Most Useful WordPress Plugins 2013

Plugins can do all sort of things to help improve your site and although there are thousands of plugins to choose from, try not to over-do it. It’s probably best not to use much more than ten. Too many may slow your site down. Those listed below are some of the key current ones.

Two good SEO plug-ins which help search engines find your site and rank it more highly. Yoast offers  great SEO solution for your WordPress blog: SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs & much more. Use this or All in One SEO Pack but not both!

For more information on getting started with the All in One with this plug-in, see this good introductory article: http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/users-guide-for-all-in-one-seo-pack/

AddThis provide several of the  many social plugins out there and provides a number of social media options, ranging from their original social sharing plug-in which helps you add social media sharing buttons to posts and pages; to the follow me plugin offering follow buttons and links to your social media sites; and to the more recent, social sign-in plugin allowing users to log in to a site using Facebook, Google or Twitter rather than having to create yet another password and account:

Substantially improves the standard WordPress editor.

If you want to add ecommerce to your site, then the two leading options are WooCommerce from WooThemes and WP eCommerce:

Make sure you activate Akismet, included with your installation,  and get the ‘key’ to protect your site from spam. It really does reduce the amount of spammy comments getting through to your site. To get your key, go to http://akismet.com/wordpress/

BackWPup has been a consistent performer for backing up WordPress sites for some time but is currently not well reviewed following recent changes – check reviews first. It may be suffering temporary hiccups and return to form soon. BackUpWordPress has strong reviews so may be the better options at this time.

This makes it easier for search engines to crawl your content, which can be vital to your site’s success.

Essential Plugin if you have an active Facebook page and want to integrate it into your website. Could be more straightforward to set up though.

Not much to choose between these two – both offer easy ways to create a contact form on your site

Create your own social network for your company, school, team or local organisation with this ‘social network in a box’.

Updating your site? Adds a customisable ‘splash’ page to your site letting visitors know it is down for maintenance. Useful if you are making big changes, though it seems it is no longer being updated.

If your site is loading slowly, these plug ins speed it up – good for your visitors and popular with Google too. Check the reviews and pick one.

With over 6 million downloads, this will help you make the most of your images including options for slideshows, galleries and much more. Depending on your requirements, it’s becoming less necessary as WordPress improves its own gallery features over time.

For a fully fledged and secure discussion board and web comments manager, Disqus is the market leader across all websites, and replaces the standard
WordPress comments system.

JetPack claims to supercharge your WordPress site. An impressive bundle of assorted plugins, it  provides you with extra stats for your site, social sharing buttons, automatic posting to your social media accounts, contact forms, a carousel for your images and much more. With this plugin you are unlikely to need as many of the above! Not everyone likes it – overbloated say some, slows your site down say others. You need to register with WordPress.Com to use it.

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