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15 WordPress Plugins to Make Your Life Easier
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This is part nine of the One Week Blog Challenge series.
Jump, WordPress. Now roll over. Yeah, with plugins you can pretty much do that.
One of the great things about WordPress is that there are a ton of plugins out there that will let you integrate anything you want into your blog without having to touch too much code.
Over the years I’ve run and tested tons of plugins across dozens of sites and some plugins have proven indispensable. Here I will share some of my all-time favorites.
- Easy Contact Form – Contact Form 7 is a simple but very useful and functional contact form that allows people to email you. It includes Akismet spam protection and is easy to integrate.
- Akismet – 90% of your comments will be spam. To fight it, install Akismet. It’s the best anti-spam too out there (and is made by the creator of WordPress). If spam becomes a problem and you want even tighter defenses, you can add Recaptcha on top of Akismet.
- Infinite Scroll – Automatically load posts and content as the user scrolls down the page, massively improving usability to retain visitors.
- Photodropper – Searches and adds free photos to your blog posts right from WordPress using Flickr’s API and Creative Commons licensed photos.
- Popular posts – Gives you the ability to show off your most popular posts. Requires Post Plugin Library.
- Similar posts – Gives you the ability to show off similar posts at the bottom of a post. Requires Post Plugin Library.
- Amazon S3 – If you plan to serve a lot of images and don’t want to get your server overloaded, it’s a good idea to integrate Amazon S3 hosting.
- W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache – Speed is important. Speed up your WordPress by caching a lot of files and reducing server load. Caching plugins are a little more complicated than the other plugins, so be forewarned. Not all hosts let you use your own cache plugin however – WP Engine is one of them – WP Engine caches everything automatically, eliminating the need for these plugins.
- Tweetmeme retweet button – Shows how many tweets the post has had with a convenient retweet button to help people tweet your posts.
- Facebook Share – Add a Facebook share widget to your posts or even add more connectivity with Facebook Connect by Sociable.
- Disqus – Add social commenting to your site that allows people to log in via Twitter, Facebook, and more before they comment.
- Amazon Affiliate Linker – Automatically makes your links to Amazon into affiliate links with your ID.
- Google XML Sitemap generator – helps Google index your site properly.
- All in One SEO pack – Takes care of your title tags, meta descriptions, and a bunch of other related SEO stuff. If you are running Thesis, skip this plugin since Thesis actually does a better job of taking care of this stuff natively.
Check out some other useful plugins at Yoast and Nettuts. If you aren’t afraid to jump into some coding and want to make your WordPress blog do anything you want, check out WP recipes, which has a lot of useful code snippets (if you run Thesis though, you should use hooks and custom functions instead of touching core WordPress files).
Next up – Social Media Sharing tools
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