Free WordPress PlugIns I Actually Use

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I have searched and searched and searched for WordPress Plugins that would help me with various tasks on my blog, make my blog more efficient, more SEO friendly.  There are tons of them out there and there tons of “best wordpress plugins”, “best free wordpress plugins”, “Top Comment Plugins”, “Best SEO Plugins”, etc etc etc posts out there, but how many of them are actually useful to me and my blog (and to my fellow parent and/or review bloggers).

So, I put forth the question, as a review blogger, as a parent blogger, if you use wordpress, what plugins do you use?  I thought it would be interesting to compare and see what we each use, what someone else is using but we haven’t found yet, what you can’t live without.

If you make a post about it, please link me to it in the comments because I’d love to see what your favorite wordpress plugins are!

Here are the ones that I have activated (I am only including activated because if it’s deactivated, obviously I either didn’t find it to live up to the hype or it’s too complicated for me to figure out, etc. and haven’t deleted it yet.  Why include those?)

AddToAny: Subscribe Button

The Subscribe button helps people subscribe to your blog using any feed reader, such as Google Reader, My Yahoo!, Netvibes, Windows Live, and all other RSS readers. The button comes with AddToAny’s customizable Smart Menu, which places the services visitors use at the top of the menu, based on each visitor’s browsing and usage history.

Ad Squares Widget

This widget makes it possible for you to display 125×125 ad squares ( or some other configurable size ) into a widget-ready bar for WordPress®. You can have just 2 squares, or as many as 8 running together. It also supports multi-widget options. So technically you could have even more than 8 if you add it to a bar more than once. Each ad square accepts any HTML/JavaScript code, so it will work with standard affiliate ads, or even with ad network codes. You can also configure the widget to shuffle the positioning of your squares if you like.

Note – that one is activated, I haven’t added it to my sidebar yet because I don’t need any extra spots for advertisers yet.


Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s "Comments" admin screen.

I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet has Akismet installed, but just in case, there you have it.


AnyFont allows you to automatically set any custom TrueType or OpenType font absolutely anywhere you want on your WordPress site.

AnyFont is really awesome.  I used it a lot with my last theme.  You can upload a font to your site (no one else has access to it, so no copywrite violations), then AnyFont turns your titles/menu/etc into an image, using that font that you selected to write the words.  You know how if you specify a font that is uncommon that if someone doesn’t have that font on there computer that it won’t show it in that format, worse, it can show up as giberish.  AnyFont gets rid of that problem with the turning of the title into an image.

I will say, I don’t have it activated with this theme.  It looked funny on the dark background with pixelated white around the letters.  For a white background, it rocks.

Blog Engage Widget – because I am huge fan of Blog Engage. Need an invite? Let me know!

Broken Link Checker

This plugin will monitor your blog looking for broken links and let you know if any are found.

I just came across that one and I love it already.  I have had my blog for over 4 years.  Do you know how many broken links will be had in 4 years?  Over 1000.  That’s not counting redirects.  I unlinked the broken links, relinked the ones I knew who had changed their domain, and fixed the redirects. Awesome!

Collapsing Categories

This is a very simple plugin that uses Javascript to form a collapsable set of links in the sidebar for the categories. Every post corresponding to a given category will be expanded.

I am not a huge fan of the way this appears in my sidebar, but that being said, it does the job and it is more appealing than 100 categories going down my sidebar.  My sidebar is long enough as it is.  All of my reviews I do are under the parent category reviews, then split into their own sub category.  You are able to expand it rather than have it go on and on and on.  If you know of one that looks better, let me know.

Comment Luv

This plugin will visit the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve a selection of their last blog posts, tweets or digg submissions which they can choose one from to include at the bottom of their comment when they click submit.

I think that is another one most of us have installed.

Conditional CAPTCHA for WordPress

This plugin provides a CAPTCHA complement to these spam detection plugins:

  • If a spam detection plugin identifies a comment as spam, it will ask the commenter to complete a simple CAPTCHA.
  • If they fail, then the comment will be automatically discarded or trashed (and won’t clutter up your spam queue).
  • If they pass, it will be allowed into the spam queue (or approved, if you so choose).
  • Meanwhile, genuine commenters (i.e., those not flagged by Akismet) will be able to comment on your site hassle-free.

