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Blogging Guest Posts

6 Best WordPress Plugins for New Bloggers

Update 2020: There were originally 12 WordPress Plugins listed here but now only 6 are regularly maintained.

Pretty Awesome 3D Metal WordPress LogoHey guys! This is a guest post from James Adams.

There are over ten thousand plugins that you can add to your new WordPress blog.

There are plugins which will optimize your content, manage your pictures, and connect you to the social networks.

Which ones are the best? Following is a list of ten WordPress plugins that you should place on your site.

image by bobbigmac

1. All in One SEO Pack

Make your posts more search engine friendly by installing the All in One SEO Pack. No problems for beginners, simply install it and it runs. Creates META tags. Custom post types are supported, and it has a built-in API. Advanced users can tweak this plugin to their heart’s content.

2. Google Analyticator

With Google Analyticator you can integrate Google Analytics so that you can track who is referring traffic to your blog.

You can see what users view, what pages they view on your site before they complete a goal, how long they stay on your site, and where they go when they leave.

image by lumaxart

3. Add to Any

This plugin allows others to share your posts and pages with any service. Integrate this service through Google Analytics.

Optimize your selections from over a hundred social networks, including Twitter, Google Buzz, Delicious and Facebook. Maximize the chances of your posts going viral.

4. WP Super Cache

Optimize your blog by serving up static html pages instead of loading the information each time. This reduces the server load. An essential plugin if you are expecting a lot of users to your site.

image by Dunechaser

5. Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps makes it easy for the search engine crawlers to look at your site. It pings Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com with any changes that you have made to your blog. Tweak your plugins, customize your parameters and priorities.

6. Akismet

Akismet is essential to preventing spam comments from your blog.

It will hold those posts for moderation to let you determine whether you have received a visit from the spam bots.

It is activated by using your Akismet API Key. There is a counter which will tell you how much spam Akismet has captured.

image by heggarty_david

7. SEO Automatic Links

Interlink your posts and make your blog rise in the page rankings on Google.

This plugin works automatically to connect phrases, tags, categories and pages within your blog. You can set the links themselves to open in new windows for those who want to stay on your blog.

8. LinkWithin

If you want to help your users find other posts on your blog that are related to the one they’re reading, then this plugin is a great way to show related posts.

There are other plugins that list related posts, but they tend to be most text-based, and easy to miss. However, LinkWithin provides a visual interface that engages users. Install LinkWithin and boost your pageviews instantly.

image by AJC1

9. FeedBurner FeedSmith

By integrating FeedSmith you can automatically make your RSS feed redirect to feedburnerFeedBurner, which means you can get really useful data on how many subscribers you have, who is using your feed, how your feed is being read. FeedSmith is indispensable.

10. Digg Digg

Although the name suggests that this plugin is for Digg only, it isn’t. Digg Digg allows you to add social shared count and voting buttons for super high traffic websites including Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Twitter and Facebook. Using this plugin can help your best content go viral as it makes sharing easier.

11. Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

If you’re serious about your blog then you’ll probably spend a lot of time in the backend administering posts, pages and media. This plugin makes it much faster to navigate, hence making admin less of a chore.

12. WP Security Scan

This plugin is an essential part of defending your blog from hackers. It will scan your blog’s setup and advise how to make it more secure by making your password stronger, ensuring you have the correct file permissions, changing database prefixes, etc. A must have for any WordPress blogger!


Installed plugins should make your blog run smoothly and more efficiently. With Add to Any, you can share posts easily. With the All in One SEO pack, you will make your posts more SEO friendly. Stats allows you to track your visitors without confusion. These plugins are easy to use and will make your blog shine.

This guest post was written by James Adams, a writer who covers developments in technology and analyses new hardware for Cartridge Save.

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14 Important Things to Do After Starting Your WordPress Blog

Update 2020: Originally this post had 17 things to do, but 3 of those things are outdated, so there are only 14 things to do now! 🙂

So, you’ve got a brand new wordpress blog!wordpress-logo-stacked-rgb

Now what?

This post will tell you what you need to do after you start your wordpress blog.

If you already have a wordpress blog, you can still do these things if you haven’t done them yet 😉 .

So, here is my checklist of the 17 important things to do after starting your wordpress blog! Enjoy! 🙂

(Psst…If you’re thinking about why you should start a blog, >> 22 Reasons for You to Blog
And if you don’t use wordpress, click here to read about why you should use wordpress).

