WordPress is great — not just for blogging but also for general content management purposes. But it’ll always be easy to use for those who just want to blog. WordPress ships with default configurations that are intended for bloggers — not content management.
If you want to do more with WordPress — if you want to turn it into a fully fledged content management system — then install the plugins and make the configurations recommended on this page.
(Note: most of the tips here are also valuable for blogs.)
Essential SEO Tools
The two most important SEO plugins are All-in-One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps. But it’s not enough to download and install the two plugins — you need to make sure that they’re configured correctly.
Essential Site Analytics Tools
You gotta monitor your site. Know how many visitors you’re getting, which pages are most popular, which pages are broken, etc. Use Google Analytics.
Essential Performance Optimization
WordPress will run with almost any hosting provider — but your WordPress site may load slowly for your visitors if it isn’t optimized correctly. Not only will a slow-loading site annoy your visitors, but it’ll also negatively impact your search engine rankings. Don’t worry, optimizing a WordPress site is easy.
Content Management System URLs
By default, WordPress doesn’t allow you to create hierarchical URLs in posts. You have to use pages, and sub-pages, and sub-pages. It’s annoying. And pages are restrictive — don’t use them. Always use posts.
Other Great Essential Plugins and Configurations
No list of essential plugins is complete without Akismet — the spam comment filter. It’s great but sometimes it can be too sensitive to spam, which causes it to flag comments incorrectly. Learn how to mitigate such problems here.
Another essential plugin is WordPress Database Backup. Configure it to backup your database, zip it, and send it to you as an email attachment daily, weekly, or monthly.
Finally, fix your WordPress “from” email address. By default, WordPress sends emails to you and your visitors from an address that looks like email@example.com. You might wanna change wordpress@… to admin@…, noreply@… or something. To do that, use the Mail From plugin.