You Installed your WordPress blog and that was pretty easy, right?
Before you go too much farther, there is some back office work to take care of. You want to make sure that your site is safe...Safe from hackers and safe from spammers.
If this is your first blog it's a pretty good bet that you haven't installed plug-ins.
What's a Plug-In?
Plug-ins are a piece of software that contains functions to your blog. They most often add features to your blog and extend the functionality of your blog. They are what makes the blog function the way you expect it to! There are thousands of WordPress plug-ins that are free. There are thousands that are premium which you pay for. These generally include support for any issues that you may have.
I am by no means going to cover the multitude of plug-ins available, but I am going to outline what I feel to be the important ones that every blog should have. There are many different plug-ins that do the same exact thing. Everyone claims they are the best or better or upgraded. My list contains those plug-ins that I personally use and those that I include in the set up of every single blog I install for clients. You are always free to choose your own based on your preference, as long as they have the same functionality.
These are the Plug-Ins I consider the nuts and bolts of a WordPress Blog
- Akismet - This is a free plug-in that does require you sign up for an account (also free). This is always the very first plug-in I install. Why? Its function is to block spam. There are many other spam blocking plug-ins and quite honestly this is not the only one I use. It definitely catches a considerable amount of the spam contents that are posted (usually from bots).
- Clean Talk Anti-Spam - This is a paid plug-in and well worth the $8.00 a year that it costs. If you have more than one site, the rates go down (per site, per year). This is by and far one of the best plug-ins that I have ever used. It blocks all the spam that other plug-ins miss! It eliminates the need for CAPTCHA plug-ins for any form on your blog, log-in, comment, contact, etc. Easy to install and set up, works continuously and catches everything that shouldn't be there including the function of censorship of abusive comments. Messages containing not normative lexicon, cursing and calling for ethnic hatred are automatically sent to manual moderation.
Now I don't use both of these at the same time. I personally think that would be overkill and I'm not sure that these two plug-ins would play nice together. I do use one of these on each and every wordpress installation. I started off alternating to see which was worked the best and was the most effective. Bullet Proof Security "looks" very intimidating to set up, but it isn't 🙂 I'm sure there is a difference, what that is I am not able to determine. Both work extremely well and thus far are compatible with other plug-ins that I use. The most important thing here is to be sure and install security on your site. In fact I recommend that be one of the first plug-ins you install.
- Word Fence - This plug-in offers virus protection & a firewall for your blog. The free version is amazing so I can only imagine how the paid version must be. You set the rule - easy to follow instructions along the way. Direct from the Word Fence Site "The Wordfence WordPress security plugin continuously prevents, patrols and protects your WordPress websites against today’s ultra-advanced cyber attacks, hacks and online security threats."
- Bullet Proof Security - Free or Premium. Free is great and super powerful! WordPress Website Security Protection: Firewall Security, Login Security, Database Security... Effective, Reliable, Easy to use...
- All In One SEO - The free version is fine especially at the beginning. Taking a few extra minutes once this plug-in is installed and activated definitely helps get your posts seen by the Search Engines maybe a bit sooner. It automatically optimizes your blog for search engines.
- Fast Secure Contact Form - Again free and a multitude of choices to choose from. You definitely want a way for your readers to contact you. You can put in an email link, but then every spammer who visits your site is able to add you to their list. Contact forms are very easy to set up with easy to follow instructions. You just paste a code on your Contact Me page and you're good to go.
- UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore - This again has a free and a paid version. I recently started using the free version after using the WordPress Backup plug-in for years. I have it linked with cloud storage (you can link to Dropbox) and it saves the backups automatically. This is probably as necessary as the security software. If something happens to your blog, you are able to restore it with the backup. Without the backup, you have to start at the beginning and all the hard work you have done will be lost. Whether you choose this particular plug-in or another backup plug-in, it is important that you have a backup, you just never know when you will need it. Hopefully you will never need it. But as the saying goes, it's better to have and not need than to need and not have! In this case, months or even years or decades of work could be lost without a backup.
Above are the plug-ins that I feel are necessary before you actually launch your blog and will save you tons of time and headaches later on. Feel free to check around and choose the plug-in that will fill your needs. The functionality is what is the most important thing with all of the above.
Later on I'll cover some of the other plug-ins that I wouldn't launch without, but those don't have anything to do with safety per say, but are important just the same. I've been installing and managing WordPress sites for a number of years and can say from experience that the plug-ins listed above (or the majority of them at least) are a necessity. Having you blog hacked and taken over is a headache you don't want to deal with. Having to manually delete spam after spam after spam is a pure waste of your time.
If you need any help or you just want someone to install a WordPress blog and get you set up to post or if you just need your blog updated with some of the necessary plug-ins, themes, etc., be sure and visit me at KathyKeefe.com or use the contact form to give me a shout!.