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WordPress Plugins That Rock My World

by Marian Schembari on March 17, 2011

When I first signed up for WordPress, one of the first things I missed was pimping out my site with some of the amazing plugins out there. I slowly started accumulating some good ones, both from research and doing recon on blogs I love.

Problem is, sometimes you never really know what plugins sites use if they’re not featured front and center and Googling “best WordPress plugins” gets you lists of the same generic garbage every other site is using.

So I thought I’d give you a look into the “back end” of my site and encourage you to take advantage of some amazing – and free – features out there!

The WordPress Plugins That Power This Site

Add To FooterDescription: Allows you to add anything to the footer of your WordPress theme.

Why I’m Obsessed: Because I like things to be as easy as possible, and when programs like Google Analytics or Apture wants you to confirm site ownership, Add To Footer is the easiest way to add in that pesky code.

Akismet Description: Spam Protection!

Why I’m Obsessed: I get VERY little spam on this site. Without capcha. Without making readers sign in. Nothing fancy. I think WordPress usually comes with Akismet, but if you don’t have it and are having a spam problem, get on that asap.

AWeber Integration Description: Provides a simple way to add AWeber email subscription form(s) to your sidebar and enable AWeber analytics.

Why I’m Obsessed: Again, it makes my life easier. See that fancy sign up form in the sidebar under my photo? All I needed to do was plug in a little code and we were good to go. Great for those of you with mailing lists. Don’t know about AWeber? It’s how I do all my newsletters.

Broken Link Checker Description: Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.

Why I’m Obsessed: I had no idea how many of links from earlier posts just didn’t work until installing this plugin. Turns out pages had been deleted, moved, or sites taken down. Having a constant notification of broken links means my blog never seems neglected.

Count Per Day Description: Counter shows reads and visitors per page; today, yesterday, last week, last month…

Why I’m Obsessed: Yes, Google Analytics is the best tool for monitoring traffic, but Count Per Day, while not super accurate, is a quick way to get an idea of how a post is doing. My favorite bit is that when you click on the Posts tab you get the number of reads right next to the post information. No logging in or out of anything, just a way to keep tabs on your post’s progress without making yourself crazy.

Disqus Comment System Description: Replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus.

Why I’m Obsessed: I’ve written an entire post about my love for Disqus, but essentially, the plugin is easy to use, gives readers a notification of when you reply, allows for simple moderation, prevents most spam and you can keep track of all comments you leave. It’s the best plugin on my site.

Google Analyticator Description: Adds the necessary JavaScript code to enable Google’s Analytics.

Why I’m Obsessed: An easy way to get stats about your blog without logging into GA. While not as extensive as the Count Per Day plugin, the numbers are more accurate. (Thanks to Amanda of Violet Minded for turning me on to this!)

Google XML SitemapsDescription: This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and to better index your blog.

Why I’m Obsessed: I have no idea if this plugin helps search engines find me, but a good chunk of my traffic comes from Google searches, so I’m not going to mess with anything.

Like Description: Lets readers quickly share your content on Facebook with a simple click.

Why I’m Obsessed: Easy way to remind readers if they like your post, they should “like” it. It means more traffic from Facebook with barely work on anyone’s part. Read my post about the importance of having easily shareable content.

LinkWithin Description: Displays recommended stories and thumbnails from your blog.

Why I’m Obsessed: There’s just something about images that increases page views exponentially. This plugin does make your site slightly slower to load, but it’s worth it. The time folks spend on my site is now significantly longer and it means old posts get new life breathed into them.

Most Commented Widget Description: Widget that displays posts with the most comments.

Why I’m Obsessed: Again, having a way for folks to access old posts by highlighting their popularity or relevance means people spend more time on your site.

Sharebar Description: Adds a dynamic bar with sharing icons (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that changes based on browser size and page location.

Why I’m Obsessed: I only recently installed Sharebar and it’s increased shares SIGNIFICANTLY without being obtrusive. Plus, I like that it’s on the side of my posts as opposed to infringing on the content itself.

Snazzy Archives Description: Visualization plugin for your WordPress site which creates completely unique archive pages.

