WordPress is nothing without its plugins, they are an integral part of any WordPress blog. Due to the overwhelming choice of WordPress plugins, though, it can be nerve wracking for any person to select the important ones for their blog.
So here I present to you 21 Cool Ass WordPress Plugins. Your blog is incomplete without these:Continue reading
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Every so often, I get an email from someone asking me to check out there blog that they are using to promote a business they are trying to grow, and give them feedback. Maybe they’ve heard of blogging and how it can help generate traffic because of the Search Engine benefits of having a blog. I can testify to that fact because ever since I started this blog, I started getting MUCH MORE traffic than I ever had before at my other static websites.
Many times, when I receive those requests, the blogs that are shown to me are either on Blogger.com or WordPress.com – Free blog hosting websites. Usually, when I receive these requests, my response is the same – get away from those sites and start your OWN hosted blog, one that you control and are free to do whatever you want with. This is advice that I received from one of my Mentors when I was getting ready to start my blog. In this article, I want to address why this should be done, however, lets first talk about these Free Services.
A Little about WordPress and Blogger.
Blogger and WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) are amazing systems. They make it extremely EASY for anyone to sign up for an account, and start a blog, even without any significant technical expertise. Blogger, owned by google, has a very simple three step process to setting up a blog. You create and account, name your blog and then choose a template – That’s it! Your blog is up and running. WordPress is very similar to Blogger, and also allows for anyone to set up a free account and start blogging.
These blogging solutions are considered externally-hosted blogs because they are not hosted by YOU. The benefit is that they take care of providing the blogging software automatically. They also have some additional benefits of helping to drive traffic. However, there are some downfalls to using services like these.
Why you should host your own blog
Free is good! However, Free is not always best. The problem with using blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress is that you do not own your blog. They are owned by Blogger and WordPress and they have the power to shut down your blog, whether you like it or not. When I first thought about getting into blogging, one of my mentors told me about a guy that did a lot of work with a blogger blog to grow his business to where he was making around $2,000 per month. Now, that’s $2000 extra dollars that can come in handy.
One day, he woke up to his blog being shut down by google, and never got a full reason why it was done. Because of that, his income dropped from $2000 to $0 overnight, and there was NOTHING he could do about it. Well, I guess he could’ve decided to start all over and grow it again to that point, but trust me . . . that can be a long a painful process. This is the biggest reason why I recommend for everyone to get their own self-hosted blog, but there’s more.
When you own your blog, you have the ability to do a lot more customization – something that comes in handy as your business grows. The possibilities are limitless and it provides you with much more space to grow. Owning your own blog is like having your own piece of virtual real estate. If you are serious about building an online business, this is essential.
WordPress’ Self-hosted option
I spoke earlier about WordPress.com, but there’s another side to WordPress, and that is WordPress.org. This is THE industry standard for self-hosted blogs and is also a free script that you can install on your own hosting account. This is the route that I’ve chosen and is the preferred option among bloggers today. One of the great features of wordpress is that it’s a system where anyone can develop plugins to work with wordpress, which gives you a significant amount of options to what you can get your wordpress Blog to do. If you have an idea of something to add to your blog, chances are, there’s a plugin for it, and if not, one can be developed.
The cost of owning your own blog
One of the great things about having an online business, is that it does NOT take a lot of money to get started. In the past, if you wanted to start a business that is to be successful, you needed to have a significant amount of startup capital, and in many cases, you needed to rent a physical building, and the costs just kept adding up. Fortunately, in this digital age we are living in, it’s quite affordable to have your own online Real Estate. Typical hosting accounts start around $5 per month (much less than renting a building for your business). For a few dollars more (around $8), you can host an unlimited amount of domains. In other words, you can have as many websites as you want.
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Plugins are add-ons to your wordpress blog. They extend the functionality of your site. There are thousands of plugins for wordpress, they are free and most of them are upgraded regularly. They can also be easily switched off. This makes wordpress very convenient, flexible and easy-to-customize software.
Plugins are software scripts. Plugin is usually a number of files compressed into archive that can be downloaded to your hard disk from plugin directories or from the site of the plugin. This is the official plugin directory: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ You don’t need to have programming skills when using most of the plugins but you have to read carefully the instructions given by the plugin author and follow them. If something is wrong with the plugin you should consult the plugin author. When selecting a plugin you should see to compatibility of the plugin with the version of your wordpress blog. Very often it is written in the description of the plugin. It is strongly recommended to make backup of your site in case something go wrong, before installing a plugin.
Here are some cool plugins you should look to add….
- W3 Total Cache – This WordPress plugin is great for two reasons. First, it makes your pages load way faster. Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
- HeadSpace: WordPress SEO Made Simple- Move over All in one SEO. There’s a new guy in town. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.
- WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
- Thank Me Later – This plugin is great. It sends an email to all first-time visitors. You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally. I do both.
- SEO Smart Links – Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.