Wednesday, 22 May 2019

WordPress Tips: How to pin posts on front page like featured articles

May 22, 2019
This blog post will address a question that many WordPress users have. There’s one question that many of them have, regarding the matter of how to pin an article to the front page of the blog and make it a featured blog post kind of thing. Now, in some premium themes, there is a feature to highlight a particular blog post as a featured one, pinning it on top on the front page of the blog. But here, I’ll describe to you another easy method to get this task done. And yes, you don’t need to have a premium theme to get this one done!

Okay, let me keep this short and simple. The key to do this task is right there in your WordPress dashboard, in the text editor section.

As you can see in the screenshot provided below, you’ll be able to find ‘Visibility’ option in the ‘Publish’ section. Click on ‘edit’ link there.
visibility option
On doing that, you’ll see something like this-
stick this post to the front page
Yes, that’s the option that we are interested in! You’ll find a ‘Stick this post to the front page’ box waiting for you there. If you are interested in pinning a post to the front and make it featured, click and check on that box, that’s it!

The next time you want to pin an epic blog post, an affiliate review or a tutorial to the front page and make it a featured article, do make use of this facility provided by WordPress. Do share this post with your friends.

URL and Good SEO: Tips for WordPress Bloggers

May 22, 2019
When it comes to blogging, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an integral part. Basically, Optimization can be classified into two types- On Page and Off Page optimization. On Page activities are related to the tweaks and fine tuning that has to be done on the blog. This includes- optimizing the theme, blog post, images etc. The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) structure is also a part of it. And here, we will see how to optimize a URL so that it fares well in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Structure of the blog URL: with and without ‘www’

If you are a WordPress user, then you must have noticed that you are free to use any one of the two types of URL for your blog. In the ‘General Settings’ section in the Dashboard, one may find the ‘WordPress Address’ and ‘Site Address’ fields.

You may go for http://yoursite.com or http://www.yoursite.com. Whether you use or don’t use the ‘www’ part in the URL won’t matter much. Many folks are skeptic about it and think that leaving out the ‘www’ part will negatively impact their blog!

It is nothing but a misconception. You may use whichever URL form you are comfortable with.

URL structure of a blog post (Permalink)

WordPress installation comes loaded with loads of ‘default’ values for various functions and operations. Take for example the ‘blog post’s URL’. It is also known as Permalink.

Permalinks plays a role in deciding the fate of a blog post when it comes to SERP rankings. Search Engines give first priority to the blog title. This is followed by the Permalink and then by the meta description.

So, writing a good title and not optimizing the URL of the blog post is foolishness! And to make matters worse, as I mentioned above, WordPress’ default permalink comes in this format- http://www.yoursite.com/?p=232. Here, the post’s permalink is described by the symbol ?, letter p and the number (which is the number of post published or created so far).

This default structure is in no way good for SEO! In fact, the URL should consist of one or more crucial keywords and phrases used in the blog post. Thus, it becomes mandatory to change the structure of the permalink.

permalink structure affects SEO
Changing Permalink structure

This task can be accomplished by accessing the ‘Permalinks’ section under ‘Settings’ in the Dashboard. The best URL format would be yoursite.com/post-title. Else, you may also choose other formats, which will help you emphasize the keywords and phrases in the URL. Doing so will help Search Engines’ crawler bots understand better that what the blog post is all about!

End

I hope that you understood the importance of a well structured URL of a blog post. As soon as you start a new blog, do change the permalink structure. The default one is of no use!

Study: Submitting Sitemap and Getting Blog Indexed Fast

May 22, 2019
Whether a blog becomes a success or failure depends on the traffic it gets. Blogs have various sources of traffic- organic traffic, referral traffic etc. The most valuable source of traffic is organic traffic. The visitors arriving on a blog from search engines is what constitutes organic traffic. This article, about Sitemaps and indexing, has lots to do with organic traffic.

Google, as of now, is the most used search engine. So, we’ll be limiting our discussion of Sitemaps and Indexing to Google only. To get organic traffic from Google, a blog has to be Google friendly. There is no better tool than Google Webmaster Tools to accomplish this task! Within GWT, you’ll find the means of submitting and testing Sitemap.

