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?
61 thoughts on “11 Must Have WordPress Plugins For Your Home Based Business”
Thank you for sharing this idea; these are really good tips for those who have home based business.
You are welcome Rahul. Hope you find some or all of them useful. Thanks for stopping by
I also like the social bookmarking plugins that allow users to bookmark a blog post on multiple social bookmarking sites, as well as twitter retweet and facebook like plugins.
Hi Andreas. Social bookmarking plugins are great although have them set up here manually. My plugin of choice for social sharing is sexybookmark, just in case you are interested to give it a try.
Yet another person endorsing GASP. I might give this a go on one of my smaller blogs and see how it works out. 🙂
Hello Dean. Yep, it does the job very well and it is not intrusive. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I think you will like it, specially if you get a lot of SPAM via bots.
I love these type of posts from experienced bloggers cos I can check how I am doing with my plugins. Have some of the ones you have suggested. Would like to investigate the sidebar one so will check that out.
Thanks for sharing with us DiTesco. Much appreciated.
Patricia Perth Australia
The sidebar one was just installed recently Patricia, courtesy of Michele. Did not know how to do this myself and the plugin is relatively easy to set up. I like it and it increased substantially my “stumbles” once I put it up. Maybe it is because it makes life easier, lol. Thanks for dropping by. Good to see you here as always.
I am pretty much using most of them. Pretty scary really… up to 41 plugins and counting! yikes!
The TweetOldPost & GD Star Rating sounds great… never heard of them. Let me ask you, how often do you use the TOW plug? I see you noted to use discretely. I can see how this can be especially helpful in creating my Twitter plan. 🙂
Hi Michele. 41 plugins is quite a lot and you have surpassed me by 9, lol. Just to show you that I am guilty of “if you don’t use it, lose it”, I have 30 active plugins, and 4 inactive. The later is sitting there and don’t know why. They occupy space and maybe even slowing down my site. But its there on my to do “something” about it list 🙂
GD Ratings is amazing and it is mind boggling why it is free. I use it on my blog directory for people to provide ratings on blogs. Also using it on my WP themese websites to rate free themes and it works well.
As for TOW, I have it active all the time and I am using these settings:
minimum age of post is 15 days and maximum is 30 days (older don’t get retweeted) – minimum interval between tweets: 4 hours – random interval also of 4 hours – no hashtag – and I excluded a bunch of categories. There are other setting preferences such as your favorite URL shortener, etc..
That’s pretty much it. The good thing is you can set it up the way you want to. See which settings works best….
OK, here goes plugin #42 …lol. Thanks for breaking down TOW for me… appreciate you taking the time. 🙂
My pleasure. Anytime 🙂 42 it is 😉
Jeez! Should I mention or not? I am having 62 active. Oops time to change 😉
Hi Jane. OMG, 62.. that’s a lot. Do you have them all active?
62? Wow!!! I just had a cpu overload that crashed the server and my blogs where shut down for 5 days. I could not figure out which plugins – if it was a plugin at all, I usually have around 35 but had to just reinstalled the minimum to keep the server stable.
[email protected] video tutorial
There was a list but very straight to the point and most important plugins that almost every bloggers should install.
However i don’t vote for sharebar, because it just slows down a site, and also it is possible to add manually.
But yes, sharebar saves times and works, i prefer adding them manually though.
Thanks for the lists!.
Hi Kimi. Sharebar is for the non tech savvy kinda guys, like me, lol. I would love to have it installed manually but I don’t know how to use it. Perhaps you have a good tutorial on how to do this? I’ll give it a go 🙂
[email protected] video tutorial
LOL yeah, nothing wrong with it.
I have a tut but not for Thesis theme, actually can be applied for Thesis if you are familiar with the custom_functions.php..
Quick link: http://www.blog.web6.org/wordpress-floating-social-media-button/
If you arent familiar with Thesis custom function, its best not to mess it up 😛
Thanks Kimi. Went over there and left you my two cents. Great tutorial.. As I said, will try this on a dummy site first before I completely mess up everything 🙂 Backing up files first and you know..hah, Love the challenge though 😉
Wow, really useful stuff in here. I’m lucky I’m already using a couple of them.
