WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in use today. It is also considered a perfectly capable Content Management System capable of running a full company/corporate website. One of the advantages of using WordPress for your web presence is the ability to expand on the basic installation with your own design/theme as well as install custom ‘plugins’. It is these plugins that can make your website or blog truly unique.
To help you sift through the quagmire that is the plugins directory we’ve put a list together for you to let you know some of the best ones currently available that enable you to bring your different social media and social networks together on your blog. So, in no particular order …
- TweetMeMe – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tweetmeme/
The ‘Tweetmeme’ plugin creates a button that lets readers easily retweet your posts or pages. The tweet begins with “RT @tweetmeme …” along with your post title and URL, which you can update to your Twitter username instead of the default ‘@tweetememe’. This helps increase awareness to you and your content each time someone else retweets you. Additional options for this plugin let you select the position and size of the button, as well as giving you the ability to display it on your RSS feed.
A wonderfully simple plugin that works well, it is quick to install and configure, as well as sitting smartly around your blog in whatever position you choose. With this your visitors can promote & share your content to 295 of the most popular social networking and bookmarking sites (like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon and MySpace).
- ShareThis – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/share-this/
Possibly the largest and most popular I’ve come across (although I don’t use it myself) the ‘ShareThis’ WordPress plugin provides a simple way for users to add your post to many social bookmarking sites, or to send a link to your post via email, AIM, Facebook, Twitter and more. The ‘ShareThis’ icon sits in a position or your choosing on the page/post.
- WordBooker – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordbooker/
WordBooker is a very useful plugin that sits and works behind the scenes and enables you to cross-post your blog posts to your Facebook Wall or Page. You can also “cross pollinate” comments between Facebook and your WordPress blog as well as placing a Facbook ‘Like’ icon on each post.
Each time you publish a post this plugin will automatically update your Twitter status with the title and shortened URL. I have seen a substantial increase in traffic to my blogs from the tweets this plugin has sent to my profile, the trick is to also include a hashtag in the post title when you publish so the tweet is more visible (you can then change the post title later to remove this) on Twitter to more than just your current followers.
- Wicket Twitter Widget – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wickett-twitter-widget/
This little wonder displays a customisable list of your most recent Twitter posts in a sidebar widget, thus showcasing your Twitter network to your website visitors that may not have realised or known about your Twitter activity.
The ‘Follow Me’ plugin generates a widget that allows you to display links to all your social media profiles in one, easy-to-access button or window.
We must also not forget that there are some people who still rely (and like) the ‘old fashioned’ email alerts to new content. The best plugin I’ve found and used for this is the ‘Subscribe2’ plugin – http://subscribe2.wordpress.com/. You can put a ‘subscribe’ box in the sidebar of your website and users can enter their email address and receive email updates when you publish new posts. It is adouble opt-in process that requires the user to check their email and click a ‘confirm’ link.
Let us also not forget those users who use their smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc) to browse the web when their on the move, or even (like me) at home when I can’t get the laptop out and booted up. Designing your website is often difficult unless you’re technically inclined, and designing a special version that display well on the small smartphone screens. WordPress can handle this too, with the WPTouch – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/ – plugin. As easy to install as all these plugins, all you need is a short amount of time to configure it (literally a minute) and anyone using a smartphone can assess the mobile-version of your blog.
For those of you not familiar with WordPress, or know of it but not how good it is, take a look over this infographic that showcases some of the facts and figures that make it the number one choice for website and blog management system: