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10 WordPress Plugins You Can’t Live Without

Whether you are a newbie to blogging or consider yourself a pro, WordPress has become one of the top blogging platforms and website builders. The thing about WordPress that makes it so compelling is that it offers two choices: a WordPress hosted version on WordPress.com and a self-hosted version on WordPress.org. The primary difference between the two is that there are limited things you can do and customize on the WP hosted version. By hosting it yourself or on a third party ISP provider, you will have the ability to install plugins, widgets, and customize your CSS (cascading style sheet, i.e. look and feel).

Whether you are a new blogger or have been doing it for years, I guarantee you there will be at least one out of the ten plugins below that you didn’t know about and need to have on your blog.

Here are the top 10 plugins you must have on your blog:

  1. Social sharing plugin. You took the time to write it, so make sure it is easy for people to share it. There are several social sharing plugins out there. It will depend on your blog theme/design as to which will fit the best. Try them out. Two that I like are: Social Discussions and Sharebar. Cost: free
  2. Tweet it to get it.Yes, you can hide content with a plugin that will require people to tweet your post to get the information that is hidden. This is great for sharing premium content, giving a password, exclusive downloads – all in exchange for a tweet.For example, the name of the app to expose your content after someone tweets it is (tweet the post and you get the answer – super easy). It’s also a great way of promoting premium content. Cost: free. Click tweet to reveal the name of the plugin
    Share this page on Twitter and view full content!
  3. Like it to get it. Same concept as above, but you ‘Like’ it on Facebook instead and post it to your Wall. My pick is WordPress Like Locker – Like to Read Plugin by CodeCanyon. (Cost: $7).
  4. Contextual sidebar widgets. Make your sidebar widgets custom on each page rather than the same widgets on every page. Two plugins I like are: Widget Context and Display Widget. Cost: free.
  5. Suggesting other blogs on your site. Keep the reader on your blog or website by suggesting other blogs from your site. Plugins I like are: nReleate and Yet Another Related Post. Cost: free.
  6. Sitemap generator. It’s imperative for your blog and website to have a sitemap because this will index your content on search engines. The plugin I like best is Google XML Sites. Cost: free.
  7. Thank the reader. Too busy to respond to comments in a timely manner? No worries. The ‘Thank Me Later‘ plugin allows you to automatically send an email to anyone who leaves a comment on your blog. Cost: free.
  8. Don’t waste time on monitoring spam. When it comes to spam comments, your blog needs a spam filter. Two plugins I like are: Spamfree and Akismet. Cost: free
  9. Make sure the page loads quickly. Speed up your site so that page loads are more faster. No one wants to wait around for a page to load. Plugins I like are W3 Total Cache. Cost: free.
  10. Make it readable.FD Word Statisticsgives you an internal score on your blog or web page to let you know whether your content is readable and for what number of years of education the reader must have completed to understand the text . If people can’t understand it, then they won’t come back to read more. Cost: free.Here’s an example on this post.

So what about you, do you have any other widgets/plugins that you think are a must-have for a WordPress blog or website?

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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.

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