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The Best WordPress Plugins

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I recently gave thanks for the four top technology solutions that impacted my life in 2006. First on my list was WordPress, which is, as far as I'm concerned, the best personal publishing platform. The beauty of WordPress is that it's almost infinitely extensible through plugins. If there's a feature that's not standard in WordPress, chances are someone's written a plugin that fills that need. Here are the plugins I found most useful during this past year, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Akismet: hands down, the best anti-spam plugin there is. I wish Akismet made junk email filters as well. When coupled with manual approval of new comments, virtually nothing gets by it. It filters out 99.9% of the spam comments, and leaves a few in the moderation queue for me to check. Since I started ComeAcross in April of 2006, it's filtered out almost 17,000 spam comments. None of those reached the blog. Only meaningful comments written by real people made it to the live site – and that's a beautiful thing.
  • FeedBurner Feed Replacement: it allows me to present the FeedBurner feed for ComeAcross as the standard feed that gets shown to browsers and feed readers when they visit my site. That means people don't subscribe to the real site feed, which might change, but to the FeedBurner feed, which stays the same and is enriched with all sorts of goodies.
  • Filosofo Home-Page Control: lets me set a particular page as the home page, and also to separate the blog to a subdirectory, even if it's at the root level. At first, you don't get the point, until you realize you can use WordPress to run a regular site by creating pages, then add a blog to a subdirectory later and specify that subdirectory through this plugin. In other words, you run the site pages at www.example.com and the blog at www.example.com/blog. Really, really nice.
  • Google Sitemaps: I get my lion's share of traffic from Google, and I'm truly grateful for that. My content gets ranked toward the top in Google search results on many topics. It goes to show that quality content will make it to the top no matter if it's produced by one person or many people. So anything that will tell the good folks at Google when I publish or change my content is at the top of my list. Imagine my joy when I found that someone put together a beauty of a plugin for WordPress that creates a Google Sitemap of all my site content and pings Google whenever I add or change that content! I was ecstatic, and I still am!
  • inlineRSS: this little plugin allows inline display of RSS feeds from virtually any source. I actually used it to display my del.icio.us bookmarks for a while, but it works with YouTube feeds as well. It won't display photos or videos (although if you're brave, you can tweak the XSLT file for those purposes), but if you're just looking for a simple list of links to your latest and greatest feed items, it'll do the trick just fine.
  • No Ping Wait: boy, oh boy did I need this plugin after I started using WordPress seriously! Because I set up WordPress to ping several services when I published a new post, the publishing process became unmanageably slow. Any hiccups in reaching a service would cause a delay when saving a post, and possibly bring everything to a stop. Well, that was no way to run a site! With this plugin, pinging is delegated to a separate process and whether it fails or not, it doesn't affect the publishing of content. After a quick and painless install, my site ran smoothly once more, and I was grateful for it!
  • WordPress Database Backup: talk about a lifesaver! Yes, this plugin, along with Akismet, ships packaged in with WordPress, but even if it didn't, I'd download it and install it in a heartbeat! It backs up the site database (where all of the posts, pages and comments are stored), compresses it, and either puts it in a backup directory on the server, lets you download it to your computer, or emails it to you! How cool is that! That means you and I can do periodic backups of the site, and restore from them in case anything should happen. I absolutely love it!
  • WP-Contact Form: this plugin lets you easily add a contact form to your WordPress site. Just create a contact page, paste the snippet of code that calls up the contact form code, and you're set: you get instant functionality that your site visitors will love!
  • WPVideo: I've saved the best for last! This is, hands down, no contest, the easiest video plugin for WordPress! It should be packaged together with WordPress and shipped out as a standard config, that's how easy it is to use! After it's installed, you just tag any YouTube, Google Video or MetaCafe video link with a simple snippet, and that's all you need do! The video automatically displays, and you can configure the display of additional data such as video title, duration, and even a download link. I've seen some video plugins for WordPress require you to paste special codes from the video URLs, or to use arcane tags and make ridiculous changes to core WordPress template files, but not WPVideo! No, this is the easiest video plugin for WordPress, I guarantee it!

