10 Essential WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using

By / Mar 23, 2010 / Tools

There’s good reason why WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. It’s easy to use and has tons of great features. But what’s really made this open source software excel is its passionate community. Yes, WordPress has lots of features built in, but it doesn’t have everything. The WordPress community fills this need. It’s full of talented developers that are constantly creating plugins to extend the features and make it even better.

There are many WordPress plugins out there, but in this article we’re focusing on the most essential. Below is a list of 10 plugins that every WordPress website could use.

All in One SEO Pack

wordpress plugin

All in One SEO Pack optimizes your WordPress blog for search engines. Some key features include:

  • Advanced Canonical URLs
  • Fine tune Page Navigational Links
  • Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
  • ONLY plugin to provide SEO Integration for WP e-Commerce sites
  • Nonce Security
  • Support for CMS-style WordPress installations
  • Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines

WP Super Cache

wordpress plugin

WP Super Cache 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.

Google XML Sitemaps

wordpress plugin

Google XML Sitemaps generates a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

Akismet

wordpress plugin

Akismet checks your 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-DB-Backup

wordpress plugin

WP-DB-Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You may also backup other tables in the same database.

WP-PageNavi

wordpress plugin

WP-PageNavi adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress site.

WordPress Automatic upgrade

wordpress plugin

WordPress Automatic Upgrade allows a user to automatically upgrade the WordPress installation to the latest one provided by WordPress.org using the 5 steps provided in the WordPress upgrade instructions. It automatically does the backups and provides links for downloading.

cforms II

wordpress plugin

cforms is a powerful and feature rich form plugin for WordPress, offering convenient deployment of multiple Ajax driven contact forms throughout your blog or even on the same page.

Broken Link Checker

wordpress plugin

This plugin will monitor your blog looking for broken links and let you know if any are found. Some key features include:

  • Monitors links in your posts, pages, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
  • Detects links that don’t work and missing images.
  • Notifies you on the Dashboard if any are found.
  • Also detects redirected links.
  • Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
  • Link checking intervals can be configured.

FeedBurner FeedSmith

wordpress plugin

This plugin 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.

About the Author

Henry Jones is a web developer, designer, and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience. He is the founder of WDL and ThemeTrust.

  • http://41six.com Adam McKerlie | Web Developer

    I personally prefer Contact Form 7. Really simple and easy to use.

    My other favourites include Sermon Browser (but its definitely not essential, just an amazing plugin).

    • http://welessthanthree.com Andy Gillette

      I will second that motion. Contact From 7 is superior in just about every way. I also want to kind of quietly echo the sentiment below … not a lot of creativity here on this list. I also think All in one SEO is mostly obsolete if you’re starting with any decent theme framework.

  • http://devisefunction.com Matthew Heidenreich

    great article. I use most of these already, but will give feedsmith a shot.

  • http://www.byronedwards.com Byron Edwards

    why on earth does WordPress Automatic upgrade make the list. It’s obsolete.

  • http://www.dougweb.com Doug Smith

    I don’t think the FeedBurner plugin works anymore. Tried installing it on two blogs but WP 2.9.2 won’t allow it to be activate. I get this error message: “The plugin does not have a valid header.” Must be broken.

  • http://www.goofywildcat.com goofydg1

    good list actually.

  • http://www.jordanwalker.net Jordan Walker

    That is a great list of items to be included as plugins for WP.

  • http://diglife.info/ Terry

    I use most of them in my wordpress.

  • http://k-win.fr kevin

    Real good list!

  • ocean90

    Wrong screen for WP Super Cache. 😉

  • http://balgle.designerteam.info/ Beth McLain

    Thanks for the great list of plugins. I’m using a few but you’ve given me lots of new ideas for upgrading my blog. A recommendation is a powerful mechanism.

  • http://tannerhobin.com/ Tanner Hobin

    Isn’t the WordPress Automatic Upgrade plugin redundant since WP includes this functionality out of the box?

    Aside from the above list, I also include Login LockDown in just about every install. (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/login-lockdown/)

  • http://www.unartifex.com Colin

    Ohh neat, thanks for sharing these plugins! They’ll come in handy :)

  • http://www.siteme.com Web Design

    I like most of the tools. No wander Word Press is leading the way

  • Justin

    I don’t mean to be critical. But this list has been posted hundreds and hundreds of times – all over the web. And Bryon is correct. Why would WordPress Automatic upgrade be listed? It’s completely useless. Akismet comes standard with all wordpress installations…obviously it’s a useful plugin. I appreciate that some may be new to WordPress and find this list valuable…but it’s nothing a quick search couldn’t find already. I love Web Design Ledger, but posts like this suggest a tremendous lack of creativity, if not downright apathy.

  • http://beyondrandom.com BeyondRandom

    Great list. Using all of these except the feedburner one

  • http://www.kylegriffith.com/ Kyle Griffith

    Awesome tips..especially the broken link checker. I will try it out.
    Have you tried Platinum SEO? If so, do you recommend all in one seo over platinum seo?
    Also a great plugin you should add is the discuss comment plugin…just my 2 cents.

