Favorite WordPress Plugins

June 12th, 2013

Here is my plugin list.

Essential plugins:

  1. WordPress SEO (by Yoast) or All In One SEO. There is lots of debate over which one of these is better. Yoast’s is more fully featured, All in One is more automatic (set it and forget it). If you are willing to do the work, go with Yoast, and be sure to read his manual. Actually read Yoast even if you are using All-in-One.
  2. Better WP Security. I wrote a post about this. If you install this, you will see, in the logs that it records, the IP addresses of the evil bots at are constantly attempting to break into your site. There are lots of evil bots, all over the globe, hammering on every site on the planet.
  3. Advanced Excerpt. I think I install this on every site. I like to use excerpts, and this lets me control the length, retain links, italics and bold text.
  4. Akismet. This comes pre-installed on WordPress. If your site has comments, get it a key, and run this. If not, delete it.
  5. WP Mobile Detect. This is a key part of my mobile toolkit. If you want your site to look different on different platforms, CSS will do it. If you want to serve different content to different platforms, you need conditionals in your PHP that responds to different platforms. For example, this lets you use conditionals such as: that only executes code if the user’s platform is mobile.

Content

  1. Many web owners who do not want blog-tyoe sites like control over the sequence of their posts, and a plugin should make this simple. I used to use the excellent Easy Post Order, but its now out-of-date and broken on current wordpress. A good replacement is not apparent. Recently I tried My Posts Order, but the UI sucks.

Three plugins by Justin Tadlock

  1. Widgets Reloaded. This plugin has not been updated in two years (2013), but it was built by renowned WP developer Justin Tadlock, so I trust it. It contains better versions of the built in WP widgets.
  2. Get The Image. Another by Tadlock. This is a plugin that gives you a useful template hook to put in your templates. Use it for such things as putting featured images where you want them, or thumbnails on excerpts. You need to know at least rudimentary PHP to use it.
  3. Query Posts. Yet another by Tadlock. It lets you put a loop in your sidebar with the query_posts hook, and what’s more it has a nice interface that gives you checkboxes and fields for every single option or variable query_posts offers. Amazing.

Login and Admin

  1. 404 Redirected. I’m not the sort of person who likes looking at server logs. This plugin saves me the trouble, most of the time. First, it has the ability to ‘catch’ some 404 errors and magically redirect them to to correct page. Second it will log all 404s, and you can sort this data. If you have a big site, you can sort by quantity, so you can deal with the most often repeated 404s. And third, it will write the re-direct rule for you, so you don’t have to go to your .htaccess file.
  2. AJAX Thumbnail Rebuild. I used to use Regenerate Thumbnails when I wanted to change images sizes when I was re-designing a site. But now I use this AJAX thing. Its so much better, faster, more accurate.
  3. Admin Bar Disabler. This is useful on a site with lots of users logging on. I don’t want Subscriber users to see any sort of Admin bar. This disabled it just for subscribers.

Images

  1. Lightbox Plus ColorBox.  This makes a nice simple gallery: you click the image and the enlargement pops up in a lightbox.
  2. Meta slider. Quick and smart way to add a slider to a theme. This has the right amount of tools that are useful to WordPress themers, and doesn’t add annoying inline styles.

 

 

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