Continuing our discussion about WordPress today we will focus on WordPress plugins. Plugins on WordPress are one of the greatest tools you can have when starting and maintaining a WordPress blog.  As I stated yesterday, they can help you with everything, such as the behind the scenes infrastructure that makes your site rock to the sidebar items that make your blog look that much better.  WordPress plugins make my life that much easier. Here are my top 10 free favorites:

1. All In One SEO- Search Engine Optimization is a vital process of building your blog. This little plugin is amazing at helping you achieve that goal. Instead of having to start creating meta tags and headers you can use this plugin to just type in your keywords and headers. Additionally, every post you make has an SEO box where you can type in your title, brief description, and keywords to get you additional traction for your post. Do not blog without this SEO feature or at the very least one similar to it.

2.Akismet- Tired of Spam? Then you need Akismet. This spam filter is great for helping to get rid of the constant wordpress auto-comment spammers who roam the halls of WordPress lurking to put more junk on your site.

3. Aweber- Building a list for your business online? The great thing is that you can now include your web forms on WordPress with a plugin. It is simple and takes only a few minutes. I use Aweber (and promote it), but you can also use this for Constant Contact and I-contact as well.

4.Feedburner- A few months back I was having some challenges. My feed was not working. I installed a Feedburner RSS feed and everything has been working smoothly ever since. It is great to have on WordPress, and the statistics on Feedburner are interesting to see as well.

5. Google Ads, Amazon Affiliate, and Commission Junction- I lumped all of the ad programs into one. There are numerous ad programs that you can do online and I do not want an article about WordPress plugins to be dominated by ad plugins. One of the easiest methods I have actually found for putting the banner ads that you see on the side of my page is using the simple text plugin. Every WordPress blog comes with this plugin automatically, so all you need to do is go to your widget section of WordPress and drag the text box to your sidebar. Simple and easy.

6. Google Analytics- I want to know where my readers come from everyday. Whether Google, Twitter, Facebook, or one of about 30 other social networks where I generally find traffic coming into my blog. Google Analytics has become an important part of my blogging and helped me change the tempo of this blog from strictly Twitter to a more global Social networking perspective. I realized that I was getting as much traffic from Facebook, Youtube, and Ezine Articles as I was Twitter.  Therefore, it was necessary for me to start talking about the other networks that my readers came from, instead of just focusing on one network.

7.Sexy Bookmarks- Hey there sexy! Uh, I mean Ms Sexy Bookmark…Good thing I am married, because my flirting leaves much to be desired. Sexy Bookmarks is an amazing program that allows your posts to be shared on 30-40 different social networks. At first, I got all hyped up on it and put out the majority of bookmarks thinking people would love the choice. I have since scaled it back to some of my favorite social networks, because too much choice is too confusing. It is great, because people can share your posts on a number of different sites and spread the word to their friends and business associates who can benefit from your information, ahem…hint, hint…share. Just look to the bottom of this post and every post that I have and you will see Sexy Bookmarks (That is actually the plugin name, not mine).

8. WordPress Backup- If your WordPress blog crashed today, would you have the information saved? The answer is with wordpress backup you will. This nifty backup is great for saving your work. Use it.

9. XML Sitemap- In order to make it easier for search engines to read your site they need to have a sitemap. Use it today to start getting additional traction on your blog.

10.RSS Feeds- I have some sites that are completely run off RSS feeds. Basically you feed articles into your blog from other sources. Do your best to make sure that there is some type of backlink, and also check up to make sure that it is still working from time to time. It is a great tool for sites that you want to set up, but do not have time to focus on at the current time.

11. WordPress Recaptcha- Had to this beauty of a program to the list. This is actually a late addition to this blog post, but this is awesome! You see Captcha everywhere. It is the funny little words to make sure you are a human registering for a program. This makes sure that there are no bots posting comments on your blog. Saves you time by not having to sift through the junk that people attempt to get past you. When I first started I did not realize that half of the comments were not real humans. Now I can effectively say who is human by the recaptcha.

So now you know my devilish secrets of how I maintain everything for ads to RSS feeds to sitemaps. Use this power wisely and do not get caught in looking through plugins. There are thousands and thousands of plugins on WordPress. The ones mentioned here are the tip of the iceberg. Use what you need to build an effective site, and no when to stop adding plugins and start making blog posts. As long as you implement the WordPress plugins above your life will be a lot easier when you are blogging.