Bloggers Crystal VanTassel and Kelli Miller share the top must have WordPress plugins for your blog.
Speakers in Hangout Are:
Crystal Van Tassel of Crystalandcomp.com
Kelli Miller of 3Boysandadog.com
While we think all of these plugins are great, be sure to limit the number of plugins you use on your site to keep it as fast as possible and to prevent plugins from damaging your blog. Be sure to read reviews, get recommendations from others, and ensure it’s compatible with your current version of WordPress.
1. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker – This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.
Why you need this plugin – If your site has broken links, Google dings you for this. You run the risk of another blogger deleting links to your site from guest posts you’ve published on their site.
Having broken links affects SEO, page rank, all of the good stats Google gives you.
This is important to have part of your weekly or monthly blog maintenance routine.
What to do with broken links –
If it’s a brand, Kelli “unlinks” it.
If it’s another commentor, Kelli “unlinks” it.
If it’s another blogger, Kelli sends the blogger an email to let them know and ask if they’ve shut down their site, etc.
You make updates within the plugin, not the individual posts.
Affiliate links – leave them alone
Akismet – This plugin checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not.
Why you need this plugin –
Allows you to limit whether links or the number of links that are allowed in a comment.
Reduces the amount of comments you have to manually approve. Keeps spam off of your blog posts. You can block IP addresses in the settings if you have repeated problems.
3. Easy Recipes
Easy Recipes – This plugin makes it easy to enter, format and print recipes, as well as automagically doing the geeky stuff needed for Google’s Recipe View.
Why you need this plugin –
title, blog, creator, ingredients, instructions, prep time, cook time, nutritional info
Customizable borders, colors
Makes it easy for readers to print the recipes
Integrates with ZIP List (to save recipes). Kelli said she didn’t use the ziplist plugin because she believes that the plugin makes your recipe part of its database instead of it being your own.
Your recipes will be formatted to be recognized by Google’s recipe search. This will give you preference in the search results.
4. Editorial Calendar
Editorial Calendar – The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.
Why you need this plugin –
You can drag to another day to reschedule. It shows you at a glance posts that are scheduled and days when you don’t have any content scheduled. Don’t miss our other editorial calendar posts.
Crystal uses it to add an idea (title and adds a few sentences or points she wants to include). This gives you a place to start when you sit down to work instead of staring at a blank screen.
5. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache – A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.
Why you need this plugin – Caching is way a computer stores data so future requests for that data can be served faster.
This plugin helps your site speed up because a returning reader will not have to wait for your whole site to download in its entirety.
6. Google XML Sitemaps
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
Set this up in Webmaster Tools and activate this plugin.
7. An SEO Plugin
SmartCrawl (formerly known as Infinite SEO) – Boost your PageRank and drive more traffic to your site with little effort and simple configuration.
Our favorite SEO tools allow you to put in a searchable topic/title, description, meta tags, and are simple to use. At the time of this recording, Crystal used the Thesis theme, while Kelli used Genesis (which includes SEO features built into the theme).
Kelli mentions the Scribe plugin in this video. However, Scribe for WordPress has been discontinued, and the Scribe API has been deactivated. Please do not install this plugin.
Yoast plugin – free – “is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users.”
Why you need this type of plugin – Proper SEO will increase your ranking within the Google search results, increase your pageviews, and can increase your income.
At the time of this recording…These next few Kelli uses and she is going to help Crystal get setup to use.
What Would Seth Godin Do (WWSGD) – Displays a custom welcome message to new visitors and another to return visitors.
Why you need this plugin – You can customize the settings to encourage readers to sign up for newsletter, welcome back returning visitors, encourage readers to follow you on social media. You can customize the number of times the box shows up and the message it should display.
9. Contact Form
Crystal uses Fast Secure Contact Form – An easy and powerful form builder that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with.
Why you need this plugin – Instead of giving email address out, you can setup the form to send to your email address privately.
Kelli uses Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms for her internship application or events. It saves the information in the plugin’s database and emails the information to you. Gravity Forms is a full featured contact form plugin that features a drag and drop interface, advanced notification routing, lead capture, and more. Can integrate with Paypal to accept payments. Contact Form 7 Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
10. Print Friendly and PDF
Print Friendly and PDF – The #1 Print and PDF button for your WordPress site. Printer Friendly pages without coding, css, or print.css. Fast, easy, and professional.
Why you need this plugin – So readers can print posts from your blog without printing ads, etc.
11. Add to Any Share Buttons
Add to Any Share Buttons – Share buttons for WordPress including the AddToAny sharing button, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp, many more, and follow icons too.
Why you need this plugin – For readers to easily share your content on their network of choice.
12. SEO Friendly Images
SEO Friendly Images – SEO Friendly Images automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images improving traffic from search engines.
Why you need this plugin – You know how we’ve told you that you need to optimize your images for SEO, but you have lots of posts on your site? This plugin allows you to automatically add an alt text and title to your images. No need to do them all manually. And if you forget, it does it for you. Automatically added from the title of your post.
Wondering why WordPress is a better format than Blogger? Watch our Hangout about The Differences in Blogger and WordPress (And Why You NEED and WANT WordPress).
13. WP Touch
WP Touch – Make your WordPress website mobile-friendly with just a few clicks. Use this plugin if your blog’s theme is not responsive / mobile-friendly.
Why you need this plugin – Google wants your blog to be mobile-friendly. Review your Google Analytics to see how many readers are mobile.
LinkWithin – LinkWithin is a blog widget that appears under each post, linking to related stories from your blog archive.
Why you need this plugin – Great way to increase your pageviews by encouraging readers to check out related content.
15. Thank Me Later
Thank Me Later – Send a ‘thank you’ email to your blog’s commenters.
Why you need this plugin – Connects with first time or returning readers and allows you to promote popular content.
16. Open Hook or Simple Hooks
Open Hook (for Thesis) – Add customizations to any hook in WordPress and any hook-enabled theme or plugin from within your admin panel!
Simple Hooks (for Genesis) – This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to insert code (HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP), and attach it to any of the 50+ action hooks.
17. Twitter Feed
Twitter Goodies was mentioned in the video. This plugin is no longer available, but you can search for other Twitter feed plugins available for WordPress.
Why you need this plugin – Encourages readers to follow and interact with you on Twitter. Shows social proof of your Twitter followers and activity. Show your username, your site’s hashtag, or another hashtag in your niche.
Jetpack – simplifies managing WordPress sites by giving you visitor stats, security services, speeding up images, and helping you get more traffic. Jetpack is a free plugin.
Don’t use this for analytics tracking instead of Google Analytics, which is more accurate.
Why you need this plugin – It shows info about your content that’s not available in Google Analytics.
19. Pinterest Pin It Button
Crystal uses Pinterest Pin It Button – Add a Pinterest “Pin It” Button to your site and get your visitors to start pinning your awesome content!
Kelli uses Pinterest’s button.
Why you need this plugin – To allow and encourage visitors to pin your content to Pinterest.
Related: More tips about Pinterest
20. P3 Plugin Performance Profiler
P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – See which plugins are slowing down your site. This plugin creates a performance report for your site.
Why you need this plugin – Improve and increase your site’s load time. It helps you evaluate which plugins are good to use