Top 20 Most Useful WordPress Plugins

plugin

Most useful because I personally use them on this site. It’s an interesting thing in the blogging world. It seems that most blogs are simply about other blogs and how “you too!” can get rich by making your own! A ton of other blogs are simply redirecting you to some news site or funny video they watched (that someone else saw on some other blog which…). And very few blogs have actual interesting content written on them. Even if it’s interesting, it’s actually hard to find any relevant content to what WordPress Plugins a blogger is personally using.

I try to shy away from these topics as honestly, this isn’t a blog about blogging, it’s about Game Design, and Music Composing, and Arvale, and Japanese, and Traveling, and whatever the hell else I think is interesting, but I digress. So this is me giving back to the blogging community. I hope you find it helpful.

Akismet – It protects you from comment spam. Seriously, this is the first plugin you should install.

AOF SEO Site Verifier – Doesn’t sound very sexy, I know. But if you’re using Google Webmaster tools (or similar), this will insert the code where it needs to be.

Category Icons –  This will assign icons to your category links which you put in the sidebar (or wherever). Also enables you to stop displaying some categories at the same time (this is more useful than it sounds).

Contact Form 7 –  My contact page uses it. Even without the captcha (I hate captcha) it catches 99.9% of email spam for me. Love the name too 😉

Evermore –  Sounds like something from Lord of the Rings. But this is too keep the home page uncluttered and strips your posts down to the first X number of paragraphs (with a Read More link). I set mine to three. Also good for SEO I’m told.

FD Feedburner Plugin –  You may not even know what RSS is yet. If you do, start using Feedburner and then redirect all your RSS feeds through there (this plugin will do it automagically). It’s awesome.

Google XML Sitemaps – This generates an XML sitemap of your blog and submits it to Ask, Google, Bing and Yahoo everytime your site updates. Do it, it’s important.

Register Plus – This is normally used to customize your registration page. Since my registration page isn’t even necessary (people will follow me using RSS twitter, facebook, linked-in, or other). I really used this to add a Custom Logo for when I log myself in 🙂 Okay, okay *that* and it uses captcha validation for registration (yup, still hate captcha; but it keeps everyone -including tons of random Russian bots- away from registering on my blog).

SEO Smart Links – I’m lazy and I really don’t want to link every tag or category to a keyword. This goes through your posts and searches for those and adds a link automatically. Mostly useful (90%), sometimes annoying (10%).

Simple Tags –  I need this. You need this. It has a tool which will automatically suggest tags for the post you are writing from Yahoo and Tag the Net, you click on the ones you think are relevant to your post and done.

Sociable –  Puts all the neat icons under your post to share it on digg, twitter, facebook, reddit, etc, etc, etc. Supports like a billion social media sites.

Thumbnail For Excerpts – This shows pictures (if they exist in the post) above the small teaser columns at the bottom and on archives pages automatically. People like pictures.

Twitter Widget –  There are a ton of these. I tried all ton of them 🙂 While slightly boring, this is the only one which didn’t upset me immensely. Puts your latest tweets in your sidebar.

Ultimate Google Analytics – You must use Google Analytics on your blog eventually. This will help you do it.

Use Google Libraries –  Uses common javascript libraries from Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN. Saves your server and your readers some loading and time. You know, unless Google goes down 😛

WordPress.com Stats – When I am too lazy to login to Google Analytics, I use this for a quick overview. Only counts page views, not unique users. Keep that in mind, Young Padowan.

WP-DBManager – Does automatic backups and other stuff with your WordPress Database which you really don’t want to know how to do. Easy to use. Must have.

WP Greet Box – Shows a different message to your visitor depending on which site they are coming from. If they come from Digg, it’ll tell them to Digg you. Stumbleupon asks for a thumbs up, etc. But don’t be *that guy* and stick it at the top of your page before the person even reads your content.

WP Super Cache – If you are using a cheap, shared, hosting service like Godaddy, Bluehost, FatCow, etc. You *need* this plugin. Actually, even with the best hosting in the world you need this plugin. It basically takes your php generated page (lots of processing time) and saves it on the server as an html page (0 processing time) and then serves that to anyone else who wants to see that page for the next few hours. Speeds up your site immensely.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – This will show X amount of related posts after your post. It’s the best one out there. And it has a kick ass template system that allows you to tweak it with CSS and return pictures for posts as I do here. And YARRP sounds like my friend Yarsh, who is a super cool guy.

Needless to say, all of the above WordPress Plugins work with the latest version of WordPress, otherwise I wouldn’t use them. If any plugin breaks a future version of WordPress, I stop using it and it gets removed from this list.

Anything I missed? Anything you use that I don’t have listed: Comment away!

Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe

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