A list of WordPress plugins, with links and some words about what purpose they serve

A friend who is setting up a WordPress blog asked me yesterday what plugins I use. He also suggested I do a blog post on the subject.

Here it is.

Akismet

Akismet by Matt Mullenweg checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. From what I know, if you use no other plugin you should at least use this one.

Blogroll Links

By Rajiv Pant. Displays blogroll links on a Page or Post.

Brian’s Threaded Comments

This gives you threaded comments and a “wandering” comment form.

CommentLuv

Andy Bailey’s plugin to show a link to the last post from the commenters blog by parsing the feed at their given URL when they leave a comment.

Comment Relish

Increases your readership and RSS subscription rate by simply sending a short ‘thank you’ relishing type message to users when they first comment on your weblog. By Justin Shattuck

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator

Generates a fully customizable sitemap which is readable effortlessly by humans. For example, see the sitemap generated for this site. As distinct from the Google XML sitemap (see plugin below) which is there for the search engines.

Do Follow

Removes the nofollow attribute that WordPress adds in comments. By Denis de Bernardy.

I don’t fully understand the whole do follow / no follow discussion. On his site, Denis de Bernardy argues the case for “do follow” here. There is ample discussion of the topic on various blogs and Andy Beal provides his ultimate list of do follow plugins.

Favicon Head

Tim A. Johansson’s Favicon Head adds meta tags in the head of every page, specifying the location of your blog’s favicon.ico.

FeedBurner FeedSmith

Originally authored by Steve Smith, this plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin by Arne Brachhold will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO.  My understanding is that an XML sitemap is valuable for search engine optimisation.

Lijit Search

I’m definitely a lijit fan. It does an excellent job of searching the blog.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

Saves your wordpress blog from getting tagged as ping spammer (for example, stops the WordPress default which pings again if you do a simple edit or update).

PicApp

PicApp WordPress plugin. I’ve installed this but haven’t used it yet. One of the biggest challenges for bloggers is finding pictures they can use without paying for them and without breaching copyright. PicApp offers a way to add premium, current images to your blog and claims it has 20 million legal, free images to choose from.

podPress

Dan Kuykendall’s podPress plugin offers to provide everything you need in one easy plugin to use WordPress for Podcasting. Although we have this installed, I haven’t used it yet.

Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form

This contact form plugin by Mike Cherim and Mike Jolley is what I use for the contact page on this site. There are other such plugins but currently this works for me in terms of combining good features and being easy to install.

ShareThis

I really have mixed feelings about this plugin. I find it elegant and yet I wonder whether I would get more impact with those big social bookmarking icons some people use. Let your visitors share a post/page with others. Supports e-mail and posting to social bookmarking sites.

Subscribe To Comments

How can our readers keep track of conversations from the comment streams they contribute to? Cue Mark Jasquith’s Subscribe to Comments plugin.

Thesis OpenHook

Rick Beckman’s Thesis OpenHook plugin is the only way I know to pimp a Thesis themed blog, with its “hook” system, without becoming better at coding than I expect to be in the foreseeable future.

TweetMeme Button

Helps our readers help us, by adding a button for them to easily rrecommend our posts and RSS feed to the Twitter stream.

What Would Seth Godin Do

Displays a custom welcome message to new visitors and another to return visitors. By Richard I. Miller.

Woopra

This plugin, by Elie El Khoury and Shane Froebel, adds Woopra’s real-time analytics to a WordPress installation.

WordPress Database Backup

If you haven’t lost a WordPress blog’s database, you don’t need the experience, believe me. This plugin by Austin Matzko is good for peace of mind.

WP Super Cache

Very fast caching plugin for WordPress, by Donncha O Caoim. Donncha explains its purpose as follows: “WP Super Cache is a static caching plugin for WordPress. It generates html files that are served directly by Apache without processing comparatively heavy PHP scripts. By using this plugin you will speed up your WordPress blog significantly.”

What other plugins do you use and how do you find them helpful?

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).