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All About Blogging: 8 Neat WordPress Plugins

Building a Better City, Ottawa, August 2011

One of the perks of WordPress.org is the plugins, these mostly free and easy-to-use programs that enable you to enhance or customize your website.

Some plugins comes with the WordPress default installation, such as Akismet, one of the best plugins against spam. But really, the choice is endless. The WordPress plugin directory currently has more than 15,000 plugins available for download.

The choice is almost too vast, so I decided to make your life easier. Here are eight neat WordPress plugins you should test!

Broken Link Checker: this plugin monitors your blog looking for broken links and let you know if any are found. I recently spent a few hours going through all the broken links it found on my blog. I had more than 100! If you link to news websites, government websites or simply other bloggers, you most certainly have broken links. Broken link checker give you several choices, such as updating the link or unlinking.

Clean Archives Reloaded: When this blog began to grow, I looked for a good way to create an archive section. Clean Archives Reloaded is the best plugin I found. It organizes all your articles sorted by month with the number of comments for each post. You can collapse and expand the months. You can see it in action on my Archives page.

Flickr Gallery: If you have a Flickr account and would like to show your pictures on your blog, look no further. This plugin is perfect! It’s easy to install and highly customizable. There are tabs for your photostream, your sets, your collections and your most popular shots. And when you click on a picture, it displays in a pretty framed box. You can see the plugin in action on my Snapshots page.

Contact Form 7: This is one of the best plugin for your Contact page. You can choose the fields for your contact form and receive emails directly at the address you provided. No need to put your email address anywhere on your blog! Besides, the form is easy to implement and looks very professional.

All in One SEO Pack: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that can help website visibility and web traffic. Most of us know some basics but really, it’s an art. This plugin will help your website’s SEO and you won’t get a headache, I promise—it works out-of-the-box. For instance, it optimizes your titles for search engines, avoid duplicate content and much more!

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: This is a feature I believe all blogs should implement. The principle is simply: a list of related posts is presented under each article, and encourages visitors to read more about subjects they are interested in. This plugin does a great job and the list, populated automatically, is usually very relevant. Besides, it’s a great way to show your older posts!

WP-PageNavi: It’s just commonsense to install this plugin, because it makes your readers’ life so much easier. Instead of having two links at the bottom of pages, such as “older posts”/”newer posts”, this plugin offers an easy way to navigation by page number. You can see it in action on my homepage for instance. It currently says “page 1 of 93” and you can go to any page by clicking on the appropriate page number.

Xhanch – My Twitter: I’m not that active on social media websites because this blog takes me enough time. Besides, there are so many social media platforms that it’s easy to spend many unproductive hours just reading junk. But I somehow got into Twitter, mostly because I chose to integrate my latest Tweets in the sidebar of the blog. Xhanch is a perfect plugin for that, and I love the clean customizable design and the funky Twitter bird icon (different ones are available!).

Do you know any great plugin that could be added to this list? Did you try some of the plugin listed above?

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