When I first started out using WordPress, it took me long time to find the right plugins for the job. And I’m sure like most first timers I turned to some of my favorite sites to try and figure out what everyone else was using… But alas, most sites don’t publish their Plugin profile. So in an effort to help anyone new to the WordPress platform avoid the hours of trial and error I went through – Here are my top 10 essential WordPress Plugins…
Akismet now comes bundled with every new WordPress install, and for good reason – It is one of the best anti-spam plugins available to WP users. While Akismet is powerful on its own, It doesn’t quite take care of everything.
Below are 2 additional steps you will want to take to safegaurd yourself from the ever growing world of online spam.
1.) In your WordPress admin page go to:
Settings > Discussion > Comment Blacklist
Add as many offensive, perverted, spam-like words you can think of to this blacklist.
2.) Secondly, you will want to heavily modify your .htaccess file. You can find this by connecting to your host server via a FTP program like FileZilla. There are numerous tutorials on the web for how to make meaningful modifications to this file, but I’ve also uploaded my personal htaccess file for you to download as a good working example of what yours should look like!
All In One SEO Pack
The All In One SEO Pack has become some what of a standard plugin for anyone interested in boosting their website pageviews ( so like everyone… ). It allows you to fine tune your SEO settings at a very general level AND really maximize your SEO settings by making adjustments at the per post level. The way the plugin was created allows you the freedom to decide just how involved you want to be with SEO.
The plugin also boasts the very helpful ability to generate and customize your sitemap file! By submitting your sitemap file to places like your Google webmaster / Bing webmaster account, you are enabling these search engines to more easily navigate your site.
Taken from Google:
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, an XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
Crayon Syntax Highlighter
The Crayon Syntax Highlighter is one of the best plugins I found to share any kind of code. It encapsulates the code so that it doesn’t interfere with your websites PHP, HTML or any other elements of your website that would otherwise break it!
An Example taken from my OSTicket Guide.
<th>HTML Email Template:</th><?php //BSK HTML email template ?>
<td><textarea rows="15" name="html_email_template" style="width:600px;"><?=$config['html_email_template']?></textarea><br><i>Will be used for all outgoing emails.<br />Insert %message where you want the message text to be replaced in the template.</i></td>
Google Analytics For WordPress
While this plugin isn’t going to make or break your site like some of the others on the list, it does make integrating the Google Analytics code dead simple. And simple is good when you are juggling a dozen different things as a blogger – between researching new post topics, responding to comments, editing, etc… Anywhere you can save yourself some time and frustration is a great thing!
JetPack By WordPress.Com
JetPack is another plugin that comes standard with WordPress. If you only use one plugin out of this list – make sure you are using this one! JetPack alone gives you access to tons of other invaluable features & functionality. It is like having 20 plugins in 1 awesome package.
nRelate Related Content
nRelate is a great plugin for directing your users to other related posts on your site. It is free, straight forward to config and it has a big impact on the navigation of your site.
Below is a screenshot of what the plugin looks like in action.
P3 ( Plugin Performance Profiler )
The Performance Profiler Plugin isn’t going to be a tool that you use everyday, but it has made a huge difference for me personally in troubleshooting slow website load times! While my site tends to load a bit slower than most due to the level of depth I like to write my posts in(and all those damn screen shots!)… a few months back it was dreadfully slow to load.
I couldn’t figure out what changed… so I started searching around to try and troubleshoot the slow load times me and my users were seeing. After discovering this gem and running its scan – It turns out that ( of all things ) my contact form plugin was causing all kinds of problems. I deleted it and voila’ – loading times for EDT improved by 1.5 seconds across the board!
Here is a screenshot of P3 in action.
WP Document Revisions
Gosh… my 3rd standard install plugin. You probably think I’m lazy or some kind of WordPress fan-boy by now eh? (is that a thing?) Well If you’ve been through some of my detailed guides, I don’t think I could be considered lazy by any stretch of the imagination… But I have come to love nearly anything published by WordPress!
The Document Revisions plugin has saved my ass more than once. Having the ability to restore to nearly any point in time through out the writing process is like having some sort of hopped of version of MS word with integrated time machine functionality. Really… It is that awesome.
These are the point in time restore options I have for this post so far…
W3 Total Cache
w3 Total Cache has so many moving parts… It’s difficult to detail everything in this small space – suffice it to say that it does a number of things to improve your sites response time and thus increasing how Google rates your site! Here is just a short list of some of it’s major features:
- Page Caching
- Page Compression
- CDN configuration
Since there are SO MANY options available in this plugin to improve the performance of your site, they also offer a paid service to help you set things up.
For anyone that is scared away by the wealth of options – WP super cache is a great alternative!
WP YouTube Embed Plugin
This YouTube plugin is simple but effective.
And of course, allows you to easily insert your favorite YouTube Videos 😀
Do you know of any alternatives that do the job better? Feel I missed one of the best plugins on the market? Please let me know in the comments!