Wordpress is by far the most used blogging system on the Internet, as well as a widely used content management system for some very large company websites and blogs. By itself, Wordpress is simple, reliable and powerful, but to make the most of what it offers, you really need to use a variety of Wordpress plugins, which are usually available to download for free, working together to add additional features to the Wordpress installation. To help you on your way, we've made a list of five of our favourite Wordpress Plugins that we know you won't want to blog without!
Contact Form 7
This is our favourite contact form plugin, because it's simple to use, quite effective, and doesn't take too much getting used to. You simply create a form using the CF7 interface, add some inputs for visitors to fill in (Name, Email, all that jazz), hit save and you're given a code that you then simply paste into your Contact Us page or add to a sidebar.
When someone fills out the form on your page and submits it (without even needing to refresh the page), you're sent an email containing all the information the user has left, in a totally customisable email.
Learn more about Contact Form 7
Wordpress SEO by Yoast
If you're serious about your website or blog, and you're the kind of person who would normally dig into the Wordpress framework to really make it do what you want, this plugin might be for you. Wordpress SEO works out of the box to make your website a little more search engine friendly, and with a little tinkering it allows you to configure various parts of the CMS to really give you a better chance of ranking high in search engines like Google and Yahoo.
You can customise page and browser titles for every page, post, category and taxonomy, and easily edit the META description and keywords tags for each part of your website. There's even an analytics feature which probes into your content on each post and notifies you when you've written too little, written to much, missed keyword opportunities, and even if the reading level of your content is at the right level. It's a great plugin to give your website or blog the extra edge SEO-wise.
Lean more about Wordpress SEO by Yoast
W3 Total Cache
If you're like the billions of people on this planet who surf the Internet, you hate waiting for slow websites to load. In most cases it's just something we have to put up with, unless we're willing to fork out more money for faster broadband! W3 Total Cache, a Wordpress caching plugin, allows a website to be shrunken down in various ways to allow faster access to information for users as well as less costs in running the website for the person or business that owns the website.
W3 Total Cache can decrease the time it takes for the Wordpress software to communicate with your web server, as well as shrink down some files by removing white-space and formatting (but not affecting what your users see on your website). It can also join files together so your users don't have to download multiple files (joined files are quicker to download).
If you want to offer a faster experience for your visitors, try out W3 Total Cache
Wordpress comes packed with a plugin called Akismet, and I'll admit, for a while there we didn't even give it a second look. Once we did we were pleasantly surprised with what we found. Akismet is a nice, simple plugin that helps to keep icky, frustrating SPAM off your website.
Find out more about Akismet.
This plugin is quite simple - it fixes up the email notifications sent by Wordpress and turns them into smaller, more readable emails. Making things neater is almost always a good thing!
Find out more about Clean Notifications.