But I have one doubt, Is W3 Total Cache better than WP Super Cache? Because I’ve been using the second one for the longest time but never tried the W3 one.
What can you advice me?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Fernando. I won’t be the guy to tell you which one is better 🙂 as they have some minor differences between them. This much I can tell you, I used WP Super Cache and I did not “feel” any improvement at all in some of my websites. This could be due to a lot of reasons, one of them being your chosen theme. I also had a problem with “permissions” for WP Super and was not able t fix it.
That ‘s what I meant about “feel”. After I install W3 Total on a website, I can feel the difference. Best advice to you will be to try each one of them first. See how they perform and see which one works best for you, or if you prefer, which one do you “feel” that one is working best. Let me know what you decide, I would be very interested in knowing your experience.
Thanks for the answer DiTesco, I think I will just have to give it a try 🙂
I only use wp for some of my mini-website and I usually use a seo plugin, some stats, link cloaker and that’s kind of it.
I don’t use caching system because I am not expecting heap loads of traffic, I usually remove the comments section so no need for those.
But I must try the adsense optimizer, I will try it with amazon :D, also sharebare and contact form.
Tweet old posts and I also heard of a plugin that republishes your old articles.
By the way, why didn’t you include any seo plugins ?
Hi Alex. For now, I agree with you that using a caching plugin is probably not required although I think you can benefit from it for loading time, regardless of traffic. your site is pretty heavy on images, so give it a try and see if you “feel” something different. Else, you can always deactivate and delete 🙂
SEO plugins are not here because the are two links pointing to them already (separate posts). Right at the beginning of the post “top SEO WordPress plugins” and at the end “affiliate ninja”. Give them a read, I think you will find something useful over there.
Nice list of plugins my friend. I don’t know if you left them out on purpose but I have to say that you forgot to include some vital plugins needed for security reasons like Login Lockdown & WP Firewall. You might also want to include a mobile theme plugin like WPTouch for your readers who access your site with their mobile devices.
One last thing, about the backup plugin. Unless you set it to make backups every few minutes or hours, I don’t see why it would slow down the site unless it is poorly coded. Have you tried using the WP DBManager plugin? I’ve tried other plugins too like the WP DB Backup and the WP DBManager has been the best one so far.
Oopppss. My bad Jaypee. But I knew you were there at the “backdoor” just to make that everything goes smooth 🙂 Actually, I do have WP Firewall V2 installed and for some reason I did not think that it had anything to do with business. Now how silly of me to think that. No security can mess up your whole site and “adios” online business. Will remedy that now and update this post. As for Login Lockdown, I am somewhat uncertain if it does offer any risk to us, because I am still not sure how the “whitelisting” of IPs really work. Perhaps you have something written about this that we can share to everyone?
As for WP Touch, nope not using it and I would love to know what you think about it. The only question I have is will this not affect the normal browsing from people who are not using their mobiles. I mean, it will be under the hood right. People coming from normal browser will not feel a thing?
Go figure on the WP DBManager plugin. For some reason I can not seem to quite find the happiness here in my blog. There is an issue about it and just have not really had the patience to work on it. Anyway, they are two excellent plugins that everyone should seriously consider. I’ll update that part too.
Thanks Jaypee for the heads up.
Small Business Technology
These are some great suggestions, including a few that I’ve never heard of. I would also agree with Jaypee that WPTouch is a very powerful plugin for making WordPress mobile friendly.
Alex @ Jackrabbit.com
Thanks Alex for your input. I have overlooked the “mobile” scene as of now but it should really be an important part of managing a home based business. Just waiting for a response from Jaypee to get it going. Or maybe you know the answer to that question?, lol. Would love to hear your opinion though
Small Business Technology
Our blog is fairly new, so I’m no expert on WordPress plugins, but yes, it doesn’t affect normal browsing. As I understand it, WPTouch detects certain mobile browsers and automatically redirects them to the mobile version of the site. We use WP SuperCache and there is a bit of special configuration to make it work with WPTouch. Not sure about W3 Total Cache though…
Alex @ Jackrabbit.com
thanks for letting me know about the possible issue with the caching plugins. I am no WP expert either, hence the reason I prefer to use plugins that does the job. I will try to find out whether there is an issue between W3 Total and WP Touch. I got all lit up with making a website compatible with a mobile version and this one seems like a good choice. Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts. Appreciate it
What’s the advantage of using the Sharebar plugin instead of the similar Digg Digg plugin?
