5 Essential WordPress Plugins

The following post is from James of Brooks Web Services:

source: WordPress.org

So, you’re blogging now! You have your WordPress blog up and running, and you are ready to start writing and publishing. But, before you take the plunge, there are some plugins you should install first.

You don’t need WordPress plugins to operate your blog, and you shouldn’t have too many as it can slow your blog down. But there are some that many would say are essential to have your blog running optimally.

So, here are the top 5 wordpress plugins I recommend:

1. Akismet

This nearly rates as a “critical” plugin for WordPress. Should you choose, your blog will be open for people to leave comments which is great. Unfortunately, that also invites spam. Everybody gets it. You could choose to manage it yourself through moderation, but you don’t want to waste your time filtering spam. You want to blog! Let Akismet handle it. You will need to create an account at WordPress.com in order to get a unique “key” in order to get it running, but it’s definitely a must have!

2. Jetpack by WordPress.com

This is an awesome plugin. You’ll need to have a WordPress account which you should have as you created one to get Akismet, right? Jetpack contains a host of goodies all in one cool package. It comes with the ability for people to subscribe to your blog and get email notifications when you post. It includes statistics about your visitors. Sharing buttons can be installed so that  people can spread your awesome blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, via email and more. Other features include a contact for you can add to any post or page in addition to a grammar and spellcheck too.

3. WPTouch

People read blog posts on their phones. Depending upon what theme you install, there may be the chance it is not formatted to fit a mobile device. This gem is easy to get up and running and will be sure to give your iPhone and Android visitors a much cleaner and faster loading site.

4. WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress based blogs/sites are very SEO friendly. Optimizing your site for search engines may seem daunting (or even a waste of time) at first. But, the ultimate goal of your blog is to reach a particular audience. A great way to do that is to have a blog that is optimized for web searching. Using this plugin will simplify the entire process, allowing you to make minor (or major if you choose) changes to titles, add keywords and guide you in doing that. A great tool.

5. Outbound Links

Keeping your readers around, first and foremost, comes from having great content. However, you’ll want some assistance in keeping them around. This plugin makes sure the links you provide in your blog posts will open a new window so that you do not lose your audience completely when they click on a link.

As you continue on with your blogging adventure, you’ll find there may be a few other plugins you find essential, but these will certainly get you started.

Which WordPress Plugins have I missed? Let me know your “must have” WordPress Plugin in the comments below!

James Brooks is a professional blogger, web designer and social media consultant based on the South West coast of England. As well as being a co-founder of GPlusTuts, a blog about Google+, James also enjoys blogging about technology, food and tea!
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