One of the greatest features about having a self-hosted WordPress blog is the flexibility that you get with WordPress plugins. Plugins allow you to add new features on your blog. Sky is the limited with what plugins can do for you. As with anything, you do want a balance as having too many plugins can begin to slow down the performance of your site. While we could mention several plugins in this list, these are a few of our favorites. This listing is 12 of the best wordpress plugins in our opinion. Just as a side note, we are also not saying that we like every single thing about these plugins, but we do believe that they can help drive traffic and add value to your site.
1. Google XML Sitemaps – this is a must have. A Sitemap is a must have on your blog. I could get really technical here, but let me give you a basic illustration. Think about when you pick up a book and flip to the table of contents. It gives you an outline of what is covered in the book. A Sitemap is similar to this just in a much more detailed way. When Google comes to your site you are making it easy for them to find your pages.
2. Contact Form 7 – There are many contact form plugins out there, but this classic one is a favorite of ours. You can easily add a contact form to your site so people can reach out to you.
3. Editorial Calendar – This is a real favorite of mine. It allows you to have a calendar that you can see in your wordpress dashboard. You can map out your blog post on the calendar and drag and drop the titles if you want to switch the dates. Doing this changes the schedule date as well.
4. Tweet Old Post – I could write an entire post on this little gem. Basically, you put in your twitter username and password. Then, it will randomly select old blog posts of yours a tweet the title of the post along with a shorten URL. You can set how often you want the system to do this. I have had other larger sites in my niche see blog posts that I wrote over a year and a half ago read my post and feature it on their site!
5. Facebook Page Publish – The plugin places a checkbox right above the publish button in your WordPress admin. When you publish your blog post it will also automatically publish it on your facebook fan page as well. I am a big fan of automation!
6. Digg Digg – If you see a floating twitter and facebook symbol to the right of this blog post then you will know what this plugin does. It encourages people to either tweet or “like” your content so that your message can spread to others on the internet. There are more buttons then just facebook and twitter. I also use Linkedin on my career coach blog and I have the buttons displayed at the end of the content in addition to being a floating display.
7. YARPP (Related Posts) – This is a great plugin for keeping visitors on your site for longer. It will automatically display other blog posts on your site that are also relevant to what they just read. See the end of this post for a few examples.
8. No Self Pings Plugin – If you like to do internal linking on your site (and you should) this plugin will eliminate having to see these links in your comments to approve section.
9. All in One SEO Pack – This little plugin helps you to super charge your search engine presence on the web. For the technical people, you can create a Title Tag and a Meta Description. For non-techie people, you can target keywords better with each blog post you write and publish. If you use the Thesis Theme (our premium theme of choice) then you do not need this plugin.
10. WP Time Machine – this is a free plugin that can help you to backup your content for free. I use this along with my free Dropbox account so all of my blogs get backed up on a regular basis. You may need a much more sophisticated option but this is a basic way to backup the important files.
11. Link to Post – this is a neat little plugin for doing internal linking. You can highlight a phrase in your content inside your WordPress dashboard and it will show you other blog post of yours that you can link to.
12. Keyword Strategy Plugin – You have to use this plugin along with the actual Keyword Strategy Tool, but it is awesome. It is the tool that has increased my traffic by 35-40% in the last 6 months. In the future, I will be writing a much more thorough review. This plugin pulls keywords from the tool and shows you which blog posts you can work the keywords into. This can help you to rank for a wider range of keywords and get more traffic.
The plugin also works as an internal linking plugin and shows you options for which keywords to link to which blog posts. They have a free 30 day trial going on right now that does not require a credit card to sign up. I personally know the creator of this tool and he has given to us a limited number of discount codes that give you 10% off each month. Each code can only be used once. If you are interested in getting one just reach out to us through the contact page.
Question: What are your favorite WordPress Plugins?