WordPress Plugins available for download are endless, to sift through them and find one or two that you can actually use can be horrendous. Quite often you can find, like a Flickr Plugins, hundreds that do the same function. Others are far too complicated for the designer as well as the user to be useable. Some are even just pointless, and use up design space. How do you test all of them? Do you rely on word of mouth? Do you ask someone to write a plugin for your tailored needs?
1. CForms 2 (www.deliciousdays.com/cforms-plugin)
Cforms 2 is the first plugin I activate in any WordPress Installation. It is not just a contact from, if you need it to be it can be configured into any type of form you can think of.
Don’t be put off by the functions list, these are understood by the pro,and taken for granted by everyone else, upon using the plugin you will see how easy this plugin is.
Functions: , Ajax supported form submission, Full localization support (see section below), Tell-A-Friend functionality, see Help documentation, File attachments / Upload, fully configurable per form, Multiple upload fields allowed, Backup & Restore, Role Manager support, Database based tracking of submitted data, Cloning / duplication of forms, Drag and drop form management, Fully integrated with TinyMCE and default WP editor (via button), Submission limits (e.g. registrations), Widget support and more
As with all the best plugins, you get an option to style the form to integrate seamlessly into your theme.
Download it NOW: CForms 2 Download.
2. FireStats (http://firestats.cc/)
I get different visitor stats from my Web Hosts control panel, Google Analytics and Alexa. So tracking visitors accurately is not an exact science, as it should be. FireStats is the closed thing to accuracy that I can find, its accuracy is on a par with Google Analytics, which will do me.
The configuration can be a little bit tricky for the novice, but they do have great help on their site. Have a look at the FAQ section before you install it, it will give you an insight into the functions that you can use as well understsand the installation procedure.
Download it here: FireStats Download.
3. WP Post Ratings (http://lesterchan.net)
This adds a rating system add the bottom of each post, allowing each user to have there say on how good your post is. It is powered by Ajax, making it very unobtrusive, and to be honest, configured correctly, can be very elegant. You also have (my favourite option) the option to style the ratings star images with you own. You can also show the rating results in the sidebar, this is also done in an elegant way.
You can see it working at FW Extensions, one of my other sites.
Download it here: WP Post Ratings Download.
4. Twitter Tools (http://alexking.org)
‘This plugin creates an integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account. Pull your tweets into your blog and create new tweets on blog posts and from within WordPress.’ As Alex King simply puts it on his webpage. Simple is the word here. If you haven’t got a Twitter account, I strongly suggest you get one. The plugin allows you to dispaly your latest tweets in your sidebar. Simple.
Download it here: Twitter Tools Download.
5. Social Bookmark Creator (http://www.twistermc.com)
For every Social Bookmark site there seems to be 10 plugins. This is the simplest that I have found, it is the plugin I use for speckyboy.com. It can display image links, or as I like it, as text links. It can even do it as a dropdown list. It blends with your sites CSS style very well, and its options menu is very easy use and configure. The links can then be placed anywhere you want it show up.
Download it here: Social Bookmark Creator Download.
6. Plug ‘n’ Play Google Map (http://archive.yongfook.com/plug-n-play-google-map/)
This is a plugin that links your post to the relevant geographic location on your Google Map page and it will only show up on posts that have latitude and longitude data associated with them. To show this button, you will need to edit one of your templates. Navigate to Presentation > Theme Editor. On the right hand side, click on Single Post. Where you put the button is up to you, but as an example, lets make it so the button appears after the main content of your post.
How cool is that. I am going to, some day, make a website just for this. This is for all you world travellers out there. (One of you commission me to make this site).
Download it here: Plug ‘n’ Play Google Map Download.
7. Google XML Sitemaps (http://www.arnebrachhold.de)
‘This plugin generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. This format is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.’ This will make it easier for your site to be indexed with google. A Must.
Download it here: Google XML Maps.
