Is there anyone who has tried WordPress and not liked it? I’m fond of WordPress because it’s relatively easy to use and highly customizable with themes and plugins. There are something like 4,200 plugins in the wild! I figured I’d give you a list of plugins I like to use. First things first, make sure you’re running an up-to-date version of WordPress.
TinyMCE Advanced: This plugin enhances WP’s editor in several ways: switch to full screen mode, insert media, search and replace, support for tables and at least 10 other goodies (some with their own options). This used to be one of my most valuable plugins. When I switched browsers to Firefox a few years back, I started using Scribefire to write and upload copy to the blogs I work on. If you’re not a Firefox fan, you’ll want this.
cForms: If you need to create a contact form, I can’t think of a more flexible or easier-to-use plugin. cForms has a wizard to help you create your forms and supports AJAX for drag and drop, widgets, integration with TinyMCE and on and on.
Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin makes it easier for Google and other search engine bots to crawl your site. Think of it as a road map for spiders. Just let it rip and it will create a compliant sitemap. You don’t need to configure code or figure out much of anything else. You need this.
Search Meter: Want to know what terms your visitors are entering into the search bar on your site? Search Meter keeps track of what people are searching for and whether they find it.
Smart YouTube: Inserting YouTube videos into your posts isn’t really that tricky. Smart YouTube just makes it as easy as landing a plane on the Hudson.
StatPress: This plugin is one of my faves. It collects a variety of useful info about how many people visit your site each day, where they came from, what browsers they’re using, the search terms that brought them to your site and more. You can even spy on your visitors!
Share This: If you don’t know what the Share This plugin does, it’s a plugin for harnessing the power of social media and encouraging your site’s visitors to share your posts. It can be configured to offer a huge variety of links such as stumbleupon, digg and reddit and also allows posts to be shared via email.
WordPress Automatic Upgrade: Why wouldn’t you want to use this plugin? Put every WP upgrade and security fix on autopilot.
WordPress Database Backup: Don’t count on your hosting service alone to back up your blog’s database. Install this plugin and make sure you’re covered if a major catastrophe lopes into town. You can save a copy on your server and email one to yourself.
WP Super Cache: The plugin makes your site speedier. It won’t matter much day-to-day, but if you’re fortunate to get a spike in the number of visitors to your site (like when you get on the front page of Digg), you’ll be ready.
All in One SEO Pack: If just thinking about SEO makes you as shaky as a blind man on a roof, you’ll want this one. All in One SEO Pack will help you tune up your titles, descriptions, keywords and more.
SEO Friendly Images: It’s easy to overlook the value of making sure you fill in your alt tags–the text that describes an image’s contents. It enhances your search results and ensures your site is compliant with Web best practices.
Google Analytics: This plugin makes adding your GA tracking code to all your pages a snap.
Theme Test Drive: It’s tempting to want to change themes on your site to see if you can improve its look and feel. The problem is, your site’s visitors are going to wonder what in the heck you’re up to, or worse, you may break your site (trust me, it happens). This plugin enables you to try out new themes without changing the existing theme your visitors usually see.
Plugin Manager: There’s a good reason I’m putting this one at the end of the list. You can use Plugin Manager to view, download from WordPress.org and install plugins using an AJAX interface, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty with manual labor.