Best WordPress Plugins 2011

Best WordPress Plugins 2011

These are the best WordPress plugins I found and used in 2011. The WordPress logo is no endorsement by WordPress itself, it only serves as decoration πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ A bit of a pre-Christmas gift for my readers πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‰ 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.

Extras
These are two plugins that simply perform a task when needed, but are otherwise turned off. They are simply time and trouble savers πŸ˜‰

CSV Importer
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
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 πŸ˜‰

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.

If you like this blog post and found it helpful, why not share it with your preferred social network? Handy links and bookmarklets above ^^^ πŸ˜‰

26 comments to Best WordPress Plugins 2011

  • Thanks SY….I have most of these,however not all. Love the idea of the link juice keeper…

    • hospitalera

      You are welcome Lynn! The trick is to select the minimum amount of plugins to get the functionality you want. In the beginning I was a real ‘plugin pack rat’ now I know better! And yes, Link Juice Keeper is a must have for all my sites πŸ˜‰ SY

  • Simon Pedersen

    WordPress SEO by Yoast – “makes suggestions on how to improve it” – THIS! And I’m sold.

  • Toby Hanks

    Great plugins, excelent choice

  • Bizz

    I use many of the plugins listed, and I decided to install TAC on my new site, as I had used it in the past. I then proceeded to break my theme trying to get rid of 1 particular link tied into the framework of the functions.php file, and pretty catastrophically I might add. Lesson learned, I shouldn’t be messing around with code…

    I really like the Yoast plugin, and I’ve added the Link Juice Keeper plugin also. There are no settings for this plugin, which I thought was weird. But, it’s definitely working, as I typed in a bogus URL and it redirected to my main page.

    I’ve also used a plugin in the past called [Redirection], which physically allows you to redirect any URL to another location via 301 redirect. This was helpful when one of my Postrunner (read: thin) sites was recently de-indexed. Some of the posts on that site were worth keeping, so after re-posting them the plugin redirects any queries to the old pages to the new site. It’s been working well so far, and I think I was able to salvage some link juice along the paths.

    Another fine post, and very helpful for some quick site housekeeping…

  • Ray

    I have been using the free plugin all in one seo pack for a while now. If I would have heard about the yoast seo plugin I would have tried and tested it out before going with the seo all in one. I have looked at the screen shots for the yoast plugin and it looks very appealing, a little confusing but the suggestions and rating score type of thing would be great. The one I am using does not do that. I don’t think it would be a good idea to switch over now, and wouldn’t want to mess up the seo I have, but if or when I make another wordpress site I am definitely going to try yoast seo.

    • hospitalera

      Actually the Yoast SEO plugin imports all your settings from All in One SEO (and other SEO plugins also for that matter). I have switched sites before to it and run into no problems at all. But I agree, better save than sorry is sometimes better. The All in One SEO plugin is a good one, so if it works for you, I wouldn’t switch it on that site and do as you say and try the Yoast one out on a new site. Have a great days, SY

      • Ray

        Thanks for the reply and import suggestion. I didn’t realize the yoast seo had the ability to import settings from the all in one seo. Something to definitely think about. I have heard a few others mention yoast on occasion for different plugins.

  • Rex

    Thank you for this article. It is amazing just how popular WordPress has become. I think 2012 will be even better. I’d like to share with you a tool I use to find plugins. It is a database search of the official repository but with more powerful search logic.

    For example, sometimes to find the best plugins I’ve never heard of I will set the rating quite high and the minimum number of ratings high then search and exclude any incompatible plugins. Then depending on the number of results you can change the levels to get a list of a few really great plugins.

    Or if I am looking for a plugin for a particular job, I’ll use some keywords and change the levels until there is a very short list of plugins to look though.

    The link is: http://searchwordpressplugins.com/search.php

    • hospitalera

      Thank you Rex, that looks indeed like a very useful tool! Is it your site? If yes, well done as the search on the WordPress plugin depository itself is pretty useless …

      • Rex

        Hospitalera, thank you for the encouraging response. πŸ™‚
        I think it is a very useful tool and am glad you agreed.
        Yes, I am involved with the site, though I can’t claim all the credit.
        We are looking for ways to make searchwordpressplugins.com more useful so more people use and recommend it. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

  • Vi

    @hospitalera, does Keyword Strategy plugin do similar job like SEO Smart Links?

  • Vi

    BTW, does Link Juice Keeper work with WP 3.3? As this plugin last updated two years ago.

    • hospitalera

      It works well with WP3.3, no problems at all.

      • Vi

        I did try it, but traffic just went down…It can be a month is not enough to see the potential of this tool.

        • hospitalera

          Vi, I am confused, which tool are you speaking about and what did you do exactly or didn’t do with it? SY

          • Vi

            oops, I did reply to wrong comment. I was talking about Keyword Strategy.

            • hospitalera

              And how can Keyword Research bring your traffic down? What exactly did you do / not do? SY

              • Vi

                I just didn’t build any external links for 30 days just to see is really works with only internal links. But it can be 30 days are not enough to see is it really works.

                • hospitalera

                  And how much new content did you add to your site during that time? SY

                  • Vi

                    I was posting every second day.

                    p.s. it is not the site you can see link here.

                    • hospitalera

                      Without seeing the site it is a bit difficult to give suggestions on where the problem might be. Have you considered contacting Fraser directly and asking him for advice? He offers free Skype consultations, not only for paid up members but also for trial users! That might be the best way to get some expert advice on how to develop your site further πŸ˜‰ SY