Plugins for Your WordPress Blog
Posted on: June 12, 2012, by : Brandon Gilliland

One of the things that I have learned about from switching to a self-hosted wordpress platform is plugins. These can be viewed as applications for your website. When I first set up my website, I was completely lost on what plugins are necessary to download. If you have too many, it can slow down your site considerably. On the other free blogging platforms such as blogger and wordpress.com, plugins are not available. However, plugins are necessary for any self-hosted blog or website.

I have received a few questions and emails from several people in the last few months about plugins, so I thought that I would list some of the ones I am using:

Askimet- This plugin is responsible for blocking unwanted spam from your website’s comments. A must have! It is totally free!

All in One SEO Pack- This plugin helps bring a whole new SEO experience to your blog. I highly recommend having it!

Disqus- The commenting system that I have on my site. I talk more about it here!

Drop Caps- This plugin creates the big letter at the beginning of every post. It just adds a cool design to start every post.

Google XML Sitemaps- If you want your site to be indexed by google and other search engines, this is the plugin for you!

Instapress- This takes my Instagram pictures and displays them on my sidebar. With this plugin, you can add your instagram pictures to any post or page.

Jetpack- I can not say enough about this plugin. It is powered by wordpress.com, and it is amazing! I use it for stats, forms, and email subscriptions! You can do so much with this plugin. I highly recommend it!

nRelate- With this plugin, you can display the “You Might Also Like This” at the end of every post. It helps your readers find relevant content on your site easily.

Post Teaser- It is annoying to scroll through a lot of text on a blog. With this plugin, you can display only a summary of the post on the homepage. There are so many options with this plugin!

Sharexy- This is the plugin I use for my share buttons. There are other plugins for this, but I personally like the look and ease of the sharing experience that this one provides.

Tentblogger 404 Repair- This incredible plugin helps repair/fix broken links and content that might be on your site. This is necessary!

Tentblogger Top Commenters- This plugin has brought life to the comments on my blog. It displays the top commenters. With this plugin, there has been some real competition on the site each month! 🙂

W3 Total Cache- You want your website to have speed. This plugin helps speed up your website to make it more pleasant for the readers. It does so much more than I even know!

WP Greet Box- Displays the greeting at the beginning of every post. This is a great option for your blog!

These are the main plugins that I use on my blog. There are so many options. For twitter, I use Hootsuite.

What plugins do you use on your blog?

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  • I was looking for something along the lines of Drop Caps. I’ll have to check it out and see how it looks on my blog. 

    • I would check it out. It just adds a cool element to each post. I became interested in it when Michael Hyatt started using it.

  • Thanks Brandon!

    I am still working on my new site and this is post is very helpful. 

    Thank you for sharing

    • No problem! I hope this helps. I will be frequently updating this post…

  • I started writing down a few plugins I was interested in, but I think I would do better just to bookmark this page!

    I use disqus and really like it. I wish everyone used this! Very helpful for me to follow up on comments. I don’t have time to go back and read what people reply to me which is really sad, I think I miss out on some good conversations.

    Thanks for the tips!

    • Thanks so much for thinking that this post is good! I will be updating this post frequently on plugins, so make sure to bookmark it!

      I agree with you on Disqus. It is such a great commenting system. It makes it easy to respond to comments through email. Most people do not want to revist a blog every time to comment.

      • I looked at your tent blogger top commenter’s widget but it doesn’t work for blogger.
        I have tried looking for a widget for blogger but can’t seem to find one that is compatible with both blogspot and disqus. Do you have any ideas?
        I’m really wanting to track my top commenters- the option for this through disqus isn’t what I’m looking for as it adds me into the mix.

        Any help is appreciated, if you don’t know it’s okay- I don’t expect you to since you use wordpress.

        • I’m not familiar with blogger widgets and such. I am not sure if there is one or not. Just a question for you- why have you not switched to wordpress yet?

          Even if you switch to wordpress.com, it is a whole lot better than blogger…

          • Thanks for the help. I figured you wouldn’t bet familiar but I thought I’d ask anyway.

            Doesn’t wordpress cost? I don’t have the funds to pay for any service.

          • WordPress.com is totally free, and it is so much better than blogger. You can actually transfer all of your date (posts, comments, etc.) with one click on wordpress.com. It is so easy!

          • I didn’t realize it was free. For some reason I thought it costs.
            Excuse my ignorance, but why is it better than blogspot? Why do you like it?

