As you probably know WordPress is the darling of bloggers and is the most popular Content Management System (CMS). According to WordPress.org there are over 60 million WordPress powered websites and there are 23,598 plugins that can transform your blog into almost anything you can imagine.
Webmasters and developers love WordPress because of its flexibility and the plugins as there is a plugin for almost anything. I wrote a blog post on Top 30 WordPress Plugins 2012 last year and today I’m going to revisit WordPress plugins by blogging my current favorites.
I have just 13 WordPress Plugins active on this blog and those are the only plugins which I can’t live without. That said, I’m not going to limit this blog post with just 13 plugins as there are some other plugins which you probably need.
13 Essential WordPress Plugins 2013 I Can’t Live Without
I will first start with the 13 best plugins that I am addicted to and I believe that these are the most essential plugins for almost all WordPress blogs. I have made sure that I listed only one plugin for a specific purpose so as to avoid any confusion.
*Plugins with images are the ones that I highly recommend.
1. AdSense Deluxe
AdSense Deluxe is perhaps the only obsolete plugin in this list but it’s something which I can’t live without as I’m using that on this blog since the past 6 years or so. It was the best plugin to manage AdSense and other ads but its author stopped the development and is not even listed in the WordPress plugin directory anymore. The last version of AdSense Deluxe was released in June, 2006. If you want to stick with some other AdSense plugin then I recommend AdSense Manager which I believe is the perfect alternative to AdSense Deluxe.
Akismet is undoubtedly the best way to protect your WordPress blog from comment spam. I can’t imagine a blog without Akismet plugin as otherwise you’ll be forced to disable the whole comment system due to spammers. Akismet has protected my blog from 159,350 spam comments already as it filters all the comments and tracks back spams.
Learn More & Download: Akismet
3. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the best contact form plugin with over 9 million downloads. It’s a simple and flexible plugin and we can have multiple contact forms which can be customized to match our requirements. The Contact Form 7 plugin supports Ajax-powered form submission, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering etc. so that you don’t need another plugin.
Learn More & Download: Contact Form 7
4. FeedBurner FeedSmith
FeedBurner FeedSmith is a must plugin for all WordPress blogs that are using FeedBurner to manage RSS. It redirects all users requesting access to your original WordPress feeds to FeedBurner.
Learn More & Download: FeedBurner FeedSmith
5. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack brings the power of WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. It enables you to connect your self-hosted blog to your WordPress.com account so that you can enjoy almost all the power features normally available to WordPress.com users. Jetpack is a must have plugin for all WordPress blogs and that’s exactly the reason why it’s featured as one of the best plugins of all time.
Some of the features of Jetpack includes quick stats of your blog, notifications, social sharing, social comment system, comment subscriptions, proof reading, contact form, etc.
Learn More & Download: Jetpack
6. Price Table
Price Table is the best plugin for WordPress to create beautiful tables. It comes with an easy to use table builder and an attractive design.
A Table plugin is a must have for any blog that sell services. If you want alternate table designs then you can try the Pricing Table plugin as well.
PubSubHubbub is a simple, open, server-to-server web-hook-based pubsub (publish/subscribe) protocol as an extension to Atom and RSS. It’s the new standard by Google to let people and search engines know in real-time when your blog is updated and is a must have plugin to fight content scrapers. It’s already being used by Google Reader, Google Alerts, FriendFeed, etc.
Learn More & Download: PubSubHubbub
8. Scrolling Social Sharebar
Scrolling Social Sharebar is the best social sharing plugin for WordPress. I have tried almost all other social sharing plugins (Digg Digg, Sociable, AddToAny, ShareThis, Shareaholic etc.) that support scrolling but Scrolling Social Sharebar worked best for me as I encountered several problems with all the other plugins.
Learn More & Download: Scrolling Social Sharebar
9. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is the best performance plugin for your WordPress blog. It increases the performance of your blog dramatically thereby improving the user experience. You can easily review the performance of your blog before and after enabling this plugin by comparing the PageSpeed Insights. With W3 Total Cache plugin you can add browser caching , page caching , object caching, database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to your WordPress blog.
Learn More & Download: W3 Total Cache
10. WordPress Related Posts
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin could be the most popular “Related Posts” plugin for WordPress but I would say WordPress Related Posts is the best as it shows the related posts via tags and moreover their latest version offers more advanced features like traffic analytics, styles etc. A related posts plugin is essential to your blog as it helps to increase the reader retention and to reduce the bounce rate.
