One of the universal appeals that make WordPress such a great blogging platform is all the incredible plugins. There is a plugin that fits the need of practically anything you can think of to improve how your blog functions. Some are absolutely necessary, some are highly recommended, and others just make the whole blogging experience better all around. Here is a list of twenty plugins I recommend you install into your WordPress sites.
Twenty Awesome WordPress Plugins
1. Akismit – Once you start blogging you will soon realize what a nuisance spam can be. Akismit will prevent your site from being overrun with meaningless comments from spammers and software trying to exploit blogs for their own gain. Just apply and get your API Key, then enter it on your blogs for much needed protection.
2. All in One SEO Pack – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) quickly becomes a priority for every blogger so anything that assists you in this is an advantage. This nice feature becomes a convenient part of your posting and helps attract the search engines by excerpts from your blog post, titles, and tags. An excellent and efficient plugin.
3. Really Simple Facebook Twitter Share Buttons – Social Media is such a big part of our lives now. Displaying share buttons near your posts make it convenient for your readers to spread the word and increase your blogs ranking and popularity. It’s good for them and good for you. (Note: There are many other good share button plugins, such as Digg Digg)
4. Google Analytics – Analytics provide the stats and numbers that let us know how our blog is doing and what we need to improve upon. Be sure to integrate this important plugin into your blog so as to know how many visitors you have, where they’re coming from, and how often they visit; along with other vital information, such as how long readers stay on a page and the path they take on your blog.
5. FD Feedburner Plugin – There are many complexities to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, but there are also many advantages. One of the main ones is they allow your readers to become subscribers of your blog. One of the best and most respected feed creators is Feedburner. Use this plugin to create your RSS feed with Feedburner.
6. MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer – Pinging is part of blogging, as it informs the search engines of your blog updates and expedites the ranking process. This plugin will automatically ping for you whenever you publish a new post. You can even set it not to re-ping when making immediate corrections.
7. XML Sitemap – There are so many reasons why having a sitemap is necessary. It is one of those items search engines use to evaluate your site as meeting their standards. It also improves how your sight ranks and gives your visitors another way to navigate the pages of your site. This plugin lets you create a sitemap fast and easy.
8. WordPress Database Backup – Having a backup of your blog in the unfortunate event of losing data or the whole thing going down is crucial. This plugin will safeguard all your hard work and send you the data in time intervals set by you.
9. YARPP Yet Another Related Post Plugin – Using its own unique algorithm this useful plugin will display related posts and pages under the one being read. How does this help you? This will engage your visitors and encourage them to stay on your blog longer which will keep them even more informed.
10. BulletProof Security – We’d all like to live in a world free of evil doers, but they’re out there lurking around every corner on the internet. Online security is a must and the highly recommended BulletProof Security protects WordPress sites from unwanted hackers, keeping it safe and secure.
11. WPtouch – Mobile is expected to exceed desktop for internet usage by the year 2014, so there is no question about its importance. WPtouch will format your blog and convert it into a mobile site that fits and is compatible with iphone, Android, and many other smartphones. You definitely want this plugin!
12. Comment Luv – This is a very useful plugin which is very popular in the blogosphere. It helps in giving commenters links back to their site for SEO purposes. Having this encourages comment activity which is a big plus for your blog. There are also some premium upgrades available which offer advanced features others swear by.
13. Contact Buddy - Put contact forms wherever you want and on all the pages you need. Contact Buddy quickly and easily creates these forms so you can have another way for customers, clients, readers, and fellow bloggers to reach you.
14. W3 Total Cache – When it comes to the internet, speed is everything. How fast your site loads has even become a rating standard for page ranking. W3 Total Cache will increase your site’s loading speed and improve its overall performance. You want this top rated plugin.
15. WordPress SEO by Yoast – This comprehensive optimizing tool by the innovative WordPress expert Joost de Valk will do wonders for your SEO abilities. It addresses many different aspects needed for better performance in the search rankings; like page analysis, meta and link elements, RSS optimization, and social media integration. In addition to all this, it has features that will even help you improve the content you create. A five star plugin indeed.
16. SEO Friendly Images – Perusing the images that relate to keywords and phrases is another way of searching online and has become very prevalent among effective methods of search. This plugin saves time and creates the needed description and tags to get your images ranked which lead back to your blog.
17. SEO No Duplicate WP Plugin – Duplicate content is one of the banes of the internet and there are many debates over what is allowed or cause for penalization. One thing for sure, though, is that identical content on the same site is “verboten.” You’ll appreciate this one after you’ve been blogging awhile and don’t want to post something you may have previously published. This plugin helps you do a quick check and prevent that from happening.
18. SEO Smart Links – Automatically links keywords and phrases from posts and comments with other related posts, pages, and categories on your WP blog. You can set keywords and matching URLs and make them nofollow if you want. It will find these phrases which match post titles which will be turned to links. A very customizable and useful plugin to have on your blog.
19. Permalink Finder – Sooner or later you’ll want the benefits of link redirection and avoid those 404 errors. When you change a link or migrate from another platform or a link gets hung up this plugin (and a host of many others) comes to the rescue and will search the WP database for the original page based on various data and do a 301 redirect taking the user to the correct URL.
20. Broken Link Checker – This one seems self-explanatory enough. The internet is so dynamic and many sites you link to or make reference to may either change or disappear. There are also all the glitches and errors that can create broken links. You don’t want them affecting how your site is evaluated or to interfere with the user experience. So use this and fix those broken links.
I hope this list helps you in learning about some of the best plugins to have on your WordPress blogs. There are literally thousands of plugins available so I obviously can’t tout them all; a whole blog could be devoted to just that. They usually only take seconds to install and activate, so there is no reason not to experiment a little. If they’re not for you just deactivate them and forge ahead. Feel free to leave any comments or questions and please include some of the other plugins you like to use.