“WordPress” is open-source software that I became acquainted with when looking for an easy-to-update and streamlined publishing platform that would not cost me an afternoon or two to wrap my few brain cells around.
I always use the latest version of “WordPress”. I know that updating straight-away can present you with pitfalls that you hadn’t anticipated, but besides some burps here or there, things have been running smoothly ever since my switch. If you do not update your WordPress installation regularly, you might be opening your installation up to Trojan intruders, the abuse of security leaks or … worse. Update regularly!
To make sure that the headaches are kept to a minimum, I use the following extremely nifty and essential plugins on and for my site:
“Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep.”
My take: Akismet is step one in my battle to fight spam.
- Antispam Bee
“Easy and extremely productive spam-fighting plugin with many sophisticated solutions. Includes protection again trackback spam.”
My take: Whatever Akismet doesn’t catch gets caught by Antispam Bee, especially because the latter utilizes “Project HoneyPot“, a groovy trap set up for spamming imbeciles, low-lives and … idiots.
- Clean Archives Reloaded
My take: It does the job for me, although it has been criticized for initiating too many database calls. On a site like mine, with a few hundred visitors per day, that aspect is negligible.
- Contact Form 7
“Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.”
My take: Yep, and highly customizable as well!
- Dashboard Notepad
“The very simplest of notepads for your Dashboard.”My take: I use it to note down any change I apply to WordPress or the theme I use.
- Google XML Sitemaps
“This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.”
My take: If you want to be listed in search engines and would like Google to be updated straight-away whenever you implement major changes on your site, this is the plugin to go for.
- Maintenance Mode
“Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end.”
My take: I constantly have to rearrange, realign, change, fix and fiddle. Put your site into maintenance mode with this plugin … and nobody will see the errors of your ways..
- Subscribe to Comments
“Subscribe to Comments Reloaded is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notifications. It includes a full-featured subscription manager that your readers can use to unsubscribe to certain posts or suspend all notifications.”
My take: One of the major flaws within the WordPress software is the inability for readers to get notified of new comments, new posts, etc (unless, of course, they access your site via a so-called “feed reader”). I use this plugin to make sure that people can sign up for those essential notifications.
- WordPress Database Backup
“On-demand backup of your WordPress database. Navigate to Tools -> Backup to get started.”
My take: All your work shouldn’t get lost. You can backup your site “on demand”, or schedule a daily, weekly, monthly or whatever backup via this plugin. You can also include database tables that were set up by a plugin.
“A drop in replacement for LightBox-2 and similar plugins. Uses jQuery to save you from the JS-library mess in your header.”
My take: I chose this plugin because it adheres to mobile-friendly (“responsive”) principles.
- WP-Table Reloaded
“This plugin allows you to create and easily manage tables in the admin-area of WordPress. A comfortable backend allows an easy manipulation of table data. You can then include the tables into your posts, on your pages or in text widgets by using a shortcode or a template tag function. Tables can be imported and exported from/to CSV, XML and HTML.”
My take: I have yet to make my setup of this plugin “responsive”, but I need it for my “Mosaic Discographies” page. I am considering alternatives.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
“Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display.”
My take: This plugin calculates “related posts” and is pretty good at it as well. So, at he bottom of a post, you can configure a list of related items that your readers might find interesting. The plugin might help to keep readers on your site for a longer period of time while they check out what else you have to offer.