Step One: If you’re not self-hosting your WordPress site stop immediately and get a hosting package. (I’ve used A2Hosting for years and they are extremely inexpensive, stable, helpful, and they run Control Panel which you want.)
Step Two: The Plugins
Over the last 5 years I’ve tried a lot of WordPress plugins. Here are the essentials that I always start with.
- Google Analyticator – the greatest plug-in for attaching and analyzing your Google Analytics. (You’ve got GA installed don’t you?)
- iThemes Security – a simple and robust security plug-in. In addition to securing the simple holes in WP, it gives you the easy ability to set up a new Admin login URL. This will keep about 95% of the login breach attempts.
- Contact 7 – a nice forms system. Highly configurable.
- Find and Replace – Wanna do some serious replacing? Works with HTML as well as TXT.
- FD Feedburner – Though RSS feeds have falling quit a bit, this is the best way to use Feedburner to offer you content for almost every system.
- Jetpack by WordPress – a great system for adding (non-Google Analytics) and a host of other features. Shut off the features you don’t use to keep the overhead lower.
- Simple Sitemap – the easiest way to create a post index. I like the older version, but you can configure the new version to your heart’s content.
- W3 Total Cache – when your traffic starts going up you’re going to want a caching plugin to speed things up.
- WP Optimize – kill the comment spam from your site and optimize your databases in one quick process.
- WP-reCaptcha – good Captcha spam stopper.
- WP-User Online – gives insight into your current visitors
- Count Per Day – another good analytics package with vastly different numbers than GA and a simple way to display various stats in a widget.
- For added security I have been using Bulletproof Security that does a lot of extra things to lock WP down. I use the free version.
- Event Calendar – for coordinating your events.
- Editorial Calendar – for working with others and coordinating deadlines from within WP.
- Yoast SEO – so easy it’ll make you feel silly paying for SEO from a vendor.
There are a ton more plugins loaded on this site right now, but this is my “must have” package that I start every engagement with. What are your favorite plugins that I’m missing? Tell me and I’ll add them to my list.
Keep it buttoned up out there.