Day 15: 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Freelancing Website

sleep is the enemy

This is Day 15 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (or Make Yours a Better One). If you want to catch up, click here to read Day 1.

Yesterday you installed your WordPress site and picked a theme to use.

Today you will install plugins into your site. Plugins are functionalities that allow you to easily do things in your site – technical stuff, like backing up your data, or things to help make your site easier for your readers to use.

Plugins make your WordPress professional website powerful, even if you don’t know anything about HTML coding or website authoring.

Here’s a list of 10 WordPress plugins I think every freelancer should use:

1. Akismet – helps screen out spam comments

2. WP-DB-Backup – automatically backs up your WordPress database


3. cformsII – adds a contact form on your site, without you having to reveal your Email address. See it in action here.

4. Social Bookmarks – adds social bookmarking buttons on your posts so your readers can easily share or tag them. You don’t need this plugin if you’re using the Headway theme, since Headway has its own widget for this.

5. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – automatically makes a lists of posts related to the current one, with links to each post. You can see it in action below this post, under the photo credit.

6. Tweetmeme – tracks the number of times your post has been Tweeted about, and displays a button so that readers can easily tweet it.

7. wp-cache – helps your site load up faster. Especially helpful if you’re a graphic designer with a graphics-heavy site.

8. All-in-One SEO Pack – easily optimize each post/page for your target keywords. You don’t need this if you’re using either Thesis or Headway or some other theme with SEO functionality.

9. Photo Dropper – finds Flickr photos with Creative Commons license, so you can enhance your post with a picture without ever leaving the WordPress editor.

10. What Would Seth Godin Do – allows you to display a customized message either on top of, or at the bottom of each post. Use it to invite readers to sign up for your RSS feed or newsletter. You can have different messages for first-time and returning visitors. See my message to you at the bottom of this post.

By the way, if you need step-by-step help to use WordPress, you can see free tutorials here.

Are there any plugins I missed? Let me know by posting a comment below.


PS: Need more detailed help with setting up your professional website? Check out AWAI’s “Build Your Freelance Website in Four Days Express Webinar Series.”

Creative Commons License photo credit: striatic

8 Responses to Day 15: 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Freelancing Website
  1. LaTara Ham-Ying
    October 16, 2009 | 3:02 pm

    This is a great list Lexi. There are a few security plugs ins like Log In Lockdown and WP Security Scan that are great for keeping the hackers out. I just recently found about these plugins and will be adding them to all my sites this weekend.

    With the plugins listed, a freelancer will have a very enjoyable experience with their WordPress blog.

    I do suggest however, that you not overload your blogs/blogsites with plugins and update regularly. This keeps your blogs from running slow and your site from going bonkers on you :)

    Great stuff!
    .-= LaTara Ham-Ying´s last blog ..Avoid Social Media Burnout =-.

    • Alexis
      October 16, 2009 | 3:08 pm

      Thank you, Latara! You’re my go-to girl for WordPress, as you know. I’ll certainly check out Log In Lockdown and WP Security Scan. Scary what can happen to your site sometimes.

      To everybody reading this: listen to Latara!

  2. Chris Anderson
    October 16, 2009 | 11:14 pm

    Agreed, thank you Latara for pointing those out.

    Here is another one I use if you are going to have a blog with your freelance website. Subscribe to comments. This will let people subscribe to the comments so that they can follow the conversation.

    I use contact 7 for my contact form. I’m sure it works just as well though.

    Also, just a heads up: I’ve heard that the WWSGD plugin can hurt your search engine rankings, but only if it placed before your post. Apparently when they index your site they read the first parts of your content, which if you had that plugin on top of your content, it would be what the plugin says. So every time you make a post it just says the same thing for every post and page preview instead of the actual content in your post.

    Oh and I would also recommend the wp-Typography plugin. It basically makes your content nice and pretty to read by keeping the content in a nice form. Instead of having a jagged edge it aligns everything so it’s nice and even and has proper breaks. Kind of like a book.

    I agree that you shouldn’t get too many plugins, as they can slow down your blog. But there is also a plugin for that as well. It’s called WP Super Cache. It speeds up your blog by cache(ing?) certain parts of your blog so that it loads faster.

    Okay… I think I’m done now.
    .-= Chris Anderson´s last blog ..Why Testimonials and Social Proof Work =-.

  3. paul
    October 20, 2010 | 9:41 am

    I would add Gravity Forms. It’s not free, but it allows to create complex web forms with simple point and click.I use it for creating design questionnaires, client feedback forms, contact forms,… the possibilities are endless.

    By the way, if anyone needs a custom WordPress theme, feel free to contact me via my site.
    paul´s last blog post ..Semantic Star rating with the meter tag

    • Alexis
      October 20, 2010 | 11:38 am

      @Paul – I’ve also heard good things about Gravity Forms, as well as seen it in action. I’ll probably use it when they get it to integrate with Aweber. Thanks for suggesting it!

  4. Lee Cole
    January 22, 2011 | 4:56 pm

    Instead of All-in-one, how about Joost’s SEO plugin for SEO? I’ve been experimenting with that lately on one blog. So far so good. It gives you a lot more control, but you have to know more about what you’re doing than with All-in-one.
    Lee Cole´s last blog post ..Friday Round-Up

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