1. Decide whether you want to ‘www’ or not

www If you have noticed, some blogs, like http://mashable.com/, don’t use the ‘www’ in their address. And some blogs, like http://www.techcrunch.com/, use the ‘www’.

So if you type http://www.mashable.com, it will redirect to http://mashable.com, and vice versa.

One advantage of having a www is your blog address will look more formal.

And if you don’t use the ‘www’, your address would be shorter.

To decide, go to yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-general.php and change both the ‘WordPress address’ and ‘Blog address’ to http://www.yourblog.com, or vice versa.

wwwornot

WWW Image by bull3t

2. Set up a feed so people can subscribe to your blog

If you are wondering what a blog feed is, it is a slimmed-down version of a blog that is created to be easily syndicated. You can subscribe to it using email or an RSS reader. A feed is represented by the orange RSS icon.

This is the orange RSS icon. Many people prefer to get updates of your new blog posts through this easy way.

You can set one up at feedburner (Here’s how mine looks like). It’s free and easy! Just type in your blog address and click Burn Feed 😉 .

After that, set up email subscriptions, which enables your readers to subscribe by email. Go to Publicize >> Email Subscriptions in order to activate it and get the form.

Not setting up email subscriptions is a big mistake when it comes to getting subscribers to your blog because most people don’t know about RSS readers. Also, about 50% of my blog subscribers subscribe by email, so email subscriptions is a must!

After that, put the form and the RSS icon on your blog and link it to your feed at feedburner so people can subscribe.feedburner

3. Install Feedburner Feedsmith

Feedburner Feedsmith is a plugin that detects all ways to access your original wordpress feed and redirects them to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/yourfeed.

This plugin is needed for feedburner to track every possible subscriber to your blog by redirecting those who access http://www.yourblog.com/feed to feedburner. So, click here to install this plugin!

4. Subscribe to your own feed via RSS and email

It’s important to subscribe to your own feed, because it lets you see what your subscribers see, and when something is not right with your feed, you’ll notice. Besides, it boosts your subscriber count by 1 too 😉 . Hehe.

You can either use an RSS reader or email to subscribe to your feed, but it is best if you subscribe to both of them.

If you have a google account (which you most probably do – if you use Gmail, you have one), you can go to Google Reader. After logging in, click ‘Add a subscription’ and type in your blog address there.

5. Get your blog a favicon

A favicon is the icon you see next to your browser address bar and in your browser bookmarks. Gloson Blog’s favicon is .

It helps you brand your blog and also helps people locate your site more easily in their bookmarks.

To do this,

1. Create a square image and upload it to http://www.html-kit.com/favicon/ to generate a favicon.

2. Download it and upload the .ico file it using an FTP client to /wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename.

3. Go to the wordpress administration area and then go to Appearance >> Editor.

4. Click on “header.php” to edit it.

5. Add this code on the line just before </head>:

<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename/favicon.ico” type=”image/ico” />

(Be sure to replace ‘yourthemefilename’ with your theme file name 😉 )

6. Press Ctrl + F5 (Clear cache and reload) on your homepage. You should see it now! 😉

6. Change the permalink structure

A permalink is the address of a blog post. This post’s permalink is https://www.glosonblog.com/17-important-things-to-do-after-starting-your-wordpress-blog/.

By default, the permalink structure is like this: http://yourblog.com/?p=123.

Instead of the post ID, I suggest changing it to http://yourblog.com/your-post-title in order to gain SEO benefits. Also, if  a visitor looks at it, he will know what the post is about before clicking it.

To do this, go to yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-permalink.php and then, type in   “/%postname%/” in Custom Structure.

custompermalink

Don’t worry about broken links because the default structure will redirect itself to the new structure 😉 .

For example, this post’s old permalink structure is https://www.glosonblog.com/?p=1833. Click it and see what happens 😉 .

Link photo by cindy47452glosont

7. Write Your About Me page

An ‘About Me’ page is essential for every blog. When your readers are interested in your content, they want to know who wrote it. That’s when they go to the ‘About Me’ page.

Basically, it is just a page that tells who you are, what is your blog about, interesting things about you, and of course, a picture of yourself.

It really helps your readers to know you and your blog better! (Here’s my ‘About Me’ page by the way.)

8. Set up a contact form

A contact form is an professional and easy way for your readers to contact you. It also protects your email address from spammers.

There are some wordpress plugins that allow you to put up a contact form. I recommend Contact Form 7, a very popular contact form plugin.

