There are some plugins that are standout candidates to be rolled into the core of WordPress as ‘canonical’, ‘core’, ‘anointed’ or whatever Automattic end up calling them. I just think of them as essential.
For now you’ll just have to install them manually. These are the plugins that I install into a WordPress site as soon as I set it up, with a little explanation of what it does and why you want it.
To install a plugin, go to the ‘Plugins > Add New’ page in your WordPress Admin area.
It’s all too easy to go overboard with WordPress plugins but each of them takes time to process a post, slowing down your blog. QP Supercache helps speed things up by storing cached pages. There are some confusing advanced settings and for maximum compatibility I tend to leave it on ‘half-on’ for the WP Touch plugin.
Remember that case of the family photograph that found its way into a shop window display in Prague? Wonder how someone could take a low res image and print it big enough for a shop window? When you place an image gallery in a post link them to larger versions, those larger versions are pretty damn large, even though WordPress creates several different size versions. Cleaner Gallery gives you more control over images placed in galleries.
This plugin serves your WordPress site up in a format that’s optimised for mobile use, especially the iPhone.
Earlier versions of WordPress had an option to gzip files on the fly. Why would you want to do this? Gzipping files compresses them before being served to browsers. Browsers expand them at the other end, using less bandwidth. This plugin gives you that option back.
The web can be dangerous place and using an open source blog platform makes your site vulnerable to attack from various types of attack. Bad Behaviour mitigates these attacks through various methods. Trust me, it’s worth having.
All in One SEO pack
Gives you some serious SEO-fu control over your blog – page titles, meta descriptions and more.
Ever thought 10 posts was a lot to serve up on your homepage? Post Limits gives you control over how many posts are shown at a time on your homepage, archive and category pages.
Wordpress’s <!–More–> Shortcode is great for putting in a ‘click to read the rest of this post’ link but the problem is you need to remember to use it. If you’re in the habit of writing long posts, or you’d just prefer your post listings to show only the first 3 (or 4, it’s configurable) paragraphs of each post, EverMore is what you’re looking for.
WP Security Scan
Getting hacked is akin to getting burgled, someone thumbing through your writings, your drafts, potentially changing your published content. WP Security Scan spots your weaknesses and tells you what you can do to tighten up your defences.
A final tip: run a health check on your blog with Is My Blog Working – some of the plugins above will help you get your site scoring green across the board, even if you’re not running on a dedicated server.
Image credit: Matt Fowler via Creative Commons on Flickr