My WordPress Plugin Choices

The blogging era is in full force and has no signs of slowing down. Just about every web site is using WordPress for a platform. WordPress just simplifies everything, and makes it so easy to customize it, with themes, plugins and widgets. There is really nothing that you can not do with a WordPress website/blog.

There are so many plugins available today, literally thousands. There is a plugin out there for just about anything you can imagine. There are some good plugins, but, most are garbage. With that said, I am not going to mention any bad plugins, I’d rather focus on what I use.

I am going to cover the WordPress plugins that I am currently using and/or have used in the past. I don’t use that many plugins, I try to keep them to a minimum and hard code most of what I need and use. Basically, I would say the plugins I use is a must have for me, in most cases, depending on the kind of content I am using.

All in One SEO Pack
If you want your website / blog to rank well, then, this is a must have plugin. By default, WordPress doesn’t have the necessary meta tags for seo, like keywords (search engines basically ignore), description (search engines use this in the search results) and canonical (avoids duplicate content). This plugin also let’s you override the title tag. By default, WordPress uses your blog title in the title tag, which is no good for seo. There are a lot more great features, and anyone who wants to make their web presence known, uses it.

Contact Form 7
If you have a contact page, chances are you probably have this plugin. This is a must have plugin to have for any kind of contact form. I use this plugin for simple contacts. I also use this plugin for file and image attachments. You can add as many fields as you want, such as, text, radio, checkbox, drop down menus, file transfer, etc. You can have as many contact forms as you need.

Really Simple CAPTCHA
If you have any type of contact form, you are going to get spam. To minimize it, you will need to have captcha. Really simple captcha was designed for contact form 7. It works seamlessly with contact for 7. No, settings to deal with, just go into your contact form 7 area and there’s an option to add it. Very simple.

Google Sitemap Generator
If you want the search engines to index your blog posts, then, you need to have a dynamic sitemap to find them. This plugin is a must and has a lot of useful features. Every time you make a post, this plugin will update your sitemap, and even ping Google, Bing and Ask to crawl the updates. If you make a lot of posts, I would disable this, over pinging is bad. You site map will be generated in xml format, and for those larger blogs, with 100s of posts, you can have it compressed to xml.gz.

NextGEN Gallery
This is such an awesome plugin to have, if you want to have slideshows, albums and/or galleries. There is so many great features with this. I don’t have very much use for a plugin like this, but I have been playing around with it, and I do like it.

If you want to take your website / blog viral, then, you have to have a share plugin. There are so many share plugins out there, but this one is my personal favorite. This plugin has a lot more sharing options, than most plugins. I really like and feel of the hide away style. They really are sexy.

Paginate is a plugin that replaces WordPress default navigation links at the bottom of your blog. You know, the ugly links that say “<< Older Entries" and "Newer Entries >>”. Paginate will replace those ugly plain links with stylish page numbers. Page numbers, to me, look more attractive, and organized. Paginate also has it’s own css file. So, with a little bit of editing, you can make it match your theme.

PostRatings is a plugin that allows users to rate your posts. I have this on one of my sites, and I like it, but it doesn’t suit all niches. In the right niche, it is a great plugin, unless you don’t mind your posts being rated. I think it really depends on the site it’s on, and your niche. Anyways, you can also view posts by highest rated, lowest rated, most rated and least rated. This plugin has a lot of good features. You can easily customize the way it is presented and the rating style.

User Photo
If you have ever wondered how I have managed to get my pic below the post title, it’s this plug in. User photo is a simple little plugin that lets you add a picture to your user page. It also lets you attach a thumbnail to your blog posts, like mine. I think it is a good way for your viewers to put a face with the writer. It gives your blog a nice personal touch. If you are willing to put a picture next to your work, you’re letting your viewers, you got nothing to hide.

WP e-Commerce
This plugin is a very popular shopping cart. I have used it at one time, but stopped, because it didn’t fit my needs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s decent plugin. It has a lot of good features and accepts many types of payment gateways, just wasn’t for me. You will need patients when setting up this plugin, there are a lot of settings and it takes time. It can be very confusing at first, so take your time.

Simple Press
Simple press is a forum that is integrated into your WordPress blog. I just starting using this on a few of my other web sites. I have tried other forums, and never found one I liked. But, I do like this one, and it has a lot of useful features. With a little css, you can get this to blend really nicely into your blog. The configuration/setup process might be a little confusing at first, but you get the hang of it. The authors of this plugin have put together a very comprehensive tutorial list to assist in the setup.

Exclude Pages
This is a great plugin to use when you have pages that you don’t want showing up in your menu bar. You are always going to have pages you don’t want in your menu bar, such as legal documents. It gives you control of how you want your menu look. You just tick a checkbox to have your page display in the menu bar, and untick it, to disappear. Very simple.

I know there are more very popular WordPress plugins I didn’t mention. I didn’t mention them, because I never used them.

Which WordPress plugins do you like and use?

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