32 Essential WordPress Plugins I Use…And You Don’t!
It’s been little over a year since I shared my super-secret list of WordPress plugins used on Marketing Pilgrim.
You loved it!
So, I’m back with an updated list–simply because I’ve made a lot of changes over the past year–and your blog needs to be just as awesome as ours, right? 🙂
I’m sharing this list on one condition. By reading the list below, you agree to click the little green “retweet” button at the top right of this post.
Then read on, good sir/madam! 🙂
(New) After the Deadline – make me sounds smarter
I added this plugin, when WordPress announced it was acquiring it. Unfortunately, I’m either extremely arrogant, too darn busy, or too nonchalant to care, because I rarely actually use it. Any grammatical errors in this post are hereby considered as intentional for comedic purposes! 😉
Akismet – best comment spam filter ever!
This should already be installed for your WordPress blog, but you may need to activate it. It’s secret? It aggregates information from all Akismet users–which means it will block you from a spammer, even if they’ve never commented on your site before. The only downside? Sometime it produces false-positives, resulting in legit comments heading to spam-jail.
Author Image – smiling faces on every post
If you like seeing the smiling faces of Pilgrim’s writers, you can thank Author Image. If you hate seeing the smiling faces of Pilgrim’s writers, you can blame Author Image. 😉
Best Contact Form – a juiced-up contact form
If you’d like to know more information about those that fill out your blog’s contact form–like, which keywords they entered on Google to get to your blog–then you’ll want to check out Best Contact Form.
(New) Canonical URLs – they’re my posts, all mine!
I want Google to know which is the correct URL for each post we publish. When you refer someone to our site–and it adds all of that crappy referral information to the URL–this plugin makes sure that it’s not that version that gets the link juice. (Note: This is no longer needed if you run WordPress 2.9)
(New) Clean Options – clean-up that wp_options table
I never knew what problems a bloated wp_option table would create, until my last WordPress upgrade. Thanks to rogue plugins that decided to add about 47,000 unneeded rows, my upgrade failed over, and over, again. This little plugin looks for junk in your wp_options table and removes it. Use with caution.
CommentLuv – paying it forward
We love to reward our readers when they leave a comment. With CommentLuv, every commenter automatically has their last blog post displayed below their comment on Marketing Pilgrim.
FeedFooter – little messages at the bottom of your feed
FeedFooter has so many great uses. On MP we use it to display ads at the bottom of every RSS feed item. On other blogs I use it to place copyright information and backlinks–to try and stop spammers from scraping the feed.
Force Word Wrapping – ‘cos some words are too long
Have you ever seen a 40 character URL posted on a blog, stretch across into the sidebar. Looks ugly, doesn’t it? You won’t ever see that on MP, thanks to this plugin which forces word-wrapping.
(New) Head META Description – search engine friendly snippets
No, this plugin doesn’t make your site rank better in the search engines. What it does do, is ensure that if a search engine wants to display a meta description, it finds one on the page.
(New) Limit Login Attempts – locked-up and locked-out
Mean people are always trying to break into houses blogs. This plugin will automatically lock-out anyone that enters an invalid login three times in a row.
Math Comment Spam – when Akismet is not enough
Even with Akismet, MP would still suffer from around 100 bot comments each day. When I installed Math Comment Spam protection, the number of spam comments dropped to zero. Effectively, only humans can leave a comment on MP, because even robots aren’t smart enough to figure out 7+11. 😉 Bonus: this form of comment spam protection is much easier for human commenters than those hard to read captchas!
(New) Most Comments – y’all talk a lot!
This plugin handles the “Popular” section of our sidebar widget. It simply displays the posts with the most comments over any time-period you define.
No Self Pings – does exactly what it says on the tin
Here at Marketing Pilgrim, we inter-link our own posts heavily. Without this plugin, we’d have dozens of trackback/pingbacks from our own blog each day. This prevents them from showing up in our comments section.
Post Teaser – because I’m a big tease
Want to de-clutter your blog’s homepage and increase click-throughs to post pages at the same time? This handy plugin automatically creates a teaser of each post on the homepage, with a link through to the full post.
