Is this your first time setting up a WordPress blog? Or maybe you’re looking for those ‘must-have’ plugins?
This handy guide will give you some advice on which plugins are the vitals for your website.
For your blog you will 100% need a good spam blocker. The one I would recommend is Akismet, which usually comes already installed with WordPress. Activate the plugin, and enter your free verification code. This plugin is great at what it does, and it’s free! It stops 99% of spam which is exactly what you want; a blog without a plugin like this is susceptible to heaps of spam comments which can be a bore to remove.
Your readers will want to know how to contact you, for various reasons. There are many contact form plugins out there, but lots of them are no longer supported and it’s tricky finding some good ones. One I recommend and use is the Contact Us Form. This is very easy to manage, and can be inserted into any page, post or widgets with a simple shortcode.
Got someone bothering you or you don’t want to see your blog? A handy IP banning tool is the plugin called IP Ban. It blocks the chosen users and gives them a 404 page.
Search engine optimisation
You will want your content to rank well in search engines, but not everyone is knowledgeable on search engine optimisation. A handy plugin is WordPress SEO, and gives you fields and tips on how to improve your post or page’s SEO strength. This is great for boosting rankings, and is free too!
Needing to make some big changes to your blog but don’t want to edit the website live? A good plugin is the WP Maintenance Mode add-on; it allows you to put the site in an offline mode but also have a customisable landing page.
Social media is a great way to expand your audience, and Twitter is an excellent network for it. WP to Twitter is a simple plugin which instantly tweets new content on your website with a variety of settings such as hashtags and URL shorteners connected with bit.ly.
Jetpack is a plugin that contains many different useful features:
- Simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server. Previously provided by WordPress.com Stats.
- Email subscriptions for your blog’s posts and your post’s comments.
- Social networking enabled comment system.
- Likes, allowing your readers to show their appreciation of your posts.
- Monitor and manage your site’s activity with Notifications in your Toolbar and on WordPress.com.
- Simple, Akismet-backed contact forms.
- The WP.me URL shortener.
- Hovercard popups for your commenters via Gravatar.
- Easily embedded media from popular sites like YouTube, Digg, and Vimeo.
- The ability to post to your blog from any email client.
- Integration with and automatic posting to your favorite social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Path, and LinkedIn.
- For the Math geeks, a simple way to include beautiful mathematical expressions on your site.
- A widget for displaying recent tweets. Previously provided by Wickett Twitter Widget
- Your readers can easily share your posts via email or their favorite social networks. Previously provided by the Sharedaddy WordPress plugin.
- Your writing will improve thanks to After the Deadline, an artificial intelligence based spell, style, and grammar checker. Previously provided by the After the Deadline WordPress plugin.
- With Carousel active, any standard WordPress galleries you have embedded in posts or pages will launch a gorgeous full-screen photo browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata.
- A CSS editor that lets you customize your site design without modifying your theme.
- A mobile theme that automatically streamlines your site for visitors on mobile devices.
- Mobile push notifications for new comments via WordPress mobile apps.
- The ability to allow applications to securely authenticate and access your site with your permission.
- Creative formats for your image galleries: mosaic, circles, squares, and a slideshow view.
- Add post sliders and other highlights to your theme with Featured Content.
- Search once, get results from everything! A single search box that lets you search posts, pages, comments, media, and plugins.
- Configure widgets to appear only on certain pages with the Widget Visibility module.
- Upload and insert videos into your posts thanks to VideoPress.
- Link Jetpack and your Google+ Profile to add mutliple Google features to your site.
- Sign in to your self-hosted WordPress site using your WordPress.com log-in credentials.
- Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected.
Let me know if you found these tips handy, or if there are any plugins you would recommend!