Must Have WordPress PluginsIf you rely on WordPress, part of the magic for you comes from how simple it is to extend the basic CMS functions that come from this great tool. Unfortunately, not all of the available plugins that are available are really that great. This can lead to crashing, wasted time, and other issues as some plugins offering to be installed are simply more harmful than anything.

In this article, I will be highlighting trusted plugins that have served me well, along with some that I’m still getting a feel for in which the jury is still out on. In all cases, these are plugins that I trust and have had positive experiences with.

All In One SEO Pack: I can think of roughly five people right off the top of my head who swear that this plugin isn’t needed or is just a waste of time. My split testing over the last two years tells a very different story, but to each their own. What it does provide, without any dispute, is easy/reliable implementation of canonical URL tags, title name over site name first on a given page, plus a lot of control over stuff that I’ve found easier and more effective to do from within one single space.

Is it worth it? I think so — but not as a replacement for decent content! Rather, it’s a handy control panel for how the content is to be interpreted by search engines in the long haul.

Google XML Sitemap Generator & Dagon Design Sitemap Generator: Two completely different plugins, both with your Web site sitemaps needs in mind. The first one (XML Sitemap) is handy to create and submit to Google. The second one is more or less a benefit to your readers and site visitors. I guess you could go without both of these, but I’ve found both plugins to be too darned helpful to go without.

WordPress Database Backup: Not a replacement for good server backups by any means, but the WordPress Database Backup plugin does provide you with rock solid database backups that won’t fail. I’ve restored from backups made from this tool many times — each time with 100% success. It’s a great way to schedule a database backup and then have it emailed to you. I would never blog without it.

Still in testing phase

Hyper Cache: The jury is still out on Hyper Cache, as I haven’t really noticed any specific benefits that I can see. Various SEO tools I have tested say that the compression and load times are improved, but that is all I can figure from it. The caching works really nicely, with greater success than I’ve had with other caching methods that required too much faith in the configuration not serving up failed to load pages all day. So based on that, it seems pretty effective.

Redirection: I am really beginning to love this Redirection plugin. While it’s still new, it has, along with re-verifying my canonical tags, been a huge help with dealing with some search engine issues lately. Best of all, I can leave my .htaccess out of the equation should I choose. Search engines treat the redirects the same either way, plus I can track any potential 404 repeats and then push those patterns into a more worthwhile URL if I choose. I like the control. Just remember to keep the logs on a timer, as not to let them get too big.