A Few Must Haves

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Whenever I’m starting up a new site or project, there are three things I consider before every writing a word of content:

  • A backup strategy
  • An SEO strategy
  • A strategy for dealing with comments/spam

As I’ve said before, I LOVE WordPress, and one of the reasons is that it makes all three of these things easy to deal with by simply installing three plugins–WordPress Database Backup, All in One SEO Pack, and Askimet.  There are a few plugins that I install every time I build a new WordPress site, but these three go in as soon as the basic installation is complete and before I do anything else.  I’m going to cover these plugins really quickly specific to WordPress, but if you are running on another platform you still need to consider these three issues.

Askimet is the easiest by far to set up on your site because it ships with WordPress–nothing to download or upload. You will need to get a key from WordPress, but there’s a link provided right on your dashboard that makes this pretty easy. I’m continually amazed at how much spam Askimet is able to catch, which keeps your comments (if you allow them) to remain clean and relavant for the most part.

WordPress Database Backup is very easy to configure and will even email you a daily backup of your entire database. I would recommend daily backups at a minimum, and if you run a very popular site with frequent posts and comments you may want to consider backing up even more frequently. Here’s a tip–if you have a gmail account, send your backups there, then set up a filter to delete all of these emails. Gmail keeps deleted mail for thirty days, so you’ll always be able to go back in time with your database for any of those 30 days and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the really old files.  Gmail will automatically delete them for you.  Added bonus is that they never show up in your inbox–they are just there if you need them.

Finally, the All in One SEO Pack, which we’ve mentioned here before is very powerful. I don’t use it as religiously as I should on individual posts, and even when I do use it I don’t take always take full advantage of its power, but it is a tremendous tool for optimizing your site overall, and if you want to fine tune each and every post/page/article all that ability is there.

As I said, there are other plugins I use on every install, and there will no doubt be a post coming about that, but these are three that I would consider must-haves for anyone, no matter what your niche or personal preferences may be.

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