EBS Marketing’s favourite WordPress plugins

It’s no secret, WordPress is an amazing tool. Since 2003 we, the public, have been reaping the benefits of their simplistic open source blogging system. Known for its ease of use, accessible content management structure, and unprecedented customisation, there’s a reason why so many website users choose WordPress.

EBS Marketing WordPress PluginsBut what truly makes this powerhouse of web software unique, is its integrated plugin architecture. A feature which gives the user the ability to install a wide array of both free and paid tools for use across site and dashboard. From Twitter feed sidebars to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services, WordPress’s extensive collection of plugins can turn even the most boring of blogs into a visual and technical success.

And with that in mind, we’ve complied a short list of our favourite WordPress plugins; four website tools you can’t live without.

All in One SEO Pack

Here at EBS Marketing we know the hard and varied work that goes into SEO, and we know how important it is to optimise your website correctly. That’s why, when tools like the All in One SEO come along, there’s no excuse not to take note, because it could help your rankings in google!

With an easy to use settings page for universal settings such as URL and description settings, webmaster verification, and Google+ tools all available through the WordPress Dashboard, and more refined options for single pages, this SEO pack is a must have for any budding webmaster.

Akismet

EBS Marketing PluginsAkismet is the quintessential WordPress Plugin. Part of the WordPress company family, this short but sweet plugin is an absolute no-brainer, which more often than not comes already installed when you set up at WP blog. After activation, Akismet is your best defence against spam, and will keep your Blog or website’s comment section clean as a whistle.

Disqus

Whilst WordPress’s inbuilt commentary system may be more than adequate, there’s a new plugin that just manages to top it. Disqus is a multi-platform blog comment hosting service that utilises social integration, user profiles and various spam and moderation tools. Being used by more and more websites and organisation every day, Disqus can easily be added to WordPress using their installable plugin. With the plugin installed, Disqus allows for readers to create profiles for use across a whole host of websites to comment and interact.

For more stories and articles like this make sure you stay in touch with EBS Marketing on Facebook & Twitter.

And for information about our SEO and Marketing services feel free to visit our company website

Top 5 WordPress Plugins

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.

Sitemap

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.

InfiniteWP

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.

Gravity Forms

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.

WordPress.com Versus WordPress.org – which should you pick?

About the WordPress Content Management System

WordPress is a world leading Content Management System (CMS) – but confusingly it comes in two flavours – WordPress.com (hosted by the WordPress guys) or WordPress.org (you take responsibility for hosting it/use an alternative provider that hosts it for you).

So Should I choose WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

That depends on your requirements, level of skill, money and time commitment. Broadly speaking WordPress.com is cheaper (free at the most basic level), easier and quicker to set up whereas WordPress.org is more flexible, complicated and slightly more time consuming. Though I would note this last point is only because it has so many options that it’s down to what you want to put into it.

The advantages of picking WordPress.com

What’s great about WordPress.com:

  • Free for the basic package
  • Very little technical knowledge required
  • No need to install
  • No need to manage hosting
  • No need to buy a domain (though you can if you want)

What you can do with WordPress.org

With WordPress.org you get:

  • Plugins to extend the functionality
  • More theme customisation
  • Access to the underlying file system & database (may vary depending on hosting provider)
  • Complete control over your website – themes, plugins, functionality – everything
  • Typically you’ll be attaching this to a custom domain you own – rather than being a subdomain of wordpress.com

Which is right for you?

If you’ve got the time, skill and knowledge go for WordPress.org any time – it’s much more powerful and customisable.

If you want to just get going and have less technical knowledge/money go for WordPress.com.