Remove spam comments
Akismet – If you are listed in search engines and have a lot of traffic, you are bound to get massive amount of spam comments. This plugin makes your life much easier and saves you a lot of time. You need to get your free Api-key for this plugin.
Remove broken links
Broken Link Checker – Search engines do not like broken links. Your visitors do not like them either. This plugin scans your posts automatically, shows you broken links in WordPress dashboard and lets you easily unlink them.
Create contact forms
Cforms – If you need a contact form on your site, this plugin is simple to setup and works great. I use it for all contact forms on the blog.
Comment Redirect – I use this plugin to redirect visitors when they make their first comment on my blog. I redirect them to a thank you page where I thank for the comment, explain about my blog, and ask the reader to subscribe to my RSS newsfeed. Write a comment to this post, and see this plugin in action.
Remove unnecessary code
CSS Compress – I am not much into technical side of WordPress and CSS but I was told that this plugin removes all the unnecessary lines in the WordPress theme code, and that way makes the blog smaller and faster to load.
Combine all RSS subscribers
FeedBurner FeedSmith – I used the original WordPress RSS feed at theÂ beginningÂ of my blog, but then I moved over to Google services. So now I use this plugin as it detects all the old RSS subscribers and redirects them to my new RSS feed.
Make Google happy
Google XML Sitemaps – Google loves sitemaps and indexes sites/articles much quicker if you have a sitemap and you have it submitted to Google Webmaster Tools. Nice and simple way to ensure that Google finds and indexes your blog.
Optimize ping updates
MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer – WordPress automatically updates all your ping services, even if you just update or edit your article. If you edit your articles a lot, your blog risks of being banned from ping services for excessive pinging. This plugin solves the problem by only pinging your post when you publish it.
Confirm theÂ unconfirmed subscribers
Notify Unconfirmed Subscribers – If you are using Feedburner email subscribe option, you know that some subscribers never confirm their subscription. This plugin lets you easily notify all the unconfirmed subscribers and inform them that they need to take additional step to approve their subscription.
Welcome your visitors
Referrer Detector – This plugin detects where your visitors are coming from and automatically displays the coresponding greeting. So for example when somebody visits my blog via Google.com, they get this message:
Welcome Googler! If you find this page useful, why not subscribe to the RSS feed for more interesting posts in the future?
Track what your visitors are looking for
Search Meter – This plugin tracks what your visitors are searching for in your â€œsearchâ€ field. This way you can know what your visitors are looking for and what they find. Tracking this might help you make your blog design more usable and give you some topics to write about.
Notify visitors of new comments
Subscribe To Comments – This plugin allows your blog readers to subscribe to the comments on articles. Each time there is a new comment they will get an email notification. It helps getting visitors to return, getting more comments and building community around your blog posts.
Make Thesis easier
Thesis OpenHook – This plugins allows insertion of Thesis content hooks without editing the theme files. It is only for Thesis theme users. Read more on why I have chosen to go for a premium WordPress theme Thesis.
Remind new visitors to subscribe
What Would Seth Godin Do – This plugin displays a message to your new blog visitors. On howtomakemyblog.com I use it on the bottom of each post as a reminder to subscribe to my RSS news feed. Like this:
List your most popular posts
WordPress.com Popular Posts – I use this plugin in the sidebar to show the 10 most popular posts on my blog. It is avery good way of showing your visitors your most popular posts, and it does improve usability of the site, plus improves your stats like pages viewed per visit, time spent on site and bounce rate.
Get your blog stats
WordPress.com Stats – I use this stats plugin because the WordPress.com Popular Posts plugin takes the data from this plugin to show the most popular posts by number of views. It does not count the views of logged in users, so your visits to your pages will not be counted. You need to get your free Api-key for this plugin.
Never lose any of your material
WordPress Database Backup – This plugins helps you keep a database backup of your blog. It is very simple and easy to use. You can set the plugin to make a regular backup of your blog and send it to you via email automatically. This way you will never lose the articles and archives you have written over the months/years in case of hacker attack or any other securityÂ vulnerability.
Speed up your blog
WP Super Cache – Another technical plugin. It will improve your blogâ€™s loading time and will speed up your blog significantly. It helps your server handle a higher load without crashing, which can help in case you hit front page of Digg.com and start getting tons of traffic. Unfortunately the Digg.com part I still havenâ€™t tested.
Create a Twitter field in comments
WP Twitip ID – This plugin adds another field to your blogâ€™s comment form so your readers can add their Twitter IDâ€™s when writing a comment. See this plugin in action on my blog in the comment field at the end of this article.
Show related posts
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – I use this plugin to show a list of related posts from my blog archives after each article I write. It improves the user experience and increases the time userâ€™s spend on site, pages viewed per visit and bounce rate stats. See it in action after this article where it suggests you what to â€œsee moreâ€.
Extra plugins for those who do not use Thesis
Thesis WordPress Theme that I use on my blog has the following functions automatically built in, so I do not need to use plugins. But if you are using otherÂ themes, the following plugins will give you a similar look/effect.
- All in One SEO Pack – This plugin makes it easy for you to optimize your article titles and other meta tags.
- Google Analytics – This plugin makes it easy for you to insert your Google Analytics code and start tracking your blog visitors.
- WP-Note – This plugin lets you insert notes in your article to make them stand out. Kind of similar to the yellow colored notes I have twice in this article.
- WordPress Gravatars – This plugin lets youÂ displayÂ Gravatars of your readers in the comments section and can put your Gravatar on top of your article to show who the article was written by.
Hopefully this list gives you enough plugins to research and experiment with. Good luck with your blogÂ optimization!