14 of the Highest Rated, Most Powerful WordPress Plugins in Existence

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One of the first things I’m usually asked when people ask me about WordPress blogging regard the types of plugins I use. In response, I’ve gathered a short list of the very best plugins that have given me the best results over time. It is my hope that you’ll find some benefit in them too.

All of the following plugins are supported by the WordPress community and can be downloaded through eh WordPress Plugin Directory. All of them have been highly rated and tested, and should not give you any trouble upon install (provided you follow the instructions given by the plugin developers). Simply click on the plugin title to go to the download page.

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Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will create a Google sitemaps compliant XML-Sitemap of your WordPress blog. It supports all of the WordPress generated pages as well as custom ones. Everytime you edit or create a post, your sitemap is updated and all major search engines that support the sitemap protocol, like ASK.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO, are notified about the update.

Google XML Sitemaps Homepage.

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Dagon Design Sitemap Generator

Author: Dagon Design

A very useful plugin. Unlike the Google Sitemaps plugin, It creates a sitemap for your site that is readable by humans. This is not an XML sitemap plugin, but rather a true sitemap generator which is highly customizable one with its own options page in the WordPress admin panel.

Some features include: support for multi-level categories and pages, category/page exclusion, multiple-page generation with navigation, permalink support, choose what to display, what order to list items in, show comment counts and/or post dates, and much more.

I use this on my blog. It works with WordPress 2.7 but requires WordPress Version: 2.1 or higher. You can see the Dagon Design Sitemap Generator on my blog here.

For more information, including installation and usage instructions, please visit the page for this plugin: http://www.dagondesign.com/articles/sitemap-generator-plugin-for-wordpress/

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podPress

Interested in podcasting? podPress is extremely easy to use and super-powerful. It has tons of features designed to make WordPress the ideal platform for hosting a podcast.

* Full featured and automatic feed generation (RSS2, iTunes and ATOM and BitTorrent RSS)
* Preview of what your Podcast will look like on iTunes
* Podcast Download stats, with cool graphs. See below.
* Support for Premium Content (Pay Only)
* Makes adding a Podcast to a Post very simple
* View MP3 Files ID3 tags when your Posting
* Control over where the player will display within your post and what it will look like.
* Support for various formats, including Video Podcasting
* Supports unlimited number of media files.
* Automatic Media player for MP3, RM, OGG, MP4, MOV, QT, FLV, ASF, WMV, AVI, and more, with inline and Popup Window support.
* Preview image for videos
* Support for seperate Category podcasts
* Audio Comments

For the latest information visit the website: http://www.mightyseek.com/podpress.

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Redirection

Note: This Plugin is for WordPress 2.7 only!

Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.

This is a super-powerful plugin that is especially useful if you don’t want to mess with .hta access files. Saves a lot of trouble and headache.

Existing features include:

* Automatically add a 301 redirection when a post’s URL changes
* Manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirections for a WordPress post, or for any other file
* Full regular expression support
* Apache .htaccess is not required – works entirely inside WordPress
* Strip or add www to all your WordPress pages
* Redirect index.php, index.html, and index.htm access
* Redirection statistics telling you how many times a redirection has occurred, when it last happened, who tried to do it, and where they found your URL
* Fully localized

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WP Super Cache

This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.

However, because a user’s details are displayed in the comment form after they leave a comment, the plugin will only serve static html files to:

1. Users who are not logged in.
2. Users who have not left a comment on your blog.
3. Or users who have not viewed a password protected post.

The good news is that probably more than 99% of your visitors don’t do any of the above! Those users who don’t see the static files will still benefit because they will see regular WP-Cache cached files and your server won’t be as busy as before. This plugin should help your server cope with a front page appearance on digg.com or other social networking site.

See the WP Super Cache homepage for further information.

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Google Analytics for WordPress

Confused on how to get Google Analytics to work with your WordPress blog? The Google Analytics for WordPress will solve your problems.

This plugin by Joost de Valk automatically tracks and segments all outbound links from within posts, comment author links, links within comments, blogroll links and downloads. It also allows you to track AdSense clicks, add extra search engines, track image search queries and it will even work together with Urchin.

In the options panel for the plugin, you can determine the prefixes to use for the different kinds of outbound links and downloads it tracks.

Google Analytics for WordPress homepage.

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All in One SEO Pack

Optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization).

Some features:

* Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
* Generates META tags automatically
* Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
* For WordPress 2.3 you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
* You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
* You can fine-tune everything
* Backward-Compatibility with many other plugins, like Auto Meta, Ultimate Tag Warrior and others.

Download All in One SEO Pack.

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WordPress Automatic Upgrade

WordPress Automatic Upgrade allows a user to automatically upgrade the wordpress installation to the latest one provided by wordpress.org using the 5 steps provided in the wordpress upgrade instructions.

WordPress automatic upgrade upgrades your wordpress installation by doing the following steps.

1. Backs up the files and makes available a link to download it.
2. Backs up the database and makes available a link to download it.
3. Downloads the latest files from http://wordpress.org/latest.zip and unzips it.
4. Puts the site in maintenance mode.
5. De-activates all active plugins and remembers it.
6. Upgrades wordpress files.
7. Gives you a link that will open in a new window to upgrade installation.
8. Re-activates the plugins.

