WordPress plugins that I use
I really cannot do much in terms of using plugins on my free blog here at WordPress.com, but on another site that I manage, I am more free to do what I want since I have complete access to the shared server space. That website has WordPress 2.6.3 at the back-end, which I have not regretted using since the day that I installed it. However, the site has been up for about a year now and has undergone quite a few changes not only in the content that is presented, but also on structure and efficiency. Much of my time working on the site is now spent on optimizations. Here I will list some of the WordPress plugins I use that provide the features available in the blog.
- Akismet – checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. This is an invaluable plugin that everyone should activate to deal with the countless comment spam that plague blogs these days.
- AskApache Google 404 – adds Intelligent SEO Ajax-powered Google Search to 404 pages. Once configured correctly, this plugin makes much more friendlier 404 error pages, which means that visitors are much more likely to stay longer on your site even if they came via a broken/unavailable link.
- FeedBurner FeedSmith – detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. Letting this free service handle and distribute your feeds takes a little load off your server.
- Google XML Sitemaps – generates a sitemaps.org-compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO.
- Mail From – changes the default address that WordPress sends it’s email from. I use this because website mail is handled by Google Apps and without it e-mail from the site would appear as if it were coming from the web host.
- My Page Order – allows you to set the order of pages through a drag and drop interface.
- Obfuscate Email – obfuscates e-mail addresses that appear as text in your blog in an effort to deter e-mail harvesting spammers while retaining the appearance and functionality of hyperlinks.
- Platinum SEO Pack – is a complete SEO solution for your WordPress blog that is similar to the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin.
- SABRE – is the Simple Anti Bot Registration Engine that filters out evil spam bot registrations.
- SCF2 Contact Form – stores all messages locally, allows the blog admins to reply from the admin page and can send emails to multiple users. Uses the WordPress comments routine for filtering the spam, including Akismet and Bad Behavior.
- Search Unleashed – is an advanced search engine that provides full text searching across posts, pages, comments, titles, and URLs. Searches take into account any data added by other plugins, and all search results are contextually highlighted. You can also highlight incoming searches from popular search engines.
- Sidebar Login – adds a sidebar widget through which users login instead of going to /wp-login.php.
- Similar Posts – displays a highly configurable list of related posts. Similarity can be based on any combination of word usage in the content, title, or tags. The Plugin Post Library is pre-requisite plugin for using Similar Posts.
- Sociable – automatically adds links on your posts to popular social bookmarking sites. I switched to this plugin from an unsatisfactory experience with ShareThis.
- WordPress Tweaks – adds a variety of useful options and settings.
- WP-DBManager – manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database.
- WP Security Scan – performs security scan of WordPress installation.
- WP Super Cache – is a very fast caching module for WordPress based on WP-Cache. I use this in conjunction with the AskApache Crazy Cache plugin to manually cache the entire site on demand.
That is quite a list! You may be wondering how come a WordPress blog can run with so many plugins and not become bogged down. I will admit that I had to scale back on my plugin usage after discovering that they were either slowing the site down considerably or there were other creative alternatives requiring no plugins at all!
Currently, the site is very responsive and shows no noticeable slowdowns. The secret lies in another level of optimization that deal entirely with speed and security, which I will talk more about in a future post. If you went through the list carefully you will probably find plugins intended for just that. Until next time…