Top 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins

If you are starting or already are maintaining a WordPress blog, you must have these plugins mentioned here.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of plugins by now.  But eye-candy isn’t going to make your blog popular.  You need the right tools.

If I was the distro manager for WordPress,  I would include all five of them in the off-the-shelf installation of the blog. If you are familiar with how to add plugins on WordPress, then do not sleep until you get all five of these up and running.    The process for adding plugins is very simple, and I’ll add some information on that at the bottom of this post.  But first, here’s the five must have plugins for your blog:  (drum roll please….)

1. Akismet
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use it.   I can’t tell you how much grief this has saved me.  There are the occasional false positives, but honestly, who wants to run a blog these days without some kind of spam filter?   Get it now and make your life easier.

2. All in One SEO Pack
Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog.  Unless you are writing a blog exclusively for your family and friends, you will need all the SEO (search engine optimization) help you can get.  This is the most-downloaded plugin in the WordPress planet.  That means even if it doesn’t really help, if you don’t have it, everyone else does.

3. Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, Microsoft Bing, and YAHOO.  This is another no-brainer.  Let the search engines see your blogs in real time.

4. ShareThis
Let your visitors share a post/page with others. Supports e-mail and posting to social bookmarking sites.   There are several competing services that offer this, but these guys do it well, and it’s super simple to include in your blog.  They are soon becoming the ubiquitous social bookmark tag on the internet.  Your readers will start using it instantly, and that means qualified viral traffic.  What could be better?

5. WordPress.com Stats

We have Google Analytics running on our blogs too, and that’s great.  But WordPress knows the blog business. They have the exact stats you need and want to see on a regular basis.  You will need an API key for this app, which you can pick at WordPress.org (you can use the same key as for the Askimet spam filter above).

Review on how to add plugins

Go to your admin panel, and click on the plugins tab on the left side after “Appearance”.  Search for the plugins  mentioned above, and have WordPress install them automatically.  The process should run without a hitch.  If you do run into problems, they usually stem from security on the plugins folder (wp-content/plugins).  The plugins page does a good job of walking you through the process, so I will leave that to the experts.

Firefox Add-Ons – The Must Haves

The Browser With More
Firefox is a good internet browser. It’s the first real example of open source taking on the establishment, and winning. The real power in Firefox is the plethora of add-ons and tools that have been written by the open source community.

There are literally hundreds (by now, thousands) of add-ons, plugins, extensions, and other third-party tools available for you to install to your Firefox browser. Some of them do really nifty things, and others are duds. To sift through all of them would take many weeks.

We present here the best and most-useful of the Firefox add-ons available today. If you install them, we guarantee you will get more from your Internet experience than ever before.

DownThem All Firefox Plugin
DownThem All Firefox Plugin

1. Down Them All – This is an incredibly useful tool. http://www.downthemall.net/ The developer’s website claims they’ve had 9 million downloads. There would be ten times more users if they knew how handy this tool is. DownThemAll lets you download all the links or images contained in a webpage. You can even use regular expression and simple filters to fine-tune and get only the files you want. It also features an advanced accelerator that increases speed up to 400%. Get it!

2. Web Developer – http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/
The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. It works on Windows, Linux, and Mac too. This is an indispensable tool for a web developer. If you are programming on the web, you must have this add-on.

Stumble Upon Firefox Plugin
Stumble Upon Firefox Plugin

3. Stumble Upon – http://www.stumbleupon.com/ finds you new websites and articles that match your browsing history and interests. The other exciting feature of this toolbar is that you can link other Stumble Upon users to your own website or blog content and attract visitors to your website for free. This is a great SEO tool (see my article on this topic).

4. Media Converter – http://www.mediaconverter.org/ This utility allows you to seamlessly download video content from video websites like Youtube, Veoh, Metacafe, DailyMotion, and others, and then automatically converts to your mobile player’s required format.

5. Foxy Tunes – http://www.foxytunes.com/ This totally cool add-on lets you control your media player from inside the Firefox browser. You also have lyrics, videos, and band bios within your fingertips.

Ad Block Plus Plugin
Ad Block Plus Plugin

6. Ad-Block Plus – http://adblockplus.org/ The major anti-virus software already have ad blocking modules, but in case you don’t have Norton or Kaspersky installed, this extension does a good job of keeping the advertisers away from your surfing-weary eyes.

7. CoolIris http://www.cooliris.com/ Not very practical, but oh so cool. Essentially a 3D presentation of the web, including photo websites, video sites, etc… You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to the future. Also gives a 3D view of shopping, such as Amazon and iTunes. It’s the heaviest of the add-ons, with the download weighing in at nearly 5 MB. This is one tool you will want to try.

8. Tab Mix Plus – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1122 Makes your tab experience like nothing before. You can add, duplicate, reload, protect, and lock tabs. It also keeps tabs (no pun intended) on your closed tabslist.

Honorable Mentions:

Alexa (Sparky) – Alexa is the premier website ranking tool. If you want or need to know where each website you visit stacks up with regards to traffic and visitors by country, this is the toolbar to get.

Digg – Another great SEO building tool – If you are looking for a quick way to publish your content to the world in a SEO-friendly way, this is a great tool to use. Other than that, it’s good for saving bookmarks. There are a bunch of other tools out there that do the same.

Webmail Notifier – Checks your online email accounts, such as Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google, and let’s you know when new emails arrive.

FoxyProxy – This tool is geared to advanced users who want to hide, secure, or change their web identity. It is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities.

Here’s the Firefox Add-ons Homepage in case you have a couple weeks to sift through the thousands of other extensions.