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Some time has passed since I wrote my 13 recommended WordPress plugins for travel blogs and while I can still vouch for a few of those, in many cases it’s time for an update. WordPress itself has extended its functionality to incorporate what once required plugin support while savvy coders have expanded their plugins to encompass others. All of this means that some plugins aren’t useful or needed any more while in other cases it’s better to simply add a bit of code directly into your WordPress site itself.
All In One SEO Pack WordPress SEO – I perform extensive SEO testing on a number of WordPress websites and since I updated this list last, the results have strongly favored WordPress SEO. Although it’s prone to conflict with other plugins you may have running and not exactly intuitive to set up, putting some effort into a careful install plus brushing up on proper configuration can markedly improve your travel blog’s search engine visibility. (Download WordPress SEO)
Google XML Sitemaps – It’s now integrated into WordPress SEO plugin, killing two birds with one plugin stone.
- Maintenance Mode – This plugin creates a nice little ‘Under Construction’ page for your site. It’s customizable, easy to use, and should only be activated as needed. (Download Maintenance Mode)
Spam Karma Akismet – Spam Karma is no longer updated but Akismet does a great job of replacing it. Bundled with every WordPress installation, if you’re not already using it, you can download Akismet here.
- TinyMCE Advanced – Adds a number of icons to your post editing screen that were lost a many WordPress updates ago. It makes it easier to insert video, adjust pictures, and change font sizes. It’s worth mentioning however that TinyMCE Advanced tends to conflict with other plugins, when in doubt, it’s the one to check. (Download TinyMCE)
WP-ContactForm Contact Form 7 – More stable than my previous recommendation, Contact Form 7 lets you create contact pages like this and place it anywhere on your travel blog. It also comes with a built-in spam filter plus additional formatting options. (Download Contact Form 7)
- WP-DBManager – Although WordPress comes with a built in database backup utility, this plugin lets you create backups at intervals of your choice and can be configured to automatically optimize your database every month, although I would suggest activating this feature on an as-needed basis. (Download WP-DBManager)
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – Both Outbrain and nRelate do a better job of showing recommended posts beneath an article, although they’re not specifically sorted by relation to the topic at hand.
Yoast Breadcrumbs – Now integrated into WordPress SEO.
- Sucuri Security – The service costs $89.99 per year for a single site which is a bargain considering that price includes security monitoring, protection, and clean up if required. The plugin helps integrate the Sucuri service into your WordPress installation. (Download Sucuri Security)
Generally, I try to be relatively consistent with the plugins I use across foXnoMad, Travel Blog Advice, and my other blogs, but these aren’t all of the ones I use. The others perform site-specific functions but try to remember when it comes to plugins, less is more. A cluttered installation of plugins on your WordPress back-end can slow or shutdown pages when conflicts inevitably occur.
Many travel blog dilemmas, like forcing external links to open in new tabs, using a trailing slash for site speed and improving SEO or enabling SSL for password security can be accomplished with a few lines of code in the right place.
What are some of your favorite and go-to WordPress plugins you would add to the list above? I look forward to hearing your recommendations, in the comments below.