WordPress plugins save a ton of time and deliver some amazing functionality. Here are the plugins I’m using at the startup of this site with credit to the authors.
What it is: Gravity Forms is a premium plugin that simplifies form building. It’s awesome and has been worth every penny.
How I used it: So far, I’m using it for the contact form and for the email subscriptions in the footer. On this site, it is pretty understated.
Author credit: http://www.gravityforms.com
Theme My Login
What it is: WordPress doesn’t offer a simple solution for styling login and user registration pages. With this plugin, you can actually fix that. It comes with a really good admin section that can be as simple or complex as you want. It also includes a bare bones style sheet that you can modify to fit your theme. I absolutely love this plugin!
How I use it: Register for the blog and find out for yourself. Everything is built around my design which really improves the professionalism of this and other site that uses it.
Author credit: http://www.jfarthing.com/extend/plugins/theme-my-login
Google Analytics for WordPress
What it is: It incorporates your Google Analytics account into the site to ensure proper tracking of user activity. I don’t know why anyone would do a site without it.
How I used it: Easy to install, easy to use and tracking site usage from day one.
Author credit: http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics/#utm_source=wordpress&utm_medium=plugin&utm_campaign=google-analytics-for-wordpress
Custom Field Template
What it is: A tremendous plugin. Custom fields are a great resource in WordPress but not exactly user-friendly out of the box. With CFT, you can build your custom fields more like a traditional form including drop downs, radio buttons, check boxes, file fields, text areas and text fields. Additionally, there is a seemingly limitless number of options depending on how complex you want it to be.
How I used it: My Portfolio is mostly made up of custom fields. The site description is the actual post and everything else except for the title is a custom field. The image is a file field, I lay a link over the “Visit” button, use check boxes for the skills section and then enter testimonial information into text fields.
Author credit: http://wpgogo.com/development/custom-field-template.html (visit WordPress plugins page for English)
Google XML Sitemaps
What it is: Generates an XML sitemap of your site that is friendly to search engines
How I used it: Upon activation, I went through the settings, chose to notify major search engines and let it build the sitemap for the first time. Now, it should automatically stay fresh and when I add new content and keep the search engines informed.
Author credit: http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/
All in One SEO Pack
What it is: Among other things, it let’s you create your own title tags, descriptions and keywords per post/page while still letting you use the normal WordPress fields for more reader-friendly descriptions.
How I used it: I actually haven’t done anything beyond the initial setup. None of my pages have been optimized yet. Speaking from experience, though, it’s a great tool that improves your on-page SEO.
Author credit: http://semperfiwebdesign.com/
Custom Post Limits
What it is: Allows you to adjust the number of posts displayed on the front page of any given category by overriding the usual global default settings WordPress allows. For example, if you globally tell your site to display no more than 10 posts per page, it will do that for every category, search and archive page no matter what. While you can easily edit the loop of a category to do this, having a smooth admin section is a great way to help your client.
How I used it: I am still playing around with the portfolio and limiting it to a certain number of posts.
Author credit: http://coffee2code.com/wp-plugins/custom-post-limits/
What it is: This plugin uses jQuery to allow multiple widgets within one tabbed widget. In other words, it cleans up your sidebar by putting a number of items within one specific widget area.
How I used it: I put recent posts, links and Categories all into a tabbed widget which keeps the page less cluttered.
Author credit: http://www.blogviche.com.br/plugin-sidebartabs/
What it is: This plugin makes it easy to exclude categories from search results, the front page of the blog, archives and your feed. One could do this within the loop itself, but that’s not ideal for a client that needs to admin the site.
How I used it: I excluded the Portfolio from showing up anywhere but the portfolio page.
Author credit: http://www.codehooligans.com/projects/wordpress/simply-exclude/
Category Pagination Fix and No Category Parents
What it is: Category Pagination fixes broken pagination as a result of your permalink structure. No Category Parents removes “category” from the URL string thus ridding you of duplicate content pages.
How I used it: Pagination simply would not work with my permalink structure of /%category%/%postname%. It would only work if the word “category” was inserted into the string like so: http://www.nimaha.com/category/portfolio. Well, that’s ugly and I didn’t want that. But that wasn’t the only problem. It was also duplicating content where the URL I showed just above was the same as http://www.nimaha.com/portfolio. Not good as you SEO types can confirm. These two plugins fixed both issues so that pagination works with my permalinks and only one URL is returned.
Author Credit: Category Pagination Fix: http://www.htmlremix.com/projects/category-pagination-wordpress-plugin, No Category Parents: http://milardovich.com.ar/
TweetMeMe Retweet Button
What it is: It adds the retweet button you see on so many blog posts. It comes with some useful configurations at the admin level.
How I used it: The same way everyone else does. You can see the retweet button in the upper right corner of blog posts.
Author credit: http://tweetmeme.com/about/plugins