Last time I wrote about setting up your own academic website with WordPress. In this post, I would like to share a few plugins that will improve your website experience from day 1. For me, these plugins simplify my blog-related tasks, and help me focus on the content.
Jetpack is a very versatile plugin with awesome features that improves the responsiveness of your blog. One of the features I really like is its understandable statistics. I have Google Analytics, and have done a few tutorials for it, but I don’t find it very user-friendly. Jetpack shows me what I’m most interested in: how many people go to my blog, where they come from, and where they go next.
Other options I’m using are different widgets which make finding and sharing content easier, like the “related posts” below, and the social media buttons.
2. iThemes security
WordPress has a few security problems, so what I like about iThemes security is that it pretty much eliminates these worries. The options I particularly like are:
- Sends me an email with a back-up of my WordPress database
- Sends me a summary of security events, for example if somebody trying to gain access
- Allows hiding the veronikach.com/wp-admin page by changing it to, say, veronikach.com/goawayhackers, so that the login page cannot be misused
iThemes has a free and a paid version. I have the free version, which includes all the options above.
Akismet is excellent for filtering out spam comments. I have several WordPress websites, and on the websites where I don’t have Akismet, the amount of spam is annoying, plus it increases the risk of you accidentally deleting a real comment!
For personal websites, Akismet has a “name your price” plan – I think the minimum amount is $5 per year, which is nothing compared to the time it saves.
4. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a search engine optimization plugin. SEO is not something to be worried about when you are starting out with a website, but the plugin has a feature I absolutely love for writing blog posts. It gives you an immediate assessment of the readibility of your post. It looks at characteristics like sentence length, paragraph length and so forth, and gives a grade: – Needs Improvement, OK and Good.
I typically write my posts in Evernote, and do only the editing in WordPress, trying to get at least an “OK” grade for each post. Like all plugins, Yoast SEO has a free and a paid version, the readibility feature is free.
5. Nimble Portfolio
Nimble Portfolio is what I use on my publications page (update 2020: I’ve switched to using a plain page for this one, the plugin was still great though!). Rather than using a separate page or post for each publication, it uses portfolio items, which is a different content type. Because of this, it’s easy to display all the publications together, all the publications with a particular tag, and so forth. I’m using the free version of this plugin.
If you liked this post, you might be also interested in:
If you are looking for some inspiration, you might like my other pages about academic websites: