9 Essential WordPress Plugins
WordPress has nearly 20,000 plugins, which is both a blessing and a curse for beginners.
On the one hand, it's wonderful that so many developers have produced so much free software. On the other hand, it can be really hard to find the good plugins when there are so many to sort through.
We often get asked for our favorite plugins and so here's a list of some of the favorites used by the staff at OSTraining.
1. Ultimate TinyMCE Editor
The basic editor works OK, but most people just want more! There's one that seems to be more complete than most and adds the whole ball of wax in one shot.
Ultimate TinyMCE will expand the default array of buttons in the visual tinymce editor, giving you the power to visually create your pages and posts. No need for mucking about in HTML and CSS.
- No need to learn the languages of HTML and CSS (although the basics can certainly help) when creating your pages/posts.
- Easily manipulate your fonts, font sizes, colors, styles, and css from a graphical user interface.
- Shortcodes Manager - Now all your shortcodes are available in a handy dropdown box.
- Google Maps Integration makes it easy for you to insert a Google Map anywhere in your content.
- Create tables through a graphical interface (much like microsoft excel) to display your data.
- Insert YouTube videos by simply copying and pasting the share url.
- Graphical Image Mapping to make your images more exciting.
- Enable PHP text widgets, allowing even further control of how your content is displayed.
- Use shortcodes to insert column breaks. This is a VERY cool feature. You can break any content area into up to six separate columns.
- Ultimate Tinymce will add more than 30 new buttons and features to your visual editor.
- Accompanying this plugin is a huge contextual help system, designed to help provide specific information, screenshots, and examples for each feature.
Visit the official plugin page: Ultimate TinyMCE.
2. Front-end Editor
Front-end Editor is a plugin that lets you make changes to your content directly from your site while viewing the page or post.. No need to load the admin backend just to correct a typo. Quick changes are a breeze. Tired of clicking back and forth? Try this.
- Saves as many trips to the backend as possible
- Compatible with any theme, out of the box
- Light and fast
Visit the official plugin page: Front-end Editor.
Askimet is the spam protection service WordPress. Akismet is free for personal sites, but not so for commercial sites. However It's a long time favorite because it really works. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. It will automatically block spam comments.
Visit the official plugin page: Akismet.
4. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
- At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in YSlow or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
- Improved conversion rates and "site performance" which affect your site's rank on Google.com
- "Instant" subsequent page views: browser caching
- Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly
- Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
- Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
Over 1 million downloads. I guess we're not the only ones who like this.
Visit the official plugin page: W3 Total Cache.
5. Broken Links Checker
This is a great way to make sure everything is working smootly on your site. An email from a client saying they found a broken link can be quite embarrassing. This plugin lets you be the hero.
- Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
- Detects links that don't work, missing images and redirects.
- Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
- Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
- Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
- You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
- Links can be edited directly from the plugin's page, without manually updating each post.
- Highly configurable.
Visit the plugin page: Broken Link Checker.
6. Revision Control
Revision Control is a plugin for WordPress which gives the user more control over the Revision functionality. You can compare the current version with a previous version. Restore from a single click to revert. Very good if you have submissions from users or admins that make a lot of mistakes.
The plugin allows the user to set a site-global setting (Settings -> Revisions) for pages/posts to enable/disable/limit the number of revisions which are saved for the page/post. The user may change this setting on a per-page/post basis from the Revisions Meta box.
The plugin also allows the deletion of specific revisions via the Revisions post metabox.
Visit the official plugin page: Revision Control.
7. Widget Context
Display widgets only on certain pages, posts or any other section of your website. One of WordPress's frustrations is that every page has the same widgets. With this you can define the widget placement to certain menu items or categories.
An extra control is added to your widget editor, which let's you easily place the widgets with some radio buttons and checkboxes. We happen to have a tutorial that will help you with this:http://www.ostraining.com/blog/wordpress/widget-context/.
Visit the official plugin page: Widget Context.
8. EZPZ One Click Backup
EZPZ One Click Backup, is a very easy way to do a complete backup of your entire WordPress site. In fact it's so easy to use there are no required user settings, everything is automatic. Just one click and presto, you'll have a complete backup stored on your server. One more click and you can download the entire backup to your own computer. Trying to move a site from one server to another EZPZ OCB might be a good solution.
- EZPZ OCB now features a "One-Stop" control panel with status indicators and better cross-browser compatibility. (Tested on Firefox 3.5+, IE 9, Chrome, Safari 5.1 [windows version], Opera 11, and Flock 2.6. It is compatible with IE 9 but earlier versions may have some display quirks during Manual backups however the backups are NOT affected.)
- EZPZ OCB also stores up to 10 backups on the server.
- With EZPZ Easy Restore restoring your site is a simple two step process.
- EZPZ OCB can automatically upload your backups to your Dropbox account or any FTP server.
Visit the official plugin page: EZPZ One Click Backup.
9. SEO by Yoast
This is really the Swiss Army Knife of SEO for WordPress. Once it's setup, all the controls are on a single section of your editing window. It really does everything.
- Snippet preview
- Page Analysis
- Technical WordPress Search Engine Optimization
- Meta & Link Elements
- XML Sitemaps
- RSS Optimization
- Edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file
- Facebook OpenGraph
- Multi-Site Compatible
- Import & Export functionality
- Import functionality for other WordPress SEO plugins
Check out our tutorial: http://www.ostraining.com/blog/wordpress/wordpress-seo-by-yoast/
Visit the official plugin page: SEO by Yoast