However, everyone has a collection of WordPress plugins that they feel are essential. They’re the plugins that, when you set up a new blog, you install right away, before even tinkering with the theme.
On that note, here’s my list of WordPress Plugins, other than those that come with the installation, that I instantly install and activate on every new version of WordPress before pushing it live.
This plugin really needs no introduction, everyone knows it and it is almost certainly on nearly every WordPress user’s “must-install” list.
On average days, WP Super Cache makes your site load faster and causes it to put less load on your server, on days of high traffic, it can actually keep your site from going down.
WP Super Cache is one of the few plugins that can literally save your site and save you money by allowing you to use cheaper hosting. That makes it a plugin that no WordPress user should do without for any length of time. The only real drawback to it is that it does cause compatibility problems with some other plugins, especially those that add dynamic elements, though most of them have been worked out.
As every blogger knows, putting images in your post make them both more attractive and more likely to be read. The problem is that not ever blogger has the time, resources or knowledge to take high-quality images for their site. Fortunately though, there are many of artists and photographers willing to share their work under a Creative Commons License.
Photo Dropper makes it easy for bloggers to search for and embed CC-licensed images into their posts or pages. It works by adding a search box to the edit panel, which pulls up a list of appropriately-licensed images, and then lets you embed them into your post in a variety of sizes. Best of all, Photo Dropper adds the attribution line, making sure your use of the image is compliant with the terms of the license.
There is no easier way to get high-quality images for your WordPress blog.
If you use WP Super Cache on your site, then you’ve already done a great deal to ensure that your blog is speedy and your server is able to withstand the strain of a peak load. However, there is more that you can do.
These networks work by duplicating the files in datacenters all over the world and letting visitors pull from the one closest to them, thus speeding up the download and taking still more load off of your main server.
The only major difference between the two plugins is that Amazon S3 uses the Amazon network, which includes CloudFront, and CDN Tools uses Mosso. Both are extremely cheap, usually cost just pennies a day for smaller sites, and will go to great lengths to speed your site up.
The addition of Widgets to WordPress not only made it easier to create sidebars on a site, but made it easier to instantly change the order as well as add and remove items. You can easily tinker and experiment with your sidebar(s) until you find a layout that works for you.
However, widgets, by default, come with a pretty serious limitation, they are always off or always on. While that may not be a problem for your navigation or your tag cloud, you might only want some widgets to show up on single post or only on pages.
Widget Context makes it easy to put your widgets into perspective and only have them show up on the pages that you want them to appear. This allows you to have you Digg buttons show up only on your posts and your list pages only show up on your index. This makes it easier to de-clutter your navigation bar, something that should make Lorelle very happy.
Most bloggers have a kind of post that they are going to repeat at least somewhat regularly. Whether it is a special series on the site, an entire category of posts that follow a pattern or even just a series of posts with the same categories and/or tags.
However, WordPress does not make it easy to repeat the same posts or to work from within some kind of template. This can make it easy to forget or omit critical parts of the post, or, even more annoying, require a lot of copy/paste work. Post Templates fixes that by letting users save a template of a post and then create a new post based up on it.
The beauty of post templates is that it can be as simple or as powerful as you need. You can use it to create a template for a recurring kind of post, complete with blanks that you fill in, or to just make sure that the categories and tags that go with a post are filled in when you create a new post. You can fill in as much or as little of the template as you want.
With post templates, you’ll never forget to categorize, tag, write a footer, format your headers or even add the “MORE” tag again. It makes it easy to set up a post once and then fill it in a thousand times into the future, being sure every one of them has all the needed parts.
Obviously, there are many more must-install plugins for WordPress, especially for podcasters and other kinds of bloggers with different needs. So what are some of yours?
So leave a comment with your list of must-have plugins to compare and build upon.
With so many great plugins out there, there are bound to be a few that we can’t live without. So what are yours?