Redirection – when it absolutely, positively, must get there
I love this plugin! Not only does it automatically redirect post URLs–handy for when you click “publish” only to realize your misspelled a word in the post slug–but it also has a 301 redirect manager. How hand is that? A few months back a large email newsletter link to this blog, but had a typo in the page name. Instead of that traffic hitting a 404 error page, I was able to redirect it to the correct destination! Oh, and you should already know the SEO benefits of using this plugin. 😉
Related Posts – don’t leave home without it
If you’ve read this far into this post, the chances are, we have other posts that you’d love too! With this plugin, I can automatically suggest other great posts–on the same topic–that you’ll likely love. 😉
SEO Title Tag – “Professor” Spencer’s SEO home-run
If you care about SEO, then you should care about the TITLE of your posts and pages. I don’t always use this on posts, but for our “pages” this plugin allows me to override the TITLE that is automatically generated.
Subscribe to Comments – “you just keep me hanging on!”
I wish more blogs had this plugin installed. As a publisher, I love this plugin because I can set the defaul to automatically subscribe a commenter to receive an alert when a new comment is added. This brings them back to the conversation–btw, they can un-check the box to opt-out. As a commenter, I love seeing this option–especially if I leave a comment and would love to know if the author replies to my question/comment.
Theme Tester – behind the scenes theme switching
This plugin was a life-saver during our re-design. It allowed us (Admins) to view the new WordPress theme, while every other blog reader saw the existing design. The next time you test a new theme, you can do so without risking your audience see the experiment!
(New) TweetMeme Retweet Button – please retweet us
I have Vlad Zablotskyy to thank for this plugin. I had tested it out before, and it never quite worked. Vlad asked for the option on Marketing Pilgrim, so I tried it again–and this time it worked perfectly. It adds the TweetMeme “retweet” button to each post. You can customize its look, behavior and position. You did click it already, right? 😉
(New) Twitter Publisher – sends our posts to Twitter
This plugin automatically publishes any new post to my Twitter account. I like it because it also identifies the Twitter handle of the author that wrote it. I don’t like it because it sometimes breaks and publishes the same post multiple times in a row. If you know of a better solution, please let me know.
(New) Wibiya Toolbar – that red tool-bar thingy at the bottom
You probably didn’t miss the addition of the “social” toolbar we added to the bottom of Marketing Pilgrim. I’m still testing it–and appreciate any feedback. Wibiya actually provides some basic analytics data and suggests that the toolbar is, at best, increasing engagement, and, at worse, preventing a few bounces.
WordPress Database Backup – a life saver
You do back-up your blog, right?
(New) WordPress Firewall – blocks the bad guys
Another cool plugin for keeping hackers out of Marketing Pilgrim. It has lots of cool features, including only allowing certain IPs the ability to edit WordPress files. Just remember, if you go on vacation, and try to change a file, it will give you about an hour of heartburn–until you remember you need to whitelist your condo’s IP address. I learned this lesson the hard way! 🙁
(New) WordPress Mobile Edition – makes Marketing Pilgrim mobile friendly
I love this little plugin! It basically installs a mobile friendly theme for Marketing Pilgrim and when it detects you’re browsing the site from a phone, uses that theme instead of our default one. Go ahead, check it out!
(New) WordPress Thread Comment – are you talking to me?
It’s taken a while, but Pilgrim’s are finally starting to realize that, thanks to this plugin, you can now reply directly to another commenter. This just makes it easier for commenter #25 to reply to commenter #2, etc.
WP-Email – you’ll be surprised how often this is used
When I first installed this plugin, even I was shocked at just how often it was being used by readers. If your readers find something interesting on your site, let them email it to a friend or co-worker–you might just get another loyal reader/subscriiber!
(New) WP-Optimize – faster, better, stronger
This plugin helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spams in a blaze. It also allows you to rename your admin username. Additionally it allows you to run optimize command on your WordPress core tables (use with caution).
(New) WP Ajax Edit Comments – awesome comment editor
Another new favorite of mine. This one not only allows users to edit their own comments–great for when you spot that typo–but it lets me quickly edit, delete, or spam comments without having to go to the WordPress dashboard.
(New) WP Greet Box – hello, are you new here?
Basically, this plugin determines where a new site visitor has originated from and displays a custom greeting at the top of the post. For example, if you found MP from a Google search, it will show you similar posts and encourage you to subscribe to our RSS feed.
(New) WP Super Cache – legalized speeding
I retired WP-Cache in favor of this plugin. It works sooo much better! Basically does the same job–caches pages so they load much faster.
Show Top Commentators – just add water for instant comments
Smart Ads – smarter than the average plugin
WP-Cache – legalized speeding
WP-Notable – share, and share alike