My Top Pick WordPress Plugin and Widgets

Everyone Should Install the Top WordPress Plugins on their Blogs – It’s FREE and Easy!

Today, I am going to detail my pick of the best WordPress plugins and widgets. These are the plugins that I have currently installed, activated and use on the Freeadvertz.com site.

Below you can find a list of the plugins and widgets, with their official descriptions as seen on the WordPress plugin page, along with a link to the plugin site where you can go download each one for FREE. I have also added my comments to each, revealing how I find them useful and/or why I added them in the first place.

All these plugins are working perfectly with WordPress 2.8.4. You can usually keep plugins in working order by downloading the latest versions, as they are released.

In order to install these plugins simply download the files from the plugin site links, upload the plugin folder to your “wp-content/plugins” directory on your web host and activate in the WordPress admin panel. You can find further instructions in the ‘Readme’ file of each individual plugin download folder. Configure each of the plugins – that need to be configured – from your WordPress admin.

You can upload the plugins via your web host control panel or via FTP. I find FTP to be handiest. Download FREE ftp software here. If you need a web host that works perfectly with WordPress and all plugins, I highly recommend Bluehost.

I will update my blog with new plugins as they become available, or needed. So, don’t forget to come back soon.

Akismet

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.” Akismet is automatically installed with new WordPress installations. If you haven’t got it though you can download here.

My Comments:
Akismet deals with most WordPress comment spam. What’s great is that you don’t even have to configure it in anyway after installing WordPress. Just activate and let it go to work on that pesky comment spam. I do browse through my comments to make sure it hasn’t spammed any legitimate comments. In my experience this usually only happens in about 1 in 1000 comments. Great stuff!

All in One SEO Pack

Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog. Get the All in One SEO Pack Plugin Here

My Comments:
I added this plugin for it’s capabilities in helping me attain top search engine rankings. It does this by allowing me to customize the header, title and other page tags. I can also stop Google indexing certain areas of my blog – for example the tags and category sections, which unless customized will serve up duplicate content. Google does not like duplicate content. My main reason for installing this plugin however was because I wanted to remove the site name from the title area to leave just the post title.

You can see below how the title tag contains only the post title. If you look at your own blog it may contain site name AND post title which dilutes the power of your post title keywords:

Title Contains Post Text Only:
Remove site name from WordPress title tag

Comment Whitelist

Admin list of whitelist commenters. Get the Comment Whitelist Plugin Here

My Comments:
I installed this plugin so that I could allow certain commenters on my blog to post comments without having to wait for approval. Once they have been whitelisted their comments will appear immediately after posting. If you’ve been whitelisted after your first post, then I consider you a trusted person. 😉

Whitelist Option Below Comments in WordPress Admin :
Easily Add Commenters to WordPress Whitelist

Democracy

This poll plugin is easy to use, install, and manage. It uses AJAX to load data, making it quick and fun to use. Add n

{democracy:*id*}

to your posts to include polls in your posts, where *id* corresponds to the ID of your poll. Get the Democracy Plugin Here

My Comments:
My purpose for this plugin was to encourage some interactivity on my blog. This is an important aspect of building a successful blog – IE. visitor participation.

Democracy Widget

Adds a sidebar widget for use with Andrew Sutherland’s Democracy Poll widget. Get the Democracy Widget Here

My Comments:
The widget allows me to simply add the above plugin to my blog using a handy drag and drop function in the WordPress admin panel – without having to touch the php code.

My Democracy Blog Poll:
Democracy Poll

DoFollow

Selectively disable the “nofollow” tagging for comments. Get the DoFollow Plugin Here

My Comments:
In order to entice visitors to comment on my posts it is crucial to give a little back. WordPress by default makes all comment links ‘NoFollow’. That means that these links do not count in aiding the link posters’ search engine ranking. By using this plugin and making the comments ‘DoFollow’ any comment links will now give the commenter some link juice for the sites the insert in the comment posting field. In short, every time you post a comment on this blog, it WILL help your website’s search engine positions.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Get the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin Here

My Comments:
It’s vitally important that you make it as easy as possible for search engine robots to find all your web pages. This plugin lists all my blog posts on one page and automatically updates with each new post. Make sure to post your sitemap link in the footer of your blog or website as I have done on Freeadvertz.com. You should also add this xml sitemap URL to your Google Webmaster tools account to keep an eye on your blogs’ visibility on Google. Click here to see my sitemap.

MaxBlogPress Stripe Ad

A new non-obtrusive way of displaying a single line of advertising message, a special note or other information right at the top of your blog. Get the MaxBlogPress Stripe Ad Plugin Here

My Comments:
There are many ways to grab your visitors attention when they visit your blog. You need to be careful not to put people off coming to your site by bombarding them with multiple ad popovers, popunders, hover ads etc. etc. These ads can be very annoying – to me anyhow.

