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10 Essential WordPress Blog Plugins

Here is a list of 10 essential WordPress plugins that every WordPress blogger should know about! All plugins shown here are free of charge unless stated (although some may offer premium services they are not essential to the function of the plugin). If your after security plugins you can find them here: Top 10 WordPress Blog Security Plugins.

Before you start you need a WordPress blog that is not hosted on WordPress.com. Download the latest version of WordPress and follow these instructions if you are unsure of how to download, install and configure a WordPress blog from scratch (to your own domain).

#1. SEO Ultimate

  • Add custom title tags, description tags, keywords to posts and pages
  • Set all outbound links to nofollow
  • Set the page to not be crawled by search engines using noindex
  • Autolink controls (to set specific words to automatically link to a url – ie you can set the phrase “promote blog” to link to http://blogoola.com)
  • A handy feature is it gives you reports on 404 errors to any of your posts or pages
  • Title tag rewriter is also handy for bulk titles

Average WordPress rating:  4/5 4-star

Plugin homepage: http://www.seodesignsolutions.com/

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-ultimate/

Sams view “10/10. Awesome. A must for those SEO enthusiasts out there.  This plugin can work for me, until it dies, or I find better.”


#2. Google XML Sitemaps

  • Automatically generates and submits sitemaps to major search engines

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage: http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

Sams view “7/10. I have found it slows WordPress slightly when it’s building but other than that ists absoloute genius and saves heaps of time.”


#3. Social Media Widget

  • Adds a widget button for every social media site you can think of
  • Supports up to 6 more custom feeds

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin forum: http://forums.idontlikethisgame.com/viewforum.php?f=3

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/social-media-widget/

Sams view “8/10. Does what it says of the tin. No problems, although the social media items you don’t use you have to manually make the boxes blank (so they don’t appear in the widget) which takes time as there are quite a few.”


#4. Auto Twitter

  • Automatically tweets any posts/pages you publish
  • Option to retweet updated posts/pages
  • Austomatically shortens urls to tweetable versions

Average WordPress rating:  4/5 4-star

Plugin homepage:  http://fun.ly/

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/autotwitter/

Sams view “7/10. Does exactly what it says on the tin. No worries here.”


#5. Adminimize

  • Control what your blog users (Authors,  Editors etc) have access to
  • Allow users access to only make posts
  • Prevent users from creating or editing categories
  • They only see the posts they create.
  • Provides functionality so they can control their profile settings upon logon
  • Massive list of customizable settings

With adminimize I recommend using this plugin so that your users can change their passwords and email address. The plugin is called “Change Password / E-mail” (enter this into your search plugins on wordpress) by Scottclark.

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage: http://bueltge.de/wordpress-admin-theme-adminimize/674/

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/adminimize/

Sams view “10/10 It allows me to have people to write and post content to my blog with the security and piece of mind that they can’t change any WordPress settings. ”


#6. Contact Me

  • Takes 2 minutes to get a contact form page, fully integrated
  • Automatically saves your contact details into your profile
  • Ability to show/hide a contact widget
  • Can be embedded into a page in seconds!

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage: http://my.contactme.com/

Download Plugin:  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/contactme/

Sams view “9/10. These guys have really excelled themselves and produced a seamless way to create a contact form. I really can’t believe  it was that easy. And the auto save of contact information… well, that’s just icing on the cake! To get the 10/10 would be nice to disable the big contact me logo under the form… but I guess they have to get something out of it.”


Live Demo: http://www.jquery4u.com/contact/

#7. Facebook Members

  • Shows a facebook like box and thumbnails of facebook likers
  • Dimensions can be customized

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage: http://crunchmeme.com/plugins/facebook-members/

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/facebook-members/

Sams view “6/10. Great plugin. Took a while to find the facebook page though as it required a url without the http://facebook.com prefix.”


Important Plugin Information:

Installing lots of plugins may go over the default allocated memory! Follow the instructions below to increase your allocation of WordPress plugin memory.

If at any time you experience problems with plugins you may need to follow the instructions below to diagnose and fix potential WordPress plugin problems.

This is the post where Heaps of WordPress Problems diagnosed and fixed

#8. Google Analytics

  • Include your google analytics code with one click of a button
  • You need to know your google id

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage:  http://www.intelisoftbd.com/open-source-projects/google-analytics.html

Download Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/easy-google-analytics-for-wordpress/

Sams view “6/10. Does exactly what it says on the tin. No worries here. For advanced user though it’s probably easier just to paste the code directly into the editor.”


#9. ShrinkTheWeb Website Thumbnails

  • Show a thumbnail picture for any website url

Average WordPress rating:  4/5 4-star

Plugin homepage:  http://www.shrinktheweb.com/content/pagepix-plugins-automated-website-previews.html

Download Plugin:  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/shrinktheweb-website-preview-plugin/

Sams view “8/10. Once you’ve registered for your API it is very easy to install and use. I’ve compared around 8 different free website thumbnail websites and shrinktheweb has been the best by a big margin!”


#10. SyntaxHighlighter Evolved

  • Display programming code embedded in your blog
  • Auto formats to over 20 different programming languages
  • Can be used on normal text just to make it stand out!

Average WordPress rating:  5/5 5-star

Plugin homepage: http://alexgorbatchev.com/wiki/SyntaxHighlighter

Download Plugin:  http://www.viper007bond.com/wordpress-plugins/syntaxhighlighter/

Sams view “8/10. It’s the best code plugin I’ve found so far. There is a good article here on how to install SyntaxHighlighter Evolved plugin to your wordpress blog.”


Other useful plugins

  • Hikari Category Permalink – Choose a category for the permalink instead of the WordPress default (useful for selecting for more than 1 category for the post.
  • Excerpt Editor – Auto add the  <!– more –> tag. Useful for showing just the beginning of posts on the homepage/category pages with a “continue reading >>” especially if you have long posts/pages.
  • SexyBookmarks -  – Very nice Shareaholic  icons that pop up on mouse hover.
  • Akismet - Removes your spam comments automatically (trust me this is a life saver!) It requires an API key which you can get free here.
  • LinkWithin – Pretty cool show related posts widget to help your reader continue reading other posts on your blog.
  • Related Links by CategoryGreat plugin that creates a widget to display other posts in the same category.

Comments on: "10 Essential WordPress Blog Plugins" (9)

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  3. [...] are WordPress Plugins available to automatically add “nofollow” links to your blog [...]

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