WordPress is a great piece of software and if, after our last post, you opted for WordPress.org you’ve a whole world of quality – and not so quality – plugins at your fingertips. Some cost money, but a lot are free. So here is our run down of 5 of our favourites:
All in one SEO
This is a cracking WordPress plugin. Any website I make with WordPress gets this plugin instantly. If I had to only install one plugin it would be this. Enough hyperbole, what’s so great about it? Quick and easy control over things like page titles and meta-descriptions is very handy. Look at your HTML improvements listed in webmaster tools then jump into the appropriate areas in your WordPress admin and make the advised changes. So very easy.
It also makes adding verification codes an absolute doddle – you simply paste the code into the appropriate area on the main menu and it’s done. No fiddling with code, no uploading special files – just copy and paste and verify!
Ultimate Live Chat
I’ve tried a few chat plugins for clients that want customers to be able to contact them, live on the website for assistance and information. Whilst things like Zopim are amazing, they are a bit more ‘enterprise’ level. So if you want a basic chat plugin, at a low one off cost this is the way to go. Private one to one chats with one operator available to multiple customers.
If you’re not available you can become offline and customers clicking for live chat will be prompted to fill in a contact form inside the chat box. You can’t be around 24/7 (probably!) so this is very useful.
I’m not really sure why, but only wordpress.com automatically makes you a sitemap (this would normally be at example.com/sitemap.xml). A sitemap is a key part of SEO strategy, so a plugin to do this would be rather handy indeed. Enter the snappily named ‘BWP GXS’ – making sitemaps is easy again – and they will default again to example.com/sitemap.xml.
Get your sitemap made and get back onto webmaster tools: you need to submit your sitemap; it can help indexation.
Are you running multiple WordPress instances? Is the software up to date? What about the plugins? WordPress is a favoured target of spammers and scammers – it’s not that WordPress is inherently insecure; it’s just so popular a CMS that it’s a big target.
Enter InfiniteWP – for free you can add all your clients’ WordPress websites to one server and remotely back them up, before going on to issue upgrades to plugins and the content management software itself.
There’s a wealth of add-ons available, including being able to schedule the backups – so you could grab some Amazon storage and have peace of mind that all your WordPress websites will be routinely backed up to ‘the cloud’.
When initially playing with this plugin we found we were unable to add a website on the same server as the InfiniteWP software. This was no fault of InfiniteWP’s – we set it up on a shared hosting platform and one of the settings blocked the loopback needed for it to effectively check on the same server. Once we moved that website (and InfiniteWP) to a VPS it worked straight away. Just a little tip for you, in case you’re having difficulty backing up a site on the same server as InfiniteWP.
If you need to do some magic with contact forms on WordPress you need Gravity Forms. It’s got an easy to use visual editor, supports making order forms, contact forms, multi-stage forms etc. It even supports conditional logic which is great: Say you’ve got an offer on where the customer must fit a certain criteria to qualify – you can easily specify this and have the form act accordingly.
Try these plugins – they’re all free, with the exception of the live chat. If you like them donate or consider grabbing some premium features. If you need help with any of this, contact EBS Marketing.