WordPress has become the software of choice for many Internet bloggers. Although this software offers many great features of its own, its capabilities can be greatly expanded through the use of plugins. In this blog post, I will discuss five of my own personal favorite WordPress plug ins.
One way that bloggers can make their sites more interactive is to create a calendar of events. Although there are numerous WordPress plug ins that are designed specifically for this purpose, many are way more complicated than is really necessary for the average blog.
Really Simple Events is a plug in that allows you to create a calendar of events without having to deal with the complexities of more elaborate plug ins.
Although WordPress provides an easy way to add discussions to specific pages, there is no built in discussion forum. bbPress is a plug in that allows you to create a discussion forum for your site.
bbPress is highly customizable, and you can control the look and the behavior of the forums that you create. For example, you can control the number of topics that appear on a page, whether or not you wish to allow anonymous posts, and whether or not you want to allow the use of media within posts.
Search engine optimization is an important task for any blogger who wants to drive traffic to their site. All in One SEO pack is a WordPress plug in that is designed to help bloggers to optimize their sites for the search engines.
All in One SEO Pack contains an impressive number of settings that control SEO behavior on a site wide basis. In addition, the All in One SEO Pack adds a number of fields to the Edit Page screen so that you can enter SEO data for individual content pages.
Many years ago I built a blog site completely from scratch (without WordPress). It took me about two years to write the code and to build enough traffic to make the blog profitable. Unfortunately, the hosting company that I was using had a server crash and my site was among the casualties. The host was able to get back the site's source code, but the database (which contained over 100,000 registered users) was never recovered. I learned a hard lesson that you can't base your entire disaster recovery strategy around the assumption that your site host is making good backups.
Thankfully, there are many WordPress plug ins that can help you to back up your WordPress site. One particularly good one is called BackWPup, which allows you to back up your entire WordPress site including things like the database, plug-ins, etc. The potential destinations for the backup vary depending on whether you have the free or the pro version, but options exist to send the backup to an FTP server, a folder, a drop box account, or a cloud storage account. Backups can even be sent via E-mail.