Since I began my business, I’ve developed almost solely in WordPress. And I love it. It’s modular (can be built on, added to, subtracted from), it’s flexible and best of all – there are smarter people than I all over the world that are constantly working to make it better.
While I was just beginning to understand the finer details of WordPress I started seeking out many “Top WordPress plugins” articles to help me get started. Now that I’ve searched out some of the best and have seen them in use for quite a while – I’ve got a good grasp of some of the plugins that need a little more recognition. Here is my list, enjoy.
It should go without saying that you need some sort of backup on your WordPress website/blog. There are many options you can go with in this sector, but I’ve found the easiest solution is WP-DB Manager. The only semi-confusing thing that you should do when you install this plugin is installed is move the internal .htaccess file to keep your backups a little more secure. The plugin will remind you to do this until it’s done, but it only takes a minute and does add a level of security to your site that you can appreciate.
WP-DB Manager allows you to restore your database through the interface, email and schedule backups, optimize your database on a schedule and actually run SQL queries. I’ve used a few different backup plugins, but I’ve found the most success with this one.
I found this handy & simple plugin one day while I started getting into some custom php scripting and needed to call specific page ids. This plug-in has no settings, it just works. It shows the ids of your posts, pages, and custom post types in the dashboard for easy reference.
This plugin adds a little flair to image previews on your site. I’ve used it for many of my clients sites. Recently, WooThemes, one of my favorite premium WordPress theme companies, began incorporating a similar (if not the same) script to their themes – so while this plugin isn’t active on my site, if you were to click an image (that is linked to the original file) you’ll see the same effect. You can also go to one of my client’s sites, Fresh Concepts Landscape & Design, to see the plugin in action.
In my opinion, these two plugins are one in the same. They block the dummies. The spam. I’ve recently signed on with Cloudflare (which I’ll talk about more with W3 Total Cache) which also helps block unwanted traffic and spam on your site. These two plugins are easy to drop in and do the trick. Very few comments or false track backs show up on my blog anymore (or with some of my clients that get a lot more traffic and comments than me.
This plugin is a good alternative for sites that have many users that aren’t signed up with a Gravatar.com account. It’s an easy way to locally upload and display avatars for users on your site.
You’ll see this plugin on almost every list out there. It’s a great plugin for any site. It caches the information on your site and makes it load faster. It improves the user experience and drastically reduces the time spent loading your site due to slow database performance.
Recently, they added support for Cloudflare which is something that every site should be on. It has increased my site speed by up to 70%. They’ve blocked a lot of bad traffic and made me feel better about security as well. The best part? It’s free. You’re not going to beat that. You can pay for extra levels of settings and metrics, but you get all you really need for nothing at all.
This plugin is self-explanatory. It allows you to plug-in YouTube, Vimeo, etc videos into your posts and pages using short codes. The reason I use this plugin on many of my sites is for the iFrame capability that allows the videos to play on iDevices (non-flash devices).
**This plugin has been rendered a bit less useful if you are using Jetpack from WordPress.com, but I still like it – so there.
What a wonderful plugin. Instead of hardcoding the Google font directory, this plugin allows you to make sweeping CSS changes, or very minute CSS changes to your code using the Google web fonts. It has a very easy to navigate backend and it seems to load quickly on the sites that I’ve been able to utilize the plugin on.
This is a plugin that isn’t for everyone, but if you ever have need to rearrange posts to have them show up in correct order when they are called throughout your site (without having to modify all of the dates) – this is the best option.
One of my favorite plugins. When you move folders, categories, directories or even domains, a plugin like this is a must have. Redirection not only monitors 404 errors, etc but it allows you to create 301, 302 & 307 redirects for your site. Occasionally it gets buggy and you have to uninstall & reinstall – but nothing detrimental. I’ve maybe had to do that 3 or 4 times in the year and a half I’ve been using it. But considering there is nothing else out there like it – I’m ok with a little frustration now and again.
I found this one by accident, and boy I’m glad I did. If you’ve ever had some issues on your site and just wanted to work on it without your viewing public knowing what is going on behind the scenes while you furiously get it back to working order, this is the perfect plugin. It’s simple and lightweight – it lets your visitors (non members) know your site is down for some maintenance time. You can customize nearly everything about how it looks on the front end to the visitor, meanwhile you are free to work on your site behind the curtain.
It also is a great way to create a little buzz about a new upcoming change (or completely new site). I’ve used it a few times in that regard. Just set a day for the site to ‘go live’ and allow the visitors to see the countdown. They can also sign up for an email newsletter, check your Twitter feed and see any news you want to display on the splash page. It’s great!