Find the best WordPress plugins quickly and easily with this free list of personal recommendations! All of the best WordPress plugins listed here are widely believed to be the best and most used plugins available today. Use them in confidence…get the most out of WordPress!
Before You Install that WordPress Plugin…
…Make Sure It Still Works!
Make sure that the WordPress plugins you’re downloading will actually be compatible with your version of WordPress! Visit the WordPress plugin compatibility list for all versions of WordPress.
All of the plugins listed below briefly give you the most important info you’ll need to know. Everything is sorted by alphabetical order, naming each one the most logical way so that you can find things quickly 😉
A wordpress blog should always have search engine optimization(SEO) plugins to be ranked top on the search engine ranks. Well out of millions of blogs if your content has to be reached to most of the internet users it is very hard with out optimizing your blog posts to the search engines. As you may be knowing that more than half the traffic for most of the websites will come through web searches only. If your blog is not search engine optimized you will definitely have to loose much of the traffic from search engines.
There are many SEO plugins available for wordpress, thanks for wordpress plugin community for developing such plugins considering the need of the search engine optimization for blogs. Here is a list of top 5 best wordpress plugins that i found.
All in One SEO Pack :This is one of the top wordpress SEO plugins which will automatically optimizes your blog posts for ranking best in search engines. It allows you to set the best title and keywords for you post and with many other options. ALL in One SEO Pack also has got built in API so as to allow other plugins and themes access.
For some baffling reason, WordPress does not support any custom post META out of the box. All In One SEO Pack adds the META Description, Keyword & Title options to your admin panel, so that you can customize which pages get which tags either by default or individually. Yet another feature that should have been standard!
Assign META Keywords/Title/Desc on a page by page basis
Adds a new “box” to your admin panel when writing/editing a post or page
As an added bonus, it sets “nofollow” links to archive, category and tag pages, so that you don’t get spanked by Google.
Many if not most serious WordPress users will argue that this is a must have plugin.
* Note: All In One SEO Pack was abandoned by its developer Uberdose in mid June 2008, but has been picked up by another developer. Only download it through WordPress.org from now on (linked above).
Platinum SEO Plugin : This is another best wordpress SEO plugin which allows you to automatically generate the description and all relevant META tags like META keywords etc. This plugin offers features like post slug optimization and automatic 301 redirects for permalink changes. It also help in avoiding duplication of content in the blog.
If you’re looking to an alternative to All In One SEO, a new competitor has appeared: Platinum SEO. This plugin brags to do “everything All In One SEO does, and more,” as it enables a whole bunch of great options including nofollow/dofollow enabling of both internal and external links, an automatic 301 redirect handler for name-changed permalinks, and even allows you to import your settings from All In One SEO in case you want to use this plugin instead!
SEO Smart Links : This wordpress plugin allows you to automatically link the keywords and phrases in your posts and comments to other relevant content of the blog. As per SEO theories not only the external links but internal links with in a website also help in ranking the content on a page. This SEO plugin helps you build the internal links and keep your blog more effective on search engine rankings.
Google sitemap generator and XML Sitemaps : Generally search engines find any web page based on the links found on other webpages to this page. The other way search engines can find your pages is through XML sitemaps. Google XML Sitemaps plug generates a special XML sitemaps for your blog which will help many search engines like Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN find your content and index in a better way. In addition it automatically it automatically notifies major search engines when ever a new post is published in your wordpress blog.
A customizable sitemap generator that has plenty of options. Note that this is a not just a sitemap in the traditional sense: creating a new page with a “tree” of organized links that are on your blog, but it also creates a Google XML sitemap for Google Webmaster. It contains the following features:
- support for multi-level categories and pages
- category/page exclusion
- multiple-page generation with navigation
- permalink support
- choose display & order options
- show comment counts and/or post dates
Want a sitemap plugin for WordPress that just creates the XML file? Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress 4 does just that – and gives you many options for auto-updating, as well.
SEO Friendly Images : Adding proper Alt and Title attribute texts or values to the images is very essential in SEO. This wordpress plugin automatically adds ALT and TITLE attributes for the images that are not set already. Alt attribute helps your images rank best in image search for that particular keyword used in Alt.
All the above are the top and best wordpress SEO plugins which will help you build a search engine optimized wordpress blog and help you rank well in the search results. Not only best wordpress themes will help your blog perform well but plugins also does that job.
A Widget that adds over 55 tiny social bookmarking icons! Very nice.
- Every major/known social bookmarking site included
- Pick which icons you want to display, omit the ones you don’t want to display.
