WordPress is a great content management system with various plugins developed by private programmers which add great functionality to the system.

However, it is advisable to only use the most on your site as the downside is that too many plugins can slow down the loading time of your website/blog.

This necessitates identifying the most essential wordpress plugins so that only these are installed on your wordpress blog.

Essential WordPress Plugins

  • Akismet
    This is the great spam filter plugin which identifies likely spam comments, compares them with the information on its data base and classifies them into “pending” and “spam”. The webmaster now has the option of checking the spam comments and trashing those he considers truly spam and approving those he considers were erroneously classified as spam.
  • SI Captcha Anti-Spam
    This plugin specifies certain letters and or numbers that the site visitor is asked to insert in a space/box with a view to filtering out spam bots. It works wonderfully well in combination with Akismet.
  • FD Feedburner Plugin
    This plugin redirects all feeds to the feedburner feed. Of course you first have to “burn” your feed with feedburner. You can read up on the many advantages of redirecting your feed to feedburner and also of “burning” your feed with feedburner.
  • Yet-Another-Related-Posts-Plugin

    Including links to related posts at the end of every post you do, will improve your bounce rate as well as help you gain authority for the specific topics you write about on your blog. The search engines will not only crawl your post, but will follow all of the links listed in the related posts. This tells the search engine that your blog has extensive information on the subject and gives you a better SERP.

  • WP-Table Reloaded
    This is a great plugin i use for data analysis and presentation. You can view it in use on my blog where i have used it in a post to present the two tables featuring the Top Article Directories
  • All In One SEO
    This plugin is a top plugin for SEO. It enables the webmaster to optimize on-page for the search engines by prominently specifying his keyword rich title, post description as well as tags. It also captures these same features for the entire site/blog.
  • Cbnet Ping Optimizer
    This plugin ensures your blog posts are only pinged to the various pinging services e.g pingomatic when a new post is published and not each time an update to the post is carried out. This protects you from being banned by these services as it often happens due to excessive and unnecessary pinging.
  • WP No Category Base

    Since the closer to the domain names you can get your keywords, the more weight they will carry, this plugin will improve your ranking by removing the mandatory category base from your category permalinks for better SEO.

    The plugin has a built in 301 redirect for all of your old posts so you do not need to worry about broken links when installing it on an established blog.

  • Easy Privacy Policy
    This plugin presents a standard privacy policy in line with google requirements which you can modify or customize.
  • Comment Luv
    This plugin allows a display of your last blog post title on sites(that are also using this plugin) that you visit and leave a comment. This gives another backlink to your website and can be a source of traffic from such sites to yours.
  • Blog Protector
    This plugin serves to protect your valuable blog content as well as images from being copied. If you preset it to, it simultaneously comes up with a pop-up whenever anyone attempts to copy your content or images. For example, my stored message that shows up is “Sorry, right clicking is not allowed on this site. Our content is valuable to us”
  • Content By Country
    This plugin enables you to only show a particular content for the desired country/s and exclude all others.
  • Gravatar Box
    Automatically shows a gravatar box in the comment form
  • Post Password Token
    Enables you to password protect certain posts which you want restricted to only a select few who you will then give a special url (with tokens) which will then allow them gain access to the post without having access to the post password.

    This is very useful for posts you want restricted to only your list or for premium posts that you want paid for before gaining access.

  • Restrict Content
    Restrict Content to registered users only. This is a simple plugin that will allow you to easily restrict complete posts / pages to logged in users only. Levels of restriction may also be set. For example, you can restrict content to only Administrators, Editors, Authors, and Subscribers.
  • Simple 301 Redirects
    This plugin allows you to redirect content whose urls are no longer correct to the new url.

    It helps your SEO efforts considerably so that you do not loose any old backlinks or traffic.

