Recommended Plugins

WordPress plugins are pieces of software that can extend WordPress to do pretty much anything you want. They can reduce spam, increase site security, add social bookmarking functionality, improve your site’s search engine optimization and much more.

There are over 9,000 plugins available for download at WordPress.org now. To save you the time and hassle of finding the ones you’ll need for your site, I’ve compiled a list of the plugins which I recommend for business sites/blogs in no particular order (oh, and all of the plugins listed here are free!)…

1. Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin creates an XML sitemap. A sitemap is basically a document that contains information about all the pages on a site and how they link together. Having a sitemap helps search engines better index your site which is good for search engine optimzation. This plugin automatically creates a sitemap for you and will notify all the major search engines whenever you create new content on your WordPress site.

2. All In One SEO Pack

If you’re going to have a website, you might as well optimize it as much as p0ssible so you get higher rankings in the search engines. The All In One SEO Pack plugin takes care of a lot of the optimization work for you out of the box. All you do is install it and it starts working to send some SEO-love to your site. And if you’re an a more advanced SEO type, you can tweak the plugin to your liking. (Note: If you’re using the Thesis Theme for your site, you don’t need this plugin because Thesis has all this search engine optimizing goodness already cooked into it).

3. Contact Form 7

Chances are on a business website you’re going to want a way for visitors to contact you with questions, comments, etc. Using Contact Form 7 you can easily customize a form to place on your website. Simply drag and drop fields to create a form with the fields you want. Then copy a short code onto the page of your site where you want the form to appear and you’re done! It doesn’t get any easier than that.

4. Google Analytics for WordPress

For any website, it’s important to know how many people are visiting your site, what pages are they visiting, what keywords they’re using to find you and more. This plugin helps you easily do that. You’ll need to register for a free Google Analytics account first. Then enter your Google Analytics account ID into this plugin and you’ll start collecting more data about your site’s traffic than you’ll know what to do with.

5. WordPress.com Stats

This is another plugin that collects statistics about your site visitors. Why use two? First, while Google Analytics is an amazing statistics tool, it can be very overwhelming. The WordPress.com Stats plugin is easier to use and you can access the data directly within your WordPress Dashboard (as opposed to going to your Google Analytics account). Also, it never hurts to have more than one way to measure site traffic because stats are never 100% accurate so being able to compare data from multiple sources can be helpful.

6. WordPress Mobile Edition

Mobile is huge. As more and more smartphones pour into the market, more consumers are using their phones to surf the web. If you don’t have a website that can be easily viewed on a mobile phone’s browser, you may be losing out on potential business. This plugin makes sure that doesn’t happen. Once installed, the plugin detects mobile browsers and gives your site/blog a mobile-friendly interface so it looks great on mobile devices.

7. WP Super Cache

What this plugin actually does and how it does it requires a bit of a technical explanation which I won’t bore you with here (you can visit the plugin’s home page if you’re interested). The bottom line, however, is that this plugin speeds up the performance of your website. Having a lot of traffic is a nice problem to have, though you don’t want your server to get overwhelmed so that things slow to a crawl or, worse, crash. This plugin is designed to prevent that from happening and make your site/blog super fast

8. Invisible Defender

The web can be a dangerous place. All sort of spambots crawl around looking for WordPress (and other) sites to mess around with. Invisible Defender was designed to protect registration, login and comment forms from spambots to keep your site spam free.

Have a favorite plugin for WordPress? Share it in the comment section below!

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