I know that many readers of this blog are blog owners themselves, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of my favorite blog plugins that really enhance the look and professionalism of your blog. Most of them are in use right here on this blog, so you can get a first hand look at the final results. Here they are in no particular order:
This plugin gives you more control over blog excerpts on any page that you wish to use it on. For example, on this blog’s main page, I use it to give a preview of all my most recent posts. You can customize it as in how many words should the excerpt possess and what html entity you want the excerpt to end with. It’s much easier than to constantly use the <–more–> tag. I should also point out that this will not add a “continue reading” button, that you have to add it yourself in the blog frame’s code, and it will appear seamlessly. Feel free to ask me how to set this up.
This plugin will automatically redirect all versions of your RSS feed to your feedburner feed. Gives you more control as far as tracking exactly how many people are reading and subscribing to your blog. After I installed it, my feed count more than doubled. It also works for comments feed. It’s best to have everything under one main feed URL not only for your users, but for the promotion of your feed.
I really like this particular one! Recently I have switched to giving away full RSS feeds, and my main concern was copyright infringement. I didn’t want my articles to be stolen or reproduced without proper acknowledgment of where it came from. With this plugin, you can add a footer to your feed and include a disclaimer for example. You can also use the footer for marketing purposes. A must for anyone giving away full feeds.
This plugin gives you a complete contact form option for your contact page. It is fully customizable, you can change pretty much every aspect to it. You can style it to your liking as well. What’s really good about this form is that since it contains a logical question which you can determine, you combat spam completely. I get tons of spam, and since putting this form up a few months ago, I never had one spam message. You can see it in action on my contact page.
This plugin allows your readers to share your posts super easily for any social networking site that they use. It adds a small “sharethis” button at the bottom of your posts (or you can put it anywhere you want it on your page), and when people click on it, they have the option to share it using a multitude of ways such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook, MySpace, etc. I think it is very clean, it doesn’t clog your page with tons of different buttons, and it’s very simple for readers to use it.
I used to have my archives ordered as months on the main page of the blog. It was just getting too long and not very user friendly for readers to find the content that they are looking for. This plugin creates an archives page where you can easily see each month and choose to expand and see the titles of each post written in each month. It is much more user friendly for someone browsing the archives to see what you have written quickly and efficiently. You can have a look at my archives page to see it what the final result looks like.
What better way to promote everything else that you have written than to have links to related topics at the bottom of all your articles? Well, this plugin does just that. It will create the relation between posts in regards to the tags that you use when you write your articles. It is fully customizable, you can choose how many related posts to show and what to show if no related posts are found. You can also opt to add it to your feed. Very handy to let your readers know about your other content.
Akismet Spam Blocker
Are you tired of all the spam comments that you get on your blog? I know that it can be quite time consuming. This plugin will get rid of spam for you and only leave you with real, clean comments for you to moderate. The bigger and the more popular your blog becomes, you will become a target for spam comments and this is one of the best ways to protect yourself and save some time as well. Only downside to this is that you may have to pay the $5 monthly license fee if you are making some money on your blog.
This plugin is a wonderful way to bond with the people that comment on your blog. It will send an email to any first time users that have never commented before. You can customize the email as you wish. You can thank them for their comment and you can ask them to subscribe to your feed, along with anything else you can think of. A must for anyone that wants to develop their comment section and turn users into subscribers.
What would Seth Godin Do?
This neat plugin offers you the opportunity to treat your new and returning visitors differently. It will add a small message at the top of your posts to first time visitors thanking them for visiting and inciting them to subscribe to your RSS feed. Actually, you can customize the message, how many times it appears to new visitors and where you want it to show. It also now gives you the opportunity to add a different message to returning visitors. It’s a great tool to convert new visitors into subscribers and a good way to promote anything that you deem important to your visitors, both new and returning ones.
I’d love to hear about your favorite tools to make your blog more effective.
What are some of your favorite plugins?