Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

July 28, 2010 · 142 comments

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Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

10 Essential Plugins For Your WordPress Blog

wordpress logoWith over 10 THOUSAND plugins available for download in the WordPress.org 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!

Kimberly

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!

Get The Inside Scoop!
social tripletKeep up with all the latest social marketing changes!


142 comments
Trong Long
Trong Long

I already build a website with wordpress. And this list is useful for me. But I realized that my website is rather slow if I install a lot of plugin.

Quang
Quang

These plugins are very nice! Thanks for your hard work!

Razib Ahsan
Razib Ahsan

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.

Minh
Minh

I really like the plugin above

Especially the plugin:All-In-One SEO Pack WordPress Plugins is a very powerful seo plugin supports

Google XML Sitemaps will help google to index your website faster

I like robots meta

Thanks your post

Thach Pham
Thach Pham

Nice plugin list, but I think Wordpress SEO by Yoast or SEO Ultimate better than All in one SEO pack. Use Google XML Sitemap to create xml sitemap, it's best.

Riant Store
Riant Store

Thanks a great piece of information on plugins you have shared, now I have found many good plugins that I can integrate on my site.

Vivek Nath.R
Vivek Nath.R

How many plugins you are using? I'm using 11 plugins :)

Chiranjeev
Chiranjeev

Really very helpful post for newbies on wordpress. Thanks for this post.

John Newman
John Newman

Hi Kim, As always your newsletter is right on point. Thank you!

Holly
Holly

Well I upgraded my blog-- on my own!!.. now I will have to go back and see if the plugins that I am using are the ones you have recommended... You are amazing and keep me so updated and informed... way more than I can keep up with... but I am still working on it!! Thanks Kim!!

Sunny
Sunny

Great Plugin List

Really useful for bloggers

Thanks for sharing ;-)

but i am looking for plugin in which user can upload image from wordpress website to facebook

Andrea Hypno
Andrea Hypno

Great list of plugins Kim, honestly I have almost all of them but after installing and deleting tens. This list would have been pretty useful then. Anyway, I'm using Livefyre for comments but agree that the CommentLuv stack is great. And I'm using Seo Ultimate for Seo. Given the quality of this article (and some others I've read) I'm not surprised seeing it has more than 120 comments. ;)

Have a great weekend!

Sagar
Sagar

Great list, here are some more : WP smush.it, SEO by Yoast and WP Easy SEO. :)

Kris Olin
Kris Olin

You have some great plugins there, Kim!

I've been using AIO SEO for several years, but thinking of 'upgrading' to Platinum. Do you know what might happen to my old pages if I change? Will they lose their SEO properties I had set up in AIO SEO?

Cheers,

Kris

Rosemary O'Shaughnessy
Rosemary O'Shaughnessy

Hi Kim,

Many thanks for sharing your recommendations for plugins. I have been using akismet and will start using growmap and see how I find it. All the best for 2012 and thanks for your tips in 2011. Take care Rosemary

MaryJane
MaryJane

Thanks for this list. I use Yoast's SEO plugin and i believe it is better than AIO by far. But i think i will have to install commentluv premium.

Dave Keys
Dave Keys

I agree pretty much with everything except caching plugins. The delivery speed of your website to search engine spiders and new visitors still takes the "normal" amount of time. The "load speed score" is probably far less than 1% of total SEO score by a search engine unless your website takes forever to load.

Jon
Jon

Excellent list. Obviously with so many plugins available it would be difficult to put together a top 10 without getting arguments and suggestions from all and sundry. With regards spam comments I recently activated "antispam bee" and it is fantastic. Before installation one site was getting 150-300 spam a day now it gets zero.

cookielessdmain
cookielessdmain

Thank you for mentioning my tutorial :-)

Regards,

Michael

Bo Kauffmann
Bo Kauffmann

Good list. I love my WP blog, and have probably added Too many plugins, but there are a couple I really like:

1) WP Touch Pro.... creates a mobile-friendly version of your site

2) Tweet Old Post... you can set this to tweet out your old posts, as often as every hour, or as little as once a day...allows you to exclude specific categories so that you dont tweet out "Merry Christmas" in the middle of July

3) WP Editorial Calendar.... creates a calendar-look of all your past and future posts.

