Setting up a blog is just three easy steps:
1. Choose a domain name
2. Choose a website (like Bluehost)
3. Add a theme
The hard part is the rest.
It’s hard work people.
The good news is people have gone before and way beyond to make this whole process easy. But that’s why I bring you tidings of joy and the “Essential WordPress Plugins.”
After literally a hundred hours of researching, trial and error, and discussing, I have come up with an “essentials list” of plugins. This is your go-to resource for what plugins you should have, ones you might think about, and ones NOT to have.
Here are my favorite WordPress plugins – some you probably use, and some you probably don’t.
THE ESSENTIAL WORDPRESS PLUGINS
Here is a list of WordPress plugins that all WordPress blogs should have, no matter what the topic of discussion is:
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast: If you want to be found on Google, you have to know a little about SEO. This plugin allows you to know very little about SEO and be JUST FINE. Thank God for user-friendly plugins that helps make SEO less of a headache. This is the best SEO plugin hands-down.
2. Akismet: Comes preinstalled on WordPress. Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. To get started: 1) Click the “Activate” link to the left of this description, 2) Sign up for an Akismet API key, and 3) Go to your Akismet configuration page, and save your API key.
3. Jetpack: Comes preinstalled on WordPress. Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users. Essentially Jetpack is a bag full of tools (mostly widgets to help with user experience).
4. W3 Total Cache: An essential! The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress. By the way, you can check your site’s speed at GTMetrix.com.
5. UpdraftPlus: simplifies backups (and restoration). Backup into the cloud (Amazon S3 (or compatible), Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV and email) and restore with a single click. Backups of files and database can have separate schedules. You NEED to save your content because you’ve put so much time and energy into it!
6. Lastly, is your website responsive? That is, are you able to view your website on a mobile device? With emerging technology and the popularity of mobile and tablet use up to 50% of your user-base may require a responsive theme. Your theme may already have coding to make it responsive. A good theme from StudioPress Themes will be responsive. Just in case you site isn’t response, however, I’ve included this plugin in the essentials list: WPtouch Mobile Plugin.
1. jQuery Pin It Button For Images: If you’re a huge Pinterest user you’ll have a huge appreciation for this plugin. It allows you (and others!) to share your beautiful pictures on Pinterest with just one click. This plugin highlights images on hover and adds a “Pin It” button over them for easy pinning.
2. Floating Social Media Icon: Easy to use plugin to show Social Media icons that floats, can configure social icon design, order & size at plugin settings. Ok, so you don’t have to use this one but it’s a good one. There are lots out there. I use one called Shareaholic. I also use WP MashSocial Wigdet to keep my social media icons and Feedburner opt-in in one place.
3. Wysija Newsletters: Create and send newsletters. Import and manage your lists. Add subscription forms in widgets, articles and pages. Wysija is a freemium plugin updated regularly with new features.
4. Easy Recipe: The BEST recipe plugin for food blogs. The biggest and best bloggers use this one. The WordPress recipe plugin for non-geeks. EasyRecipe makes it easy to enter, format and print your recipes, as well as automagically doing all the geeky stuff needed for Google’s Recipe View.
5. KB Linker: KB Linker will link phrases you specify to sites you specify. For example, you could make it so that whenever “WordPress” occurs in a post it is automatically linked to wordpress.org. All you do is enter keyword/URL pairs into the Options=>KB Linker page in your admin menu.
1. Genesis Design Palette: This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to design the Genesis theme. Has settings for various colors, font stacks, sizes, borders, and more. The plugin writes a CSS file (that can be cache’d) and loads.
2. Genesis Club Lite: A toolbox of useful customisation functions for Genesis Child Themes.
DO NOT USE THESE
Better WP Security: slowed down my site and caused it to crash. Confirmed by Bluehost.
Ok, your turn. What plugin have you found to be the MOST HELPFUL?