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10 Must Have WordPress Plugins & Why

I have written about the many plugins I use in the past. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I used a lot of them. But there are a few that I have singled out as the most important. The reason being that I have seen complaints on other blogs in the comments section about this and that.

The Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

  1. Akismet – Many bloggers think they know the reason for having this. They also think that it’s worthless because they end up with a ton of spam comments to moderate. But the fact is that this plugin should never be used alone. I use it paired with the #2 plugin below, and I completely eliminated spam on my blog. Let me repeat this… I eliminated 100% of spam on this blog! Download
  2. Conditional CAPTCHA – This requires Akismet to work. My regular readers will never see a captcha on this blog before they can post. However, if someone were detected as spam by Akismet, they will be displayed a captcha to prove that they are human. If they are human, then the comment gets through and goes to spam moderation. Every single one that has gotten through and into spam moderation has been real humans, and the bots that used to post a ton of crap on this blog cannot penetrate the system. Convinced yet? Download
  3. Contact Form 7 – I have used other plugins. There was one that had to be updated manually, and that sucked horribly. But when I switched to Contact Form 7, I have not used anything else. Every form you see on this blog uses it. If you contacted me above through my contact page, or my services pages, you will see this plugin in action. You can create multiple forms with multiple requirements. It’s great! Download
  4. Comment Reply Notification – It truly sucks when you are blog hopping, and you comment on a blog that does not have a simple checkbox allowing you to subscribe to comment replies. I like to know when someone responds to something I said on a blog. It allows me to come back and comment again to carry on the conversation. As a blogger, you should have the motive of increasing your comment count, so why would you not have this simple functionality? Download
  5. Newsletter Pro – I used to use their free version, but it has impressed me so much that I ended up upgrading to Newsletter Pro. It was well worth the investment. I see so many newbie bloggers signing up with a 3rd party subscriber service, and I want to slap them. Why? Because if they stop paying the monthly fee, they no longer have subscribers. I control my entire list, and I send out newsletters directly through WordPress. No 3rd party will ever have access to my list, and my subscribers appreciate that because technically those services are a way of “sharing personal contact details with a 3rd party”. This plugin is more advanced than any one of those services anyways. Why downgrade when you aren’t even getting a great service?ย Download
  6. OIOPublisher – Just like I control my list, I love to control my advertisements. This badass plugin allows me to place banners of any shape and size or text ads, ANYWHERE on my blog. It also automates the sales of ad slots through PayPal and other payment processors. This isn’t a free plugin, but it is cheap. And if you use my December 2010 coupon code XMASGIFT-EXCHANGE you will get $10 off. Download
  7. SexyBookmarks – This badboy allows every one of my posts to have maximum exposure to social networks and social bookmarking websites. As a matter of fact, I invite you to use it below, and submit it to every site you have an account with ๐Ÿ˜‰ Download
  8. WP-UserOnline – I am a crazy man when it comes to statistics. And I like to know when there are people on my blog, and what posts/pages they are checking out. This plugin allows me to see visitors in real time. It also shows me what’s popular right now because I can see what articles they are reading and sharing. Download
  9. Smart YouTube – I occasionally reference a YouTube video in my articles. When I do that, I want it to be as simple as possible. With this youtube plugin, I can easily insert a video by just linking to it and placing a V after the http. Example httpv:// then the URL will display the video in your actual post. This is cool stuff, and simple for anyone to use. Download
  10. Page Links To – I am using this plugin, and you didn’t even know it. See my navigation? Notice I have a free forum here on my site. That is not a forum through WordPress. It is another php script running the forum. But I linked to it through WordPress in the navigation without touching php code! I did this with the Page Links To plugin which allows you to link to anywhere in your navigation like you would a WordPress page. You create a page, then change it’s destination to the URL of your choice! Download

There are tons of other great plugins like I said, but I didn’t list them here because that would sort of defeat the purpose of a top 10 list. I hope my vital wordpress plugins list has helped you, and I will continue to share my resources with you in the future.

About the author

Brandon Connell I am an author, blogger, investor, musician, and internet marketer among other things. I believe that one person can do many things in life. Learn how I get FREE advertising and MAKE MONEY doing it with M.P.A. This is the best of both worlds and FREE to sign up NOW!


  1. Patricia@lavenderuses
    Twitter: lavenderuses

    Hi Brandon

    Thanks for sharing your top 10 plugins. I use some of them and will now ask my techie friend about the others. He knows what I already have and there are a couple that you use that sound like good alternatives to me. I like it when I come to a blog and learn something useful. Thanks for this Brandon. Much appreciated.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  2. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    You’re welcome Patricia. They are all a must in every WordPress install that I do.

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  3. TrafficColeman
    Twitter: TrafficColeman

    I have used the sexybookmarks for an while now and its very helpful with people sharing your content…but really I only use a hand full and they work perfectly.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  4. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Thats Cool Antonio. I try to submit to as many as I can, but I never get to them all. It’s nice to offer many options to readers that do though.

