Since I started blogging, I’ve always been interested in what WordPress plugins other bloggers recommend. So over the last couple of years I’ve bookmarked 63 favorite/essential/recommended/must have WordPress plugins type posts that I’ve come across. I thought it would be useful to get an idea which were the most recommended plugins in these posts so I keyed all 300+ recommended plugin names into MS OneNote and totalled the recommendations (or votes) for each plugin. I imported everything into Excel then sorted on the vote column, excluded plugins with less than 5 votes and plotted a graph in Excel. I’ve only listed plugins with more than 5 recommendations (or votes) so as to pull out the most popular 36 from the 300+ recommended WordPress plugins.
You can probably guess which would be in the top picks but anyway here’s what I found
I’ll briefly run though the top 15 recommended plugins. Out in front were Google XML Sitemaps (39 votes), All in One SEO Pack (36 votes), Akismet (33 votes) and WP Super Cache (21 votes) which I guess everyone should have on their blog.
Google XML Sitemaps (39 votes): Generates a sitemap which helps search engines crawl your website content. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a new post.
All in One SEO Pack (36 votes): You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want. Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines. Easy for beginners to set up.
Akismet (33 votes): Blocks the majority of spam comments. Checks your blog comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
WP Super Cache (21 votes): Generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After an html file is generated, your web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. Your server won’t be as busy as before. This plugin will help your server cope with a front page appearance on digg.com or other social networking sites.
Contact Form 7 (15 votes): Plugin to place a contact form on your Contact page.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) (14 votes): Gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site.
Subscribe to Comments (14 votes): Enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent comments.
Sociable (14 votes): Automatically add links to your favourite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed. You can choose from 99 different social bookmarking sites.
Broken Link Checker (13 votes): Monitors your blog for broken links and lets you know if any are found.
NextGEN Gallery (12 votes): A fully integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a Flash slideshow option.
FeedBurner Feedsmith (11 votes): Will detect all ways to access your feed (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php, etc.), and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. It will forward for your main posts feed and optionally, your main comments feed as well.
WP-PageNavi (10 votes): Improves your website page navigation including the ability to jump several pages and links to jump to the start or end.
WordPress.com Stats (10 votes): Focuses on just the most popular metrics a blogger wants to track and provides them in a clear and concise interface. Collects information about your pageviews, which posts and pages are the most popular, where your traffic is coming from, and what people click on when they leave.
Redirection (10 votes): Manages 301 redirections, keeps track of 404 errors, and generally tidies up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
Google Analytics for WordPress (10 votes): If you are using Google Analytics then it makes sense to add this plugin. It automatically tracks and segments all outbound links from within posts, comment author links, links within comments, blogroll links and downloads.
I actually use 6 of the top 15 plugins on my blog and during the course of preparing this post I’ve spotted a few in the list which I should consider. But at the same time, I don’t want to overload my blog with plugins and slow it down given Google’s stance on page load speed.
So if you’re just starting out blogging with WordPress, or if you’re looking to add some plugins recommended across the blogosphere, have a look through these.
Are there any WordPress plugins you can’t do without which aren’t on this list? Drop a comment below.
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