8 Essential WordPress Plugins

One of the wonderful things about WordPress is its extensibility–hundreds of free plugins for WordPress are available. Now that I’ve used WordPress for a few months I have settled on a set of plugins that allow WordPress to function well according to my needs. Of those, there are a core set of plugins that I feel are essential for just about any WordPress installation. Following is my recommended list of WordPress plugins.

  • Adsense by Phil Hord: This plugin makes it very easy for you to host advertisements on your site with your existing Adsense account. After the initial configuration, all you need to do is place a comment in your posts or pages where you want the ads to appear.
  • Akismet by Matt Mullenweg: If you configure your site to make it easy for users to add comments, you’ll quickly find that you have a problem with spam comments. This plugin does an excellent job of putting a stop to that.
  • Bookmark Me by Denis de Bernardy: There are several plugins out there that help you share your posts via social networking sites like del.icio.us and Digg. The reason I prefer this one is that it not only shows the icon for each social networking site, but also the site’s name for the benefit of visitors who might not be familiar with that site. In addition, it displays the links in-line rather than in a pop-up, which encourages novice users to give it a try.
  • Copyright by Paton J. Lewis (me): Although probably not as “essential” as the other plugins listed here, I do enjoy not having to worry about keeping my post copyrights up to date.
  • Dagon Design Form Mailer by Dagon Design: After you’ve installed Akismet and put a stop to comment spam, if you have a comment form you’ll probably find that you still get spam from there. This plugin helps you create forms that require users to enter a unique human-readable key, thus foiling spambots.
  • Google Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold: One way to insure that people are able to find your content is to notify the world’s most influential search engine whenever you modify or add anything on your site. This wonderful plugin generates an XML file in a format specified by Google that allows Google to crawl your site more efficiently.
  • WordPress Database Backup by Scott Merrill and Austin Matzko: Although an older version of this plugin ships with WordPress 2, the latest version of this plugin (2.0.1) is required in order for it to work correctly with WP-Cron:
  • WP-Cron by Scott Merrill: This plugin provides functionality similar to the Unix “cron” command which is basically a tool that lets you schedule certain events so that they happen regularly. The feature I like best about this plugin is its ability to work with the WordPress Database Backup plugin in order to schedule automatic nightly backups of your WordPress database. You can configure these two plugins so that your nightly backups are emailed to you, which helps give you some extra peace of mind about your blog.

What other WordPress plugins do you find indispensable?

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