Why I’m Obsessed: I can’t remember the last time I used a blog’s archive page – mostly because I don’t care when they post but rather what they post. So I decided to try something a little different, and when my boyfriend introduced me to this beautiful (and scaringly easy to use) plugin I was hooked. It allows you to add images, descriptions of your year, etc. Just a little way to set your site apart from the rest while allowing folks to browse old content.

Tweet-stimonials Description: Adds a Tweet-stimonials widget to your site – based on the concept of using Twitter favorites for automatic sidebar testimonials.

Why I’m Obsessed: The lovely Laura Roeder inspired this plugin and it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve been using it for ages now and people always comment on it. The fact that these are quotes actually linked to Twitter means I obviously didn’t make them up or ask for them, they’re just “overheard on the web.” The plugin just pulls from your favorite tweets and displays them here. My only gripe is that you can’t rearrange the order, but otherwise, zero complaints!

WordPress Database BackupDescription: On-demand backup of your WordPress database.

Why I’m Obsessed: The ever-brilliant Jeffrey Pia forced me to install this because I was getting slack about backing up my files. This plugin makes it super easy to make sure you never lose everything you’ve worked on.

WP MinifyDescription: Combines and compresses JS and CSS files to improve page load time.

Why I’m Obsessed: Another Jeffrey Pia recommendation. My site has been a little slow lately, but five minutes after installing this plugin and it was back to speed! Honestly, I have no idea how it does what it does, but it WORKS and that’s all that matters!

WP Super CacheDescription: Fast caching plugin for WordPress.

Why I’m Obsessed: Yet another plugin that helps speed up my site. I didn’t notice a huge difference after installing it, but I want to make sure nothing slows down the load time of the site, so it stays.

WP Tweet ButtonDescription: The WordPress implementation of the official Twitter Tweet Button.

Why I’m Obsessed: While not perfect, the WordPress tweet button is attractive, and the most accurate button I’ve found. There are currently works in progress to develop an all encompassing button, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one. My favorite aspect of this plugin though is that you can change it to say “via @MarianSchembari” as opposed to “RT @MarianSchembari.” This increases clicks because the tweet is easier to read, while still giving credit to the tweeter.

Your Turn!

While my list is all well and good, I obviously want to hear from you. What are your favorites? What should I absolutely-positively download rightthissecond?

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  • Pam

    Holy cow – tons and tons of cool stuff to check out!!! Thanks so much – I’m going to see which of these can work for me.

    • Marian Schembari

      So glad you liked. Good luck!!

  • Phil Simon

    Good list.

    I love Duplicate Post:

    Huge time saver.

    • Marian Schembari

      Thanks! I just checked out Duplicate Post, but I’m a little confused. What exactly is it? I love new plugins!

  • Leslie A. Joy

    WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin:
    This is just a must. You can drag and drop posts or drafts onto a calendar. It allows you to quickly see what days have holes, plan your blog posts, etc. etc. It’s amazing.

    WPTouch (The free version):
    It optimizes your site for mobile browsing. So nifty.

    • Leslie A. Joy

      Also, thanks for the tip off on Sharebar. I HATE ShareThis and didn’t like how hiddle Sociable was. Sharebar is perfect! I feel like Goldilocks.

      • Leslie A. Joy

        And Linkwithin. That one is super-nifty two. YAY! I finally found a Related Post Plugin I liked.

        • Leslie A. Joy

          Ok, last time I comment.

          I like the Popular Posts Widget plugin:

          It gives you a ton of options and creates pretty widgets.

          Also, I can’t seem to get the goddamn Sharebar to customize the way I want it. Any ideas?

          • Leslie A. Joy

            Nevermind. Got sharebar to work.

            Also, I didn’t like Counter Per Day, but I LOVE the Postrank Plugin. It even hooks in with Google Analytics. Super nifty.

            And SEO Content Control: is pretty nifty to, but when you first install it, you have to like plan for a weekend to re-go through and optimize everything.

          • Leslie A. Joy

            Jesus Christ. My commenting on this post was ridiculous. I should have just made my own response post.

          • Marian Schembari

            LOL. Yeah, probably. But knowing you, you’ll do that too ;-)

          • Leslie A. Joy

            I’m working on it. I should rename my blog “The Marian Schembari Response Post Blog.”

