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Must have WordPress plugins

What are my favourite WordPress plugins?

Many blogs like to publish a list of their favourite plugins. This often helps readers find new, exciting plugins that they too can use. Therefore I have decided that I should do the same on behalf of Technology Bloggers. Here is my (Christopher Roberts) list of ‘must have’ WordPress plugins πŸ™‚

User Role Editor

In no particular order, my first must have WordPress plugin is User Role Editor. This is a very useful plugin if you run a blog with multiple users, as it allows you to change account type (e.g. contributor, author etc.) privileges, and even create whole new types of account.

A great example of when I have used this plugin is when Matt has been helping me with some ‘behind the scenes’ coding. I needed help to fix some bugs, so I created a new user account type called ‘Matt’. I then changed Matt’s account from ‘contributor’ status to ‘Matt’ status. Matt was then able to fiddle around with the plugins and blog code, whilst not being able to change any comments, posts or pages. When he was finished, I changed his privileges back to ‘contributor’.

You could also use this plugin to give users extra abilities, for example you could let them moderate comments, or upload media. All contributors by default WordPress settings can’t upload media, a real issue for a blog like ours. A quick user role edit later and everyone can now add pictures, video and music to their posts. πŸ™‚


CommentLuv

CommentLuv is a really great plugin which enables you to give a little bit extra back to your commenters, by giving them a link back to one of their most recent posts at the end of each comment.The CommentLuv LogoI have written about CommentLuv before, so I don’t intend to go into any depth about it here. If you want to know more check out my post on why you should use CommentLuv.

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP)

Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (or as it is also know, GASP) is one of the very best plugins you can use to combat spam.

Here at Technology Bloggers we get hundreds of comments every month, but I am sure that we would get thousands more if we didn’t have such a good spam filter. Of the comments that we get I would estimate that around 10% are spam. If Technology Bloggers stopped using Akismet and and GASP, then I think we would see our comments double, but the extra ones would all be spam.

GASP places the tickbox (or checkbox for my American friends) that you see underneath the comment box. Logged in users need not worry about this, but users who are not logged in will need to make sure that they tick this box (and they will be prompted if they don’t) in order to make sure that their comment is approved.

Akismet then helps us out by throwing any user written/generated potentially spammy comments into the spam folder. We can review these and it is then much easier to sift through and fish out any good comments which may have got caught up.

Akismet is good, and very useful, but if you really want to stop spam, I would always make sure you have GASP.

ReplyMe

I have written an article about ReplyMe before, giving an explanation of what it does, who uses it and why it is useful. To briefly sum it up it is a plugin which sends commenters an email when someone replies to their comment, helping to improve the blog’s community. For more information please check out our ReplyMe article.

The ReplyMe (Plugin) LogoPrettier Trackbacks

Some themes present trackbacks just the way you want them to, other themes unfortunately don’t. The way I like trackbacks is the post title linked to the article that sits amongst the comments. Our current theme shows some text from the article too, which can look good, but often doesn’t.

Prettier Trackbacks displays trackbacks the way I like them, and with a bit of editing/tweaking, you can make it show them just about anyway you want!

Move WordPress Comments

The next plugin on my list is Move WordPress Comments. Have you ever had someone comment in reply to someone else, but they forgot to hit the reply button, or have you ever done it yourself? If the answer is yes, then this plugin is a very useful one indeed!

What the Move WordPress Comments plugin does is put a few extra details an options below comments in the dashboard and on the blog. These details are the comment’s number, the post number and the parent comment’s number.

If the commenter has published their comment on the wrong post, just simply change the post number and click ‘move’ and the comment will shoot off to the correct post.

If the commenter has published the comment in reply to someone, but hasn’t joined the comment to the parent comment, then all you need to do is scroll up to the parent comment and find out what number it is. You then take the parent comment’s number, put it in the reply/child comment’s ‘parent comment’ box and click move.

Confused? Check out the images below πŸ™‚

A comment isn't threaded onto it's parent
The second comment is in reply to the first, however it is not threaded - to solve this just take the parent comment's number and then put it in the 'Parent Comment' box on the reply comment and click 'Move'
A threaded comment
Et voilΓ ! The reply comment is now threaded under the parent comment!

