Developing my site so that it supports multiple authors has been a challenge. The logistics of taking on so many authors and the responsibility of making the site a vehicle to promote their writing has been daunting. Fortunately WordPress and my contributors have been very forgiving. For the last couple of months I’ve experimented with quite a few things and wanted to share three WordPress plugins that I found super helpful (and hope you will too).
Most people know about Joost de Valk’s comprehensive WordPress plugin “WordPress SEO by Yoast,” but I think it bears repeating how good it is. I credit Cammi Pham for introducing me to it, and it has made a lot of difference. It does some pretty cool things, including handling the Google “rel=author” attribution for each author on site and offering a comprehensive list of ways your post is strong and ways it could improve. But maybe the most valuable thing that it does for me is to keep my keywords consistent in the headline, meta description and throughout the text of each post. Taking SEO out of the equation altogether, the keyword analysis makes sure that readers know what a post is about from the headline and the description, and that in the body of the post I’ve actually written about what they say I have. I can go back through old posts and show you where I integrated this – the consistency in the content has been that noticable.
I made the mistake of playing with my comment settings and ended up closing many of my posts. I’ve never had to reopen a closed post before and had a lot of trouble trying to execute SQL queries to accomplish this (with a limited technical background). I was just on the brink of probable disaster (and by that I mean I was about to do something rash that I’m convinced could have compromised the whole site) when I found the WordPress plugin “One Click Close Comments” by Scott Reilly. With this plug-in, a simple red light / green light system appears on my list of posts. If it’s green then comments are open and if it’s red comments aren’t. I simply have to click the button once to toggle comments on and off. Crisis averted!
I played with all kinds of author boxes, reverse engineering ones that I liked, scouring blog after blog but I never quite produced the product that I wanted. I wanted the author box to look nice and to allow readers to be able to connect with contributors through many social platforms and that’s when I came upon “Fanciest Author Box.” Programmer Slobodan Manic put together a fantastic WordPress plugin that links an author to their website, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and last few blog articles. I am notoriously miserly, but for $10 it’s hard to beat . And I can see the value of having a box like this even for a single author blog, it’s THAT nice and useful.
If you made it this far and rock a WordPress blog, I’d be interested to hear what WordPress plugin you rely on to keep your site running smoothly and looking sharp….