Wordpress is the CMS platform that houses some of the world’s most popular websites. The real power of WordPress lies in how highly customizable it is — there are photoblogs running on it, magazines, personal blogs, commercial websites, sales pages, you name it.
If your website is powered by WordPress, here are 10 plugins you should consider using to upgrade its looks, functionality and performance.
1. Jetpack — Cloud power for your website
This plugin brings cloud power to your WordPress based website. It’s essentially a collection of tools and features provided by Automattic (the company that made WordPress). It gives you intelligent spell checking, website stats, sharing buttons, and email subscriptions among other things. Think of it this way: If WordPress is a car, then Jetpack is a turbocharger provided to you free of cost.
2. Outbrain — Increase reader engagement
Outbrain uses the power of context to engage readers, improve time on site and add an extra dimension of interactivity to your content. It reads the content on a page and then serves up related stories to the reader; the stories could be from your own website or from an external source. You can choose to display the stories are thumbnails or links. It even gives you user statistics for the content it displays.
3. Livefyre — Upgrade your discussions
The default commenting system provided by WordPress leaves a lot to be desired. Most modern publishers are quick to replace it with either Disqus or Intense Debate, both of which provide social logins and better threaded commenting. Livefyre is a new commenting system that has all that and more. It features a minimal interface and allows your readers to ‘call out’ their friends online from within the comment box.
4. Fontific — Fonts done right
Typography forms a big part of how your website is interpreted by consumers. A well selected set of fonts can dramatically improve the entire look and feel of the website, in the same way bad font choice may make readers want to close the page. Fontific uses the Google Fonts library to let you pick and choose which fonts you wish to display on your website — you can even choose the color of the fonts.
5. Digg Digg — Most configurable social sharing
You need to make it easier for your readers to share your content on their networks. Though there are a lot of plugins out there that manage to get this done, Digg Digg does it in most style while still giving you maximum control. Choose from a horizontal or floating type widget, pick the buttons that you need, decide the order in which you would like them displayed, and you’re good to go!
6. Akismet — Say goodbye to spam
If you’re tired of spending an hour every day just trying to moderate comments and seperating the spam from the genuine, give Akismet a try. Akismet is the industry leader in blocking spam comments, making sure you get only the ones that are real. It’s free for non-commercial use.
7. Yoast SEO — For on page SEO advice
This is an excellent SEO tool which gives authors on-page SEO advice. After you’re done writing or uploading a story, just use the plugin to analyse the text and wait for it to provide its reccomendations. If will give you red flags and pointers on how to make your post more search engine friendly. It’s a great, no-nonsense SEO plugin.
8. Usernoise — Let people reach you
Usernoise provides a quick and easy way for your readers to interact with you, it’s a floating button which expands into a contact form. Both the button position and the content on the form can be customized as per your needs. Once the user leaves their message, the message is automatically displayed in your WordPress dashboard.
9. SlideDeck — Display content in new ways
Different content calls for different types of treatment, readers online these days have only a limited amount of patience with a large chunk of text, no matter how interesting it may be. SlideDeck allows websites to present their content in the form of an interactive slider; great with certain content types like list stories, it allows the reader to view content without scrolling or jumping to a new page.
10. Zemanta — Your personal publishing assistant
A multifunctional blogging tool, Zemanta is an online publisher’s best friend. It works by reading the content on a post and then serving up relevent media which you can use to enrish your posts. Free-to-use images and related posts from the Zemanta network are displayed and can be incorporated in a blog post with one click. It also auto-populates the tag section of each post depending on the content. Extremely handy plugin.
11 future technologies that never arrived
About Vishveshwar Jatain
VJ is the associate editor of wireframe. He loves writing, cooking, technology, life hacks, weird people, strange things, and his alone time. When not creating a ruckus about the rampant misuse of apostrophes, he can be found writing stories about startups, entrepreneurship and social web.