7 WordPress Plugins You Ought to Know About

wordpress plugin

Do you know how many WordPress plugins are out there? Currently, there are 11,247 plugins, which means there is no way you know which ones you should be using.

Heck, I don’t even know all the plugins I should be using. But I do know the plugins that will help boost your traffic. Here are the 7 WordPress plugins that are worth checking out:

Plugin #1: Sharebar

The easiest way to get more traffic to your website is through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. One way you can leverage these sites is to ask your friends for votes. A better way, however, is to place social media buttons on your website.

The cool thing about the Sharebar is that it places social media buttons on the left side of your blog post. And as your readers scroll down, the social media buttons move down along with the text, maintaining their visibility.

When using the Sharebar plugin, make sure you pick only a few social media buttons to place on your website. If you place more than five, your readers will feel overwhelmed.

On my blog, I only place Facebook and Twitter buttons as they are the most popular social sites. Facebook is the second most popular site on the web, and Twitter is the eleventh.

Click here to download the Sharebar plugin

Plugin #2: Google XML Sitemaps

You write blog posts so that people can find them, right? Why not help search engines index your blog posts so that they can feed your website to their visitors?

Chances are you either don’t have an XML sitemap, and, if you do, you’re manually creating one.

This plugin helps generate a special XML sitemap, which will allow search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask to index your blog better.

The reason you want to use this plugin is that it automatically updates every time you write a new blog post. If you end up creating the XML sitemap manually, you’ll have to recreate it each time you write a new post.

Click here to download the Google XML Sitemaps plugin

Plugin #3: Popularity Contest

A good way to grow your traffic is to get new visitors to your blog. But what you’ll learn quickly is that most of these visitors will never come back.

You only have a few seconds to convince a visitor that your blog is worth reading. One way I do this is through the popularity contest plugin. It will allow you to show off the blog posts your readers love the most and your favorite blog posts.

On Quick Sprout, the most popular area is “the most popular post” area. It has been effective for me and other popular bloggers like Tim Ferris and Ramit Sethi.

Click here to download the Popularity Contest plugin

Plugin #4: Top Commentators

Through the Top Commentators plugin, I was able to increase my repeat visitor count by over 6%. Although that may not sound significant, every little bit adds up.

This plugin encourages your readers to come back to your blog and comment on it. If they come back and comment enough, they’ll be placed on a leader board, which will drive visitors to their websites.

When installing this plugin, limit the leader board to five spots because it will encourage competition. If you create a ten-spot leader board, it will be easier for people to get on the board. As a result, they won’t come back as often and comment. I also recommend resetting it once a week so that new visitors have a chance of getting on the top five commentators list.

Click here to download the Top Commentators plugin

Plugin #5: All in One SEO Pack

Title tags and meta descriptions are something you take for granted, but you shouldn’t. Small tweaks to your title tag and meta description can drastically increase your traffic.

For example, I was able to double TechCrunch’s search traffic in 30 days by only tweaking its title tag and meta description.

Neil has advised TechCrunch for more than two years and been an important part of the growth of the TechCrunch Network by helping us implement SEO best practices. Search engines have grown to be responsible for 1/3 of all TechCrunch traffic, so Neil’s ongoing support is critical to our business.

– Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch

This plugin allows you to modify your title tags and meta descriptions with ease. And although this may not sound that useful, it really is. I modified the title tag on my “4 ways you can become rich” blog post to “how to become rich”, which resulted in an extra 100 visitors a day through Google.

When using this plugin, be careful because you don’t want to write title tags and meta descriptions just for search engines. You can do this by creating title tags that don’t just contain spammy keywords, but that are also relevant to your blog posts.

Click here to download the All in One SEO Pack plugin

Plugin #6: Subscribe to comments

Why do you have comments on your blog? It’s because you want to create a conversation with your readers, right?

When your readers leave a comment, you should reply back to them because no one likes talking to themselves. But even if you do this, your readers may not know that you are replying back to them.

The way I solve this is through the Subscribe to Comments plugin. Every time I respond to commentators, they receive automated emails notifying them of my replies to their comments. This encourages them to come back to Quick Sprout and comment again, which helps increase traffic.

The plugin works by giving your readers an option every time they comment. The option is a small check box that says “subscribe to comments by email.” I personally use an older version of the plugin (2.1) instead of the newer one because the older one allows me to leave the check box ticked as a default.

Click here to download the Subscribe to Comments plugin (2.1)

Plugin #7: AWeber Integration

Your RSS subscriber count represents the number of readers you have. The problem with it is that not everyone uses an RSS reader.

