WordPress plugins enhance the capabilities of your WordPress blog. There are literally tens of thousands of WordPress plugins from which to choose, but I'll make this easy on you.
Below is a list of my most frequently used WordPress plugins, along with descriptions of how I use them. Each of these plugins can be accessed through your WordPress Administration Panel by clicking Plugins > Add New and then entering its name in the resulting search bar at the top right-hand corner of the page.
- Ad Inserter
Ad management system by Igor Funa allows advertising (such as Google AdSense ads, DoubleClick, Amazon Native Shopping Ads, Media.net ads and rotating banners) to be inserted just about anywhere on your blog, either automatically or manually.
Included with your WordPress installation, 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. As you can see in the screenshot below, Akismet has protected this blog from 377,052 spam comments. I use Akismet on all my blogs.
You will need an API key for Akismet. Just follow the instructions when you activate the plugin.
- Broken Link Checker
Exactly as the name suggests. LOVE this plugin. Placed on all my blogs — works especially well when I actually use it. 🙂
There is, however, a HUGE caveat to using this plugin. When I started using it (years ago) the Broken Link Checker was sending so many 'empty clicks' to CJ merchants that they sent me a warning letter to suspend its use. I almost lost my CJ account – the account WAS in fact suspended for a while! Now I use it sparingly and deactivate the plugin when not in use.
- Classic Editor
With the introduction of WordPress 5.0, the new Gutenberg block editor came into being. Because I was too busy blogging to learn a new way of working with WordPress, I installed this plugin which enables the WordPress classic editor and the old-style Edit Post screen with TinyMCE, Meta Boxes, etc. Supports the older plugins that extend this screen.
Relieved a LOT of frustration!!
- Deactivate Visual Editor
For use with Exex-PHP to ensure that you don't break php code placed in posts and pages. That happens if you use the Visual Editor to make changes to, and save a blog post that contains php. I almost never use the visual editor, preferring to use the ‘Preview Changes' button to see how the post looks.
- Exec pHp
Exec pHp is used to execute PHP code in posts, pages and text widgets. See also ‘Deactive Visual Editor‘ plugin.
- External Links
Marks outbound links as such, with various effects that are configurable under Settings / External Links. I've set the plugin to open all outbound links in a new window. Gee, now I can use Search and Replace to get rid of all that target=new coding!! 🙂
- Faq Tastic
Plugin that can generate multiple FAQs. I use Faq Tastic on my FAQ page. Granted, it would be just as easy to create a list of questions that link to answers on a page named FAQ.
- GDPR Cookie Consent
A simple way to show that your website complies with the EU Cookie Law / GDPR. I wrote an article about this plugin at “Is Your Blog GDPR Compliant?”
- Genesis Plugins
Because I use Genesis by StudioPress as the theme framework on each of my blogs, I've added Genesis-specific plugins to enhance the functionality of my themes. Those plugins are Genesis Simple Hooks, Genesis Simple Edits and Genesis Simple Sidebars.
Although not technically a ‘plugin', when installed on your computer Grammarly works within your WordPress blog to help you fix grammar and spelling mistakes. I've been using Grammarly for years and it's saved me from some very embarrassing moments!!
- Indeed Social Share & Locker PRO
Social Share & Locker Pro is one of the best Social sharing plugins for WordPress that I've found.
- Pinterest Pin It Button On Image Hover And After Post & Page Content
Pinterest pin it button shows up when a visitor hovers their cursor over an image on your site. Makes it super simple for your visitors to pin your blog posts, pages, and images into Pinterest account boards. Go ahead, try it with the image at the top of this article. 🙂
- Pretty Links Pro
Pretty Links is a WordPress plugin that lets you shrink, cloak, track, organize, share and test all of your links on your own domain and server. To learn more about the importance of link cloaking for affiliate marketers, please read “10 Good Reasons to Cloak Affiliate Links“. There is a free ‘lite' version and a more robust paid version of Pretty Links Pro. I use the latter.
- Search and Replace
LOVE this plugin! As name implies, Search and Replace allows you to search and replace anything in your ID, post-content, GUID, titel, excerpt, meta-data, comments, comment-author, comment-e-mail, comment-url, tags/categories and categories-description. Excellent for changing links throughout your blog, if you haven't created a single redirect page. Learn more about the Search and Replace plugin.
- Search Exclude
Hide any page or post from the WordPress search results on your blog by checking off the checkbox from within a page or post.
- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded
Allows commenters to sign up for e-mail notifications. Includes a subscription manager that those who comment on your blog posts can use to unsubscribe to certain posts or suspend all notifications.
Embed beautiful and feature-rich tables into your posts and pages, without having to write code.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
You can take backups locally, or backup to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & email, on automatic schedules.
- W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your blog by increasing website performance, reducing load times via features such as content delivery network (CDN) integration.
- WP No Category Base
Completely removes the mandatory ‘Category Base' from your category permalinks.
- WP Forms
Manages multiple, customizable contact forms. Super simple installation. I was so impressed with the plugin that I wrote an article about WPForms.
Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Displays a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site.
- Yoast SEO
This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site's SEO on all needed aspects. While this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you're writing articles and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
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