Kyle
Kyle

Hey Kim,

It seems as if the Google XML Sitemap is not compatible with the newest version of Wordpress from what I understand. Am I right about that because I can't get it to update ever since I downloaded the newest version of Wordpress. If this is true, what would be a good plugin to use in it's place.

Thanks,

Kyle

Pastor Sherry
Pastor Sherry

Whew! I recognized a few of these, anyway -- all is not lost :)

I've been pretty careful with plugins so far. It took me so long to even be able to install them, and don't need any more problems than what I have already had. So I'm reluctant to play with them.

I looked for the Subscribe to Comments and saw a couple of them -- one by camu, one by Mark Jaquith. Both of these look good. What's your criteria for choosing one plug-in over another?

Kevin Martineau
Kevin Martineau

Hi Kim:

This is a great list! I use many of these already but I am not using the All-in-one Webmaster plugin. I am definitely going to be checking it out!

Thanks!

Kevin

Gav
Gav

That's a great list. I'm surprised that WordPress SEO by Yoast didn't make it onto your list though. That is the first one I install after Akismet.

BL
BL

As you know I'm a firm believer of everything you've written about this post, and I proudly support [DoFollow, CommentLuv KeywordLuv movement, with a little 'more than my Luving thrown in for good measure.

Trudy Pellicaan
Trudy Pellicaan

Will definitely be adding the All In One Webmaster plugin.

Thanks Kim

Kevin DeRoo
Kevin DeRoo

Hey Kim,

I have been thinking about adding the "top commentators" plugin to my blog and seeing how you hold it in such high regard I will make sure to do that tonight.

My "Digg Digg" plugin hasn't been working properly since I last updated it I believe, do you know if others are having issues with the Digg plugin as well?

Thanks for sharing your list Kim.

Kevin

Vas Littlecrow
Vas Littlecrow

What a great post! I often what the best plugins are to increase site engagement. Thank you.

Deb Augur
Deb Augur

Hi Kim,

Great post. I have all of the plugins your mentioned except All in One Webmaster. You can bet I'll get that one right away! I'm just concerned with page load speeds, which I just wrote about on my blog today. Note my blog post title below (ha ha).

I didn't know Akismet was having problems, good to know. I'll watch for that. I agree that $60 per year is too much. After all, for a long time, we all thought it was free! Hard to adjust now, after the fact. I have growmap on my other blogs and it works quite well. Great suggestion.

MandySwift
MandySwift

Hi Kim, PLEEEAASSE can you do us a blog post that explains WHAT to do with All in one Webmaster & Google XML site map. I have them both uploaded but have zero idea of what to do with them now I have them!!! What is the difference between the two, don't they both index my site??

Uploaded them both agea ago at your recommendation but still clueless about how to reap the benefit :)

thanks so much :)

Lesly Federici
Lesly Federici

Hi Kimberly,

Love reading your blog! There's always something to learn from you - thank you! I have some of these plugins - not al of them. I am still, so much, on a learning curve! Little by little a learn more and some times I just don't know what to ask. I have learned that the wordpress theme you have won't always have the same pluggins available.

Perry A Davis Jr
Perry A Davis Jr

Searching for the correct Wordpress plugin is very time consuming. Just recently have been searching for an alternative for Akisment. Being a member of TSAmastery was introduced to your blog and found the alternative. Just another example of being a member of a group like TSAmastery.

Thanks

Perry A Davis Jr

Music City USA

Stevie Smith
Stevie Smith

Very nice list, I didn't know about the KeywordLuv plugin and I can see how useful it can be for serious commentators.

You think you have something to say, you open up a blog, start writing articles, and then all of a sudden realize the work has just begun!

And I am not even at a stage where I can start thinking about the all mighty newsletter because I simply don't think I have enough information to put in there!

Tammy Matthews
Tammy Matthews

Kim - wonderful to see a place where the most important plugins can be learned about! THANK YOU!

Alamin
Alamin

Thanks kim nice post. I have two question to you. I use genesis work. So should i install all in one seo plugin? And which plugin you use to highlight your i mean admin comment?

John
John

Great list here Kim. I completely agree with the Akismet plugin being removed from the list. Not only do you have to pay for it, it has also become unreliable (I have been banned from my own blog before - and why? Because I'm very active in the blogoshere?!) I have been using the Growmap plugin on a few blogs and it works MUCH better in my opinion.

