5 Essential WordPress Plugins
If you create sites using WordPress, I’m sure there are certain plugins you find yourself using over and over again – either because they do so much that they can transform a site, or because they do just one little thing but do it really well.
Here are the 5 that I tend to copy from my WordPress resources folder straight into the plugins folder of every new WordPress site I create, because I figure I’ll be using them at some point during the site’s development. Some may be familiar to you, but maybe there are one or two you haven’t tried yet.
By the way, these all work with WordPress 2.7.1, which is the version I currently work with – I haven’t tested them on 2.8 yet.
1. Role Manager
If you’re going to allow your clients to manage content, while retaining the admin role yourself, this is absolutely essential. Under the hood of WordPress, the role management system is more complex and versatile than the simple “editor, publisher, contributor” roles would have you believe. This plugin simply gives you an interface to that added flexibility, and means that you can easily tweak what your authors can do, and even set up new roles.
A nice simple plugin that vastly improves the metadata included by WordPress in each page. Titles become more SEO friendly, and you can override keywords and descriptions on any page or post.
3. CForms II
This is a strange one. For ages it was in the WordPress plugins repository, until someone pointed out that the author wasn’t licensing it under the GPL (which is a condition of making plugins for WordPress). The author promptly pulled it in what everyone assumes was a fit of pique, but has since agreed to continue developing it, though it is not available in the repository (you have to go to the author’s website).
Having said all that, it is the most versatile forms creator and manager available for WordPress, and stands head and shoulders above anything else available.
Unfortunately it’s also an absolute bitch to transfer from one server to another when a site is moved or deployed from a development server, but it’s still well worth using. In the future I’ll write a post about exactly how to move a WordPress site that uses the CForms II plugin.
Good things sometimes come in small packages. This just does what it says on the tin, no messing, with outbound link tracking thrown in.
For me this is the perfect way to integrate a gallery and/or slideshow into WordPress. It’s extremely easy to configure, and the Flash slideshow is a very pretty touch that always makes the client go “ooh!”.
Disagree with my choices? Tried these on 2.8 and want to share the results? Have some alternatives that you couldn’t live without? Put fingers to keyboard below.