What is a Sitemap?

Do you know how Google suggests a site/blog to its user after a search? For suggesting a site/blog in search result, Google takes into consideration more than 200 factors! It crawls the sites/blogs and evaluates them on the basis of these factors. Crawling is done by Google bots.

Basically, Sitemaps are collection of pages and posts of your blog, which crawlers can access easily. It can also be used by humans. Sitemaps provides the crawler bots a structure/layout of the site/blog, its posts, pages etc.

Why is submitting a Sitemap to Google important?

Google is the most used search engine. If we let Google crawl our blogs thoroughly, chances are that our blog posts gets indexed better. Maybe our blog’s chances of featuring in SERP (Search Engine Result Page) increase.

By submitting Sitemap of our blog to Google, we are letting Google know of its presence. Google will follow up by crawling it and indexing it. You may also submit Sitemap to other search engines like Bing. But we’ll talk just about Google Sitemaps here.

Does submitting Sitemap guarantees faster indexing of a new blog?

By submitting a Sitemap, we are simply notifying Google about our blog. But it doesn’t guarantee fast indexing. Please note that submitting a Sitemap is not what enables Google to crawl our blog.

Sitemaps can be compared to invitation cards. You’re basically inviting it to crawl and index your blog. But how fast a blog gets indexed depends on many factors.

Google bots won’t crawl flash content on your blog. Crawling can be made slower by server errors, restrictions placed on crawler bots by a site/blog etc. Ultimately, Google only indexes worthy and quality content. Duplicated content, blank pages, flash animation etc are neglected by it.

But still, submitting Sitemap to Google is highly recommended for new blogs.


How and where to submit Sitemap?

Google Webmaster Tools is what you’ll need. Create a GWT account and verify your blog/site. Head to ‘crawl’ Section on the left sidebar of GWT. Within it, you’ll find option marked ‘Sitemap’. Use this section to test and submit new Sitemap.
google webmaster tools sitemap option
Sitemap

Sitemap Plugins for WordPress Users

There are two excellent plugins that’ll take care of creating and submitting Sitemap. They are- Google XML Sitemap plugin and WordPress SEO by Yoast.

I recommend Google XML Sitemap Plugin to readers. It is very easy to set-up. The default setting will do just fine. This plugin also notifies Bing and other Search engines about your blog’s Sitemap. Check out how I configured it on one of my blog :
google xml sitemap configuration 1google xml sitemap configuration 2google xml sitemap configuration 3

google xml sitemap configuration 4google xml sitemap configuration 5

Configuration of Google XML Sitemap Plugin
Yoast XML Sitemap button

Check the box and let Yoast plugin create XML Sitemap!

The other plugin, one by Yoast is actually an SEO plugin. Its creator, Joost De Valk integrated an XML sitemap plugin to it. If you want to reduce the number of plugins on your blog, go for Yoast SEO. Sitemap feature can be generated on it by checking a box. This plugin also has options to ping other search engines like Bing and Ask once the Sitemap has been generated.

Stop WordPress blog’s title from appearing twice on browser

May 22, 2019
This is a very common issue that bloggers face, when they are setting up a new WordPress blog. Often, during the set up process, they notice that the blog’s title is appearing twice on the browser! For example, like this- ‘Title of the post: blog title- blog title’. It may not appear in the exact same way, but may appear with some minor changes. Today, I’ll show you how to solve this problem. I’ll also try to keep this post a quick read, so that you can learn the fix and go back, apply it on your blog as soon as possible!
WordPress logo
WordPress
First of all, let me tell you the reason why title appears twice on WordPress blogs. There is more than just one reason-

Reason for blog’s title appearing twice in WordPress blogs

This results many times, when conflict related to the <title> </title> section arises among different plugins and parts of the blog. Let me show you how this happens usually.
On a WordPress blog, usually title is set-up by the blogger using the Settings> General> Site Title section. But in case of many themes, there are options to change the structure of the titles (posts, pages etc). Then comes the SEO plugins, which also have individual settings for settings up titles for posts and pages!
So, the title may be appearing twice because of any of the above mentioned settings conflicting and rewriting the title! How to solve this problem, you might ask! Here are the possible solutions-

How to solve the issue of blog title appearing twice on browser-

The first step should be to disable the title settings in the theme. Stop it from interfering with the title section in the General section. Or else, if you are too fond of the title settings of the theme, then delete the title settings from Setting> General> Site Title section.

