"A Plugin is a group of php code that can extend the functionality present in a standard WordPress weblog." -Wikipedia
Plugins make life easy for WordPress users. But with 4000+ plugins in WordPress plugin directory, it is very difficult to find the perfect plugin you want. And even if you find one, there are chances that it will not be compatible with WordPress 2.7.
So, we dug the WordPress Plugins Directory and summed up a list of 50 Most Useful WordPress plugins. All of these work with WordPress 2.7
It's up to you to monetize your blog. You can choose how and why you want to make money from your blog. Why depends on you, but here is how:
- WP Google Ad Manager: Use this one to easily place Google Ad Manager Ads within posts or in the sidebar.
- Ozh' Who Sees Ads: An advanced ad management plugin that lets you decide who sees ads. You can use it to hide ads from regular or search engine visitors.
- Ad-Minister: This plugin lets you put ads in the sidebar. You have to give the code for ad so you can easily place AdSense and other type of ads that require HTML. It can also track number of clicks.
- Wp 125: This plugin is perfect for beginners who want to manage direct ads. Give it image address, landing page url and it will do the rest. Can schedule the ads.
- My Ad Manager: It manages your outside and home ads and also gives a form through which advertisers can buy ad space via PayPal. Outside ads mean the ads that point to another url. Internal ads are those which point to any page/post on your blog. My Ad Manager uses home ads as fillers when outside ads expire.
- AdSense Integrator: This plugin lets you insert ads on top, middle and bottom of posts. You can add any code to the post, not just Adsense.
- Comment Reply Notification: When a reply is made to a comment, the commentator is notified of this. Useful for carrying on conversations.
- Bad Behavior: This plugin stops spam bots from visiting your blog and saves you time and bandwidth. It matches IP addresses to Project Honeypot database and blocks the request if found in http Black List. Further Reading: How Bad Behavior reduced spam by 93% on Blogging With Success.
- Chunk URLs: Long URLs in comments can break blog design in certain browsers. This plugin shortens those urls.
- Comment Redirect: This plugins redirects first time commentators to a custom page. You can put anything on this page like a "Thanks" message etc. Our redirect page: Thanks for Commenting on Blogging With Success.
- Thank Me Later: This plugin sends the readers a personalized Thank You e-mail after commenting. You can set the time after which mail is sent and can include comment URL, comment and 5 recent posts in the e-mail.
- Subscribe to Comments: Some themes have a email subscription option for comments by default. For those who don't have this option, this plugin is very helpful.
Plain text is boring! Why not spice it up? Following plugins do just that.
- Wp-note: Lets you add nice looking notes, tips, warnings and important tips via shortcodes. Did you see the warning at the beginning of this post? That was rendered using this plugin.
- Zemanta: This plugin searches for related images and articles as you write the post and allows embedding of images. It also suggests tags and links in real time.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: Adds a list of related posts after articles according to criteria you specify.
- Organize Series: makes managing posts in a series easy and adds navigation link to series posts automatically. Our Ad Networks Series uses this plugin.
Default WordPress dashboard is cool! Lets make it cooler!
- Full Comments on Dashboard: By default, only first few words of a comment are shown in recent comments widget of Dashboard. This is pretty useless if you want to reply from there. This plugin shows the full comment in your dashboard.
- Plugin Central: Allows you to install and update plugins from the dashboard. Multiple plugins can be installed/updated at the same time by typing the URL or just name of plugin.
- Technorati Reactions Extended: Shows recent Technorati reactions on dashboard.
- Feed Subscriber Stats: Shows Feedburner subscriber stats on dashboard. Both Feedburner.com and Google Feedburner are supported. Useful if you're not ready to go public with the feedburner chicklet or are lazy to visit FeedBurner. (we are!)
- Mailto:Staff: Useful for multi-author blogs. Adds options on your dashboard to mail to users according to their privileges.
- Dashboard: Scheduled Posts: Adds a scheduled posts widget to dashboard.
Maintaining WP database is important for you as this is where all your data resides. If you are not a pro user, don't worry, these plugins will do the maintenance for you.
