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Top Free Recommended Plugins Installing Through Wordpress

Updated on September 14, 2014

With so many plugins to choose from it can be easy to end up installing a ridiculously huge amount on your site. While there is nothing wrong with having a lot of plugins, you can streamline things a bit by making sure you get the ones that are going to benefit you the most.

Also, the nature of your site will impact what plugins you choose. However, there are certain plugins that are practically essential regardless of what kind of site you’re building. Here is a list of some of my recommended free plugins and what they do. The one that I consider essential will be marked as such.

Zemanta

Zemanta is a plugin that actually installs into your browser and must be downloaded outside of worpress. Despite this, Zemanta actually functions inside your wordpress control panel when you open the post page to edit or to create a new post.

Zemanta provides you with content recommendations and allows you to easily add a variety of things to your post, such as pictures and related articles. It also allows you to easily create text-based links, and it recommends tags that you can add to your post just by clicking on them.

Automatic SEO Links

This plugin allows you to quickly and easily turn any word or phrase into link in your text. It also allows you to set links to “Nofollow” If ou want, and it only links the first word in each post so your entire post isn’t spammed up with links.

To configure it, check the Automatic SEO Links subtab in the settings area of left-hand menu on the control panel.

This plugin can be found using the wordpress plugin search function and can be installed from there.

SEO Tag Cloud Widget

If you plan to use a tag cloud on your site, you should definitely pick up this plugin. Tag clouds are sometimes not read correctly by search engines, but this plugin will ensure that your tag cloud is converted into an easily read HTML code so that search engines pick it up more easily.

You can find and install this plugin using the wordpress plugin search function.


SEO Friendly Images

Images on your site can also be a great way to attract visitors through places such as Google Images and Yahoo Images. This plugin makes sure that the images on your site have the correct tags so that they are properly indexed by search engines. The options for this plugin can be found under the settings tab in the control panel main menu.

It can be found and installed by using the wordpress plugin search function.

Slick Social Share Buttons

There are a variety of ways to add share buttons for Facebook, Google+1 and more to your website, but this plugin makes it fast and easy. Slick Social Share Buttons creates a social share button bar that can be customized in a variety of ways and configured to show up on the pages you specify.

The best thing is that it scrolls with the page itself so that eben when visitors scroll down it’s still visible. To access the configuration option for this plugin. Click the new tab that appears under the settings in the wordpress control panel main menu.

Slick Social Share Buttons can be found and installed using the Wordpress plugins search function.


Subscribe to Comments

This plugin is great for getting visitors to return to your website if you encourage comments. Subscribe to Comments allows visitors to subscribe to the comments section on your posts. When a new comment is added the visitor receives an email alert. This plugin is highly recommended for content-heavy sites and blogs. The options for this plugin can be found in the settings tab on the wordpress main menu.

You can find and install Subscribe to Comments by using the wordpress plugin search function.

Personal Favicon

This plugin makes managing your website’s favicon (the little symbol next to the URL) incredibly easy. While this plugin may not be essential, it is highly recommended because your fevicon is important for branding purposes. The options for this plugin will be located in the settings tab in the wordpress main menu.

Personal Fevicon can be found and installed using the wordpress plugin search feature.

SEO Ranker Report

Manually keeping track of which pages and posts on your site are ranking well in Google can be a major chore. This plugin allows you to keep track of your websit posts and pages rankings based on keywords. In fact, you can configure this plugin to track data from any URL you want.

It should be noted, however, that many people using HostGator have been unable to get this plugin to work due to errors. The options for this plugin are found in their own unique tab that will show up under the settings tab in the wordpress main menu.

You can get SEO Ranker Report by using the wordpress plugin search option.


Wordpress Related Posts (Essential)

This plugin adds a list of related posts at the bottom of each post you create. This is great for SEO as well as encouraging visitors to visit multiple pages on your website, which is one of the keys to beating Google’s panda update. Just about any site imaginable can benefit from this. The options for this plugin will be found in the settings tab and be listed as “Related Posts.”

You can get wordpress Related Posts by using the wordpress plugin search function.

WP Super cache (Essential)

Providing your visitors with a good user experience is another key to defeating Panda, and if your site loads really slowly you’re going to be in trouble. This plugin helps to ensure that your website loads quickly regardless of how much traffic you’re getting by keeping a cached version of your site in the browser. The options for WP Super Cache can be found in the settings tab in the wordpress main menu.

