What drives your WordPress blog

Today James asked me if I could write a post about what my current favorite WordPress plugins are because he's redoing his blog and knows that I manage several WordPress installs. So here ya go, James. A list of my current “must have” WordPress plugins, in no particular order:

  • Akismet – If you don't want to be spending half your day dealing with blog spam, turn on Akismet. It is hands down the best comment spam fighting utility around.
  • DISQUS Comment System – I really like the way comments are handled with the Disqus system. Plus, since I combined Disqus and Akismet, I don't believe I've had more than a handful of comment spam get through.
  • WordPress.com Stats – Where are your visitors coming from, what pages are they viewing and what are they clicking on to leave? Simple, easy to use stats. Period.
  • Cross-Linker – Create text links for keywords across your entire blog. For example, if you want the word Poker to redirect to a poker site, add the link one time using Cross-Linker and have every instance of the word Poker automatically linked for you. Don't worry, it's quite configurable.
  • All in One SEO Pack – Helps get your blog ready to rule the Search Engines. Clean up your titles and meta tags for your WordPress site.
  • WP Super Cache – If you aren't updating your site multiple times a day and you want to speed up the loading of your website for your visitors, this plugin is the answer.
  • NextGen Gallery – You no longer need to rely on flickr to host your photos to pull in using a different plugin. Us NextGen Gallery to upload your photos to your own site and then have multiple options for how to display them in posts.
  • Twitter Tools – With Twitter Tools it is a no brainer to display your latest tweets on your blog. You can also do things like create a blog post of your tweets (either individually, or in a summary post.) Also, create an automatic tweet each time you write a post to alert your followers of the new content.

While there are other plugins I use, these are the ones that I tend to add to most all the WordPress installs.

How about you? Are there plugins you think are mandatory that I've missed? Leave me a comment and tell me what they are.