12 useful WordPress plugins – 2011

WordPress is very popular among bloggers and writers today. One of the reasons is because it offers many of plugins that can help make your blog even better!

WordPress PluginsThere are an almost endless number of plugins you can find on WordPress, but it is important to limit your use to a few, as too many plugins can have an adverse effect on your host. The question is, which ones should you use?

Here are some options that can certainly be useful:-

1) Google XML- Sitemaps

This helps search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Ask to index your blog and informs them when you add new posts. These maps also help users to browse well through your various posts and find what they are looking for.

2) DiggDigg

Through this plugin you can insert buttons of various social networking sites on your WordPress site like Facebook like, Facebook share, Twitter, Digg, LinkedIn and many others.

3) Insights

Insights help you add more information to your blog. You can insert Flickr images, YouTube videos and interlink various posts to your advantage.

4) WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache converts WordPress PHP scripts into html files, thus reducing load and down time.

5) WP-DBManager

This plugin helps you manage your blog by providing ways to repair, backup, restore, and optimize database.

6) Akismet

Akismet helps you keep a check on spam by checking your blog comments and submitting to your admin such comments for review.

7) YoastWordPress SEO

This SEO plugin helps bloggers in optimising page titles and keywords into XML sitemaps.

8) Contact Form 7

Through Contact Form 7, users can create, manage and customize contact forms on their blog.

9) LinkWithin

This plugin adds thumbnails of relevant posts on your blog.

10) Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP)

YARPP provides information of pages and posts which are related to your new entry thus giving the reader a chance to read more matter on the topic.

11) WP Page Navi

It helps in navigating through the site and provides the various posts with page numbers.

12) Google Analytics Plugin

Google Analytics is a good tool to track your blog and thus access information like outbound clicks, page views, and other metadata.

Whether you are a leisure blogger or a blogger for money, it is important to be familiar with and equip yourself with necessary plugins, as these can make your thought-sharing experience easier and more convenient.

So continue sharing relevant information and happy blogging!

Google Plus – a breath of fresh air?

For years websites like MSN and Facebook have been growing in numbers. Many rivals, less efficient and less popular social networking website, have died out as they are crushed by the giants. But Facebook seems immune from the possibility of extinction, with a growing number of users currently at over 640 million users!

MSN had a golden period and enjoyed strong competition with Facebook. But the Microsoft owned site has 120 million users and falling. It looks like MSN will be joining the likes of Bebo, Digg and Myspace.  I myself deleted my Myspace account when I decided to hop onto the Facebook bandwagon.

But for years it seemed that Facebook would never be challenged, and that was the case, until, now! A company which has 15 times the amount of revenue is stepping up to the plate. Google. The internet giant is taking over world computing. With 85% of the world using Google as their search engine, 15% of internet browsers in the world are Google Chrome – but this is fast growing – and now the $30 billion company is preparing to take on Facebook with its own social network – Google+.

In its two month infancy it is showing similar trends to Chrome and is rapidly growing in usage with 20 million worldwide users at the moment. Although this may seem puny, bear in mind it isn’t open to the world public entirely just yet.  At the moment, Google+ is an invitation only site until it opens fully in a couple of months.

I have put my name down to use it on its somewhat large waiting list. But what is all the hype?

Key Feature:

  • Circles – This allows me to group my friends, so for example:
    • Music pals – Joe, Tom, Abby…
    • School pals – Michael, Adam…
    • Work Colleagues – Jane, Adam, Monica…
  • Hangouts – A 10 people group video chat
  • Sparks – Using Google’s search engine you can search for interests
  • The Stream – Users can see their Circles’ updates – similar to Facebook’s wall
  • +1 – Allowing people to recommend items and websites

These are just some of the functions available to use on +.  But is it what we are looking for?

The Google+ ProjectIn my opinion yes, just like Google Chrome did with Internet Explorer it will provide a breath of fresh air to the social networking industry and I think will be a very realistic competitor to Facebook.

It seems like it is made with much more quality and with far more enhanced features than Facebook, which has many problems, technically and pragmatically.

So I for one am really looking forward to joining it and setting up my profile when it becomes open to the public.

Google gives users malware warnings

Yes you read right, Google is now giving users alerts if it believes that their system is infected with malware.

Over the last week, millions of users will have logged on to Google, only to find a warning telling them that Google believes that their computer ‘appears to be infected’.

Here is an image of that very message:

A Google warning telling users that their computer appears to be infected

Okay my PC isn't infected so I couldn't show you an actual message, but a clever bit of Photoshopping can help me to show you 😉

Google says that it is trying to improve the web for users, and in doing so, it believes that it can enhance users experience, and keep them safer online.

Malware can send users to ‘virus’ pages when they search Google, one of the main reasons why Google wants to help users fight it. The other is that often malware can send tonnes of spammy traffic towards Google. This is not very good for their servers, and could potentially become very costly.

Sometimes Google needs to turn some of its servers off for maintenance, meaning they need to redirect the traffic. However certain malware can keep ‘spamming’ these servers with unwanted traffic, causing the guys at Google a bit of a problem!

Google says that the main cause of malware infection is users downloading face anti-viruses when instructed to by bogus warnings on false websites.

The search giant does currently offer warnings to users on some websites that it knows could potentially infect their computer. Here is an example of the text it may put below a potentially dangerous search result:

This site may harm your computer

An example of the "This site may harm your computer." text that features below some search results in Google

Keeping safe online is a challenge, so it’s good to know that along with our anti-virus software, Google is also watching our back.

To find out more you can read the official blog post on Google’s blog 🙂