I’m putting this here because Jetpack does so many things. In particular, I like Sharing, Enhanced Distribution, Monitor, and Widget Visibility. A lot of other stuff is nice — like automatic verification of sites for Pinterest, Bing, and Google Webmaster Tools. Enabling Jetpack and this service on websites makes it ridiculously easy to verify these things. Subscriptions are also nice — and when I have multiple authors, Spelling and Grammar always helps!
WP Import Pro
I really like WP Import Pro. This plugin makes it super easy to import CSVs of everything. The best way to import thousands of products, hundreds of menu items, tons of posts, and whatever you want, really. I honestly haven’t tried many free CSV import plugins — I came into a job where this was already purchased, and it has worked so smoothly and well I’ve seen no reason to investigate elsewhere.
Add from Server
Add From Server is a much, much easier way of importing tons of images into your WordPress uploads folder. Trying to do this through the WordPress media library can be painfully slow, depending how many images you have.
The only caveat I have about this plugin is that it may be necessary to chunk your images into folders. I’ve had this plugin choke on 1,000+ image folders. This is, however, more likely a limitation of a given server’s PHP max_input_vars setting rather than the plugin itself — with a high enough max_input_vars and related settings in PHP, it’s probable you can import as many images as you want. Haven’t tried, though — it’s always been easier for me to simply split the images into different folders rather than mess with the settings.
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker is simple and has worked well for me on a number of sites. I know there are non-plugin solutions for this, but I don’t always remember to run my things through stuff like W3’s link checker so having something in my dashboard (and e-mailing me!) to yell about broken links is a good thing for me!
WP Members is very neat for member registration. I was able to get some custom profile fields to show up on the registration page and get some very neat customization with this plugin.
Theme My Login
Theme My Login is a great plugin for flipping your WordPress installation into a frontend login. Do be aware, if you use a Maintenance Mode plugin with Theme My Login, you may set your site inaccessible except over FTP or SSH!
bbPress is super neat. It’s a little tougher than WordPress, as the support community isn’t quite so large, but it was still relatively easy for me to extend it to how I wanted it on one of my sites. I built a custom memberlist to sit on top of it, too, and display a couple custom profile fields I’d integrated with Theme My Login.
GD bbPress Tools is neat for extending bbPress’s functionality with BBCode, signatures, etc.
Front End Plugins
Table of Contents Plus
Table of Contents Plus is simple and it just works. I find a table of contents plugin necessary for a lot of what I write, but I think that says more about my wordiness than anything else. That said, it can help you skip to sections when following along with something. I also like the benefit of being able to quickly link someone — with an anchor link — anywhere on a page if I want to point out something in particular, rather than describing where on the page I want them to look and hoping they get there okay.
Instagram Feed is a very simple way of including your Instagram photos on your WordPress. I’ve encountered no trouble with it so far, and I really like the clean-by-default output.
Widgets on Pages
I like Widgets on Pages lots. Widgets often offer special functionalities and don’t always make it easy to use an in-page shortcode. This is a very easy workaround for that. Combined with Duplicate Widget, and your WordPress widgets are pretty much supercharged!
WP Smush.it compresses your images as you upload — or compresses a bunch of images you’ve already uploaded. Very, very nice and works well as far as I can tell. Although I usually compress images in some way prior to upload (either saving as 8-9 JPG or running a PNG through TinyPNG) WP Smush.it helps. It also helps if you can’t guarantee future uploaders will be conscientious in crushing images before uploading them.
WP Super Cache
I trust WP Super Cache primarily because it’s an Automattic tool, and other cache plugins brought primarily woe and misery. That said, it takes minor finesse to remove properly. Also, if you do move your site directories around, you’ll probably trigger some scary PHP errors at the top of your site. Neither of these things bother me, but your mileage may vary if your WordPress proficiency is not up-to-snuff. I have also used Fastest Cache without issue.
Better WordPress Minify
Better WordPress Minify has worked wonderfully for me thus far. I’ve had no issues with CSS or JS files coming out funky, nor any breaking functionality. It is again important to read the documentation, and if your site is anywhere near well-trafficked, a cache plugin is pretty much required alongside this plugin.
I don’t think HTML compression super-duper matters in most instances. That said — yeah, when you’re on a draggy-ass mobile connection (the new-age dial-up), every little bit saved counts. I looked around at a few options, and WP-HTML-Compression was the only one I had the inclination of even trying. I haven’t used it widely and in a number of different environments, but the few I’ve tried it in, it’s worked all lovely-like.
I like Wordfence. I used to use iThemes Security but I stopped using it around the time it became iThemes security, in favor of WordFence. Something about one of the updates really bugged me. There were a few instances where it conflicted with something else — I don’t quite remember what. In any case, I like WordFence better — it seems to offer more options and fewer conflicts.
SEO on WordPress
I don’t feel very strongly either way about these three plugins; I usually default to All-in-One simply for the Google Analytics being included (Yoast requires the Yoast Analytics plugin — which is nice, but in my case generally unnecessary). They’re all pretty neat.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast is a very nice SEO plugin. It’s silly-easy to set up and also integrates with a couple other neat tools, which is nice.
- I’ve also used All-in-One SEO, and I like that one fine, too.
- I’ve also used SEO Ultimate — I liked it and actually did some custom development with it (just grabbing the meta descriptions as the excerpt, as it was neater than plain excerpts and they were custom-written).