I have had no problems with this one.  I have had problems with other CAPTCHA plugins, so this one left me pleasantly surprised.

Easy Icon

Easy Icon plugin help you to give your blog an icon that will be visible and attract visitor. You can choose any files within (jpg,gif,png,or ico) format for your icon.

Look up on your tab, you’ll see my little button.  That’s Easy Icon at work.

Efficient Related Posts

Efficient Related Posts moves all this effort into the admin section, finding related posts when a post is saved rather than when the user views it. The advantage is that if the query is slow it happens less often and the post writer is the one that waits rather than the user (which I think is WAY better).

I’ve used other related posts plugins.  This one is by far my favorite, especially in appearance.  It just has a neater appearance than the one I used to use.

Facebook Fan Box

If you have a page in Facebook about your blog and want to show the Facebook Fan Box with the recent updates and fans.

Facebook Like Button

Add Facebook Like Button to your wordpress blog with a lot of customization options, And you can preview the settings at real-time in the settings section.

I like this, but I need to figure out how to get rid of the huge space between my like button and the other content.  It’s probably something I coded wrong.

Fast Secure Contact Form

Fast Secure Contact Form for WordPress. This contact form lets your visitors send you a quick E-mail message. Blocks all common spammer tactics. Spam is no longer a problem. Includes a CAPTCHA and Akismet support. Additionally, the plugin has a multi-form feature, optional extra fields, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Super customizable.

Love this one.  Never had a problem with it.  See it in action here.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

I’ll just say, I assume this one works.  I’ve had it running forever.  I know nothing about sitemaps and don’t pretend to. :)

Keyword Statistics

With this plugin you can optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. It can automatically generate meta informations (like keywords and description for example) needed for the search engine optimization (SEO) of your blog.

I just installed this one, I’ll leave the jury out until I’ve worked with it more.  This one may be a no-go.  I always edit my posts in Windows Live Writer, I just went to try to update one in my dashboard and I kept get a keywords statistics script is not responding error.  Need to research it a bit to see if it’s the plugin or my blog.

Limit Posts

"Limit-Post" is one of the better WordPress post content limiters we have come across both in terms of usability and size. Developed by "Limit-Post" provides excellent control over the post character-length and even adds the ability to create "read more …" link with a single line of code.

This one came with my current theme.  You can see it working on my front page. I like it better than whatever my old theme used to limit the size of posts.  That one was all screwed up.  It would have limit everything except for videos and then pop them in the middle of my page somewhere, on top of another post.  This one has been working really well.


The Link To This Page WordPress plugin provides a quick, simple to use, and unobtrusive way for users to obtain a link to your page or post for their own web site.

Simple enough.  Does what it says.  Works For Me.

No Follow Case By Case

NFCBC SEO Plugin ADD-on for better comment management New (07/2009): NFCBC SEO Light is an alternative Follow/Nofollow Plugin. (Suggests follow, nofollow or no link automatically, depending on comments length.)

I have this installed because I thought it might be useful, and it probably is for other people, so I’m including it.  I’m the type though, if you leave me a legitimate comment, I’m not going to add no follow tags to your blog.  If you are coming to my blog to say, super duper article, I marked it on my google reader, and you have left the same thing on 2000 other blogs (yes, if I am not sure a comment is legit, I google the link), I throw you in spam.  I don’t even let the comment get through.  If I let those kind of comments through this would come in handy, since I don’t, I haven’t used it yet.

Platinum SEO Pack

Optimizes your WordPress blog for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization).

I hear I need this.  I’ve had it for a long time.  I’m assuming it works. :)

Popularity Contest

Which of your posts/pages are most popular?

Popularity Contest keeps a count of your post, category and archive views, comments, trackbacks, etc. and uses them to determine which of your posts are most popular.

