I’m going completely backwards with this one. One of the posts on my “to write” list is an article on some of the advantages that using WordPress has over traditional websites and as part of that I was going to talk about some of the plugins we use. Well today Julia Crane is converting her website to WordPress and so the list of handy plugins we use jumped to the front of the list.
The fact that WordPress includes this as part of the standard installation should tell you something. Akismet checks every comment that get’s posted on your site and and determines if it’s spam. If it thinks it is it moves it to a special spam queue with the others where you can delete them with two clicks. When we first started this site I thought Akismet was awesome as it would save us from identifying and deleting the spams by hand one at a time. As our site has grown in traffic it has gone from great to a necessity. We got 36 spam comments in March and Akismet was handy. So far in September we have 3,839. If it wasn’t for Akismet I would literally spend all day cleaning spam. To say this is worth the time to get an api and configure it would be a colossal understatement.
All in one SEO pack
Ads a small window window when you write new posts that let’s you set the title of the page that your post will show on as well as the meta description and meta keywords on your post. If you’re an SEO addict like I am you want this.
AmberPanther Favicon for WordPress
Let’s you ad your own cute little custom icon next to your page name that shows on browser tabs or browser bookmarks.
Exclude Pages from Navigation
I just added this one last week. It’s bad mojo with Google if it goes to find a page that used to exist but is no longer there. Google frowns upon dead links. I had a page that no longer fit with the rest of the site so I didn’t want it showing at the top of each page but I didn’t want to delete it all together. I downloaded this plugin, checked that page to be excluded and it now longer shows in the navigation menu at the top of each page, but it still exists so no Google penalization.
Fast Secure Contact Form
I use this for our “Contact Us” page. It was quick, easy and works great.
Automatically ads the code for Google analytics to the top of every page or post you create. I set this up one time and haven’t thought about it since. This is a day one “must install”.
Google XML Sitemaps
Automatically creates a new XML sitemap every time you ad new content and submits it to the major search engines. Another day one “must install”.
Online Backup for WordPress
Let’s you download a backup file with all of your site’s content and formatting. Do it at least once a month or so. Hopefully the day never comes when you need it, but if it ever does and you don’t have it….
Some posts I write belong in their categories but I would rather not have them hog a spot on the front page. This ads a little checkbox to the bottom of the post creation form called “skip frontpage” that does exactly that when I check it. VERY useful for landing pages.
Ultimate Category Excluder
Another one I recently installed to fill a specific need. With WordPress everything you do goes out on your sites RSS feed, as well it should. Lizzy has it setup so that every new RSS post get’s posted on Goodreads, Facebook etc. Most of the time that is really cool. The problem is, if I’m getting ready to make a landing page I don’t necessarily want that going out to all of those sites. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t want to spam Facebook with “Check out Lizzy’s new books!!”. This plugin let’s me designate a category to be excluded from the site’s RSS feed, and therefore won’t be posted on those other sites. Another handy plugin for landing page fans.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins and more are added every day so if you have a specific need, you can probably download an answer. As always, feel free to ask any question and please post if you know of any handy ones you loved that I’ve missed!