5 Essential Plugins For Your WordPress CMS

 

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. This quote by Dutch Scientist Edsgar Dijkstra in 1930 could easily describe the principles that underpin the WordPress blogging system, which has propelled it to one of the top three positions amongst content management systems in the world today along with Joomla and Drupal.

In fact, many fanatical fans of WordPress would often rank it higher than the other two mentioned above, but calmer minds would like to reserve judgment for at least a few more years to see who can really claim victory.

Interestingly, Google Insights hints that 2011 may indeed belong to WordPress in the search term battle. But is Google always right?

Besides the clever marketing behind the famous 5 minute install, WordPress has nurtured a vibrant, international community of web developers who are making bloggers, website owners and web entrepreneur’s lives much easier, by providing thousands of free (and premium) plugins which literally give your blog wings.

Within minutes your blog could be hooked into Twitter, Facebook, optimized for Google, or manipulated from an Apple, Windows or Android Smartphone.

But, the easier it is to use something, the harder it is to code or develop in the first place. Not all plugins are created equal since a good, diligent developer needs to avoid many traps and hidden dangers mentioned in the Top 10 Most Common Coding Mistakes in WordPress Plugins.

Here are five dependable plugins, which you should consider when deploying a WordPress blog or WP content management system.  Over time your wants and needs will change; when this happens hunt the plugin directory to add, modify or delete from this list and remember to give feedback to the community!

BACKUP BUDDY

Even the best designers and developers are often negligent in not pursuing a sustainable backup strategy.   BackupBuddy has earned a solid reputation as a tool to help take the pain out of this process.  While you will need to spend between £45 ($75) and £90 ($150) depending on the number of sites you build, they are Dollars well spent.   Don’t let a hacker or a database corruption ruin your day (or life!). This one should be a no brainer.

ALL IN ONE SEO PACK

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is now a term even tech agnostic housewives may recognize. Often labeled a black art, this area is arguably becoming one of the most critical priorities for a company attempting to procure leads online. While WordPress is naturally optimized for Google, you can go further with this All in One SEO Pack, which offers both beginner and advanced configurations for making posts SEO-friendly. Expect to dish out $39 for the professional version of this popular plugin.

FACEBOOK SOCIAL PLUGINS

Turn your WordPress site into a social butterfly by hooking into Zuckerberg’s Facebook.  One method to do this, and there are many, is to leverage Facebook Social Plugins developed by Oliveir Lussier.  In no time you will have access to widgets and activity feeds along with other cool stuff including Recommendations and Like Boxes.

WP-POLLS

Asking your website visitors questions is something that is becoming increasingly popular as evidenced by the recent roll out of Facebook Questions. Hook a free poll into your WordPress site to make your blog more interactive.  WP-Polls is a free, dependable AJAX plugin that you can experiment with.  Highly customizable it supports multiple selections of answers.

ONSWIPE: iPAD MEETS WORDPRESS

Apple ruffled some feathers with the iPad and made a consistent user experience across multiple devices a wee bit more challenging. Sensing an opportunity, Onswipe has released a free plugin to make your site instantly compatible with this famous tablet. Check out the feature called an Accelerometer, which manipulates the content layout according to the way your reader is holding their iPad.

TIP: If you spend a lot of time conceptualizing site designs in Photoshop then checkout the free Divine Project which allows you to convert PSD templates into WordPress themes without any coding.

Guest Blogger: Jason Stevens from jason-stevens.com / Freelance web developer, tech writer and follower of cloud computing trends. Follow him on Twitter @_jason_stevens_

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