Gini Dietrich

The Best Blogging Platform and Plugins

By: Gini Dietrich | September 1, 2011 | 
117

It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap!).

Jeremy Whittaker, my Utah turned Germany friend, asks, “Could you give a rundown of the the best technologies for a corporate blog? I’m looking for the best platforms and plugins that make a blog rock.”

Sure, Jeremy! This is a question we get a lot so I have a handy dandy list already created.

The video has my favorite plugins and which platform you should use. After the video you’ll find an additional list of free and paid plugins that aren’t mentioned in the video.

If you’re curious about my personal Tumblr blog I mention, you can find it here (Del Williams calls it food porn).

And don’t forget to go to our Facebook wall and leave a question on the wall there. I need some questions. I also take dares (within reason).

Without further ado…the video. If you can’t see it in your Reader, click here and it’ll magically appear.

Free Plugins

  • Advanced permalinks
  • Anti feed-scraper message (alerts you if anyone steals your content)
  • Best related posts (creates the links at the end of every post that is similar to the content you just published)
  • Comment notifier (alerts people who leave comments that someone has responded)
  • Dagon design sitemap generator
  • Easy popular posts
  • Exclude pages from navigation (we use this for paid content or private content)
  • Feature comments
  • Google analytics for WordPress
  • Most commented widget
  • Popular posts
  • Post-plugin library
  • Recent comments
  • Recent comments widget
  • Tweetbacks (shows tweets as comments on the blog)
  • Tweet old posts
  • WordPress database backup
  • All-in-one SEO pack
  • Democracy (allows you to create polls)
  • Livefyre (commenting system we recommend to everyone)
  • PostRank
  • WP to twitter
  • WPtouch
  • OnSwipe (allows you to view the blog on the tablet as if it’s a magazine)

Paid Plugins

  • Akismet ($5/month)
  • Scribe SEO
  • Scribe support script (free, but supports the one above)
  • BackupBuddy
  • GetClicky

 

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • If you’re using WordPress then using a caching plug-in such as W3 Super Cache or WP Total Cache improves site performance and reduces download times. Both are free.

    In a similar vein, using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) speeds-up things considerably. I’m a BIG fan of CloudFlare (www.cloudflare.com) which, as well as speeding-up your site, offers some cool security features too.

    I’ve been using CloudFlare since they started, and can only say good things about them. Setting CloudFlare up is a breeze, support is fantastic and (best of all) the entry level package is free!

  • Did you just recommend GoDaddy as a host? OY!!!! They are one of the WORST when it comes to WordPress, and are particularly sensitive to security hacks. If it’s for a corporate site, I’d always recommend a dedicated server via a shared one, so something from RackSpace is ideal.

    Plugin-wise, I’m not a fan of ScribeSEO since it takes credits away from you on each analysis. To me, this defeats the purpose of it’s use, since you need to run another analysis after you make changes due to its recommendations to see if your score has improved. SEO isn’t as hard as folks would try make it sound – and SEOmoz has some great free resources to help you understand it more.

    While not a plugin per se, Disclosure.org has a great policy generator to help you come up with a Disclosure Policy fir your blog, and copy/paste it straight in. Good for help with the FTC and similar.

    FixRSS is also a favorite in case your feed gets messed up with any site changes or updates, one click solution.

  • Ack, make that DisclosurePolicy.org – grrr…

  • Ack, make that DisclosurePolicy.org – grrr…

  • I am going to sit here, make a list, and then start implementing. That is the only way for me to get some changes made to my blog.

  • I agree on WordPress, and agree with @DannyBrown re: GoDaddy. I’ve had quite a few developers tell me the same thing. If you like an inexpensive yet reliable hosting option, I work with PowWeb, which is similar, but more stable.

    As for plug-ins, I also love Clicky, Livefyre (woohoo!), TweetOld Posts, and Anti-feed scraper.

    My favorite social sharing plug-in is Sexy bookmarks.

