First is Google Analytics for WordPress. The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin allows you to easily track your blog and with tons of metadata. You can get ithere. This video shows you more of the features of this plugin.
The next Google plugin is the GoogleXML Sitemap* plugin. If you want your blog to be found, this is the fastest way for Google to find it. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With this type of sitemap, the spiders will crawl the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. This plugin supports not only your posts, but your custom WordPress pages as well. What's more is that it notifies all search engines every time you add new content.
*Google XML Sitemap is not compatible with 3.0 Multisite Blogs.
WordPress by itself has tons of SEO (search engine optimization) built in, but it is felt and I agree that it is not enough to fully maximize the efficiency of your blog. The next plugin I install is All In One SEO Pack. There are many other plugins, but this is the one that has remained the most popular and the one that I choose to use on all the free WordPress themes.
All In One SEO Pack can be used as is without changing any settings, but for the optimal results, it allows you to optimize your blog in two specific ways. Using the best title, meta description, and keywords make it easier for visitors to find your posts in search. The first area is site wide settings that you can access from the All in One SEO Pack settings in menu and for each post in your blog by making a keyword optimized title, meta description, and targeted keywords that are all specific to the post and will be used in the search engines. Keep it simple, but make it keyword rich. The title can be different than the title of the post and often this is the best way to ensure your blog posts are found.
Here are some features of the All in One SEO Pack as found on the download page:
Google Analytics support
Support for Custom Post Types
Advanced Canonical URLs
Fine tune Page Navigational Links
Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
ONLY plugin to provide SEO Integration for WP e-Commerce sites
Support for CMS-style WordPress installations
Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
Generates META tags automatically
Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
For beginners, you don't even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything
You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
We all know what a WordPress blog is, but did you know that WordPress is a powerful platform that enables to you to build the site of your choice? Turn it into your own membership site, create your own blog farm, ecommerce site, or even a blog! Installing WordPress is as easy as 1, 2, 3 with most web hosts through a simple 1-click install or Fantasico installation. It even sets up your database for you! It doesn't get any easier than this.
What you might not know is there are 21,175 plugins for WordPress that extend the functionality of your installation. You can of course, run your WordPress site without any of these enhancements, but you will greatly reduce the effectiveness and efficiency.
There are some plugins that I consider a requirement, for spam control, analytics, photo management, seo enhancement, and so much more.
The first plugin that I install is Akismet. Akismet is, in my opinion, necessary to manage spam comments on your blog. It stops spam comments quite accurately and holds them in a moderation queue separate from your other comments. You can then review and delete them or remove them from the queue at your convenience. As the traffic to your blog increases, the number of spam comments you receive will increase, and Akismet will save you a significant amount of time in terms of catching and deleting each spam comment as it's left on your blog. Once you follow the simple instructions and activate this plugin, you will be assured that the spam on your site is being well controlled automatically.