When I design a new WordPress site for a client there are a handful of plugins that I almost always install because they totally enhance the behind-the-scenes functionality of WordPress, and add a lot of power in the areas of Security, SEO and Speed.
All of these WordPress plugins are free and all of them are regularly updated so they’re compatible with the newest version of WordPress.
There are a whole bunch of security plugins and many of them require upgrade to paid versions to really be of any use. I recently found Wordfence and was really blown away by the amount of features in the free version. There is a paid version of this plugin but most of you won’t need it. Wordfence includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, malicious URL scanning and many more features. I’ll be using it on all my clients sites from now on. Click here to read about it on WordPress.org.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin
I love this plugin for its simplicity and effectiveness. One of the main problems with WordPress blogs are the nasty spam comments that get left by automated spam bots. The Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin will prevent 99% of all this spam and having used it on many of my clients sites I can verify it does work brilliantly. The plugin adds a checkbox to the comments form that users have to click to verify they are a real person and the checkbox is checked before submission of the comment so there is no danger of a real comment getting lost. Click here to find out more.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the most powerful, feature rich plugins out there, so although WordPress is pretty great at SEO out of the box there’s no harm in giving it an extra boost with an SEO plugin, the problem is there are so many of them it’s hard to know which one to choose. I spent a while researching this before I settled on WordPress SEO by Yoast and I have now used it on several of my clients sites. SEO plugins aren’t of the kind that you can switch them on and go, you have to be prepared to spend time configuring and working with it. WordPress SEO by Yoast however has very comprehensive documentation which is worthwhile reading if you want to get the most out of this plugin.
Backing up your WordPress blog is one of those things that might get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list, but it really is one of the most important things of all. Like always there are a host of plugins to help you but having tried out lots of them I’ve been the most happy with Snapshot Backup which really makes the whole backing up process very easy, and can be automated. Find it here.
W3 Total Cache
Chances are you have heard of W3 Total Cache but I’m going to mention it anyway. Used by millions of WordPress users to significantly speed up the load time of their website, and now installs automatically with WordPress through certain web hosting companies such as Hostgator.