So you’ve decided on WordPress as the software to power your blog. Good choice! To save yourself a series of headaches down the road, install these plugins before you go much farther.
Spam Karma 2
Spam Karma 2 (SK2) is an anti-spam plugin. It is meant to stop all forms of automated Blog spam effortlessly, while remaining as unobtrusive as possible to regular commenters. Spam Karma 2 is the proud successor to Spam Karma, with whom it shares most of the development ideas, but absolutely none of the code. If you only install one WordPress plugin, let this be it. Even if you don’t expect a high volume of traffic, the spam-bots will find your site, and Spam Karma 2 will stop them dead in their tracks.
Here’s help for installing (scroll to the Installation section)
|Google Sitemap Generator v3 beta or v2final
This plugin generates a Google Sitemaps compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. The Google sitemaps program is part of the “Google webmaster tools”. This plugin will help cut the time it takes for Google to index your site.
|Google Analytics plugin
This plugin automatically inserts the relevant Google Analytics code to your blog posts and makes your web tracking/reporting that much easier. It will also ignore any traffic from authors, editors and admin users when they are logged in.
For help installing, visit this page and scroll down to the Manual Installation section.
If you’re planning on using FeedBurner, this plugin makes sure that all of your feed traffic is forwarded correctly. The plugin will detect all ways to access your feed and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. It will forward for your main posts feed, and optionally your main comments feed as well.
Help installing can be found here (scroll to the INSTALLATION) section
If you’re planning on serving ads via Google or Yahoo!, AdSense-Deluxe is an easy-to-use plugin for WordPress 1.5+ (including WP 2.0) for quickly inserting ads into your blog posts, and managing when and where those ads are displayed.
For help installing, see the Installation: section of this page. Also see the Readme.txt included, esp. if you’re using WP 2.0
This is a plugin for WordPress which allows you to insert a custom build contact form, which on submission will send the information via email.
If you’re dreaming big and expect heavy traffic to your blog, you’ll really want WP-Cache. Note: some hosting providers that include WordPress, may have installed this for you by default (Dreamhost does). WP-Cache is an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It works by caching Worpress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database. WP-Cache allows to serve hundred of times more pages per second, and to reduce the response time from several tenths of seconds to less than a millisecond.
For help, see the Installation section of this page.
Did I miss any critical plugins? Leave a comment below! :)