Using Plug-ins for Blog Design

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Answered by: Jeff, An Expert in the Blog Design Category
The Problem with Plug-ins for Blog Design

A while ago I noticed that some of my less popular posts were at the top of the list in my posts section of WordPress. Two of them were showing today’s date as the date published and on my blog they were on the front page.

I really didn’t want this because like I said, they were two posts that had poorer bounce rates and a low number of comments. I keep them around because they provide some good information and there have been enough visitors coming in from Google that are searching for the exact information they contain so I figure if I can help out some of my readers then the posts deserve to stay.

I just don’t want them on my front page.

So like anyone who has worked with WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, etc. I knew that if I was having a problem, odds are someone else was having the same problem and the fix was a search query away.

Of course it was so let that be a lesson to any new bloggers out there.

The problem was that one of my plug-ins was trying to help me out by promoting content that it felt didn’t have enough search engine traffic.

The offending plug-in

The WordPress community is great for solving problems and they really came through here.

The first recommendation was to disable all plug-ins and then re-enable them until I found the one that caused the problem.

Not happening.

I read a bit further and found someone who claimed that SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2 was the culprit and all a blogger needed to do was to turn off the promote old post setting and all should be well.

SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2 is a great little plug-in that I installed to help me save time. What it does is add internal linking to the blog post using the most popular keywords used by search engine visitors to find the blog post from a search engine.

I didn’t want to lose the benefits of this plug-in so I took the guidance of my fellow WordPress users and turned off this setting.

So let’s see how that works.

The problem with plug-ins

In all actuality, I should have completely disabled the plug-in and gone through my posts to set up my own internal linking.

Internal linking is great because it creates stickiness for your blog. Readers click on links to other posts you have written so your bounce rates stay low and the visitor’s time on your site grows.

The visitors benefit because they get more good stuff to read.

But back to the problem with plug-ins. I have written many articles on why WordPress plug-ins for blog design aren’t always the way to go. The route I like to take in these articles is to cover some of the various hacks that you can use in place of plug-ins because hacks:

§      Keep your site from becoming bloated

§     Don’t break your blog as often as plug-ins do

§     Don’t leave your blog open to vulnerabilities as often as plug-ins do

§     Teach you how the backend of your blog works

Am I totally against plug-ins? Absolutely not. There are some great plug-ins that will help you tremendously. But before you install anything on your site make sure that you do a bit of research on it first. Don’t just install it because it has five stars or a fellow blogger thinks it’s the greatest thing on earth.

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