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WordPress PowerPack – Everything You Need To Run A Blog

If you are thinking on launching your own blog then you definitely have to look at this article. A standalone version of WordPress is good but not brilliant. If you want to improve its cabapilities, then you should use some hacks. Below you can see 30 super useful plugins divided into 5 categories: SEO, Security, Optimization & Administration, Social Media and Gallery. Besides these plugins, if you want to take the optimization to a next level, you have 25 useful tricks, tips and hacks.

Plugins – SEO

1. HeadSpace2 SEOHeadSpace2 is an all-in-one meta-data manager that allows you to fine-tune the SEO potential of your site. Visit the HeadSpace page for a video demonstration. Controls almost every aspect of your site’s meta-data, including advanced tagging, Analytics, and dozens of plugins.

2. SEO Smart Links Premium – This is a WordPress plugin that improves the overall SEO strength of your blog by automatic interlinking your content as well as automatically convert keywords you define into (affiliate) links. It can do much more and if you’d like to skip to the full list of features click here.

3.Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

4.JR Post ImageJR Post Image is a light-weight plugin that displays an image ‘attached’ to a post in a SEO friendly way. It can be used on the frontpage of your blog, but also on a post/page, to show all images attached to the post. (All images in the post Image Gallery).

5. SEO Slugs – SEO Slugs plugin strips common words like “what”, “you” or “can” out of your post slug to make it more search engine friendly. With SEO Slugs plugin activated, the slug for our example blog post would look like this: /immediately-higher-rankings instead of  /what-you-can-do-immediately-for-higher-rankings

Plugins – Security

1.WP-DBManager – Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database.

2.WP Security Scan – Scans your WordPress installation for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions.

3. BulletProof Security – Website Security Protection: Protects your website from ALL XSS & SQL Injection hacking attempts. Base64_encode code injection blocked. One-click .htaccess security file protection. Protects wp-config.php, php.ini, php5.ini, install.php and readme.html with .htaccess security protection. And much more.

4. F-Secure Safe Links Safe Links checks and rates each link on a web site for security threats. It ensures site visitors can safely navigate outside your website.

5. Admin SSL – Admin SSL secures login page, admin area, posts, pages – whatever you want – using Private or Shared SSL.

6. Akismet – Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

7. WP-reCAPTCHA – reCAPTCHA is an anti-spam method originating from Carnegie Mellon University which uses CAPTCHAs in a genius way. Instead of randomly generating useless characters which users grow tired of continuosly typing in, risking the possibility that spammers will eventually write sophisticated spam bots which use OCR libraries to read the characters, reCAPTCHA uses a different approach.


Plugins – Optimization and Administration

1.WP-Optimize – WP-Optimize is a wordpress 2.7++ database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to optimize your database tables. It allows you to remove post revisions, comments in the spam queue, un-approved comments within few clicks.

2. W3 Total Cache – Easily optimize the speed and user experience of your site with caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.

3. Custom Admin Branding – The Custom Admin Branding Plugin allows you to brand and customize the WordPress administration area for clients or for personal use. You can display custom images and styles for the login screen, admin header and footer.

4.Google Analyticator – Google Analyticator easily adds Google Analytics tracking support to a WordPress-powered blog. Google Analyticator also comes with an easily customizable widget that can be used to display specific information that is gathered by Google Analytics using the Google Analytics API.

5. Hide Admin Panels – If you are running a collective blog, this plugin will help you to restrict some permissions for different types of members of your blog. You choose who sees what. Any of the following can be hidden: posts, media, links, pages, comments, appearance, dashboard, plugins, users, tools, settings, and as of version 0.9.5 can now hide third party plugins.

6. Broken Link Checker – This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.

7. AdRotate – Get the most intuitive ad manager and start making money with your website. Add and manage the ads from the dashboard and show a random banner, or multiple, on your site. The plugin supports unlimited groups for banners allowing to tie certain banners to different areas of the website. Easy management from the dashboard allows you to quickly oversee, add and edit banner code or renew/delete and add new ads.