          • Melody Granger

            That’s Hilarious Leslie! You could have a side business off Marian. LOL (You MADE me comment.) ohhh, still laughing.

          • Marian Schembari

            Oooh, Postrank, will have to check this out.

            I still LOVE Count Per Day, but the new update has some serious bugs so now I’m hunting again for a good one.

            The SEO one is a good tip too. You’re such a wealth of information!

          • Leslie A. Joy

            Thank you! I try. :D

            I’m loving SEO content control. It’s pretty nifty. When I have some time, but not enough time to really do anything, it’s a good thing to look into a fix a few quick things.

            The Postrank one is AWESOME. They have a dashboard widget, plus when you view your posts, it gives each post a score based on social interaction from 1-10 so you can easily see what posts got shared, what topics people like, etc. If you’re organized you could combine that info with the Editorial Calendar plugin and have a rockin’ blog. If you’re me, you just like seeing the numbers out of curiosity.

    • Emily Suess

      I’m with Leslie — the editorial calendar keeps me organized.

    • davinabrewer

      Read another rec for WPtouch, will have to check that out.

    • Marian Schembari

      Great stuff, thanks so much for sharing! I’m sort of a disorganized blogger in that I don’t have an editorial calendar, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of that plugin. You’ve convinced me I need to give it a try!

      • Leslie A. Joy

        Well, to be honest, so far I’ve mainly used it for organizing half-written drafts. But one day I will get my shit together and use for actually scheduling content and it will be glorious.

  • Cassie Wallace

    Excellent! I’ve thought for a while that I should do a post like this because, you’re right – when I’ve tried to find a plugin for something I wanted, it’s been a hair-pull-out-experience. (New word.)

    I discovered Disqus through your blog, and there a few more on this list I’m gonna check out. Thank you!

    • Marian Schembari

      Hell yes! I’m so tired of seeing those posts about the “100 best WordPress plugins.” What I DO want is a list of the plugins the blogs I read actually use. Because I obviously love their site enough to totally copy it ;-)

  • Lanham True

    Thank you so, so, so much for these!

    • Marian Schembari

      You are more than welcome!

  • Siany

    *raises hand* Marian, I have questions!

    1) Doesn’t it bother you that all of your comments are stuck on Disqus and, say you decided that you wanted to move to Facebook comments you’d lose them? I see the plus points of the plugin, just curious.

    And question 2) What do you do with the broken links? As Domestic Sluttery is product let, basically half our content will have broken links at some point. Do you remove the links, try and fix them? What’s the best practice for that?

    I really need to get my ass in gear and move us over to WordPress.

    • Marian Schembari

      Sweeet… Okay…

      1. No, it doesn’t bother me. I’ve tried a number of comment systems and none of them have been as good as Disqus. That said, it DOES bother me that if I do ever want to switch if something even better comes out, all my comments will be unthreaded, which is a huge problem. However, I would never move over to FB comments because *I* don’t want me comments available on FB so why would I do that to my readers? Plus, I like having reader email addresses in case I want to respond privately, get in touch for whatever reason or just thank them for commenting. Disqus allows all this to happen. Plus, like I’ve said before, there’s no better way to encourage comments than to respond. And Disqus so far has been the most reliable system that informs readers I’ve responded!

      2. That’s a great question. I usually just remove the link. The great thing about the plugin is that if you DON’T remove the link, it just crosses it out on the post itself so readers can see, yes, there was a link, but no, it’s not working now. I can’t even imagine how frustrating that would be for things like products and stuff, but don’t most sites just redirect to the main page when a product is out of stock or discontinued? I definitely try to FIX as many links as I can (so, if I link to an author page that’s no longer functional, I then link to their Amazon page), but it is time consuming. You gave me something to think about though!

      And yes. WordPress all the way, no question.

      • Siany

        Yep, most of the time they just link back to the homepage. I think most people expect it with a product blog, but as we also have Linkwithin running, it’s a weird thing of wanting people to look at previous stuff, and then them finding stuff that’s a year old and being mad it doesn’t exist anymore (yes, this happens).

        If you had magical plugin wishes (man, my imaginary wishes just got geeky), what plugin would you wish to be invented?

