WordPress is fantastic, to begin with, but there are a lot of great developers out there that develop great WordPress plugins that help a lot by automating a lot of aspects of your daily WordPress life. In the list below I go through them all one by one, explaining why I believe the plugin is necessary, and why it can help or ease your blogging experience.
The list is not prioritized in a matter of importance; it is merely the plugins I like to use for my sites. Each site is always different, but the plugins listed below are usually always activated on every one of them:
A plugin by well-known WordPress developer, Yoast. This little plugin does only one thing, but it does it well. It inserts a link back to your blog in your RSS feed. You might as well utilize the automated scraper sites out there, that takes your content and republish it on their site. By using this plugin, you get something out of it.Read more and download here: http://yoast.com/wordpress/rss-footer/
This very simple plugin let’s you add an extra line of content to articles in your feed, defaulting to “Post from: ” and then a link back to your blog, with your blog’s name as it’s anchor text
SEO Friendly Images
A plugin by Vladimir Prolovac (who was kind enough to answer a few questions by me in an interview earlier). This plugin makes certain that all images you display on your blog have alt= and title= tags added.
Some themes/plugins do not do this properly, and Vladimir’s plugin makes sure that they do. It is very simple to install, and after activation, you do not need to do anything.
Google XML Sitemaps
A sitemap is a dynamic list of all your blogs posts, pages, tags, categories, etc. This sitemap can help you to ensure the search engines know everything about your site. You can submit this to your Google Webmaster Tool account, and then you can see a report of how many of your pages Google already knows about, and which is does not.
The plugin is very stable and well-written and contains good simple explanations if you encounter something you do not know or understand. Read more and download here.
SEO Booster PRO
Yes, it is my plugin, but it is one of the plugins which I always install. This plugin helps your internal SEO structure.
Where did they go from here
A simple, yet extremely effective plugin for your internal link building. Based on how big commerce sites work, such as Amazon, this plugin can display relevant pages/posts for visitors. If you visit a post on a blog, for example, /the-pictures/, the plugin collects data on where you go to next.
This data can produce a list of pages that can guide subsequent visitors to relevant pages, based on what other readers before them did. Below screenshot is from the before mentioned URL at the time of writing this blog post:
The benefits of this plugin are two-fold. First of all, it helps direct new visitors to what other readers have found most interesting before, and secondly, it helps boost the internal SEO of your blog, by interlinking related posts/pages.
Akismet and WP-SpamFree.
A massive problem for anyone running a WordPress blog is spam. The more popular your blog becomes, the bigger the target it also becomes for any spammer who would love to get a link from your blog. I have tried almost any spam-blocking plugin/solution available, but the best option I have found is the combination of two free plugins. Akismet (which comes default with WordPress, you just need to activate it) and WP-SpamFree.
Having both of these plugins installed with default settings eliminates spam problems for me, and I rarely have to tweak any settings, nor manually delete more than a couple of spam comments a month.
WP Greet Box
Among many helpful WordPress plugins, this is a great WordPress plugin by Thaya Kareeson which gives a small greeting to your visitors, reminding them to sign up for your RSS feed or to communicate whatever you want.
If they are from StumbleUpon, they get presented with a friendly reminder to remember to stumble your link, del.icio.us visitors get a kind reminder to bookmark your post, and so on.The plugin is very intuitive, well designed, and has a fluid experience through the use of AJAX.
You should take a look at an older post of mine, Optimize The WP Greet Box Plugin For Better SEO after you’ve installed it.
There is a default setting which is not very good for your SEO efforts.Read more and download here – http://omninoggin.com/projects/wordpress-plugins/wp-greet-box-wordpress-plugin/.
After the Deadline
Content is king, good content is great for your SEO. So fix your spelling! Although it cannot prevent you from rambling like an old woman (I mean, look at my blog posts!), it lets you seem intelligent enough to spell correctly. This particular plugin takes it a step further though, and also understands the grammatical mistakes which can easily happen.I always check my posts with this plugin before I publish a post. I might not sound more intelligent, but at least I look like I know how to spell properly.
This paragraph is from a NY Times article. Can you find the error in it?
Still Mr. Franken said the whole experience had been disconcerting. “It’s a weird thing: people are always asking me and Franni, ‘Are you okay?’ ” he said, referring to his wife. “As sort of life crises go, this is low on the totem poll. But it is weird, it’s a strange thing.”
Neither can the spell checker in your browser. Why? Because most spell checkers do not look at context. After the Deadline does.Besides misused word detection (and contextual spell checking), After the Deadline checks grammar and style as well.Visit http://www.polishmywriting.com/nyt.html to see the answer.
Subscribe To Comments
This one always gets installed. I actually get really annoyed if I visit a blog and want to participate in a blog comment if I do NOT see an option to get notices on new comments. It should be a part of the WordPress core code, to be honest. really like the comfort of getting a notification whenever a new comment is made in a conversation I am already participating in.I do not care for returning back once in a while to see if there have been any changes, or to subscribe to the posts’ RSS feed, that shouldn’t really be necessary to mix that into my RSS reading list.
