Web Sites and Blogs built on the WordPress platform come equipped with a variety of built-in functions, and these functions help create an exceptionally user-friendly interface.
However, you are just a few clicks away from making your WordPress-based Web Site and Blog even more powerful, safe, and easy-to-use with the addition of a few plugins.
WordPress plugins are small sets of code gathered together to create a specific, functional output, and when added to your WordPress installation, they allow you to accomplish complex tasks with very little effort and no coding skills.
But enough with the techno-garb! On with the show!
1. Jetpack: Share on Facebook and Twitter with Just a Click
This is one of the most robust plugins I've run across. Among the numerous functions you can activate after it's installed is a wonderful Social Media Sharing interface that uses a drag-n-drop system to place clickable sharing buttons on your pages and posts.
Another of its powerful elements is the ability to track your site stats without having to set up and deploy Google analytics. (I am not a fan of the complexity of that application, so I use Jetpack to track my statistics.)
2. CommentLuv: Boost the Effectiveness of Your Online Presence
One of the best ways to build credibility is with an active community participating on your Web Site and Blog, but how do you encourage people to take the time to leave a comment? (Think about your own reading habits: how many Blogs do you read versus how many you leave comments on?)
CommentLuv encourages reader participation by promoting those who take the time to leave a comment. With CommentLuv enabled, a link to the participant's most recent article appears right along with his or her name.
3. All in One SEO Pack (Free Version): Improve Your Search Engine Optimization
If your Web Site and Blog are built on the WordPress platform, you are already ahead of the competition when it comes to search engine optimization. However, more and more business owners know this, and the popularity of WordPress has skyrocketed based in part on its out-of-the-box SEO.
This means the standard is rising, and soon, doing no extra SEO may result in lower Google rankings for your Web Site and Blog.
The All in One SEO pack adds custom link functionality, optimizes your titles for search engines, generates meta tags for you, integrates with e-Commerce Sites, and allows those of you who like to tweak content based on analytics to do so with ease.
Best of all, if what you just read made your eyes roll back in your head, do not worry: just install this plugin and activate it. It will improve your SEO with just its default settings.
4. Email Address Encoder: Protect Email Addresses and Mailto Links from Spam Bots
Once activated, this plugin looks into your pages and posts, locations any instances an "at" symbol is used, and changes your easy-to-harvest email address into Spam-Bot-proof gibberish.
5. WP Complete Backup: Foil Hackers with a Complete Backup of Your Content
While the times a WordPress-based Web Site and Blog are vulnerable to hackers are rare – I am aware of only one serious threat in the last 5 years, and that's the Timthumb Vulnerability I wrote about last week – the best protection is a great backup system.
This plugin provides a one-click backup solution allowing you to store a copy on your server and download the same copy to your hard drive for added protection.
So, now that you know about these plugins, how do you add them to your WordPress Web Site and Blog?
The easiest way is to visit your Dashboard, go to your Plugins Page, and follow these steps:
1. Click the "Add New" Link, and Type in the (Exact) Name of One of the Plugins I Mentioned Above.
2. Click the "Install Now" link of the Plugin.
3. Click the "Activate Plugin" Link.
After following these steps, it's important to take a quick look at your Web Site and Blog to make sure the plugin did not create any conflicts!
This is a rare occurrence, but each web site and blog has its functional and design nuances, and occasionally, a plugin will be incompatible. If this happens, and you'll know if it does, simply return to your Plugins Page and DEACTIVATE the implied plugin. As I said, incompatibility is rare, so most likely all will be well, and you can simply repeat the above steps to add the rest of the plugins.
And that's it. Your Web Site and Blog are now even more powerful, safe, and easy-to-use!