I list some of the most popular plugins for WordPress, alongside some of my personal battle-tested favorites.
This plugin requires that you create an account and your website gets approved to host the content.ad type ads. Content.ads is a great alternative from the typical adsense / affiliate ad types on the market today. It integrates nicely at the bottom of your post pages to appear as “Related or Popular Posts”. I just recently implimented this ad network here at EDT and I must say I love the ability to customize the look and feel of the ads so that they fit in with your theme design.
Easily integrate ads into the body of your posts with the Ad Injection Plugin. You can customize the number of ads per post based on post length and Ad Injection also has support for several advertising networks such as Google’s Adsense, Amazon, ClickBank & More. Finally they also offer the ability to do A/B testing to make sure that you get the most out of your ad space.
Anti-Spam & Optimize
This is the only Anti-spam plugin that I use here at EDT! It should be noted for beginners that it WILL NOT catch everything just by simply turning it on. After you have enabled the plugin, Make sure to go to Settings > Discussion – Then add entries under the “comment moderation” & “comment blacklist” categories. If you are still struggling with comment spam – drop me a line and I’ll be glad to point you in the right direction.
Broken Link Checker
Quickly & Easily find and fix all of your sites dead links.
EWWW Image Optimizer
Improve your sites loading times & user experience by compressing/optimizing all of your images in just a few minutes with EWWW Image Optimizer.
A top tier alternative to EWWW, again it will automatically optimize any new images that are uploaded and also has an option to optimize images on demand for any pictures that were uploaded before you had WP Smush.It installed.
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
P3 will profile your sites plugins and determine which plugins are slowing down your website. I’ve used this plugin personally to track down a contact form plugin that was single handly causing my website to load 1.5 seconds slower!
This plugin is basically the Windows Disk-Cleanup for WordPress. WP-Optimize will cleanup orphaned database entries, purge old document revisions, old unapproved comments & more. While not something I use very often – It’s probably worth a look if you’ve been running your site for a year or two.
If you don’t already have a plugin that caches your websites content – You need to get one! WP Super-Cache is what I personally use on EDT – primarily for it’s ease of use and great user interface. You can setup page caching with 1-click on their “Easy” tab, or you can delve further into WP SuperCache and setup a CDN network or Pre-Load pages.
Often said to be the single best plugin available to improve your sites performance… however all of that horsepower comes with its fair share of complexity. If you are comfortable spending a few hours(or days!) learning how to configure W3 correctly – It is a truly powerful plugin. For the rest of us, I’ve found WP-SuperCache to be a suitable replacement.
Backups & Security
Consistently rated as one of the top 3 WP Backup plugins on the market – BackWPup gives you a ton of meaningful functionality with their Free version of the plugin.
Easily Export & import your WordPress site to another server with this powerful and highly rated plugin! As an added bonus, it also doubles as a complete on-demand backup option.
A great Free plugin that backs up your WordPress site to a large number off different third party locations. (IE – Google Drive, FTP, etc.). You can create scheduled jobs, set the amount of retention and easily restore from earlier backups within WordPress.
WordPress Simple Firewall
I started using the WordPress Simple Firewall plugin when I thought my site had been hacked (thankfully it hadn’t!). Installing the plugin also gave me the option for enabling login protection to protect against brute force attacks and the like. While I’m sure that BlueHost does a great job on it’s own – It’s comforting to have that extra layer of protection. *smirks*
Comments & Discussion
Disqus has quickly become one of the most popular commenting replacement platforms, I personally started using Disqus a few weeks ago and absolutely love it.
Another popular alternative to the default WordPress commenting system.
Comment Luv is just a little different than LiveFyre & Disqus in the sense that it encourages more comments to your posts, since the people who comment are able to get “link juice” via their approved comments. While this should in theory lead to more comments – It may also attract a lot of un-targeted traffic that simply are trying to build back-links.
Hybrid Connect – $49.00
Hybrid Connect offers you full access to all features at the entry level price of $50 bucks! The most customization options of any other optin form I know of, at a fair price & an option for Facebook Signup Integration? Yep, Hybrid Connect gives you 40+ templates to work from and a library of videos to help get you started. Trust Me – It’s worth the price tag for everything that you get!
Optin Monster – $49.00+
I actually purchased the second tier level of this plugin, particularly because I’ve heard such great things about the plugin and they offered a money back guarantee. Long story short – I was disappointed by having limited features after shelling out 80 bucks…I was disappointed when I was greeted by only 3-4 templates, and I was disappointed by the limited scope of customization options. Honestly the only thing I liked about the plugin was the money back guarantee!
Now this is just my opinion – Optin monster has some pretty cool technology built into the higher tiers of service, So if you have an extra chunk of change lying around and you want to try their “Exit Intent” opt-in forms, I say give them a go – You can’t go wrong with their money back guarantee, and the setup process is dead simple.
Gravity Forms – $39.00
I haven’t personally used this plugin, But It has consistently been rated as one of the best options available time and time again. I would do yourself a favor and check out their DEMO page if want to see what makes Gravity Forms unique.
Search Engine Optimization
One of the “Big 2” of the SEO plugins – Yoast is a plugin powerhouse that let’s you take minute control over how your site is read/displayed with Google. Allowing you to customize important SEO fields & even create a sitemap.
All in One SEO
This is my SEO plugin of choice, although honestly they are both indiscernible in functionality & quality in my eyes. While Yoast has the added benefit of a built in sitemap generator, I personally didn’t have any success using it.
(See the bottom of this page for my favorite sitemap plugin!)
Social Media & Sharing
One of the best Free social media plugins out there – Add this lets you choose from some of their pre-defined display options with their plugin, or if you would prefer – customize to your hearts content by signing up for a free account over at AddThis.com. I should caution some of the WP beginners out there though – that customization may require you to instead insert your custom script into your themes php files via Appearance > Editor.
Social Media Widget
A great social media plugin with a huge range of icon sets & social media networks to choose from. You can customize the size, icon pack, networks & placement order all from the WordPress widgets menu.
WP Sharely – $37.00
WP Sharely allows you lock content on your webiste – Where the user must like/tweet/G+1 your content in order to unlock. The author of WP Sharely is the same man behind Hybrid Connect ( 2 of the only paid plugins that I use by the way). I try to invest some of the money I earn from Blogging back into the Blog every chance I get. WP Shareley for me – was worth the price. It has increased my shares, my web presence & Link Juice!
Crayon Syntax Highlighter
One of the best plugins on the market for sharing sections of code. Equipped with a huge list of custom display options to format your code snippets to appear exactly how you want them to on your site. (My Favorite is the GitHub replica by the way!)
The Easy Columns plugin allows you to easily add several different column types into your posts & pages to make advanced formatting as clean and simple as possible. I use this plugin here at EDT to keep spacing and design consistent for the Recommendations Page.
Fancy Posts Widget
While there are a ton of similar plugins – This particular plugin is by far and away my favorite for displaying Recent or Popular posts in the sidebar.
Easily one of my favorite new plugins – Menu Icons allows you to choose from a huge list of pre-loaded icons to associate with each menu item in your header. A quick and easy way to make your site stand out 🙂
For anyone that is wondering, Here is the list of all the Plugins that I use Here at EDT.
For An Experts Perspective – checkout my Expert Roundup on WordPress Plugins![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_sidebar admin_label=”Sidebar” orientation=”left” area=”sidebar-1″ background_layout=”light” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]