- Alternately, you can simply use other services like AddThis or ShareThis.
Social Bookmarking: Before and/or After articles
This social bookmarking plugin inserts bookmark icons before or after posts, on the home page, archive pages, search results, or anything else you specify! It appears as though every social bookmarking site is available as selectable options.
- Social bookmarking after or before an article
- Pick and choose which social sites you want to use, and their icons will appear before or after your blog posts.
Ad Rotator for WordPress
Looking for a way to display your banner ads, so that it picks and chooses them from a queue? This one’s for you – Ad Rotator lets you maintain a text file pointing to different ads, which are rotated during page refreshes.Lets you display ads from AdSense, Chitika, Adbrite, or anything else!
AdSense Plugin for WordPress
An extremely helpful and beneficial plugin that allows you to insert Google AdSense into your WordPress blog posts with minimal work on your end. According to many reviews I’ve read, this appears to be the “best” and most popular AdSense insertion script for WordPress (I’ve tried this one, but not the others).
- Works with AdSense, Yahoo Ads, CJ, et. al.
- Created for people who know nothing about coding
- Uses simple HTML comments to insert AdSense
- Globally change ad styles with ease
- Ads do not show up in your RSS syndications
- Extremely customizable in terms of ad types & styles
- Last but not least,Google AdSense by BestWebSoft is technically a PHP Include Script.
It will let you place any kind of script (even plain old HTML) wherever you want, even within WordPress posts and pages, which was previously an impossible thing to do without major code adjustments. This makes your affiliate marketing possibilities truly unlimited!
If you can’t get this one to work – another highly recommended plugin is “Who Sees Ads“.
Yes, it’s a funny name – but it lets you fine tune who sees what. Do you want a regular visitor to not see ads? You can do that. Do you want a search engine stumbler to see a certain ad? You can set that, as well. What this plugin aims to do, is to decrease “ad blindness,” or visitors’ ability to naturally ignore your ads after visiting your page so many times, and getting used to the ad spot layout.
Affiliate Link Masking for WordPress
Hide those affiliate codes with this WordPress plugin. Through your admin panel, you can specify your affiliate links and cloak them with the click of a button. Your affiliate link will turn into “http://www.yoursitename.com/ category-you-set/ page-name-you-select”.
What affiliate wouldn’t love this? Not only can you cloak your links, but you can rename them to your own domain with a SEO-friendly structure!
This plugin isn’t extremely reliable – be sure to read the comments on the author’s page before deciding to rely on it. With new WordPress releases, these plugins tend to have new issues. For a completely reliable & professional alternative for cloaking your affiliate links in WordPress, you might want to consider purchasing Ninja Affiliate, which most of the big bloggers use.
Caching for WordPress
A caching plugin will cache your WordPress site so that it doesn’t have to load every single time someone visits. With Hyper Cache – never worry about suffering from the “Digg effect” or an unexpected massive volume of hits. Install this plugin to cache your pages: making your site perform better and become more responsive, as your users’s computers won’t have to continually load each already-visited page. Best yet, there truly is no negative side effect to using this plugin (except for a few issues, noted below)
:Make WordPress run faster, all the time.
Never get performance suffrage from many web hits.
Any type of caching, including this plugin, will cause your “dynamic” plugins to stop functioning. This includes anything that relates to page popularity plugins, hit counters, and anything else related!
Articles sorted to your liking
This plugin lets you create a page with a sitemap-style listing of articles that are organized according to you! In other words, no more reverse chronology. See an example of what it looks like here.
Create a nice site map or directory for your site
Freedom to list any article you want, any way you want
Categories: Displays Posts by Category
This plugin will allow you to insert a simple tag anywhere you want, that will list the latest posts from all categories in directory style format. There are a few display options, as well.
Offer a different navigation style to your site.
Categories: Give category pages their own individual templates
This is perhaps the most useful plugin you will ever encounter, if you’re looking to use WordPress as a website instead of a blog. Imagine this: you can create separate template PHP files for all of your Categories, so that they look and feel like WordPress Pages. By simply naming a template after a category ID# (i.e., category-12.php, category-32.php, etc), WordPress will insert THAT page instead of showing the useless standard category page, which lists all of the posts within it. Now, that is awesome!
Comments: Comment Pagination
For those who hate seeing mile-long WordPress posts due to many comments: paginate your comments section and show only a certain number of comments on a page…and let others simply click a “next” icon or comment page number to see the rest!
Reduce clutter…kill those insanely long pages.
Also has a “view all posts” link, for those who like to see all comments on one page.
