My Favorite WordPress Plugins: Updated

Since posting my screencast on How to Install WordPress in 20 Minutes or Less, numerous people have written to ask, “What WordPress plugins should I install?”

A Plug Being Inserted into a Glowing Socket - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gwmullis, Image #10093536

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/gwmullis

That depends on what you are trying to accomplish. However, I thought I would post my current list in order to stimulate your thinking plus getting a few ideas from you.

One of my favorite things about WordPress as a blogging platform is the ability to extend its features through plugins. Unfortunately, the more plugins you use, the more it slows down your blog. As a result, features have to be balanced with speed.

Admittedly, I use more plugins than I probably should. Nevertheless, I am currently using the following and am happy with the performance:

Plugin Description
Add Post Footer Adds the “Disclosure of Material Connection” content to the end of my posts, as I recommend in Appendix A of Platform. However, you can use it to add any static content to the end of your posts.
Akismet Checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and then flags them accordingly. It is amazingly accurate. Unfortunately (but understandably) they now charge for it. It is worth it.
All in One SEO Pack Optimizes your WordPress blog for search engines (Search Engine Optimization). It allows you to customize the meta data for each post.
Attention Grabber Adds a simple drop-down banner at the very top of my site. Right now, I am using this to advertise my Writing a Winning Book Proposal e-books.
Better Adjacent Post Links Adds two enhanced commands to replace WordPress’ “Previous post” and “next post” functions.
Blubrry PowerPress Embeds my podcast into specific blog posts (show notes). You can pick from a variety of player styles and display the one you want in your post.
Disqus Comment System Replaces the native WordPress commenting system. It has a number of features that I like better. It is arguably the most popular commenting plugin available.
Drop Caps Adds drop caps to your posts and pages. It comes with some cool CSS styling and lots of options.
GigPress Provides a database for entering, managing, and displaying speaking engagements. I no longer use it. I had a custom module written. However, it is a great option for speakers and artists.
Google XML Sitemaps Generates a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate Manages, tracks, cloaks and shortens an unlimited number of affiliate links from one central location.
Nivo Slider Displays featured content in a slider display box. I don’t use it for that. I only use it to display quotes on my Speaking page.
nRelate Related Content Continuously analyzes your blog content and displays other related posts from your blog at the bottom of each post. This is designed to keep people on your site by providing other related content.
Public Post Preview Provides a way for you to give a link to others for public preview of a post before it is actually published. I use this for guest posters.
Redirection Manages all your “301 redirects,” so that readers don’t get a “page not found error” (404 error).
RSS Footer This plugin makes it easy to add a line of content or even ads to the end of all the articles in your feeds.
Scribe SEO Quickly checks your content against SEO best practices utilizing the Scribe Content Optimizer. A “must have” if you are serious about increasing your blog’s traffic.
SexyBookmarks Provides an attractive, easily-configurable social bookmarking menu to your posts and pages. You can add virtually any social service, including Twitter, Facebook, Email a Friend, StumbleUpon, et.c
Smart Ads Automatically adds advertisements before and after your post’s single page content—or even in the middle of a post.
VaultPress Backs up everything on your WordPress blog, several times a day. It was created by Automattic, the people who created WordPress.
W3 Total Cache Improves the user experience of your blog by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download time of your theme, images, etc.
WordPress.com Stats Provides simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server by plugging into WordPress.com’s stat system.
WP Categories and Posts Adds in a template tag you can use to display categories and sub-categories and the posts underneath those categories. I use it for my Archives page.
WP Greet Box Displays a different greeting message to your visitors depending on which site they are coming from. Very cool.

I also use BuySellAds to manage my advertising. It is super easy to use, but it is not technically a plugin.

Also, you can find an almost-complete directory of WordPress plugins here.

Question: What plugins are you using that other bloggers should consider? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • blaneyoung

    Michael, 
    I saw that you mentioned to another commenter that you wrote out a description for your tweets that contain a link to a post. How do you manage that since I am assuming most of your posts are scheduled? 

    Is there a plugin that publishes a custom tweet with a shortlink after the post gets published that you use? 

  • Randie

    Hi, Michael. What shopping cart plugin do you use?

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  • http://twitter.com/robrodriguezjr Robert Rodriguez Jr

    Great info – thanks so much for sharing!

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  • Jaspreet

    “Dallas, Fort Worth, Construction Company, foundation repair, home remodeling, roofing”
     I think the park will be great.  “Better than what it was,”

  • Jaspreet

    I think the park will be great.  “Better than what it was,”
    “Dallas, Fort Worth, Construction Company, foundation repair, home remodeling, roofing”

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Yes, it’s a plugin we thru together. We’re till playing with it. Thanks.

