WordPress is probably the best and most versatile blogging system available this side of anywhere.
For those of you who don’t already know, WordPress is a web publishing platform (also known as a content management system) written in PHP and backed by a MySQL database. It is used to manage frequently-updated Web content, especially Weblogs. WordPress is distributed under the GNU General Public License and is available free of charge.
Now, I know that “free” is always good to hear, but the best thing about WordPress is not necessarily the price tag or the platform itself. The best thing about WordPress is the way in which legions of bloggers everywhere have taken to the brand, creating their own add-on programs to plug the software’s limitations and inadequacies, which could be described as many and varied.
The other great thing about WordPress is that most its Developers and Bloggers really don’t mind sharing their knowledge and ideas with you, which is probably not what you’re used to–if you come from a background where every man is his own island, like crabs in a barrel, so to speak. But the collaborative nature of blogging and the Internet is what makes for real success online–but more of that later in a future post.
This collaborative working has in turn spawned what we now know in the bloggersphere as Plugins. A plugin (or plug-in) is a program written specifically to interact or integrate with another application. The program plugs into the application, and in this respect, provides additional functionality that is not available in WordPress. Plugins are enhanced and developed based upon the feedback of their many users and are generally made available free of charge by Developers who work tirelessly on them as a labour of love because he or she can.
Plugins have extended the popularity and usefulness of WordPress. There is very little as a result that you might want to do with your WordPress blog that a plugin has not already been created to accomplish. In fact, there are often several competing plugins doing roughly the same thing. So, if one plugin conflicts with your chain of other plugins, you can generally find something else to replace it that works just fine.
Checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not.
2. Ajax Spell Checker
Add a spellchecker to your blog.
3. Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu
Drop Down Menus for WordPress Admin.
4. All in One SEO Pack
Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog.
5. Popularity Contest
Rank your posts by number of visitors who visit it.
6. Dagon Sitemap Generator
Generates a customizable sitemap containing all posts and pages.
7. Event Calendar
Display future events in a dynamic calendar on a listings page or as in the sidebar. Subscribe to the calendar from iCal (OSX) or Sunbird.
8. Get Recent Comments
Display the most recent comments or trackbacks with your own formatting in the sidebar.
9. My Page Order
Lets you set the order of your pages.
Everything you need for Podcasting in one easy plugin.
11. Protected Downloads
Restrict and track downloads from your blog.
12. Redirect Old Slugs
Change your post slugs without breaking the old ones (which redirect to the new ones).
13. Related Posts
Return a list of the related entries in your WordPress powered site.
14. Role Manager
Assign access roles to your blog users.
15. Share This
Let your visitors share posts and pages with others. Supports e-mail and posting to social bookmarking sites.
Prevent selected posts from showing on your front page.
17. Simple: Press Forum
A simple way to add a customisable forum integrated into your theme like the one used here.
18. Ultimate Tag Warrior
Tag your posts and pages with this tagging plugin.
A drop in form to let your visitors contact you from a page or a post.
Let your visitors translate your site to any language using Altavista.
That is the beauty of WordPress – finding your selection of plugins coupled with your WordPress enabled Search Engine Optimised (SEO) theme that will give your blog the edge and its distinctive look, feel, and flavour.
The great thing about all of this is that it’s all largely made available free on the Internet by WordPress enthusiasts and Bloggers like you and me. So with freeness uppermost in mind, this is my list of 20 WordPress plugins to add essential functionality and flexibility to your new Weblog.