There are several lists of “Top 10” WordPress plugins around the Internet. Most of them, however, refer to the best or most popular plugins. Guess what, I’ve had enough of Akismet, Adsense Deluxe, Related Entries and company!
Jokes apart, those plugins are certainly awesome, but there are many others out there that can be life savers, and people often neglect them. Below you will the Top 10 Underrated WordPress plugins; if you think there is a plugin missing on the list just post a comment.
1. Custom Querry String
WordPress is a very flexible platform, but regulating the number of posts that are supposed to be displayed on the different pages is quite difficult. Most of the times you will want to display a limited number of posts on the Homepage while displaying a larger list for the categories, archives or search results pages, and this is not possible through the control panel. The solution for this problem is the Custom Querry String plugin, which allows you to configure this number individually for each page type.
2. Head Meta Description
While the Meta Keywords Tag is no longer used by most search engines, the Meta Description Tag still has some influence. Having the same Description Tag on all your pages, however, might be inneficient and send part of your website to the supplemental hell. This plugin is extremely easy to install and it will create a dynamic Meta Description Tag for every page on your blog, based on post excerpts or on the first words of the page.
3. Clean Archives
Most blogs have a “Monthly Archives” section on their sidebar, displaying a huge list of months and wasting some precious space. A more efficient structure for your archives would be a single page where all the posts are displayed, month by month. That is exactly what this plugin will do (you can see an example here). Notice that you might need the plugin below to install this one successfully.
Many plugins or WordPress features require that you run some PHP code. When you need to use those features or plugins inside static pages or posts, however, WordPress will not recognize the code. The solution for this problem is the Exec-PHP plugin. Once installed the plugin will enable PHP code on virtually all the pages of your blog. There are similar plugins available, but this one is the most reliable.
5. Enforce www. Preference
If your site can be accessed through http://www.domain.com and http://domain.com you might have some problems over the long run. Most search engines treat those addresses as two different domains, spliting your backlink count. In order to solve this issue you need to setup a 301 Permanent Redirect. The are several ways to setup this redirect, but if you are not familiar with PHP or if your host is not Linux based (for the .htaccess file) this plugin represents the simplest one. You just need to activate it and all the visitors and search bots will get redirected to the address that is specified on the WordPress control panel.
6. Chunk URLs
Ever experienced someone posting a huge URL on your comment section? Those long strings are not only ugly, but they might also break the design of your website on certain browsers. This plugin will trunk those long URLs into smaller ones, and you can even specify the amount of characters that the output should contain.
Sploggers are feed stealers are spreading out like fire. The first measure to protect your content is to add a copyright notice to your feed, possibly with a link pointing to your site. Sig2feed is a very light plugin that will do just that.
This plugin used to be called Feedburner Feed Replacement. It was so popular and efficient that Feedburner itself decided to buy it from the developer. Basically it will forward all the requests for your WordPress feed to Feedburner. It is very useful if you started using Feedburner after having some subscribers, or if you want to make sure that your feed statistics are completely accurate.
9. Jerome’s Keywords
This plugin is very similar to the Ultimate Tag Warrior, but it is much more user friendly. Once the plugin is installed you will be able to tag individual posts and to create an internal tag system and tag clouds. Secondly you can also use it to generate a dynamic Meta Keywords Tag.
WP-Cache is a very robust plugin that will increase the responsiveness of your website and reduce the server load. It is also very useful to handle sudden burts in traffic coming from social bookmarking sites. The plugin basically creates static versions of your pages and serves them without querrying the MySQL database.