10 Essential WordPress Plugins For The Smart Blogger

I reckon there are two things that set WordPress apart from other blogging platforms, the amount of quality themes available and the plugins. There are so many plugins out there that you can do almost anything you want with your blog. I don’t know about you guys but while visiting other blogs I’ve often wondered what plugins they were using, That being the case there may even be some of you who are wondering about the ones I use.

The obvious ones are commentluv, dofollow and keyword luv plugins, but for the purpose of this post I won’t be including them as I figure most bloggers are familiar with them. I think it more appropriate that I write about the ones that work behind the scenes, the ones you don’t see, or even the ones that you may see but don’t know what plugin is making it work.

you & me, me & you

  1. Quick Cache: Over the years I’ve tried several caching plugins and I settled on this one because apart from doing the job well it is the easiest caching plugin I’ve come across. It even has a ‘clear cache’ icon that can be accessed from every page of the dashboard.
  2. FT Signature Manager: This plugin’s actually designed so the blogger can place a signature at the end of the post. I on the other hand saw another use for it, one that’s proven to be quite profitabe. I’ve used it to advertise the Flexsqueeze theme, yep, that’s the one you’ll see at the bottom of thisand every post.
  3. Insights: This plugin is a real time saver as it can search the net for information, pictures and videos etc. for your blog posts. It will even search your own blog.
  4. LMB^Box Comments Quicktags:  This plugin inserts a quicktag toolbar above the comment form. The toolbar alllows the commentator to insert smilies, links, quotes and other funtions into the comment. What I love the most about it is that it has a large selection of smilies. You will have to modify your comments.php for this plugin to work.
  5. Max Banner Ads: I did a post on this plugin called Rotating Banner Problem Resolved By Max Banner Ads.
  6. Microkid’s Related Post: This plugin allows you to select posts that are related to the one you’re currently working on and places them at the end of the post. Great for interlinking your posts and for giving your reader a selection of related posts.
  7. WordPress Database Backup: This plugin is absolutely essential, especially if you’re a slack blogger like me who never backups their blog. With this plugin it’s all done automatically. I have mine set up so that it sends me the backup via email on a daily basis.
  8. WordPress.com Stats: I love this plugin. It supplies all the stats I need. At the top of the page it gives you a line graph of views per day. It will also show you the top posts and pages for today and yesterday, as well as referrers for the last two days. The best thing is that it also shows what links people have been clicking on, and all on the same page.
  9. OIOpubliasher: This is another essential plugin that I use on all my popular blogs. It allows advertises to automatically pay for adspace on your blog. It’s one of the few plugins that I’ve paid for, and it’s paid for itself many times over.
  10. SEO Smart Links:  I use this plugin to link keywords and phrases with affiliates that I am promoting. You could even use it to link to individual posts in your blog that’s been specifically written to promote an affiliate. You can have it set up so that it only works with your posts or you can include your comments as well.

Naturally I use a lot more plugins but I consider these to be a more essential than the others, yeah, even the smilies, I can’t live without those. If you had to pick just one of these plugins which one would you choose and why?

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 90 Comments

  1. OK, this is where I need your help. This cache plugin, is that gonna make my blog faster? Cause I tried Total cache and could not figure out how to set everything up :(

    The signature thing sounds really interesting… I am thinking of giving it a go.

    I have just started with SEO links and I love that plugin. Not just because the author is a genius from my country :)

    Thanks for the list and you better help me with this cache thingy…

    1. I so love it when a sexy women gets rough with me Brankica :devil_tb:

      In regards to the cache plugin, yes it’s supposed to speed up your blog. As far as adjusting the settings, it’s a breeze.
      Sire recently posted…Of Good Hosts And Bad Hosts- Beware The Bad HostsMy Profile

      1. You should see me in my uniform… ;)

        Thanks

  2. Hey Sire,

    Great list of plugins, actually I don’t have any of them right now, but the statistical ones really interest me as I have been closely watching my stats.