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Thanks Kimberly, this is a great list of plugins. Most I am using and some I will certainly be looking into for my blog. I enjoy your insight and review of each plugin.

Glad that I found you through Twitter and Facebook as I really do enjoy all the information you share. And I will be sharing with my tribe as well!

Mandy Swift
Mandy Swift

Hi Kimberley, this post is like an oasis in the desert for dusty, brow-beaten w-p travellers!!

Answers so many of my 'how do people do that' questions, all in one go!

Am only just gettting to grips with the power of plugins, so invaluable info, cheers :)

Dr. Erica Goodstone
Dr. Erica Goodstone

Kimberly,

I am thrilled that you are joining the TSA leadership team. People like me, non-nerd, non-technical, can really benefit from your help. I know a lot more than most therapists and friends of mine, but when I attempt to implement some of these plugins, I run into problems that I don't understand.

Congratulations! And I really look forward to listening to your words of web wisdom.

Warmly,

Erica

Bingo Promotion
Bingo Promotion

I love google xml plugin myself. Seem to get a lot more pages indexed using it. Doesn't to help with bing though. Other plugins I like are mingle forum and I use contactbuddy over contact form 7 though it does have more options.

Kim Castleberry
Kim Castleberry

Platinum is a slightly more expanded version of AIO SEO. Both of which are considered outdated and really should be replaced with WordPress SEO by Yoast at this time. This is a much better plugin with less resource use issues. Many hosts now ban AIO/Platinum. Migrating over is a wise move.

Kim

Razib Ahsan
Razib Ahsan

I agree yith you @Thach Pham. SEO by Yoast is the best. I also use youst seo on my website.

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

Kyle you can find the official page for Google XML Sitemap here: https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/ It is compatible up to 3.3 however it is incompatible with WP MU/MS (multisite) and they suggest test driving their beta. Is it possible you have multisite enabled (that would be unusual unless you have multiple blogs). Is the current version still generating a site map for you? Have you done a basic wordpress troubleshoot to see if another plugin is blocking its upgrade (assuming it's not the current version and needs an update) http://just-ask-kim.com/basic-wordpress-troubleshooting/ Keep me posted on this.

Kim

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

There is "Subscribe to Comments" by Jaquith (who is a WP core developer) that even though it appears out of date is still very stable and loved. There is also "Subscribe to Comments Reloaded" (I'm forgetting the author) that works well and has a few more features. Either of those is fine. Those are the only 2 of the many available I'd mess with and either is fine. The Reloaded lets someone subscribe to the comment thread without commenting which a few readers like.

Kim

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

Gav, That list is a bit old and at the time it was wrote the WP SEO by Yoast was not at the point of stability and featureset it is today. You can bet when I revamp this post that it will be on the list of core SEO plugin options for sure. It's a great plugin for those that do not have a theme with those features built in! Thanks for the reminder!

Kim

Kimberly Castleberry
Kimberly Castleberry

Hey Many I'll try to remember to get a video created. Creating one for AIO Webmaster is hard as that's a long setup and requires me to use another site. I can't demo it here. The two plugins do not share a function. Google XML sitemap helps google get your newest posts into google search results as fast as possible. AIO Webmaster helps get you "verified" with sites like google analytics, google webtools, yahoo site explorer and more which you need to have set up as well and which benefit you in different ways.

Kimberly

Kyle
Kyle

Hey Kim,

No luck so far. I went through the process of changing my theme to 2010 and deactivating all of my plugins. For whatever reason I get a blank page when I try to access the Google XML sitemaps plugin.

It all started when I noticed that my sitemap was not updating automatically, so I tried to do it manually and when I clicked the button it went to a blank page. I decided to delete the plugin and try to re add it... but now I can't add it at all. As far as I can see I don't have a sitemap on my website right now.

Another note: When I deleted the plugin, it sent me to this same blank page so I don't know if I completely deleted it. I'm not sure, but maybe this created a problem?

Another problem occurred today when my images stopped showing up on my home page. These two issues have me stumped and I'm off to work now so I'll have to try again later. Not sure where to go from here though. Any advice?

Thanks again,

Kyle

Pastor Sherry
Pastor Sherry

Thanks, Kim! Camu is the author of the "Subscribe Comments Reloaded" and that's what I've downloaded.

MandySwift
MandySwift

.... thank you sweetie. Appreciate you so much :)

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