I previously wrote a post about the WordPress Plugins I use and why. Today I’m giving you an updated post because a lot has changed since then. Plus, I’ve updated that post enough times now that most of the plugins I’m no longer using for various reasons. For the most part, I’m not, using many of the previously mentioned plugins. This is because I’m trying to do away with as many plugins as I can by adding smaller amounts of code into my theme. I do this because it not only frees up some space on the server, but it also puts a lot less stress on the server. How do you ask? Well, instead of using a plugin that uses thousands of lines of code I can get the same reaction from just a few lines of code. Less work.
My Top 5 WordPress Plugins
Now, I’m still using several of the necessary plugins that every blogger really should be using on their site; Akismet, Google XML Sitemaps, Broken Link Checker, and CommentLuv. But there are a few others out there that I think you should be using.
MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate
Ninja Affiliate is an excellent plugin. Although not free it is worth the money if you use affiliate networks to earn you money. It is relatively easy to set, and it does all the work for you based on the settings you choose. It will automatically link your affiliates within your posts for you. When setting up each affiliate, you just tell it which word or words you’d like associated with that affiliate. When the words are used in your posts it will automatically link them once the post is published. If you stop using an affiliate, you just delete it from the settings and the link will be removed. If you update the word or words to be associated then, it will automatically adjust the links throughout your site.
Genesis Simple Hooks
Obviously, this one is only good if your blog is set up using a Genesis theme, which I think is the best type of theme. Using this plugin allows you to do all kinds of different things to your site that could be a lot harder to do. It also enables you to make changes to your theme, and if that theme is updated in any way or if you decide to go with a different Genesis theme then those settings will remain there for you. For instance, I use it to place all the background coding for advertising. You know, that pesky coding that has to go in the header section of your site. I also use it to customize the information that shows up in my post titles; who the post is by and the date.
Another area I customize with it is my footer information. No matter what theme I use of Genesis, this information will always be the way I want it. I won’t have to redo the code with any changes.
Although it has the word Adsense in there, you can use this plugin for all ad networks. It allows you to put ads in your posts in three different spots; top, middle, and bottom. You put the ad codes in and tell it where those ads should show up and when. I have different ads show up at the tops and bottoms of my newest posts, and different ads show up on posts that are older than so many days.
This is the best plugin and one that I highly recommend you have. It not only allows you to manage your WordPress database, but it allows you also to optimize, repair, backup, and restore your database as well as so much more.
You can tell it when to do these things, how often, and it’ll even email you a copy of your backup to save on your computer. That is the most important part. You want to have a physical copy of your database in a place other than on your server. If something goes wrong with the server, your site is on, and the only place you have a backup copy of your database is on the server then you could lose everything or at the very least the most recent updates/posts to your site. I have my site back up every single night and email me so that at the most I lose one day worth of posts.
Jetpack by WordPress.com
This does many different things, and I don’t even use half of the features. This is how WordPress now keeps track of your website stats, allows you to auto send your new posts to social media, checks your spelling and grammar, and so much more. There are several features in there that will replace other plugins you may be using and may introduce you to, even more, features. As I said, I don’t use all the characteristics of it.
What are other Bloggers must have plugins?
Amy from This Mama’s Life has three must have plugins.
- WP Nofollow Posts – to help keep all her posts ‘no follow’ posts, so she doesn’t always have to remember to put the code in manually.
- WordPress SEO – to help build her SEO scoring.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – so that her Google Analytics are right there on her WordPress dashboard, and she doesn’t have to leave her site to find out her Google stats.
Lauren from Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood has a few must-have plugins of her own.
- Comment Reply Notification – she loves that it sends people an email when she replies to their comments. It “helps to connect with my readers and creates a dialogue.” says Mrs. Weber.
- One Click Close Comments – this makes it easy for her to close comments on posts, especially giveaway posts.
- WordPress Popular Posts – this allows you to set up a widget on your sidebar with images that link to your top posts. It helps to keep people on your site longer and click around more.
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox – She uses this to periodically back-up her site into her Dropbox account.
Aly from The Michigan Mom has three favorites.
- Flare – It’s an eye-catching social sharing bar plugin that shows you how many times your post has been shared and includes a ton of social media channels. You can adjust the location of the bar from the top, side, or bottom of your post and customize the buttons as well.
- JQuery Pin-it Button for Images – This makes it easier for your readers to pin your blog pictures to Pinterest. You can customize the style of the button by uploading your design or choosing from one of their options. You can also select where the button is located on your pictures; left or right, top, bottom, or center.
- Tweet Old Posts – This will send out tweets of your old blog posts through Twitter when you are not readily available to do so yourself. It helps those that work and or go to school and aren’t able to access your site. You can customize it, so your, blog post tags become hashtags, and it will automatically shorten your links!