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  5. Reinier@millions
    Twitter: buonman

    Thanks a lot Brandon, I been lucky to stumble on your website. I will not even tell you how many plug ins I already have on the above list you shared, it’s because I only heard of them just now, from you…

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  6. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    You’re welcome Reinier. I am sure that you will notice a huge difference in things on your blog within a week from installing them.

    Posted on 07-Dec-10 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  7. Sweet Brandon, some I haven’t heard/seen before. Thanks for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    OK brother, lets get into it, lol. Your advocating Newsletter Pro over proven services like Aweber and such??

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 8:29 am | Permalink
  8. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    AWeber isn’t proven. It is just hyped. As a matter of fact, it is proven to be a bad choice. I have gone to blogs that I visit daily, and noticed that some of them had their AWeber expired because they did not pay the monthly fee, or they were late or whatever.

    Consider this Dennis. AWeber is pushed by affiliate marketers. I am an affiliate marketer and I am not pushing them even though I have an affiliate account with them. Newsletter Pro doesn’t even have an affiliate account (which is annoying me), but they are that great that I can’t vouch for anyone else. Pay the one time upgrade and have the script for life. No “this user hasn’t paid” messages.

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  9. Not paying ones bill is not a programs fault, nor is it any sort of proof of a program being a bad choice.

    If that were proof of anything we should all have in-home servers for hosting as well. How many thousands of websites go down due to people not paying their hosting bill?

    Trying to cut this one off at the pass, in-home hosting servers is a bad idea for 99% of folks out there. lol

    On top of that, I do believe Aweber to be the #1 choice of everyone using it for a list, not merely affiliate marketers. Affiliate marketers are just he only ones using the affiliate program, obviously, as with any affiliate program. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  10. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    I didn’t mean that when I said self-hosting. I meant on your own hosting account. A list on your hosting account can easily be backed up when you backup your database (like I do every day). I agree it’s not the programs fault Dennis. You are right there. But it is the nature of the program which irks me a bit. Those thousands of sites that go down can easily go right back up on a free hosting server. Those allow custom domains to be pointed to their site. If they back it up, then they don’t have to worry when it goes down. They can just move it elsewhere. When a 3rd party controls your list, it is a bit more work to backup that list and ensure you don’t lose everything. Get what I’m saying? I say just try out the free version of that newsletter plugin, and it will speak for itself.

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  11. Just sayin’, if one were to self-host everything we rely on 3rd parties for…I don’t even wanna think about it. I gotta say, I also advise against all free apps, for very important services, hosting, mailing, even email except for maybe gmail.

    Yes you give up some control with 3rd party anything, but you gain so much (benefits/features/name recognition, etc) I hardly even think about it.

    Everyone’s different, this is a good thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 10:59 am | Permalink
  12. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    I don’t advocate self hosting everything. For instance, unless you are a huge multi-millionaire with serious website security needs, I don’t recommend having an in-house server. I don’t agree with your stance on free apps. I have dealt with a ton of excellent free apps that blow the paid ones out of the water.

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  13. Free apps – Oh don’t misunderstand, when it comes time for something new, I’ll hop all over free/low-cost alternatives first; you’d have to be nuts not too.

    AVG security springs to mind, Their free version is rated higher then almost all cost-based alternat9ves out there.

    I do however strongly steer clear and advise others to do the same when it comes to the ultra important/business-damaging types…

    Blog platforms
    e-Commerce platforms

    Blogs, chat-rooms, and forums bleed daily with tears of people getting screwed; losing everything, and so on.

    Yes, some do fine, but I believe it’s been proven time and time again, overall… get what you pay for.

    Posted on 10-Dec-10 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  14. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    I think that if I got what I paid for, then WordPress and the many great plugins I use daily would have failed me years ago. I believe that there are arguments in abundance to promote either side of this issue, so we can go on forever ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted on 10-Dec-10 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  15. Joshua Rasnier
    Twitter: joshuarasnier

    Nice list. How is oiopublisher with adsense?

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  16. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Well, technically you can use it. OIOPublisher lets you either upload a banner and specify a url, OR you can insert your own ad code. But consider the specific ad size of the slot. You would need to paste in the same adsense ad size as the banners that may be purchased or placed in that spot.

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 11:23 am | Permalink
  17. Tristan@Blogging Tips
    Twitter: tristanhigbee

    oiopublisher looks pretty cool.

    I’ve used Comment Reply Notification before but am currently using ReplyMe. It’s pretty much the same thing, but there’s no option for people to choose to get emailed. They get emailed my reply whether they like it or not ๐Ÿ™‚

    Regarding AWeber vs. Newsletter Pro. I can see your points and I understand why you don’t like it, but I don’t think you can say “AWeber’s not proven.” Whether you like AWeber or not, it has been proven by thousands and thousands and thousands of users. Even though I know you’re not ignorant, saying it’s not proven just seems like an ignorant thing to say.