8. All in One SEO Pack (http://wp.uberdose.com)
As they say, this plugin is streamlined for best SEO practices for WordPress. Actually very easy to install, and the user interface is easy to fill out. Recommended for the serious blogger.
Download it here: All in One SEO Pack Download.
9. FeedBurner FeedSmith (http://www.feedburner.com)
For those who don’t know, this allows you to track everyone that subscribes to your RSS feeds, giving you many stats and useful information,
Download it here: Feedburner Download.
10. Download Exec-PHP 4.3 (http://www.feedburner.com)
Have you ever tried to write code in a post without a plugin? Your whole sites appearance crumbles. There are methods around this of course, I have found this plugin is the best.
Download it here: Download Exec-PHP 4.3 Download.
11. Lightbox 2 (http://zeo.unic.net.my/notes/lightbox2-for-wordpress/)
Lightbox is the best effect you can find for an image gallery. Not just for galleries but even for a single thumbnail image. Like all good plugins you can style the CSS until your hearts content. If you haven’t, you should.
Download it here: Lightbox 2 Download.
12. WP-Cache 2.0 (http://mnm.uib.es/gallir/wp-cache-2/)
WP-Cache is an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It works by caching Worpress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database. WP-Cache allows to serve hundred of times more pages per second, and to reduce the response time from several tenths of seconds to less than a millisecond.
Download it here: WP-Cache 2.0 Download
13. WASABI Related Post (http://wasabi.pbwiki.com/Related%20Entries)
This plugin will output a series of “related” entries based on keyword matching. The plugin installation is standard, the configuration a little bit more complicated. Have a look at the release notes for help.
Download it here: WASABI Related Post Download.
13. Search-Highlighter (http://www.fahlstad.se/wp-plugins/search-highlighter/)
A plugin that highlights the search terms in your posts. Only tested with WP 2+ and not MU.
Download it here: Search-Highlighter Download.
14. WordPress Database Backup (http://www.ilfilosofo.com/blog/wp-db-backup/)
WordPress database backup creates backups of your core WordPress tables as well as other tables of your choice in the same database. Better safe than sorry.
Download it here: WordPress Database Backup Download.
15. flickrRSS (http://eightface.com/wordpress/flickrrss/)
This plugin for WordPress allows you to display Flickr photos on your weblog. The plugin supports user, public and group photostreams. It’s easy to setup and configure via an options panel. It also has support for an image cache located on your server.
Download it here: flickrRSS Download.
16. WP-PageNavi 2.20 (http://www.lesterchan.net)
Adds a more advanced paging navigation your WordPress blog. Example: Pages (17):  2 3 4 » … Last ». Very useful if you have a large blog with many posts.
Download it here: WP-PageNavi 2.20 Download.
17. Easy Tube (http://www.ejump.co.uk)
Need YouTube or Google Videos on your WordPress blog without all the hastle of playing with HTML code? Then the EasyTube plugin is for you! The EasyTube plugin allows you to take control of your video content by using one simple tag!
Download it here: Easy Tube Download.
18. Spam Karma 2.3 (http://unknowngenius.com/blog/wordpress/spam-karma/)
Spam Karma is a great free replacement for Askimet. Very powerful and thorough.
Download it here: Spam Karma 2.3 Download.
19. WordPress Global Translator Plugin (http://www.nothing2hide.net)
Global Translator is a free and open source WordPress Plugin which is able to dynamically translate your blog in the following thirteen different languages:
English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Greek, Dutch.
The number of available translations will depend on your blog language and the translation engine you will chose to use.
Download it here: WordPress Global Translator Plugin Download.
20. Democracy AJAX Poll (http://blog.jalenack.com/archives/democracy/)
This plugin places an ajax poll in your wp blog. Very simple to use and configure.
Download it here: Democracy AJAX Poll Download.
To save your SQL server resources, WP Cache works by caching Worpress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database. It is a very useful plugin if you have a high traffic site or low performance server.
Want to sell stuffs on your blog? You must check out this WP eCommerce plugin byInstinct. It is an Ajax powered shopping cart, very easy to use. You can setup your shop in minutes through the Admin panels.
