When I first started using plugins I spent hours on the web looking for a good master list of the really good ones, slowly I compiled my own list of plugins that actually work and rarely conflict. So hopefully you find it helpful.
Checks new comments on your blog against the Akismet web service to look for spam patterns. It then catches spam comments and holds them for review. Akismet comes with every default WordPress installation and works very well. You still have to go in and manually approve/disapprove spam though. Thanks to Akismet, I’ve prevented thousands of spam comments from getting through to the blog.
All in One SEO Pack
Allows you to easily edit post titles and descriptions and configure your blog for maximum SEO benefit. This is definitely a must-have to get your site optimized for the search engines.
Add and manage the code from the dashboard and show a random banner, or multiple, on your site. As many as you want… Make making money easy! The plugin supports groups for banners allowing to tie certain banners to different areas of the website. Easy management from the dashboard allows you to quickly oversee, add and edit banner code. Previewing of banners when editing them. And even some statistical values.
BackUpWordPress is a Backup & Recovery Suite for your WordPress website. This Plugin allows you to backup database as well as files and comes with
Adds favicons and iPhone icons to your blog. Pretty simple, but makes your blog look nicer in the browser.
Breadcrumb Navigation XT
Adds a breadcrumb navigation showing the visitor’s path to his or her current location. I’m a huge fan of breadcrumbs (for both usability and SEO benefits) and highly recommend you implement this.
Brian’s Threaded Comments
The new version of WordPress (2.7) already has threaded comments built in, but I started using threaded comments a while back and I’m using this plugin to keep all of my old comment threads in tact. Threaded comments is extremely effective because it keeps the flow of conversation much more manageable.
Broken Link Checker
Checks your posts for broken links and missing images. You should also run a Xenu crawl once in a while to find errors on your site. Checking for broken links is a hassle to do manually, but these tools and plugins make it easy.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 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.
Sends out a short thank you email to users who comment on your blog for the first time. The message is completely customizable and is a great way to connect with new visitors. However, this plugin does put a strain on your server so I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you have a VPS or dedicated server.
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
Generates a fully customizable HTML sitemap, which allows search engines to more easily crawl all of your site’s content and users to find old posts in your archives. You can see mine in action here – Winning the Web Archive.
Executable PHP widget
Allows you to place PHP code in your widgets. This is useful when you want to use a separate PHP script in your widget. For example, I place the Feedburner feed count code in one of these bad boys to display the number of RSS subscribers for Winning the Web.
If you have a blog, Feedburner is a must-have service to track your subscribers and dive into statistics. This plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.
FeedWordPress is an Atom/RSS aggregator for WordPress. It syndicates content from feeds that you choose into your WordPress weblog; if you syndicate several feeds then you can use WordPress’s posts database and templating engine as the back-end of an aggregation (“planet”) website.
Force Word Wrapping
Prevents long words and URLs from horizontally stretching the page. Doesn’t it annoy you when a long URL messes up your template? This plugin prevents that from happening.
Get The Image
Get the Image is a plugin that grabs images for you. It was designed to make the process of things such as adding thumbnails, feature images, and/or other images to your blog much easier, but it’s so much more than that. It is an image-based representation of your WordPress posts.
Google Analytics for WordPress
Makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your blog with settings that allow you to track extra search engines, click outs, and downloads.
Google XML Sitemaps
Generates an XML sitemap for your blog used by search engines Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask. What’s an XML sitemap, you ask? Basically it’s a file that tells the search engines which pages on your site are most important and which they should crawl on a regular basis.
Lifestream displays your social feeds and photos much like you would see it on many of the social networking sites.
Lightbox 2 – More Info – More Info
Used to overlay images on the current page. Lightbox JS v2.2 by Lokesh Dhakar (http://www.huddletogether.com/projects/lightbox2/ ). Features ‘auto-lightboxing’ of image links, courtesy of Michael Tyson ( http://atastypixel.com).
Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end. Visitors will see a message like “Maintenance Mode – SITE is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please try back in 60 minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a slideshow option. Before I started writing the plugin I studied all the existing image and gallery plugins for WordPress. Some of them are really good and well designed, but the gap I filled was a simple administration system at the back end which can also handle multiple galleries.
Optimizes your WordPress database by eliminating unused data fields with just one click.
Enables ranking of your posts based on popularity factors: comments, links, and views. You can then display a list of popular posts on your blog using PHP code (using the PHP widget plugin mentioned above). This is a great way of automatically leading your readers to your best content.
Page Links To
This plugin allows you to make a WordPress page or post link to a URL of your choosing, instead of its WordPress page or post URL. It also will redirect people who go to the old (or “normal”) URL to the new one you’ve chosen (
301 Moved Permanently redirects are standard, but you can choose a
302 Moved Temporarily redirect if you wish).
Podcasting – podPress adds a lot of features designed to make WordPress the ideal platform for hosting a podcast.
Blubrry PowerPress – Easily one of the best podcasting plugin out there
Blubrry PowerPress brings the essential features for podcasting to WordPress. Developed by podcasters for podcasters, PowerPress offers full iTunes support, the Update iTunes Listing feature, web audio/video media players and more. PowerPress is designed as an upgrade to PodPress.
Though the name may be a little “edgy” for some, SexyBookmarks has proven time and time again to be an extremely useful and successful tool in getting your readers to actually submit your articles to numerous social bookmarking sites.
Show Top Commentators
Displays a list of top commentators with links back to their sites. I like this feature because it rewards those who are active and frequently leave comments on your blog.
Shutter Reloaded is an image viewer for your website that works similarly to Lightbox, Thickbox, etc. but is under 10KB in size and does not require any external libraries. It has many features: resizing large images if the window is too small to display them with option to show the full size image, combining images in sets, redrawing the window after resizing, pre-loading of neighbour images for faster display and very good browser compatibility.
Displays a list of related posts based on post categories and word usage in the content, title, or tags. You can even display a list of related posts in your feed which is a great way to urge readers to explore additional content on your blog. The plugin requires the Post-Plugin Library.
Inserts YouTube videos in posts, comments and RSS feeds. You can always do this manually but this plugin makes it so much easier. Now if only I got around to shooting some more videos…
Adds social media icons and links to your posts, pages and RSS feed. You can choose your favorite social bookmarking sites and fully customize what you want displayed. Social media can drive huge amounts of traffic to your sites and a social bookmarking plugin like this one increases your chances of an article “going hot”.
Icons for major Social Bookmarking websites: Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, dzone, stumbleupon, blinklist, blogmarks, furl, newsvine, technorati, magnolia. More to be added in the next versions. “mac effect” – when the mouse is over the icons they grow. SocioFluid plugin uses jquery with icondock plugin to render the mac effect. Administration Panel to select only the desired Social Bookmarking sites. New features for SocialFluid can be requested on project page on openversion.com.
Subscribe To Comments
Allows commentators to receive notifications of new comments on an article (checkbox option in the comments form). This is a great way to get people back to your site and continue the conversation.
Lets you test new themes without making them visible to your blog visitors. If you’re looking for a new theme, use this. You don’t want to drive your readers nuts by changing the theme every 10 minutes.
Adds a Tweet This Post link to every post and page and shortens URLs in advance through a variety of different services (e.g. bit.ly). As you know, re-tweets on Twitter can send A LOT of traffic and this plugin works wonders.
Twitter Tools is a plugin that creates a complete integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account.
W3 Total Cache
The fastest and most complete WordPress performance optimization plugin. Trusted by many popular sites like: mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, tutsplus.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com, yoast.com and others — W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Controls widgets with conditional tags. With this plugin you can specify when a sidebar widget should and should not be displayed. For example, I use Widget Logic to prevent my “The Winning Way” ebook widget from being displayed on the actual book description page.