Actually one thing that I just noticed. I’ve had several people complain about the odd way the digg digg plugin disappears then reappears when you scroll up/down near the top of the post. It looks like the Sharebar doesn’t do this.
WordPress DB Manager is a great plugin though it is no longer updated. It still works and many people use it, but it hasn’t had a new release since way before wp 3.0. Some technies note that there are consequently problems with using it. I’m going to check out the Automatic backup plugin too. Thanks.
Hi Jarret. I’m not really familiar with the Digg Digg plugin and sharebar works best in all websites I have tested. The advantage I see here is that users can see it all the time and while not intrusive makes it easier for them to share. Another thing I liked about this plugin is that I can add any button that I want, even those that do not come standard with it. Finally for a non tech savvy, this plugin is real easy to set up. That’s my take at least.
As for the backup manager, it is my opinion that if other plugins are doing the job well, then one should stick to it. The main reason I do it via Amazon S3 is that it is a whole separate site. As I said, for some reason I could not get WP DB Manager to work well in my site. Maybe it is just a small issue with another plugin or some weird bug in there 🙂 Anyway, as an added precaution, give Automatic Backup a go and see how it works for you. Amazon charges so cheap that one should not even say that it is a paid service. Obviously, if you have very large data, it could cost more than a $1 per month, lol
Thanks for these awesome list of wordpress plugins. I was really in need of the same. Keep writing and sharing such useful stuffs.
Hi Aswani. good to see you here as always. Hope you find some of these tools useful.
That’s a great list! There are some that I haven’t heard of and it looks like I could use a couple of those plugins. Thanks for the tip 🙂
I can think of another plugin which can help drive more traffic to a blog and increase readership. The GTS translation plugin is one of the only plugins that translates your blog content into other languages and stores the content in your WP database so it can be indexed by search engines, retweeted and shared on social networks. See http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gts-translation/ for download and installation information.
Thanks David. This one is also very interesting. I’m sure my readers would like to know about it. Cheers!
Great List Ditesco the only one that has a drawback W3 Total Cache the reason been for some advertising because it renders html code it cannot be read by php backend code so sometimes it causes problem but never the less it is a brilliant plugin
Hi there. Thanks for shedding some light on the W3 issue. Did not know about this. Thanks for dropping by and happy holidays to you and your love ones.
I use some of these already, but there are a lot of new ones for me to check out. The Adsense optimizer sounds interesting, although I already have a plugin that places ads inside posts.
I’ve only just installed GASP and I’m using it alongside Akismet. GASP hits the robot spam and Akismet the human spam so with both I’ve got it pretty well covered.
I’ve done the same thing with the anti spam plugins. Both running alongside and has been a time saver for filtering SPAM, both human and bots. AdSense optimizer has worked better for me because I like the flexibility it offers. I can virtually do anything I want with AdSense ads. So much to talk about it that it deserves a post on its own, as I mentioned 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to drop by.
I’ve had a quick look at it and it does have a lot of options, too many for my liking. I prefer things nice and simple when it comes to blogging. The plugin I use allows me to use any script so I can place adsense, chitika, Clickbank or even Amazon ads.
I understand Sire. Sometimes the simpler the better. However for my planned action for AdSense, this plugin fits the bill. You see I don’t like Adsense being displayed on the body of my post specially if they are relatively new. This give the option to inject Ads only when I want and where I want. But now you got me all curious with the plugin you are using. Will that be Ad Rotate?
As you know I have a few blogs and I use different widgets on different blogs. I use Why Do Work and Adsense of WassupBlog, Quick Adsense on another and Shylok Adsense on another. I’ve never used Ad Rotate.
Some of the plugins also have features such as only placing ads on old post, or even on post that receive search engine traffic.
I reckon I just may give Adsense Optimize a go on Wassup just to see what it can do.
3 plug-ins there for me to try. Sharebar, W3 cache and the firewall. I think these three can greatly help my blog.
Thanks for the useful list.
Hello Pete. The plugins you have chosen to try are all helpful. Firewall 2 is a good security measure although you should not rely solely on it. Some added security will complete the task, like using an automatic backup manager. Let me know how it goes, hopefully you’ll like them as much as I do.
