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Much of a blogger’s success comes from the time he or she spends creating great content, networking, testing new opportunities, and promoting his or her blog. Unfortunately, publishing a blog also requires time. Fortunately, the 10 WordPress plugins listed below can help automate (or shorten the time spent on) many blog-related tasks, so you can spend more time writing, networking and promoting, and less time on busy work.
All bloggers should track the activity on their blogs using a web analytics tool, but taking the time to log into that tool and navigate through the provided reports takes time. Often bloggers just want to take a quick peak at their top level stats. That’s where the WordPress.com Stats plugin comes in handy. Instead of logging into a separate application, you can view some of your key blog analytics right from your WordPress dashboard.
People love to participate in polls. Sure there are many options available to bloggers to add polls to their blogs such as PollDaddy, but the WP-Polls plugin allows you to create custom polls without leaving your WordPress account!
The No Self Pings plugin is a great time saver for bloggers who intralink to their own posts frequently. If your blog is set up to accept pings and trackbacks, then each time you link to one of your own posts in a new post, a trackback link is sent to your blog and published in the comments section of the old post that you linked to. Pings and trackbacks can slow down your blog, clutter your comments section, and be a nuisance if they’re excessive. Also, if your blog is set up to moderate all comments and trackbacks, this plugin will save you a considerable amount of time.
Make sure that Akismet is activated on your blog and configured to meet your preferences. Unfortunately, blogs get a lot of comments that are spam. Without Akismet (or another comment spam blocking plugin of some kind), your blog is likely to be inundated with spam comments over time. Blog readers don’t like to see spam comments. In fact, too many spam comments published on your blog can directly result in decreased blog traffic, so make sure you’re using a comment spam blocking plugin like Akismet.
Unfortunately, comment spam blocking plugins such as Akismet aren’t always enough to eliminate all spam comments from getting through to publish on your blog (or sit in your comment moderation queue). When you install the Math Comment Spam plugin on your blog, commenters will be asked to enter the answer to a simple math problem such as 2+3 before they submit their comment to ensure the comment is being submitted by a human being and not a spam bot. Users report a significant decrease in the amount of spam comments that get through Akismet (or their comment spam blocking plugin) once Math Comment Spam is installed.
If you want to change your blog’s theme but don’t want visitors to see your changes until they’re final, then Theme Tester is the WordPress plugin for you! When Theme Tester is intalled, your visitors see your existing blog design while anyone set up with administrator status in your WordPress account sees the new WordPress theme.
The WP-Database Backup plugin is a must-have for any WordPress.org user. Once installed, you can set up the plugin to automatically backup your WordPress database files and save them to your hard drive or send them to you via email. If your blog is important to you, do yourself a favor and install this plugin, and set it up to backup your WordPress database periodically. Keep in mind, the plugin only backs up your database files. You should also manually backup your wp-content folder from your blog hosting account.
If you’ve ever struggled trying to get a YouTube or Google Video to publish correctly on your blog, then the Easytube plugin is a perfect choice for you. It makes embedding YouTube and Google Videos into your blog posts a snap and even includes a preview image of YouTube videos in your RSS feed with a link to the video.
Old blog posts are bait for automated comment spam bots. In order to reduce spam on old posts, you can use the Auto Close Comments, Pingbacks and Trackbacks plugin. Simply install it, set the timeframe when you want comments to be closed on posts, and you’re done.
If you like to include maps from Google in your blog posts, then the Google Maps Plugin will make the process of creating, inserting and customizing your maps faster than ever!