Advertising
Advertising

Top WordPress Plugins for the Smart Blogger

Top WordPress Plugins for the Smart Blogger
Web

If you’re a blogger, then you probably know about the power of the WordPress platform. Straight out of the box, WordPress is one of the best solutions for blogging. It has a number of SEO benefits built straight into the software. However, the smart blogger knows how to optimize WordPress for even further performance using plugins. Here is a list of plugins that the A-list bloggers are using.

Advertising

Advertising

  • Akismet – If you run a blog, then you need this plugin.Fortunately, it comes preinstalled with WordPress. Popular blogs get hundreds of spam comments every day. Akismet helps eliminate this problem. Don’t waste your time deleting spam comments. Akismet will automate the entire process with ease by running hundreds of tests on your comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks to ensure their validity.
  • Bad Behaviour – This plugin isn’t as well known as the others but it should definetly be on your list. Bad Behaviour denies automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site. This plugin complements Akismet by preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk in the first place.
  • Digg This – This plugin automatically adds a Digg story link whenever it detects incoming links from Digg.com. This is an excellent way to promote your articles on one of the most popular social bookmarking sites around.
  • Show Top Commentators – If you are looking for a way to increase your comments and the interaction among your readership, this plugin is an excellent choice. Show Top Commentators encourages discussion by rewarding readers for making a comment. The top commentators are displayed in the sidebar with the number of comments they have made and a link back to their website.
  • Related Posts – This plugin will find other blog posts that are related to the current post based on keyword matching. You can then display the related posts at the bottom of each article. This is an excellent way to keep visitors at your site for longer periods of time. Customize this plugin to display as many or as few related posts as you desire.
  • Adsense Deluxe – If you run adsense on your blog, then this is the number one plugin to implement. Adsense Deluxe allows you to automatically insert Google Adsense with ease.
  • WP-Cache – This plugin is an extremely efficient page caching system that will make your site much faster and responsive. This plugin is very useful for handling sudden bursts of traffic coming from social bookmarking sites like Digg and Slashdot. WP-Cache basically creates static versions of your pages so that they can be served to your visitors without querying the MySQL database.
  • Feedburner Feed Replacement – This popular plugin was recently adopted by Feedburner and renamed “FeedSmith” . This plugin forwards all of your feed traffic to Feedburner. FeedSmith often causes an elusive “bump in subscribers” when you first activate it because it will detect all ways to access your feed. Readers coming from http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php will both be redirected to your FeedBurner feed so that you can accurately track your subscriber base.
  • Ultimate Tag Warrior – This is the best tag system for WordPress. Ultimate Tag Warrior will help you pick up more traffic from Technorati and adds a number of SEO benefits to your blog.
  • Google Sitemaps – This plugin will automatically create a Google compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog to ensure that all of your pages are indexed in Google. This is one plugin you definitely don’t want to be without.
  • WordPress Dulplicate Content Cure – this plugin will eliminate any worries you might have about duplicate content. The WordPress Duplicate Content Cure prevents search engines from indexing WordPress pages that contain duplicate content. This includes archives and category pages.
  • Popularity Contest – This plugin allows you to show off your most popular posts in the sidebar of your WordPress blogs.
  • SEO Title Tag – Title tags are one of the most important on-page factors for search engine optimization. This plugin allows you to optimize your title tag for optimum traffic.
  • WP-ContactForm – If you’re looking to avoid email spam, then this is the plugin for you. This plugin allows people to contact you without actually emailing you.
  • WordPress Database Backup – Talk about a lifesaver. This plugin comes installed with WordPress, providing an easy way to backup your WordPress database. You can download the backup file or have it emailed to the address of your choice.

If you know of other great WordPress plugins, feel free to share them in the comments.

Advertising

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly atThe Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 EssentialGTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need
a Braindump
, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

Advertising

More by this author

How to Live on a Tight Budget Top 10 Ways to Use del.icio.us Top 20 Free Applications to Increase Your Productivity 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger Motivational Quotes to Keep You Going

Trending in Featured

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 5 50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next