Must-Have Plugins as Featured on Growmap

I asked Ivin to write this post about plugins because other bloggers have recently been asking what plugins I use. Ivin Viljoen has been blogging successfully since 2006 and recently launched an awesome Self Publishing Blog where he helps writers write better and also assists author – especially the bloggers – to publish their books.

Ivin has been working closely with me and our extended blog family on various projects, learning from them how to better himself as  blogger and become the pro we all aspire to be. Here is his take on the plugins I use on this blog and other plugins he recommends:

BLOGGING BEST PRACTICES:

What makes a blog great has two parts:

  • The content and the aesthetic effect of the blog that draws you into the content.
  • The back end of the blog. This is unknown and strange to 80% of bloggers. A part of the back end making that blog ‘work’, is its plugins.

Here are some of the top plugins used here on Growmap that I think makes the blog work well (seen and unseen things) and then a few from my own. I will divide them into ‘must have’s’, ‘nice to have’s’ and ‘technical’ for both Growmap and Authopublisher.

Must-have’s

  • The All-In-One SEO Plugin – This plugin takes the key areas of your blog and places keyword in them to attract visitors to your blog. You can thus optimize the Page Title, Site Meta Description and Site Meta Keywords. This plugin is number one here because across all the blog teachers this is the absolute most important ‘must-have’ plugin. Download here. [UPDATE: The free version of this plugin appears to be no longer available. That link is to the Pro version. Note from GrowMap: We were using All-in-one-SEO when we started because at that time it was the best, most recommend SEO plugin. We now use the Thesis Theme and it has built in SEO capabilities so we will be importing the data from AIOS to Thesis. If we were not using Thesis we would possibly have switched to the Platinum SEO plugin which is explained in more detail on their WordPress SEO Plugins Benefits page. ]
  • CommentLuv – Where the above is not really one of my favorites, however essential, COMLUV is one of them. This plugin is great if it’s installed in other blogs too (make recommendations) because the commenter can insert the link of his latest post below the comment. It helps with link building and blog post promotion.  ComLuv also has a feature where if you register on the website, the plugin will give you an option to choose from the last ten posts to insert as a link in your comment (see image below). If you really like this, you can even sign up for a fee and create anchor test links which you need for link building permanently featured in your dropdown. Read how ComLuv increases your blog traffic. Download CommentLuv plugin here.
Comment Luv

Comment Luv dropdown feature

  • GrowMap Anti Spambot Plugin (Or G.A.S.P) for short) – Yes, it is a plugin related to this blog and has been developed by the influence and hard work of many people. It was born out of the frustration of high profile bloggers who had to contend with spam comments (even those who weren’t spam) needed to be ‘moderated’ as per being banned by Akismet. It was great as spam comments were banished from your blog but real people leaving genuine heartfelt comments were also sometimes removed by Akismet. This is bad for business. I commented on a very prominent blog for a day or two until I realized my comment is not getting posted or moderated. You lose readers and clients. G.A.S.P. has a simple checkbox below your comment section asking you to ‘confirm you are not a spammer’ or whatever else you want it to say and only real people are let through to your blogs comment section. I recently raved profusely on this plugin on my blog comparing G.A.S.P vs Akismet. I believe I called it ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. You can also read the testimonials of G.A.S.P Download the G.A.S.P plugin here.
  • Simple Trackback Validation – I recently did a post on Dragonblogger thinking these were new spam tactics getting literally thousand of supposed ‘trackbacks’ from sites that are in no way relevant linking to me from the weirdest posts. Needless to say they show up in my comments section. It obviously looks good when there are hundreds of comments, but not so good inside. STV solves this problem by matching the IP address of the sender to the IP of the site it’s referring to and discards it if there’s no match. Download the Simple Trackback Validation Plugin.
  • KeywordLuv – Don’t confuse this plugin wuith CommentLuv like I did. It has a totally different function. Simply put, what it does, is separate your name from your keyword. So instead of you placing your name and a link attached to it (which means nothing and defeats the point), your name appears and you can place anchor text next to it with your keyword/phrase in it. See image below. You can download KeywordLuv plugin here.
KeywordLuv Plugin