This will solve the problem in case of theme conflicting with the title section and making it appear twice. Now comes the second solution.

If you notice that it is after installing the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin that this problem is popping up, then use this method, which I’m going to describe. First of all, open WordPress SEO by Yoast’s dashboard and uncheck the ‘Force Rewrite’ option in the ‘Titles and Metas’ section.
Now, head to Appearance> Editor> header.php file in the dashboard. Once you open that file, and find the section enclosed within the <title> </title>tags.

Select that entire section (and the code contained within) and replace the existing code with the following code (slanted text only)-

Code= <title><?php wp_title(‘ ‘); ?></title>

After inserting the code, save the file and clear cache. Now check if the problem persists or not. If it is the SEO plugin causing the problem, this trick will help solve the problem!

But before you start messing around with header.php file, make sure that you take backup of that file. It is better to have a backup, because, things can go wrong, you know!



That’s it. These solutions will help solve the problem of blog titles appearing twice on the browser, in case of WordPress blogs. If you liked this article, please share it!

How to Make Your WordPress Blog Mobile Friendly

May 22, 2019
I’ve been researching about this topic for a while. As you all know, Google PageSpeed Insights now has a ‘beta’ feature that revolves around ‘mobile user experience’. Also, the mobile web users’ number is increasing very fast. Thus, mobile optimization is unavoidable. Here, I’ve compiled a list of free WordPress mobile plugins and some tips to get you started. But before that, imagine the following scenario-
mobile phones
Set to rule the web world!

Imagine you are trying to access a blog using your smartphone. Your aim is to obtain some very useful information from the blog. You see, internet is not just about facebook, pirated movies and porn! Oftentimes, serious folks like me (I assure you I’m) use the internet for obtaining information. All right, so you’re waiting for this blog to open. After waiting for long, when the blog finally loads up, you find that it is poorly rendered!

All this commotion is followed by you cursing that blog, giving the webmaster ‘the bird’ and leaving that blog! What a story! This often results when blogs are poorly optimized for mobile devices. Have you too been ignoring the aspect of mobile optimization? If yes, chances are that many visitors might be cursing your blog and flipping the bird at you (I’m sorry to say that).

I’ve got some facts and figures to show you. These stats will help you better understand the ‘impact’ that ‘smartphone revolution’ has had on internet surfing habits of people. Brace yourself; these stats will blow you away-

50% of mobile web users use mobile as primary means of going online
Over 1.2 Billion people are accessing web using mobile devices
Mobile traffic constitutes 15% of all internet traffic
28.85% of all e-mails are opened on mobile phones and 10.16% on tablets

Well, I stumbled upon these stats thanks to an infographic I found on Digitalbuzzblog. I guess that now you are convinced about the ‘influence’ mobile devices have on web surfing habits of people. If you are still not convinced, I guess you belong to stone age!

Folks, I haven’t included stats showing ‘close relationship’ between mobile devices and social media. You, me and lots of other people rely more on mobile phones for visiting social sites. Come on, accept the fact. Mobile devices are gonna rule the web world in the future.

I agree that you’ve spent countless hours sweating, typing and researching to come up with freaking awesome blog posts. But, in the future, a time will come when lion’s share of your visitors will be using mobile devices to access your blog!

If you don’t make your blog mobile friendly, all the hard-work, you unwillingly put in, will go in vain!

Here, I’ve listed some very practical solutions that’ll make your blog mobile friendly. Let me give you an idea about what lies ahead in this article. The solution consists of using a responsive theme, using some free WordPress mobile plugins, creating a subdomain, using media query etc. If you’ve braved the stats, brace yourself again, here comes the solutions-

Solution #1- Use an awesome Responsive theme



This solution is for the lazy folks out there. Just purchase a responsive theme, install and set it and forget about this whole ‘mobile optimization’ affair!

