Now I know there are lots of lists of WordPress plugins out there in the blogosphere but I wanted to provide the full suite solution of my favorite WordPress plugins that I use every time I set up a new site or blog. All these great WordPress plugins are absolutely free (although some will ask for a donation if you feel so inclined) and will really make setting up and managing your WordPress site as easy as possible.
This list is mostly targeted towards the beginner " intermediate WordPress user who is just trying to figure out which plugins are actually worth having; simply because there are just so many awesome ones out there that it can be very difficult to know which ones actually have good benefit if you dont have the time to try them all out. Well Ive personally tried hundreds of plugins but the ones that made this list were free, easy-to-use and serve a wide range of features. Here is the list of the Top 20 free WordPress plugins for bloggers (note " the order is irrelevant after the first 5):
1.) All-in-one SEO Pack
This is one of the simplest and most efficient SEO plugin for WordPress. After installation you can set the homepage titles and meta description and keywords all within a few seconds on the same plugin interface. It also allows you to quickly customize any post or page (creates box fields within the same page/post interface) so you can quickly employ basic best SEO practices (unique title tags and meta descriptions) for all your important pages and blogposts. This plugin is so simple that anyone with any WordPress knowledge should be utilizing it and hence is my overall favourite WordPress plugin hands down. There are more advanced SEO WordPress plugins available out there but in terms of simplicity and usability nothing beats the All-in-one SEO pack in my opinion.
2.) Ultimate Google Analytics
This awesome analytics plugin is probably the easiest WordPress plugin of all to use, hands down. After installation all you need to do is add your Analytics profile ID in the settings tab and youre done " thats it! It automatically tracks analytics data across all pages and posts within your site. This plugin is fully installed and set up within 20 seconds its that easy and robust; and since it integrates so well with Google Analytics it takes my #2 spot in my favourite WordPress plugins.
3.) WP-DB Manager
Theres nothing worse than losing data online " its incredibly frustrating and oftentimes an absolute nightmare if your WordPress database gets hacked or misconfigured with bugs due to outdated WP versions or plugins. Hence its absolutely essential that you backup your database often " and thats exactly what the WordPress Database manager allows you to do. You can back up your database as often or as little as youd like depending on how often you are updating the content of your site. You can even zip it to save space and then have it emailed to whomever youd like on whatever schedule you set. Really cant stress how important it is to be proactive with saving and backing up your WordPress databases as you dont want to lose all that content youve spent days/weeks/months and sometimes even years writing and publishing.
4.) Contact Form 7
I always find it incomprehensible when bloggers or site owners dont have a contact form on their site. Maybe if they only realized how fast and easy it is to use the Contact Form 7 WP plugin then they would. This plugin takes only a few seconds to customize (simply enter your own email address and write text above or below the fields) and then post the tiny snippet of code that they provide on a page and bam! Youve got yourself a nice looking and functional contact form. Whether you are trying to offer advertising or want to answer your readers questions/concerns/inquiries its an absolute must to have an easy to use contact form on your site.
5.) WordPress Automatic Upgrade
Keeping your WordPress up to date with the latest versions can be a very burdensome task, especially if you manage many sites. However, I can tell you first hand that its not fun when an older version of WP gets hacked so play it safe, be proactive and make sure you keep your WP version up to date with this nifty little plugin that does it for you in under 5 min and with about 10 clicks " its that easy and thats why I love this plugin. Instead of dreading the next WP update might as well get with the times and let this plugin do all the work for you!
** Note that with WordPress 3.0 version this plugin is incorporated into the new features but in case you are using an old version of WordPress this plugin is the way to go and offers all the upgrades within a few clicks within the plugins interface.
Well hope you enjoyed my top five favourite free WordPress plugins for bloggers. Here is the last 15 in alphabetical order:
Get Plugin although automatically included in WP installation.
A great and very easy to use plugin that automatically identifies and blocks comments and trackback spam. Best part is that you block out all the crap while leaving the real comments so you can actually engage in conversations with your readers without having to sort through dozens if not hundreds of spam comments and trackbacks.
