My Favorite WordPress Plugins

posted by Andrea | 02/20/2012

One of my favorite things about using WordPress as my blogging platform is the ability to quickly and easily customize my site with the thousands of free plugins available.

In a matter of seconds I can search for a specific plugin, read about it, check the ratings, install it, activate it, etc. Then if I decide I don’t need it, want it, or like it anymore — it takes another 2 seconds to delete the plugin.

I do know some bloggers who have 40-60 different plugins installed… and while there are a lot of good plugins available these days, I would caution against that, simply because it will slow down your blog.

I usually have around 15 plugins activated at any given time, and I love them all… here’s why!

TIME SAVERS:

And The Winner Is — Since I run a Weekend Giveaway every Friday, I use this plugin to automatically pick the winner(s) every Monday. It saves me tons of time and assures that all the giveaways are done fairly :)

Article Templates — this plugin allows me to create templates for different blog posts. For example, I have a recipe template, a giveaway template, etc. So every time I post a recipe or giveaway, I just insert that template and fill in the new information. Yes, this saves lots of time!

Broken Link Checker — When I first installed this plugin, it found over 80 broken links — YIKES! I took an afternoon to fix them all… and now, any time I have a broken link, it alerts me on my WordPress dashboard and I can fix it ASAP.

This plugin saves me tons of time because I don’t have to constantly monitor and check all my links. It also give me peace of mind knowing that my links won’t bring readers to a dead-end page.

Lijit Search — This plugin creates the little search box at the top of my right side bar. I know this benefits readers who are trying to search for specific content on my site — but it also saves me a ton of time because I use it when I’m searching for a specific post, or need to remember what I wrote about something!

COMMENTS:

Akimet — This plugin protects my blog from lots of SPAM comments. It usually catches a few hundred SPAM comments each week — which means I don’t have to monitor my comments as closely.

Comment Reply Notification — I absolutely love this plugin — and I think many of my readers do to! Basically, this plugin allows me to respond to someone’s comment and makes my response visible to anyone who reads the blog… but it ALSO sends that person an email with my response.

So if someone asks me a question about a recipe or a DIY project, I can answer it “publicly” on the blog, but the person who asked the question will get an email with my reply. So convenient!

Facebook Comments for WordPress — This plugin actually connects my blog comments with reader’s Facebook walls. So any time someone leaves a comment via the Facebook comment box, it puts a link to my blog post directly on their Facebook wall — which then show up to their “friends” who can then click on over to my blog! Yay for more traffic!

I actually don’t have this plugin activated on my blog right now, simply because I was running into issues with my Weekend Giveaways. Too many people were leaving Facebook comments instead of WordPress comments, and then they wouldn’t be entered in the giveaway. But it’s still one of my favorite plugins!

Subscribe to Comments — This plugin is pretty self-explanatory… it simply allows readers to subscribe to the comments of any post on my blog. If they choose to “subscribe” they will then be notified of any additional comments on that same post.

So if it’s a topic you’re interested in learning more about, subscribe to the comment section and you’ll get a bunch more information from other readers!

WordPress Thread Comments — Since comments are the best way to communicate with others on my blog, I activated this plugin to allow readers to reply and respond to other comments on my blog. So instead of just leaving a comment way at the bottom of the comment list, you can respond to specific comment right below, just by clicking “reply”.

Also, if that person happened to subscribe to the comments, your “reply” will be emailed to them — which is really helpful when people leave questions and then other readers respond to their questions. It saves me a bunch of time and I love reading your advice!!

PROMOTION:

AdRotate — This plugin allows me to create ad blocks in my sidebar and fill them with different advertising campaigns. It also allows me to easily track statistics {like impressions and click-throughs} for the different advertisers. LOVE this one!

LinkWithin — This plugin puts thumbnail links to relative/related posts at the bottom of every single post I write. It helps to bring readers to other posts I’ve written in previous months, it increases my pageviews, and it increases the amount of time readers spend on my site — all of which are very good things! It also helps to provide readers with additional information about topics they are interested in.

Really Simple Share Buttons — I actually just installed this plugin last week… and am already a huge fan. I’ve been looking for a social media share button that includes Pinterest… and this is the one I liked the best. It’s really simple to set up and offers a good number of customizable options… so far, I’m loving it!

WordPress Popular Post — As the name suggests, this plugin automatically generates a list of the most popular posts on my blog {the ones with the most views}. It displays this list in my right sidebar… making those posts easily available to anyone who visits my site. It’s also nice for me to be able to see what posts my readers are reading and sharing.

So these are a handful of my most favorite WordPress plugins. There are hundreds of fabulous plugins out there… and I’m always searching for new ones, better one, etc.

What are your favorite plugins?

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5 comments

  1. Lisa

    02/20/2012

    Andrea-

    Thank you so much! Many of those plug ins are just what I was looking for!

    Thanks for sharing!

    :)
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  2. Truffles Magazine

    02/20/2012

    Andrea,

    Thanks for sharing the great tools you use to make blogging and SOL successful.

    I plan to start using some of these plug-ins myself and have spend time trying to research what plug ins are for what function. This is a great resource I too have found Askimet such a time savor.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    [Reply]

  3. Andrea

    02/20/2012

    I am very new to WordPress and have been using at my church to create an Intranet. I am impressed with myself for as far as I have gotten with it, but I am at a standstill as to how to do somethings. I am currently reading WordPress for Dummies and that has helped a lot. Do you recommed anything else that might help me to learn this program a little more?
    Thank you for sharing your post. I have wanted to ask if this was a WordPress blog!

    [Reply]

    Tanya Reply:

    Sorry, about the above name on the post! I was thinking I was sending it to you. My name is Tanya, not Andrea! :-(

    [Reply]

  4. Holly

    02/21/2012

    Great list! Thanks for the good info!

    [Reply]