After installing it, make a new page called ‘Contact’ and insert the form into it. (Here’s how it looks like on this blog 😉 )

9. and don’t forget the archive page too!

An archive page (here’s mine) is where people can find all the posts on your blog, from the first post to the latest post.

An archive page is important because it lets people discover your older content easily (and generate more pageviews).

To make an archive page, I recommend SRG Clean Archives, the one I’m using now. It’s clean and displays all your posts neatly.

If you are looking for a more creative and fun archive plugin, you should try Snazzy Archives, and here’s how it looks like.

10. Find a free theme and tweak it to make it unique

or hire someone to design it or design one yourself 😉 .

A theme (design) is really important to a blog because it represents the blog’s brand. Because if content is king, the design is the shiny robe and crown.

So I recommend you to find a not-so-common theme that you like. Then tweak it and make it a little (or better, a lot) different than the original.

One way is to change the structure of the theme by going to the Theme Editor (yourblog.com/wp-admin/theme-editor.php) in wordpress.

Another easier way is to change the images of the theme. The images are located in the theme’s folder.

After editing the images (like changing its color or texture), you can overwrite them to your blog using an FTP client like Filezilla.
(In the directory /wp-content/themes/yourthemefilename/images)

Be sure to press Ctrl + F5 to clear the cache to see the new design.

11. Set up your ping list

A ping list is a list of services that will be pinged each time you post. The services will notify sites and directories that you have posted a new post, thus giving you more exposure.

To set up your pinglist, go to the Update Services section in yourblog.com/wp-admin/options-writing.php.

And paste the sites you want to send a ping to. Note that the more pings you list, the more server resources your host has to use. So you might get suspended on a shared hosting if you use too much server resources.

This is a short recommended list of pings.

http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
http://bblog.com/ping.php
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://topicexchange.com/RPC2
http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping

12. Install Google Analytics (or any site stats counter you want)

GoogleAnalytics Site statistics counters are important for you to monitor, analyze and study your blog’s traffic, so you can get to know your visitors better

I recommend Google Analytics, because it’s quite advanced and has lots of features. It’s free and all you need is a Google Account.

Google Analyticator, a wordpress plugin, allows you to easily add a Google Analytics tracking code.

Note: And please don’t become a stataholic! Write more posts!

13. Install WordPress DB Backup to schedule blog backups

WordPress Database Backup, a wordpress plugin, allows you to schedule blog backups (hourly, twice daily, daily, weekly) easily and have them automatically sent to you by email or stored in the server.

Backups are really important because if anything ever happens to your blog, you have the backup, your best defense.

14. Change the admin username

Most of the login usernames of wordpress blogs is ‘admin’. If your wordpress blog’s login username is ‘admin’, too, you should really change it to something that can’t be guessed easily because the default name makes hackers’ lives so much easier.

Changing it is super duper easy. Here are the steps to do it:

1. Go to the wordpress admin area.

2. Go to Users >> Add new

3. Fill in the details with a different username and give it administrator privileges.

4. Log out and log in with the new username.

5. Delete the ‘admin’ user.

6. When you do so, it will ask you whether you want to move the posts and links of ‘admin’ to another user or delete them. Attribute the posts to the new username you have just created.

Photo by Darwin Bell

15. Install the All-in-One-SEO Pack Plugin

All-in-One-SEO-Pack is a really popular wordpress plugin to do all the basic SEO things on your blog like page titles, post titles, meta tags, descriptions and those kinds of stuff. By default, the browser title of a wordpress blog post is:

Blog Title >> Blog Archive >> Post Title.

If you install All in One SEO, the structure will be changed to (or you can customize it):

Post Title | Blog Title

Which looks simply much better and shorter.

It also noindexes the date and category archives so that it won’t appear in search engine results pages and won’t receive duplicate content penalty.

16. Create your own 404 page

404error A 404 page is what your readers see when they go to a non-existing page on your blog. Like this: https://www.glosonblog.com/thispagedoesntexist.

By default, the page is just a ‘404 error – Page not Found’ 404 page that isn’t much help to your readers. Why not make it more helpful instead?

To do this, go to the wordpress admin area and then Appearance >> Editor. Click on 404.php to edit it.

Find the part of the code where it says <h2>404 Page Not Found</h2> or something like that. Then overwrite that line with this code (My version of a 404 page).

Be sure to make a backup of your old code before overwriting. It will probably work on most themes, but in some cases, it won’t, then you need to have a little bit of HTML knowledge in order to make it work.

