41 Essential WordPress Plugins – Everything You Need to Run a Blog Like Mine

May 30, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

wp pluginsOne of the most frequently asked questions I get here on Winning the Web is “what WordPress plugin are you using to do X?”. I’ve been pretty generous in responding to emails and giving away my plugins, but unfortunately it does tend to take up a lot of my time. So rather than constantly answer your plugin questions, I thought it would be much more efficient and helpful for you all if I created a comprehensive list here. I’ll update it regularly so you get the latest scoop on the best plugins I’m using.

Action PopUp ($47)
Displays an unblockable pop-up overlay with an opt-in email form. Everything is customizable, including size, color, delay, and frequency. You can even have the popup show up on page load or when the user tries to leave the page. I recently implemented this plugin for The Winning Way book launch and have seen GREAT results so far. The plugin costs $47 but is worth every penny. It also comes with Action Comments, which allows you to add blog post commentators to your email autoresponder.

Checks new comments on your blog against the Akismet web service to look for spam patterns. It then catches spam comments and holds them for review. Akismet comes with every default WordPress installation and works very well. You still have to go in and manually approve/disapprove spam though. Thanks to Akismet, I’ve prevented thousands of spam comments from getting through to the blog.

All in One SEO Pack
Allows you to easily edit post titles and descriptions and configure your blog for maximum SEO benefit. This is definitely a must-have to get your site optimized for the search engines.

Blog Icons
Adds favicons and iPhone icons to your blog. Pretty simple, but makes your blog look nicer in the browser.

Breadcrumb Navigation XT
Adds a breadcrumb navigation showing the visitor’s path to his or her current location. I’m a huge fan of breadcrumbs (for both usability and SEO benefits) and highly recommend you implement this.

Brian’s Threaded Comments
The new version of WordPress (2.7) already has threaded comments built in, but I started using threaded comments a while back and I’m using this plugin to keep all of my old comment threads in tact. Threaded comments is extremely effective because it keeps the flow of conversation much more manageable.

Broken Link Checker
Checks your posts for broken links and missing images. You should also run a Xenu crawl once in a while to find errors on your site. Checking for broken links is a hassle to do manually, but these tools and plugins make it easy.

Canonical URL’s
Adds rel=”canonical” links to the head of your site. If you don’t know what a canonical tag is, check this post to read about the benefits – canonical tag to reduce duplicate content clutter. Basically the tag tells the search engines the original source of a page and prevents the negative effects of duplicate content.

Comment Relish
Sends out a short thank you email to users who comment on your blog for the first time. The message is completely customizable and is a great way to connect with new visitors. However, this plugin does put a strain on your server so I wouldn’t recommend using it unless you have a VPS or dedicated server.

Crawl Rate Tracker
Logs every visit by the search engines, determines crawl rate, and displays a nice graph of the frequency. Why is this important? I’ve mentioned that crawl rate is the PageRank in SEO. The more the crawlers visit, the greater the authority of your site. This kind of stuff is worth monitoring.

Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
Generates a fully customizable HTML sitemap, which allows search engines to more easily crawl all of your site’s content and users to find old posts in your archives. You can see mine in action here – Winning the Web Archive.

Executable PHP widget
Allows you to place PHP code in your widgets. This is useful when you want to use a separate PHP script in your widget. For example, I place the Feedburner feed count code in one of these bad boys to display the number of RSS subscribers for Winning the Web.

FeedBurner FeedSmith
If you have a blog, Feedburner is a must-have service to track your subscribers and dive into statistics. This plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.

Force Word Wrapping
Prevents long words and URLs from horizontally stretching the page. Doesn’t it annoy you when a long URL messes up your template? This plugin prevents that from happening.

Global Translator PRO ($69)
Automatically translates your blog posts in 41 different languages using online translation engines from Google, Babelfish, FreeTranslations.com, and Promt. The translations aren’t 100% accurate but more content means more search engine traffic. You’re also able to reach new audiences in different countries. Both free and paid versions of the plugin are available. Tip from All Things SEM.

Google Analytics for WordPress
Makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your blog with settings that allow you to track extra search engines, click outs, and downloads.