  • Anonymous

    Great article!! I’m going to try to implements some of these techniques. I’m intrigued by the share bar.

    • Marian Schembari

      Oh, the share bar has been great for me, I highly recommend it!

      • Anonymous

        I’m having trouble finding one for Blogger. Do you know of any? I did add in the LinkWithin and think it’s fabulous so far.

        • Marian Schembari

          Well, this post is specifically for WordPress plugins and I’m a huge un-fan of Blogger so I wish I could help, but I have no idea! Sharebar was inspired by the plugin on Mashable, so I’m pretty sure there’s only one plugin of it’s kind out there and it’s for WP. That said, there are a number of good sharable plugins, like Sexy Bookmarks or Share This that might have Blogger counterparts…

          • Anonymous

            I guess I could have read the title :)

  • Anonymous

    Link Within. Had always wondered what that was, now I know…sliding over to install….NOW.

    Also worth noting are ANY of the WP-Mobile plugins – the ones that make your website load as a mobile site on smartphones.

    DISQUS, BTW, still trumps FB for comments. Advantage for blogger – you get the email address and if you want to fire off a personal note to the person who commented to thank them for doing so, it’s easy. Switching channels can often be a nice touch.

    Keep at it, sista!

    • Marian Schembari

      It’s SUCH a great plugin, glad you got it up and running so fast!

      I hadn’t really considered a Mobile plugin, but *duh*! More and more people are using their phones to access my site and it would be idiotic not to optimize the site for that. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll need to get eon that asap!

      I’m with you on Disqus. Personally, I NEVER leave comments on a site that only allows you to do it via Facebook, hence, I would never make my readers do that. And good call on the email address thing – I hadn’t even consideredthat!

      • Anonymous

        I have yet to find exactly the right WP-Mobile plugin. But checking on
        iPhone and Android phones is a must…

        As for the “email your commenters” – sometimes it absolutely floors
        people. In a good way. If you can call them on the phone – better, if
        you know them. But might also be a little creepy.

        • Marian Schembari

          Leslie (below) gave me this plugin to use for Mobile stuff:

          • Anonymous

            Leslie is awesome! For now, though, folks who don’t want to pay anything
            can try Mobile Press. I just installed it on my blog and shut down WP
            Mobile Detector; I like the look so far on my Samsung Galaxy S. About to
            check the iPad.

          • Leslie A. Joy

            Thank you! And they have a free version-I use the free version. :)

  • Anonymous

    A follow up on LinkWithin. I installed it – go to the website first as opposed to doing so through your WP Dashboard. UH…it is awesome. Said it would take several hours to crawl my site. It took several MINUTES to crawl my site. Like less than the time between my last comment and this comment.

  • davinabrewer

    I use Google Sitemap and recently added LinkWithin, like that one a lot. I also like CommentLuv, SexyBookmarks, and TinyMCE for more controls in writing. FWIW.

    • Marian Schembari

      Good stuff, thanks for sharing!!

  • Candace Nicholson

    Just out of curiosity, how many plugins do you have running on your site? I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to plugins because bloggers are constantly being told that plugins slow down your site. But no one ever says where you should draw the line.

    Right now, I only have 8 active plugins, but there are a couple I’m planning to use down the line like LinkWithin and AddThis. I used WPTouch for a while, but then I realized that not that many people were accessing my site through smartphones. As a matter of fact, I was showing someone my site on her iPhone and she saw the WPTouch layout and turned it off. She said she wanted to see the site itself without the special interface. Go fig.

    I’m very particular about my layout, so I don’t think the Sharebar is for me. But I’m interested in testing out Google Analyticator’s backend. (That sounds dirty. :-P)

    If I could recommend any plugins for you, I’d suggest AntiVirus for monitoring any spam exploits/virus attacks. I also like Photo Dropper because I’m too cheap to pay for stock images for my blog. I tend to rely on my own shoddy photography or I use the Photo Dropper plugin to comb CC archives on Flickr. It can be time consuming, but I like not having the same old stock images as everybody else (for free!).

    • Marian Schembari

      Actually, all the plugins I’ve listed above are all the plugins I use. I’m win you on being cautious, but I haven’t noticed a huge change in site performance when installing anything new (except LinkWithin, which I mentioned and the plugins designed to speed up my site).

