Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins Of 2012

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best wordpress pluginsIt’s been a while since my last top WordPress plugins post, so I thought it was about time I got around to writing another. Good job too because I have found a great set of plugins for you to use on your site. Let’s take a look…

10 Of The Best WordPress Plugins

1. Hello Bar

Best WordPress Plugins

The Hello Bar is a plugin that I’m sure many of you will have seen on other influential sites, but didn’t necessarily know the name of. This is definitely a plugin that all blog owners should know about.

With this plugin, you can add a coloured line (of your choice) at the top or bottom of your page where you can add a link. The point of this is that it draws the attention of your readers, as it scrolls down the page with you. You could use this to promote your new eBook, an event that you are running or simply a new blog post.

Like I say, many other influential sites use this plugin, such as ProBlogger and FourHourWorkWeek, so it definitely works. An added benefit is the analytics data that you can view, showing you exactly how many people are clicking on your featured link!

Most Shared Posts

best wordpress plugins

This great plugin lets you see your top 100 most shared posts on your site via your WordPress dashboard. You can view your top shared posts from the last week, month, year and all time. This is a great way to see how well your posts are doing on social media. It displays them in a nice list showing how many Tweets, Facebook Likes and Google +1’s you got.

I’ve found this very helpful, as I can see clearly which of my articles are getting the best reaction. I can see which titles, which subjects and even which social media accounts are getting the most attention. This lets me plan out future posts that I believe will be shared more.

You can also display your most shared posts in a widget on your site. This way, your readers can see some of your best articles and be encouraged to share them themselves.

Social Metrics

best wordpress plugins

This is another plugin that allows you to see all your social data that your posts have gotten in one place. The added benefit of this plugin is that, as well as displaying how many Tweets, Likes and +1’s you got, you can also see how many people shared a post on LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Digg.

If you upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version, you are able to arrange your posts for each social media data. This way, you can see which posts get shared more on Twitter and which get shared more on StumbleUpon.

Any information like this is beneficial to a blog owner. It can help you see exactly which of your posts are successful and which aren’t, meaning that you can focus your efforts more effectively.

WP MashSocial Widget

best wordpress plugins

Anyone who has visited Mashable will recognize this. That’s because this plugin has been designed to look and act in the same way. It allows you to display all of your social media accounts in one easy place, making it easy for people to follow you on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also get people to sign up to your RSS feed, give you a +1, place links to Pinterest and your personal Google+ page. That’s a lot for one little plugin!

The only downside to this is that you can’t integrate it with your AWeber or MailChimp email subscription. If you could, I’m sure that we’d see this being used a lot more. The makers do say that this will come in an update though, so I’ll look forward to that.

AdRotate

best wordpress plugins

Advertising is an important pert of running a site, so this great plugin will help you out greatly! It allows you to set up a number of adverts on your site, which you can set to cycle between one another. This means that you don’t have to limit yourself to only displaying one advert in a certain space of your site.

I’ve been using this plugin for a while now, and I only have good things to say about it. I’ve set it up to cycle between different ads that I have set up for each large square ad space on my site. I can also set it so that an advert only displays for a set amount of time.

It also offers great analytics data, allowing you to see exactly how well each ad is doing. It shows how many total impressions (times that it is viewed), today’s impressions, total clicks, today’s clicks and more importantly the CTR (Click Through Rate) of each individual ad. This information is SO important, not only to you as it can help you asses which ads are working, but to advertisers. You can let advertisers log into your website to see how there advert is performing. You can also give a more accurate estimations to potential advertisers who want to work with you.

This is a great plugin for anyone who displays ads on their site. I highly recommend that you check this one out!

Social Toolbar

best wordpress plugins

With this plugin, you can display a (appropriately named) social toolbar at the bottom of your website. Here you can place buttons to all your social network sites, as well as buttons and counters for Tweets and Facebook likes.

The whole toolbar can be customized to match the look of your website, add different icons and configure it to tweet links to individual pages of your home page.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

best wordpress plugins

As far as I’m concerned, this is probably the best plugin on this list. The ‘WordPress SEO’ plugin is more like a whole software program to help you to optimize your site for SEO. I still can’t quite believe that it is free!

For any regular readers, you’ll know that I talk a lot about SEO and how important it is. This plugin makes it easier for you to optimize your site and ultimately get more traffic.

For starters, it can help you set up all your post and page titles automatically. For example, I have set it up to display my article titles followed by my site name. That way, I can brand my posts on search engines.

It can also help you optimize your RSS feed, set up an XML sitemap, adjust your permalinks, set up your internal link structure and much more!

The bread and butter of the plugin comes when you are writing out and optimizing your posts. ‘WordPress SEO by Yoast’ allows you to enter a keyword that you want the post to rank for and it will help you write out your post in the best way to rank highly.

There is a little check list that you can work to. This consists of; article heading, page title, page URL, content and meta description. These are the best places to include your keywords and keyphrases in your article to rank highly.

But there is more! The plugin also gives page analysis and guidelines on how to improve your articles. Some of the things it advises is; keyword density, number of outbound links, URL length, copy score (how easy it is to read) and more. This works on a traffic light system, so it will display red if you havn’t done something, amber if you have optimized something but not fully and green when fully optimized. I wouldn’t say that it’s vital to get everything ‘green’, but you definitely don’t want any ‘red’ if you want a post to rank highly.

Finally, the plugin also shows you your ‘snippet preview’, which is how it will look on Google results pages (SERPs). This is a lot more important that you might think! For example, should your title be a little long, then it won’t show up properly on the snippet preview. This little thing could be the difference between someone clicking on your article and not, so it is very important to consider!

Shareaholic

best wordpress plugins

Getting people to share your content is very important, so the more ways that you can encourage people to do this, the better.

