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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.

Deal?

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.

Retired:

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

  • http://www.davidmalmborg.com David Malmborg

    I was just looking for a good list of plugins from a reliable source. Perfect timing. I love your comment plugins. I’ll get those implemented now.

    Thanks!
    .-= David Malmborg´s last blog ..Gotta Join the Working Class to Get to the Middle Class =-.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Glad the list helped! :-)

  • http://www.socialseo.com Brian Gilley

    Hey Andy,
    That’s a lot of plugins. How do you manage your upgrading processes? Do you have a staging server and upgrade each plugin when they release an update? Just curious.

    I need to try out that Redirection plugin on a couple of sites.

    Brian
    .-= Brian Gilley´s last blog ..Getting Crafty – Advanced Search Operators to Find the Best Backlinks =-.

  • http://www.SandwichINK.com Kaye Swain

    Thanks for a great list. Many are new to me so I’ll be checking them out. Redirection is GREAT. I really appreciate it. :)

  • http://www.plumbersurplus.com/blog Josh McNair

    Thank you for this post! I am especially excited about the WordPress Mobile Edition theme

  • http://www.customer-satisfaction-questionnaire.com Andy Perkins

    Thanks for the great list of plugins. I’m using a few but you’ve given me lots of new ideas for upgrading my blog. A recommendation is a powerful mechanism.

    We won’t see it anytime soon but I’d love to have a customer satisfaction questionnaire with ratings showing what percentage of users would be willing to recommend plugins like these!
    .-= Andy Perkins´s last blog ..The Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire as Seen by Wordle =-.

  • http://gautch.com gautch

    Whats your opinion of plug-ins affecting security? I ask because we ran Joomla and got hacked (several times) due to unsecured plug-ins.

  • http://www.visiolo.com/blog Doug Hudiburg

    Excellent list Andy. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    You asked for suggestions related to Twitter Publisher. I use Twitterfeed to do the same thing and it is really easy to use and reliable. I find it helpful to have all of my RSS-to-twitter resources in one place.
    .-= Doug Hudiburg´s last blog ..The Marketing Layer Cake =-.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Thanks Doug. I used to use Twitterfeed but found that it had the reverse problem–it would sometimes fail to tweet a new post. :-(

  • http://www.techipedia.com Tamar Weinberg

    Andy – check out W3 Cache instead of WP Super Cache. You want an awesome cache plugin that beats the pants off WP Super Cache? Just try it. :)
    .-= Tamar Weinberg´s last blog ..Want to Friend Me on Facebook? Please Use My Public Page or LinkedIn Instead =-.

  • http://www.pabloalmeida.com.br Pablo Almeida

    I use the Platinum SEO Pack . It’s same with All in One SEO Pack, but make redirects 301 automatically when we change the slug (URL friendly).

  • http://www.vladzablotskyy.com/ Vlad

    Andy,

    Thanks for the mention. I don’t recall exactly how it happened but I do remember we tweeted each other about Tweetmeme. I am glad you like it. And it sue looks like other Marketing Pilgrim fans love it. :)
    .-= Vlad´s last blog ..Post 20 Interpreting and Interpreting Jobs For Only $10 =-.

  • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

    Great list Andy. I will say that many themes, like Thesis, take the place of a lot of these plugins (like Canonical, and SEO ones). Beyond that, I like the limit login plugin!
    .-= Tris Hussey´s last blog ..Check Out PostRank’s Top Blogs of 2009! Yeah, I’m one of them. =-.

  • http://themodernentrepreneur.com Daniel McClure

    Thanks for a great list of plugins, I’m already aware of most of these but there were a couple that were news to me and have been added to the review list for future use!
    .-= Daniel McClure´s last blog ..Gain Some Free Exposure for Your Membership Site =-.

  • http://www.seansupplee.com Sean Supplee

    It is always hard to find great plugins for different things you want to do with your blog. I have a number of these plugins already but the others on this list should help me make my blog stand out above the rest. Thank you very much for this great list.
    .-= Sean Supplee´s last blog ..Creating Effective Emails =-.