    Watching your stats is really important, I have been able to increase optins on my blog simply from monitoring the stats, and if I keep improving them then I don’t even have to work too hard driving more traffic.

    Alex

      1. I haven’t used the wordpress stats program, but it is important to use some type of stat tracking. If you’re not tracking things, you won’t truly know what is working best. Personally I use Google Analytics for all of my websites and it produces a wide variety of useful stats.

        1. I used to gauge things by the amount of comments I used to get. The more comments the better. Now I have the stats plugin and I have so much more information available to me.

          1. Yes I guess the number of comments would be one way to judge traffic, although not very accurate. You’d still be missing out on things like visitor countries, time on site, pages accessed, keywords used to find your site, etc. Those stats are extremely valuable, especially if you are actively testing changes.

  3. Hi Sire,
    I think you have forgot one very important and good plugin; All in One SEO Pack. It really help you up in the SERP, It’s my favorite.

    1. Darn, I thought the plugins I’ve installed on my blog are all that I’ll ever need. I have installed All In One SEO and thought it’s one of the best ever. Only now have I heard of platinum.

      In the above list, I’m particularly interested in #2 and #10. Now, the next issue is about possible slowing down of my blog due to too many plugins. Is there such a thing as plugin overload? :)

      1. That’s the least I can do after having to read all those books you made me buy James :laugh_tb:

        It’s true too many plugins may slow down a site, but it all depends on the plugin. I don’t think the ones that work behind the scenes, like the stats plugin etc. would slow it down at all though.
        Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile

        1. I read somewhere that everytime a page is viewed, underneath it all, all plugins and its codes (including those of the non-activated plugins) are read before it proceeds to display the page. Thus, I had to delete all other plugins that were not activated/used. But I guess a noticeable slow loading would actually only happen when one uses an extremely large number of plugins.

          As to the book reading, I once had a mind to buy the audio version of a book but then I thought silent reading is a lot quicker than listening to someone read a book aloud. :lol_wp:

          1. I agree that plugins that display stuff on your blog would slow it down as you have to wait for them to process the scripts and then display the information, but I can’t see how plugins, like say the stat plugin, would slow it down as the script wouldn’t be processed until the plugin was activated. Still, what would I know, I’m a blogger not a techie. lol

    2. I actually use Platinum SEO which I feel is better. I used to use All in One but I upgrades :wink_ee:

      1. Oooops, Platinum SEO was something new for me. Thanks for the tips, more work tomorrow for me.

  4. Interesting list. Regarding cache plugin, I like W3 Total Cache as it has much more features than any other plugin and lets me control everything easily.

  5. I’ve seen those smilies bars on a few blogs and liked them, now I know how to get tat going. I’ve downloaded the rotating banner thing but haven’t installed it yet. I use the database back-up plug-in and it sends me a back-up reliably. I’ve never had to try to restore from those back-ups so I don’t know how good they are, but I have them! I like the stats plug-in and will go grab that one as soon as I’m done here. I can get this info through AWStats on my hosting account, but it would be so much easier to have them built into the control panel. Oh, and that insights plug-in does sound like a real time saver. Will have to look for that as well.

    Great list Sire, Thanks!

  6. I always install the all in one seo plugin for all my clients blogs because it covers most of the important SEO on-page aspects and is also easy to customize later by the clients themselves.

  7. The sig thing sounds good indeed, for caching im using W3 cache, that is fairly good. For SEO Yaosts new WPSEO is my new one of choice. has a few issues but the bonuses balances it out.

  8. Hey Sire,

    I’ll pipe in my 2 cents worth as well. Never heard of some of these plug-ins either. I do have the Quick Cache and the WP Backup and they both work great. Will definitely have to check out the rest as I can see where they would really come in handy. Especially the stats!

    Thanks as always for sharing information with us that we just weren’t aware of before. You’re the best!

