Here is a list of my top twenty favorite FREE WordPress plug-ins, with a little blurb on what each does. If you use these twenty and then research around on your own, you will be WAY ahead of 90% of your competitors in the blogging world.
Almost all these can be found within your WordPress Admin panel and installed with a couple of clicks. Those that can’t be found within the admin panel can be found by Googling the phrase with the term “WordPress plugin”.
In your WordPress admin panel go to “plugins” hit the “add new” button and then enter the name of the plugin as we have written it below. Then press “search plugins”. You will then be presented with a list of plugins.
Select the plugin you are looking for and then click “install now”. The plugin will install automatically and once it is done click “activate plugin”. Once the plugin is activated, each will have different steps to follow to “configure” the plugin for your individual preferences.
1. Add To Facebook
Adds a footer link to add the current post or page to a Facebook Mini-Feed.
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need an API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.”
3. All in One SEO Pack
Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog. A MUST HAVE for anyone interested in no hassle SEO for your blog.
Plugin to show a link to the last post from the commenters blog by parsing the feed at their given URL when they leave a comment. Rewards your readers and encourages more comments.
7. Contact Form 7
Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.
8. Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.
9. OnlyWire for WordPress
Easily post to millions of sites with one button. MAKES SOCIAL BOOKMARKING EASY!
Automatically adds an AdSense-compliant privacy page.
11. SEO Smart Links
Provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
SexyBookmarks adds a (X)HTML compliant list of social bookmarking icons to each of your posts. See configuration panel for more settings.
13. TweetMeme Retweet Button
Adds a button which easily lets you retweet your blog posts.
14. Twitter Friendly Links
Your very own TinyURL within your OWN domain! If you DO promote your blog posts in Twitter, then you MUST make your links look cool!
15. What Would Seth Godin Do
Displays a custom welcome message to new visitors and another to return visitors.
16. WordPress Tweeter
WordPress Tweeter tweets every time you make a new post on your blog. Make sure you read the documentations before using this plugin. The change-log, installation instructions, and any other plugin related information is there.
Manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database, drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up and optimizing of database.
18. WP Mobile Detector
Automatically detects if the visitor is using a standard mobile phone or a smart phone and loads a compatible wordpress mobile theme for each. This plugin is one of the first to differentiate between a standard mobile phone and a smart phone. With advanced mobile statistics, image resizing, automatically formatted content, and detection of 5,000+ mobile phones, this plug-in gives your mobile visitors the experience they desire.
19. WP Super Cache
Very fast caching plugin for WordPress. Makes your blog load faster. Just be aware you may want to turn this off when you make changes to your blog and then reactivate it when your changes are finished.
20. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A “tempting” feature allows customization of the display.