A great advantage of WordPress being open source is that it has a large community of talented developers creating thousands of plugins to enhance the default funtionality.
Of course these plugins vary drastically in purpose and quality so here is a short list installed for almost every Boolean client; – you should seriously consider adding them to your own.
To use this feature you will need a WordPress API key
If you have comments enabled on your blog then Akismet is absolutely essential as a spam filter. Once configured you will be able to view a list of all spam received in order to confirm that the plugin didn’t catch a real comment. On the rare occasion you can mark it as ‘Not Spam’ and then select ‘Delete All’ in order to flush the remaing spam comments.
You can enter your API key under the Plugins tab, and manage spam under the Comments tab. (Askimet is installed by default, so take a few minutes to configure it correctly)
Google Analytics is a popular statistical analysis package available to track a comprehensive amount of visitor information. The number of visitors to your site, how they found the site, and even what web browser they are using is all available for comparision.
Analyzing the trends of your visitors gives a picture of the most popular content on your site, the terms people are using to find you, and which pages people are linking to on your site so that you can provide more helpful content. It can also give you a better idea of how you can update your site for better search engine optimization.
You can add the tracking code near the end of your footer.php file, just above the </body> tag.
This is one of the first items that should be setup in WordPress giving your posts and pages a ‘pretty’ url eg. sitename.com/category/post-name/ as opposed to sitename.com/p=?1234 This is undoubtably easier on the eyes but more importantly is more SEO friendly since it can incorporate keywords in the URL.
This is a quick and easy setting to change; occasionally however the .htaccess file requires manual editing for this to work properly.
You can update your Permalink structure under the Settings tab in the Admin area.
Once permalinks have been set up, it makes strong sense to install the Permalink Redirect plugin. This plugin extends the basic Permalink settings by ensuring that there are no excess characters in the URL. In the event excess items are present Permalink Redirect sends users to the correct URL by stripping the unnecessary data. Simple.
This plugin requires installation but there is no configuration required.
WP DB Backup
Absolutely essential for WordPress installations is the WP DB Backup plugin which backs up your entire MySQL database. This plugin provides multiple options: manual backup to your own computer or server, or sending it via email.
Best practice is to set the plugin to run automatically, letting you backup your database periodically on a schedule suited to your own requirements.
Backup options are configurable under the Tools tab.
Remember that this just backs up the Database tables and you will occasionally want to download site files files (PHP files, images, etc.) via FTP (or another plugin that I will cover later)