Two very popular and must have WordPress Plugins that you should consider installing for your website are:
Google Analytics and Google XML Sitemaps.
WordPress is by far the platform of choice for bloggers and business with over “16.7% of Alexa Internet’s top 1 million websites. As of August 2011, WordPress manages 22% of all new website. It’s currently the most popular blogging system in use on the internet today” according to Wikipedia.
So here’s the skinny on what they offer and why you should be using them.
Keep in mind there are over 18,000+ plugins available. I have comprised a list of my favorite and the best WordPress plugins which can be found by Clicking Here!
Google Analytics plugin for WordPress is fairly simple to install and set up. It’s purpose is to give you at a glance a summary of the top pages, top referrers, and top searches right within the dashboard of your WordPress backoffice. You will need to set up an account with Google’s Webmaster tool. All the necessary info can be found here.
Next you will need to authenticate the site you want to track as well using a Google Analytics account and API tracking code. I’ve included a short video from the creator of this plugin and a link above where you can download the plugin, along with an explanation of how to configure it.
The full Google Analytics tracking code and system is extremely robust offering a staggering amount of data with beautiful real time charts. It covers everything from your target audience, traffic sources, i.e. all traffic, direct, referrals, search either organic, paid etc. You can see information on your landing pages, exit pages, a drilldown on all content including site speed and so much more. You can even see in realtime how many visitors are on your site at any given time and what posts they are viewing.
Pretty cool huh?
Check out the short video below that Google offers on Beginning Analytics and Interpreting Your Data.
If you really want to dive in and learn some great tricks and hacks, Bryan Eisenberg has a wonderful article with 30+ tips and tricks.
What are XML SiteMaps?
Sitemaps are designed to tell Google about all the pages on your site that they might not otherwise discover. It’s basically a list of all the pages, including URL’s that might not be seen during the normal crawling process.
You can also provide Google with specific metadata concerning all types of content on your site including, Video, Images, Mobile, and News. Setting up a Video and News Sitemaps are particularly important and should be set up separately to provide Google with as much info as possible about your site.
For a complete overview of the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, including a download link, Click Here.
Prior to XML Sitemaps, each search engine required a webmaster to submit their sitemap to each one individually… Meaning one for Yahoo, one for Google, Bing and so on. This created a lot of additional work that often times was overlooked.
Google XML Sitemaps plugin is designed to simplify your life but if you’d rather not install the plugin then…
The simplest way to set up Google XML Sitemaps for the various search engines is to append your sitemap URL to the following URL’s.
Google: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=YOUR SITEMAP URL
Yahoo: http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/ping?sitemap=YOUR SITEMAP URL
Bing: http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=YOUR SITEMAP URL
Ask.com: http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=YOUR SITEMAP URL
In closing: There are so many must have WordPress plugins for your blog to choose from.
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin in my opinion is in the top three. Making it easier for all the search engines to index your site is extremely important to your websites SEO. It allows all the major search engines to know each time you create a new post and add content, not just Google.
Paying close attention to your Google Analytics can not only help you fine tune your websites performance, it can give you a great deal of insight into what keywords are generating the most traffic. Both these plugins belong on every WordPress site, they are easy to setup and install and you can’t beat the price… Free is always a bonus!
I hope you’ve found some useful information in this post, if so, please share it with your friends on Google+, Facebook and other social networking sites!
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Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions regarding these two must have WordPress plugins.