WordPress is a great blogging platform and CMS, so it’s no surprise that more and more people are using it everyday. One of the main reasons WordPress is so popular is due to its huge following and support from developers. They’re the ones creating all of the great WordPress plugins that we take for granted. Of course, not all plugins were created equal, so in this post I’m going to go through some of the must have WordPress plugins that I have found over the years. Please also let me know of any great WordPress plugins you have found useful.
Here are some great WordPress plugins for bloggers:
All in One SEO Pack
Optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization). If you don’t know much about SEO then this plugin will help you set up some basic SEO for your site to help it get indexed more effectively.
Google XML Sitemaps
Having a proper sitemap will also improve your website’s SEO. This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.
Contact Form 7
Most of us would like to have a contact form on our contact page and this plugin is by far the most popular WordPress Contact Form plugin. It can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
TDO Mini Forms (No longer available)
Many people haven’t heard of this plugin before but it’s quite a good one. Have you noticed the community news feeds featured on certain websites? You can allow your visitors to post community news to your site using TDO Mini Forms. This plugin allows you to add highly customisable forms that work with your WordPress Theme to your website that allows non-registered users and/or subscribers (also configurable) to submit and edit posts and pages.
AddToAny: Share Button
A great little plugin to help your visitors promote your posts through social media sharing. This WordPress plugin helps people share, bookmark, and email your posts and pages using any service, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, Digg, Delicious, and well over 100 more social bookmarking and sharing sites.
Twitter is one of the best ways to promote your blog posts so you need to make sure that you have a “retweet” button on your page. The TweetMeme Retweet button is a very popular Retweet button used by some of the biggest websites in the world including Techcrunch.com, PerezHilton.com, Break.com, CNET.com, Wired, Time Magazine and hundreds of other massive brands, in total it is installed on over 100,000 websites around the globe.
SyntaxHighlighter Evolved allows you to easily post syntax-highlighted code to your site without loosing it’s formatting or making any manual changes. This is probably the best syntax highlighting plugin I have found as it looks nice, supports many programming languages and also allows users to copy code to their clipboard with a single click.
This plugin allows you to add more advanced pagination to your WordPress blog. Basically instead of having the “previous posts” button at the bottom of your homepage, you can list a bunch of your pages with next and previous links.
WP Super Cache
If your website is experiencing a heavy load of visitors then this plugin will definitely come in handy. WP Super Cache basically generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. It can sometimes cause certain other plugins to perform strangely when “Super Cache” is turned on so you might want to test it out first.
Don’t add too many plugins
Before you go adding every plugin under the sun to your WordPress website, just remember that each plugin requires files to be requested every time someone visits your website. So the more plugins you have, the more your website may get bogged down. Heavier websites generally won’t display very quickly when they are experiencing higher levels of visitors (You can analyse the speed at which your site loads using YSlow). So try to make sure you only use the plugins that you really need.
Which plugins have you found useful?