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19 Essential WordPress Plugins for Your Blog

This guest post is by Eric Siu of Evergreen Search.

WordPressers are always looking for helpful plugins for their blogs, and if you’ve been following today’s posts on ProBlogger, especially Install Your First WordPress Plugin, you’re probably in the same boat.

So I thought I’d compile a list of the most popular to get you started. To make things simple, the plugins in this post have been broken into different categories.

SEO plugins

  • WordPress SEO: If there’s one plugin from this list that you should get, this is the one. It sets up title tags, breadcrumbs, meta robots control, XML sitemaps, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and much more.Wordpress SEO
  • Broken Link Checker: This handy plugin will tell you which links on your site are broken – an automated problem spotter.
  • WPTouch: Easily create a mobile version of your site.
  • nRelate Related Content: Make it easy for people and search engines to find related content around your site.
  • WP Editorial Calendar: Make blogging more manageable by setting up a blogging calendar with this plugin. Very simple drag-and-drop editing on a calendar.
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts: Autolink words to URLs of your choice—great for internal linking.
  • WP Super Cache: This plugin will speed up your blog—and site speed is an SEO factor. While not necessary for smaller blogs, bigger blogs will definitely want this plugin.
  • Blogging Checklist: Sometimes you might forget to include some important steps while blogging. Blogging Checklist allows you to add a list of helpful reminders before you place a blog post. Forget no more!
    Blogging Checklist

Social plugins

  • Social Analytics: Want to see which users are logged in via Google, Google+, Facebook, or Twitter? You can do it with this plugin.
  • Social Sharing Toolkit: This flexible plugin allows you to add “social bling” to your posts or pages. You can add buttons from various social networks in a clean and minimalistic manner. Here’s how it looks:
    social sharing tool kit
  • Tweet Old Post: If you have content that you’d like to resurface to your audience every now and then, Tweet Old Post lets you do it.

Analytics plugins

General plugins

  • Subscribe to Comments: Gives your audience the option to subscribe to comments so they will be alerted when people are posting new comments.
  • Outbound Links: Automatically makes all outbound links open in new windows. Helpful in the sense that you don’t lose your audience completely. These clicks can be tracked in Google Analytics.
  • Post Ender: Add a message at the end of each post—think email subscription and RSS subscription opt-ins, like this:

    Post Ender

    Image via ConversionXL

  • Akismet: Eliminate comment spam. This plugin is already installed—all you need to do is enable it and get an API key.
  • Widget Context: A custom sidebar widget. Sometimes you might need to rotate in different ads or use different widgets for various pages or posts. This plugin helps you accomplish that.

Maintenance plugins

  • WP Database Backup: Backing up your blog is extremely important—you don’t want a freak accident to destroy all your work. This plugin allows you to schedule backups. I personally send them to different gmail accounts for each blog.
  • WordPress Backup to Dropbox: Back up your WordPress files to your Dropbox account.

Conclusion

There are a ton of great WordPress plugins out there—this list is intended just to help you get a head start. You’re sure to find some incredible plugins that suit your needs down the line. What are some other essential WordPress plugins that you use?

Eric Siu is the Vice President of SEO at Evergreen Search, a digital marketing agency in los angeles. He’s also written about Minimum Viable SEO: 8 Ways To Get Startup SEO Right and 10 Immutable Laws of SEO. In his free time, he likes watching football, playing poker, hiking, reading, or eating ice cream. Feel free to follow him on Twitter: @ericosiu :)

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Comments

  1. Bryan says:

    Good rundown, Eric. Contact Forms 7 (or Gravity Forms) is an indispensable plugin to make sure your readers can reach you by email without publishing your email address for spammers to see.

    New bloggers should be aware that installing too many plugins can slow down your blog, especially if you’re on shared hosting. Be selective, and delete any plugins that you find you’re not using.

    One final point is that most premium themes have a lot of SEO features built in, so you might not have to bog down your blog with a plugin if you have such a theme.

    • Eric Siu says:

      Hi Bryan,
      Thanks for the nice comments. A lot of premium blogs do have neat SEO features built in, but I still feel that SEO for WordPress by Yoast is a must have for any WordPress blog because it offers more features (breadcrumbs, sitemaps, robots control, etc.).

