Initial Plugins

When setting up a WordPress site one of the first questions to ask is which plugins do I need?

About the only thing everybody agrees on is that the Hello Dolly plugin that comes with every WordPress installation is useless. I’ve heard a bunch of explanations why it’s there, but the bottom line is that nobody uses it. So what else?

Akismet is another plugin that seems to be always included, and most people like it. It is intended to reduce the amount of spam that shows up in your comments, and my experience is that it does that pretty well. However, it does have one drawback — they’ve started charging for keys for all but the most basic, personal sites. Nevertheless, Akismet is a worthwhile plugin to have.

Probably the first plugin you should actually install is Jetpack. Jetpack is a large collection of plugins that together give your independently hosted site many of the features of wordpress.com without the restrictions. High on the list of its useful features is the Publicize function (you are planning to promote your site via social media, aren’t you?), Enhanced Distribution (you probably don’t want to wait for the search engines to find you), and WordPress.com Stats (so you can get a quick overview of traffic to your site). There are currently 32 components listed as part of Jetpack, and the number keeps increasing. Quite a bargain, especially when you consider it’s free. The only catch is you will need to have (or create) an account at WordPress.com. I think it’s worthwhile, and use it all the time.

The next plugin I installed on this site is Anti-Malware by ELI (Get Off Malicious Scripts). It scans your site for viruses, and includes a patch to your wp-login.php file to slow down any brute-force hacking attacks so that your site isn’t brought to its knees if you should find yourself a victim of one. I’m still in the testing phase of this plugin, so it’s possible that I’ll change my recommendation in the future, but I’ve been impressed so far.

Let’s get on to something that will actually make you a more productive blogger. The next thing I installed is WordPress Editorial Calendar, which helps you schedule posts into the future. Having an editorial calendar helps you plan out your posts so that your readers don’t see a clump of posts followed by a long period of time when nothing happens. You can write several posts at once and space them out into the future. This plugin gives you a graphical view that allows you to reschedule posts just by dragging them to the new date on the calendar.

These are the initial plugins that I install on my WordPress sites. There will be more (with thousands to choose from, of course there will be more!) but these make up my basic toolkit.

Which plugins do you like?