I like plugins, they are fun and offer me shiny things for my site, not too many of them though otherwise my wordpress site will be slooooooww, which I dont want.  So those I do install need to be worth it *flicks hair like in the tv advert.  Here’s the plugins that I think will add value to your site.

Post titles actually a bit of a lie sorry, more like a top 10, but all useful I hope …

1.  CommentLuv

Everyone needs a bit of love, and bloggers are no different.  One of the first milestones in the blogging world is getting that first comment, someone has read your piece and felt compelled to say ‘well done’ or ask you a question.  Its the first interaction between you  and your readers and you obviously want this to continue.  Well for all those that do take the time to comment, why not offer them a reward, a little thank you.  Commentluv will all each commenter to leave a link to one of their latest articles.  It gives their blog exposure in return for their comment.  I think its a fair deal and can only help encourage comments and blogger-reader relations.

Set-up required:  A few options to tweak, nothing major though.   You can add a custom img if you like, most people use the standard button, and you can also select commentluv to be on automatically or if the user has to tick the box.  Like I said, nothing major.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/commentluv/

comment luv wordpress plugin

2.  Easy Fancybox

The images on your site will probably play a major role in whether people enjoy your posts and return to your site. If when a reader clicks on an image your site simply displays that image again on a blank page, its looks pretty amateur in my opinion. Add a bit of flair, it won’t go unnoticed.

Set up required: Nothing!

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/easy-fancybox/

easy fancy box wordpress plugin

3.  Google XML Sitemaps

Seo Seo Seo (see point 4). WordPress site don’t have site maps, and site maps are tres important when it comes to search engine optimization. Again let google do the hard work for you. This plugin wont immediately have you site at the no.1 sport in all search engine listings, put it’ll help put your site on the map … bad pun I know.

Set up required: Again, not a thing.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

4.  W3 Total Cache

  • At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in YSlow or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
  • Improved conversion rates and which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
  • “Instant” subsequent page views: browser caching
  • Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds

… that was me sold.

Set-up required: Yup.  Again nothing too difficult, I left most of the options at default level.  For those in the know however, there are plenty of options to play around with.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/w3-total-cache/

5.  Linkwithin

Need a route for your readers to move from one post to the next, but without having to go via your home page each time?  Want those links to be content related?  Linkwithin might just be the one for you then.  It provides links to 3-5 related posts within your site at the bottom of each post.  The relevant thumbnails are there so its not just text, there’s visual stimulation.  This plugin should help keep your readers moving from article to article.  Useful for the both of you really.

Set-up required:  Pretty much nothing.  When you’re downloading the zip file just select the number of links you wish to appear at the bottom of each of your posts.  You have the choice of 3, 4 or 5 links.

http://www.linkwithin.com/learn

linkwithin wordpress plugin

6.  All in One SEO Pack

See above. You need this plugin if you want a decent ranking.

Set up required: There are a lot of options with this plugin, how deep you dig with them depends on how much you know about SEO. Most i left as standard. The majority of user will just do the obvious and enter a few details around what their site is about, keywords etc. Once set up, extra fields will become available at the end of each post. Here you will again enter text concerning what each post is about and keywords. A little labour intensive, but its all about the rankings!

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

7.  Socialize

‘Social media’ is another buzz phrase gracing the internet. Stay connected with this asthetically appealing plugin which gives you the option of adding all manner of social media buttons, all over you blog posts. The major players are there i.e. facebook, digg, twitter etc. However the plugin also covers a number of others social media hubs.

Set up required: Not much, just choose your button layout, enter some facebook, twitter id’s etc, and lastly select the type of buttons you want to appear on your site.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/socialize/

8.  WP Captcha Free

Tired of spam comments? Hate it when you comment on someone else’s site and you have to enter a random letter/number combination to prove you’re not a machine? If your answer to both of these is yes, this is the comment spam protection plugin for you. You need do nothing except download and activate. Bye bye spam.

Set up required: Not a thing

http://wordpresssupplies.com/wordpress-plugins/captcha-free/

9.  WP DB Backup

The DB stands for database, and your database should be backed up regularly. Your database keeps a record of all your posts, media, comments, tweets etc so if something were to happen to your severs, all your hard work could be lost. Thats where this little beauty steps in, simple schedule a weekly backup to be emailed to you. No passwords needed, no fiddling with myphpadmin, simple stuff and protects all your hard work.

Set up required: There are quite a few options once the plugin is activated, but its easy to set up a weekly backup run.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/

 

Another to maybe consider ….

10?  GTranslate

Not everyone who likes travelling speaks the same language as you, but they may still be more than interested in what you have to say. Give your readers the option of viewing your site in their first language. Google does all the work for you, there’s no reason not to offer this service.

Set up required: Not much. After downloading and activating, you have the option of choosing what languages to include, and what translation method you would prefer to use. I recommend the Google option for obvious reasons.

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gtranslate/

 

… any other helpful plugins you guys have found and would care to share with the world?