List of highly recommended and must have WordPress Plugins for the casual blogger to the full time professional blogger.
Akismets – This plugin stops about 90% or more of comment spam on my website, for any blogger you need to make sure your website does not become over ran by spam.
Wp-super-cache – Anyone who has a WordPress based website needs this. It speeds up your website by Caching and creating Static pages of your content. This results, in faster loading web site, since the database which dishes out the pages and various types of information, doesn’t need to work as hard. You will find that your bandwidth usage for your website will go down, and your website will show a significant increase in speed.
All in one SEO Pack – This little goody helps to make your Blog SEO friendly, and to give you greater control over the basic SEO practices such as Page Titles, Meta Keywords, Meta Description, etc. Easy to setup, and is a must for anyone with WordPress who wants traffic from search engines.
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin creates the Sitemaps that you should be using with your blog to dictate what to search on your website. This plugin notifies MSN, Ask, Google, and Yahoo about changes on your website so the new content can be indexed.
Optimize DB – I wrote a blog post on the plugin last week about Avoiding excessive CPU usage errors from your web host. This plugin optimizes the database of your website, so you do not have to log into you phpadmin every day to keep your database small and efficient, so it does not take up the processing power of the machine that is hosting it. It will speed up the loading of your website and it’s easy to use, so use it at the end of the day if you have been posting or modifying your website.
Optimal Title – This makes your blog post title SEO friendly by putting the title of the post first instead of your blog title. So instead of a search engine seeing every page titled Howbits – then my post title. With this plugin active, your post title show up first in the title, then your blog title, which will result in relevant search engine indexing. This plugin requires a tiny bit of editing to your theme, but it’s really simple, you just use the most powerful strategy of online success which is Copy and Paste, once the code is in the right spot you are good to go.
Contextual Related Posts – This plugin will gather other post you have made and add them to bottom of articles that it thinks are relevant to the subject of the article, resulting in a list of related articles at the bottom of each post. Of course if it can’t find related post it will not show any links in the list. This plugin does all the work by itself, no code or editing, and it will go through all your old post and adds the links at the bottom automatically.
As a follow up to the last plugin, I have two other related link plugins I use and love.
Landing Sites – When a visitor finds your website through a search engine, it will result by showing them other articles in relation to what they were searching for. In many cases a visitor is looking for something specific and this plugin assist them by showing other articles you have that might be of help to them.
Terong Related Links – This plugin also adds the Related Articles at the bottom of post. But the reason I use it in conjunction with contextual related posts, is when I am doing a series of post and I just want to show just a specific list of related articles, I use this to manually select the ones I want to show. Contextual related posts plugin will still show at the very bottom of the post, but the related links, which I have set to appear right at the end of an article, will show off those articles first and foremost.
Maxblogpress ping optimizer – Whenever you publish an article, or whenever you go in and edit an article, your WordPress setup will ping / notify blog listing services. If you ping them to many times the result will be banned posts, and in the extreme cases your blog site will be banned. Now I know many of you, like me, edit post multiple times, and I do not want to be penalized for correcting a spelling or grammatical error. So I recommend picking this plugin up, it does all the work by itself.
Sociable or Gregarious or both – These plugins add social bookmarking links into your blog site with ease. Social bookmarking is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website and to increase returning visitors. The plugins are easy to install, The reason why I choose to use both of them, is because I like the share this bar that gregarious gives which gives people the ability to email an article, I also like the bigger Digg button it has. For sociable, I like the long bar with multiple Bookmarking options that are always present. People don’t need to click the share button from gregarious and search for the bookmark website they want to use; they just click the one they want to use. But Which ever plugin you prefer to use for social bookmarking it’s still good to have on your website and highly recommended.
Permalink Redirect – Simple plugin that replies with a 301 permanent redirect if a requested webpage or burl is different from entries or archives. In English, it ensures that there is only one URL for a post, instead of multiple addresses that could be deemed as duplicate content for your website in search engines.
PlugInstaller – Great little plugin, makes the installation and managing of all your plugins simple and easy to do. It even has the ability to check through your list of plugins and find out if a plugin has an update that needs to be applied, and if it does it will update it if you click update next to the plugin.
Deans fckeditor for WordPress – Hate the text editor that comes with WordPress? I do. I also dislike how the editor changes a lot of the code I put in. This plugin adds a Microsoft word like text editor, and replaces some of the functions such as uploading and managing pictures, thus making it simple and easy to put in images. It is pack full of functions and incredibly easy to use.
KB robots.txt plugin - This creates the robot.txt for your WordPress to ensure that you Wp-admin section doesn’t get searched by bots, which would result in your back office being found on google, msn, yahoo, etc. It also is another precaution to insure that you don’t end up with duplicate content on search engines.
Simple Tags – It removes, adds, mass changes, and does anything else you can think of to tags for blog entries. Very long list of functions and capabilities with this plugin, needless to say I am not going to into depth what it does or how it does it. Just get it, use it, and set it up.
CSS compress - This little plugin compresses your CSS files and makes them smaller, which results in faster loading of your website. You just need to install it and that’s all, it does everything by itself. Some themes have CSS coding already compressed down and useless encoding removed, but the majority of the themes do not. On a side note, it doesn’t mess up the website design, but I still recommend making a backup of CSS files.
Batch categories – Ever wanted the ability to change the category for all your post, or a group of post with ease? This is the plugin that gives you that ability. You can sort through your articles, by Date, title, author, status, current category, keyword, or tag, and then see a list of your post. From there just check the articles you want to add or remove the categories from and it will do the work for you. It also can change Tags for you, if you don’t want to use simple tags.
Feedburner Feedsmith – If you are intending to offer RSS for your readers then you need Feedburner. So if you are going to use Feedburner, then you need feedsmith. Feedsmith will change the default feed addresses in WordPress to your feedburner address. It also moves RSS subscribers on the old feed setup, to the new feedburner RSS.
Instant upgrade – Checks for WordPress updates and can upgrade your WordPress installation with a click of a button. Good to have to keep up to date with WordPress.
WordPress Database Backup – Anyone with a WordPress website needs this, no questions asked. It will automatically back up your website, and you can set it to email your the Database backups at a scheduled time. I have already had to restore my database twice now and at those times I am very happy that I have this plugin.
Adsense Injection - If you are trying to monetize your blog, then this is a needed plugin. You can set it to insert Adsense ads into your post without you having to copy and paste the code. It will also go through all your old post and add the ads to them automatically. So if you are like me who just broke 110 blog post on your website, and decided to add Ads to your post and don’t want to take the time to edit each post one at a time, then this is perfect for you.
SEO Friendly Images – This plugin will add Alt and Title tags to images you post on your website. Yes this has a very small effect on SEO but anything helps, and it does it automatically without you needing to do anything.
Subscribe to comments – This adds a little box at the bottom of a comment post, which gives people the ability to receive email notifications if a comment is added to a blog entry. It increases the chance of a visitor returning to your website, and helps to build a community.
Adsense Plugins to help the process of monetizing your blog are numerous and you can’t say one is the end all be all. So as a result I am going to give you a link to the 10 best Adsense WordPress Plugins and you can choose which one you want to use. They are all very good in their own right.
Quite a long list of plugins, I know, I typed it all. There are a few more plugins that people recommend for a blog site. The most common recommendations are spam bot protection, by adding a Recaptcha image to comments. I have been happy with Akismet and I have not noticed a need for any more protection against spam bots. If this changes though, I will go and look for a plugin to protect against this.
If you notice an error on this list of plugins, or wish to add a plugin recommendation to this list, please leave a comment, post on the new forum, or goto Contact Howbits page.