  • hughballou

    Michael,

    This is a very helpful list of plugins for WordPress. Thanks for introducing them to us. I have nrelate to post related posts, however, I don’t understand how to use the custom fields function to include images with this plugin. Is there an additional plugin for this function?

    Hugh Ballou
    The Transformational Leadership Strategist
    http://transformationalstrategist.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m not sure, Hugh. It’s been a long time since I set it up. You might check with the developer. As I recall, he was very responsive.

  • gioismeyo

    Does All-in-One SEO have a native XML Sitemap like Yoast? If so, do you use both the native XML Sitemap and the google XML Sitemap?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m not sure. I’m not THAT technical. Perhaps someone else can chime in.

  • blackdogdev

    There are some good plugins here but I’m a surprised there is nothing security related. When comparing WordPress with other CMS’s like DNN, Drupal and Joomla it has a much larger marketshare and is therefore the target of many attacks – especially for small business owners that are short of time and in-house developer resources.
     

  • Jaspreet

    “Dallas, Fort Worth, Construction Company, foundation repair, home remodeling, roofing”
     I think the park will be great.  “Better than what it was,”

  • http://twitter.com/GetOnlineQuotes GetOnlineQuotes

    Thanks for sharing your list.  Does having that many plugins active affect the load times of your pages?  Is W3 Total Cache enough?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It definitely affects it some. But my pages load faster than all of the business blogs we have tested it again except one.

  • Margaret

    Mike:  Have you thought about using a ‘print pdf’ plugin for your posts??  Would make it easier to print

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’ll find one at the bottom of each post. It’s one of the icons under “Share and Enjoy!” Thanks.

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  • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

    What plugin do you use for your podcast posts?  Where it shows Click to Listen with links to subscribe in iTunes, etc.?  Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I use Blubrry PowerPress. We hacked the code to add the subscribe in iTunes link. Thanks.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I prefer WordPress because of the massive support and third-party developer community. No contest.

  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    I keep going to this pool.  I just added 3 more plug-ins.

  • http://livechat.comm100.com/wordpress-chat-plugin.aspx wordpress chat

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful plugins which are really beneficial for me to use it in my website. I like disqus comment system very much because it provides security from spamming comment.

  • http://livechat.comm100.com/wordpress-chat-plugin.aspx wordpress chat

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful plugins which are really beneficial for me to use it in my website. I like disqus comment system very much because it provides security from spamming comment.

  • http://www.DevaniAnjali.com/ Devani Anjali

     Great list! I use many of these — like Akismet, all in one SEO pack, Disqus, etc..— but I haven’t heard of a lot of the others.  Great resources, appreciate you taking the time to inform us.   

    There is one I like called “Share and Follow” It easily allows people to share your blog content and follow you on the various social networks.  

    ~Devani

  • http://southernsuperfruit.com/ Chris G. Paulk

    Hi Michael, I just finished Platform…very helpful & encouraging! I have a question about Add Post Footer: Is it still active? I can’t seem to find their site or instructions for the Plugin.
    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, it looks like that plugin is no longer supported. Worse, the old site is being directed to a porn directory. We will take a look at adding the functionality to my new GetNoticed theme. Thanks.

  • Jim

    Very helpful post Michael.   Any suggestions for a WordPress e-commece plug-in?  I’m looking build basic registration and shopping card functionality into the Standard Theme (or is this a bad idea).   Trying to get up to speed on this stuff….  Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am using BigCommerce.

  • http://www.DavidASpecht.com/ David A Specht

    Hi Michael. What plugin do you use to post your event? I like how it has information like date/time venue and shows up on your front page like a normal post.

    Thanks for everything you do.

  • http://www.DavidASpecht.com/ David A Specht

    And nevermind again. I should learn to read more in-depth instead of scanning BEFORE I post a comment. :)

  • nbadillo1

    Great Site Thank you!

  • nbadillo1

    THANKS FOR ALL THE TIPS! http://WWW.MAKEMONEYONLINE-TOOLS.COM

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  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    Just found this post, Michael.  Very helpful.  Thank you.

  • Baylor able

     Therefore, I encourage your readers to check out some great resources on WordPress plug-ins, addressing all the concerns raised in the post above.
    The Drop-Ins and the Must-Use Plugins for WordPress: http://www.wpintegration.com/blog/the-drop-ins-and-the-must-use-plugins-for-wordpress/

  • http://thegarlicgarlic.blogspot.com/ Alam

    These WordPress plug-ins are very interesting, however, I only use 4 of them.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I just clicked on the links in the article for those two plugins and they worked for me. Did you try that?
    The opt-in box is part of my new theme, which we are now beta testing. It should be available commercially in a few months. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/JoeCotellese Joe Cotellese

    Great list. I found it because I was looking for a post footer plugin. 

