With over a million new blogs being published every single say, the competition for gaining readership is extremely challenging. And still, having a blog with a large group of followers isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
Providing interesting, engaging and original content should always be the number one priority of any blogger. It’s the absolute best way to gain popularity and subscribers.
In a close second, comes the appearance and navigation of your site. There are a number of WordPress plugins that can help you optimize your site for search engines, for organic visitors to the site, and for your own ease of use.
Here are the top 10 WordPress plugins for bloggers starting up their first blog.
1. All-in-one SEO Pack
The All-in-one SEO pack plugin is probably the number one “must have” plugin for any blogger. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) deals directly with how well your site’s pages and blog posts rank on popular search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. It functions by giving each page and blog post a unique SEO title and corresponding Meta tags. You’re even able to enter in your own Meta tags for each blog post. Although it comes preconfigured to work perfectly for SEO purposes, you’re also able to customize any of its settings as you see fit.
Akismet is one of those few lucky plugins that are so good, they actually come included with every single new WordPress installation. It’s a comment spam filter that’s great for blocking those crazy Russian pr0n links or the insane $20 dollar iPad giveaways. With Akismet you also don’t have to annoy your comment readers by making them enter those illegible CAPTCHA, “Are you human?” challenge-response tests.
3. Google XML Sitemaps
Search engines make heavy use of a Sitemap when cataloging the contents of your site for their search algorithms. Google XML Sitemaps takes care of creating a new sitemap automatically and submits a new sitemap every time you update the site with a new page or blog post. All you have to do is install it, and Google XML Sitemaps takes care of the rest.
4. Contact Form 7
Great for creating those handy “Contact Us” forms on your blog site, Contact Form 7 is the most commonly used plugin for its category. It’s completely customizable and incredibly simple to set up. You’re also given the freedom to make as many forms and send them as many users as you’d like.
5. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is an awesome plugin that deals directly with the overall performance of your site. It’s made to drastically decrease the loading time of your pages and posts. It speeds up the load time by caching your entire website and gives your visitors the temporary internet files, instead of making the traditional calls to the database.
6. Subscribe to Comments
This handy little plugin puts a basic checkbox under your “submit comment” button that gives your commenters the option to receive an email alerting them whenever someone responds to their comments or makes a comment on the post in general. Great for generating debates in the comment sections that can increase page views and the popularity of your posts.
7. WordPress Database Backups
The worst scenario imaginable for a blogger is to turn on their computer one morning only to discover that their server has crashed and erased or corrupted your entire blog site right along with it. The WordPress Database Backups plugin can be used to download backups of your entire database manually, or it can just email you a copy automatically during certain time intervals that you can customize yourself.
8. Theme Switch and Preview
You should always work on the appearance of your blog to keep it fresh and deliver the best possible look for your visitors. The problem with working on it though is having your readers see the “under construction” pages that look unprofessional and lose their attention immediately. With Theme Switch and Preview you can edit your themes and see a preview of your work while your readers still browse through the old version.
9. WordPress Related Posts
One of the greatest ways to increase readership of your various blog posts is to work on the interlinking of your site. The WordPress Related Posts plugin places a selection of related posts at the bottom of each individual post. Visitors interesting in reading more about a particular topic would finish your post and then immediately move on to the next interesting one.
10. WP Touch
Don’t forget about mobile internet users! The WP Touch plugin optimizes your blog site for the mobile platform. This means that it will adjust to automatically fit and look good on Androids, iPhones, iPads, iPods and other mobile devices.