- WordPress Database Backup: This plugin lets you backup your database and gives option to either download it or save it on server. You choose which table has to be backed up and which not. Supports scheduled backups.
- WP-DBManager: Lets you backup, optimize and repair your database. You can also empty/drop old tables in database.
- WP-Optimize: Optimizes wordpress database with one click. Lets you free space by removing spam comments, post revisions. User names can be easily changed with it. (WordPress doesn't allow changing user name by default)
- Feedsmith: Redirects all the feed requests to feedburner. Useful when you want to track your subscribers using feedburner and don't want people to subscribe to simple WordPress feeds.
- RSSupplement: Adds WordPress functions, copyright notices to your feed footer.
- Scissors: Adds resizing and cropping features to WordPress image upload and management dialogs.
- SEO Friendly Images: Automatically adds alt and title attribute to images to make them SEO friendly.
- Smart YouTube: Makes embedding YouTube videos in posts and feeds easy.
- Custom Upload Dir: It lets you upload the files to a custom (sub)directory. Good if you want to manage stuff well.
- WordPress Download Monitor: Counts number of downloads for specified files and shows info on Dashboard. Useful for developers.
- Theme Test Drive: Lets you test and edit your theme without actually changing anything for visitors. Only admins are shown the new theme. Useful when redesigning the blog. Also, this plugin lets you install any theme by just specifying URL. You can also let others preview theme by adding "?theme=foldername" after blog URL.
- Theme Tweaker: Lets you change the colors in your theme without having to edit CSS.
- WordPress Theme ShowCase: Lets you display all installed themes on a page. Useful if you want to ask visitors for theme sugestions or just brag about your collection!
- WP-Menu Manager: Handy for creating drop down menus. Supports up to 3 levels of menu. You can create as many menu items as you want. Best part is that it does not use own styling and adopts theme's style. Wait for a tutorial on this next week.
- StatPress Reloaded: Records statistics for blog visitors. Allows exporting of reports.
- Google Analyticator: Lets you easily add Analytics code to your blog without having to edit template.
- Click Tracker: Tracks clicks within the posts and pages.
- Redirection: Adds 301 redirects for urls you define. Useful when migrating to WordPress/changing post urls. It was our traffic saver when we moved Blogging With Success from Blogger to WordPress last year. Can also be used to track affiliate links.
- Popu List: Tracks popularity of your posts on Reditt, StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious.
- Blog Stats: Allows you to display blog statistics using short codes. Useful for "advertise here" pages and for feed parsing as stats are automatically updated.
- Top Commentators: Displays top commentators in your sidebar. You can filter names, URLs, emails and make links 'nofollow'.
- Recent Comments: Displays Recent Comments in sidebar with options to enable/disable avatars.
- WordPress Popular Posts: Displays popular posts sorted by visits, comments or average daily visits.
- WP-Polls: Lets you add polls in posts and sidebar. If you embed poll in a post, it automatically adds a message for RSS subscribers to notify about poll.
- Twitter Tools: Integrates Twitter with WordPress and lets you display recent Tweets.
- Widget Logic: Adds an extra field to Widgets Options to let you control where widgets are shown using conditional tags. Noticed the recent posts widget in sidebar? We use Widget Logic for it. Go to home page and it will disappear. "is_home()" displays widget on home page only and "is_single()" displays on single pages (posts/pages) only. Read the Codex Documentation on Conditional Tags to understand it fully.
- Quick Configuration Links: Adds Activate/deactivate, edit and settings links to Plugin table to make managing plugins easy.
- cFroms: Best Form management plugin for WordPress. It lets you make custom forms without any knowledge of PHP/CSS. Allows multiple admins, custom themes and captcha. Adds a link in editor to make embedding forms easy.
What have we missed: SEO and Security plugins are missing from this post! Right? The reason is that they are in the neighborhood (literally!).
Check them out in these guest posts by me (Before that, leave a comment telling us about any great plugin we may have missed and consider bookmarking this post for future reference):