10 Powerful Plugins for WordPress Design - dummies

10 Powerful Plugins for WordPress Design

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

Here are ten of the most popular plugins available for your WordPress site. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means; hundreds of excellent WordPress plugins can, and do, provide multiple ways to extend the functionality of your site. You can find many more on the WordPress Plugin Directory.

All in One SEO Pack

Good SEO practices help the major search engines easily find and cache your site content in their search databases so that when people search using keywords, they can find your site in the search results. The All in One SEO Pack plugin helps you fine-tune your site to make that happen.


Starting at $45 for the personal user and $197 for the entire development suite of plugins, BackupBuddy lets you back up your entire WordPress website in minutes.

With this plugin, you can determine a schedule of automated backups of your site. BackupBuddy backs up your WordPress data and any theme and customized plugins you’ve installed. It saves and backs up all WordPress settings and widgets that you’re currently using. BackupBuddy also includes an import and migration script (importbuddy.php) that allows you to easily transfer an existing site to a new domain, or new host, within minutes.


WP-Print is an easy-to-use plugin that provides a clean, printable version of your blog posts and pages. WP-Print strips most of the style from your theme design and outputs a clean print of your article with black text on a white background.

You can configure these options for the plugin:

  • Print Text Link for Post

  • Print Text Link for Page

  • Print Icon

  • Print Text Style Link

  • Additional printing options

You need to add a small snippet of code to your template in the area where you want the print link to appear with The Loop:

<?php if(function_exists('wp_print')) { print_link(); } ?>

PluginBuddy Mobile

PluginBuddy Mobile is a premium WordPress plugin that starts at $45. This plugin creates a mobile-ready version that displays correctly in many major mobile web browsers.

PluginBuddy Mobile is easy to install and gives your website a professional mobile-ready theme within minutes. The primary features of PluginBuddy Mobile are:

  • Mobile Theme Style Manager

  • Custom Header Uploader

  • Mobile Support for Multiple Platforms

  • Mobile Starter Theme

  • WordPress 3.0 Custom Navigation


ShareThis allows visitors to share content through e-mail and popular social media services, such as Technorati, Delicious, and Digg. After you install the plugin, go to the Options page for ShareThis (choose Settings→ShareThis) and set these options:

  • Enter the Widget Code: Obtain the code from the ShareThis website; then enter the code into this text box.

  • Display the Link Only on Certain Pages of Your Site: By default, the ShareThis link is added at the very end of your blog post and page. To turn this off, choose No from the Automatically Add ShareThis to Your Posts and the Automatically Add ShareThis to Your Pages drop-down lists. Then add the following ShareThis template tag to your template wherever you want it to display:

<?php if (function_exists('sharethis_button')) { sharethis_button(); } ?>

This plugin requires the wp-footer() call in the footer (footer.php) of your template. If your theme doesn’t include a wp_footer() call, you can add it easily by opening the footer.php template and adding this bit of code:

<?php wp_footer(); ?>

Subscribe to Comments

The Subscribe to Comments plugin lets your visitors subscribe to individual posts you’ve made to your blog. They receive a notification via e-mail whenever someone leaves a new comment on the post. This feature goes a long way toward keeping your readers informed.

The plugin includes a full-featured Subscription Manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts, block all notifications, or even change their notification e-mail address.

WordPress.com Stats

The WordPress.com Stats plugin collects all the important statistics, including the number of hits on the site per hour, day, or month; the most popular posts; the sources of the traffic on the site; and the links people click to leave the site.

You need a WordPress.com API key for this plugin to work. Create an account on WordPress.com; you get an API key in your Personal Profile there. Simply copy it and paste it into the API field under Plugins→WordPress.com after you activate the plugin. After you do that, a link called Blog Stats appears on the Dashboard menu. Click that link to view your site stats on your Dashboard.

WP Security Scan

WP Security Scan is relatively simple to use; it scans your entire WordPress installation and looks for any security vulnerabilities that may exist and then suggests corrective actions that you can take to improve the overall security of your WordPress installation.

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache creates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress content. On a high-traffic site, having cached versions of your posts and pages can speed up the load time of your website considerably.

WPMU Premium

WPMU Premium is an entire collection of plugins that are geared toward and developed for users who take advantage of the multisite feature with WordPress, as well as the users who have developed a social community website by using the BuddyPress plugin for WordPress.

Here are a few of the available plugins:

  • Membership plugins that give you membership and affiliate capabilities on your network

  • Classified ad plugins that allow you to grow a classified ads section

  • Chat plugins that let you include interactive, real-time chat capabilities for your users to communicate with one another

  • Domain mapping plugins that let you use your own domain on your network of sites

  • Anti-spam plugins that prevent spam comments and spam sign-ups in your community

You can choose among annual membership packages from $35 to $79 per month, which gives you access to more than 100 plugins along with some stellar, world-class support.