A Vanilla WordPress installation is perfect for your blog or website and with the right plugins you can extend it to do ‘so much more‘ One of the great features of using WordPress is the abundance of free plugins available to install with just a few clicks of the mouse. If you need it, chances are that someone has made a module for it.
Here are 12 essential WordPress plugins that I can’t live without, well … I can but these plugins just make it make it easier. I use other plugins as well but I thought I would keep it down to my ‘Top 12’.
If you have a fav not listed here, let me know in the comments.
1. Headworks 2
Always top on my list, Headworks 2 does it all and more. If you really, truly want to SEO each and every page on your website you need to use this plugin. Its a Meta-data manager on steroids, allowing complete control over all SEO needs such as keywords/tags, titles, description, stylesheets, and many many other goodies.
A great tool for handling all your redirects and 301’s and is fantastic if you are moving or updating your website, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have.
3. Link Within
SEO Smart Links can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog.
Further SEO Smart links allows you to set up your own keywords and set of matching URLs.
Finally SEO Smart links allows you to set nofollow attribute and open links in new window.
Everything happens completely transparent, and you can edit the options from the administration settings panel.
4. Contact Form 7
This plugin allows your WordPress site to use the content distribution network side of Google’s AJAX Library API, rather than serving these files from your WordPress install directly. This will also reduce the load on your server.
5. Really Simple Captcha
A CAPTCHA module intended to be called up from other plugin. It was originally created for Contact Form 7 plugin, and is now an independent, stand-alone plugin.
Manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimise database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimising of database.
7. Widget Context
Make conditions for the viewing of your widgets. Let a widget appear on in a category or a set of pages or even only on one page. This really lets you shape and style your columns down to each page.
8. Disqus Comment System
The Disqus comment system replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus.
Analytics360 plugin allows you to pull Google Analytics and MailChimp data directly into your dashboard, so you can access robust analytics tools without leaving WordPress. Even without the Mailchimp function this is a great visual tool to get a look at your visitors habits.
10. RSS Footer
This very simple plugin let’s you add an extra line of content to articles in your feed, defaulting to “Post from: ” and then a link back to your blog, with your blog’s name as it’s anchor text, which you can edit, Read about it on Yoast’s posts
11. Use Google Libraries
This plugin allows your WordPress site to use the content distribution
network side of Google’s AJAX Library API, rather than serving these files from your WordPress install directly.
12. WP Google Fonts
Google’s Font Directory is one of the most valuable contributions to web typography in a really long time. By hosting an assortment of free open source fonts, they have made it practical for anyone to add rich typography to their website with very little hassle.
There are so many great plugins out there to extend WordPress that I will never get to try them all.
Got a fav? Let me know