I’ve been using this contact form for over a year. It works very good and filters all the spams. Seriously, NO SPAM at all. It also allows you to customize the email subject, thank you messages, and adds addition form fields.
One of the popular WordPress plugins, Sideblog is the best way to post short notes on the sidebar. I use it for Best Web Gallery. It gives you options to define the sideblog category, how many entries to display, and whether to exclude from RSS feeds.
WP PageNavi adds a better paging navigation to your WordPress site. It is nice if you have a lot of posts because it allows your visitors to skip from page to page. I use it on Web2.0 design Gallery.
Sociable appends a list of the social bookmarking sites (ie. Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit) at the end of your posts and allows your visitors to bookmark. I used this plugin before and it worked very well.
WP Post Ratings adds a 5-star Ajax rating system to your posts/pages. It works like a charm. Hint: most CSS gallery sites use this plugin.
A very simple yet effect Ajax comment plugin, it checks if all fields filled correctly (so your visitors will never see the default error messages), and also makes sure to avoid comment duplication, and has flood protection capabilities as well.
This plugin gives your visitors an Ajax live comment preview. It is great if they need to enter HTML tags in your comments. So, no more syntax errors in your comments.
As seen on Web Designer Wall, it adds a Ajax poll system to your site. It is very flexible with a lot of features. Layout is completely customizable via Admin panels. It also allows you to archive the polls. Highly recommended!
It basically display a Gravatar (globally recognized avatar) of your commenters. In case you don’t know yet, Automattic (WordPress creator) just acquired Gravatar and the future Gravatar services will run faster and bigger sizes (up to 128px).
Digg this is a WordPress plugin that detects incoming links from Digg.com to your wordpress post and automatically display a link back to the digg post, for people to digg your story. When a digg is first recognized, it will send an email to the site’s admin.
Subscribe to Comments 2.1 is a plugin that allows commenters on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments. You probably seen it already, it adds a checkbox “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” in the comment form.
I’ve been this plugin since my first WordPress site, it is a must have for every WordPress site. It saves me so much time and clicks. It basically makes your secondary menu activate on mouseover. For example, instead of click Write, then click Page; you can mouseover Write and click Page (this will save one click and one pageload). Big time saver!
Adsense Deluxe is probably the best Adsense plugin available on the web. Very easy to use: first you define your ad code through the Admin options, then insert a HTML snippet (“<!–adsense–>”) into anywhere of your post content, and it will automatically repace it with your ad code.
Default WordPress search engine doesn’t search metadatas, static Pages, etc. This plugin allows you to search everything in the database. Of course, it comes with options, so you can set what to search.
If you use calendar in your sidebar, consider this Ajax Calendar. Your visitor can browse through the calendar without refreshing the page.
Although not many sites use breadcrumb navigation now, but if you want, here is one: Breadcrumb Navigation XT. It basically lets you add a breabcrumb navigation to your site.
If you need to generate a XML compliant sitemap for search engines, Google Sitemap Generator is the best choice (supported by most popular search engines: Google, Yahoo, Ask.com, and MSN).
Another must have plugin. In fact, it is in all my WordPress sites. It outputs a list of recent comment excerpt. You can install as WordPress plugin or simply include in your theme folder (no activation required). Simple!
As of version 2.3, WordPress has a built-in tagging system, however with very limited features. Simple Tags gives you more features: type-ahead / auto suggestion tags, manage tags (rename, delete, add..), edit mass tags, dynamic tag cloud colors, and more!
Not sure if anyone would still signup newsletter since we have RSS now. But newsletter is the best way to inform your subscribers with new products and updates. I find this plugin will be useful if you run a WP eCommerce shop. It is not free (cost $14.99), but totally worth it (check out their features).
This plugin is useful if you get a lot of comments on your blog. It breaks your comments into a number of pages. Imagine if your blog gets over a thousand of comments? You definitely need this plugin.