      Definitely agree that everyone needs to determine which plug-ins they absolutely must have – no two blog is ever the same.

      • Contact Forms 7 doesn’t send you to a thankyou page so it’s difficult to split-test and improve pages using that, since most split testing is based on users getting to a thankyou page.

        Also, wanted to suggest people check out my plugin Internal Link Building as an alternative to Autolinks:
        http://seoroi.com/specialty-services/new-seo-plugin-for-wordpress-internal-link-building/

        One of the nice features is the ability to set #x words before, in the middle and after your keywords to be included in the link’s anchor text, making your profile more diverse and rankings come faster.

  2. Darryl Tott says:

    Eric,

    Thank you for the list of plugins. Many I am aware of and others I was not. I have a plugin I am currently looking for beta testers on. Would be great if you would be willing to be a tester looking at your experience with plugins. I think you will love the plugin based on the above.

    Keep up the guest posting. Just checked out your site @ Evergreen Search.

    Darryl

  3. Ocha says:

    SEO Auto Link is great. I just installed it and it works perfectly. Thanks for recommending it. Sure makes internal linking EASY.

  4. For internal links I use Internal Link Building. And if anyone can register and post on your blog I recommend to use Auto More Tag plugin, altough I found it doesn’t work on well on every theme. A must for seo blogs is Wypiekacz plugin.

  5. Eric Siu says:

    Sure thing Ocha :)

  6. Thanks for the great list….a few on there I didn’t have yet!

  7. Rednights says:

    W3C Total Cache not on this list?

    • Eric Siu says:

      Hey Rednights,
      I used to use Total Cache before and between the two, I just prefer Super Cache more :) There was also a test done on both plug-ins that showed Super Cache was more effective. I tried digging for the link but couldn’t find it – sorry :(

  8. Richard Ng says:

    Hi Eric, thanks for this nicely categories WordPress Plugins, I am newbie to WordPress (about to cross over from Blogger) and this list of plugins will definitely be helpful.

    By the way, noticed that the Akismet has no hyperlink. ;-)

    Cheers!

    • Eric Siu says:

      Hi Richard,
      No problem. And Akismet has no link because it’s installed on your WP blog already :)

  9. Wow I’ll be adding the internal linking one for sure. I’d also suggest the google authorship for multiple authors plugin. It’s an easy way to get your picture into search results.

  10. Dan says:

    Great list Eric, thank you.

    WP Super Cache is a good plugin, and one I used for years. But once you give W3 Total Cache a try, you’ll be hooked. I think it’s much more versatile and is integrated with CloudFlare, which has done wonders for one of my sites in terms of improved performance.

    Dan

    • Eric Siu says:

      Hi Dan,
      I’ve actually used both and I just prefer Super Cache – as I mentioned above, there’s also a post that shows how Total Cache is more favorable to Super Cache but I can’t seem to find it. It’s just a matter of preference for me :)

  11. Great post Darren, there were a few awesome plugins mentioned on your list and I have just uploaded a few. Thanks for the recommendations

    Cheers
    Lloyd
    http://www.makethemoneyonline.com

  12. Kalen Smith says:

    Cool tips Eric! Most bloggers I work with use the All in One SEO Plugin. Do you feel this one has some issues I should be aware of?

  13. Thank you Eric! I am fairly new to WordPress and I have not yet experimented with plug ins, so this blog is very helpful! Thanks!

  14. Broken Link Checker has been the SINGLE most useful wordpress login for our firm. Great article and thank you for the insight on WPtouch – going to install it later tonight.

  15. Ray says:

    I really hope that you could have written this post 6 months ago! when i started my first blog, I’ve tried nearly 1000 pluggin’s to fit my desires. Surprisingly, the pluggin’s you’ve mention are my personal favorite.

  16. it is very useful. Im also going to switch to wordpress

  17. vinod says:

    nice details of plugin and SEO information. it s very useful for the new website owners,..
    great bog

  18. Good plugins, thanks for share with us! Greetings from Spain

  19. Great Collection. Have to try them with my web site

  20. Tom Parker says:

    Great post Eric. Three great plugins I would also add to the list are…
    - Feedburner FeedSmith = Makes integrating your blog with Feedburner very easy.
    - WP Smush.it = Compresses your images automatically and makes them load a lot faster.
    - WP Minify = Compresses scripts and makes your blog load a lot faster.

