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The 20 Best WordPress Plugins to Use in 2011

One of the reasons that I’m so madly in love with WordPress is the thousands of plugins available. It doesn’t matter what you want to accomplish on your blog, there is probably a WordPress plugin that will allow you to do it.

This list is the 20 most incredible WordPress plugins. Only the 20 best WordPress plugins have made it while anything less than amazing has been kicked to the street. Only 5 plugins survived last year’s listing to be returned this year. The rest are fresh to this year. Each of these WordPress plugins are used at SEO Generation and I personally recommend each of them to you. The following plugins are posted in the order that I recommend them.

  1. W3 Total Cache – This WordPress plugin is great for two reasons. First, it makes your pages load way faster. Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
  2. HeadSpace: WordPress SEO Made Simple– Move over All in one SEO. There’s a new guy in town. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.
  3. Login Lockdown -There are many ways to hack WordPress websites, however if you use login lockdown, this service gives you that little bit extra in security. In the settings of the plugin you are able to change the maximum number of login retries, logout length and so much more.
  4. WP DB BackupA key plugin you should have installed on your website, so it can automatically backup your database either to a selected email address, to your computer or a location on your server. Occasionally you may encounter issues with your website, that mean you need to go back to an older database.
  5. Contact Form 7 -This is a perfect solution for any type of form that you wish to use on a website, whether the contact form is to be used for a survey, competition, quiz or maybe something else creative.
  6. Sexy Bookmarks -A wonderful plugin that allows readers of your pages or posts to share with their own readers, it is a perfect way to get your content out there.
  7. Gravity Forms – This is without question the best WordPress plugin for forms. There is no competition. This form creates posts, allows image and media uploads, allows conditional logic, and so much more. It is the all-in-one form plugin for WordPress.
  8. MaxBlog Press Affiliate Ninja – This WordPress plugin is amazing as it massively cuts down on the amount of time it takes to promote affiliate products throughout your site. It converts keywords that you identify, tracks clicks, and much more. You won’t have to keep chasing down your affiliate links when they’re all stored in your WordPress dashboard and doing the work for you.
  9. WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
  10. Thank Me Later – This plugin is great. It sends an email to all first-time visitors. You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally. I do both.
  11. WP-PageNavi – Those ‘Older Posts’ and ‘Newer Posts’ links are boring. With WP-PaveNavi you can get page buttons so users can go directly to whichever page they want. Plus they look a lot better than plain little links.
  12. – Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.
  13. Digg Digg Social Sharing – This simply WordPress plugin is what powers the floating social icons to the left of each post here at Site Sketch 101. With an easy to access Twitter icon, your friends and readers will be able to easily share and promote your content.
  14. Feedburner Circulation – The era of the feedburner chicklets are over. Install the Feedburner Circulation WordPress plugin and you’ll be able to display your subscriber count just as you see in the top right corner of this page.
  15. Revision Control – With the revisions feature of WordPress, it doesn’t take long for your database to get bloated and begin slowing down your site. With the Revision Control WordPress Plugin you can limit the number of post revisions that remain in storage. I have mine set to 2.
  16. Tweet Old Post – If you’ve been engaging and building a community of friends on Twitter, then this WordPress plugin is the perfect way to sprinkle your posts into your tweets. It has options to add hashtags, leading text and more.
  17. Widget Context – With the Widget Context WordPress plugin, you’ll be able to pick and choose which pages you want sidebar widgets to appear on. You can literally create different sidebars for different pages and sections of your site with this.
  18. WordPress Editorial Calendar – This plugin provides a crisp, clean editorial calendar of your posts both past and present. You can drag and drop articles from one date to another, edit them and much more. This is an amazing organizational tool.
  19. ReplyMe – This plugin sends an email to anyone who leaves a comment only when someone comments as a direct response to them. This is a terrific way to help continue the conversations that you’re working to build on your site.
  20. Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.

Bonus: Google Analytics for WordPress

– Track your WordPress site easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews.

  • Monica

    what about wptouch? I’m reading this article from android and it’s not friendly displayed at all

  • Great plugins! Have used several of the plugins listed and can support the recommendations.

  • wodonga-park

    Hi ! thanks
    buddy you have a great blog
    wodonga-park

  • Its
    very nice article and i appreciate you for such nice info.

  • you have explained all the plugins very well. but i am still confused in ‘all in one seo pack plugin’ and ‘wordpress seo plugin’ by yoast. which one is best to optimize our website? i was using wp seo and then i have shifted to all in one seo pack. now i m confused which one should i use to better optimization. can you help me out?

  • It seems that you really like the Jetpack plugin, and I agree it has a lot to offer making it appealing so I can reduce the number of plugins I have to keep up with and update. My question about Jetpack is how do you handle the connection of the Jetpack plugin to a WordPress account? Do you register an account on WordPress for each client’s website you build if you want to utilize the Jetpack plugin? Or do you use your own WP account and keep connecting to it for multiple client’s sites? I’m confused as to why it even needs ‘connecting’…

    Reply

  • Thanks for explaining us how to use these plugins effectively and it was really helpful for me to have a good idea on it usage.

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