The beauty of Wordpress is that there are hundreds of developers who offer free plugins to make your blogging life easier. Many of them upgrade their plugins regularly. Wordpress plugins are easy to install and update, and they truly make your blogging life easier. Remember, if you like a plugin, share the joy with a donation and link back to the developer.
Everyone has their favorite plugins. These are the ones that I wouldn’t want to live without.
The Heavy Hitters
Akismet prevents spam comments on your blog. It may very well be installed automatically when you install your Wordpress blog. If not, you can download it here. Be sure to activate it, because it will not protect your site until it is activated. If you do not already have an activation key, it is easy to get one. When you go to activate Akismet, it will provide a link to get your activation key. Just fill in the information, and you will receive your activation key in your email. Keep this information in a safe place where you can locate it again, because you can use it for all your blogs and plugins.
All in One SEO Pack makes it easy for Google to decide what your website and web pages are about.
After you install and activate the plugin, all you have to do is insert your home title, description and keywords into the boxes. You can also update this information at any time by looking for All in One SEO under “Settings” on the left hand side of your sites Wordpress administration area. All in One SEO Pack will automatically insert this vital Search Engine Optimization (SEO) info into your blog and automatically generate keywords and descriptions for each web page. Download All in One SEO Pack here.
This is another plugin that is critical if you want your site to rank in the search engines. This plugin provides an easy way for search engine spiders to explore your site and find updates. You can download it here. When you activate this plugin, it searches your site for all the content – pages, posts and archives – and creates a page with links to them. Only the search engine spiders normally see this page.
This plugin piggybacks onto the Google XML Sitemap Generator, so you need to activate that first. Dagon Design Site Map Generator is not strictly needed for SEO, but it does create a “prettier”, more human friendly list of your blog pages and posts so that visitors can find the information they are looking for. One problem with Wordpress is that there is no easy way to create a menu of everything on the site. This plugin does it for you. You can choose to list posts, pages, or both. You can download the Dagon Design Site Map Generator here.
Once you have activated the plugin, you can create a page in your blog. You can call this page anything you want, but I called my page “Site Map”.
Copy this line into the HTML view of the page:
<!– ddsitemapgen –>
Plugins With A Purpose
Encourage your readers to spread the word about your blog by bookmarking it, sending an email to a friend, or getting an RSS feed to their homepage. There are a number of social marketing plugins out there, but this is the only one that does it all in one neat package. It is automatically inserted at the bottom of every page and post. Download Wordpress Word of Mouth Marketing Plugin here. Although there is a message on this site at the creator, Dave Rigotti, is no longer supporting it, it still works with the current version of Wordpress 2.8.
After you install this plugin, go to WP-WOMM under “Settings” on the left, and click on “Load default options” and then “CLICK HERE TO ACTIVATE PLUGIN” You’re done – that’s all there is to it!
I used to struggle to upload and insert pictures into my posts or pages, but now that I am using Faster Image Insert, life is definitely a whole lot easier.
Faster Image Insert creates a window called “Fast Insert” underneath your post or page editing area. When you want to insert a photo, browse the photos on your computer, enter the vital information, and Faster Image Insert automatically inserts the photo where you want it. This is the way photo insertion was meant to be! Download Faster Image Insert here.
Want to make it easy for your readers to send you an email without exposing your email address to spammers? Contact Form 7 is simple to set up. After you activate it, just make sure it has the correct email address (you can change it to whatever email address you like), and copy one line of code onto your “Contact Us” page.You’re done! Download Contact Form 7 here.
If you have a lot of links on your site, this plugin will make sure that your readers do not become frustrated with broken links. Broken Link Checker automatically checks that the links are intact. If they are not, it draws a like through the link so you can spot the problem quickly. It will also give you an option to quickly delete the link if you want. Download Broken Link Checker here.
If you would like to make it easier for an international audience to read your blog, install Global Translator. When a reader clicks on the flag, Global Translator uses one of four services on the web to automatically translate the page. It then saves this translation for the next reader who clicks on the page. It limits requests to one every five minutes, so that your site will not be banned by the translating services for overuse. Download Global Translator here.
