Using WordPress for your content management system is simple and many of the tools you need are already included in the base installation of the platform, but there are other tools that I’ve found are musts for your website.    Below are my top ten plugins that add functionality and more convenience for your WordPress website!

  1. Akismet
    Akismet filters out your comment and track-back spam for you, so you can focus on more important things. This comes packages with WordPress, but requires you to obtain an API key at a low per-month cost to use. There are other spam filter plugins out there, but Akismet is beyond compare in handling spam for your news and/or blog content areas where you encourage user participation.
  2. My Page Order
    You’ve added a new page, but WordPress only allows you to sort your pages by ID, name or date added. Sometimes, you want more control over your page order in your navigation menus. This is the plugin you need! With an easy drop and drag interface, you have complete control over your page order and how it appears on your website.
  3. Page Links ToSometimes you want to add a page under different parent pages, but you don’t want to duplicate the content. This plugin will allow you to create a new page or post and link it to another page.
  4. TinyMCE Advanced
    This plugin adds a ton of additional tools to your post/page edit screen including tables, advanced horizontal rules and more text tools.
  5. Social Media Widget
    Social media is a very important element for many personal and business websites and this plugin gives you the easy tool to include icon links in your sidebar widgets to all your social media homes.
  6. Contact Form 7 and Really Simple CAPTCHA
    For an easy to use contact form, with CAPTCHA capabilities, these two plugins are a must.
  7. Simple Lightbox
    When you want to post an image on your website, and show a larger version when you click it, it opens on a new page. This lightweight plugin provides a simple lightbox that opens to view the full size image without leaving the page.
  8. Custom Sidebars
    WordPress allows for multiple sidebars, but it used to be that you had to fool with the functions code to add more. This plugin solves the problem of having to code your sidebars and adds a simple select feature to assign the sidebar to specific pages.
  9. Post Expirator
    When using your posts section as a news and announcement function for your site, sometimes you want to make a post disappear after a specified date because it’s no longer current. This used to be something you had to manually do. With this plugin, you set the date the post needs to be removed from you website and the plugin does all the work!
  10. WordPress Download Monitor
    When you business manages a large amount of downloadable documents, this plugin comes in real handy in organizing those documents. It also will provide you with useful download statistics so you can track what your users are downloading most.

There are plenty more plugins to meet all sorts of needs available. The above are ones I see used most often. What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins?