*Open Studio Visiting Creative, Susan Newman is the Founder of Susan Newman Design, Inc. Her brand identity design company works with new start-ups, small businesses to large corporations and spans the United States and abroad. To read her Bio, click here
Who’s Sharing Your Content?
After I wrote part two “WordPress for Savvy Users” featuring some of my favorite plugins, and received rave comments, I decided to install even MORE from my ever-expanding list and test them out on a few blogs. I decided that the plugins listed below gave me much more technical information as well as improved blog performance, so I wanted to share them with the Open Studio ~ Creative Mentoring art bloggers.
Learning about my audience, what they’re reading and sharing, gives me a better understanding of what they like, and allows me to continually offer them more and better information. A perfect example of growing with my audience are my previous blogs here on Open Studio: Part One and Part Two, both about learning WordPress. After I wrote these articles, I’ve learned even MORE which lead to this current Part Three article, and I’m going to start working on Part Four soon. Part 4 will cover the differences between certain theme designs and whether they’re helping or hurting getting your information out there, as well as trouble with installing some plugins.
I recommend installing these 5 plugins, then watch the magic happen.
Social Media Tracking
Once this plugin is installed and then connected with Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and others, it will show you the social media stats on your pages and posts. (live to the public) The Social Media Tracking plugin extends your posts, pages, feeds etc. with social media buttons and tracks the interaction with the buttons using your Google Analytics account.
W3 Total Cache
This plugin improves the user experience of your blog by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download time of your theme and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
- At least 10x improvement in site performance (when fully configured: Grade A in YSlow or great Google Page Speed Improvements)
- “Instant” second page views (browser caching after first page view)
- Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site (visitors view more pages)
- Optimized progressive render (pages seem to load instantly)
- Improved web server performance (easily sustain high traffic spikes)
Google XML Sitemaps
Everybody knows that a website or blog should have a sitemap to make it easier for search engines to index your blog’s pages, so install Google XML Sitemaps. Of course you have to name your pages right to begin with or this won’t work for you anyway. (Read my marketing tips post and watch the video on naming your pages right.)
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com 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.
Okay, I have to admit as someone who checks my Google Analytics often, this plugin blew me away! It gives some potent stats on your visitors! I will tell you that depending on the theme you have, this may not install. I was able to load it into two blogs, but the third won’t accept it.
Using kStats you can instantly see who’s coming to your site, where they are coming from, be it another website or one of the many popular search engines, and much more. See up to the minute information on how many unique visitors you’ve gotten, how many page views they’ve resulted in, including information on which crawlers are visiting and indexing your WordPress site.
SEO friendly images
Here’s a great plugin, why? So many people upload their images or video right from their cameras, and if your image has no name and is just numbers, how can the search engine file it properly. (Also remember when naming images, and pages, NO BLANK SPACES! Always use a hyphen or underscore, the web does not understand a blank space and will put a %20 everwhere a blank space is.) I always download my images to my hard drive and name, size and format them properly in Photoshop. Of course not everyone can do this, so… they created a plugin to help!
SEO Friendly Images is a WordPress optimization plugin which automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes. If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according the options you set.
So many people have trouble adding video to their posts. Even I have trouble sometimes. I can add the code from YouTube and then if I switch from html to visual mode, my code has disappeared. UGH! Now we have this great plugin and you can paste the code right into the visual area. Be sure to read the instructions and test a preview. This Plugin allows you to easily insert YouTube videos/playlists in your post, comments and in RSS feed. The main purpose of the plugin is to correctly embed YouTube videos into your blog post. The video will be shown in full in your RSS feed as well.
Here’s a quick overview video of these plugins:
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smart youtube plugin,