Even though you may consider me as a sophisticated web user, I don’t use RSS, and I never have. But what I do use is email.

The cool thing about the AWeber Integration plugin is that it allows your visitors to subscribe to your blog by email instead of an RSS reader. And when they do, those subscribers get automatically pulled into your Feedburner account so that you can have an accurate subscriber count.

With this plugin, you can encourage visitors to become subscribers by offering them extra content for free. One idea could be to offer email subscribers a free eBook.

Click here to download the AWeber Integration plugin

Conclusion

Don’t clutter your blog with hundreds of plugins because it will only hurt your readers’ experience. People visit your blog because they want to read your content. Having too many plugins may be distracting to your readers.

I personally only use a handful of plugins, and most of them help increase traffic. So, if you are thinking about installing a plugin, first think about what value it will provide to you and, more importantly, to your readers.

Do you know of any other plugins that can help increase traffic?

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Comments

  1. Hi Neil, longtime fan.

    Good list. How do you feel about WP Greet Box or those types? They seem potentially effective in getting more visitors to become subscribers, although they can also be overdone/annoying.

  2. Thanks, Neil. I was wondering what Sharebar was called and now I know!

  3. Nice post Neil, Can you discuss the plugins for Joomla CMS?

  4. I have been seeing share bar pop up everywhere, I was wondering what plugin it was. I’m not sure if it would be a good fit with my site, I used sociable but keep it lite (only 4 buttons).

    What is the difference between Aweber integration and blog broadcast (Awebers reporting service)?

  5. It’s an honor to have one of my favorite bloggers use my WordPress plugin. (Sharebar) Thanks for the mention, I appreciate it!

  6. Great post– Love Sharebar. I’ve also been looking at Tweet Old Posts a little recently– as I hate to see good content die just because it’s “old”– but don’t know if others have good/bad experiences with the functionality or response from readers. Anyone?

  7. Hey Neil! It’s outside the scope of this article, but I was wondering… When you updated TechCrunch’s title tags and meta data, did their search traffic drop as Google re-indexed their pages? Or did it immediately start to rise?

    As always, I really appreciate your advice. Going to look into the Aweber integration plugin.

  8. Hi Neil, can you share more details on how to tweak All in One SEO, like with what you did on TechCrunch? Cheers, and keep up the amazing blog.

  9. I wondered how mashable did that. Cool. Thanks for linking to sharebar.

  10. About to try out that aweber service.

    There are a lot of things I still do not understand but thanks for the best plugins.

  11. I started using MailChimp instead of AWeber to create list from my site traffic. They have some javascript you can add to your site for forms. Hopefully their free version is enough for me for the time being.

  12. I had been meaning to install the subscribe to comment one for a while now. I just did.
    Thanks Neil

  13. Wow, I find Sharebar really annoying.

  14. Nice list of plugins. I too wonder what plugins are best for a specific job. Right now, I’m wondering which plugin is best for wp backups.
    I already use most of the ones listed here and plan to use the ones I don’t use.
    But I can see how sharebar can be annoying.

  15. Hi Neil, thanks for the info – i have some of these already, but its good to know about the others.

  16. Very perfect list from SEO point. I still need to try the AWeber one. Well thanks for such good list.

  17. nice post Neil, can u help me with joomla and drupal plugins/modules. or if possible, can you provide link for some best modules/plugins for drupal and joomla

  18. Thanks for the list. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to put these things together.

    I have integrated a fair few of them.

  19. Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing :

    Listen up! All in One SEO is old school. You need the Platinum SEO plugin.

    Platinum IS AIO and MORE.

    Short version: the creator of Platinum LOVED the All in One SEO plugin, but wanted more features. You can even import from AIO so you don’t have to redo any settings. :)

  20. Neil,

    I don’t think that “top commentators” plugin should be on anyones WordPress plugins list… unless its a list of harmful plugins.

    Right now, purely because of that plugin, you’ve got two spam links on your homepage, one to “web design LA” and one to “instanbul tours”. If it all goes wrong, you could end up with your own website punished for linking to a bad neighbourhood, purely because of this plugin.

    I would never recommend installing a plugin like this to anyone at all. Worst case is potential penalties, best case is actively encouraging spammers to wreck the flow of conversation at every opportunity.

    If someone insisted on using it, I would say they should be enforcing comment rules a bit more – that field says “name”, not “spam your anchor texts here” :D

    If you want to reward people for adding content how about this – (disclaimer: this is my own site/plugin) – http://www.searchengineoptimisation.org/contributors-plugin/

    This way you’re giving links to guest contributors, rather than comment spammers… I guess you don’t have trouble attracting guest posters but for smaller blogs, being able to offer someone a homepage link along with their guest post can be the difference of whether they take you up on it or not.

