Egyptian blogger from Cairo.
Revolutionary Socialist.
Partner & Creative Director at ThePlanet.

Essential WordPress Plugins

Inspired by Roberto Diaz‘s post (in Spanish), Behind The Scenes, I wanted to list all of the WordPress plugins that I am using across this website, with a brief review of each one.

Plugin name/description

Rating

Akismet
By far one of the most popular WordPress plugins. The most technical and detailed word to describe this plugin is: Magic. Without a Captcha, you will never be bothered by spam as it automatically recognizes them and places them in a spam queue that you won’t need to even visit, because it’s never been wrong

9

All in One SEO Pack
A vital aspect of the blog of anyone who wants to attract as many visitors as possible. Through a single admin panel, you customize all of the settings to enhance the Search Engine Optimization of your entire site. Easy to use, and very effective

9

Contact Form 7
After a little of getting-used-to, this plugin allows you to place multiple contact forms and completely customize them via the admin panel. No need to program anything, everything’s done for you.

7

FancyBox for WordPress
There are numerous plugins dedicated to displaying images. I chose FancyBox because of its interactive nature, and more importantly, with some minor adjustments, it’s perfectly valid code (be sure to remove the “overlay” which covers the background to avoid CSS errors). Works automatically.

7

Get Recent Comments
A simple plugin to display the latest X number of comments in a widget (which I’ve placed in the footer), giving you the option of controlling the layout

8

Google XML Sitemaps
The sort of plugin that, once installed, you forget about it while it does all of the work for you. Whenever there is any change applied to the website, the search engine crawlers are immediately notified in their particular format. An absolute must for anyone wanting to drive traffic to his or her website (which should be everyone)

9

Really Simple Captcha
One of the Captcha plugins that work with Contact Form 7. Very simple to use, and only needs to be configured once, as it is integrated with the other plugin

7

Shockingly Big IE Warning
For those users who are still convinced that the world is flat, and that the Sun rotates around the Earth, this plugin displays a scary bar across the top urging the user to upgrade to a civilized browser. It’s a lot of fun, and can help make this world a better place. You can view my post on the possible end of IE 6

8

Smart YouTube
By far the easiest way to integrate a YouTube video with your pre-configured settings. What makes this plugin stand out is that it produces valid XHTML code with any video that you embed. And all you need to do is choose the standard settings via the admin panel, and then paste the URL of any video in your posts adding a “v” after “http” and voila! standards’ compliant YouTube video embedded just the way you wanted

9

Sociable
A plugin that I have discussed in an earlier post, allowing the visitor to easily share your posts via the numerous social networking websites. With a small fix, it is XHTML valid, and you can use your own icons

8

SyntaxHighlighter Evolved
After a bit of research, I have found that this plugin is the best way to display code in your posts. Unlike others, this one is stable, very easy to use/implement, and has a beautiful interface. Sometimes the XML coding can use more coloring for distinction, but we’ll let that slide

9

TinyMCE Advanced
A back-end plugin that allows you to add rows to your WYSIWYG editor when writing/editing posts. The most important feature is integrating tables (as done with this post), which is a feature that it not available with the standard TinyMCE that ships with WordPress

7

WordBook
A simple plugin that publishes a link on your Facebook page directing users to your post. It appears in a single line using the WordPress favicon. Looks professional, but can be overlooked by friends and family viewing your Facebook page. Nevertheless, a useful addition to the team

7

WordPress Popular Posts
After collecting data on the number of views for each post (discarding those of the admin), it displays the X most viewed posts in a widget. Takes a bit of time to collect data at first, but then works effectively

8

WP-Piwik
If you are still not using Piwik for some reason, read my post discussing the subject. This plugin allows you to integrate the Javascript code that allows Piwik to collect the data. It makes the code XHTML valid, and works instantaneously. I’ve tried a couple of others that caused some problems. This one has worked perfectly

9

WP to Twitter
There are many Twitter-related plugins for WordPress. I wanted something that automatically tweets when I post a new article, with the shortened URL integrated. WP to Twitter does exactly that. You can customize the tweet that will be made on the same page where you make a new post. Very convenient

8

WPtouch iPhone Theme
Visitors accessing your website via any hand-held or iPhone will probably not be able to view the website properly. This plugin provides them with an interface made specifically for them. Even though it does not resemble the real site in any way, it is an extremely convenient method for the users to read and comment on the actual content

8

The beauty of any open-source project lies in the efforts brought forward by the community supporting it. WordPress has proven to be a revolution in the blogging/CMS world after effectively bringing the best out of everyone and everything in a single place. Those plugins were the ideal fit for me, and if you are looking for something different, there’s no doubt that you will find your perfect match.

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3 comments

Mohamed ElGohary

January 11, 2010

Isn’t it better if you post some links to the plugins? :)

Tarek Shalaby

January 11, 2010

True, but I thought people would browse to them from the plugin installer built within WordPress. This way you can always see the latest version and download it directly, without having to visit a number of different websites.

Also, since there are always improvements, some of these plugins might become replaced by better ones, depending on the actual plugin.

Thanks for the comment!

Mohamed ElGohary

December 14, 2011

Any update to this post? :)

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