I’m revisiting my list of WordPress plugins to update and correct. For starters, I always stick with TinyMCE because there are a few key plugins that add icons to the visual editor. To be without TinyMCE means to be without those icons. While this is acceptible for me, it adds a burden to those clients who are willing to take on content editing. Also, I have flip-flop-flip-flop-flipped on the best way to get PHP into pages and widgets. Will I stick with my current recommendation? (Time will tell.)
Advanced Text Widget
This tried and true plugin allows insertion of PHP into widgets but it also addes a key feature – to display a widget on specific pages and posts. I also add in Widget Logic (see below) to support more complex logic.
Keeps on helping with the spam problem. Can’t we just make spam a capital offense. Spam has been and continues to ruin the Internet, so why do we allow a few to hurt the many? Anyway, Akismet helps mitigate the problem of spam comments.
Better Delete Revisions
I always add this, even when revisions aren’t going to be a problem. Even when I limit the number of revisions. Even when the site doesn’t have revisions. This great plugin adds an easy way to clean flotsam out of the database. What’s wrong with that?
I used to use a simpler contact plugin for smaller sites but now I just add cformsII. It allows multple styled forms and archives submissions in the database. No more submissions lost in a sea of spam. You can always check the database to ensure you’ve seen all your requests. Don’t forget to put your custom styling in to a separate direction (cforms-custom) in the plugins directory to allow care-free upgrading.
This is a new one for me but it seems to do the trick to ensure that the database backups are current.
Here is another plugin that I install regardless of whether its needed. You never know when you will want to create a duplicate of a post to shorten the writing & editing of a new post.
Should I change to a new Google Analytics integrator? This one just keeps on keeping on for me.
Google XML Sitemaps
This is the last plugin I configure just before launching a new site.
Hackadelic Sliding Notes
I tried everything under the sun to create sliders and accordians. In the end, Sliding Notes gives me what I need to put a lot of content into a small space. I can’t wait until version 2 ships with URL-expandable tabs.
This colorbox is reasonable. Reasonaby lean. Reasonably configurable. Reasonably lightweight.
On my links pages, there are Sliding Notes, each containing a single category of links. Very elegant.
I set my brand on the login page, because that’s the kinda guy I am!
This is the one I use to keep prying eyes out of work-in-progress.
My Link Order, My Page Order, My Category Order
I do not use the Media Library. Not for one single image. Everything goes into various NextGen Gallery galleries. This is the first plugin I install when I undertake a new site.
I tried everything. Then I built my own. Then I tried Post Tabs. It is NOT GREAT but it is good enough to easily add tabs at the top of a page. I have to edit the CSS and add extra rules to get the tabs to look reasonable but this gets you far downstream with no effort.
Shortcode Exec PHP
No more PHP inserted into posts and then fighting with TinyMCE to leave it alone. Now I create Shortcodes that render PHP output and insert them into the code. Very simple. Very elegant. My PHP is never too complicated. If it were, then this solution might not work well but so far, so good.
If you combine Sliding Notes with Post Tabs and Thickbox Content, you can insert the contents of Wikipedia onto the head of a pin. This fabulous plugin allows you to place content into an overlay. You know, Web 2.0-ish. But the cool part is that you can develop the content in the visual editor, so even your clients can do it.
TinyMCE Valid Elements
This is really the first plugin I install. Then I add <div>, <span>, <div style=”">, <span style=”"> and stop worrying about getting my in-line styles stripped. I add a few other TinyMCE adjustors but I do NOT add “TinyMCE Advanced” because it strips the icon for Thickbox Content from the visual editor.
w3 Total Cache
I work hard to set up W3 Total Cache at the end of a project. Specifically, I work on page caching, minifying, and using the browser cache. Hey! I’m not sure if YSlow is the greatest thing since sliced bread but why not try to get an “A”. Can’t hurt, can it? Well it can if you try to minify jQuery, so I always move JS one-by-one, checking carefully the site still works.
I used to use other plugins to assign specific widgets to specific pages but they were big and clunky. This one is lean and mean. It is totally out of the way unless you try to use it. And its not terribly easy to use but once the logic is correct, the plugin works flawlessly.
Optional Widgets – depending on site requirements
Configurable Tag Cloud
Datafeedr Random Ads V2
Mailpress - templated newsletters. oy vey they’re complex.
smush.it - optimize graphics in the (gasp!) media library
Spectacu.la Page Widget – let your clients create pages in the visual editor and display them in a widget.
Taxonomy List Shortcode – for sites with custom taxonomies
WP-Table Reloaded – style tables and add data in the backend
Menus - I used to use several different menu plugins but now I don’t. I use native WordPress menus. I like ‘em. I can style them with just a few lines of CSS and, thank goodness, you have to add pages manually. No more adding to the exceptions list for each new page. Also, you can add external links, so not more “Page Links To” nonsense!