The plugin can also can be run in a automated mode where in you do not have to click on any links to go to the next step.

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WP-Polls

Note: This plugin requires WordPress 2.7 or higher.

WP-Polls is extremely customizable via templates and css styles and there are tons of options for you to choose to ensure that WP-Polls runs the way you wanted. It now supports multiple selection of answers.

All the information (general, changelog, installation, upgrade, usage) you need about this plugin can be found here: Twitter Tools

This popular tool by Alex King creates a complete integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account. You can choose to automatically update Twitter when you make a new blog post, or integrate Twitter into your blog.

If you use this plugin, please change the default Twitter notification text from “New Blog Post” to something more creative. It’s a bit overused on Twitter and people tend to ignore it when they see “New Blog Post” all over the place on Twitter.

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Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site. Key features include:

1. Limiting by a threshold: Peter Bowyer did the great work of making the algorithm use MySQL’s fulltext search score to identify related posts. But it just displayed, for example, the top 5 most “relevant” entries, even if some of them weren’t at all relevant. Now you can set a threshold limit for relevance, and you get more related posts if there are more related posts and less if there are less. Ha!
2. Using tags and categories: New in 2.0! The new 2.0 algorithm uses tags and categories. The new options screen puts you in control of how these factors should be used.
3. Related posts in RSS feeds: New in 2.1! Display related posts in your RSS and Atom feeds with custom display options.
4. Disallowing certain tags or categories: New in 2.0! You can choose certain tags or categories as disallowed, meaning any page or post with such tags or categories will not be served up by the plugin.
5. Related posts and pages: New in 1.1! Puts you in control of pulling up related posts, pages, or both.
6. Simple installation: New in 1.5! Automatically displays related posts after content on single entry pages without any theme tinkering.
7. Miscellany: a nicer options screen (including a sample display of the code that is produced New in 2.0), displaying the fulltext match score on output for admins, an option to allow related posts from the future, a couple bug fixes, etc.

Download Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

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IntenseDebate Comments

IntenseDebate Comments enhance and encourage conversation on your blog or website. Full comment and account data sync between IntenseDebate and WordPress ensures that you will always have your comments. Custom integration with your WordPress admin panel makes moderation a piece of cake.

Comment threading, reply-by-email, user accounts and reputations, comment voting, along with Twitter and friendfeed integrations enrich your readers’ experience and make more of the internet aware of your blog and comments which drives traffic to you!

IntenseDebate Homepage.
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WP Greet Box

Author: Thaya Kareeson

This plugin lets you show a different greeting message to your new visitors depending on their referrer url. For example, when a Digg user clicks through from Digg, they will see a message reminding them to digg your post if they like it. Another example, when a visitor clicks through from Twitter, they will see a message suggesting them to twit the post and follow you on Twitter.

You can also set a default greeting message for new visitors (not matching any referrer URLs) suggesting them to subscribe to your RSS feed. Having these targeted suggestions will help your blog increase exposure, loyal readership, and reader interaction. Best of all, this plugin is compatible with WPMU and various WordPress cache plugins (so you do not have to sacrifice speed).

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Installing Plugins in WordPress 2.7

You can find additional plugins for your site by using the new Plugin Browser/Installer functionality.

Installing Plugins in WordPress 2.6 or Older

If you run WordPress 2.6 and older, you can find plugins by browsing the WordPress Plugin Directory directly and installing manually through your favorite FTP client.

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Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist who studies new media and the relationship between humans and computers. She enjoys data visualization (click for more info on conference tracking), search engine optimization (ask), and how marketing works in the online ecosystem.

You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic, or drop her an E-mail at caseorganic[at]gmai[dot]com. She’s spoken at various conferences including MIT’s Futures of Entertainment 3, Inverge: The Interactive Convergence Conferece, Ignite Portland, and Ignite Boulder.

16 thoughts on 14 of the Highest Rated, Most Powerful WordPress Plugins in Existence

  1. I am a bit hesitant to use WP Greet Box just yet — only because this blog currently services more of a local group of visitors rather than a global one.

    Once the blog evolves, I will use the WP Greet Box. Else, it may be annoying to view by my current audience.

  2. You also don’t use IntenseDebate. 😛

    But the rest of that list is excellent – the only ones I don’t have are the human-readable sitemap one (I don’t have complex structure…so that wouldn’t make sense) and the GreetBox (which I am currently installing).

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  4. Great list and good to see one that doesn’t only concentrate on marketing stuff. The backend is important and you’ve listed some great plugins.

    Cheers,

  5. Great compilation of word press plugins. These are very helful to manage the backend activities. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Amber, hi there. I just clicked over from the SEO Smackdown video. Good suggestions on the plugins. Use them all, except for the “greet” box which I may have to try.

  8. Great Article , I thought it was remarkable

    I look forward to more innovative postings like this one. Does your website have a newsletter I can subscribe to for anymore information from you?

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  10. Great blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused .. Any suggestions? Appreciate it!

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