    Tom

  21. rakesh kumar says:

    post enter and wordpress backup to dropbox these two are new to me and think have some real worth for a wordpress blogger. Otherwise most of them are known to old bloggers. Thanks for sharing this plugins list with the community.

  22. Marc Ensign says:

    I really like using Disqus for comments on my blog!

  23. Great list, thank you! I’m heading over to try WPTouch and Broken Link Checker right now!

  24. Webly says:

    Most of these plugins I am already using. The one for posting old tweets I will install soon since I’ve been tweeting some o my most popular blogs.

    Is there a plugin ou there to handle Facebook thumbnails when you post your blog URL on Facebook? I noticed this past couple of
    Days that any link I post on Facebook of my blog, the thumbnails just don’t show anymore.

    Great plugin tips

  25. Ankur says:

    Good collections of plugins are mentioned.
    However, no security plugin mentioned ?

    • Eric Siu says:

      Looks like I missed on that – perhaps someone can write a security related post so we can all jump on it :)

  26. Hi Eric,
    Knowing what plugins to select when starting a new WP site requires a lot of experience. There are useful SEO and Social plugins, like those you have mentioned in your article. These plugins help with getting more traffic into your site, which is the blood of a blog. However, one needs to address the Security aspect of a website/blog, especially if they blog for living. Plugins like Limited Login Attempts or other anti-hacking plugins can save a pro blogger a lot of stress. Just like a brick-and-mortar business needs security so does an online venture. In fact online businesses are easier to be damaged. I thought it may be worth writing about the Security aspect of an online business sometime.

  27. Ric Molin says:

    Hey Eric,

    Nice post indeed! I got into blogging not so long ago and this is definitely helpful. I actually read some similar “top wordpress plugins” last week, and some plugins are of course the same. Not to worry, I will be keeping your post as reference: it’s clear, it’s nicely organized in categories and you introduced “Post ender” to me which I’ve been looking for!

    I will definitely check out your blog.

    Anyway, nice post, Cheers!

  28. Awesome list of plug-ins Eric. I need to bump up my game a bit; I have a few of your listed tools active but intend to use a few more. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Nicola says:

    I was under the impression that Widget Context no-longer works with the current version of wordpress?

  30. Thanks for the recommendations. Something really useful for Worpress blogs that I have installed on my site is the Jetpack plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/). It adds several functionalities, among them up to date statistics, LaTex capabilities, image manipulation for sidebars… For me is kind of a magnus plugin.

  31. allison says:

    Great list! I have some of them already installed but i want to try backing up to Dropbox. Thanks for list!

  32. Thanks for the plug-ins I will try to put them into my sites! I always love playing with new plug-ins :)

  33. Steve says:

    Thanks, you really managed to get all the essential plugins for running a usual, general wordpress blog.

    Steve

  34. Ross Lampert says:

    Darren/Eric: I’m feeling like a complete idiot. I want to install some of the plug-ins Eric wrote about here on either or both of my WordPress blogs (I’m the admin for both) but try as I might I can’t find a place or a way to install them. I’ve looked all over the dashboards–nada. I’ve tried to follow Karol K’s instructions for installing the first plug-in, but can’t: there’s no plug-in option on the dashboard. What am I missing here? This option can’t be theme-specific, can it?

    • Phillipa Kiripatea says:

      Hey Ross, just checked your blog and it’s because you’re using WordPress.com the you can’t add plugins. You need to change over to WordPress.org and buy hosting. I’m not an expert in this so maybe Eric can tell you how to convert, or just Google “convert WordPress.org to WordPress.com”

      • Phillipa Kiripatea says:

        Woops, that last line was meant to say “convert wordpress.com to wordpress.org”

    • Eric Siu says:

      Hi Ross,
      The only way I know of is Plug-ins -> Add New through the Dashboard. I’ve never had the plug-ins not show up – are you using a self hosted wordpress?