    One thing to remember, as you mentioned in the video, is that sometimes there are conflicts. Things can be running smoothly and as the plug-ins get updates, suddenly something will stop working, or crash your site! All you need to do is start disabling the plug-ins one at a time and figure out which two aren’t playing nicely. That just means you might have to make some decisions for awhile as to which ones are most important. I had used the Wibiya bar for awhile,b ut a lot of people had trouble accessing my page.

    And, since I like Livefyre so much, and it runs with a live script, sometimes other plugins don’t like it. In my mind, livefyre always wins out, I love it that much.

  • Oh, and one other thing to remember. Your plug-ins can also slow down your page load time which is apparently somewhat important in terms of Google’s algorithm and SEO. So the more you have, the slower you will be. I use the WP Optimize, and W3 Total Cache to help speed things up and also minify elements on the site. I’m still a long way from where I need to be in terms of having a faster site, but I’m at the point where I need someone who knows more than I do to take a look at things and help me tweak it a bit. I’m a complete technical moron.

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown Ha! I’ve always used GoDaddy and never had a problem. But now you probably jinxed me.

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 Smart girl.

  • rjfrasca

    Many if not most of those plugins will only create overhead on the admin side though, so I think the value outweighs the load. The only paid plugin I would add to this list would be Gravity Forms, but I guess that doesn’t apply to blogs so much. Still, I never leave home without it 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller I’m with you in that @livefyre always wins. For social sharing, I like Digg Digg.

  • ginidietrich

    @rjfrasca What goes Gravity Form do?

  • @ginidietrich@rjfrasca I use Contact Form 7 and really like it for that, but I have a client who uses Gravity Form and loves it. I might have to switch. And it works on blogs as well anytime you want to create a form of any type for people to enter information and submit it to you.

  • Adrian_Dayton

    Great list!

  • I was going to say the same thing as you did about OnSwipe, LOL. I removed it, because it’s more important for me to get the @livefyre love. Re: AiO SEO pack – check out Yoast’s SEO plugin – it’s even better than AiO or Platinum Pack (I’d switched to PP from AiO, and now am using Yoast). Great for checking your post against keywords, and it even shows you a snippet of what your post will look like in Search.

  • @KenMueller@ginidietrich I believe johnhaydon is a fan of Gravity Forms too.

  • @Shonali@KenMueller@ginidietrichjohnhaydon@rjfrasca Gravity Forms is AWESOME!!!

    http://www.gravityforms.com/

    Definitely worth paying extra for multi-license. Great for simple contact forms, subscription forms, lead gen options, etc.

  • rjfrasca

    Honestly.. the best answer to that is anything and everything. You can build any type of form imaginable in about 2 minutes, It is just an amazing product. I haven’t launched a site without it since the day I found it.. Users love it. @ginidietrich

  • rjfrasca

    Honestly.. the best answer to that is anything and everything. You can build any type of form imaginable in about 2 minutes, It is just an amazing product. I haven’t launched a site without it since the day I found it.. Users love it. @ginidietrich

  • @Shonali I did the same thing with OnSwipe. One of the things that I love about WP is how easy it is to add/remove plugins.

  • HowieSPM

    What is Facebook?

    And @Shonali wonders why I am blogphobic using Blogger because I am a spaz at this techie stuff. Look at this list my brain hurts. I just want to rant about something and have 2 billion views in the first day. #easylikethat

  • @ginidietrich@DannyBrown Evemn I head GoDaddy sucks. If I know it, then it is common knowledge 🙂

  • @NancyD68@ginidietrich@DannyBrown Heard mixed things about GD, as I use one of their resellers. For clients, also had good luck with 1and1. FWIW.

  • @NancyD68@ginidietrich@DannyBrown Heard mixed things about GD, as I use one of their resellers. For clients, also had good luck with 1and1. FWIW.

  • @Shonali Someone else pointed me to Yoast and it’d probably would give me some nice SEO, if I figured out how to use it. (See that backend stuff, THIS is the kind of tedious techno stuff I wish I could truly automate.)

  • I agree w/ you on WordPress; it has tremendous power, a great community of developers, so many options that make it customizable and flexible for each blogger’s needs.

