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If you’re a WordPress user then you probably are very familiar with plugins. After months of working on this website the try out season is coming to an end, and I think I’m almost getting down to my final (for now) list of plugins. Right now this site has 27 active plugins – Here are my top picks:
I use these plugins to keep my website running smoothly on the backend.
W3 Total Cache – This plugin is a beast for optimizing your website for ultimate performance. It has a wide range of functionality, including page caching, browser caching, database caching and minify options. It can also be integrated with cloudflare for improved performance. Yes, it is not the easiest plugin to get working as you have to adjust the settings and know what to do, but here is an excellent guide to assist you with that.
WP-Cleanup – A nice way to clean up old files in your database that you are not accessing anymore. Simply activate and it appears in your settings tab. On my first install I found out that 20% of my database was from old deactivated plugins and post revisions.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin – This is my preference over Askimet which I had read sometimes deletes non-spam posts. At the bottom of this page when you go to comment (and I hope you do) you will have to confirm that you are a human (this message is customizable but I liked that one).
Lazy Load – This is a nifty plugin that loads pictures as user scroll over them to help the page load quick by accessing only the necessary content at the time.
Search Engine Optimization is the crux of every blogger and these plugins make life a lot easier.
WordPress SEO – This plugin by Yoast covers most of my SEO needs. It allows you to craft the SEO title, meta description and more. It also comes with a nice page analysis feature which I check after every post to see how it fairs and make adjustments based on it’s suggestions, which, for example are things like:
Similar to Total Cache, this one takes a bit of guidance. Here is an excellent guide from Yoast himself.
SEO Title Tag – SEO titles are essentially the difference between what appears on your website and what the crawler sees. For example, while I’m going to title this “My favorite plugins” I want it to appear in the search engines as “Best WordPress Plugins”. With this plugin you have complete control over your SEO titles and can mass edit them, which is great!
nrelate Related Content – I tried several plugins to display related content at the bottom of my posts and I found this one the best. Firstly it returned the most relevant results. Secondly, it has several unique styles as well as the ability to format it yourself.
Social media is so important it deserves it’s own category separate from SEO.
WP to Twitter – Posts a Tweet when you update your WordPress blog or post to your blogroll, using your chosen URL shortening service.
WP-SmugMug – Integrate your SmugMug galleries into your WordPress blog.
Facebook Page Publish – Integrates with my facebook account so that posts get published. This was sadly, not the easiest thing to set up, but we did eventually get it working. Here is a helpful article on how to set it up.
I like these two but they take their toll on the website performance as a result of all of the SSL calls (basically requests that take the server outside of the website through a secure connection).
Cardoza Facebook Like Box – Shows all of your page fans in a box in the form of a widget.
Digg Digg – scrolling sidebar of social media allowing readers to share it with the world
Lastly, what is a website that doesn’t interact with it’s viewers?
Thank Me Later – Sends a customizable thank you letter to people who leave a comment. It’s a great way to follow up as well as remind them of all the different ways they can follow you. The user can opt out if they want to.
Comment Reply Notification – Let’s a commenter know when someone has replied to their string as a way of encouraging conversation.
CommentLuv – This is a great plugin which allows a commenter to back link to a recent post of theirs. They even have selection of which post so it doesn’t have to be the MOST recent.
Lightbox Plus – When you click on an image (try it with the outlet image) you’ll know what this plugin does. It also has some nice settings to allow you to control the width, height, color, etc. Plus slide show features!
What plugins do you use?