You can get WP Super Cache by using the plugin search function in the wordpress control panel.

Google XML Sitemaps (Essential)

Google XML Sitemaps generates a sitemap to help your website be indexed more easily by search engines like Google. No matter what kind of site you’re building you must get this plugin. The options for this plugin can be found in the settings tab on the main menu.

Google XML Sitemaps can be found and installed using the wordpress plugins search function.


WP-PageNavi

This plugin adds a stylish page navigation area at the bottom of your website that is fully customizable. If you run a blog or website that has many different areas and categories, this plugin can help make navigation a lot easier for visitors. The options for WP-PageNavi can be found in the settings area of wordpress menu.

This plugin can be found and installed using the wordpress plugin search function.

Google Analyticator

This handy plugin allows you to check your Google Analytics data directly from your wordpress dashboard instead of having to go to Google Analytics to check it each time. While this isn’t essential, it can save you a lot of time. The configuration options for this plugin can be found in the the settings tab on the wordpress main meu. Look for “Google Analytics,” not “Google Analyticator.”

You can get Google Analyticator by using the wordpress plugin search option.

Breadcrumb NavXT

This plugin is great for optimizing your on-page SEO. It provides a link chain at the top of each post linking viewers back to where they came from. For example, if they are on a post titled “Dog Walking” in the category “Dog Behavior” the breadcrumb trail will read something like “Home -> Dog Behavior -> Dog Walking.” This is also great for helping your viewers to navigate your site.

This plugin has a ton of opyions that you can customize and that can be found in the settings tab in the wordpress control panel menu. I would recommend cicking the General tab and changing the Home Title to the actual name of your site. This will cause the word “Home” to be replaced in the trail with the name of your site, which is more SEO-friendly.

You can get this plugin by using the wordpress plugin search function.

All in One SEO Pack (Essential)

There are many SEO plugins out there, but this probably the most popular free one. All in One SEO Pack works to help optimize each page and post, as well as your website as a whole. Just don’t forget to configure it after you’ve installed it, or it will be functionally useless. The configuration options can be found in the settings tab on the main wordpress menu.

All in One SEO Pack can be found using the wordpress plugin search option and installed through the control panel.

Contact Form 7 (Essential)

Regardless of what kind of site you’re building, you’re going to need to give your visitors a way to contact you. Contact Form 7 allows you to not only put a contact form on your contact page (or anywhere you desire), it also allows you to edit and customize your contact form. The options for Contact Form 7 are listed in the plugins page under plugin name and are labelled “Settings.”

Contact Form 7 can be found by using the search function in wordpress and can be installed directly from the control panel.

Really Simple Captcha (Essential)

This plugin is recommended to keep bots from relentlessly spamming your email address through your contact form. This plugin adds a captcha form that visitors have to complete in order to contact you. Really Simple Captcha was developed by Takayuki Miyoshi, the same individual who created Contact Form 7, and is intended to work with it.

To get this plugin to work you have to go into the settings for contact Form 7 and click on the drop-down menu that says “Generate Tag” and select “Captcha.” You then copy and paste the two bits of code at the bottom over into the fields to the left just before the last tag.

It can be found through the plugin search function on wordpress and can be installed from there.

Akismet (Essential)

Akismet comes already installed on the wordpress and is a spam blocker. To activate it, you have to go o the plugin page, click “Activate,” then click the link where you go to get your API key. There are paid versions with more options, but the free version is fine. Once you get the key, click the link in the yellow bar at the top your wordpress control panel that prompts you to enter it. Once you enter the key you’re good to go. Akismet will have its own configuration link in the Plugins tab on the wordpress main menu.

Choosing the Right Plugins

While some plugins work well with pretty much any site and are essential for good SEO, blocking spam, and other functions, your plugin selection will largely depend on the type of site you’re creating. Some plugins are designed to enhance blogs, and others to enhance affiliate sites. Consider what functions you need on your site and choose your plugins accordingly.

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    • liyushamit profile imageAUTHOR

      Amit Kumar 

      3 years ago from India

      really thanks Dave Collado and keep reading.

    • Dave Collado profile image

      Dave Collado 

      3 years ago from San Jose California

      This is an excellent list of resources. Thank you for sharing Liyushamit, and welcome to HP.

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