Essential WordPress Plugins
…and in use on this site.
Plugins are great and make WordPress work just how we want, well most of the time! But it’s not good to overload your site with plugins as the more you use, the slower your website will load. Unfortunately I find it really easy to do just that! I browse through all the latest offerings and think – oh – I’ll give that one a try… and that that one looks cool… Well you get my drift. So now, before I install yet another plugin onto my Wordpress site I ask myself – is this going to add value to the site…? Is it going to make my website visitors experience better…? I’ve now removed or deactivated unnecessary plugins and this site is better for it 🙂
Anyway – here’s my essential plugin list, in no particular order… (to find them just search for them from your ‘Plugins’ menu in your WordPress Dashboard – they’re all free by the way)
W3 Total Cache. This is the latest plugin I installed and I have no idea why I hadn’t installed it ages ago – it made such a difference and my website loads so much quicker!
WARNING – This plugin did indeed speed up my site, but also caused a problem. I use Thesis for my theme and found W3 Total Cache caused a corruption in the options_design.php
The fix for this can be found at http://diythemes.com/thesis/rtfm/restore-corrupted-design-options/ This was a real shame as I was impressed with this plugin – however it caused me problems and I haven’t reactivated it in case it breaks Thesis again!!
Breadcrumb NavXT. Adds a breadcrumb navigation showing the visitor’s path to their current location. You can see it just above each article. I’ve always find this really useful when navigating other websites so I added this one and it works well.
Contact Form With Captcha. Creates a contact form with captcha. Not the prettiest of contact forms but it’s stable and does the job.
Shareaholic. (http://shareaholic.com) Adds some ‘snazzy’ but tasteful looking social bookmarking icons to pages and posts. You’ll see them at the bottom of every page. I just use the Twitter and Facebook options, but all the main social sites are supported so you can add as many icons as you like. Click on them and give them a try.
WordPress SEO by Yoast. (http://yoast.com) This is an excellent plugin and is an all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis and XML sitemaps. Just fill in the keyword (it will give you keyword ideas) SEO title, Meta description etc and it will give you a snippet preview of how your search result will look in the search engines, and a page analysis of how you’re doing. It’s really easy and quick to use and is highly recommended.
Ultimate TinyMCE. This plugin essentially beefs up your visual editor. You can add a huge array of useful tools to the standard WordPress interface. The only downside to this little plugin is that each time you update you have to reconfigure what tools you want to be visible in the editor again – not sure why this is apart from the settings window is where they nag you to upgrade to the paid version which in my view is totally unnecessary – the free version is really good as it is 🙂
OK that’s it – The above list doesn’t include all I use but they are the most essential WordPress plugins in my view. Oh and don’t forget to click on the Shareaholic icons below… please