Now after using WordPress for the best part of a year, building both client websites and my own Celtic Web Design site in WordPress, I now feel that I am making real progress in getting to know the CMS, its strengths, weaknesses, ease of use and dare I say it, benefits over Joomla!
It is now that I wish to publish my top 10 most used plugins that I either always install on WordPress sites, or use on an individual site by site basis.
Below I have listed my top 10 WordPress plugins with descriptions of why I use the plugin and how it helps the sites I develop.
All web designers should know, get your site on Google to help gaining visitors and increasing your visibility, but why not help Google with this? It is now standard practice to provide Google with an XML site map, through your Google Webmaster tools account, this gives Google access to all of your website pages in a clean and simple XML document, now Google can quickly visit all pages on your site and schedule when to index them.
Instead of using third party websites to generate the XML document, where you then need to upload the document and inform Google, you can instead install Google XML Sitemaps plugin to create the XML document and automate its update as and when you create new blog posts or pages. Simple and sweet!
Whether you buy a WordPress theme or download a free theme, sometimes there just aren’t enough widget areas for all of your content, in cases like this you can either access the WordPress PHP and HTML and amend the code inserting your own widget areas, or you can install Widget on Pages and immediately start inserting widget content within the article posts.
Great for making standard widgets to appear within content, perhaps ads or recent posts list, these can all be inserted within the post content area itself further customising and extending your WordPress website.
Auto-publish your post to Facebook from within WordPress immediately as you publish your post to your own website with SharePress. There is a small fee for the plugin, but it does allow you to install on multiple sites and is definitely helpful in promoting your posts without going to Facebook itself.
For any website, search engine optimisation is a key necessity to help gain visitors and grow a site. WordPress does provide simple means to optimise the site in view to urls and window titles but if you want to take things further then you either need to know how to hack the WordPress core or install an SEO plugin, here is where Yoast SEO comes in.
Yoast SEO provides a vast array of features to enhance the optimisation of a website including Webmaster integration, site wide meta tag settings, XML site maps and the ability to do SEO optimisation on a per-post/page basis with the addition of enhanced SEO settings provided on post and page administration pages.
The Disqus system is becoming ubiquitous over the internet and right it should! This plugin integrates the Disqus commenting system into your WordPress site and hence allows easy commenting on your posts through the use of social media logins and not separate WordPress site logins.
A great and simple plugin allowing the creation of WordPress contact forms. You can send emails both to the visitor and the site admin with tailored content in each. Create multiple forms for your site and then include them in posts/pages/widgets through short codes. The plugin does not store the submitted form content, so make sure the emails are working.
Wow this is a great plugin, you never know when developing a site if you have created old links or broken links. You can search a site testing all links, but how long will that take?
Not so long now as Broken Link Checker can automatically check the site for you and list any pages that contain broken links, allowing you to easily click to the page and correct the links.
A very useful plugin and one of my favourites!
One of the best plugins I have found is XCloner, this provides the perfect means to backup site files and database information in to a single packaged file. Download the packaged file for storage locally and upload again later if a website restore is required. You can even develop the WordPress site locally, then use XCloner to package the site, then upload via FTP to the remote server and restore to place the site live on the internet.
One of the first things I do with installing either a Joomla site or WordPress site, is always install a full and professional text editor. The basic editor with WordPress performs well but it just doesn’t provide all the same facilities that Microsoft Word or other editors provide, editors that we as web designers (and our clients) have become accustomed to. Ultimate TinyMCS solves this by providing a full editor system within the WordPress Post or Page admin, allowing you to easily add Bold or Header tags, Rules or Links.
Ever spent time creating a post, updating the tags, categories, permalinks and then wanted a second or third post with similar settings? Don’t want to waste time adding all the same settings again? Duplicate Post allows you the ability to quickly duplicate any post with all the same settings, even the same post article, all you then need to do is amend the duplicate post with a new article and then publish and your duplicate post is live. Saves time and the hassle of always creating new posts.
As many people will agree, WordPress is a great content management system, but with so many people using it, unfortuatelt this has attracted the hackers who have found many insecurities within the basic WordPress installation which allows them to access and take over your WordPress website. To help with this, the plugin Better WP Security comes to the help with plenty of settings allowing you to close security loopholes and better secure your site.
From changing your WordPress database prefix to locking your htaccess file, monitoring for failed login attempts and watching for amended files, you can even change the name of your wp-content directory to help stop people randomly scanning your site for this folder.
It is such a powerful plugin that should definitely help protect your site from harm.
Help your visitors, always good to speed things up, don’t keep your viewers waiting to see the next page, wait to long and bang, they are off to visit your competitors website! Caching a website either through Database cache or browser cache can certainly help speed up your site for your visitors. Again plenty of settings to fine tune how your site is cached.
11!, yes I know, but I just couldn’t remove a single one as they are all very important to me.
Any other plugins that might be of use, please let me know.