Oh boy, this is a tough one.  I picked WordPress because there are a zillion of these plugins that do different things.  Back when I was a baby engineer, one of the grey-hairs shared a piece of wisdom with me.  Never build what you can buy.  Well, and I can’t program anymore anyway, so I’ve got no choice.  What plugins to install?

Akismet: Comes with WordPress but you need to activate it.  Hmmm.  I click Activate and it’s not quite done.  It’s asking for my API key, which of course I have no idea what that is.  However, there is a tempting link to click labeled “Get your key”.  Okay, so I click and go to akismet.com.  At the bottom right corner there is a link labeled “Sign up for an Akismet API key”, so I click there.

This is apparently not free software, but since I’m going to try to have a self-supporting site and I can afford $5 I’m in (it is free for personal use).  I almost wonder if I shouldn’t start a second site just to see the difference between with and without.  Once I gave them my card number they sent instructions to the email address I provided, and it’s a piece of cake to turn on.

BulletProof Security: This protects the website against hacking attempts.  I somehow doubt that it’s bulletproof but hey, anything is better than nothing.  Wow, that was easy.  I just searched for it, clicked the name, clicked install now, clicked activate and it’s up.  So simple it’s scary.  Update:  Okay, so it wasn’t quite that easy.  You do need to go to the BPS option on your WordPress menu and do a couple of things.  It is easy, and it tells you right on the screen what to do.

Conditional Captcha: I hate captchas as much as the next guy but they do work.  This one supposedly only presents the captcha to people who are flagged by Akismet as potential spammers.  So those of us who actually post because we feel that we’ve something to offer shouldn’t have to try to figure out that the twenty squiggles spell “cat”.

WordPress Ping Optimzer: What the heck is a ping optimizer?  Well, apparently every time you update your blog it announces to the internet that it has been updated.  Which would be fine, but if you make a post, read it, edit it, read it again, and make a few more edits that will send out three pings.  Do it enough time and you get labeled a blog spammer and you’re no longer paid attention to.  This is apparently the best plugin to avoid that.  This plugin warns that it has not been tested with the current version of WordPress, so I hope it works.

Yoast:  SEO is “Search Engine Optimization”.  Basically it is about understanding what the search engines are looking for and giving it to them.  I picked Yoast because it had over 1k ratings and four and a half stars.  Hopefully this is a wisdom of crowds and not a madness of crowds situation.

I think that will do to start.


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