Make your blogging life easier and more fun!
These last two plugins are not strictly necessary, but they make your blogging life more pleasant (yes, I know that makes 11 plugins, but I believe in overdelivering)
This plugin creates a menu bar across the top of the page. This makes it easier to navigate around your blog. No longer do you have to continually scroll up and down the page to edit your blog, as you do with the left hand menu. You can choose which items to install in your menu, so you have a simple interface with only the items you use the most often. You can download Wordpress Admin Bar here.
Are you tired of staring at a gray screen hour after hour? Why not put some color in your life with Easy Admin Color Schemes? You can choose from the preset blue, green, or red, or create your own custom color schemes. Why lead a blah, colorless life when it is so easy to dress up your screen with eye popping color? Easy Admin Color Schemes is downloadable here.
There you have it – 10 plus 1 plugins that will make your life better, easier, or just plain more fun. Enjoy your plugins!
Some people have found it can take up to three months to get their blogs indexed by Google. Meanwhile, no one is reading your blog except you!
If you are using a free blogging platform, such as Blogger.com or Wordpress.com, you should have no difficulty getting indexed. Google searches these sites constantly for new blogs.
However, if you are ready to move up to having your very own blog, it is still not difficult to get indexed.
Here are the top tips for getting your blog indexed.
1. Use a site map generator
A site map generator makes a list of your pages. The Google spiders home in on a site map like bees to honey. If you are using Wordpress.org blogging software, there are two free site map generators that are recommended. You should use both.
The first is Google spider friendly, the second is people friendly. If you create a link to your people friendly site map, your readers can quickly find the pages they are looking for. It is like creating an instant table of contents.
Download the Google spider friendly Wordpress google-sitemap-generator here.
This people friendly site map generator from Dagon Design piggybacks on google-sitemap-generator to create a prettier looking page that people find easy to read. So you have to use both if you want this option. You can download this site-generator here.
If you are using not using Wordpress blogging software, you can still create a sitemap of your website. You can download free site map generating software. Google-sitemap_gen has been registered at Sourceforge since 2005 and has over 1,200,000 downloads. To see the statistics Click Here
Download the software here:
Don’t want to mess around with software? You can create a site map with this online site map generator at xml-sitemaps.com that is free for the first 500 pages.
Google also has a beta version of their own site map generator. To learn more Click Here
2. Ping your site
You can also ping Google directly at blogsearch.google.com/ping.
Regardless of which pinging site you use, just enter the url of your website. It’s easy!
If you are using the Google spider friendly Wordpress google-sitemap-generator , it will automatically inform Google every time you make changes to your website. No manual pinging is necessary.
3. Bookmark your site
Google checks bookmarking sites frequently. Use your bookmarking accounts at sites such as Digg, del.icio.us, Furl. com, and Technorati to bookmark yourself.
Many people say that the above three tips are enough to get their site indexed very rapidly.
Tips that Take a Bit More Time
4. Submit your blog RSS feed
to Technorati, Feedburner and your my.yahoo.com account.
5. Get links to your site
If you are lucky enough to already have other sites, go ahead and create a link to your new blog. If not, do a search for other blogs similar to yours. Submit a comment along with a link to your blog. If your comment is relevant and not spammy, it will probably be accepted by the blog owner.
Another good way to get a back link is to go to Yahoo answers and answer a question related to your blog topic. You are allowed to post a link to your website.
Of course, good quality content is always a winner in encouraging other people to link to your blog. However, this strategy does take time.
A sure fire way to get indexed is to submit your site to Google Adsense. This will force Google to index your site. You do not actually have to accept any Adsense ads on your site unless you choose to do so.
To find out if your site has actually been indexed, go to google.com and put the name of the site in the search box. For example, enter “mysite.com” If your site shows up, then it has been indexed by google.
Still having problems?