    • I might sound stupid but this is my opinion. If you do think that “web design LA” is a bad spammer and commenter so why not delete the comment off? Are you that thick to allow a stupid commenter to top the commentator list or are you just doing that to counter back a link for us to read your post?

      By the way, no hard feelings.

    • I think as long as you moderate the comments and delete the junk ones you are fine. Yes it does take time to do so, but it also helps increase comments.

  21. I still like to create xml sitemap by free toll rather than through plugin and All SEO Package plugin is one of my favorite plugin, please share something more interesting that helps us.

  22. This is a great list. A few I use all the time but a couple I think I’ll give a try (popularity contest and top commenters). We are always looking for ways to get more repeat traffic to our blog and those might be the ticket.

  23. Those are good plugins. I am not a fan of the way sharebar looks. There is a new one that has buttons on the right side of the page, i have been trying to figure out which one it is but like you said there are so many out there.

  24. Decent list. WP DB Backup http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/ is a must have too.

    If you plan on using SEO All-In-One do not allow automatic generation of meta descriptions.

    Just my .02

  25. Great list! If you want to get even more out of an SEO plugin and you don’t want to pay for it, I would suggest the HeadSpace2 plugin. Many more features than AIOSEO.

  26. great plugins, good information and interesting, thanks for sharing, and i will try

  27. Double thumbs up Neil! I was always curious about the Sharebar plugin but now I know.

  28. I use the majority of them, but you’ve brought a couple to my attention. Installing the top commentator one currently!

  29. Thanks for the post I love the new itunes and the nano gonna get it once it hits stores

  30. Chris Moline LEED AP :

    Life-saving comments. Thanks to Tim Ferriss for pointing me your way! Great blog ya got here.

  31. A couple other good WP plugins for functionality are
    Broken Link Checker and WP Optimize. Both of these have helped my site immensely.

  32. Am pretty new to all of these.
    Thanks for the help! :)

  33. Thank you for this valuable post. I’m becoming more serious about blogging, and am now using the Get Social app for my WordPress.com blog. I understand that “plug ins” are for Private/Wordpress.org users – and I’m not that serious/ able yet.
    Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on tools for WordPress.com users? Maybe even a redirect to another post? Thanks

  34. Another plugin I’d recommend is Qoate Newsletter Signup. It adds a checkbox to your comment section (like Subscribe to Comments does), allowing commenters to sign up for your newsletter when they leave a comment without having to fill out any additional forms.

  35. Popularity contest doesn’t appear to have been updated in a while, and doesn’t show support for WP 3+. I get “Plugin could not be activated because it triggered a fatal error.” when trying to activate in in WP 3.0.1. Anyone else seeing this? Would be great to have it updated.

  36. Tevya. The plugin is ok, and work well even we get the comment “Plugin could not be activated because it triggered a fatal error.”

  37. This is a great post, lots of very useful advice. I was wondering though, how do you find a wealth of plugins affecting site performance? A number of wordpress developers I’ve spoken too like to keep plugins to a minimum because at time they can affect load times. Obviously a lot of the plugins you mention here are extremely important, but does this ever figure into your strategy?

    • You definitely don’t want too many plugins as too many will just make everything much confusing as well as possibly hurting the performance of the site in general. use what you need.

  38. Neil,
    thanks for the list. I’m always looking for WP plugins that are useful. I have a few that I use for social bookmarking, but really like Sharebar because of it’s persistance! I’ll have to see how well it integrates with the themes I use.

    I would add an automated database backup plugin to the list – I use WP-DBManager which allows me to automate the process and get the whole thing in an email.

    Thanks
    Dan

  39. Great list Neil. All the plugins are awesome. This is a really excellent read for me. Must admit that you are one of the best blogger I ever saw. Thanks for posting this useful article.

  40. How To Increase Sales :

    Thanks for sharing the plug-ins, I didn’t know about the
    Plugin #7: AWeber Integration –

    Thanks for sharing :)

  41. I’ll add these plug-ins this afternoon, thanks Neil :)

  42. Thanks for sharing the plug-ins, I like the one on
    Plugin #7: AWeber Integration –

  43. I like Popularity Contest and the Aweber Integration. All – in – One SEO seems to still be a favorite though I don’t need it because I am clocking Thesis 1.8

  44. Excellent list. I have been trying to figure out the plugin used by Tim Ferris to display the most popular posts. This appears to be from your excellent article “Popularity Contest” which displays Current Hits, All Time & your favourites or so I thought.

