WordPress plug-ins make it possible for bloggers to include additional functionality to a WordPress blog. Although a lot of plug-ins are freely available on the Web, not all stand out for me. The last thing you want, particularly if you have a new blog, is to overload your site with several irrelevant plug-ins that have the potential of causing conflicts with your WordPress template.
The selection of my top three must-have WordPress plug-ins is informed by three key points; security, content and search-engine optimisation (SEO). Show me a blog that does not factor in any of these three and I will show you a flop of a blog. It is perhaps no surprise therefore that bloggers who take having quality content, security and SEO seriously usually stand out in the long run. On this basis I have found the following plug-ins to be very useful:
1. Zemanta: Zemanta recommends content while you write your post. It helps you enhance your content with images, videos, in-text links, and SEO optimized tags. With Zemanta media gallery, you do not have to worry about copyrights as it automatically takes care of it. In addition, it provides a list of related articles thus saving time and increasing the efficiency of your editorial process.
2. WP-reCAPTCHA: reCAPTCHA is an anti-spam technology originating from Carnegie Mellon University. Instead of randomly generating useless characters which users grow tired of continuously typing in, risking the possibility that spammers will eventually write sophisticated spam bots to read the characters, reCAPTCHA uses a different approach. It’s security measures includes using domain-specific key system authentication, IP Address Detection to review and potentially block IPs which have solved too many CAPTCHAs in a limited amount of time and adaptive security meaning they can fix bugs as they are found.
3. Google XML Sitemaps: the Google XML Sitemap plug-in generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. The plug-in’s format is supported by the most popular search engines such as Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.
In addition to the above, other WordPress plug-ins such as StumpleUpon It!, StatPress, Do Follow, Platinum SEO Pack and WP-DBManager deserve honourable mentions.
What are your favourite WordPress plug-ins? Have you found any plug-in particularly disappointing? If you had to choose just one WordPress plug-in, which one would it be and why?