Ok guys, so lots of people out there post about various plugins and how they are “great” etc. But half of the time you get all excited, install the plugin, only to be disappointed. Even worse, some of you guys might install a plugin and actually think it is doing you some good, so I thought I’d write this guide to try to help you choose plugins that don’t suck (trust me, I AM an expert at this, I install crappy plugins all the time)!
Social Bookmarking Plugins
Don’t bother installing a plugin that completely covers your blog post in social bookmarks (see example below – I won’t say what site it is from, but it does rank on page 1 for “how to make money online” in Google.co.uk.)
There are a few reasons for this:
- Each one of those stupid links is actually leaking you page rank out of your site
- The majority of people only use Twitter of Facebook, so the chances of you attracting someone to your blog that uses one of these services AND will submit it is slim (unless your Shoemoney or Problogger, in which case you really don’t need to read this).
- Is having your blog post announce you’ve only got one re-tweet a really good idea? I did this earlier last year, it’s a bad idea. It puts people off, and they are likely to re-tweet you from Twitter or their Twitter client, not from your site anyways!
Instead why not try using one of those “share this” or “add this” buttons – they keep the social bookmarking up-to-date and it doesn’t cover your page in links. Alternatively use WP greet box – the reason why this is good is it only shows a message appropriate to that user, so they see a Digg box if they came from Digg. If you do use WP Greet Box, I recommend adapting it to encourage:
- People to add you as a friend
- Sign up to your email newsletter
- Take action on your site e.g. buy something
Ok some SEO plugins are really, really, really, REALLY bad. First up, SEO plugins that remove stop words and numbers from the URL – this is unbelievably irritating and quite frankly, a bit pointless. We had a client at Bronco recently with one of these and they happened to require model numbers in their posts, but all of them were cutting short, so they were ending up with stuff like iPhone-1, iPhone-2 (for example) – yeah like that is better than iPhone-3gs?!?!?!
Next up is automatic link plugins, so basically you put in a keyword and a URL and it replaces all instances of that keyword up to a maximum of 1 or 2 per post with a link to that URL. Again I hate these – they slow your site down (my site is slow enough cos I’m a lazy bastard and I can’t be bothered to move it, so stop pestering me people)! They also create some stupid, stupid links, where you are writing a sentence and it just puts one in, but it looks totally inappropriate – not very classy seo.
SEO Friendly images plugins – HOW LAZY DO YOU HAVE TO BE THAT YOU CAN’T TYPE 50 CHARACTERS?! Plus it fills it with a load of crap, I have a horrible feeling I’ve got this installed still. Instead, when you upload an image, manually edit a beautifully crafted keyword rich ALT text.
Comment Redirect and Spam Plugins
I used these for a while, and quite frankly I think they are a little bit spammy. Comment Relish actually sends unsolicited email (unless you of course add a simple tick box on the comment saying “I don’t mind you sending me unsolicited email”) – which is obviously against all spam legislation. The other one, Comment Redirect – well to be honest I’m in two minds about it, but I think it pisses people off being re-directed after they are their comment to the post, I know it does with me – so why piss off your readers?
Now I am the worst offender here, but I am learning through experience (I’m good at failing over and over – but thats called progress, right?). To finish this big long rant of a post off, and because I want to go to bed, I’m just going to list a few plugins I think suck to high heaven and should be avoided at all costs:
- Twitterupdater (I used this, it is pants – use Feedburner’s socialise functionality for Twitter, like Patrick Altoft does)
- Redirection plugin (again I used this, I’m pretty sure it slowed my site down even further, which is pretty bad as it runs at a snail pace anyways – learn to edit your .htaccess file instead, it’s much more fun)!
- The Odiogo plugin – great in theory, but super slow load times.
- Most of the plugins I recommend – as usually I haven’t tested them and I’m dead excited about them, but they turn out to be shit – see appendix A, B and C
Anyways, that is my rant for the night – perhaps I’ll do a post on some decent WordPress plugins, such as the superb Google Website Optimizer for WordPress Plugin (or perhaps that’s just me being excited again).
I’m off to bed. </RANT>