HART’s Awesome List of WordPress Plugins To Have

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I have many websites and often require to add wordpress plugins to make the site function better. There are opinions out there in cyberspace suggesting that you shouldn’t use any plugins. I am not of that belief. However, here are reasons why you may not want to use plugins with your website:

– You don’t update them regularly, causing old plugins to ‘break the current theme’ or create security risks by allowing backdoor hackers to get into your site.
– Some premium themes may already have basic coding and functionality that lets your site do things that plugins would normally do, and thus having two of the same working plugins usually create conflict
– If you keep adding and activating plugins based on every recommendation you ever read, eventually too many conflicting plugins may create CPU overage and hosting issues, as well as possibly break your site because of incompatibility issues

Because I have a lot of sites, I keep a folder on my computer with a list of all of the plugins that I will copy onto each and every site that I have. If I ever find a new and better plugin, I will come and add it to my list. If I find out a plugin is not compatible with the latest wordpress version I will come and delete this from my folder and list.

Although very common, it is possible that I do not have each and every single one of the following FREE wordpress plugins activated, for various reasons. One might be that I do not need it for a particular site. Another reason is that I also use several PAID wordpress plugins (not listed here) and because of that I might not need to use some of these free wordpress plugins.

Check Out These Free WordPress Plugins

Meanwhile .. here are my suggestions. I suggest that you copy (CTRL-C) the title of each plugin and go into your wordpress “Plugin” section, “Add New”, and then paste (CTRL-V) into the search field, then activate. I will list “WHAT” wordpress describes the plugin to be and “WHY” I include this plugin on my blogs

Ads by datafeedr.com

– WHAT: Formerly Datafeedr Random Ads V2 – The Datafeedr Random Ads plugin is a free plugin which allows you to simply and easily show random ads anywhere in your template files or using widgets.
– WHY: This is great for randomizing many codes, images, or affiliate links in a single space. I use it mostly in my template on my ecommerce sites to include similar type affiliate products ads, or in sidebars of various blogs

Advanced Automatic Updates

– WHAT: Adds extra options to WordPress’ built-in Automatic Updates feature. Add and display ads randomly on your blog. Sort ads randomly, limit the number of ads that appear, display ads in posts, widgets or template files.
– WHY: WordPress can automatically update your version to the latest version, or at least a lesser version not so out of date. But, before you update your wordpress it is always a good idea to update your plugins FIRST. This plugin will do that, if updates are available – because usually there are when a new wordpress version is released.

Better Plugin Compatibility Control

– WHAT: Adds version compatibility info to the plugins page to inform the admin at a glance if a plugin is compatible with the current WP version.
– WHY: You see when new plugins are updated and released .. but a lot of times developers just give up, go back to school, get a job and do not have time and basically abandon their plugins. So, it may look like no plugin update is available, when in reality the plugin could break or be a security risk for your version of wordpress. This plugin lets you see what version it will be compatible up to, in your plugins list.

Contextual Related Posts

– WHAT: Display a set of related posts on your website or in your feed. Increase reader retention and reduce bounce rates
– WHY: This is great for thumbnails of featured posts of your random and related blog posts similar to the category and tags used in the post at the bottom of the post.

Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades

– WHAT: This plugin allows for installed themes to be upgraded by using the Appearance > Add New Themes > Upload feature of WordPress. Without this plugin, themes can only be installed using this method, requiring you to first delete the theme before installing the newer version. Now features the same easy upgrading for plugins via the Plugins > Add New > Upload page.
– WHY: Short reason, so you do not lose all your data coding and settings when you upgrade a theme or plugin

Facebook Auto Publish

– WHAT: Publish posts automatically from your blog to Facebook social media. You can publish your posts to Facebook as simple text message, text message with image or as attached link to your blog. The plugin supports filtering posts by custom post-types and categories.
– WHY: I used to use RSS Grafitti to pull in posts from the blog to Facebook, but that stopped working. This plugin pushes it nicely from the blog to Facebook – but, don’t forget to work the Settings first.

Login LockDown

– WHAT: Adds some extra security to WordPress by restricting the rate at which failed logins can be re-attempted from a given IP range.
– WHY: There are a lot of bots and trickery out there on the internet that will keep trying to break your password with basic usernames, like “admin”. I have so many sites I allow people to login, but 3 strikes they are out!

MailChimp for WordPress

– WHAT: MailChimp for WordPress by ibericode. Adds various highly effective sign-up methods to your site.
– WHY: If you are collecting emails and have a newsletter, this just makes it easier to use in the site, versus creating the code directly in Mailchimp and copying it over into your site – which, you can if you wish.

Page Builder by SiteOrigin

– WHAT: A drag and drop, responsive page builder that simplifies building your website.
– WHY: I found this included with one of my themes, and do not really use it and just code everything myself. It works good for posts, and pages and if I do use it, it would be more for organizing the look of pages.

Print Friendly and PDF

– WHAT: The Print Friendly & PDF button saves paper and ink when printing or creating a PDF. It’s fast, easy, and looks great when printed. Add the button now, and your users will see the difference.
– WHY: I use it only as a service on certain of my blogs so people can print out the text and ‘meat’ of the blog posts, without all of the crazy ads and images.

Relevant Posts Widget

– WHAT: The plugin provides a widget to show relevant posts to the current post by categories and tags.
– WHY: This works great as a widget for your sidebar to pull out related links and posts in your blog, versus the usual ‘latest posts’ or ‘latest comments’ etc.

Ultimate Social Media PLUS

– WHAT: The best social media plugin on the market. And 100% FREE. Allows you to add social media & share icons to your blog (esp. Facebook, Twitter, Email, RSS, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Share-button). It offers a wide range of design options and other features.
– WHY: The best? probably not but I like to use the most newest complete social media to list all my accounts from Pinterest to Tumblr and every where that I have set up an account.

W3Counter Free Web Stats

– WHAT: Adds real-time stats to your dashboard including visitor activity, top posts, top referrers, searches and locations of your visitors. To get started: 1) Sign up for a free W3Counter account, 2) Go to your W3Counter settings page to set your login details, and 3) Add the W3Counter Widget to one of your sidebars or manually copy and paste the code into your theme.
– WHY: I like free stats on all my sites but Sitemeter has been going down and stopped working. This free stats (for single sites) is “just okay” but nice that you can see the stats directly in your wordpress dashboard

Widget Saver

– WHAT: Saves widget layouts so that they can be restored at a later date.
– WHY: A must! Save your widget layouts before you change anything just in case. If you are using a theme tester, sometimes if it’s a premium theme or Genesis or Thesis, then the widgets might not stick or stay with the new theme, or when you go back to the old theme. Trust me. Get this.

Widgetize pages Light

– WHAT: Drop widgets in page or post content area. Widgetize a page. Build your custom page layout in no time. No coding, easy and fun!
– WHY: Imagine stuff you put in your sidebar and footer and how they could be used or look on a wordpress page. That is what this is for!

Whydowork Adsense

– WHAT: Insert Adsense code in your pages without modifying the template. Show different ads for articles older than 7 days (or as old as you wish).
– WHY: I’m not sure if this is available anymore, but works for me. Basically, if you have an adsense plugin like this, you plug in your code and suggest it automatically embed itself at the top, or middle, or at the bottom, or random around each blog post. You should see two google ads on this post, although I have no idea where they were inserted and they are not coded inside this post – that’s the plugin doing it.


– WHAT: An e-commerce toolkit that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
– WHY: If you need this .. wordpress owns this. That’s why. It works and should always be compatible with future versions of wordpress!

Hope this helps! // HART

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