8. Ajax Spell CheckerOne of the most powerful Spell Checkers created for WordPress.

Plugins – Social Media

1. Disqus Comment System – Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.

2. Digg Digg – All-in-One social voted count buttons. Integrate popular social voted count buttons into WordPress easily.

3.Facebook Like Button – Add Facebook Like Button to your wordpress blog with a lot of customization options.

4.PollDaddy Polls & Ratings – The PollDaddy Polls and Ratings plugin allows you to create and manage polls and ratings from within your WordPress dashboard. You can create polls, choose from 20 different styles for your polls, and view all results for your polls as they come in.

5. SexyBookmarks – Though the name may be a little “edgy” for some, SexyBookmarks has proven time and time again to be an extremely useful and successful tool in getting your readers to actually submit your articles to numerous social bookmarking sites.

6. Simple Facebook Connect – Simple Facebook Connect is a series of plugins that let you add any sort of Facebook Connect functionality you like to a WordPress blog. This lets you have an integrated site without a lot of coding, and still letting you customize it exactly the way you’d like.


Plugins – Gallery

1. Frontpage-Slideshow – This plugin does exactly what its name suggests: it lets you create a professional slideshow on the front page of your WordPress blog. Each picture is clickable, leading you to its related post, and information about four different slides can be displayed at a time. Transitions between slides are faded to look extra sleek.

2. NextGEN GalleryNextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a slideshow option. Before I started writing the plugin I studied all the existing image and gallery plugins for WordPress. Some of them are really good and well designed, but the gap I filled was a simple administration system at the back end which can also handle multiple galleries.

3. Flickr Photo Album – This Flickr plugin for WordPress will allow you to pull in your Flickr photosets and display them as albums on your WordPress site. There is a pretty simple template provided which you can customize to 100% match the look and feel of your own site.

4. Page Flip Image Gallery – FlippingBook WordPress Gallery plugin helps you to create Image Gallery with Page Flip effects on your blog. Do you need to show your photos to the best advantage and post them in a speedy manner, don’t you? You need to make a bright and memorable presentation, portfolio or image gallery?

5. SlideZoom – Batch Upload & Gallery – SlideZoom is a lightweight plugin allow bulk upload images or zip upload to generate a HighSlide JS gallery. Output as HTML code / BBCode etc… And offering embed the gallery to everywhere (WordPress, Web ,Facebook, Forum, eBay etc…) by simple copy and paste to posts or pages.


WordPress Tricks, Tips and Hacks

1.How to: Display adsense to search engines visitors only

2.Avoid Duplicate Posts in Multiple Loops

3.How to modify size of embedded videos

4.Replace “Next” and “Previous” Page Links with Pagination

5. Use Normal Quotes Instead of Curly Quotes

6.Use custom page as homepage

7. Add author bio on every blog post

8. Highlight author’s comments

9. Format images for feed readers

10.Customize Error 404 page

11. Open links in new windows (by default)

12. Create a peel away effect on blog

13. Change WordPress “from” email header

14. How To Check If A Plugin is Active or Not

15. How To Display Related Posts

16. How To Separate WordPress Comments And Trackbacks

17. How To Display A Random Header Image On Your WordPress Blog

18. Display The Feedburner Subscriber Count In Text

19. How To Change Excerpt Length Depending Of The Category

20. Use WordPress As Membership Directory

21.Control When You Want Your Posts To Be Available Via RSS

22. How to set HTML editor as the default in WordPress

23. How To Wrap Google Adsense In WordPress Posts Correctly

24. Create a Free Email Newsletter Service using WordPress

25. How to count your blogroll links

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform in the world. The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 25 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home”.

If you combine the WordPress plaform with the necessary plugins, you will get a very powerful platform. I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have a suggestion regarding plugins, tips, tricks or hacks, just give us a reply.



Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.