WordPress is one of the most useful Open Source platforms on the Internet. Although it is most commonly used for blogging, with a little modification (or just the help of a plugin), you can use WordPress for anything from an e-Commerce website to a photo gallery. However, since most people do use WordPress as a blogging platform, that is what I want to focus on today.
As the title summarizes, WordPress is a great platform, but, it does have its flaws. Luckily, the beauty of WordPress being an Open Source platform is that people from all over the world have created solutions (in the form of plugins) to permanently fix these problems.
So, whether you already have a WordPress blog or are planning on setting one up for the first time, here is a list of essential plugins you need to ensure you get the best WordPress experience possible:
WordPress Automatic Upgrade: This may not seem like the most exciting WordPress plugin, but it’s an essential one. One of the main criticisms of WordPress is that because it’s an Open Source platform, it is susceptible to being hacked. Although the WordPress team is very good at releasing a new and secure version when a vulnerability is discovered, the reason so many blogs get hacked is because people fail to upgrade their blogs (since it does take some work). By using this plugin, you can streamline the process of upgrading, which in turn will ensure that you actually do upgrade and avoid having your blog hacked (which can be a nightmare to clean up).
All in One SEO Pack: Although this plugin can’t go ahead and get backlinks for your blog (you’re going to have write to quality linkbait accomplish that task), it does take care of most of the basic on-page SEO elements you need. In addition to descriptions, keywords and titles, this plugin makes it simple to add the noindex attribute to pages like your Archives and Categories. Since duplicate content is one of the other most common problems with WordPress, this plugin can do wonders for your blog’s search engine rankings.
WordPress Database Backup: Learn from my personal experience and avoid this problem: not having a clean backup of your WordPress database can result in you having to scrap your blog and start over (which is anything but fun). Like the first plugin I talked about, this one won’t win an award for being exciting, but it is a vital necessity. Once you have installed the Database Backup plugin, you can easily set it up to automatically backup your WordPress database by emailing it you, saving it your server or downloading it directly on your computer. In the event anything does go wrong, you will have a recent, clean copy of your database ready to go.
WP Super Cache: It’s very important have a blog that loads quickly. If your blog takes too long to load, visitors are going to hit the back button before ever viewing your content. And if you are doing any PPC advertising for your blog, a faster loading time can help your blog’s AdWords Quality Score. To accomplish this, you can simply install the WP Super Cache plugin. This plugin creates a static version of the dynamic pages of your blog, which means that it loads much faster. This means that visitors can load your blog without the server needing to invoke a single line of PHP code.
Permalinks Migration: Having concise, keyword rich URLs can help your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, by default, WordPress URLs are long and reptitive. While you have probably decided you want to change the structure of your URLs to a more search engine friendly format (and if you are just starting a blog, you probably want to ensure they are always this way), most people don’t change because they will break all of the links they have worked so hard to get. Luckily, Permalinks Migration takes care of this problem. It helps you change your URLs to a more search engine friendly structure, and then implements a Permanent (301) Redirect. So, when a search engine follows a link that points to one of your old URLs, it is automatically redirected and your new URL will receive the link juice. Human visitors will also be automatically guided to your updated URLs.