PlugImage: Salvatore Vuono /

Top 10 lists of WordPress Plugins appear all over the web and the one things I invariably find is they tend to include almost the same stock set of the plugins. Sure, I could tell you all how wonderful Akismet is or harp on about Headspace 2 for your SEO needs, but I don’t need to since everyone else brings them into the spotlight. Instead, I’d prefer to tell you about some lesser known plugins that I feel deserve their own top 10 for their awesomeness.  I hope you’ll both agree and find something useful for your own site whilst reading.

Configure SMTP

If you want to have better control of your outgoing mail server connection, or would prefer to route all your outgoing mail through GMail rather than your local server’s mail function, then this plugin will provide you with a simple but really configurable options within your admin control panel.  I grabbed this plugin initially because my mail service for the last place on the net is handled externally of my web provider and I needed a secure login mechanism by which to access it since WordPress, by default, can’t facilitate this.

Wickett Twitter Widget

There are a number of Twitter related widgets available.  I’ve tried a few and to be honest was quite happy aesthetically with the one I had on another blog for some time; however because it wasn’t regularly updated, I started to experience incompatibilities with other plugins.  This Twitter Widget plugin is Automattic’s own offering to the plugin community and since they are the people who also responsible for WordPress itself, you’d expect it to be reliable and updated frequently.

TinyMCE Advanced

This enables the advanced features of the visual editor WordPress uses.  You can install it and just use it straight away, or alternatively customise the editor options so it suits your own personal needs.  I’ve found this invaluable when composing articles and would never return to the standard editor.

Digg Digg

This adds an ‘All-in-One’ social voting button system to your site.  You can choose as many of the following systems as desired whilst being able to quickly customise their placement: Digg, Reddit, dDone, Yahoo Buzz, TweetMeme(twitter), fbshare(facebook), Polladium, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Sphinn, Post comments, Google Buzz, Designbump, Designfloat and Thewebblend.  You can see it in action right at the start of this post.

Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

The default admin panel within WordPress takes up a lot of screen real estate.  Even on large screens it eats into valuable space.  This plugin modifies the admin panel so that all admin links available in a neat horizontal drop down menu.

Post Ideas+

We all get ideas for content and we all record these ideas in different ways.  Post Idea+ allows you to jot down and record these ideas within the WordPress admin panel.  You can prioritise your ideas, add keywords and descriptions and when you are ready to write the article you can convert the idea into a post with a few simple clicks.

Secure WordPress

Our time and efforts are precious.  No one wants to have their WordPress site compromised or affected by another’s malicious actions.  This plugin makes a few simple but effective basic changes to your installation in order to better protect you .

Semisecure Login Reimagined

I’m going to quote the developers description because they summarise this far better than I possible can: “This plugin increases the security of the login process by encrypting the password on the client-side. JavaScript is required to enable encryption. It is most useful for situations where SSL is not available, but the administrator wishes to have some additional security measures in place without sacrificing convenience.

Login Lockdown

This adds an additional layer of security to a WordPress installation by restricting the rate at which failed logins can be re-attempted from a given IP range.

WPtouch iPhone theme

Not every WordPress theme is designed to support those users who visit your site from a mobile device, and lets face it, readers on the move are becoming ever more prevalent. This plugin formats your site with a mobile theme for the Apple iPhone / iPod touch, Google Android, Palm Pre and other touch-based smartphones. When viewing the site normally, you’ll see your regular theme. When on a mobile device, a custom theme will be used. Readers can opt to change to standard mode if they prefer.

Bonus plugin
Disqus comment system

Ok, I said top 10, but I really have to mention Disqus too.  Disqus is a replacement commenting system for your WordPress site.  Not only is it beautiful, it also encourages people to comment on your site by allowing user authentication via Twitter, OpenID, and Facebook.  You can really connect with your community through the various extras it adds to your site.  Rather than replicate their sales pitch, I’d highly recommend checking out the commenting system for yourself by giving us feedback below, and reviewing the system’s many features over on Disqus’ site.

If you’ve other WordPress plugins that you feel I should have included in this list then please feel free to get in touch below and tell me a bit about them.  Who knows, they might make part of a follow up article in the future!

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