If you have spent any time trying to learn how to use your WordPress blog you have likely learned how HUGE it is. It is a great platform to host your blog. It is on of the Biggest Free blogging platforms available. However, when I started to search for custom options like a good WP Plugin or a selection of WP themes/templates I found there is soooo many different plugin authors and theme designers. It is daunting to Google through them all. Over time (many many hours and days) I weeded through blogs, WordPress and many other sites. I Bookmarked many of these sites that I liked. I built a list of the plugins that I felt would benefit my blog and decided on my theme.
I have uploaded many of these plugins and have been putting them into play. I thought that since all the great info I found came from so many other people, I ought to give a little back. These plugins are all used to enhance and increase the bloggers experience and results. Plugins include simplifying the Control Panel, adding more functions and customization features, SEO and visitor experience.
If your looking to get your own site set up,Nameboy is a cool tool to use to help you find good domain names and wither they are available (Domain Search – BustAName andPCNames Domain Searchare also good for this). The best web host, based on cost, reputation, reliability (server and database), unlimited domains and customer service is Hostgator. It also comes with software to install WordPress for you, adwords credit, website builder, ect. There are plenty of others good ones out there too. But do beware, there are some very poor web hosts out there as well.
A person can also set up a subdomain site for free with WordPress.comA subdomain is a domain within a main domain, for example www.youdomain.wordpress.com. In some regards this is good. Your blog has the potential to ‘ride’ on the popularity of the parent domain. Most Internet business bloggers will also want their own custom domain (ie yourdomain.com), as this provides the highest level of freedom in your blogging activities.
I hope you enjoy the list and please share your favorite plugins too!
WP Plugin Gems
Link Cloaking Plugin W-Shadow
This plugin is great if you want to cloak your outgoing affiliate links. You can set exceptions and select which to cloak and which to leave alone. A good assortment of settings once installed through the Control Panel.
Evermore: Shorten Posts
This plugin breaks up your post, with a excerpt of the first paragraph (adjustable) and clickable words "Read More" underneath. It helps to enhance the visitors ability to scan your posts, which encourages clicking.
WordPress – Stats Plugin
Analytical data for your blog. This plugin tracks visitors to your blog, page views, ect. This info is available by clicking the link it creates in the WP control Panel.
WP Wall – Wordpres Plugin Comments update from a widget. Makes for a more active/interactive experience.
WordPress – WP Super Cache
This plugin creates a cache of your blog so that it loads faster.
Less: a WordPress plugin
When you click on ‘read more’, this plugin links to the full post, rather than next.
Super Version of the SH-Autolink Plugin for WordPress
This plugin is great! You can designate keywords and associate urls, then it will scan your blog and turn the keywords it finds into links.
WordPress e-Commerce Plugin by Instinct
A very popular plugin for creating a e-Commerce shopping cart for your blog.
WordPress- Insights plugin
This designer, Vladimir, has a bunch great plugins and a few themes. All top Knotch. This plugin enables one to search the blog for posts, edit or create links to them into the current post. You can also insert Flickr images, youtube videos, Wikipedia content, google search, news search, google image search and instert a Google Map.
Social Traffic Monitor WordPress Plugin
This plugin monitors your traffic that comes from the social networks, such as Digg, Stumble, Redit, etc. Figure out where your traffic is coming from and know where your time is best spent getting more.
Admin Management Xtended Plugin
This Plugin streamlines much of the post editing/admin functions within the Admin area of your site, such as publication, publication date, tags, etc.
WhyDoWork Adsense Plugin
Great tool for Adsense users. Add to your posts, manage ads and placement. Simplifies much of the Adsense works for bloggers.
WordPress Post Teaser
This plugin serves a similar function as ‘Evermore’ mentioned above. It takes a post and shortens its display on the main page, so that a reader much click "read more" to read an entire article. This enables visitors to more easily ‘scan’ your posts to find what they need.
Search Meter WordPress plugin
Optimize your site by knowing what they are searching for on your blog. This plugin enable you to see what search terms visitors type into your blog search bar, so that you can serve up what they want.
WordPress- increase StumbleUpon and Digg Traffic
Identifies traffic from StumbleUpon and Digg and serves up a custom message reminding them to rate your post.
FixBack: a WordPress plugin
This plugin fixs track backs and pings to ensure they have the correct addresss back to your blog. This is one Surely worth installing.
Secure Form Mailer Plugin For WordPress, Dagon Design
Create a custom, secure contact form on your blog. Many fields available and very secure tool. Prevents bots from finding your email and spamming you.
Some other Great Blog posts on WP Plugins and Themes,
One of my favorite blogs on everything webdesign and graphic design related is Noupe.com. They just made this post on WordPress 2.7 compatible themes/templates. Some users have reported compatibility issues with some old themes and the new 2.7 WP version. This list is WordPress 2.7 Theme.
In my searching results I stumbled onto these two other posts that I really enjoyed.
There are a handful of site out there that offer Quality Premium themes and not a lot that are free. These are a few of the sites that I felt had a quality product and are either free or low cost. I am not affiliated with any of these. Some of these links will go straight to a themes website, a few other will go to some great posts on various quality themes. Please share any other great theme sites that you find that I don’t have listed here.
Free HTML Editors
I use Nvu to create all my posts. Then I click "Preview", copy the page that loads (Firefox for me, IE for others) and paste it into my ‘Edit Post’ page. If your budget isn’t ready for a Premium Web design program, these two are by far the best freebies out there.
At some point, one should have their own hosting package. As I mentioned before, one of the most reliable, trusted and affordable host out there is Hostgator. A Free site that I have heard some very good things about them is Weebly. Weebly promotes a community where a member can create and launch a blog or website for free. I am not sure what the limitations are on this service. I would love to hear your experience with it if you have used it. But again, I have heard great things so I decided to share it with you. Weebly
A great site to bookmark,Public Domain Clipart. Nothing too fancy on this site, but lots of simple graphic that you can get for free and use on your blog.
I hope you find this list useful, it represents my favorite results form hours and hours of searching. I know there are other great site out there so if you have found anything related to this topic, please do share!