Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

10 Essential Plugins For Your WordPress Blog

wordpress logoWith over 10 THOUSAND plugins available for download in the plugin repository, it can be difficult to know where to begin!

There is actually more than 10 here but some go together and a few alternatives are all about personal preference and you can pick the one you prefer!

Tutorials for most of these are coming soon, however I’m linking them to the WP repository link in the meantime! (All but Keywordluv however are available in your Dashboard’s plugin search.)

1. Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin – or –  Akismet – or – Defensio Anti-Spam – or- TrueType Anti-Spam

Akismet is the de facto standard in spam prevention. It’s easy to set up, included with WordPress by default and is all that’s needed for many blogs.

However, recently problems have arisen with Akismet’s algorithm and sometimes comments simply vanish. The bigger problem though for making this list is that Akismet keys are no longer free for business use. $60/yr is too steep for most micro-businesses to afford right out of the gate. I’ve found Defensio and TrueType to be two viable, reliable alternatives that currently remain free.

Be sure to keep an eye on the spam box though, with all of these solutions, because like all spam prevention solutions, these occasionally mark a good post as spam.

Learn more about Setting up G.A.S.P.
Learn more about Setting up Akismet
Learn more about Setting up Defensio Anti-Spam
Learn more about Setting up TypePad Anti-Spam

2. Platinum SEO – or – All in One SEO + Robots Meta

Unless you’re on a theme that has your advanced SEO elements built-in, like Thesis and Headway and some others, you must get the basic SEO tools from a plugin. My personal preference is Platinum SEO which includes all sorts of stuff, but many still swear by the AIO SEO plus the Robots Meta combination. There are some additional plugins that can work with either of these but this is the foundation.

Learn more about setting up Platinum SEO {coming soon}
Learn more about setting up AIO SEO {coming soon}
Learn more about setting up Robots Meta {coming soon}

3. Contact Form 7 ( & Really Simple Captcha)

You gotta have a contact form and Contact Form 7, with its optional captcha plugin, is one of the most solid, stable dependable solutions. The only solid alternative to it that I’d recommend is “Fast and Secure Contact Form” but most still recommend Contact Form 7. Some like that as an alternative because its easier to get the captcha set up.

Learn more about setting up Contact Form 7 {coming soon}
Learn more about setting up Fast and Secure Contact Form {coming soon}

4. W3 Total Cache – or – WP Super Cache

Caching is a way of speeding up your website for your visitors (which helps with SEO too). This type of plugin can be a headache, but you gotta have one. I prefer the W3 Total Cache for a number of reasons but many still prefer the WP Super Cache. I found WP Super Cache a lot harder to set up correctly and removing it was a royal pain in the ass! (Most people never get WP Super Cache correctly set up!)

If you had previously looked at W3 Total Cache and returned to WP Super Cache you may want to have another look, its grown up rapidly!

Learn more about setting up W3 Total Cache {Tutorial by my friend Michael}
Learn more about setting up WP Super Cache {coming soon}

5. WP-DB Backup & WordPress Backup by BTE

Backup plugins – gotta love em! Yes you need both as one backs up your database and the other gets your most critical contents.

Neither are quite as effective as a full CPanel backup, but they’re semi-automated and can save your tail when you forgot to go take a CPanel backup this month!

Learn more about backing up your site correctly with these WordPress Backup by BTW & WP-DB Backup.

6. Subscribe to Comments

There are a number of plugins we can use to increase reader engagement, however Subscribe to Comments (which does exactly what it says) is a great way to keep your readers coming back to your blog to follow-up on further comments to a post they enjoyed.

I also additionally enjoy Comment Reply Notification, but don’t install it without reading about the legal implications first please.

Learn more about setting up Subscribe To Comments {coming soon}
Learn more about setting up Comment Reply Notification.

7. Google XML Sitemap

You must have a sitemap to get good results with the search engines. The process used to be all complicated and involve uploading files and all sorts of nonsense. Now this plugin makes it super simple to generate a sitemap for your site. (Don’t worry about the google name, the sitemap works for all search engines just fine.)

