10 Must Have WordPress Plugin 2012
With over 900,000 new blogposts that are freshly published every day, the competition is fierce for each and every author.
Yet, making your articles the ones that readers want to come back to check out isn’t so hard. On each and every occasion I would argue that providing amazing content is absolutely key.
For this post though, I want to focus on how you can greatly improve the number of shares and awesomeness of your blog, with some of the latest WordPress Plugins.
Here are my top 10 picks for you, to increase Social Media sharing of your articles and blog performance:
#1 Digg Digg – Powerful and simple social sharing buttons
The first plugin I want to introduce is the well known Digg Digg sharing bar, which recently received a major face lift. Social Proof of sharing is one of the most important things for blogpost I found. From BrightEdge’s research, it has proven to increase Social sharing by up to 7 times if included.
Digg Digg makes it super easy to add a floating share bar to your blogpost, just like Mashable for example. You can also choose to add buttons either before or after your posts with the plugin.
#2 Hello Bar – Convert more readers with a powerful call to action
Another very powerful plugin every blogger should know about is called Hello Bar. It adds a simple line above your articles that you can fill with any message you wish. Personally, I have been using Hello Bar to promote products, events or simply evergreen blogposts.
The plugin is used and trusted by some of the biggest bloggers out there, including Tim Ferris or Eric Ries. It also offers some great customization options, to be either displayed at the top of your page or at the bottom.
Best part: What is most impressive about Hello Bar is the analytics options, allowing you to track exactly how many clicks you are getting on your promotions.
#3 WP Touch – Make your blog mobile friendly
As we are going forward in 2012, not having your blog optimized for the millions of iPhone, Android and other smartphone users is definitely not an option I found. One of the best solutions out there is definitely WP Touch.
Within a split second of installing this plugin, anyone arriving at your blog from a mobile phone will have a wonderfully formatted site in front of them. It gives you some great customization options so you can truncate titles, hide excerpts and other things that are a pain to get working on your mobile normally.
Best part: What I like best with WP Touch is that it has advertising options built in right into the plugin, so you can capitalize more on mobile traffic.
#4 Sexy Bookmarks – Easy sharing of all social bookmarking sites
An awesome plugin solution to add a ton of different social bookmarking buttons to your blog is Sexy Bookmarks by Shareaholic. Especially if you are looking for a plugin that covers some not so well known buttons, this one will be providing them for you.
The plugin also comes with the option to be installed for a great number of other blogging platforms such as tumblr or as a standalone for any website. It is overall a most solid solution for your blog.
Best part: What I like best is the customization option to add a small line of text, that adds that extra amount of personalization to your blog.
#5 W3 Total Cache – Make your site 10 times faster than before
To be quite honest, I have always forgotten about the importance of performance plugins for my own blog. Yet, some great research from KISSmetrics, showing how loading times can affect visiting times of your readers. In fact, half a second of longer loading time would lead to 20% traffic decrease for Google.com.
With W3 Total Cache, you have one of the most powerful caching plugins out there, that will increase the loading time of your blog up to 10 times. It will cache each and every element of your site and readers will be able to read your posts in a split second.
Best part: What I like best is that you are able to individual turn on or off Object Caching, Database caching and other options so performance is absolutely optimized.
#6 The Slide – Suggest related posts to your readers
There have been many attempts of products that aim to keep readers on your site after they have read one of your articles. The Slide is a simple plugin that slides into your page, halfway through an article, just like the New York Times has for example.
What I like about this plugin is that the article suggested is not just any article. The Slide uses a sophisticated algorithm to pick the most relevant and related content for your readers. You can also check out a related plugin called upPrev, as The Slide is currently in private beta.
Best part: An amazing part is that the Slide also allows you to place sharing buttons right on the widget and get more social traffic for your blog.
#7 Twitter Follow Button and Facebook subscribe buttons
Of course, strictly no wordpress plugins, the Twitter follow button and Facebook subscribe button are two of the most indispensable things for bloggers still though I believe.
Although mentioning the two buttons is quite an obvious tip for many, as they are quite well known, there are still a lot of blogs, who don’t make use of them. Both can easily be implemented by copy and pasting the code snippet into a sidebar text widget on your blog.
Best part: What I like best about the two buttons is that the process of following or subscribing is so seamless and doesn’t cause the reader to leave the page.
#8 All in one SEO Pack – The only SEO plugin you will need
Although there exist a ton of great SEO solution out there, one of the most reliable and well maintained plugins is the “All in one SEO Pack”. Especially if you aren’t too familiar with any SEO tactics, this plugin makes it dead simple to understand the most important ones.
The plugin automatically generates Meta tags, optimizes your post titles for search engines and helps you to detect and avoid duplicate content. Even if you have very little SEO knowledge, this plugin will be of great help for you.
Best part: A goodie to mention from this plugin is that it enables you to manually include META tags (title, description and keywords) for each page and post on your site.
#9 Social Metrics – Track how well your posts perform on Social Networks
Another handy solution every blogger should know about is a plugin called Social Metrics. It gives you a slick dashboard inside your WordPress interface, and allows you to track and compare how well each of your posts perform on Social Media.
By being able to track each of your posts in comparision to each other, I found that I could focus a lot better on improving my content. It is also interesting to see, that some posts perform better on different social networks.
Best part: What I like best about Social Metrics is that there is no setup involved for you and you can start tracking seconds after you install the plugin.
#10 Social Media Widget – Display all your Social profiles in one place
A lot of the times, you might want to display larger amount of your different Social Media profiles, especially as Pinterest and others are being added to the mix and official buttons aren’t available yet.
With the super easy to handle Social Media widget, you will be able to do exactly that and display any Social Networking profile you can think of.
Best part: What is super handy with this plugin, is that you are even able to create your own icons of Social Media accounts and personalize the look and feel much more.
Those are the 10 most indispensable WordPress plugins for 2012 I believe. Each of them has definitely given my blog a huge boost. I hope some of them are helpful for you too. Which plugin is your favorite of the above?
Author: Leo Widrich Co-Founder Buffer