I’ve set up a lot of new WordPress sites lately, and I’ve come up with my own homebrew installation package. All but one of these are admin tools; I don’t have a standard list of theme additions because every site is so different.
- Akismet is the only spam blocker I’ve ever needed with WordPress.
- (pre-2.7) Manageable is very new, but already indispensable. It adds inline editing to the post/page management screens — you double-click a row in the table, and you can edit just about everything but the content.
- Dashboard Widget Manager lets you turn off dashboard widgets you don’t want and add new ones. (Did you know the Dashboard is wigetized as of 2.5? There just isn’t a built-in manager for it
yetprior to 2.7.) There aren’t many dashboard-specific widgets available, unfortunately. I’ve learned how to write them, though!
- Database Backup because things will always go wrong.
- Search and Replace is very handy when you’re moving a blog from one domain to another. Since WordPress inserts full URLs when you upload media to a post, you end up with a lot of URLs to change.
- Ozh’s Admin Drop-Down Menus let you move around the admin screens SO much faster (prior to 2.7).
- My Page Order gives you a drag-and-drop interface for rearranging pages.
- No Self Pings prevents WP from pinging itself when you refer to one of your own posts.
- Clean Notifications sends out uncluttered, HTML-formatted notification emails for things like comment approvals and so forth. These message are much easier to scan than the default plain-text messages WP sends out.
- Subscribe to Comments because really, how often do you remember to check that thread you posted to last week?
- (pre-2.7)(Added later) Category Selector Back to the Sidebar fixes the most egregious usability problem introduced in the WP 2.5 interface, and puts the category checkboxes back above the fold.
- (Added later) Automatic Timezone lets you set your timezone according to the nearest large city (instead of the GMT offset) and automatically corrects for daylight savings time.
For clients’ sites that use a page as the home page (rather than blog posts), I throw in No Place Like Home. In fact, I wrote that for a client whose home page had to have the same name as another page on her site; we both kept forgetting which was which!
What else do you suggest?
Scott Janssens says
I’m still running 2.1. Everything works fine. Is there a compelling reason for me to upgrade?
Gosh, a lot has changed since then. The admin screens now look completely different, and honestly I’m not a fan of the new look; I use Fluency to override it. Widgets are now built in, so you don’t need the plugin. The Dashboard has widgets, as I mentioned above. Pages are now searched as well as posts.
Oh! Big change: WP now alerts you when there’s an upgrade available, both for the core and for any plugins that are housed on the official directory. That alone is probably worth upgrading for.
In 2.5, the admin menu wording changed a lot to make more sense — slugs are now known as permalink URLs, options are settings, etc. My favorite feature in 2.6 (other than the dramatically faster Dashboard widgets) is the least impressive: a word counter on the Write screen.
Scott Janssens says
I spend almost no time in the dashboard. I write all but my shortest blog posts in Word (although any desktop app would do). I don’t trust web forms not to lose my data. (Can’t wait until Silverlight and the new Flash stuff take over.)
The one feature I’d like (more for Deb than me) is a nice image uploader. I wrote her a quick and dirty app that uploads the file to our host and gives her a url, but something integrated would be nice.
There is a media uploader included as of 2.5. It’s Flash-based, and some people had trouble with it, so in 2.6 you have the option of going back to the standard browser-based thing. Either way, you then get a media manager window that you can use to edit title, description, and link, and then insert into the post.
Forgot to mention… WP autosaves drafts now, so there’s less of the data loss problem when writing in the web form.
Glad you find Manageable useful!
Aaron, I ADORE it. Which reminds me, do you have a donation account somewhere? I’d be more than happy to kick some cash your way.
Good luck in the plugin contest!
Thanks Stephanie! A link to donate is in the FYI box on the right here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/manageable/. I appreciate your support!
I still like Brian’s Threaded Comments and Comment Quicktags. I recently dropped the MiniMeta widget because I used a separate widget for the RSS link, I access the admin screen directly from the address bar, and there’s no need for anyone else to log in.
… some days I should just stay in bed. I was looking for it on your site. Duh!
i guess it’d be smart of me to have a link on my site as well =)
MCSE angie says
Have you tried one-click installer? It makes life much easier then installing new plugins and themes?
Yes, I just discovered it. It’s great! (linky)
Jeff Bayer says
Thanks, no idea why I wasn’t using the Dashboard Widget Manager.
Bill Canaday says
I recommend CommentLuv, which tries to reward commenters with links back to their blogs. I think that non-spam commenters should be rewarded for their efforts. There is also a plugin that, Seth Godin style, notes when a poster is new to the site and sends them a short ‘thank you’ for posting, even if they don’t have a blog for CommentLuv to query.
peter - werbeagentur dreamland says
one great plugin is the yigg it plugin. so don
platform bed phil says
Akismet has been a pretty good utility for filtering out spam. I use it on several different blogs and it has done well at filtering real comments from spam ones. Overall the new wordpress has been working well.
Kevin W. says
good article, very useful.
how to make fast money says
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Cary Snowden says
I just released a plugin for WordPress called Business Directory for WordPress. It allows you to create a yellow-pages style directory on your blog based on user input. Pretty easy and very handy for SEO. Check it out. http://businessdirectory.squarecompass.com/
Thank you very much for the resources. I love WordPress!
Dirty Blue Widgets says
All in one seo and google xml sitemaps are also excellent plugins.
Thanks for share this archive. It helps me a lot. Really Thanks for this.
Clean Red Widgets says
I love lists like this, I always find another plugin I need.
i really love “insights” plugin, may be you can considered it too.
That’s certainly a good list. It’s important however not to go crazy installing every plug-in under the sun because as I understand things, you can slow the load time of your blog.
just letting you know that i stopped by while conducting a search of essential plugins for wordpress. i started out using wordpress.com’s free blog and hosting and have recently migrated everything over to to wordpress.org using my own host. there’s a lot more to learn now, so i appreciate people like yourself who have offered recommendations.
Rick Imby says
Thanks for your list. I haven’t tried Manageable yet I am going to try it on the blogs I am setting up now.
Manageable is built in to WordPress as of 2.7, so you don’t need it if you’re installing a current version.
Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. Cheers! Sandra. R.
I`m still running 2.1 as well. Cant see why I have to upgrade..
Vigo in design says
Interesting and useful article. There are too many plugins for WordPress, and I didn’t know some that you’ve mention here.