I LOVE WordPress. It’s powerful enough to run the worlds largest websites, it’s incredibly easy to use, and it provides functionality that in the past would have been cost prohibitive for small businesses. However, it can’t do everything on its own—that’s where plugins come in. At the time of this writing, there are 24,708 plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory, allowing you to add almost any functionality you could ever imagine.
I’ve been using WordPress for about eight years, and throughout that time, I’ve realized there are a handful of plugins I rely on for nearly every project.
This is really a plugin on steroids, offering over two-dozen modules, ranging from email subscription/notification, spell, style, and grammar checking, statistics tracking, automatically post content on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, Open Graph integration, URL shortener, and much more. JetPack was developed and is regularly updated by Automattic, a leader and major contributor to the WordPress community, so you know it’s reliable.
Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox
If you don’t have a Facebook page associated with your website, you need to get one because it’s another channel to promote your website content as well as sharing useful info that might not be the right fit to publish on your own website. I first used this on one of my personal websites and found that it helped drive a steady increase in traffic to my site while consistently adding new fans to my Facebook page. Today, that particular page gets about 100 new fans per day. Think about the power that brings when you can publish a post, followed by sharing it with tens of thousands of fans on your Facebook page. (Who in turn share with their friends.)
Internal Link Building
This is a great tool for reducing bounce rate and keeping visitors on your site longer, directing them to your most important content, and helping the search engines find content they wouldn’t otherwise find. I also use it for affiliate linking; for example, a particular keyword will automatically link to the appropriate vendor, like Go Daddy. The beauty of this is the links are dynamically generated so if you ever need to change them, you can do it from one screen.
Contact Form 7
Every website needs a way for visitors to contact you. and Contact Form 7 gives you the tools to create your own highly customized contact forms that can be implemented anywhere on your WordPress website.
Search and Replace
It’s not glamorous or sexy, but neither is going through a website post by post to change the same thing. Just last night I had to change an affiliate ID throughout an entire website. With a few keystrokes, every single post was updated in a matter of seconds and I could go back to spending time with my son.
How about you? What plugins can you simply not live without?