Are you ready to start your own WordPress site? It’s exciting and fun, isn’t it? Okay, so maybe it’s just fun to us web geeks. We enjoy the tweaking and designing and of course, the writing of websites, and I personally love all the little plug-ins that developers create to make our web lives easier. There are so many plug-ins available in WordPress, that you can’t go into it blindly, especially since quite a few are broken or essentially useless.
I’ve compiled my personal list of favorite WordPress plug-ins below along with links to the plug-ins for download. I have all of these installed in all of my personal WordPress sites and we install these when needed (not everyone needs Facebook plug-ins) for our clients.
Akismet – One of the largest downsides to starting any website that allows for commenting is the incredibly high risk of spam comments. Akismet is a high-powered spam filter that allows you to create blacklists, whitelists, and view all spam before removing it from your site entirely. It’s so must-have that WordPress automatically includes it with every install.
All in One SEO Pack – This plug-in allows you to set the formatting for your HTML titles and metadata for the entire site, and you can designate your target keywords in each individual post. If you’re concerned about SEO (and everyone with a website who wants traffic should be), download and play around with this plug-in.
All in One Webmaster Tools – Instead of overloading your server with various plug-ins for Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Alexa Rankings, Bing Webmaster, Yahoo Site Explorer, and several others, this one plug-in handles it all. Installing strange HTML tracking codes has never been easier.
Facebook Fanbox – If you have a Facebook fan page, you will quickly learn that the HTML code that Facebook provides for showing off your fan count will not work with WordPress. Luckily, there is a plug-in that creates the widget for you. All you need is to set your dimensions and enter in your page ID. It’s magic.
fbLikeButton – Want people to “like” individual posts on Facebook? Toss in this plug-in for a nifty little “like” button to appear at the end of each of your posts.
Front-End Editor – If you have non-web savvy clients or even co-workers, you can install this plug-in to allow users to edit text directly from the site without ever logging into the back end.
Google XML Sitemaps – You always need a sitemap for Google. How else are they going to index all of your pages? With a simple click, this plug-in creates an instant XML sitemap for you to submit.
MailChimp – We’re big users and adorers of MailChimp for our newsletter needs as well as our clients’. The easiest way for readers to sign up for such newsletters is with (don’t be shocked) the MailChimp plug-in.
Scribe SEO – I touted the greatness of this plug-in a few weeks ago, so if you need a refresher, feel free to reread my praises. The only unfortunate aspect of this plug-in is the subscription fee. As a result, it may not be that beneficial for a personal website, but it’s well worth the investment for a business.
TweetMeme – TweetMeme installs a little button on each of your posts/pages that 1) allows users to tweet said post and 2) tallies the number of tweets. It can make you feel extremely popular or extremely pathetic. Use with caution.
Woopra – Woopra is by far the best thing that has ever happened to web analytics. It records real-time analytics that you can monitor from your computer or iPhone. You have to sign up for a Woopra account, which is just as easy join as it is to install the plug-in. There is even a free account if you don’t need multiple users.
WP Database Backup – Before you update WordPress’s software, it’s always wisest to backup the database first. No need to dig into your server to figure out how; this plug-in does it all for you.
WP Super Cache – Most sites automatically cache web data to help with load times and bandwidth, but most sites don’t help you clear out the cache when you need to. With WP Super Cache, you can clear your cache at any time, compress files, and set which files should never be cached.
Yoast Breadcrumbs – Think Hansel and Gretel. Breadcrumbs allow your visitors to see what paths they have taken through your site and find their way quickly back to a previously visited page or post.
Feel overloaded? WordPress has a tendency to make you feel that way at first, but I can almost definitively guarantee that these plug-ins will give you a better WordPress experience and greatly improve the user experience, SEO, and social media management. All of which are necessary to bring that desired traffic to your new site.