Well, there you have it, folks! If you use WordPress and you don't already use these plugins, by all means, give them a try, they'll make your life a whole lot easier! As for me, by way of this article, I'm sending a big, hearty Thank You and Happy New Year to the developers who worked on these plugins. May you wonderful people have a blessed year ahead! I can't thank you enough for your work! Oh, and if I haven't mentioned other WordPress plugins that are doing wonders for people, I apologize. Here's a list of all of the WP plugins. Take your pick!

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About Raoul

  • http://blogtheinternet.com/ Garry

    Raoul,

    I was curious if you add to this article here and let me know your thoughts about Akismet compared to Spam Karma 2. You said that Akismet is the best anti-spam plugin there is. Where does Spam Karma 2 fall in place? Reason I am asking is because I use Spam Karma 2 on my site and it works wonderfully. Sometimes though, I can get too tight with the security and end up forcing real comments into moderation/spam… but for the most part, it works and works well.

    So, if there is something better, I am definately interested in learning more.

    Looking forward to your response.
    – Garry

  • http://noumenal.net Che

    I use Spam Karma 2, and I love it. I very very seldom have the problem with it shoving a legitimate comment into moderation, but I have not once had a spam comment reach the light of day. And I can so live with that.

    I use some of the plug-ins mentioned in your article, and I intend to download a few of the others that caught my eye. Thanks for a neat list.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I’m havin’ a lot of fun with Popularity Contest.

  • http://www.lawntennisnews.com/ manfred

    Nice article, I am very fond of Akismet myself and I use most of the plugins you are using :)

    I am surprised though that you didn’t add an Advertising plugin like mighty adsense or Adsense deluxe, overall this is a very complete list :)

  • http://www.lucidpoints.com Tom Kirkham

    I use akismet as well, but I also use Anti Spam Image by Krazy Nio as well. No problems, and it is easy for the site visitor to read.

  • http://blogtheinternet.com/ Garry

    Raoul,

    I know that this is off topic from the article, but I wanted to ask a question/favor.

    On another blog site I read an article about a security vulnerability in the wordpress template.php file and in the article is a download for a modified version of the template.php file that is claimed to patch the newly found security glitch.

    I checked the Official WordPress Blog to see if there were any publications about this problem and I couldn’t find any reports about it.

    If there is a security glitch in the template.php file and this third party modified version of the template.php file is a real patch, then I would be interested in downloading it. But, my concern is that I am just a normal average skilled blogger, and I have no way of telling if this patched version of the template.php file is real or not? For all I know, it could be a trick to for me to upload an unsecured replacement file into my wordpress distribution.

    Is there anyway that this could be looked into?

    Here is the direct link to the referenced article:

    Within this article there are three references to sites that talk about this new security vulnerability in the wordpress template.php file.

    Your help investigating this situation would be kindly appreciated.

    – Garry

  • http://www.mutube.com Martin Fitzpatrick

    If you’re using a lot of plugins on your blog, you might be interested in a plugin called Update Manager. It helps keep all your plugins up to date with latest versions by checking the wp-plugins.net database. One click lets you check whether you need to upgrade. New versions will support background checking & notification emails, etc.

    It’s the first plugin I’ve created that I actually use myself :)

  • Steve M

    Great list of top plugins – here is another one you might want to consider: cforms a flexible and powerful contact form plugin (personally, I think it’s the best).
    Anyone has a good recommendation for an access control plugin, we need to stop certain IPs from accessing our clients’ sites?

