2013 Favorite WordPress PluginsWhat would WordPress be without plugins!  They make our blogs perform better, keep them secure and help with the ease of things.

Back in 2011 I shared what my favorite WordPress plugins were at that time.  Boy was that ever a popular post so the following year I decided to share my favorites again.  That one was a big hit as well.

I know a lot of my readers are curious what I use because I often get emails asking.  I just decided to make this a yearly post so here we are into year three.

How many plugins are too many?  I have absolutely no idea but I think it depends on each plugin.  Some will bog your blog down while others don’t take up much room at all.

Whatever you do, tread lightly when you hear about a new plugin.  Barry was kind enough to inform us of just how dangerous it can be when you install just anything.

Like I’ve done in the previous years I’ve listed these in alphabetical order along with the reasons why I use these particular plugins.

1. Aweber Web Forms

I still use Aweber as my autoresponder service and to make it easier, and per the suggestion of many, it’s best to have several different options for your subscribers to opt-in.  Aweber has their own plugin and as you may have noticed, this one is below my comment box.

Plugin is updated yearly

2.  Contact Form Clean and Simple

Most of these contact plugins are really easy to use.  I recently switched to this one because the one I’ve used for years hasn’t been updated in awhile.  With this one though you have an option to include a captcha code and a quick response so that whoever sent you an email will receive an immediate response that it’s been sent.

Plugin last updated September 16, 2013

3.  Clean Archives Reloaded

I just love this plugin, I can’t help it.  I know my archive page is really long now and it is confusing for people to find things at times which is why I also created my “Start Here” page because I put that in categories.  I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this one but it’s still one of my favorites.  If you have a fairly new blog then this archive page might just be what you need.

FYI: You will need to place a code on your new page and I have placed that code in a file.  You can download that by clicking ===> HERE!!!

Plugin last updated October 22, 2010 (No concern, I’ve spoken with the creator and there has been no need to update)

4. CommentLuv Premium

My all time favorite plugin, CommentLuv Premium.  I definitely highly recommend you purchasing this one but Andy does still have the free version as well.

Let me recap what all CommentLuv Premium has included; CommentLuv, KeywordName, GASP, Twitter Link Comments, DoFollow, TrackBack Validation, Top CommentLuvvers, No Self Ping and the most recent addition, ReplyMe.  Most of you know that I’m currently testing the Anti Backlink feature which will be the newest addition to help cut down on even more spam.

Included as a stand alone plugin for CommentLuv Premium users Andy has created the Broken Link Checker for CommentLuv links.  I use this plugin at least once a month when checking for broken links.

NOTE:  I’m an affiliate of CommentLuv Premium and will receive a commission if you purchase through my link.  Andy also updates this plugin on a regular basis and another new update will be released soon.

5. Google XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps are a list of pages on your website.  When you create this type of sitemap it helps Google know about all the pages on your site including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.  It also helps the other search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your sites too.

Plugin last updated August 11, 2013

6.   Most Popular Posts

You’ll see this one over in my sidebar where it says “Most Popular Posts”.  I have it set to display the ten most popular posts on my blog based on the number of comments it has received.  This helps those posts stand out a little more.

Plugin last updated February 14, 2013

7. OpenHook

This is a Thesis related plugin that makes coding easy.  All I know is that with this plugin you can add code and customize your theme without ever having to dig into the editor functions.

Plugin last updated December 14, 2012

8.  Related Posts

I just changed this plugin last month because the one I was using just stopped working for some reason.  It had been updated on a regular basis so I’m assuming with the recent upgrade of WordPress that something went wrong.

Either way this plugin is what you see at the bottom of my posts and show other posts you may be interested in.  With this one you have the option of just including the links like I have or images which a lot of people have.  I find those too distracting, at least for me so once again, I’m all about simple.

Plugin last updated August 28, 2013

9. Share Juice Pro

This plugin is the social sharing buttons you see at the end of my post.  It was created by my wonderful friend Ashvini upon the recommendation of Carolyn and myself.

I love that I can create my own buttons if I want but also place them in whatever order I want as well.  He’s also included one so you can print the post, email it or sent it to Kindle.  Let’s not forget the cool Pinterest option as well.  You can also place your social buttons anywhere on your blog you want, I just prefer mine below my posts.

With this plugin you can also create a Facebook like widget without adding any code and his latest addition is the author bio box.  Another really cool feature that is coming is the open graph function for pulling the correct images into Facebook as well as all the other social sites.  I’m testing that one as we speak so it’s coming soon.

NOTE:  I’m an affiliate of Share Juice Pro and will receive a commission if you purchase through my link but you still get a free 30 day trial run.  Ashvini also updates this plugin on a regular basis and another new update will be released soon.

