Blogger Starter Kit
There are plenty of WordPress optimization plugins out there, but it doesn’t mean that you need more than a couple. Rather, it is important that you are strategic in your approach to picking the right options for your blog to be able to grow your audience and rank on keywords effectively. Whatever your monetization model (i.e. you blog for business or to develop an audience around a certain topic), you will need the right optimization plugins in place to maximize the return on your in efforts (or dollars).
In 90% of scenarios I would recommend WordPress as your blogging platform. It is really hard to make a strong case for a better blogging CMS, because no other blogging platform offers the wealth of plugins and flexibility, which makes WordPress an obvious choice for SEOs and Content Strategists. You can actually build your entire website, including a blog, in WordPress, which gives great out-of-the-box solution. However, if your business strategy is micro-blogging with very frequent micro-content pushes (such as images), then you should also consider Tumblr. Here is a blog post we wrote on using Tubmlr for business.
In order to do well as a blogger, you need to start with great content and decent frequency of publishing. However, without the right optimization strategy you may never be able to develop sizable audience. And if you didn’t install the right plugins at the outset, you are really building a car without an engine – your content will simply not work hard enough for you.
Blog Optimization Objectives
The two most important optimization objectives of your blog are:
1. Sharibility - you want to have the right social media plugins in place to maximize the social sharing
2. Search Engine Optimization - you need to implement the key on-page SEO components
Below I mentioned couple tried and proven WordPress optimization plugins that will help you accomplish your optimization objectives: make your blog posts shared more and found more. You can see all of them installed on this blog. While you may want to opt for different options, make sure that the plugins you choose have the capability to do the things I describe below. It is by no means an exhaustive list; rather a starter kit for small businesses or beginner bloggers. I also included a more extensive list of website and blog optimization tools here – SEO Toolbox.
5 Key WordPress Optimization Plugins
- Yoast SEO– Yoast is a great tool for optimizing your website pages and blog posts including content, images, snippet previews and descriptions. Yoast SEO is probably the most important optimization plugin you really don’t want to miss out on. Yoast makes SEO easy – you don’t need to know anything about HTML. With Yoast you can just drop your keyword-rich page titles and meta descriptions in an easy-to-understand interface. Yoast will also automatically generate your sitemap. See a screenshot below how I optimized the blog post you are reading with Yoast.
- Acx Social Media - A simple solution to linking your business’s social media networks to a highly visually compelling set of social media icons. Putting compelling social media buttons on your blog is very important because social engagement is one of the most your important calls-to-action (CTA) on your blog, so don’t settle for the basic solution that comes with your WordPress template. Social sharing also powers your SEO, because now search engines use social links as a part of their ranking algorithm. I like Acx Social Media plaugis because it offers a variety of cool, eye-catching icons and is very easy to manage.
- FB Plugins – An essential plugin for those with a Facebook page; allows you install the Like option on your front (or other) pages of your website or blog. This plugin has one very useful application, which is the “like” widget for your side bar that you can install on your blog. It is a great Call-to-Action to attract more people to interact with you on Facebook. See example below.
- 1-Click Retweet/Share/Like – A one-stop-shop for quickly promoting or self-publishing content to over 20+ social media networks; updates your fans in real-time and allows them to share, like and retweet. With this plugin, you can insert twitter handles (@) of guest bloggers or the influencers you interviewed/quoted on your blog in your Tweet. You can also include hashtags (#). See example below.
- Facebook Comments - The Facebook Comments WordPress plugin makes it easier for you to setup, administer and customise Facebook comments from your WordPress site. It is very important to integrate Facebook into the commenting section of your blog. When the users comment on your blog via Facebook, they promote your content to their Facebook friends. You also increase your chances for ranking in Facebook’s Graph Search. See example below.
Drop a note in the comments section if I missed anything. Looking forward to your feedback.