Every website needs to have essential pages to prove that it is legitimate.
Required Pages in WordPress:
- About Page
- Disclosure Policy Page
- Contact Page
CORE PLUGINS: OPTIMIZING YOUR BLOG CONFIGURATION
This plugin will optimize and help you manage the WordPress database for your blogs on autopilot by allowing you to schedule optimization and backups of your blog’s database. This is an essential tool for each and every blog you have to enhance and maintain site performance and speed, not to mention allow for a safe Backup of your WordPress Database for easy restoration in the event of a Site or Server crash. Watch the video below for more specifics on how to use this plugin.
cbnet Ping Optimizer
Pinging Update Services happens automatically every time you publish a new blog post to your RSS Feed. This lets services across the web know about your latest content (from the custom Ping List we installed in Step 1. The Ping Optimizer will help keep you from over pinging the Update Services in your Ping List. If you over Ping, your IP Address will be Banned and your Blog Updates will not get Published. This is an Essential tool to keep Pinging in Check.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
The single best SEO Plugin on the web, now with Facebook Open Graph Integration. It also incorporates RSS Feed management, Breadcrumb Management, and it replaces the Google XML Sitemap plugin by managing XML Sitemaps on its own without using half the resources of other plugins. Through advanced testing on numerous sites, this plugin scored 100% on all detailed SEO tests with 3 different SEO Testing tools. Please watch the video above for more details. Right now, the only other plugin for SEO which compares in quality is the Pro Version of the All In One SEO Pack (not the Free Version), but even while testing both plugins, the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast.com still scored higher.
Managing your Tags on each and every Post and Page you have is important, but also managing the links between Posts and Pages through the association and use of Tags is very important. As most site’s universally recognize Tags as an indicator of what content is on a page, Google has formally recognized Tags as well. This is why it is important to use the Tools in Tag.FM to accurately depict what your content is about. Yes, this is very similar to the use of Categories, but this allows you to add a lot more words and phrases which coincide with your content. I recommend using around 10 Tags per Post or Page (or less) and when using the Inner Tag Linking functions of this plugin, only use 1 Tag Linked Per Post MAX. Tag.FM also will allow you to create Technorati Tags automatically, ensuring you gt more highly targeted Traffic and enhanced SEO.
While Cloak.FM is used primarily for Cloaking our Affiliate Links, the Cloak.FM plugin allows you to automatically link Posts and Pages together using Keywords, increasing the amount of Inner Linking You have within Your Blogs. This is a Key Component of On-Site SEO as described in the Core SEO section. Google wants sites to have a link structure which shows which content is inner-related and important on Your Blogs. Add Your Primary Keywords to the plugin settings and direct them to the Posts or Pages which have been designated as Your Resource/Landing Pages/or most productive Posts. You should follow the Core SEO Plan of Action and incorporate direct linking from supporting Posts to Your most important pages automatically using the Direct Keyword Linking functions of Cloak.FM.
SEO Friendly Images. This plugin will automatically ensure all of the Images and Pictures on Your Blog have a proper Title and Alternate Image Title Tag. This will increase Your SEO Scores and enable even more website traffic from searches in Google Images and the main index.
More than a year ago Google instituted a RSS Protocol called PubSubHub. What this new format did was increase the speed at which RSS Feeds could be read by some of Google’s software. This format has now been adopted by numerous sites and other Search Engines as a standard in RSS publishing. This plugin automatically will provide this same PubSubHub formatting to your site and enable your RSS Feeds to be Indexed at twice the speed at which they normally would. This, in some cases has allowed blogs to have their first Posts Indexed by Google in literally 5 Minutes time or less. Does this happen every time? No, but by simply installing and activating this Plugin (there are no settings) Your Blog will now have the power to rapidly have content indexed across the web at a much faster rate.
*Note: If You use Google’s Feedburner Service for Your RSS Feed Management, PubSubHub formatting will be applied to Your Feed via their Service and You will not require this Plugin.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
The best plugin available for adding Related Posts to the bottom of current Blog Posts, allowing Visitors who didn’t find what they were looking for the first time, get more options for content. Serving up the most relevant content of any Related Posts Plugin, YARPP can also enhance your Inner Linking strategy automatically by understanding relevance based on Keyword Density and Tags and creating links bettween high value and related content on your blog which is considered important by Google and other Search Engines.
*If you are on a slow server, we recommend using the lightweight Efficient Related Posts Plugin instead of YARPP.
**Some Themes have Related Posts integrated into them already. While YARPP is a great plugin, using the integration already built into Your Theme might make this functionality work better and appear better on Your site. Please test before using.
SECURITY AND SPAM PLUGINS:
This plugin comes Pre-Installed in WordPress and is still one of the best plugins available for your blog security. If you still have an OLD WordPress.com API Key that works with Akismet great, use it. It is a little harder to get a Free API key then it was a few years ago, but it is still possible. Go to the Akismet Site and click on the get an API Key link and then select the Personal License Option. On the “Payment Page” use the scroll bar to change the Yearly cost from .00 to $.00. You can then signup to get your Free API Key.
Working hand in hand with Akismet, this plugin works to supplement Akismet’s Anti-Human SPAM prevention by adding in Anti-Machine/ BOT SPAM Protection. While WP SPAM Free is another great option in this category, FV Anti-SPAM has very low server load and can help with keeping your site from bogging down and using too many resources. Plus, this plugin was created to work directly with Akismet, which means the security it brings is twice as good as other options.
