Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the WordPress sites that I manage (roughly 100 of them, between my projects and clients) and refining the choice of plug-ins on each of them. I’m using InfiniteWP to keep them all updated, but I’ve been manually working through them to add/remove various pluings. Two plug-ins in particular are replacing 8-10 plugins on most of my sites.
[ Get the WordPress SEO plugin here] Joost de Valk (also known as “Yoast”) is a highly respected WordPress developer, and this package includes quite a few great tools to help with the search engine optimization of your site. I had previously used a handful of plug-ins (mostly from Joost) to accomplish my goals, but this package is now more functional than those individual pieces.
- Canonical URL’s — To make sure Google knows the true URL of each page.
- Google XML Sitemaps — To create (and submit) sitemaps of your posts/pages.
- Robots Meta — To include robot meta tags in certain areas of the site to prevent duplicate content issues.
- RSS Footer — To add a snippet of text (and a link) at the bottom of your RSS feeds to help take advantage of people that scrape your feeds.
This is an excellent plug-in, and he updates it regularly with new features. The one piece that this doesn’t replace is PuSHPress, which enables PubSubHubbub support to your site. In short, it makes new entries go out really fast to people that get your posts using Google Reader and similar tools.
[ Get the Jetpack plugin here ] Similar to WordPress SEO, this plug-in replaces a variety of plugins that I’ve been using over the years.
- Subscribe to comments — I hate it when I comment on a blog but they give me no way to subscribe to email updates of subsequent comments on that particular post. This takes care of that.
- Various social plugins — I’ve used a variety of social plugins (Digg Digg, ShareThis, Sociable, various individual networks, etc), but this takes care of them all in one place. However, it doesn’t yet handle Pinterest so if you want that you’ll still need to add it separately.
- WordPress Stats — If you like the WordPress stats plug-in, you now need to use Jetpack to stay current on it. This offers nice lightweight stats, though I also include Google Analytics on every site.
- Contact forms — This replaces other contact form scripts (Contact Form 7, etc), though I still use Wufoo most of the time.
So those two plug-ins have replaced many of the ones I used to use, but I still have a decent collection that are also installed for most clients. They include:
- Akismet – An excellent anti-spam plugin, which comes standard with WordPress, though you need to activate it.
- Disqus Comment System — A replacement for the built-in comment system (and replaces the need for Akismet, Highlight Author Comments and some of the features in Jetpack). I use it on a few sites, but not too many yet.
- FeedBurner FeedSmith — If you push your RSS feed out via FeedBurner, this a great plug-in to help direct people to the proper feed.
- Highlight Author Comments — This allows you to style author comments a bit differently then normal comments, so they’ll stand out when the post author leaves a comment on the post.
- InfiniteWP Client — I manage most of my WordPress sites using Infinite WP, and this is a required piece of that.
- jQuery Lightbox for Native Galleries — This turns normal WP galleries into cool lightboxed galleries. Here is an example.
- PuSHPress — As I mentioned above, this enabled PubSubHubbub support on your blog, which means it goes out to RSS readers really fast.
- Shadowbox JS — Allows you to do some neat shadowbox trick with media on your site, like popping YouTube videos up in little boxes.
- Widget Logic — Allows you to pick and choose which pages particular widgets should appear on.
- WPtouch — Creates a mobile-friendly version of your site automatically. While I prefer to use mobile responsive themes instead of this, it can be helpful for older blogs.
There are a few others that I use from time to time depending on the theme (various sliders, theme-specific plug-ins such as Genesis Simple Edits when working with a StudioPress theme, etc), but that’s my main list.
What are your favorite WordPress plug-ins?