At a recent WordPress Meetup, someone asked if there was a list of plugins that one should use. Such a list, of course, is not available and also impossible to put together. Every site has different needs, themes rely on various functionality and everyone is bound to have their favourites. This question was followed by everyone offering their favourite and I thought I would continue this discussion and post my list. First, let me stress that this list is made up of MY favourites. They are NOT the best (they might be, but I can’t say for sure), nor are they the ones I think YOU should use. They are simply the ones I find useful and use all the time.
Not many people like ads on sites, but sometimes, there’s just no alternative. Some sites need the advertising income to exist. I recently needed to insert ads on kitsilano.ca and I found this plugin easy to install and use. Ad rotate also provide stats letting you know which ads work best.
Similarly to ads, these like, tweet, share buttons can be a bit distracting at times, but if you require a slew of social media icons on your site, this plugin makes it easy to install and configure and provides you with useful stats letting you know which social media sites are most popular. You don’t need an AddThis account to use the plugin.
Akismet is most likely on everyone’s list. It comes with every WordPress install and once activated, all you need is an Akismet API key which you can get for FREE for personal sites. Unless, you like spam, this plugin is for you.
This plugin not only allows you to back up your database, it also backs up all of your media, themes, plugins and WordPress core files. Back ups can be stored on your server in various formats or sent to your Dropbox, Amazon S3 and various other locations.
The cleaner gallery plugin works with WordPress native gallery shortcode. It cleans us the HTML generated by the shortcode and also integrates 18 different Lightbox-type scripts.
Email Address Encoder
I’m not entirely sure that encoding your email address prevents spam, but it does make it harder for bots to grab it, so I like to add this plugin to my clients site. I can’t imagine anyone being angry with me if I managed to reduce spam get to their inbox.
Widgets are awesome, and the image widget plugin makes widgets even more so. As it’s name suggests it allows you to add an image in a widget. You can upload images directly from the widgets menu, centre it, give it a title, link it or not. It’s great.
Gravity forms is by far the best contact form plugin. It’s a pleasure to use and the support provided by Rocket Genius is simply outstanding. This plugin is a paid plugin, but if you’re a developer, it’s worth the expense. If price is an issue, contact form 7 is a good alternative.
My Page Order and My Category Order
These two plugins are great tools that easily allow you to keep pages and categories in the order you choose. Pages and Categories can simply be ordered by dragging and dropping.
Multiple Content Block
This plugin is mainly for developers and allows you to easily add a second content block to any page or post and includes a WYSIWYG editor. It makes building themes and customizing templates very handy and website editors love it.
This plugin allows you to regenerate thumbnails once you’ve modified their size in the media settings. This is very useful when creating your site or if after switching themes, the dimension of the post thumbnails has changed.
Post Type Switcher
As a developer, you may need to modify your content at times. Perhaps posts will become pages or pages need to be converted to a custom content type. This plugin allows you to easily make these changes within your admin. No need to fiddle with the database.
Following a re-design or a restructuring of a site, you may need to keep track of 404 errors and manage 301 redirections. This plugin makes it very easy to set up and monitor.
Syntax Highlighter Evolved
If you write tutorials required code snippets, this plugin allows you to easily post syntax-highlighted code to your site without losing it’s formatting or making any manual changes. Once installed and activated, you just wrap your code in [language], such as
and the highlighter does the rest for you.
WordPress comes equipped with a visual editor which uses TinyMCE. At times you might wish to either remove or add items from the Visual Editor and that’s when the TinyMCE Advanced plugin comes in. Once installed, the visual editor can be customized to your liking.
The Events Calendar
If your looking for an event calendar, look no further than the events calendar plugin. Developed by Modern Tribe and several other contributors, this plugin is constantly being updated and the PRO version also comes with fantastic support. The Events Calendar plugin enables you to rapidly create and manage events.
WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Easy to install and set up, this plugin allows you to easily add titles and meta descriptions and keywords to your pages and posts. Best of all, it gives you a visual showing you how Google will display the content you input. This visual cue makes it simple for site managers to understand what’s going on. The plugin also includes the ability to submit an XML sitemap.
When budgets are tight and there’s simply no time to make a site responsive WP Touch is a good alternative. Easy to use and configure, WP Touch provides an elegant version of your site to mobile visitors.
I probably left out a few and my list will most likely change over time, but right now, these are the ones that I keep using over and over. What’s on your list?