Ok, since it is already December 2011 (Tempus Fugit!) I think it is safe to write up a post about the best WordPress plugins I used in 2011 and will, most likely, also use in 2012! Here a list of those that I use on some or all of my sites, just bear in mind that the less plugins you have the better as your site will load faster and less plugin conflicts might occur. So choose wisely 😉 BTW the titles of each description will take you to the main page where you can download the plugin – and yes, all of them are free 😉 A bit of a pre-Christmas gift for my readers 😉 All of them in order of importance (at least in my opinion ;-)) to ‘force’ you to read, or at least to skim this post to the end to find the best plugins for wordpress 😉
11. Place: Contact Form 7
If you are like me, you don’t want to put up your physical address too publicly for each internet stalker to find, nor your email address for the harvesters. But you also want to give people a way to contact you without the need to leave a comment. I use this contact form on most of my sites for mainly two reasons, it is easy and simple to set up and doesn’t insert a link back into my blog to the plugin site. Something what a lot of other plugins do! So this is, for the moment, my choice for the best wordpress plugin when it comes to contact forms.
10. Place: Keyword Luv (needs also a Dofollow plugin!)
That is the one combo I contemplate nearly daily to throw out, not because the plugins are bad, because of the spammers that target especially blogs that have them in order to get a backlink. Dofollow removes the nofollow tag that WordPress inserts by default into all comment links, Keyword Luv allows commentators to leave a ‘keyword enhanced’ back link with their comments. Basically it displays the name of the commentator like this: name from keywords, with the keywords being the link to their own site. This allows them to be still addressed by their name and have a keyworded backlink to their site. Which is great, but unfortunately the spammers try to find as many of these blogs and are creating evil dofollow blog lists for their use. I like giving a link back to my online friends, but it might get soon too much work to sort the spammers out. One tip if you use this: Change the default text in the Keyword Luv plugin settings to something different, as spammers search for ‘niche + Keyword Luv Default text’ … The other problem is that even the plugin creator has abandoned the Dofollow movement and stopped updating this plugin some time ago, only a matter of time until something breaks.
9. Place: Shareaholic aka Sexybookmarks
I have this one on some of my sites as it allows people to share my content easily on a variety of social network sites etc. It works best when you have a more ‘social’ audience, less so on pure information sites or blogs like this … I typically try it out for a while (it comes with stats included) and if people use it I keep it, if not, not. Sometimes you have to actually test things to make a decision, but yes, it is cute 😉
8. Place: TinyMCE Advanced
A useful plugin that adds some functionalities to the WordPress WYSIWYG editor, like tables for example. It can be a bit buggy occasionally, but if you want to layout your posts nicely without being fluent in html it is quite handy to have.
7. Place: SEO Smart Links
I used this originally for my internal linking, but since I joined Keyword Strategy, this aspect of it is obsolete for me. But if you are not using Keyword Strategy, what you should, then it is a great plugin to do your internal linking. But, it has yet another feature that I still use. It converts certain keywords in links, handy for not forgetting to add those ‘evil’ referral links that make money. Be aware of the nofollow option in the settings, if you have guest bloggers, they might not appreciate it if you turn in it on accidentally.
6. Place: SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
Sigh, something has to be done against the spammers and hackers! This plugin allows you to add and fine tune a captcha form not only to your comments section, but also to your login form and other ‘access points’ of your blog. Tip: Make sure you, the admin, have to use it also, that way you notice if it gets buggy, which it can. Still, indispensable for reducing spam and hacking attempts!
5. Place: Post Layout
Allows me to add easily content side wide. I use it often to display always the same message on the bottom of my posts and / or to insert Adsense and / or banner in a simple way.
4. Place: Ad Injection
My main Adsense plugin. The settings can be a bit daunting at first glance, but it is so far the best I found to display ads and banners where I want them and even allows for sharing Adsense revenue by assigning certain ads to specific authors. Handy if you have a multi-author website.
3. Place: Subscribe To “Double-Opt-In”Comments
If you have a blog with comments allowed, i.e. a real blog, this one is a must-have! It allows people to subscribe to new comments on your blog posts by simply checking a box and confirming the opt-in. This makes sure that discussions on your blog stay lively for a long time as readers will get notified when somebody answers their, or other, comments. There is really no reason not to have it on a blog, unless you have comments disabled 😉
2. Place: Link Juice Keeper
This one is the first to go on every new site I build. It serves only one purpose, but that very well!, to conserve link juice that would otherwise be lost. It does this by redirecting any non-existing url, that would normally cause a 404 error, to your home page by using a permanent 301 redirect. Links to your websites are important and it is not very useful to have all this link juice pointing to your 404 page, as cute, funny or interesting it might be. Links change the whole time on the interwebs for various reasons: pages and posts get moved or deleted, you messed up / changed your permalink structure (NOT recommended!), incoming links might be broken or mistyped, etc.
The drawback is that you can’t have a lovingly hand-crafted custom 404 page at the same time, the two are mutually exclusive ;-(
1. Place: WordPress SEO by Yoast
Drumroll please for my absolute favorite best wordpress seo plugin! It has heaps more functionalities than a lot of the so-called premium plugins you have to pay for plus some more. And yes, it is free 😉 It checks your on page SEO, makes suggestions on how to improve it, lets you set side wide functions about what to index and what not, adds a xml sitemap to your blog,
It is simply the most comprehensive and complete SEO plugin for WordPress. And it is free! There is also exhaustive documentation on the plugin website available that explains everything in detail and helps you to make the most out of it.
These are two plugins that simply perform a task when needed, but are otherwise turned off. They are simply time and trouble savers 😉
A cool plugin that allows you to import data from a spreadsheet as (draft) posts. I use this on one site that I write with a friend to import keywords from Keyword Strategy as draft posts. It is pretty customizable and could come in also handy if you outsource your content or run a well-organized multi-author blog. After you have done the import, writers simply go into your WP dashboard and select one of the draft articles to write. No more overlapping content or writers that target the same keyword.
TAC stands for ‘Theme Authenticity Checker’ and that is what it does, it basically checks for any malicious and / or encrypted code in your WordPress themes. No more spammy links in the footers of free WordPress themes 😉
So, that is my personal ‘Best WordPress Plugins 2011’ list. Opinions? Suggestions of one, or more, that I have missed?
Like always you can leave them in a comment.
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