WordPress Backup (by BTE)
Backs up the upload directory (images), current theme directory, and plugins directory to a zip file. You can save the file to your hard drive or web server or have it emailed to you directly.
WordPress Database Backup
Same as above but backs up your WordPress database (holding all of your posts, pages, and settings). Don’t take these plugins for granted. You won’t realize their importance until it’s too late.
Woopra is the world’s most comprehensive, information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application.
Adds an AJAX poll system to your blog. You can easily include polls in your posts, pages, and widgets and dynamically display the results. Implement this feature if you want to collect data on your readers or add some interactivity on your blog.
WP Contact Form III
Adds in a simple contact page on your blog with a form for name, email, website, subject, and message. This one isn’t as fancy as the other contact plugins out there but it’s simple and easy to use.
WP Greet Box
Shows a welcome message to your visitors depending on which site they’re coming from (e.g. Google, Digg, Facebook, etc). You can see an example at the top of this post. I use the plugin to promote my RSS feed and it works very well. For more info, check out my post about the 8 prime locations to promote your blogâ€™s RSS feed.
WP Security Scan
Performs a security scan of your WordPress installation. With hackers running rampant these days, you can never be too safe.
WP Super Cache
Caches your posts to save database resources and to speed up your site. WordPress works by calling the database each time a page/post is accessed. If you have a big influx of traffic (social media traffic) this can put a heavy strain on your web server. To prevent crashing, use this caching plugin – it works like a charm.
WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.
Wibiya enables blogs to integrate the most exciting services, applications and widgets of their choice into their blog through customized web-based toolbars. Our platform offers a one-stop solution for integrating, managing and tracking third-party applications.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site. Key features include
Social Sharing & Engagement
1. Digg Digg
I LOVE this plug-in! It enables you to add a nice little set of sharing buttons from 20 top social networking sites. It has some nifty features such as the ability to choose compact or normal for the size of the share buttons and the ability to float the buttons. In addition it can be set to display at the top, bottom or side of the post or page. This plug-in increased social sharing on my site substantially. Note, I did have a few problems with this plug-in conflicting with my sub-menu navigation on pages (not posts). I simply disabled this plug-in on pages and problem was resolved.
2. GD LinkedIN Badge
Easily installs a nifty little LinkedIn badge in a widget. Creates LinkedIn community building opportunities.
3. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms provides the ability to make custom forms for anything! Create a contact form, quote request, or even a survey. Only takes a couple minutes and you’re on your way. Inserting the form on a page is as simple as copying a short line of code that correlates to the form number right into the html section of the wordpress page editor.
4. Wbiya Toolbar
Keep your readers engaged while offering them the ability to share and bookmark with this fun toolbar that displays at the the bottom of your site. It is easily customized and easily incorporates Facebook likes, Facebook recommendations, Facebook activity, Twitter feeds, retweets, and the ability to share on almost any platform. It doesn’t add any website performance latency and I get compliments on this one everyday. A must have in my opinion.
5. Social Slider
Just as people learn differently, people socialize differently. I believe in offering numerous ways to share and engage. This cute lil’ plug-in includes floats on the left or right side of your page. You’ll hardly know it’s there. It supports a good majority of social platforms.
Another one of my favs this plug-in lets you create a set of social share icons, bookmark icons or links to other pages in a nice little widget. You can choose each icon, insert the url and choose the size of icon all within the widget. Once developed you simply drag and drop it to your theme widget, select how many of the icons you want to display, if you want it centered or justified to left or right and you’re done. I love the fact I can make unique billboards for each page if I want. I often create one for bookmarks and one for social share icons.
7. Tweet Meme Retweet Button
A must have on any blog is an easy way to retweet. This plugin is a no brainer and makes it easy for your visitors to show the love with a retweet!
8. Share This
With more than 850,000 implementations this plug-in enables website visitors to share your content to more than 50 social networks including Facebook and Twitter. I really like the way this plug-in has evolved. I am in the process of testing this on my own blog and will soon be implementing.