I believe this stripe ad does the trick. It isn’t too obtrusive AND it does get clickthroughs regardless, which of course is the whole point of having the ad there in the first instance. I recommend you set the ad to appear at most, ONCE per day per visitor – not every time.

Here’s How it Looks at the Top of My Blog:
Democracy Poll

NoSpamNX

To protect your Blog from automated spambots, which fill you comments with junk, this plugin adds additional formfields to your comment form, which are checked every time a new comment is posted. Get the NoSpamNX Plugin Here.

My Comments:
Even with Akismet installed I found myself spending 20 minutes every day trawling through comment spam ensuring there were no legitimate comments before deleting the spam for good. NoSpamNX allows me to add words, email addresses and IP addresses to block the comment spam even reaching the spam list. Thus I never have to see it at all. For example you could add the name of a pharmaceutical product to the block comments blacklist. Such product names appear regularly in spam comments but would NEVER be present in a legit comment – unless you run a pharmaceutical blog:-) . You get the idea though?

SexyBookmarks

SexyBookmarks adds a (X)HTML compliant list of social bookmarking icons to each of your posts. Get the SexyBookmarks Plugin Here(Click the ‘Download’ image at the top right of that site to download the plugin).

My Comments:
This plugin is eye catching and hopefully encourages visitors to repost my blog posts on their Web 2.0 social bookmarking accounts. As with the TweetMeme plugin below, this helps spread your web presence and traffic – via repeat visitors, new visitors seeing your links and clicking through to your blog, and increased search engine ranking.

How the Sexy Bookmarks Plugin Appears on Freeadvertz.com:
Sexy Bookmarks

Subscribe To Comments

Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. Based on version 1 from Scriptygoddess. Get the Subscribe To Comments Plugin Here

My Comments:
The idea behind this plugin from my perspective – and anyone else using it, I suppose – is to bring commenters back to the site. Often times you would post a comment and forget it. If there is now way for you to be aware when you get a response then it’s less likely you are ever to revisit the site where you left the comment. This plugin helps encourage repeat visitors by sending a link via email to those comments that commenters have subscribed too. It works!

Top Commentators Widget

Adds a sidebar widget to show the top commentators in your WP site. Adapted from Show Top Commentators plugin. Get the Top Commentators Widget Here

My Comments:
I love this WordPress widget. It allows me to post a list of commenters on the sidebar of my blog with ‘DoFollow’ links back to the sites of those commenters that take the time to add their contributions to my blog. It’s a way to give a little back. Bloggers do actively seek out other blogs with the ‘Top Commenters’ widget. So, it pays off to have it installed if you want to increase your comment count.

My Top Commenters for the Month on 2nd November:
Top Commenters widget

TweetMeme Retweet Button

Adds a button which easily lets you retweet your blog posts. Get the TweetMeme Retweet Button Plugin Here.

My Comments:
Social networking should be a part of every Internet marketers arsenal. This plugin allows my visitors to easily share my posts via their Twitter accounts. In essence they are then helping me spread the reach of my blog posts.

The TweetMeme Plugin:
Wordpress Tweetmeme Plugin

W3 Total Cache

Dramatically improve the user experience of your blog. Add transparent page caching, database caching, minify and content delivery network (CDN) functionality and more to WordPress. Get the W3 Total Cache Plugin Here

My Comments:
I installed this plugin to maximize the load speed of my blog. Typically visitors will click away from your blog if it doesn’t load within a few seconds. This plugin helps in a variety of ways to ensure speedy delivery of your blog content.

WordPress Smilies

This plugin will generate series of clickable icon buttons for wordpress built-in smilies. Get the WordPress Smilies Plugin Here

My Comments:
It’s difficult to express emotion in plain text. For that reason, I use smiles wherever possible. This plugin makes it easier for me to add them to my comment replies.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display. Get the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin Here

My Comments:
YARP Plugin was installed to give visitors easy access to similar posts within my blog. If a visitor reaches Freeadvertz.com via the search engines searching for specific information, they are likely to click through to other content if it is readily available at the end of the post they first arrive at.

Related Posts at the End of My Professional Keyword Research post:
Wordpress Related Posts Plugin

In Conclusion

I hope you find these plugins useful. They certainly make my job of becoming a successful blogger a lot easier and my Internet marketing efforts much more effective.

Please leave your comments or questions below. I’d love to hear about your favorite plugins or other WordPress resources.

If you’d like me to set up your blog today just click the link below:

Get Your Professional WordPress Blog Now!


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