There are many “best of” blog posts that have been written about WordPress plugins, so I wanted to cover a different angle with this post. I see WordPress and blogging like this: If your company has a social media strategy, chances are you have a corporate blog. Our friends at Hubspot released their analysis some time ago that blogging is good for SEO. And if you are blogging, chances are you are using WordPress, which is the most popular blogging platform among the biggest blogs. In this way, I see a natural relationship between blogging, WordPress, social media, and SEO. The WordPress platform in itself, however, will not allow your blog to be found through social media or appear in search engines searches. But because of its extensible architecture and the plethora of plugins that are readily available for it, there are many ways in which using these WordPress plugins can help enhance your website and allow your blog, your company, and yourself get found in social media and by search engines throughout 2011.
I looked at the best plugins which I either use for this site or have installed for my social media-optimized website development clients that 1) help make your WordPress-powered website more social media optimized and 2) are essential to ensure that your blog gets found online through enhancing the SEO of your website. I believe the below list of 15 WordPress plugins will remain popular well into 2011:
Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2011
DiggDigg has been one of the best kept secrets for awhile, but now that we’re heading into 2011 it’s time that you should know about it. DiggDigg is an all-in-one plugin to handle all of your ReTweet, Facebook Share, etc. buttons which allows your visitors to easily share your content throughout social media. Sure, there are other plugins which give you similar functionality, but I prefer DiggDigg because of its flexibility and rich functionality. Here’s a summary of some of DiggDigg’s main features:
- Not only can you display the normal ReTweet buttons right at the top of your content, DiggDigg also provides a floating widget of ReTweet buttons to the side of the content, just like you are seeing to the left of this text. You’ve seen it on Mashable – now install it on your site!
- The ability to choose which ReTweet button you want: Twitter, TweetMeme, or Topsy. You’d be surprised by the different ReTweet numbers each one returns.
- Display the new LinkedIn Share button as well as the StumbleUpon button.
- Choose whichever URL shortener you want to use.
There are a lot of different comment systems out there that take the place of the native WordPress one, but Disqus wins for both its functionality as well as its streamlined design. It has full functionality which provides for threaded comments, white listing and black listing of commenters by username and/or IP address, and of course the ability to allow your users to post their comments to Facebook and Twitter in addition to your blog post. Let your blog readers better comment and share their thoughts about your blog using Disqus.
You’ll notice that, despite how much I rave about DiggDigg, I have another similar plugin on this list. This is because the one thing that DiggDigg lacks is the ability to show the Facebook Like button displaying faces. This is where this appropriately named Facebook Like Button plugin comes in. Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about how to add a Facebook Like button to your WordPress blog or website. Now that technology has caught up, you can simply use this plugin instead.
RSS feeds are one way in which your blog readers consume your content, so you want to make sure that the ability to share you content in social media is displayed directly on the RSS page. The native WordPress RSS feeds do not provide this functionality nor have the ability to provide email subscriptions, but Feedburner and Feedblitz are two 3rd party services that do. I am someone who actually switched from Feedburner to Feedblitz some time ago. It all started one day when my Feedburner RSS feeds were not displaying properly on this blog, just a few weeks before I was about to publish my LinkedIn book. Unable to find or get help, I fortunately discovered Feedblitz, a company that offers highly customizable RSS feed management, with all of the additional social media-related functionality that you would expect, that also has additional email marketing capabilities built into it. Most importantly, it offered responsive technical support that went out of their way to help me whenever I have run into any issues. Yes, there is a nominal fee attached to it, but its value far exceeds its cost. Once you have Feedblitz installed, this plugin will forward all of your RSS feeds to your Feedblitz account so you have an accurate count of how many RSS subscribers you have. Not only does this provide you with a better metric to track, it’s also helpful in promoting how many RSS subscribers you have by displaying the Feedblitz-provided RSS subscriber chicklet on your website.
You already know why you should have a YouTube channel, so why aren’t you introducing it to your website visitors? This handy little widget allows you to choose how many of your latest YouTube videos you want to display in your sidebar and footer. Simple, customizable, and it works. Help your website visitors easily discover content on your other social media properties.
Polls can provide important content to help engage with your followers and fans throughout social media. They can also provide priceless feedback which can be invaluable to your company. With PollDaddy polls, not only can you easily create a customized look-and-feel to your poll in minutes, this poll can now be embedded into a sidebar widget and/or a post. Furthermore, PollDaddy automatically creates a shortened link for you to tweet about or even a Facebook link to allow your fans to join in the poll.
This handy little widget allows you to easily place social media icons on your sidebar which link to your social media properties by simply inputting the URLs of each of your profiles. There are a host of websites that are supported, and there are even different icon types and sizes that you can choose from to advertise your social media presence.
SEO WordPress Plugins for 2011
This is the default plugin to manage many SEO aspects of your website. Most importantly, it provides you a way to easily change the title and description of each blog post and page so that you can optimize them for SEO. A necessity for every blog.
It has been said that every time you update a previously published blog post, WordPress automatically informs the world by pinging them. What if you end up revising your blogs on many occasions to provide further clarifications, update categories, add links, and perform SEO optimization? That’s right, that same blog post will be pinging servers for each time you revise, and this could make you look like a ping spammer. This cbnet Ping Optimizer ensures that for every published blog post, there is only one instance of a ping being transmitted.
Some suggest that it is good SEO practice to have an HTML internal sitemap created for your site above and beyond an XML one. This plugin will automatically do that for you, and then all you need to do is enter one line of code and your HTML sitemap has been created. You can see an example of this plugin’s output in the Windmill Networking sitemap.
The most important sitemap for search engines to spider your site is your XML one. This plugin easily and automatically creates an XML sitemap to allow search engines to find your site. If you don’t have this plugin installed, your content might not be as easily found by search engines.
12. Scribe SEO ($)
I like to think of Scribe as my personal SEO assistant. There are two sides to SEO: Offsite and onsite. Scribe gives you all of the assistance you need with your onsite SEO by providing each page or post that you analyze with a score and then assisting you in reaching their recommendations for 100% SEO optimization. I wouldn’t blog without it. Note that Scribe SEO is the only WordPress plugin on this list that requires a paid subscription.
I’ll be honest with you in informing you that while this plugin looks like it provides killer functionality, it has never worked for me. That doesn’t mean it may not work for you, hence my including it on this list. When working, this plugin will automatically populate the Alt-Text of your images with relevant keywords, which will help your images be found on search engines and provide more visitors to your blog. Sound too good to be true? Give it a try and let me know if it works for you!
14. SEO Smart Links
There are certain keywords in your blog that you probably would like to link to the same post or page on whenever they appear to help with your website’s internal SEO. Register the keywords and associated URLs with this plugin, and it will automatically insert them into your blog post for you.
If you’re not linking to the outside world in your blog posts, search engines may not consider your post a resourceful one. That’s why external links within your blog posts to relevant and authoritative content on the Web are an important part of onsite SEO. Zemanta uses its proprietary semantic search engine to analyze your blog post and then find related articles to link to in addition to finding relevant photos to insert into your blog post, in-text links, and even tag recommendations. If you register your blog with Zemanta and they accept your submission, your blog might now show up inside the Zemanta results on someone else’s WordPrss dashboard, potentially creating more relevant backlinks for your website.
The power of WordPress is in its plugin architecture, so utilize these WordPress plugins to take full advantage of it and make your blog-powered website more social media and SEO optimized for 2011.
Are your favorite social media and SEO WordPress plugins for 2011 included on this list?