Being one of the most user friendly platforms available, it is easily understandable why everyone is falling for WordPress (we make no exception). One of the most important advantages of WordPress is the richness of features it has too offer and the fact that it’s an open source community.
Since it’s such a star among the bloggers community, you get to choose from thousands of themes and plugins, all designed to make your project better and your life easier… but do they really? So if you’ve already gotten lost in the jungle, this selection of must-have WordPress plugins could be your compass.
One of the things that we really love about the WordPress platform is that no matter how twisted your creative ideas get, there’s probably some plugin out there that could do the job for you. Which is really awesome, considering that a great amount of the themes and plugins available on the market are free…
But since it’s impossible to keep everyone satisfied, in this particular post we will only be referring to those wonderful plugins that really make our lives easier, and hence every WordPress blog should be using them to their benefits.
1. W3 Total Cache Plugin
This plugin is one of the most appreciated and high rated (considering that are more than 8000 plugins out there), offering a wide variety of features and being a precious achievement in terms of performance.
When fully configured, this plugin will significantly improve your website overall performance, making your pages render faster and what’s most important, it reduces the time your pages need for loading, offering a smoother browsing experience for your users. It also allows your website to better face high traffic periods (some developers vehemently recommend W3 Total Cache, underlining the benefits of a smoother and faster activity).
If you’re curious to find out more, here is everything you need to know.
2. All in One SEO Pack
When it comes to optimizing your website for the search engines, we hear this is the best option one can find. And besides all the great features it brings (compatibility with other plugins, advanced canonical URLs, build-in API and so much more) the plugin also creates automatically meta tags, becoming a powerful ally in your efforts for optimizing your website.
Of course, it doesn’t magically instals itself and starts making some wonders… you’ll have to take some extra steps, in order to make everything run smoothly, and to get the maximum benefits from its features.
Here‘s how you can do this.
3. WordPress Database Backup Plugin
It’s really useless to start explaining why backing up your website data is absolutely vital, right? Waking up one morning and realizing that your hard work is messed up becomes tragic when you have no back-ups.
And one of the most important features this plugin has to offer is that you don’t even have to remember to back-up everything. Once you took your time to configure the plugin, it will automatically start doing its job on a regular basis (which you established according to your preferences), sending to your email all the back-up files.
It runs smoothly, making you confident that everything is in it’s rightful place. Here‘s where you can learn more about its features.
4. Akismet Plugin
When you start a blog, your greatest joy (among others) is to get feedback from your users… the more, the merrier. But when you get tons of messages a day, it can get really frustrating to filter them by hand (let’s not mention how superfluous that is, since you surely have more important things to do with your time).
So here’s where this plugin comes in, preventing you to drown in a dark sea of unwanted spam messages. It’s an amazing time saver, creating a status history and underlining hidden or misleading links with an impressive accuracy.
Give it a try, and you’ll sense the difference in no time (find everything you need to know on the Akismet website).
5. Subscribe to Comments Plugin
As we already commented, when you start a blog, one of the most important things is to receive feedback from your users (usually through comments). And once you incited their interest, to keep that flame alive, the smartest thing to do (and the most useful, anyway) is to keep them posted with the subsequent entries.
So the best way to do it, is using this plugin. As you’ll be able to see, it has some pretty awesome features, offering the options of subscribing, unsubscribing and even changing users notification e-mail address, creating this way a strong connection, becoming a powerful marketing tool for your website.
Find out more about how it works.
6. Mobile Press Plugin
Needles to remind you how addicted we all are to our mobile devices (yeah, you too). So in this world dominated by smartphones and tablets, this plugin magically offers your WordPress powered website a mobile-friendly interface.
OK, so it’s not magic. The plugin uses customized themes that will allow your website to be viewed on mobile devices, without altering its content. And if you’re not happy with the situation, the plugin allows developers to create some pretty amazing themes, making the differences between the devices hardly noticed.
Here‘s how you can get started.
7. Ajax Contact Form Plugin
This plugin is a smooth AJAX powered contact form, developed on a jQuery platform, adding a touch of style and vitality to the boring, custom contact forms. For those expecting some advanced plugin, you might be disappointed by its simplicity and lack of sophistication, but we can assure you the plugin works flawless and offers a fast and clean loading.
It also has some pretty useful features, and what’s really amazing about it, is that it allows developers to shape the contact form layout according to their imagination, creating a perfect symmetry on any design.
Find out more about it on wordpress.org.
8. AddThis Plugin
When building the reputation of your website, one of the most important and necessary tools are the social networking widgets. Everybody knows that. And AddThis is one of the best content sharing platforms, providing a simple and very effective way to share your posts and to provide an easy bookmark to your readers.
The plugin is completely customizable, offering in-depth analytics and powerful API, including over 300 services and tools… which is pretty amazing. And supporting over 70 languages, communicating gets easier than ever, offering a fully localized experience to all the users.
To understand the full experience, read more about the plugin and all its features on AddThis website.
9. Broken Link Checker Plugin
No matter how smartly designed and pretty to look at is your “404 Error Page”, amazingly, nobody wants to see it. No matter how careful you are, links eventually get broken. And while trying to fix them yourself might be an option, save yourself some time and start using this smart plugin.
The plugin will periodically check all your website for links that stopped working for a reason or another. From links and missing images to deleted videos and defective pages, each time something is not in its rightful place you will receive a notification on your Dashboard.
And for a happily ever after synergy, this plugin goes hand in hand with the Permalink Finder Plugin, so you might consider installing this one as well.
Here’s how you can find out more about the Broken Link Checker Plugin.
10. JetPack Plugin
This plugin seems to be one of the most important plugins that WordPress has to offer so far, being especially wonderful for those getting a lot of search engine traffic, supercharging your WordPress powered website with some pretty impressive features.
This plugin is still a work in progress, promising to replace more than 20 plugins, and the features it offers till now seem to be more than convincing. One of its great triumphs is the availability of the updated version on WordPress.com States (available till now only for WordPress.com users).
Learn more about its features and what’s to come, on the JetPack website.
In the end…
It’s undeniable that the WordPress platform is one of the most popular platforms among web designers, having so much to offer, and being at the same time incredibly user friendly, making it easy to manage and to update content. And the best part about being that popular is that developers are imagining all kind of features and functions that are ready to make wonders by snapping your fingers.
We ourselves have some great experience with the WordPress platform, managing to enhance its potential to creating something absolutely wonderful.
Take a look at our gallery, if you want to find out more about us and about our work.