Top WordPress Plugins for 2010 (Part One)

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One of the best things about WordPress is the community of savvy developers who create all those wonderful plugins. If you visit the WordPress Plugin Directory, however, you’ll find over 8000 available plugins to give your WordPress site a little extra bling.

Phew. That’s a lot to pick from. Unless you like to experiment ALOT, how can you possibly know which ones you should be using? So, with that in mind, here are 5 of my top WordPress plugins for 2010.

Top WordPress Plugins

1. Stop Comment and Trackback SPAM With Akismet

If you get any traffic at all to your site, you will get some SPAM comments and trackbacks. The more traffic you get, the more SPAM you get. And you certainly don’t want Viagra ads popping up (no pun intended) all over the comments section of your site. So, you need some protection.

Akismet, created by the same folks who develop WordPress, is an awesome first line of defense. In fact, it’s the only SPAM plugin we use on all Solostream sites. The only minor drawback is you need to set up an account at WordPress.com, and get an API key to make Akisment work. And if you’re using it for a commercial site, you’ll need to shell out $5 per month.

If you’re not into paying for SPAM prevention, a great free alternative is WP-SpamFree. I’ve used it on a few sites, and it seems to work just as well as Akismet.

2. Protect Your Email Addresses with SpamShiv Lite

Did you know there are little computerized critters crawling around out there on the Interwebs just looking to gobble up email addresses that are published on your site? It’s true. Spammers love to create automated bots and spiders that go around collecting email addresses to add to their SPAM lists.

Anytime you post an email address on your site, it’s vulnerable to such attacks. And who needs that, especially when there’s a relatively simple solution.

SpamShiv Lite converts any email addresses on your site to code that is not recognized as an email address. So, for example, michael@solostream.com shows up in the site source code something like this:

el@solostream.com

Pretty cool, huh. However, the plugin creators admit that the system is not full-proof. There will always be some wily developers out there who will figure out a way to get around such measures, but at least it’s a good start.

3. Get More Traffic from Google with Google XML Sitemaps

According to one one source, As of December 2009, Google performs over 85% of searches done on the Internet. Comscore says it’s only around 65%. Regardless of who’s correct, the fact remains that Google needs to know about all the pages on your site so they can get those pages into their search results … so you can get more search engine traffic.

One way to make sure Google is aware of every page on your site is to submit an XML sitemap. An XML site map is basically a directory of all the pages on your site, and according to Google Webmasters Central:

Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.

Google XML Sitemaps plugin automates the process of submitting a sitemap to Google, as well as Yahoo, Bing and Ask. Once the plugin is installed and activated, it will automatically create and submit a new sitemap to these search engine each time you add or modify content on your site. Does it guarantee you’ll get more traffic from search engine? Of course not, but it can certainly help ensure that all your pages gets indexed a bit quicker.

4. Engage Your Readers with Polldaddy Polls and Ratings

Reader engagement is crucial to a successful blog. Not only does it help develop a community around your blog and/or your business, it can also provide you with crucial intelligence about what your readers or customers like and don’t like about your content.

Blog comments are a one way to engage with readers, but not everyone has the time or interest to post comments on a blog, so you need to find other ways to engage folks. One way to do that is through polls and ratings. And Polldaddy, owned by the developers of WordPress, provides a simple solution to implement these tools on your site.

With the Polldaddy plugin, you can create polls that can easily be embedded into your posts, pages or sidebar via the widgets panel. After the poll has been created, there’s also a cool little reports section in your WP control panel that displays the results of the poll.

The plugin also gives you the ability to add a ratings function to your posts and/or pages so folks can rate your content. See the bottom of this post for an example. We’re using the Nero (thumbs-up, thumbs-down) rating function.

There’s also a 5-star rating function available, and you can select either via your WordPress control panel once the plugin is installed and activated. And just like the polls, there’s a reports section in the WordPress control panel that tells you how your stuff is being rated.

5. Make Your Content Easy to Share with AddToAny

Maybe this has happened to you. You read something really great, and you want to share it with your friends and colleagues. But hey, you’re a busy person, and you just don’t have the time to type and send an email or open up your twitter account to tweet about it. So, you move on to your next task without sharing the great, new idea you just read. It happens all the time. People ARE busy, and you have to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to share your stuff with their network.

That’s where AddToAny comes to the rescue. You can see this plugin in action also at the bottom of this post. Once the plugin is installed and activated, it automatically places either a text link or button at the bottom of your posts so that folks can easily share your content on various social networking sites or via email.