Google XML Sitemaps
Generates an XML sitemap for your blog used by search engines Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask. What’s an XML sitemap, you ask? Basically it’s a file that tells the search engines which pages on your site are most important and which they should crawl on a regular basis.

MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate ($97)
Automatically converts keywords on your blog into links of your choice – including affiliate links. You can also manage, track, cloak and shorten an unlimited number of links from one central location in your WordPress backend. The plugin costs $97, which is expensive compared to other plugins, but if you’re looking to make money with affiliate links it’s worth the cost.

No Self Pings
Keeps WordPress from sending pings to your own site. This is pretty self explanatory. Why send pingbacks to your own posts?

OIOpublisher Direct 2.0
An all-in-one ad management system that integrates into WordPress. I’ve been using this plugin for about a year now and recommend it highly to everyone selling direct blog advertisements. It completely automates the ad buying and tracking processes and has saved me a lot of time. This plugin costs $47 – definitely worth it considering it’s an integral tool in making more money with your blog.

Optimize DB
Optimizes your WordPress database by eliminating unused data fields with just one click.

Popularity Contest
Enables ranking of your posts based on popularity factors: comments, links, and views. You can then display a list of popular posts on your blog using PHP code (using the PHP widget plugin mentioned above). This is a great way of automatically leading your readers to your best content.

Post Teaser
Generates “teasers” of posts in the main, archive, and category pages, with a link underneath to the full post. I’ve written about the benefits of post excerpts before and this plugin does the job very nicely. It even allows you to generate a word count, image count, and an estimated reading time for each post.

Recent Comments
Displays a list of the most recent comments which you can easily customize to your liking. I use this for my sidebar and it’s a good method of showing others that your blog is interactive. The plugin requires the Post-Plugin Library.

Robots Meta
Allows you to add all the appropriate robots meta tags to your pages and feeds, disable unused archives, and nofollow unnecessary links. The technical aspects of SEO can be confusing for newbies, but this plugin makes it all very easy.

RSS Footer
Adds a line of content to the end of your RSS feed posts. I use this to add a copyright message and a link back to the original post (to combat scraper sites that steal my content).

Show Top Commentators
Displays a list of top commentators with links back to their sites. I like this feature because it rewards those who are active and frequently leave comments on your blog.

Similar Posts
Displays a list of related posts based on post categories and word usage in the content, title, or tags. You can even display a list of related posts in your feed which is a great way to urge readers to explore additional content on your blog. The plugin requires the Post-Plugin Library.

Smart Youtube
Inserts YouTube videos in posts, comments and RSS feeds. You can always do this manually but this plugin makes it so much easier. Now if only I got around to shooting some more videos…

Adds social media icons and links to your posts, pages and RSS feed. You can choose your favorite social bookmarking sites and fully customize what you want displayed. Social media can drive huge amounts of traffic to your sites and a social bookmarking plugin like this one increases your chances of an article “going hot”.

Subscribe To Comments
Allows commentators to receive notifications of new comments on an article (checkbox option in the comments form). This is a great way to get people back to your site and continue the conversation.

Theme Tester
Lets you test new themes without making them visible to your blog visitors. If you’re looking for a new theme, use this. You don’t want to drive your readers nuts by changing the theme every 10 minutes.

Tweet This
Adds a “Tweet This Post” link to every post and page and shortens URLs in advance through a variety of different services (e.g. bit.ly). As you know, re-tweets on Twitter can send A LOT of traffic and this plugin works wonders.

Widget Logic
Controls widgets with conditional tags. With this plugin you can specify when a sidebar widget should and should not be displayed. For example, I use Widget Logic to prevent my “The Winning Way” ebook widget from being displayed on the actual book description page.

WordPress Backup (by BTE)
Backs up the upload directory (images), current theme directory, and plugins directory to a zip file. You can save the file to your hard drive or web server or have it emailed to you directly.

WordPress Database Backup
Same as above but backs up your WordPress database (holding all of your posts, pages, and settings). Don’t take these plugins for granted. You won’t realize their importance until it’s too late.

