I get asked a lot of the same exact questions over and over again: how do I setup a blog, how do I setup a newsletter, where did I get my blog theme (it was custom built), and what wordpress plugins do I use.
Hmm…maybe I should setup my own blogging course or something.
Anyways, I’ve never really listed the WordPress plugins that I use, so here it is. 25 of my favorite WordPress plugins – some you probably know, and some you probably don’t.
Here is a list of WordPress plugins that all WordPress blogs should have, no matter what the topic of discussion is:
1. All In One SEO Pack: There are two parts to search engine optimization: on-site and off-site optimization. This plugin helps with your site’s on-site optimization by easily allowing you to edit both the title, description and keywords for your website, as well as each of your individual blog posts, among other things.
2. Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin helps search engines easily crawl through your site and quickly index your content. For the beginners out there, don’t worry about all of the settings and extra options that come along with it – as long as you install (and activate) it, your blog should be good to go.
4. Akismet: So far, Akismet (or as I like to call it – the most underrated plugin ever) has helped intercept 91,656 spam comments from landing on this blog. Ridiculous! It comes pre-installed when you setup WordPress, but you’ll need a WordPress.com API in order to enable it. I won’t go over what that means here, but there are instructions on what to do after you activate the plugin.
5. Broken Link Checker: This plugin is a gem. It crawls through your entire blog and reports any existing broken links. A broken link may be a link that doesn’t work because you typed the URL incorrectly, or it could also be because the page that it links to is no longer available. After you activate this plugin, it does take a day or two to get through your whole site, but it definitely cleans up the junk!
Other Plugins That I Use
Here is a list of some of the other plugins that I use, although I don’t use all of them for each website that I own. It depends on what kind of site it is, so read through the short description to see if it’s something you’d find useful for yours:
6. Robots Meta: This is a more advanced plugin that was created by Joost de Valk from Yoast.com (who I am still working with to find a date for the SPI SEO Report Webinar! Thanks for your patience with that!), which again helps with what the search engines see and what they don’t. The most important part of this plugin is that you have the ability to tell the search engines not to index or crawl through certain pages of your site, and also you have the ability to set whether or not to include the follow or nofollow tag to certain things. If this kind of talk is over your head, don’t worry about it, but if you’d like to learn more you should watch the Robots Meta video over at Yoast.com.
7. RSS Footer: When people read your content in an RSS reader like Google reader, what do they do after they’re done reading the post? If you don’t have a call to action, then probably nothing. This is why I love this plugin because it gives me the ability to say a little something extra to those who are reading my content not on my website. You can ask them to visit the website to leave a comment, you can give them a little thank you message for being a subscriber, or you can even ask them to become a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. One time, I even held a contest on my blog that was just for my RSS subscribers using this plugin. Of course, when I announced that the rules and the winner were only going to be announced on the RSS feed, I saw a whole bunch of new subscribers that day. Good times.
8. TubePress: This is the plugin that easily creates this video gallery on my blog. If you have a YouTube or a Vimeo account and a few videos to go along with them, you can put up a gallery just like mine in a post, page or even in the sidebar of your blog.
9. ShareBar: I installed this plugin about a month ago after being impressed seeing it implemented on a number of other blogs. It basically creates a bar that includes social media buttons that stay on the screen as a reader scrolls down the page and it can be customized to include any number of buttons that you wish. It comes with the standard options like Twitter and Facebook (although it’s the share button, not the like button, at the moment), Digg, Reddit, etc. – but you can include your own custom buttons too.
10. Aweber Web Form Plugin: This is a brand new plugin, hot off the press, by the kind folk over at Aweber. This was created to make it extremely easy to drag and drop web forms that you’ve created in your Aweber account onto your blog without ever having to log-in to Aweber and copy and paste any script or code. Very cool.
11. Page Link Manager: Okay, maybe I’m being stupid here, but is there not an easy way to easily reorder the pages in our navigation menu? I know I’m not the only one with this problem because several people have asked me for help about this too. Well, unless anyone can enlighten me (you would think there would be an easy way to do this in WordPress), if you want to reorder the page links in your navigation menu, just use this plugin.
12. WordPress Database Backup: I use this tool to automatically send me an email that contains a backup file of my WordPress blog every single day. You’ll never know when something may happen to your blog, so backup now and backup often!
13. WordPress Stats: There are hundreds of different plugins that help you keep track of traffic statistics for your blog, but this one is one of my favorites. It does require a WordPress.com API (like the Askimet plugin), but it’s worth the little trouble to install because it gives me real time traffic results. In real time, I can see exactly how many pageviews my blog receives, exactly where they are coming from, as well as what they are clicking on. Also, it gives me a short list of the top keywords that referred people to my site as well. Good stuff
14. Audio Player: This is the most common type of audio player that you’ll see on most websites that include a podcast or some other type of audio media. You can easily configure it to match the look of your site, just like I have for The Smart Passive Income Blog:
15. Subscribers Magnet: All of the plugins listed above are FREE. This one, however, is a premium plugin that I wasn’t going to include here on the list, but I’ve gotten so many questions about one particular feature and I wanted to make sure it was addressed. I’ve written a review on this plugin before which lists many of the several ways that it can help increase the opt-in rate for your email list, however feature everyone is emailing me about is the button within the comment form that automatically subscribes people to my email list if it’s checked. This is the plugin that does that for me, which is pretty cool and has helped to increase my subscription rate a noticable amount. Not a significant amount, but a noticable one.
16. W3 Total Cache: This caching plugin will speed up the loadtime of your website, and combined with Amazon S3 and Cloudfront you can really get some lighting fast results. As mentioned before, my blog isn’t the friendliest when it comes to load time. Before installing this plugin, my load times were insane – between 12 to 15 seconds per page (which is totally inexcusable, especially now that Google takes into account load time for search engine results rankings), but aftering installing W3 Total Cache and integrating Amazon S3 and Cloudfont for storage, my load times are much much less – between 2 to 6 seconds per page.
17. WP-Wishlist: This is an incredible plugin which can turn your WordPress blog into a membership website. I’m currently experimenting with it, and so far the results are amazing (I don’t have my own membership website yet, but I’m currently learning the ins and outs of this plugin and comparing it with my other options for membership website setup too). It integrates seamlessly with your WordPress blog so you can create different membership levels with different access capabilities, integrate it with shopping carts like Paypal and Clickbank, and you can set it up for sequential content delivery. I can’t fully recommend it yet because I’m still weighing my options, but from what other people have told me, it works extremely well. Of course, this is a paid plugin.
18. KB-Linker: This is a pretty nifty plugin that I just recently discovered which will link phrases you specify to sites you specify. So for example, you could make it so that everytime the phrase “Niche Site Duel” appears in a post, it will automatically include a link to nichesiteduel.com, or whatever link you specify. I haven’t used this on this blog yet, but I am using it on some of my niche sites and it works great, especially for affiliate links.
19. I know this post said 19 plugins, and that’s where you come in. I know you have 1 plugin (just one!) that you’d like to share with the rest of the SPI community that wasn’t on this list. Just leave your recommendation in the comment section of this post. Even if someone else mentioned the one you were thinking of already, that’s okay – mention it again because it probably means it’s something worth taking a second look at.
Thanks everyone, and have a wonderful week. Cheers!
p.s. Thanks to my friend Nicole Dean for the inspiration (and reminder!) to write this post.