This plugin allows you to easily display Flickr photos on your weblog. It supports user, public and group photostreams. The plugin is relatively easy to setup and configure via an options panel. It also has support for an image cache located on your server.
Theme Switcher allows your readers to switch among installed themes. This plugin is useful if you offer WordPress theme and you want to let your users to preview the themes.
WordPress Functional Plugins
- Include AdSense and YPN ads automatically. AdSense-Deluxe offers advanced options for managing the automatic insertion of Google AdSense or Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads to your WordPress posts. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- Use an instant comments editor. WP Ajax Edit Comments allows users and admins alike to edit comments on a post. Users can edit their own comments for a period specified by the admin, and admins can edit all post comments. What better way to show reader appreciation than letting the readers edit their own typos? (AJ)
- Use a code cleaner. HTML Purified will not only remove all malicious code (better known as XSS) with a thoroughly audited, secure yet permissive whitelist, it will also make sure your documents are standards compliant, something only achievable with a comprehensive knowledge of W3C’s specifications. (Edward Z. Jang)
- Use an audio-player. Audioplayer makes it very easy to play mp3 files within your posts. (Yehia Nada)
- Use an enhanced admin interface. Admin Drop-Down Menu transforms admin menu in a quick drop-down menu; you can reach any admin page in one click, instead of first clicking on the first level link (”Manage” for example) and then only on a submenu link (”Comments“). (ozh)
- Use an enhanced comment form. PXS Mail Form creates a mail form with multipart verification, various messages and an auto redirect on successful send. It is much more easy to contact with website author. Alternative: Contact Form v2.0. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- Use a post star rating. Post Star Rating enables users to rate posts of your weblog.
- Use a search-and-replace tool. Search Regex adds a powerful set of search and replace functions to WordPress. These go beyond the standard searching capabilities, and allow you to search and replace almost any data stored on your site. In addition to simple searches you have the full power of PHP’s regular expressions at your disposal. (Sassan)
- Use a spam-filter to prevent spam in your comments. Spam Karma 2 Akismet Pluginis a standard solution for preventing spam comments. (Cory Miller)
- Use a tagging system. Simple Tagging is a smart, quick and powerful tagging plugin with high performance and low server requirements.
- Use and control RSS subscription in a smart way.. Feedburner Plugin. Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents. (Andreas)
- Use caching to reduce the server usage. WP-Cache 2.0 an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It works by caching Worpress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database. (Brian)
- Use CAPTCHA to prevent spam. Anti-Spam Image Plugin works perfectly with users who have cookies disabled, users can pick random words to display. Alternative:reCAPTCHA. (redwall-hp, Max)
- Use maths to prevent spam. Anti-Spam Image Plugin asks the visitor making the comment to answer a simple math question. This is intended to prove that the visitor is a human being and not a spam robot. (Tobbi)
- Use validation to prevent trackback spam. Simple Trackback Validation performs simple but very effective tests on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam. (Tobbi)
- Use comments subscription for your posts. Subscribe to Comments is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries. The plugin includes a full-featured subscription manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts, block all notifications, or even change their notification e-mail address! (redwall-hp)
- Use feeds to write posts in a smart way. WP-o-Matic allow you to create posts automatically from feeds. With its simple interface, you just type in the feed url, select in which categories you want to create the posts, and you’re ready to go. (Charlie Park)
- Use head meta tags for search engines. Head-Meta Description provides an automatic meta description tag for your blog, inserting a dynamic description depending on the query-type (i.e. page you’re on). Some search engines are supposed to love this tag, so I guess we should, too.
