Next up you will want to install some basic plugins to monitor traffic, provide SEO tools and prevent spam. The plugins I use are just based on my personal experience and preference. There are several plugins in each category that you could use and thousands of plugins total that exist. I feel like it’s a safe bet to go with what I suggest and later when you have more time evaluate other options. If you do this you will be able to quickly get your site off the ground without worrying about picking plugins from a long list.
Each plugin can be installed simply by going to Appearance->Plugins->Install New, searching for the plugin, using the automatic installation option, activating and configuring the plugin. If that sounds complicated, just go to the Plugins section and use your head and it’ll be alright. The most important thing you should gain from this is the plugins that I recommend that you should install and the brief descriptions of how to use them below.
To monitor traffic I strongly recommend using Google Analyticator. It’s super-easy to install and integrates with your WordPress Dashboard so that you will see important traffic statistics right when you login without having to load up Google Analytics interface. If you haven’t used Google Analytics before visit http://www.google.com/analytics and then click Sign up Now. If you don’t use Google and don’t have a Google account you can Create a new Google Account here.
Search Engine Optimization is important. It’s easy to do and will give you help you get on equal ground with other bloggers out there. Using an SEO plugin won’t change the way your site looks to your visitors but will change the way it looks to search engines. The plugin I recommend is called All in One SEO Pack, it will generate keywords and a description for your pages, it will prevent your site from generating duplicate content and let you customize titles for each page. There are many other features but you don’t need to be an SEO expert to use the plugin, so install it, configure it and benefit from it.
You also want to be able to generate a Sitemap for Search Engines. This will make it easier for them to find and index your content. Once again this is made very easy simply by using the Google Sitemaps plugin. There are several different plugisn to choose from, search for “Google XML Sitemaps” and you will find the one that I like the most. The author is Arne Brachhold. I don’t recommend you waste your time with any of the other plugins.
In no time you’re going to have robots finding your site and leaving spam comments. These things are annoying. One of the best ways to avoid this is with the Akismet plugin. It’s installed in WordPress by default but it requires you to activate it and give it an API Key. An API-Key is free for personal blogs from their website.
These 4 plugins will give you a good advantage from an SEO perspective and make your blog easier to use and monitor.