WordPress is to me the best self hosted blogging platform out there. One of the things that makes it so powerful are the plugins that third party developers have created to add features and functionality to WordPress blogs. Below are the plugins that I highly recommend. You can simple install a plugin by:
1. Logging into your blog dashboard as administrator.
2. Clicking on Plugins in the left column.
3. Selecting “Add New” from the top of the page that appears.
4. Typing in the plugin name in the search box that appears.
5. Scroll down (you will have a list of plugins that come up) and find the exact plugin you are seeking by name (many have similar names.)
6. Select “install now”
7. On the next screen click on the link that says “activate plugin”
8. Configure plugin by selecting it from the left column. If you do not see it, you may need to click on settings for it to show up in the drop down menu.
Security – WordPress has some security issues so it is critical that you use the following WordPress security plugins:
- Akismet – This one will cost you a mere $5 per month, but it is well worth it to keep the spammers away.
- Login Lockdown – This prevents people that use tools to guess password from getting access to your admin console. It is also recommended to choose a secure password.
- WP DB Backup – This plugin will email a copy of your blog to you periodically (I recommend daily). This way, if you have to reinstall it, you can.
SEO / Social Media – These are plugins designed to help you market your WordPress Website or Blog.
- All in One SEO Pack – Allows you to enter custom titles and meta tags for each page or blog post.
- Arkayne – Allows people to find you through other blog posts as it syndicates your blog posts to a network of related bloggers. I have actually seen quite a bit of traffic come to my SEO blog from Arkayne.
- CommentLUV – Encourages blog comments by linking the comment to the posters previus blog post.
- Dofollow – This plugin removes the “nofollow” attribute which is supposed to encourage people to comment on your blog. Truth be told, people should not worry about this so much as whether or not they are contributing to good content. In the end, this plugin actually produces lots of spam because those that seek out “dofollow” blogs are typically looking to take advantage of links they can get from posting bogus comments.
- Easy Facebook Like Button – Adds the Facebook “like” widget to the end of posts and pages.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – Allows you to insert Google Analytics code simply on all pages of your WordPress website or blog.
- Sociable – Allows readers to share your blog posts through a variety of methods including several different social media sites.
- Tweetmeme – Allows your readers to retweet your content with minimal effort.
Communications – Plugins designed to help your readers communicate with you.
- Contact Form 7- Creates a form for people to use to communicate with you.
- Subscribe to Comments – Allows readers to be notified of additional comments to a blog post, which would allow them to continue the dialogue is they desired.
- Really Simple CAPTCHA – This works in conjunction with the Contact Form 7 plugin to create a CAPTCHA code to eliminate bogus automated form responses from bots.
All around great plugins to have:
- YouTube Brackets – Makes embedding YouTube videos into your posts simple.
As you do your own research, you will find several more plugins that may have functions and features that you desire. A few things to remember with plugins:
1. They are third party software and your web host will not provide support for them.
2. You need to keep them updated or they can be susceptible to failure.
3. When updating a plugin, make sure that is it compatible with the version of WordPress that you are using or it could either not work or create a conflict with another plugin.