There are currently more than 29,317 free WordPress plugins available in the WordPress repository at the time of writing this post; each plugin can enhance the functionality and performance of your site. And lets not forget the premium and custom plugins, which aren’t listed in the repository.
With so many resources available on must have / essential WordPress plugins (including our own), it can be hard to decide which ones to use. So we asked 40 blogging and social media experts about their 5 favorite WordPress plugins.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast – 11 votes (our guide)
2. Akismet – 9 votes
3. W3 Total Cache – 7 votes (our guide)
4. Gravity Forms – 7 votes
5. JetPack – 6 votes
6. Optin Monster – 5 votes (our review)
7. VaultPress – 4 votes
Here is a list of all the people that took part in the interview, you can either skip to your favorite expert by using these quick links or grab a coffee and read all the responses. I do hope you go through each one, as everyone has shared some great insights.
Ana Hoffman, Adam Connell, Adam Warner, Adrienne Smith, Alex Moss
Brad Knuston, Brian Honigman, Brian Gardner, Brandon Gaille
Dino Dogan, Daniel Pataki
Ian Cleary, Ileane Smith, Ivana Zuber
Jeff Starr, Jerry Low, Jeff Chandler, Jim Wang, John Turner, Joe Fylan, Jonathan Christopher, Jean Galea
Keith Davis, Kevin Muldoon, Kris Hoja, Kristi Hines
Matthew Barby, Neil Patel, Nile Flores
Paul Underwood, Rhys Wynne
Steven Gliebe, Sufyan Bin Uzayr, Syed Balkhi, Sarah Pressler
Thomas Ewer, Tom Mcfarlin, Tim Soulo
What are your top 5 WordPress Plugins?
Responses listed in the alphabetical order:
Ana Hoffman – TrafficGenerationCafe
1. Drafts Dropdown – simple, but a huge productivity boost for me, since I constantly create new drafts as I come by ideas for new posts.
Here what it does: Easy access to your draft blog posts from the admin bar. Click the “Drafts” item and a list of your drafts slides down for easy access (on the front and back end of your WordPress site).
2. Google+ comments by Alex Moss – the engagement at Traffic Generation Café took an entirely new meaning since I installed it.
This plugin makes it simple to add the Google+ comments system to your WordPress site without any hassle. You can also insert the comment box as a shortcode into any post, page or template and use your own settings for each time you do it. It doesn’t replace the native comment system – you can display both for folks who are more used to leaving “traditional” comments.
Sure it has a lot of flaws (like inability to moderate or keep track of new comments), but I found it it’s all worth it.
Remember: Google+ IS Google (does wonders for our ability to appear in search engine results; read more about it here).
3. Redirection – very important to not lose traffic to 404 errors, so I always make sure that posts I delete for whatever reason or move to another URL are properly redirected.
4. Easy WP SEO – helps me to keep track on my on-page optimization.
I am not legalistic about it (as in: your keyword density has to be 1% or else…), but it does help tremendously to make sure I let my readers and search engines know what the page is about.
5. WP Social SEO Booster Pro – adds Facebook Open Graph, Google+ Interactive posts, Twitter Card and Google Rich Snippets to your site to boost your sites search engine visibility. Love it.
Adam Connell – BloggingWizard
I’m a plugin junkie, I’ve tested a lot of plugins and my girlfriend would say that I probably spend too much on them but there are 5 plugins that I have to install on every site:
1. W3 Total Cache (free) – the loading time of your website is important and as the saying goes ‘time is money’. It’s also true when it comes to websites, slower loading times mean lower conversion rates. This is one of the most comprehensive speed enhancing plugins on the market, it does a lot more than just caching your websites content.
2. Better WP Security (free) – security is another big issue, if you think it’s something you don’t need to worry about you’re wrong. iThemes recently took over development so we should see some great upgrades but as it stands it’s one of the most straight forward security plugins to use and has some amazing features.
3. Backup Buddy ($) – this is a plugin that most people think about once it’s too late, don’t let that be you. Having a solid plugin to create backups that’s easy to use and allows you to backup to a variety of locations is essential. I’ve tried a lot of backup plugins (I mention some here), most of them are needlessly complicated but that’s not the case with Backup Buddy and while it’s straight forward to use, it has a lot of great features too.
4. WordPress SEO by Yoast (free) – When I setup this plugin I was able to uninstall a few other plugins too which is always good. I’ve tried a lot of SEO plugins, and this beats most paid plugins.
5. Optimize Press 2.0 ($) – This isn’t just a plugin, it’s actually a theme. It’s primary function is to help you make marketing pages easily. You get a drag and drop live editor and lots of templates that allow you to make high impact sales pages, landing pages, membership pages, thank you pages and all other types of marketing pages (our review).
You also get a membership plugin with this that would save you about $100-$300 if you were to buy a standalone membership plugin. The fact you get a WP theme here means you get a lot of value here.
Adam Warner – Adamwwarner
1. FooBox Media Lightbox – Yes, this is one of our own premium plugins, but I’m listing it first because it truly is one of my favorite plugins. First released almost two years ago and having gone through more than 20 feature updates, it filled a very specific need I had for a client at the time. It also launched our premium plugin business and continues as our flagship product today.
2. EasyDigitalDownloads – EDD is a free WordPress eCommerce plugin for selling digital downloads and it’s what powers our own site. In my world of ebook and plugin sales, other eCommerce solutions were just too much for what I needed. The core plugin is free and incredibly powerful and with the almost 200 extensions available, I can also find a solution to a feature I’d like to add.
