This guest post is by Christine Miller.
If you’re like most bloggers who rely on WordPress, the chances are that you’ve discovered the plugins out there that allow you to do just about anything you’d like to with your blog.
The challenge is knowing how to find the cream of the crop from the constantly growing number of plugins available.
Although you can rely on a plugin’s rating and the number of times it has been downloaded as a general rule of thumb for finding the right solution for a particular problem.
Most experienced developers will tell you that there are a handful of extremely functional plugins that no blogger should be without.
Let’s take a look at five time-tested WordPress plugins that I feel no blog should be without.
1. WordPress SEO Plugin
Understanding how to put together compelling content for your readers is one thing, but knowing how to expand your audience and get your blog the attention it deserves is another.
While there’s a lot of ways to increasing traffic to your site, getting your site ranked in the major search engines for the keywords associated with your site is one of the most reliable.
Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin is an extremely robust tool for optimizing every possible onpage SEO element that you can think of.
It’s the perfect plugin for basic optimizations and sophisticated SEO campaigns alike.
2. Ultimate Security Checker
Many bloggers don’t realize just how insecure their WordPress site is until it’s too late.
While there are many great security plugins available, Ultimate Security Checker is the only well-respected one that performs a comprehensive scan of your site’s settings.
It provides you with a graded security score along with step-by-step improvements for getting the proper security protocols into place.
When it comes to WordPress plugins for bloggers, there is no shortage of options for incorporating all of your favorite social media platforms onto your website.
Sociable has established itself as one of the most popular social media plugins and is used by some of the most successful and well-known bloggers and media outlets around.
4. Disqus Comment System
Having an active comments section under your most recent blog posts is one of the most rewarding parts of building an effective online presence using a WordPress blog.
The Disqus Comment System allows your readers to join the conversation using whatever social media account they prefer without having to login, which encourages more visitors to chime in.
Disqus has become the leading comment system on a wide variety of news and media websites, as well as the blogosphere itself.
WPtouch is a simple, useful plugin that is designed to make your blog more user friendly to visitors using smart phones, iPads and similar devices.
Depending on your niche, the chances are that around 25-35% of your blog’s traffic is arriving through a mobile device, and that number is only going to grow in the years to come.
Although using a theme with responsive design is your best bet for building a WordPress blog that looks great in every device, WPtouch provides a great way to stay ahead of the curve short of a total site overhaul.
Which plugins, and how many, are you using on your site?
Are there any that you feel are “must haves”?
Christine Miller is currently working on a blog that details machines at machine-project.com and has previously worked on several real estate blogs including iowacityrealestate.com