Feel like finding a straw colored pin in a haystack field? Well, that’s what it can feel like to blog owners searching for the best WordPress plugins. With close to 18,000 plugins available and counting, it can be nearly impossible to navigate through the choices and find the ones that will enhance your blog.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, nor the only plugins you should be using for your site. Depending on your industry, you will need several specific plugins to maximize your marketing strategy. Consider this a foundation from which to work.
The following are some of the most popular and most important plugins for your blog:
Even if you are just starting a WordPress blog, you will need a spam filter. It’s a common misnomer that only high profile blogs need spam filters. In actuality, any blog is a target for software that automatically posts spam comments and trackbacks.
Akismet is the most popular spam filter plugin. It comes with any new WordPress install and must be activated for use. With Akismet, you can review each comment manually or allow the plugin to remove most of the spam automatically. Akismet checks your comments against its database to determine its worthiness. You can also check your admin screen to review the comments yourself.
Mobile technology is here to stay and increasing at a rapid rate. On mobile device screens and smartphones, your website will appear cluttered and will often load at a slow rate. Optimizing your website for the mobile user will improve your website’s user experience and increase your conversion rates with mobile users.
WPTouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into a mobile-friendly site. It works with iPhone, iPod touch, Palm Pre, Samsung Touch, Android and Blackberry mobile devices. You can even give your website visitors the option to search your “normal” site if they do not want to use the mobile version.
We all know that Google loves blogs…and Google will love your blog more if you maximize your SEO potential with this awesome SEO plugin.
WordPress SEO by Yoast has been downloaded over half a million times and continues to rank as one of the most popular SEO plugins. With it you can add titles and meta descriptions to your posts, edit your .htaccess and robots.txt files, receive feedback on how well you optimized your post and so much more. This plugin takes the difficulty out of optimizing your blog for the search engines and puts the control back in your hands.
It’s important to know from where your visitors are coming so you can assess the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Wassup will monitor your traffic and offer real-time stats and tell you the referring sites visitors used to find your site. It also provides geolocation information.
The plugin also uses spam detection to catch any spam comments or referrers as well as unauthorized users accessing your site. You can see who is logging into your site in real time.
The plugin does not provide pageviews or the number of visitors per day. You will need to access other analytics programs like Google Analytics to gather this data.
With the importance of social media today, you would be remiss not to include a place where people can connect with your profiles, especially on your blog which begs people to connect.
The Follow Me plugin makes it easy for people to access your social profiles. It displays a sidebar widget that says “Follow Me”. It is unobtrusive, yet noticeable, and when users click on it they are shown your social media profiles.
Have you used any other plugins that you would list as your “top 5”? Please share in the comments below.