Another tweet & stumble-worthy post from you DiTesco. There are too many things on going now that I hardly get to explore my WP plugins, and God knows how crowded my plugin list is! Time to declutter so I can use some of the brilliant plugins suggested by you here. I love WPTouch & GoogleXML Sitemap, very smart choices given. I’d like to know more about the Adsense Optimizer, will be waiting for your comprehensive post about it. 🙂
HI Ching. How are things going on your end. Hopefully everything is fine and you and your love ones in good health. Like you, my list of plugins were also quite long and most of them were even deactivated so I just took advantage when writing this post to trash some of those. As for the comprehensive post about AdSense optimizer, will do it definitely but most like next year 🙂 Amazing how this year flew. Anyway, thanks for dropping by and happy holidays to you and everyone you care about.
Our lists are pretty close. I’ll definitely be checking out GASP as an alternative to Akismet. I’d recommend checking out “SEO Friendly Images”, “Dragon Design Sitemap Generator”, and the “All in One SEO Pack”.
Thanks Steve for the suggestions. All In One SEo has been included in my other post 🙂 GASP is really a good plugin and I have it working alongside Akismet. Will check the other two you recommend.
DiTesco – Great list of plug-ins. I have utilized a few of them such as the AdSense Optimizer and the GoogleXML SiteMap, both of which are very useful. However, I must thank you for introducing me to YARP, TweetOldPost, and ShareBar. I will try out all three of these on one of my new blogs and see how it goes. I’m sure you could have added a lot more and I hope you make another post in the future on some more great plugins. Thanks.
Hi Kerry. Oh yeah, there are other plugins I am using that I have not mentioned here. These ones are those that in my opinion can help yo boost your online presence and improve you online business. On the other hand and giving it an extra thought, everything that makes your website easier to navigate, improve SEO, or just about anything else can actually achieve this goal. Thanks for stopping by and do let me know how those plugins works for you.
Very good collections listed out here, i love the 2nd and 4th actually. good job.. go ahead Retweeted
Thanks Praveen for stopping by and leaving your opinion. Many tks for the RT too 🙂 Have a nice day
Mark "Chief Alchemist" Simchock
Good lists. Some of the usual suspect but some not so obvious suggestions as well.
It’s still in beta and I hope to be 1.0.0 soon. None the less, I’d be curious to know what you think about it.
Thanks! I’ll blog/mention your list later today.
Will try it out. Thanks
I haven’t tried out the fast contact form yet, have only tried contact form 7 up to this point. Do you know if it’s better than contact form 7?
Hi Ryan, not sure if it is better, but it works well for me. I did however hear positive things about CF7, so its really your choice. If you have another where you can test it, that would be great.
Great plugin list you’ve shared with us. I use most of them and I have to say the ones from Andy Bailey – CommentLuv and GASP are my all time favorite. To be honest with you, I’m not a fan of Tweet Old Post – not so much from a blog owner’s point of view, but from an avid Twitterer’s point of view.
I’m not sure what kind of control it gives you but I see so many of my fellow bloggers using it and the old posts that are tweeting are really stale and some of the information is defunct! For example, you did a lovely holiday greeting post on Christmas, just imagine if Tweet old post gets hold of that one in July of 2011. 🙂
Of course, this is no offense to you or the others that use it. I guess it’s my own fault for being such a Twitter addict!! LOL.
Thanks again for a great plugin list.
Hi Ileane. I agree with you on ComLuv and GASP. Andy’s plugins are really good and have been very useful. Plugins should be like this, something that really helps. I have just started to use Andy’s extra feature which is the “default links” and I must tell you that from a link building POV it is great. As with Tweet Old Post, you are right about that and it actually happened to me tweeting an old post that was very specific. What’s good about it is that you can filter it in many ways, one of which is to “exclude” categories. It also allow you to set to tweet only post of a specific “age” (say last 15 days). Try it, if you don’t like it you can always deactivate. Which reminds me, I have to filter that Christmas post right now. Thanks for dropping by and may 2011 be filled with joy.
Ok, I’m glad I reminded you about that one 🙂
I’ll give Tweet old post a try because I know you always give me great advice. Many thanks my friend.
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