30 WordPress Plugins You Can Count On

30 WordPress Plugins You Can Count On

I have been using WordPress for about five years now. I remember the days when you had to upload plugins through FTP. Thankfully for the newcomers it is easier now but the amount of plugins is rather overwhelming. I was doing a presentation  for my WordPress Meetup in Atlanta and decided to make a list of all of my  tried and true plugins. For the most part these are easy to install, configure and utilize to extend the functionality of your WordPress site.

  1. Aksimet -Best comment and trackback spam prevention ever. Free for personal bloggers and starts at 60 per year for businesses making over 500.00.
  2. WordPress.com Stats -Loads right in your dashboard for easy monitoring of your pageviews, tells you which posts and pages are the most popular, where your site traffic is coming from, and what links people click when they leave your site.
  3. WordPress SEO – I had been using All in One SEO to rewrite my site page and blog post titles and descriptions. But now there is a new kid on the block called WordPress SEO by Yoast which is hands down better.  This one shows a search engine result before you optimize the post which gives you a lot of motivation to change the title and descriptions to work better for search engine optimization while still using readable titles on you pages or posts. When you try your hand at optimizing your content,this plugin will tell you with a series of colored lights whether you have succeeded and how you can do better. I was also using Scribe ( see below) to give me feedback on the optimization. But with this free plugin you do not need to use Scribe and can save some money.
  4. Scribe -This is a premium plugin that costs about 30.00 per month. It will teach you to write optimized posts. Write your post for your readers, fill out All in One SEO and then run it through Scribe for a grade on how the search engines would see your entry. It then tells you how to fix a low score. The Catholic schoolgirl in me can’t stand not to get 100 on a test!
  5. W3 Total Cache - This plugin is used by all the pros to make their sites load faster by caching every aspect of your site. This is great for readers and also a factor in ranking.
  6. Gravity Forms - This is a honey of a plugin and worth the money. It is 39.00 for a single site, 99.00 for three sites and 199.00 for a developers license good for unlimited sites. You can create forms in a breeze, even complex and interactive forms. It is very user friendly and there are addons for other programs like Paypal, Freshbooks, and MailChimp.
  7. Contact Form 7 -  If you are looking for free or making simple contact forms then this is a good easy and free option.
  8. Google XML Site Map – this plugin makes a sitemap which is not visible on your site but tells the search engine bots your site structure so it can be more easily indexed. It also notifies all of the major search engines everytime you add new content on your site. Very easy to set up.
  9. Google Analyticator – This plugin hooks your site up to Google Analytics without you having to modify template code. It also can put a widget in your dashboard to track simple stats or take you to Google Anaytics for more detailed analysis.
  10. Collapsing Categories – I love this plugin for sites that  have a lot of content. It allows you to show the categories and then expand them to show the post titles within each. Don’t bury your content any longer!
  11. WP-DB Backup – This plugin will allow you to schedule database backups and send them to your server or your e-mail. This gives you peace of mind for your content but you still need a backup of your theme files to preserve all of your site customizations. This is a very easy plugin to Install and configure.
  12. WP-DB Manager – More technical users may want to use this plugin to do their database backups and database optimization. It requires you to know your way around WordPress files to install and configure it.
  13. BackupBuddy – This is a premium plugin that will give you complete peace of mind by backing up your entire site including the theme file, plugins, images as well as the database to your server or to another service such as Amazon S3. For developers who are making sites on a sandbox or test server it makes it easy to migrate the site to the new host to go live. The pricing ranges from 75.00  per year for up to 2 sites through 150.00 per year for unlimited number of sites.
  14. VaultPress – Is a subscription based backup service from Automattic that ranges from 15.00 per month to 350.00 per month. This service is what is needed for Enterprise level sites because you get white glove service.
  15. Widget Context - This widget is a godsend for designers wanting different widgets to display on different pages or posts. It is easy to install and has a great check box interface which is huge steps ahead of anything available before.
  16. WP Cycle – This simple plugin allows you to put a j-query slideshow on your site that will show up on iPhones and iPads. It is easy to install and for you and your clients to configure. But, you can only use it once on the site.
  17. NextGen Gallery – If you are looking for an option to use  multiple galleries and slideshows in your posts and pages this plugin does the trick. You can configure it to use j-query or Flash.
  18. WP-PageNavi – Replaces the previous, next at the end of the blog posts with a page navigation system making your site more searchable by both our readers and the search engines.
  19. Social Media Widget – This is a plugin that makes a widget for you to make an authors box and to automatically add follow buttons to your sidebar. ( tip for newbies: to add the html in the little box, just write it first in a post and copy the html and paste it into the widget’s text info box).
  20. Sexy Bookmarks – This plugin gives you great social share icons to make it easier for people to share you content with one click. It has the option for the icons to be half exposed and then move up when you mouse over them. It is best for blogs that have a fun or casual design rather than a business look.
  21. Share and Follow – This plugin gives you a lot of options for sharing content. The icons that come with the free version are a bit more normal that sexy bookmark’s icons and it gives you the option to have a follow tab on the outside of your content.
  22. Add to Any – This social share plugin is a bit more conservative so if you have a “professional” site that needs to reflect a certain amount of decorum, this might be the best one to choose.
  23. Digg Digg – This plugin adds the social like boxes and counters, under your posts, to the right of your content or in a vertical row outside of the site wrapper.
  24. Twitter Tools – This plugin offers a great deal of functionality to display your latest Tweeets on your site. It also lets you write a tweet while on your site, it can automatically make post entries from your Tweets or automatically make a Tweet from your posts.
  25. Twitter Widget Pro – This Widget is handy when you would like to display tweets from several different accounts in one box.  You have to upload it through FTP and may have to be able to add some xhtml styling to give it a finished look but it gets the job done.
  26. WordPress Editorial Calendar – I don’t use this one but I probably should. It gives us an easy way to schedule and view posts and helps organize our content delivery system.
  27. Revision Control – Some people never even notice that WordPress has a revision control system built right in and visible from the bottom of your edit Posts or Pages view. However, if you are an editing fool you may wind up with a lot of revisions in that history and you can avoid the bloat with this plugin. Hint: live dangerously, set it for two.
  28. Text Box Widget – Comes with WordPress in the Widget area and allows you to add all sorts of content to your sidebar. You can use it more than once. It does not have WYSIWG editing capabilities but an easier way to configure content for the text box is to go to a post edit box and add the image, text and links like you want them and then copy the html view and paste it in the Text Widget Box. Easy Peasy.
  29. Facebook Like Box  – the easiest way to get this on your site is to go to your Facebook Page marketing area and look for the website widgets. Create the Likebox and then copy the code and paste it into the Text Box Widget. You don’t need to bloat your site with a Plugin for this.
  30. MailChimp or other e-mail sign up form – Go to your e-mail program and create a sign up form for your list. It will have instructions on creating the code for your website. Copy the embed code and paste into the Tex Widget Box.

 

 

 

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About Judi Knight

Judi Knight is the founder and chief at New Tricks. When she’s not working with businesses to create their online goodness, she'll be checking people into the Urban Oasis B &B,  planning WordPresss events or hanging with her husband and three Basset Hounds.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this post Judi. It's a great inventory and list of resources I'll keep around. Rob

  2. Loved the presentation, Judi. I really needed that.
    My recent post undefined

  3. Judy, Thanks for the list of plug-ins, I know I missed some at the meeting. You are wonderful!!
    Cheryle
    My recent post Hello world!

  4. Thanks for the helpful information! You really know how to share the love <3
    My recent post Facebook as a Spoke to Your WordPress Hub

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