One of the best aspects of choosing Wordpress as your CMS-of-choice is the fact that there is a plugin for virtually everything on it!
Here is a comprehensive list of some of the best plugins on the Wordpress platform. (All links are direct, no affiliate links)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
1. Wordpress SEO by Yoast (Free): The complete SEO solution for Wordpress! Handles all aspects of your Wordpress blog’s SEO for you, allowing you to optimize the content and various parts of your blog for search engines – which means you improve your on-page SEO, and get more traffic and visitors to your blog. Super-easy to use and get the hang of, even if you’re relatively unfamiliar with search engine optimization. Should be one of the first plugins your install on your Wordpress blog.
2. Google XML Sitemaps (Free): Google’s XML sitemaps automatically generates a sitemap for your blog and submits it to Google as well. This allows search engine bots/crawlers to find your blog easily, and index all pages on it in a much better manner. In addition, the plugin also automatically informs search engines whenever new content is uploaded on your blog, saving you the hassle of doing this manually.
3. SEO Friendly Images (Free): Self-explanatory. The plugin optimizes any and all images on your website for search engines by automatically adding ALT and Title attributes to them. As you might or might not know, filling out both these fields is essential, as it allows search engines to ‘see’ and index your images, bringing you traffic from sources such as Google Images. The title tag also lets your visitors know what the image is about if they hover their mouse over it.
4. SEOPressor ($47, $97): A premium SEO plugin for Wordpress, SEOPressor claims it will ‘skyrocket your website’s search engine ranking (SERP)’ by automating the optimization process. It strengthens your on-page optimization factors such as <Header> tags, Keyword density and placement, images and links, ALT tag for images and the like, and then provides an SEO score for the page as well as suggestion on how to optimize and tweak your content even more. Their claim of the plugin being akin to an SEO expert optimizing your website isn’t far from the truth!
5. 404 Redirection (Free): An absolute life-saver! 404 Redirection lets you redirect all 404s (‘Page Not Found’) to your homepage. This improves your bounce-rate, among other SEO metrics. It redirects your visitors to your homepage instead of taking them to an erroneous page, it prevents your blog from losing its rankings in search engines, and most importantly, it prevents your blog from losing valuable link-juice and prevent you from losing your Page Rank.
1. W3 Total Cache (Free): Optimizes your Wordpress blog for speed and page-load times. Your Wordpress blog, and its pages load up super-fast, as this plugin improves server performance through (i) caching, and (ii) CDN integration. Needless to say, the difference in speed is pretty great, and certainly noticeable!
1. Digg Digg (Free): Puts a floating bar (or a normal ‘fixed’ one at the top of the posts) – anywhere on your blog – with share buttons, similar to what websites such as Mashable have. The bar contains all popular social sharing buttons, such as for Facebook, Twitter, Digg, G+, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Buffer and a whole lot of others. This allows visitors on your website to easily ‘like’ your content, and be able to share it on their social media profiles with one click of the mouse. You can choose which social buttons you would like to have displayed on the bar, as well as in which order.
2. WP Tweet This Button (Free): The plugin does a good job of adding a ‘Tweet This’ button on every post on your blog, and/or the sidebar. You can choose from various button types and sizes.
3. Facebook Like Button (Free): Similar in function to the Tweet This plugin, The Facebook Like Button, as the name implies, puts up a Facebook ‘like’ button anywhere on your blog, allowing visitors to ‘like’ your posts and hence spreading the word about your blog. Once again, you can choose where to place it on your blog, as well as choose whether you would want to display a ‘like count’ with each button.
1. WP-DBManager (Free): This will probably be one of those plugins that sits there and is rarely used, but once it is needed, it will be indispensable! WP-DBManager manages all aspects of your Wordpress database, allowing you to optimize, backup, repair and restore your database in case something goes wrong, you end up with a corrupt database and/or your database ends up gets wiped off. Make sure you schedule automatic backups for at least once-a-week.
2. Backup (Free): Another great Wordpress backup solution which allows you to make periodic backups of your (complete) Wordpress blog to Google Drive. You can choose to make a comprehensive backup of all the things in your blog, or a selective list of things.
3. VaultPress ($15, $40, $350): A premium backup solution, VaultPress provides a slew of features in order to back up your blog, including real-time backups which backs up your database every time something changes (new post, comment, page/post updated, etc), and then allows you to choose from a list of backups and seamlessly restores those backups for you. A nice (added) feature of the plugin is its security suite, which safeguards your blogs by continuously monitoring security threats. Certainly worth the money!
4. Backup Buddy ($75, $100, $150): One of the most popular backup solutions for Wordpress, Backup Buddy does a brilliant job of backing up your entire Wordpress blog – including posts, pages, widgets, themes, plugins and the database, and then restore the backup to any service of your choice – Dropbox, Amazon S3, an FTP server, your email (time to put that massive amount of storage offered by Gmail to use!) or simply on your desktop. You can then of course, easily restore your backups. However one of the biggest advantages of Backup Buddy is the fact that it lets you flawlessly move (migrate) your Wordpress blog if you’re planning on switching hosting for instance – something which can turn out to be a lifesaver!
1. Google Analytics for Wordpress by Yoast (Free): When it comes to monitoring various aspects of your website and its health – such as visitors, traffic sources, and other vital stats – Google Analytics is the undisputed king! The Analytics for WP allows you to easily add and integrate your Analytics suite with your Wordpress blog by allowing you to add the tracking code in the plugin. It also adds extra analytics data available for your blog in your Google Analytics dashboard.
Comments and Feedback
1. Disqus (Free): One of the best comment plugin on Wordpress. Disqus allows visitors to easily leave a comment or two on your blog, either as a guest, or through logging into any of their social media profiles. It arranges comments into threads, so if a comments gets replies, it will be displayed as a single, continuous thread of comments. And the plugin looks fantastic, and gives your comments system new life!
2. CommentLuv (Free, $67, $87, 97): CommentLuv actually encourages your visitors to leave a comment on your blog (and come back again) by giving them a free backlink to their blog, and at the same time, it also allows them to share your post on their social media profiles, which means more exposure for you; a win-win for all. The plugin offers a whole host of features (which you can read more about on their homepage). It’s a good alternative to Disqus.