New Blog Plug-In Check List


First off thanks to everybody that gave us feedback with our setting up a new blog check list, I’ve updated the list with your suggestions (and link credited accordingly). Following on from that I’m going to a check list of plugins that the majority of new blogs will benefit from. Again if you have any suggestions let us know via the comments and I’ll update the list as appropriate.

  • Askimet
    This one comes as standard with the WordPress download and is still the best way to help you combat comment spam
  • Contextual Related Posts
    Displaying a list of related posts is good for both your readers and helps spiders find your content (which has an SEO benefit). I’ve manually hacked the plug-in to also display related posts in your feed (also useful when you get scraped as it means more links back to you at least). There is also a related posts plug-in for your feed though I’ve not tried it.
  • Democracy
    A useful plug-in for running polls with your readers. It’s a good way of getting feedback and interaction with your visitor. I am looking for a newer version of this as the last poll I ran received a load of suspicious votes which it should of protected against. So if you know of a more robust plug-in please let us know.
  • Full Text Feed
    If you use the more tag in your posts but still want a full feed this plug-in enables it (otherwise even if you specify full feed it will be cut off where the at the more tag)
  • Search Meter
    A useful plug-in to see what people are searching for on your site, also has an unsuccessful summary which might give you ideas for future posts. I’ve used this with a bit of a hack in my $5,000 hour post.
  • Subscriber to Comments
    Lets your commentators know when their comment has been answered (also a good way for getting them back to the site)
  • Nested Comments
    If you get a lot of conversations going on via comments this is a useful plug-in to make them more readable

  • WordPress Mobile Edition
    Show a mobile view of the post/page if the visitor is on a known mobile device.
  • Contact Form
    WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. It can be implemented on a page or a post.
  • Login Lockdown
    For those of us are security concious. Login LockDown records the IP address and timestamp of every failed WordPress login attempt. If more than a certain number of attempts are detected within a short period of time from the same IP range, then the login function is disabled for all requests from that range.
  • Admin SSL
    Secures Login and Admin pages using Private or Shared SSL. To use this you will need to get an SSL certificate which takes a bit of setting up but if you have a good host they will do this for you and you’ll just need to activate the plug-in.
  • WP Super Cache
    Very fast caching module for WordPress. This is one I’ve never been able to get to work correctly (it seems to randomly only cache some parts of pages occasionally), others that use it swear by it so certainly worth trying and testing, if anybody has a clue what my problem is I’d love to hear.

It’s been a useful experience for me building this list as I’ve been looking at all my blogs to see what is installed on each making the list accordingly, this has highlighted quite a few things that are missing from here and other sites, so that’s this afternoon sorted.

If you have any suggestions please let us know.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. I have the WP-Cache caching plugin working on my site. It can sustain a few hundred visitors in a minute or so. How can you tell if it’s not caching a page, or only caching part of a page? The way I can tell is looking at the source where it tags the bottom of the page by mentioning it’s a cached version or not.

    I think I have mine set to cache pages for 30 seconds just to ease off hitting the database for 30 seconds per individual page.

    • I forgot to mention mention that I installed the Full Text feed plugin yesterday right after the latest upgrade and it still shows the more tag on posts :S I am not sure if anyone else has upgraded and see the same issue.

    • I see sometimes partial pages and when I look at the html files in the cache every now and again they just cut off, very weird.

  2. Very boring I know but backing up your database is a must do task. You can automate it as described in this post

  3. I seem to recall having a problem with Super Cache as well. I just stick with WP-Cache.

    Question about the Mobile Edition plugin – does it work for the iPhone as well, or does it render the full site on the iPhone?

    • Both the versions of the cache do the same to me, no idea why.

      I think on the iPhone the mobile version would render normally as the iPhone, though I’d need to test that (which I can’t as I don’t have an iPhone).

  4. I noticed that you have “subscribe to comments” on here but not listed. I think that is a great one, for just general internal link help I have started using Related Posts plugin.

    I also have started using the “dofollow” plugin for comments. I moderate all comments so I will see how well it works over the next little while. I t is nice to give something back to the commenters that are adding to the blog.

    On the opposite end I use SRG Clean Archives which gets rid of any duplicate content issues on a blog to increase Google rankings

  5. Thanks Bill, useful tips there. I’ll check those out. I did mention a subscribe to comments above, like you say very useful.

  6. Some more plugins I need to investigate there… Anyone used a decent review plugin?

  7. Al, thanks for the list. I will need to try the contextual related posts. I was thinking of adding one of those but I did not know which one to choose. I have noticed you have not included any of the SEO pluggins such as the google map generator & the all in one seo pack.

    • On the past I’ve done all the SEO in the theme and not a used a plug-in, but that is something I’m currently investigating.

  8. Good list of essentials.

    Any of you know of a solid plugin which allows readers to “vote” on a specific post, and then keeps track of the related data?


  9. Your problems with wp-super-cache will almost certainly be a conflict with another plugin. That’s been my experience whenever there are issues with any single plugin and/or chron or MySQL etc etc.

    You know the routine for testing that I’m sure.


    • Thanks for the feedback David, I’ll have a look at what other plugins could be causing the problem. It’s not something I can test locally as I don’t think either cache works on a windows box (my test rig). Have you seen or heard of this before and if so what sort of plugins could cause the problem. Thank you.

      • Sorry, plugin conflicts seem to arise randomly. One plugin I ran caused queued posts to appear on their original post date even if I’d deferred posting to a later date. Another prevented anyone from commenting at all.

        I think trial and error’s the only way unless you can find someone who’s had the exact same problem.


  10. For some reason that contact form page seems to be down hard.

  11. I have been looking for a plugin to simplify use of images in postings. How do you get images in your postings, are you using the WordPress web based admin screen for writing new posts, or the email feature, or perhaps some other tool? I find it very slow to first load the image, then include in the posting, and finally to get the links right (but it could just be me.)

    I have been thinking about trying out MarsEdit as Guy Kawasaki suggests, however, I don’t do all my work from a Mac so have not really wanted to pay to see if it is any better.

  12. I am trying to modify related.php (Contextual Related Posts) so that the related posts are before comments (just like in SMM).
    Thought it would as simple as swapping the parameters in add_action(‘related’,’comment_form’); to
    Thanks for any input 🙂

  13. Hi Al,
    My earlier post was not successful. So this is my 2nd try.
    How can you mod related.php (contextual related posts) so that comments are after related posts ?
    I thought it was a simple matter of swapping add_action(‘comment_form’,’related’); to add_action(‘related’,’comment_form’);
    Thanks for any ideas 🙂

  14. I don’t know if it has been discussed but is there any advantage on regularly migrating your wordpress blog to your blogger blog. I am finding google is now caching blogger more frequently and was wondering if anyone else had noticed this. PS. I’ll try out the WordPress Mobile Edition.

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