12 must-have plugins for your WordPress blog

wordpress plugins - the must have list!

You would’ve come across many posts suggesting a list of cool plugins that one must install on their WordPress blog. However, in most cases, the plugins would’ve never been tested by the author suggesting them. Well, nothing wrong in that. However, I feel that one must get a hang of it before suggesting it to others.

Here’s a tip. Never overload your WordPress installation with numerous plugins. Most of them meddle with the database, and if something goes wrong somewhere, it will be quite hard to troubleshoot and resolve the problem/conflict. Just install the most important plugins, and do away with the others.

Following are the plugins that I’ve been using for quite sometime, and with no issues, across WordPress versions 2.7 through 2.8.2:

1. All in one SEO pack – As the name suggests, it improves the visibility of your blogs on various search engines. It’s quite effective, and I strongly recommend it. My blog posts get indexed very fast on Google. You can get a glimpse of it over here.

Plugin rating: 4/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

2. Google XML Sitemaps – This is again related to getting your blog on popular search engines like Google,Bing and Yahoo. Sitemaps give an in-depth view of the blog’s link structure so that search engines can index as many pages, which otherwise remain hidden.

Plugin rating: 4.5/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

Useful links: Google webmaster tools | Bing Webmaster Center | Know more about Sitemaps

3. Akismet – Though it’s from the Automattic joint, I wouldn’t say that it’s an excellent anti-spam plugin. Yet, it’s good enough to keep unwanted spam messages on your comments. I end up cleaning up my comment’s section every day, for a couple of spam messages that slipped through Akismet.

Plugin rating: 3/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

4. AddThis – A simple, light-weight plugin that helps you promote your blog. One good thing about this plugin is that if you sign up for an account, you get all these data analytics goodies – visitors sharing the content, services used and the blog post that’s been shared the most. Else, just download without signing up.

Plugin rating: 4.5/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

5. After the Deadline – If you want an enhanced proof-reader, that keeps up with the style of your writing, you must go for this neat plugin. I’ve written an article about this plugin, and don’t want to duplicate the same over here. Well, this is from the Automattic joint, so expect it to be good.

Plugin rating: 4/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

6. BackType Connect – If you’re bugged with comment plugins like Disqus, IntenseDebate and Js-Kit Echo, you should try BackType. This is not a replacement to your native WordPress comments functionality, but it captures those conversations about the blog post happening elsewhere on Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, Reddit, and so on., and displays them in the comments section.

Plugin rating: 4.5/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

7. Contact Form 7 – The name says it all. It’s just another contact form plugin we all use on our WordPress blogs. However, it’s light weight, highly customizable, AJAX-enabled, and can be coupled with CAPTCHA andAkismet anti-spam plugins.

Plugin rating: 4.5/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

8. WordPress.com Stats – This is a light weight analytics plugin that doesn’t overwhelm the blog owners / webmasters with too many information. So, when I log in to the admin panel and click on stats, I just wanted to know the number of visits, page views and a historical graph (by day/month/year), keywords used and referer sites. This plugin does just that. Nothing more.

Plugin rating: 4/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

9. LinkWithin – Are you bored with the conventional ‘related links’ plugins that display relevant posts as a list? Well, you can now make your posts look beautiful, and also increase page views per visitor for your blog.

LinkWithin - example

Plugin rating: 4.8/5. Here’s the link to the download page.

10. MobilePress – Do you know that your blog pages are also viewable via mobile phones and PDAs? But, it’s important that your blog is optimized to show up properly on mobile phones, iPhones and other PDAs – with no compromise in speed and look & feel. MobilePress renders your blog on various mobile phones, and it looks good. You can see some screenshots over here.

Plugin rating: 4.5/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

11. Shutter Reloaded – This is a cool plugin to show off images in a blog post. It’s light weight, and ‘m loving it. You can see some examples over here – sample 01, sample 02. Just click on the image to enlarge it. You can also customize parameters like opacity, text color, buttons, menu text, and so on.

Plugin rating: 4.8/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

12. WP-DB-Backup – It’s good to automate your WordPress backup operation. Once configured, this plugin compresses and mails the zip file to your email account – daily/weekly. I’m using Gmail for this.

Plugin rating: 4/5. Here’s the link to the plugin page.

I think it’s a fair list of plugins for your WordPress blog. You may add more, but keep track of the unwanted plugins. As I mentioned before, some plugins meddle with your database, and if left unattended, might corrupt your database or slowdown your WordPress blog in the front end.

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5 thoughts on “12 must-have plugins for your WordPress blog

      • Thanks, neoaxe, but I wasn’t able to get them to work. I’m using WordPress.com on my Mac, and I’m not self-hosted, so I don’t have a “plugins” folder to place the files into. I also don’t have anything named plug-ins on my WordPress dashboard, only Widgets.

        But I’m pretty new to blogging, and I don’t know much about coding, so it’s entirely possible I misunderstood the readme files!

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