Shareaholic is a plugin that displays ‘sexy bookmarks’ to your to the top, bottome or both of your posts and pages. You have a total of 86 social buttons to choose from, making it super easy for people to share your content with their friends.

The Slide

best wordpress plugins

Getting visitors to a site is much easier than keeping them there once they have read one of your posts! The Slide is a plugin that aims to encourage people to read more of your content by suggesting other articles for them to read. It does this by (you guessed it) ‘sliding’ into view halfway down the page that you are reading.

The plugin uses a certain algorithm to select related content to display to readers. This way, it doesn’t just show any old post, but something that the reader is going to be interested in. It also displays sharing counter buttons for both Facebook & Twitter, showing just how popular a post is.

This is a plugin that I have recently started using myself on this site, so check it our for yourselves!

WP-Polls

Getting people to interact with your site is a big part of blogging. The more people can interact with a site, the more likely they will want to re-visit it. One way to do this is to get people to vote on polls.

The WP-Polls plugin lets you easily set up polls and place them on your site. This can either be in a widget on your website sidebar, or within your posts. You could ask people to vote on questions that you ask them within a post, run a daily/weekly question for people to vote on, or get feedback on how they found your site.

[poll id=”3″]

These are a some of the best WordPress plugins that you can use on your site. If I had to pick my favourites, I’d have to say ‘WordPress SEO by Yoast‘ and ‘AdRotate‘. They would be the two that I’d recommend you try out for yourselves.  Check out our other WordPress plugins posts for even more;

But what do you think? Do you use any of these WordPress plugins on your site? Would you recommend any other plugins that I haven’t mentioned here? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

About Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the founder and editor of OnlineIncomeTeacher. He is a Professional Blogger, SEO Consultant & Web Developer, running a number of sites from the UK. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • Ehsan @ GuideAndNews

    Awesome list of plugins Matt.
    I’m only using WPMash Social plugin among them, but I like the Hello Bar. I’m going to use it.
    Thanks for sharing bro.

    • Yeah, the Hello Bar looks great. Think I might use this when I have my eBook ready to sell, help me promote it.

      Cheers for the comment Ehsan

  • Definitely going to check out the Hello Bar and maybe The Slide too. Thanks for the list!

    Thomas

    • Hi Thomas! I’ve started using ‘The Slide’, seems to work quite well. Might start using the ‘Hello Bar’ as well at some point, probably to promote my products when I have them ready.

  • Andi Leeman

    Yep a seriously good list of plugins many of them I haven’t used or even heard of. I have looked at Hello Bar and intend to try it one day but Yoast SEO is one I do use and really like. One of the best free plugins around, it seems I need to go and take a proper look, I haven’t seen the automated title set up in it. How useless can I be. lol

    The Slide looks pretty good, I love the subtle nudge it can give to the websites readers, I shall be giving that a go.

    Shareaholic will be looked at to as a replacement for the Share and Follow plugin that seems to have disappeared.

    Cheers
    Andi

    • Hi Andi! Yeah, Yoast’s ‘WordPress SEO’ is such a great plugin. Probably the plugin that I use the most when getting my posts ready to publish.

      ‘The Slide’ seems to work well, only been using it a short while. Great way to encourage people to click onto other articles. Even I have click onto some of my old posts that I have forgotten about.

  • Wow Matt! I’ve literally seen almost all of these plugins on the top sites and have always wondered what they were. I am actually glad I came across this post! Thanks a bunch 🙂

    • Hi Alihan! Yeah, I’d seen most of these before, but hadn’t realized they were plugins. I found them when I was researching this post and started using a few of them.

      Glad you liked the list. Let me know if you find any useful plugins. 🙂

  • Great post bro.
    Just in the right time when I am about to migrate on WordPress.
    Thanks for the post bro 😀

    • @twitter-474919486:disqus Glad you liked the post. Nice to hear that you’re switching to WordPress. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best CMS there is!

  • Hi Matt, great list. I use some of these plugins, but I also was looking for some of them. There may be only one problem with all of them – loading time for the site may be higher with some of them on the board…

    • Hi Chris! Yes, that’s a good point and something that every site owner must consider. I’ve tried most of these myself, but I don’t use them all because of added load time.

      I think with any plugin, you have to ask yourself whether you actually need it? If the answer is ‘no’ then you can uninstall it. A plugin should add something/improve your site in some way.

  • Yeah, the WP Mash Social plugin is an excellent addition to a site. I just wish that they would add a few more buttons at the bottom to things like; LinkedIn, YouTube, StumbleUpon, etc.

  • Eddi Weed

    WP Auto Affiliate Links will automate the adding of links inside your content.

    • Not used that plugin before. I’ll have to give that a closer look myself.

  • Mary

    Thank you for this great post!
    does The slide, show both articles and posts? I use one that only slides for posts -nrelateflyouts
    Seo by yost. WOW this sounds much more comprehensive than seo all in one, I had no idea.
    Not ready for the social plugins because I haven’t figured out how to put up pages yet. Thanks again, Mary

    • Hi Mary,

      I’m not 100% sure, but I “think” you can show both posts and pages on ‘The Slide’.

      ‘SEO by Yoast’ is one of the first plugins that I install on sites. Had used the ‘SEO All In One’ plugin, but the Yoast plugin is MUCH better. It can help you see exactly what needs to be optimized on individual pages, which makes it much simpler when editing posts before publishing them.

  • Mary

    Thanks for your reply! I am definitely changing to Yoast. I was just thinking about the time it takes to change it over. Also, I am going to check out the fly out and the others! great site. thanks Mary

  • mary

    HI, i use WP chat and backup&restore dropbox which i do not only enjoy but it’s very easy and convenient to use.