3D render of a toolbox full of tools

There are about 9000 wordpress plugins only in the wordpress plugin directory. Many other are created but for some reason they are not listed in the official directory. For example the paid ones can’t be included.

The fact that they are paid does not guarantee quality, but we can hope for good things.

If you want to start a website or a blog about a specific topic, based on content you won’t need to complicated things. You need only wordpress. Good features may be added to enhance the blog usability. You can choose from 9000 plugins to enhance your blog, but there are several that provides maximum benefit.

1. Spam protection: Akismet

Spam is everywhere, is part of our lives of webmasters. I receive about 50-100 spam comments every day. They are posted by automated bots. While i can use a captcha to stop the spam, i don’t want to force my visitors to do one more step in the process of commenting.

That’s why i choose to handle the spam myself. Akismet comes with wordpress so what you have is to activate it from installed plugins.

2. SEO plugin: All in one SEO

A seo plugin is a must. It gives you the option to set specific title, meta description and meta keywords for any page and any post from your blog. It will also auto generate description and keywords based on your content, categories and tags.

While the automatic feature is good for regular posts, you may want to benefit more from search engine traffic. To do this you have to select few of your best posts and optimize them for SEO. That means off page optimization that can be made with a plugin: specific title/description/keywords and off page optimization: links.

3. Contact Form

It is a must to have a Contact or About page. On that page you will tell your visitors who are you and how can they contact you. While many will prefer contacting you trough e-mail, IM, twitter and facebook it is a good idea to give them an option to quick contact you. I’m using Contact Form 7, it is very easy to use, you can set multiple contact forms and it comes with a good default contact form.

4. Related posts

If a reader reach the end of an article means that you provided good content that is worh reading, this is why he will be tempted to read more from you, and more about the subject. Give him what he want with a related post plugin. I currently use YARPP ( Yet Another Related Posts Plugin ).

5. Sociable

At the end of the article, few of your visitors will want to thank you, or to tell the world that they are among first who discovered this. It will not happen often, but sometime your visitors may feel the need to tell to others about this. If you don’t help them, the chances that they will share your article are close to none. They are lazy, this is why they are reading your articles.

6. Polls

This is not necessary if you want to write a dozen of articles and then run. But if you want to build a community around your blog, and you don’t expect the results tomorrow, a poll plugin is more than necessary.

7. LightBox

By default, when a user clicks on a image on your blog, that image will open in the browser window. To return to your article they have to click the browser “back” button. Is that nice ? Provide them with what they want. Let them click on your images without sending them out of your website.

The lightbox effect means the full image will open on the same window and adding a shadow to the rest of the content. The image will be highlighted and the user have to click on the image to close it.