3. Q2W3 Fixed Widget (Sticky Widget) – Kind of a strange name, but one of those “golden nugget” plugins found free in the repository. In short, this plugin makes any Widget on your site “sticky”. In other words, as your users scroll down your page, this allows any Widget you choose to stick to the top and never leave your user’s site.
I use this on my personal site in conjunction with an email subscribe widget. As visitors scroll through my posts, the option to subscribe by email is always on their right side view.
4. Page Builder by Site Origin – There are a ton of WordPress page layout builders on the market and everyone seems to do it a bit differently. Page Builder is a free plugin found in the repo and is far above some of the other premium solutions available.
I’ve used it several times and have found their support to be very responsive and updates are often with new features and bug fixes.
5. Inspiring Dashboards – Another free plugin, and one with a single laser focus. To inspire you with ideas for blog posts. This plugin adds a Widget to your Dashboard with 7 main blog post topics for you to write about. When I log into my site, I have this Widget front and center on my Dashboard to help get me started writing immediately.
The plugin author credits Chris Lema for the inspiration and rightly so. It’s simple, effective, and helps you get your posts “done done”.
Adrienne Smith – Adriennesmith.net
1. CommentLuv Premium (paid) – I LOVE this plugin and it’s at the top of my list because it helps me share the love with my readers. I’m all about helping others and when I first started blog commenting, CommentLuv is what helped me locate other bloggers and from there I’ve built up relationships and grown my business because of the connections I’ve made.
CommentLuv helps to get more comments and social engagement on our site and with it’s many improvement we have much more control over who we give link love to and who we don’t. I stand behind this plugin to this day and know that it’s really help my blog grow.
2. Share Juice Pro (paid) – This is a social sharing plugin and although I know there are tons of free ones on the market today, Ashvini continues to improve it so that it will help his customers have better experiences. What I love about it is that I can create my own social buttons if I want, I can put them in whatever order I want, he’s included an author bio box so you don’t need another plugin, he’s included the open graph feature for pulling in the designated images for your posts to make Facebook happy and he’s working on including hashtags at this moment so that should be his next release.
3. WP-Optimze – Due to the issues I had with my blog at the end of 2012 I learned more than I care to about WordPress database tables. If you don’t keep them clean then you’ll eventually be getting a nasty note from your hosting service so this plugin helps keep those cleaned up. Love how easy this is to do.
4. Clean Archives Reloaded – This has been a favorite of mine for awhile now. Although I now have four years of posts and that’s a lot, I like how it lists them by month and year on my archive page. I’ve just found it much easier at least for me because I can see the headlines and when I’m even searching for a post I recall around the time I wrote it so this helps me find it much better. It’s just a clean easy function for me.
5. Related Posts – I’ve used quite a few over the years but this was recommended after my other one stopped working. Most people like the images underneath their posts that recommend other posts your readers might want to read. I personally don’t like those because I find it all way too busy. So you can have those posts listed however you want plus it gives you the statistics for the past 30 days. Those include the percentage of click through rate, how many people have actually clicked on your links, the number of page views and from what device. It’s really a cool plugin.
Alex Moss – Alex-Moss.co.uk
Simple URLs – This is a great little plugin to organise your outbound links that you want tracked. You can set any slug which will 301 to any URL you specify. This is great when you want to track the click through rates of any link, which is extremely useful for affiliate based links. The result URL will look like so – http://domain.com/go/your-slug/
You can also exclude the /go/ folder from robots.txt – meaning that no SEO value will be passed through them, nor will any Simple URL be indexed by search engines. You can do this by applying the line Disallow: /go/ into your robots.txt file.
RB Internal Links – It’s a plugin that hasn’t been updated in a while, but still works fine. Internal linking is essential, and if you change your permalink then any link to that page will be broken. RB Internal Links solves this by linking to internal pages by ID, not by URL. This means that if you ever update any permalink then the internal link will update automatically. No more links to pages that don’t exist!
Regenerate Thumbnails/WP Smush.it – Images can use up a lot of resource, both for storage space and bandwidth. Optmising those images is essential to boost performance whilst not sacrificing the image quality. Regenerate thumbnails, well, regenerates thumbnails! If you have Media settings that don’t properly reflect the image sizes you need to output you should set them. The plugin then allows for all previous thumbnails to be regenerated at those newly set sizes.
WP Smush.it uses the smush.it image compression technology to compress all images within your site as soon as you upload them. It also has a setting to compress all previous images uploaded to the site too.
Social Structured Data – Last year I gave a talk at BrightonSEO about how you can set social structured for Twitter Cards, Facebook Open Graph and Google+ META data. At Peadig, we recently released a plugin to do just that! When you edit a post or page, you can now set custom titles, images and descriptions for Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also set defaults for when you don’t use it for custom settings. This plugin helps for social reach and CTR increases.
WPTest.io – Technically not a plugin, but I consider it to be. When designing and developing WordPress sites, sometimes you need test data to ensure you have your theme set up properly and doesn’t fall through any potential holes in the designing net. This download contains an XML file that you import into WordPress. This data is the most complete test I’ve seen for WordPress content that I have come across.
…and one more bonus plugin…
Redux Framework: Now a necessity when developing any theme, child theme or plugin. Redux Framework is the most extensive and versatile backend options framework I’ve seen. We now use it to power all backend options and will continue to do so. The Redux team, specifically Dovy Paukstys and Dan Griffiths, have been great at ensuring the code is top notch and cater for the masses.
