Handy WordPress Plugins

I think a reasonable percentage of visitors here use WordPress (so apologies to those few non WP users for this post!) and after being asked by a few people or mentioning plugins to certain people who weren’t aware of what’s out there I figured it was worth while listing the standard plugins I tend to use on every site, plus a few more handy ones for CMS usage.

Plugins Always Used:

comes as default, just activate it with a WP API key.
Drop Down menus for Admin
can I just say I can’t work without this now! Turns your admin menus into drop downs so no more two clicks to get anywhere!
Google Sitemaps
Generates an XML sitemap of your pages and posts.
Search Everything
By default WP search only searches posts. This expands the search to pages too (a must for CMS use if you want to have a site search). From what I’ve seen this may be included in the next version of WordPress.

Other Useful Plugins

Lightbox 2
A plugin of the infamous Lightbox. I’ve yet to add in Olson’s hacks to alter how the browser back button works.
Statistics plugin that shows what’s happening on your blog in realtime. Be warned, it can be addictive!
WordPress.com Stats
These are stats that are set up and dealt with in your WordPress.com account, so an API key is needed (the Akismet one works fine). It provides more stats on your blog
Link Indication
Puts a little icon next to your external links that denote what that link is eg. an external link to another site, a mailto link, a word document, PDF, Excel spreadsheet. Handy for people to instantly see what the link will do.

Blog Specific Plugins

Custom Query String
Allows you to change how many posts are on internal pages compared to the default. I use this to set my category pages to show every post and modify the code to only show the post title. Prevents duplicate content and is like an index for the category. Much cleaner in my opinion.
Extend Comment Options
Allows you to turn on/off comments and pings. Handy to close comments on old posts in large batches.
Edit Comments
Allows your commentors to edit their comments for X minutes after they’ve submitted. Must admit I’ve submitted comments to other blogs and then reread them wishing I could edit what I wrote. It’s AJAX but just doesn’t work for non JS enabled users so they get the standard submit and that’s it method.
Hardened Trackback
This is to prevent those trackback spammings that flood Akismet, or your inbox. You can set it up so real visitors can get a trackback that’ll work for about 15 minutes.
Get Recent Comments
Show your visitors who’s commenting on what. Don’t make them hunt for it
This turns off the rel=”nofollow” on the URLs left by your commentors. If you’re moderating comments then why leave the nofollow on?
Blogging these days is often about the community as well as the blog posts, so why not give your community a face/icon. I use Gravatar on this blog and if you look through a post with comments you’ll see the gravatar image on the left besides the commentor’s name.
Live Comment Preview
This is more just a bit of fun. Allows the commentor to see what they’re typing as they type it.
Show Top Commentators
This allows you to generate a list of your top commentators on your site. You can set it to generate the list using the last X days, last month, week or years statistics. Like a reward for commenting on your blog.

CMS Specific Plugins

SEO Title Tag
Allows you to change/expand the title of pages, categories and posts.
Sitemap Generator
This creates a normal Sitemap including pages and posts. Handy for client managed sites where they add new pages etc.
Login Anywhere
Allows you to display the WP admin login on the front of the site (useful for sites that have multiple accounts or want to control access to posts).
Page Restriction
Allows you to restrict page access to only those who are logged in, such as subscriber based content.

Whilst I’ve tried plenty more and scoured the Plugins lists often for solutions to a problem that’s perhaps cropped up it’s still good to know what other plugins people have tried, tested and are happy with using so drop a link to your favourite plugin or plugins below 🙂

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7 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    We don’t have many on osWorld…the list of unusual ones is;

    ~ comment relish (emails a first time commenter)
    ~ rs-discuss (the forum)
    ~ get recent comments
    ~ get top commenters
    ~ unfancy quote (turns curly quotes into normal quotes)
    ~ viper video quicktags (easy way to put youtube videos into posts)

    That’s about it. I’m going to look at “live” now, cheers.

  2. Sarah says:

    The unfancy quote plugin sounds interesting. I’ve had problems in the past with quotes so I’m guessing that’d fix it. Will check it out. Cheers 🙂

  3. David says:

    Superb list of tried and tested plugins, thanks Sarah. My blog will soon have the benefit of a few of these as soon as I get the time.

    Thanks again

  4. Sarah says:

    No problem David, hope they’re of good use 🙂

  5. Sarah says:

    Just as an update I thought I’d mention that I no longer use or would really recommend the WP Hardened Trackback or Live plugins. The first completely killed my trackbacks which no longer seem to work despite removing the plugin, and the latter put my page view stats through the roof.

  6. Khalid says:

    Cheers for a great post – very helpful!

  7. Sarah says:

    No problem Khalid. Have you also checked the More Handy WordPress Plugins list?