      • Ross Lampert says:

        Eric and Phillipa: thank you! I suspect Phillipa has hit the problem on the head. Hmmm, now what to do? If going over to the dot-org side means a cost, even if a small one, that’s something I have to run by the rest of the group. We could really use better web visibility, though, so converting is something we may have to do.

        Eric, if by “self-hosted” you mean “is WordPress providing the hosting,” then the answer is yes. We have not chosen to use a host other than WordPress. I’ll have to look into the relative merits and demerits of moving, but do we really NEED to move?

  35. If you use the WordPress default commenting system or CommentLuv you owe it to yourself to install ReplyMe plugin which allows commenters to get an email reply only if their comment is replied to without having to subscribe to the whole thread. It does this without them having to subscribe at all and is an automated feature that I appreciate, it encourages people to come back and read their replies, respond further and doesn’t subject them to receiving dozens of emails when subscribing to posts with a lot of comments.

  36. Great post Eric, some of those I hadn’t heard of like the Poste Ender and Social Analytics plugins. Will check them out.

  37. Brendan Carl says:

    Thank you so much for this list!

    I think that WPTouch is an excellent plugin for any blog that has many viewers. I did not even know such a plugin existed.

    Also, I am very interested in finding a good social sharing plugin (like the one you mentioned on the list). However, I would like to find one that floats to the left side of the page and scrolls as readers scroll up and down the page. I have yet to find one that includes ALL major social sites (including Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Digg, etc.).

    I have tried the Slick Social Share Buttons plugin, but I have a JQuery interference with my theme and the plugin. I have tried to fix that, but I can’t seem to make any progress. I guess I will keep looking…

    Anyways, thanks a lot for sharing this list!

    -Brendan Carl

  38. Trung Nguyen says:

    Great plugins for WP blog, I’ve not installed some of these WP plugins above, now I will install them all.

  39. Good rundown. Solid reference for my own blog because I have to admit, trying all the plugins on my own is dizzying. But having a post like this that points out some plugins specifically, helps in saving time and headache. Thanks!

  40. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the list. I’m always trying to improve my site and things like this are a big help! It’s great to have a recommendation when there are multiple things that perform the same task, it can get confusing.

    Best,
    Lindsay

  41. I love these type of posts, because I always find one that I can use. I just switched over to nRelate and I’m considering post ender.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kimberly

  42. Tia Tofu says:

    I’m new to blogging and one of the first things I did was look for an article like this. This one is great and can apply to a large group of people instead of one particular blogging niche. Looks like I need several of these plugins- thanks so much! Only two months ago I didn’t even know what a plugin was, lol.

    <3 Tia Tofu

  43. Rajiv says:

    Thanks for new update no WordPress plugins

  44. Hi Eric, This is a great list! I’ll have to work my way through. At the moment, I have just a couple of these.
    My favourite plugin that I’m using right now is the Publish Confirmation plugin.
    If I was actually a ‘pro’blogger, I probably wouldn’t need it!! But I recommend it for anyone who accidentally hits ‘publish’ instead of ‘save draft’, or who wants to save drafts in the Editorial Calendar without it sending unfinished drafts (or worse, notes) on the scheduled day!
    Love the look of the Blogging Checklist plugin. A very handy reminder.

    • PS. Am wondering if anyone knows of a great plug-in for numbered comments? Not an essential plug-in by any means, but it would be very helpful for giveaway posts!

  45. Bruce Barker says:

    Thank you, Eric…as a new blogger, I had a plug-in list dating from 2 years ago and did not know what others to install. Your list has been invaluable to me.

  46. Kharim Tomlinson says:

    Thanks for the list of plugins. Gonna install a few of them now

  47. Great post, love WPTouch, works like a charm

  48. figuretech says:

    Am excited to stumble to this post,I like to try wp touch and postend plugins

  49. Kyle proctor says:

    Thanks for the info. He one I was in search plugin wise is the drop box plug in. I use drop ox like a freak and being able to use the as a place for my backups is great.

    Thanks for the info.

  50. Hi Eric,

    It was really a great article posted by you…i always gone through with social plugins to bookmark my article or post & use analytic plugin to check the visits for my blog… i never gone through SEO plugin….now i will try SEO plugin….thanks for knowing about it…….