So, I do my bit, and I always add this plugin to my sites.There are no real SEO benefits in this, but it helps repeat visitors and keep them engaged on your blog, which will eventually lead to more interest and more visitors.As such, I see this plugin as a base necessity to even start what we SEO’ers love… Free, natural links from other sites and actively engaged visitors.Read more and download it here: http://txfx.net/wordpress-plugins/subscribe-to-comments/
SEO Super Comments
Another plugin by Vladimir, this one is a bit more experimental, and still not past version 1. Still, the logic behind it is – as always – pretty solid, and the increase in visitors he reports in his first post about it shows the apparent effect of growth in traffic. Although I do not quite trust it yet to put on some of the bigger blogs, I have had positive experiments with it on a few test-sites.
If you actively engage your visitors (you just read about “Subscribe To Comments” before, remember?), and they tend to leave a lot of observations, this plugin can improve your organic search traffic.
Download it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-super-comments/
my SEO Status
Yes, another of my own plugins. <selfpromote>This plugin gives me a quick overview of my blog’s progress (or decline) in terms of SEO efforts.The charts show exactly how many pages of yours are indexed in the search engines, along with how many other sites link back to you. Two pieces of information you need to see what your link-building efforts return in value.
This information is usually run manually in a SEO software, or by typing in the queries one-by-one. my SEO Status does it automatically and presents it in a nice graph. </selfpromote>
Note: This plugin is no longer available.
Yep, another plugin of mine, this one is free, however. Although I use Feedburner to do my pinging, I also like to engage my visitors. This plugin takes a random visitor every 2 hours, and open a small iframe window that sends a ping for that particular blog post.
As it is done via an iframe, the IP showing the originating request for a ping is the users.The plugin only does this a few times a day, and as such will not be perceived as a spamming-tool, merely a way to keep activity going on already active blog posts.
Note: This plugin is no longer available.
WP to Twitter
Having a Twitter account for every site I set up is quite normal. I tend to create a Twitter account for every site, automated or not. This helps to bring in extra traffic, and the visitors are very pinpoint targeted to your particular niche.[note]I integrate them with myTwitterBoosteras well, which is a plugin that has been undergoing development for quite some time, as I want it to be perfect.[/note]WP to Twitter has a lot of options, including posting new posts to Twitter automatically, automatic URL shortening, etc.
The plugin can also send Twitter updates when a post has been updated, but I tend to turn that off, as I find it annoying personally. The plugin is well done, stable and productive.Read more and download here: http://www.joedolson.com/articles/wp-to-twitter/
This plugin helps you to set up relevant keywords on your blog with BOLD. This brings emphasis to your target keywords you wish to rank for, and it can help your SEO efforts.
The nice thing about this plugin is that the author understands you could easily be punished by the search engines if you do this too aggressively, so the plugin is limited to only highlight the first three occurrences of keywords.After installation, you simply enter the keywords you wish to rank for in the plugin settings page, and these keywords will automatically be enclosed with <code>strong</code>-tags on your blog.
Platinum SEO Pack and All in One SEO Pack
I tend to use one or the other, but as I have yet to make up my mind which to use, I decided to mention them both in this list. Both help you optimize your on-site SEO, by adding ‘index’ to tag pages, etc. The settings can be tweaked a lot in both, but they come with default settings which usually work just fine out of the box. Each blog has different SEO needs and strategies, and these plugins can help you fine-tune your structure.
Although I list them both, you really should choose one or the other, do not use both at the same time!
Read more about All in One SEO Pack: http://semperfiwebdesign.com/portfolio/wordpress/wordpress-plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/Read more about Platinum SEO Pack: http://techblissonline.com/platinum-seo-pack/
Google Analytics for WordPress
Another Yoast plugin. This plugin makes it easy to ensure your tracking code is always installed, even if you change themes a lot. Usually, you would go into the individual theme, either in its settings or in the actual footer.php to implement your tracking code from Google Analytics.
With this plugin, however, you do not need to. It also has a few very nice features such as tracking external links directly in Google Analytics as well as tracking Adsense clicks, local downloads on your blog, etc. etc.
A very nice feature is also to not track logged in administrators, as this could skew your tracking and provide inaccurate results.Read more and download here: http://yoast.com/wordpress/google-analytics/
It is always nice to track potential 404 errors and to have an easy interface to redirect those 404 errors, so you do not lose external link juice.
This plugin makes it very easy and fast to do just this. Although it might require more than average knowledge about SEO and server settings, it is a very reliable plugin which some powerful features.Read more and download here: http://urbangiraffe.com/plugins/redirection/
The list above contains plugins that help you and your blog by either automating SEO, traffic generation, or help your visitors make it easier for them to bookmark or spread the word.
The list above is my personal pickings, do you have any suggestions to improve the list? Please add your suggestions to the comments.