You barely have to do any manual settings. The theme will take care of all the optimization aspects. It works like this- set it and forget about it! If you wanna tweak and modify your blog’s mobile avatar, such themes allows you to do so!

All you lazy folks out there, I assure you that responsive themes will make your life a lot easier. Go, grab some awesome premium responsive themes from Theme Junkie! They are awesome! Use them and just don’t worry about mobile optimization ever again!

Solution #2- Use any of these free WordPress mobile plugins-



If you are the ‘Uncle Scrooge’ type blogger, who don’t want to spend money on responsive themes, these plugins will help you. In fact, you’ll love them. They’ll ensure that your blog is decently optimized for mobile devices. Most of these plugins comes with their own ‘mobile themes’, tailor-made for small screens.

Here’s the list of plugins that I recommend. Choose wisely Mr Scrooge!
scrooge duck
Pictured- you!
Courtesy- Flickr

#1 WPtouch Mobile Plugin

WPtouch is a plugin that is used and trusted by newbie and professional bloggers alike. So, naturally, it must be pretty ‘solid’ to have been used and downloaded by many folks!

It has a free version and a pro version. So, if you are not willing to spend your hard earned money, the free version will do a decent job.

Upon installing and activating this plugin, it automatically enables an apt, simple mobile layout for your blog. Basically, just like in your wild fantasy, you’ll get the job done without much effort!

If you are the active and hard working type like me (I’m dangerously hard-working, mind you!), you may go to the admin panel of the plugin and tweak the settings and layout a bit! You know, basic customization, colors and all.

This plugin allows visitors the freedom to switch between mobile and regular (desktop) versions of your blog. And if you are willing to spend money, go for WP Touch Pro. To be honest, I haven’t tried the pro version yet.

From whatever info I could gather from WP Touch Pro users, I can safely conclude that it offers amazing customizing options. Also, the support team is caring and quick at solving problems.

#2 JetPack Mobile Theme

To make use of this option, first of all you must have JetPack plugin installed and activated. And let me warn you; this plugin won’t give a ‘stylish’ look to your blog’s mobile version! But still, it ensures that your blog gets rendered on mobile devices fast. If it is improving user experience that matters to you, this tool will satisfy your needs. This theme won’t display ads like the way they are displayed on desktop.

Activating this theme is simple. Head straight to ‘JetPack’ section on your Dashboard. Among the list of tools that it offers, you’ll find ‘Mobile Theme’. Just activate it and you’re done!

Now, regarding the customization part, you don’t have to worry much about it. This is because there are only 2 options to configure! Make sure that you set up the ‘excerpt’ option. It is the only thing you should be concerned about.

#3 WordPress Mobile Pack

According to the creators of this plugin, WP Mobile Pack  is a complete toolkit to make your blog mobile friendly. To an extent, they are true!

This plugin comes with a custom mobile theme, which is decent enough. It also has a ‘switcher’ that helps it to recognize the device (desktop or mobile) and render your blog accordingly.

This is a smart plugin that automatically scales down images, divides posts and pages etc to fit it in a small screen appropriately. If you’re an AdSense publisher, this plugin also offers an ad widget to help display ads.

The admin panel feature allows you to access your blog and use basic admin rights to do activities like moderating comments, editing posts etc. Analytics feature helps keep track of visitor count and similar info.

#4 WP Mobile Edition

What I like about this plugin is that it comes loaded with lots of useful features. Like other plugins, this one also ‘detects’ the device that the visitor is using. Upon detecting a mobile device, it switches the theme accordingly.

The default theme that it offers is pretty good. It comprises of all the basic necessities a theme should have. It even has good social sharing options included in it.

Earlier, I talked about ‘loads’ of features. Well, I actually meant it and wasn’t lying. This plugin offers some serious features related to SEO!

It comes with an inbuilt mobile XML Sitemap generator! This little fellow will ensure better visibility for your blog in ‘mobile’ searches made using Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.