Brad Knuston – Bradsknutson
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast – Easily the most complete and fully featured SEO plugin out there. It’s great for both the beginner and advanced marketer. The ability to change settings like title and meta tag values, set 301 redirects, add nofollow or noindex to a page, and much more, makes this my favorite WordPress plugin.
2. W3 Total Cache – An easy to use caching plugin that works, plain and simple.
3. FV Antispam + Akismet – WordPress comment spam is something that unfortunately comes with the territory, but by combining these two plugins I’m able to let FV Antispam take care of all bot submitted comments, and Akismet to handle human submitted spam. What I’m left with is an extremely accurate list of interested reader comments. These two free plugins combined save me countless hours every single week.
4. Gravity Forms – Forms are essential for generating leads and much more, but building forms can be complicated if you’re not an experienced developer. Gravity Forms makes creating visually appealing forms easy for even beginners.
Brian Honigman – BrianHonigman.com
1. Yoast – An amazing, user friendly SEO plugin for optimizing your website no matter the SEO proficiency of your website contributors.
2. All in One SEO – Another SEO plugin to help automate many of the SEO processes to help your website rank for the right keywords.
3. Akismet – This helpful plugin helps automate spam prevention on the comments of your WordPress blog. Without Akismet, it’s quite likely you’ll have thousands of spam comments to moderate in the back-end of your WordPress website, which quickly hides real comments from moderators sifting through all the spam.
4. W3 Total Cache – A well-known plugin for quickly caching your WordPress website, increasing page speed and the overall experience for users on your website.
5. Flare – One of my favorite social plugins that helps make it easier for visitors to share content across your website. The Flare plugin is completely customizable, follows readers as they scroll through content and highlights the amount of social activity on any given post.
Brian Gardner – Briangardner.com
Brandon Gaille – BrandGaille.com
1. WP Single Post Navigation – After I installed this plugin, my site increased the total page views by over 20%. I suggest that anyone that used this goes into the php page to adjust the color of the next and previous arrow to match the color scheme of their site.
2. Really Simple CAPTCHA – A must for anyone that has form within their website. It really makes a difference on contact form spam.
3. Quform – An exceptional form builder that is easy to manage and looks great.
4. Pinterest Auto Pin for WordPress – This little plugin creates a Pinterest pin when a visitor hovers over an image in your post.
5. OnePress Social Locker – The best social locker out there. A great way to get likes and followers in exchange for accessing special content.
Carrie Dils – Carriedils.com
My five fave (of the moment) would be:
Dino Dogan – Triberr
Page Links To – This is an amazing little plugin. It allows me to point WordPress pages to any URL.
Q2W3 Fixed Widget – Terrible name for a great plugin. It allows me to make any sidebar widget float as the reader scrolls the page up and down. See example here. I have the most important call to action in my sidebar (Let’s Work Together) float and always “in the view” of the reader as they scroll up and down.
Tweet old post – Oldie but a goodie. This plugin allows me to share my posts repeatedly on Twitter, thereby driving new eyeballs to old content. You have the ability to configure the time interval, which posts will be shared and which won’t, and many other cool options.
Triberr – Triberr plugin does few things, but one of the features that I love is the fact that it imports the post’s image into the Triberr’s Tribal Stream. This makes my posts look all fancy and attractive when my tribemates are scrolling down looking for things to share.
Jetpack – Jetpack has many useful features. One of my favs is Publicize, which connects my site to popular social networks and automatically shares my new posts with my friends.
Daniel Pataki – Danielpataki.com
1. Advanced Custom Fields and addons – A wonderful plugin to add lots of custom data to any post/user/category and much, much more. I couldn’t live without it.
2. Regenerate Thumbnails – Allows you to quickly regenerate all your images to the defined image sizes.
3. WooCommerce – A complete ecommerce solution with lots of options and built in payment gateways.
4. Amazon S3 and Cloudfront – A plugin which allows you to serve your images from the Amazon CDN server. Any media upload is automatically mirrored to the Amazon server
5. W3 Total Cache – A complex but hugely useful solution to caching many-many aspects of your WordPress site. Allows for the reduction of server load and faster loading times for the user.
Hector Cuevas – InboundPro
1. Pretty Link Lite – Allows me to see which of my links are getting clicked on. This is great because then I know if my content and placement are effective.
3. All In One SEO – This one is a classic. I think every blogger should have it. It makes on page SEO a breeze.
4. WP Super Cache – Speed is a big deal for me. I’m always looking for ways to speed up loading times on my site. Wp Super Cache is the perfect plugin for this.
5. WordPress Popular Posts – This plugin allows you to showcase your most popular articles on your sidebar. It automates internal linking and keeps people on your site much longer.
Ian Cleary – RazorSocial
1. OptinMonster – I use OptinMonster for building email subscribers. I use the popup part of the functionality. When the plugin detects that a website visitor is leaving the site a popup appears to encourage visitors to subscribe to the site by e-mail. Great for improving conversion.
2. WordPress SEO by Yoast – This is quite a simple but very effective plugin to optimize your content.
3. Flare – This is the plugin I use to encourage visitors to share out my blog content to social media channels. It’s visually appealing and works great!
4. Disqus – I love Disqus comment system because when people come to my site they are generally logged in to Disqus already so it makes it a very low hassle way of them commenting. This makes sure I get more comments.
5. Askimet – This is a spam filter and catches a lot of spam for me. It’s an essential plugin.
Ileane Smith – BasicBlogTips
This question comes at a really good time because I switched themes recently which caused me to take an even closer look at the plugins I use on Basic Blog Tips. Before I give you my five favs, I want to start off by saying how important it is to have a great theme with basic features built-in. This will make a huge difference in performance and greatly reduce the number of plugins you need to install.
