One of the most frequently-asked questions I receive is “which WordPress plugins should I install.”
This video shows you a strategy of how to make that decision, plus it shows you some of my personal favorite plugins:
(Like this video? Rate and comment on this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.)
In a sec, I’ll give you the list of some of my favorites, but it really is worth your time to watch the video to see the strategy I use to choose which plugins I select, which will save you tons of time, frustration and worry.
Here’s the list of plugins referred to in the video:
- Akismet for comment spam
- Google Analytics for WordPress, easily hooks WordPress to Google Analytics
- All In One SEO Pack – the changes WordPress should make
- Google XML Sitemaps – creates a google sitemap, important for SEO
- Fast Secure Contact Form — allows visitors to send you email
- ShareThis — social sharing buttons in many different iterations
- W3 Total Cache — creates flat (not dynamic) files
- Disqus Comment System — Replaces wordPress comment system with more socially-aware system
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin — shows related posts from your blog
- WP-DB-Backup — backs up your WordPress database
- Smart YouTube — easily insert YouTube videos
- Exclude Pages from Navigation — allows you to remove pages from your nav bar
- AskApache Password Protect — adds level of protection for passwords
- Dynamic Content Gallery — Creates a dynamic image gallery
- FD Feedburner Plugin — redirects all feeds to a Feedburner feed
- Featured Content Gallery — creates a rotating image gallery
- Twitter Tools — integrates your blog with Twitter
- WordPress Firewall — blocks suspicious-looking requests to WordPress
- 1-click Retweet/Share/Like — Puts a Like button on posts
- WP Security Scan — performs a security scan of your WordPress installation
- WP Touch — formats your site with a mobile theme
What do you think of the strategy I present in the video? What are YOUR favorite plugins? Share them in the comments below!
How did you get the “Like Don Crowther On FaceBook” information onto your wordpress sidebar?
It’s one of the Facebook Connect plugins – there are several. Specifically, this one’s the Facebook Members plugin.
This comment is address to the people who are using Don’s recommended plugins for WordPress!
Great plugins, however, I had a problem with “AskApache Password Protect ” and I had to re-install my entire TEST blog 🙂 but that’s fine. It is not for “tech deprived” users 😛
That’s why before someone install that plugin, you want to install “WP-DB-Backup” first and backup the entire database in case of flaws.
For those who are using WPTouch Pro version, there may be some compatibility issues when you are using W3 Total Cache plugin. There’s an “user agent error” when you try to install both under the same hood 😀
Here’s an article how to fix that issue (integrating successfully WPTouch Pro and W3 Total Cache plugins): http://nimopress.com/pressed/blog-building-how-to-configure-w3-total-cache-to-work-with-wptouch-for-wordpress/
Also, you may want to consider alternatives on W3 Total Cache plugin that works with WPTouch Pro: http://nimopress.com/pressed/wordpress-plugins-best-of-4-caching-plugins/
Hope that helps!
Thanks for your recommendations, Chris!
Don, as a beginning blogger, the information you presented was very informative for me as I build websites. I had never heard of many of these Plugins before. Now, I have returned to some of my sites to see which will Plugin work best.
One Plugin that I like is the Evermore Plugin that allows me to shorten my article on the Home page but allows the reader to click to continue reading. This way, I can fit many articles without having a very long page.
Another Plugin I use, instead of Google Analytics, is the WordPress Piwik. I install this directly from Simple Scripts interface. Once I stall this, I can apply it to all my websites.
Again, thanks for your video.
So, what plugin do you use for your retweet/facebook like buttons?
Currently using WP Facebook Like and WP Twitter Button. Got gripes with both though. Exploring…
The information you have shared in the video is so valuable. I’ve started using wordpress just yesterday for the first time and I’m very grateful that I’ve found your video.
In the video above it explains what plugins to use, do you have videos that show how to configure these plugins?
I would would be very grateful if you could provide us with resourses of how to configure these plugins properly.
