There are literally 1000′s of Wordpress Plugins, some incredibly useful, some so outdated they’re dangerous and some I would not think of building a site without (as long as they are being updated regularly and then I would be looking for an alternative).
Plugins add to the functionality of your site in all sorts of ways, you can add plugins to showcase images, plugins to add shopping carts, plugins that make your dashboard easier to use, and plugins for so many different functions it would make your head spin to add them all.
The best part about the plugins listed here are, they’re all free.
This is a list of 17 WordPress Plugins I MUST HAVE on every site I build:
1. Akismet – Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. To get started: 1) Click the “Activate” link to the left of this description, 2) Sign up for an Akismet API key, and 3) Go to your Akismet configuration page, and save your API key.
2. cbnet WordPress Ping Optimizer - Every time you ‘update’ your blog after publishing it, it sends a ping to the search engines, if you do it too much, you’re tagged as a ping spammer, which is bad. This plugin prevents that from happening.
3. CopyLink - CopyLink adds a custom link attribution under content copied from your website or blog. It does not guarantee that copyists will use it but it does remind them to link back to your site as attribution for the content they have copied.
4. Custom About Author - This plugin displays an author profile at the end of every post. There are options to create profiles for custom authors; which is great for guest bloggers who do not have an account on your WordPress site. This is also great because you can add in your social networks, which most other author boxes don’t have. Plus, this custom author box plugin is SUPER easy to use and customize.
5. Do Follow – Removes the evil nofollow attribute that WordPress adds in comments. This one is not available in the WordPress Plugin Directory and will have to be downloaded onto your computer and uploaded again to your site. Click Here for a discussion about this topic and decide for yourself.
6. Facebook Comments Importer – This plugin imports the comments posted on your Facebook fan page to your blog.
7. Hide Trackbacks – Stops trackbacks and pingbacks from showing up as comments on your posts.
8. Shareaholic (a.k.a. Sexy bookmarks) – Shareaholic adds a (X)HTML compliant list of social bookmarking icons to each of your posts in several different image options. See the bottom of this post to see them working.
9. Simple Page Ordering Order your pages and hierarchical post types using easy drag and drop on the built in page list rather than trying to figure out the correct page order via math. Also adds a filter for items to show per page. For further instructions, open the “Help” tab on the Pages screen.
10. Strictly Google Site Map - This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. This object has been developed specifically to overcome the numerous performance issues related to other sitemap plugins that regularly cause out of memory issues by reducing the number of database queries that are executed, writing the code so that formatting and URL related functions are only run once and by removing unneccessary nested loops and system functions. The plugin also offers a number of features such as inbuilt XML validation, Site Indexes, SEO Reports and Configuration and performance analysis.
11. Tweet Old Post - This plugin helps you to keeps your old posts alive by tweeting about them and driving more traffic to them from twitter.
12. Google Analytics for WordPress (by Yoast) – The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin allows you to track your blog easily and with lots of metadata. This plugin uses the asynchronous Google Analytics tracking code, the fastest and most reliable tracking code Google Analytics offers. See video here for more information.
13. Ultimate Tiny MCE - Beef up your visual tinymce editor with a plethora of advanced options. This Plugin will add over 30 new buttons the default visual tinymce editor, giving you the power to visually create your pages and posts. No need for mucking about in HTML and CSS.
14. WordPress SEO (by Yoast) – The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. Simple to use with added advanced features that can be enabled by the more advanced user.
15. WP Touch – A plugin which formats your site with a mobile theme for visitors on Apple iPhone / iPod touch, Google Android, Blackberry Storm and Torch, Palm Pre and other touch-based smartphones.
Yes, having a lot of plugins does have the potential to slow down your website, but it does also depend on the quality of your server/host. I have about 26 plugins (and counting) on this blog alone and it doesn’t seem to effect the speed too much (if at all).
There are a ton of other useful plugins, so, which ones are your MUST HAVES?:
Update: Thanks to a much appreciated comment by Andrew Stein from steinvox.com I was alerted to the fact that my Ultimate Google Analytics was no longer working, so have updated that Plugin with the one I am using now – Google Analytics for WordPress which you will now see in the list.