WordPress Plugins: My Top 5

WordPress Plugins: My Top 5You may have noticed that yesterday I published a list of the 24 plugins I currently use on my blog. It was a big old list, and 24 plugins is a lot by anyone’s standards. I do preach that you should only use plugins when absolutely necessary, and rely on code snippets and so on when it is feasible, so I should probably take my own advice on board!

With that in mind, today I want to focus on my 5 favorite plugins – a pick of what I consider to be completely indispensable. I will be trying to cut down on my 24 (although whether or not I am able to remains to be seen), but I am confident that the following 5 will always remain.

There’s just one slightly counterintuitive rule to this top 5 list – I am not going to include the really obvious candidates (Akismet, WordPress SEO by Yoast, and W3 Total Cache). Almost all of you already know all about them, so there wouldn’t be much worth in their inclusion.

5. Comment Reply Notification

I’ve featured this plugin on WPMU before, and with good reason. Comment Reply Notification gives your blog’s commenters the opportunity to sign up to notifications on comments that they make.

Comment Reply Notification

You may consider it a bit naughty that I send emails to commenters by default (when only I have responded), but I think it is completely acceptable. If someone has taken to the time to comment on my blog post, I presume that they would like to know if I have responded to them. That’s my rationale, anyway!

This plugin offers a great way of keeping your readers engaged in the conversation. After all, what’s the point in responded to a comment if it’s never going to be read?

In my opinion, Comment Reply Notification definitely belongs in the “functionality that should come as standard in WordPress” category.

4. Redirection

Granted, this isn’t a particularly exciting plugin, but its functionality is indispensable (for me, at least).

As the name suggests, Redirection allows you to set up redirects from one URL to another.

Redirection

This function is useful in a variety of circumstances – I primarily use it to “protect” my affiliate links. That is its basic function, but there is an awful lot more to the plugin than meets the eye, including 404 error monitoring.

Although there are plenty of redirect plugins out there (many of which I have tried), I have always come back to Redirection as my top pick.

3. Performance Plugin Profiler

I’m all about site speed (even though I have recently discovered that my own site apparently has a woefully slow load time – something I need to work on!). With that in mind, I consider Performance Plugin Profiler to be yet another indispensable plugin.

It was developed by the folks over at GoDaddy, and allows you to gauge the effect each of your plugins has on load time, through a series of spiffy reports. Here’s a copy of a report I just ran on my site:

Plugin Performance Profiler

As you can see, Performance Plugin Profiler allows you to make informed decisions about the worth of any particular plugin when compared to the effect it is having on your site’s load time. Very handy.

2. ManageWP – Worker

I have quite a few different sites, and keeping track of them all used to be quite a hassle. But once I found ManageWP, I never looked back.

Having read that sentence, it sounds like the script to a bad informercial, but I actually mean what I say. For those of you who don’t know, ManageWP allows you to manage all of your WordPress sites from one central dashboard:

ManageWP

With features like one-click updates and backup scheduling, it is something I would really struggle to do without.

1. Digg Digg

I love Digg Digg for so many reasons. Because it has a cool name. Because it is owned by the awesome guys at Buffer. And because it is, in my humble opinion, by far the best social sharing tool available for WordPress.

Digg Digg

Digg Digg offers up two options – a floating displays that always remains onscreen (seen above), and a static placement (to be placed wherever you like). It is easy to implement and looks really slick. And since development has been taken over by the Buffer boys, the support system is fantastic. I couldn’t do without it.

Creative Commons image by Sean MacEntee