Google Analytics for WordPress

An essential part of any blog is knowing how many visitors you are reaching and the best tool to achieve this (IMO) Google Analytics. It’s free gives in depth analytics of numbers, geographical location, return visits vs new visitors and so much more. For a product with no outlay it’s ROI is infinite ;). It also pulls together Google Webmaster tools and if monetization is your game Google Ads and if visitors is your thing Campaigns. Find out more about Google Analytics here:

https://www.google.com/analytics/

The plugin allows you to simply add the tracking code to all pages on your site and can be set up in less than a minute. Simplicity being the key this plugin from Yoast is the easiest way to get up and running, check out the WordPress page for the plugin here:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/

Or the developers page here:

http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics/

Twenty Twelve Theme – WordPress 3.5

After some poking around the WordPress site I found some information on the upcoming version 3.5 release. This is currently scheduled for December release. The release has a number of changes, especially around the libraries included even adding a prerelease version of jQuery. I have also made the decision to change the base theme to the one recommended by the WordPress team – Twenty Twelve. See post here:

http://wordpress.org/news/2012/09/wordpress-3-5-beta-1/

I think using the Twenty Twelve theme will mitigate the risk of the look and feel of the site breaking when the update rolls out. The theme itself is very clean and has been built to be responsive in line with the latest web standards. There have already been over 27,000 downloads so it looks as if I’m not the only one thinking this will be the best base for a new theme. While the options are limited from the administration side this will probably be a bonus when it come to customization. Have a look for yourself here:

http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/twentytwelve

I look forward to digging under the covers to see what potential this theme has for modification and customisation. My end goal is to create a theme along the lines of the new Microsoft Metro/Modern UI/Microsoft style (remove as applicable). Expect some dramatic changes (possibly breaking) as the site develops.

Twitter Tools – WordPress Plugin

Twitter Tools is a WordPress plugin that leverages off of the Social plugin (see previous post for details). It further integrates Twitter into your WordPress site and enables your tweets to automagically be created as WordPress posts.

Tweets are downloaded from twitter every 15 minutes and converted into posts with categories and tags which have been predefined. In a new content area called Tweets you can manage Hashtags, Mentions and Accounts as well as all the tweets.

Also included is a Widget to add where you see fit to display a feed of your tweets for users to follow. If you already have the Social plugin installed and configured Twitter Tools will only take a minute to set up and then you can start Tweeting directly to your blog!

You can find Twitter Tools on the WordPress site here:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/twitter-tools/

Or at the developers own site here where they also list a number of other plugins to check out:

http://crowdfavorite.com/wordpress/plugins/twitter-tools/

 

Social WordPress Plugin

The Social plugin enables the broadcasting of content to both Twitter and Facebook. It can also pull in retweets, comments, replies and likes to make sure you are making the most of social networking. Users can sign in with their Facebook/Twitter account which will in turn create a WordPress user. It supports multiple accounts and takes seconds to install and setup, install now and start getting “Social” (</badpun>). Check out the WordPress plugin page here:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/social/

There really isn’t much more to say about this plugin, it just works. What I like about it is it allows for other plugins to extend this functionality such as the next one which will have a post that follows shortly – Twitter Tools.

 

WordPress SEO by Yoast

First plugin off the Rank will be WordPress SEO by Yoast, this is a simple to use plugin to subtly enhance with search engine optimizations. It gives a quick SEO analysis of pages and posts based on a defined keyword and provides a visual indicator as to the effectiveness of the page content to support that.

WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO by Yoast

Once installed and activated the plugin adds a new “SEO” menu section to the WordPress administration menu on the left hand side. This gives access to all the configuration options for the plugin such as Social Media configuration for Facebook and Twitter, XML sitemaps and a whole heap of other functionality. Pages and options are all laid out cleanly with good explanations and for the complete novice there is a simple tour which gives an overview of all the available functions.

Quick and simple to set up I would recommend it for all WordPress sites, the plugin is free to use but if you do find it useful I would suggest stumping up a few bucks for the developer for keeping the SEO plugin up to date at the very least rate the plugin so others can see it’s value. See the details at either WordPress:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-seo/

Or the developers website:

http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/

While you are there check out the Google Analytics plugin, if you’re not using Analytics why not?!