My Favorite WordPress Plugins
I’m almost done with my WordPress blog re-evaluation. One of my steps was to reconsider what plug-ins I had installed. I’m happy with this list, and I’m pretty much just posting it here so you can see what I’m using, and a few I recently deactivated.
(Before plowing into this list, here are some web resources I’ve found useful: Tamba2 WordPress Guides, WordPress Plugins Codex, WordPress Plugin Database, John Chow’s 10 Best WordPress Plugins)
Tech Note: Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web serivce to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use this service. You can review the spam it catches under â€œManageâ€ and it automatically deletes old spam after 15 days. Hat tip: Michael Hampton and Chris J. Davis for help with the plugin. By Matt Mullenweg.
My Note: Spam comment blocker. You have to sign up for an ID at WordPress. It’s worth it.
Tech Note: Inserts Google Adsense inside your posts where you see fit. Simple to use: Edit the adsense.php file to use your Adsense code instead of mine; Activate the plug-in; Click the “Adsense” button on the quicktags bar to insert the Adsense marker in your posts. Please make sure you read Google’s TOS before using this plugin! By Phil Hord.
My Note: This ads (no pun intended) Google advertising to your blog posts. You just type “adsense” within HTML comments wherever you want an ad to appear. Make sure to change the ID number to yours, as it has someone else’s in there when you first download it.
3. Bad Behavior
Tech Note: Stop comment spam before it starts by trapping and blocking spambots before they have a chance to post comments. By Michael Hampton.
My Note: Another spam blocker.
Tech Note: A filter for WordPress that replaces bracketed MP3 URLs by the Dew’s MP3 Flash Player embedded object. In posts as in comments. By Vincent Gardien.
My Note: This is a little Flash thing that allows you to have a mini MP3 player in a post, pointing to an MP3 file. I use it on my music pages.
5. Head META Description
Tech Note: Insert HTML META description tag: excerpt/content brief for post/Page, description for category, and blog tagline for everything else. By Kaf Oseo.
My Note: Fills a meta description tag with some content of your post. Important for search engines.
6. Optimal Title
Tech Note: Mirrors the function of wp_title() exactly, but moves the position of the “separator” to after the title rather than before. By Aaron Schaefer.
My Note: Alters the title of your page so the name of your site appears at the end, as in: My Cool Post > Webomatica. I guess this is better for search engine reasons. If I remember correctly, you also have to alter some code in your header.php file.
7. Lightbox JS v2.2 Plugin
Tech Note: Used to overlay images on the current page. Lightbox JS v2.0 by Lokesh Dhakar. By Peppe Argento.
My Note: I might kill this plug-in, but I like the slickness of it. Plus it keeps the user on the same page rather than browsing away.
Tech Note: Displays info from your Netflix account. This includes text and images via RSS feed. By Albert Banks.
My Note: This is a pretty cool plug-in that grabs movies in your NetFlix queue and display them in your sidebar, along with images. I deactivated it because it’s just one more trivial bit of information that adds to my loading time.
9. Related Posts
Tech Note: Returns a list of the related entries based on active/passive keyword matches. By Alexander Malov, Mike Lu & Jon Bourne.
My Note: Adds a short list of posts associated to the one being currently read in the sidebar. You can set the number of posts.
10. Spam Karma 2
Tech Note: Ultimate Spam Killer for WordPress. Activate the plugin and go to Manage >> Spam Karma 2 to configure. See Spam Karma 2 >> About for details. By dr Dave.
My Note: Another spam blocker (notice a pattern here?)
11. Google Sitemaps
Tech Note: This generator will create a Google compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. By Arne Brachhold.
My Note: When I first started this blog I was having trouble getting Google to index it, and this plug-in seems to have solved the issue. It just spits out a ZIP file containing your whole site. You then point Google Sitemaps to the location of this ZIP file on your server.
Tech Note: Allows you to create a list of Technorati tags at the bottom of your post by providing a comma separated list of tags between the [tags] tags. You can use it with any blogging tool/method, not just when posting from WordPress itself (doesn’t use custom fields). Supports multiple words within tags. Also allows in-post tagging of words by enclosing them in [tag] tags. Works with the WYSIWYG editor. By Broobles.
My Note: If your blog is listed in Technorati, it’s a must-have.
13. Search Pages
Tech Note: This makes search queries look at pages and posts instead of only posts. Based off of Rob Schluter’s hack. By David B. Nagle.
Note: I need this as all my longer movie essays are on pages, not posts.
14. Mod-Rewrite Trackback Spam Blocker
Tech Note: Uses mod_rewrite rules to stop common trackback spam techniques. By Scott Buchanan.
My Note: Yet another spam blocker. Yes, I’m paranoid.
Online and Total visitors counter By Jan Grewe.
My Note: This is a pretty standard hit counter that I recently disabled. But you might find it useful.
Tech Note: WP-MostCommentedPosts plugin by Rafal “RAFi” Krawczyk based on WP-STATS Statistics Plugin for WordPress written by Lester Chan. By Rafal “RAFi” Krawczyk.
My Note: Adds a list of the most commented posts in the sidebar. Now that I actually have some posts with comments, it’s useful. Otherwise, it might just be embarassing.
Tech Note: WP-Amazon adds the ability to search and include items from Amazon to your entries. This plugin adds a button called “Amazon” on the post page. Make sure to configure the plugin before using. By Rich Manalang.
My Note: While writing a post, it pops up a new window where you can search for an item on Amazon. It then calls up the art and generates a link, using your associates ID. You then copy the code into your post. Can’t be much simpler.
Tech Note: Very fast cache module. It’s composed of several modules, this plugin can configure and manage the whole system. Once enabled, go to “Options” and select “WP-Cache”. By Ricardo Galli Granada.
My Note: A caching system that allows for faster page loads. I installed this because of the digg effect.
19. Permalink Redirect
Tech Note: This plugin ensures that pages and entries are always accessed via the permalink. Otherwise, a 301 redirect will be issued. By Scott Yang.
My Note: Something about allowing only one URL for any post. This is important for SEO reasons; duplicate content is bad.
Anyhow, I hope this list saves people some time. There are just so many WordPress plug-ins out there, and simply no time to try them all. Believe me, I’ve tried many that went straight to the trash bin. So hopefully this list will keep you from getting caught up in the plug-in wow factor so you can focus on the content.