At a recent social media training event, I recommended WordPress (self hosted) as one of the best platforms for developing and publishing yourself as an authority site, i.e. a site that is respected for it’s content, so that your customers and prospects can visit, and keep up to date with what you are up to.

Well one of the questions that come out of it was:

“What do you believe are the most essential plugins for wordpress?”

We’ll to answer that is somewhat difficult, because it depends upon the purpose of your site! I have some sites that are news related, some that are professional, some that are community. One common element is to get them ranked on google so that people can find the site easily, so naturally anything to do with expanding the site’s outward and inward bound links are essential.

Now I’ve been running wordpress sites since the days of 1.5, and was one of the early installers and extenders of WordPress MU and Buddypress, so I’ve been right in the thick of it for a while, and some plugins are now no longer needed as the functionaility of the the core application has improved, so here is my list of plugins that I use across various site,

E = Essential, i.e. I use it on ALL my sites
D = Default, i.e. I install it on all my sites, though on some it is not activated as it isn’t needed.
O = Optional, i.e. it is installed on some sites.
N = Not Active i.e it is installed (be default), but not active of any site.

Having installed and de-installed literally hundreds of plugins to give me the customisation that I want or need in a particular instance, with the list below, I rarely have to search around any further.

The list below is my current list of plugins that I maintain in a Google Docs spreadsheet (more on Google Docs to follow!)

