Imagine a world without WordPress plugins. It’d surely be a disaster, especially if your code literacy ends with HTML and CSS.
Authors of plugins write sophisticated programming codes that you can use and plug into to your website virtually.
Without them, your website might appear dull. This could cause unimpressive rankings and low traffic.
Plugins allow you to customize your site to make it more engaging, functional and useful. If you don’t know anything about web programming, then they’re truly beneficial.
It’s also easy for you to maintain your site and add content.
There are plugins that let you run your blog smoothly, monitor your site, share your content to social networking sites, backup your data, and so on.
Here’s a list of my favorite WordPress plugins that I find useful. I am splitting them in 2 categories – the must-haves and the interesting (but useful) ones. The Must-have plugins are essential to improve your site’s performance while the useful ones are those plugins you can use to spice up your blog and to make it even more interesting.
Just a warning though, you should only install plugins that you think you NEED as they can slow down your site.
The Must-Have WordPress Plugins
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
This gotta be my new favorite plugin! I used to be with “All In One SEO Pack” until I found this one by Yoast! It’s the BEST.
If you want your website to be seen by search engines, like Google or Yahoo, then you’ll need this plugin.
WordPress is known to being search-engine friendly.
However, you’ll need the help of a third-party application to maximize it.
Essentially, this package enhances your site’s “searchability” and ranking.
WordPress SEO by Yoast offers excellent SEO functionality. It doesn’t only analyze your post according to your keywords but it also looks into the URL, content, title and description to ensure that your content is SEO-focused.
To further optimize it, this tool lets you insert meta titles, descriptions, tag and custom taxonomy archives.
It’s one of the first plug-ins of WordPress that blocks spams. Its usefulness and benefits are the reasons it’s been part of the default WP plugins. You will have to register for an API to activate this plugin. You can use it for free if your blog is a personal or non-commercial one. For business blogs, you can view their pricing here.
I had to deleted plugin #3 & #4 (replacing with better ones soon).
5. Contact Form 7
It’s one of the most useful contact form plugins. It features CAPTCHAs that challenge form submissions. It also filters spam. But you’ll need to install Akismet WP plugin. Apart from these, it has other useful features that can make your site more engaging and free of spam.
6. Google Analytics For WordPress
If you want to use an advanced tracking for your WP site, then you’ll need the features of this plugin. It allows you to know the number of visitors who visit your site and how they’re behaving while using your it. Although you can just use Google’s own Analytics code, this plugin has plenty of exclusive features. It performs more than just tracking. Rather, it provides you with useful data that can further help in improving the performance of your site.
7. WP Super Cache
Caching improves your website’s page loading speed. It generates static HTML files and serves them to your website visitors, instead of following a lengthy process just to obtain the file it needs to load a certain page. It’ll significantly improve your site’s loading time and your visitors will thank you for it.
Having a WordPress site can be a little tricky. But, if you’ll treat it right, it’ll give you the capability of doing types of things that you want to do on your own site. Using these plugins allow your site to rank higher that your current status or your competitors.
8. Wordfence Security
Wordfence protects your site against scrapers and keeps all viruses out of your site. It’s easy to configure. Although it’s free, it can scan your site entirely several times each day to protect it against malicious links, malware, Trojans and other unwanted programs that may attack your site.
9. Digg Digg – Floating Share Buttons
Digg Digg is developed by Buffer that offers a social-sharing plugin. It displays all buttons of all popular social networking sites with count. You can choose to make it float or place it at the top/bottom of your post. It’s compatible with WordPress 3.5.2.
10. Yet Another Related Posts
Yet Another Related Posts uses smart algorithm that determines which posts within your site are the most relevant to the current post. Providing your visitors with related content increases their time on your site improving your site’s bounce rate. With this plugin, you don’t need to know what posts or pages are the most relevant as this tool does it automatically.
11. Starbox – the Author Box for Humans
Starbox lets you add an author biography on each post and/or page. You can place your bio on the top or bottom of your page. It needs WordPress 3.1 or higher to work. You can also add another tab to display the latest posts of a certain author. The best thing about it is you can setup Google Authorship and include social media links to the author box! How awesome, right?
The Interesting (But Still Useful) Plugins
12. Advanced Automatic Updates
Advanced Automatic Updates plugin offers more options compared to the built-in Automatic Updates features of WordPress. It supports installation of plugins, themes and other major releases. It’s compatible with WordPress 3.8 and has received 4.7 stars out of 5 stars from its actual users.