Don, Thanks for the great list. I have finally decided to get serious about inernet marketing (about time). All of the knowledge I have gained from you is helping me ubderstand what I need to do. I am still learning
I’ve got to say Don, since frequenting your blog regularly I’ve learned more useful tips on Facebook integration and extremely useful plugins for my WordPress blog. I’d like to comment further, but you just gave me a long list of plugins I’ve got to go search out and install! Thanks for all of the great content; you’re very much appreciated!!
Many thanks for the wordpress security scan plugin.
I didn’t think about that and I will try it as soon as possible.
What do you really think about the W3 one ?
Okay, if you had WP Ajax Edit comments, this comment wouldn’t be here 😉 I just wanted to add that the link is NOT an affiliate link 😉
As a WordPress blogs developer I actually started writing a book yesterday. It will cover the top 77 plugins for WordPress, so the question is – are we telepathically connected with Don? 😀
Don, I would recommend you to install Subscribe to Double-Optin Comments, which sends commenters email after someone posts a comment below theirs. It is optional, has confirmed opt-in, so I haven’t had a spam complaint. Only readers replying directly to my email and not posting on the web 😀
Another one plugin people also love when they see it on my pages is called WP Ajax Edit Comments. It simply allows users to edit their comments even AFTER posting. If people know the plugin is present you even get more comments as they aren’t afraid to post some mistakes. This one is premium, but I love it so much, that clicking my name takes you directly to their blog where you can test it out. 🙂
For speeding up the blogs I use WP Super Cache as it seems to be compatible with more plug-ins than the others. But unless you experience troubles, go with those recommended by Don. 😉
Love your site been a fan for a long time.
You may want to take a look at Greg’s High Performance SEO, I will not use any other, I find it so intuitive yet flexible.
Don – thank you very much for giving your knowledge – a very timely piece of info for a Rookie! I have read about W3 Total Cache, but there’s a lot of stuff to complete and I’m not sure of what I’m doing. Is there anywhere that you know of where I can see a video of it?
Very many thanks and good wishes form Wales, UK
Hi Don, thanks for sharing great info, i have now installed many of them. I’m a brand new ‘blogger’ and had a bit of trouble with the Links Alpha part of the 1 click-retweet/share/like because when I posted a blog, the next morning it had repeated 29 times, and was on Twitter, FB and Linkedin 29 times!! Have you had this and do you know the trouble-shoot?
Never had that happen. I suggest that you contact the developer to see if you encountered a bug.
HI Don, I just installed the Disqus Comment system on one of my test sites and it seams a little cumbersome for the user. Are you using it on this site as your comment system appears a lot smoother?
Not on this site. There was an issue that I can’t recall – I’ll have to bring it up with my tech guy again and get it resolved. Thanks for the reminder!
Please advise why i am getting a notice that says that my virtual memory is low and windows is increasing it now.
It means that you need to reboot your computer. That’s probably doesn’t have anything to do with WordPress plugins though.
Great plug-ins Don! I also love WP Auto Tagger and Social Profiles Widget. They are great as well. Thanks for all the knowledge as always.
first..how to do ittle black box on your email that shows your wrods as you say them..really great!!
well AMAZINGLY HELPFUL MESSAGE…… that was typed wrongly but I leave it in! nOW i HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TO DO:
Have been on net for about three years and reached the end of my tether. I had ! Thanks
I’m assuming you mean on the video, right? Those are from the transcription uploaded onto YouTube. I’ll do another video on it soon.
Thanks for the post, Mr. Crowther!
there are two more that we like to use:
1- All in One Webmaster
2- Mobile Pack – making your blog mobile-ready
Thanks for your list. I will go through them to see which additional ones we should be installing.
I use StudioPress themes for all my sites, and they have many of these plugin features built right in. Two other good plugins are the Broken Link Checker, to make sure all the links on your site are directing properly, and Contact Form 7, which offers an easy way for visitors to contact you.
