WordPress off the shelf is just a platform. What is great is that it is extensible! I am not a plugin expert … at least yet. So how do I select plugins? First I figure out what I’m trying to solve. Then I look for plugins that:
- have been around for awhile,
- have recent updates (they appear actively maintained), and
- have at least reasonable ratings from a reasonably large number of respondents (say 3.5+/5 stars, and a few hundred respondents).
That said, here are a list of things I needed to solve, and the plugin I chose.
- Have you noticed drive by spam? The first day I installed WordPress, I received a dozen spam, likely from bots. So, how to fix it? CAPTCHA is one solution, and the one I chose was Blue Captcha.
- It was important for me to have people be able to respond to me through a contact form.
- I use Google Analytics, and I wanted to continue to use it with WordPress. But the most flavorful requires having a piece of Google code on every page. Is there a way to do that through a plug in instead of managing the code itself? I mean, the whole reason we moved to CMS is to reduce our set of managed code, right? Right, and you bet there is a plug in for Google Analytics for WordPress !
- I remember how difficult it was to get on Google Page 1 back in the day. It took forever, and to remain on Google Page 1? Even longer still! So how about a little SEO help? Righteo, there’s an app for WordPress SEO (or at least a plugin!).
- As I was trying to maintain my site, it became apparent that there were some issues with SMTP, at least for my site. It turns out SMTP is handled by WordPress without authentication. But wait, isn’t that just not a best practice? Yes, you are right, it is not a best practice. Here’s a WP SMTP plugin to help mitigate the issue.