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WordPress has become the most popular platform for blogging and website creation and is used by millions to create and launch their sites. One of the many benefits of using WordPress is the huge assortment of plugins available to be installed, so many that, at times, it is impossible to know which plugins to use on your site.

Properly created WordPress plugins will provide a vital function for your site while running in the background and not using too much disk space and memory. Almost all of the top plugins run automatically, meaning you set them and leave them alone, although some of the plugins that post content or fix errors need attention. We are going to look at some of the better free plugins that should be a part of each WordPress site that you create.

1) Akismet. This free plugin is usually installed automatically when you install WP, but if not, be sure to add it to your site. Akismet will provide a valuable spam filter for your site, blocking the attempts by spammers to post worthless comments or reviews in an attempt to piggyback your site for back links. Make sure you have an Akismet API and install this on every site you own.

2) Google XML Sitemap. This handy plugin will notify the major search engines of new postings on your site and help get your site indexed and ranked. Simple to install and requires no maintainance.

3) W3 Total Cache. Recommended by most hosting services, this caching program will dramatically speed up the loading of you site when visited by a viewer. Google has said that it is factoring loading speed into its rankings, so make sure you install this plugin and use it properly.

4) SEO Friendly Images. Adding pictures to your posts and pages is important both visually and for ranking, and this plugin helps to make your images SEO and WordPress friendly. A great set-it-and-leave-it-alone add-on.

5) SEO Smart Links. While there is a premium (paid) version of this plugin, the free version works fine for almost every site. You put in a few keywords and website links (yours or others) and this program will automatically post the links in your articles or pages.

6) CBNET Ping Optimizer. Did you know that WordPress pings key RSS sites every time anything changes on your site? This can be good and bad. If you make a lot of changes on your site, creating a lot of pings, you may get tagged as a spammer. This plugin allows you to put a limit on how many pings per day can be made.

7) Cystats. Okay, this doesn't speed up your site or perform any repairs, but it does give you great information regarding who visits your site, where they came from and how many robot spiders have visited your site. This is a wonderful tool to have to find out how well your SEO efforts are doing to drive traffic to your site.

Are there more good free plugins? You bet, around 999,999 but we don't have the time or desire to review all of them. These six are a good starting point for building a WordPress site, are easy to install and use and, best of all, are free. Check them out, read more about them and decide if you should be using them on your website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A freelance writer who meticulously structured and maintained blogs just for you:A LIFE SO FAR AWAYand my other blog:OFW: THIS IS MY LIFE AND STORY Thank you for your valuable time. Follow my business & writings and you'll find what life's meant to be.


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