This one came with my current theme.  I did not know I needed it, but it’s interesting, and depressing, to see how (un)popular my posts are. :)

Quick Cache

If you care about the speed of your site, Quick Cache is one of those plugins that you absolutely MUST have installed. Quick Cache takes a real-time snapshot ( building a cache ) of every Page, Post, Category, Link, etc. These snapshots are then stored ( cached ) intuitively, so they can be referenced later, in order to save all of that processing time that has been dragging your site down and costing you money.

Another one I heard I MUST have.  I haven’t noticed any difference in my site, which means that it must be working.


Send a email to author automatically while someone reply his comment. You can custom the content what you send. Note: You must enable threaded (nested) comments and deactivate the plugin like `Wordpress Thread Comment`.

I recently installed this one and I LOVE it!  I was looking for something to take over where Intense Debate left off.  Intense Debate was awesome, but I do giveaways on my blog.  At the time I was using it, Intense Debate didn’t number the comments.  I was not going to count all the comments to get to the winner, so I uninstalled it.  I wanted something though where I could just go threw the comments and leave a reply to each, that would send the commenter a notification that I had replied.  This works perfectly!

SEO Slugs

The SEO Slugs WordPress plugin removes common words like ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘in’ from post slugs to improve search engine optimization.

They say it improves SEO, it does what it says, I’m not sure how much improvement I have, but every little bit helps.

Sociallist spreads your content across the Internet by making it easier for your website visitors to share it with other people. Social bookmarking sites are a popular way to store, classify, share and search links.

Table Of Contents Creator

Table of Contents Creator (TOCC) automatically generates a highly customizable dynamic site wide table of contents that is always up-to-date. All entries are navigable making your site very SEO friendly.

See this one in action here.

Top Commenters Widget

The Top Commentators Widget a sidebar widget to show the top commentators in your WP site.

Just a little bit of fun.

Twitter Link Comments

This plugin will add an extra field to your comment form so a user can add their Twitter username. A user configured ‘follow me’ link is then displayed along with their details on all their comments.

Also nice to know.

WordPress Database Backup

WP-DB-Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You may also backup other tables in the same database.

This one is hugely important to me.  Yes, I can back up going through my CPanel, but I also back up with this.  After that whole mess with my host going down and thinking I had lost my entire blog?  I will never ever go through again.


WP-Optimize is a wordpress 2.7++ database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to optimize your database tables. It allows you to remove post revisions, comments in the spam queue, un-approved comments within few clicks.

No idea, but I like it.  I never realize how many drafts of the same post are stored on my blog.


Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress site.

Seems silly to get so happy or such a simple thing.  In my last theme, you had to go through my archives to read old posts.  This one, at the bottom of the home page, you can go back as far as you want.  This came with my current theme to.  Never knew how much I needed it until I got it without knowing it.

ETA – Just added after I posted this post today, thanks to Moomette’s blog post about it today.

NoFollow Reciprocity

Most big sites by default use ‘nofollow‘ tags therefore not trusting external links nor users that post those links there. This means that they don’t give any credit (in the form of PageRank) to those links and are essentially considering them spam (as that was ‘officially’ the purpose of ‘nofollow’ tag introduction – actually messing with the blogging community search engine rankings was the real purpose). This results in their pages appearing higher in search engine results and your pages appearing lower.

This plugin detects links to above mentioned sites, and puts ‘nofollow’ tags on them. ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ WordPress is a major blogging platform, with millions of users. If many people using WordPress use this plugin, other big sites may reconsider their ‘nofollow’ strategy. This plugin expands on Wikipedia nofollow plugin hacked by a revolted blogger.

Sounds good to me!  Thanks for sharing it with us Moomette!

So there is my list of the WordPress plugins that I actually use on my blog.

What am I missing from my list?  You know, like WP-PageNavi above that I didn’t even know I needed but couldn’t blog without now that I have it.

What plugins do you use that you couldn’t blog without?

Liked that? Read these:

  • kamoons

    Do those work on blogs like mine? Or only on website blogs like yours?

  • MusingMom6

    This is a great list! I have some of them and am going to try some of the others.

    Thanks for sharing! I have been working on my list and hope to post it soon.

    I’ve visiting from the Blog Entourage Meals on Monday. Hope you stop in my post is #8.