      Haven’t heard of Photo Dropper, will definitely have to check it out! I always find it funny when I use a Flickr image on my site only to see 10 other sites down the road on the same topic with the same image. I try to use as many personal photos and screenshots as I can. But thanks so much for the tip on that one!

  • Rich DeMatteo

    I’m all about the “like” plugin. It rules so hard. Hard I tell you.

    Awesome post. Really bad ass!

    • Marian Schembari

      Haha – amen!

      And thanks ;-)

  • eemusings

    Akismet rocks. But it also mistakenly marks a lot of legit comments randomly as spam! I only recently discovered this, so I hope I haven’t missed out on tons of comments over the past months.

    • Marian Schembari

      Really? I haven’t noticed that all. But good to know! I’ll keep my eyes peeled on that one… Hope you haven’t missed too many good comments!

  • Brett Kunsch

    RT @MarianSchembari: What are YOUR favorite WordPress plugins? Loving all the comments here so far:

  • Brandon Gardner

    Thank you for this amazing advice on WordPress Plugins. A word of warning though on the Google XML Sitemap plugin. If you have WordPress 3.1 the plugin will not work. It has to be updated. There is a warning on the plugin website that states that it doesn’t work with WordPress 3.1.For my blog I use the following theme that has alot of flexability: Suffusion. I also use the following plugins: Quick Cache, All in one SEO pack, XML Sitemap Feed, Yet Another Related Posts, Subscribe to comments reloaded, and Akismet. I just started my blog, and I came to your blog wondering how to increase my followers on Twitter. I have Twitter feed setup to post my blogs automatically to Facebook and Twitter.

    • Michelle A Kobayashi

      Brandon – on facebook, are your blog posts going to a page or a profile? I have an author page and I can’t get the posts up there. I have no problem with my personal profile page, though. I’m on blogger, but considering switching to WordPress.

      Any help is greatly appreciated!

      • Brandon Gardner

        Hi Michelle,

        I use a service called Twitterfeed that reads my RSS feed off my blog, and connects it to my Facebook and Twitter pages. I setup Twitterfeed to post to my Facebook author page and to my personal profile on Facebook. I’ve never used Blogger before, and I found WordPress is more robust for the goals that I wanted to accomplish with my blog. There is a website that has instructional videos for free of how to setup a WordPress blog if you want to switch.

        If you would like instructions on how to setup Twitterfeed to scan and post to your Facebook pages and Twitter just reply to this comment. Twitterfeed is a free service as well.

        • Michelle A Kobayashi

          Thanks, Brandon! I’ll definitely check out your suggestions. Really grateful!

  • Prime

    Thanks for this. I familiar with Akismet and the sharebar but I’m surprised to learn that theres a plugin that can check broken links. I’m now putting up some of the plugins that you featured here

    • Brandon Gardner

      Make sure to check that the plugins are compatible with your version of WordPress. There is a section on each plugin page on WordPress’s website that will tell you if it will work with your WordPress version.

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  • Elizabeth S Craig

    WordPress Plugins To Rock Your World:

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    RT @elizabethscraig: WordPress Plugins To Rock Your World:

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    RT @elizabethscraig: WordPress Plugins To Rock Your World:

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    WordPress Plugins That Rock My World via @MarianSchembari

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  • Natalia Sylvester

    This weekend I installed some of the WP plug-ins that @marianschembari blogged about here The girl's a genius!

  • Zohar

    WordPress Plugins That Rock My World — Marian Schembari via @MarianSchembari

  • Nina Sankovitch

    WordPress Plugins That Rock My World — Marian Schembari via @MarianSchembari

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    RT @readallday: WordPress Plugins That Rock My World — Marian Schembari via @MarianSchembari

  • Graf-Martin Agency

    WordPress Plugins That Rock My World

  • Kristen Emery

    Thank you for all of the great suggestions. I recently came across a plugin, that is very useful if you manage more than one Word Press Blog – which is ManageWP and is located here: and Prevolac Media. I have been using it for about two weeks, and really like it.

    Also, wanted to mention that I believe “counter per day” should be “count per day” above. Thanks for the help!