    Great post.

  • http://www.webtechwise.com/ Omer Greenwald

    Essential plugins indeed, thanks.
    Instead of cformsII, I rather use contact form 7 and then add these simple functions (in http://www.noupe.com/wordpress/10-wordpress-how-tos.html – check out step 1)to disable the of both cf7 and page-navi when they are not used.

  • http://www.xcellence-it.com/ Xcellence IT

    I used most of it, its a standard package kind of thing when we deploy wordpress projects

  • http://www.flamescorpion.com Lucian Apostol

    I use wp-polls instead of cforms, it is simple. Cforms it is just too complicated for the pace i want to work with.

  • http://www.angelseo.co.uk SEO Nottingham

    Fantastic post, I’ve just setup a wordpress blog about 4 days ago, and even tho I have heard of some of the above, I’d never seen WP-DB-Backup – so thank you for the heads up :-)

  • http://warstwy.com adone

    Amazing list. More Top WP Plugins posts please.

  • http://chaaps.com Chethan

    I was Using Contact Form 7 plugin… i gotta try cform 2 now

    Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.imp-ressions.co.uk Lee Greenhill

    Good list apart from those that are out of date. I personally rate Contact Form 7, WP to Twitter, with WP-Spamfree being better than Akismet.

  • http://heroop.com heroop

    Greats list, and I wondering about WP Super Cache and WP total cache, which one is the best?

  • http://sethmerrick.com Seth Merrick

    Great article. A brand new plugin that may soon find its way on to this list is Cobalt WP Boost.

    Check it out here:
    http://frugaltheme.com/about/cobalt-wp-boost-plugin/

    It allows blog owners to raise their WordPress Memory Limits with a couple of mouse clicks, as well as showing at-a-glance memory usage information. WordPress keeps its internal memory limit at 32MB, which is fine for a small-time blog; but if you’re trying to add any robust plugins for social networking or ecommerce applications, 32M will not suffice. This problem can only be expected to worsen with the release of 3.0 which, judging from the beta release, will consume a lot more memory itself without upping the 32MB limit.

    • http://tuimixes.com Samir

      good tip, I’m giving Cobalt WP Boost a try. So far so good.

  • http://www.techiq.in/ Rakesh Solanki

    I almost used every plugin what you have listed here besides WP-super cache. Actually i used W3 Total super cache, because it’s works fine for me. Thanks for the list.

  • http://www.yukonhost.com Jan Aalt

    Great list. However, I think the “RSS Includes Pages Plugin” should also be included. It adds pages to the RSS feed.

  • http://inspirationfeed.com inspirationfeed

    Interesting plugins, but what about sexy bookmarks.

  • http://www.sfihomebizz.com/ Kavita Tata

    Similar to Doug Smith case I too have tried activating FeedBurner plugin on my blog WP 2.9.2 and getting message “The plugin does not have a valid header.” I tried feedburner and google forums and everywhere on internet but could’nt find a solution. Has anybody been successful with WordPress 2.9.2 version.

    Thanks for the list of wordpress plugins

  • http://tuimixes.com Samir

    Nice post! I’m also using most of those plugins but I wouldn’t recommend using WP Super Cache as I’ve seen it being problematic for a few of my friends.

  • http://www.manpritkalsi.com Manprit Kalsi

    nice sharing thanks for your collection

  • http://dattai.com dattai

    Thanks a lot

  • http://xn--12c8d1a4fxc.khowjee.com/ game

    Thanks for the list of wordpress plugins

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Warren Jerzyszek

    Hey thanks for sharing your list of WP plugins, I really like the look of the all in one SEO plugin, being able to automatically optimize titles etc for search engines is great! The google sitemap is also another great wordpress plugin, it only spells good results too me.
    Thanks again.

  • http://brettdeaton.com Brett Deaton

    I was a heavy cformsII user for the last 2 years; however, the last few months I have been using Gravity Forms for all my email forms. It is a premium plugin and well worth the money!

  • http://newageparadise.info/ shiho

    I don’t think that WordPress Automatic Update is neccessary, sometimes, new version has many bugs so we need time to test and upgrade it later
    By the way, I prefer W3 Total Cache to WP Super Cache

  • http://www.abhijit.biz Abhijit V. Chaore

    Even though the tips in this article are been told by so many bloggers thousands of time before, it is still useful that someone- like you- updates the list and make people aware of the current useful plugins. I appreciate your efforts and thanks for these tips.

  • http://www.michaelkehoe.co.uk SEO Nottingham

    Thanks its a helpful post. I do think cforms ii is a good add on.

  • Richard

    Great list, thank you.

    Found something amazing, that has helped me set up my site WP pretty fast.

    Check it out here.

    http://designpress.co/

  • http://www.brettwidmann.com Brett Widmann

    These look like really useful plugins! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://josephlautier.com joseph

    Hi very good post
    I was wondering if anyone can suggest an HTML editor for wp.
    I would like to edit the header because i want to insert the header h1 tag.
    Thanks in advance
    joseph