As a general rule of thumb most errors you’ll encounter with your WordPress blog are the result of excessive or incompatible plugins. While many find the selection of essential plugins a conundrum I believe in testing each plugin one-by-one with the latest version of WordPress so I can isolate the problem to determine the cause of the slow load times, call function errors or php memory limit warnings. The most valuable tool I can tell you when it comes to plugins is that when possible look for existing code that can accomplish the same result.
Of course there are certain plugins that even I use in my WordPress Blogs. I’ve compiled a list below of the top 10 plugins that I use on a daily basis that I believe will help any tech blog:
* AdSense Now – There are many ad insertion plugins for WordPress, but if your tech blog is using AdSense – this is the plugin I recommend. It allows you to insert your ad blocks aligned left, center or middle in 3 sections of a post. It also gives you the option to suppress ads on pages, category pages, tag pages, archives and more.
* Audio Player – Being able to insert mp3 clips or podcasts into your blog can be a problem. Audio Player is a plugin that makes this process simple – simply create a music folder on your site via FTP and then upload mp3 tracks to the directory. You can insert the built-in audio player into any of your posts or pages with a simple line of code – painless, simple and easy.
* Facebook Sharecount – It’s no secret that social networking sites like Facebook are effective ways to create a fanbase, but being able to harness that power relies on an easy way to share your great content. Facebook Sharecount will make it easy for visitors share your posts and monitor your content.
* Foliopress Descriptions – Once your tech blog has hundreds or even thousands of posts you will need a way to mass edit your descriptions. While the importance of meta descriptions is debated, I still believe that a hand written summary should be written for each post. Foliopress Descriptions supports post excerpt, These and All In One Seo meta description fields.
* Google XML Sitemaps – If you’ve read my previous post on how to get indexed by Google and Yahoo you know that having a sitemap is essential. This plugin auto generates your sitemap in a nice and neat XML file and let’s search engines understand the content on your tech blog. After installing and activating the plugin Google XML Sitemaps will take care of the rest.
* NextGEN Gallery – Managing your images and photo galleries can be a pain, but NextGen Gallery makes this simple. With features like auto resizing, watermarks, thumbnail creation as well as gallery effects – NextGEN Gallery is a must have plugin.
* Star Rating for Reviews – When you run a tech blog sooner or later you will start receiving products for review. Creating a solid review is as much about content as it is about presentation. Star Rating for Reviews allows you to create ratings for the products you review or even rate different aspects of the product and averages the ratings to determine a final score. The possibilities are limitless with the plugin – a must have for anyone looking to review tech.
* TweetMeme Retween Button – If you look at the posts on TechBlogStartup you’ll notice a yellow Retweet button aligned to the right. The power of Twitter is growing by the day so making it easy for your reader to ReTweet great content can prove very valuable. If you’ve installed Google Analytics like I explained in my previous post here, then you will be able to monitor just how many visitors enter your post through Twitter. If you are wondering why I haven’t included ShareThis it’s because I manually insert the code instead of using a WordPress Plugin.