    I tried Disqus and Facebook comments. I went back to my own comment system because I like controlling and owning the content. 

    I’m really intrigued by the WordPress Comments that are included as part of Jetpack. You might want to check it out. 

  • http://www.BethanyJett.com/ Bethany Jett

    What plug-in did you use to create the table that lists your previous speaking engagements? I need to find something so I can follow suit. Your site is fantastic. I’m soaking up everything. Just self hosted my WordPress blog, hooked up with Blue Host, and am fine-tuning now.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, it is not a plugin. It’s actually part of the Get Noticed! Theme that we will be releasing later this year. Thanks.

      • http://www.BethanyJett.com/ Bethany Jett

        Can’t wait for it!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/AllisonGRH Allison McCune Davis

    Hi Michael.  Love your site, Platform U and your book!  Im noticing that the nrelate plugin is not putting related content on my rss feed, plus I don’t see it on yours.  Was this your preference?    

    Also, how did you get the FB, tweet and comment buttons at the top of the rss feed post.  Thanks so much for all your wisdom!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I don’t put it on the RSS feed. I am not even sure that is an option.
      The ShareBar is part of my new theme. Unfortunately, it’s not available as a separate plugin. Thanks.

      • http://GirlReturnsHome.com/ Allison

        Yes, putting related content on the RSS feed is not an option with nrelate.  I actually used to have it and now Im not sure which plugin it was.  Got rid of it before I realized the RSS issue.  Might have been Related Posts for Word Press.  

        Just wondering if you felt it was important.  

        I know one of those plugins does it :)  I’m going to try the Shareaholic plugin “Recommendations” (which includes Sexy Bookmarks) and see if it will work.  

        It seems to me having that related content on the RSS feed is going to bring people into the site that are only seeing that one post on their feed.  Yes?

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Barrett Chris Barrett

    Could someone point me to an easy “step-by-step” way to get an RSS feed button on my blog? I know that most browsers now have a button next to the title bar but not all do and I want it to be a available to anyone who visits my site. Thanks!

  • Matthew Candler

    Michael, do you use a WP plugin for your “You might also like” recommended posts? If so would you mind sharing? Is it configured by tag, category, or some combo?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It is a plugin called nRelate. It indexes by categories. Thanks.

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  • jasoncrosslive

    Michael, what plugin are you using for your occasional quotes as posts? They look neat and clean and seem to be something other than the typical post format. Any advice is appreciated!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      These are actually part of my theme rather than a plug in. Thanks.

  • http://www.authorityengine.com/ Ben Krueger

    Hey Michael, I notice your Blubrry Powerpress plugin has the direct “Subscribe via iTunes” link integrated into the media player. I’m curious how you accomplished this and whether you believe it has made a significant impact on the number of subscribers you have for the show? Thanks a ton!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I had my developer custom program this. I am not are what impact it has had on subscribers. I just wanted to make it easy for people to subscribe. Thanks!

  • Bryant Jaquez

    What do I need to do to get my recent Share Wall plugin on this list :)? http://withnoble.com/wordpress/socialshare/ Check it out, you might like it. (IMHO, this plugin is kind of awesome).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Bryant. The short answer is that I would have to start using it before I would add it to my list. However, I struggle with the consumer experience. You’re essentially asking people to share what they haven’t read. How can they do that with integrity? Sorry.

  • http://shazidamain.in/ Shazida Khatun

    I like ADD POST FOOTER : here is the setting methods-
    These are a few steps to add post footer in WordPress post:

    Steps
    1. Go to plugin menu
    2. Click Add New and
    3. On the search box, type term –> add post footer, then click search plugin
    4. It will show you one plugin called “Add Post Footer”, and click install. Then activate the plugin.
    5. Once activated, go to setting menu, then click ” Post footer”
    6. On these page, you will be able to customize the setting such as below :

    Add Ad before Related Post: Select Yes/No

    Add following Ad. code to the end of post: Select Yes/No

    Add Ad Code Script:

    Add related post list: Select Yes/No

    Add Maximum number of post in the list:

    Add The header text for post list:

  • http://www.LenaStarbird.com/ Lena Starbird

    Thanks for sharing! Just finished Platform…so many fantastic & practical tips! Just curious, do you use a plugin for your social sharing buttons? If so, do you mind…well…sharing? (no pun intended!)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s part of my new Get Noticed! Theme for WordPress, but is not available separately. So sorry.

  • Maxine

    What plugin do you use to manage the sign-up/automated free gift?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid it is custom code.

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