WordPress Plugins I Install on Every Project

Posted by JD Collier on January 14, 2014

We are a Drupal shop. I am a Drupal enthusiast. Drupal is my preferred solution. I love Drupal. Ok, I’ve gotten that out so everyone knows where I’m coming from … now I can tell you my little secret — I love WordPress too.

I’ve written about WordPress vs. Drupal before and I still wish Drupal worked in every situation, but sometimes it is just too big for a project’s budget. This year, I’ve decided that I’m not going to treat WordPress as an outsider; instead, I’ve decided to give WordPress the love I’ve given Drupal. I’ve made a base site that I’m going to clone all my new WordPress sites from.

We have a Drupal base site that is much more than just an install profile — it is preconfigured. We have modules pre-installed and already configured to the way we work at Digett. This saves an incredible amount of time for us and ensures much more consistency. I've set up the same thing for WordPress.

Here are the plugins that I include for every WordPress project

  • Advanced Menu Widget: I almost always put some type of sidebar navigation on the interior pages of a website. I like the flexibility of this plugin (and it reminds me of Menu Block in Drupal).
  • Mollom: This is a great tool to reduce comment spam.
  • Broken Link Checker: This plugin continuously monitors your site content for broken links and notifies you on the dashboard when there is a broken link.
  • Browser Rejector: When Google Chromeframe was deprecated, I went on a search for a good alternative. For WordPress, I really like the options in this plugin.
  • Change WP Mail From Details: This enables me to set our administrative email for the main WordPress site, but have contact forms and comment notifications come from a client address. You can change the “From” name and address that WordPress uses.
  • Custom Post Widget: Enjoy Drupal block functionality in WordPress! I can create a piece of content with the WYSIWYG editor and then it becomes a widget I can place in a widgetized region or call it directly in template code. This is great for header/footer info.
  • Easy Filter: This plugin improves the Post and Page content management menu with additional filters.
  • FD Feedburner Plugin: This simple plugin makes it easy to redirect your feed to Feedburner or any other feed service.
  • jQuery Colorbox: adds nice Colorbox slideshows to WordPress galleries.
  • MCE Table Buttons: Add table control buttons to the WordPress WYSIWYG.
  • Open External Links in a new window: I know there is dissent in the UX Community about this, but I like to open off-site links in a new window/tab. This plugin allows me to automate that.
  • Root Relative URLs: This plugin converts all URL formats to relative links so sites are more transportable. This makes the process of moving a site from my development to production server much easier.
  • Safe Redirect Manager: Allows our marketing team to add 301 redirects without having to understand htaccess rules or get a developer involved.
  • Search Exclude: I always need to exclude pages like form confirmations from search results. This plugin allows my content team the ability to manage this on their own.
  • ShareThis: Add social share links.
  • UpdraftPlus - Backup/Restore: This is a very robust backup solution. 
  • Widget Logic: Adds a field to widgets to help you control where the widget shows. You can make a widget show on any page of your site. This allows me to control widget visibility the way Drupal handles block visibility.
  • WP Robots Txt: This allows my content team to manage disallowed pages without having to use FTP. This just makes life a little easier and also helps make the site more transportable.
  • WP Super Cache: I’ve tried lots of caching plugins for WordPress, I keep returning to WP Super Cache. It is easy to use and just works.

Other plugins?

I would love to hear if you have any plugins you use that I should consider! Please chime in or tell me if you know something better.


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Submitted by Brett on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 10:36am

You list a number that I'm going to check out.

How about Gravity Forms, a SEO plugin like Yoast, a security plugin like Better WP Security, Google XML sitemaps and a CPT plugin like Advanced Custom Fields.

No matter what the UX community says, there will always been a need to open certain links in a new window/tab.

Did you use a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation for your base theme?

Submitted by JD Collier on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 3:22pm

Hey Brett,

I love Gravity forms, but I don't use it since it costs money. As a Drupal-person ... I'm not a fan of paid contrib plugins. I don't like things where a client would need to pay to keep that piece upgraded.

I forgot the SEO by Yoast and Google XML Sitemap ... those are on my list as well.

I like advanced custom fields ... but I typically use a plugin called Types ... it is very similar to Drupal cck functionality. I don't have that in my base install but I should consider it because I do end up using it almost every time.

I have tried Bootstrap and Foundation and I'm a fan of Bootstrap. I don't actually build any sites without Bootstrap on Drupal or Wordpress.

Holler if you are ever in town!