May conflict with other plugins. As with everything else, test it on a staging site with your other plugins before going live.
Copyright Protection for RSS feeds
Feed Copyrighter will permanently adds your Copyright information to your RSS/Atom feeds.
Protect your text from thieves! Your RSS will always display the copyright line you’ve added with this plugin.
Only displays for the full version of an article (the newer versions of WordPress do not display anything after a “More” code in RSS)
Simply put, this plugin will backup your database and save it to your server, your desktop, or e-mail it to you. Backing up your WordPress database is something you should do EVERY time you add new content, making this a very important plugin!
It’s basically the only real solution for turning WordPress into your own e-Commerce storefront: WordPress eCommerce is an all-encompassing plug in that is constantly updated and feature packed. It’s perfect for anyone who is making money through drop shipping or home-based sales. This plugin uses the power of WordPress to bring other functionalities to your online store that most paid CMSs don’t bother to include!
Uses multiple payment options: PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net and others.
Comes with a multitude of design templates, and was also designed to be very easy to edit
Multiple modules exist for different store types.
Global hyperlink replacement for words you choose
These plugins will assign words that you designate as a hyperlink automatically throughout all of your blog posts (much like a wiki). So, if you assign the word “eBay” with “http://www.ebay.com”, then every instance of the word “eBay” within your blog will be hyperlinked to that URL.
Create a poor man’s wiki within your blog, or vastly expand your affiliate sales by hyperlinking words to an affiliate product
Link words to other articles in your blog for more interactivity
Promote other sites or pages from your site, by making all words across the blog display as a link (maybe even offer this as an advertising option?)
Also works within user comments
This has become one of the “must haves” for WordPress. Gravatars are the avatar icons that appear next to visitor comments. In order for a user to have their own gravatar, they need to have signed up for one, otherwise, they’ll get a generic icon showing next to their posts.
- Most blogs have this implemented, therefore, so should you
- Requires a WordPress theme that allows for Gravatars
- Installing this plugin requires some manual code insertion. It’s easy though, read the directions here.
Download it here for older versions of WordPress…otherwise:
…Wordpress 2 now uses a new Gravatar service from ZenPax. It’s not recommended to use the old Gravatar 1.x – so use this one instead:
Lightbox Image Display
The lightbox plugin is a new trend for websites – letting users click on an image thumbnail and see the full size image “expand” right over the darkened website itself. Be sure to take the proper measures to leave your image in an “open” directory for Google to spider, if you want to be seen in Google Image searches.
- Conserve space, present images neatly
- Works well with Slickr image gallery for WordPress
- It looks pretty damn cool.
List latest articles by Category OR Tag
CatTagArt lets you display a dynamic list of recent articles sorted by tag or category. So, if you want to make a permanent fixture on your blog’s home page or side bar that lists the top 5 articles tagged “iphone” or within the category “cars”, you can do it with a simple tag inserted in your WordPress post!
This AJAX-driven poll plugin for WordPress will enable you to poll your visitor audience, allow them to vote, and see the results immediately without a page refresh.
Popular posts plugin
Popularity Contest is a plugin that uses its own algorithm to determine which posts in your WordPress blog are the most popular – and lists the most popular posts. This could make a decent addition to your blog’s home page, as a space filler.
Display how popular an individual WordPress post/page is with the usage of a simple tag that you can place anywhere.
Also, create a list of popular posts and set the number of links you’d like to show.
This plugin will not work well if you use a cache plugin, like “WP Super Cache” or WP-Cache”, as it will cause the results to be skewed on a constant basis. This is not the fault of Popular Posts, but the caching plugin.
Random File Plugin
This plugin will display a random file from a folder that you specify. In other words, you could use it for displaying random images on a page refresh!
Keep your WordPress site looking new with the magic of randomization.
Ratings/Star Ratings for WordPress
This is a really cool star rating script that is a must for bloggers who are looking to bring some attention to a product they’ve reviewed. By inputting a simple “rating:#/#” code, WordPress will insert a nice little box with a star rating in any spot you choose. Note that this only allows you, the article writer/webmaster, to add the rating – not your visitors.
It sure beats having to place a GIF or JPG image every time you want to show a star rating on your blog! (or paying a freelancer to make the script for you!)
Want your visitors to rate your WordPress articles? This very versatile ratings script offers a drop down box and rating results bar, that tallies up and graphically displays your visitors’ votes. Lots of customization options are available – read this page for details.
- You can place the code anywhere you want, to have the rating option show up anywhere!
- When in category view, the “total rating” for that page will be displayed as a thin bar, next to the post’s title.
