What is the most striking about the list of 25 Most Commonly Used WordPress Plugins –published by Line25.com, a blog focusing on web design–is how little the plugins actually have to do with actual web design.
Instead, the list is topped by the “All-In-One SEO Pack” and followed by “Google XML Site Map.” The rest of the list is dominated by search marketing, analytics and visibility plugins such as “Random Page Widget-For Visitors & SEO,” “Easy AdSense” and “Add to Any: Share/Bookmark/Email Button.”
In an age where custom WordPress design themes have become a cottage industry, and Web development shops churn out $5000 blog designs like they’re going out of style, it may be a little surprising that bloggers aren’t instead gobbling up free visual bells and whistles such as NextGEN Gallery.
This is just the latest sign that the most daunting challenge facing any Web property today is simply getting found. It wasn’t so long ago that anyone who committed to a niche content focus, and blogged three or four times a week, could rack up significant organic search traffic over time. Those days are over. Just last month, DemandResults was asked to look at a blog that had been updated religiously and continuously for the past year and – with a specific content focus – and was pulling less than 50 visits per month. Surprisingly, the blog was also more or less fully indexed by the major search engines, and it had plenty of carefully categorized content.
Great content is essential, but that alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Bloggers can still get traffic without having to pony up for pay-per-click campaigns, but even employing XML site maps and basic SEO tools such as the (not) “All-In-One SEO Pack” won’t be good enough in the near future. In order to compete, bloggers also need to have a clearly defined SEO strategy and an advanced understanding of a broad array of search marketing concepts.