Ten WordPress Plugins Recommendations

With an influx of Blogger users moving to WP, I am often seeing blog posts asking for plugin suggestions! I usually comment with a few, but I figured instead of typing it up every time I’d write it all up for all of you. (Before I get started, if you aren’t on WordPress, but are considering moving from Blogger, Kindle Fever has a great moving guide! She also lists some alternatives to some of these plugins as well as some of these.)

Note/Disclaimer: The plugins I’ve listed are ones I use here on Letters Inside Out, all of them I’ve used for the majority of my WordPress “life”. The links go to the plugin information sites or tutorials on how to use them. All tutorials and information linked belongs to others (except for my RSS tutorial). (I hold no responsibility if they aren’t compatiable with your theme/site, so be sure and read the info and make sure they are compatible! ;) )

These plugins are for self-hosted WP blogs! I have never used wordpress.com so I am unclear what it accepts and does not accept.

  • Akismet – This actually comes installed with WP automatically, most of the time. It’s great for taking care of comment spam.
  • Amazon Tools – As book bloggers, we often use book covers and many of us use Amazon Affiliates. When I first moved I tested many different Amazon plugins, some didn’t work and some crashed my entire blog. THIS one was the only one I found that did everything I needed (and more). You can drag the cover and link (with affiliate info already there) into your posts or pages! Sometimes the search is a bit flawed, but changing the search up fixes that.
  • Broken Link Checker – Does what it says! I actually don’t leave this one activated constantly, I usually activate it every so often and check for any broken links. What it does is scans all links and notifies you that they are broken. Then you can either correct them or unlink! You wouldn’t believe how often bloggers comment on LIO and typo their URL. This way I can fix those errors easily.
  • Contact Form 7 – This one allows you to add contact forms to your blog! Many of the contact form plugins do not work with your CSS/theme without some configuring. This one does. You can see this in “action” on my contact page.
  • Feedburner FeedSmith – I’ve praised this one on LIO before. What it does is forwards your WP RSS feeds to Feedburner, making your feeds a bit more organized and managable. Go to my RSS Help Tutorial for more information about RSS, Feedburner, and more.
  • Subscribers Text Counter – There are MANY counters to show your follower counts. This one does so via text. You can see it on my sidebar. All it gives you are the numbers and they update every two hours. I customized mine to have the type of following it is. There are some that utilize images instead of text. It’s just a preference thing!
  • WordPress Database Backup – Many hosts actually backup your website for you, but I choose to use this as even more protection. I get my blog emailed to me from this plugin daily. I also use it to backup things every time I make any huge changes or updates – just in case! You can also save them to your computer/backup harddrive. (Yes, I also do that. LOL!)
  • WordPress SEO – Everyone has a preference on WordPress SEO plugins, but I’ve tried many of them and this is my favorite! Before I was having to use 2-3 different plugins to do everything that this one does. I recommend checking out this tutorial on how to set it up from WPBeginner.
  • WP Optimize – WordPress keeps a copy of all post revisions, while they can be beneficial if you need them over time they can slow things down. This plugin deletes the old ones! When I first installed it some blog posts had 30-40 versions. That adds up!
  • WP Super Cache – Having a cache can help your blog load faster! This one is the one I use here at LIO, but there is also W3 Total Cache that I also have used in the past and loved. Not all bloggers use a cache and my blog probably could get by without one. Without a cache my blog loads in about 15-20 seconds, on average. When I added it 2-3 seconds, typically. That’s not a huge change! Some blogs though take minutes to load! And that’s not using a dial-up internet connection. Adding a cache can slow that load time. (Minor disadvantage: Whenever you make any major change you have to remember to either turn it off or delete the cache. Otherwise it can’t be seen!)

What about you all? Any plugins you’d recommend or thoughts on the ones I’ve listed?

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Comments

  1. Love this post!!!! Some of them I do have myself and some are new and I’m eager to try them out!
    Actually, Subscribers Text count, totally crashed my blog when I wanted to install it, lol sometimes you never know right?
    I will try out your amazon plugin, I also tried different ones but non of those were really good to handle and were confusing. I like the WP Super Cache – which the tones of images on my blog, I think I might need it! but then, I can’t shy away from my images, I love how pretty they look.

    I want to add one plugin I use and LOVE. Bex from the Kindle Fever told me about it, it’s a comment reply notification. I realized that not many people actually subscribing to comments, because let#s face it, specially when you have lots of comments, as a reader you do not want to read ALL of them. So this plugin sends a email to the one that got a comment. I love it and I also love when another blog has it:
    Commet Reply Notification.

    • Amanda says:

      You do never know! I know some people have a lot of issues with the different cache plugins too.

      I had a lot of issues with the Amazon ones. This one is pretty easy. I added my affiliate tag, then on the posts search for the title (or author) and just drag them in. It works well! For your images you might also try WP Smush It, if you don’t already. ;) http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-smushit/ It compresses the images some (among other things). I just started using it here when I found it for a graphics intensive blog I help run.

      Bex is pretty awesome! Thanks to you both for the addition.

  2. Does Contact Form 7 work on wordpress.com? I saw the info mentioned JAVA SCRIPT which is not compatible with the .com version of wordpress.

  3. Thanks for this fantastic list :D

  4. Leeanna says:

    Thanks for the list! I always wondered how people listed their subscribers count … I can’t believe I didn’t think of looking for a plugin.

  5. These are all GREAT suggestions, and I have every intention of checking out a few of them. So, thank you!

    One plugin that I love is Jetpack. It works with WP.com and gives you some of the .com features that are lacking in the standard .org installation. My favorite is definitely the site stats. They also recently rolled out an update that allows you to use contact forms (which I’ve used on WP.com and adore).

    Ah, and duplicate post is another favorite plugin, which works especially well if you have review formats or templates that you consistently work from. You just hit “new draft” and it copies everything from the original post into a new draft (content, title, and categories/tags).

    • Amanda says:

      I had installed duplicate post, but never really did much with it! I’ll have to play with it a bit more.

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for all of the great tips! I’ve added a few to m blog and I’m sure they are going to be a big help!

  7. Hey Amanda! This is awesome. Thanks. I still feel like a WP n00b. (Does anyone even say n00b anymore?)

    Anyhoo, what plugins do you use to track your page views or stats? Got any to recommend?

    • Amanda says:

      I just use Google Analytics and what my host comes with. (My host has one similar to GA, but it’s less accurate. It does give me more search results and sites linked to me though.) I tried a few different page counters that display on the blog, but they didn’t seem accurate or were error-ridden. I keep searching! :P

  8. I am so happy to discover that I actually have most of these as I am extremely technically challenged. Thank you for this little bit of validation. :)

    By the way, I loved your about page. Very succinct. I may live in a big city but since I’m housebound with my elderly mom, six dogs and two cats, life is small. I’m with you on online shopping, etc.

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