    Adrienne

  9. Yes! Very cool. I’ve been curious how you did the Flexx setup. ;-)

  10. I thought I was aware of all the plugins available out there but I can see I was wrong about that. I think the one I’m most excited about trying out is the Insights plugin. I also like the WordPress.com Stats plugin too. Great list of WordPress plugins Sire, I plan on trying them out.

    1. That’s the thing about plugins John, there are so many out there and there are more popping up every day. Just goes to show how popular WordPress really is.
      Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile


  11. Twitter:
    The first thing that surprised me is that I’d only heard of one of these, that being the one you paid for. I find myself intrigued by 3 of these; the cache, WP database & WP stats. I’ve been wanting to try a caching program that wasn’t too invasive; I haven’t had the best of luck with the previous 2 I tried. The same with the database program, although I might still have issues with that one because it seems I have more than 2MB files and my host will only allow me to reload up to that figure; that stinks, of course. Maybe I can find something to eliminate, though. And the stats program; well, you remember I wrote on Count Per Day, so maybe it’ll be a bit more accurate. Great stuff!
    Mitch recently posted…SEO &amp Social Media Is A ProcessMy Profile

    1. I remember your post on your caching difficulties Mitch. If my memory serves me it caused a bit of a stir? Anyway I’ll be interested as to what your thoughts are.

      As to the rest, I had a feeling that not everyone would be familiar with all the plugins.
      Sire recently posted…Of Links Lists And Other Blogging MattersMy Profile

      1. I recommend making the caching plugin a priority. You could pay a freelance programmer to look into the issue and program a workaround if necessary. It is the best kind of plugin to speed up a blog. Instead of retrieving all content from the database each time, it automatically creates static html files. Of course, those ‘static’ files still update when new comments are posted or when other changes are made.


      2. Twitter:
        For that Quick Cache plugin, are the defaults already set to the best options? I just loaded it and I’m not sure if I have to do anything more.
        Mitch recently posted…Some Blogs To ShareMy Profile

        1. Yep, that’s what’s recommended and that’s all I did.


          1. Twitter:
            I just added it to one of the organizational blogs I created, which was running like a snail, and suddenly it’s hopping; love that!
            Mitch recently posted…Groundhog Day Your WayMy Profile


  12. Twitter:
    By the way, you know that little smiley face I told you about that you finally saw one day on your blog? Turns out it’s associated with the WP Stats plugin you’re running. And it also turns out there’s a plugin to get rid of it called WordPress.com Stats Smiley Remover. Go figure!
    Mitch recently posted…5 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn From The Health ClubMy Profile

    1. Yeah, I remember that. Funny enough when I was looking for a Stat plugin the other day I remember seeing that one you just mentioned and it brought it all back to me.
      Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile

  13. Hi Sire,

    Quite interesting, it’s not the same old, same list of essential plugins I see everywhere here. 6 of your 10 plugins I didn’t know or haven’t tried yet. I’m going to give them a try and tell later how they work for me.

    I think the FT signature could be a time saver not having to copy and paste the same text to every post is a good thing.

    And what the plugin that bring that footer banner as your scroll down?

    Ben Wan :thumbup_tb
    Ben Wan recently posted…How to Get the Maximum out of Facebook Comments PluginMy Profile

    1. Hi Ben,

      because of amount of plugins out there I’m sure most bloggers would be using different plugins.

      That plugin is called – upPrev: NYTimes Style and it’s purpose is to reduce the bounce rate. I personally like the way it slides in and out.
      Sire recently posted…To Moderate Or Not To Moderate- That Is The QuestionMy Profile

      1. Hi Sire/Ben

        Now that Ben has your extra 6 I hope he’s going to help install a couple of them next time he’s working on the blog.

        Julia

  14. I haven’t heard of quite a few of these plug ins, I have the keyword luv plugin installed though and all the script shown up when you check the html, just no plugin :( The stat’s plugin sounds good, I currently use k stats, so will give it a try.

    Khaled
    khaled recently posted…How To Protect Your Jewellery Or Craft DesignsMy Profile

    1. Perhaps the keywordluv plugin is conflicting with another plugin, or perhaps even your theme. Try changing your theme first just to see if it works. If it does then at least you know what the problem was.

