Must Have WordPress Plugins for 2011

I build a lot of WordPress sites and these are, in my opinion, the must-have WordPress plugins for 2011.  I start almost every new WordPress install with these plugins, even if I don’t have a specific intention for them all at the time of development.  If for no other reason, these WordPress plugins will make your websites function at a top-notch level in 2011.

Jetpack WordPress plugin for 2011

Jetpack is a compilation of handy features for any WordPress installation.  It includes Gravatar Hovercards, WordPress stats (available as a standalone plugin), Twitter Widget, wp.me shortlinks, Sharedaddy social sharing plugin, and Shortcode Embeds.

jetpack wordpress plugin for 2011

Usernoise Contact Form WordPress plugin for 2011

Usernoise is an absolute must.  It is the easiest, smallest and best-looking contact form plugin available for WordPress.  It is super-simple to setup, but that means there’s not a lot of customization options.  Usernoise Plugin ads a floating “feedback” image on the side of your site, that when clicked, created a slick AJAX powered overlay contact form.

usernoise wordpress plugin for 2011

Donation Can WordPress plugin for 2011

Donation Can creates a widget that accepts both set and custom donations via Paypal.  It works magically, letting you choose fundraising goals like “Pay for our server costs” or whatever you’d like.  Set weekly, monthly goals, anything really.  Perfect for kickstarting your WordPress website development.

donation can wordpress plugin for 2011

Password Protect WordPress Plugin for 2011

Password Protect plugin is essential for development, especially if you’ve got a great idea that you don’t want stolen.  Make sure your WordPress install is not indexable by search engines, then install this plugin.  It will only show the front end to logged in users, ie: you.  You can even set a custom message to users who try and view your site.

password protect wordpress plugin

Facebook Traffic Pop WordPress Plugin

This plugin creates a floating Facebook like box that utilizes jQuery overlay to catch visitors for a set period of time.  They can either “like” you or wait for it to fade away.  This is a great, albeit pushy technique to increase your social networking presence.

facebook traffic pop plugin

Foobar Announcement Bar WordPress Plugin for 2011

This plugin expertly mimics the HelloBar which is a free but branded dropdown bar at the top of your page.  HelloBar limits what you can place in their bar, and asks for $25/monthly to unlock the best features.  That’s pretty steep, especially when this plugin only costs $9 once at CodeCanyon.

foobar wordpress plugin 2011

Google +1 WordPress Plugin for 2011

Despite how you feel about Google’s foray into social networking, savvy webmasters will need to adopt Google +1 as the next wave of content sharing.  This plugin is free, in the WordPress plugin directory and gives you tons of flexibility to choose how the button is displayed next to your content.

google plus 1 wordpress plugin

Dusty Anderson is an avid WordPress user and the editor of Pingable.org. Read more