Essential Plugins For Your WordPress Blog

Wordpress pluginsOne of the reason so many bloggers flock to WordPress has to do with the number of great plugins available to help them customize the experience for their readers. There are plugins to help make your blog more spiderable to the search engines, plugins that foster community building, those that make media integration and breeze and lots more.

Here are some of my personal favorite WordPress plugins that I think bloggers and small business owners can benefit from.

Feel free to share some of your personal favorites below!


  • Akismet: If you’re using WordPress, then you probably already know about Akismet. It does a pretty good job of detecting spam comments and holds them in a moderation cue for you to approve or delete on your own time. Also neat is that it’s designed to “learn” what is or is not spam based on what you’ve told it in the past. So, the more you use it, the more effective it becomes. Can’t ask for much more than that.

SEO/Techie Plugins

  • All-in-One SEO Pack – The Ultimate SEO WordPress plugin, allowing you to easily set custom titles for posts, pages, categories, archives, tags and searches. You can also designate noindex for duplicate content areas like archives, tags and categories reducing potential canonical issues in the search engines.
  • Google XML Sitemaps -Creating an XML Sitemap can be very technical process, but with the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, you just activate it and customize the settings. Keep in mind that if you’ve signed up with Google Webmaster Central and Bing’s Webmaster Center tools, you can get notified of any crawl issues they’re experiencing.
  • Headspace2: Headspace makes tagging and managing your meta data much more streamlined. Once activated, you can use Headspace to “suggest” tags for a particular post, which are generated from the content of that post or through Yahoo suggestions (you decide). You can also mass edit meta data, as well.
  • Robots META: Use Robots META to prevent the search engines from indexing extraneous or duplicate content areas like your search results, feeds, login and admin pages, privacy pages, archives and more. You can also use this plugin to easily validate your account with Google Webmaster Central and Yahoo Site Explorer.
  • CformsII: Highly customizable form builder plugin that allows you to create custom contact forms for specific pages on your site. Setup auto-responders, tell-a-friend functionality, file attachments and comprehensive form tracking. It offers very simple customization and cloning.
  • WP Super Cache: Are you expecting a lot of people to visit your site? Use WP Super Cache to reduce potential problems with your host and survive a flood of traffic without the site going down! The plugin works by serving HTML versions of a page to visitors versus the heavier, PHP scripts. If you plan on being “social” this is a must-have.


  • All-in-One Video Pack – All-in-One Video Pack includes every functionality you might need for video and rich-media, including the ability to upload/ record/import videos directly to your post, edit and remix content with an online video editor, enable video responses, manage and track your video content, create playlists, etc.
  • Widget Locationize: Use Widget Locationize to define where your widgets should be displayed. Assign widgets by tag, category, single pages and exclusions of those.


  • WordPress Thread Comment: If your blog receives a lot of comments, it can be overwhelming for users to follow a conversation. With threaded comments, they can more easily see who responded to whom without having to sort through dozens of unrelated comments.
  • Comment Redirect: This plugin gives your first time visitors a unique experience by redirecting them to a page on your site (maybe a newsletter sign-up, upcoming events or even a custom page designed just for your first time visitors). Make them feel welcome and they’re more likely to visit in the future.
  • Sociable: Sociable is the power plugin for social media integration. Use it to add social buttons to the bottom of your posts making it easier for users to share or bookmark your content. Select which social networks your users are most likely to be a member of and embed it at the bottom of your posts or in the template of your site,
  • Related Posts: It’s important to cross-link related content on your site for both users and the search engines. Use related posts to generate a list of similar posts based on the content of that specific post. This will be automatically generated each time you publish a new post and you choose the number of posts to display.
  • Subscribe to Comments: Allows commenters on your blog to subscribe to comments via email so that they’re notified that the conversation is continuing.
  • What Would Seth Godin Do: Allows you to welcome new visitors to your site and encourage them to sign up for your RSS feed or newsletter. A nice way to personalize your site for new eyes. (One of my personal favorites for community building.)

There are a TON of great plugins for the WordPress platform, but these are some that I’ve found to be extremely valuable. Definitely check out the plugin directory for additional ones or share your own personal favs in the comments.

More in: 31 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

31 Reactions
  1. Kevin Micalizzi, Dimdim Web Conferencing

    Personally I’m a fan of “Brian’s Threaded Comments”. It makes the comments much easier to read when there is a conversation happening in the comments.


    Kevin Micalizzi, Community Manager
    Dimdim Web Conferencing
    twitter: @dimdim

  2. I have got to add the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin, if only because then I could be that much cooler. Next step – shave my head.