Adds an AJAX poll system to your blog. You can easily include polls in your posts, pages, and widgets and dynamically display the results. Implement this feature if you want to collect data on your readers or add some interactivity on your blog.

WP Contact Form III
Adds in a simple contact page on your blog with a form for name, email, website, subject, and message. This one isn’t as fancy as the other contact plugins out there but it’s simple and easy to use.

WP Greet Box
Shows a welcome message to your visitors depending on which site they’re coming from (e.g. Google, Digg, Facebook, etc). You can see an example at the top of this post. I use the plugin to promote my RSS feed and it works very well. For more info, check out my post about the 8 prime locations to promote your blog’s RSS feed.

WP Security Scan
Performs a security scan of your WordPress installation. With hackers running rampant these days, you can never be too safe.

WP Super Cache
Caches your posts to save database resources and to speed up your site. WordPress works by calling the database each time a page/post is accessed. If you have a big influx of traffic (social media traffic) this can put a heavy strain on your web server. To prevent crashing, use this caching plugin – it works like a charm.

Hopefully this list is helpful and leads you to discover a few new plugins you can install on your blog. I’m constantly on the look out for more so if you have any others that you think I should be using, leave a comment here and let me know. What are your favorite plugins? Which can of them can you not do without?

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43 Responses to “41 Essential WordPress Plugins – Everything You Need to Run a Blog Like Mine”

BuildAndEarn on May 30th, 2009

I was pleasantly surprised… nice list. Was expecting regurgitation. Although I don’t think all 41 are “essential” – I mean how many plugins do YOU have active. Either way nice post.

Gyutae Park on June 2nd, 2009

All of the plugins included on this list are currently active on my blog. If you want to count inactive plugins, that would up it to around 60 plugins. 😛

Josh Auriemma on May 31st, 2009

Awesome list. Going to implement 6 or 7 of them on my own site. Thanks for the compilation.

Dennis Edell on May 31st, 2009

Excellent list buddy, I actually found some this time that I didn’t know about. 🙂

Amit Agarwal on May 31st, 2009

Thanks for this useful list. Just a small point – The all-in-one SEO plugin can automatically add the canonical tags so you may need a separate plugin for Canonical URLs.

Gyutae Park on June 2nd, 2009

Hm, I didn’t know the All in One SEO plugin could automatically add the canonical tags. I’ve been using a separate plugin for that, but I may look into consolidating. Thanks for the tip.

Gerri on May 31st, 2009

Nice list. This will come in handy in the next few days. I am in the process of moving from Blogger to WordPress.

WPThemes on May 31st, 2009

thanks for the plugin list. I was looking for some of these plugins like the WordPress Backup that backups files/images besides the database.

For some reason, on your comment fields, whenever I press “Tab” to move to the next field, it brings me to the top of the page. (I’m using Chrome browser)


Cindy Bidar on May 31st, 2009

Great list. I never heard of Widget Logic or Subscribe to Comments, and I’m here slapping my forehead and saying “Why didn’t I think of that!”


Lori aka A Cowboy's Wife on May 31st, 2009

I wish the Ninja Affiliate plugin would go on sale again. I should have bought it last time when Darren had it on sale but I was out of town and was unable to purchase it:( You got connections?? 🙂 lol

Gyutae Park on June 2nd, 2009

Sales and discounts are up to Pawan (the owner), but I can ask him for you if you’d like.. 😛

Melvin on June 1st, 2009

well thanks for this useful list.. i do use most of those plugins but what caught me is the ‘global translator’. I think I will add it to my blog soon.

Gyutae Park on June 2nd, 2009

Yep, I just discovered that one myself and will be playing around with it. It looks very promising.

Agent 001 on June 1st, 2009

Thanks for the Awesome list. I use some of the plugins above but some are new to me and I find then interesting and useful.

Dean Saliba on June 1st, 2009

There are good plugins listed there that I was not aware of before. So thank you for sharing this list. 🙂

wisdom teeth removal on June 2nd, 2009

Few new ones here I have not heard of before. Thanks for letting us know.

