Anytime we build a WordPress site for a client we nearly always end up installing the same plugins initially as they are typically useful on every site nowadays regardless of the goals of the site.
If you are using WordPress for your site and not using any of these plugins they are well worth checking out. I’d got as far as to say these are THE 10 essential wordpress plugins right now.
Some enable clients to manage more aspects of the site for themselves, some help them manage the site by reducing the work they have to do and others work behind the scenes to improve the site’s effectiveness.
Obviously this list is accurate at the time of writing but we will revisit it and update it if needbe throughout 2010 to keep it relevant. They are listed alphabetically as we are not ranking them. Why do people do plugin ranking lists? They are only either useful or not. Anyway…
Let’s get to it. On with the 10 best wordpress plugins in 2010:
Set it up for the client and it will run on autopilot populating the meta data and page titles automatically for every page and post.
You can choose which elements of the post and pages it uses to produce the data and the format it gets presented in so the client doesn’t have to worry about populating the SEO settings as they go along. Every post/page also has an option to overwrite the pre-defined settings on a page by page basis for the more on-site SEO savvy clients or for times you want to help them really optimise some killer content they want to utilise to the fullest.
Cforms is an awesome plugin. I think it’s the most advanced, flexible and documented plugin I’ve come across.
The plugin allows you to create forms for your site using a visual editor to create the fields and decide on the behaviour of the form. You can almost do anything you can think of that you could create without the limitation of a typical plugin.
Choose from pre defined styles for the forms or style your own (supports multiple styles across the site), custom error messages, make fields requires, type of input, choose the redirect page on submission, post the form data to an alternative place, receive notifications of submissions, set a from email address and populate and control autoresponders, create a chain of multi page forms that pass data along the chain, captcha and user Q&A and lots more.
And that’s for each form. And you can create as many as you like.
You can also control global settings like what mail servers it uses, the captcha and user Q&A questions, pop up date pickers and so on.
If you are willing to depart from the glossy front end and get your hands dirty in the code you can also create dynamic forms and have things like different redirect pages activated based on form choices byt the user to send them to different payment pages for example.
The other amazing new feature is the tracking facilities. Instead of the data just being emailed to a client you can just turn on tracking and all form submissions will be stored in a new table in your WP database. It even activates a nice front end in the admin system so the client can click one button to download all the form submissions they have received, which are tagged according to which form the user filled in, so they can use the data for marketing or importing into their CRM.
Adding the forms to a post or page is as simple as pasting in a small snippet of code so clients can easily do it themselves or it makes your web developer adding a new form a very simple job.
This plugin generates an xml sitemap when once activated notifies Google and other search engines when a new page or post is created and helps them find your content by keeping them up to date with the structure of your site.
You can set the frequency that pages on your site are updated, choose which types of pages to include or not in the sitemap and which search engines you want to update either automatically as your site is updated or manually if you prefer to have more control over the process.
Awesome plugin to leave running in the background. Clients don’t have to touch it and it keeps Google updated with what they do on the site.
It does what it says and lets you rearrange all the pages on the site. Perfect for when clients add new pages themselves and also saves the headache of having to manually assign the order for the developer.
You order the pages using drag and drop so it’s nice and easy and supports multi level menus.
This plugin automatically inserts a list of related posts to the end of your posts and feeds to keep people on the site for longer and help them easily find related content.
If there are no related posts you can either display nothing, a list of random posts or posts with the most comments count.
You can manually insert where the list appears using a snippet of code or have it automatically appear at the end of posts.
This plugin lets you easily prevent pages, posts, categories and tags appearing on pages, feeds, searches and archives.
Great if you create pages that are not relevant for people finding in searches on your site or posts not worthy of being added to a popular feed.
This plugin lets you add social sharing and bookmarking icons to the bottom of posts and/or pages.
There over 100 icons you can add and it’s done easily using check boxes to activate or disable the ones you want and drag and drop to assign the order.
You can easily decide which types of pages you want them added to, use your own icons instead of the default ones provided and integrate with bookmarking API’s.
Unlike Add This it doesn’t self promote in the sharing links (so lame Add This!).
Easily assign which types of pages or individual pages and posts you don’t want to be indexed Google.
This keeps the SERPs focussed on the most important pages and areas of the site and again it can be preset and run on autopilot but with the ability to add individual posts/pages if you need to.
We choose this over Akismet every time. Powerful, robust and effective. Say goodbye to comment and form spam.
Speed up word press using Super Cache which “generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After an html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.”
With site load speed now being a factor in the Google algorithm you should definately be using this one
That’s the list!
Did you find one you didn’t know about before? Are there alternatives that you prefer using?