  • http://www.alliewiebe.com Allie

    Hi, great blog of resources. Do you know of a plug in that would allow me to have my WordPress homepage, half static and then my blog posts below?
    See my homepage it now has blog posts. If I use the WordPress 2.0 static page option I have a welcome page but then it doesn’t look like there is any new items.
    Anyone have a suggestion?
    PS: (I’m not a coder but I have done minor edits to pages before)

  • http://www.noprimetime.com razvanr

    Hey,

    For all you guys out there supporting video content, you can now monetize it free with the NoPrimeTime wordpress plugin. You can also crosspromote your sites if you lack advertisers.

  • http://bu.bulicio.us Vic

    Thanks for such a great list of plugins, this list are so helpful for the new guy.

    Thanks

    Vic

  • http://www.jenst.se Jens Törnell

    I have developed a WordPress plugin called WP YouTube. It is a mass plugin for changing all the YouTube video settings at the same time. Want all the YouTube videos to be green? One setting and you are done!

    Download WP YouTube here.

  • http://www.albanianblogger.com Albanian Blogger

    Wonderful, wonderful list. Especially the video plugin as I tried several ones and your suggestion was the best.
    Thanks

  • Dylan

    This is a great list! If you’re a spam hater like myself, you’ll want to check out WP-SpamFree as well. It’s an awesome comment spam fighting plugin that stops spambots cold. You can keep Akismet with it but you won’t so much to go through in the spam queue. (I still go through it because it catches some legit comments.) I used to get a couple hundred+ per day, and now I’m down to almost zero.

    Also, you should take a look at WordPress Automatic Upgrade – it makes upgrading quick and painless.

  • Emily

    One of my favourite plugin is DivvaFlip.

    DivvaFlip makes photos gallery more glamorous with a flipping engine

    Just try DivvaFlip plugin, a page flipping engine, with a very easy
    backoffice in AJAX and working with WordPress 2.3 and 2.5 ! :-)

    Have a glance to the demo enjoy!

  • http://www.blog.dinovici.com Vic

    Hi there,
    Know anyone which plugin to use if I want only the first part (first paragraph) of the article to be displayed? If someone want to read more there will be a “read more” link…
    On my blog right now is displayed all of article content and I don’t want this…
    I’m talking about the latest 10 articles displayed on the first page of my blog.
    I’m using WordPress.
    Can anyone help?

  • http://www.raoulpop.com/ Raoul

    You’re probably looking to use the_excerpt() template tag. Here’s more information on it.

  • http://www.eRealMedia.com eRealMedia.com

    Hey, nice articles. I like the way you have done paging of this article (divided into two pages) what plugin you are using? How u have done.

  • http://www.smartlogix.co.in/wp-insert Namith

    How about this allrounder?

    Use wp-insert to insert every kind of code you will ever need to insert into your blog. The plugin features 5 ad widgets, provision to insert ads into right,left,top and bottom of your posts/pages, feed management options like adding your logo to your feeds, redirecting your feeds to feedburner, feedburner subscribe via email widget, Provisions to insert ads above or below your feeds, Subscribe to feed widget, Provision to insert google analytics code easily, Provision to add any kind of code to your header and footer area.

    Future plans include sections for SEO and social bookmarking…

  • http://blaineblogger.com Blaineblogger

    Good list of plugins. I need to get something like akismet, im getting a lot of spam lately. I use wp-contact form, it’s good.

  • http://ansblog.com/free-wordpress-themes/category/blog/ Nits

    Great list almost all much needed plugins are mentioned.

  • http://www.vickywebworld.net/ Vickywebworld

    Thank you for sharing your best of bests wordpress plugins

  • http://jaywashere.com Jay

    Great read, to me the best wp plugin is the share it plugin because it allows users to share your content.

  • goodson614

    I subscribed to this discussion board quite some time back but haven’t been very active. I didn’t really introduced myself as I’ve been reading more than posting .You’ve probably seen me post a few times and if you thought who the heck is this person and exactly what is he talking about . The past few weeks I found myself posting a lot more often and becoming more involved with the website so I thought it may be a good time to say an enormous overdue hiya to all you participants.