    A more detailed explanation of this plugin can be seen on Great WordPress Plugins

  • W3 Total Cache
    The fastest and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site i.e site loading speed.
  • WP Smush.it
    Reduces image file sizes and improve performance which ultimately results into faster site loading speed.
  • Keyword Luv
    This plugin enables you to have your keyword featured in the name field for blog comments while at the same time satisfying webmasters by simultaneously inserting your name. It takes this format “Your Name @Your Keyword”. This is a plus for your search engine optimization efforts as you have your keyword anchor text pointing back to your website. This plugin requires a dofollow plugin to be effective.
  • Category SEO Meta Tags
    This plugin adds ability to add meta tags for category pages. It is specially designed to work with All In One SEO plugin.
  • Do Follow
    This plugin removes the evil nofollow attribute that WordPress adds by default in comments, thereby allowing search engines to follow the site links in comments to its defined destination and thus pass on SEO benefits to your blog commenters. Naturally, this boosts traffic.
  • Exit Rescue
    This allows the creation of a very simple and easy exit popup on your blogs and web sites, which can then be used for list building etc.
  • Google XML Sitemaps
    This plugin generates a special XML sitemap which helps search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.
  • Quick Adsense
    Quick Adsense offers a quicker & flexible way to insert Google Adsense or any Ads code into a blog post.
  • SEO Search Terms Tagging 2
    This plugin helps to strengthen your On Page SEO by adding new internal linking to your blog post using the most popular keywords used by search engine visitors to find your blog post from a search engine ( incoming search terms ).
  • Ultimate Google Analytics
    This plugin enables Google analytics on your blog such that you do not have to manually insert the generated code into your site’s html. This is automatically done for you by this plugin which ensures full integration between your blog and google analytics.
  • What Would Seth Godin Do
    This plugin displays a custom welcome message to new visitors to your site/blog and another to return visitors. It also encourages them to subscribe to your RSS feed.
  • Simple Tags
    This suggests tags for your blog posts as you type your intended tag, based on previous tags you have used for previous blog posts. You are thus able to easily adopt any relevant one of these tags for your current posts. It works similarly to Google Instant.
  • SEO Tag Cloud Widget
    The SEO Tag Cloud Widget displays the tag cloud in a SEO-friendly way, using a search engine optimized html markup.
  • OnlyWire for WordPress
    The FREE version of this plugin enables you to easily post to about 35 social bookmarking sites with one button. You are allowed to make a maximum of about 300 submissions in all to these social bookmarking sites on a monthly basis, using the FREE version.
  • SEO Smart links
    SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site by the ability to insert keywords on each blog post linking as anchor text to your specified blog post. Anytime these keywords are subsequently used in any blog post, it will link to your specified blog post.
  • Thank Me Later
    Allows you to automatically send a ‘thank you’ e-mail to those who comment on your blog. This plugin message is customizable and can engage your site visitors by reminding them to check back for responses or new blog posts. The plugin is highly configurable with multiple messages, variable delay and restrictions.

      My only concern with this plugin is whether it cannot be categorized as spamming your visitors as i do not think there is an explicit authority given, to communicate with them. I do not think that visiting your site, making comments on your blog and leaving their e-mails constitutes such authority.

    • Subscribe To Comments
      Allows readers to opt to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. This acts as a reminder of their earlier comment and keeps them abreast of further discussions on that blog post. It is a good way to engage your visitors and retain their presence on your website.
    • Google +1
      This is a recent social media plugin to incorporate the recently introduced social media button of Google into webpages. It plays similar role to the twitter and facebook share buttons.

      With the introduction of Google +1, Google has also signified it’s intention to now take social media data into consideration in search engine rankings.

    • FollowMe
      WP FollowMe is a wordpress plugin that allows you to add a twitter Follow me badge on your wordpress blog. It is customizable such that you can insert any of different badges included or even import new badge of your choice.
    • Digg This O’ Mine
      Places a “Digg This” button at the end of your posts, pages, or anywhere of your choice.
    • Simple Facebook Share Button
      Similarly to the above, this plugin allows you to place a facebook share button on each blog post.
    • TweetMeme Retweet Button
      Adds a button to each blog post which easily lets your visitors retweet your blog posts.

    The above are the most essential wordpress plugins i will recommend you use on your blog.

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