KeywordLuv Plugin effect

  • Dofollow – This is an incentive for the readers that comments on your blog, getting a dofollow attribute added to the comments they leave. These are usually given a nofollow attribute by WordPress itself and gives the commentators no-love for coming to your blog. Download Dofollow Plugin
  • Supr by StumblUpon – StumebleUpon is an actual machine when it comes to driving traffic. This plugin converts your links to SU links when they are shortened. This means the post shows up on SU’s website. Can someone say TRAFFIC JAM! I have been using this feature in the Tweet Old Post Plugin and since then SU has become one of the top drivers of traffic to my blog. Download the Supr by StumbleUpon Plugin here.

Those are the must-have plugins on Growmap. Following are combinations of plugins from Growmap and my own blog that are nice-to-have. They aren’t essential but they make your blog look good and work nice.

Nice-To-Have Plugins

  • Subscribe to comments – This plugin inserts a check box into your comments section that subscribes the user to those comments and emails them to him immediately. This way the commenter don’t have to constantly come back but will be notified of a new comment immediately. Download the subscribe to comments section here
  • Reply Me – (From my blog) Unlike the Subscribe to Comments plugin this one send you an email when someone responds to one of your comments and not all comment in the post.  Download the Reply Me Plugin.[Note from GrowMap: Justin Germino aka @Dragonblogger who has much experience as a WordPress expert has been strongly recommending this plugin and I have asked Ivin to install it for me since he has experience doing so.]
  • Dashboard: Pending reviews – [From my blog] This is great for admin when you have a busy blog and a few guest bloggers. If you want to review posts before they are scheduled or posted, this plugin will portray the posts in your dashboard so you can see which ones need to be attended to. Download the Dashboard: Pending reviews plugin here.[Note from GrowMap: Kristi Hines @Kikolani who is another of my most trusted blogging experts suggested this plugin to me and it is another I have been wanting to install so I have asked Ivin to install this one here as well. The reason I need it is so that I can give guest bloggers author access and set some to be able to publish their own posts and others to allow me to moderate them first.]
  • Contact Form 7 – Say you inspire a reader and he/she wants to get in contact with you for a JV or guidance or needs a service you offer. How do they get in contact with you? If you want your readers to be able to get in contact with you, you need a contact form. This one is said to work better in conjunction with the Really Simple Captcha Plugin to keep those spammers away. The RSC plugin is actually designed to work together with CF7. Download the Contact Form 7 Plugin.

Technical.

  • All-In-One Webmaster – (From my blog) This plugin is very complicated to configure. But once it is done, it submits your sitemap to major search engines. It adds your Meta tags to those search engines as well as analytics scripts. There are a few other things involved, but along with the All-In-One SEO plugin your site will be supremely optimized. Download the All-In-One Webmaster Plugin.
  • W3 Total Cache – This one dramatically improve the speed and user experience on your blog. You can cache your browser, page, object and database. This is so powerful that a friend on whose blog I guest posts’ blog loaded super slow every time and he added this when he got a lot of complaints. As soon as it was, the blog loaded in a flash. Download the W3 Total Cache Plugin here.

Of course these are only a handful of the plugins and we use many others, but these some of the highest priority plugins to use. They are the main ones. Do you have any plugin you would swear by? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments section. (You will get lots of love!)

Image credited to Simon Howden

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Comments

  1. iPhone App Development says:

    I know few from enlisted here but some are truly new for me. I believe this makes blogging practice much easier. It is good to have few effective plugins instead of having all. Thanks for highlighting useful plugins….

  2. Commentluv plug in is really a must for bloggers these days. In my experience, it has given me much more visitors unlike not using it way back. It gives great comments too from my visitors. The give and take relationship is good at dealing such link juices for both the commentator and the blog owner.
    Iesha would love you to read ..acnezine reviewsMy Profile

  3. I personally dont like wordpress or any out of the box web content systems. I guess the are good if you don’t know how to make web pages but they are full of security holes.