    I installed Popularity Contest but the Widget for the sidebar only adds a list with %. Not a tabbed cutomisable box like yours and Tims. Is this an extra plugin, reading the information on Popularity Content doesn’t mention anything like this?

    Please help, thanks.

  45. Neil teach me to be as polite and patient as you with readers and commenters–whats your secret?

  46. Thanks Neil for such awesome post. I’m learning these days on working with wordpress. I like your post really helpful for me..
    You are really a great blogger.

  47. career guidance :

    I dont use all in one SEO these days, I have also heard that it is harming the PR of sites.

  48. Great list of plugins. I am definitely using all of those. They sure are helpful plugins.

  49. I am using Akismet for about 2 months. This is good but I am not satisfied. What next should I choose?

  50. i am agree with liposuction, Akismet is not good plugin
    as per my experience, because after this plugin i have lose
    my user visibility on website..

    anyway thanks for sharing the information Neal

    Cheers

  51. One of the best blog post I read in recent past. This post have great content. I can stand up and say superb! There is sufficient reason why you got more than 7K visitors to your article.

  52. Great plugins are. Very good article. It always come down to good content that people are interested in. Thank you for the guidelines.

  53. Online Air Ticket Booking :

    Thanks for reminding me about these plugins but these are basic plugins for a wordpress blogger.

  54. Your idea is really appreciable. Actually building out a free ebook now on article marketing that will hopefully do the trick. Keep on like that..

  55. These are really must-have WordPress plugins. I love all of them and have tried them all except the Aweber thingy. :)

  56. i have been using platinum seo instead of AIO seo plugin , because it offers more features + indexing option of reach pafe.

    This plugin can also migrate ur settings from all in one seo …

    btw , why dont you add the video sitemaps plugin introduced by mt amit of Labnol …..

  57. Thanks for all the awesome tips. I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

  58. Has anyone else had an issue with Google Xml Sitemaps breaking their image captions in WordPress?

  59. ^^^ I seem to have an issue with All-in-one SEO and Google XML site map not playing well together – thus the caption issue.

    Do you run both plugins Neil?

  60. Nice list Neil.. actually it will quite help people to model their blogs on yours..I think its very clean and user friendly.. how wd you feel abt it? :)

  61. A Google Website Optimizer plugin(s) needs to be on the list.
    So should a caching plugin.
    And a Minifying plugin.
    A Video plugin is a must as well, for beginners it is essential. If one is advanced one can order a custom one or build up one´s own.

    People do not need a sharebar or a popularity contest. They need well illustrated content with as little design and social networking features as possbile and fast. Neil, with all due respect, You are living in 2006 in the confines of this list.

    • Plugins like the Google Website Optimizer aren’t the best for blogs. A/B testing blogs isn’t something that most people can easily do.

      There definitely are good plugins that I missed, but I think the ones I mentioned can help people get more traffic.

  62. A Google Website Optimizer plugin(s) needs to be on the list.
    So should a caching plugin.

  63. It is always good to share the innovative ideas with others on our demand.That is the main way for the people to know about the useful types of techniques to equip it. It will really gives the crucial moments for others to know about it. It is a useful passion for the people to select the beneficial categories of the stories on the requirements of using it…

  64. Isn’t a WordPress.org account required in order to use plugins like this? That’s my understanding. I really need to set one of those up…

  65. Great article. Very well-written. I am always interested in learning something new with wordpress. Seems like you have the depth knowledge of it.

  66. These are great. I’d love to see some follow up articles on other CMS system solutions too. For example, Joomla! is a great CMS and I think it would be helpful to have a short list of extensions to know about for it as well. (Personal favorite)

    • Well if it works for you that’s great, but most of the developers are going to continue to make things for wordpress as there are just many more people using it.

  67. Popularity Contest and Google XML Sitemaps are my old time favorite plugins, I don’t install a WordPress without those two. Now All in One SEO Pack is the same for me… is everywhere.

  68. Juan | Acne No More Info :

    WP Super Cache is worth it too.

    ~~Juan~~

  69. Buy Facebook Fans :

    The top commentators plugin I have installed on a few of my blogs (and of course sitemap and all in one seo), but never tried the popularity contest or even heard of it. I’ve found with my main blog the top commentators and recent comments plugins bumped my repeat readers to nearly 8% which is impressive in my opinion.

  70. So Neil,

    I keep reading meta tags are dead. So you are saying they are def alive?

  71. Software Reviews :

    Sharebar is a very good plugin which actually does make it look stylish as well. If there is one plugin that I would add to that list then it would be a related post plugin!

  72. I have used all in one and xml sitemaps for years now! The aweber plugin is ok for me, I find its better if I get them to susbcribe via aweber first then send them to a “secret registration” page so at least I get them in my list. Know what I mean?

