WordPress Wednesday: 10 Plugins You Can’t Live Without

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WordPress is an incredibly powerful online publishing tool. Much of its efficacy comes from a user-friendly interface and great design flexibility that allows users to configure and customize their sites in almost any way they desire.

In addition to all of the ways that a WordPress site can be personalized, however, it is really the numerous plugins that can be added for extra functionality that may be the driving force behind this publishing platform.

When it comes to content marketing, there are more than a few plugins that you simply cannot live without. Here are 10 selections that should always deserve consideration:

Gravity Forms
This plugin is a highly intuitive, easy-to-use way to create custom forms for your website. From simple contact forms to complex product customization and ordering, Gravity Forms have you covered. Just select your fields, configure your options and embed the form in your site and you’re ready to go.

Google XML Sitemaps
This innocuous little plugin is incredibly valuable. Once it is installed, it generates a complete XML sitemap for your blog, allowing search engines to more easily and thoroughly index your site. This allows all search engines to have a more complete view of your site and more easily retrieve its content. The plugin also notifies the search engines when new content is added, ensuring that your content appears in search results more quickly and accurately.

Revision Control
Thus plugin adds some extra functionality to the revision protocols already in place within WordPress. For each page and post, you can control exactly how many revisions are saved, via enabling, disabling and limiting controls. It also allows you to delete specific saved revisions. Simple, but powerful.

Scribe SEO
This incredibly well-designed and easily integrated plugin allows you to more easily create high-quality content for your site that adheres to the highest standard of SEO. Based on the content that you provide, this plugin suggests the best keywords and tweaks to enhance its SEO efficacy, helping you develop link relationships with other influential sites and social media sources.

Social Metrics
This free plugin allows you to monitor social media traffic on your site. Once it is installed, the plugin allows you to see how many times your content has been shared across various social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn. You are able to see how your content is shared, and share your content more effectively right from the Social Metrics dashboard.

W3 Total Cache
Used and trusted by many heavily trafficked sites, this plugin increases your website’s performance. It more completely caches your site, ensuring that your theme loads faster, the server performs more effectively, and your Google Page Speed is vastly improved.

Backup Buddy
This great plugin allows you to completely back up your Wordpress site, including all customizations, themes and plugins, as well as your content. Once safely stored in a location of your choosing, restoring your site to the most recent save is a breeze. It also allows for incredibly easy migration of your site. Setting regular, automated backups means you don’t even have to remember saving your site at regular intervals to keep your backup up to date.

WP-Optimize
A simple and effective database-optimization tool. This plugin allows you to easily remove spam comments, post revisions and other bits of unnecessary data. It also comes in a variety of languages, which is a plus.

Yoast Breadcrumbs
This clever plugin allows you to add SEO breadcrumbs to your themes. Breadcrumbs allow your readers to navigate more easily between pages, categories and posts on your site. In addition to easier navigation, breadcrumbs also make the structure of your site more transparent for readers.

Yoast SEO
This powerful plugin may be the most complete SEO package available for WordPress users. Functions include XML sitemaps, content analysis, meta descriptions and a whole host of other, fully customizable options. If you need more, there are also several add-on modules available.

About the author: Matt Goulart is the founder of and lead consultant at Webstar Content, and can be reached at Matt@webstartcontent.com.

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