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WordPress Plugins – My Top 15 Plugin Picks

Have you gone searching for plugins recently? There are a bazillion and one of them (and I don’t believe that’s an exaggerated number!). Knowing what you need on your blog can be very confusing. Worse, you start downloading and installing dozens of plugins, and you don’t know what they’re for or how to use them.

I can help you make wise plugin choices for your blog.

WordPress Plugins – Choose Wisely

Plugins add features and functions to your WordPress blog above its core functions as is with an ‘out-of-the-box’ installation. Plugins are one of the things that make WordPress so powerful because there’s a plugin for nearly everything (and once someone creates a plugin so my WordPress will give me my morning coffee – I’ll proclaim WordPress 100% perfect ;); however, just because there are so many plugin choices, does not mean you should download and install them all. So how do you choose?

You Start by Identifying a Need

If you need a specific feature or function on your blog, you search for a plugin to fill that need. Not before.

So, the plugins you may use might be completely different from those I might use because our needs differ.

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Know and Understand Your Plugins

If you’ve identified a need, searching for plugins to fill that need is the first part of knowing and understanding why you are installing a particular plugin. You will find many ‘Top Recommended Plugins’ lists on the web, and there’s nothing wrong with those lists, but you need to know and understand the purpose and function behind a plugin before you download and install it. If you don’t, you will not be using that plugin to its full potential, or worse, it could be slowing down your blog or not being compatible with another plugin you’re using.

So don’t unthinkingly install plugins unless it fills your need on your blog.

Plugin Maintenance

Every time you need to upgrade your WordPress, there’s always a chance that one of your installed plugins will not be compatible after the upgrade. For the more popular plugins, their developers are usually on top of these things, and an upgrade is made available very quickly. However, not all plugin developers continue updating the plugin. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find another compatible plugin that will do the same thing your outdated plugin did.

Too Many Plugins?

There is no set number of recommended plugins other than only to use those you need. However, remember that many plugins use many resources, and some may slow down your blog’s loading time. If you’re using a resource hog plugin, find a ‘lighter’ alternative that provides similar functions/features.

My Top 15 Recommended Plugins – and Why They Are Useful

Ok, now that I’ve given you the lowdown on plugin selection and things you need to be mindful of, I have a list of 15 plugins that I use, and I’ll share them with you so you can decide if they would also be useful on your blog. If you don’t want or need the function/feature these plugins provide – do not install them. Simple as that. 🙂

Akismet: this is part of my two-part spam-fighting system on my blog to combat comment spam. This plugin is already installed on every WordPress blog; you need to activate it with an API key you get from WordPress.com.

All in One SEO Pack: the awesome plugin allows you to set unique blog posts and page titles (i.e., keyword phrase-specific titles that should be unique to every post and page you write), set meta descriptions, and add meta keywords as well.

Articles: this plugin allows me to select ‘featured’ posts that will then display on a separate page on my blog for quick and easy reference. It’s not the same as a sitemap, as only those posts you select will be visible, so it’s a good way to keep your most popular posts in one easy-to-find location.

Audio Player: a nice plugin that makes adding MP3 audio to a post or page very quick and easy. Great for adding interviews or audio sound bites to your page. I prefer this plugin over the built-in audio player in WordPress.

Comment Redirect: this plugin will redirect all first-time commenters on your blog to a page or post of your choosing. I have created a page where I thank them, as first-time commenters, for visiting my blog – you could even offer them a free downloadable report on this page, invite them to subscribe to your mailing list (include an opt-in form on this page!), or whatever you want. Make them feel special and appreciated!

Dagon Design Contact Form: by far the best and easiest to use and set up a contact form I’ve found. It includes a captcha to control contact from spam by bots.

Dagon Design Sitemap: this is a human-friendly sitemap made to make it easier for your blog visitors to find all your posts and pages in one spot. Has a place to enter the location of your XML sitemap (see below)

Google XML Sitemap: this is a sitemap for search engines. Yes, it would help if you had a human-friendly sitemap and this XML sitemap that works well with the Dagon Design Sitemap listed above.

Sexy Bookmarks: this is a social bookmarking plugin that will add social bookmarking icons below every post and page on your site so your blog visitors can easily Stumble, Digg, Tweet, etc…. your site content. This is great for traffic generation!

Similar Posts: Add a list of similar or related posts at the end of your blog posts.

Subscribe to Comments: allows site visitors to receive notice of any new comments on a specific blog post.

Thank Me Later: I will send a fully customizable follow-up ‘thank you’ email to anyone who has previously commented on your blog but has not returned. Great for reminding folks about your blog and getting return visitors.

Twitter Tools: allows you to integrate your blog and Twitter account. This is the tool I use to automatically send a tweet out when I publish a new post on my blog. You can also add your latest Twitter activity to your blog sidebar.

WP Database Backup: this a convenient plugin that everyone needs to use. Not only will this plugin back up your database, but you can also schedule regular database backups with this plugin and have those backups emailed to you. I highly recommend installing this plugin and scheduling at least daily backups of your blog. Do not assume your web host is doing regular daily site backups.

WP Super Cache: if you have a blog that gets a LOT of traffic, or you could get a surge of traffic (like through Digg, Stumbleupon, or a trending topic), you need this plugin. It will save you from crashing your bandwidth during high-traffic surges.

About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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