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Straight out of the box WordPress covers all the features you could want for your blog, which is probably the reason why it’s the most popular blogging platform. However there are some extra resources and services I always rely on to add that extra level of functionality to my sites. Here’s a quick overview of five services, both free and paid, that I always recommend to the owner of any blog.
Feedburner, which is now owned by Google, is a handy tool that allows you to manage your RSS feeds. By ‘burning’ your feed through Feedburner, you gain access to a whole bunch of extra features. Most importantly you can see and track your feed statistics such as your subscriber count. Feedburner also gives you the opportunity to offer your RSS feeds as email updates, opening up new options to your subscribers.
Google Analytics is a powerful stats tool that collections useful traffic data on your site. By simply adding a tracking code to your website code, you’ll be able to keep an eye on all kinds of handy data. See which posts generate the largest response, see where your traffic is coming from and gather useful information on the browser usage and computer setup of your visitors.
Wufoo is an online HTML form builder that makes it easy to accept email message via your website. Sure, there’s plenty of PHP scripts and plugins out there that can quickly generate a contact form, but none of them are as spam free and as easily customisable as Wufoo. What’s more, your emails arrive all nicely formatted and easy on the eye. I use Wufoo not only for contact forms, but also for questionnaires and surveys.
Every popular social bookmarking website now has a button that you can place on your website. These buttons help users promote and share your content, which grow your blog with more and more exposure. Popular buttons I use are those from Tweetmeme, Facebook, Digg and DesignBump, but there’s plenty more out there to choose from, including StumbleUpon, Delicious, DZone and Reddit.
If your blog has reached a stage where you can begin bringing in some revenue to cover the time your put into your blog, the BuySellAds is an indispensable resource. Managing your advertisers and ad spaces manually is an exhaustive task. BuySellAds not only take the strain out of ad management, but they also exposure your site to a huge marketplace of potential advertisers.
What about you?
Which resources, other than plugins do you use on your blog? Are there any that are so good you don’t mind paying for the service? Let me know in the comments!