What works for me: WordPress Plugins

by Bill Ferris on February 23, 2008 · 4 comments

in Blog Software

Table of contents for What works for me

  1. What works for me – Part 1: the basic tools
  2. What works for me: WordPress Plugins

My favorite thing about WordPress is the vast array of add-on functionality that is available. If you were wishing that WordPress had a feature or function, chances are someone has already developed it. The following are the plug-ins that I lean on heavily on my various sites:

Essentials

  • Akismet: I find this to be probably the single most important plugin I’ive ever installed. On my Tigers site alone it has saved me from having to moderate over 300,000 comments
  • WordPress Database Backup: Another essential tool. You can set it to backup your database at regular intervals and have the backups emailed to you, or stored on the server. With this plugin there is no excuse for losing more than a week’s worth of posts should something happen.
  • Google XML Sitemaps: Want Google to know about all of your pages? Want Google to know how often you are updating those pages? Just install this plugin and it will generate a sitemap that is recognizable by Google and will even ping Google to let them know when you’ve made an update.
  • WP-ContactForm: Readers have to be able to get in touch with you right? There are several Contact Form plugins available. Just make sure you use one of them.

Accessibility

  • WordPress Mobile Edition: Have you looked at your site on a mobile device? Did you let the whole thing load or did you get discouraged? This plug-in adapts your existing site and puts it into a mobile browser friendly theme. It’s so easy I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it.
  • Full Text Feed: If you’re not a full feed kinda blogger this probably doesn’t apply. In later editions of WordPress the feed truncates if you use the more tag. This will prevent that from happening delivering the full post in the feed.
  • Chunk Urls: Don’t you hate it when someone leaves a link as a comment, but it is several hundred characters long and breaks your theme? This plug-in will cut those links down to size keeping your site pretty.
  • Share This Deportes: Make it easy for others to evangelize those great posts. Share This was originally developed by Alex King and provided icons for many popular bookmarking/social sites as well as the ability to email posts. The deportes version is tailored to sports blogs with links to sites like BallHype and Yardbarker.
  • Smart Archives: Many blogs are shying away from displaying date based archives. However I think that for sports blogs they are still worthwhile because many readers may want to search for information by season. But if you’ve been blogging for a while this can get unwieldy. This plugin neatly arranges those archives into a more manageable format. Here it is in action.

Stickiness

  • Get Recent Comments: Make it easy for your regular readers to see when new comments have been left, so they know where to leave comments of their own.
  • Articles: I use this plugin to create a “Best of” page. Just mark those popular articles with a custom tag, and they’ll display on a page of your choosing.
  • Related Posts: Keep people on your site longer by pointing them to other articles they may care about.

This wasn’t an exhaustive list of all the plugins that I use, just the ones I consider most important. One that wasn’t mentioned in the list was In Series which can link a series of posts together. It’s what is driving this series in fact. Are there plugins that you use or recommend?