    For jgwhitt and anyone else not using Livefyre or Disqus, I have two must pick faves: GASP – the Growmap anti-spam check box plugin is great, works well and you can customize that language with something clever if you like. CommentLuv. I know Livefyre added a similar feature. I like rewarding my commenting community with a little link love, plus it let’s me see their latest posts, what I want to read next. Also rans: LinkWithin, which is a plugin for showing ‘other posts to read’ with a thumbnail, at the bottom of your posts. SexyBookmarks is my social sharing buttons FWIW.

  • @HowieSPM Well, after the detailed “how to” I put together for you you have NO excuse on not switching to WordPress, LOL.

  • @TheJackB That is really an awesome WP feature.

  • @3HatsComm This is one of those times I say, “If I can do it…” I’d found a “how to set up Yoast” primer a while back… let me find it and give it to you…

  • @3HatsComm I LOVE Sexy Bookmarks!

  • JohnHaydon

    @DannyBrown@Shonali My fav is conditional responses in forms.

  • ginidietrich

    @rjfrasca I did not know about this. Thank you!!

  • ginidietrich

    @JohnHaydon Hi John!

  • ginidietrich

    @Adrian_Dayton Thank you!

  • ginidietrich

    @Shonali I’ll test Yoast – thanks for the tip!

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM Howie, please listen to @Shonali . Then I can not only read, but subscribe, to your blog. And, if you change the background to white, I’ll even share it with others.

  • ginidietrich

    @3HatsComm Great tip on LinkWithin!

  • Great list, Gini! And, I’m loving all of the suggestions in the comments. You’ve covered most my favs, except for one tiny, little plugin that my anal-retentive self just loves: All in one Favicon! 🙂

  • @Shonali Thanks, could use all the primers I can get! I’ve watched a few YouTubes on it, have the basic stuff set – I think – but it’s the real stuff, the manual stuff I just suck at or don’t take the time.

  • ArthurAnswers

    WordPress FTW! The new built in plugins from JetPack are quite nice.

  • @ArthurAnswers I love JetPack.

  • @KenMueller I feel your pain. I have the same issue at my blog.

  • @KenMueller I feel your pain. I have the same issue at my blog.

  • @KenMueller I feel your pain. I have the same issue at my blog.

  • FrankDickinson

    I hate WordPress. 🙂 Seriously, if yu are not using WP as your blogging platform – well, you are missing out on all the awesomeness.

    Fav plugins: LiveFyre (another, if you’re not using = missing out) Digg Digg, Tweet Anywhere Plus and nrelate Related Content.

    Be awesome!

  • scribblinghappy

    I love this, Gini! Way to make it easy for would-be bloggers. I’m passing this on to my friends. Thanks for sharing!

  • ginidietrich

    @kbkcomm I’m so happy you’re back because I think you love FBQOTW more than anyone.

  • CristerDelacruz

    Gees @ginidietrich, I had to look up what FBQOTW was! LOL! @kbkcomm #acronymchallenged

  • ginidietrich

    @FollowtheLawyer Well, unless I say jump off a bridge

  • ginidietrich

    @zcommunications I love my WordPress

  • ginidietrich

    @FrankDickinson I’m not sure Gini on video is a selling point.

  • ginidietrich

    @PenPointer Livefyre has CommentLuv (well, a version) now

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelacruz I think @kbkcomm came up with that one

  • PenPointer

    @ginidietrich Ah, may be worth another look, in that case. Thx!

  • zcommunications

    @ginidietrich So do we! 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Katie Gutwein I barely recognized your name! Oh yeah…great tip on the favicon. I need to change mine and it keeps moving to the bottom of the list.

  • ginidietrich

    @Katie Gutwein I barely recognized your name! Oh yeah…great tip on the favicon. I need to change mine and it keeps moving to the bottom of the list.

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB@ArthurAnswers What is JetPack??

  • ginidietrich

    @TheJackB@ArthurAnswers What is JetPack??

  • ginidietrich

    @FrankDickinson I also love Digg Digg, though it won’t install here (drives me nuts). And don’t you be giving me a hard time about WP!

