Five Great Site Auto-Optimization Plugins for WordPress

robot butlerYou’ve got to love those new-fangled robot butlers; they rarely complain, they always look sharp and ready, and they make sure to pick up all those little pieces you may overlook while you are busy writing the next great blog.  Here are five great plugins whose nearly automatic site optimization processes are invaluable finds for running a smooth, fast-loading and professional WordPress site.

Cache Images

This click-and go plugin goes through your posts and gives you the option to cache all hotlinked images from a domain to your site’s local upload folder.  The benefits of serving all images on your site from your site’s cache are twofold:

i) you can rest assured that any embedded images will actually display in the event that the original img source file you may have been referencing remotely is no longer available or at its original location.

ii) you will increase exponentially the speed at which your site displays its content.


Broken Link Checker

For the similar reasons to the Cache Images plugin, Broken Link Checker is an indespensible tool for preventing getting egg on your face when the traffic starts to move in your direction like an fast food drive-thru at rush hour.

Broken Link Checker will look for any links oon your site that may lead to a dreaded “404 Page Not Found” message.  After a quick scan it will report any such instances and offer to unlink or discard the link.  Easy yet powerful.

Enforce www. Preference

This little hack works like a silent operator behind the scenes to maintain the highest level of compatibility and visibility for your site by helping to preserve your permalinks by enforcing your no-www or yes-www preference (http://example.com/ vs. http://www.example.com/) and stripping off index.php from the ends of URLs.  Set it and forget it.

Widget Cache

Like the little brother to the essential WP Super Cache plugin, WP Widget Cache can cache the output of your blog widgets. Usually it will significantly reduce the SQL queries to your database and speed up your site.  It will not interfere with dynamically updated widgets and will speed up your site.  Another set-it-and-forget-it plugin.

Robots Meta

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The Robots Meta plugin discretely affords the WordPress user the power tro do something otherwise very difficult to accomplish – to add meta robots tags to your WP blog.

Its wonders don’t stop there;  it also prevents indexing of the subpages to your homepage, by adding a noindex,follow message, allows you to edit your robots.txt and .htaccess from within your WordPress, enforces a trailing slash on archive and tag pages and much more.

The value of such esoteric sounding effects may be outside the scope of your SEO knowledge, but they are important effects nonetheless.  Fortunately this plugin requires very little work on the part of the WP user, and we love it for that very reason.

What optimization plugins are you using on your site that we failed to include on this list?

Photo by revjim5000

Top Five Essential Plugins For Any WordPress Site

Moving forward from my introduction on becoming your own self-publisher via a custom WordPress installation, I want to share what I feel are the top five essential plugins to install before doing anything else with your new blog.  It’s OK if you have already been at it for a while too, just make sure you take a look at the items in this list before going any further.

Always Outnumbered dvdrip 1. All in One SEO Pack Plugin

The All in One SEO Pack Plugin is like having a robot butler to handle all the important nitty-gritty for getting your site’s settings just right for search engines.  The plugin acts like a Swiss-Army search optimization tool, handling everything from automatic META tag generation, to optimizing your titles, and defining excerpts from your article.  It is backward compatible with other similar plugins like Auto Meta and Ultimate Tag Warrior.  Don’t leave home without it.

2. Google XML Sitemaps

A sitemap informs search engines about pages on your site (and how they relate to one another) available for crawling, thus optimizing how your content is seen by the search engines.  Google XML Sitemaps automatically generates an XML sitemap for your WordPress site and is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.

3. WordPress Database Backup

WordPress Database Backup integrates a database optimization, repair and backup system accessible right from your WP control panel.  This is insurance against disaster.

4. WordPress Auto-Tagger

Auto-Tagger

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is one of those plugins that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.  It will scan your post and reference it against Yahoo’s most popular search terms to make recommendations for the list of tags to associate with your article.  Not only a real time-saver, but a wise move for your SEO.

5. WP Super Cache

A replacement for WP Cache, and an evolution of WP Cache 2, Donncha O Caoimh’s WP Super Cache greatly reduces the strain on your server by creating static HTML files from your site, thereby bypassing the need for the server to process php scripts.  A new blog may not notice much of a boost, but once it is trafficked by hundreds of hits a day, this essential plugin will not only make your site load faster, but will save you from receiving a warning from your Host Provider for excessive CPU load or slow MySQL queries.

What plugins do you use that you feel are essential for running a WordPress site?