August 4, 2011

5 WordPress plug-ins to turbo-charge your blog


Livefyre: a commenting system that captures the social stream.

Optimize your blog for commenting, mobile, printing & more

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, companies, brands, start-ups, citizen publications, Web publishers, individuals.

Shonali BurkeHere are some cool plug-ins for you to try out on your WordPress blog. I found a few of them via Ken Mueller, so I recommend you read him regularly.

The list includes plug-ins to optimize your blog for commenting, for mobile, for printing and to insert images. And don’t forget to check out our list of 10 essential WordPress plug-ins: Akismet, Dagon Sitemap, Broken Link Checker, Creative Commons, IntenseDebate, WP Database Backup, All in One SEO, Zemanta, Audio Player and Smart Update Pinger.

livefyre logo

Livefyre: Jacking into commenters’ social networks

1Now, I know a lot of people like comment systems such as Disqus and CommentLuv. But here’s why I love Livefyre:

  • It was the first comment system to introduce the ability to tag friends from Twitter and Facebook, thus bringing them into your blog conversation (yes, you see this on Disqus now, but Livefyre did it before Disqus).
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  • Because of this, it really does help boost conversation in your blog comments. Certainly, you need to have a community you can reach out to, comment on other blogs to grow your community, etc. But you can’t beat a comment system that helps showcase your blog posts in front of those who might not have been aware of the post or conversation going on in the first place, can you?
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  • One of CommentLuv’s signature features has been the ability to have your latest post (or one that you select) linked to in your comment. Well, Livefyre lets you do this now, too. And even when it didn’t, its tagging features outweighed the signature feature for me, because of the related ability to grow participation on your blog.
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  • Their customer service is excellent. And I mean E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T.

To get started with Livefyre, simply sign your site up at www.livefyre.com (it supports several platforms), and then install the plug-in as part of the process. Two steps that are very easy and very quick.

wptouch

WPtouch Pro: Make your site mobile-ready

2This is an ab-fab plug-in that makes your blog mobile-friendly for smartphones in just a few steps. I think this is really important to do, especially given the fact that an increasing number of Americans are accessing the Internet primarily through their mobile phones. Remember, this means that all users get to see your site in a mobile-optimized format — no app download necessary. The WPtouch Pro plug-in is a modestly priced solution to get you there. For more details, see our earlier writeup on WPtouch Pro.

zemanta

Zemanta: Find relevant blog images

3Zemanta finds links, images, etc., that are related to your post as you’re typing so that you can insert them if you choose. My initial reaction is that it’s pretty neat. However, I found it a little slow to pull up related links, especially for the ones I wanted to embed within the text, so I found myself doing exactly what Zemanta is supposed to prevent, which is having to search online for related links. In addition, if you like to type your posts in full-screen mode, as I do, you lose the Zemanta “as you write” view. It does, however, bring up a selection of images that you can drag and drop into your post, and as it’s developed, might be a great alternative to tools like Apture. Continue reading