Must-have WordPress plugins – part 2

wp-logo-wideBack in part 1 I listed five of the plugins I install every time I setup a WordPress blog for a friend or client. Here are five more plugins for WordPress that are sure help you get the most out of your blogging experience.

  1. Cimy Swift SMTP. I often use a Gmail account as the primary e-mail account for a blog or website. However, what about emails that are sent automatically by WordPress like user registrations, comment notifications, etc.? Many web hosts will automatically try to send those from their own mail servers instead of Gmail’s servers. With the Cimy Swift SMTP plugin all of your website’s emails will run through whatever servers you assign.
  2. Dagon Design Form Mailer or CFormsII. These plugins are both excellent ways to setup a contact form (or any other type of form) on your website. I started off using the Dagon plugin but have recently moved over to CForms. I think it’s a bit easier to manage.
  3. Lightbox 2 (2.8.2) and Add Lightbox. These plugins add the “lightbox” effect to any images you link to in your posts (like the WordPress logo linked at the top of this post). The first plugin adds the necessary javascript to your theme and the second plugin automatically adds the necessary HTML to each linked image.
  4. Events. Need a simple plugin that lists upcoming events in the sidebar and/or an Events page? This is one of the easiest I have found that still allows adequate control over the structure and style of the events listings.
  5. WordPress.com Stats, Google Analytics for WordPress, ┬ÁMint Plugin. None of these plugins actually track stats themselves, but all of them integrate whatever stat tracking service you prefer into your WordPress site. WordPress.com Stats even adds a nice graph and some fun info. about popular posts to your WordPress dashboard. I generally install WordPress.com Stats and another tracking system (either Google Analygics which is free or Mint Stats which is pretty) so I can compare results. Just like Askimet, WordPress.com Stats requires you to sign up for a free WordPress.com account. You don’t have to start a blog there, you just need an account. For real-time tracking of people viewing your site you can also check out Wassup.

That wraps up this round of excellent WordPress plugins. Are there plugins you just can’t live without? Post a link in the comments and be sure to stick around for part 3.