Every WordPress site needs a unique set of plugins, depending on the site’s design and purpose. But, there are a few core plugins that run in the background that I feel should be included in every site owner’s toolbox…
Akismet – My single most “I can’t live without this plugin” WordPress tool. I can’t even imagine blogging without a highly effective spam catcher. For every legitimate comment this blog receives, spammers heap on about a dozen undesirable ones. And, Akismet catches them all. I have never had it miss a spam comment. On one or two occasions, it has caught a legit comment, but thankfully it holds everything it catches for review and manual deletion. In order to use Akismet, you will need a WordPress.com account, which will provide you with a unique API key. – Visit Plugin Site
Platinum SEO Pack – I see bloggers everywhere, singing the praises of the All In One SEO Pack. I used it for about a year, and I loved it. Then someone suggested the Platinum SEO Pack and I’ve been hooked since. This plugin offers all the functionality of the All In One, but offers a few additional features as well. The greatest of these is the ability to specify if you want search engines following the links in your posts. This feature is a must for anyone linking to major websites or implementing affiliate links in their content. – Visit Plugin Site
What Would Seth Godin Do – You’ve probably been to websites and blogs where a little box showed at the top of the content, welcoming you and encouraging you to take some form of action. Whether the site owner wanted you to subscribe to his email newsletter, or connect with her on Facebook, you’ve got to admit, it’s a great way to draw attention to a feature by placing it at the top of your content. The nice thing about this plugin, is that it’s fully customizable. You can make it say whatever you want. You can tell it to show on every visit, or on a reader’s first two or three visits, after which, the box no longer appears. It can be placed above or below your content, on posts, pages, or both. WWSGD is one of the most recommended plugins in the blogsphere. – Visit Plugin Site
Comment Email Responder – As the blogsphere grows, and readers are pulled in multiple directions, it’s becoming increasingly important to retain readership by building a community atmosphere. You don’t need a forum to create a community – you can interact with your readers by responding to their comments. While WordPress makes this very easy, there’s a slim chance the commenter is actually going to come back to your post to see if you’ve replied. This plugin sends your reply in an email to the original commenter, as well as posting the reply on your blog. No extra steps required, and you’ve just made a personal connection. – Visit Plugin Site
WordPress.com Stats – While this plugin doesn’t give a detailed count of visitors (does not show unique visitor stats) and where they’ve come from, it’s a very helpful and fun tool to have on your WordPress site. It shows at a glance, without loggin into a separate stats site, how many visits you’ve had, who’s referred those visitors, and what external links your visitors have clicked on. I use MicroVisum Analytics for my detailed and more accurate stats, but I would never set up a site without including the WordPress.com Stats plugin for the site owner to see when they login to their site. Visit Plugin Site
How about you? What are your “can’t live without” plugins for WordPress?