So we have been wanting to write article for a long time, but we just couldn’t find the time with all this gaming news. But we got a little break in the constant flurry and we wanted to share with you our favorite plugins for WordPress, which we use to run ZKG. I always tell people that WordPress is a great base to start building a website that you want to make dynamic quickly and not need a lot of technical expertise to do it. I am a technologist by trade but even I love WP because it takes things that I would use to have to spend time coding manually and makes it as easy as searching for what I am looking for and clicking the install button and its all done for you.
To be fair though, WordPress out of the box isn’t the best in terms of SEO and you are going to have to do either some custom stuff or make sure you are running the right plugins to address a lot of those issues if you want to make sure that your site is properly indexed by Google. This stuff is important because why spend a whole lot of time generating great content if you can’t get positioned on Google good enough to get it in front of people who might find it relevant.
This post has plugins that we think would be good to use on any site, not just a gaming site like ours. We have had a lot of custom work done to our site, so feel free to ask us about anything that you have want to know and we will try our best to answer. The thing about plugins though is that they will affect performance and some conflict, so you want to make sure you are using the best ones and aren’t duplicating capability that may have been rolled into the core wordpress build already, so here we go. These are in no particular order.
Spam-It’s important to control spam, because if you don’t and you allow it to build up lots of times Google will see you as “guilty” by association, so you just want to nip it in the bud now. We started off getting only a little bit of spam, then as the site grew we got a LOT of spam I am talking about hundreds of spam an hour, it was out of control. Then we discovered two plugins, the decreased our spam by 97%. Everyone knows about Askimet, it comes installed but not activated, if you aren’t using this you should. The other one is Bad Behavior, which denies automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site. In our opinion, when it comes to spam control these are the only two plugins that you need.
Commenting– The default WordPress commenting system is ok, but you want to amp that up a little right? This is where Intense Debate comes in, it’s a great service if you don’t have WP, but as a WordPress plugin its even easier. This really makes your sites commenting system more dynamic while giving you lots of integration as far as allowing users to submit your site to all kind of social networking sites and allows users to sign in and comment on your site using either their OpenID, Twitter, or Facebook credentials.
SEO– SEO, search engine optimization, is something that is very important and is usually one of the major factors that keeps sites from attracting the kind of traffic they would like. Quite simply, while your site might look good on the surface, that doesn’t matter if its looks like crap to search engines. Specifically, there are certain thing that spiders look for and to be honest out of the box WordPress just doesn’t do well. But all is not lost and actually you can really ramp up your search position by using a plugin called All-In-One SEO Pack, this allows you to fill in three key fields that makes your site easier to index and should over time increase your traffic. In All-In-One SEO Pack you can put in a header, description, and keywords. The header should be the same is the title of article, the description is where you describe what the post is about and then use some keywords that describes the topic of the post.
Also in the SEO category I guess would be sitemaps. Every good site should have one and with WordPress its as simple installing one of our favorite plugins, Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin creates a standard XML sitemap and then it allows you to automatically notify three of the major search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Ask. It’s a great plugin that quickly gives another one of those things that every good site should have.