Setting up your Foodie Blog on WordPress – Part 3, Plugins

| February 22, 2011

This post is part 3 of a series of posts on Setting up your Foodie Blog on WordPress – please visit Part 1 & Part 2 for WordPress installation, theme selection and security & discussion settings instructions.

Part 3 of my series will focus entirely on PLUGINS!

Image by Fuelyourcoding

There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plug-ins and widgets available for download. The vast majority of them are free and on a donation basis. I always like throw a couple of $ at least through Paypal as many of them are terrific and help your site. While there are indeed many to choose from and every site will need different features and tools, there are some more essential than others.  I have * the ones I feel are essentials.

Anti-Spam Plugins

  • Akismet*: This is one that you will find has already been loaded up with your WordPress install and will require an API key and activation.  This is your main plugin for addressing comment and trackback spam.   Word of warning with this plugin: like any spamguard, it sometimes is overly cautious, and marks good comments/commenters as spam so it’s always best to check the “spammed” comments section from time to time
  • Spammer Blocker: if you are tired of manually blocking spammers’s IP addresses by yourself, you can use this plugin. It blocks all visitors who posted a comment that was later marked as a spam.

Setting up Analytics

  • Google Analytics for WordPress*: Adds Google Analytics to your blog. Set up for this is pretty straight forward so just follow the instructions. Google Analytics will generate a UA code for your site that you will just insert on the site to authenticate.

SEO Plugins

Your theme may already come with some SEO software, but here are some additional plugins to insert.

  • Google XML Maps: This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog. Not needed if you install SEO Yoast.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: This plugin incorporates everything you need for SEO from a snippet preview that helps you optimize your page titles, meta descriptions and keywords to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.

Database Backup

  • WP-DB Backup*: Always back up your data! Thankfully I have never had fist hand experience of this, but I can only imagine how terrible it must feel to loose months/years worth of posts because you didn’t back-up your database. this allows you to easily back up your wordpress databases. I generally set mine up to back up on a weekly basis, but blogs that are being updated more regularly, you may want to do this daily.
  • Additional Tip: I generally save a copy of my WP-Content folder on my hard disk on a monthly basis.  This way, all theme files, plugins, images, etc that you have uploaded to the site are backed-up.

Set up FeedBurner:

Many paid themes have a feedburner setting in them so you may not need to install this plugin, but you will need to set up your feedburner account.

  • FeedBurner FeedSmith: Before activating this plugin fully, you will have to set up your Feedburner account. All you need to do with this plugin is go to the settings, put in the Feedburner feed address you set up, and the plugin will then detect all ways to access your feed and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed.

Additional useful plugins:

  • WP Super Cache*: I believe a similar plugin is now pre-installed with the new version of WordPress.  As your blog grows, this plugin will become more of an asset. It generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress, and allows for quicker page loading for your readers.
  • AddThis: great plugin allowing readers to share your posts by email and various social media platforms.  This plugin also has useful analytics.
  • Contact Form 7*: Many contact form plugins out there, but this is my favourite one.
  • Social Media Widget: Many of these out there and quite often your purchased theme will include setup to link your social media pages and accounts to your blog.  This is just one example of a plugin.
  • Broken Link Checker: Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found. Very helpful for older posts. you don’t want your readers to be linked through to a resource that is no longer online.
  • WP-Print: Helpful if you want people to print out a post in a printer-friendly way.
  • My page order & category order: These plugins allow you to sort the order you want your pages and categories to show up on navigation bars.
  • Leenkme: Plugin which allows you to automatically update your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. This plugin requires a small subscription charge.
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar: If like Zomppa you have a number of contributors, this plugin comes in quite handy for scheduling posts.

Ok, well that’s about it on the plugin front.  There are many others that I use and have tested out, but these were the main ones that I find myself using often. I always come across new ones all the time.

This brings to a close my posts dedicated to WordPress set-up, let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to address them or at least point you in the direction of some good resources.

Check out the two previous posts here:

Setting up your Foodie Blog on WordPress: Part 1, WordPress installation

Setting up your Foodie Blog on WordPress: Part 2, Themes and Settings

Additional useful resources that cover the whole WordPress set-up process:

Installing WordPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

WordPress video tutorials on A4Magic.com

WordPress training by Atomic Design Studios

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Category: WordPress Tips

About the Author (Author Profile)

Kat is not only a whiz at online new media and social networking–is the brains getting this site up and running!–but she’s also a monster on the tennis courts. Her penchant for honesty and genuine pursuit to lead a good life has garnered her many fans, although she is far too modest to even realize this. A connoisseur of espressos, cappuccinos and Italian/Irish gastronomy, Kat will gladly share her opinions in one of four languages. Check out Kat’s site if you need help with your social media and web communications strategies www.kathleenholmlund.com

Comments (8)

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  1. Gera says:

    Superb plugin compilation! Now I prefer GASP for spam control, after installed the garbage was near zero without false positives.
    Some plugins are new for me and others I’ve already installed. Broken link checker is vital after migrations or for old posts with many links pointing out of the blog – my case 🙂

    Cheers,

    Gera

  2. sweetlife says:

    I added super cache this past weekend, before my little one got sick and now it won’t let me upload pics…aghhh..I have been trying to post a new recipe ALLLL day!! sorry had to vent, thanks for the info!

    sweetlife

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