If you want to maximize your chances for lots of hits on your blog posts, then blog about subjects that are currently trending on major search engines.
Who’s online now? Where are they from?
If you’re a WordPress blogger who often wonders about the answers to these questions, there are some simple and free solutions in the form of WordPress plugins.
I am constantly checking my WordPress visitor statistics via Jetpack, and eventually I wanted more – so I finally downloaded the WassUp plugin for WordPress.
Resources: WordPress plugins showing who is online
- Visitor Maps and Who’s Online – WordPress Plugin by Mike Challis
- WordPress Wassup Plugin: Real time statistics for WordPress – WassUp is a WordPress plugin to track your visitors in real time. It has a very readable and fancy admin console to keep tracks of your blog’s users’ visits.
- Statpress Visitors – WordPress Plugin – This plugin (a highly improved fork of StatPress Reloaded) shows the real-time statistics on your blog. It corrects many programming errors… It collects information about visitors, spiders, search keywords, feeds, browsers, OS, etc. It is compatible with StatPress, StatPress Cn, StatPress Reloaded, and Statsurfer…
- Visitor Maps and Who’s Online – WordPress Plugin – Displays Visitor Maps with location pins, city, and country. Includes a Who’s Online Sidebar to show how many users are online. Includes a Who’s Online admin dashboard to view visitor details. The visitor details include: what page the visitor is on, IP address, host lookup, online time, city, state, country, geolocation maps and more. No API key needed. Easy and Quick 4 step install.
- WassUp – WordPress Plugin – WassUp is a WordPress plugin to track your visitors in real-time. It has a very readable and fancy admin console to keep track of your visitors that gives you a detailed view into almost everything your users are doing on your site. It is very useful for SEO or statistics maniacs… The aim of WassUp is the knowledge of what your visitors do when they surf your site. It is not intended to show grouped statistics over preset time periods like visitors per day, pageviews per months, and so on (there are many others tools to better gain that, like Google Analytics). Instead, WassUp provides flexible, easy-to-read views into your visitors data that is customizable by time periods, visitor types, search keywords, and much more.
- Top 45 WordPress Plugins & Tools For The Administration Area – Design Your Way
For reasons unknown, the otherwise excellent Twenty Eleven WordPress theme does not display the sidebar for individual posts. I spent some time over the weekend considering alternatives. Virtually all visitors to the Supernatural Horror blog arrive via Google search for terms relating to horror movie titles, and thus land on an individual post – usually a horror movie review. Having no sidebar means these visitors will see not a single link to any other post on the entire blog. It means visitors will not be able to see the widgets that have been configured to appear on the sidebar – crucial WordPress widgets such as the tag cloud, post categories, link categories, Popular Posts, Recent Posts, etc.
Why would any blogger or website owner not want important links to appear on the individual post pages of a blog? Well, to be fair, there are some circumstances under which this would be preferable; however, I’m thinking the vast majority of bloggers would want their links to appear on web pages that display a blog’s individual posts.
So what should I do about it?
Should I find a different free WordPress theme? I spent about an hour poking around the search results for
free WordPress themes 2011, and there are free themes aplenty – more than ever, I’m sure… but I liked the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme. It’s so neat and clean; it has the options I need and the features I wanted for this blog.
Besides, I’ve already invested time in creating my own custom header graphics (using GIMP, of course) that fit the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme, plus I invested additional time modifying the theme to display a random header image every time a page at Supernatural Horror is loaded.
Then the solution hit me – something I should have realized from the very start: the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme is a fairly popular one, so someone else has surely…
- been in my shoes,
- modified the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme to include sidebar display,
- and then blogged about it, so other WordPress users could benefit from the blogger’s experience.
A quick Googling for such precise information revealed several blog posts on that exact subject.
The first post I read about how to add the sidebar to individual posts on the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme included numerous comments about the given solution not working properly. Skip that one.
The second post – Add Sidebar Support in Posts for the Twenty Eleven Theme, which I found on a blog called Future Web Blog: Discovering the future of jQuery, WordPress and the Web – seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. Better, there was feedback and commentary sufficient to instill confidence in its recommendations:
If you’d like to have this sidebar functionality in your current Twenty Eleven theme immediately you can download a copy of the child theme from the link above. You can upload and install the zip file directly into your WordPress installation. Make sure you have a copy of the Twenty Eleven parent theme installed first, otherwise the modified child theme will not install.
This blogger had taken the time to explain the WordPress tweaks necessary for this sidebar fix – instructions that are virtually idiot-proof.
Then I saw it: there was a WordPress plugin for this!
(I’ll finish this later…)
Resources: Sidebars for the Twenty Eleven WordPress theme
There are now thousands of WordPress plugins out there, and many of them are free; however, reviewing them can burn up a lot of valuable time. I’ve spent many hours reviewing some of the available WordPress extensions, and that’s nowhere near an exhaustive analysis.
I can at least offer some advice regarding a handful of what I definitely consider to be the most essential WordPress plugins for serious bloggers, who are probably concerned about search engine optimization (we want our blogs to be search engine friendly, of course), blog visitors and web traffic, advertising, speed and efficiency, and so on.
The first plugin I upload to all new WordPress blog installations is SEO Ultimate.
SEO WordPress plugins
Google Analytics for WordPress
Google Sitemap Generator
Social media plugins, link sharing plugins
WordPress Popular Posts: For most of our blogs, we like to list the most popular posts as the first widget on the sidebar; that way, the links to the top 5-10 posts are there for all to see, regardless of which page they are on.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP): I include the list of related posts at the end of every post.
WassUp Plugin: A must for those who want real-time information about who’s reading the blog
Other handy plugins
Page Links To
Broken Link Checker
WordPress plugins for later
I often run across a potentially interesting or useful WordPress plugin while I am researching a related topic and grab it for later. (My Later File is huge and unmanageable.) I’ll list those here.
Optimize DB WordPress plugin – For some People running WordPress, the use of phpMyAdmin appears to be a risky thing. There’s just too many options. This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize the tables of your database, to reduce their overhead.
NOTE: Although this post is unfinished, I went ahead and listed most of the plugins I am using across multiple blogs; I’ll add a few other WordPress plugins and describe some of the plugins in more detail later.
See also Best page, which includes a section of our favorite free WordPress plugins.
Resources: Essential WordPress plugins for our blogs
Monday, October 31, 2011