My current theme is Genesis and I use a child theme from Appendipity called Showcase. So right out the gate I don’t need to install any social sharing or following plugins because they are integrated within Showcase.
With all that said, it’s still challenging to pick 5 plugins but I’ll give it a shot.
1. Anti-spam – is the newest one I’m testing to cut down on the time I spend moderating comments. I almost don’t want to give that little secret away because somehow whenever a plugin like this gets popular, the spammers figure out a way to work around it. But it’s so good I have to share it with you guys.
2. AuthorSure – is a plugin that takes all the fuss out of setting up Google Authorship, which is essential for any blog with multiple authors and for bloggers who don’t want to mess around with code. It adds a nice looking author bio box and a lot of other options as well.
3. Pretty-link Pro – is another must have for anyone doing affiliate marketing. It makes your links easier to remember and it’s also great for YouTubers and Podcasters who want to share links on their shows.
4. WP-Optimize – is a great one to have around. If you haven’t used this one before, the first time you run it, you will most certainly notice that your blog loads faster.
5. P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – will come in handy when you see that your blog is loading slowly. This one will tell you which plugin is causing the issue and give you a complete rundown of the time it takes for each one to load. When you see the load times, I know it will be hard but just un-install the one with the longest load time and you’ll be thankful you did!
Ivana Zuber – Bloggless
1. Fanciest Author Box – All-in-one author box displaying relevant author information in multiple tabs, including main information tab (containing author picture and bio), latest posts tab (displaying latest posts from that author), and social tabs (displaying all connected social media accounts in separate tabs). The widget is highly customizable with background, link, and border color options, both for active and inactive tabs.
2. Google+ Comments Widget – A simple yet powerful plugin which replaces WordPress comments with Google+ comments. Very sleek design and one-click installation.
3. Simple 301 Redirects – Personally, this is the most useful plugin on my site. I require a lot of redirect configurations due to the structure of my site, and this plugin makes it very easy to redirect any URL.
4. Simple Share Buttons Adder – Out of numerous premium and free social media sharing plugins, this one worked best for me. It has a very sleek and customizable design, supports twelve different social media sites, and does not decrease site performance.
5. Snapshot – The only backup tool built exclusively for WordPress multisite. Out of many other backup tools that feature multisite backup, Snapshot is the only one I found that actually does it in 1 click. It supports upload to Amazon S3, Dropbox or SFTP, as well as numerous configuration options.
Jeff Starr – PerishablePress
1. Akismet, because it works well at stopping spam. And it’s free.
2. Broken Link Checker, because it helps keep the 404s away. Good for SEO.
3. Google XML Sitemaps, because it has always worked great and sitemaps are important for SEO reasons.
4. Block Bad Queries (BBQ), one of my own plugins that helps protect against bad requests and other nonsense.
5. Simple Local Avatars, makes it easy for users to customize their avatar.
Jerry Low – WebHostingSecretRevealed
Devesh, thanks for having me in your interview. Out of nearly 30,000 WordPress plugins available at the plugin directory, my top five life-savers plugins are (in alphabetical order): All-In-One SEO Pack, Better WP Security, Flare, Tweet Old Post, and WordPress Editorial Calendar.
These five plugins were installed on WebHostingSecretRevealed.net since day one. They are most probably going to be the first five to install (after Akismet, of course) if I start another new blog.
In case you have not heard about them –
1. All-In-One SEO Pack – This plugin is developed by Michael Torbert. As the name suggests, I use this All-In-One SEO Pack to handle almost all on-page SEO tasks.
2. Better WP Security – According to the official it is now developed and maintained by Chris Wiegman. Better WP Security is my first layer of defense – awesome tool if you wish to harden your WordPress blog in just a few clicks.
3. Flare – Flare is a social media plugin that needs no introduction. Unfortunately, this plugin is no longer in active development (I am still currently using it though).
4. Tweet Old Post – Developed by Ajay Matharu. Tweet Old Post is a simple, yet brilliant, tool I use to keep my old posts alive.
5. WordPress Editorial Calender – Developed by Colin Vernon, Justin Evans, Joachim Kudish, Mary Vogt, and Zack Grossbart. Thanks to these awesome guys, I get to overlook (as the name suggests, in calendar-view) and manage my blog efficiently.
Why these five WordPress plugins?
I love these five plugins for the same reasons.
- They are all effective and work well with my theme
- They have an intuitive admin user interface
- They don’t slow my site (at least not as I am aware of)
- They are updated regularly (except for Flare, of course)
Jeff Chandler – WPTavern
1. Akismet – I’d be wasting a lot of time dealing with automated garbage if it were not for Akismet.
2. Blubrry Powerpress – Without this plugin, I wouldn’t be able to easily publish my WordPress Weekly podcast to iTunes. It handles everything for me after initial setup so that the only thing I need to do is apply a shortcode to a post.
3. Edit Flow – This plugin has proved to be invaluable for me as it provides a lot of features that make running a multi-authored website much easier.
4. Jetpack – While Jetpack has a mixed fan club, I like it because I find a lot of the stuff bundled with it useful. For example, the Widget Visibility module or the Jetpack sharing module.
5. Simple Comment Editing – This plugin provides a simple method for anonymous and registered users to edit their comments within the first 5 minutes of them being published.
Jim Wang – MicroBlogger
1. Broken Link Checker – By far the easiest way to find and fix broken links on your blog, though you want to deactivate it when you aren’t using it because the monitoring capabilities can be a drain on server resources.