      1. Didn’t think of that, I just switched to the standard wordpress template and the plugin works fine, so will have to spend some time looking to try and find the conflict. Cheers.
        khaled recently posted…How To Protect Your Jewellery Or Craft DesignsMy Profile

  15. Sire,

    Great tip about alternatives for using the plugin FT Signature.

    I just started using “What Would Seth Godin Do” plugin for showing my optin message to new visitors.

    Just a warning, WordPress Database Backup only backups your databases – not your whole blog.

    Andrew

    1. Sorry your comment didn’t appear right away Andrew, I had to fish it out of spam for some reason.

      I understand that about the database, which is really the core of your blog anyway. As long as your database is intact you should be able to restore it on a clean platform or am I wrong?

      1. Sire,

        The only issue would be if your blog was hacked in some way or the server got corrupted. I prefer to backup my entire site including widgets, themes, plugins, etc.

        Check out my recent post on this subject – I’ve linked to it using CommentLuv below.

        Andrew

        1. That would be easy enough to do by FTPing the files to your hard drive. You would only have to do that once and then simply update it every time you added a plugin or changed some file or other.

          1. True but I don’t want the hassle of having to do that each time. I want to set it up and forget!

            Andrew

  16. Hi Peter
    I must start using a caching plugin to speed up my site.
    Never thought of Quick Cache but if it’s easy to configure it sounds like my sort of plugin.

    Thanks for a list that’s a cut above the usual list of plugins.
    Keith Davis recently posted…Chocolat…My Profile

    1. It’s dead easy Keith. You just install and activate it. That’s it. You can play with the settings if you really want to but the author says it’s not necessary.
      Sire recently posted…How To Make Money Off A Popular PostMy Profile

    1. I’m afraid I can’t answer that Keith as I never really tested it. Perhaps the author provides the answer on his site, it’s been awhile since I read it I don’t remember if he did or didn’t.

      Sorry mate.

      1. No problem Peter
        I’ve just installed and activated the plugin on a local install of my website.

        As you say, super easy to activate.

        If I don’t get any problems I’ll install it on my live blog.

  17. Hey Sire,

    I see you are using quick cache. I usually code my own caching plugins (mainly because I code the entire website and I have to make a custom caching plugin) but for wordpress I use w3 total cache which although may seem hard to setup, lots of options that you don’t know what are doing and some debugging involved (like in Mitch’s case) I find it very good and it acts on multiple levels, from headers to integrated support with some cdn networks.

    WordPress dbbackup is definitely a must have, you never know when disasters strikes.

    I really am a geek I always go for the more technically inclined plugins :))
    Alex recently posted…Barbie in clubMy Profile

    1. That’s what I like about all the different WP plugins, you’ve got the ones for the geeks, ones for those who have absolutely no idea and everything in between.

  18. Hi Sire,
    I’ve never seen most of the plugins you’ve mentioned here before. The only plugin I use that is mentioned here is the WordPress.com stats. I once tried to use a Cache plugin before, but sadly I didn’t know how to adjust or tweak the settings right, so I ended up not using it at all.
    I will use that MaxBanner ads by the time I’m going to allow ads in my blog.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Johanna recently posted…4 Simple Tips on How to Keep Yourself Safe OnlineMy Profile

    1. Well Jo, in that case you should really use Quick Cache because it so easy to use.

  19. I’ve only tried the WordPress.com Stats plugin thus far. However, you’ve definitely given me some plugins to look into in order to improve my blog.

    1. I reckon it will give you something to do over the weekend :cheese1_ee:

  20. You forgot the best one all in one seo plugin which rocks and helps you a lot in SEO effort

  21. Great list Sire!

    Can you tell me more about OIOPublisher? I mean I know I can google it, but what is your experience with it, and well – how does it work?!

