WordPress Plugins: Abundance and Curation

October 5, 2010

One of the main plots in the story of the web is the replacement of scarcity by abundance. For example, you want to find restaurant reviews? Go ahead, knock yourself out, but try to finish with the reviews before the restaurants close for the night. As that example shows, abundance is itself a problem.

Abundance isn’t just a problem for consumers of web content. It’s also a problem for content creators. For example, what plugins should you use for your WordPress site?

The official plugin directory currently lists over 10,000. You can search by keyword, but that doesn’t solve the abundance problem. Searching for the keyword analytics yields 270 plugins.

So we need selection, or ordering, or, to use a currently fashionable term, curation. The plugin directory does this by sorting; you get to choose the criterion (Relevance, Highest Rated, Newest, Recently Updated, or Most Popular).

Weblog Tools Collection recently asked “WordPress Genuises” for the top 5 plugins they use in every site they set up, and published the results. I’ve been guided by those results in setting up the PTA website I’m working on.

I’m interesting in approaching plugin curation from another direction. There are several value-added WordPress hosts, such as page.ly and WP Engine. They use plugins. I’m interesting in their selection of plugins, since it provides a sort of implicit curation of plugins. I’ll contact them, and see what I can come up with.

Meanwhile, any comments on plugins and how to select among the abundance are welcome.

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