WordPress Dashboard Plugins to help with SEO and Performance

Now that we have a WordPress site running on Amazon AWS, let’s take a look at some plugins to help maintain the performance of the site and to help with SEO and other development tasks.

Jetpack – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/
Is a free plugin created by the WordPress team that gives you enhanced features such as site stats and monitoring.  You’ll need a WordPress.com account which is free to connect this to your site.

Here are a list of Jetpack features I use.

  • WordPress.com Stats – this is a great addition.  Although I also run Google Analytics to be able to get more insight into analytics, this is a great secondary tool and gives you a nice chart on the dashboard.
  • Notifications – When you are logged into your WP site, you’ll see a dark grey navigation bar with drop down menu items.  On the right side, you’ll see a comment bubble, which shows you notifications from your site such as recent comments.
  • Sharing – this integrates popular sharing widgets into your WordPress site.  Easy social media integration!
  • Custom CSS – this is a great add-on that lets you make CSS edits to your site without having to  modify the core CSS of your theme.  Less errors!
  • Mobile Theme – easy way to get a mobile friendly site without having to use a custom theme or third party service such as Mobify.com.
  • Shortcode Embeds – very useful for embedding YouTube clips into your post without having to copy and paste long embed codes.
  • Infinite Scroll – although I don’t use this feature, I use a similar one through a 3rd party plugin called Lazy Load.  Using JQuery, it dynamically loads images as a visitor scrolls through my site, thereby lowering the initial load time of the site.
  • Enhanced Distribution – search engine notifications so they know when you post new content.
  • Mobile Push Notifications – download the WordPress App on your iOS device and manage your site on the go!

Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics/
Free analytics?  Sign me up!  Seriously though, you can’t get any better than paying $0 for Google Analytics.  I’ve used multiple different analytics tools, but for the ease of setup, low cost of ownership and basic reporting, you can’t beat GA.

Download the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin http://www.ioncannon.net/projects/google-analytics-dashboard-wordpress-widget/ and set it up via OAuth.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget
Google Analytics Dashboard Widget

If you want a simple way to integrate the GA tag on your WP site, use this plugin called Google Analytics for WordPress at http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics/#utm_source=wordpress&utm_medium=plugin&utm_campaign=wpgaplugin&utm_content=v420

Another great plugin for WordPress Development is the WordPress SEO plugin http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/#utm_source=wpadmin&utm_medium=plugin&utm_campaign=wpseoplugin It integrates with your posts and allows you to edit the SEO properties of a post to get optimal results with search engines.

WordPress SEO plugin
WordPress SEO plugin
WordPress SEO Plugin within a post
WordPress SEO Plugin within a post

The Debug Bar plugin provides you with a debug drop down in the WordPress top navigation.  It is very useful for debugging when viewing your site.

Debug Bar plugin on WordPress
Debug Bar plugin on WordPress

The W3 Total Cache plugin we installed earlier also has a useful dashboard widget that leverages the Google Page Speed API.

W3 Total Cache Google Page Speed Widget on dashboard
W3 Total Cache Google Page Speed Widget on dashboard
W3 Total Cache Google Page Speed Report
W3 Total Cache Google Page Speed Report

That’s it for the initial round of development plugins for WordPress.