Digg Digg

Digg Digg is a really great plugin if you like to make your blog ‘social media friendly’! At the top of every article Technology Bloggers displays Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook buttons, so that you can easily share our content.

Technology Bloggers Digg Digg Social Media Share Buttons
Technology Bloggers social media share buttons, as provided by Digg Digg

This is all thanks to Digg Digg which gives you more social media buttons and options than you could shake a stick at! If you want to create a social media friendly blog, Digg Digg is one of the best plugins out there!

Top Commentators Widget

WordPress’s Top Commentators Widget is definitely one of the best plugins I have ever installed. It gives you the ability to thank your commenters by adding a widget to the sidebar (or in our case the footer navigation) of your blog, which displays your site’s top commenters, however you like!

Top Commenters Screenshot - as it appeared on the 17th October 2011It has loads of easy to customise options. You can choose how many commenters get shown, how long names can be before they are replaced with an ellipsis. You can also choose if names are hyperlinked, show the individuals Gravatar, how big that avatar is, whether an award icon is shown by commenters with more than a certain number of comments, how often the list refreshes, etc.

There are more!

Listed above are some of the very best plugins I have ever used. Despite this, there are many other great plugins that I haven’t included, for fear of making this article university paper length! Lets save them for another time.

So, what plugins do you use? Why do you like them? Are you going to try any of the plugins above? Do any of them look interesting/useful?

Talk to me below πŸ™‚

0 replies on “Must have WordPress plugins”

Pretty much, I build enhance my blog according to Technology Bloggers after I accidentally stumbled into it. I have 80% of the plugins above especially CommentLuv, GASP and ReplyMe. I have another 4 more recommendations over here which is quite useful to me:

1. Contact Form 7. Instead of just leaving my email address at the About page, I use the contact form. I begin to have more people finding me compared to just leaving email address there.

2. Simple Pull Quote. This plugin helps me to improve my typography especially when I need to insert quote from somewhere.

3. Yet Another Related Post Plugin. I manage to reduce my high bounce rate by 10-20% after installing this. I used to have 90% bounce rate before I have YARPP installed.

4. What Would Seth Godin Do. Believe me or not, I had more RSS subscribers after installing this plugin with some HTML and CSS customization where I include the RSS icon as well. There is other nicer RSS reminder around, but what I live about WWSGD is that it is free to edit as long as you know HTML tables and some CSS

πŸ™‚

How did you find us again Alan, can you remember? – just out of interest πŸ™‚

“I build enhance my blog according to Technology Bloggers” – I am (and I am sure the rest of the community are) extremely flattered!

1) We use Fast Secure Contact Form I have tried Contact Form 7, but at the time I preferred Fast Secure Contact Form – thanks for the idea, I might look into it again soon πŸ™‚
2) Simple Pull Quote looks potentially useful, thanks for that!
3) I used to use Yet Another Related Post Plugin on my philosophy blog and then changed to Select IGIT Related Post With Thumb, for some reason I don’t think users need to see related posts here… and I think it messed with the blogs code a bit too!
4) Looks very useful, I will be trying that out!

I’ll give a try at the alternative for contact form and YARPP.

I think I come across TechnologyBloggers from a forum that put this site as one of the technology site that I should refer. It includes as well WindowsTalk and Techpatio but I am not really sure where I stumbled it.

Cool πŸ™‚

Regarding you discovering us, do you think it could have been from a comment I left?

Thanks Alan πŸ™‚

Oow… BTW, forgot to mention, Technology Bloggers is now using ‘What Would Seth Godin Do’ so thanks for that πŸ™‚

You are most welcome Marc, I only realised afterwards that it is probably the longest article I have every written, as it took around 3 hours to write the 1000+ words and add the pics!

Thanks for sharing with us. I use some of the in my own blog e.g. CommentLuv and GASP, but i have never even heard about User Role Editor as i don’t allow anyone to interfere the process.

“i don’t allow anyone to interfere the process” – being more trusting can sometimes pay off Anna πŸ™‚

“I really like the β€˜What Would Seth Godin Do’ plugin!” – me too, which is why we are now using it here!

