Most WordPress consultants’ use the same Plugins on multiple Sites. Users of WordPress are spoilt for choice when it comes to functionality and there are often many Plugins that provide similar functionality. For example the Shopp and WP e-Commerce Plugins offer similar shopping cart capabilities; usually however WordPress Website designers will implement one over the other far more often merely because they become more familiar with a single Plugin.
Here then are the ten WordPress Plugins that I implement on almost every Website I setup:
AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget
This Plugin is known as the AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget, the AddThis featuring Sharing Buttons / Facebook Like / Tweet Button and merely the AddThis Plugin. The Plugin developers may not be good at naming this Plugin but they have sure created an excellent and easy to manage means of adding sharing and bookmarking icons/buttons onto Pages or Posts. This Plugin is even clever enough to identify the most used sharing/bookmarking services used by visitors to your Site and showing the most relevant buttons to each visitor (therefore increasing the chance of the visitor sharing/bookmarking). This Plugin also comes with the ability to show how many Tweets and Facebook ‘likes’ have been received for the Page or Post.
Get this Plugin from wordpress.org.
Akismet is a service from the same people that develop and maintain wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Akismet identifies and marks as spam those comments on your Blog that are, or seem like, spam. Once the Plugin is setup, Akismet runs in the background and it saves me from hundreds of spam comments every day to my main Website.
Read more about how Akismet can help save you a massive amount of time!
All in One SEO Pack
WordPress is naturally Search Engine ‘Optimized’. The All in One SEO Plugin helps to further enable several common SEO related tasks; some of these tasks may be automated such as the optimizing of the Post and Page Title Formats and some capabilities (such as adding a description for each Post) are made available for manual input by the Post author. This is one of the most widely used Plugins for good reason!
Get the All in One SEO Pack Plugin.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is unbelievable! Creating a single or multiple contact forms on a WordPress Site is easy with Contact Form 7. Whilst being simple to use, this Plugin is extremely flexible and adaptable allowing for HTML within form and easy CSS styling of the forms. This is usually the Plugin I activate first on any Website I design.
Read more about Contact Form 7.
Google Analytics for WordPress
Read more about Google Analytics for WordPress.
Google XML Sitemaps
The name of this Plugin is a bit of a misnomer; the Plugin was released when Google was one of the only Search Engines to take notice of sitemaps. Nowadays of course, all significant Search Engines, are able to read the sitemap.xml file on your Site.
It is said that having a sitemap should be part of any SEO strategy. With this Plugin, your sitemap.xml is created automatically whenever your content changes.
Read more about the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin.
Mailchimp List Subscribe Form
This Plugin meets quite a specific Website functionality need; the ability to add users to a Mailchimp list from a WordPress Website. I only therefore install this Plugin on those Sites that have this enewsletter need. The script for embedding a Mailchimp subscribe form in a WordPress Site may be attained from your Mailchimp account but this Plugin makes implementing the signup form a little easier.
Read more about the Mailchimp List Subscribe Form plugin.
This is a must have if you want lots of control over how Tables are displayed in your Pages or Posts. The visual/WYSIWYG editor in WordPress lacks in Table capabilities and this Plugin makes up for these shortcomings (and more). Tables created with WP-Table Reloaded are also easily styled using CSS and includes clever functionality such as the ability for viewers of the published tables to sort columns.
Read more about WP-Table Reloaded.
I LOVE jQuery and this awesome jQuery slideshow Plugin is both simple to use and very reliable. Although only a single slideshow may be added to any one Site using this Plugin it is the slideshow Plugin that I have never experienced a problem with. Just remember to make all images the same size (and the same size as defined in the WP Cycle settings) for the best results.
Read more about WP Cycle.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
There are many Plugins that show visitors to your Page or Post that similar content exists elsewhere on your Site. This assists in keeping visitors on your Site longer and getting more ‘page views’. YARPP is easily configured to meet your needs (e.g. put more weight on Pages or Posts where the tags match) and works very well in showing visitors related Pages or Posts.
Visit the YARPP Home Page.
The above then are the ten Plugins that are my favourites. There are alternatives for all of the above so experiment with various Plugins for each functionality until you find one that most accurately meets your needs.