TRIED and TRIED installing 1-click Retweet/Share/Like â€” Jumped through a thousand hoops and still don’t have an API key to activate the plug-in. This one, in my opinion is a “fail” 🙁
Thanks Don. Here’s some other ones that I use:
Broken Link Checker – checks all outbound links and gives you a report on the dashboard
TweetMeme Retweet Button – allows you to tweet a post, and it shows the tweet count for that post
SexyBookmarks – a graphical list of tons of social bookmarking icons
Two things, one off topic, one on…
Hide Pages. This is a great plugin to use to make pages available only to those who know they are there, like “thank you” pages.
How did you get your closed captioning set? Is that a youtube function?
The closed captioning is done by uploading the transcript on YouTube. I’m going to do another video on that soon.
Great information Don. The featured content gallery plugin sounds cool. I’m definately going to check that one out.
Thanks for the extensive list. I have been looking for a place to find good – reviewed – plugins, so thanks for answering my request.
Thanks for the W3 Total Cache tip. I’ve been paying for extra bandwidth and this plugin looks like it will help reduce that.
Probably beyond the scope of a comment section but do you have a handle on what percentage of your blog viewers are on an iPhone or other mobile device?
Sure, 4.2% of my traffic over the last 30 days has come from mobile devices.
To find that, just go into your Google Analytics, click Visitors, Mobile, Mobile Devices, to get your visitor count, then compare it to your total visitor count from the dashboard to get your percentage.
Thanks for getting me to look this up – I’m realizing that I need to get an html5 version of my videos up so my mobile visitors can watch them. :<) Don
Good post and you seem to have covered the basics there quite well.
How about doing a quick video on setting up All-in-One-Seo for the newbies.
There are a lot of settings in there and I know I get asked about it all the time.
There are 3 most important areas you need to pay attention: Home Title, Description and Keywords. Use ‘catchy title’ with your main keyword in it. Write ‘catchy description’ with your main keyword and one related keyword, but no more than 160 words. You can use Twitter’s “What’s happening” box to do the word count, if you are not sure what 160-word description looks like. As for Keyword, you want to include your main keyword and some related keywords, but no more than 10 keywords.
I just started my wordpress blog and this is a great help. You tell us what the plugin is for and why we need it. Thanks.
Great video Don, with VERY useful information.
What plugin do you suggest for integration into Facebook, i.e. have a post show up on a Facebook page?
I’d recommend you do that by hand, actually, and write a great post that makes people want to click to read your blog post. It takes 3 extra minutes, but that time is absolutely worth it!
Iâ€™d recommend you do that by hand, actually, and write a great post that makes people want to click to read your blog post. It takes 3 extra minutes, but that time is absolutely worth it!
How do you do this manually?
Log into your Facebook page, in the “What’s on your mind” box on the top of the page, write a motivational description of your blog post and include a link to your page. Facebook will go grab a picture and some text from the post and put it on your page.
Sasha, there’s a facebook app called NetworkBlog, or you can use Twitterfeed.com to connect to Facebook. Input your blog feed into Twitterfeed and it goes to Facebook too. But from experience based on the Twitterfeed option, if you post regularly, you may ‘flood’ your friends’ FB news feed.
Don is right: do it manually and tag your friends’ names to the post and they can tell it’s a personal invitation to read it.
Thanks for that nice list. One I like that I would add to your list is Simple Image. If anyone has problems getting an image to appear in a widget area this fixes that right up. It also allows you to put a link in so the image is clickable. Very handy.
Nice list Don, and nice timing too as I’m just drafting an article for the business section of our local paper no just this and was re-evaluating “must have” plugins for WP.
One question: what do you use for your subscribe feature? I’ve been using and recommending Subscribe2 myself.
I use an AWeber.com form and do it through that.
AWeber is a great option too — really good for channeling campaigns for up-selling folks if you are one of those kinds of marketers, but for most folks using a blog, it’s too much for them unless they are at least a real small business. Subscribe2 is a good option for average blog users.
I haven’t had a moment yet to explore AWeber vis a vis WordPress yet, but I’ll look into it. Meanwhile, I’ve been more hip to MailChimp as an alternative to AWeber, and will check that out too.
