One of the best things about WordPress is the seemingly endless amount of plugins that are available. There seems to be a WordPress plugin for everything these days.
This is an extensive list of 20 WordPress plugins that I think every WordPress site should be using. They are arranged alphabetically, not in order of importance.
Ackuna Language Translation Plugin
There are literally billions of people online these days, and obviously not all of them can speak English. That’s why it is important to make it easy for your readers to translate your pages. This is why I use the Ackuna Language Translation Plugin. Try it for yourself, click the ‘Translate‘ button at the top of this post. Just remember to translate back to read the rest of the article!
This great little plugin allows your readers to translate your blog into many different languages. A button is added to the top of every post, making it easy for all your readers to translate your article is they need to.
Ad Squares Widget
The ‘Ad Squares Widget‘ allows you to display groups of 125×125 adverts in your WordPress sidebar. You can display just two ad squares or as many as eight ad squares per widget, so technically you can display as many as you want!
Another good feature of this plugin is that you can configure the widget to shuffle the positioning of your ad squares, so that it looks different each time you visit a page on your site.
All in One SEO Pack
A plugin that helps you to easily manage your site SEO. This is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. This plugin automatically optimizes your WordPress site for search engines by generating meta tags and helps you to optimize your web page titles. Advanced users are given the ability to customize post titles, descriptions, URL structures and tags for each post.
Amazon Affiliate Link LocalizerThis plugin automatically changes any Amazon link on your site to include your affiliate ID. It also changes the link to point to the user’s local Amazon store.
So if your visitor is visiting from the UK they’ll get a link to Amazon.co.uk, if they’re visiting from the US they’ll get a link to the same product on Amazon.com.
All you have to do is provide all your own affiliate ID.
Disqus Comment System
The Disqus comment system plugin replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus.
Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenter’s across a thriving discussion community.
The Disqus for WordPress plugin seamlessly integrates using the Disqus API and by syncing with WordPress comments.
We use this plugin for our site, you can see at the bottom of the page how it differs from the traditional default WordPress comment system. Please feel free to comment.
Exploit ScannerThis is the first plugin on the list to look at security for your website. Its important to keep your site secure to prevent hackers and malicious software from potentially ruining your site.
This plugin monitors and searches through the files on your website, and the posts and comments tables of your database for anything suspicious. It also examines your list of active plugins for unusual file names.
It doesn’t remove anything should it find anything. That is left to the user to do, but its a great tool to help you monitor any suspicious activity.
Google Analytics DashboardThe ‘Google Analytics Dashboard‘ plugin allows you to view your Google Analytics data in your WordPress dashboard. This makes it easy for you to get an idea of how well your site is doing, without having to login to your Analytics account.
You can also allow other users to see the same dashboard information when they are logged in or embed parts of the data into posts or as part of your theme.
This plugin does not provide the tracking code for Google Analytics. You still need to install the Analytic tracking code somewhere on your site!
Google Plus Widget
With more people using Google+, it is important to let people know that you are actively on Google+ so people can add you to their circles.
The Google Plus Widget plugin adds a Google Plus profile widget to your WordPress site along with the option to include the Google +1 button. The plugin links to you Google+ profile and shows the number of followers in your circle as well as allowing users to add you to their Google+ circle. It will also display a custom plugin title and your Google profile picture.
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, etc. to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.
IGIT Related Post With Thumb
This great little plugin automatically displays related posts at the bottom of each of your articles. It does this by displaying the title and featured image of related posts that the reader may be interested in.
You can customize how it displays, by changing the background colour, border colour, thumbnail size, etc.
Posts are shown when they relate to the article title and/or content, or if that is not available, then it will match post tags. Failing that, it will display random posts from your site.
Check out our related posts at the bottom of this article.
SEO Friendly ImagesThis WordPress SEO plugin automatically updates all of your website images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes for SEO purposes. If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according to the options that you set. Additionally this makes the post W3C/xHTML valid as well.
ALT attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engine and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.
