Here’s a collection of plugins that are essential for all WordPress bloggers! I use most of these on all my WordPress installations and websites I make for clients.. They will help reduce spam, improve SEO, and encourage subscribers and interaction on your site.
This plugin will protect your blog from spammy comments. With this feature enabled, there is no need for the dreaded CAPTCHA! Just turn it on and it will filter all the spam comments out of your blog and place them in a separate queue. You can then review the comments and either delete them or approve them (if they’re not actually spam).
No matter what kind of blog you have, this is a must-have plugin!
What is SEO? Search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines’ “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. Wikipedia
The tl;dr: it helps improve your search engine rankings.
The key thing that the WordPress SEO plugin does is allow you to set the title and description of all your pages and blog posts. The title and description is what will appear in the Google (or other search engine) search results. By setting your own titles and descriptions, you can ensure that they include popular keywords that will properly describe your post/page and help them appear in common searches.
If you enter a focus keyword, it also gives you an SEO rating for the post!
This is a great one for all book bloggers (or other bloggers promoting products). First you have to sign up for the Amazon Affiliate Program (or Amazon Associates). This program allows you to earn a small referral whenever someone clicks on your Amazon link and buys a product.
So what does this plugin do? It installs a little Amazon search bar on your Create Post page. You can search for products and get the correct product URL that contains your unique Amazon Affiliate ID! It makes adding Amazon Affiliate links to your blog posts super easy!
I actually find that this plugin often doesn’t work. When I search for an item I get an error message. But when it is working, it’s super helpful!
CommentLuv allows your commenters to include a link to their latest blog post! I love this plugin because not only does it ‘reward’ my commenters, but it also makes it easy for me to skim and read my visitor’s latest blog posts.
There are many similar plugins so this is just one example. This plugin adds your statcounter project to your website and keeps track of all the hits your website gets. If you use something like Google Analytics it’s not entirely necessary, but the nice thing about it is that it also provides you with a neat button you can include on your site that displays your pageviews. This is a great way to show publishers how much traffic your blog receives.
This is one that I always install. I always use the HTML input when creating a post and if you do as well, check out this plugin. When using the HTML input, I find that WordPress often includes random paragraph tags or line breaks. This plugin just gets rid of those extra random tags that you didn’t put in yourself! This plugin also stops automatic formatting of WordPress (wpautop), and modifies the HTML source generated by the visual editor.
This plugin allows you to see all your blog posts (published, scheduled, and draft) in calendar format. It’s like having a Google calendar straight in your WordPress dashboard! This makes organizing and planning posts such a breeze.
Every WordPress blogger needs this plugin! This plugin will automatically email a commenter on your blog if you reply to them. It encourages actual discussion on your blog, as opposed to one-time comments. Plus, everyone likes seeing how you replied to their comment, and this plugin makes it so easy!
WP Database Backup allows you to backup your WordPress database. You can schedule backups and choose where to save your backup file: the server, your computer, or sent to you via e-mail.
This plugin automatically generates a mobile site for you! Any visitors viewing your site on a mobile device will see this mobile version instead of the full version, giving them more convenient access to your blog on a small device.
This plugin will help protect you from hackers! It hardens your WordPress installation to prevent people from trying to break in. It’s a must-have to increase security!
This is THE BEST Google Analytics plugin. Not only does it make it insanely easy for you to add your Google Analytics code to your blog, but it also shows your stats in a dashboard widget! You can easily check up on your page views, visits, and most popular pages without having to visit the Google Analytics website.
You can configure this plugin to automatically tweet about your old posts. This is a great way to drive traffic to some of your older blog posts. Just make sure you use it sparingly. Don’t have it set to tweet about old posts once an hour! That’s a bit excessive. Just do it once or twice a day.
WP-Optimize will optimize your database tables and delete old post revisions. This is a great way to clean up and speed up your blog! I wrote an entire blog post about the benefits of the WP-Optimize plugin.
This plugin caches your website, meaning it creates static copies of the posts and pages. Caching is super important for WordPress blogs and can really help with page load times! Make your site faster by installing WP Super Cache.