  • Kristen Emery

    WordPress Plugins That Rock My World — Marian Schembari via @MarianSchembari

  • Raymond Van Velzen

    Hi Marian,

    Thanks for sharing your favorite plugins.

    That sharebar looks very useful. I’ve already used several setups with sharing icons, mostly using AddThis but none if them really helped to get more shares, unfortunately. Maybe this will help.

    I’m also using the Super Cache plugin. Actually I hardly need it, as my site isn’t exactly crowded :-) but it makes the site very fast, and that in it self stimulates users to use it more. For the techheads reading this – if you are running nginx, I have complete rewrite rules to use with the super cache plugin.

    Well, if you discover more useful plugins, I’m all ears.

  • jatin bata

    Thank you for this amazing advice on WordPress Plugins

    Forex Trading

  • Rich DeMatteo

    Just want you to know that this is still a resource that I use!  Just looked at it today to get a few more ideas for Bad Rhino.

    Let’s catch up soon…k?

    • Marian Schembari

      Yay! That makes me happy :) Glad you’re using and enjoying.

      And yes please. Am in Oz now, but, you know, whatevs…

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this great advice on WordPress Plugins
    search engine optimization company

  • Anthony St. Clair

    Thanks so much for these recommendations! One note on the Google XML Sitemaps — if you’re running WordPress Multi-Site, this plugin says it’s not compatible yet. There’s a version in beta that provides support, so it’s in progress.

    The WP Minify is a great recommendation, thank you! Some of my fave WP plug-ins are…

    AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – great for adding chiclets and such for print, email and social media – (follow their site for what you need for WordPress)
    All in One SEO Pack – love the options for optimizing WP content for search engines –

    If you’re using MailChimp instead of Aweber, they also have a WP plugin –
    Redirection – saved my tuckus when recently modding URL structure from a Typepad/WP move –

  • Anthony St. Clair

    Thanks so much for these recommendations! One note on the Google XML Sitemaps — if you’re running WordPress Multi-Site, this plugin says it’s not compatible yet. There’s a version in beta that provides support, so it’s in progress.

    The WP Minify is a great recommendation, thank you! Some of my fave WP plug-ins are…

    AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – great for adding chiclets and such for print, email and social media – (follow their site for what you need for WordPress)
    All in One SEO Pack – love the options for optimizing WP content for search engines –

    If you’re using MailChimp instead of Aweber, they also have a WP plugin –
    Redirection – saved my tuckus when recently modding URL structure from a Typepad/WP move –

    • Marian Schembari

      Thanks Anthony! I had no idea about the incompability, so good to know. I like AddThis, though I find it easier to get a few choice buttons that work really well for different reasons. I tend to have problems with it on other people’s sites, but a lot of folks use it so maybe I’m missing out! LOVE All in One SEO and glad to know there’s a good MailChimp plugin out there as I just left Aweber.

      Thanks again!

  • Mynde Mayfield

    new plugin Count per Day just installed TY @MarianSchembari's goldmine post #howtomakeageekygirlhappy

  • youtube play increaser

    Great stuff! Thanks for the share. Very simple yet effective tips

  • start a wordpress website

    This website is the great source of information explaining such good aspects and information about wordpress plugins.. These wordpress plugins tips are very beneficial for all those who are new in blogging and are much not aware about it..

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    WordPress is indeed one of the web hosting website that being used by many writer to post and share their thoughts because it has most of the tools that they need.

  • Blog Freakz

    Awesome stuff I’ve been also using Akismet and the AllinOneSEO for it’s a good combination and a recommended for every WordPress users. cheers … 

  • diane shipley

    Hi Marian! Just wanted you to know I finally installed WordPress for my (new) blog, which isn’t ready to show anyone yet, but on which I’m now following many of your excellent recommendations. This post has been a wonderful resource, thank you. xo

    • Marian Schembari

      YAY! This makes me very happy indeed. Thanks for making me feel awesome today :)

  • Becky

    Thanks for the Link Within, I love it.
    I would have to say that it is better to recommend GASP instead of Akismet for spam protection.

  • MrJamesKing

    Just what I needed. I’ve been looking for a plugin that would allow me to see some basic Aweber analytics without having to log into Aweber each time. Thanks for the resource.

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