WordPress plug-ins that are useful

i have a small site, i don’t really get traffic, way more bots visit this site than humans, but i still enjoy my little corner of the internet. i use wordpress to run this site, which is hosted by my good friend Mike (he has a server running in Las Vegas)

I really enjoy playing around with my wordpress installation (and thanks to Mike, the site doesn’t stay down long when i break things) and i have found a few plug ins i would reccomend for anyone running a wordpress site.

  1. Wordfence – this is really cool free plug-in (although you can get a paid version that is super useful) it works as a firewall/ virus scanner/ traffic viewer as well as like a billion other things, and really the only super useful bit (for me!) is the virus scanner. it goes through your wordpress installation and compares it to the stock version to see what is different, as well as scans your content and comments for any links to websites that are black listed by google. Generally when a small blog is hacked, it’s to either add links to shady websites (think prescription spam email links) that will help them get higher up in google results or create pages for phishing. If your website has a lot of links to sites that end up getting blacklisted by google, your website will probably end up being blacklisted, which sucks and is hard to come back from.
  2. Akismet – run by wordpress.com (the for profit side of wordpress) your blog will be overrun with spam comments (as in BUY YOUR V14GR4 HERE! comments and links). You have to sign up for a key, and it will check all your comments against known spam comments, so far it’s blocked some 5,485 spam comments from being posted on my site, pretty cool stuff.
  3. WP Google Authenticator –  This is a fun plug in that adds 2 factor authentification to your wordpress installation using the google authenticator app (for iOS, android and blackberry devices). So what is 2 factor authentication? it’s a 6 digit algorithmically generated code that you add on top of your password. so you still use your username and password, but on top of that there is a time sensitive 6 digit number that expires every 60 seconds (or some similar time amount) that adds an extra layer of security to your log in. So now in order to access your wordpress build a person would need your log in name, password, plus physical access to your phone, it’s not gonna keep the NSA out, but will probably keep that random russian hacker at bay.
  4. SEO by Yoast – this plug in easily allows you to create XML site maps for search engine bots, basically just makes it easier to submit content to google, and will ping different search engines when you post to let them know you have new content out. it honestly has a ton of features, i use maybe 3% of them, but stil useful enough to keep installed. It shows you a little snippet of how your blog will appear to google, let you have a seperate SEO optimized title for search engines (like this might appear as henrie.biz – a really useful plugins on google, yet a different title when you click on the page) As well as a simple page analysis, an area that allows you to over ride the image facebook will use in the post (doesn’t seem to work all that often in my experience) and other silly little things to tweak on your posts.

 

One issue that I run into with the wordpress plug-ins, is how do they work? And that is also one of the things that makes the least sense to me with wordpress. Every plug-in has it’s own behaviours, user interface and location. and it appears they don’t even attempt to keep a guideline for how plugin’s should work. For example installing the 2 factor authorization will be customized by navigating to Settings- Google Auth while Jetpack will be located near the top left and then have a slew of options once you click on it, and Wordfence will be located near the bottom of the menu. There is 0 rythme or reason as far as i can tell. Generally the plug-in pages will have a FAQ that will tell you where to navigate in order to change settings,and as long as you have a host that backs up frequently, the best way is to just explore through the myriad of menus and see what happens when you click here or there.

2 thoughts on “WordPress plug-ins that are useful”

  1. Nice write up, Hen!

    Didn’t know about the SEO by Yoast will have to look into that and try. WordFence is huge after I dealt with a phishing site that was injected into a users’ WordPress install I wouldn’t install WordPress without it.

    1. back in 2004 i think it was i let my wordpress installation go 6 months without updating, i had so many phishing links injected into the site, it really is like the plug in you need, i just wonder who they are and what they do with the data then collect.

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