As I’m migrating my business website to WordPress, I thought I would spend a moment to list plugins that I regularly use:
Advanced Text Widget
Supports PHP in a widget. There are several similar plugins which I also use from time-to-time, including Linkable Title Html and Php Widget. When I choose a plugin for the first time, I rely heavily on user ratings and then allow the test of time to verify my choice.
Who doesn’t use this anti-spam plugin that is included with the WordPress distribution. It is free for individual users.
All in One SEO Pack
The Atathualpa theme includes SEO options and, frankly, I waver on whether to use these. In the end, I ususally include All in One SEO Pack, as it has reliably improved Search Engine performance.
When I build a mini-site, I use the great Contact Form 7 along with Really Simple Captcha to intrroduce customizable forms to a site. However there is one great weakness to this combination: the submitted forms are sent by email exclusively. There is no database integration. When you need to step up to a more reliable forms delivery mechanism, then cforms II is the way to go. It is at least 10X more difficult and at least 100X more useful. The primary advantage is its use of the database to store submitted forms but there are other major differentiators, including its extensive use of CSS for styling and its support of many different form types.
Dean’s FCKEditor For WordPress
WSYIWIG editors are another tricky selection. WordPress makes some simple editing decisions very difficult. Somehow I got stuck on Dean’s FCKEditor For WordPress when I started building blogs years ago and here I remain. The alternative is TinyMCE Advanced with a number of modifying plugins, including TinyMCE Excerpt, TinyMCE Options Override, TinyMCE Tabfocus Patch, and especially TinyMCE Valid Elements. In fact, inspired by this post, I’ve switched from Dean’s FCK Editor For WordPress to the enhanced TinyMCE to evaluate… If you use TinyMCE Advanced with TinyMCE Valid Elements, remember to go into the tools menu and add “style” to the valid elements list. Otherwise you can’t embed your own CSS style rules into a post or page.
Allow analytics code into your footer with no muss – no fuss.
I’m listing alphabetically but this plugin works hand-in-hand with NextGEN Gallery. It adds a Colorbox effect to image display and provides slideshow capability. Choosing this plugin was the most complicated decision I’ve ever made regarding WordPress plugins. There are very many excellent options – too many to list. I choose jQuery Colorbox for two key reasons: 1) I like the way it looks; and 2) it installs simply and works out of the box.
This little beauty adds the ability to integrate several excellent Flash viewers to galleries maintained with NextGEN Gallery. The viewers must be installed separately via FTP upload.
OK. Another difficult category – the image gallery. NextGEN Gallery is fantastic and is extendable. What more could you want? The documentation is almost non-existent, so I’ve gotten very good at googling “wordpress nextgen shortcode“.
By default, a “widget” (or little chunk of website place in a sidebar, header, or footer) appears on every page. This little gem allows you to define specific types of pages to display certain widgets.
WP Super Cache
to be described
In addition to the plugins above which are in use at this site, I also use and love:
- Add To Any
- Admin Dropdown Menu
- Breadcrumb Navigation XT
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Smart YouTube