Plug-ins are those essential accessories that makes your WordPress (WP) blog complete, professional, robust, spam-free, optimized, User-friendly and most importantly will help you fetch some highly targeted traffic.
Once you are through with the hosting part and theme selection it is time for you to hunt for the appropriate and best plug-ins for your blog. Believe me, it’s absolutely a challenging and daunting task to try out one plug-in after the other and finally settle with the one that really works. Of course there are some basic plug-ins that come along with the theme you choose, but those might not be sufficient for meeting all your blogging requirements.
That’s why, in this post, I have compiled a list of 18 best plug-ins that you can check out. I have been using them successfully on my blogs since a long time.
1. AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget by Addthis – This is a highly customizable and robust plugin from the popular social bookmarking biggie AddThis. This plug-in is highly compatible with any theme and version of WP and comes with different button options which makes it a breeze for your visitor to share your blog post with the world which will ultimately bring in some targeted visitors to your blog. If you register with them you can log-in and utilize their analytics feature to track the number of shares by your visitors.
2. Facebook Comments by Alex Moss – This is a cool social plug-in that allows your blog’s visitor to leave a comment about a post/page – if he/she is logged into his/her Facebook account. This plug-in also gives an option for your visitor to post their comment to their Facebook wall giving your blog additional exposure and traffic.
3. Simple Twitter Status Updates by Bannerweb GmbH – This plug-in automatically publishes an update to your Twitter account when you publish a new post, modify it or when someone comments on it. This really takes out that extra effort off you.
User Engagement Plug-ins
4. Audio Player by Martin Laine – This plug-in will automatically convert any inserted MP3 file into an audio player (icon) which plays the clip upon clicking. This is extremely useful if you have to include an interview, pod-cast or a music clip in your posts. This engages the visitor and makes your blog more interesting for the reader.
5. Add-Post Footer by Freetime – This is a highly useful plug-in that allows you to append ads, subscription buttons, related posts, text or technorati tags after every post. This can help you bring in more traffic, revenue and also makes your blog more engaging and user-friendly for your reader.
6. CommentLuv by Andy Bailey – I am sure most of you might be aware of this plugin which pulls out the link from the reader’s recent blog post and gives a link-back to it from your blog when he comments (by filling out the website field), this encourages the reader to come back again to your blog for commenting and thus increases the social activity on it.
7. PDF24 Articles to PDF by Stefan Ziegler – This is another useful plug-in that places a link on top or bottom of your post which allows the reader to convert any post into PDF format, with all the links in tact and a link back to that particular post. The user can either download it to their PC or or choose to send it directly to their email id. If your post is really good, it will get distributed amongst others and go viral, bringing in more traffic.
8. Subscribe/Connect/Follow Widget by Srini G – This is an all in one subscription plug-in allows you to configure and display the icons of various subscription services like RSS, email, Facebook and Twitter etc on your side bar as a widget. So you don’t need to place individual widgets for various subscription services separately, which saves a lot of space and makes it easier for your readers to subscribe. This can improve the subscription rate.
9. Thank me Later by Brendon Boshell – This plug-in automatically sends a thank you email to all those who leaves a comment on your blog and also asks them to check back on your blog for new posts or comments. This is a cool plug-in to show courtesy to those who visit and comment on your posts as well as a neat way to get them revisit your blog.
10. Datafeedr Random Ads V2 by datafeeder.com – This is a highly useful plug-in for affiliate and internet marketers that allows you to split test your ad campaigns and display different ads for different audiences at a time on your blog which makes it easier for you to analyze which ad works best on your blog.
11. WP Nofollow Post by Xrvel – This plug-in adds a rel=external nofollow attribute to all the external links on your posts and pages which tells the search engine crawlers not to crawl or follow the links which you think are spammy or not trustworthy. This also prevents the link juice from flowing out to another website. The “external” tag tells the browser to open the link in a new window.
12. Easy Noindex And Nofollow by Ivan Kristianto – This is a similar plug-in as the previous one, but this gives you a more granular control over your external links on your blog on a post/page level and allows you to set a rel=nofollow to all external links in your posts/pages. You can also tell the search engine crawlers not to index a page/post by enabling the rel=noindex option.
13. Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold – This plug-in will build an XML site map of your blog which helps the search engines to index your blog easily and quickly in a better way.
14. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam by Mike Challis – This is a WP anti-spam plug-in that uses CAPTCHA methods on WP comment form, registration, lost password and ensures that these forms are inputted by a real person and not by any bots, thus protecting your blog from spammers.
15. WP-Spamfree by WP-Spamfree – This is a powerful anti-spam plug-in that filters out most of the SPAMMY comments off your blog. Before discovering this plug-in I used to get flooded with spam comments day in and day out and the entire day would go in filtering them out. But I was very happy that my posts are being read by so many people, but in reality they were just ugly SPAM comments posted by automated bots. If you have a WP blog you must have definitively have both these anti-spam plug-ins up and running.
Blog Management Plug-ins
16. WP Hidepost by Robert Mahfoud – There might be instances when you want to hide a posts/pages from the search engines and/or visitors, This plug-in allows you to do just that by hiding a post/page from different sections of your blog like the front page, category pages, search results, feeds, and categories.
17. WP Time Machine (for backups) by Paul G Petty – Taking timely back-ups of your blog is very crucial as a webmaster or blogger, because in the unfortunate event of data loss you will have no worries, as you will be ready with latest back-ups to get your blog up and running in no time. This is a must have plug-in for all WP blogs that will archive all the crucial WP files and data and allows you to store them on a cloud storage service that you choose – like Dropbox, Amazon’s S3 etc or your FTP host.
18. WP Touch by BraveNewCode Inc. – This plug-in converts your blog into an application or theme compatible for viewing on smart phones like iPhone, Blackberry, iPod touch, Samsung touch, palm pre etc thus bringing in some extra traffic from smart phone and other hand held device users.
19. Wp About Author by Jon Bishop – This plug-in allows you to display an elegant looking author bio below every post/page.
I hope these plugins will definitely help you enhance your blog’s capabilities and transform it into a highly optimized, less vulnerable, robust and a user friendly one with more targeted visitors and even more money along the way!
This article is written by Deepak Eapen. He has been into Internet Marketing/blogging/SEO for the past 2 years and owns multiple blogs and websites in different niches.