Thursday, 30 June 2011

Why is Strictly AutoTags a good tagging plugin

Strictly AutoTags - Is it a good plugin?

As the author of the top rated Strictly AutoTags Wordpress plugin that at the time of writing has been downloaded over 35,000 times and still has 5 stars I am bound to be biased towards it.

You can read all about my plugin on my main website or view many of the reviews people have written about it on-line however I thought I would quickly list a couple of the main points which are often overlooked.

The main point is that Strictly AutoTags does not use remotely hosted API's to determine which tags to use.

Many of the other automatic tagging plugins use API's to retrieve a list of tags for their article posts. This involves sending the article to a remote site through an HTTP request and retrieving a list of tags in an HTTP response. The downsides of this approach are:
  • You are relying on a remote website and a working API for the tagging to work. If their server is down or their code is broken you will get no tags back.
  • You are relying on a 3rd party to keep a list of tags up to date. When new tags come out you must wait until they are added before they can be used. For example if a news story breaks that mentions for the first time the name of a major character within the story - say a baby goes missing or a banker commits suicide then their names are unlikely to be in any 3rd party list of tags until someone a) decides the name is worth going on the list and b) the list is updated to have the name on it.
  • You are using up bandwidth passing content back and forth from your websites server to the API server. Depending on the size of the article and the number of articles you are tagging this may or may not cost you a lot of money depending on your hosting package.
Why is the Strictly AutoTags plugin different?

Well for one it has the best of both worlds in that it uses your existing tag list to work out what words to use for post tags and therefore you can tailor your own tag list to words relevant to your sites content only and start off with as big or as small a list as possible.

Instead of using up bandwidth and relying on the 3rd party API to always be active and fast you can create your own tag list and do the same thing internally. It may not have the same size or depth of tags but you are not using bandwidth or spending time making HTTP requests to check for tags you might already have.

Another great feature is that it has an auto discovery feature which when enabled will automatically scan the content of your article for words or sentences that can be used as new tags. This is great for sites with no initial tag list as it will help build a list from scratch and it is also great for identifying the names of people who have suddenly become famous over night and are appearing in news stories before 3rd party API's have been updated.

Using my own proprietary code I scan content for possible new tags that match important English words such as names of people, companies, government office branches, football clubs and anything else that could be deemed important. This is all done without requiring the upkeep of a list of possible tags which 3rd party API's mainly rely on.

If a news story breaks about a fireman called Mike Johnson saving a baby named Amanda Jean Jones then these names would be identified as possible tags and if saved they are then available in future searches. API's relying on lists would need to add these names into their database so that users of their API could make use of them before they get tagged.

Another reason my plugin is pretty cool is that unlike some plugins that just match existing tags inside the content and then re-use them for that article my plugin checks to see how often the tags are used so only the most relevant and frequently referenced tags are added.

It also ranks each tag match depending on where it appears so that the tag "CIA" appearing in the article title or a H1 tag is ranked a lot higher than if the word just appeared in a paragraph inside the main content.

My plugin all ranks matches within all important kinds of HTML such as H1 to H6, Strong, EM, Bold, Italic and Anchor tags. A word within an H2 is ranked higher than one within an H6 or a Strong tag. These rankings are then used to order the tags so only the tags ranked with the highest score are used.

The admin user can configure the maximum number of tags that can be added per article as well as a number of other cool featured including the great for SEO option of wrapping tagged words in <STRONG>tags</STRONG> so they are considered more important than other pieces of text.

As well as being able to set up the plugin to ignore certain words or phrases as either case sensitive or case insensitive the plugin has a number of other options and I am constantly coming up with new ideas for it.

In fact I am working on a new SEO related plugin that is so black hat that I am having trouble coming up with a descriptive word for it that conveys it's total awesomeness.

If anyone has any ideas of what they would like to see in any Search Engine Optimisation plugins then please leave a comment or send me an email as the more ideas the better.

Anyway if you are currently debating on what kind of autoblogging tools to use for your Wordpress site then I suggest checking out my plugins Strictly AutoTags and Strictly Tweetbot two plugins that can save you huge amounts of time and give your blog or site an active online social media presence without lifting a finger.

Also if you are one of the 35,000 plus users of my Strictly AutoTags plugin and you have found it useful in generating you a nice a tag list or helped in driving traffic to your site then please consider donating a small amount of money to my site.

Remember that at the moment all my Wordpress Plugins are free and they take a lot of time to keep maintained as well as developing new features. Without your support I will have to stop my open source development and move back towards paid for applications which is only going to hurt current users so please consider helping me out. Remember any amount is appreciated!






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