2. Social Locker – Do you have a post that gets a lot of traffic but you can’t figure out what to do with it? Use Social Locker to “lock up” content that can be unlocked with a Facebook Like, Tweet, or +1. Great way to accumulate some social metrics.
3. Download Manager – A really easy way to let your readers download files from your site. You can add a password, limit downloads, and manage all your downloadable products.
4. OptInMonster – I’ve used several email optin plugins and this one is by far the most intuitive and has the best design tools. It also has a built in split testing feature plus the Exit Intent add on is killer.
5. Subscribe to Comments Reloaded – Lets your commenters subscribe to a post so that they get future comments and replies to their original comment. Fantastic for engagement and getting a conversation going.
John Turner – SeedProd
Here are my 5 of my favorites:
JetPack – WordPress.com features for Self Hosted Blogs Plugin. Who doesn’t like this bag of tricks, and with the new Markdown option it’s a no-brainer.
Duplicate Post – Post, page and CPT Cloner Plugin. I use this one all the time when creating release notes and support articles.
Menu Humility – Admin Menu Order Plugin. This keeps all my menus nice and tidy. Plugin and Theme developers sometime get a little greedy on menu real estate.
Query Monitor – WordPress Debugging Plugin. This is a must have for any WordPress developer. Make debugging WordPress a breeze!
Coming Soon Pro – Coming Soon, Maintenance Mode, and Landing Page Plugin. This is my own plugin but it’s one of my favorites because it has gotten me to where I am today as a developer and entrepreneur. The free version “Ultimate Coming Soon Page” has helped launched over 600,000 WordPress sites.
Joe Fylan – Joecanwrite.com
1. Digg Digg – there are plenty of social sharing plugins out there, but this is my favourite as the buttons are always on display and as they are shown outside of the post content area, they are more noticeable. Plus is supports just about every sharing site.
3. WooCommerce – Being able to build a fully-functioning eCommerce store so easily is such a powerful tool to have at your disposal. I know the cost of the extensions can soon mount up, but WooCommerce is still a great choice.
4. MailPoet – This plugin adds newsletter functionality to your site for free. Aweber and other similar services might be more popular and have better features, but if you want to manage your newsletter inside of your WordPress site, MailPoet is a great choice.
5. What’s My Rank – I bought this plugin as a WSO years ago but its been a great little buy. It allows you to enter search phrases or keywords and then it works in the background to check the position of your site for those terms in Google and other search engines. Its great for quickly seeing the visibility of your site and its content in the search engine results pages.
Jonathan Christopher – SearchWP
1. Custom Field Suite – There are a ton of custom field plugins out there, but Custom Field Suite is my go to because it’s super lightweight, extremely well written, and does exactly what I need it to do.
2. Gravity Forms – I can’t remember the last site I built that didn’t need at least one form. Gravity Forms is so versatile I use it for pretty much anything that requires user-submitted data.
3. Hierarchy – I’m not a huge fan of the way WordPress simply tacks Custom Post Types on to the main menu in the WordPress admin. Hierarchy nests links to manage your Custom Post Types (and custom taxonomies) within a single “Content” menu, giving context to your Custom Post Types.
4. SearchWP – On-site search is an important feature that’s been put on a back burner for a long time due to lackluster results. SearchWP brings that back in full force by allowing you to create on-site search that bolts directly onto WordPress and allows you to finely tune it’s configuration to match the way you’ve set up the site.
5. Query Monitor – Debugging is super important. There are a lot of debugging plugins out there but Query Monitor makes discovering and tracking down issues really straightforward and informational.
Jean Galea – WPMayor
1. Backup Buddy – This plugin has been the leading backup solution for WordPress for many years now, and it is backed by a company that has contributed a lot to the WordPress world.
2. WordPress SEO – Another essential area for all sites, not just WordPress sites. By using WordPress, you are already using a great system with regards to SEO, however to really take it to the next level in optimization, you need a plugin.
3. Gravity Forms – Gravity Forms is hands down the best forms plugin for WordPress. Use it to create the most simple of contact forms up to multi-step user content submission forms on the front end of your site.
4. ManageWP – If you own more than one WordPress site and you aren’t using ManageWP yet, you want to really take a look at this plugin/service.
5. WPML – If you are building any kind of multilingual website, the WPML plugin by ICanLocalize is essential. It is the most advanced multilanguage plugin for WordPress and will cover all your needs.
Keith Davis – WMWebdesign
I have a set order for setting up a WordPress site and that of course includes adding plugins.
I add security plugins as soon as the site is live then I add the plugins that are needed to make up the pages, such as a contact form plugin, then I add the non essential plugins that pretty up the site.
Out of that lot here are my five:
1. WordPress Simple Firewall – a must have security plugin that is easy to set up and comes with a 5 out of 5 rating and fabulous support from the developers. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-simple-firewall/
2. Contact Form 7 – no need to pay for an expensive contact form plugin, Contact Form 7 has just about everything you’ll ever need and it’s fabulously easy to customise. http://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/
3. Quick cache – the easiest caching plugin I’ve found. It can be installed and configured in a less than five minutes and it really does speed up your site. http://wordpress.org/plugins/quick-cache/
4. nrelate Related Content – a related content plugin that won’t slow down your site. Easy to install and configure and comes with a great choice of display options. http://wordpress.org/plugins/nrelate-related-content/
5. Genesis Extender – a premium plugin that allows you to customise any Genesis child theme and I mean any Genesis child theme.
Kevin Muldoon – KevinMuldoon.com
1. VaultPress – The best backup plugin for WordPress. It helps me backup and restore all of my WordPress websites at the touch of a button.