  • ginidietrich

    @FrankDickinson I also love Digg Digg, though it won’t install here (drives me nuts). And don’t you be giving me a hard time about WP!

  • ginidietrich

    @scribblinghappy I think I’m going to have to take the comments and create a super list of everyone’s recommendations.

  • ginidietrich

    @scribblinghappy I think I’m going to have to take the comments and create a super list of everyone’s recommendations.

  • ginidietrich

    @scribblinghappy I think I’m going to have to take the comments and create a super list of everyone’s recommendations.

  • @ginidietrich I hate WP too, not kidding, but it is the best and most common so it isn’t like I would chose anything else, lol

  • @ginidietrich@ArthurAnswers It is a plugin that provides some of the WordPress.com functionality to self hosted sites. Has a lot of nice features.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/

  • CharterHomes

    Great post! I was actually debating between WordPress and BlogEngine.net and leaning heavily towards WordPress – I think you’re swaying me. 🙂 I’ve been experimenting with WordPress plugins (including @livefyre of course) and this list was very helpful. Thanks!

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich WORD. I do love FBQOTW. I do a little happy dance…it’s the little things in life :).

  • @ginidietrich I’m still getting used to it, too. Literally, it translates to “good wine.” Now you’ll never forget it!

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich @CristerDelacruz I’m actually a bit #acronymchallenged, too. BUT, I love shortening words. So, ‘special’ is ‘spesh,’ etc. 🙂

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich @CristerDelacruz I’m actually a bit #acronymchallenged, too. BUT, I love shortening words. So, ‘special’ is ‘spesh,’ etc. 🙂

  • kbkcomm

    @ginidietrich @CristerDelacruz I’m actually a bit #acronymchallenged, too. BUT, I love shortening words. So, ‘special’ is ‘spesh,’ etc. 🙂

  • FrankDickinson

    @ginidietrich are you getting a “fatal error 404” message – I was – went through and disabled all my plugins until I found the one it wasn’t compatible with (WP minify I think it was) – got it all installed and setup and went back and activated all the plugins – works fine now!

  • CristerDelacruz

    @kbkcomm I love that! “spesh”!!! 🙂

  • @ginidietrich Thank you for telling @HowieSPM that!

  • @TheJackB How is JetPack helpful to you? Oh, @ginidietrich another one I LOVE is TinyMCE Advanced. It adds a ton of options to the WISYWIG editor, like superscripts, etc. @ArthurAnswers

  • @Shonali I like it primarily for embedding videos and use some of the other functions periodically.@ginidietrich @ArthurAnswers

  • Pingback: GB Bilder » The Best Blogging Platform and Plugins | Spin Sucks()

  • ginidietrich

    @CharterHomes WordPress! WordPress! WordPress! Swayed completely now?? 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @FrankDickinson Holy moley.

  • ginidietrich

    @Katie Gutwein Well, you’ll forever be known as Katie Good Wine.

  • NancyMyrland

    @bdorman264 How is my Florida friend?

  • bdorman264

    @NancyMyrland Lovely; just got thru playing tennis w/ a friend. How’s my Indy friend?

  • NancyMyrland

    @bdorman264 That sounds nice…hot there? I’m with Mom in South Bend…heat index ~ 100 today.

  • bdorman264

    @NancyMyrland Not too bad; sounds like it might be hotter there. We’ll prob get wet this wknd.

  • Definitely checking all of these out as I work on my blog. My problem is I spend more time fiddling with plugins and design than I do blogging, so I feel like I never get content out there. Guess I should just follow your list and get writing!

  • CharterHomes

    Yes! Yes! Yes! @ginidietrich

  • CharterHomes

    Quick question – is your blog automatically set up with the “subscribe by email” widget that appears in your sidebar, or do you use a plugin? @ginidietrich

  • ginidietrich

    @CharterHomes It’s set up through Feedburner. I don’t use a widget.

  • ginidietrich

    @jennalanger Sigh…did we not just have this conversation in person? WRITE ALREADY!