Learn More & Download: WordPress Related Posts
11. WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. I was using All In One SEO since ages until I finally switched to the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. If you check my WordPress Plugins 2012 then you’ll see that I’ve highlighted All In One SEO Pack instead of Yoast.
Now why have I migrated to WordPress SEO by Yoast from All In One SEO Pack? Well, I decided to reduce the total number of active plugins as I prefer to use minimal plugins. How? If you’re using All In One SEO plugin then you’ll have to install additional 4 plugins to get all the functions offered by Yoast SEO.
With the installation of WordPress SEO by Yoast, I disabled All In One SEO Pack, Google XML Sitemaps, Page Links To, Robots Meta, RSS Footer as all the features offered by those plugins are supported by Yoast.
Learn More & Download: WordPress SEO
12. WP PageNavi
WP PageNavi adds more advanced pagination feature to your blog.
Learn More & Download: WP PageNavi
13. WP UserOnline
WP UserOnline displays how many users are online on your blog with detailed statistics. It shows the total number of guests, members, and bots online with a referral URL so that you’ll know exactly how your visitors came to your blog.
Learn More & Download: WP UserOnline
The Next 13 Best WordPress Plugins 2013 For You
Now these are the other top plugins that I no longer use but are still considered as the best WordPress plugins out there. So you can definitely try the following plugins as well according to your needs.
14. WordPress Backup To Dropbox
WordPress Backup To Dropbox is a WordPress Backup Plugin which is an easy to use plugin that keeps your valuable WordPress blog, its media and database backed up to Dropbox in minutes.
Learn More & Download: WordPress Backup To Dropbox
15. Better WP Security
Better WP Security is the best, easiest and the most effective way to secure your WordPress blog. It uses the best WordPress security techniques to ensure that as many security holes as possible are patched.
Learn More & Download: Better WP Security
16. Google Analyticator
Learn More & Download: Google Analyticator
17. Limit Login Attempts
Limit Login Attempts plugin limits the number of login attempts for each IP and it’s fully customizable. WordPress by default doesn’t limit login attempts. Limit Login Attempts blocks an IP address after specified number of failed login attempts so that it makes a brute-force attack almost impossible.
Learn More & Download: Limit Login Attempts
18. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images
Pinterest Pin It Button For Images allows your readers to “Pin” images on your blog posts to Pinterest. The plugin adds a “Pin it” button over the images so that users can pin it easily. If your blog posts contain interesting images then this plugin is an essential one.
Learn More & Download: Pinterest Pin It Button For Images
19. SEO Friendly Images
SEO Friendly Images adds the “ALT” and “TITLE” attributes automatically to all your images so that your images will be search engine optimized and will improve traffic from image search engines. If the images don’t have “ALT” and “TITLE” texts then SEO Friendly Images plugin will add them automatically according to the predefined options set by you. Since I use Windows Live Writer for publishing I prefer to enter all the image attributes manually.
Learn More & Download: SEO Friendly Images
20. SEO Rank Reporter
SEO Rank Reporter is an SEO plugin that allows you to track your Google rankings every 3 days and see reports of your progress in an easy to read graph. If you’re really obsessive about your rankings then this plugin does a nice job.
Learn More & Download: SEO Rank Reporter
21. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam adds a CAPTCHA to your WordPress forms for comments, registration, lost password, login, etc so as to fight spam. I was using this plugin and recently disabled it as Akismet is good enough to catch spams.
Learn More & Download: SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
22. Social Metrics
Social Metrics is a “Social Media Monitoring” tool to track how your blog is performing on the popular social media websites. With Social Metrics, you can find out how many times your blog posts are shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, StumbleUpon, and LinkedIn.
Learn More & Download: Social Metrics
23. Testimonials Widget
Testimonials Widget allows you to display quotes, reviews, random or rotating portfolio, showcases, or some text with images on your WordPress blog.
Learn More & Download: Testimonials Widget
ViperBar adds an attractive bar to your blog’s header so that you can use that to promote one of your services or newsletters. It includes built in styling, Aweber & FeedBurner integration, conversion rate tracking, split-testing, themes, etc.
Learn More & Download: ViperBar
25. WP Smush.it
WP Smush.it reduces the sizes of images and improves the performance of your blog using the Smush.it API within WordPress. All images on your blog posts will be automatically run through Smush.it behind the scenes and will be optimized. I’m not using any of those performance plugins other than W3 Total Cache as I’m already using Google’s PageSpeed Service.
Learn More & Download: WP Smush.it
WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog for mobile devices, complete with AJAX loading articles and smooth effects when viewed from mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, Android devices, BlackBerry, etc.
Learn More & Download: WPtouch