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Top WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Should be Using

Top WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Should be Using

WordPress is an amazing platform that gives bloggers an extremely flexible and user friendly way of getting started with building the perfect blog. Right out of the box, WordPress has a huge amount of functionality and can be expanded upon even further with the thousands of different plugins available for it. With so many to choose from, I thought I would list the absolute top WordPress plugins that every blogger should be using.

All the top WordPress plugins on this list add unique functionality to your blog that really should be included by default. I’m not going to write out a gigantic list of WordPress plugins where a lot of them overlap and have the same functionality. I’ve highlighted 10 major categories that I think need addressed in the default install of WordPress and then picked what I think is the top plugin in each category.

This list of the top WordPress plugins was put together using my own extensive experience with each one as well as from gathering feedback from other users. The best part is that all of these top WordPress plugins are completely FREE. A few of them offer a pro version but you’ll be just fine with the free version of all these plugins.

Top 10 must have WordPress plugins

These are the top WordPress plugins that I think every blogger should install right from the get go. Don’t hesitate, just go get them and thank me later. My top WordPress plugins will add a ton of functionality to your blog and make blogging much more fun.

Boost your security

and the winner of top WordPress security plugin is…

Wordfence

runner up

Better WP Security

Top WordPress Plugins - Wordfence

Considering how popular WordPress is with bloggers, you can be sure that it’s a prime target for hackers. Keeping your blog secure should be your number one priority. It doesn’t matter if you’re just someone who blogs as a hobby or if you do it as a full time job, you need to keep the hackers away. My security plugin of choice is Wordfence.

Improve SEO

and the winner of the top WordPress SEO plugin is…

WordPress SEO by Yoast

runner up

All in One SEO Pack

Top WordPress Plugins - WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO by Yoast is easily my favorite plugin for making sure my SEO is up to par. The plugin gives plenty of detail while you write out a post and it gives you all the information you need to optimize the post for excellent SEO. It works great right out of the box without any tweaking but there are a lot of options for people that like to tweak things as well.

Fight spam!

and the winner of the top WordPress anti spam plugin is…

Akismet

runner up

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

Top WordPress Plugins - Akismet

Akismet should be installed as soon as you’re finished setting up WordPress. It’s crazy the amount of spam comments you’ll get even when your blog is brand new and you haven’t told anyone about it yet. Akismet does an amazing job at catching all of the spam the comes in and then it automatically moves the offending comment for you. It will also provide a nice stats page for you to see how much spam it’s been catching.

Build a better community

and the winner of the top WordPress comment plugin is…

CommentLUV

runner up

Disqus

Top WordPress Plugins - CommentLuv

Commentluv is easily my favorite commenting plugin. It does a great job of giving you another layer of spam protection in addition to Akismet as well as tons of other features. The main selling point of Commentluv is allowing your visitors to get a backlink to one of their own blog posts after they leave a comment. It works great because it gives people an incentive to keep coming back to your blog to leave a comment.

Let people contact you

and the winner of the top WordPress contact form plugin is…

Contact Form 7

runner up

Fast Secure Contact Form

Top WordPress Plugins - Contact Form 7

Adding a form for people to contact you is a good idea. You can stay engaged with your readers and answer any questions they may have. Sometimes people don’t want to leave a message in the comments of a post so they’ll use the contact form instead. Contact Form 7 is an excellent plugin to add a contact form to your blog.  The form also supports CAPTCHA as well as Akismet in order to keep the spammers away. It’s so easy to add a form to any page you want. It uses shortcodes which is simple for anyone to understand.

Thank your commenters

and the winner of the top WordPress visitor appreciation plugin is…

Thank Me Later

runner up

Comment Redirect

Top WordPress Plugins - Thank Me Later

Thank Me Later lets you automatically send out an email to your blog commenters and thank them for taking the time to leave a comment. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward plugin that doesn’t try and shove a bunch of bells and whistles down your throat.

Keep your blog running smooth

and the winner of the top WordPress performance enhancing plugin is…

W3 Total Cache

runner up

WP Super Cache

Top WordPress Plugins - W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is a WordPress plugin designed to keep your blog running at top speed. It’s so good that a lot of the top web hosting companies recommend installing it in order to reduce load on their servers. W3 Total Cache is definitely a plugin I wouldn’t be caught without. It really does make a big difference in page loading times. The only downside is that it does take some configuration before it really shines. There are a HUGE number of options that might scare WordPress newbies away.

Let people share

and the winner of the top WordPress sharing plugin is…

Digg Digg

runner up

Flare

Top WordPress Plugins - Digg Digg

You have to give your readers some way to share your content. If you want to actually get noticed then having a presence on social media sites is pretty much a requirement. Floating share bars such as Digg Digg work great because it’s always in the readers face while they’re scrolling down the page. This greatly increases the chances that they’ll actually share your post. Digg Digg is starting to look a bit dated compared to newer plugins such as Flare but it’s still the go to share bar.

Keep your blog backed up

and the winner of the top WordPress backup plugin is…

BackWPup

runner up

BackUpWordPress

Top WordPress Plugins - BackWPup

I shouldn’t have to explain to you the benefits of keeping regular backups of your blog. You put your heart and soul into your blog and seeing it all disappear in a freak accident would be devastating. BackWPup is easily one of the top WordPress plugins for keeping your hard work backed up. It backs up the database as well as the rest of the files on your site such as media, themes, plugins, etc. Not only that, you can even automatically backup to cloud services such as Dropbox.

Keep people on your site

and the winner of the top WordPress visitor retention plugin is…

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

runner up

nrelate Related Content

Top WordPress Plugins - YARPP

Once you actually get someone in the door of your blog, you want them to stick around and check out more of your content. Interlinking is quite possibly the most effective strategy for this but you should already be doing that without the need of a plugin. Another strategy for reducing your bounce rate is by adding a related post plugin such as YARPP. Once the reader gets to the end of a post, they’ll see some options that are similar to the article they just read.

About Mike Howg

Web Designer and Writer | Founder of dollarBLAB.com | Enjoys blogging with WordPress, messing around with Photoshop, and sharing my knowledge with everyone.

2 comments

  1. This is very insightful! So much to learn from this blog. Thanks for sharing. I’m just getting to know about plug in. Would definitely do something about this.

  2. NOW I know why I got that first thank-you a few days ago. Good job! Actually you’ve been very helpful, I’m still pretty much building my site and you’ve been a huge help. I really appreciate your not just telling me which are the best plugins but just what it is they do. It helps me see how it all fits together and the best way to make it all work. It clears up some of the confusion, especially with everyone telling me something different. I sometimes talk with a friend only to end up more confused than I was to start with. At least now I can make a reasonable decision as to what I need.

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