With the 100-degree heat broiling the East Coast this weekend, I decided to stay inside and make some design and performance tweaks to my site. I added Google +1 buttons to posts and the index page, and I also tweaked some of the settings in my plugins.
Speaking of those, here’s what I’ve been using to make life easier:
Akismet: Gets rid of a ton of comment spam for various Russian “services” so I can spend my time doing other things. You’ll need to sign up for an API key, but otherwise it’s simple and effective.
Contact Form 7: After trying a few contact plugins, I settled on Contact Form 7 and have had great results. It powers my Contacts page, which I prefer to use instead of posting an email address. For spam filtering, I implemented the quiz feature, but the plugin also supports CAPTCHA. I rarely get spam.
Google XML Sitemaps: Generates a sitemap.xml file that Google and other search engines use to index the site. Lets me include or exclude content and control how often to update the file.
Jetpack: Another plugin I’ve yet to fully tap. The site stats alone (formerly provided by WP Stats) are a must-have, and I’m also using the function that shows pop-up profiles if you hover over a Gravatar. But this Swiss Army Knife of a plugin has shortcodes for embedding media, a spelling/style checker and more.
Twitter for WordPress: Easy way to call and display my tweets in the sidebar.
W3 Total Cache: This plugin provides options to cache my pages and “minify” code so the site can load faster. I’ve seen a considerable boost in speed since using it, although configuration is tricky. (See my post on the topic for details.)
WP-Optimize: Cleans rows I don’t need from the MySQL database running the site, including post revisions. If you’re like me and edit yourself a lot, those can add up. Yet another way to keep the motor running tight.
WPtouch Pro: Automatically serves mobile-ready versions of this site optimized for small screen. There’s a free version that’s just fine; I opted for the $39 version that includes extra iPad support.
That’s the collection. Any recommendations? Share them below.