Kahoong Lee on June 2nd, 2009

That’s a huge and awesome list of WordPress plugins! I personally have been using some of the plugins above, I love akismet and All in One SEO Pack the most. Between, I had myself a copy of OIO Publisher plugin as well.
Anyway, thanks for sharing Gyutae!


Personal Travel Agent on June 2nd, 2009

Very useful list, thanks. I’m just setting up my first wordpress blog as we speak, so this is very useful indeed 😀

Zemalf on June 2nd, 2009

Nice comprehensive list, thanks for sharing. I’m not running quite that many and have some alternatives, but the combined functionality and power of the listed ones is truly awesome.

Jitendra Kapoor on June 2nd, 2009

Will I be able to have all the features, looks and feel like your blog by using these plugins?

Gyutae Park on June 2nd, 2009

Well all of the listed plugins add functionality in the backend so you won’t be able to achieve the same look and feel (although you shouldn’t be copying me anyway) In order to do that, you’ll have to download a StudioPress theme.

fas on June 2nd, 2009

Those are some plugins. Do they slow down the blog?

Abdulrehman on June 3rd, 2009

All-in-one SEO is one amazing plug-in, as for the rest I still have to check out 33 lug-ins listed here. Great article, just gave it a thumbs up on SU! 😉

Mike Huang on June 3rd, 2009

Dude Gyutae, if you have 41 plugins running, I would not even know what to say! lol.

I remember having about 20 plugins and it slowed down EVERYTHING even with a quad core server 🙁

aaron on June 4th, 2009

I’m new to wordpress etc and I’m just about to start my own blog. I want to have a section on my blog like your sponsors section. Is it a plugin? Not sure how to get it on my site any help would be much appreciated….

McBilly on June 4th, 2009

Very nice list Gyutae. I’m using around 20+ of them. But like what others in the comments are saying, wouldn’t that slow down your site? Hehe. I guess that’s where a VPS or dedicated server come in, right? 😉

Martin Hegelund on June 6th, 2009

Wow – what a great list! But in general I wouldn’t recommend to show which plugins you’re using. Then it might be easier for hackers to do harmful things to WordPress…

Dominique on June 8th, 2009

Interesting collection of plugin. Some of those you mentioned I haven’t seen them before.. will add those that are useful for my site.

make money blogging on June 8th, 2009

Cool man, almost the same as what I use.. Probably 1 or 2 new suggestions I might try. =)

Affiliate Marketing Tips on June 9th, 2009

There’s lots of plugins in your list I’ve not heard of so I’ll be checking them out when I got the chance. Thanks for sharing GP.

Peter Lee

Ken on June 9th, 2009

Wow, thanks for the info. It is amazing how many plugins there are. It really helps when you give a recap on them. I will be adding a couple based on your post.

Jason on June 10th, 2009

That was awesome. Thank you for the long list. Amazing how plugins could be very valuable. I will surely check on them after and add a few from your list.

thanks again

Jason @

ilmu komputer on June 15th, 2009

Many plugin i didn;t recognize, i try to use it in my blog.

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog on June 21st, 2009

Do you use all these 41 plugs in. I think these 41 are really a long list. Don’t you think so ?

Monetize Online on June 23rd, 2009

Great list of resources, I’ve used some, but there are others I were not aware off. Nice find mate. I’ll be using some of these from now on 🙂

Jaymie L. Conrad on June 29th, 2009

That is a very useful and complete list. I am checking on them now, smile. Thanks!

Pacific Timesheet

Yogindernath on June 29th, 2009

The list is huge but wonderful… I am planning to incorporate some of these into my wordpress website.

Shaun Judy on July 2nd, 2009

These are pretty much what I would call a must on every blog. I use these plus some. But I will say you introduced me to some new goodies.


Harson on July 3rd, 2009

This is very complete list. thanks for sharing. i am using some of them. it’s worth trying the others.

Davis on July 10th, 2009

Thanks for the plugin list! I’ve been using about 6-7 plugins in the list above and I found them quite useful for blog. Anyway, I love All-In-One-SEO the most as it’s SEO friendly and make my blog a better SEO practice. I’m going to check out other plugins in this list.

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