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10 Must Have WordPress Plugins (and 5 More Really Cool Ones)

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March 29th, 2011

I’ve been using WordPress for about two years now, and in that time I’ve collected a core of plugins that I instantly install on any new WordPress site I create. The list is constantly updating as old plugins die off and new ones are born, but as of right now, I have ten that I install on nearly every site, and five more that I just love when the need arises. So, here we go with my essential WordPress (free) plugin roundup: 2011. Keep Reading

6 Useful WordPress Plugins by Yoast

Power Outlet by [F]oxymoron on FlickrThere are a lot of useful plugins for WordPress out there. I’ve seen so many “best plugins for WordPress” lists that I would almost feel guilty adding another one (though I make no promises not to eventually do my own roundup of stuff I use, anyway). Instead, today I’m going to recommend a particular WordPress plugin developer, Joost de Valk of the website, Yoast. I’ve never met or talked to him and don’t have any particular stake in his work, but it’s so helpful to me I’d like to give a shout out to him and, I hope, introduce some more people to some very useful plugins. (Disclaimer: The caricature dude on his site creeps me out a bit. You’ve been warned!) I currently use two of his plugins across a couple different blogs, and plan to add three more soon. Here is a quick rundown of my six favorite of the many useful plugins he makes.

First, Meta Robots, a handy WordPress plugin that helps you manage the robots meta tags for pages across your WP installation. You can tell search engine robots to no-follow or no-index the categories, tags, archives, or individual pages through simple site-wide and page-specific settings. Search engines hate duplicate content and will usually choose to show only one version, so letting them index your tag pages, categories, archives, and search results spreads link juice around your site without any good purpose, weakening pages through link channels that do you no good at all. I use Meta Robots in conjunction with the All-in-One SEO Pack plugin for complete search engine optimization control across my sites.

Robots Meta WordPress Plugin

Secondly, Enhanced WP Contact Form is one of a few WordPress contact form plugins that I’ve tried, and works the best with the least hassle. Styling and customization are easy on this useful plugin. Joost himself has stopped using this plugin in favor the paid Gravity Forms, but he appears to still maintain it.

Sociable adds social links to the end of each WordPress post, letting users choose from a myriad of popular sites (99, according to the WP page) like Twitter and Facebook. I’ve moved on to use Sexy Bookmarks instead since I like the style better, but Sociable remains a solid and more subtle social bookmarking plugin.

Sociable WordPress Plugin Screenshot

Yoast has a number of other plugins which I haven’t used, but three caught my eye. Tweetbacks finds and imports Twitter messages that mention a post, then append them like comments. Optimize DB runs the SQL command “optimize_table” to clean up your WordPress database. Finally, his Google Analytics plugin adds Google code to all your WordPress pages for easy tracking. You can do this yourself by editing the header.php or footer.php files, but this makes it simple, and it lets you track outbound links.

Joost, thanks for all the useful plugins you’ve made and for keeping them updated. I wish you all the best towards your continued success.

I hope this list was useful to you. What do you think? Have you had success with these plugins, or perhaps found others with similar functionality that you prefer instead? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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