This is a list of essential plugins you have to install on your blog for the best functioning. These days, I’m going to create a booklet on the subject, which you’ll be able to download as a free gift from me. But let’s start, first!
As Nick the Geek says, “must have plugins are a myth”. I am not yet a Genesis developer, like him, but I have learned a great deal about using a WordPress site, and that’s the reason I also offered myself to help you as well.
Not all of us are like Nick, who is quite good with code and really doesn’t need too many plugins to work his sites to his desired scope, therefor, we can still require their help. I have heard from “specialists” allover that “plugins are bad”, so the less you have, the less problems you have. I agree just in part, because I have personal opinions on the subject. One of them is “Jetpack”. One doesn’t need “Jetpack”, even if considers it “good for stats”. That plugin is the heavier plugin WordPress ever conceived. It is charging the server with infinite queries and files, and the loading speed of your site, is considerably decreased no matter the cron jobs you have established.
Essential is “Akismet”. It is a default plugin, like “Hello Dolly”, but you don’t need “Hello Dolly”, that’s preposterous.
Another one is a good backup plugin. Usually, the best are premium, but there is a good one for free as well, like “BackWPup”.
You need to be found quickly by Google or whatever monster, you need traffic, you need visitors. So, essential is “Google XML Sitemaps”. An XML Sitemap is automatically sent once a day to the most important search engines, to consider what you have to say, every day. Doing this on your own, doing this too often, you’re going to upset the robots, and you may be penalized.
If you’re sharing your posts on Twitter or Google Plus, you’re immediately taken in consideration by the powerful monsters, because social sharing gained a lot of terrain, lately. This take us to another important plugin, a “sharing” one. I personally use “Really simple Facebook Twitter share buttons”, but I’m still working on its changing. I used almost all the others, “Digg Digg” (which cracked my site a few times after “upgrading”), “Shareaholic”, “Add This”, you name them. Too “heavy”, too intrusive.
You need the world to know about your social presence, so you need to have your social profiles on display somehow, am I right? Boys and girls, I use Genesis Framework, which is a premium designed WordPress Theme, so I use “Simple Social Icons”, a plugin special designed for Genesis users, which is less intrusive than others.
To facilitate subscriptions, I use “Genesis eNews Extended”, integrated with MailChimp. “Gravity forms” are highly recommended as well, but if you are not that fixated into premium stuff (they are not very cheap, except maybe for using them for just one site, but the developer license is around $200), “Contact Form 7” will do just good.
Many people use “Yoast SEO Plugin”, to increase the optimization of your finding 🙂
With Genesis, you won’t need it, the SEO compartment is integrated, and it looks exactly like the “Yoast”‘s one.
You need stats, it’s normal, especially because I totally hate “Jetpack”, so it is perfect to have an Analytics account on Gogle, it is simple and not intrusive to check your visits there. If you want more detail, you can use “Official StatCounter Plugin”, something I, personally, consider exceptional.
You need a plugin to empty your cache, so “W3 Total Cache” is the recommended one. It is easy to configure, it is perfect for any sort of hosting package.
To check the plugins’ “charge” on your server, you need the less intruding plugin ever, which is “P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)”.
I use some more, but they’re Genesis related and essential only for Genesis users. I hope this article has been of some use for you. Before ending it, I have to tell you that I have disabled “Comments Evolved for WordPress”, a plugin “facilitating” the comments with three types of login, Disqus (which can be a comments plugin on its own), Facebook and of course, my favorite, Google Plus. It was much too “heavy”. Now my site loads considerably quicker, and I’m happy with it as it is.
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