Where would we be without Akismet? When I first used WordPress Akismet was near enough standard and everybody downloaded it. Now, it is standard and included in the latest versions of WordPress. And it is beyond doubt worth using if you are leaving comments open. So get yourself an API key and make sure that you activate it. If you do not, then you are leaving yourself open to a lot of comment spam.
I to begin with started using this as part of another plugin, but very quickly grew to find the plugin very useful. In the past I had always relied on Google Analytics for my website stats, but this plugin, which gives less detail, presents what you need to know right in your site. Graphs of up to the minute reader stats, where they have come from, how they found you and where they went. Invaluable information to improve your blog.
WordPress.com Popular Posts
This is the plugin that requires the stats and why I discovered the stats plugin. This plugin in itself allows you to display a list of your most often referred to posts. These popular posts are a good way of steering visitors about your weblog to areas of interest and a way of keeping them on your weblog for longer. Ultimately, this builds trust and makes them more prospective to join your RSS or newsletter.
Contact Form 7
A straightforward and straightforward to use contact form. It does what it says! But I think it is one of the most useful plugins because it gives you the basis for a contact page, without having to display your email address. If you do display your email, then spammers might scrape it and start filling your inbox. But do not have any contact method available and then no-one might make you advertising offers and so on!
Really Easy CAPTCHA
Again, does what it says! Merely one function to this plugin and that is to show a CAPTCHA box on your newsletter. But by using this plugin you are nearly fully preventing spammers from automatically submitting your contact form and saving yourself lots of spam!
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Where are your readers going to go once they arrive at the end of the post that they are presently reading? Well, install this little plugin and it will suggest similar themed posts on your site that might interest them. You know what they are reading round now, so offer them more. Again, this is a easy method of increasing the time that visitors spend on your site and the chances of them becoming a regular reader of your blog.
Post to Twitter
Practically perfect this plugin, I use it regularly on my websites. It merely sends the title of your post to your Twitter account every time you publish a new post, which not only saves you the effort, but gives your posting more exposure via Twitter. This can increase your Twitter followers whilst increasing your website’s readers. As I said, nigh on perfect, I only make a straightforward change to the way that it posts the title, but this is not really required so use it as it stands.
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