Essential WordPress Plug-ins
There are many plug-ins available to help you optimize your WordPress blog. Some of those plug-ins will help you customize your blog’s performance while others will help enhance your readers’ experiences while visiting your blog.
Following is an overview of the plug-ins that no WordPress blog should be without.
Akismet is critical to helping you manage spam comments on your blog. It stops what it detects to be spam comments (quite accurately), and holds them in a special moderation qeue separate from your other comments. You can then review and delete them (or move them out of the spam folder as appropriate) at your convenience. As your blog gets more popular, the number of spam comments you receive will increase, and Akismet will save you a significant amount of time in terms of catching and deleting each spam comment as it’s left on your blog.
2. Share This
This plug-in allows readers to add your blog posts to social bookmarking sites through an icon that appears at the end of each of your blog posts. Readers click the icon to select the social bookmarking site they prefer in order to save and share your post.
Read the review. This plug-in works great to keep readers on your blog and increase your page views. When you use this plug-in, a list will appear at the end of each of your blog posts with a list of related posts. Similar plug-ins are the Related Posts plugin and the Similar Posts plug-in.
What would happen if something happened to your blog and all of your content was lost? You can avoid that possible tragedy by installing a WordPress backup plug-in. This plug-in backs up the core information in your blog (the main tables). There are also more sophisticated WordPress backup plug-ins such as the WP-DBManager plug-in that will allow you to further customize your backups.
Read the review. The power of your blog comes from the community around it. The Subscribe to Comments plug-in allows readers to check a box when they leave a comment on your blog to subscribe to future comments. Once subscribed, the reader will receive emails notifying them when another comment is left on that post, so they can keep up with the conversation (and hopefully, come back again to leave another comment).
Have you ever left a comment on a blog, clicked submit then realized you have an embarrasing typo in your comment? The WP AJAX Edit Comments plug-in can save your readers from similar embarrasment. The plug-in allows readers to edit their comments after submitting them (within a certain amount of time).
If you use the “more” tag in your blog posts (meaning, you just show a short amount of your blog posts on your home page with a “Continue Reading” or similar link leading the reader to the full post), then only the part of your post before the “more” tag (before the “Continue Reading” or similar link) is visible in your feed to subscribers. If you want your subscribers to see your full posts in their feed readers, then the Full Text Feed plug-in is for you. With this plug-in, your full posts will show up to subscribers in their feed readers at all times.
The Google XML Sitemaps Generator allows you to create a complete sitemap for your blog. This is helpful in two ways. First, it creates a handy resource for you and your readers to find posts as your blog grows. Second, it helps search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Ask.com (all of whom support this plug-in) find, crawl and index your blog changes quickly.
Adding a contact form to your website is simple and effective. Rather than publicizing your email address and inviting spammers to clutter your inbox, use a contact form. This plug-in uses two spam filters, Akismet and CAPTCHA, to make sure you only receive legitimate inquiries from your contact form.
10. No Follow Free
WordPress automatically installs a code called No Follow to any user submitted links on all WordPress blogs. The No Follow code is meant to counter spamming wherein people leave comments with specific keyword links all over the blogosphere simply to boost their search engine ranking. However, many legitimate bloggers want to leave comments and get a bit of link love back from those comments. It’s a form of self-promotion, and as long as the link adds value to the conversation, then it’s not necessarily spam. If you want to turn off the No Follow code on your blog so the links readers leave in the comments on your blog count toward search engine ranking, then this plug-in will accomplish that for you.