My 5 Favorite WordPress Plugins

by Mack Collier

Tomorrow night (Sunday) we’ll be chatting about our favorite blog plugins at #Blogchat.  The discussion will start at 8pm Central, and if you’ve never joined #Blogchat, here’s what it’s all about.

To prep for that discussion, I wanted to share with y’all my five favorite WordPress plugins. These are for the WordPress.org or Self-Hosted blogs.  You can find these by going to the Plugins section of your WordPress dashboard and searching for them.

5 – Comment Luv.  I love this plugin because it rewards commenters.  When you leave a comment, it gives you the option to add a link to a recent blog post you’ve written.  Most bloggers are looking to get more comments and interaction on their blogs, and this plugin does a great job of encouraging your readers to leave more comments.

4 – Akismet.  Gotta have this plugin, as it blocks spam comments and trackbacks.  I just checked and it says it’s blocked over 55,000 spam comments left here since 2009.  Very rarely does a spam comment get through, we’re talking like 5 times a year, maybe.

3 – Sociable.  Lets you customize which sharing options you put for each post.  Now there is a caveat here because you don’t want to give your readers TOO many options, for example I see some bloggers that use this plugin that give readers sharing options for like 30 different sites.  Fewer is better, pick the top 5 or so sites where you want to distribute your content.

2 – Popular Posts.  This plugin displays your most popular posts (based primarily on views), and is a great way to draw exposure to older posts.  More than once it’s given this blog massive traffic spikes when another site picks up one of the posts served up by the plugin.

1 – Comment Redirect.  This plugin lets you redirect first-time commenters to any page you chose.  I send first-time commenters to this page where I thank them for commenting.  Just a way to let commenters know I appreciate them, and I also include some links so they can get more information on the blog and about me.  I get about an email a week from someone that tells me that it was a very nice touch to be thanked for commenting!

 

So that’s my 5 favorite WordPress plugins.  What are yours?  Please share them in the comments and don’t forget to join us on Sunday at 8pm Central at #Blogchat and we’ll discuss them more then!

 

UPDATE: Here’s the transcript to tonight’s #Blogchat if you missed it, a ton of great info and suggestions on blog plugins, thanks to everyone that came!

Christa M. Miller February 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

I recently discovered Editorial Calendar. It is more geared toward group and daily blogs, but I love it anyway because it does keep me focused from week to week.

I also like Photo Dropper. Hat tip to Danny Brown for that one — it makes sourcing images so much easier!

Tweet Old Post has helped automate attention-getting for older posts I’ve written.

WP Database Backup gives me peace of mind! As do WP Security Scan and Limit Login Attempts. These three are very important for anyone who has dealt with the headache of a hacked WP blog!

Lisa Petrilli February 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I spend way too much time looking for the “right” photo, so I appreciate your tip on Photo Dropper and look forward to trying it out!

Kristina McInerny February 18, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Caught your presentation at Kennesaw U. at a Social Media event…

Love this! Your posts aren’t pages long and don’t take hour of my time, it’s not too overpowering and just enough to fill my brain.

My fave plug-ins are Before-After, NextGen, Backup Buddy ($), Sexy Bookmarks and Google Analyticator (still have to read up on its full functionality I admit). I use Genesis framework with StudioPress templates.

Mack Collier February 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Thank you Kristina ;) That was Think Like a Rockstar at SMI.

I think Sexy Bookmarks is similar to Sociable, and I see a lot of bloggers using it. The analytics and stats plugins that I use seem to just replicate at best what I already get from Google Analytics. So it’s useful, assuming you spend a lot of time in the Wordpress dashboard, which I don’t.

Hope to see you tomorrow night at #Blogchat!

rsmithing February 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

I was very surprised not to see more mention of Google Analytics as a favorite plugin. Any ideas why? I won’t set up a site for a client without it, and they all love ther reporting functionality.

Mack Collier February 20, 2012 at 9:43 am
rsmithing February 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

HA! Brilliant minds thinking alike, obviously ;) Fantastic overview!

Chris Wiegman February 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm

My favorites tend to change over time, at one point all of yours would have been in my list but I’ve stopped using CommentLUV completely (it really doesn’t boost comments) and a few of the others are just used on certain projects.

