WordPress is an awesome blogging platform. Almost perfect, in fact. But what really makes it excel is its flexible plug-in architecture, which allows bloggers to customize WordPress to suit their specific needs. Here are the tools that help make Thinks suit me. And will like suit you, too.
- Akismet. Every blogger wants more comments. But none want more comment spam. Happily Akismet is the best comment moderation system, hands down. I’ve used it for years and, since installation, it has blocked over 22,000 spam comments. Which is to say, a lot. Along with WordPress Database Backup (below), it’s simply the best plug-in I use.
- WordPress SEO. WordPress’s default SEO setup gets better with each release. But it’s still not perfect. I’ve used Google XML Sitemaps generator and SEO Title Tag from Covario for years on my blog, but, if you’re new to blogging (or to SEO plug-ins for your blog), just install Yoast’s WordPress SEO or SEO Ultimate, walk through their relatively simple configurations and get ready to rank better for your favorite keywords. Indispensable tools.
- Twitter Tools. An oldie, but a goodie, Twitter Tools lets you update Twitter every time you publish a new post, tweet directly from your WordPress dashboard or — a personal favorite of mine — aggregate your tweets into a daily or weekly digest blog post. Simple, painless, and kind of fun. Just like any WordPress plug-in ought to be.
- Lightbox 2 It’s no longer supported, but Lightbox 2 is still my go-to image lightbox plug in. I’m open to suggestions in the comments.
- WordPress Database Backup. If you do this long enough, at some point, your blog will crash, you’ll get hacked, or your web host will vanish in the middle of the night. You don’t want this to happen. But you really don’t want it to happen if you don’t back up your WordPress database. Sure you can recover if you’ve followed these tips. But some tools make life much simpler. The aptly named “WordPress Database Backup” plug-in is one of them, making backing up your database simple and painless. Install it as soon as you finish reading this post. Or before that even. Seriously. Along with Askimet, it’s the most valuable plug-in I use.
What tools have I missed? Is there a plug-in in your toolbox that you can’t live without? Tell me about it in the comments. And don’t forget to check out our whole series on “How to Build Your Small Business Blog”.
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