I’m always researching what plugins and other goodies are available that can make my WordPress sites purr. Everyone has different needs for how they want their website to function and how to make it interact with visitors. And there are thousands of options out there – enough to make the average person go bonkers.
And so, this post is mainly a list of my favorites. Most of these are installed on this site. I have another site, Cats The Boss, and it uses the majority of these, too.
My favorite free WordPress themes are Coraline (used on my cat site), Responsive by CyberChimps and Customizr.
I also use WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com. I won’t dive into all the differences here. It’s a bit confusing. But I’ll say the .org gives you more freedom by adding a variety of plugins and you can incorporate more advertising in your site.
Here are my favorite plugins and goodies (some come already included from the start):
Jetpack – I usually activate almost all the features – enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users
All in One SEO – Out-of-the-box SEO
Login Security Solution – Requires very strong passwords, repels brute force login attacks, prevents login information disclosures, expires idle sessions, notifies admins of attacks and breaches, permits administrators to disable logins for maintenance or emergency reasons and reset all passwords
Akismet – protect your blog from comment and trackback spam
BackWPup – WordPress Backup and more
BPS Security (Bullet Proof Security) – Website Security Protection
Free Stock Photos Foter – free stock photos to use & automatically plunks into a post
Subscribe/Connect/Follow Widget – A widget to display image links (icon buttons) to subscription services and social networking sites
Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images
Follow Me – allow users the ability to add links to their social media profiles in their blog
Google XML Sitemaps – will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog
Online Backup for WordPress – automatically backup your WordPress database and filesystem
P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – See which plugins are slowing down your site
Quick AdSense – offers a quicker & flexible way to insert Google Adsense or any Ads code into a blog post
Sucuri Security – SiteCheck Malware Scanner – enables you to scan your WordPress site using Sucuri SiteCheck right in your WordPress dashboard. SiteCheck will check for malware, spam, blacklisting and other security issues
WP Photo Album Plus – Easily manage and display your photo albums and slideshows
I’ve used the following in the past, but either I didn’t use them enough, didn’t think they made much of a “difference” in improving my site, wanted to reduce the number of plugins installed, or perhaps one might’ve caused a conflict with my site:
Better WP Security – had a problem with it so switched to a different security plugin. Problems with security programs DO pop up and sometimes things just don’t mesh together properly.
Mingle Forum – worked great – just didn’t need it anymore.
W3 Total Cache – completely confused me with all the overwhelming options…and with my type of smaller sites, didn’t feel it made any noticeable cache/speed improvements.
Ultimate Tiny MCE – nice, ultimate enhancement for the WordPress visual editor for creating posts/pages. MANY options. Hmmm…not sure why I uninstalled it…time to look into it again.
Revision Control – limits how many revisions are kept of your pages/posts…so if you constantly update a page, you probably don’t need a bazillion revisions stored away and it lets you set a certain number to keep.
There you go. I have no doubt most people will have strong opinions on these plugins – both positive and negative. And some readers will insist on different plugins or specific plugins I haven’t mentioned. I know. I’ve done hours upon hours of research trying to decide which ones I wanted to use and have read the reviews and heated arguments over why to use one or not to use one. It’ll make you go crazy.
I do try to pick plugins that have a high number of good reviews and a high download number posted. And then just hope for the best. The “best” meaning that the plugin doesn’t crash my site. Which has happened several times with one of my sites. But that’s another story.