WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms and CMSs due to the feature like plugins. Plugins are composed of PHP scripts and they provide more functionality to your blog. They can be useful for enhancing current features and also adding new features.
For new bloggers, choosing the best plugins is often daunting and confusing. There are thousands of plugins available, some free and some which require payment, but allow me to introduce you to a few of the best ones that I use on machoarts.com.
This plugin is must for all WordPress blogs. Online Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database files. Be sure to install it before playing with your blog, that way if you do something silly, you can easily revert back to your original formatting and content.
Download: WP-Online Backup
This plugin integrates popular social vote-count buttons into WordPress easily. We also use Digg on MachoArts, you can see the social voting buttons after each post. Digg is by far the best way to get more visitors from the social networks.
Download: Digg Digg
Platinum SEO Pack
Platinum SEO pack is the best SEO plugin to optimize your blog for Search engines. It offers complete onsite SEO solution for your WordPress blog. You can customize page titles, Meta tags, descriptions, keywords, dofollow or nofollow to each post and 301 redirects.
All in One SEO Pack is the alternative SEO plugin which is also very popular. I have tried this one too, both are good but All in One lacks a few features.
Download: Platinum SEO Pack, All in One SEO Pack
Generally this plugin come with WordPress installation so you don’t have to install it again, this plugin is very useful to detect spam comments, if your blog is a popular one then you must try this plugin.
PS: I observed that sometimes it detects guanine comments as a spam, so always check your spam comments.
This plugin is very useful to increase comments on your blog, it will visit the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve a selection of their last blog posts, tweets or digg submissions which they can choose one from to include at the bottom of their comment when they click submit. Best way to say thank you to your readers!! :)
cbnet Ping Optimizer
When you create a new post, your blog will ping and notify all the ping services that it has been updated. This encourages search engines and different blog directories to index your updated blog properly. When you update your old posts WordPress also sends a ping to search engines, search engines can tag your blog as ping spammer. This plugin avoid unnecessary pings.
Download: cbnet Ping Optimizer
Simple Google Sitemap XML
Sitemaps are very useful to index your blog properly in search engines. Simple Google Sitemap XML generates a valid Google XML sitemap, which can then be used with Google’s Webmaster Tools. You can tweak some settings in the admin though, like priority and frequency.
Download: Simple Google Sitemap XML
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail content with a simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
Download: Contact Form 7
Subscribe To Comments
Subscribe to Comments is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries. The plugin includes a full-featured subscription manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts, block all notifications, or even change their notification e-mail address!
Download: Subscribe to Comments
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
This is the best plugin to show related posts with thumbnails or without thumbnails, Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site.
Download: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2
I used this plugin on many blogs and saw very impressive improvements in search engine traffic. The purpose of this plugin is to strengthen the On Page SEO by adding new internal linking to the blog posts using the most popular keywords used by search engine visitors to find the blog post from a search engine ( incoming search terms ).
Download: SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2
WP Super Cache
This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. This plugin is very useful to increase your blog loading time. IT also it reduces the CPU load of the servers.
If you have experience in WordPress then we recommend W3 Total cache for better performance, W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Download: Wp Super Cache, W3 Total Cache
The plugins recommended above are all used on machoarts.com. Please note: I strongly recommend to backup your database before playing with your blog. As there are so many plugins out there, it would be great if you could share your favorite WordPress plugin in the comments area.