8 Important WordPress Plugins to Save and Improve Your Site

Plugins are very important for your WordPress site or blog. Many are free and some are paid. It is critical to pick your WordPress plugins as you would pick a friend. They can affect your life in a dramatic fashion. Either limit or free you.

WordPress Commenting System

By now everyone understands that creating amazing content is a must. Once you start that train rolling, you come to a realization that comments are an area that can’t be ignored.  There many solutions to a robust commenting system everyone wants.  After experimenting with many, I arrived at DISQUS plugin. From WordPress Plugin Directory about Diqus plugin:

  • Threaded comments and replies
  • Notifications and reply by email
  • Subscribe and RSS options
  • Aggregated comments and social mentions
  • Powerful moderation and admin tools
  • Full spam filtering, blacklists and whitelists
  • Support for Disqus community widgets
  • Connected with a large discussion community
  • Increased exposure and readership

Whether you are using the default WordPress Commenting System or switch to alternative such as DISQUS, please install Akismet plugin to increase spam detection.

WordPress Backup

You do not want to wait on this one.  Consider yourself lucky if your post didn’t magically disappeared or hackers didn’t attempt to use your site as a farm for malicious activities. I am one of the lucky ones.  But this year I am tightening up security and backups on all WordPress sites I look after.  I decided to use WP-DB-Backup plugin.

WordPress Security

As mentioned above I am seriously looking into securing all sites using WordPress platform that under my care. Unfortunaly WordPress doesn’t come completely secure out of the box Thanks to VizRed’s presentation at Wordcamp Miami, I have a few solutions to secure our WordPress site:

Alert: Make sure to read carefully all the options.

SEO Optimization Plugins

What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is a term used by marketing pros and enthusiasts to describe all the tricks of trade to help rank higher in all major Search Engines especially Google. Everyone needs some help and improvement.  So make sure you at lease cover basics. Plugins that I use and recommend are:

  • Headspace 2 SEO plugin: “Controls almost every aspect of your site’s meta-data, including advanced tagging, Analytics, and dozens of plugins.”
  • XML & Google News Sitemap Feeds plugin: ” Feeds that comply with the XML Sitemap and Google News protocol for fast indexing by Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask and others.”

Social Bookmarks

Everyone wants their content to be widely read.  Make sure to add Social buttons on your site. Fortunately there are multiple plugins for that. Unfortunately most of them will slow your website.  Spending considerable time looking into it, I decided to use:

  • AddToAny plugin: “Help people share, bookmark, and email your posts & pages using any service, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, StumbleUpon, Digg and many more.”

WordPress Performance and Speed

After installing a dozen of plugins, your website will slow down and possibly even crash your server. After multiple server reboots by our hosting provider, I finally ventured into looking for a solution.  Plugins were causing the site slow down even though the traffic was not that high at the time.

  • 3 Total Cache plugin: “Improve site performance and user experience via caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.”

Keep in mind that it’s good practice to only download and install plugins that are approved by WordPress and to do it directly from your WordPress plugins’ search.

Another important item to remember is to remove unused plugins. Don’t clutter your dashboard with plugins that you aren’t using anymore. Same goes for themes, delete what you aren’t using them and leave just a few as backups.

By Denis Soukhanov

Photo by Sean MacEntee