Ad publishing isn’t compromised, thanks to an ad widget it offers. You may effortlessly publish ads and expect the mobile theme to render it seamlessly on smaller screens!

This theme too, basically belongs to your fantasy. It helps get lots of job done without much efforts from your side. Check this plugin out at the WordPress.Orgrepository.

#5 Any mobile theme switcher

All right folks, this plugin is a bit different. This plugin wants you to keep a few mobile themes in your WordPress database. Don’t frown, I know it is a bit daunting task. But still, making use of this plugin will give your blog a ‘special look’!

So, have you downloaded and uploaded a handful of mobile themes? If yes, install this plugin and start assigning themes to various types of browsers!

This plugin allows you to select which theme will be used on a ‘specific’ mobile browser. Take a look at the screenshot to understand it-

I hope that the screenshot made you understand it well. Of course, images convey messages better than text!

So, this plugin gives you the freedom to choose different mobile themes for different mobile browsers like android, Opera Mini, Windows etc. I told you, this plugin will give your blog a special look! See, I wasn’t lying!

#6 Mobile Smart

Sleek, light and easy to use- this is how I’d describe this plugin. It comes with a ‘detection tool’, that identifies the device (mobile or desktop) and delivers your blog accordingly.

If it finds a mobile device, your blog will get delivered on the ‘boilerplate’ theme. I’m afraid, it is not the sexiest theme around in the town. But still, it won’t let your blog down! User experience won’t be compromised, I can assure you that.

A feature of this plugin that I really love is its knack of recognizing the ‘type’ of mobile device. This fellow can effortlessly find out whether a mobile device sports a touch screen, qwerty keypad or the regular alphanumeric keypad. It ensures that the ‘best configured’ version of your blog is delivered to the device!

#7 Duda Mobile site builder

This plugin works like a charm across most of the WordPress themes. All you have to do is make a mobile friendly version of your blog using drag and drop operations! And Duda will deliver your blog based on its ‘device recognition’ prowess. I must admit that it does this ‘recognition’ job well!

Yes, you can get a bit ‘creative’ while using it. Further, it involves no coding. It’s all ‘drag and drop’ stuff. So, you may even ask your granny to make it for you!

Other features includes- excellent mobile SEOgood ad placing optionsanalytics etc.

Solution #3- Create a ‘m.yoursite.com’ subdomain and deliver something special to mobile visitors

If the above plugins haven’t satisfied you, I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve! You want your blog’s mobile version to be unique and want it to stand out from the crowd? Want a ‘stylish mobile theme’ to be rendered across all mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and various mobile browsers? I suggest you to create a subdomain.

Using the C Panel, it is very easy to create a subdomain. Okay, for your sake, I’ll just run through the process-

Log in to your C Panel
Head to the ‘Subdomain’ part. It is that ‘globe’ and ‘www’ thing right there.

Create an ‘m.yoursite.com subdomain. The document root should be /public_html or same as the directory containing your WordPress installation files.

Time for victory dance! Mission accompli… hey, wait, you’ve created the Subdomain, but still, there are things still to be done..

After creating the subdomain, you need a plugin that’ll redirect mobile web users to it. That’s when ‘Mobile Domain’ comes handy.

After installing the said plugin, activate it. In its settings, you can choose a mobile theme (which I assume you already have saved in your WP database) that’ll be used on the mobile subdomain!

In the settings, all you need to do is enter the subdomain you just created. This is followed by the selection of the mobile theme! That’s it, the plugin will take care of the everything else!

This plugin also comes with a Mobile XML Sitemap creator. You may use Google Webmaster Tools to claim the mobile subdomain and submit Mobile Sitemap.

Creating an m.domain.com thing is highly recommended if your blog is getting lots of mobile web visitors. Besides, it also helps you customize the subdomain without the fear of it influencing the speed and performance of your blog’s main theme. Even caching for the subdomain can be arranged separately, making it an independent entity!

Solution #4- Using the @media query to make mobile version of your blog


This method is for those who have knowledge of CSS coding. If you haven’t heard at all about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), you better leave this section and head to the end of this post.