All-in-one Adsense & YPN
A useful plugin that allows you to automatically insert Google adsense ads or yahoo publisher network (YPN) ads directly into your blogposts. Best part is that no manual work is required as once you configure all the options the ads are inserted dynamically so its a big timesaver for those less savvy with code customizations within WordPress.
Blog Link + Traffic Analysis
This awesome plugin was actually developed in house as we wanted a way to analyze the popularity of our blogposts in terms of both inbound links and traffic. This plugin allows you to quickly see which blogposts have received the most page views as well as inbound links, and even gives you the option to instantly 301 redirect an old post to a new page if you want to take advantage of the inbound links it received.
This nifty little plugin allows you execute PHP codes in posts, pages and even text widgets. This is really great if youre not a PHP pro so you can quickly add custom advertisements or links within the sidebar of WordPress using the text widget.
Want to have the option of displaying multiple languages on your site? Then you need the global translator plugin; which allows you automatically translate your blog into 48 different languages including Italian, Korean, Spanish, French, Hebrew and many others. Another great feature is that it offers a fully configurable layout so you can easily customize the appearance of the translation bar or can choose to display the flags of the different countries within your sidebar(s).
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin offers you the ability to generate XML sitemaps which helps the search engines better index your blog. XML sitemaps are a nice add on to help the search engines easily crawl all the information on your site and will also notify all search engines whenever you add new content.
Internal Link Building: (Download from )
This plugin allows you to automatically insert internal links within your content which is a great thing to do to help distribute link juice throughout your site. The plugin interface allows you to choose which keywords are to be internally linked and to which specific page or URL they should link to. You can also set the number of times the keyword will be linked to on a specific post or page so you dont need to overkill it. This plugin has been downloaded over 13,000 times for a reason.
This nice little plugin allows you to define which links in your blogroll you want to make nofollow (if you choose to do so). This is a nice option to have in case you want to include a list of useful resources or even affiliate links in your blogroll without having to distribute/lose any link juice.
This plugin allows you to easily manage all of your 301 redirections and also offers 404 error monitoring as well. All the 301 redirections are fully customizable and allows you to pass a URL through to another page, file or website. The plugin is offered in multiple languages and also offers some more advanced options including offering full regular expression support. This is a great redirection plugin for beginners and pros alike.
SEO Friendly Images
This is a plugin created by Vladimir Prelovac (one of my favourite WordPress developers out there) and its a WordPress optimization plugin which automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes which is great in case you have lots of images on your blog. The ALT tag is very important for SEO and especially for longer tail keyword traffic as well.
This simple yet effective plugin removes common words like a, the, in from post URLs to improve search engine optimization and help you attract more visitors without having to shorten the URLS manually. If you think that shortening the URL will be a negative thing for search traffic then you can always edit the URL before it goes live within the dashboard view.
Another great plugin from Vladimir allows you to easily insert Youtube videos and playlists into your posts, comments and even in your RSS feeds. The plugin offers you the ability to embed Youtube videos with ease and is a very fast and light plugin so no extra scripts or code customization are necessary.
This plugin lets you add links to your favourite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed as well. Sociable gives you the option to choose from 99 different social media sites which is maybe a bit overkill but great to have that option available in case youre a power social media user.
WP Super Cache
This powerful plugin is best described as a very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files. This plugin is especially great for sites that have complicated scripts and are traditionally slow loading sites. The Super Cache plugin will speed up the load time of your sites dramatically; it offers both a plug and play option as well as full customization if you want to change certain settings.
The mobile industry is rapidly increasing and showing no signs of slowing down so make sure you use this plugin to offer a mobile theme for your website. This powerful plugin automatically takes your WordPress blog and transforms it into an iPhone application-style theme and makes it viewable for a variety of Smartphones with the most important being the iPhone. Dont miss out on mobile traffic and make sure you utilize this great plugin!
Well I hope you enjoyed the list of my top 20 free WordPress plugins for bloggers and I strongly encourage you to at least try all these once so you can determine whether or not they are beneficial for your blogging purposes. Also, I know everyone has their own favourite WordPress plugins so please feel free to share your favourites and be sure to tell us why they are so effective in your blogging efforts! Happy blogging!