Anyone using WordPress to power their blog or website is probably aware that there are a myriad of Plugins available for the system, either from WordPress themselves, or from a myriad of 3rd party developers. Plugins extend or modify the functionality of the WordPress system, covering everything from adding sections like ecommerce or booking calendars, to layout options, to integrating with social networking applications.
Here are just a few that we would heartily recommend:
1. All in One SEO Pack
This one is really an essential. It helps you optimise your blog or website for Search Engines like Google. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital if your site is going to be visible amongst the mass of competing sites out there. All in One SEO Pack allows you to fine tune settings such at page titles and meta tags for each page, improve navigation, and many other advanced settings. Don’t set up a blog without it!
2. Contact Form 7
The best contact form plugin for WordPress that we have found. Every website and blog should have a way for visitors to get in touch. Blogs also allow for commenting on posts of course, but sometimes you just want to contact the author on a general issue. Certainly where WordPress is being used to run a business website, a contact form is a must have, as well as all the usual contact details appearing of course.
Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customise the form and the email contents. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, and the CAPTCHA anti-spam system.
3. TweetMeme Button
A little button that goes at the top of all your blog posts – visitors can click the button to send a Tweet on Twitter about your blog post. A great way to get others to publicise and promote your blog or website. A must have in our view, even if you don’t use Twitter yourself (and if not, why not, by the way?!). The button also show how many times your blog post has been tweeted about via the button.
4. Twitter for WordPress
Another Twitter related plugin, but this time inbound rather than outbound. A sidebar widget which displays your own recent Tweets. A great way to tie-in your Twitter and blog or website activity.
Also worth checking out:
5. NextGEN Gallery
A fully featured image/photo gallery plugin for WordPress. There are hundreds of gallery plugins for WordPress – what impressed about this one is that (as the author himself modestly points out!) it seems to combine all the good features of all the others. With multiple templates, effects, and a simple-to-use admin section, it is our first choice for an image gallery. There are also a load of plugins available to extend the functionality of the plugin!
6. Send link to friend
Another great way to get your message out there by allowing visitors to send a link to the page or post to a friend via a simple sidebar widget form. They enter their friend’s email address and an optional message, and off it goes! It is Ajax based so there is no page refresh, and also optionally supports CAPTCHA anti-spam measure.
An amazing multi-language plugin. Allows users to flick between different language versions of your website. Many languages are supported out of the box with standard phrases already translated. The admin can enter multiple language versions of a page, or link to automated translation services which do it for you. Very configurable and one of those plugins that really beautifully serves its purpose.
A plugin which adds a “print this page/post” link to each page or post, which displays a printer-friendly version of the page (without styling). Via the admin, you can configure whether images in the post are displayed, whether comments are included etc. We don’t advocate printing things unncecessarily, but for certain types of blog or website where an easy print option is needed, this plugin provides it nicely. A little complex to install as you have to add a line of code to your themes template via the appearance editor, but full instructions are provided for the faint-hearted!
9. WP Shopping Cart
Ecommerce/shopping cart functionality for your WordPress powered blog or website. WP Shopping Cart is a simple shopping cart plugin which integrates with Paypal or Google Checkout. Now you’re not going to want to run a full online store with lots of products or categories of products using this plugin, but if you have a few items to sell that relate to your blog or website, this is a really simple way of doing it. It supports downloadable products like ebooks or audio files also, so if you’re a blogger with material that can be sold in this way, this is a good way of integrating a commercial aspect to your blog.
10. Exclude Pages
11. HTML Page Sitemap
OK I know this post is entitled 10 Dynamite WordPress Plugins, but I got to 10 and realised this one really needed to go in! And 11 Dynamite WordPress Plugins did not appeal to my sense of symmetry. So view this one as a bonus!
Help users and Seach Engine Optimisation alike by adding a sitemap to your blog or website. This plugin creates a dynamic page, updated when you add new pages or posts. It’s very configurable, with the possibility of excluding certain pages, or ordering in a certain way.
Well, that’s it – hope you found it useful. Use the comments below to add your own suggestion please!