WordPress is one, if not the biggest open source blogging platforms on the net and one of the best options with WordPress is just how customizable it is. From themes to plugins, you could spend days playing with WordPress and adding new ‘toys’ to help improve your sites looks or functionality. I have been blogging for years and compiled a quick list of my top ten favorite plugins that are a must have with any new WordPress blog site.
If you have not used this plugin yet, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. WordPress even includes it with every version of their blog software! In case you’re unfamiliar with Akismet, this is one of the best spam prevention plugins available for WordPress. Once you activate Akismet, you can see the stats of this plugin right on your dashboard under the “Right Now” table. It will show you just how many comments have been blocked (i.e. “Akismet has protected your site from 9,929 spam comments already.”)
- All In One SEO Pack
All In One SEO Pack is one of the most beneficial SEO (search engine optimization) plugins and is very, very easy to setup. From advanced canonical urls to automatically optimizing your page titles, AIO SEO is extremely powerful.
- Google XML Sitemaps
In addition to the two plugins listed above, I always install Google XML Sitemaps right off the bat. In short, this creates an XML file with links to each of your pages which allows Google to index and search your site easier. If you use Google Webmaster Tools, you will find that you can submit your XML here and make sure Google is not crawling any broken pages or incorrect redirects.
- WP Super Cache
If you run a blog with a lot of traffic, you will learn to love the WP Super Cache plugin, as will your server. This plugin will create static HTML files from your pages and posts so that your server is not making cpu intensive PHP calls every time a new person views your website.
- HeadSpace2 SEO
If you’re not a fan of the All in One SEO pack, check out HeadSpace2. This plugin allows you to control meta-data for almost every page/post on your site which can be useful to further optimize your blog. You can also auto generate keywords and tags, add a frame breaker code to get rid of that *pesky* Google image traffic, and a ton more.
By the name of it, you may not have a clue what this is but I suggest EVERYONE to use this database plugin. This plugin is probably one of the most useful ever, and reminds me of insurance. Yes, insurance! Why? Well let me explain how WP-DBManager works. Not only can you use this plugin to optimize and repair your SQL database for WordPress, you can schedule it to automatically backup your database and have it emailed to you! No matter if your host offers backups or not, I’d install this plugin.
- WordPress Related Posts
One of the best factors that come into play when SEO’ing your site is internal linking and keeping visitors within your site. WordPress Related Posts will add a few related articles to the bottom of each of your posts, allowing visitors to stay on your site and read additional relevant posts.
- WP PageNavi
If you have a lot of posts on your blog, WP Page Navi allows you to click next, or choose a specific page number instead of clicking previous/older posts to navigate through your content. You can customize this plugin to fit right in with your site and design with a little CSS editing.
- SEO Smart Links
As I mentioned above with #7 plugin – WordPress Related Posts, interlinking is one of the best ways to SEO on site and SEO Smart Links will help with that in addition to the Related Posts plugin. This plugin will help interlink your articles by keywords throughout your site.
If you run a blog with any kind of advertising, a nice and simple ad plugin is WPAds. Although I wish it had more tracking options and a little easier setup, it’s a great way to quickly implement multiple rotating ad sections within your site.
As I mentioned, there are thousands upon thousands of plugins you can use with WordPress but these are my top 10 that I use on every blog I create.
If you have any favorite plugins or any that you use every time you setup a new blog, feel free to post a comment below! I’m always looking for new ‘tools’ to improve my sites.