<h2>404 Page Not Found</h2>
<p>Oopsie! The page you are looking for cannot be found! It might be renamed or removed. Please check your spelling or return to the homepage.</p>

<p>Or, you can also view our latest posts below. Hope you’ll enjoy them. Thanks! ;-)</p>

<p>
<h2>Latest Posts</h2></p>
<ul>
<?php
query_posts(‘posts_per_page=10’);
if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
<li><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” title=”Permalink for : <?php the_title(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a>
<?php endwhile; endif; ?>
</ul>

Feel free to edit and customize the code! 🙂 Do tell me if this code doesn’t work!

17. Write a post!

Still, without any content, a blog won’t be a blog.

So go on and write a post! Write a unique high-quality thought provoking post on a topic you are passionate about!

After that, promote it on twitter, facebook, stumbleupon, and so on and on. Ask your friends to read it too! 🙂

Photo by KatieKrueger
_______________

So here are my 17 things to do after starting a wordpress blog checklist. Be sure to bookmark this post and read it when you start a new wordpress blog! 😉

If you know of another thing to do after starting a wordpress blog, please tell me in the comments!

And if you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be very glad to answer it! 🙂

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4 Features of WordPress That I Just Love

Update 2020: This post is now outdated and archived, but feel free to read it to remember what it was like. ?

I have been using WordPress, the ultimate blogging platform, for some time already, and I think it rocks! In this post, I would like to point out 4 features I just love about it.

1. Redirection to the new permalink structure

You want to change your blog permalink structure. However, you are worried because you have many links to your posts and are afraid they will be broken after you change your permalink structure.

Clever wordpress would redirect the visitors who visits the old permalink to the new permalink.

For example, before you changed the structure of your permalinks, your post permalink is
http://www.(yourblog).com/2009/02/the-blog-post/

After you change it, it becomes
http://www.(yourblog).com/the-blog-post/

Anyone who visits http://www.(yourblog).com/2009/02/the-blog-post/
will be redirected to http://www.(yourblog).com/the-blog-post/

To change the permalink structure (if you use wordpress), go to
http://www.(yourblog).com/wp-admin/options-permalink.php
Change (yourblog) to your blog’s domain name.

2. Making post revisions

You’ve just published a post. After a few days later, you think you can improve your blog. You then edit it, and click ‘Update’. After several days, you realized the edited version of your post is not very good after all, and the first version of it is better.

WordPress automatically saves your post before you edit it. Therefore, if you edit a post, you can always get the old version back if you feel that it is better.

3. WordPress 2.7: Quick edit

When I was using wordpress 2.6, I wondered, “There must be a way to quickly change the category of a post,” because my posts and their categories were quite messed up.

After I upgraded to wordpress 2.7, I found that it has just what I need! It has a quick edit feature which lets you edit the title, slug, tags, and some other settings at the list of your posts. It even saves the changes without refreshing the page!

4. WordPress 2.7: Replying to comments from the administration area

I was so amazed when I found out this feature! Now, I don’t have to go to a post, wait for it to load, and reply to comments, one by one. I can reply to comments right from the administration area.

All I have to do is go to the dashboard, view the latest comments, hover over it (some options will display), click reply, type the reply, click ‘Publish’, and tada! Oh, and it does this without refreshing the page, too.

_____

WordPress, so far, has been doing a good job for Gloson Blog. If you are thinking of starting a blog (with your own domain name), wordpress is the ultimate choice for you.

Oh, and for those who wish to upgrade to wordpress 2.7, click here.

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A Plugin That Lets You Upgrade To WordPress 2.7 Easily

Update 2020: This post is now outdated and archived, but feel free to read it to remember what it was like. ?

WordPress 2.7 has been around quite a long time already, and I was still using wordpress 6. It was because I do not know exactly how to upgrade it. So, I didn’t upgrade to wordpress 2.7.

One day, my friend, Sundar, asked me whether I have upgraded to the latest version of wordpress. I said no. He then introduced a plugin that lets you upgrade to 2.7 easily. It’s called WordPress Automatic Upgrade.

According to its description, here’s how the plugin works:

  1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
  2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
  3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips it.
  4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
  5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
  6. Upgrades wordpress files.
  7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
  8. Re-activates the plugins

It will guide you step by step through all that.

After finishing the steps, I saw wordpress 2.7 in front of my eyes! It is more advanced and is much easier to navigate than 2.6.

I hope you will find wordpess 2.7 useful and easy. Again, to download the plugin, click here.

Further reading…
10 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 2.7