Every designer has a few favorite applications they like to use in their websites:
Akismet – Duh, great for spam blockage. Now standard with every WordPress install.
All in One SEO Pack – This little plug is a valuable tool to get your WP blog search engine optimization.
Backup Buddy – Premium plugin that makes a number of tedious jobs easier. Tasks such as backing up and moving website from one server to another are a snap now. Totally worth the price.
Bible Verse of the Day – Adds daily scripture to your WordPress site.
Breadcrumb Navigation XT – Cool little plug that allows readers keep track of where they are.
Digg Digg – Display counts for popular social butons like Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Event Espresso – This premium plugin for WordPress allows you to turn your existing blog or website into a fully featured event management website.
Featured Story Plugin – Used to create a featured content gallery anywhere within your WordPress theme. I used it on the this site’s home page. Co-developed by me
HelpDen Free Live Support Chat HelpDen is a simple and scalable Live Support system that can be added to your website in minutes.
Get Recent Comments – Display the most recent comments or trackbacks with your own formatting in the sidebar. Sometimes I’ll use Brian’s Latest Comments as well.
Google (XML) Sitemap This plugin generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. This format is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search. Sitemaps are dynamically created, so much better then manual sitemaps!
GravityForms: Highly customizable form. That allows end users to receive form results by email and its recorded in WordPress’ back end. Very powerful plugin.
MCE Table Buttons – Adds table editing buttons to a new, third row in the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
NextGEN Gallery – Great applet for photo albums. Has all the extras you need to assemble a creative album, including a sweet slide show option that’s super easy to set up.
Popularity Content – Enable ranking of your posts by popularity; using the behavior of your visitors to determine each post’s popularity. You set a value (or use the default value) for every post view, comment, etc.
Premise – Makes building landing pages a snap!
Random File – This is a cool plug I use on static sections of websites. It allows a random picture to be loaded with each visit. That keeps static pages looking dynamic.
Search & Replace: This is a plugin I use as a developer. This plugin is extremely helpful in moving websites across domain names. If you ever need mass changes to your site you’ll find this plugin a huge time saver. ShareThis – Nifty plug that helps your posts become viral. I don’t use this much because I’ve found it’s not that effective. But I’ll still implement it upon request.
SimpleMap Store Locator SimpleMap is an easy-to-use international store locator plugin that uses Google Maps to display information directly on your WordPress site.
Staff Directory – Staff Directory is deigned to keep track of your list of staff members for easy display on your site.
TweetMeme Button – The TweetMeme button easily allows your blog to be retweeted. The button also provides a current count of how many times your story has been retweeted throughout Twitter.
WP Cumulus – Rad tad cloud as seen on Critical Gamer’s sidebar.
WP Polls – Help your site become interactive with poll questions.
WP Database Backup – This plug e-mails you a data backup weekly (or more often if needed). No need to remember to back up anymore. Just throw those emails into a folder and if something should happen, you’re back in business.
WP-Download Manager – Adds a simple download manager to your WordPress blog. This is a great tool to track the number of times your .pdf’s are downloaded.
WP-Print – Displays a printable version of your WordPress blog’s post/page.
bbPress – This forum doesn’t seem to have as many options as others I’ve used. However, it’s the best option for seamless integration into WordPress. One huge benefit is the easy RSS feeding categories so you can pull forum-related content from bbPress and feed it into similar content-related WP pages.
phpBB – Stable and ready to roll. Improved admin and flexibility with Version 3.0. It’s very popular — mostly because it’s free!
BuddyPress – BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes, each adding a distinct new feature. BuddyPress contains all the features you’d expect from WordPress but aims to let members socially interact.
Ning – A free social network that’s easy to set up but difficult to customize (for the novice). Ning is basically it’s own platform and doesn’t perform well with other applications. However, if you need a social network quick and cheap, it doesn’t get any better.
CounterCentral – This is a paid counter that’s worth it. You can crunch stats every imaginable way with CC. The coolest feature is that the stats are live, which means you can see who’s looking at your site in real time. Less then $15.00/month
Google Analytics – Counts hits daily, tracks which search engines the hits came from (including which search term was used to find your website) and tracks hits geographically. Free
E-Junkie – I can do virtual stores on WordPress to a point. But once you get over ten or more products you’re probably going to want a more powerful solution. E-Junkie is a great resource to sell your tangible and virtual products.
CafePress – Many businesses are too small to have a full advertising specialty product line. That’s no longer a problem with CafePress. This website takes your logo, theme, or idea puts it on a T-shirt, hat, or even key chain one item at a time, which means you don’t need to inventory your ad specialty products. I can set-up your CafePress site to integrate with your main website. Every sale made sends a percent back to your piggy bank. Cool 8)
FeedBurner – This site has multiple uses from tracking who’s feeding your site to collecting emails for newsletters and broadcasting your blog.
Google Calendar – A very powerful tool if you want to publicly broadcast your meetings and events. Integrate a full view calender into your site and/or an upcoming events list right in your sidebar.
SuperCali – This is an event calendar that highly customizable. You can display multiple calenders (for different groups or people). It works with Ical and is user-friendly.
*** Features in bold are considered essential and are used on all my WordPress installs.
*** Last updated on Nov 12th 2011.