WordPress is one of the most popular and beloved CMS’s and it is hardly surprising that there are thousands of plugins for it. While it is an exaggeration to say that all these plugins are great, many of them are. In that aspect, creating any Top 5, Top 10, or Top N lists of WordPress plugins is a very difficult task because there is no way to include all great WordPress plugins.
Additionally, no matter how great a plugin is, different blogs and different webmasters have different needs and as a result, their personal Top 10s are different. Still, there are some plugins, which are more or less universal and can be used on any type of blog. Also in order to build a good looking site or blog you will need a theme. There are many options that are niche specific for example I think a wordpress photo theme can be great for creative people building an online portfolio. Also you can try out a wordpress theme generator as a good one will give you more power yourself over the look and feel of your site. Having the best wordpress plugins installed is your way to a powerful website.
AdvertisementHere are short reviews of some of these universal plugins:
- All In One SEO Pack. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is too important to be neglected. While WordPress is by default SEO-friendly (or at least much more SEO-friendlier than those CMS that come with dynamic URLs by default), there is a lot you can do to improve it. All In One SEO Pack is one of the best SEO plugins ever and if you don’t have it yet, you do need to get it.
All In One SEO Pack is a really comprehensive plugin. In fact, its functionalities are so numerous that even stand-alone SEO applications can’t compete. All In One SEO Pack allows you to take control of titles, descriptions, keywords, and duplicate content on your blog – virtually all the important stuff to rank well with search engines.
- Akismet. Akismet is another vital WordPress plugin. It is so vital, that it is one of the few plugins included in the default WordPress installation. Akismet is a noble plugin – it is your antispam guard. If your comments are enabled, you can’t do without Akismet. Akismet is smart and it is very precise in filtering spam from legitimate comments. Akismet is free for personal use and the commercial version is affordable, too.
- Adsense Injection. Adsense Injection might not be on a typical Top 10 WordPress plugins list but it is a really valuable one. It is true that there are many Adsense plugins for WordPress and they are great but what makes Adsense Injection really cute is the fact that you can put Adsense ads in random places in your posts.
Usually ads are placed in static places and soon users become ad blind. Adsense Injection helps to overcome this because it places Adsense ads in different places – i.e. before the first paragraph, after the first paragraph, after the 2nd, 3rd, or any other paragraph. This means that every time you load the page, Adsense ads are in a different place, which increases the chance to be noticed.
- Advertising Mgr. Advertising Mgr (Manager) is another must-have plugin for WordPress. Many webmasters use it for Adsense only but it can be used for many ad networks as well. If you monetize your site with various ad networks, you will appreciate how cute this plugin is. Advertising manager can be used on a sidebar or inline posts.
- Most Popular Posts. There are a couple of WordPress plugins, which offer lists of your most popular posts. However, unlike this one, some of the other plugins don’t offer a lot of customization. For instance, not all WordPress plugins for popular posts allow to define how many posts to include in the list. Others don’t allow to include or exclude posts with/without comments or posts from particular categories. With this plugin, you can choose the number of posts, whether to show the number of comments per post, whether to include zero comment posts, etc. You can also choose posts from which categories to include/exclude from the list of most popular posts.
- WordPress Backup. While the other plugins in the list are vital or at least very useful, this one is a life-saver. This plugin allows to backup your WordPress contents – i.e. uploads. It doesn’t backup your WordPress database, though, so you still need to do it separately. Anyway, when you have a current backup of your WordPress database, the backup this plugin performs on contents, comes very handy, if you need to recreate your blog from scratch.
- Sociable. Social bookmarking sites and social networks are vital for a blogger. If you want your content to become popular, you need to give your users the opportunity to share posts easily. The list of social bookmarking sites and social networks this plugin includes is hardly very impressive but since it includes many of the major ones and it doesn’t clutter your interface, it makes sense to install it on your site.
- External Links. Hyperlinks are what makes the Web so exciting but when users click a hyperlink to an external site and leave yours, you might not feel very happy about it. The solution is to open external links in a new window. However, if you have many posts with many links, it might take you ages to make all the links open in a new window. Here is where this plugin comes to help you – it allows to make at once all external links open in a new window. You can also set a “nofollow” attribute for all external links.
- NextGEN Gallery. NextGEN Gallery is one really cute image gallery plugin. It uses jQuery and even though some of its most advanced features haven’t been implemented yet, it is still one of the best image gallery plugins you can get for WordPress. You can even watermark your images and this way make them less attractive to image thieves.
- Zemanta. Zemanta is a relatively new tool and unlike the other plugins in the list, it hasn’t been developed especially for WordPress. Zemanta is a blogging tool, which allows to add links to related articles all over the web and to display free photos from Flickr and other sites. You can also include your blog in the list of sites and have other bloggers link to your articles. Once you try Zemanta, you will see how much it helps in driving traffic to your site.
Zemanta is offered as a browser extension, or as a server-side plugin and one of the CMS it is offered for is WordPress.
This list of great WordPress plugins can easily be turned into a Top 100 because there are so many and so great WordPress plugins. Some of the plugins we discussed might be familiar to you, while others mean nothing but what all these plugins have in common is that they are very useful and that they allow to make your WordPress blog a really outstanding one.