Of late, I have come across many posts and articles mentioning the top 10 WordPress plugins and I don’t want to be left behind. This post will show you some of the best and top WordPress plugins that will enhance the functionality of your WordPress blog.
Core Functionality WordPress Plugins
[Akismet] – It checks your comments against the Akismet web serivce to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key [Free] to use this service. You can review the spam it catches under “Manage” and it automatically deletes old spam after 15 days. This is a MUST to have plugin and without which you will have a tough time fighting with spam comments on your blog. It is bundled along with your WordPress installation files, so all you need to do is get your API key and activate it.
[WordPress Database Backup] – On-demand backup of your WordPress database. This plugin is bundled along with WordPress core installation files. Enable it and take regular backups. You never know when things could go wrong. Taking a backup ensures that you have all the content in your hand for easy recovery. This plugin can lets you download the backup, email it or store in a folder on the server itself. A must to have this plugin activated in your WordPress and more important is that you take backup of your WP database regularly.
[WP-Cache] – This is a very efficient and fast caching system plugin for WordPress. It’s a must to have plugin in these days when you never know when someone will digg you and your site might unexpectedly go down. Caching help your blog to a great extent by saving a static copy of your content and serve your visitors without a need to query the database to fetch the pages.
[Admin Drop Down Menu] – For people with lot of things installed in their WordPress, this plugin will be a time saver. When installed, you don’t need to click on top menu items in Admin menu, just hover your mouse and it will display the sub menu items just beneath that. This demo page is best to explain how it works.
Manage Advertising on Your Blogs
[WP-Ads] – This is another top plugin that will let you create zones and place various ad units in those zones. You can place more than one ad unit in a zone and WP-Ads plugin will rotate it for you. The plugins page in admin section also shows the number of times the ad units were served. Creating and managing your ad inventory is very easy with this plugin.
[WP e-Commerce Lite] – If you are in need of a shopping cart for your blogs, this is the one. The WP e-Commerce shopping cart plugin for WordPress is an elegant fully featured shopping cart application suitable for selling your product and services online.
External Services Related Plugins
[flickrRSS] – This plugin allows you to display Flickr photos on your site. The plugin supports user, public and group photo streams. It’s easy to setup and configure via an options panel. It also has image cache support too.
[Feedburner Feed Replacement] – Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents.
Forms in WordPress
[PXS Mail Form] – A great form for using in WordPress. It has a CC Sender option, validates email address, send email to multiple recipients and it will even create a drop-down menu if required to allow the user to select a recipient.
Podcasting in WordPress
[PodPress] – With this plugin, you can see how Podcast will look like on iTunes, Podcast Download stats, Support for Premium Content, Audio Comments and many more features. Visit their page for more information.
[PhoneBlogz] – PhoneBlogz allows you to blog to your WordPress by phone and they also support direct posting and remote polling. More information on their website.
Reports for WordPress
[Analytics and Feedburner Reports] – Anyone with an account with either Google Analytics or Feedburner would love to have this plugin. It displays statistics about your site in a very simple to understand graphics. It also the ability to automatically installed Google Analytics tracking code in your WordPress for you.
Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and Traffic Related
[Add Meta Tags] - A great plugin that adds the post’s categories and excerpt to the “keywords” and the “description” XHTML meta tags respectively, while viewing single posts. It also adds the blog’s description and categories to the “description” and the “keywords” meta tags respectively on the home page. A must for your SEO related activities. However, not every search engine relies on META tags anymore, but this greatly helps in improving your Search Engine visibility in many ways.
[Dagon Design Sitemap Generator] – Generates a customizable sitemap containing all posts and pages. You will have to create a page by name ‘Sitemap’ and use this plugin to generate a sitemap with all posts and pages of your blog. This is a great plugin to show a sitemap on your blog that automatically gets updated every time you post a new article or create a page.
[Google Sitemaps] – This generator will create a Google compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. The sitemap is automatically updated with your blog entries and you can use the URL of sitemap [http://your-domain.com/sitemap.xml] to submit to search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. Not only Google, but Yahoo! and Microsoft will also use the same sitemap going forward. [Read the FAQs on http://www.sitemaps.org/]
[Ultimate Tag Warrior] – It allows you to add tags either through the Write Post page in WordPress in a tag box, on posts using an AJAX box, and in posts using special syntax from external editors. [Note: Some blogs seemed to have performance issues with this plugin. Please observe for any such issues on your blog and act accordingly]
[Simple Tagging] – Those looking for an alternative to UTW plugin, look no further. Simple Tagging is another tagging plugin for WordPress that is much faster than other tagging plugins and very easy to use. It features auto suggestion of tags in Ajax style and can also import your existing WordPress categories as tags. I use this plugin for tagging the posts on this blog. You can see how it in Tags section at the start of this post entry or read my post on Simple Tagging for details.
[Digg This Reloaded] – Adds Digg story link/button to your posts as well as options to submit to other social bookmarking sites. This plugin has an integrated release with Share This plugin bundled with it. After a post is dugg, it show the number of diggs on your post just like it’s shown on digg website.
[Share This] – A great plugin with options of many bookmarking sites in it. And it can also email from within the plugin itself.
WordPress Posts Related
[Related Posts] – Returns a list of the related entries based on active/passive keyword matches. At the end of this post, see the Related Posts section. That’s how it will show up on your site too! A great way to show more content to your visitors.
[Landing sites] – There is a problem with search results and that is when people search for content on Internet, they often land on pages from your blog looking for specific content which is readily not available on pages such as categories. This will drive them away and sometimes they may not even come back. To overcome this problem, help them by showing them related posts to their search on your blog? This plugin lets you do that, works with a long list of search engines! It’s NOT same as Related posts plugin, but works on similar concept by showing posts related to the search keywords used by a visitor. Test it out by search for “mod_rewrite example” and click on the link that points to this site. You will see this plugin’s implementation on the top of the page. Another advantage is that, by offering more number of relevant pages from your site to visitors, you increase the chances of retaining the visitor for longer duration on the site and it increases your page views.
[Recent Comments] – This plugin displays excerpts of the most recent comments and/or trackbacks that have been posted to the articles in your blog. A great way to show recent comments posted in your blog site in your sidebar.
[Subscribe To Comments] – This plugin allows your readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. It also lets them manage the subscription by themselves without your intervention. You can see it in action under the comments section below.
Please let us know the plugins that you are using on your site, why you use them and if you recommend them to others. We will be glad to add them to this list.