  • https://twitter.com/elranoded Elran

    just a heads up to anyone using the “Canonical URLs” plugin:

    - it adds rel=canonical code to the head section of your html

    i noticed that as of WP 2.9 this is automatically added to the wp header.

    so this plugin may or may not be useful to some of you.

    for example, Andy, currently this blog (marketingpilgrim.com) has the duplicate rel=canonical code in the head section of its html code. you can see it by viewing page source.

    not saying this is definitely bad.. but, it’s duplicate code, so at the very least, it’s unnecessary.

    anyway, i went back and disabled the plugin on any blogs i administer and thought others might want to know. oh well, one less plugin to worry about!

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Hmm, good catch! Well, I guess I can scrub that one. Thanks!

  • http://www.jeremiahwean.com Jeremiah Wean

    I use a few of these plugins. I was wavering on weather to use the db backup, because I had heard you had to change some security settings. But went with it. Some cool plugins, I hadn’t heard of before. Thanks.
    .-= Jeremiah Wean´s last blog ..Unlock the Savings Trapped in Your Current Mortgage Loan =-.

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  • http://edwardlewis.me Edward Lewis
  • http://www.madisonwisconsinliving.com Hershel Miller

    Thanks for sharing, it’s always nice to see your perspective on useful plugins.

    If I may, I suggest people check out WPtouch it’s an easy way to provide a mobile version of your site. For those who want a presence, but don’t have time to invest.

    behold the Internet, is there anything it can’t do?

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  • http://www.cleancutmedia.com Clean Cut Media

    thanks for the list. I am always looking for some nice juicy plugins. :)
    .-= Clean Cut Media´s last blog ..Google stands against Chinese Internet Censorship =-.

  • http://aksesanda.blogspot.com Online Style

    Why FeedFooter has so many great uses for you? That i know spam autoblog most likely blog feed. So, why i must activate blog feed.

    thx for reply

    Online Style
    .-= Online Style´s last blog ..SEO Style not for Spam Style =-.

  • http://easypublicspeaking.co.uk/ Keith Davis

    Hi Andy
    Always interested in other peoples lists of best plugins.
    Some old favourites in there.

    Good to see that you have a few security plugins listed…
    Limit Login Attempts and WordPress Firewall are two great plugins.

    Guess I need to start speeding up a bit with WP Super-cache etc.
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Maryland Zoo partners with the B&O Railroad, Maryland Science Center, and Port Discovery for the Months of January and February. =-.

  • http://easypublicspeaking.co.uk/ Keith Davis

    Sorry for a second comment Andy, but the link shown to my latest blog article… is not even on my site!

    Is that a CommentLuv problem?
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..Another small giveaway- great bookmarks =-.

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  • http://webstrategyworkshop.com Andy Brudtkuhl

    I highly recommend not installing this many plugins in a single WordPress installation. Your site will slow down real fast and potentially have many plugin conflicts that cause seemingly unknown errors. WordPress is easy to bloat down if you don’t keep it clean and updated.
    .-= Andy Brudtkuhl´s last blog ..Do You Want To Blog Here? =-.

  • http://www.blogderegalos.es Jose

    Thank u very much for sharing these plugins. I found this entry very useful. I’m gonna install some of them right now.

    Nice blog and my best regards!!!

    Jose (from Spain)
    .-= Jose´s last blog ..Magic Candle, una vela multicolor =-.

  • http://www.MohamedAdamJr.com Mohamed Adam Jr

    Awesome stuff again andy!
    .-= Mohamed Adam Jr´s last blog ..XanGo Training Tips That Will Increase Results In Your Team =-.

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  • http://www.totallyfreewebsitetools.com WebGuru @ Totally Free Web Site Tools

    Nice list of plugins! I’ve never seen some of those and they sound pretty awesome. Definitely going to add a few to my collection. Good work!

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