Social Enterprise

Five must-have WordPress plugins

Successful blogs require effort, imagination, and a feature-rich platform. WordPress can help you out with the last item, thanks to a wide assortment of powerful plugins.

WordPress is the most powerful and popular blogging tool available. And blogging isn't just for personal use now. It has turned into a great marketing tool that can help spread the word about your product or service.

Naturally, if you decide to take on a blog for your company, you'll want to make sure it has as much in the way of features and flexibility as you can get. WordPress offers just that in the way of plugins. With them, you can get more from your blog than you thought possible.

Of course, defining "must-have" is challenging, simply because every blog is different. And there are plenty of plugins out there to take WordPress beyond the standard blog. But here are five plugins I have found that benefit the widest reach of blogs.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: Akismet

Akismet (Figure A) is the single most powerful tool you can use in the prevention of spam on your blog. This is only necessary if you allow discussions on posts (and why wouldn't you want to promote user interaction?). If you do happen to encourage users to converse about a topic, you will definitely want to enable Akismet. This plugin comes with the base WordPress install, but it isn't free. You will have to pay a fee based on the purpose of your blog. It's worth it.

Figure A

Akismet

2: GRAND FIAGallery

GRAND FIAGallery (Figure B) is one of the best gallery tools out there. With it, you can rotate banners, images, music, video, and more. FIA is a flash and jQuery plugin that is simple to install, easy to use, and incredibly powerful. You can even purchase amazing "skins" that will turn your gallery into a work of art itself.

Figure B

Figure B

GRAND FIAGallery

3: SEO Ultimate

SEO Ultimate (Figure C) is one of the best plugins you'll find to help you gain an edge on search engine optimization. This extension gives you control over title tags, no index, meta tags, slugs, canonical, autolinks, 404 errors, and rich snippets, among other things. Even though SEO might be the last thing you think of for your blog, your competition isn't feeling the same way! You need to help your product or business in every way you can, and SEO Ultimate might be the easiest way to get that blog up the rankings on the Web.

Figure C

SEO Ultimate

4: Track That Stat

Track That Stat (Figure D) allows you to view your blog status in real time. See your unique views, referrals, keywords, who's logged in, individual page status, and much more. You can even monitor how traffic has been for the past 30 days. This is a great way to determine which days your site is more popular so you can better manage when content hits the front page.

Figure D

Track That Stat

5: BWS Captcha

BWS Captcha (Figure E) is one of the simplest Captcha plugins around. And BWS allows you to do more than have the user enter a string of text. It lets you enable simple math questions that are sure to stop bots from getting in and making comments. Using BWS Captcha along with Akismet delivers a one-two punch to keep your content safe from the scum of the net known as spam!

Figure E

BWS Captcha

Other good extensions?

There are many extensions for WordPress available. These five have done a great job for me and I'm sure they'll help protect and extend your WordPress-powered blog. Have you found other must-have extensions for the WordPress system? If so, share them with your fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
SwipeAdsSupport
SwipeAdsSupport

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Brown-IT-Guy
Brown-IT-Guy

Rather than Track That Stat, use Wassup. It includes all the same features, plus lets you get granular on the timeframe and includes features Track That Stat says will be coming soon. Wassup is the stats tool to use.

