in Marketing & Media

19 Top WordPress Plugins

[See update to this post here.]
Several people asked me recently for suggestions on starting a blog — particularly core software and functionality requirements. I believe WordPress is the best. A major reason is that it has the largest selection of top plugins to easily enable almost any functionality, thanks to its thriving open-source development community.

So what’s a plugin? According to Wikipedia, a plugin (also: plug-in, addin, add-in, addon, add-on, snap-in or snapin) consists of a computer program that interacts with a host application (a web browser, an email client or WordPress, for example) to provide a certain, usually very specific, function “on demand”.

Here are the top WordPress plugins I use on this site:

Akismet – Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. The best spam protection and it keeps getting better.

All in One SEO Pack – Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog.

DISQUS Comment System – The DISQUS comment system replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by DISQUS. It reduces the friction to leave comments, and then makes them more dynamic and interactive.

FB StandardStats – Plugin to easily incorporate FeedBurner’s StandardStats into your blog. You can quickly get a read on your RSS and email subscribers, as well as basic visitor analytics, from the FeedBurner dashboard.

FeedBurner FeedSmith – Legacy WordPress software versions and various theme templates created many different kinds of content feeds, and this plugin channels them all into one that you can track through FeedBurner.

flickrRSS – Allows you to integrate the photos from a flickr rss feed into your site. You can see mine in the bottome-middle sidebar of this site.

Full Text Feed – Prevents WordPress 2.1+ versions from adding a more link to your website’s feed. A stupid WordPress problem, but this plugin seems to fix it.

Google Analytics for WordPress – This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics tracking to your WordPress blog. While I trust FeedBurner for RSS and email subscriber stats, Google Analytics is my primary Web visitor analytics program. (I use FeedBurner’s visitor stats only for casual reference.)

Popularity Contest – This will enable ranking of your posts by popularity; using the behavior of your visitors to determine each post’s popularity. You set a value (or use the default value) for every post view, comment, etc. and the popularity of your posts is calculated based on those values. Once you have activated the plugin, you can configure your own reports to what content resonates with your audience. You can also use it to create sidebar widgets that display the most popular content.

Related Posts – Returns a list of the related entries based on active/passive keyword matches.

SRG Clean Archives – This plugin is designed to display your archive listings in a clean, uniform, single-query fashion that’s search-engine friendly on a dedicated page or in your sidebar. See my dedicated Archives page in the navigation bar.

Twitter for WordPress – Displays your public Twitter messages for all to read. You can see mine in the bottom-left sidebar.

Video Embedder – This allows you to embed videos from various sources in your blog without breaking validation. It’s just an easier way to consitently embed YouTube and other video clips in posts.

wp-cache – It makes pages on this site load faster. Faster load times mean better user experiences.

WP-EMail – Allows people to recommend and send your WordPress blog’s posts to a friend.

Zemanta – Generates contextually relevant suggestions of links, pictures, related content and tags. In other words, it makes it easier to link to related content and include appropriate images to enhance your posts.

Site SearchI recommend reading this tutorial by Yoast, which led to install the following search-related plugins.

Search Excerpt- Returns snippets containing the search phrase to embed in search results.

Search Reloaded – Enhances WordPress’ default search engine functionality.

Search Suggest – Offers a spelling suggestion for a certain word, useful on search pages when no result was found.

What do you think of these plugins? Which ones do you use? Should I be using any others to make this site better?

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    Nice list Max. I'm a big fan of IntenseDebate over disqus since it's now more integrated with WordPress.
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    Hi Steve. The integration of Intense Debate with WordPress is nice, but I
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    (and I’m not using myself as a proxy….I’m basing this off of many other
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    Great post. I was torn between Disqus and IntenseDebate also. Intense debate seemed to have a little more positive feedback online so I went with them. I may give Disqus a second look.

    Did you choose the manual install option for wp-optimize?

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