All of us want our blogs to run smoothly and to be the best that they can be. Much of the success of this depends on the help that we get…from our web hosting, from our themes, and particularly from the plugins that we install on our sites.
There are many plugins to choose from, but like everything else, some are better than others.
WHICH PLUGINS ARE BEST TO USE?
What makes one plugin “better” than the next one? For one thing, every plugin is not compatible with every blog or with every website.
A plugin that you install on your blog should not create any type of malfunction or negative change on your site. Everything should keep running the way it was running before you installed the plugin.
If after installation something seems not quite right, uninstall the plugin immediately and look for another one that is more compatible with your site.
The second major consideration when choosing a plugin is whether or not the plugin is user-friendly. Some plugins are just downright complicated.
A plugin should do exactly what it says it will do, and it should do it simply and easily. Period.
There are many plugins that can be used on a WordPress site and although some are paid plugins, many of them are free.
Many of our favorite ones and the ones that we use on our blog are listed below.
25 TOP-RATED PLUGINS TO USE ON YOUR WORDPRESS SITE
This plugin monitors your comments for spam and allows you to read and approve before posting them to your blog. Having this anti-spam protection on your site will save hours of your time and will also save your sanity! The installation is simple, and once installed, quietly runs in the background, monitoring your site for spam.
Jetpack by WordPress does many jobs, including protecting and monitoring your site, speeding up images, helping you get more traffic, and much more such as providing popular posts, sharing buttons, and stats so that you can see your site’s progress.
3. Wordfence Security
Wordfence is a top security plugin which will protect your site from hackers, alerting you immediately if your site is compromised.
See HOW TO SECURE AND PROTECT YOUR WORDPRESS SITE for more in-depth discussion of how to protect your WordPress site.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION:
4. WordPress SEO by Yoast
To sum up this necessary plugin, Yoast makes sure that the content that you write will be found and indexed by search engines. It basically takes you by the hand and walks you through exactly what you need to do to produce a better blog post. Who doesn’t need that?
5. Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines index your blog. It also notifies all major search engines every time you publish a new post.
6. Google Analytics Dashboard
One of the most important tools to install on your site is Google Analytics which tracks visitor statistics and shows exactly how a blog is growing. This plugin, Google Analytics Dashboard, displays reports and real-time statistics right in the dashboard of your blog so that keeping up with these statistics is easily accessible.
7. W3 Total Cache
This plugin improves user experience of your site by increasing load speed dramatically, reducing download times, and increasing server performance. In other words, it makes everything run faster and more smoothly, increasing the amount of time that visitors stay on your site!
8. Optimize Database
This is a WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool that will delete unneccessary information from your blog files, allowing your blog to run faster without being bogged down with old file information. For example, every-time you save a new post or pages, WordPress creates a revision of that post or page and saves all of the old ones. This plugin identifies the old information and deletes it to your specifications, saving you massive amounts of database space.
9. Broken Link Checker
This plugin monitors all the links on your site to ensure that they are valid and are not missing images or redirecting.
10. Custom Permalinks
This plugin allows you to set the URL of any post, page, tag or category to anything you want and old permalinks will redirect properly to the new address.
11. Download Monitor
This plugin is used to track your digital file downloads. It will monitor what files are being downloaded, the number of times files have been downloaded, and who is downloading them.
12. Simple CSS and JS
This plugin allows you to customize your WordPress site’s appearance by easily adding custom CSS and JS code without even having to modify your original theme or plugin files.
13. Related Posts by Zemanta
This WordPress plugin recommends your other blog posts in the footer of your articles, making it simple for readers to click around on your site to read your other posts.
14. Pretty Link Lite
Pretty Link Lite enables you to shorten links using your own domain name instead of using tinyurl.com, bit.ly, or any other link shrinking service.
15. Ultimate Branding
This plugin allows you to customize any place on your blog where the WordPress logo appears. Not only can this make the appearance of your site more attractive to viewers, but it is added protection against hackers who may be experienced in breaking WordPress codes.
SCHEDULING AND ORGANIZATION:
16. WP Editorial Calendar
This plugin features a drag-and-drop calendar for keeping blog posting organized. It has a simple user-friendly interface which is conveniently located on your dashboard. We all know that anything that can be scheduled for future posting is a time-saver!
This plugin encourages reader engagement by allowing commenters to link back to their own blog in the comments which is a win-win situation for everyone!
18. Comment Reply Notification
This plugin sends an email to your commenters after you have replied to their comment, encouraging ongoing engagement between blogger and readers.
19. Comment Redirect
This plugin redirects your commenters to a page to thank them or to invite them to continue to engage or to stay in touch. It connects you with readers who comment and can promote the value of subscribing to your blog.
Shareaholic buttons provide social sharing and site analytics, helping to grow traffic and page views. It is a simple to use plugin with an on-site dashboard.
21. Simple Social Icons
This plugin has customizable icons to link visitors to your social profiles and provides a user-friendly interface for both blogger and viewer.
22. Floating Social Bar
This plugin allows you to choose which social networks you want to work with and is light enough that it will not slow down your site. There are several choices of where the icons will appear on your site and how the bar will react when visitors are present.
23. Pinterest Widgets Plugin
Pinterest Widgets is worth mentioning because even if you don’t have a Pinterest account, you can still show the images of others by using the URL of the individual’s boards. If you are a blogger, however, I would assume that you have a Pinterest account, and this plugin works beautifully in that situation as well.
24. Pinterest Widget Plus
This plugin offers a choice of individual or profile sections for display and it also allows display of more than one Pinterest account. Also, instead of displaying an entire board, you can just display one pin. It also offers “Follow” and “Pin It” buttons for images.
25. Click to Tweet by CoSchedule
This plugin provides readers a quick and easy way to tweet information obtained from your blog through their Twitter account.
This is a comprehensive list of top-rated plugins that can be used on your Wordpress site. Deciding which plugins to use is probably best done by trial-and-error method. You may not need all of these, but since many of them are free, you have the option of trying them out to see if they are an option for your site.