2. User Role Editor – I mainly use this to address the fact that WordPress does not allow contributors to upload images by default. This allows me to address this and ensure all user groups have the right permissions.
3. WordPress Editorial Calendar – A great plugin for scheduling posts. It lets me move posts around easily and quickly edit posts.
4. Widget Logic – A useful plugin for controlling what widgets are displayed in certain areas of websites. For example, I use it to stop my About widget on my about page.
5. PC Hide Pages – Stops pages from being indexed in search engines. Useful for stopping thank you pages and download pages being displayed in search engines; and a lot easier than protecting pages through a private membership area.
Kris Hoja – 87Studios
1. Akismet – I can’t imagine WordPress blog without Akismet, it’s one of the best plugins, because it requires activation and then you can forget about spam.
2. Jetpack – Using Jetpack has two sides. On the one side it has too many options, is too heavy, causes longer page loading and some other little problem. But on the other side it’s single solution for stats, comments, social sharing and auto publishing on social media. I love the new feature of auto posting to Google+. I have enabled Stats, Publicize, Comments, Subscriptions, Sharing, Grammar and Spelling, Gravatar Hovercards, Contact Form, WP.me shortlinks, Photon and Enhanced Distribution. Quite a lot of tools for a single plugin, right? And now imagine using single plugin for single task – nightmare. That’s why I use Jetpack.
3. WP SuperCache – I think this plugin is the simplest solution for caching (besides server tools used on server setup). W3TC has too many options and even if it’s better, it takes too much time to find the perfect setup.
4. Ninja PopUps – I have considered many different options for subscription popup and after a deep research and comparing price to available feature I decided to use Ninja PopUps. It has very user friendly interface, a lot of available themes and integrates easily with many email subscription services (I use MailChimp).
5. WordPress SEO – This one doesn’t need any recommendations It works perfectly. With a few clicks it’s very easy to tweak SEO on WordPress site and make it Google friendly.
Kristi Hines – Kikolani
1. GASP – This plugin, in conjunction with Akismet, will help reduce the amount of comment spam on your blog. It adds a simple checkbox captcha to your comment form to separate the humans from the bot spammers. Granted, there are still plenty of human spammers, but this helps without irritating your comment authors.
2. CommentLuv – This plugin allows comment authors to leave a link to their latest post behind with their comments. It’s great for comment authors because it helps them promote their own content, and it’s great for blog owners because it gives them a way to quickly get to know the topics their readers are passionate about.
3. WP RSS Aggregator – If you are a freelance writer or guest blogger, this plugin is a must have. You can grab all of the author RSS feeds from the sites you contribute to, put them into WP RSS Aggregator, and create a page that shows your latest posts from multiple sites. I use it to create a portfolio page on my blog to showcase my writing.
4. Hashcore – This plugin allows you to simply type in a Twitter hashtag within your post. The hashtag will automatically be converted into a link that, when visitors click it, they will get a popup showing the latest tweets with that hashtag. In addition, when people go to tweet with that hashtag using the Hashcore popup box, the hashtag along with the link to the post will be included in the status update box.
5. WP Swipe & Deploy – This premium plugin (currently $27) rotates through 550+ blog title formulas that you can use with any subject. It’s great for anyone who has trouble coming up with a new blog topic.
Matthew Barby – Marketing Consultant
1. Fixed Widget – This has to be my favorite plugin that I’ve used. It allows you to quickly and easily make any of your blog’s sidebar widgets to be fixed to the top of the browser once a user scrolls down. This is fantastic for highlighting your newsletter subscription form, featured articles lists or advertisers, etc. Overall, a great plugin that eliminates any need for coding and gives you some great functionality.
2. Pretty Link – This is a plugin that can be used to shorten any external link on your site with a link that looks pretty (i.e. from your domain). This works perfectly for adding in affiliate links neatly. You can also track click-throughs, which is a bonus.
3. Subscribe and Download – Another favourite of mine is Subscribe & Download. This useful plugin lets you set up form-gated areas that display locked, downloadable content to your visitors. In return from them entering their email (which can then be directly added to your MailChimp list), they will receive an email with exclusive downloadable content; for example, a PDF. This is a really effective way to build your mailing list.
4. OnePress Social Locker – This is similar to Subscribe & Download, but instead of the user having to submit their email, they have to share your content via social media. An awesome way to increase the reach of your content and drive social signals back to your website.
5. Taqyeem – This is a WordPress review plugin, and it’s fantastic. It lets you add in a review card with start rating, etc. and rich snippet markup code. It’s perfect if you’re writing a review on something or someone, which I do a lot on my blog.
Neil Patel – QuickSprout
My favorite plugins are:
I prefer the Yoast SEO plugin because it helps optimize your site so that it is search engine friendly. It’s simple to use and it is constantly being updated. And as for Speed, the W3TotalCache plugin is also being updated all the time and has been effective in improving site speed, which helps with search rankings.
VaultPress ensures that my blog is backed up. And Hellobar helps me drive traffic from my blog to any other website or page that I want.
Akismet helps me remove tons of spam comments each day. This keeps my blog clean.
Nile Flores – Blondish.net
Optin Monster – An easy way to integrate optin forms into your site. It’s a premium plugin that’s pretty new, and they’re open to suggestions for improving too. I’ve found the plugin to really deliver what I need so far.
FooBox by FooPlugins – This interesting plugin allows you to add a lightbox effect for videos and images. It has a lot of user options to customize the front end experience. It is a premium plugin, but worth the investment. Also, the support is amazing!
