One of the main motivators for moving my blog to Word Press was the extensive range of plugins available. The plugins I use either optimise my site or make my life easier. I work full time and blog as a hobby, therefore anything to help me improve things quickly, is a winner in my book. In this post I want to share four of my favourite plugins with you.
I am by no means an expert in SEO, and can use all the help I can get. Yoast SEO is a brilliant plugin that analyses your blog posts. Yoast analyses the focus keyword you set for your post and provides you with a traffic light report of your post. Tips on your meta description, word count, SEO title, links and more are given. The plugin also analyses the readability of your content, as well as suggesting improvements. Now before I post any blog post, I try to ensure my analysis is flagged green. You can upgrade to a premium version of the plugin, but for now I’m happy using the free version.
If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, I’m sure spam comments will have been the bane of your life at one point or another. Askimet is a great plugin that saves me a lot of time. Askimet moves all comments flagged as spam into a separate folder. You can either simply delete all comments marked as spam, or review them yourself. I find 99% of the time, the comments flagged as spam are indeed spam. I personally prefer using Askimet to asking my readers to complete a captcha, as I find they sometimes put people off from commenting.
We’re told site speed impacts how Google ranks our blogs. You’re likely to include a lot of imagery in your blog posts, which are going to slow down your site if you don’t compress. Many people compress their images prior to uploading, or host on third party sites. Personally, I don’t as I’m always short on time, and therefore I use Compress JPEG & PNG images. I use the free version of this plugin which allows me to compress around 100 images per month. I don’t upload anywhere near 100 new images per month, therefore running the free version allows me to compress older images as well. In time I’ll have compressed all my images for free. You can of course pay to optimize all of your images.
It is against Google’s terms to include paid of follow links in your blog posts. There is a lot of conversation out there in the blogosphere about this topic, as many people do not follow the guidelines set out by Google. I’m sure you, like I, have been turned down for opportunities simply for refusing to do so. In order to make marking links as ‘no follow’ as simple as possible, I use the plugin Title and Nofollow For Links. This plugin adds a checkbox to the ‘Insert/edit link’ pop up, and you simply check the box to mark it as Nofollow.