10. Social Metrics Pro

I wrote briefly about this plugin in a post last month but you can track your posts in your WordPress dashboard by how many times it’s being shared through tweets, likes, pins, Google+s and a few more sites.  You’ll be able to see which posts are doing good on which sites.  Like it’s pretty obvious that my posts relating to Twitter really do well on Twitter but I can tract those numbers which is pretty cool.

You can set the filters the way you want so you don’t have to monitor all the sites they connect with.  It also color codes them by popularity so it’s pretty obvious right off the bat which ones are doing better then others.

NOTE:  I’m an affiliate of Social Metrics Pro and will receive a commission if you purchase through my link.  Plugin last updated January 28, 2013

11. Subscribe To Comments

I mainly use this plugin for my guest bloggers so that they can receive notifications of new comments on the posts they’ve written.  Most people who click this by mistake end up getting overwhelmed with all the comments I receive on each post so it’s really not a great idea to check this box.  If you comment on my blog you will receive your response via email.

Plugin last updated August 28, 2012

12. WordPress File Monitor Plus

This plugin will notify me if there has been any suspicious activity on my blog such as added, changed or deleted files.

There is some code that needs to be included with this one or you’ll definitely freak out because it will pick up your activity as well.  Dee Ann came to my rescue with this one though and told me what to include.  She’ll be covering all of that and more in her upcoming product.

Plugin last updated June 11, 2012

13. WP Optimize

If any of you read my post about my hosting service fiasco then you might remember me sharing with you the issues I had with my database.  This is an area you do not want to ignore so what this plugin does is it helps you keep your database clean by removing post revisions, comments in the spam queue and un-approved comments with just a few clicks.  You can do a few other things but these are the most important.  It just helps keep your database tables clean because we don’t want them piling up with junk.

Plugin last updated December 30, 2011

14. WPTouch Mobile

The statistics are rising and more and more readers are accessing our blogs through their mobile devices.  If you don’t have your theme set up for viewing via these devices then you will definitely lose a lot of readers.

This plugin formats your site with a mobile theme for visitors on Apple iPhone/iPod touch, Google Android, Blackberry Storm and Torch, Palm Pre and other touch-based smartphones.  We cannot forget our mobile users.

Plugin last updated September 17, 2013

That’s All The Plugins

I’m sure that you might be thinking my goodness girl, that’s all you use!  Well yeah, that’s really pretty much it.  Because I have Thesis I can easily add code where others may struggle.  That’s way better then adding yet another plugin that may not work next year.

I’ve added the Google Analytics code and Thesis has the SEO feature built in so no plugin is needed for that.

I’ve made backing up my blog part of my daily routine now since most of the plugins I’ve tried eventually just stop working.  That’s something I can’t have happen.

As I mentioned last year, Dee Ann has taught me how to secure my blog through some coding efforts so a lot of the security plugins I had I no longer need.  The hack attempts were really starting to wear on me so I asked Ashvini if he could figure something out and he definitely came through.  We’ve stopped them in their tracts for now at least!

What I Use Occasionally

When checking for broken links I prefer using the program instead of the plugin since I’ve found it to be very unreliable.

When writing reviews or promoting specific products I will still occasionally write a keyword rich post. I’ve found SEOPressor V4 to be great for that but I’ll only install it when I need it.  Yep, it’s a paid plugin and it works really well for me.

You might also notice that I use no caching plugin.  I’ve tried W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache in the past and neither of them play nice with my blog.  At this time my current hosting service says that it’s just not needed.

Back in May I wrote how you can easily compress your images so I use a stand alone site for that as well and threw in the towel with the Smush.it plugin.  It didn’t work half of the time.

Less is best!

What About Your List

So which plugins are your favorites and which ones do you refuse to live without?

Are you using the majority of what I’m using or do you have some in your arsenal that you think are better?  Maybe you’ve found a new and improved version that I’m not aware of.

I use to try a new plugin when someone would suggest it until I learned my lesson with my database issues.  No more, I use what I need and my blog is functioning just fine.  I’m just really over all of that ya know!

When trying new plugins though always backup your blog first because some don’t play nice with each other or some themes so you want to be prepared.  I’ve heard so many nightmares from friends of mine and I would hate for that to happen to you.

So how many plugins are you using now?  Do you think like I do now and less is best?  Does your blog run well with the ones you currently have?  Is there a particular plugin that you would still like to find?  Maybe me or my readers can help you with that so be sure to ask.

Eager to hear what you think about my list so be sure to share your comment below.  Hope you’ll share this post with your friends too.  You never know if they may be looking for something that I happen to be using or someone has suggested here.





Business Developer
Email:  Adrienne@AdrienneSmith.net