6 Top Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress

Blogs are inherently interactive, which is why it isn’t a surprise that there seem to be more social bookmarking and sharing plugins than anything else. In fact, many WordPress blogs utilize 2 or 3 of these plugins in order to maximize the odds that their visitors share the content. Along with providing direct traffic from the shares, it is also a great way to generate organic back links. Here is a quick look at 6 of the top social bookmarking and sharing plugins for WordPress. It is important to note that this list is focusing on “one stop” plugins that support all of the major social networks, not just one specific network like Facebook or Twitter.

1. Sociable
Like several other plugins on this list, Sociable seems to make it into every conversation related to social networking and WordPress. One of the reasons that it dominates is that it offers access to more then 100 different bookmarking sites. While it may not be the best looking plugin, it is definitely one of the most effective.

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2. ShareThis
ShareThis is a very popular service that supports a variety of different content management systems, not just WordPress Along with being exceptionally customizable, it can also provide you with API and click tracking analytics. If there is any drawback, it is that the plugin can doesn’t has many options so you will likely end up embedding the JavaScript directly into your theme.

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3. Sexy Bookmarks
Sexy Bookmarks is another plugin that always makes this type of list. They look great and the name alone will grab your attention. Along with being visually appealing, it also adds a little movement to your site that can help catch your readers eye. The one potential drawback of this plugin is that it can take up a lot of room and slow down your page load time. If this is your only bulky piece of code, you shouldn’t notice much of a problem. However if you are already dealing with page speed issues, then you may want to look elsewhere.

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4. Digg Digg
Digg Digg has consistently gained a larger following since it was first introduced. One of the most important characteristics that helps it stand out is that the plugin will create icons that float on the side of the screen. It offers a good amount of customization options so that it will fit into your websites design fairly easily. Plus, since the social bookmarking buttons are always on the screen, you can capture those extra bookmarks from people who won’t make any attempt to share it, if they can’t easily find the buttons.

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5. Share and Follow
The aspect that really makes this plugin stand out is that you aren’t forced to choose between gathering followers or promoting shares. It allows for the more traditional placement for the sharing buttons, but also adds floating “follow me” buttons on the side. If you are a fan of the floating buttons, then this is the one plugin that could compete with Digg Digg.

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6. Light Social
Light Social makes the list for one reason – it defines light. This plugin was designed for one purpose. It gives you the social buttons you want with the smallest footprint possible. It has very few options (3), but also takes up about the same amount of space that hard-coding the HTML that is needed to achieve the same look.

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Best WordPress Security Plugins

When it comes to WordPress security, there are a variety of topics that could fall under this category ranging from preventing hackers to eliminating spam. The plugins being discussed are all proactive approaches to keeping your blog and data secure. A lot of times, most webmasters won’t start to notice any potential issues until they have already started to generate a decent amount of traffic, which is exactly when you don’t want these types of problems to arise

1. WP Secure
WP Secure is one of the most consistently used WordPress security plugins because it covers so many different potential hazards. It is also a regularly updated plugin which is especially important considering how fast website attackers evolve. It hides the information that hackers normally look for and exploit such as your WordPress plugin directory and update information from your plugins, core, and themes. It also automatically adds protective layers such as an index.php file in your plugin directory and removing vulnerabilities such as really simple discovery and Windows Live Writer. If you only want to install one security plugin, this one is should definitely be considered.

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2. WP DBManager
WP DBManager deals more with optimization than security, however it is invaluable if an attack happens. It not only repairs your database, but also creates backup copies and an easy method to restore them. It not only helps in the case that your blog is hacked, but also if there is an issue that inadvertently causes a crash or data loss.

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3. WP FireWall
WP Firewall is designed to deal with the most types of attacks, especially SQL injections and directory transversal’s It also white lists and blacklists pathological phrases based upon their fields. The stated goal of this plugin isn’t to replace upgrading, but rather minimize the chance of “0-day attacks”.

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4. WP-Malwatch or WP File Monitor
It is important to note that neither of these plugins are designed to actively prevent attacks, rather they make sure that you know when they happen. WP-MalWatch does a security scan of your installation every 24 hours and targets the addition of hidden files, disguised PHP, and malicious HTACCESS files. WP File Monitor sends you email alerts whenever files are changed, added, or deleted.

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5. Theme Authenticity Checker
The Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) plugin is something that some WordPress users may not need depending on whether or not they create their own themes. It will search the source files of every theme that is uploaded for different types of malicious codes. If it finds one, then it will tell you the file, line number, and the code itself. This plugin was originally designed because there was a growing problem in which people would create free themes with undesirable code such as a hidden back door file.

