With thousands of plugins available, the possibilities of what you can do with WordPress are endless. From contact forms, to SEO and everything in between, you can do everything but wash dishes with your WordPress blog and its associated plugins.
With so many plugins from which to choose, it can be quite difficult to decide which would be most beneficial for your blog. So to make your life easier, we compiled this top 10 list to get you started. These plugins are some of the highest rated on WordPress.
If you use a plugin I did not mention in this article and you think it is stellar, please let us know in the comments.
With nearly perfect ratings, WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the top SEO plugins available today.
Below are some of its great features:
- Snippet Preview – See exactly what your post will look like in the search engines before you actually post it. With this feature you can adjust your titles, meta description and other elements for maximum CTR before the post goes live.
- Lindex Page Analysis-Automatically checks how well you optimized your post and informs you of where you can improve.
- Control the pages Google shows in the search results
- Create XML sitemaps
- RSS Optimization – Helps to eliminate scraper sites outranking your content.
- Built in breadcrumb function
- Direct access to .htaccess and robots.txt file
- Multi-site compatible
- Easy data import from existing plugins
Your readers will seldom notify you when a link is broken even though it must be addressed. With stellar ratings, this plugin automatically examines your posts, pages and content for broken links, redirects and missing images. If any are found, you will be notified immediately via the dashboard or email.
When broken links are found, you can edit them directly from the plugin page without re-visiting the content. You have the option to prevent the search engines from following broken links as well.
Recommended by some of the top industry performers like Matt Cutts, Google software engineer, and Host Gator, the W3 Total Cache plugin is one of the highest rated plugins in the entire network.
The plugin was designed to improve your site’s performance by reducing download and page load times, increasing web server performance, and many other vital functions as well. With this plugin, you will help your site’s ranking in the search engines and also enhance your user’s experience which will have a positive impact on your conversion rates.
Akismet is a spam protection plugin that comes with your WordPress installation.
Spam comments are plenteous and can arrive in massive numbers. The plugin will detect these comments and eliminate them on your approval. You simply need to activate it by adding your API key. Instructions are easy to follow.
This plugin offers a complete commenting system hosted and powered by Disqus. The Disqus system provides an interactive commenting experience for your website visitors. It offers a range of login and sharing options while protecting you from spam.
Its many features include: Aggregated and threaded comments and replies, social functions, search engine indexable comments, comment approval or rejection via email, and RSS options.
The sharebar accompanies every blog post and includes many options for your users to like and share your content. The vertical button moves with users when they scroll increasing the likelihood that a reader will share your content.
The sharebar is fully customizable and links to several popular social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg and more. The vertical sharebar uses the larger buttons while the horizontal sharebar is smaller in size. You can also disable the sharebar for individual posts.
Follow Me is another creative social plugin that acts as a sidebar widget which connects to all of your social media profiles. I like this plugin because the “Follow Me” banner displays on the side of your site and is easily noticeable without being obtrusive. When users click the banner, a pop up appears with links to your profiles. See image below:
For more great ideas for social media plugins see this post: Social Media Plugins for WordPress
This plugin, though oddly named, will further enhance user experience by targeting a welcome message to your visitors once they arrive on your website. The plugin creates a “welcome box” for new users that is fully customizable.
If you leave it set to “default”, new users will see this message above each post: “If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!” It will disappear after 5 visits. You have the option to not only customize this message, but also to set its location and the occurrence of visits required for the box to disappear for returning users.
If you don’t want to mess with difficult code and you need a contact form, this plugin will do the trick. You can easily create a custom contact form and embed it into a page on your blog without touching any code.
The contact forms plugin also supports CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering and allows users to manage multiple forms at the same time.
Wassup is a real-time monitoring statistics plugin that offers traffic and visitor information without the need for an external service like Google Analytics. Wassup doesn’t provide information categorized by time periods (pageviews or visitors/day) but it gives you a detailed look at what users are doing on your site as well as geolocation information.
Wassup also comes with anti-spam functions. You can detect spam comments or referrers and also see when unauthorized users are logging into your site. It’s important to note that Wassup records these security breaches but it does not block them as with other plugins.
Tip: Too many installed plugins can slow down the functionality of your website. Install only those you deem beneficial.
Do you like any of these plugins? If you feel we have missed some great plugins, please share in the comments below.