WordPress at DrupalCamp
Creative Commons License photo credit: Risager

If you’re one of the millions of WordPress users today, you’re probably thankful for the existence of plugins, those little chunks of code that enhance the functionalities of your blog. Basically, these plugins are built to help you manage and keep track of your blog better, but their role doesn’t end there. Plugins can improve your visitors’ experience of your site, and some of them are even made specifically to help you make money blogging.

The only drawback about plugins is the fact that there’s so many of them lying around the blogosphere, and not all of them are necessary to the success of your site. But how will you know which plugins are worth installing and which ones are better off left on the shelf? Here are our picks for the best WordPress plugins that you can find today!

1. Akismet A perennial favorite, Akismet is every WordPress blogger’s first line of defense against nefarious comment spam. This plugin effectively blocks bogus comments from infiltrating your comment box and clogging it up, making comment management an easier job for you.

2. All in One SEO Pack This tool raises your capacity to make money blogging by providing you with a whole suite of features that optimize your blog for search engines. The All in One SEO Pack takes the most significant page-ranking factors that affect your site’s search engine rankings, and lets you tweak with them to make your blog shine in search engine results.

3. WordPress 2.3 Related Posts Plugin Definitely a must-have, the WP 2.3 Related Posts Plugin ensures that each of your blog posts comes with a list of links to related posts. This list also appears in your blog feed, so your feed subscribers don’t miss out.

4. Lucia’s Linky Luv This tool does a great job of managing your comments, and is best known for its “dofollow” function. Essentially, this means that people who comment on your blog are automatically rewarded with backlinks, so that their blogs can benefit from your own sites’ page rank. However, it also enforces a “nofollow” rule on comments that are likely to be spam. Brilliant!

5. cformsII Finally, a tool that gives your readers a secure way through which to contact you. cformsII is a neat plugin that lets your readers establish contact with you safely and securely. It boasts of an impressive set of features, and is even shielded against spam.

6. Tell a Friend The Tell a Friend plugin by Social Twist goes beyond the functionalities of your old “Bookmark/Email This!” button. It doesn’t just cover e-mail and social bookmarking services. With this tool, your readers can now share your blog posts through instant messaging, their own blogs, their social networks, and through their own content management systems.

7. Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress This one is a very useful plugin that instantly draws up a sitemap of your blog in XML format, which Google, Ask, and MSN Search can pick up right away. So what’s the big deal about this? When provided with a sitemap that outlines each URL within the blog as well as their corresponding metatags, a search engine spider can crawl through your site better and come up with more relevant search results as far as your blog goes.

If you don’t already have these plugins, isn’t it time that you installed them in your blog? Although a blog with quality content and attentive management can float along successfully enough, the right plugins can complement your overall blogging strategy, making it more robust and more profitable than if it were standing on its own.