For part two of this post, visit: Top WordPress Plugins for 2010 (Part Two).

About the Author (Author Profile)

Solostream provides Premium WordPress themes that are professional and easy to use. Templates suitable for personal or business blogs, websites and online magazines.

Comments (70)

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  1. I installed SpamBee for the spam comments, but not getting good results. So switching back to Akismet. Although, the post reminded me some of the others plugins I needed the most. Thanks Michael.

  2. BenjaminJ says:

    Polldaddy is the one which I am going to include in my best plugins pouch. Thanks

  3. Rhod Jane says:

    Thanks for great article on WP Plugins. I will test one of those plugins to my blog project. Cheers

  4. Funbrain says:

    Is there any update on SpamShiv Lite? I wanna try it.

  5. Raj says:

    what a huge collection of plugins!!!!! very helpful………….. nice to know.

  6. Sahil Kotak says:

    Well, I don’t care how old this post is but this plugins are still useful for me and they’ll be in 2012 year as well. Thanks a lot for sharing them.

    Sahil

  7. great list, i heard some of them but all of them are perfect

  8. Thanks Michael, for sharing this information with us.

  9. Starfall says:

    I have been using Akismet and Google XML sitemap frequently on my sites so it is very useful. thanks for sharing your top plugins.

  10. Armor Games says:

    The good thing about akismet is it’s very useful to filter the spammer but the problem is, when getting the API it cost a dime. Anyway, wordpress owns this plug, I think! Because its part of the plugin files.. I love wordpress and its worth a million thanks!

  11. Starfall says:

    SpamShiv Lite, this is very helpful. I didn’t know that bots and spiders do that.. Thanks for sharing this plugin. Very very brilliant sharing!

  12. Andkon says:

    Google sitemap xml works like a charm, Ive been using it for all my 7 sites and never failed. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jay says:

    Great list indeed.
    I’ve got 4 wordpress blogs running at the moment and most of them are running the plugins you have suggested. All in One SEO as mentioned in the comments above is also a must have!

  14. Interesting list because it is so different than all the other lists talking about all-in-one-seo and such.

    SpamShiv Lite is totally new to me. I will def check that one out :)

    Oh, and by the way if someone is interested in Slideshow Plugins. I just did a big review series on five of them: http://best-plugins-for-wordpress.com/reviewed/slideshow-plugins

  15. mazdodot says:

    I think one or more of all your list wp plugin usefull for me..very cool,thank you Michael.

  16. Angel Lee says:

    After looking through your list (fantastic list by the way), I just want to add one more to the list – EzAffiliateCash Ads Plugin for WordPress. I believe it used to be a paid plugin but the owner has made it free recently; it’s an all-in-one advertisement plugin that allows you to test different popular advertising methods on wordpress powered websites. I personally have tested it on my blogs (WP 3.x) and it works great. If you want to find out more about it you can visit http://www.adsplugin.com

    I don’t think you can find it on the official wordpress.org/extend/plugins list but it’s indeed a gem!

    Just my 2 cents!

    Angel

  17. Peter says:

    I suggest all in one seo pack is the best seo plugin for wordpresss

  18. Peter says:

    I suggest all in one seo pack is the best seo plugin for wordpress

  19. gala says:

    This is great article of your, hope you write more plugins or make it top 10-20 best wordpress plugins that has a five star rating and more reviews on it! Your article is informative easy to understand, thanks for sharing!

  20. Nice article. Really interesting list of plugins for WordPress.

  21. Daniel says:

    Thanks a lot. We’re just building a new WP blog. Very helpful ;)

  22. Steffen says:

    Uh! Nice list, now I just need a “About the Author” plugin :)

    Anyone?

  23. Great list of plugins.

    I already have Google XML Sitemaps ,among others and your site shows a few I’m not using yet that I need to consider.

  24. Seotons says:

    I just discover SpamShiv Lite via your plugins list. Thanks a lot, I need it!

  25. Vicky says:

    Thanks for the info Michael, I have applied the add to any plugin and will apply more from the list :)

  26. Tony Thompson says:

    Michael, thanks for this list and Part 2.

    Mind if I steal some ideas from you? The CSS of YARPP, Did You Like This Post, About the Author, and this Comments thread is attractive. Is it a function of your theme, or did you add the CSS in all the right places?

