My must-have Wordpress plugins

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 19:15
Recently, I've been setting up a bunch of new websites for some of our business ventures. They aren't web applications and don't need fancy programming; they just need to be informational, attractive, quick to set up and in most cases easy to maintain by non-techie types. A while back, @nathany suggested to me that Wordpress might be an appropriate tool for these kinds of sites. At first I thought a blogging tool was kind of an odd choice, but then I realized I'd already used the Blogger platform for a couple sites that are more static-y than blog-y (See http://thelog.ca and http://wildrosemiata.com) so I thought I should check out Wordpress.

Turns out the recent versions of WP are pretty good for use as a basic CMS and there's a fair number of articles available online offering tutorials on this use. My hosting provider offers Wordpress as an easy and free add-on so I didn't even have to do the install, just click-click, voila! and I had a test site to play with.

Anyway, on to the meat of this article, after setting up a few sites, I found myself installing a core set of plugins on each. These are my basic set of must-haves for setting up a Wordpress-powered CMS site.
  • MMForms - Quick and easy setup of forms for contact info, applications, etc. Nice set of options, including confirmation emails to submitter and saving to database and providing an RSS feed for the submitted data. I can forsee creating some app links that pull the form data via RSS into something else for additional processing.
  • Ultimate Google Analytics - Makes it easy to add and manage Google analytics links across the site. I like the ability to have it not track requests when users of a given userlevel are logged in and to ignore admin requests.
  • All In One SEO Pack - This plugin is great for making various tweaks to how your pages are formed, titles, keywords etc. I'm not all that concerned about SEO at this point in time, but I do like the fine control it gives over the page metadata.
  • WP-DBManager - This should really be a part of Wordpress core. It provides options to view, optimize and backup your databases and peform various other DB tasks. Handy stuff to have in the WP admin instead of having to fire up a separate DB admin tool.
  • Sociable - This one I haven't used on every site, but for the ones I think warrant it, this plugin makes it super easy to add quick links for readers to share your pages on about ninety gazillion social networking sites.
So that's my list. I'm still pretty new to the Wordpress scene. Are there some others that I should be looking into? I still haven't found a really good Paypal cart/link tool that beats simply using the tools that Paypal provides.


2 comments

  1. Daniel Says:

    Hey Jim!

    Some other plugins I love...

    WP Super Cache: This is really useful when you get tons of visitors, but it also serves to optimize loading speeds if your server is a bit slow. It dynamically generates static, gzipped pages, and updates then whenever they change.

    Wordpress Mobile Edition: Easy, no-frills. Allows you to see your blog from an iPhone, which is always a plus. :)

    Subscribe to Comments: Another one that should be part of the baseline. Adds a checkmark after the comment form, so people can get an email notification when new comments are posted. Pretty invaluable, IMO.

    Enjoy Wordpress!

  2. Jim Whitelaw Says:

    Thanks for the tips, Daniel. I'll definitely check those out.

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