As you are probably aware, wordpress is massively customisable through themes, widgets and plugins.
Themes are the overall look and feel of your blog, created using graphics and CSS templates. While I don’t personally have the artistic or technicall skills to create my own theme I thank those who do. There are thousands of themes available – this blog currently uses Mandrivo.
Widgets are another great feature, standard in current versions of wordpress, and via a plugin in older versions. They let you add content to your sidebars and other areas of your theme.
And plugins… these are extensions to the core functionality of wordpress. Whatever you want to do with your blog, chances are there is a plugin that will help. Here’s the ones I use at present:
This is a neat popup-on-rollover button that appears at the end of every post. With this a visitor (or yourself!) can easily add posts to popular services like Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit and more.
This service again provides a rollover button but this time allows your visitors to subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed, using Google, MSN, Bloglines, etc. Ideal for placing at the top of your sidebar, and saves the space used by listing many seperate services.
This is a must have for wordpress installations because it helps solve the sad problem of blog spam. Of course, you can manually moderate all comments, if you so wish, but you’ll soon find yourself deluged with ads and trackbacks for anything from viagra to porn to gambling
This allows you to redirect your feed URL – which is usually yourblog.com/feed to use the version held by Feedburner. In practice it enables you to track subscribers, provide compatible feeds, and even use Google’s adsense for feeds service.
This might be superceded by wordpress’s inbuilt tag support, but I still like to use it. All you have to do is use list the tags you want to use at the end of your post, surrounded by [tag] brackets, and the post will automatically include technorati compatible tags. Ultimate Tag Warrior may be better, if I switch to it 😀
This is a simple subscribe option that allows users to receive an e-mail everytime a new post is posted.
As the name implies, this will automaticaly download and install the latest version of wordpress. Please, backup everything before use, including your database!
And if you do need to backup your database, use this. After all, your blog *is* a database, and it would be a shame to lose all your posts, wouldn’t it?
Helps speed up your blog, and protect you from spikes in traffic, e.g. from Digg. You can also enable a lockdown mode if it’s a big spike!
This is one of the most popular plugins around. It helps you make sure your wordpress blog is search engine friendly, and can help you increase your rankings. It’s main functionality is to edit the META keywords, such as blog title and description, but it also has extensive functions to change the way post titles etc are created in the URL’s.
Other popular plugins, that I’m not personally using:
Ultimate Tag Warrior
(tags, tag clouds, etc)
(google sitemap generator)
(Helps you link older, deeper content as related posts to the current one)
(another spam blocker, works well with Akismet)
(show images as an overlay with a lightbox effect)
(enable gravatars – open avatars – on your comments etc)
(simple contact form, perhaps for your about or contact page)
(enables PHP code execution everywhere)
Do you know of any more useful plugins?