If you're blogging on a self-hosted Platform using WordPress software, it's time to customize your blog with plug-ins — software that can be "plugged in" to your existing WordPress blog software. Plug-ins allow you to do everything from feature slideshows in your blog posts to connect social media to your site. Here are five useful plug-ins to get you started.

1

All in One SEO Pack

The All in One SEO Pack provides automatic search engine optimization for your WordPress blog. The basic level of this plug-in is free and premium versions begin at $39 with an additional monthly fee of $10.

2

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 allows users to manage multiple contact forms. This free plug-in also allows users to implement spam filters such as Akismet and CAPTCHA.

3

Akismet

The Akismet plug-in helps bloggers keep spam out of their blog comments. By checking comments left on your blog against the Akismet web service, this free plug-in decides whether comments should appear on your blog or be placed in a spam folder.

4

NextGEN Gallery

The NextGEN Gallery plug-in allows WordPress bloggers to create galleries of images. This is the most popular of all WordPress gallery plug-ins and provides a long range of features, even at the free level of service.

5

WooCommerce

WooCommerce allows WordPress users to add an eCommerce feature to their sites. With a laundry list of features, this free plug-in especially prides itself on providing an attractive eCommerce platform to sites.