Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins add functionality to your weblog.

I like WordPress, the open-source PHP/MySQL-based blogging software. But sometimes finding what you’re looking for is quite difficult. This is, in part, due to the fact that WordPress is an open source project, and many portions of the website are edited by volunteers. So I guess I got what I paid for.

Take plugins. WordPress’s website has a page that lists WordPress plugins, and that page lists other websites that list WordPress plugins. If you have time to weed through all of these poorly organized sites, then I congratulate you. What I long for (and would be willing to pay for) is a website like Tucows that lists plugins by various attributes. Something that is searchable and sortable. Something that is organized. Something like this (except with clickable headers and all of the missing info included):

The only WordPress plugins that I currently consider essential are the following (descriptions from the developers):

  • WordPress Widgets – Provides a simple way to arrange the various elements of your sidebar content without having to change any code.
  • Akismet – Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You can review the spam it catches under “Manage” and it automatically deletes old spam after 15 days.
  • WordPress Feedburner Plugin – Using some WordPress plugin magic, and user agent detection, this plugin simply forwards all your feed traffic to FeedBurner.

Plugins are cool, but if you use too many of them, then you run the risk of having your migration to the next blogging platform be difficult.

I was surprised to find, for example, that the Widgets plugin was not installed by default. Or that is was not prominently linked at the top of the WordPress Widgets page. I’ve widgetized my site to make it a bit more user-friendly (and a bit like my old Movable Type weblog, which used modules for the same effect).

One Reply to “Essential WordPress Plugins”

  1. Widgets are now included with 2.2 (released earlier this week), as is Akismet… so that leaves just one non-default plugin.

    Not surprisingly, I take the opposite approach: I’ve got at least 15 plugins I use (and love). I’ll write a post in the next couple days rounding them up and why I use them.

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