic. It works by adding a link of the commenter’s most recent post underneath their comment, encouraging them to comment and therefore increase community engagement.
The styling of the plugin’s page and website isn’t much to look at, but the way it displays a link looks nice enough, which is the most important thing.
6. Hello Bar
A new addition to the Adlet blog and one we’re still testing properly but it looks good so far. You can use Hello Bar for a variety of uses – to collect email addresses, to drive traffic to a particular link or to your social media channels.
There is a wide scope for customisation including collection style (below we’ve shown the slider and modal), colour options, collection specifications and displayed text. The Hello Bar website is really well designed and so simple to use its a pleasure.
The dashboard gives stats on views and conversions and suggestions on how you can improve.
Installation is simple; all of your settings are controlled from the Hello Bar website and they then generate a unique plugin for you to download and then upload to your blog. The free version is branded and paid starts at $12/month.
7. WordPress Editorial Calendar
WordPress doesn’t make it easy to see when posts have been published, what’s scheduled and how many drafts you have. The Editorial Calendar gives you an at-a-glance view of your posts and when each has been/will be published.
It has drag and drop functionality so you can move scheduled and draft posts to a different day and you can view, edit and add new posts straight from the calendar.
This is a great plugin for knowing what’s going live when and is invaluable if you have more than one author on your site.
8. Social Metrics Tracker
Knowing which are your most popular and best performing posts is useful when it comes to creating future content. The Social Metrics Tracker displays all of your posts’ views and social interactions, showing how often each one has been shared.
It currently works with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and Google+ and allows you to add a widget to your dashboard so you can see upon login which of your posts perform best.
What are your top plugins?
These are our current favourite WordPress Plugins, but we’re always on the hunt for things that make our life easier and help the Adlet blog perform as well as possible.
So, what are your favourite plugins? Do you use any of the ones I’ve mentioned or is there another plugin that you find works better for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts-leave a comment below or chat with us on Twitter.