15 Must Have WordPress Plugins

Update:Check out my new release, Peeling Back WordPress, for an in-depth look at WordPress.

WordPress plugins allow you to extend new functionality to your administrative users and website visitors. I’ve listed my favorite WordPress plugins below (alphabetical order).

If you’re interested in developing a WordPress plugin, but just not sure where to get started, the WordPress Codex site has a great beginner’s guide called Writing a Plugin.

Install this plugin first:
One Click Plugin Updater

No longer do you have to download your plugins and FTP them to your server. With this plugin you can copy the download link and paste it into an input box. This works for plugins as well as themes, so you’ll define which one you’re installing and hit the install button. This will make your blog improvements a little easier.

WordPress Plugins

  • Contact Form 7

    Quick and easy contact form plugin – simple but flexible.

    cforms is worth mentioning as well, but I like Contact Form 7 better based on usage to date.

  • FeedBurner FeedSmith

    Convert your default WordPress RSS feed URLs (posts and comments) to a FeedBurner feed. This enables you to track and analyze your subscribers.

  • Gigs Calendar

    While not for everyone, if you need to display event information on a regular basis, this is an awesome plugin.

  • Google Analyticator

    Quickly add Google Analytics to your site for website visitor and content analysis/reporting.

  • Google XML Sitemaps

    Automatically generate a sitemap file for your website. This helps search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and others better understand how frequently to check for updates.

  • NextGen Gallery

    This is by far, the best WordPress gallery plugin I have found. Great image/gallery/album management and equipped with AJAX gallery displays and Cooliris integration.

  • No Self Pings

    Want to link to other posts in your site, but don’t want to ping yourself, creating trackbacks? This plugin solves that problem by eliminating pings from your own site.

  • Platinum SEO Pack

    Awesome SEO pack that allows you to easily introduce SEO into your site.

  • Really Simple CAPTCHA

    CAPTCHA enables you to eliminate bots submitting forms by asking the visitor to type letters into an input box based on an image. A big help against bot SPAM.

  • Sociable

    Allow your users to extend your content to others via social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and others directly from your website

  • Twitter Tools

    Twitter is a great way to provide updates, but represents a medium optimized for minimal content. Twitter Tools allows you to post WordPress posts from your Twitter feed, and also allows you to post links to your WordPress posts to Twitter automatically. A great way to extend your social marketing tactics, while aligning with the intended use of the medium..

  • WP-DBManager

    Don’t forget to update your database regularly. You’ll hate it if your DB crashes and you have to start recreating all of your content from scratch.

  • WP Security Scan

    A quick vulnerability scanning utility. While this certainly shouldn’t be used as your sole security reference, its a quick, informative help.

  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

    Automatically provide links to related posts in your WordPress posts. This is great because it extends relevant linking for SEO and enables the visitors to more effectively use the site.

Keep in mind that these are just a few. There are a ton of great WordPress plugins out there. Let me know about your favorite WordPress plugins in the comments.

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