13. Adsense Plugin
Adsense Plugin lets you set the parameters of your ads, like formatting, color, and size. It supports different languages, like Dutch, French, Spanish and Polish. It requires WordPress 3.0 or higher and has been downloaded for more than 200,000 times.
Subscribr notifies users of new posts, pages and custom types. It can send SMS notification and it can be integrated with Aweber or Mailchimp. It’s compatible with WordPress 3.6.1 and it requires 3.5 to function well.
15. All In One Schema.org
All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets is a well-supported plugin. To keep everything as simple as possible, the developer provides limited schema types and other customization options. It’s an ideal plugin if you want to add schema.org snippets to your WordPress site.
Redirection manages loose ends your site might have. It also handles 301 redirections and keeps track of 404 errors. This plugin doesn’t require accessing the .htcaccess as it works inside your WordPress site.
17. TinyMCE Advanced
TinyMCE Advanced requires WordPress 3.7 or higher. It’s a free plugin that will make things easier for you to add new buttons to the default tinymce editor. With this tool, you don’t have to learn the HTML and CSS languages. Plus, all shortcodes used on your site can be easily accessed through a handy dropdown box.
18. WP Optimize
WP Optimize is a non-geeky plugin that aims to speed-up loading time of your page. It’s non-geeky because it doesn’t require you to tinker your PHP Admin file. Through the use of this plug-in, your site becomes “leaner” and “faster” because it has lost a lot of weight by removing spams and post revisions.
19. Google Pagespeed Insights
Google Pagespeed Insights provides you information on how to maximize your page’s performance. It gives you comprehensive solution on how to increase your site’s performance, as well as search engine ranking. To install it, you will need WordPress 3.3 or higher.
20. Limit Login Attempts
Limit Login Attempts is a plugin created by Johan Eenfeldt that aims to limit anonymous login attempts by blocking Internet address from attempting to login after the limit of retries has reached. It comes with a fully customizable number of retry attempts.
21. WordPress Popular Posts
WordPress Popular Posts is one of the most popular plugins that show popular posts of your site. It has customizable widget and it supports shortcode. Then, it removes all posts from the cache that haven’t been viewed in 30 days. It needs WordPress 3.3 or higher to work on your site.
Jetpack has several features that can beef up your site’s overall experience. It has more than 24 free modules, including publicize, contact form, sharing, and WordPress stats. Since it’s written by smart guys of WordPress, you can be sure that it’s a solid plugin.
Tablepress can be easily integrated to the WordPress environment. It’s designed to be flexible and you can easily customize it according to your preference. Although it’s a rewirte of WP-Table Reloaded, it has many enhancements and new useful features.
24. WordPress Backup to Dropbox
WordPress Backup to Dropbox is a sleek, easy-to-use plugin that can backup all your WordPress files in minutes. You can choose how often backing up of files is conducted and wait for your website files to be dropped to your DropBox account. Since it uses OAuth, your account details are safe upon transfer.
25. Simple Download Monitor
Simple Download Monitor monitors the number of downloads without maintaining any type of database. To configure downloadable files, the plug-in has an elegant user interface. It also logs the IP address of all users who’ve downloaded your files.
26. NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery has more than 9 million downloads. It makes it easier to organize images for any site. To add more effects to your images, you may integrate it with FancyBox or Lightbox Plus.
27. Thirsty Affiliates
Thirsty Affiliates plugin allows you to easily create new affiliate links and convert links into nice-looking URL. I was introduced to this by Jeff Bullas and I love it! Plus, it lets you add an image that has a great click through rate so you can make more money.
28. Fluid Video Embeds
Fluid Video Embeds plugin allows you to modify the sizes of videos from Vimeo and YouTube without compromising the video’s original aspect ratio. It needs PHP5+ and WordPress 3.3 or higher to work.
29. Social Polls by OpinionStage
Social Polls by OpinionStage adds social polls or standards to your WordPress site. It enhances user engagement while it drives additional traffic to and from social networks. This free plugin is easy to install and use.
30. Comments Evolved
G+ Comments or Comments Evolved offers an option to your readers to comment using their existing social media account. This free plugin is a good alternative to the more popular Disqus. It increases exposure of your own website on popular social networking sites.
31. Manual Image Crop
Manual Image Crop lets you crop featured image in your WordPress theme. Developed by Tomasz Sita, this plug earns 5-star ratings and has been downloaded more than 3,000 times.
How about you? What’s your favorite WordPress plugin? Tips and recommendations are welcome!