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.
- 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://yoursite.com/feed/ or http://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.
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.
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.
More About Working From Home
- 10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home
- 7 Ways To Supercharge Your Productivity When You Work From Home
- 10 Work from Home Desks to Boost Your Productivity