Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Michael Schwartz from Vertical Measures, an SEO Marketing Company in Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the best parts about the Internet is that whenever you think of a tool that could improve your site it’s likely that tool has already been created by somebody else in the form of a plugin.
Why waste time building a script or hiring somebody to build one when you can download a plugin from WordPress and have it up and running on your site in a matter of minutes?
Plugins can solve many of your website functionality issues, particularly when it comes to on-site SEO improvement, be it through helping you set up your title tags and descriptions or sending your XML sitemaps to Google.
As a WordPress evangelist and Internet marketing services company employee, here are the top plugins that I have found to be useful:
Akismet – With all the spammers running wild on the Internet, it’s vitally important to install Akismet or a similar spam-catching service on your site. The occasional spammy comment still comes through, but all in all Akismet can keep your blog spam-free.
All in One SEO Pack – This is one of my favorite plugins. Not only can you set your home title tags, description and keywords, you can also update said tags on every post. It’s the easiest way to keep every post on your blog optimized for the search engines.
Broken Link Checker – This plugin does exactly what it says, alerting you of broken links so you can either fix them or take out the hyperlink.
Contact Form 7 – I had been using a different contact form for months, but it broke and I switched to this one. It possesses a fairly simple interface, but it gets the job done.
FeedBurner FeedSmith – This plugin redirects the site’s main feed to Feedburner.com, so you want to install this if you are using Feedburner for your RSS feed needs.
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin generates a sitemap that makes it easier for Google to crawl your site. I also use a mobile sitemap plugin and a Google News sitemap plugin so my content can be easily submitted to those places as well.
Multi-level Navigation Plugin – This plugin is great if you plan on using a dropdown menu on your home page, as you can easily denote the link and anchor text you want in each column.
podPress – This one makes adding a podcast to a post as simple as copying the URL where the file is hosted. It also features an automatic feed that can send your podcast right to iTunes.
Redirection – This allows you to redirect any of your pages, while providing full logs on all of them. Most importantly it logs all of your 404 errors and allows you to easily redirect those pages.
WP-Polls – This is a neat one for anybody who wants to host a poll on their site. You specify the number of answers allowed as well as whether readers can vote multiple times.
WP-Table Reloaded – I use this poll in a number of different ways on my basketball blog. I have used it to create roster, schedule and salary tables as well as tables of individual player statistics. This one is useful for any situation that requires a table.
WP Keyword Link – You can perpetually link any particular keyword on your site to whatever page you want with this plugin. It’s great for internal linking with a specified anchor text.
WPtouch – This transforms your site into an iPhone app-style theme when mobile users access your site. Mobile is becoming so important for SEO purposes that it’s essential that your site is mobile friendly.
If there is an issue, there probably is a plugin for it, and really this list only scrapes the barrel of the kind of plugins available on WordPress. If you aren’t using any of the plugins on this list, I would highly recommend investigating how they can improve your site.