Seven of Your Favorite, Most Indispensable WordPress Plugins

For the past few years, it seems as though at least a cou­ple of times a month I’ll come across new “Top x Word­Press Plu­g­ins” posts, where one user takes the time to enu­mer­ate a few of their most-loved blogs.

But who cares what they think, right? I want­ed to know what you thought, so I turned to the hive mind which is Twit­ter (Hey, fol­low me!), and asked what you con­sid­ered the most indis­pens­able Word­Press plu­g­ins. I threw in the cri­te­ri­on that the plu­g­in be not spam-relat­ed — yes, I know you love Akismet; I do too! — and this is what you said. 

@girliegeek (Twit­ter) was the first to reply, rec­om­mend­ing the WPhone plu­g­in. I don’t admin­is­ter my blog on the go via a mobile device, so I can’t attest to how this plu­g­in works, but the the­o­ry seems sound enough: pro­vide a stripped-down, mobile-friend­ly ver­sion of the admin pan­el for users of mobile devices. If you don’t have an iPhone (and are unable to use the Word­Press app for it) but are still inter­est­ed in admin­is­ter­ing your blog on the go, give WPhone a look.

@MillerMosaicLLC (Twit­ter) sent in the sec­ond rec­om­men­da­tion, All in One SEO Pack (the tweet no longer seems to be avail­able). This is anoth­er plu­g­in I’ve nev­er used, though I under­stand it is the only plu­g­in you would ever need to opti­mize your Word­Press blog for search engines, as it allows you com­pre­hen­sive con­trol over titles, descrip­tions, and more.

@gibbomeister fol­lowed with the Word­Press Auto­mat­ic Upgrade plu­g­in, which I have used and can def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend. This plu­g­in makes upgrad­ing your Word­Press blogs incred­i­bly easy, though it will no longer be nec­es­sary on Word­Press 2.7 (or newer)-powered sites, as built-in upgrad­ing is now a core fea­ture. Hon­or­able men­tion: Open­Hook.

@lisaboyd (Twit­ter) shared a plu­g­in I hon­est­ly keep for­get­ting about: WP-DBMan­ag­er. This plu­g­in, in addi­tion to mak­ing data­base back­ups a cinch, also allows you to exe­cute queries against your data­base direct­ly from your Word­Press admin­is­tra­tion pan­el. This is espe­cial­ly use­ful if you do not have access to php­MyAd­min or a shell data­base manager.

@keener (Twit­ter) was the next to reply, and his rec­om­men­da­tion was for the only plu­g­in cool enough to have com­pat­i­bil­i­ty built direct­ly into the world’s most fantab­u­lous Word­Press theme. What plu­g­in could be so inef­fa­bly awe­some? Sub­scribe to Com­ments! Why should your users have to mess with sub­scrib­ing to com­ment feeds to get notice of replies? And why should you have to use a third-par­ty com­ment man­age­ment sys­tem to pro­vide con­ver­sa­tion track­ing fea­tures to your users? Sim­ply install Sub­scribe to Com­ments, and your users will be able to sub­scribe to a post’s com­ments with a sin­gle click. This is a very use­ful plu­g­in, espe­cial­ly if com­mu­ni­ty involve­ment is impor­tant to you and your site. Hon­or­able men­tion: Feed­Smith.

@oktoberfive (account seems to no longer be active) fol­lowed with a rec­om­men­da­tion for the site-speed­er-upper plu­g­in, WP Super Cache. Going a step beyond sim­ply caching code, this plu­g­in cre­ates sta­t­ic HTML files which it serves as appro­pri­ate, which results in a huge sav­ings in time and serv­er usage. This plu­g­in touts itself as being able to make your site “Digg-proof,” and it may very well do just that — I don’t know, I’ve nev­er had some­thing receive more than a hand­ful of Dig­gs, I’m sure. If you run a high-traf­fic site or sim­ply want to squeeze every ounce of speed out of your serv­er, give WP Super Cache a whirl and see what it does for you. Hon­or­able men­tion: Scis­sors.

@kristarella (Twit­ter) sec­ond­ed the rec­om­men­da­tion for Sub­scribe to Com­ments, but she also men­tioned anoth­er gem, the Google XML Sitemaps gen­er­a­tor plu­g­in. This plu­g­in sim­pli­fies the task of mak­ing Google (and now oth­er major search engines as well) aware of your con­tent by cre­at­ing a pure sitemap of your site’s con­tent, includ­ing cat­e­gories, archives, and so on. This plu­g­in is indis­pens­able if you’re want­i­ng even more con­trol over how search engines inter­act with your site. @mikenichols0 (Twit­ter) sec­ond­ed the Google XML Sitemaps plu­g­in recommendation.

