My 12 Favorite WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

What are the best WordPress plugins for bloggers? It depends on the blogger’s niche, preferences, and readers. Here’s a list of my favorite plugins for WordPress – most of which I use every single day…

Before the tips, a quip:

“Many great bloggers are ‘learning’ blogs – the author writes about what she is learning, rather than what she already knows,” says new media expert Wendy Piersall.

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Indeed, blogging is all about learning — both “behind the scenes” and with your readers! One thing I learned just by writing this article is that plugins can cause your blog to crash. It’s not necessarily the plugin itself; it’s the combination of certain plugins and your WordPress theme. To learn how this works (and much more), read the WordPress Bible. And, here are some of my favorite WordPress plugins…

My 12 Favorite WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Remember: not all plugins play well together! I use all of these on most of my blogs and they work great. But, different themes and plugin combinations can trigger glitches. The only way to find out is to give ‘em a try…you can always deactivate and delete a plugin if it causes an error.

Easy Adsense – This is one of my favorite plugins because it allows me to insert advertisements into the middle and end of my blog posts. I know those mid-post ads look terrible, but they’re so effective! And, since I want to earn a living as a blogger, I do what works. Easy Adsense is one of my favorite WordPress plugins, especially since it allows all manner of advertising (not just Google Adsense).

Broken Link Checker – is another favorite plugin because it alerts me to broken links in my blog posts, in the WordPress Dashboard. I love this plugin not just because it catches broken links (which negatively affects Google’s ability to spider my blog), but because it encourages me to tweak my old blog posts. That is, when I go into a post to fix or delete a broken link, I also edit my writing. It’s a great way to improve my writing skills, and it keeps me humble!

Open in New Window – I like external links that open in a new tab or window, which is why this is one of my favorite plugins. This way, if readers don’t like the link they clicked on, they can close it and return to my blog post (instead of clicking the back button or losing my blog altogether).

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WordPress Database Backup – This plugin sends an automatic backup up of my whole blog to my email address. I can sleep well at night, knowing that my whole database is save in my email inbox! My most excellent HostGator web host does offer backups, but I like this extra security.

Popularity Contest – lists the most popular posts on my blog. This is good info for both me and my readers.

CommentLuv – displays a reader’s last blog post if they leave a comment. I like seeing what my readers are writing, and it’s an incentive to get readers to comment!

Google XML Sitemap – This WordPress plugin helps search engines find my blog, by generating an automatic sitemap for indexing purposes. It notifies the major search engines when I write a post…and I could use all the help I can get to increase my blog traffic.

Comment Reply Notification – When readers ask questions and want read my response, they can tick a little box underneath the comment box, enter their email address, and get an automatic email when I respond. I love when other bloggers use this plugin – it’s one of the best ways to stay in touch!

Sociable – I don’t know how often readers actually use this plugin, but it allows them to share my blog post on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc.

Akismet – This plugin catches spam comments and filters them into a spam comments folder. I regularly check the spam comments folder for valid comments that went AWOL, since some readers put links in their comments (which Akismet tags as spam).

WP SuperCache – This is one of the most popular plugins on WordPress because it reduces the load on your server, which improves page loading time for readers. It caches pages, and is especially good for websites with lots of traffic.

All in One SEO Pack – This is another one of the most popular plugins on WordPress because it’s supposed to optimize your blog and posts, but it may not be necessary. I was at a social media and bloggers’ conference recently (How to Find Your Blogging Voice – 8 Tips for Bloggers was one of the best presentations, by the way). I asked the resident “WordPress expert” what he thought of the All in One SEO plugin, and he said WordPress and Google are able to work their magic without it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get more information because other people were lining up to talk to him…so I’m not 100% about this plugin. But it’s not harmful, so I continue to use it.

Plugins That Make Your Blog Go Faster – I hired a webmaster to speed up my blogs, and he installed the following WordPress plugins: WP Minify to combine and compress JSS and CSS file to improve page load time; Hot Linked Image Cacher to cache images locally; and WP Smush.it to reduce image file sizes. I’ve also just installed W3 Total Cache, which may overlap with what the individual plugins do. We’ll see how it goes…

Phew!

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What about you? What are your favorite WordPress plugins – ones that you can’t live without? Or, are you a Blogger blogger? 🙂 I’d love to hear from you below…

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