Plugin Version Essential / Default / Optional / Not Active Description
Akismet 2.3.0 E "Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need an API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under ""Comments."" To show off your Akismet stats just put <?php akismet_counter(); ?> in your template. See also: WP Stats plugin."
All in One SEO Pack 1.6.12.1 E Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog. Options configuration panel | Upgrade to Pro Version | Donate | Support | Amazon Wishlist
All in One Webmaster 6.6.5 / 6.9.8.6 E "1) Sitemap Submission option to Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com. 2) Options to add Google, Bing, Yahoo, Alexa, Facebook Insights, Facebook, Blogcatalog Webmaster Meta Tag. 3) Options to add Google, Quantcast.com, GetClicky.com, Compete.com Analytics scripts for your blogs. Please go to Settings -> All in One Webmaster for more and detailed options."
All-in-one Bookmarking Button 1.0.0 O Adds the SocialMarker.com bookmarking button at the bottom of every post.
BM Custom Login 1.4 O Display custom images on the wordpress login screen. Useful for branding. of membership sites
cbnet Ping Optimizer 2.3.3 E "Saves your wordpress blog from getting tagged as ping spammer. (Note: this plugin is a fork of the MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer plugin, with registration/activation functionality removed.)"
cforms 11.3 O "cformsII offers unparalleled flexibility in deploying contact forms across your blog. Features include: comprehensive SPAM protection, Ajax support, Backup & Restore, Multi-Recipients, Role Manager support, Database tracking and many more. Please see ____HISTORY.txt for what’s new and current bugfixes."
Contact Form 7 2.4.1 E Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible. ** The BEST of loads **
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator 3.15 O Generates a fully customizable sitemap
Daiko’s Text Widget 0.9.4 O "Works basically like the Text widget, but it will also take PHP code and includes conditional tags to specify where to show. An extension of the Execphp widget by Otto at http://ottodestruct.com."
Duplicate Post 1.1.1 O Creates a copy of a post.
Exec-PHP 4.9.0 D "Executes <?php ?>code in your posts, pages and text widgets."
FeedBurner FeedSmith 2.3.1 O "Originally authored by Steve Smith, this plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber."
Google XML Sitemaps 3.2.4 E "This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog."
HeadSpace2 3.6.33 D "Meta-data manager on steroids, allowing complete control over all SEO needs such as keywords/tags, titles, description, stylesheets, and many many other goodies."
Hello Dolly 1.5.1 N "This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong: Hello, Dolly. When activated you will randomly see a lyric from Hello, Dolly in the upper right of your admin screen on every page."
JW Player Plugin for WordPress 1.1.2 O Embed a JW Player for Flash into your WordPress articles.
MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer 2.2.5 O Saves your wordpress blog from getting tagged as ping spammer by installing this plugin. Adjust your settings here.
Menu Manager 1.0.4 O "Menu managers enables you to manage blog menu very easy. You can add Pages, Categories, and Custom Link into your blog menu." Superseded by WordPress 3 on SOME themes – useful on legacy sites with older themes)
Micro Anywhere 1.3.0 O "Adds microformat buttons to the wordpress post and pages editor, letting you embed microformated data into your blog. http://www.undergroundwebdesigns.com/info/microanywhere "
My Category Order 2.8.7 O My Category Order allows you to set the order in which categories will appear in the sidebar. Uses a drag and drop interface for ordering. Adds a widget with additional options for easy installation on widgetized themes.
Page Links To 2.3.0 O Allows you to point WordPress pages or posts to a URL of your choosing. Good for setting up navigational links to non-WP sections of your site or to off-site resources.
pageMash 1.3.0 O "Manage your multitude of pages with pageMash’s slick drag-and-drop style, ajax interface. Allows quick sorting, hiding and organising of parenting."
pb-embedFlash 1.5.1 O "A filter for WordPress that displays any flash content in valid XHTML code offering the possibility to specify attributes and parameters individually. With admin panel, widget, TinyMCE popup and playlist/media manager!"
PixoPoint Menu Plugin 0.6.20 O "A WordPress plugin which adds a menu to your WordPress site. Visit the PixoPoint Menu Plugin page for more information about the plugin, or our navigation support board for help with adding the menu to your theme."  (Superseded by WordPress 3 on SOME themes – useful on legacy sites with older themes)
Snap Shots™ Plugin for WordPress.org 2 O "Add Snap Shots to your website or blog. Snap Shots enhance links with visual previews of the destination site, including summaries of Wikipedia and IMDb, YouTube videos, stock charts, RSS feeds and more with just a single line of javascript. Go to Options >> Snap Shots to configure."
Sociable 3.5.2 E "Automatically add links on your posts, pages and RSS feed to your favorite social bookmarking sites."
Sticky Frontpage Categories and Tags 1.0.0 O Allows you to choose what posts appear on the front page of your blog by category or tags.
TinyMCE Advanced 3.2.7 E "Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress."
Traffic Getting SEO PluginTM Free Version 0.4.7 E Traffic Getting SEO Plugin finds the best SEO plugins available for wordpress and then optimizes their settings so you don’t have to. Saves you time and helps get you more traffic. Jeff Johnson | By Jeff Johnson | Visit plugin site : http://www.undergroundtraininglab.com/
TweetMeme Retweet Button 1.8.6 O Adds a button which easily lets you retweet your blog posts.
Twitter Tools 2.3.1 E "A complete integration between your WordPress blog and Twitter. Bring your tweets into your blog and pass your blog posts to Twitter. Show your tweets in your sidebar, and post tweets from your WordPress admin."
Twitter Tools – Bit.ly URLs 2.3.1 O "Use Bit.ly for URL shortening with Twitter Tools. This plugin relies on Twitter Tools, configure it on the Twitter Tools settings page."
Twitter Tools – Exclude Category 2.3.1 O "Exclude posts in certain categories from being tweeted by Twitter Tools. This plugin relies on Twitter Tools, configure it on the Twitter Tools settings page."
Twitter Tools – Hashtags 2.3.1 O "Set #hashtags for blog post tweets sent by Twitter Tools. This plugin relies on Twitter Tools, configure it on the Twitter Tools settings page."
Twitter Tools: bit.ly Links 2.3.1 O Makes the links that Twitter Tools posts to Twitter be API-created bit.ly links so you can track the number of clicks and such via your bit.ly account. Requires PHP 5.2.0+.
Web Traffic Genius Pro 2.1.1 E "This plugin will when a new post is published, create and submit a new rss feed to the pre-configured RSS Aggregator websites, and where applicable will also include the tags used in the post."
WordPress Importer 0.2 O "Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file."
WordPress Mobile Pack 1.2.3 O "The WordPress Mobile Pack is a complete toolkit to help mobilize your WordPress site and blog. It includes a mobile switcher, filtered widgets, and content adaptation for mobile device characteristics. Activating this plugin will also install a selection of mobile themes by ribot, a top UK mobile design team, and Forum Nokia. These adapt to different families of devices, such as Nokia and WebKit browsers (including Android, iPhone and Palm). If enabled, your site will be listed on mpexo, a directory of mobile-friendly blogs. Also check out the documentation and the forums. If you like the plugin, please rate us on the WordPress directory. And if you don’t, let us know how we can improve it!"
WordPress.com Stats 1.7.3 E "Tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks. Requires a WordPress.com API key."
WP Auto Tagger 1.3.2 E Automatically finds tags based on your post content.
WP Main Menu 0.2 O "With WP Main Menu you can create a great menu with links to categories, pages, posts, tags and more for WordPress" (Superseded by WordPress 3 on SOME themes – useful on legacy sites with older themes)
WPaudio 2.2.0 O "Play mp3s and podcasts in your posts by converting links and tags into a simple, customizable audio player."
wp-cache 2.1.2 E "Very fast cache module. It’s composed of several modules, this plugin can configure and manage the whole system. Once enabled, go to ""Options"" and select ""WP-Cache""."
WP-DBManager 2.50.0 E "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-Sticky 1.5.0 E Adds a sticky post feature to your WordPress’s blog. Modified from Adhesive by Owen Winkler.

Enjoy, Gordon aka The Digital Geek

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