Keeping your website and blog visitors engaged is paramount to success. Below are my favorite WordPress plugins that help keep my web guests engaged, SEO rockin and the geek in me satisfied. Note there are many options when it comes to plug-ins, tools and gadgets. This is by no means an all inclusive list. However, if your website is looking a little grim and/or you'd like to increase engagement, rank better on the search engines, the below is a good place to start!
Social Sharing & Engagement
This is one of my all time favorites. This plug-in displays up to 5 related blog posts at the bottom of each post.
2. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms provides the ability to make custom forms for anything! Create a contact form, quote request, or even a survey. Only takes a couple minutes and you're on your way. Inserting the form on a page is as simple as copying a short line of code that correlates to the form number right into the html section of the wordpress page editor.
3. Wbiya Toolbar
Keep your readers engaged while offering them the ability to share and bookmark with this fun toolbar that displays at the the bottom of your site. It is easily customized and easily incorporates Facebook likes, Facebook recommendations, Facebook activity, Twitter feeds, retweets, and the ability to share on almost any platform. It doesn't add any website performance latency and I get compliments on this one everyday. A must have in my opinion.
4. Social Slider
Just as people learn differently, people socialize differently. I believe in offering numerous ways to share and engage. This cute lil' plug-in includes floats on the left or right side of your page. You'll hardly know it's there. It supports a good majority of social platforms.
Another one of my favs this plug-in lets you create a set of social share icons, bookmark icons or links to other pages in a nice little widget. You can choose each icon, insert the url and choose the size of icon all within the widget. Once developed you simply drag and drop it to your theme widget, select how many of the icons you want to display, if you want it centered or justified to left or right and you're done. I love the fact I can make unique billboards for each page if I want. I often create one for bookmarks and one for social share icons.
6. Disqus Comment System
There are many comment systems out there such as CommentLuv etc. I like the simplicity and clean look of Disqus. It is easy to install and is widely used across social internet land. It provides an easy way to view where visitors have commented on other sites while also keeping track of where you comment. It can help you build social relationships as you engage on other people's blogs and websites.
7. Tweet Meme Retweet Button
A must have on any blog is an easy way to retweet. This plugin is a no brainer and makes it easy for your visitors to show the love with a retweet!
8. Facebook Like Button
Make it easy for your visitors to show the Facebook love with this stimple little button. A must have for sure!
9. Facebook Like Box
Great plugin to help you build your Facebook community. This adds the additional functionality of letting the visitor instantly “like” your Facebook fan page, displays photos of their friends who are already a fan of your page, shows the number of fans and recent activity. A great tool to pull people to your Facebook Fan page.
10. Facebook Activity Feed
Pretty self explanatory, this plugin displays the latest Facebook activity feed for your website and blog content.
11. Sexy Bookmarks
Sharing is both sexy and fun with this sassy little plugin. It makes it easy for your visitors to share your awesome content with beautiful, dynamic icons that you can place at the top or bottom of your blog.
Creates a cute little button you can place in any widget that displays the number of Twitter followers you have right next to the friendly little blue bird.
13. Twitter Goodies Twitter offers numerous widgets and opportunities for you to engage your visitors while also growing your Twitter community. Create a widget with your tweets. Or create a widget that displays a search term or hash tag. It's a great way to share the buzz as your community grows!
1. Drop in Image Slideshow Gallery
Insert images with ease with this nifty little plug-in. No coding required. Even a newbie to WordPress can figure this image feature out!
2. Dynamic Headers Open your blog header up to new possibilities with this plug-in. You are no longer limited by media type, or only one header for the whole site. Now you can have a unique header for each page!
3. Next Gen Gallery
This plugin turns any website into a beautiful gallery. It even has a flash slideshow option.
Search Engine Optimization
1. All in One SEO
If you want SEO to rock with little effort, this is your plugin. I have seen great results with this plugin on both my sites as well as many client sites.
2. SEO Smart Links
Also great for SEO, this plugin helps engage your users by linking keywords within your site. Google likes to see links within your site. This is a great way to drive engagement as well as SEO with little to no effort once it's installed. You can customize and select how many links you want to appear on each page.
3. XML Sitemap
This plugin creates an XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap for your WordPress blog. It is supported by Ask.com, Google, Yahoo and MSN.
4. WP Page-Navi
This widget adds navigation from one page to the other so visitors can easily view your numerous blog posts you've worked so hard on.
Simply stated, stop the spam! Akismet keeps those spammer out and off your precious blog.
Developer's Best Friend
1. WordPress Importer
Easily import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file. This plug-in is great when switching themes, hosts or testing.
2. Exclude Pages from Navigation
You are no longer dependent on theme features or a developer to be selective in what pages are included or not included in site navigation.
3. Mass Edit Pages for WordPress
A developers best friend and massive time saver when it comes to making simple pages to a mass number of pages.
4. Maintenance Mode
A must have for those long weekends when you decide at midnight you need to switch WordPress themes – ha! It provides a splash screen to your visitors informing them your site is under maintenance while you work the midnight oil on your next creation!
What's Your Favorite?
Share your favorite plugin or website extra!
I'm trying to read the whole article, but I keep getting distracted by implementing some of your most awesome ideas! Thanks for this!
Terrific! So happy to hear Jill! Feel free to share your site url and let us know when can check out the new diggs! Let me know if you get stuck on anything or if I can help in any regard.
Thanks – it's a great list, clearly explained. I already use several of these, although I replaced Sexy Bookmarks with Sociable when it seemed to be adding significantly to my page load times. Some of these, like XML Sitemap, I teach as simply “must-haves”, particularly for a business site.
Thanks Pam! As always you have some great insights and advice! I appreciate it very much!
This was a cool post :) Thanks for adding the list together. I am still getting used to wordpress and stuff, so its helpful.
Nice blog you got here. Everyone is talking about the Discus plugin. Is it really that cool? Guess I’m going to have to try it.
Thanks for the info.