Most bloggers are on the hunt for the best WordPress plugins to help improve the functionality of their sites. A good plugin can take your site to the next level while a bad one can be nothing more than a huge headache.
After lots of research and trial (and error), I have compiled a list of the 7 Essential WordPress plugins all WP users should download.
It goes without saying that the internet is full of spammer bots hoping to get your readers to click through to their sites. This unfortunate reality has made it extremely annoying to moderate junk.
I recommend all WordPress users install Askimet to help fight spammers. You can sign-up for the free option and protect your site right away.
2. Magic Action Box
I am a firm believer that everyone with an online platform should be collecting email addresses. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit fiddling with web form styles. I recommend Magic Action Box because it truly makes the job of building an attractive sign-up box easy.
You can create as many different types of action boxes as you would like and can place them anywhere that your site allows widgets. The tool integrates natively with MailChimp, Awebber, and Wysija Newsletters so you won’t need a coding background to connect to your list service.
3. nrelate Related Content
Once you’ve built enough content on your site, it is helpful to pull related posts from your archives and present them at the bottom of your post. This is a very easy way to keep the reader on your site longer and helps re-introduce old content.
4. WordPress Editorial Calendar
Consistency in blogging is key. What better way to help drive post consistency than to have your own visual editorial calendar? I love this plugin because it helps me stay on a regular schedule and visually see what is coming down the pipeline.
5. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Most of us realize how important Search Engine Optimization is, but few of us have the time to really study the discipline (it seems to keep changing every few weeks!). There are tons of SEO plugins out there, but the best in the market is WordPress SEO by Yoast.
They make the process simple and allow you to customize exactly how your want your post or page to appear on search results. It gives you a rating on your target key word to let you know if you’ve covered all your bases. It also generates Twitter Card code for you, making Twitter previews a snap!
6. CommentLuv + Comment Reply Notification OR Disqus
Commenting is a key piece to most sites and I recommend you go in either one of two directions:
A. Native WordPress Commenting
WordPress natively gives users the ability to comment on your site. If you go this route, I recommend you download 2 plugins called CommentLuv and Comment Reply Notification. CommentLuv allows your readers to link back to their website and provide a link to their latest post. Comment Reply Notification will send an email to the reader any time someone replies to their comment.
You can also go with Disqus, which is the world’s leading comment service. Installing Disqus will remove your existing comment features and will replace them with Disqus. This tool automates the entire process easy and will take care of providing email notifications and blocking spam.
7. MP Share Center
We’ve all seen the social sharing icons that seem to appear on every page on the internet these days. These buttons make it extremely easy for anyone to share your content to their networks. There are an overwhelming number of plugins to choose from, and I am pretty sure I have tried them all.
If you want a simple one to start I recommend trying MP Share Center. It contains the basic share button options you would expect and is nice & simple. That being said, you should play around with others if you want a different look. Try Shareholic, Digg Digg, Juiz Social Post Sharer, or Social Share Boost to name a few.
Your Turn: What are the plugins that you can’t live without? What’s your biggest frustration when choosing/installing a plugin?