Moving to own hosting gives you full control to do pretty much anything under the code of conduct of your new host. And having a domain of your own is kind of cool :). But be careful when you ask for full control! Because you will get exactly full control. And you will be on your own. WordPress.com installs a quite a number of plugins for you and make them work seamlessly. But after moving to own hosting you have to do those thing on your own.
As soon as you setup WordPress and log in to dashboard you will realize few things. Dashboard does not look the same. Lots of things are not there. Even the Akismet spam filter is not working. You might even have a brief moment of panic. There is a lot of work to do.
This is a follow-up to my earlier post “Moving from WordPress.com to Own Hosting – Getting It Up and Running“. In this post I am writing about the plugins that you will need to make your new blog work at least in the same way your WordPress hosted blog did. If you haven’t setup your blog on your own hosting, may be you can start by reading my earlier post. If you have no plan to host a blog on your own, you don’t need to read this post.
1. Getting Akismet to Work
This is probably the easiest part. Akismet is already installed. If you click on ‘Plugins’ link on left side bar in your dashboard you will able to see it. In case if it’s not there, just click on “Add New” link under “Plugins” section and search for it by name and install it.
Once you have it installed you just need to activate it by providing your WordPress key. To get a WordPress key, you need to register an account in WordPress.com. If you already have a wordpress.com hosted blog, you already have a key. Once you log in to your wordpress.com account, go to your profile page and you will find a link to get your wordpress.com key. You need to enter that key in to Akismet configuration in your new blog. Just go to “Akismet Configuration” link under plugins section of left side bar and you will find the place to enter the key.
Once done, your spam filter will be up and running.
2. Installing Stats Plugin
By this time you should have noticed that your all new blog dashboard do not have that nice looking stats graph. That’s a plugin which you need to install. Its name is “WordPress.com Stats”. Go to “Add New” link under plugins section of left side bar, search for “WordPress.com Stats” plugin and install it. Once it is installed and activated, you will find a configuration link named “WordPress.com stats” under your Plugins section in left side bar. You can go there and make changes that you need. Such as not counting the visits of admin.
You will also need to install the plugin “WordPress.com Stats Helper”. By now you should have got the hang of installing and configuring plugins. From now on I will not give detailed instructions.
3. Installing Admin Bar
In WordPress.com hosted blogs you get a nice looking admin bar for logged in users at the top of the page. You will find this missing. You can’t have exactly the same admin bar but there is something very close to it. The name is “WordPress Admin Bar”. Go get it.
4. Installing Log-in Lock Down
When you are on WordPress.com and if your account is hacked, probably WordPress.com team will help you to get things under control. But when you are on your own hosting. You are on your own. It’s best to protect your admin login with a lock down plugin. It will lock the login page if some one try a brute force attack. Plugin name is “Login LockDown”.
5. Enable Gravatars and Faveicons in your blog
Have you seen in WordPress.com blogs there is a small icon generated for each commenter as well as for your blog. They are called Gravatar and Faveicon. You can have it in your blog too. Just install and configure two plugins, “Filosofo Gravatars” and “Gravatar Favicon”.
6. Enable Website Snap Shots for External Links
Have you noticed in some blogs, when you move your mouse over an external link it automatically pops up a snapshot of that external web page. The plugin is called “Snap Shots™ Plugin for WordPress.org”. Once you install and activate the plugin, you will get a “Snap shots” link under settings section in left side bar. There you have to enter “Snaps Shots Key” to get it activated. Don’t worry! There is a link on the settings page with instruction on how to get hold of a key.
7. Automatically Generated Related Posts List
If you have a WordPress.com blog, your posts has a section named “Possibly Related Posts”. It lists a number of other posts from other wordpress.com blogs which are somewhat related to your post. Well, you will definitely miss it. But there is a similar plugin named “Yet Another Related Posts Plugin” (YARPP). It does a great job at creating links across your blog. But it will not link to other blogs. But still it’s a must have plugin. Because when your blog grows, your older posts will get pushed away from home page. And this plugin will still keep them linked with your new posts which are on the home page.
Once you install it, you will find it’s configuration page under settings section of left side bar.
8. Social Bookmarking Plugins
There is no better way to encourage your readers to share your posts across social networks other than letting them do it with a single click. “AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button” plugin does exactly that. It supports a large number of networks, including networks that you have never heard of.
9. Search Engine Tools
It’s time to let the Big G know that you have moved to a new place. You can start by signing up to Google Web Master Tools, Google Analytics, and also Bing and Yahoo interfaces. Following plugins will help you to prepare your blog for it.
“Google XML Sitemaps” – This plugin periodically generate xml site map for your blog and update popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Once installed and activated you can find its configuration page under settings section of left site map.
“Ultimate Google Analytics”, “All in One Webmaster” – These two plugins can be used to add various meta tags that you need to add to you blog, in order to get your blog to work with Google Analytics, Web Master Tools, and other search engine control panels.
10. Source Code Syntax Highlighting with “Google Syntax Highlighter for WordPress”
If your blog is programming related, you definitely going to need this plugin. It provide syntax highlighting for source code in your post. You just need to install and activate the plugin and then put your code inside pre tags. Those tags must be named as “code” and programming language must be specified in style class.
<pre name="code" class="java">....</pre>
11. Open ID support
Open ID allows your commenters to comment using their user accounts that they have on other sites which support OpenID, such as WordPress, blogger, ….. Just install OpenID plugin if you want your blog to support it.
12. Last but not least, Proof Reader
By now you must have tried to post a new post in your shining new blog. And if that is the case, you would have also noticed that all important proof reader is missing. Don’t panic. Name of that plugin is “After The Deadline” :).
Above is simply a list of plugins, that will make your life in an own hosted WordPress blog similar (in fact bit better) to the life in a WordPress.com hosted blogs. But don’t stop here. Remember that main advantage of having an own hosted blog is full control. So go out and check out what the massive WordPress developer community has to offer for your blog. You will find many exiting things. And when you do, don’t forget to share it with the rest of us.
Tags: AddToAny: Share/Bookmark/Email Button, Akismet, All in One Webmaster, Essential Plugins, Faveicon, Filosofo Gravatars, Google Syntax Highlighter for WordPress, Google XML Sitemaps, Gravatar, Gravatar Favicon, Login LockDown, OpenID, Own Hosting, Plugin, Snap Shots™ Plugin for WordPress.org, Social Bookmarking, Ultimate Google Analytics, Website Snap Shots, WordPress, WordPress Admin Bar, WordPress.com, WordPress.com Stats, WordPress.com Stats Helper, YARPP, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
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