WordPress buttons (courtesy mariannemasculino on Flickr CC)

WordPress buttons (courtesy mariannemasculino on Flickr CC)

The great thing about (powerful AND free) WordPress.org online publishing software is that you can customize it with plugins.

The problem with this abundance of bloggy toys is that there are so many different ways to customize, you may go wild with plugins that you don’t really need, all of which can pose a security threat if you don’t keep them updated.

Too many of them will slow down your site’s load time as well, which both annoys your audience and has a negative effect on your SEO.

Here are the plugins that I use here on my own self-hosted blog, and why:

**  MobilePress  —  Not perfect and the resulting display is not very pretty, but nowadays it is critical that any website or blog be mobile-friendly.  MobilePress plugin info.

**  All-In-One SEO Pack  —  Takes the guesswork out of SEO. Title, description and tags really matter; fill in the boxes that this plugin gives you in the draft version of a post. My favorite feature: you can create a separate, SEO-friendly blog post title through the plugin, but show a different (more writer-ly/artsy/clever?) title on the actual post that people see.  All-In-One SEO Pack plugin.

**  Akismet  —  Very basic, “everyone has it” plugin. Unless you really want to be driven insane by spam, install it.  Akismet plugin info.

**  nrelate Related Content  —  (Update – now defunct, so I am using the Shareaholic plugin.) When readers finish with a post on your blog, it would be great if they’d stick around and read some others, right? This puts your related posts right in front of them (with a nice thumbnail if there’s a photo available.)  nrelate plugin info.

**  Sociable  —  Puts all of those Share buttons at the bottom of each post. Be careful; it is easy to clutter your blog with buttons. TIP: make sure you customize your Twitter Share button to include your own @TwitterHandle. Sociable plugin info.

**  CommentLuv  —  This is a nice touch for your readers; it puts a link to their latest blog post next to their signature when they leave a comment on your blog.  CommentLuv plugin info.

**  Broken Link Checker  —  This shows you which links are now broken from when you originally hit Publish; this happens more and more as your blog ages and sites that you’ve linked to in the past are rearranged or moved. When I have a moment, I try to go in and clean up/re-link, especially on evergreen/long tail search posts.  Broken Link Checker plugin info.

**  Backup  —  For heaven’s sake, back up your work! I use the basic installed Backup feature in the Tools section of the blog, but there are plugins for it as well.

What about you?

Which WordPress plugins rock YOUR world?

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