Over the years I’ve done plenty of searches like you probably did to get here, and I’ve tried out hundreds of recommended plugins. Very few have stuck around. In fact, my list of active plugins is a mere 31. Do I use all of them all of the time? No. But I’ve grown fond of some over the years.
While the below plugins aren’t my top WordPress plugins of the year, they certainly make my short list of honorable mentions. So whether you’re just getting started, or you’ve been around for a while you should take a look before you get on with your life.
jQuery lazy load plugin by Andrew Ng [link] Lazy Load is a jQuery plugin that delays images from loading in long web pages in order to speed up the loading of your page. Basically, all of the images outside of the viewport (visible part of a page) aren’t loaded until the user scrolls to them (which is opposite of image preloading).
Using Lazy Load on long pages containing many large images makes the page load faster, and the browser will be in ready state after loading visible images. In some cases it can also help to reduce server load.
Revision Control by Dion Hulse [link] Revision Control is a plugin which gives you more control over post/page revision functionality. It allows you to set a site-global setting (Settings -> Revisions) for pages/posts to enable/disable/limit the number of revisions which are saved for the page/post. Even more granular, you can change this setting on a per-page/post basis from the Revisions Meta box.
I got this plugin because my revisions were getting out of control. So I used it to delete specific revisions via the Revisions post metabox. As a result of reducing the number of revisions, I’ve been able to significantly cut down database overhead.
Google Analyticator by Ronald Heft [link] Google Analyticator adds the Google Analytics code snippet to your blog eliminating the need for you to edit your template. It also includes several widgets for displaying Analytics data in the admin dashboard on your blog, and for visitors on your posts and pages.
More stuff it does: Supports standard Google Analytics tracking via the latest async tracking methods; Includes an admin dashboard widget that displays a graph of the last 30 days of various info; Includes a widget that can be used to display visitor stat information on the front-end; Supports outbound link tracking of all links on the page; Supports download link tracking; Supports event tracking with outbound links/downloads; Support site speed tracking; Allows hiding of Admin; and Supports localization for the settings page.
Some people like Yoast’s Google Analytics for WordPress, but I’m more than satisfied with Analyticator.
Search Everything by Dan Cameron of Sprout Venture [link] Search Everything increases the ability of the default WordPress Search by giving you the ability to search every page, every tag, every custom taxonomy, every category, every comment, every draft, every excerpt, every attachment, and every custom field. It literally does search everything.
The plugin gives you the ability to exclude posts and categories from searches, can be limited to approved comments, is limited to non-password protected pages, and will highlight search terms within results if you so choose.
Advertising Manager by Scott Switzer. When it was supported (before it got dumped off on OpenX) Ad Manager was the bomb. Now, I’m just praying it stays compatible with future versions of WordPress (so far so good with 3.3). If you’d like to try it out download the plugin and then follow these installation instructions (thanks @UdegbunamChuks!)
Once installed Ad Manager will let you put ads in posts/pages via shortcodes and includes a widget to make putting it on widget-supported sidebars, footers, etc. much easier. If you have ads, this plugin is the bomb!
Partial Protect with Passwords by Cambridge New Media Services [link] This plugin is no longer supported, but you might be able to get help over at Your Members Forums or on Rob Cooper’s blog post about the plugin. You can also try Password Content ShortCode [link] by ZetRider which works about the same. Basically it allows you to password protect content within a post or page wherever you use the plugin’s shortcode. Click the image below for an example.
While you will undoubtedly benefit from every one of my top 10 WordPress plugins, it wouldn’t hurt to give these honorable mentions a go. I wouldn’t have ‘em if I didn’ t use ‘em, and I wouldn’t use ‘em if they didn’t meet a need.
Got thoughts on my honorable mentions for top WordPress plugins? Feel free to share your thoughts below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.