One of the most popular social sharing plug-ins. This plug-in supports the majority of networks.
10. Add to Any
Another favorite, Add to Any let’s your websites visitors share your content to majority of networks with a click of the mouse.
This nifty little plug-in enables you to stream content from your social platforms across the social waves to your website by leveraging RSS /Atom feeds. It offers more than a pretty look though as it’s also efficient and won’t bog down your website. It also enables easy customization without a lot of PHP code modifications. This is a favorite for my developers.
12. LinkedIn Share Button
Finally! LinkedIn has created a share button that can be seamlessly integrated into your WordPress blog. It provides the option of a larger button with number of shares, smaller button with number of shares or tiny button with no metrics. You can also download the code for the button, not the plug-in for WordPress directly from the LinkedIn site here:LinkedIn Share Button
Provides live streaming from your Facebook fan page. This is great for events or simply to show your latest wall activity.
14. Facebook Activity Feed
If the user is logged into Facebook it will show activity by your website visitors friends. It will show likes, shares etc. If the user is not logged in then it will show recommendations as well as provide the ability for the visitor to login to Facebook.
15. Facebook Like Button
Make it easy for your visitors to show the Facebook love with this stimple little button. A must have for sure!
16. Facebook Like Box
Great plugin to help you build your Facebook community. This adds the additional functionality of letting the visitor instantly “like” your Facebook fan page, displays photos of their friends who are already a fan of your page, shows the number of fans and recent activity. A great tool to pull people to your Facebook Fan page.
17. Facebook Activity Feed
Pretty self explanatory, this plugin displays the latest Facebook activity feed for your website and blog content.
18. Sexy Bookmarks
Sharing is both sexy and fun with this sassy little plugin. It makes it easy for your visitors to share your awesome content with beautiful, dynamic icons that you can place at the top or bottom of your blog.
Creates a cute little button you can place in any widget that displays the number of Twitter followers you have right next to the friendly little blue bird.
20. Twitter Goodies
Twitter offers numerous widgets and opportunities for you to engage your visitors while also growing your Twitter community. Create a widget with your tweets. Or create a widget that displays a search term or hash tag. It’s a great way to share the buzz as your community grows!
1. Disqus Comment System
There are many comment systems out there such as CommentLuv etc. I like the simplicity and clean look of Disqus. It is easy to install and is widely used across social internet land. It provides an easy way to view where visitors have commented on other sites while also keeping track of where you comment. It can help you build social relationships as you engage on other people’s blogs and websites.
2. Comment Luv
Although I use Discus Comment system, many do like the comment luv plug-in. Disqus comment system has been more widely used for longer. It seems to be more popular and widely used on the majority of sites I visit and communities I engage in. It basically comes down to personal choice. I know many people who use comment luv and “love” it. I did try it and it gave me a few problems so I immediately switched back to Disqus. I suggest you check them both out and make a decision for yourself.
3. Thank Me Later
This plug-in automatically sends an email thanking the web visitor for leaving a comment. The time frame can be customized for sending. It’s a great way to remind the visitor about your blog or website as well as thank them for their comment. Keeping communication going with visitors is a great way to build authentic relationships. The person left a comment on your blog probably because they were interested. Thanking them and inviting them back will probably be much appreciated by the commenter.
4. WP Greet Box
This is another one of my favorites. It creates a custom gretting based on the referral url of your website visitor. Includes support for RSS, Delicious, Digg, Twitter, Facebook and many more. A must have for any blog or website in my opinion!
This is one of my all time favorites. This plug-in displays up to 5 related blog posts at the bottom of each post. Not only does this plug-in help drive engagement, it also helps your SEO.
Adds a more advanced paging system to your WordPress site.
Design and Images Enhancements
1. Simple Image Link
This is one of my favorite image plug-ins. It enables the ability to add any image plus text as a widget. It supports easy modification of image size.
