My Favorite WordPress Premium Plugins

Over the years I have used a lot of WordPress plugins. From free, to paid, chances are at some point in my WordPress career I’ve probably tried it. Below is a list of my current favorite premium plugins for WordPress.

Gravity Forms – Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 3 years, you’ve probably heard of Gravity Forms. Arguably the most successful premium plugin, Gravity Forms is hands down the best WordPress plugin for content and submission forms of all types. Not only is Gravity Forms amazingly easy to create contact forms, it does so much more. One of my favorite uses for GF is to create a form for content submission. A visitor to the website can easily fill out the form fields and that data is submitted and saved as a post or custom post type entry. This includes the post categories, metadata, images (including setting it to a featured image) and more.

That’s just one small example of what this extremely powerful plugin can do. You can even extend the feature set using a number of Gravity From add-ons. Since its release, I have never built a WordPress site that wasn’t using Gravity Forms.

BackupBuddy – One of the first tips you hear when learning how to use a computer is save often and make backups. Running a website is no different. How would you feel if you lost all of the content you’ve created on your WordPress site over the years? One word, terrible.

BackupBuddy is the leading automated backup plugin for WordPress. You can easily create a schedule backup (nightly, weekly, monthly, etc) to generate a full (database + files) backup of your WordPress website. The backup generated can also be sent offsite via FTP, Email, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and more. What good is a backup if it’s stored on the same server as your website, right? If you are serious about your WordPress website, make sure you have solid backups using BackupBuddy.

WP All Import – A lesser known premium plugin that I absolutely love is WP All Import. If you do a lot of content migrations into WordPress, like I do, stop everything you are doing and go buy this plugin. WP All Import makes it incredibly simple to import data into WordPress from a CSV or XML file.

The plugin features a nice drag and drop interface to map the data to the appropriate fields in WordPress. You can easily import content, metadata, taxonomies, images (which are side-loaded to the post created), dates, and more. WP All Import also features some more advanced features like support for processing massive import files, recurring imports, updating existing imports, and filtering data based on specific criteria. This plugin has literally changed our process for migration projects to WordPress.

Soliloquy – If you create a lot of websites using WordPress, chances are you’ve also tried a lot of different sliders or rotators to feature content. Well your search for the best WordPress slider has ended, enter Soliloquy. ( Side note: This is the one plugin on this list I can never pronounce correctly 😛 )

This premium plugin, is in my opinion, the best WordPress slider on the market. Not only is it dead simple to use, but is completely responsive out of the box. The plugin allows you to create an unlimited number of sliders using a custom post type. You can easily embed those sliders in your posts, pages, or in a sidebar using the included slider widget. Not only does Soliloquy support images, as you would expect, but it also fully supports videos as well. This plugin also features a nice set of add-ons to integrate additional functionality into Soliloquy.

There you have it, a list of my current favorite premium plugins for WordPress. To be fair, this isn’t an exhaustive list of every premium plugin I use, but these are the plugins I use most often.

As an added bonus, every premium plugin I listed here is licensed under the GPL software license, which is the same license WordPress is released under. If you use any of these plugins (and I think you should be using all of them) I promise you will not be disappointed.

You probably also noticed there are no affiliate links in this post. In the words of Don Davis “I don’t want to make any money. I just love to sell guns plugins.”

I’m Speaking at WordCamp San Francisco 2011 This Weekend!

This weekend I’m attending, and speaking at, WordCamp San Francisco 2011!

I’ll be a part of the Security Showdown panel with Mark Jaquith and Jon Cave. We’ll be performing live plugin security audits on submitted plugins and discussing best practices for securing your plugins and themes.

WordCamp SF is the biggest WordCamp of the year. It’s literally a who’s who of the WordPress Community and I can’t wait to be back this year!

If you plan on attending make sure you track me down and say hi, I might even have a couple items to give away! 🙂

WordCamp Boston Here I Come!