  • CharterHomes

    Great, thanks. Am setting up a new blog and learning as I go! @ginidietrich

  • jgwhitt

    Sorry to be late to comment.This is a great answer to my question @ginidietrich . I really appreciate it!

  • jgwhitt

    @ginidietrich agree – there are some great suggestions here!

  • jgwhitt

    @3HatsComm agree – great tip!

  • feliciahudson

    Thanks so much for the list, Gini! Thanks, too, @jgwhitt for the question. This is exactly what I need right now! I have a blog on my website that needs a lot of work. I had the entire site moved over to WordPress a few months ago, so this is extremely helpful. I’m bookmarking this AND saving to Evernote. Thinking of which, I have a few “blog etiquette” questions I think I should post to Facebook. 🙂

  • feliciahudson

    By the way, Gini, which plug in do you use for your “share” buttons? The plug in I have now only allows visitors to share after they click on the actual link to the post. Since the entire post is on the landing page, there is really no reason for anyone to click on it…

  • SoloBizCoach

    I will add a plugin – WordPress SEO by Joost. It rocks!

  • SoloBizCoach

    @ArthurAnswers I am liking JetPack too.

  • @feliciahudson I have the same problem too 🙂

  • @jennalanger as Gini says, write write write! that’s the message I’ll be giving to a talk I’m due to give to a new intake of marketing students. If I could get away with it I’d force them all to set up a blog and write there and then! lol

  • feliciahudson

    @YasinAkgun Do you find it as annoying as I do? 😉 Do visitors still share?

  • feliciahudson

    @YasinAkgun Do you find it as annoying as I do? 😉 Do visitors still share?

  • feliciahudson

    @YasinAkgun Do you find it as annoying as I do? 😉 Do visitors still share?

  • nice list of plugins what I want to add one of XML site map generator for Google webmaster tool submission

  • Wow what a list Gini! Use some of them but will definitely check them out!

    Cheers,Rajka

  • Thanks for this. Am looking to add some SEO plugins to my site! @SoloBizCoach

  • @feliciahudson Felicia – what plug in are you using now? I’m fairly certain that both DiggDigg and ShareThis allow what you’re looking for – just depends on configuration.

  • A few of my favorite plugins to add:

    Link Within (the graphical link at the bottom of our posts on 12 Most – this is an external free widget – it’s a bit of a PITA to install because it’s not available within the WP dashboard, I don’t think. – http://www.linkwithin.com/learn

    SEO Slugs – eliminates extra words like A and the from post slugs

    Subscribe/Connect/Follow – a nice graphical connection widget

    User Role Editor – helps me manage roles within 12 Most at the micro level – VERY handy for group blogs.

    Verify All – allows for easy site verification within search engine webmaster dashboards

    W3 Total Cache – a bit advanced but helpful to speed up the blog and since site speed is such an important aspect of SEO these days it’s helpful.

    WP-PageNavi – makes the navigation of the blog much easier and helps SEO.

    WPtouch – creates a mobile friendly versino of your site for ease of use on smart phones.

    But by far my favorite is a customized version of WP About Author Plus that our developer tweaked. It’s what allows our authors to be displayed prominently and to share all their social profiles with their readers. A good example of what that looks like is here – http://12Most.com/author/sean-mcginnis – I love the social chicklets and the bio information.

  • @YasinAkgun Can you please keep bugging me about this? I need a good kick in the butt, seriously. 🙂

  • CharterHomes

    That’s a great idea – I’ll have to look that one up.

  • feliciahudson

    @Sean McGinnis Hi Sean. The plugin that was set up for me is Share and Follow. Are you familiar with it? Which plugin would you recommend?

  • rbchurst

    Great post! Do you have a free xml sitemap generator to add to the list?

  • rbchurst

    Great post! Do you have a free xml sitemap generator to add to the list?

  • ow ! it is a nice information related website. I already bookmark this website & visit regularly.
    I have also a website.you can also find something new information from my site http://www.articlesface.com

  • Great Post Gini! What do you use for the About Author for this site? I really like it and would like to use on mine.

    • Hey Scott. It’s the Better Author Bio plugin.

      • Scott1

        Thanks Gini!

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