  4. Do follow blogs are the best way of promoting the site.This one can not ignore well.No body ignores its fact.Do follow blogs give positive response and also google rank them.

  5. Digital Media says:

    I am new Seo field want to increase on page skilled with out experience don’t get project from my client. I use forum for discussion any topic that relevant of my learning process, I check all status about keyword density and operate my blog.
    Digital Media would love you to read ..The Benefits of Digital MediaMy Profile

  6. Great list of plugins to set up a new blog and start on the right foot.

    As for the “dofollow” plugin, it really is a matter of personal choice. I have found myself pondering on have it or not on some of my blogs.

    Lately I changed one blog of mine from no to do follow.

    Testing things out.

  7. Phone Advertising says:

    I have experience seo i don’t perform job type of google map i read your article interesting topic for map optimizer.
    Can you advice me if i optimize through Google map which one sites is best for map optimize.

  8. CommentLuv has just released a paid version… not sure if I want to upgrade. Debby, what you reckon?
    Martina would love you to read ..Deliciously ChocolateMy Profile

  9. cool Nice-To-Have Plugins section… Love it.
    neil would love you to read ..Welcome To u123 LimitedMy Profile

  10. All-In-One SEO Plugin and CommentLuv are on the top of my list.these are just awesome!

  11. any update for a new plugin?especially for spam
    mexican drinks would love you to read ..A Simple Quesadilla RecipeMy Profile

  12. i love this list…i have most of it but will try the nice to have list

  13. tablet android honeycomb terbaik murah says:

    These are some great plugins. I haven’t heard of quite a few of them and will definitely check them out. I’ve seen CommentLuv around on other blogs but never knew what plugin it was or what it really did. Thanks!

  14. I’m using some of the same plugins.
    G.A.S.P. of course! I love it.

    The all in one seo free version is not available anymore?
    Is that just for new users or has it stopped working for people who already had it?
    Because I have it and I still use it.
    Danny would love you to read ..Remington RM1015P 10-Inch 8 Amp Electric Pole chain SawMy Profile

  15. I didn’t even know that there are so many plugins for my wordpress blog. I already have a few of them but I will try a few of them from this great post. My site is slow when loading, so is the Total Cache plugin do his job and improve my site loading time? I have already tryed two plugins to load my site quicker but tjey didn’t really worked.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. I added the GASP and commentluv plugins to my sites after reading this the other day and removed Akismet. I’m liking the functionality of commentluv, but I’ll have to wait to see how the GASP performs.
    Anthony would love you to read ..Acne Diets-Let’s Get RealMy Profile

  17. I have to say that I switched over to GASP a number of months ago when I read about on a blog and it is so much better. I get very little spam since there is a checkbox that needs to be ticked.

    I also love all in one SEO! Just have to remember that the home page is the SEO plugin settings (:
    Arlene would love you to read ..Acnezine Acne Treatment System For Day-To-Day Acne CareMy Profile

  18. Thank you for this awesome list! I have some of these plugins but am going to add a few more. And I’ll definitely recommend your site to some friends that I think can benefit from it… like I have. :)
    Paula would love you to read ..More of my tween’s favorite things–Teen Choice Awards music editionMy Profile

  19. BTW, you’re one of the sites which also have KeywordLuv enabled. Nice…
    Mickey would love you to read ..how to win a girl overMy Profile

  20. These are some great plugins. I haven’t heard of quite a few of them and will definitely check them out. I’ve seen CommentLuv around on other blogs but never knew what plugin it was or what it really did. Thanks!

  21. Looks like the All-In-One Webmaster plugin link is not working either.
    Are there new links for these plugins. I would really like to try them.

    Thanks

  22. The link to the Stumble Upon plugin is not working. I have tried the root URL http://www.su.pr and there is no site.

    Help?
    Jackie would love you to read ..How Do Breast Growth Pills Function To Increase Breast Size?My Profile

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