Thanks for that, Don. There were some plugins there that I’ll definitely look at. I also use the following:
1. Revision Control – so you don’t clog up your database with multiple versions of your posts/pages
2. Pages Links To – for pointing posts/pages to a URL of your choosing. I’ve used this for main navigation, handy when you want to link to another page off-site.
3. Subscribe to Comments – for those not taking advantage of RSS, a simple checkbox at the end of a post or page allows people to receive an email when a new comment is posted.
4. Cimy User Extra Fields – a bit fiddly, but it essentially allows you to collect extra info from the registration screen (address, phone number, etc).
5. Asynchronous Google Analytics for WordPress – I favour this over the older plugins because it allows you to place the asynchronous tracking code in the blog header.
6. Sidebar Login
Brilliant timing – JUST had a WordPress blog added to my website – THANKS
I just really like your style Don, your stuff is ALWAYS packed with great tips, info and VALUE. I recommend everyone follow you.
Thanks for sharing!
Okay, I read every comment and made a few comments on my way down the list. Now that I’m here I see that nobody mentioned Jeff Johnson’s “Traffic Getting SEO Plugin” which IS free, well, you do have to give up your name and email address, but he’s a marketer. I love it, it’s easy to use and what I believe he did was bundle up a few other free plugins and then “tweak” them. It has the “All In One SEO Pack” in it, and a few others.
Also Don, is the “Reply” button in each of the comments on this page a plugin? I really like that feature! Thanks for another great video, I’m off to go do this stuff!
The reply button is a function in wordpress itself. You gotta go to …Its in settings > discussion.
Choose the option to enable threaded (nested) comments
Dave, I think it is a plugin called @Reply.
Many thanks for yet another brilliant post. I already have 5 of these plugins on my site, and a different version of “Exclude pages from navigation” which I use to post newsletters to my subscribers. I’m sure with your help I can use some of these others you list. Thank you so much.
I am just getting my teeth into WordPress and I found your video very informative. I look forward to more tips from you, I love your clear and succinct presentation style.
Quick question – What is the maximum number of plug-ins one can have installed? How do the plug-ins affect website loading speed? With Google focussing more and more on speed, can you perhaps advise what to watch for in terms of plug-ins functionality vs and website speed/SEO?Where does one draw the line?
I don’t know what the max is, but you do want to keep them to a minimum, because each plugin you install does slow down your site. So, if the plugin doesn’t really add value, kill it!
A great list. Thanks for posting it. I can add two others you might want to consider
RSS Footer Let’s you add a line of text after your post which can make sure there is always a link back to your site
WP S3 Backup Let’s you back up to your Amazon S3 accounts. Many of the backup solutions use a proprietary storage that I worry will disappear at a critical time.
See you in Vegas.
You upload the transcript to the video on YouTube. Haven’t blogged about it yet, but it’s now on the list!
Thanks, I have several Youtube channels and several more videos and I didn’t know about this either. I have been seeing it recently and thought it was an option that I could turn off (like CC) and now I want to see how it’s done!
Don, this post on WP plugins was like an answer to prayer with the projects and campaigns I am working on right now. Thank you so much for such excellent content and insight! W3 Total Cache is exactly what I was looking for as well…
I was surprised to see that our lists are eerily similar – the ones I recommend to my clients and the ones you recommend here. There’s also a great plugin called redirection that no blog should be without – creates those all important 301 redirects so beautifully. Nice collection, Don. Some of your commenters had good points, but those plugins are mostly not free. Free is the way to go, and your whole list is free.
Ooh, wonderful – I’ve been looking for a good 301 redirect plugin. Thanks!
Great list Don! I use many of them…:-)
Another free one that’s pretty cool and handy is Pretty Link. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-link/
It’s an easy way to turn any awkward or affiliate link into a “pretty” link that looks like it’s coming from your own URL…
I like wp-cycle. This is a really great plugin that works like featured content but you can upload images and link them to pages quickly.
What an awesome list! Thx!
