For those of you that know me you will know that I won’t hesitate to recommend WordPress to any business looking to build a new website. It’s design flexibility through Themes, built-in content management and multitude of plugins, not to mention the fact it’s free, should put it high on the list for consideration.
With choice and flexibility sometimes comes procrastination. Deciding what the site should look like and which plugins you need, or think you need, can leave you looking for the perfect set-up rather than launching your blog and promoting your business.
My list of 5 essential plugins will ensure you have all you need to get started:
This plugin actually comes pre-loaded by default. It’s purpose is to minimise comment spam. No matter how hard you find it to get traffic to your site, the spammers seem to find it within days. A shiny new blog is is like a magnet for them and once they find you they’ll bombard your site with spam comments. Askimet will filter most of these for you automatically, register at WordPress.com to get an API key to activate the plugin.
Allows you to easily add Google Analytics tracking to your blog so you can get comprehensive visitor statstics. Just create an Analytics account at Google and copy the unique code for your site into the Analyticator plugin and the rest is taken care of. In the latest version you can even see the latest stats on your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
An XML sitemap makes life easier for search engines such as Google to crawl new content on your site and is an essential component for Search Engine Optimisation. This plugin will generate an XML sitemap not only for Goolge but also for Yahoo, ASK and MSN – then submits it to these sites every time you add a post or update.
WordPress is search engine friendly straight out of the box but this plug-in performs some enhancements and also allows you to further tweak your onsite SEO as you gain more experience.
With a blog it is not necessary for people to visit your site every time they want to read new content. If they have subscribed to your RSS feed they will receive updates via their feedreader, this also means you won’t know they are reading your content from your analytics. By using this plugin along with FeedBurner, now run by Google, you will be able to track the number of subscribers you have to your RSS feed and a bunch of other stats too.
With these plugins in place you can now get on with the important job of producing content. You can always add other plugins as you find you need them.