Once you set up your WordPress blogging site you’ll need to add additional functionality at some point. This is where plug-in’s come into play. WordPress Plug-ins will allow you to customize WordPress without having to code anything.
You’ll be able to add in features for contact forms, spam control, social media buttons, meta tags, and much more. Below I’ll list my favorite WP Plugins, many of them I use on this blog.
Here’s A List Of My Favorite WordPress Plugins
Advanced Excerpt – With over 100,000 active installations, the Advanced Excerpt plugin is handy for providing an excerpt on each one of your posts when someone is browsing them by category. I have mine set to do the excerpt for the first 200 words of each post. Then the reader has to click “read more” to view the rest of the article by clicking into the actual post. Without that option all the articles would just run together as a long page when viewing by category, that does not look nice.
Akismet-AntiSpam – With over 5 million active installations, the Askimet-Anti-Spam plugin is a must for controlling spam on your WordPress contact forms and comments. It’s continuously updated from a global database. It has a pretty thorough history being associated with the WordPress application so that you can trust it.
WP User Avatar – With over 300,000 active installations, WP User Avatar allows you to customize your WordPress avatar photo with a picture from your local media library files, without having to use Gravatar. (click on Gravatar to find out what that is!)
Pretty Links – With over 200,000 active installations, Pretty Links is the best plug-in I’ve seen for setting up redirect links where you want to shorten the destination link to make it look more user-friendly. It’s perfect for affiliate marketing links or other ugly looking external website links. You can track outbound clicks and you can easily set “no follow” tags on your outbound links so the search engines won’t index them. The built-in reporting features are excellent too.
Open Graph Meta Tags for Facebook – With over 80,000 downloads, the Open Graph Meta Tags For Facebook plug-in will create the proper Open-graph meta tags required for sharing your WordPress posts on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Without Open Graph Meta Tags, the headlines and featured photos for your blog post may not show up correctly when shared. If you know HTML, it will be easy for you to understand how these meta tags work. If not, it will be a bit confusing, to help here’s an explanation on the importance of: The Open Graph Protocol
XML SiteMap – With over 2 million active installations, the XML Site Map plugin will help you make a sitemap to index your site with search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com. It’s a must-have for proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)
GA Google Analytics – With over 100,000 active installations, the GA Google Analytics plug-in will help you easily add your analytics tracking code to WordPress. I installed this plug-in specifically because of its option to disable the tracking code for when a WP User is logged on. If you are logged in and working on your blog, you don’t want your Google Analytics to report your page views, do you?
Crafty Social Buttons – With just over 9,000 active installations, the Crafty Social Buttons plugin is the best at setting up Social Media share buttons for each one of your articles. The share button styles are especially good if you’re into Etsy or a crafty feel. I’ve been using the plugin for a while now, and it’s solid!
Ad Inserter – If you plan on putting any kind of ads on your blog with Google or Amazon, this plug-in comes highly recommended. If you want to insert any of kind of affiliate ad disclosure at the top of your blog post, this plug-in will also work well for you.
Contact Form 7 – With just over 5 million active installations, Contact Form 7 is the only plug-in I trust for setting up custom contact forms. It’s fantastic, secure, and works very well with the Askimet Spam Filter plugin.
Top Rated WordPress Plugins – All the top-rated WordPress plug-ins, this comes directly from WordPress.org.
I’ll be updating this list of Plugins over time. Do you have a favorite plugin you’d like to add to this list or share with the readers? Contact me and share it with me, if it looks like a good fit for the article I can add it to the list.