It might be worth mentioning at this point an important fact about WordPress plugins. If you’ve been following this post series you might be getting excited and carried away by the many possibilities discussed. Keep in the back of your mind that plugins slow your site down. The more you have activated, the slower your site will run.
The reason is that each plugin consists of extra code that must run in order to render the page correctly. If you have twenty plugins activated, then twenty sets of code must run, each plugin demanding its round-robin piece of computation time to make sure it’s performing properly. Whenever you see a plugin advertising itself as “lightweight,” that’s tech speak for very little code, thus very little added load time.
Broken Link Checker
The Broken Link Checker is a great plugin that you can install and run periodically. It will search your site and check every link and report back to you any broken links that need to be repaired or removed.
As you know, it dents your credibility for a link on your site to come up with an error. External links are forgivable, since your reader knows you might have linked some content that has since disappeared through no fault of your own.
If there are any internal broken links, that makes you look much worse. Avoid them all by sweeping for them from time to time and fixing even very old posts. Per the caveat above, this is exactly the kind of plugin that is indispensable, but doesn’t have to be installed and activated 24/7 in order to work for you.
When I first tried to use WordPress, I didn’t get the concept. I’ve worked as a software developer and built my fair share of websites. So the whole “new page,” “new post” GUI made no sense to me.
To me, a “new page” was an empty notepad file and I got to build it from scratch. WordPress asks you to create content in this tiny little box within your page, while it “takes care of” all the functional parts of the site around your content.
That’s every bit of what you intended to do, but there are a handful of times when you want to display some “naked” or custom content without leaving your site. Redirection allows you to create pages like this one, which looks like “http://mediascover.com/subscribe/” but behind the scenes, redirects you to “http://eepurl.com/bvnWy9” without you knowing.
This is called a “pass-through” redirect, and it is useful for folding special pages into your site without going through WordPress’s theme. The plugin offers other kinds of redirects as well.
External Link Checker
Every time you create a link in WordPress, there is a checkbox that says “open link in new tab.” SEO considerations aside, the rule of thumb is to open external links in a new tab so that your website stays open in the original tab, thus the user hasn’t truly yet left your site.
For your own internal links, you want the user to transition from page to page without annoying them with an explosion of new tabs each time. What This Amazing Plugin does is search through the hundreds of links on your blog and find any that violate this rule of thumb so that you can fix them.
The only problem is This Amazing Plugin does not exist. I’ve found dozens of plugins that, when activated, scan the page as the user loads it and make this change, but the change is not saved permanently. What I want is a plugin which, like the Broken Link Checker, I can install & run periodically to catch mishaps without having to leave it permanently activated. If you find such a plugin, or decide to make one on this inspiration, please contact me about it!
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
Victor Davis is the author of one short story collection, Grains of Sand, and is publishing a second book, The Gingerbread Collection, in the spring of 2016. He shares his writing and reading adventures at his blog Mediascover. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. His Books & Stories are available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.