Great list, Don! I have already installed many of these and based on your recommendation, I decided to do the Ask Apache password protect plugin. However, I would advise anyone thinking about installing this plugin to think twice and be able to understand “server talk” before they install it. Something went drastically wrong during the activation of this plugin and now I cannot access my dashboard. 🙁 Fortunately my site is still accessible to the public. I wanted to increase the security of my site–turns out it’s now secure from ME!!
I guess the computer is officially considering you to be a security risk. :<)
Have you considered promising him some extra ram if he'll give you access back? :<)
Well, I can laugh about it and with you now, Don. Thank goodness my hosting folks finally figured it out how to get me back into my own site. I visited the plugin forum and saw that many people had this problem with the plugin and I picked up some info there that my hosting co. used to delete the offending code. It was a frustrating few hours, but I’m back up and running, sorta safe and sound.
So, be very careful with the Apache Password Protect plugin, everyone!
Thx for sharing Don.
This is one of the best lists I’ve seen on the web for great plugins. Only ones that I would recommend for people to check out as well are:
All in one Adsense and YPN (if you want to add google adsense to your blog)
Dean’s FCKEditor For WordPress (gives you a similar editor to microsoft word for your posts)
I agree James, Dean’s FCKEditor is a must have! I recently installed it on one of my blogs and reading your comment made me realize I need to go install it on the rest of them as well. Great plugin!
Hi Don. Excellent video. I didn’t know about WordPress Firewall. I’ll install it right away. And if it works as you say I’ll be looking forward to putting in one of my upcoming newsletters. Thanks for sharing.
good stuff brotha.
I have two blogs and these comments are for both:
Twitter Tools has been a nightmare since OAuth. I give up.
Goofle Analytics doesn’t work as well on subdomain WP
W3 Total Cache interferes w/ other plugins
Wordbooker has been great sending blog posts to FB
I use WP Quick Cache. It does not seem to interfere with anything and it is configurable. It’s free.
– I prefer Platinum SEO Pack over All-in-one. I’ve used it for awhile and it’s fabulous.
– Backup Buddy is the best WP backup AND restore plugin available, but it costs $
– Dynamic Related Posts plugin offers more flexibility & options for related posts
– Convert your theme to use WP 3.0 Menus (not hard). It’s much, MUCH better than any of the pre-3.0 plugins for navigation.
I agree that WP Touch is a must-have. It’s so good that I bought the PRO version.
Haven’t looked at these, thanks for pointing them out!
WordPress is beta testing their own backup and restore plug-in. You can find more info about it.at:
This was very useful !
Shiri Lupovich, Israel.
I like your list, but i’m very hesitant to recommend Google Analytics. The reason for that is that you will probably need to buy advertising from Google and buying advertising from then and having them supply your analytics is like having the fox watch the hen house.
I really like this analytics program. http://www.logaholic.com/ It’s economical and gives you as much or more information than Google Analytics would without handing all your sales data over to Google.
I disagree – you only need to buy advertising from them when you’re getting more than 5 million visits. I use them on many sites, and trust them.
Thanks for the great plugin ideas, I joined your newsletter, Altho Im already on your lisy but you got some great info here and want to make sure i dont miss any the Google Analytics is a great one that I will install for sure not to mention a few of the others.
Thank you for sharing this information on plug ins – I have a number of blogs and have only used a very few plugins on them – your video has shown me that my blogs could be running a lot more efficiently if I increased the number of plugins I have – especially in terms of backing up my blog (which I hadn’t even thought of) and protecting myself from spam comments
Thank you again
Excellent list, Don.
There are a few of “gotchas” with plugins that are worth mentioning in more detail…
First, you can take a performance hit when you have too many plugins installed and running. Gotta be careful there. pay attention… and install… then turn one plugin on at a time.
Second, you have to stay on top of upgrades to the plugins and also WordPress. Testing with changes over time is important.
Third, some plugins rely on 3rd party services that can die at any time. So again… you just have to stay on top of what you have installed, be cautious and test.
These are Great WordPress Plugs Don. I use them all … the only one that I would add that I think is great is Gravity Forms http://thedigitalfox.com/gravityforms It really is the best WordPress Form Plugin on the marketing. Love the list, has som really good stuff on there. Thnaks