WordPress has many great features, but one of the best that is a favorite among WordPress users is the plugins. WordPress plugins are great for SEO marketing, usability and communicating with your customers.
The official WordPress plugin directory contains more than 10,000 plugins, but you don’t want to overboard. If you try to run too many plugins at a time, you may encounter problems with your small business blog. I’ve heard of some bloggers using as many as 20 plugins without issues, but again, you should try to keep them to a minimum.
With that in mind, here are some plugins that I believe are essential for any small business blog:
All in One SEO Pack
This is a popular WordPress plugin that will help your blog rank higher in the search engines. It generates META tags, optimizes your titles for search engines, automatically generates canonical URLs to prevent content, and much more.
Redirection WordPress Plugin
This is a great plugin for managing your 301 redirections and keeping track of 404 errors. For instance, if you change the URL of a page on your small business blog, you can add a 301 redirect to ensure users are sent to the correct page. The 301 redirect also lets search engines know you have permanently moved that page to a new location. Furthermore, this plugin automatically adds a 301 redirection when you change a post’s URL.
Subscribe to Comments
After you install this plugin on your small business blog, a check box will appear near the comments box. If your readers click to place a check in that box, they’ll receive a notification via email when you or one of your other readers reply to the post they commented on and subscribed to. See the screenshot below for an example of what will appear in the comments section of your posts.
WordPress Mobile Edition
More and more folks are reading blogs and websites from mobile devices such as iPods, iPads and smart phones, and if your blog isn’t mobile friendly, you could lose traffic, which, of course, could cost you sales. However, if you install this plugin, then your small business blog will detect the mobile device and display the mobile-friendly version of your website.
A Social Plugin of Your Choice
A social plugin allows your readers to recommend your posts to their social networking friends and followers. Not only does this help increase traffic to your small business blog, but it could also help boost your rankings in the search engines.
I use the 1-click Retweet/Share/Like social WordPress plugin for this blog. This plugin gives my readers the option to share my posts with their Twitter followers, LinkedIn Connections and/or Facebook friends; however, if you’d like your blog’s readers to share your posts through several other social networks, you can choose a social plugin of your liking. For instance, many other bloggers use the SexyBookmarks plugin, which offers more sharing options (e.g. Yahoo! Mail, Google Gmail, Hotmail, Buzzster, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon, Google Buzz and other networks).
Hopefully, for your sake, it never happens, but if your small business blog is ever hacked or crashes, you would lose everything and may have to start over from scratch. Well, that is if you don’t have this plugin. Once you install the WP-DB-Backup plugin, you’ll be able to configure it to automatically backup your small business blog. In addition, you can download the backup file to your server or request that it be emailed to you.
Installing WordPress Plugins on Your Small Business Blog
First, to ensure that you don’t get a virus or risk having your blog hacked, the best place to obtain plugins is through the official WordPress directory. Now, on to installing the WordPress plugins…
The best way to install the plugins you want is by logging into your WordPress dashboard. Once you’ve logged in, click the “Plugins” tab that will be located on the left.
Under the “Plugins” tab, click “Add New.” From there you can search for the plugins. To find all of the WordPress plugins I recommended, select “Term,” and then enter the plugin name in the search field (places quotation marks around the plugin name).
Finally, click “Details” underneath the name of the WordPress plugin to learn more about it. Then when you’re ready to install that plugin, click “Install Now.”
What WordPress plugins do you use for your small business blog? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment.