Getting good WordPress plugins can be trial and error since there are so many available which offer so many different options. I’ve put together a quick list of my current favourite plugins, in a rough descending order from essential to nice-to-have:
This is the only backup plugin I’ve found which works when wp-cron has been disabled by a hosting provider. It does a daily mySQL backup and a full backup once a week. You can test the scheduling works and it provides a real time countdown so you know it is working properly. Absolutely essential for ensuring you don’t lose any data.
- Google XML Sitemaps
For anyone familiar with Google’s Webmaster tools this plugin is a must. It automatically generates a dynamic xml sitemap for your website which updates as you add / delete posts and pages. Once installed, you no longer have to worry about whether it is up to date – easy!
I’ve tried many Content Management System (CMS) plugins recently and with the advent of WordPress 3.0, this is my favourite. The plugin removes the ‘comments’ and ‘post’ links in the wp-admin area and combines ‘plugins’, ‘tools’ and ‘settings’ sections. So if you are using WordPress to build a website without a blog, all the clutter is removed. Hopefully WordPress will continue to become more CMS-friendly in future versions – I look forward to it.
- Quick Page/Post Redirect
I build a lot of websites where a top navigation menu item may not have it’s own page, but instead will need to display the first sub-page within the section. I’ve had to do this using a hard-coded menu in the past, but WordPress 3.0 introducing more menu functionality made me revisit the problem. I found the above plugin which enables me to create a redirect for the top navigation menu item to the first sub-page extremely easily, although this is currently via a hard-coded page slug. Perhaps future versions will enable me to redirect to a dynamic variable (i.e. first-page-in-section) – we shall see.
- TinyMCE Advanced
A brilliant tool for limiting what your wp-admin users can format within pages and posts. For instance, it allows you to remove indent, quotations, styles, format, text colour and the dreaded underline! I also found it extremely useful when a client needed to be able to add and format tables. TinyMCE can do this with ease.
- Disable WordPress Updates
This plugin is handy for websites where you do not want your wp-admin users to see the ‘Upgrade WordPress Now’ message.
- Add Logo to Admin
More of a cosmetic plugin than functional, this plugin allows you to upload a logo to replace the WordPress logo on the wp-admin login page and on the top left of the wp-admin area. It gives your website back-end a more polished look.
So there you have it. As far as I’m aware, all work in WordPress 3.0 (released last week). If you have any recommendations, do let me know – word of mouth is the best form of marketing afterall!