I’ve had a bit of experience with WordPress in my professional life, and it can be a little hit and miss. In particular, the way that plugins and themes interact can be unpredictable, to say the least. I’ve seen sites really, really slow down to the point of losing visitors because of bloated code, so when I built this one, I deliberately kept it quite light. However, there are a couple of ‘must-have’ plugins that I did install:
- Yoast. As a struggling writer, SEO is your battleground. Any form of self-promotion needs to be jumped on and SEO is a long-term war for attention. Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress that I’ve found to date – it’s both comprehensible and powerful.
- Captcha by BestWebSoft. I’ve never found that the native WordPress anti-spam plugin, Akismet, catches that much spam, so I use Captcha to stop it. It drops spam rates by at least 95%
- Google Analytics. GA is a must for any website owner, telling you how many visitors came and from where. To be honest, some of the acquisition data is always quite hazy – a lot of searches and web traffic is encrypted, so the power is dropping, but it does show you the general direction you’re going in. There are loads of different GA plugins, but any one which makes it easy and straightforward to verify your site ownership and still works is pretty good in my opinion!
I’d give honourable mentions to the Mailchimp plugin and the Embed Any Document plugin as well – I’ve not gotten around to setting up either yet, but they’re really useful for giving people a preview of books, and helping them stay in touch.
And that’s what I’ve restricted myself to; first and foremost, the site has to load, so that’s been front and centre when I’ve been working on this (simple) site. But I’d love to hear about any other great ones I’m missing!