A friend recently asked what WordPress plugins I could recommend. So far, I have been happy with the following:
Jetpack adds a number of neat features that integrate with WordPress.com, so you can benefit from wordpress.com services with your self-hosted wordpress installation. It’s more like a suite of plugins, 31 different modules all together. Very good, highly recommended.
- Search and Replace: Easily search/replace your wp database. Use with caution as there is no undo. But very powerful if you need to update your database content.
- WordPress Importer: Allows you to import content from another WP site export.
- WP Document Revisions: Version control for your post drafts, allows you to see changes from revision to revision and diff them.
- TinyMCE Advanced: The built in WP post editor doesn’t give you tables, I guess because of all the sins committed by HTML layout guys who don’t believe in CSS. But if you really do need an honest table in your article, this will let you build it. In fact, it will unlock all the features of TinyMCE, the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
- Advanced Spoiler: Conceal “spoiler” content so that it remains hidden until clicked on, so as to not spoil the spoiler for readers who don’t like to be spoiled.
- FancyBox for WordPress: Nice fancybox.js implementation for displaying images and galleries.
- Fast Secure Contact Form: Easily set up contact forms so that your readers can send you messages without the need to expose your email address to the world.
- WP Most Popular: Widget you can stick into your Theme customizer to display listing of your most popular posts so readers can see what else is good on your site.
- WP-Optimize: Cleans up the mysql backend, clearing out clutter like saved drafts, revisions, etc. so that your database is smaller and performs faster.
- W3 Total Cache: Caching, minifying, compressing. Boosts the performance of your wp application so that pageloads happen faster. My Yslow! Score went from a 70 to an 80, and the difference in speed is noticeable.
- Broken Link Checker: Scheduled scans your site for links returning 400 and 300 http errors, gives you a nice report showing the link href and the redirect url, and allows you to edit it right there. Saves a lot of time compared to hunting them down manually. Supposely can even find embedded youtube videos that have been taken down, using YouTube api.
- Akismet: Blocks spam comments very well, cutting down on the amount of moderation you have to deal with.
- BackUpWordPress: Creates scheduled backup of your wp installation, which you can then download. Useful for disaster recovery OR migration. To move backup files off site you can either manually download the backup, or set up a cron job to do it for you. Nice if you don’t have a server backup already in place.
- Better WP Security: Pretty comprehensive hardening and intrusion detection. Provides recommendations for securing your site and enables you to implement most of them from within the plugin UI. There are other security plugins similar to this one, but I haven’t looked at them all. If you find a better one let me know!
- WordPress HTTPS: If your site has an SSL and serves HTTPS, you can easily force visitors to HTTPS with this plugin, or set up custom rules for which pages force HTTPS. Using this plugin helped me address a couple problems that I couldn’t find to get my lock icon in the address bar to turn green, even after I’d set up .htaccess redirects to serve everything over https and did search & replace all the urls in mysql to convert all links.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: Puts a Google Analytics report right in your WP admin dashboard so you can easily see what’s happening with your site traffic (but you need to set up Google Analytics first — see the next plugin.
- Google Analytics for WordPress: Adds the necessary code to your WP application to integrate with Google Analytics so that it can track your traffic for you.
- Google XML Sitemaps: Adds a google sitemap to your site to assist googlebot to find your pages so it can index them so people can find your site when they search.
- Redirection: Enables you to easily set up redirect rules so you don’t have to mess about with apache settings or .htaccess files if you don’t want to.
- WordPress SEO: Great, full featured SEO tool that helps you create meta description tags and so on so that your site is even friendlier to search engines. The features are well documented and explain how to use the plug in very clearly.
I have a few things that I’m looking for, too.
E-commerce: It should be easy to use, allow for selling digital assets, and have a “pay what you like” feature like Humble store or BandCamp. There are so many features to think about, and it seems like the amount of effort to set up and manage an e-commerce store is significant enough that you really don’t want to pick the wrong one and have to start over later with a different one if you can help it. It’s intimidating, enough so that I haven’t even begun to investigate it. But it’s a goal of mine to have it done sometime in the next year.
Code: I’m not entirely satisfied by the way WordPress formats source code. I’d like to be able to display both blocks of code as block elements, and in-line mentions of code keywords to be styled, such that it is obviously programming code, with good syntax highlighting. There are a number of plugins to choose from, and I’ve used a few different ones but I’m not ready to recommend one yet. I’m going to look into these and testing them out in the near future.