    While I’m bugging you, I intend to ‘Check this box to be notified via email when new comments are added’ to this thread. Nice feature. Are you using a Comments plugin to get that?

    Thanks again for the informative lists, and great work on your site…

    • The CSS of YARPP, Did You Like This Post, About the Author, and this Comments thread is attractive. Is it a function of your theme, or did you add the CSS in all the right places?

      Thanks for the kind words Tony. The CSS is part of the custom-designed theme for the Solostream site..

      While I’m bugging you, I intend to ‘Check this box to be notified via email when new comments are added’ to this thread. Nice feature. Are you using a Comments plugin to get that?

      It’s done with this plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gurken-subscribe-to-comments/

  27. awareness says:

    I have used this xml sitemap plugin, it has increased my traffics from 50 to 150 per day, great plugin really it is very useful to increase the traffic in google.

  28. Good tips, though I think I am going to create my polls with the wp-polls plugin

  29. Thanks for the list. I am always on the look out for good plugins for my blog.

  30. stew says:

    Thanks for the great list of plugins. Almost everything I was looking for.

  31. Lene says:

    Dear Micheal, I’m also using the addtoany plugin and polldaddy thumbs rating, how did you place them so nicely next to each other?

  32. Sotiris says:

    I think that Sexybookmarks is better than Addtoany (at least it is better for the eye)

  33. Excellent list. There are some really useful plugins here that I don’t see on any other ‘top wordpress plugins’ lists so nice find!

    Another cool plugin for 2010, developed by yours truly: Roll Out Posts – allows you to restrict certain posts/articles to members only (http://wpplugins.com/plugin/101/roll-out-posts-plugin).

  34. bookmarklove says:

    I use some of the plug-ins you mentioned but there are a lot here that I haven’t yet tried. I want to try the poll in particular when there’s enough traffic to get things rolling. Otherwise great list here. Don’t mind if I mention you as a source in one of my post. ;)

  35. I really like Polldaddy. Glad to see I’m not the only “WP Plugin Junkee” out there. Great list, I’m going to try a couple of these on my blog.

  36. I’ve just started a ‘Funky Plugins’ category on my Solostream blog:

    http://www.blogbriefing.com/category/funky-plugins/

    and my two recent posts and video tutorials are about ‘Clever Sidebars’ via

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/slayers-custom-widgets/

    which allows you to have different content in all your sidebars via category/tags you name it – even on a post by post basis!

    Also how about offering your post commenters the opportunity to post audio and video comments?

    http://riffly.com/get

    They’re ad supported but you can upgrade to a premium version to lose the ads.

  37. goodereader says:

    Hey thanks I have used some of these tools in my E-reader forum and E-reader blog.

  38. clive says:

    Hi Michael,

    Re the Bookmarking plugin you mention, AddToAny, I’ve recently been converted to the SexyBookmarks plugin – quite simply because it offers all the regular bookmarking stuff but LOOKS COOL!

    Trust me, this is from a blogger who’s used ‘ShareThis’, ‘OnlyWire’ and the ‘AddThis’ Button! Sexy Bookmarks gets me hot – well, OK, that’s a lie :-(

    By all means look at it on my site’s pages or posts (you can edit that and what Bookmarking icons appear – choice of around 50!) –

    http://www.blogbriefing.com/finding-niche/

    Anyway that’s cool enough for me M.P. !

  39. Akismet plugin is really helpful to me specially to my blog.

  40. takien says:

    the great plugin list, thanks..

  41. David Long says:

    Michael
    That’s a great list. I can heartily recommend ‘Where did they go from here’
    http://ajaydsouza.com/wordpress/plugins/where-did-they-go-from-here/
    We installed it on one blog and increased page views by a factor of 5.
    Keep up the good work
    David

  42. Lucian says:

    Related to nr. 2.. it is a general real bad habbit to post e-mail addresses into web pages. Use a contact form instead, there are many plugins for that.

  43. Bill Morgan says:

    I went through each one of these and added 3. Thanks so much for helping me tighten up my blog.

    Bill

  44. Hamant Keval says:

    Hi Micheal

    Thanks for that short ad precise list.
    Love your blog posts and the short blurbs when I get the email.

    You’re right – there is just so much information overload – you never know the best ones to use.
    Thanks

    Ps I’ve not come across a couple in the list above so will surely be checking them out

    Hamant

  45. Very cool. My site to using your plugin michael. Thanks your coding. Good Luck..

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