Anybody who uses WordPress can tell you just how awesome it is right out of the box, but the coolest thing about using WordPress is the plethora of plugins available at your disposal to turn your blog or website into anything you can think of. We have always kept good track of the plugins we have been using and which ones we think offer the best support and are updated on a timely basis. We started to notice a trend in the plugins we were using on each project we finished, which is why we decided to share the top 6 plugins we use on almost every WordPress blog/site created by Daddy Design.
1. All in One SEO Pack
Definitely a plugin that every WordPress design firm or freelancer should be using on their projects. Everybody knows that WordPress right out of the box has awesome SEO capabilities built into it but the amount of extra detail you can go into with this plugin will only expand your SEO reach and help optimize your blog/site which in turn will result in higher rankings. What good is the coolest blog on the internet without the visitors to match?
2. Google XML Sitemaps
Don’t let the name fool you, this plugin does much more than build your Google sitemap, it will also help you create site maps for other popular search engines like Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. This plugin will help crawlers see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently and it also notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.
3. WP Page Numbers
Tired of the boring Next and Previous links that are common on blog sites? Create better user friendly links using this plugin, it not only will help your visitors navigate your site better but it will also help with SEO because of the tighter inner link structure it creates. There are default styles you can choose from or the option to create your own custom style, creating your own style is very easy but you should be proficient in CSS and uploading content to your server.
4. Shockingly Big IE6 Warning
If you hate IE6 as much as we do then you will love this plugin. In the middle of 2009 we decided to drop support for IE6 because of security issues and lack of support for web standards. This plugin has made our lives easier by allowing a simple, fast and effect solution for giving IE6 users a warning when visiting a site we created. There are 3 different types of warnings you can select from when using the plugin, most of the time I use the 2nd type which is ‘FULL, a fullscreen warning’. Drop support for IE6 and never look back by using this plugin, you will be glad you did and the internet will be a better place once IE6 is finally completely dead.
A must have on any blog/site is a way for visitors to share your content and spread it around the web, there are many options out there but usually our first choice is Sociable. Many factors can influence which type of sharing method we use; usually the biggest influence of course is what the customer wants. With this plugin you can choose from 99 different social bookmarking sites, the easy to use settings page lets you turn on and off the ones you want as well as drag them around to position them in the order you want.
One draw back is that this plugin does not validate properly right out of the box; there is however an easy solution for this. Go to the settings page and look for the option that says ‘Use CSS:’ uncheck the box so that you are no longer using the default Sociable stylesheet. Once you uncheck this you will then need to add your own style in order to restyle the plugin, as long as you re-write valid CSS code this plugin will now validate.
6. Twitter for WordPress
A way of showing recent Tweets on a customer’s blog/site is probably one of the most common requests we run into on a per project basis, this plugin is probably one of the fastest and easiest solutions around. Although there are many options out there we always seem to come back to this one for its easy customization, which is always a necessity for any plugin we use. It does have one minor flaw in which the feed seems to stop working from time to time resulting in the following message ‘No public Twitter messages.’
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If you have an alternate list of WordPress plugins you use on all of your projects please feel free to share them below by leaving a comment.