One of the best aspects of WordPress is how easy it is to customize your website and the community of developers that have invested time into creating a great product along with complimentary themes and plugins. However you want to utilize WordPress, blogging or eCommerce, there is a plugin for it.
Here is a list of the top five free plugins that are essential to any great WordPress website that you should check out. Each of these have been utilized for several months and many have been compared to similar plugins and found to be the best of the bunch.
Disqus Comment System
One of the premiere commenting plugin systems that provides a great design layout as well as integrating well into WordPress. It is a quick and simple install that has become popular on my blogging circles and improved community discussion for many bloggers. With a great comment management system and always necessary avatar implementation, it is a definite improvement from the WordPress setup.
The future remains promising for this plugin. They have a very active developer base that quickly upgrades their plugin when a new WordPress update comes out. At the same time, a new feature called Disqus Ranks is currently in beta, available to premium members, and will soon roll out to free users as well. The hopes is that it will reward frequent and quality comments from visitors.
A social media plugin that has the unique integration into one of the best WordPress themes out there, Standard Theme. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, and several more. They also give you the flexibility to display it on your posts and/or pages as well as including or excluding specific categories. Finally, they encourage customization of the CSS file by providing an editor in the settings section.
The one feature that makes this stand out is that you can place the widget in several areas of your website, including floating on the right or left hand side of your blog. This amazing addition has the potential to drastically improve social media integration into your website because the user is consistently exposed to the social media buttons.
JetPack by WordPress.com
It should be noted up front that Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) are the creators of this plugin and it is no secret that they focus on making premium plugins, so the future of this plugin staying free is up in the air. At the same time, the plugin has overcome some severe bugs that erased statistics and lagged load times, but that all seems behind them. JetPack is a “all-in-one” plugin including my favorites Site statistics, After the Deadline, and WP.me Shortlinks. Individually, all of these aspects would be must-have, but combined they have created a can’t-live-without.
WP Mobile Detector
A plugin disguised as a WordPress theme, WP Mobile Detector detects mobile devices that visit your site and displays it in a compatible WordPress mobile theme. This will provide a unique design that is optimized for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices that have premium real estate. The plugin also provides you will ten different web designs with different colors and slight variations in mobile layouts.
One extra feature they provide is collecting mobile statistics. They collect and compare basic and advanced mobile devices as well show what type of smart devices have visited. If you occasionally blog about iPads but notice that you have been getting noticeably more mobile iPad devices, you can make an extra effort to focus on them.
The plugin does exactly as it is described, it controls how many different revisions of a page or post you have stored in your database. Undoubtedly, consistent WordPress bloggers have had several revisions of a single blog post that may happen to each of the hundreds or even thousands of posts they have written. Every time you save a draft of your post, preview it, publish it, and even allow WordPress to auto-save it, a new revision is creating and over time this can clutter your database and even hinder load times on your website.
This plugin gives you the control to set a maximum limit of revisions per page and a separate one for your posts. At the same time, it allows you to delete stored revisions, compare two different revisions, or restore an older revision. Finally, it clearly displays the revisions kept below the post or page for easy manipulation.
What WordPress can’t you live without?