8 Essential WordPress Plugins

by Devanshu Mehta

While this is in no way a complete list, these are some of my favorite plugins for WordPress- the software that I use to build my blogs. All of these make the job of maintaining and posting to a blog a lot easier.

* “*Akismet*”:http://akismet.com
It is impossible for me to imagine maintaining a blog without Akismet any more. This is the greatest development to hit WordPress- it blocks comment spam and does a phenomenal job of it. Except for a few slip-ups a couple of weeks ago, Akismet has done a near-100% job of blocking comment spam on all my web sites. My “Star Wars web site, GalaxyFarAway.com”:http://www.galaxyfaraway.com gets dozens of spam per day and this works great!
* “*Adsense*”:http://philhord.com/wp-hacks/adsense
This plugin allows me to easily add Google AdSense advertisements inside the body of my posts. Google ads inside the text of the article perform a lot better than ones above or below (for me, at least) and this is a great way to fit them in. This post makes use of it, as you can clearly see.
* “*FeedBurner Feed*”:http://www.orderedlist.com/articles/wordpress_feedburner_plugin/
This plugin helps you point your regular WordPress feed (at yoursite.com/feed/) to one you have set up at FeedBurner. If you don’t use FeedBurner to serve your RSS feeds yet, you should get started. They will maintain statistics of how many real people, how many bots and so on are accessing your RSS feed.
* “*SiteMaps*”:http://www.arnebrachhold.de/2005/06/05/google-sitemaps-generator-v2-final
Google Sitemaps are fascinating. If you haven’t set them up yet, this is the best way to get started for WordPress users. This plugin will generate and update your sitemap file with priorities based on how many comments a post has and when it was last updated. Google uses sitemaps to figure out which parts it could index first and how often. If you have a sitemap, you can also keep track of a lot of “your site’s situation in Google’s index”:http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps.
* “*Top10*”:http://weblogtoolscollection.com/archives/2005/03/14/top-10-plugin/
This plugin generates the Top posts in the right sidebar. It requires some minor database modifications, but once it is set up it will help you keep track of which posts are being read and how much.
* “*Textile1*”:http://www.huddledmasses.org/
This one is really great for simple shortcuts for commonly used HTML tags for formatting, links and so on. You can take a look at the “shortcuts here”:http://textism.com/tools/textile/.
* “*Related*”:http://www.w-a-s-a-b-i.com/archives/2006/02/02/wordpress-related-entries-20/
This is one of my favorites- it helps generate “related posts” for any post in your blog. It works by indexing each post and figuring out which other posts of yours could be rerlated. It usually does a pretty decent job; check out how I’ve used it at “the bottom of my articles here”:http://www.galaxyfaraway.com/gfa/2006/05/where-can-i-find-___mid-star-wars-midi/.
* “*Dynamic Text Replace*”:http://www.coffee2code.com/wp-plugins/
This plugin provides easy shortcuts for linking to web sites that you link to often. For example, typing ::wikipedia(“Cricket”,”Click here for Cricket on Wikipedia”) would create a link to the search results for “Cricket” in the Wikipedia.

Let me know which WordPress plugins you cannot live without in the comments below- I am always looking for new ways to better my blogs!