FAQ: WordPress Plugins Used on My Site

I’ve had a few clients, readers, Twitter followers, etc., ask me the same question recently:

“Which plugins do you you use on your site(s)?”

I’ve been transitioning a number of functions and features for which I’ve previously used plugins into my theme but there are still a number of plugins I like to use.

The (Authoritative) List

Let’s start with a comprehensive list of plugins installed on this site at the time of writing this post:

  • Akismet: Block comment spam.
  • Boilerplate: Insert oft-repeated text blocks via shortcode (e.g. disclaimers)
  • CommentLuv: Allow commenters to include a recent post from their blog (title and link) with their comment.
  • Download Counter: Easily track file downloads.
  • Download Counter Chart: Paired with the previous plugin, gives you quick access to your download data on your admin dashboard.
  • FD Feedburner: Quick and easy way to forward feeds to Feedburner without changing files.
  • Jetpack: Kind of overkill with a lot of features I don’t want or need, but I like the at-a-glance stats.
  • RSS Injection: Insert content into your RSS feed (e.g. copyright notices, special codes or info for subscribers).
  • Syntax Highlighter Evolved: As I start writing more development-related posts, this one will come in handy by allowing me to post nicely formatted code.
  • WP Super Cache: Speeds up your site.

Most of these plugins are pretty straight-forward, but there are two that could probably use a bit more explanation and that I really think could be helpful for a lot of you.

A Bit More About: Boilerplate

The Basic Explanation: You’ll be able to use a shortcode to insert the content of your choice into posts and pages as many times as you want!

The Nerdy Explanation: The plugin creates a custom post type that you can then insert using a shortcode. You can create as many boilerplate posts as you want, which are then called by a parameter in the shortcode.

Use Case: Perhaps you post a lot of free downloads on your blog and you want to include a permission notice at the bottom of each post with terms of use, requests for credit, and so on. Rather than rewriting it each time (or copying and pasting from somewhere), you’d create a boilerplate with the message.

A Bit More About: RSS Injection

The Basic Explanation: Add text into the beginning and/or end of each post when viewed via a feed reader or feed-by-email subscription.

The Nerdy Explanation: I’m actually not entirely sure how this plugin does what it does. Sorry!

Use Case: I use this plugin to insert copyright information at the bottom of each post, as well as a link back to the original post. Another compelling use case I haven’t tried is adding “subscriber only” content into posts, such as links to free downloads or bonus content.

There you have it, this site’s plugins. Please let me know (in the comments) if you’ve found this useful – I’d be happy to post similar lists of plugins for my other sites & sites I’ve developed if there’s interest. Which plugins do you swear by? What questions do you have about plugins? I’m all ears!

  1. Meagan

    Thanks so much for this Zoe! I’ve been wondering about how to track downloads for a while now, so the two plugins above are definitely going on my site.

    One new plugin that I’m trying is Comment Redirect by Yoast. It’s where you can redirect first time commenters to a special thank you page or you can tell them what to do next. I’m sure it can be used in a lot of different ways!

    I’d definitely be interested in knowing about plugins used for other sites you’ve developed too. You never know what may help! Thanks!

    • Zoe

      Glad it was helpful, Meagan! The only caution I’d have about doing something like you describe with Comment Redirect is that it if you actually take them to a different page (rather than providing an inline message on the same page) you are doing something unexpected and unusual without providing a choice. Personally, I don’t like being force-fed info that way on websites because it seems overly pushy (it feels like those pop up subscribe boxes, which I absolutely hate).