- Use the search functionality. Search Everything adds search functionality with little setup. Including options to search pages, attachments, drafts, comments and custom fields (metadata). (Dan Cameron)
- Provide an enhanced RSS-feed.. Feedburner Plugin. Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents. (Andreas)
- Create and manage Custom Fields on the fly. Better Feed allows you to enhance your feeds with several highly customisable features. (ozh)
- Create archives in a smart and sexy way. Extended Live Archives implements a dynamic, AJAXified way of digging into the archives of a blog. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- Create data backups on the fly. WordPress Database Backup setups your backups to occur at almost any imaginable frequency. (Yehia Nada)
- Create various profiles for your users. Role Manager allows you to define and manage multiple subscriber profiles – called Roles and their Capabilities. Also you can create new Roles and Capabilities. (Saioa)
- Define and execute your own functions in your posts. Code Markup makes it easy to include program code samples in your posts. You can even include HTML markup in the code sample; Code Markup magically knows which characters should be displayed as code and which should be rendered as HTML. (Dan)
- Execute php-commands in your posts. Exec-PHP. The Exec-PHP plugin allows
<?php ?>tags inside the content or excerpt of your posts and pages to be executed just as in usual PHP files.
- Generate Google Sitemaps automatically. Google Sitemaps Generator generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. This format is supported by Google, YAHOO and MSN Search. XML-Sitemaps can help you to get indexed by the major search engines. (Cory Miller)
Displaying Data with WordPress
- You can display popular posts. Popularity contest lets you automatically highlight your best posts to your readers. It keeps a count of your post, category and archive views, comments, trackbacks, etc. and uses them to determine which of your posts are most popular. (Staska)
- You can stick a post. Adhesive allows you to easily mark certain posts as “Sticky”. Sticky posts appear at the top of the page when WordPress displays several posts. (Staska)
- You can help landing users find what they need. Landing sites 1.3 highlights search queries users were using in search engines to find your site. When visitors is referred to your site from a search engine, they are definitely looking for something specific – often they just roughly check the page they land on and then closes the window if what they are looking for isn’t there. Why not help them by showing them related posts to their search on your blog? (TheBlogJoint.com)
- You can use enhanced pagination. WP-PageNavi. This plugin adds a more advanced paging navigation your WordPress blog. Example: Pages (17):  2 3 4 » … Last ». (Chris)
- You can show similar and related posts. Similar Posts. This plugin displays a list of posts which are related or similar to the current post. Alternative: Related entries. (Chris)
- You can create archives in a smart way. Smart Archives for WordPress will allow you to display your archives in a much “cleaner” format. You can see it in action on my archives page. You’ll notice that everything on the page is hyperlinked (years, months, posts) and that all of the respective links are future-proofed. (redwall-hp)
- You can create footnotes in your blog posts automatically. WP Footnotes lets you create footnotes in your blog “on the fly”. Also paginated posts are supported. (Chris)
- You can create sidenotes automatically. fQuick enables the user to add small custom quicklinks to the sidebar. With RSS feed for easy syndication. Tutorial. lets you create footnotes in your blog “on the fly”. Also paginated posts are supported. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- You can have more control over title presentation. Optimal Title mirrors the function of wp_title() exactly, but moves the position of the ’separator’ to after the title rather than before. This allows you to have your blog name tacked on to the end of the page title instead of having it appear first.
- You can enhance WordPress as a CMS. CMS Enabling Plugins: WordPress contains almost all the features you need to get it going as a CMS out of the box. However, you’ll find that there are a few things missing that make up the final pieces of the puzzle. Here’s an overview of the five most useful plugins I’ve found, and the part they play in making WordPress a butt-kicking CMS. (Jim)
- You can use sIFR for your headlines. CG-FlashyTitles a drop-in Plugin for sIFR 2.0 Flash-based title replacements. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- You can show your favourite books automatically. Now Reading allows you to maintain a virtual library of books. Display which you’ve read, which you’re currently reading, and which you plan to read; add metadata to describe them; write reviews detailing what you thought of them. (Chris)
- You can show your current events automatically. Event Calendar lets you manage future events as an online calendar. Display upcoming events in a dynamic calendar, on a listings page, or as a list in the sidebar. (Chris)
- You can use gravatars in your comments. Gravatars adds an author’s icon functionality in comments. (TheBlogJoint.com)
- You can use podcasts in your posts. Podpress: all-singing, all-dancing podcasting tool for WordPress. (jay mcdonald)