WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms available, in large part because of the many wonderful themes and plugins that make it easy for bloggers without programming experience to create beautiful,easy-to-use blogs. Adding plugins is always a balancing act; you want to make your site to run as smoothly as possible without overloading it with content. Today I am sharing the best WordPress blog plugins that I have found. I also share a ways to work around needing a few plugins.
Check out these other blogging tips:
The Best WordPress Blog Plugins
Backup: I use BackWPUp to keep my site backed up, so that if there is a server crash I don’t lose the content I spend hours creating every week.
Broken Links: I used to use Broken Link Checker, but now I use this web-based program because it means one less plugin for my site! If you do choose to use the plugin (it is more user-friendly than the website), I recommend installing and then removing it for a while once you have cleaned up links.
EU Cookie Law: Most of my readers are US-based, but I do have a significant number from the UK and other European countries, and this means that I need cookie law disclosure on my site (honestly, I think that it’s a nice thing to do for US readers as well). Cookie Law Info is an easy plugin to use plugin with a clean design.
Google Authorship: The Google Author Link plugin allows you to easily manage Google Authorship for both single author and multi-author WordPress sites.
Slideshow: I use the Genesis Responsive Slider to create the slideshow of recent posts that you see at the top of my main page. This is an easy to use plugin, but unfortunately it only supports Genesis child themes and so will not work if you do not have the Genesis framework installed for your WordPress site.
Newsletter Subscription: Mailmunch is the cleanest-looking newsletter subscription plugin I have seen – it’s that purple bar at the top of my site (which will disappear for 30 days if you click the little x on the right). It integrates with several newsletter programs directly, but for users like me who are on MadMimi you can export a CSV file and add subscribers manually. A little bit of a hassle, but worth it to me since I was looking to give readers an easy way to subscribe without being obnoxious.
No-Follow Links: Sponsored links and affiliate links are supposed to be no-follow. The External Links plugin makes this easy – you can set it to make all external links to be no-follow, or specify sites that can have follow links (such as links I post to other blogs that are not compensated links).
Page Speed: W3 Total Cache is designed to improve user experience and page speed by caching content.
Related Posts: Zemanta is the most popular current Related posts plugin in the blogging communities I belong to. It is easy to use and can easily be customized to suit your site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): I use Yoast SEO for search engine optimization, along with every blogger I have ever asked about this. This plugin is frequently updated for optimum performance.
Site Speed: Every once in a while I download the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin and run a test to make sure I don’t have any plugins that are really dragging down my site speed. Then I delete the plugin for a few months, because it isn’t something I need on my site all the time.
Social Icons: I have plans to eventually make social icons and upload them directly to the site, but until I make time for that project the Simple Social Icons plugin is doing the job for me. This plugin is very easy to customize – I have changed the way my icons look a few times, and it has never taken longer than a couple of minutes.
Social Sharing: This is the only instance where I pay for a plugin, because I found that the free versions were hogging my site’s resources. So far Social Warfare is my favorite, and I tried it because it was recommended to me by several blog friends.
Spam Control: For a long time, I used Akismet to control spam on my site. Unfortunately, spam on some older posts became so out of control that I had to turn off comments on older posts. Now I get a few spam comments every day, but I simply moderate comments and removed Akismet since even this relatively lightweight plugin does add to the overall load time on my site.
Do you have a favorite WordPress Plugin that I should add to this list?