WordPress is awesome, let’s all agree on that, but sometimes it lacks the functionality you need to make your awesome website SUPER Awesome, This is where plugins come in! I’ve compiled a top 10 list of WordPress plugins that I use on a daily basis and help my website look better and work better!
1. All in One SEO Pack
In my opinion the best SEO plugin you can get for WordPress, it will let you edit the title, description and keyword meta tags on each post, let you format the URL’s with basic rules( site title | post title). It does what it’s supposed to without fluffing it out, simply installing it will not skyrocket your rankings, but it will certainly push you a few positions up the search engines.
Adds a nice looking author box at the end of every post you make, you can customize the colors to match your theme and it polls the name, avatar and bio from your currently logged in user. So if you had more than one person writing for your website each person would have their own author box, there is also an option to change the “About Author” text to display anything like “About Writer” or whatever you might choose, you can also add social media buttons to link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and various others. Here is a little screenshot of what the author box looks like on another website of mine. It will also add your publisher profile to the search entries, which will display your Google Plus profile picture and name in the search results, this will increase the chance of someone clicking on your link as well as make it easier for people to find all of your content. Highly recommended plugin!
3. Affiliate Link Cloaking
Cloaking your affiliate links gives you the ability to track clicks and see how well a certain link “performs”, it also makes your links memorable if you want to promote them in a video, for example if i created a Photoshop tutorial and I had an affiliate link to Photoshop on my website, instead of saying www.adobe.com/product?id=23452345&?affiliate=verylongtext (obviously not a real link), I could instead say go to mywebsite.com/photoshop. You can fully customize the link that you want to replace your affiliate link with, so i could put mywebsite.com/get/product or mywebsite.com/get/this/awesome/product. The plugin will let you add your affiliate links under the main editing area in WordPress or in the “Link Cloaking” settings in the sidebar, and lets you see how many clicks they have gotten today or this month, as well as all time. It will auto-replace your regular links with your cloaked link if you enable that feature, very handy if you don’t want to go through your 2000 word review and replace it manually. It’s simple, fast and it works well.
4. Author hReview
This plugin is unfortunately not free if you want to use a picture and customize it more than the free version allows you to do. Other than that, this plugin adds a nice review style box into your post which gives you rich snippets ratings, a review summary and a button where you can place your affiliate link. It looks great and can be customized to fit your theme, in the screenshot to the right I added it to my software review website with a nice lime-green theme and it fits in very nicely. The pro version gives you another “version” of the plugin that lets you turn your site into a full review site, although I prefer using the default style. You can download the lite version here.
5. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
The All in One Rich Snippets will add the Rich Snippets code into your blog posts, this will give Google some more information about your post, if you were doing a review of a product or service you could configure the plugin to handle ratings, description and price of the product. This will give you a rating in the Google search results and according to This post, Rich Snippets can increase your CTR by as much as 30%, If you are not already using this in your blog you are missing out! This is what the ratings rich snippet looks like:
6. NK Google Analytics
This plugin will simply add support for Google Analytics, you just enter your Analytics ID(UA-somethingxyz) and the plugin takes care of the rest for you. Easy, simple and fast.
7. Really Simple Popup
This will make every image in your post a clickable pop-up image which will display the picture in a light-box, this makes it very easy to add light-box support to a theme that doesn’t support it by default. It also makes your blog more user-friendly since the user doesn’t have o go to a new page to see the full image, it’s very fast and easy to set up, you just install it and you’re done! It looks like this:
8. Google sitemap plugin
This plugin will generate XML Sitemaps to use in the Google Webmaster Tool, you get a few options including which pages you want to add to the sitemap(Pages, Posts and Feedback), and it can even add your sitemap to Webmaster Tools automatically by logging in to your Google account right in the plugin. It works great, fast and is easy to install!
9. Dashboard Notepad
It will give you a notepad in your WordPress Dashboard, If you don’t know why you would want that, you probably don’t need it 😛 I find it very useful for writing down ideas and topics for new posts, It replaces the need for sticky notes. Believe me, you will love it!
10. Auto Excerpt everywhere
This plugin will force excerpts on themes that do not support this functionality by default. You will find that a lot of free themes don’t have the excerpt feature and will display all the content in full, this is not very good if the reader wants to quickly look through the first page of your blog to see if there is any posts they would like to read and minimizes scrolling that will annoy your reader.