Not so long ago, I have shared with all of you the top SEO WordPress plugins I am using here. These plugins, which are all free btw, have been tested not only here but in several other websites I manage and up until now, even with the latest version of WordPress installed, I have not yet faced any problems.
Today, I will be sharing with you my favorite non SEO related 100% free WordPress plugins that I currently use “mainly” on this blog. Most of these WP plugins can really help to manage your home based business more efficiently, and although you may find other alternatives (I’m sure you will), rest assured that these ones works, and works extremely well.
Searching for plugins on the WordPress repository as you may know is very time consuming and sometimes very frustrating. Before downloading the plugins or hitting that install button, you should always check them out first. Read the users ratings and the plugins descriptions, verify when was the plugin last updated, check compatibility with the latest version of WP, research for reviews, etc., are all signals of good plugins. Of course, you can skip all that with these ones I will be sharing with you now :). BTW, just to make sure they are clean of any possible bugs, all plugin links point to WordPress.org.
Must Have Plugins For WordPress
AdSense Optimizer: This one really deserves a post of its own, but until that happens, just take my word for it :). AdSense Optimizer as the name suggest optimizes your AdSense for placements, displaying multiple formats, intelligent insertion without breaking posts length, filtering and more. A very powerful plugin. Just be sure to test different settings. For example, I use it here on my posts, but only on selected ones, applying the technique I showed you on Using Your Most Viewed Articles For Better Conversions.
Fast Secure Contact Form: Everyone needs a contact page on their websites, period. Fast Secure Contact Form for WordPress has an easy set up and lets your visitors send you a quick E-mail messages. Blocks all common spammer tactics and includes a CAPTCHA and Akismet support if enabled. Additionally, the plugin has a multi-form feature, optional extra fields, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Updated recently.
GoogleXML SiteMap: Non tech savvy oriented plugin, XML Sitemap will automatically generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to better crawl and index your blog. Plug and Play style, very easy to install. It will automatically notify all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content. Number of downloads closing nearly 5 million. Need I say more?
ShareBar: Adds a dynamic bar with sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, SU, Digg, Buzz, etc.) that changes based on browser size and page location. You can also add manually any other social sites provided you have the code. You can see a demo right there on the left hand side of this post. Michele of NewBizBlogger introduced me to this super cool plugin. Thanks Michele!
Automatic WordPress Backup: Automatically uploads backup of important parts of your blog to Amazon S3. You need special keys to activate the plugin. Although you have to pay Amazon for this service, the cost is ridiculously cheap. I pay literally pennies per month and have my website backed up with the frequency of my choosing, all automatically. I have tried other the popular automatic backup plugins for WP (WP DB Backup), but for some reason they slow the page load of my website. Go figure..
NOTE: Regardless of how you want to do it, you MUST DO BACKUPs REGULARLY. There I’ve said it. Don’t be sorry and say later that you have not been warned.
W3 Total Cache: Need for speed? Google’s one ranking factor is page load time, so this one fits the bill nicely. Improve the speed and user experience of your site with W3. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress. My favorite based on actual “feel”.
CommentLuv: I think this one requires very little introduction. ComLuv plugin allows you to show a link to the last post from the commenters blog by parsing the feed at their given URL when they leave a comment. Rewards your readers and encourages more comments. If you are in doubt, you can read here why your blog should be commentluv enabled.
GASP: An excellent alternative to Akismet. GASP is an anti spam plugin which was developed by the same guy who brought us CommentLuv. Saves you a lot of time, and time is money :). This simple bot proof plugin adds a client side generated checkbox to the comment form requesting that the user clicks it to prove they are not a spammer. Works under the hood.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: One way of reducing bounce rates is to entice your reader with more articles that are related to the one that they are presently reading. If they are enjoying what you have to say, there is always a chance for them to want more. YARP makes this process easier by giving them a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. Allows customization.
TweetOldPost: Plugin that tweets your old posts in an effort to get more hits and keep them alive. Tweet Old Posts randomly picks your older post based on the interval you specify. You can exclude categories, and any unwanted pages that you are really not interested in sharing. The primary function of this plugin is to promote older blog posts by tweeting about them and getting more traffic. Use discretely.
GD Star Rating: Great if you are running a website that requires user generated rating system, such as a directory, reviews, online games, etc. GD Star Rating plugin allows you to set up rating and review system for posts, pages and comments in your blog. You can set many options for displaying the rating stars, and add widgets into the sidebars for displaying top ratings and other statistics generated by the plugin. It is so advanced I am impressed its free. Multiple options and can be disabled individually on any post or pages.
Affiliate Ninja WP Plugins: Will skip the details here. Just head over to how to become an affiliate ninja if you still have not read it.
UPDATE: And blame my friend JayPee for this 🙂 Jaypee runs a tech blog and he is one of my most entrusted friend when it concerns among other things, WP related topics. He mentioned in the comment section about security issues and making your website mobile compatible. That’s important and without further ado, following are his recommendations.
WordPress Firewall 2 – We all should be concerned about the security of our websites. Aside from making regular backups, it also wise to “defend your site” from the possibility of attacks. This plugin provides an additional layer of security to your site by protecting against WordPress specific attacks.
WP Touch – WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone 6, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices. I have not yet tried this myself, but if Jaypee recommends it, I would not even think twice. I’m taking his world for it.
There you are. These are my 11 (now 13) must have WordPress plugins. What about you? What are your favorite WordPress plugins? Why?