Plugins are a very important part of a WordPress blog. Plugins extend the functionality that’s already built into WordPress and allow you to make your blog more dynamic.
Some plugins work in the background, unseen to web visitors, like say Align RSS Images, which simply aligns the pictures correctly in your RSS Feed.
While others have a very dramatic effect on the way a WordPress site is viewed or used, like Premise Landing Pages (affiliate link), which create entire new look and feel to your conversion pages…
The following list of plugins are currently installed on this blog. Some will say I have to many and others may say I’m missing a few necessary plugins… (I’d love to get thoughts and ideas in the comments)
Not all of these plugins will work for everyone. Based on what I do, right now, these are the plugins that are necessary to run this website.
I’ve removed the generic WordPress description of each plugin and instead given each plugin one sentence on what I use it for and why I think it’s important to the proper function of RyanHanley.com.
Hopefully you’ll find a couple of the plugins below useful and helpful in providing the best blog experience possible for your readers.
- Advertising Manager – From time to time I will add Adsense Ads to this blog and this plugin manages those ads.
- Akismet – Used by millions, spam-blocker that comes standard with wordpress.
- Align RSS Images – Makes image alignment work in RSS feeds… pretty simple and straight-forward but important if you want your feed to look good.
- Anthologize - Use the power of WordPress to transform your content into a book… This is the plugin that I used to help create the 1st addition of my eBook (Kindle edition).
- AWeber Web Forms – Allows me to sign up people to my newsletter from comments with checkbox. Aweber is the newsletter provider I use (Read Aweber review).
- Better Delete Revision – Deletes the excess revisions of posts stored on my blog. Revisions can slow down your website significantly especially if you have a lot of content.
- Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found… simple.
- CloudFlare – CloudFlare integrates your blog with the CloudFlare platform which helps speed up your blog by handling some of the hosting service.
- CommentLuv – Reward your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment. If you leave a comment on this blog post and enter your website url in the appropriate field CommentLuv allows you to choose one of your blog posts to include with your comment… It’s awesome and gets you exposure. Go ahead Check it Out! Also read more about building a quality comment system here: How Cheapskates Build a Quality Comment System
- Comment Redirect by Yoast – Redirect commenters who just made their first comment to a page of your choice. I use this to say Thank You to first time commentors… If you’ve never commented, now’s the time!
- Exclude Pages from Navigation – Provides a checkbox on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from the primary navigation… simple.
- FD Feedburner Plugin – Redirects all feeds to a Feedburner feed which is what I use to handle all my RSS Feed and Email Feed duties… (You can subscribe via email or RSS Feed Here)
- Genesis Footer – This plugin allows you to modify Genesis-powered-website footer via Genesis theme settings… again simple and straight-forward.
- Genesis Simple Hooks – Genesis Simple Hooks allows you easy access to the 50+ Action Hooks in the Genesis Theme. This is a plugin specific to Genesis WordPress Theme(affiliate link). This plugin allows me to easily hardcode different features into my blog, I use it mostly for different tracking code, that I would struggle with if I had to go straight into the theme editor.
- Google XML Sitemap for Videos – This plugin will generate a XML Video Sitemap for your WordPress blog. This allows me to Ping Google whenever I add new video to my website. Helps Google index my videos.
- Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog…. Very Important!
- Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin – Very simple plugin that adds a client side generated checkbox to the comment form requesting that the user clicks it to prove they are not a spammer. It’s just a simple checkbox but it really cuts down on Spam in comments.
- IFRAME Embed For YouTube – IFRAME Embed For YouTube will add a quicktag on WordPress Post Editor which will add the capability to embed Youtube Videos thru IFRAME. NOTE: I do not use this Plugin any longer. I now just insert the YouTube Old Code into the HTML editor in Blog Posts… See this Post from SEOMoz as to Why.
- Premise Landing Pages – Quickly and easily create amazing landing pages for your WordPress site. Landing pages are important because this is where your website really does the selling. You build relationships through blog posts and landing pages sell your product or service… (See My eBook Page and Speaking Services Page for examples)
- Pretty Link Lite – Shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website. I use this plugin to make links not look so crazy… (Check out Blogging Resources for some examples)
- ReplyMe – Sends an email to the author of a comment when someone replies to their comment. Nicely packaged and you can add in different links or messages if you so choose. Very nice little comment plugin.
- Socialize – The sharing button and Action-Box you see on my currently are from the socialize plugin. I really like the look of this plugin. I’ve tried the Floating Share Plugins and just didn’t care for them. I’m a big fan of Socialize.
- Social Profiles Widget – This plugin/widget allows you to insert social profile icons into your sidebar via a widget which you can find at the bottom of this page. Simple.
- Speedy Page Redirect – Redirects pages and posts to other locations on my site. I’ve done this with some legacy pages that I know links exist for but I don’t know where. So when someone links to the old page they are redirected to the new correct page.
- Tweet old post – This plugin tweets out old posts randomly based on time intervals of your choosing. This is nice for bringing old posts back to life. I use the Buffer App tool now for most of my Tweet scheduling so I only “Tweet Old Post” like once or twice a day.
- User Avatar – Allows users to associate photos with their accounts by accessing their “Your Profile” page. Simple.
- W3 Total Cache – The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Basically the best Cache plugin that I can find. There are a few this is one that I use. I like it.
- WordPress Download Monitor – This is the tool that allows you to download the Free .pdf version of my eBook on Social Tools.
- WordPress Popular Posts – Showcases your most popular posts to your visitors on your blog’s sidebar. See it in action at the bottom of this page. I’ve tried a couple of these and keep coming back to this one.
- WP No Category Base – Removes ‘/category’ from your category permalinks. I needed this for some reason a while ago. I may not any longer.
- WP Smush.it – Reduce image file sizes and improves performance of my blog. Not much for you to do but does help reduce the load time of your pictures.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm. There are a ton of these plugins out there. I have tried almost all of them. YARPP is the simplest and in my opinion most effective. I think the results it pulls are quality and looks neat and clean at the end of your blog post.
32 plugins actually now that I’ve gone through them all seems like a lot. But except for maybe two they all seem to have valuable purpose to my blog.
One thing you may have noticed is that I don’t have an WordPress SEO plugin like “All in One SEO” or “Ultimate Google Analytics.” The WordPress Theme I have chosen to use (eleven40 from Studiopress) does that for me. I installed the Google Analytics code via Genesis Simple Hooks and my WordPress theme handles all the SEO stuff.
SEO plugins can really slow your blog’s site speed down which in turn hurts your Search Traffic. That is why I personally don’t use one.
I’m very interested to get YOUR THOUGHTS on these plugins. Please comment below on plugins you like, dislike, questions you may have about these plugins or others you’ve seen… Whatever.