My favourite WordPress plugins  

I’ve been asked what plugins I recommend for WordPress so here’s the ones I currently use. Some of them require work in your theme – I started with the Redoable 1.2 theme which supports many of them.


Probably one of the most well-known plugins for WordPress this little wonder screens all comments for spam using the Akismet web service. Get a key to access the service by signing up for a at and then configuring it in Plugins > Akismet Configuration.

Feed Statistics

I’m don’t want my subscribers in the control of a third party but I do like FeedBurner’s subscriber counts and analysis tools.

The Feed Statistics plugin provides a small subset of that functionality, the important one being a subscriber count which I now show in the sidebar. I went with a 3 day count configured from the Feedin WordPress admin.

Google Analytics for WordPress

There are a bunch of Google Analytics integration plugins out there but Google Analytics for WordPress apears to be the one currently using Google Analytics New Tracking Code ga.js instead of the old Urchin one. This actually uses a new URL and technique that hopefully won’t be blocked by so many viewers and also promises access to exciting new features as they become available…

Google Reader widget

I’m still in love with Google Reader especially since they added search to it (quite how they forgot that I’ll never know). One of the great things is that you can share your stories with your friends or better yet expose it as another RSS.

Google Reader widget adds a sidebar widget to show the stories you have chosen to share in your sidebar so no need for the annoying link-list posts (unless you need to add opinion or commentary of course). Configurable via Plugins > Google Analytics.


Blog that don’t allow comments don’t get onto my Reader list without a fight. Without comments a post can’t be trusted – the author isn’t interested in any other opinions or thoughts.

Gravatar is a great site where you can register a picture with your email address so any site implementing Gravatars will show it next to your comments. In no time you’ll start recognising faces and pictures and decide if you want to check out their blogs too.

The Gravatars2 plugin puts those images next to the people who comment on your blog and can helpfully cache them locally for you given permission. It is configured from Options > Gravatars and the cache managed from Manage > Gravatar Cache.


Social bookmarking is incredibly popular through sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, Technorati, Windows Live Favourites or plain old email.

Gregarious takes care of providing links to submit your posts to these sites at the whim of a passing viewer. You can configure it in Options > Gravatars to choose the sites you want (I added DotNetKicks with a URL of{url} ) as well as emailing you when a post is dugg and draw those famous little ‘n diggs’ yellow buttons.

Related Posts

Problogger’s Darren Rowse recommends interlinking posts to keep readers on your site and interested.

Related Posts automatically provides a list of likely related posts & pages based on keyword matching.


Google Analytics is nice but the stats tend to lag a bit behind and sometimes you want to know what’s happening right now.

StatPress collects and reveals interesting real-time stats on Dashboard > StatPress including per-day & month counts of visitors, pageviews, spiders and feeds as well as recent hits, search terms and referrers. It also shows some visitor analysis and an interesting spy mode that shows recent visitors path through the site including how they got there.

My only complaints are that the MySQL database grows quite quickly and the analysis pages are slow. This is most likely caused by logging and analysis of raw data. Still it seems a lot less resource hungry that FireStats.


An attempt to get quick feedback on what posts people are finding interesting and which aren’t with a simple star-rating next to each post.

Through no fault of it’s own WP-PostRatings has failed rather miserably here with few people wanting to click a star to rate a post. Will be dropped in the redesign.


Another visitor-retention seeking effort. By presenting the most popular content in the sidebar I’m hoping to entice people to look at a couple of other posts and hit the magic RSS subscribe button.

WP-PostViews records the stats and provides a method to get the post stats out you can put into your theme but most importantly comes with a widget to render a sidebar full of your most popular content.


7 responses  

  1. Useful, I’ll have to take a look at some of these. I haven’t had a lot of time to evaluate plugins, I’ve tried a few in my local test copy of the site but haven’t come across that many I like very much so decided to keep it simple. A couple of these sound interesting though – currently I only have Askimet, the FCKEditor plugin and now reCAPTCHA.

    steveFebruary 11th, 2008
  2. This is my favourite plugin, although it’s designed to work under Safari:

    KezzerFebruary 11th, 2008
  3. Great list Damien. Just a note: the WP-PostRatings site seems to be down right now; WordPress
    mirrors it though.

    SanderFebruary 11th, 2008
  4. Hi,
    Looking at StatsPress code, I don’t think it’s really less resource hungry.
    It’s database size will be much bigger than FireStats’s for the same amount of data.
    don’t let the high number of tables in FireStats confuse you – in fact the database size is much smaller than when keeping un-normalized data (like StatsPress do).
    In addition, FireStats have archiving functionality, which further reduce the size used by old data without loosing almost any functionality for that data.

    I agree that storing a hit in FireStats 1.4 is more resource consuming than in StatsPress, but this issue is resolved in FireStats 1.5 (not yet released) which will be able to handle just as much hits/sec as any simple stats counter that does not normalize the data, which keeping the data size at minimum.

    Omry YadanFebruary 12th, 2008
  5. I’ll certainly take a look at FireStats 1.5 as I really liked the features. It was the storing a hit that was too resource intensive – when my site got linked from the CPU peaked and my ISP took offline.

    I’ve since moved ISP…


    Damien GuardFebruary 12th, 2008
  6. You can get a sneak peek of what options to handle incoming hits FireStats 1.5 will have here:

    Omry YadanFebruary 13th, 2008
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