    AWeber has been around since 1998, and I trust that much more than I trust a cheap, relatively new WordPress plugin.

    I also use Page Links To and Contact Form 7, and I think both are perfect for what they do.

    Thanks for the post, Brandon!

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  18. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    It seems I have offended you because you love Aweber. I know how long it has been around. But when I say proven, I am talking about reliability. Their service functions as it’s supposed to. However, reliability is something I gauge on how well it performs as far as controlling it. You cannot control AWeber. If you miss a payment, even on accident) then you lose your service. With Newsletter Pro, you pay once, and you get a reliable program that requires no financial maintenance. It cannot be “proven” because of the nature of how it operates. If AWeber were to introduce a standalone script that mirrors it’s service, it will get my vote. As for it being proven by thousands and thousands of users, I have seen it proven to be offline when I have gone to subscribe to somebody’s blog due to lack of payment.

    It’s cool you are using Page links To and Contact Form 7. Both are great plugins that perform better than I could have imagined when I installed them. Any comment reply plugin would do. I just hate it when I come across a blog that doesn’t allow it because it’s nearly impossible to keep up with conversations otherwise.

    You definitely want OIOPublisher in your arsenal.

    Posted on 08-Dec-10 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
  19. Nice stuff Brandon. I have heard of the Newsletter Pro plug in before but I didn’t know how useful it could be to me until I read this article. The oiopublisher plugin looks attractive too, thanks for the coupon code. I will give a few of these plugins a try and see how it goes. Do share some more of your resources in the future.

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  20. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Newsletter Pro has to be one of my favorites John! This sucker is packed with functionality. Now if only I can convince the programmer to start an affiliate program…

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  21. Ric Bender
    Twitter: ricbender

    I have added these plugins and have enjoyed great success. Thank you for the article.

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  22. This is an interesting compilation of must-have WordPress plugins. I thought there are a few other important plugins such as Wibya, Google XML Sitemaps, All in One SEO Pack etc which you could build into your list. In fact coincidentally, my recently shared on my blog about the same topic, though we focused on different plugins.

    Posted on 09-Dec-10 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  23. Great lists of plugins, though i have missed following:

    sitemap xml
    all in one seo
    robots meta
    ping optimizer.

    Thanks for listing and sharing the list.

    Posted on 11-Dec-10 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  24. Perfect plug-in lists here Brandon! I don’t know other plug ins that you’ve mentioned here. Thanks for sharing and explaining anyway.

    Posted on 13-Dec-10 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  25. Brankica @ Live Your Love
    Twitter: brankica_u

    I stopped using #1 and #2 and replaced them with G.A.S.P. I am using #3 and I love it for it’s simplicity. I am still searching for the plugin to use as a notification for other comments. I am debating between a few.
    However, I think this is a great list and I love learning about plugins from successful bloggers.

    Posted on 14-Dec-10 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
  26. Hi Brandon.

    Thanks for sharing your top 10 plugins.

    I love a plug in similar to your number 7, for social bookmark sharing.

    I use ShareThis.

    Posted on 15-Dec-10 at 8:11 am | Permalink
  27. John McNally
    Twitter: johnmcnally54

    Thanks for the list Brandon.

    I’m wary about plugins because I don’t want to slow up my blog loading time. However I’m thinking about installing the Captcha code and the comment reply notification.

    Does the comment reply plugin ONLY let me know if MY comment has a reply?

    I’ve actually stopped ticking the comment notification boxes, because I end up with hundreds of emails from posts with hundreds of comments.


    Posted on 17-Dec-10 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  28. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Hi John. It shows two different reply types. One is a general reply to the topic, and the other is a “your comment has a new reply” notification. There are options in the plugin settings to allow only replies to the comment if that’s what you want to do. I however, prefer to see all replies despite the hundreds of comments. By doing so, I have been able to see other replies about me which I was then able to respond to.

    Posted on 17-Dec-10 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  29. I honestly don’t know most of the plug-ins you’ve mentioned but I think I’ll try some of them. I have used the other plug-ins already and were pretty satisfied with it. Hopefully I’ll be happier with the rest of the plug-ins. Thanks!

    Posted on 22-Dec-10 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  30. Cool! Don’t know some of the plug-ins but will give it a try on my WP blog. I like Contact Form 7 and newsletter pro. Thanks.

    Posted on 23-Dec-10 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
  31. hi, Brandon Connell you post gonna me help a lot. i am quite new in this field. recently i have got opportunity to work on wordpress site. i was little confuse about plugins that why seeking for good advise and with this post my search end . thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 23-Nov-12 at 12:18 am | Permalink

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