Several times each week we hear from an expert on the “top ten WordPress plugins” or the “WordPress plugins every blog MUST have” and “Your blog will self-destruct without these ultimate, top, best 67 WordPress plugins”. OK, I made that last one up, but you get the picture.
There are some standards that appear on most of these lists, but it can get a bit daunting, or you may feel a little like a kid in a sweet shop and want all of them (which is tempting, I know – but keep in mind that it’s best to deactivate them all whenever you upgrade WordPress, and then reactivate one by one).
I suggest you start with these basics before anything else:
Akismet – this is installed with WordPress as standard, for a very good reason. Take the time to activate this and get your API key.
While you’re about it, I’ve started adding in the WordPress.com stats – you’d may as well, as you have the API key (just do it and you’ll see what I mean).
I generally also install Google Analyticator, for in-depth information on what your website visitors are doing.
WordPress Database Backup is another essential – install and set this to backup regularly. I have mine emailed to me once a week.
CryptX is a good tool – this then means you don’t have to faff about or worry about protecting your email addresses – this plugin does it for you.
Exclude Pages from Navigation offers you the option of having live pages that are not included in the navigation (but no doubt you’d already worked that out…!)
As a Twitter user I always include the TweetMeme Retweet Button – though I will review alternatives next week and do a post on the ways to share your postings
You may like to include a sitemap – the Google XML Sitemaps will take care of that for you
And if you’re expecting comments on your blog posts, it might be nice to have them threaded by the WordPress Thread Comment plugin
So why have I not included links to all of these? The simplest way to install a plugin is within your WordPress Dashboard – Plugins, Add New and search for the above.
You will soon notice that there is a plugin for just about anything you might want to do with your WordPress. Take your time and explore – you can always deactivate anything that you find to not be useful for you.
And look around at new plugins now and then – wonderful geeks are always looking to create better functions for us.
If there is a specific desire, as well as searching WordPress, do a search on Google – not all plugins are listed with WordPress (though I personally trust the latter more readily) and you may find a gem.
Feel free to ask Babs too – if I don’t immediately know of a solution, I can often ask the questions that can uncover what is needed.