I have used WordPress for a while now. I have also spent time talking to other users of the popular blogging and web design platform.
Here are six great WordPress plugins:
Jetpack is essentially a collection of plugins that supercharges a WordPress install.
Some key features include:
- a URL shortener – handy for internal sitelinks
- a video embedder – supports YouTube, Digg and Vimeo
- a spam filter – essential, unless spam is your thing
- a widget for display tweets
- After the Deadline – a powerful spelling and grammar tool
- an image carousel tool – great for displaying pictures
- analytics – so you can keep track of what visitors are doing and where they’re coming from
- an omni-search tool
- a CSS editor
- social media integration – for you and for readers who want to share your posts
Jetpack does more than that but the best thing is that, unlike many other plugins, it doesn’t break and it’s built for and by WordPress. If you only install one plugin, make it Jetpack.
I’ve burked WordPress installs before and they take some time to fix. This plugin takes away some of the worry. It syncs with my Google drive and backups up my install once a week. It took me about fifteen minutes to set up.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits recommends Backup Buddy for professional users. It costs USD80 for two sites.
Markdown speeds up the process of writing blog posts for the internet. Essentially, Markdown converts text with various punctuation marks into HTML. Learning Markdown dramatically speeded up my ability to write posts, I write every blog post here using Markdown and it only took me an hour or two to learn.
This plugin lets WordPress read Markdown and converts it to publishable posts.
4. Contact Form 7
Most WordPress users want their readers to get in touch. Contact Form 7 makes it possible to set up as a contact form that users can display anywhere on their site. It only takes a few minutes to configure.
5. WordPress SEO
Whether or not you’re into Search Engine Optimisation, SEO is a necessary evil. This plugin turns SEO into a relatively painless chore that will make your posts easier to find.
It suggests keywords for blog posts, cleans up permalinks and lets users write a meta description that will appear in Google search results. WordPress SEO offers number of other technical tools for enthusiasts but once set up, it’s relatively unobtrusive.
This is my second favourite plugin, after Jetpack.
6. WP Smush.it
There’s nothing more discouraging than an image heavy website that takes ages to load. Web users will leave sites that take longer ten seconds to appear on-screen. This plugin optimises images files for compression and strips them of unused colours and metadata.
In other words, it makes images smaller so pages load quicker. And that’s good for readers.
WordPress features thousands of plugins designed to cater for all types of users. Please let me know in the comments section below about your favourite plugins.