10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Keep your WordPress blog running smooth and optimized with 10 of the most useful plugins available.


As of WP version 2.8.4 these plugins are used for every WordPress website/blog I set up. My goal is to work as efficiently and expediently as possible. Each of these plugins help achieve that goal and will increase your productivity in a meaningful way.

1. Akismet

Akismet is included with the default install of wordpress. It catches spam comments so they don’t clog up your bandwidth, compromise your server or infect your viewers computers. All that’s required is to visit WordPress.com and register for an API Key. I use the same API Key for every WordPress application I create.

2. All in One SEO Pack

All in One is a simple Search Engine Optimization plugin that works. Headspace is also an effective plugin, and I’ve used both, but my preference is All in One primarily because I find that I personally don’t use all the bells and whistles that come with Headspace and I haven’t noticed any measurable difference between the two.

3. Bad Behavior

Bad Behavior is a gatekeeper that compliments Akismet and other spam solutions by utilizing a PHP based solution for blocking link spam and the robots that deliver it.

4. Clean Options

As WordPress progresses, updates are necessary to stay current and remain secure and functional. There are times when you will experiment with different plugins, but as time and WP versions march on, some plugins will be rendered incompatible with updated version. Most likely an alternate solution will become available, but you’ll still have deprecated plugin remnants in your database that could conflict with your current application or new plugins. Clean options finds the orphaned database entries and gives you the opportunity to remove them, thus keeping your database free of unnecessary clutter.

5. Contact Form 7

Contact forms are a necessity, not an option, for any serious blog. Contact Form 7 is a simple, yet highly customizable contact form that is easy to configure and easy to place on it’s own separate page, included in a post or in the sidebar.

6. Google Analyticator

This plugin adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google Analytics on your blog. Google Analytics is the most comprehensive FREE web traffic analyzer available.

7. Maintenance Mode

Whether you’re in the initial development stages or you need to perform a major overhaul of your blog, Maintenance Mode is a great way to let your visitors know that your blog is down temporarily. Maintenance mode is customizable in that it accepts html code and gives you the ability to tell your visitors when to check back.

8. My Page Order

Blogs are dynamic and living documents by design and as the pages come and go you’ll want control over the order in which they are presented in your menu bar or navigation bar. You can change the order by digging into the PHP code, but why bother when someone else has designed this great time-saving plugin for you. My Page Order adds a link in the Pages section of your WordPress back-end, all you have to do is click and drag to rearrange the order.

9. Reveal IDs for WP Admins

Referencing posts, pages or other components of your blog are made simpler by Reveal ID’s. While this plugin is designed for the more advanced user, there are a few plugins (notably: Featured Content Gallery) that require this plugin to work.

10. TinyMCE

TinyMCE is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that adds an enormous amount of flexibility for the writer/blogger. The ability to create and format tables, enhanced font control and multitude of useful formatting elements not available in the standard WP editor. Each of these functions can be accomplished using the html interface, but for time saving and ease of use, TinyMCE is one my favorites.

There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins to substantially increase the usability, flexibility and ease of use for the developer, blogger and visitor. This small sample represents the basics for any initial setup. Suggestions, comments or questions are welcome.


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