Basically, the stylesheet.css of your blog can be tweaked to deliver a customized ‘mobile version’ of your blog to the appropriate devices.

This task can be accomplished using the Media query. You just need to specify the ‘screen size’ of the device and insert your ‘mobile friendly CSS’ in curly braces. Okay, coding done? Insert it in your stylesheet.css. Take a backupfolks, I don’t want you to ruin your blog, in case if something goes wrong.

Basically, the media query, to set a definite screen dimension, looks like this-

@media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px){YOUR BLOG’S MOBILE FRIENDLY CSS}
You see how this works, don’t you? We are basically setting a ‘specific screen width’ for a specific device. In the above case, that specific device is an iPhone! The curly braces should contain the customized CSS, which is to be displayed for the iPhone. You may go for specific font size, header size, footer characteristics etc.

After inserting the above code in your blog’s stylesheet.css, this customized css will be served to iPhone users who visit your blog!

This is just a simple example, focusing solely on a very finite set of ‘screen size’. If you wanna go for a ‘complex’ mobile design, it’ll involve you making a separate mobile.css file and linking it to the media query! Further, you may make use of ‘@media (min width: )’ also to your advantage!

Wait, I’m no coding guru, so I suggest that you read this post by the experts, related to CSS 3 and media query. This method is particularly useful, if you wanna give your own ‘touch’ to your blog’s mobile version.

Over to you

Mobile devices are here to stay. I mean, looking at the exponential growth in their use, to surf the internet, I can say that confidently. So, make your blog mobile friendly, or get set to lose visitors. You may go for responsive themes, free WordPress plugins, a separate subdomain or CSS coding to accomplish this task. Just keep Nike’s tagline in mind- ‘Just Do It’. On a lighter note, I won’t charge you for sharing this post on social sitesShare, share and share itfellas!

12 Most Useful Free WordPress Plugins

May 22, 2019
For a WordPress blog to function efficiently, a variety of plugins are required to be installed. Plugins are of two types- premium and free. Here, I’m putting together a list of some very useful plugins. These plugins are very essential for maintaining a WordPress blog. All these plugins are free ones!

There is a notion that premium plugins are what makes a blog successful. I disagree with this concept. I believe that with a set of some very essential free plugins, one can build a successful blog. I’ve tested these set of plugins on my own blogs.

The set of most useful free WordPress plugins


1 Async Social Sharing buttons

I use the above mentioned plugin for inserting Social sharing buttons on my blog posts. This plugin has got a set of 4 Sharing buttons- Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Hacker News. I use the buttons of the first three sites.

The good thing about this plugin is that it loads asynchronously. Thus, it won’t affect the page loading speed of my blog negatively. They’ll load asynchronously after my blog content loads first. And my visitors don’t have to wait for content to appear.

I place the sharing buttons at the end of each post. By the time a visitor reads a post and reaches the end, the buttons get loaded completely!

I must agree than this plugin is not very stylish. The buttons are simple. The number of sharing buttons (4) is also very less compared to other social sharing plugins. If you want a bit more stylish plugin that offers more sharing buttons, try AddThis Smart Layers plugin.

2 WP Mash Social Widget

This is the plugin I use on my blog to fulfill my ‘Social Following’ needs. This plugin allows my visitors to find my blog’s Facebook page and my Google+ profile.

You’ll find its widget on the right sidebar. It has a simple design, but it does a good job. You may even use follow option for sites like Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. All you need to do is install the plugin, activate it and drag the widget to sidebar. Insert the urls of your various social site accounts wherever you are asked to do. The plugin will take care of the rest.

I’ve been using this plugin on my blogs for a while now. So far, I’ve never had any trouble with it. It loads up pretty fast.

3 Autoptimize

Optimizes and compresses the CSS and JavaScript files on my blog. Usually, many blogs load slowly due to huge, badly coded CSS and JavaScript files. This plugin grabs all these huge files, compresses them, optimizes them and delivers a minified ‘single’ file! Thus, it saves lots of loading time!

