Julie’s Super Awesome Recommended WordPress Plugins
My team and I set up a lot of WordPress sites, and we keep a running list of the best-in-class plugins for important functionality. Some we use on almost every installation, such as plugins for search engine optimization (SEO), forms handling, spam prevention and navigation aids. Others fill important custom needs, such as slideshows, social media, or ecommerce..
Keep in mind that using a ton of plugins can slow down your site, so make sure you really need the ones you choose to use.
- All in One SEO Pack Note: this plugin isn’t necessary if you’re using the Thesis theme.
- WP-Minify consolidates css/js files for faster page loading.
- W3 Total Cache caches browser, page, object, and database for faster page loading. Also has CDN support.
- Simple 301 Redirects is an easy way to create friendly urls without having to mess with .htaccess.
- Simple Google Sitemap creates a new sitemap every time you post, and sends it to Google, Bing, and ask.com
- Simple Sidebar Navigation is very flexible. Supports multiple level menus, custom css, and has great SEO support. I use it on Queen of Points.
- Widget Logic creates a field in every widget that allows you to use conditional tags to determine on which page(s) each widget appears.
WordPress Admin Pages
These plugins alter the out-of-the-box functionality of your WordPress dashboard and/or other admin pages. They’re all about making the interface work better for you.
- Post Types Order creates drag & drop capability for multiple custom post types. I use it with Meteor Slides to easily re-order the slides.
- TinyMCE Advanced adds a bunch of formatting functionality to the editor. I use it mostly to be able to add <br> and <p> tags in the HTML editor. Without this plugin, WordPress automatically strips them out.
- WP-DB Manager lets you optimize and back up your database. You can set it to send scheduled updates to a mail account.
- Editorial Calendar creates a “Calendar link” in the “New Posts” area. You can schedule posts or even publish them right from the calendar.
- I haven’t used Edit Flow yet, but it looks perfect for a group blog. Add custom statuses like “waiting for feedback”, email notifications, budgeting, and metadata. Also appears to include an editorial calendar of it’s own. I’ll play with it and report back.
- CMS Tree Page View is great for CMS sites with lots of pages — gives you a “tree view” of all pages so you don’t have to scroll through screen after screen of pages.
- White Label CMS lets you customize admin pages with your (or your client’s) branding.
Comments & Social Media
- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded lets readers subscribe to the comments thread of a single post.
- Jetpack got off to a shaky start, but it’s working smoothly for me now. Best feature: adds sharing links, including Google+, to each post. It also contains a “subscribe to comments” element and a sidebar widget element, but I haven’t tried either one yet. Requires a wordpress.com account, oddly enough.
- PollDaddy Polls & Ratings — This is what I use for the custom (crown) ratings on Queen of Points. Haven’t tried the polls.
- I love Grunion Contact Forms. Install it, and it puts a little form icon right above the editor so you can add a form anywhere. It’s fully editable, and supports checkboxes, radio buttons, and dropdown menus.
- Easy Paypal Custom Fields is, like it says, easy and customizable. Supports purchase or donation.
Have I missed any awesome plugins? Or are you looking for something not covered here?