Today I would have to go with WordPress SEO by Yoast, Akismet, Better WP Security, Gravity Forms, and W3 Total Cache all of which I’m using on pretty much every project I do.

Lisa Marie Mary February 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

This is a great post, Mack, thanks so much. I, like Kristina, appreciate that your posts are short enough to read that I don’t bookmark them to read later – only to never read them. Longer blog posts are often awesome, but, they do often remain saved and unread. I am, however, bookmarking this for later implementation. ;)

Mack Collier February 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Thank you Lisa Marie, that’s great feedback!

Christoph Trappe February 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

Mack,

thanks for sharing your favorites. I’ve shared some of the ones that we use here:

http://unitedwayofeastcentraliowa.org/marketing/plugins/

Hope people will find my list as helpful and interesting as I’ve found yours.

Christoph

Melody February 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm

@Mack – Great list! I like some of those plug ins too. I especially love having comment luv on my blog. I really like the most popular posts plug in, however I notice (at least in my case!) that the most popular posts almost never change! LOL. I think once you’ve got that plug in, since people then continuously click through the top posts, it’s hard to budge them from the top spot.

Kristi Colvin February 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I have become a fan of Jetpack which is a set of tools made by the WordPress folks and somehow uses wordpress.com registration to provide you goodies on your self-hosted blogs. The Site Stats are easy to comprehend quickly they have a sweet little sharing tool that I have used on freshid.com (look at one of our blog posts if you want to see it.) We use post types for different things and I was able to say where I did and did not want to display the share tool by just checking a box!

Joe Cheray February 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

For images NextGen Gallery and Get the Image.

Broken Link Checker to help me know when links on my site no longer work.

Bookmarkify as it is a great clean way to display bookmarking icons.

Livefyre for commenting

Just started using Editorial Calendar and am loving it.

Boomergirl February 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I loved reading about the Redirect plug in on post. I think this is a dynamite tool for a B2B site.

AnnTran_ February 19, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Mack,

Glad I found this post on @PegFitzpatrick’s Twitter page. I will be adding two plugins per your suggestion.

Thank YOU,
Ann

Mack Collier February 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Thank you Ann! I also appreciate connecting with you on Twitter during #Blogchat! Am a big fan of Peggy too! ;)

Stephanie Treasure February 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I posted this over on #Blogchat and thought I would share with everyone here too. My favorite plugins are: All-one-webmaster, All-in-one SEO, Akismet, WPGreet, XML Sitemaps, contact form 7, WP Hide Post & Robots Meta.

Mack Collier February 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thank you Stephanie for sharing your fav plugins there, and here ;)

Janice February 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thanks so much. I begged for this topic and am busily taken everything in since I’m just moving to self-hosted. I am loving the ideas from you and all the other commenters…. will be checking to see what else gets added too!

Beth Anne February 20, 2012 at 3:40 am

I missed the chat yesterday was a CRAZY day but will look through the chat and the plugins! Looks like I have some plugin researching to do. There are soo many great plugins and I think I already have WAY too many :( haha

Janice March 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

I’m still working my way through the plugin suggestions! Just got the comment redirect set up! (Or at least I think I did LOL!) Thanks for everything.

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case July 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I decided to follow your advice by loading Sociable. Looks like that link isn’t current anymore. Is the one on WordPress.org the most current?

Regardless, thanks for sharing your list!

Mack Collier July 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Steve you’re right, that link isn’t working now. I found it through plugin search and it gave me the same plugin page. Odd, I can’t find one that works, did you?

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case July 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Yup, I found it here:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sociable/

Got it installed, though not sure I configured it correctly/completely.

Mack Collier July 4, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thanks Steve, updated the link! Check your settings you should be able to set which share buttons you want showing up.

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case December 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Are you still liking the Sociable plug-in?
It seems support may be waning, and I don’t see you using it here anymore.

Mack Collier December 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Steve your comment actually reminded me to re-activate it ;) Not sure what happened but a few months ago after one of the updates it got really buggy on me and it never improved so I turned it off. Will try it back on now and see if it’s any better.

Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case December 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Seems you’ve got it working now.
I’m also seeing the same challenge with Sociable’s Twitter button on your page as on mine: It doesn’t include your Twitter handle. Looks like they may only support that with the more intrusive Skyscraper option.

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