UPDATE: I have since written a new list of favorite plugins. Check that out here… Best FREE WordPress Plugins
When was the last time you had sex? Well I assume you’ve been spending countless hours, weeks, and even months working on your website, but no time in the room where all the magic happens.
Your site is a disaster: broken links everywhere, tons of spam comments, SEO tactics from 1995, and let’s not even talk about what your site looks like on a mobile device. You have all this anger built up inside you since nothing is going your way when it comes to your online presence, and it has taken a toll on your love life.
Are you ready to give up or do you want to know a few secrets that will get your sex drive back into spring break mode? Good, I thought so. Now throw on those shades, apply some sunscreen, and break out the tequila & shot glasses… it’s time to get crazy!
Ok, forget all the sexual innuendo. No plugin will technically get you laid. But I guarantee these will save you tons of time, help you avoid unnecessary headaches, and get your site performing like a champion. Which should result in a lot more free time that you can do whatever you want with. Yes, even knockin’ some boots!
You should already know by now I’m an avid WordPress fan, so without further ado, here are the top 11 WordPress plugins that I install on every site I create. Enjoy! (You can take your first shot of tequila now…)
- Akismet – This plugin actually comes pre-installed with WordPress. It’s very good at protecting your site from comment and trackback spammers. It’s rare, but I have seen it mark a few good ones as spam. But that’s rare. All you need to do is signup for a free key and you are good to go.
- All in One SEO Pack – The name says it all. This is perfect for your meta info like title, description, and keywords. This is a must!
- Broken Link Checker – I just recently found this one and it’s awesome. Everytime it finds a broken link, it sends me an email notifying me. It’s saved me a few times already!
- Contact Form 7 – This contact form plugin is super easy to setup and it has a lot of options. I like the idea of having a form on my contact page rather than just an email address.
- Google Analyticator – I use Google Analytics to track the stats for all my sites. This is a quick way to get the most important stats. I also go check the full stats at Google occasionally, but this saves a lot of time.
- Google XML Sitemaps – Google loves to see a sitemap on your website. And this is the easiest way to create one. It generates a special XML sitemap and I link to it in the footer or sidebar. Simple!
- Sharebar – There are so many social media plugins for sharing your content. I like this one the most. It even has 2 different display options. You can have the big vertical bar to the left or right of your content and it stays there even when you scroll. Or you can choose to have the small buttons at the top of your pages and/or posts. I choose the small buttons because I feel like the big bar slows the site down. Another way to speed it up is just using Facebook and Twitter. They have a bunch of different sites like Digg, StumpleUpon, and others, but I just use the main two.
- ViperBar – I used to use Hello Bar which puts a short colored bar at the top of the website. It allows you to put some text and a link, usually something relating to subscribing to your site. But then Glen from ViperChill recently came out with ViperBar, and I was impressed! It has a lot more customization and you can put the email input box right in the bar. It has options for FeedBurner, Aweber, and MailChimp. Badass!
- WP-DB-Backup (formerly called WordPress Database Backup) – You never know when your site could go down and never get back up. You NEED a backup plan to save all your content. I use this one as it’s simple to setup and it emails me the backup file every week. I will probably increase the amount of backups to at least twice a week.
- WP Super Cache – This is another simple plugin, but it helps speed up your site with very fast caching.
- WPtouch – Lastly, not everyone owns an iPhone or similar mobile device. So this plugin automatically creates a mobile theme for your mobile visitors. All they want is your content anyway, so give it to them in a way that loads fast on their Apple iPhone & iPod touch, Google Android, Blackberry Storm & Torch, Palm Pre, or any other touch-based smartphone.
I hope you enjoyed my list of favorite plugins. And just because you’ve read this far, I’ll throw out 15 bonus plugins that I love. Although I don’t use these on every website I build, I have used all of these and I think you’ll like them too. (Go ahead, take another shot…)
- CommentLuv – Plugin to show a link to the last post from the commenters blog by parsing the feed at their given URL when they leave a comment. Rewards your readers and encourage more comments.
- Do Follow – Removes the evil nofollow attribute that WordPress adds in comments.
- FaceBook Share (New) – Adds a button which allows you to share post and also shows the number of times the post or page has been shared through out the Facebook just like tweetmeme button does for twitter.
- KeywordLuv – Reward your commentators by separating their name from their keywords, in the link to their website, giving them improved anchor text. For example, leaving “Stephen @ Custom WordPress Plugins” in the name field, will result in the following: Stephen from Custom WordPress Plugins.
- Random Posts – Displays a highly configurable list of randomly selected posts. Instructions and help online.
- Redirection – Manage all your 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors.
- SEO Smart Links – SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded – This is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notifications. It includes a full-featured subscription manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts or suspend all notifications.
- Top 10 – Count daily and total visits per post and display the most popular posts based on the number of views.
- TweetMeme Retween Button – Adds a button which easily lets you retweet your blog posts.
- Video Sidebar Widgets – A Video Widget written in latest Widgets API. It enables the user to embed FlashVideo from various video sharing networks into the widgetized sidebar of a WordPress powered blog. Currently supporting video embed from 15 video sharing networks. Including YouTube, Vimeo, etc…
- Wickett Twitter Widget – Display the Twitter latest updates from a Twitter user inside your theme’s widgets. Customize the number of displayed Tweets, filter out replies, and include retweets.
- Widgets on Pages – Allows ‘in-page’ widget areas so widgets can be defined via shortcut straight into page/post content or through the use of a template tag.
- WP Greet Box – Show a different message to your visitor depending on which site they are coming from. For example, you can ask Digg visitors to Digg your post, Google visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed, and more! Best of all, this plugin is compatible with various WordPress cache plugins.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display.
Awesome, now you know why I love WordPress so much. There are so many awesome plugins available and more added all the time. I don’t recommend installing all of these as I feel too many plugins can slow your site down, but I would suggest installing the first eleven, and maybe a few bonus ones. (Wait, are you still awake or did those two shots really make you pass out?? Ok good, I thought I lost you…)
Leave me a comment below with your favorite plugins, whether they are on my list or not. I’m always excited to try out new ones, so please, share them with me and all the readers. Also, let me know if you also love the ones I listed or if you hate them and why. And don’t forget to share this post with everyone you know on Facebook and Twitter. Cheers everybody!
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Photo by Jean KOULEV