I recently helped Hugo Kornelis set up a new WordPress blog at SQLServerFast.com, and I realized it’s been a while since I listed the plugins I recommend. Here you go:
Crayon Syntax Highlighter – show your T-SQL code in all its glory. Has an SSMS 2012 theme, and you can set the default language to T-SQL.
Editorial Calendar – I’m a huge believer in scheduling your posts ahead of time. This plugin gives you a drag & drop calendar so you can reorder posts when your priorities change.
Featured Image Admin Thumb – posts need featured images for certain themes, or when users share your posts on social media. It’s not easy to see at a glance which of your posts are missing featured images – until you get this plugin.
Featured Image Generator – makes it easy to search for free Unsplash images for your posts, plus put a caption over them. There’s a paid Pro version available too that adds more caption capabilities, but the free one alone is great.
Jetpack – handles a lot of common tasks that used to require cobbling together a bunch of different plugins. Commenters can subscribe to updates or all blog posts via email, you get easy-to-digest visitor stats right on your dashboard, and you can even write posts in Markdown. If you want to spring for a little more, the $39/year Vaultpress integration also gives you offsite backups in case your hosting company runs into problems.
Those are all free, and armed with just those, you can get one heck of a head start on setting up a professional-looking blog.
However, when it’s time to put a visual theme on your site, I’d lay out just a little cash and get one of the top-selling themes from Themeforest.net. That’s not an affiliate link – they do have an affiliate program, but I wanna make it clear that I’m not making money when you click on that.
I recommend ThemeForest’s stuff because I’ve had such a great experience with them, in particular their top-selling themes. It’s ridiculous how much quality you can get, and how often the top-selling themes get updated. I’m specific about sorting by sales, though – don’t just get any theme, because there’s a ton of themes on there that never get updates.