2. Drop in Image Slideshow Gallery
Insert images with ease with this nifty little plug-in. No coding required. Even a newbie to WordPress can figure this image feature out!
3. Dynamic Headers
Open your blog header up to new possibilities with this plug-in. You are no longer limited by media type, or only one header for the whole site. Now you can have a unique header for each page!
4. Next Gen Gallery
This plugin turns any website into a beautiful gallery. It even has a flash slideshow option.
Another option for inserting an image gallery. Animate your header, posts or images with this simple and easy to use plug-in.
Search Engine Optimization
1. All in One SEO
If you want SEO to rock with little effort, this is your plugin. I have seen great results with this plugin on both my sites as well as many client sites.
2. SEO Smart Links
Also great for SEO, this plugin helps engage your users by linking keywords within your site. Google likes to see links within your site. This is a great way to drive engagement as well as SEO with little to no effort once it’s installed. You can customize and select how many links you want to appear on each page.
3. XML Sitemap
This plugin creates an XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap for your WordPress blog. It is supported by Ask.com, Google, Yahoo and MSN.
4. WP Page-Navi
This widget adds navigation from one page to the other so visitors can easily view your numerous blog posts you’ve worked so hard on.
5. SEO Slugs
This plug-in removes all the unnecessary words from post titles. This makes post titles more search engine friendly!
6. SEO Friendly Images
This nifty little plug-in automatically updates all images with ALT and TITLE attributes.
Developer’s Best Friend
1. Flexi-Pages Widget
This widget is great for fully custom WordPress sites or template themes which don’t provide an easy sub-menu via sidebar or other. This widget provides the ability to add a sub-menu navigation via widget on sidebar. This also helps with engagement and SEO.
2. OzH Admin Dropdown Menu
This is one of my favorite developer plug-ins! It saves me loads of time by putting the admin menu in a drop down format.
3. Permalinks moved permanently
This is the perfect plug-in if you are changing permalink structure. Instead of old links pointing to a 404 page, this plug-in will look for a slug similar to the original on your blog and will automatically generate a 301 error and redirect request to new location. This is good to help maintain pagerank and traffic.
4. WordPress Importer
Easily import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file. This plug-in is great when switching themes, hosts or testing.
5. Exclude Pages from Navigation
You are no longer dependent on theme features or a developer to be selective in what pages are included or not included in site navigation.
6. Mass Edit Pages for WordPress
A developers best friend and massive time saver when it comes to making simple pages to a mass number of pages.
7. Maintenance Mode
A must have for those long weekends when you decide at midnight you need to switch WordPress themes – ha! It provides a splash screen to your visitors informing them your site is under maintenance while you work the midnight oil on your next creation!
8. Google Analytics & Feedburner Reports
Enables easy view of Google analytics data and Feedburner reports via WordPress admin area.
9. WordPress Stats
This nifty plug-in provides a nice and simple view of your most critical wordpress performance stats. What I like about this plug-in is that it’s simple. As a data junkie myself, I am a lover of Google Analytics and the information it provides. However, it’s nice to be able to view a simple snapshot of visitor stats, top content and more right from the WordPress admin dashboard.
10. Theme Logo
This plug-in enables the ability to add a logo to your theme without a developer. Great for the novice using a theme that requires a code change.
11. Simple Coming Soon & Under Construction Page
Great plug-in to easily set a temporary under construction or coming soon page. There are several of these types of plug-ins around. This is one of my favorites I have found. I like it because of the simplicity and the fact it is more visually appealing. It also adds the ability to add social platform links as well as a count down.
12. WP-Super Cache
This plug-in will improve performance of your site by producing static html files of your dynamic WordPress blog.
Simply stated, stop the spam! Akismet keeps those spammer out and off your precious blog.
14. Infusionsoft Web Form
This plug-in makes it easy to embed an Infusionsoft web form using your api key. Hoping Infusionsoft will soon provide more options and graphical enhancements to more easily develop custom Infusionsoft web forms.