You make some good points Wayne πŸ™‚

Thanks for your comment, welcome to the Technology Bloggers community!
Christopher – Admin Team

They are indeed good plugins Raj!

Thanks for the comment, welcome to the community πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

Thanks for the nice post. I really liked what User Role Editor does, I’m going to give it a try. GASP seems good as per your words. Currently, I only use Akismet which filters around 20+ spam comments daily.
Perhaps, it was a nice list, but I wished to see WP Total Cache, YARPP, Google XML sitemaps and All in one SEO as a part of the list too.

GASP with Akismet can make a very powerful spam fighting machine!

I did write about why I hadn’t included other plugins “Listed above are some of the very best plugins I have ever used. Despite this, there are many other great plugins that I haven’t included, for fear of making this article university paper length! Lets save them for another time.”

Thanks for your comment, welcome to the community Narender πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

I love CommentLuv and am going to have to try out the Top Commentators widget. What a great way to increase interaction on my blog, even if I do have to bribe people to do it πŸ˜‰

The plugins above all work really well Tanya!

Thanks for adding your comment, welcome to the community!
Christopher – Admin Team

This is a great list of WP plugins! It was my first time to know about some of the plugins here like Reply me and Move WordPress Comments. Between the two, what I like most is the move wordpress comments. With the use of this plugin, it’s pretty easy to edit the placement of the comments. It can save much effort.

I love the wordpress plugins because they give me so much comfort in optimizing my blog and handling it easily, I have almost all plugins but I was missing Reply Me Im shocked that and ask myself why im not using it yet. Any way I got it now and I like the way you explain plugins importance and how they can make blogging easy and attractive, in fact you love when you have everything on your dinner table don’t you. It’s all about taking a dinner with all ingredients.

Thanks Christopher

Roger

Hi Christopher,

I use both comluv and gasp (now comluv premium has gasp built in) and I have to say, these twp plugins are some of the best plugins I have ever used.

I didn’t know about the “Move WordPress Comments” plugin. I actually came across this problem a few times and had no idea what to do. This plugin could be a good help. Thanks for the link.

You are most welcome Satrap, thank you for your comment, welcome to our community blog – that is Technology Bloggers πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

I’m always on the lookout for useful plugins, and this list certainly fits the bill. I already use CommentLuv and GASP but I’m going to have a look at the others you mentioned, with the exception of User Role Editor. I don’t have a multi-user blog so I don’t need it. I also use All In One SEO Pack, and StatPress for traffic stats.

Thanks for the plugin ideas Mark. We don’t use and SEO plugins here, I just don’t seem to trust them. I tried some out on my philosophy blog a while ago, but I didn’t really see that they were doing anything for the blog. Be logical with your choice of words and post good content regularly, and the rest seems to fall into place!

Thanks for commenting Mark, welcome to the community πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

Never heard of ‘Easing Slider’ Tom, but after a bit of research, it looks pretty cool!

Thanks for the ideas, welcome to Technology Bloggers πŸ™‚
Christopher – Admin Team

Hi Christopher,

You definitely picked the plugins you found valuable. I’ve used everyone of these plugins except Move WordPress Comments. I think I’ll need to check it out because I’ve had a few occasions like the one you described.

On User Role Editor, it is definitely a must for any blog that allow user subscriptions. I’ve been using on one of my article sites for over a year now. I recently started using it on the WebIncomeJournal.com when I decided on allowing guest bloggers to have accounts on the blog. It’s useful in restricting what any other user can do on the dashboard.

Thanks for sharing.

Some of the plugins are well known Chadrack, I know what you mean, however they are still good all the same, and new bloggers may ot have heard of the likes of ReplyMe and KeywordLub.

Thanks for your comment Chadack, it is good to have you in the community πŸ™‚

Researching wordpress plugins is hard work and you get conflicting reviews about them. For instance I use Yoast for SEO, but is it better than All-in-one SEO? I don’t know. I also use commentluv, but I’m fairly new to it, so yet to see the benefits. However, I do use a couple of paid for plugins: ReviewAZON and phpBay, both of which are easy to use and do exactly what they say on the tin. Nope, I’m not an affiliate for either!
I’ll check out prettier trackbacks. Thanks,
Graham

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