- People who have large WordPress sites have noted that this plugin will start to eat server resources. Be warned if you plan on having a large WordPress site with hundreds of pages!
The Redirection plugin from Urban Giraffe will help manage all redirects. So, if you re-name a post of an already existing article, this plugin will automatically 301-redirect the old one to that new one. It beats having to edit the .htaccess file by hand! There are also tools that help you find and fix 404’s, and monitor the history of all 301 redirects it has done for you.
Makes a grueling task easy if you have many broken links…if you plan on changing your permalink structure, this is a must-have!
Related Posts plugin
This WordPress plugin will list related posts, based on keyword matching. It’s a great way to make all of your pages (even the old ones) look new, as the plugin keeps updating the links, based on what else you have in your blog!
- If you don’t like the results that show up, simply include a custom tag filled with keywords within your post’s code. It will pull links based on those keywords you’ve set. A very nice addition!
- Customize the pre/post visual for the result links…include a bullet, a numbered list, a GIF image, whatever you want before or after them.
- Or, include nothing at all.
- Mimic Amazon.com’s famous “customers who bought this also viewed” feature. Reduce your site’s bounce rate!
Shopping Cart – E-Commerce Plugin
Further proving that WordPress can do anything – this shopping cart plugin enables you to turn a WordPress site into an online store. You can even make WordPress become a paid-subscription only site! If either of these things interest you, you’re in for a treat with WP e-Commerce.
- Integrates with Google Checkout, PayPal and Shipwire
- Includes a “members only subscription” option, if you want this capability for your site!
- Supports search engine friendly URLs
- Powered by Ajax
- Purchase history for customers, RSS feed for products, pagination for long lists and much more!
This very interesting plugin will convert all of your WordPress categories into Subdomains [instead of “mysite.com/category1/”, it would be “category1.mysite.com/”]. Obviously, this is a cosmetic change that will probably not improve or ruin SEO in any way, but some people just prefer subdomains! Test this one out on a test site first, as it appears to be in a beta phase.
- Requires your blog name to have “www” before it
- Requires a specific permalink setting (see details)
- Note that Google will soon be counting subdomains as categories (one.mysite.com will be equal to mysite.com/one)…Just for your information.
Tables in WordPress
WP-Table is a vast improvement over the default WordPress WYSIWYG HTML tool. This table creation tool allows you to choose rows and columns, type in table elements, and save the table. When completed, you can even sort table contents by category (via clicking a table heading).
It’s a nice way to add a table that has alternating row colors, without having to do the HTML yourself every single time.
It goes crazy if you attempt to use coded HTML within the rows or columns.
Tags & Tag Clouds in WordPress
Expand your post tagging possibilities with Simple Tags, which throws in a myriad of new options for your tags (even include related pages in RSS, edit mass tags, auto-fill while you type, Technorati tags, compatibility with old plugins and much more). While you’re at it, check out Configurable Tag Cloud Widget for WordPress 4 and get that old “Ultimate Tag Warrior” feeling back, with configurable fonts and font colors for big and small tags in the cloud.
Put the power back into WordPress tags & clouds
Theme Preview/Demo Bar
If you want to display an “above the header” preview bar that lets your visitors pick and choose different WordPress themes to preview them, this theme does just that!
Create a WordPress Theme site
Customizable bar allows you to fine-tune how it performs
Turn off WordPress while you’re doing an update
The lock-out plugin for WordPress allows you, the administrator/webmaster, to “close” your WordPress blog while you make updates. When closed, the WordPress site will display a designated page and message for for non-admins, when any page of the blog is visited.
Turn off your site, so that other people don’t see you messing around with things.
Get ready for some pain if Googlebot happens to see that your site is down for awhile.
Video Player for WordPress: from Jeroenwijering
I’ve literally tried every single FLV video player for WordPress (yes, there are MANY), and none of them hold a candle to this one. The JW FLV Media Player plays FLVs, as well as MP3s and image files, too, and it’s insanely customizable. Change everything from colors to sizes, add a thumbnail navigation, a “download this video” option, and change any setting to your heart’s content. Do it all through a convenient page where you can test all of the variables out, and see how the end results appear (the video player test page is).
- If you want to turn WordPress into a video site, there aren’t many options…but this is most likely going to be your best bet for quickness & expandability.
- Easily create a video player window that plays multiple videos, which you can scroll through. This is a free feature that you’ll only find elsewhere for semi-expensive FLV player scripts!
Would you like to see other WordPress plugins featured here? Let me know and I’ll take the time out to research and try them. It’s basically part of my full time job, anyway!