Any WordPress powered website isn’t complete without WordPress plugins. Thanks to the brilliant community that surrounds WordPress there are a variety of plugins written by users of WordPress as well as developers. There are so many plugins out there but theirs a handful of plugins that I can’t live without, and that are installed on James’ Blog. Really, plugins and how useful they are to you or me is down to personal preference, but here’s a list of a handful of plugins that I can’t live without!
Akismet Spam Filter Plugin
No one likes spam, but these days it’s everywhere, in your emails and all over bad websites. WordPress powered websites usually suffer from spam comments. Which is where bots constantly keep attacking your articles and post with senseless nonsense in the form of a comment. Typically spam comments consist of just random word strings which are linked to various spam websites. No doubt that spam is annoying but thanks to Akismet spam is a thing of the past, in my opinion every wordpress blog should have this plugin, and now I think in every recent WordPress release Akismet is included in the releases so even the developers of WordPress agree! Just one thing to mention about this plugin you do need a API key if you are using it for personal use, yes it is free, but I say personal use because akismet also provides commerical use which isn’t free.
Syntax Highlighter Plus
This plugin is defiantly popular with people who write website development related tutorials. Syntax Highlighter Plus allows someone to enter code such as css or html and surround it in a source code window, which makes it very easy for tutorial writers to clearly show there code. There are various versions of the syntax highlighter and some people say that the Google Syntax highlighter plugin is better, but after having bad experience with it myself I moved to a alternative. There a various versions of the syntax highlighter which includes different features but Syntax Highlighter Plus is a great plugin.
Google Sitemap Generator
The Google Sitemap Generator is similar to Akismet, not in it’s purpose but for the whole automation. The google sitemap generator will automatical generator a XML sitemap of your entire WordPress website automatically. You can customize various options such as when the sitemap is generated e.g. daily and what parts to include in the sitemap, if you aren’t knowledged in XML and don’t really understand sitemaps then this plugin is your new best friend.
Lightbox (plugin version)
I say Plugin version because there is also a stand alone version of Lightbox where you can manually download the JS script files and run it off your site, but whichever version you choose Lightbox is great for presenting images on your website in a slick way. If your a blogger than often posts photographs then you’ll probably fall in love with this plugin. With the plugin version you simply need to wrap a anchor tag around a image where as with the stand alone version you have to add rel=”My photo” to your anchor tag that surrounds the image.
WordPress Database Backup
You know when people say backup’s are important but not many people actually take notice due to it being a tedious job. Well seems most of WordPress is stored in a database why not install a WordPress Database backup plugin? With this plugin you can backup your entire WordPress database and download it to your computer, store it on your server or get it emailed to you, whats even better is that you can schedule this task so you don’t have to keep telling the database to backup, it will backup itself. There are various schedule options which you can customize such as time and how often you want to backup the database.
You may have noticed on various blogs that at the bottom of article or post there are share buttons which you can click on and share the article over various places such as digg, facebook etc. There are a few plugins around that do this but really Social Dropdown was the one that caught my eye. The image that you see above is actually a screenshot of my share buttons, which might be a bit mis-leading due to the fact I customized and edited the plugin slightly, but the Social Dropdown plugin makes sharing links to other websites so easy and simple. While not every blog has share links, if you want to get your visitors involved you might want to consider it, some visitors may decide if they liked your article or post they might click on a share link and share it somewhere else which equals wider coverage!
Smart Archives Reloaded
WordPress already have a very neat archiving system built in, but Smart Archives Reloaded isn’t about archiving your posts, it’s actually about displaying all of your archives onto one page in a nicely formatted way. Sometimes archives aren’t really involved in blogs, but if someones looking for a certain post and you don’t have a search feature how are they going to find the post? Crawl through pages of pages of back entries? Not likely, but with Smart Archives Reloaded you can create a archive page which will display all of your archives posts organised in a montly format.
A small yet effective plugin. As I stated in the WordPress database backup plugin description, most of WordPress is stored in a database so maintaining your database is important. With this plugin you can optimize your WordPress database tables with just one click. In a nutshell Optimize DB runs the optimize table command on your WP database which essentially defragments your tables and cleans them up. Optimize DB can also reduce the size of your database once optimized because it clears uneeded information on the database tables.
Well thats my handful of plugins which I can’t live without, how about you? What plugins do you have installed on your WordPress website, why not comment back and share your plugin list!