Bonus: And now for my rec­om­men­da­tion and for the rea­son I did­n’t want any­one else rec­om­mend­ing an anti-spam plu­g­in: Raven’s Anti­spam. As far as I am con­cerned, this plu­g­in is the final word in fight­ing auto­mat­ed com­ment spam. It just works. I love its sim­plic­i­ty, too; if you have JavaScript enabled, you can com­ment and there are no form fields to fill out, no images to iden­ti­fy, noth­ing at all! On the off chance that JavaScript is dis­abled, you need to copy a piece of text into a form field. Sim­ple, and much more usable than image recog­ni­tion. You’ll still need anoth­er lay­er of pro­tec­tion to block against track­back spam as Raven’s Anti­spam does­n’t defend against that sort of spam, but for what it does do, it does excep­tion­al­ly well.

And there you have it: my top plu­g­in plus sev­en of your favorite, most indis­pens­able plu­g­ins — two of which so amaz­ing that they were rec­om­mend­ed by dif­fer­ent peo­ple — as well as a cou­ple of hon­or­able men­tions for your consideration.

Do you con­sid­er anoth­er plu­g­in to be some­thing you can’t blog with­out? Feel free to share it below in the com­ments below. It is always excit­ing to hear about plu­g­ins that may not have reg­is­tered on my radar yet.

15 thoughts on “Seven of Your Favorite, Most Indispensable WordPress Plugins”

  1. Great list Rick! It’s cool how to you tap into the Twit­ter com­mu­ni­ty to get peo­ple’s input.

    I also real­ly like the WPTouch plug-in — auto­mat­i­cal­ly for­mats your blog to be viewed on the iPhone.

    1. It is a dream of mine that The­sis will one day have an out-of-the-box “slim” ver­sion for view­ing on mobile browsers, iPhone includ­ed. I hope that day comes, but until then — PLUGINS!

  2. Very nice.

    I’m going to check out WPhone. I don’t need much on-the-go blog stuff, but I’m going away for a week and it might be handy to keep tabs on things, mod­er­ate com­ments if I need to.

    You know what else Raven’s anti­spam does? It gives you a page which says “Woops… blah blah blah… go back and try again, but first copy your com­ment so that it does­n’t get lost.” and gives you the com­ment text. I know because it caught me the oth­er day (not sure why). It was pret­ty friend­ly though.

    One thing that is too cool about Google XML Sitemaps is that you can add oth­er pages for it to crawl. So I could tell it to crawl my pix­el­post blog (when it exist­ed) along with my Word­Press blog. Nifty!

    I was think­ing ear­li­er today after men­tion­ing Sub­scribe to Com­ments that I would make a request in the The­sis forum for a com­ments RSS option any­way. If you don’t want to use this plu­g­in (although I don’t know why you would­n’t!) RSS is the next best thing, and per­haps not every­one wants to use email for sub­scrib­ing. I have a new found respect for the ver­sa­til­i­ty of RSS!

    1. @kristarella: You should report that Raven’s anti­spam’s issue, if there seemed to be no rea­son for the error message.

    2. Sor­ry ’bout the anti­spam catch­ing you. I’m very pleased with how usable its error mes­sage is — the abil­i­ty to copy/save your com­ment is def­i­nite­ly drip­ping with WIN.

  3. Great list you have put togeth­er. A few of them I had been look­ing for and could not remem­ber the names. Love your site.

  4. I’m going to check out RA today. Spam’s pret­ty much kick­ing my back­side on a few of my blogs, and it sounds like it’s what I need.

    One of my biggest plu­g­in crush­es recent­ly has been YARPP, Yet Anoth­er Relat­ed Post Plu­g­in. It’s great and has­n’t let me down yet. It pulls up per­fect­ly relevent arti­cles and keeps vis­i­tors stick­ing around longer.

    How­ev­er, it has com­pa­ny in the crush zone now with your The­sis Open­Hook Plu­g­in. I’m using it on one of my blogs and will use it on all as soon as I upgrade all of them to the newest ver­sion of The­sis. I’ve been drag­ging my feet, but now I have an excel­lent rea­son to upgrade.

    Open­Hook allows me a ton of options I’d been hunt­ing for — such as seam­less­ly putting the nav bar below the head­er, get­ting rid of the com­ment links on the index, cus­tomiz­ing the foot­er, etc. It’s SO much eas­i­er than going through the file man­ag­er or php. Hate php.

    Thanks for the list and your plugin!

    1. I hope Raven’s Anti­spam is able to turn the tide on spam at your blog; it’s been a won­der-work­er for me.

      I’ve been look­ing for a decent relat­ed posts plu­g­in, so will check out the one you mentioned.

      Oh, and thanks for the nice words regard­ing Open­Hook! It’s so awe­some know­ing it’s mak­ing a lot of lives that much easier!

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Rick Beckman