Gravity Forms – I love Gravity Forms because it’s so easy to set up a form and get it running. This is a premium plugin and has a lot of available add-ons to make form submission more dynamic, including quizzes, surveys, directory listings, an hooking up to Paypal to accept transactions.
Custom Post Type UI – This is a free plugin to generate custom post types. This actually streamlines the process of coding a new custom post type and will save it for you instead of having to insert it into the functions.php file.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – while I don’t rely heavily on this plugin, it does assist on making sure that my posts appear exactly how I want them to in the search engine. I also like that they’ve integrated a social networks option for Open graph, Twitter, and Google+. This is definitely a great plugin to use for bootstrapping bloggers needing a little assistance with optimizing their articles.
Paul Underwood – Paulund
WordPress SEO – The first plugin I install on all my sites is Yoast WordPress SEO. This makes it so easy to customise the SEO settings to your WordPress site.
Disqus – The second plugin is Disqus which I use for comments on all my sites. The main reason I use this is for the social login, making it really easy for anyone to comment. I’ve also noticed a massive drop in spam comments since using Disqus.
Limit Login Attempts – The third has to be limit login attempts. This is a must on any WordPress site, the problem with WordPress popularity is that everyone knows to login you go to /wp-login.php so you need to protect your login page. Using limit login attempts simply blocks people by IP after 4 unsuccessful logins, protecting my site from any brute force attacks.
W3 Total Cache – The fourth plugin I always use is W3 Total Cache, makes it really easy to customise all the caching settings for your site.
Redirection – Because all my WordPress sites are hosted on ngix server I can’t use htaccess files for 301 redirects so the fifth plugin I always use is the redirection plugin. Allowing me to redirect individual pages or use reg ex patterns for 301 redirects.
Rhys Wynne – WinWar Media
I’ve tried and gone with plugins I like, but are not the obvious. Sorry Yoast & WooCommerce, but I’m sure you are doing fine (and you’ve great plugins!).
BackWPUp – This plugin is a fully featured plugin that allows you to set up backup jobs, which back up your files and your database to various locations, at various times, easily.
The free version of this plugin has saved my life multiple times. By backing up all my files to Dropbox I can set these up and forget about it – leaving me time to concentrate on other things, and whilst the premium version has more features that allows you to back up to Google Drive, I find the free version adequate enough. It’s the best of the field.
What The File – This plugin gets installed on every development site I have. What the file simply adds to the admin bar the template file I’m looking at that generates the page I’m looking at. As well as this, it tells me if I’m using any custom headers, footers or template parts. Saves me a bunch of time when I’m developing.
Rublon – This has become a favourite of mine recently. Before I never really bothered with two factor authentication as – whilst I take security very seriously, it was usually a hassle logging in where I didn’t have a phone but had my laptop. Rublon allows you to associate devices with you (which you can switch on or off as you please). It’s secure, and along with LastPass I find it locks down my sites pretty securely.
Twitter Feed – In my experience, this plugin is probably the best and simplest way to embed Twitter timelines into pages and posts. It’s run by a simple shortcode, and also is incredibly well documented. Probably the best plugin for doing this simple functionality in my opinion.
Latest News Ticker – I’ve seen this functionality on a bunch of sites, but often the code is unclean and generally quite clumbersome. This latest news ticker is incredibly clean, quick and doesn’t slow down the rest of the site. You can customise the look, and it’s a pretty good (if slightly garish) ways to get eyeballs on your best content.
Steven Gliebe – StevenGliebe.com
WordPress SEO by Yoast – There’s no reason every WordPress site should not be using this plugin. It’s very robust yet quick and easy to configure.
AntiSpam Bee – This is a free alternative to Akismet which I find to work just as well in stopping comment spam. It outscores Akismet on WordPress.org reviews.
Easy Digital Downloads – Hands down the best e-commerce plugin for theme and plugin sellers. There are tons of addons such as Software Licensing which helps deliver automatic updates to customers. We use this for churchthemes.com.
Limit Login Attempts – This should be part of the WordPress itself. It helps prevent bots from cracking logins on your site with brute-force. It’s especially important if you have untrusted users registering on your site who might choose poor passwords.
WP Updates Notifier – I consider this a security plugin. It emails you whenever an update for one of your installed plugins or themes is available. This is very handy when you have multiple WordPress sites to keep things up to date on.
Sufyan Bin Uzayr – Sufyanism.com
Well, there are a lot of WP plugins that I like (and even more that I dislike), so picking 5 is kinda hard. Still, these are the ones that I use the most often (in no specific order):
1. Jetpack – This is the de facto standard when it comes to WP plugins, IMHO. In fact, almost all my WordPress installations run Jetpack. While it surely is slightly on the bulkier side, the features that it offers are well worth it. Contact forms, shortcodes, stats, uptime monitor — I can go on and on!
2. SEO by Yoast – My favorite SEO plugin. Need I say more?
3. Theme-Check – Probably the easiest way to check if your theme meets the coding standards and is nonsense-free. Great plugin to help you with theme development.
4. WooCommerce – When it comes to creating eCommerce sites with WP, nothing beats WooCommerce!
5. Contextly for WP – I have recently started using Contextly on one of my sites for Related Posts (ditched Outbrain). I am in love with the simplicity of their WP plugin and the ease with which it simply works out of the box. I hardly have to worry about configuring anything!
Syed Balkhi – WPBeginner
VaultPress – VaultPress creates real-time backups of WPBeginner. The best security for your site is having most up to date backups. It gives me a peace of mind.
Edit Flow – It allows us to create an effective editorial workflow. This saves time and enable us to continuously pump out quality content.