Setting up this plugin is very easy. After installing and activating it, you have to set it up. It consists of selecting which files to compress. If you want to compress CSS files, check the box next to that option. Don’t mess with the ‘Advanced’ setting if you are not sure about it. The default setting will work fine.

4 CloudFlare’s Plugin

I use CloudFlare CDN (Content Delivery Network) on all of my blogs. I recommend it to my readers too. It is a free service. If you want, you can upgrade to a pro-service later on. It’ll really speed up your blog.

If you’ve made up your mind and want to make use of this CDN, you must also use this plugin. This plugin makes sure that the CDN works well on your blog.

5 Akismet

I hate spam comments. Akismet keeps spammers at bay. Without this plugin, you’ll have to devote hours to manually delete spam comments from your blog post. I’ve experienced it myself. And I must admit it that deleting spam comments is a tedious task. Particularly if there are thousands of them!

Akismet is a very useful plugin that smartly identifies spam comments. It moves such comments to the ‘spam’ folder. This spam folder gets automatically cleaned periodically.

6 WordPress SEO by Yoast

SEO is here to stay. It can’t be ignored. This plugin sees to it that my blog posts are search engine optimized. To be honest, I don’t care much about SEO. But this plugin makes sure that my blog posts satisfies the basic SEO requirements.

This plugin also offers useful features like submitting XML sitemaps, displaying keyword density etc. A good alternative to this plugin is All in One SEO.

7 Google XML sitemap plugin

Unless you are using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you have to find other ways to submit your blog’s sitemap to Google. The XML sitemap plugin makes this job easy!

After installing this plugin, a user has to submit sitemap just once. This plugin will automatically add new posts to the sitemap as soon as they are published.

8 WP Super Cache

Each WordPress blog must have a caching plugin installed on it. Caching plugins improves the performance and loading speed of a blog.

They also reduces the strain put on the servers hosting the blog. I use WP Super Cache on my blogs. It is relatively easy to set up and works well with my CDN service and Autoptimize plugin.

A good alternative to this plugin is W3 Total Cache. It is more customizable that Super Cache. It also offers added features like minifying CSS and JavaScript files etc. But I’ve noticed that it is relatively difficult to set up this plugin. Further, I’ve noticed that it conflicts with some other plugins I use on my blog.

9 Broken Link Checker

This plugin, once installed and activated, scans the whole blog. It goes through all the URLs and searches for broken links.

Once the scanning is over, it bring up a list of broken links. The broken links can be fixed, removed, unlinked or marked as not broken.

Sometimes, it may happen that this plugin marks working links as broken ones. This happens rarely. The ‘scans’ can be scheduled. Scans can be scheduled once every 24 hours/48 hours etc.

10 P3 Plugin Profiler

This plugin helps me find the slow loading plugins I use on my blog. Usually, slow loading plugins make a blog load very slowly.

It is better to remove such bad plugins and try some other alternatives. P3 Plugin Profiler analyzes the loading time and the performance of plugins used in a blog.

11 WP Smush.it

My favorite image optimizing plugin. This plugin compresses the images used in a blog, without affecting its quality.
Images can be compressed manually or automatically. Such compressed images load faster and are low in size.

12 Jetpack

Jetpack by WordPress is a treasure chest of useful functions. It offers exciting services like- Mail Subscription, Site stats, Photon image CDN, Contact form etc.
Jetpack offers many more useful services. Its major drawback is that it slows down blogs.

A reason why bloggers should use just useful/required plugins

The presence of a huge number of plugins is what makes WordPress the most preferred blogging platform. Sometimes, it may happen that we find some unnecessary plugins to be irresistible. But going around, installing all the plugins you lay your hands upon, on your blog is a bad idea.

The more plugins you install, the slower your blog will become. You see, plugins are codes and scripts. Each time your blog loads, these scripts gets loaded too. So, the more the scripts, the longer the time it takes to load. Only use plugins, which are very useful.

Your turn to say

These, according to me are the free WordPress plugins each blog must have. These plugins are very useful for the functioning of a blog. I’m not asking you guys to stick to these plugins only. The plugins I mentioned above have good alternatives also. Feel free to mention alternative plugins in comment section.