It’s 2009. Every business needs a corporate blog to accompany their corporate website, and every individual needs a personal blog to share their thoughts – or portfolio – with the world.
A few quick notes:
- Backup your database before installing any plugins.
- Not many people know that plugins give developers access to your site’s backend: only install plugins from trusted developers. I’ve used all of the plugins below without any problems, but install at your own risk.
- Here are some additional WordPress security tips.
First Things First
1. OneClick Plugin Updater - This plugin makes it a cinch to install any plugin or theme either from a URL or a file on your hard drive, so install this first.
2. WP-DB Manager – All-around lifesaver. This is by far the most important plugin on this list. This is the only one that’s going to save your butt if you ever manage to corrupt, damage, or destroy your site’s database. DB Manager let’s you schedule automatic backups of your database, and you can also optimize, repair, or restore your database and run queries. Mine is configured to email me a compressed backup of my database every 4 hours (note: create an additional admin email address for those backups, even when compressed each email can be several MBs in size.)
3. WP Security Scan – There are plenty of ways for hackers to gain access to your blog, so do everything you can to prevent it.
4. ShareThis – Allows visitors to email your post or bookmark it on any of 39 social bookmarking sites.
5. Digg Digg – Integrates Digg, Reddit, DZone and Yahoo Buzz buttons.
6. Sociable – Add links from 99 different social networking sites
7. TweetThis – Add a “Tweet this” link to every post and page
8. Platinum SEO Pack – Optimize your site for search engines. Platinum SEO lets you generate META tags automatically, avoid duplicate content, change permalinks on the fly, and add index, noindex, follow, nofollow, etc tags to your posts. Yes, it’s better than the All-in-One SEO Plugin (more features, compatible with more plugins, and better-supported.)
9. Google XML Sitemaps - Automatically upload sitemaps to Google. If you want to be sure search engine robots can find and index every page on your site, you can either manually upload an XML sitemap to Google’s Webmaster Tools every time you publish new content OR install this plugin. Your call.
10. SEO Title Tag – Optimize title tags for SEO. This compliments the Platinum SEO plugin by giving you additional control over title tags.
11. SEO Friendly Images - Makes images SEO friendly (omg, rly?) This plugin automatically updates all images with ALT and TITLE attributes, which will enable search engines to “see” your images and will help keep your posts xHTML-valid.
12. Theme Test Drive - Test out a new theme while your visitors see your old/current theme.
13. Maintenance Mode - Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your site is down for maintenance.
14. My Category Order - Control the category order in your navigation bar. By default, WordPress lists all categories and pages alphabetically, which makes about as much sense as listing your categories via the Dewey Decimal System. Not sure why this functionality isn’t yet native to WordPress, but My Category Order does the trick just fine.
15. My Page Order - Control the page order in your navigation bar. Same idea as My Category Order, but for pages.
16. Are you Sure? – Prevents accidental publishing of posts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally clicked “Publish” and published a post that was only half-finished. This plugin provides stupidity-proofing of your blog by showing a pop-up confirmation box. Whew. That was close.
17. Video Embedder – Embed xHTML-valid video code. This plugin is fantastic. Let’s say I wanted to embed a YouTube video in this post. I could either copy and past a paragraph of xHTML invalid code, or with this plugin all I have to do is enter the source in [brackets] + the video ID and presto, a clean embedded video.
18. No Self Ping - Before installing this plugin, every time I would publish a post that contained internal links to other posts on my site, those posts would receive pingbacks in the comments section. Pingbacks and Trackbacks are great for notifying other sites that you link to them and vice versa, but I don’t want my posts cluttered with pingbacks from my own posts. Problem solved with No Self Ping.
19. FD Feedburner Plugin – Redirects your sites main feed to your Feedburner account.
20. Redirection – Manage 301 redirects and keep track of 404 errors. There’s nothing more annoying than finding yourself on a 404 page after trying to access a URL that once existed but has since been removed. If you plan to change the directory of your wordpress site or migrate pages to/from another site, then this will route your visitors to the right pages. Redirection also tracks the # of hits, pretty spiffy.
21. WP Super Cache - Decreases page load time. Super Cache captures every page on your blog in a form that is quickly served up to new visitors, helping to decrease page load time and stabilize your site for a flood of traffic (e.g. your post makes it to the front page of Digg and you receive more visitors in 3 hours than you have all month)
22. Akismet – I believe this now comes pre-installed with any new download/upgrade of WordPress, but this is the original anti-comment-spam plugin
23. reCAPTCHA – I hate captchas, and I hate making my readers use them, but I hate SPAM even more. reCAPTCHA is the best captcha plugin I’ve found.
24. WP-Ban – Ban certain IPs from leaving comments. Despite having Akismet AND reCAPTCHA installed, I still get comment SPAM from human beings that actually take the time to enter the captcha, often from the same IP addresses. Not anymore… WP-Ban lets you blacklist certain IPs (or a range of IPs, or host names, or referrers, or user agents) and prevents them from leaving comments, and then tells you how many attempts it has blocked. Frickin sweet.
25. WP-SpamFree – I just downloaded this a couple of days ago, but have already noticed a decrease in comment spam.
26. WP GreetBox – Adds a custom greeting to your new visitors depending on their referral URL
27. WP-Print - Adds printer-friendly functionality to your posts
28. YARPP - Lists posts and or pages related to the current entry
29. ShortURL – Same ideas the URL shortening tools used for Twitter, except it retains your URL (e.g. www.thedailyanchor.com/u/1) This plugin is great in theory, but I have yet to get this plugin to work properly
30. Search Meter – Records what people search for via your site’s search box and if they found what they were looking for (shows searches, search results, and unsuccessful searches with no results)
31. WP-Polls – Create super customizable polls
Now it’s your turn. I’m still looking for a mobile browser plugin, any thoughts? What other plugins would you recommend?
Image credit: Command-Tab