  3. Nice list Lisa. I have most of these installed also and they work very well. I had Sociable installed but recently I switched to Socialize This. Not as many social sites to choose from but I liked the look of the icons better.

    Two of my favorites not mentioned: LinkWithin and Broken Link Checker. LinkWithin adds 3 additional content choices, with pictures, for readers to jump to other related content within your site. It visually grabs your audience instead of just being a text link to other content. Broken Link Checker alerts you (in your dashboard) to links within your site that are not working. It’s not always fool proof since sites will be listed if the servers are temporarily down. However, I have caught sites that have closed and was able to remove them quickly.

  4. You really write great here. thanks for the information, i have Akismet installed and it works well with some other plugins you mentioned.

  5. Hi Lisa
    I have been hunting for a WordPress forms creator. Thank you for sharing about CSFormsII. Awesome.

  6. I just LOVE these posts!!! It’s one page that has all these great resources on it. I’m curious – what is the function that allows people who leave comments to leave their twitter ID – is that a plug in?

  7. So many plugins, so little time! 😉 It is great to have so many things to pick from, but I wonder when a WordPress template theme will give you a great starter kit with plugins at the gecko when you install it.

    I am “stuck” with my Revolution (nowadays called StudioPress) magazine theme for my site I am interested to get a new one that is very simple to set up and use. I am thinking of the DYI theme called Thesis. I have also heard about a theme called Headway theme. Do you have any other suggestions or tips?

    Ivana: has a commenting system.

  8. Great list Lisa!

    A few others which work well are “WP NO CATEGORY BASE” which removes the “category” from the middle of your URL’s (which is useless in most cases.) For example if you have a cooking blog and a category called “Desserts” your url might be this will turn it into (tighter and better since “category” is pretty useless from an SEO stand point. All that assuming you have permalinks set up in WordPress (if you don’t you should).

    Another good one is “Redirection” so if you move content or change a URL use this to create an SEO friendly 301 redirect so you don’t get 404 errors.

    Note on the cformsII plugin, it’s a killer form mailer/form builder plugin but if you use Google Apps you might find it has difficulty delivering email to an address at your domain. Lot’s of people with this issue and no fix in site or really understanding of what the problem is so either send email to another address you control outside your domain (not ideal I understand) or use something else. If you’re just using it for a contact page there are probably better options.

  9. Martin,

    That is one of the older revolution themes (I know them all well). Ping me if you need some assistance before you jump ship. That said, Thesis is an Awesome framework but might be more work to get to the look you want if it’s a magazine style site. StudioPress also has a much updated version of the Magazine Theme with some great new admin options.


  10. Martin Lindeskog


    I will send you an email. Thanks for your help. I am happy with getting the Revolution template in the first place. It was Kalle Blomqvist a.k.a Charlie Bloom who got several templates to use when I bought a package of themes for his sites (, and I could use one template due to the fact that we work together on this new online business and community for two-way messages on t-shirts.

    On my personal EGO blog I have a Blogger template inspired by the Revolution Two Lifestyle theme by Brian Gardner. The Blogger template is converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates.

    I don’t have to have a site looking exactly as the magazine style. I want to have clean look, easy to navigate and update with content (text, video, images). I like the style of Posterous. I use it as my personal site

  11. Martin Lindeskog


    Hi again. Sorry for the typo. It was of course Kalle Blomqvist who bought the package of themes for his sites, NetZpider, and I didn’t do it.

    “It was Kalle Blomqvist a.k.a Charlie Bloom who got several templates to use when I bought a package of themes for his sites (, and”

  12. Nice list. Thank you for putting it together. I will definitely install some of them.

  13. Thanks! Great Post.

  14. Thanks Lisa. I read on my phone, so include a simple mobile plug-in to the list too. Here is a great one, my two cents:

    Broken Link Checker is a good one also…

  15. I use quite a few of these, always trying new ones.

    Two that are related: BackType and My Comments Elsewhere. If you’re an active blogger and post lots of comments on other sites, these help bring them into yours. Or you can follow comments from others, topics, etc. Nice.

    I also use Excerpt Editor, to automatically write summaries. FWIW.

  16. Excellent blog was very useful……

  17. The usability and sheer number of plugins to fit any type of blog is probably the number one reason why I love WordPress more than any other blogger platform out there.

  18. I have been wondering what to do with plug-in and why they are important! Thanks for the valuable information for the newbie.

  19. This is great, this is the list I will start from when I start a new blog

    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show