Well wordpress plugin junkies rejoice, another year is upon us!
We don’t recommend using hundreds of plugins to do useless things with your wordpress installation, as this inevitably leads to wordpress bloat, too many scripts loaded, external stylesheets, much much more code for the PHP engine to sift through before anything is output to the browser.
We recommend a small handful of actively maintained, well written and documented extensively used plugins to add a power punch to your wordpress site.
1. Headspace 2
What is a high quality wordpress installation without a slick, and powerful SEO management plugin.
This Plugin has it all:
Configure Meta Data Individually for:
- Home page
- Author pages
- Search pages
- 404 page
You can define:
- Tags/keywords, with suggested keywords
- Page titles
- Custom ‘more text’
- Site name and site description
- Custom themes – change your theme on each page!
- Custom plugins – load a plugin only on specific pages
- Noindex and nofollow meta tags
- Follow/follow on archive, category, page, tag, and comment links
It also allows you to add:
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster
- Google section targeting
- Mint statistic
- CrazyEgg heat map
- Feedburner Stats Pro
- Yahoo! Site Explorer
- Microsoft Live Verification
- Piwik tracking
- AWStats tracking
As well as this more than impressive list of features, it just looks good. You can drag and drop fields to appear on the write post/page page, You can even import data from many of the other popular SEO plugins!
2. Google XML Sitemap
This powerful wordpress plugin will generate a google compliant XML sitemap and give you the option to alert google, yahoo, and bing whenever you update your content an absolute MUST have for SEO.
This plugin is the holy grail of social media bookmarking plugins. with 45 built-in social services, 7 styles of button ranging from Large or small Buttons, Counters, Classic hover popup, you name it, this plugin can do it!
You can add or remove supported services, even tracking and analytics if you register on the sharethis website.
4.¬†Google Analytics For WordPress
Juicy analytics. If you need to know what your visitors are doing on your site, where they come from, where they go and what they did, Google analytics is simply unbeatable.
Just signup for an analytics account, grab your ID number and you are good to go.
5. w3 Total Cache
Why should your users wait while your server digs through the database and generates the HTML page to serve out?
This plugin, apart from having TONNES of options, will essentially generate a static HTML page to serve your website visitors. As well as having the options to enable GZIP compression of your content this will make a sluggish blog run fast and smooth.
The options page can be a nightmare to navigate if you don’t really know what you are looking at, but once it is correctly configured, it will significantly reduce page load times, server load and that reduces your bounce rate from digg!
6. WP-DB Manager
This great little wordpress plugin is great for backing up your website. It has many functions such as managing, optimising, repairing database tables without having to access PHPmyadmin as well as having the ability to email out a copy of the entire Wp database at a set interval.
Simple, easy to manage and a great array of options, Page navigation is great for SEO, Usability and being able to find that old post that you wanted to edit.
8. Gravity Forms
As much as I wanted to keep this list to the free plugins, if you are going to be dealing with complex data, large multi part forms, etc etc, you are going to need this plugin, it is well worth the investment over the free ones that are full of bugs, poor code and poor management options.
Again, not a freebie, but the poor code or ultra basic feature sets of the free e-commerce plugins are a joke. If you value your Hair, Sanity, Time and having a¬†properly¬†working website at the end of it, you just cant pass up this beautifully well written e-commerce plugin.
10. Capability Manager
One of the major shortcomings in a default wordpress install is a solid capability manager, this plugin more than makes up for that.
Easy to use, add roles or capabilities, change / modify / delete existing roles, add capabilities, this plugin makes user role / capability management an absolute breeze.
These plugins will supercharge your wordpress installation into a powerful, SEO¬†optimised¬†, Social networking, CMS system. Far and away from the basic wordpress installation.
Remember never use more plugins than you have to and always keep them updated along with your wordpress file.