If you’ve been using WordPress for any amount of time, you’re probably aware of the abundance of plugins available from both WordPress and third parties. You obviously can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) install them all, but how do you know which ones are worth your time? The very best plugins for your website will depend on your overall goals, but here is a list of WordPress plugins that are great for pretty much everyone.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is probably the most widely recommended SEO plugin for WordPress, and for good reason. WordPress SEO by Yoast comes with a bunch of useful features. Not only does it optimize your website for search, but it comes with built-in content analysis functionality which helps you to optimize your content. It also automatically creates XML sitemaps to submit to Google, and they automatically update whenever you publish something new.
Displaying related posts are a proven way to keep people on your blog and reading content. nRelate is a highly customizable plugin for displaying related posts. You can customize features such as thumbnail size, number of posts to display, level of relevancy, and what categories to include or exclude. You can even choose to display blog posts from partner sites in your blogroll. Optional related plugins include nRelate Flyout, which displays content in a neat-looking flyout box, and nRelate Most Popular.
W3 Total Cache
Website caching is an effective way to speed up the load time of your website. If that sounds appealing to you, then this plugin is just what you need. W3 Total Cache does a ton of work. It stores a static copy of your pages, makes your CSS/HTML/Javscript files smaller, and handles content delivery network (CDN) uploads. Not only will your visitors enjoy a faster site, but you can also save money in bandwidth costs.
There are few things more chaotic to a webmaster than the crash of a website. That’s why it’s always good to be prepared. Vaultpress is a premium website backup service that offers automated daily backups, daily security scans, and support from WordPress experts. Since this plugin is offered by WordPress, you can trust in its reliability. The cost starts at $15 per month per site, and it’s well worth it to be prepared in the event of a website emergency.
If you need live support on your website, then this nifty plugin will let you create a live support widget through your Gtalk or Skype account. The free plan allows up to 30 chats per month. If you opt for the ClickDesk Magic bundle, you can get live chat, a support ticket desk, and voice chat all rolled into one. Clickdesk is a great alternative to LivePerson since it has more features, and is only a fraction of the cost.
Broken Link Checker
A site full of broken links isn’t of much use to anyone. You can deal with them by either waiting for users to report them, or by going through and checking them all yourself. Or, you could install the Broken Link Checker plugin. This plugin checks your posts, comments, blogroll, and any custom fields so you can find broken links before they become problematic. Instead of having to go through and change each post or page, you can change them right from the plugin interface. It’s a very simple, time-saving solution that every website should have.
Analytics fanatics rejoice! This is a great plugin for those who want a way to monitor their web traffic in real time. Wassup gives you a great looking dashboard to monitor the comings and goings of your website. You’ll get detailed information about everything your visitors are doing, from signing up for newsletters to leaving comments. If you’re really into your metrics, this plugin is a great supplement to Google Analytics or WordPress Stats.
If you’ve always wanted a more feature rich commenting system for your blog, then Disqus is for you. Disqus features a full range of user icons, login options, spam protection, and share options. A single Disqus account works across all blogs that have the plugin installed, so the user can keep track of comments where ever Disqus is found. Disqus is already featured on more than 2.5 million websites across the web, so chances are you’ve seen or heard of it already.
You don’t want to be left behind as the world surges towards the mobile web. Statistics say that 47 million people in the U.S alone access the internet from mobile devices every day. WP-Touch lets you design a touch-friendly mobile website quickly and easily. In the beginning it only created websites compatible with iPhone, but it has since expanded to create more fluid, responsive websites. There is a free version, and a premium version that allows you to add your own branding and embed ads.
Fluid Video Embeds
If your website is video intensive, then you’ll appreciate Fluid Video Embeds. This plugin allows you to adjust the size of Youtube and Vimeo auto-embed sizes while maintaining aspect ratio. Best of all, it’s simple to install and use. This is an awesome plugin for customizing the size of your video embeds while maintaining clean playback.
Of course there are plenty of plugins out there that aim to make your blog the best it can be, but these ten are certainly worthy of attention. WordPress plugins are a boon to those who want to get more out of their WordPress site. However, a word of caution: Don’t get too plugin happy. Installing too many at once can slow down your website, and some might even conflict with each other. Choose your plugins and WordPress host wisely, and enjoy the great results they yield for your website.