5 Handy Plugins For WordPress Beginners
By now, most of us are used to the fact that WordPress is one of the biggest blogging platforms available. It provides structure and ease of use for anyone at pretty much any skill level, while still allowing an immense amount of flexibility for more advanced users.
When first diving in to blogging on the WordPress platform, you are greeted by more options and settings than you will likely know what to do with. Aside from your posts, you have to decide if you want sidebars, and which widgets you want to place on those sidebars. Add to that literally thousands of themes that are available to dress you blog up however you want, and then add to that the multitude of plugins you can install and there's a good chance you'll find yourself a bit dizzy for a moment.
It's okay though. All of those options provide you with both flexibility and control, and it can be a LOT of fun. Here's a quick list of five useful plugins for WordPress beginners
Twitter Widget Pro
This plugin allows you to add a simple widget to your sidebar to display the updates you post to your Twitter account. This way, when people see your "Follow me on Twitter" link, they can also get a taste of what exactly they will get out of your tweets.
Traffic to your blog is important. One of the best ways to increase that traffic is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your content. The Add-To-Any Plugin creates a simple button that allows your readers to select whatever service they like to share your content. The coolest part, is that this particular plugin uses Smart Menus to display the services your individual readers actually use at the top of the list... So no matter how they personally like to share content, their favorite option is right at thier fingertips! You can also easily track statistics of how your readers are sharing your content - Add-To-Any automatically integrates with Google Analytics (provided you have it installed on your blog of course.) You also have the option to display stand-alone buttons for specific sharing services, cutting out the step of pulling up a drop down menu for your readers. Remeber: make it as easy as possible!
More and more, people are taking the internet with them wherever they go. Checking email, sports scores, news and when possible, their favorite blog. Now, not all phones are capable of displaying your amazing and beautiful WordPress blog in an easy to use format... Using this plugin ensures that your blog is mobile ready by creating a mobile version that will be displayed when your readers visit from a handheld device. Also allows you to post from your phone when you are on the go by entering a password.
Google XML Sitemaps
This is probably the most advanced plugin on this list, but it's a good one. WordPress blogs do not create sitemaps, which makes them harder for Google and other search engines to crawl and index, which can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings - making you harder to find. This plugin creates and automatically updates a sitemap that will allow Google, Yahoo and other engines to crawl your blog and send you traffic.
Those of you who starting blogging on Wordpress.com will find this particular plugin to be a nice, comfortable taste of your old home. This plugin adds the tracking feature of a ".com blog" to your WordPress dashboard. While not as robust as, say, Google Analytics, WordPress' stats provide a nice and quick look at your traffic levels. Note: In order for this to work, you will need to enter your WordPress API key. If you don't have one, or don't know what that means, don't fret. There are helpful links on the plugin settings screen once it's been installed.
This is just a handful of basic plugins to help you get the ball rolling if you aren't sure where to start. There are plenty of others out there to accomplish a lot of other things, so take your time, poke around and experiment a little.
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Sean Croxton grew up in Alameda, California. He was very active in his youth, and was an avid basketball player, but unfortunately fell into the trap that plagues so many American children: processed foods. While he was...
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