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.

Spam blocker

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.

Contact form

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.

IP banner

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!

Maintenance

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.

Tweeting

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

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!

  • Dusan

    I was using WordPress for some times,but i didn’t like it because it was always hard for me to administrate it.
    And because of that i quited using it,but i see that there is alot of good plugins that can be used on it.
    Thanks for sharing this really good list of plugins.

    • Jamie DÄ…browiecki

      No problem. If you ever get WordPress again and need some help, drop me a message.

  • milksheikh

    I really agree with the Spam Blocker, spam blocker helps alot with my own blog. I also like Jetpack, helped me with social media,etc.

  • kingcool52

    Spam blockers are one of the most important plugins to get on a wordpress blog as it is unbelievable how many spam comments a big blog can get in a day.

  • Giorgios

    This is actually a really solid list of plugins that I’ve never used before, but I set up a demo blog to test them out, and they actually work really well. Hats off to you Jamie, you should start posting more of these. 😉

  • I always use WordPress for my blogs, so this is a great list for me; though, I already have a couple of these installed. An alternate spam blocker to Akismet is G.A.S.P. which you can get free or with CommentLuv premium. I think they both work pretty well for the most part. I’m going to have to look into IP Banning, I have some pesky people that keep posting and getting past my spam blocker, so that will certainly come in handy. Thankfully they go to moderation and don’t just publish. Great list of plugins, there are certainly a couple I need to check into!

  • milksheikh

    I will soon get the Spam Blocker, I have been getting tons of spam on my blog recently.

    I will need it, does it block all spam or most of them?

  • promotionboss

    I will remember to use IP Banner.

    Having spammers coming back or having a innapropiate person commenting on my blog posts.

  • webbyman12

    I never have gotten the Contact forum plugin.

    But after reading this article, i found out I will need to do install it.

  • Origami Crane

    This is a great list! I’ll have to try some of these the next time I make a wordpress site. I already use the WordPress SEO plugin, and it works great. I always put it on every wordpress site I build.

  • billimaster

    I believe spam blocker and IP Banner are one of the most important.

    There are lots of spam in blog comments, and it takes me tons of time to delete.

  • webmaster41

    I think spam blocker is the most important!

    I have gotten 200 comments of spam in last 2-3 days :/

  • WebDev Newbie

    This is a great list! I especially like the spam blocker. I have been having spam problems lately, and this looks like it might fix that problem. Thanks!

  • adam23

    I think JetPack and Spam Blocker are really good and cool plugins!

  • freelance42

    I believe the Tweeting one is pretty cool!

    I will try to get the Spam Blocker.

  • sweetbro

    Spamblocker is by far one of the most important plugins to install.

  • masterofweb

    IP Banner is very important.
    Many spambots come in and best way to get rid is to iP Ban/use Spam Blockers.

  • bruhbruh

    I will get the SEO plugin right now to help my blog standout!

  • FlammyX3

    Tweeting and the spam blocker are important. Their are too many spam blockers, I once logged off my WordPress for the night and woke up to 212 spam comments :/

  • Nicky Paul

    The most downloaded module for WordPress (right around 30 million downloads). Utilize All in One SEO Pack to consequently improve your site for Search Engines

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