    1. I think it’s great. It’s one of the few plugins that I’ve actually paid for. You can see it working over there on the right, the block of 6 125×125 banners and the links under the ADVERTISE HERE heading.

      the OIOPublisher plugin is an automated system that allows advertisers to purchase ad spots on a blog without having to notify the blogger.

      That’s the basics of it. If anyone is interested there is a $10 discount for February if you use the following coupon code NY2011-WASSUP

      Let me know if there is anything else you want to know.

  22. I am totally “in-love” with that signature plugin and more so the way you found to make it work for you :) If you don’t mind, I will be copying that “tactic” very soon and will test drive the plugin. The others are indeed essential and while there are some that we use in common, there are those that are not. But hey, I think the general idea is the “use” of the plugins and seeing which ones works best :) I like this one Sire, SpeedLink Bound…
    DiTesco recently posted…Making Money With AdSense Here Is A Friendly WarningMy Profile

  23. Hi Sire, I’m a first time visitor of your blog. I was just searching some more uncommon plugins to install in my blog. Though it’s not that old but I am using the all-in-one seo plugin and recommend customers to use it as well. But will definitely experiment with the platinum plugin. And, I am feeling good to see you also recommend quickcahe and seo smark links which we also implement on our customers’ sites or blogs.

    Regards,

    Ronit

    1. He Ronit,

      good to see I’m keeping up with the times, as far as plugins are concerned that it. :wink_ee:

  24. I love the plug-ins available for wordpress.

    One I use every day os the nofollow/dofollow plug-in.

    I also like the theme you’re using and may experiment with it. I currently use Socrates on one of my blogs.

    1. Which blog would that be Carl?

  25. Re- wordpress plugins, I do seem to have a problem with posting comments on a lot of wordpress blogs (not this one though). Basically, they don’t appear. I used to get a confirmation message to say comment had been received or awaits moderation, but not now. I’ve been monitoring the situation and the problem does seem to be unique to blogs that use wordpress and wordpress plugins. Some of the more recent anti-spam plugins for wordpress don’t appear to alert the commentator or the blog owner whether a comment has been caught as spam; the comment is just ejected. So I can’t tell if my comments are being labelled as spam for whatever reason and remain clueless as to what’s going on. It’s not attracting me to wordpress at the moment and I think I’d choose a different platform as a blog owner. Any suggestions? Is there a new version of wordpress out there that’s causing problems? (Seems to be a 2011 problem, last year was fine.)

    1. Usually if the comment is caught by a spam filter such as Akismet you will not get notification. Neither does the blogger. The only way it will be caught is if the blogger physically checks the spam comments and retrieves it before deleting them all.

      If you feel you’ve left a genuine comment and it didn’t appear you should contact the blogger and let them know of the situation.

  26. Nice list Sire, I use a few of them and few of them are completely new to me. For caching I use Total cache, never tried Quick Cache. I will certainly be trying out the new ones, thanks for the list

  27. The list is great, but I’d like to add 2 more that I feel are essential:
    ReplyMe – creates a more efficient commenting system
    WPTouch – converts your WordPress for iPhone and other smartphone users.
    Klim recently posted…Top WordPress PluginsMy Profile

  28. I use the seo smartlinks and another one called Google xml sitemaps with a lot of success. I don’t necessarily bog down my blog with a lot of plug ins but there are a few here I am going to look into.

  29. Well I think people would suggest to use least number of plugins as it will keep less scripts on your blog but yes thanks mandatory one’s will always be in…

    1. I don’t think all plugins chew up your resources and for those that do you have to weigh up as to whether or not the benefits from the plugin outweighs the resource cost.

  30. I too have only used All in one SEO – which has helped my sites get to #1 on google. I need to look at some of your other plugin suggestions to see if they might help.
    Thanks…

  31. Excellent list of plugins. As far as cache I prefer the W3 cache plugin. It does an outstanding job. Of course anything related to SEO is always good in my book!
    Bill Gassett recently posted…Google This Street AddressMy Profile

    1. Glad you like them Bill

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