  73. Pretty helpful.I think WP has the most users than any other CMS services, so these plug-ins/widgets are important to keep your blog HEALTHY & revisited.

    One question to Neil : Thanks for your top commenter List. How many days have you set your widget to reset again ?
    Sorry if I asked you a confidential question, I am just curious and want to be regular here.

  74. Ouch you have given the download link to the older version of the plugin which i thought would be hard to find, hence never updated the plugin to ensure the commentators are auto notified.

  75. The Aweber plugin is great. RSS is kinda old school and not many people use it anymore.

  76. I will definitely use sharebar plugin, on your blog the sharebar looks so decent useful list of plugins.

    I have started to use WordPress SEO plugin Good Bye All in one SEO and Google XML Sitemap Plugins

  77. W3 Total Cache is the Best Plug in, because every time user visits the site, it comes from database. Query from database is not problem for small sites.

    When comparing to large sites, static HTML is the best to save server issues.

    This Plug in made my site load faster before then. Because, this is showing simple HTML file, when the visitors load the page. So, normally all the plug ins don’t load, instead they will be appear in static HTML page.

  78. Really, you provide us great information about word-press plugin becuse i don’t know how to use it. I know just one thing that is word-press is SEO friendly tool. Thanks for sharing this information.

  79. I have downloaded ” AWeber Integration” plugin to few of my blogs because I have not aware of it before. Is there any other plugins more than this?

  80. Almost every plug in is very useful , All in One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps are very necessary plug ins for any site. But XML siteamap should be update automatic . And for every seo task All in SEO pack is very useful plug in.

  81. i m running a free domain blog, but is that any possibility to get free seo wordpress plugins ,

  82. I actually have all of these installed already, very effective plugins.

  83. I am using 2nd and 5th currently and would like to check others as well.

  84. I use the Top Commentators and the All in One SEO Pack plugins. Gotta check the others, too. Thanks, Neil!

  85. Great Plugins you mentioned Neil.

    Its vitaly important to make sure you get your users attention and have some form of capturing tool to reel them back in.

    Thanks for the list.

  86. I’ve spent the past few days going through all of the QS posts (I’m on page 18 now!) and I wasn’t going to comment until I saw the comment leaderboard so that’s definitely somthing that works, clearly.

    I use the Yoast SEO plug-in, which comes recommended from a lot of great bloggers so there’s an alternative to the All In One package plugin if anyone wants it.
    I use the ‘Call to Action’ plug-in too. It costs money but its worth it. It basically integrates a highlighted box at the bottom of each post, telling readers to do something, hence the plug-in’s name. It lets you pick from a range of colours and it doesn’t have a fixed size, so it just changes to fit your blog. It increased my conversions by over 100% so yeah, it’s a must-have in my opinion!

    • Awesome!

      Thank you for your support. I appreciate you taking the time to go through and read Quick Sprout. Thanks for your recommendation, I will be sure to check it out.

  87. you’re right, there are just sooooo many plug-ins, and so many versions of the same thing that you never really know which will be best.

    but anyway, i just downloaded the sharebar!! thanks neil!

  88. Just a heads-up that Popularity Contest is no longer being supported and does not work with the latest version of WP. Unless you know something I don’t know about getting the plug-in to work (If so, please share, cuz I’d really like to use it) – I’d take your advice about “Fresh Content” and update this post to address the Popularity Contest issue.

  89. Hey this is awesome I used a couple of these on my site. I especially like the sharebar but unfortunately about half of it is being cropped off for some reason.

  90. hey neil,
    yeah you are right,selection of plugins should be wise.and “Plugin #6: Subscribe to comments “, really sounds effective.
    Thanks.
    Matt

  91. You can customize both of them and both can be SEO friendly.

  92. Neil,
    I know I must seem pretty foolish but I have downloaded these, I have wordpress, but in my admin screen I see no way to turn these on or upload them. Do you have a simple walk through for this?

  93. So apparently I am being hosted by wordpress…I thought I read on here or at Tim Ferriss’s site that that was the way to go. I cannot add plugin’s but could use some help either adding them while being hosted by wordpress or finding another host. If anyone has a tip to get this done simply I’d be greatly appreciate.

    Thanks!

  94. Thanks for finally writing about >7 WordPress Plugins You Ought to Know About <Liked it!

  95. Very nice post. These plugins are really amazing.

  96. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking
    at options for another platform. I wwould be great iff you could point me in the directtion of a good platform.

  97. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would really benefit
    from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me
    know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

  98. good post…very helpful…thanks neil…

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