Everyone loves a top X list. Whether its the top 10 music charts or your top 3 holiday resorts, the lists just work. They’re just a great way of sharing someone opinions in a quick and slightly organised list.
Well, since I’ve been lurking around the WordPress woods for the last few months, and with the arrival of the new WordPress 3.3, I thought I’d share some of my favourite plugins I’ve come across to date. I’ve added a lot, tested quite a few but uninstalled a large majority of them straight away.
Probably no surprise this one’s here? As an official plugin from the WordPress team, this can do a variety of things but I use it primarily for its page view and stat’ collection. I’m a man of stat’s, so seeing pretty graphs and tables of data is a win for me. From a SEO point of view its good to be able to see the phrases people are searching for which drive traffic to your pages. You also get a break down of the top viewed pages over a specific time frame, also useful to see how those new articles are ‘viralling’ over the blogosphere.
My blog receives a small yet steady stream of people visiting it, however I get a bigger and even steadier stream of spam to my comments. I could quite easily remove the comments or make signups a requirement for posting, but that always penalises the reader who might want to say just a few words. Why put that extra barrier between them and the ability to share their voice. Akismet easily drops into the back end of your site with no visual appearance on the blog itself, it uses some great techy rules to catch spam and actually improve its accuracy the longer it runs on your site. Not just for WordPress either, Akismet is well worth checking out
A picture is worth a 1000 words right? Plus well some of the drivel I write its often best to lighten the mood with a well placed collection of photos. After trying a few I settled on NextGEN, its simple and works well. The back end enables you to create albums and galleries, create individual pages for them, tag photos etc. I’ve used it only in a few places, as it was quite a late find, but you can see it in action on this blog article about a CGI scene I made and on this review of The Negotiator
Again another late find for me, this automatic backup facility emails you a compressed database backup of your blog on a periodic timescale. Nice and simple. Literally enable it, select scheduled backup and your worries disappear. Brilliant. Sometimes having few options really is easier.
One thing that I do find odd about the complexity and general ‘good-stuff’ that WordPress seems to be made of, is around featured images and thumbnails. This seems to be a featured that has been stuck on with no real thought applied to it. Out of the box you can’t edit a thumbnail, and I’ve never had a suitable thumbnail based on a whole featured image (mainly due to design and image-ratios). In fact why does the thumbnail need to be the same image as a featured one anyway? Anyway, minor rant aside, installing this plugin has made manipulating those tiny yet important images a lot easier. There’s a few bugs in the code, which means you sometimes have to close the image editor down and open it back up to notice the changes, but generally it works very well. I use it on all my thumbnails so I get a nice suitable square thumb in search results, yet a wide featured image for the article itself.
So thats my current top 5. Odds are yours are completely different, correct? Please take a few minutes to drop a message below and share yours, for my benefit and my readers.