Okay, everyone knows that a WordPress blog is not complete without its plugins. But when you look at the huge number of plugins that are available in the WordPress plugin directory it really can be a bit difficult to figure out which ones you should install on your blog, especially if you’re just starting out.
That being said I’ve made a list of the top 16 WordPress plugins every blog should have no matter what niche it’s in.
Although there are a lot of cool and useful plugins out there that can definitely make your life easier when managing your blog, having too many will affect the load time of your website.
Okay here we go.
Must Have WordPress Plugins
1. All In One SEO Pack: Very easy to use plugin which provides you with every SEO feature you might need, including the option to add “noindex” and “nofollow” meta tags to the archives pages and tags pages. This plugin helps very much with your on-site search engine optimization by allowing you to edit the title tag, the meta description and the keywords for every page and post on your website.
In the search engine results it will look like this:
2. SEO Data Transporter: Now this is a very useful plugin, it comes in handy when your switching between seo plugins or switching to a WordPress framework that has in-built SEO. I’ve found this one when I made the switch to the Genesis Framework(affiliate link) and I needed to transfer all my SEO data from All In One SEO to the Genesis in-built SEO.
3. Google XML Sitemap: This plugin creates a sitemap for your WordPress site, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl through your entire website and quickly index your pages and posts. The plugin automatically submits the sitemap it generates to Google and Bing every time you update the content on your website.
4. Pretty Link: Now this is a very cool plugin to have on your website, especially if you use affiliate marketing to monetize it. What this plugin does, is it takes those long and ugly affiliate links and turns them into short links that look more appealing for someone to click on them. In addition to that it tracks all the clicks for each affiliate link you shortened.
5. W3 Total Cache: This plugin will speed up your website’s load time by caching your pages and posts as static pages which take less time to load when someone is visiting your website. Since Google takes into account your website’s page speed and load time as a factor when positioning it in the search results it’s definitely important that you properly optimize your website for faster load times. Now, the W3 Total Cache is kinda difficult to set up if you are new, because it has a lot of features, but here is a guide that will teach you everything you need to know on how to speed up your website.
6. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: This plugin will add a related posts section below each post, pointing the person reading your posts to other relevant posts, thus increasing the time spent on your website, and lowering your bounce rate.
The time spend on site and the bounce rate are 2 additional factors that influence search engine rankings, so the more time people spend on your website and the lower your bounce rate is the better for you.
7. Akismet: Now this is one plugin that you definitely should use on your blog. It’s job is to block spam comments from landing on your blog. As I was starting out, there were maybe 2 or 3 spam comments a day, I didn’t think much of it, but the more traffic you get the more spam you will get. This plugin comes already installed on WordPress, all you need to do is activate it and it will guide you step by step on how to set it up properly.
8. P3 Plugin Profiler: This plugin is very useful if you’re looking to optimize your website’s page load times. It will do a detailed speed test on your website showing you which plugins take up the most resources and are slower to load.
9. Twitter Facebook Social Share: This plugin will add share buttons to popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and some social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc. It has a lot of customization capabilities. You can place the buttons above or below your post, or as I use it, a floating bar which scrolls up and down on the left side of the page.
10. Better WP Security: Every WordPress site should have this plugin installed. This plugin will allow you to set-up additional security measures for your website. The first thing you must do is to change your default login username from “admin” to a unique username. This plugin will also let you set a limited amount of login attempts before locking out the IP from where the incorrect login attempts were made, protecting you from brute force attacks that can eventually find your password.
11. Broken Link Checker: This plugin will check through your entire website to find links that don’t work anymore because you probably typed the URL wrong or maybe the webpage does that exist anymore. Once it finds a broken link you will see an alert in your WP admin panel and it also gives you the option to correct that link simultaneously for every page or post it shows up.
12. Facebook Open Graph Protocol: This plugin will add the Open Graph Protocol to each of your posts and pages so that when someone shares your content on Facebook or any other social network that uses the Open Graph Protocol, it will pull the correct information, meaning the right title, description and image.
All you have to do is create a Facebook Open Graph application and insert the app id in the plugin settings page, along with a default image in case one of your posts or pages doesn’t have any images, and it will add the code below to every post and page on your blog.
13. Comment Reply Notification: I really like this plugin. Every time I reply to a comment that was left on my blog this plugin will send a personalized notification to that person’s email telling him his comment has a new reply. What’s cool about it is that you can customize this message in any way you want. You can add a call to action inviting that person to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. You can even add affiliate links, but I think that’s kinda spammy so I would recommend not to do that.
14. Editorial Calendar: I’ve started using this plugin just recently, and has proven itself very useful for me. What it does is it adds a calendar tab inside the Posts tab in your WordPress admin panel. So all you have to do is pick a date and click “add new post”. Once you’ve started writing on a post you can later move it to any date you want just by dragging the post to a different day in the calendar.
15. Jetpack: This plugin comes already installed with every WordPress site. It’s actually a number of plugins all bundled together. I only use it for the WordPress stats feature, which shows my traffic stats including the search keywords, referral websites and how many views each post got. Also if you create a free account at WordPress.com you can connect that account with your self hosted blog and this makes WordPress.com act like a CDN for your images.
16. I know I’ve said 16 top WordPress plugins, and this is we’re you guys come in. I’m absolutely sure you have one plugin that you’ve installed on your blog and is not mentioned in this post.
So I’m going to leave the last plugin for you to recommend in the comment box below. If someone else already mentioned the plugin you we’re thinking of, its okay to mentioned again, because this probably means its something worth checking out.