If you’ve done everything and your blog is still not showing up, maybe it’s not you. Read this post by Chris Webb about what he did when his website was banned. To contact Google directly to ask them to reconsider your site, you can go to
The Google “sandbox”
Some people find that their site does not show up on Google for 6-9 months, even though they are ranking well in Yahoo and MSN. This seems to happen in certain topics more than others, such as insurance or debt consolidation. The purpose seems to be to discourage spammers. Unfortunately, it is discouraging to legitimate bloggers as well. If this happens to you, there is nothing that you can do except wait it out. Remember, you will still get visitors from other search engines. Your blog will be listed once Google decides it is a legitimate site.
Some people confuse getting indexed with showing up in a search on Google or with Google Page Rank.
Search engine ranking – even if your site is indexed, it may not show up when you do a search for your main keywords – or it may show on page 997. Obviously, it will be hard to get visitors if your blog is not on the first few pages of Google, and preferably on the first page.
However, with millions, no, billions of web pages out there, it is getting harder every year to get a good ranking in the search engine. Fortunately, most pages listed really are not very relevant to any given keyword. It does take work and consistent effort to get a high ranking for a given keyword, but it is generally quite doable if you have the motivation. How to do it is definitely a topic for another post.
Page Rank – Page rank is really not very significant. It’s main use is to provide an extra boost to links to other sites! However, for some people it is a point of pride.Remember that when it comes to page rank, you are competing with every other web site on the globe, not only those in your niche. So you could easily be at the top of the search engine listings for your keyword, and still have only a 0 or 1 page rank. Don’t worry – that’s OK!
Google Page Rank goes from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Google Page Rank is like a pyramid, with a few sites ranked at 10, more at 9, and huge numbers at 0 or 1. Sites increase in rank with age of the site and “authority”. How Google calculates authority is a complex algorithm, but one piece of it is the number of backlinks to your website, and the authority of the sites that these back links come from. To find out your site’s Google Page Rank, you can Click Here.
Alexa Rank is very different from Google Page Rank. Alexa ranks sites according to how much traffic they get. The site with the most traffic is ranked 1, the site with second most traffic ranks 2, all the way down to the bottom. The top four sites according to Alexa should come as no surprise: Google.com is #1, then Facebook, Yahoo! and Youtube is #4. To find out the Alexa Rank of your website go to alexa.com and enter your url
Good luck with your new blog!
Having trouble thinking of something to write about? Here are 8 tips to get you started
1. Heard any good stories lately? Do you know a story about a neighbor, friend, family member, or someone you met at a party? Any good stories in the news lately? It might make a good short story, novela or even the basis for a full length novel. Change the names, dress it up, make as interesting as you can – and get it down on paper!
2. How do you feel? Dig deep into your own feelings. How are you feeling today? Yesterday? Where is that feeling coming from? What is happening in your life? Spill your guts on paper – it can turn into a great essay or story!
3. Dig deep into your past – Remember something that happened in your childhood, teen years or more recently. You have lived a lot of years – surely there is a good story. Remember, for the sake of fiction, you can embellish it as much as you want to make it a good read.
4. What inspires you? Have you read a good book, seen a movie, heard a song, seen a picture that inspired you? Who was in the work of art? Where did they come from? Where are they going? Imagine a story for that character, and then get it down on paper. It’s OK to change the name or any other details. This is your story, remember?
5. Write something different. Would you like to know how to knit or change a spark plug? Want to visit Paris or Bali? Know more about Nostradamus or Nicholas Cage? Do some research and then right about it! Some of the best books are written by ghost writers or people who are not experts. Maybe it’s because the information is still new and fresh in their minds.
6. Google it. Try looking up “writing prompts” in your search engine. You will be surprised by how many resources you can find.
7. Write every day. It is old advice. but still good. The mind is a creature of habit. When you do something daily, your unconscious starts to plan for your writing even before you sit down to write. And actually doing the writing rewards your unconscious mind for the effort of preparing.
8. Ask your creative brain for a story. Keep a look out for new and interesting stories. When you specifically focus on looking for something, you are more likely to find it. Have you ever been hungry, and suddenly you start seeing places to eat everywhere you go? At first you may have to keep asking for that story, but after a while ideas will start leaping out at you without your conscious effort. Be sure to reward your creative brain by getting that story down on paper.