OptinMonster – Although it is created by me, it is definitely my favorite plugin because it allows me to get more email subscribers.
Gravity Forms – You can’t create a top 5 WP plugins list without mentioning Gravity Forms. The amount of time this plugin has saved me is just enormous. The best form plugin for WordPress.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – Hands down the best SEO plugin for WordPress.
Sarah Pressler – SarahPressler.com
1. Hands down, my favorite plugin ever, is Barley for WordPress. You can completely eliminate needing to write in the WordPress admin thorugh this amazing front-end, in-line editor. It has made blogging fun again. I don’t have to deal with a clunky, archaic or frustrating back-end editor for writing anymore. I loved writing and publishing on Medium, and this plugin gives me the same experience. It’s $12/year for the plugin. (You do have to make sure your theme is compatible. I was due for a theme update, so it worked out great for me.)
2. Of course Akismet for protecting your site from spam. Runs $60/yr for the Akismet plugin but I wouldn’t be caught dead without it!
3. CoSchedule by TodayMade is one of the newer plugins I’ve installed. It’s an amazing editorial calendar that integrates with Buffer and allows you to schedule out your blog posts AND all social sharing to go along with that content. There are other really awesome editorial calendars that are available, for free, through WordPress.org, but this has been my favorite so far. The user-interface alone makes it so much fun to utilize. They’ve done a great job with this product. Cost: $120/year. If you aren’t monetizing your site, it may not be worth it. I don’t monetize my site, but still pay for this plugin because it IS so easy to use!
4. JetPack is another can’t live without plugin. It provides a lot of customization options for your site – a great all-in-one plugin.
5. WordFence Security: if you aren’t going to pay for Sucuri to keep things safe and orderly, WordFence is your next best option. With free and paid for levels of security, it can meet the needs from a wide range of users. I recently had someone from Turkey try to hack into my site. WordFence kept it safe!
Thomas Ewer – Leaving Work Behind
All the Plugins Everyone Else is Recommending – I have no doubt that all sorts of top quality plugins will be in this list — the likes of Akismet, SEO by Yoast, Jetpack and so on. So there’s little point in me mentioning them! Instead, I’ll try to offer up some alternative plugins that you may not have heard of.
1. Advanced Comments Moderation – Disclaimer: this is my plugin! However, I designed it to make my life a lot easier, so I figure it might do the same for you.
If you receive a number of comments on your blog, it can quickly get overwhelming. Advanced Comments Moderation helps you get to “inbox zero” with your comments by filtering out comments that you have replied to (along with your replies). It also enables you to “Dismiss” comments that you do not want to reply to but don’t want to see. I use it for Leaving Work Behind and love it!
2. VaultPress – There are loads of backup options available for WordPress users but I love VaultPress because it is super cheap, very slick, and developed by Automattic. That’s all I have to say!
3. WordPress Editorial Calendar – If you don’t need the fully fledged editorial functionality of Edit Flow, this is a great option. It provides you with a dynamic calendar that you can use to organize and schedule the posts on your blog. I’d be lost without it!
4. Better Internal Link Search – Most people know that interlinking blog posts is a great way to encourage people to stay on your blog for longer. Better Internal Link Search makes the process easier by enabling you to search with greater ease. It also allows you to link to scheduled posts, which can really come in handy!
Tom Mcfarlin – TomMcfarlin.com
GitHub Updater – A simple plugin to enable automatic updates to your GitHub hosted WordPress plugins and themes.
WP Gist – Easily embed gists into WordPress posts and pages using a shortcode.
WP Stripe – WP Stripe provides a payment form and recent donor widget by utilizing Stripe.com, the awesome alternative to PayPal.
Theme Check – A simple and easy way to test your theme for all the latest WordPress standards and practices. A great theme development tool!
Log Deprecated Notices – Logs the usage of deprecated files, functions, and function arguments, and identifies where the deprecated functionality is being used.
Tim Soulo – BloggerJet
1) PopupDomination – don’t tell me you hate popup forms, because I bet you don’t even know how well they convert leads.
This plugin lets you create nice popup email forms and configure how, when and where they pop on your website. But there’s more! You can track all the stats and even run A/B tests right from the plugins backend.
If you were not convinced, try to read this article: “Popup Email Form in WordPress Blog: 6 Tricks To Make Visitors Love It”
2) Affiliate Link Cloaking – many bloggers make money promoting affiliate products.
With this plugin you can kinda “hide” your affiliate links, so that your blog visitors won’t get offended by you, trying to sell them.
Other than that, you can track the amount of clicks each of your affiliate links generates.
3) WP Smush.it – if your articles are full of images, you absolutely need to run them through Smush.it
This neat plugin will shrink every image and your blog will load much faster.
Google loves it when pages load fast and so do your visitors.
4) Comment Redirect – people who comment on your blog for the first time are just one little step away from becoming your regular readers or maybe even true fans.
With this plugin you can redirect them to a special page, thank them for their first comment and suggest to connect with you on Twitter or sign up for your email list.
5) TweetDis – with this simple plugin you can make people tweet quotes from your article just by clicking on them.
With the standard tweet button people can only tweet the headline of your article and that’s it. But with TweetDis you can fill your article with quotes and takeaways that people can tweet by simply clicking on them.
Disclaimer: I am the author of this plugin. You can read more about it in this article: “How To Get 200% More Tweets On Your Articles”
The post took me more time then I expected, but it was well worth it. A Huge thanks to everyone who took part in the interview. Please share if you think this post is helpful.
If you could only use 5 WordPress plugins, which 5 would you choose. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.