          • Too many reasons to explain in a comment! haha. Seriously though, your traffic will rise considerably due to the SEO incorporation. WordPress.com also allows your site to be searchable by other wordpress.com users by categories.
            Aside from more traffic, the themes are better for more professional blogging. The widgets and statistics are a lot better. WordPress.com can also manage email subscriptions, and it is awesome. You can also keep feedburner if you want to.
            I would check it out and make the switch…it is well worth it! Check out: http://www.wordpress.com. They have some info and tutorials on how to set everything up. I would definitely make the switch! The only negative thing about wordpress.com is that you can not use Disqus. This feature is only available via self-hosted wordpress. However, you can still respond via email for comments with wordpress.com (both you and the commenters).
            Hope this information helps get you started! Let me know if you have any questions!

          • Hmmm…you do make it sounds good. However I really like using disqus. I’ll have to think about this.

            Thank you!

          • It is a lot to think about. Hands down…the best way to go is self-hosted wordpress. You can get one for about $50 per yr. I use NewBlogHosting.com, and they are amazing!

          • Now maybe i can answer this..lol. I’ve been a Blogger girl for a long time 🙂

            Like you (TC), am (okay, was) pretty clue-less when it came to tech and computer stuff. My hubby actually set up my old blogger blog for me, though i did tweak it up later.

            I just recently switched over to wordpress.

            First up, I wanted to own my own URL, the domain name for the sake of branding. Blogspot is free and awesome but it’s really not yours as such. i wanted to start building on something I own and work on Branding. I realized that people do take you more seriously when you own your webspace :).

            Blogger is great but it’s very limited (i don’t know about buying domains in blogger) in terms of what you can do in there

            WordPress allows for alot of customization, branding and design. I have found it more flawless in terms of navigation, though it does take some adjustment.

            It’s also comes highly recommended for any blogger out there. 

            WordPress.COM is free as Brandon points out. 

            WordPress.ORG is not, it’s the paid version.  

            e.g If you go for free version your blog would be tcavey.wordpress.com. 

            If you decide to buy your own URL and hosting, your blog would tcavey.com. You see the difference.

            I had always wanted to move to wordpress.org but funds were limited. (I’d seen a $19 per month package that i really desired cos they were goin to do everything for me..but it was expensive!.)

            But Brandon directed me  to New Blog Hosting http://newbloghosting.com/ who are extremely fair-priced. 

            Phew this has been a rather long comment!!

            But just thought to explain a little bit since i am a recent convert.

            Hope I’ve said something helpfull..lol

          • Very good explanation between the two. However, you can purchase a custom domain through wordpress.com for $17 per yr. Self-hosted just means you can make money from your blog and have total control.

          • thanks Brandon I did not know that 🙂

          • That is helpful. Guess I will just have to pray about it. I get overwhelmed with tech stuff and right now I am frazzled from getting my first Newsletter out (already found typo’s, grrr).

            Think I will rest my brain for a moment but I will keep what you and Brandon have said in mind. You both are very kind! Thank you.

          • i feel you TC! Am working on the new blog and its got my brain in knots! I know we can only focus on one thing at a time 🙂

            Will check out the newsletter and give you feedback. Am sure it’s great!

          • Thanks for understanding. Look forward to what you think of the Newsletter.

    • TC, you can view (and reply to) the comments in your email inbox without going to your blog. This will help you not to miss out on all the good conversations.

      • Thanks Joe, I will keep that in mind. I’m slow to embrace change- one of the great things about me 🙂

  • This is a great post.  I’ll have to get back to you with my answer when I have a bit more time.  I love being able to share these types of resources.

  • Lol hadn’t seen this complete comment thread! Your explanation is great.

  • oops this comment was meant to go to the tcavey/brandon thread below. sorry 🙂

    • How does everyone here like the new Disqus 2012 system??? Just curious…

      • You have switched!

        I first saw 2012 enabled on another site and i was so confused..lol
        I prefer the old Disqus, it’s clean, airy and easy to the eye and mind (atleast mine). I hope they won’t force us to move/migrate at some point?

        • I know…I’m going to switch back. I thought it was going to be better, but I guess not? haha

  • Decided to switch back to the old Disqus. The new one was not as good. Thanks for giving your opinions.

  • Great work and very much beneficial, Brandon! 

    The 2012 version of Disqus has arrived on the scene. I updated to that version but found that the comments are missing. So I rolled back to the previous version. 

    Thanks for mentioning about the nRelate. I think it will be of great help.

    • Yeah, I didn’t like it as much either. And nRelate has really helped the traffic on my site. Good luck!
      I enjoy reading your blog!

      • Thanks, Brandon. You are welcome for more participation.