Sabre stands for Simple Anti-Bot Registration Engine and this plugin does what it says. Although it is not the most lightweight plugin in the world, if you find you are getting tons of Registrations on your Blog without any actions from members, you are probably getting setup for a big fall and you need to stop the Bot Registrations. This Plugin has a multitude of options that you can customize for your Blog to stop this SPAM and Secure your Blog.
This plugin is the ultimate in security and stops cold most attack points that happen through vulnerabilities in your site’s .htaccess file. This plugin does even more than this as well. For all of the Advanced Features, be sure to visit the Bulletproof Security home page.
*This security plugin should only be used by Users who understand how to use the .htaccess file and have gone through the Tutorial on the BulletProof Security website!
**Not Included in the WP Supervisor Cloned Installs due to its Advanced Feature set.
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT PLUGINS:
While there are literally thousands of Social Media Plugins available on the Web for WordPress, not all are created equal or should be used. Of course, the Plugin set we recommend for Social Media Integration on your Blog is Social.FM. Social.FM provides you with more options on how to maximize your Social Media Signals than any other plugin online. This includes Facebook and Twitter Integration, Facebook Fan Page Creation, Advanced Blog Commenting with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Integration, Open Graph Integration, Social Bookmarking, Content Locking, Google Plus Integration, and More. This doesn’t mean there are not other options which we feel can continue to enhance your ability to communicate Socially Online with your Blog.
Wibiya Social Toolbar
While this tool carries a little load time, it is still very lightweight. We use it on several sites now with Good results. It carries a lot of Social Interaction capabilities and will help you receive as much or as little interaction on your site as you want. This is a Free Service with an enhanced upgrade service. Unless you have an Authority site with a huge visitor base, the Free Version is more than enough. It has tons of additional Social Addons with additional Facebook and Twitter options to name a few and it can be customized to fit the color scheme of your Blog.
*The only time you should use the Wibiya toolbar instead of using Social.FM is when you have a site which is loading very slowly and you need to lighten up your Social Sharing due to Page Load times. Click on Step 3 above for more details on Speed Optimization.
**Not required if using Social.FM.
CORE SPEED OPTIMIZATION: SPEED UP YOUR BLOGS
CACHING, MINIFICATION, AND IMAGE OPTIMIZATION
The Yahoo and Google tools are great for giving you distinct instructions on what can be done to speed up you blog. After a mountain of testing of different plugins and mixing and matching methods, I came up with this setup.
1. W3 Total Cache
The most complete Optimization and Site Page Caching Plugin available. This Plugin is essential for speeding up your Blog and can be used with a Content Delivery Network like MAXCDN to Speed it up even more (see Below). Using this Plugin will work better on your sites than the WP Super Cache or other Plugins. This plugin has a lot of settings, but we are going to show how to best set it up for quick success in the Video below. Sites like Mashable.com and Yoast.com use this Plugin on their Mega Blogs.
W3 will save its caching settings to your .htaccess file automatically after Activation. If it doesn’t, make sure You adjust the Permissions on your Hosting account to allow for it (Contact Hosting Support). Once installed, turn on the Page Caching, Object Caching, and Browser Caching modules. Both the Database Caching and Minify Settings on W3 Total Cache can cause problems on different Hosts and WordPress Themes. Normally, if the Site is on a VPS or Dedicated Hosting account, we would enable Database Caching in this plugin, but on shared hosting, this might actually slow your Blog down. Test this and see how it changes your Blog Speed. Do the same thing with the W3 Minify Settings. Just turn on Minification (which combines JS and CSS Files) and Test if Your Blog’s Pages Load Faster and also Test to see how this setting affects the Appearance of Your Blog’s Theme. Clear all Caches before Testing each time. If you have APC, xCache, or Memcached setup on your Server, then you will see a significant speed increase by using them for your Page, Database, and Object caching with this plugin.
*Only the Base Settings of this Plugin are enabled in the WP Supervisor Clone Blog Installs. Further customization may be made based on the individual server and server software that is used by the host your Blog is on.
2. Use Google Libraries
3. WP Smushit
Smushit is a Yahoo API which optimizes Images for the Web by making them Web Friendly and smaller in size, thus they load faster. WP Smushit utilizes the API automatically when installed and activated, but if Your blog already had images in the Media Library, you can go through each one in the WP-Admin Media Library Settings and choose to use “Smushit” to optimize each one of your Site’s Pictures which have been uploaded through the Media Uploader on Your site or has been uploaded to Your wp-content > uploads folder. This will not break images and if an image is already optimized for the web, nothing will happen to it. WP-Smushit will show you how much it has optimized each Media File after it is done.
CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK (CDN) OPTIMIZATION
After numerous tests on hundreds of Blogs, we have found the simplest and most cost effective solution to be the MaxCDN Service. MaxCDN is very low cost and last year we paid only .95 total for 5 of our most visited Blogs. While You might not want to Add a CDN at first, it is highly Recommended to add one when You increase Your Traffic Level on Your Blogs. MaxCDN uses what is called Push and Pull Zones. The Pull Zones this service uses are unique and Most CDN Services do not provide them. A Pull Zone will pull the content from Your Blog and Reserve it more efficiently than 90% of other CDN’s. The MaxCDN/ W3 Configuration described in the Video Below is the single most Recommended Setup for Speed Optimization for WordPress Blogs on the Web.
FREE THEME RESOURCES
Here is a quick list of the best places I know of to find quality Free WordPress Themes. There are many, many more and you might have your favorites already.
WordPress Themes – Here at WordPress.org you will find the largest repository of Free WordPress Themes on the web. A great resource for Free themes.
New WP Themes – All the themes on this great site are 100% free. Some look the same except for a slight change in color, but they have great features and are very easy to use.