Some plugins perform functions that useful that they, or equivalent plugins, really should be used on every blog. Here is my list of suggestions!

There is a reason that this plugin is now bundled with WordPress and that is because it is absolutely essential. You have to activate it by going to the WordPress website, signing up and then getting an API key, but there is no excuse for not doing this.

Without the Akismet WordPress plugin, spammers will be leaving comments on your blog at will, with ease. You will be plagued by rubbish comments that you have to delete. So make sure you activate this plugin.

Broken Link Checker
New to my favourite list, this is a great little plugin that keeps checking your posts for broken links. If any are found, for example a new post has an invalid link added or a site is deleted, which affects an existing post, you are quickly warned. Invalid image links are also notified to you.

The benefits are that search engines and visitors are not coming across dead links and if you are linking to your own sites, then you are warned that the link needs changing.

WP Stats
I installed this one as part of another plugin. Previously I just relied on Google Analytics, but since using WP Stats I have seen the light and realised that both of these packages work well together. WP Stats provides real time visitor tracking and ignores your own visits to the site, so it is more accurate. It doesn’t provide the high detail that Google Analytics provides, but it does provide all of the essential stats you will need – visitor source, popular pages and so on.

WP Popular Posts
This is the plugin that requires WP Stats and is really good for helping steer people around your website. For new visitors you want to highlight those posts that do well with readers, so the Popular Posts plugin displays these to your readers. This can help convert a one time visitor into a regular visitor, which really ramps up your website traffic stats!

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
There are several related posts plugins, but this is the one I always use. Again, it is a plugin about getting readers to read more and hopefully enjoy your site so that they decide to sign up for your RSS Feed or newsletter.

This one works by placing a list of possibly related posts at the bottom of the post that is being read, going on the theory that if they have just read that post to completion similar writings might also be interesting.

Ultimate Category Excluder
A bit of a cheat, this one, but there are times when you decide to write something that is totally off topic and maybe you don’ need it displaying everywhere. For example, I use UCE to prevent the posts in my uncategorised category from displaying in the RSS feed.

I do this so that readers of the RSS feed are just seeing the proper posts, those that are totally on topic. If I go off topic and mouth off about something, then these are not cluttering the RSS feed.

They are my six favourite WordPress plugins that I install to every new blog I create. If you have any others that you like to use, leave me a comment!

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