WordPress is great in that you can install and run a successful blog right out of the box. You don’t need to add a lot of extra plugins to make it work (unlike Drupal). However, WordPress has a very active developer community and there are many WordPress Plugins out there that will make your life a lot easier. So much easier, that you should install them from day one, so you don’t have to wait until you have a problem that needs to be solved.
Without further ado, here are the 10 WordPress plugins you should install on day one:
All In One SEO Pack
Many bloggers don’t realize how important Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to the success of their blog. This plugin makes a little of the SEO easier by allowing you create site wide meta content as well as meta content for individual posts. It’s very necessary and very easy to use.
WordPress stores your blog content in a database. Databases can get corrupted, deleted or crash. So you don’t lose all of your blog content, you need to have a backup plan for your database. This plugin simplifies it greatly. Once you activate it, just set it up and it will automatically back up your database on a schedule you choose. I have my database backed up weekly and e-mailed to me. That way there is a backup in multiple locations (locally on the computer, Gmail’s servers, Webmail, etc)
Google Sitemap Generator
This is another key search engine optimization tool. An XML sitemap tells search engine bots what to look at on your site and how the architecture is laid out. If you don’t have one, search engines may ignore all your wonderful content. This simple plugin, once activated, will automatically keep generating a new XML sitemap when you write new content. In turn, the search engine bots will be notified of changes. Very powerful tool. It’s not uncommon for new blog posts on many of my blogs to be indexed within minutes by the search engines and appear in search results all over the world.
One Click Plugin Updater
Once you start collecting your range of plugins, it becomes a pain to keep them up to date as you need to deactivate the plugin, upload new version and re-activate. This plugin automates the whole process and allows you to update all of your plugins at one time, automatically.
Sociable Zyblog Edition
Taking advantage of social media will be a huge part of your blog’s traffic once you get established. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content on their favorite social networks. This plugin puts a widget at the bottom of all your posts for the most popular social networks. You can also customize which ones you want to appear.
Most bloggers rely on Google Analytics to keep track of your content, but it doesn’t track everything. Some people have the scripts blocked that GA uses to record data, so sometimes traffic stats are slightly off. Also, GA won’t tell you if you’re continually getting pinged by spambots. Statpress shows you everything, including the IP’s of anyone that may be abusing your bandwidth. It also provides, let’s say, better sounding numbers for your blog because it catches so much more. Those better numbers will become useful when it comes time to sell advertising space.
WordPress Related Posts Plugin
When you have a lot of content on your blog, it’s important for people to be able to find it. This little plugin will add a related posts widget at the bottom of all your posts and recommend other posts that readers may enjoy reading. It’s pretty dead on with it’s recommendations and if it can’t find anything to recommend, it just shows random posts.
WP Super Cache Plugin
When you are starting out, you don’t really need to worry about hugh traffic surges, but it’s good to have the tools in place in case something makes it the front page of Digg or another popular social networking site. This plugin creates static pages of your most trafficked pages so that if you get a surge of traffic, you don’t have millions of requests pounding your server, using your bandwidth and possibly taking down your server.
The easiest way to install Google Analytics on your WordPress blog is to install this simple plugin. All you have to do is give it the GA code and it will install the code on all of your WordPress pages. Couldn’t be easier than this.
Automatic Upgrade Plugin
In addition to keeping up to date with your plugins, you need to also keep your WordPress installation up to date. Each WordPress upgrade brings new features, increased security, stability and much more. This tool automatically guides you through the process of upgrading your blog. A process that can be rather difficult to do manually.
What WordPress Plugins would you recommend people install first?