After installing WordPress, of the dozens and dozens of plugins that you may wish to install, I will recommend only these four plugins as compulsory for your site. For any site that you create, always install these four plugins:
A Backup plugin
A Captcha plugin
The Jetpack plugin
The first three are all about security and safety. The fourth is about data and gathering information that tells you what your website is up to.
Let me explain in some more detail.
Backing up your website.
If you’ve never broken a website then you haven’t made enough sites! Seriously though, websites get hacked, data gets corrupted, you delete something that you probably shouldn’t have (ahem), you adjust settings that were best left as they were and so on. We’ve all been there.
The backup plugin that I have installed automatically backs up my site daily and saves the last ten backups for me in case I ever need to restore my site. Fantastic. And its free. Before installing any plugin, check that it had been updated by the programmer within the last 3 months at least. Only ever use an up to date plugin. Also look at the rating (the more stars the better) and the total number of downloads (zero is bad, tens or even hundreds of thousands sounds promising)
All my posts and articles have a box at the end where readers may post their comments. I get all sorts of comments: I get lovely and encouraging comments (delightful), negative comments (can’t please everyone), Hey Ugo I’m confused comments (I will always try to help), f-word comments (I delete) and of course, thousands of spam comments with links to dodgy sites (Akismet automatically takes care of these for me)
Captcha. Humans only
You can set your website to allow visitors to create an account, login and post articles on your site. (You can approve all articles first before releasing them for publication. I will talk about this in great detail a little later). However, to stop robots and automatic computer programs and scripts from creating accounts and posting garbage on my site, I install a captcha plugin. This forces the user to complete a small and quick puzzle which only humans can solve so I know that the new account is from a real person. Robots will fail to login.
This Is a great plugin. It is a bit of an all-in-one plugin. I recommend Jetpack for several reasons all of which you will see when you install it. Its got several functions that will enhance your website and make life easier for you and your readers. My favourite Jetpack function is the Stats function. This tells you how many visitors are coming to your website, from what sites they are arriving from, what keywords they are using, etc etc At first my stats confirm to me that there isn’t much activity on my site but as time goes on, and the site get busier, looking at your stats can become…well…addictive, almost.
There are hundreds if not thousands of plugins to choose from for almost any website function that you can think of. My advice to you is to keep it simple and use only a few essential plugins otherwise things will get pretty crowded back there.
So there you have it. I believe that WordPress makes running and managing a website frighteningly easy and simple, yet powerful. Many large, large successful websites with huge followings run on WordPress. Like this one!
One last thing. You know how when you search for something on Google and the results include a photo of the person who wrote the article? I tried to do this and see if I could get my pic in Google’s results. After researching and reading several articles and then tinkering around with html code I had a brainwave. I searched for a wordpress plugin that does that and guess what? I found a WordPress plugin that does this!