aiellenon
aiellenon

I have zero Apple devices or software products in my home; however I have flash blockers running on everything, from my cell phone to my servers, and I have more issues with web based sites and apps than anyone I know and almost never find someone else having the same issues I have on their machines. sometimes even if I give an exclusion to a website to allow flash, it still doesn't work, because the flash content is hosted on a different url. easily 90% of the websites I visit require flash to be freely running. No one gives a dookie diaper about Apple declaring flash dead. Not Bank of america, not Wells Fargo, not Capital One, not Chase Manhattan. I think that about covers 80% of all web users in america, with only 4 companies. Not to mention without Flash 7 out of 10 (that I have tried) youtube videos will not play on my browsers. Mobile versions of web pages suck, unless you don't have a smart phone and only get 75MB of data a month. It is one thing to strip pictures and scripts out of a website, it is another entirely to prevent users from having access to common links and menu systems on a website, just because they are not using a desktop system. Thankfully my mobile device's browsers can spoof websites into thinking they are Full Desktop Browsers and I don't have to put up with that garbage. Steve Jobs was the second best business man to ever walk the earth (beaten only by whomever managed to sell/give away the first copies of the new testament bible...), he was also a stupid idiotic moron who couldn't see past his own turtleneck to see that there are better ways to eradicate your enemies than slinging mud at and about them (as I do so well in this comment...). Steve created the Apple haters at a faster rate than he created supporters due to his snobbishness, and deserved every penny of all that money that he was not able to take with him when he left this earth, all that money that couldn't save him. When he could have been making less money and making better products with more supporters. The only thing Steve Jobs proved with his life was that most people are willing to settle for less and pay more for it, so someone else can have more money than they could ever spend in 200 years. There was a lot of potential for Apple and Steve blew it with his temper and attitude problems. As I said though, he was the best business man in over a thousand years and it will probably be nearly as long before anyone else comes along that is just that good. It is a shame how all that power and money can have such an affect on a person. "Despite accumulating an estimated $8.3 billion fortune through his holdings in Apple and a 7.4 percent stake in Disney (through the sale of Pixar), there is no public record of Mr. Jobs giving money to charity. He is not a member of the Giving Pledge, the organization founded by Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to persuade the nation???s wealthiest families to pledge to give away at least half their fortunes. (He declined to participate, according to people briefed on the matter.) Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it." quoted from the new york times... http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/the-mystery-of-steve-jobss-public-giving/ (and people ask me why I don't like Apple or Steve Jobs...)

Regulus
Regulus

Thank you for the 'Blog Option' and not restricting us to the (Yuk) 'Photo Gallery'. Have a good Holiday!

l_e_cox
l_e_cox

I have Akismet active on my blog, but I also moderate all comments. I have found (on other sites) that comments can seriously compromise the message of a site if they are not kept under good control. There is SO MUCH gratuitous commenting that is not spam, but that is just sort of mindless show-off material. I appreciate thoughtful comments, but they are FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. From my point of view, "user interaction" needs a full conceptual upgrade. I am NOT happy with how it is implemented on Wordpress or any other blogging platform or forum platform that I have experienced. It breaks down or destroys the concept of a real conversation, which is the essence of good communication. People should be able to use the internet to communicate. So far, the only internet paradigm that comes close to that for me is email. And I think that's sad. Perhaps when I am born into a new young body full of vitality an enthusiasm I will sit down with some SDK and figure this problem out. But I'd rather not wait that long...

splinters
splinters

Yes, it's a great plugin, but anyone who is developing web sites that don't display properly on Apple portable devices is ignoring a massive, growing community. While I don't necessarily agree with the heavy-handed approach by the late Steve Jobs to promote HTML5 over Flash by not supporting it in iOS, HTML5 is the way of the future (even Adobe agrees). I hope there are some visionary programmers out there building HTML5-based plugins for Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.. They will be the big winners.

Brown-IT-Guy
Brown-IT-Guy

Don't worry, Tik-Tok, anyone who uses terms like "dookie diapers," and, "suck it," in a comment post isn't a legit developer. He's just doing WP sites for $300, probably using one-click solutions from his webhost and calling himself a "WordPress Consultant." I agree, Tik-Tok that iOS devices are not my fav, very limiting, but the fact is that the majority of mobile web use is iOS driven and that's just going to continue growing. If you have your client's best interests -- and not your inane tirade -- at heart then you'll develop something that's iOS-friendly. I'm sure we can all write equally childish tirades about IE but that doesn't change the fact that to ignore the most widely adopted browser just because we don't like it would be stupid.

Tik-Tok
Tik-Tok

I'm sure they'll be happy to know you're engineering a site for them that won't work on iPhones or iPads. Let us know how that works out for you. As for me, I'm interested in developing sites that work on every platform and device, regardless of what Flash Fanbois say.