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There are a growing number of additional WordPress security related plugins, however these 5 have proven to be very effective and are consistently updated. Additionally, all 5 are designed to do something different. Installing all 5 isn’t a bad idea, but if you want to use only one then WP DBManager would probably be your best bet.

Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site

Since Google officially announced that their algorithm takes into account the page load time of websites, making sure that your WordPress blog is fast carries a great emphasis than ever. Fortunately, a growing number of plugins are available to ensure that your website loads quickly. There are a variety of strategies that can be utilized including caching, combining files, and much more. Here is a closer look at some of the popular WordPress plugins designed to speed up your website in different ways.

Caching

By far the most popular caching plugin is WP Super Cache. It has been downloaded well over 2 and has proven to be one of the most effective options available. This plugin will convert your dynamic PHP pages into static HTML files, thus significantly decreasing your page load time.

Several other popular options include: Hyper Cache, DB Cache, and W3 Total Cache

Compression

WP Minify is another popular plugin for improving your page load time. It combines and compresses your JavaScript and CSS files utilizing the Minify Engine. The best part is that you can also set aside specific files to not be minified as well.

Other popular compression plugins include: Scripts Gzip, HTML-Compress, and External Files Optimizer

Loading Efficiency

Along with making files easier to load, you also need to make sure that the loading process itself is as fast as possible. One of the best plugins to handle this is WP Parallel Loading System. This plugin increases the loading efficiency by improving parallel loads.

There are several other plugins that address this, although some of them take a little different approach. They include: HeadJS Loader and Performance Optimization.

If You Can Only Pick One

A lot of WordPress sites simply are not large enough or complex enough to require all of these plugins. In fact, if you don’t have a lot of new visitors, some of these plugins will provide only a marginal benefit on their own. If you only want to use one plugin, yet still get the best possible results then W3 Total Cache is probably your best choice. It not only caches pretty much everything, it also minimizes the download time of your theme and makes it easy to integrate a CND (Content Delivery Network). It also offers Minify features and will compress all of your coding (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). It can even compress your RSS feeds.

Were Membership Websites Affected upon the Release of WordPress 3.0?

Were Membership Websites Affected upon the Release of WordPress 3.0?

The answer is no. The release of WordPress 3.0 has been in the labs for quite a while and its official release has been anticipated. Now, it’s finally here. The instant reaction was such that, most people tried to find out if WordPress 3.0 had any effect on their existing websites in terms of overall manageability, what were the pros and cons if any, and if it had any serious impact on websites created with prior versions.

Membership websites are having increased pressure to be available all the time, not only for the fact that downtime has always created problems, but with the mere fact that members have paid access for the content perceived as valuable and scarce. This is why developers took on the double pressure to carefully plan out the entire process of the WordPress upgrade, given the fact that the end-users of such are mostly webmasters scrapping out a living of membership websites.

• Rigorous Testing:

Just like any important CMS platform, WordPress 3.0 underwent an extensive and exhaustive alpha and beta phase. This is enough justification that developers (especially true for commercial plugin developers) should have used the spare time to update their plugins to ensure compatibility with WordPress 3.0. Commercial plugins rarely falter when new updates are released; and therefore should not encounter any adverse effect.

• Better Features:

Since the main features were modified to better accommodate needs, the alterations should not affect a membership website’s operations when using WordPress 3.0. What were the biggest changes? You now have the integration with WordPress-MU, enjoy newer default themes, freshly different editor styles, easier navigation menus, plus the option to do bulk upgrades. Not all membership plugins should encounter problems with the change. If they do, troubleshooting should not be a huge headache.

How to do a better upgrade?

1. Have a test site ready.

The reason behind this is very simple. A test site will inform you if the changes are going well before you even go live. This is where you test your new grounds, will you be encountering any problem if you upgrade to WordPress 3.0 on your test site?

2. Backups are always handy.

This is very basic though a lot of web developers tend to overlook the importance. Either they forget or, just rely on their best judgment that it’s no longer necessary. This is not always the case. Backups assure you that you can restore everything to normal defaults if and when complications arise during the upgrade.

It’s always a good practice to ascertain these issues yourself. WordPress 3.0 should be an exciting new development for webmasters, and as long as you go back to the basics of running a test site and creating a backup before going live, everything should be a smooth sail ahead