Now that I’ve begun to get into the wordpress development side of web design, I’ve done quite a bit of research into available WordPress plugins one can use to upgrade their site. These do things such as improve navigation, boost SEO, and garner interaction from your readers. Typically easily installed within only a few clicks, you can majorly boost the functionality of your site with minimal effort. Here is a list I’ve assembled of some of the best ones I’ve seen so far.
1. W3 Total Cache
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/w3-total-cache/
One thing that can be problematic with WordPress isits performance. Large sites get slowed down, or will end up taking along time to load. Loading times are very important — if a user has to wait too long for your site to load, you’ve lost them and they’ll just go to another site. This costs you traffic and readership.
A great remedy for this slow performance is solved by W3 Total Cache.It creates static cached pages for all of your published content. This is quite a common practice for speeding up theperformanceof your site, and it’s a great plugin that will allow you to set up and deploy a cache system with relative ease.
2. All-in-One Webmaster
This wordpress plugin gives you an easy way to submit a sitemap (a file that explains what is on your site).
It will then submit this file to the mjor search engines such as Google. This helps tell these engines how to find things on your site, display them in their search results, and drive traffic to your site.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/
If you have comments enabled, you should have this installed. Period.
Comment spam is a common problem. Ever see those garbly messages that don’t even make sense ? Those are automatic messages posted to try to advertise or build links for another website.
Akismet is probably the most popular plugin to protect your blog from trackback comment spam. Youll need to Sign up for a free Akismet API key, and configure the plugin, but it will stop the spam on your blog.
4. Feedblitz Feedsmart
Download : feedblitz.com
Adding an RSS feed to your site is a good way to get your content syndicated and to give readers another way to suscribe to your content.
Native WordPress RSS are lacking in a lot of way. For instamce, the ability to provide email subscriptions would be a great asset. Feedburner and Feedblitz are two 3rd party services that will give you many more options.
I have feedburner installed right now (I’m going to look into getting Feedblitz soon), but it’s not displaying correctly. (If you take a peek at my rss feed right now on the right top corner it say that my last post was 41 years ago! That long precedes even the invention of the internet. )
5. Yoast SEO
Download : yoast.com/wordpress/seo/
WordPress is a very powerful CMS, but it isnt really fully optimized for search engines. The basic install leaves a lot to be desired in terms of how Search Engines process your content, and the issues that arise.
All-in-one SEO used to be #1, but in 2011 it has been largely surpassed byYoast SEO. This plugin makes it really easy to optimize tags, remove content that are not being used, clean up your site, and even edit your links.
Yoast SEO is full of features and and easy to use. It also gives you pointers on which settings to use to best optimize your site.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/digg-digg/
There are many options for social sharing that are out there right now, but this is by far the best.
DiggDigg is an all-in-one plugin that manages all your social shring buttons — ReTweet, Facebook Share, RSS and Google+ and many, many more. This will allow your visitors to share your content easily throug social media. There are a lot of other plugins out there, but this is clearly the best through it’s intensive options and easy functionality.
7. PollDaddy Polls
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/polldaddy/
If you want to collect feedback and engage with your followers, polls provide an easy way to achieve that goal.
PollDaddy polls provides you with options to customize your polls in minutes and embed it into a sidebar, widget or post. Polldaddy will also provide a shortened link you can use to tweet or link to your poll.
8. WordPress Editorial Calendar
This is a great organizational tool to plan your posts and provide you with a clean editorial calendar of your sontent. Rearrange articles for different different dates, edit them and and a lot more.
9. Gravity Forms
Download : sitesketch101.com/gravity_forms
This is the all-in-one form plugin for WordPress. There is no competition. Their forms create posts, allowd image uploads, can use conditional logic, and many, many other options.
10. The Events Calendar
This plugin allows you to schedule and organize events. Schedule recurring events, allow user submitted events and even provides a google maps link. It also provides a widget you can put on your home page to show upcoming events.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/fotobook
Fotobook will import all of your photo albums in your Facebook account(s) so you can use them in your wordpress installation.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordbook
This Facebook plugin will enable you to automatically post your blog publications to your wall on your Facebook profile. It will also pull in images from that post for display in your news feed.
13. JanRain RPX
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/rpx/
This WordPress plugin allows users on your site to sign in using various logins such as Facebook connect, Twitter, Google and Windows Live ID.
Users will sign into your site and comment through these methods and have the method’s icon beside their comment.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/
Responsive design is a huge thing these days. If someone visits your site on their iphone or android device, would it be easy or difficult for them to view your content?
WPtouch automatically makes your WordPress blog compatible and streamlined for iPhone, Blackberry, iPad, iPod touch, Android, and other mobile devices.
Download : wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack
This is an official WordPress.com plug-in that gives your WordPress blog a huge amount of additional features. The plug-in get visitor stats, execute social media sharing options,and it also provides a grammar and spell checker.
Download : pluginbuddy.com/purchase/backupbuddy/
Backup your stuff! What if you wanted to move to another host, your wordpress installation fails, or you make a huge mistake in coding?
BackupBuddy is a Backup, Restoration, & Migration plugin for wordpress. It claims to be the only wordpress plugin that backs up 100% of your WordPress site. That includes all your files, plugins, settings and seo data.You can set it to backup your site every day or week if you want.
17. NextGEN Gallery
A hugely popular wordpress photo gallery. It is compatible with a lot of other plugins and provides some nice effects and options for your displayed images.
18. Really Simple CAPTCHA
Really Simple CAPTCHA is the helps dismay spambots and you can use it with the Contact Form 7 plugin.
19. WordPress Download Monitor
Do you offer readers downloads of files, catalogues, pdfs or ebooks? This plugin manages downloads and will tell you how many have been downloaded and where those visitors come from.
20. Slideshow Gallery
This is an extremely easy slideshow gallery plugin that even beginners can use to add a slideshow on a wordpress site. It’s easily customizable and offers a lot of configuration options.
Thats it! Did I leave any critical ones out? Is there a really good one I haven’t included? Leave a comment and let me know.
About the author
This is a contribution of Anne Verge for CrazyLeaf Design Blog. Anne Verge in a designer based in Halifax, NS, specializing in Web Design & Internet Marketing, graphic design & Illustration. You can check out here portfolio here of follow her on Twitter (@AnneVerge).