I hope my helpful WP plugins for content and layout are handy for you as they have been for me! I was writing out some lesson posts for my Online Marketing Interns, and had to list out some plugins that would help them that they may not have used yet. I’m not a big fan of having tons of WordPress plugins installed. Plugins can have conflicts with other plugins. They can slow down your blog. Every time WordPress loads it has to check ALL plugins in the plugin diretory (whether activated or not) just to see which ones are on. Next it has to filter through each active one just to see if it has to do something before it renders a page. If your blog is slow, deactivate all plugins and see how much faster it is. Then reactivate them one by one to see which one is the culprit.

Having said all that, I usually can’t get away with less than 12-18 plugins installed per site. My main site has almost 3 dozen+ plugins installed at any given time. I’m going to give you some additional plugins that can really help you organize and plan and maintain your blog, just realize your mileage may vary – and only install the ones you think you will REALLY use. Don’t be the guy that installs everything just to check it out, and then just leaves them all installed. WordPress itself only has 13 database tables on a default install. Sometimes plugins create their own database tables for their options and data. I once had a client that had 48 database tables for his wordpress site because of all the plugin he installed over the years, half of which he was no longer using.

Backend Plugins

Broken Link Checker: I don’t use this in all my sites, but over time links get broken and this plugin can help. It monitors when people click on links going outside your site that are broken, and broken images. You get notified in the dashboard when you have a broken link. If nothing more, this plugin is handy because if you have affiliate links anywhere on your site and they break, this plugin will tell you the next time you login to the dashboard.

Pending Review: If you have people writing and submitting content for your review, or if you’re scheduling posts for your review later – this will give you a list in the dashboard.

Dashboard Scheduled Posts: This plugin lists your scheduled posts, great if you’re using WP Robot or datafeedr to stack up posts for you to rewrite and publish. I believe the current 2.9 WP dashboard shows you recent drafts, I don’t know how that compares to this.

Scheduled Posts Calendar: Maybe you have posts scheduled for the month and you’re more of a visual person. This plugin provides a calendar and shows all of your scheduled posts throughout the month.

Cross Linker: Cross Linker is a great plugin because it boost your blog “inlinks” automatically. Let’s say you are selling an ebook with a custom workout. Add the keyword “workout” in crosslinker and the page you want it to go to on your site. Then every time you use the word “workout” in a post it will automatically link your landing page. You just give the plugin a list of words and pages you want it to cross link, and it will do all the work for you.

Go Codes: Need to add an affiliate link, and you want to track how many times people click on it and you don’t want everyone to see your crazy referral code and URL? Ever wonder how everyone else is doing it? Go Codes! Enter what you want the redirect to be, and what the affiliate URL is, and whether you want it tracked or not and voila! you get site.com/go/link!

Layout Plugins

Privacy Page: Honestly you really don’t need a plugin for this – you could (and should) create this page on your own. Try the plugin, see what it generates, and then copy the text and make your own privacy page, and deactivate and remove the plugin, lol. Why do you need a privacy page? Adsense, eBay, and nearly every affiliate program out there requires that your have one to promote their products.

Breadcrumb NavXT: I’ve been creating and maintaining web sites for 15 years, and I still don’t understand why WordPress and most modern CMS system don’t have better navigation. If google isn’t a clue, EVERY SINGLE PAGE on your web site should have what we call “breadcrumbs” at the top. It gives visitors a way “home” at all times and it shows where they are in your site (if you have multiple levels or sub-pages). Users expect that. The biggest sites have it – why shouldn’t you? There is NOTHING wrong with having redundant navigation in your header, sidebars, footer, and breadcrumbs – so long as it doesn’t clutter your site and make it more confusing.

WP PageNavi: The last thing your blog needs is to have those nasty “previous” and “next” post links on your homepage and single post pages. Lester Chan’s WP PageNavi plugin adds a bottom page navigation more like google’s. This doesn’t work automatically – you have to edit your wordpress home or index.php and single.php theme files on your own.

Subscribe to Comments: If you haven’t already, install and activate the “Subscribe to Comments” plugin. When I comment on a site if I can’t “subscribe” to any replies to my comment, I just get really annoyed.

Customizing Your Theme

One thing that many wordpress web site owners don’t do is much more than create blog posts or an about page. I’ve written articles about the main things you should understand about your WordPress site(s) and customizing or creating main theme pages. I advise you start here first: Hacking WordPress Template Files

And then work your way through these:

Fixing your search results page: Custom Search Results Page and Template
Fixing your 404 Error page: Create a Custom 404 Error Page
Fixing your navigation: 10 Ways to improve your navigation
Fixing Categories: 9 things you can do with Categories
Fixing Tags: Hacking WordPress Tags and Hacking tag pages
Fixing your comments: Rock Star Comments in WordPress in 12 Steps