When it comes to using WordPress, nothing beats plugins. They make our lives easier by doing the things we don’t want to. They add features that aren’t included in WordPress and overall make our blogs (and lives) better.
I decided it was time to share some of the best WordPress plugins I have been using here on Life of Justin. Some of you may already be using a lot of these but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to mention them.
So check them out and give them a try:
1. All In One SEO Pack
By far the most important plugin I have. It does everything you need for great on-page search engine optimization. Now only does it let you change your title tags, but it also lets you customize the keywords and description for each post and page you create. There are a bunch of plugins that do this, but I have never found one better than this one.
- Get It Here: All In One SEO Pack
2. WordPress Related Posts
Trying to increase your pageviews and keep readers longer? This tool will make that happen. This very simple but effective plugin will list a few related posts at the bottom of your single post pages. It works by looking at the tags that you apply to each of your posts. You can see it in action at the bottom of this post. Very cool!
- Get It Here: WordPress Related Posts
3. Subscribe To Comments
Another great tool for getting readers back to your blog is the subscribe to comments plugin. It places a small check box below your comment form and gives your readers the option to be notified of new comments. It works very well, especially when a post has a lot of comments and discussion going on.
- Get It Here: Subscribe To Comments
The podcasting plugin is something I just started using a week ago. Now I am using it to run my podcast, Digital Nomad Radio. It adds a podcasting feature to WordPress that makes it really simple to upload MP3 files, create a podcast feed, and embed a player in any of your posts. It’s really simple!
- Get It Here: Podcasting
5. Get Recent Comments
By default, WordPress has a built in widget that will display recent comments in your sidebar. I used that widget for almost a year before I decided to use this plugin. The reason I made the switch is because I wanted to be able to show part of the actual comment instead of the author name and post title. This plugin will create a link that points to the post and also display the first part of the comment right on the sidebar.
- Get It Here: Get Recent Comments
6. UBD Block Ad
After redesigning my blog, I wanted to go back to using 125 x 125 pixel ads because they are easier to sell. I ended up using this plugin because it works. It’s really easy to add different links and I like the built-in rotation feature. It automatically rotates the ads each time a page is loaded. It’s a great alternative to premium plugins that you have to purchase.
- Get It Here: UBD Block Ad
7. Theme Test Drive
If you do a lot of theme modifications, you really need this plugin. It lets you load a different theme that will only display to admins logged into your blog. That way you can see what your blog will look like with a new theme without disturbing your readers. I just used this plugin here on Life of Justin when I did the redesign. It helps a lot!
- Get It Here: Theme Test Drive
8. Photo Dropper
Lets face it, buying stock photos is expensive. Especially for bloggers that are not making any income to justify the costs. That’s why this plugin is so useful. It automatically searches for Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr. That means they are licensed for shared use on your blog. Better yet, the plugin automatically inserts the proper attribution links so you don’t have to.
- Get It Here: Photo Dropper
9. Batch Categories
Somethings are just too much work. A good example is trying to add a bunch of posts to a category. You have to quick edit each post and click the category you want to add it to. Luckily, this plugin makes that a breeze. You can add a batch of posts to a certain category (and remove them) with a few clicks. It works really well and works the same way the normal category function does.
- Get It Here: Batch Categories
10. Advanced Excerpt
If you are using post excerpts somewhere in your theme, you should really check this theme out. It automatically creates post excerpts without stripping any of the tags. It even keeps the WordPress image captions from breaking. I used to create custom excerpts to keep the formatting but now I let this plugin do it for me. It saves me a little work every time I put up a new post.
- Get It Here: Advanced Excerpt
Does anyone else recommend some useful WordPress plugins? I’m always looking for some new ones to test so please leave a comment and let me (and my readers) know about them!