Blogs have become extremely popular in the last few years. And WordPress is the Cadillac of blogging platforms. This is a list of the essential WordPress plugins.
Addicted to Live Search – Putting the debate of whether an internal site search is needed, if you would like to provide a search on your site, this plugin allows you to incorporate and style a live search. It woulds with the default search fields, so if you have created a custom template you may need to make some adjustments. But the plugin works very well.
Category LiveBookmarks Plus – If you have multiple categories with specific content, you may want to provide individual RSS feeds for each. This is build into WordPress, but using Category LiveBookmarks Plus gives you a dynamic and very simple way of creating those links, as well as adding them to the site header, for easy access in modern web browsers and RSS readers.
Contact Form 7 – If you would like to create different contact forms, this plugin allows you to create custom contact forms with different fields and use them on your site anywhere via Short Code.
Flash Video Player Plugin – Another plugin using the Short Code technology in WordPress, this plugin allows you to use a Short Code to insert Flash FLVs or H.264 Quicktime movies directly into posts or pages.
Role Manager – This is one of the best Plugins for a multi-user blog. Role Manager allows you to change the permission sets on the default WordPress roles or create your own custom roles within the system. Be careful when using this plugin if you have your blog set up to allow user registration.
My Custom Widget – My Custom Widget give you the ability to create custom widgets with HTML or PHP content. This is a must have plugin!
List Post Authors Plus – Another plugin based around multi-user blogs. If you have a heavily used blog with multiple contributers / authors, this plugin gives you a nice way to list, order and display your authors.
Google Sitemap XML Generator – This is an easily customizable plugin for creating a sitemap.xml file for your site. Great of help with SEO.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) – Used to dynamically create related links to content on posts or pages. The plugin has a lot of settings to aid in the refinement of related items.
WP Geo and Geo – When used together these plugins give authors a Google Map to select the location of the post, and then display the latitude and longitude of the post with a link to Google Maps. Geo tagging is becoming an essential piece of metadata. (Check out another post about using these two plugins together.)
Social Bookmarking Reloaded or ShareThis – Both plugins are used for social bookmarking on sites such as Digg, Technorati, Delicious, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Bookmarks, etc. ShareThis is starting to gain a lot of ground as a standard, but it is very specific and has minimal configuration. If having the ablity to do more styling is important Social Bookmarking Reloaded is very nice.
Did you pass math – This is a substitue for a CAPTCHA service. When readers want to comment on posts it asks them a simple math question.
Tweet Suite – Awesome intergration with Twitter. Only really worth it if you are using Twitter a lot.
This list started with 7 plugins and just kept growing, I’m sure that there are many more excellent plugins for WordPress. If you have others that I missed please add them in the comments.