The WordPress platform has a huge database of plugins that you can use to add extra functionality to your WordPress site. At the time of writing there are 19, 604 available.
Most of them are free and no matter what extra functionality you need, there is most likely a plugin for you.
Here is a list of five essential ones, or ones that I like to use anyway…
1. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is a simple and easy to use contact form. Out of the box it comes with a standard form that contains the usual fields you would expect to see in a contact form, name, email, subject, message. All you need to do is copy and paste a shortcode into your page or post and hey presto! There is your form.
If your requirements are slightly more complex than that, Contact Form 7 allows you to create your own custom forms that can include drop-down menus, checkboxes, radio buttons CAPTCHAs. Once created pop the generated shortcode into your content and off you go. Boom!
2. All In One SEO Pack
The All In One SEO Pack is a really useful addon to WordPress. It allows you to add an overall site description and keywords, as well as allowing you to add a title, description and keywords to your individual blog posts and pages. This is a great way to help your site get noticed in those all important search engine results.
3. Google XML Sitepmaps
On the subject of the crazy, mystical art of Search Engine Optimisation, the Google XML Sitemaps plugin is also a must. With just one click it creates a sitemap and submits it to all the major search engines. This helps the search engine crawlers to index your site.
Want to turn your WordPress site into a shop? Then JigoShop is the eCommerce solution you need. The plugin itself has a bunch of features to help you run an online shop. It is designed to work with any WordPress theme, but there are some premium themes available as well that are already set up to work as a shop with just a few clicks. It allows you to manage your stock, get detailed reports of your sales performance. It also handles all the major payment gateways, so whether you use PayPal, Google Checkout or PayPoint, it will work for you.
Finally, once you’ve created some content, shout about it. Oi, you lot! Read my latest enthralling and informative blog post!
Social by the awesome people at MailChimp (which is a brilliant email marketing system, btw) allows you to easily post your content to your Twitter feed and Facebook page as soon as you publish it. It also pulls Facebook comments and Twitter mentions and RTs back to your post as comments. How good is that? It can be annoying when you post, then all of the discussion takes place on Facebook not your blog. Makes you look unloved. Well, not anymore, squire.