WordPress plugins really are one of the best features of WordPress. You can find just about any plugin to meet your needs. Each website has different needs and will require different plugins. What about the plugins that every site can or should use? Well take a look at this list and decide for yourself if you aren’t missing out.
I’ve heard it argued over and over again which cache plugin should be used to increase the speed of your WordPress site. Personally I think that using the W3 total cache is your best choice. W3 total cache not only offers a lot of different plugins in one but these are the guys that teach coding standards to developers. Since they basically set the bar for how a website should be coded I think it’s safe to say that their plugin is going to work the best for you.
This plugin allows you to cache all your pages so that load time is faster. If you need to empty your cache because you made some changes, there is an easy to access button at the top of your admin navigation menu. Some other features this plugin offers:
- Reduce the size of CSS files
- Reduce the size of JS files
- Reduce the size of image files
- Increase database performance
These are just a few of the features that W3 does. It really is the must have plugin for your WordPress site.
Mashable is to social media news and web tips as W3 is to code standards. One of the most recognizable features of Mashable posts is the share bar on the left side of their posts. Well the guys who made the Digg Digg plugin for WordPress allow you to use the exact same features. Social media is amazing with its potential for sharing your content. This plugin offers you an incredible amount of flexibility on how you share your content. All you have to do is install it, insert a little info and you’re off!
Another plugin we can thank Mashable for. Disqus is an amazing comment system that trumps the default WordPress comment system hands down. Disqus allows users to login with their Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment on your website. With the default WordPress comment system people have to log in to WordPress itself or leave a comment by filling out a few fields. It sounds crazy but people would rather click a button that says “Connect to Facebook” or “Connect to Twitter”.
Not all WordPress sites need to have a contact form. A lot of themes come with contact forms already prebuilt into them. What they don’t offer though is the flexibility of Contact Form 7. This WordPress plugin allows you to make forms that aren’t just contact forms. You can actually build a quote form or questionnaire form using this plugin. Now you do have to have a little bit of knowledge in coding to get everything to work properly but it is possible. It’s also very nice that you can take any form you create and put it easily into a post, page or widget with a small shortcode. Other contact form plugins don’t offer this as a feature.
Every website needs to be able to inter-link with itself. If you’re running a blog from your website than this is extremely vital. After you post thousands of posts you will start to lose traffic to those blog posts. Well written and meaningful posts will eventually get so lost in your giant blog that people will never see them. That is where SEO Auto Linker comes in. It allows you to set up “keywords” and it will automatically find those keywords and insert a link of your choosing into that word.
Now most people are thinking this sounds like it could come across as spam and cheap. I thought so too until I saw that this WordPress plugin allows you to set the amount of times in one post to link each keyword. This means you can set up numerous keywords, use them all in an article and link once to each keyword. As you’ve read this article you’ve come across at least one. Did you notice it? Did you feel spammed? If not, than the plugin did its job.
Bonus WordPress Plugins
Okay so the top five WordPress plugins were hard to pick from and I decided to use ones that are all free to use (as of 2012). What about the paid for plugins? Well they deserve a look at too. Here are a few paid plugins that I recommend investing in if you have the chance.
I can’t tell you how many client websites I’ve logged into and there’s a giant number next to the comments section of the dashboard. Why? Blogs get spammed by automated accounts. It gets so bad it’s hard to actually see the legitimate comments. Pay for the plugin, use it on all your WordPress sites and get rid of all that spam.
This little bad boy will really help you when making posts on your blog. This WordPress plugin will tell you how to draw up your posts so that they are SEO friendly. Instead of hiring someone to go through and check your posts for SEO richness, this plugin does it for you. It gives you a score between 0% and 100%. Before you publish your post this plugin tells you what you should add or remove to make it as SEO friendly as possible.
Do you use any of these plugins? Do you have any questions about these plugins? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you!