When you install a WordPress blog on your own server, you can install plugins to enhance the functionality and improve security. These are some of my favorites:
- Maintenance Mode – Nice plugin for displaying a maintenance message when you’re working on the site.
- Twitter Tools – for integration between your WordPress blog and Twitter account
- WP-SpamFree – Terrific anti-spam plugin
- Contact Form 7 – simple, flexible contact form plugin
- Platinum SEO Pack – Good search engine optimization plugin
- ThickBox – Add ThickBox galleries to your blog
- Multi-level Navigation – for accessible dropdown/flyout/slider navigation
- Google Sitemaps – Creates a Google Sitemaps compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog
- Image Widget – Image widget for sidebar so clients can easily update images
- Rich Text Widget – Adds a rich text editor widget so your client won’t have to work with code in a text widget.
These are just a few of the plugins I use most frequently. There are many more available. If you can think of something that you’d like to do in WordPress, the odds are good that there’s a plugin for it. When you download plugins, there should be a readme.txt file with installation instructions and notes, but generally you can just add the folder to your plugins directory and activate it through the admin panel. Remember to deactivate plugins when upgrading WordPress and check to make sure that the ones you’re using are compatible with the version you’re upgrading to.