When it comes to blogging platforms, WordPress is king (or queen). Taking advantage of all that it has to offer will only help you propel your blog into popularity – and perhaps even a paycheck. With so many WordPress plugins to choose from to aid you in your publishing quest, it's tough to pick just a few and use them to their full advantage. Practice some restraint, though, and select from any of these top seven WordPress plugins in 2014.
Security Plugin: Login LockDown
Bloggers underestimate their security, even though the Internet is littered with scammers and hackers preying on your vulnerability. This is where Login LockDown comes into play. This plugin records the IP address and timestamp of all failed login attempts made to your WordPress account. Once someone fails a certain number of times within a short time span from the same IP address, the login function will disable. This ensures that no one will discover your password through brute force. Additionally, you have control how long you lock the person out for.
Backup Plugin: BackupBuddy
Don't take your blog for granted – back it up with the best backup plugin WordPress has to offer. The BackupBuddy will back up your entire WordPress installation, including widgets, plugins, themes, files, and your SQL database. If you don't want to risk losing any of your valuable information, install this plugin today and use it often. Remember to make sure you have a high-speed Internet connection to that your backup isn't compromised by lags or drops.
Database Maintenance Plugin: WP-Optimize
This plugin is straightforward but useful nonetheless. The WP-Optimize allows bloggers to remove post revisions, un-approved comments, comments in the spam queue, and items in the trash with just a few clicks. No need to jump around from screen to screen wasting time you could otherwise use to create and publish content. Some aspects of the plugin like the scheduler are still in development stages, so keep that in mind when using it.
SEO Plugin: WordPress SEO by Yoast
Although WordPress is already a fundamentally great platform for search engine optimization (SEO), it doesn't mean you can't improve it even more. If you want to improve your all-around SEO needs (as a blogger, why wouldn't you?), take advantage this Yoast plugin to take care of all your technical optimization and help you create better content. This WordPress plugin forces you to select a focus keyword when you're writing your posts, making sure you use it throughout all of them.
Form Builder Plugin: Gravity Forms
If you use your blog to sell a product or service, or run a content, chances are you'll need an online form on your blog where people can input their information. With Gravity Forms Form Builder, you can design your WordPress forms quickly and easily by selecting your fields, managing your options, and embedding complete forms on your blog using the built-in tools. Not only is this for entries, but you can also use this plugin for posts. This makes it perfect for creating user-generated content and directory listings.
Lightbox Plugin: FooBox HTML & Media Lightbox
The online world is going mobile, which means that you should optimize your blog so it's viewable on all mobile devices. With FooBox HTML & Media Lightbox, which is the first responsive Media Lightbox plugin for WordPress, you're able to add responsive images and videos to your blog so people using phones, tablets, or any other device can see them without running into problems. Check out the other features this convenient plugin offers.
Comment Spam Filter Plugin: Akismet
Spam in your blog's comment section is as devastating as The Black Plague. To combat this deadly enemy, consider installing the Akismet plugin. The Akismet plugin checks all your blog's comments against its web service to decipher whether they're spam or real. An updated version of this popular plugin includes a comment status history and spam and un-spam reports that include detailed information to improve accuracy.
WordPress plugins are powerful tools that can help you become the best blogger in the online world. Take advantage of these and you'll be well on your way proving that.
WordPress already allows you to create an “About Me” sidebar on your blog, so you might wonder if using a separate plugin is worth it. This widget, however, makes the process super simple so you don’t have to fret about formatting or alignment issues. It’s worth a try.
A well-presented blog can serve as a stepping stone to growing your business and really showing off your design talents. The above plugins can help you craft that beautiful blog.
Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer and designer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.