SharebarYou see the bright green floating bar to the left of the screen which has links to all the major social media sites, that’s the Sharebar!
This bar makes it easy for your readers to click on and share what they are reading with all of their friends. This helps to spread the word around about your website and ultimately help get you more visitors.
Don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be green! You can fully customize the appearance of the Sharebar, to include whichever links you want.
Simple URLsSimple URLs is a complete URL management system that allows you create, manage, and track outbound links from your site by using custom post types and 301 redirects.
It adds a new custom post type to your Admin menu, where you can create, edit, delete, and manage URLs. It stores click counts in the form of a custom field on that custom post type, so it scales really well.
And by avoiding page based redirects, which is the current trend in masking affiliate links, we avoid any issues with permalink conflicts, and therefore avoid any performance issues.
So if you have any really long URLs or affiliate links, you could use this plugin to make them shorter, e.g. yoursite.com/go/affiliatelink
Smart YoutubeIf you want to include any YouTube videos in your content, then this plugin is for you!
Smart Youtube is a WordPress Youtube Plugin that allows you to easily insert Youtube videos/playlists in your post, comments and in RSS feed.
The main purpose of the plugin is to correctly embed youtube videos into your blog post. The video will be shown in full in your RSS feed as well.
Smart youtube also supports playback of high quality videos, works on iPhone/iPad, produces xHTML valid code (unlike YouTube embed code), allows you to view videos in fullscreen, supports YouTube playlists (normal/HD) and the new outube IFRAME embed code.
I have used a couple of YouTube videos in my posts using this plugin.
W3 Total CacheOne of the biggest reasons why people navigate away from a website is because it is too slow. People are busy, they don’t have time to wait around for your page to load. That’s why it is important to make sure that your site is running as fast as possible.
W3 Total Cache helps to improve the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
There are a lot of features within this plugin that you can use to speed up your website, most of which are too long to get into detail here. But try it for yourself and play around with some of the setting. I have found it very helpful in improving my site.
WordPress Database BackupThere is always the risk that something will happen to your website, whether you get hacked, accidentally delete loads of files, virus, etc. This is why it is important to regularly backup your website.
The ‘WordPress Database Backup‘ plugin makes it easy for you to backup your core WordPress database tables. So if the worst does happen, you have a copy of your entire site that you can revert back to.
A great feature of this plugin, is that you can set it to automatically email you with the backup files attached. You can set this to be sent every day or every week, but either way, you have a copy of your website in a safe place.
WordPress File MonitorThis is another good security plugin for your site. The ‘WordPress File Monitor‘ plugin monitors your WordPress installation for added/deleted/changed files. When a change is detected an email alert can be sent to a specified address.
This means that you will have a record of what files are changed/deleted/added should anything go wrong. So you will be able to address any issues that are found.
WP Greet BoxThis plugin lets you show a different greeting message to your new visitors depending on their referrer url. For example, when a Digg user clicks through from Digg, they will see a message reminding them to digg your post if they like it. Another example, when a visitor clicks through from Twitter, they will see a message suggesting them to twit the post and follow you on Twitter.
You can also set a default greeting message for new visitors (not matching any referrer URLs) suggesting them to subscribe to your RSS feed. Having these targeted suggestions will help your blog increase exposure, loyal readership, and reader interaction. Best of all, this plugin is compatible with WPMU and various WordPress cache plugins (so you do not have to sacrifice speed).
WP Security ScanWP Security Scan checks your WordPress website/blog for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions such as:
- File permissions
- Database security
- Version hiding
- WordPress admin protection/security
- Removes WP Generator META tag from core code
WPtouchThis last plugin on our list automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.
The admin panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to touch mobile visitors, without modifying a single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.
The theme also includes the ability for visitors to switch between WPtouch view and your site’s regular theme.
More people are using their mobile phones to access the web on the go, so it is important that your site is compatible.
Did you find this list helpful? If so, please spread the word about it! Feel free to leave your comments & questions below.