Learn more about setting up Google XML Sitemap {coming soon}

8. All In One Webmaster

google analytics logoThis plugin allows you to easily integrate Google, Bing, Alexa, Blog Catalog, Yahoo’s Webmaster and Analytics code. Single click sitemap submission to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask. Incredibly handy plugin with little blue info links that take you to the sites you need to go to register and get the codes.

Replaces a whole bunch of plugins and adding code to your theme and manually uploading files and lots of other headache!

Learn more about Setting up All In One Webmaster.

9. Digg Digg

The web has gone social media wild and keeping track of 400 social media share button plugins is a bit like insanity!

Fortunately Digg Digg integrates twelve or more social media share buttons in a single plugin and makes keeping them from floating obnoxiously into other layout elements a breeze. This allows you to uninstall “Tweetmeme” and “Simple Facebook Share” which are built-in, without losing your counts. It even includes a FB like button!

Learn more about setting up Digg Digg {coming soon}

10. CommentLuv + KeywordLuv + DoFollow + Top Commentator Widget

Okay, so it’s not one plugin its four… at least until CommentLuv Gold gets here…

However, this is my “Dream Team” stack and is one of the combinations that has been absolutely vital in my blogs growth! Once CommentLuv Gold gets here, I will very likely upgrade to that and replace this foursome (but they will remain essential as stacked like this they are free).

It’s sometimes hard to understand the truely vital role these plugins play, but each of them allows us to “give back” to our commenters in different ways. Also this stack gets more powerful working together, as each one makes the other better.

One you start picking up traction you’ll definitely want to pick up some additional spam protection and for me that comes in the flavor of Si Captcha (used with one of the other options above).

Learn more about Setting Up CommentLuv, Troubleshooting CommentLuv, and Learn Why CommentLuv Is One Of My Ninja Traffic Secrets
Learn more about KeywordLuv
Learn more about DoFollow {coming soon}
Learn more about Top Commentator Widget {coming soon}

There you have it folks!

My Top 10, Cant-Live-Without-Them, WordPress Plugins!

Like em? Love em? Please be sure to test out that Digg Digg plugin and share and save the post to all of the hottest sites!

Agree? Disagree? Think I forgot to include on? Leave me your comments below and tell me what plugins YOU think should make the top 10 list!


PS: Want to learn more about WordPress & Social Media? Ready to learn how to put it all together to make it work for your business? Be sure to check our my Profit Being You, wordpress & Social Media class! Whether you’re just getting started or an up and coming social media rockstar, you’re going to love it!

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142 Comments on "Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins"

4 years 9 months ago

Hi Kim,
Finding the right combination of plugins is exhausting. Thanks for doing most of the leg work. The one that got me is #6 Subscribe to Comments – I thought that came as a default with WordPress!! Well at least it should don’t you think?

I installed a different SEO plugin it’s called SEO Ultimate and so far so good. I found the “Code Inserter Module” really helpful with submitting my blog to Google and Bing webmasters and Yahoo! Site Explorer. The All in one plugin would not work for some reason, perhaps my theme is the culprit.

One thing I was surprised to learn is that KeywordLuv wasn’t in the WordPress directory. Do you have any inside scoop on that?

4 years 9 months ago

This is a very useful list, and I am looking forward for your post on the Platinum SEO plugin.Is it better than the AIO SEO plugin? And if I knew about the AIO Webmaster plugin before, things would have been a lot easier.

4 years 9 months ago

Great exploration. Thnx a lot for information :)

4 years 9 months ago

Hey Kimberly

Fantastic list!

I have had trouble with Super Cache so I will try the W3 Total Cache.

I am very interested in the “All in One Webmaster”, looks like a good one.

Thanks for the recommendations

4 years 9 months ago

I use every plugin that you named. Except for the group in #10 – I only use Commentluv. I’m sure that many of them were based on your recommendation!