Quick question: Do you know what IFC, The New York Post, The Walt Disney Company, and WNBA have in common? Ponder the answer for a moment, as the tie that binds the four organizations isn’t obvious. Go ahead, I’ve got a minute. Stumped? It’s the WordPress content management system (CMS) that powers their websites.
If you aren’t hip to WordPress, here’s a short explanation of what it’s about. WordPress is a flexible, easy-to-set-up Web publishing platform that has served as the foundation for more than 60 million websites since its launch more than a decade ago. Its popularity has spawned an incredibly rich plug-in ecosystem that gives users the ability to improve their sites in many ways, including search engine optimization (SEO), article enhancement, and comments management. In short, there are an amazing number of ways to trick out your WordPress installation’s base functionality, whether you’re hosting your own website or using a managed WordPress hosting service.
There are more than 43,000 WordPress plug-ins available as I write this piece. The upside? There are a ton of plug-ins to choose from. The downside? There are a ton of plug-ins to choose from. As with the Android and iOS app stores, the WordPress plug-in catalog houses countless goodies mixed in with even more duds. This guide’s goal is to highlight those that will most benefit your website. You can, of course, visit WordPress’ Most Popular Plug-in Directory to see the most downloaded plug-ins of the moment, but you’ll miss many great potential additions by not digging deeper. That, however, is a potentially massive time sink, so I’ve done the digging on your behalf.