Tomorrow I’ll be attending WordCamp Boston! I’ll be speaking about WordPress Security. I’m also giving an Ignite presentation on the top 20 WordPress plugins you’ve never heard of.

I'm speaking at WC BostonI’m looking forward to seeing many of my WordPress friends that I haven’t seen since WordCamp NYC. I’m also looking forward to meeting new people in the community, many of whom I’ve only spoken with over Twitter. One of the best things about working with WordPress is the community behind it and WordCamp is the best place to meet new friends and see old ones.

This will be my first trip to Boston since I was a little kid so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to watching the Colts win the AFC Championship in a Boston bar surrounded by Patriots fans. Hopefully I make it back alive! I’ll be sure to post both of my presentations from WordCamp Boston in my recap post when I return.

How to: Stop WordPress Comment Spam

By I’ve been receiving a lot of spam comments on my WordPress blog recently. I decided to increase my defenses and stop comment spam once and for all. Using the below three plugins you can virtually eliminate WordPress comment spam from your blog!

All plugins work with WordPress 2.5.1

Akismet – Most blog owners know of Akismet. Akismet is an excellent comment spam filter developed by the creators of WordPress and comes pre-installed on a WordPress blog. Akismet is 100% free for non-commercial use but does require an API key provided by their website.

Simple Trackback Validation Plugin – This plugin checks if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the webserver the trackback URL is referring to. Basically if the trackback was sent by a spam bot, this plugin will detect it and block it.

Bad Behavior – This plugin is a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it. Bad Behavior works with other link spam solutions by acting as a gatekeeper, preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk, and in many cases, from ever reading your site in the first place.

Using this three-pronged plugin approach will stop 99.9% of your comment spam. Now you can enjoy a spam free blog!

Get Organized with the WordPress Todo List Plugin

By Have you ever come across a topic you wanted to blog about, but didn’t have time to write at that moment? So you put it off and come back to it later, right? Of course, but what happens if you forget about the original topic you wanted to post about? I’ve had this problem a few times, so decided to find a plugin to help me out. Enter the WordPress Todo List Plugin.

WordPress Todo List Plugin Screenshot
The Todo list plugin is a great way to help organize topics you want to write about. With it’s simple interface you can easily add and manage your own Todo list. The plugin also displays on your dashboard to help keep your Todo list fresh on your mind.

For easy access I created a bookmark directly to the add new item page for quick additions on the fly.

I highly recommend this plugin for anyone wanting to get more organized with blog topics.

How To: Install WordPress Plugin Twitter Tools

I just added a new module to my sidebar to show my Twitter updates (stalker vision ;). The module is from a WordPress plugin called Twitter Tools create by Alex King.

The plugin is very easy to setup and only contains 1 necessary PHP file.

1. Download Twitter Tools Plugin for WordPress

2. Upload the Twitter Tools plugin into your plugins directory via FTP. From your root FTP folder the path would be: wp-contentplugins

3. Login to your WordPress blog admin account. The web address is by default:

4. Click on the Plugins tab at the top of your admin page.

5. Twitter Tools will be listed as a plugin, but will not be active. Click the “activate” link to enable Twitter Tools to run.

6. Click the “Configure your settings here” or from the Options tab > Twitter Tool

7. Save your username and password into the module. Your all set!

From the Twitter Tools admin page you can add and remove various options. Here’s a quick example:

Show Tweets/Updates on Sidebar

1. Open your WordPress theme sidebar file called sidebar.php. From your root FTP folder the file would be located: wp-contentthemes[YOUR THEME FOLDER]sidebar.php

2. Add the following code anywhere you would like your Twitter tweets to appear:

<pre lang="php"><?php aktt_sidebar_tweets(); ?></pre>

Your tweets will automatically be displayed on your sidebar for everyone to see! For more features be sure to view the Help Documentation

Alex King created a solid Twitter plugin so be sure to support Alex.