If you use WordPress, there’s no doubt that you know of all the free plugins and modifications available for it. Without all of these plugins, a lot of the features found on many blogs today wouldn’t exist.
In this article, I want to share with you guys the 28 plugins we currently have installed here and how they have contributed to the growth of our blog.
It’s a long list, so get prepared for a little reading! Lucky for you guys, I took the time to sort this whole list out pretty neatly.
We can’t be the only ones promoting our posts, see what options we give our readers to promote our content.
Give a variety of sharing options
We use a plugin called Add to Any, and it adds a little button below our posts that gives you many options to share the post on social network sites.
Display retweet, digg it, and many other buttons
We use a plugin called Digg Digg to display the retweet button and digg button in our posts. It is much more effective than Add to any because it makes tweeting or digging a post much simpler.
How we encourage reader discussion
We take the time to write articles, so to ensure that people read them and create conversations, we use the plugins below to initiate more comments.
Create a higher incentive for commentators
Whenever someone comments on a post, we give them the ability to show their latest post on their blog after their comment with a plugin called Commentluv.
Increase comment initiatives: Remove the nofollow tag
We have also made our blog dofollow. On a blog with the nofollow tag removed, more “link juice” will be given to anyone who posts their link onto our blog with their keyword in it. If you want to learn more about Dofollow links, read the benefits of a dofollow blog and the pros and cons of nofollow and dofollow.
Easiest way to start email conversations
Communicating through email is a very easy way for readers to communicate with you one on one. It is so important that you need to have a good, reliable contact form for people to fill out. So, for that reason – we use Contact Form 7.
We also use a plugin called Really Simple CAPTCHA to protect our contact form from spam.
Keep Conversations Going
Subscribe to comments makes it easier to keep discussion within the comments alive. It allows reader to check a box, and then whenever their comment is replied to – they get an email which should bring them back to your blog and keep discussion going.
From speeding up your blog to smartly organizing it, the plugins below are not ones you want to overlook.
Organize your feed readers into one place
With FeedBurner FeedSmith, you will be able to keep track of every last subscriber if you use Feedburner. With this plugin, you can get a more accurate number of people who subscribe to your blog as it will make everyone subscribe through FeedBurner.
Save your blog from pinging suicide
Every time you update a post, WordPress sends a ping to any ping service. If this happens too much, your blog can get labeled as a ping spammer, and you can miss out on plenty of traffic without these ping services on your side. We combat it with MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer.
How to get pages and pages of content seen by search engines
A sitemap is important for your SEO. It allows search engine bots to easily navigate through your blog and index the pages within your blog. With Google XML Sitemap Generator, a sitemap will be created for your blog automatically and will be updated as you add more pages (posts) to your blog.
Reduce image sizes significantly and decrease load time
Images are an important part of your blog, but they also can increase the loading time of your site. With a plugin like WP Smush.it, images will be compressed when you upload them and the best part is it does it all in the background without interrupting your publishing process.
Speed up your blog through page cache
The best way to speed up the loading time of your blog is to cache the pages with a plugin like WordPress Super Cache.
Making content more accessible
It’s important to make as much content as possible within easy reach of your readers so good content doesn’t go to waste. Here are the plugins we use to keep as much content as we can visible.
With the latest posts by category archive, we can do just as it says – display a list of the “x” latest posts from any category. I wrote a tutorial a couple weeks ago using this plugin as an example to create a favorites post list.
Show off Popular, Recent and Similar Posts
In our sidebar, we display the most popular posts on our blog, under every article on the blog, we show a list of related posts, and on our Archives page, we show our most recent posts. All of these plugins help get the most relevant content to our readers.
We chose the three plugins above because of how easily customizable they are, but they do require the Post-Plugin Library plugin to function.
How to create a great archives page
Numbered Page Navigation
Rather than using the “previous” and “next” page links to navigate through our pages of posts, we decided to create a numbered navigation so you can easily select what page you want to jump to. We used WP Page Numbers.
At the top of our content area, we have a breadcrumb trail that lists what page you are on, and the pages you visited to get to that page. It’s very useful for not just SEO, but for driving more clicks to sub pages.
Below are just some of the cool little features we added to our blog to switch things up a little.
Create a Stream of Quotes
In our sidebar, we have a section dedicated to blogging quotes. We found an amazing plugin called Stray Random Quotes which comes with great features to create a random quotes section like we have in our sidebar.
Display Latest Tweet(s)
RSS Reader only messages
Some people choose to read our blog content from their feed reader without visiting our blog. With the plugin RSS Footer, we can add extra bits of information after each post that will only show up to people reading through our RSS feed.
Useful Admin Options
The plugins we use below add some pretty nifty options to our admin panel that make us depend less on 3rd party applications and more on WordPress.
Spell & Grammar Check Articles
It’s important that your posts are published with the best grammar and spelling as possible. Content should not only be informative, but clear and easy to follow. We chose to go with After the Deadline, which is probably the most effective plugin of its kind for WordPress.
I like to open up my WordPress dashboard and see what the daily traffic stats are for the blog. So, I use a plugin called WordPress.com Stats to get a very accurate reading of daily pageviews, most popular post of the day and more.
Stop spam in its tracks
Everyone knows this and probably uses Akismet. It’s probably the best anti spam plugin for WordPress.
Backup your database
Backing up your blog is a very important precaution you should take every day. With WP DB-Manager, you can get a backup of your database with many options to make the process more automated.
Share With Us
What plugins do you guys use on your own blog? Did you happen to see any plugins from our list that you use at your own blog? Share all of your plugin inquiries in the comments section below!