One of the best things about WordPress is its nearly limitless ability to expand. Whether you’re looking to add images, security, RSS feeds, social media integration or any number of other features, you can do so through plugins.
Installing a plugin takes less than 2 minutes and is completely reversible. That allows you to easily play around with all the different things your website can do while being able to undo any changes you don’t like with the click of a button.
If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll need to have a serious arsenal of plugins. These plugins will allow you to do all the things you need to do to create a truly spectacular browsing experience on your site. It’ll allow you to save time through automation and make your website shine.
Here are ten of the must have plugins that every serious blogger should have.
Plugin #1: Askimet
Though Askimet comes pre-installed with every WordPress configuration, newbies often make the mistake of not activating it.
Askimet is the #1 anti-spam tool on WordPress. Activating it is pretty simple; all you need to do is register on their site to get your own API key. Enter the key into the plugin on your site and you’re good to go. Askimet will filter out 99% of the spam your blog will receive, drastically cutting down the time needed to review comments.
Plugin #2: All in One Favicon
One thing new bloggers often neglect is adding a favicon. The favicon is the little icon in the browser bar, next to the title tag. Having your own favicon adds just that little flare that makes your blog look more professional, more stellar.
Creating a favicon in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editing program is relatively simple. However, WordPress doesn’t inherently have the ability to add your favicon. So, you’ll need a plugin like All in One Favicon to do the job.
Plugin #3: All in One SEO
WordPress out of the box is actually quite poorly configured for SEO. The page title comes after the site name, which is terrible for keywords. Archive and category pages contain a lot of duplicate content. Some links aren’t formatted the same way (some have www, some have http://, others don’t.) Configuring all of WordPress to be SEO-friendly requires doing quite a few different things. Fortunately, plugins like All in One SEO will do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to do a few things, like internal linking, yourself. That said however, you can eliminate the vast majority of the on-page SEO work by getting a good SEO plugin.
Plugin #4: FeedBurner FeedSmith
By default, WordPress does have an RSS feed feature, but it may not be properly configured. Also, you won’t be able to track any statistics on your feeds. If you want to create an RSS feed that can be tracked, you’ll probably want to use Feedburner. Installing a Feedburner feed is simple with WordPress: Just signup for Feedburner, then install the plugin on your blog.
Plugin #5: Google Analytics
In order for Google Analytics to work, you need to have the Google Analytics code on every page and every post on your website. By default, WordPress doesn’t have this option. You can’t just add a snippet of code to every page on your site. You could do it by editing your templates, but that’s time consuming, difficult to change and even potentially dangerous. Instead, you can simply install a plugin like “Simple Google Analytics.” Just plugin your Google Analytics ID and you’re done.
Plugin #6: PhotoDropper
If you like to add photos to your posts, you’ll love PhotoDropper. PhotoDropper allows you to browse a database of Creative Commons photographs and easily add them to your site, along with attributions, all in one click. Gone are the days when you have to browse stock photo sites or scour the internet for free license images. Now you can just pick the images you want from one easy to use gallery and it’ll automatically be dropped into your post.
Plugin #7: WP Super Cache
Plugin #8: Add Link to Facebook
Add Link to Facebook is an easy to use plugin that allows you to integrate Facebook with your WordPress site. Don’t let the name fool you. It does a whole lot more than just let you add links. You can add like button, share buttons, comments and a whole lot more. With today’s massive social media trend, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.
Plugin #9: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is ironically named, as the plugin is actually the highest rated related post plugin on WordPress. If you’re looking for a plugin that’ll allow you to cross-link your site quickly and in a visually pleasing manner, look no further. This plugin is simple to install and simple to use, but adds a ton of functionality and creates a link box that looks great.
Plugin #10: Better WP Security
WordPress security is something that isn’t discussed often enough. It’s extremely common for WordPress sites to get hacked. It’s not that WordPress isn’t secure, it’s just that WordPress depends on so many outside factors – Plugins, themes, servers, databases – That securing the whole package is extremely difficult. Better WP Security can handle a lot of this for you. It’ll help you secure your database, your PHP files, your .htaccess files and more. It’s not a bulletproof security package, but if you don’t have any security installed this package will be a vast improvement.
There you have it. If you’re serious about blogging, you absolutely must have these ten plugins. You’ll rank better, your content will go more viral, your site will be more secure and your blog will look better.