I’ve tried several different blog systems already but whenever I’m setting up a new blog for one of my customers, WordPress is the right choice. The WordPress community provides you with endless documentation, support and technically all the information you need for customizing your blog. Not only is WordPress easy to use (even if you’re not familiar with web technologies at all) but also extremely easy to customize and extend with plugins. Find my curation of 5 essential WordPress plugins that will help you get the most out of your WordPress Blog from the beginning on.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Search Engine Optimization is a no-brainer. If you don’t do it (yet) you’re doing something wrong. Even if you’re not a professional SEO you can easily apply the basic rules of keyword density, focus keywords and link structure for your WordPress blog. WordPress SEO by Yoast is the perfect solution for either beginners or professionals. The plugin adds all the necessary fields to your WYSIWYG editor in WordPress and helps you optimize your articles while you’re compassion them.
I’m actually not a big fan of big plugins which make you sign up for an account before using them. The official WordPress Jetpack plugin is an exception though: The plugin offers you a bunch of features like different widgets and insights. However I recommend this plugin for one reason only and that is the statistics feature. I use professional web analytics software for all of my blogs but Jetpack is a great extensions for that. Having all your blog’s data in one view right on your dashboard (and mobile phone) makes this plugin my number one recommendation.
3. Facebook Comments Plugin
The WordPress on board commenting functions aren’t necessarily the best choice for your blog: People have to either sign up to your blog or are allowed to post anonymously (trolls and spammers incoming). So why don’t use a service people are already signed up for, like Facebook? Facebook Comments Plugin for WordPress is the best way to integrate a Facebook comment functionality to your blog. When you set up this plugin you’ll have to make sure to link your own Facebook profile as a moderator in the plugin settings. Otherwise you won’t be receiving notifications on new comments and replies.
4. ZenCache (formerly Quick Cache)
Your WordPress blog’s speed might be more important than you guess. Not only will a slow website annoy your visitors but also the Google index bot itself. Google has altered it’s algorithm a lot in the past focusing mostly on mobile devices of course. Therefore website’s speed has become a critical point for downgrading or upgrading your Google Ranking. ZenCache will speed up your website with a reliable and fast WordPress cache.
5. Push Notifications by Roost
Push notifications are native and sexy way to connect to your WordPress blog’s visitors and keep them updated about your latest articles. Roost Web Push currently supports Safari (Desktop) and Chrome (Desktop and Android) notifications. That might not be all of your blog’s visitors but still about 50% of them (data from my blogs). Unfortunately you’ll have to sign up for a Roost account but it’s free and works great so far.