If you are using WordPress for your website or blog, you will want to bookmark this list. One of the best things about the WordPress platform is the ability to quickly and easily customize your site, even if you have zero coding or design skills.
Following are some of my top picks for WordPress plugins for 2014. The majority of these are free, so even if you are on a small on non-existent budget, there will be something here for you!
This plugin detects broken and missing links, both of which can damage your relationship with the search engines and with your readers. You can even choose to receive notifications via email when a link isn’t working.
An oldie but a goody! This plugin gives you a built-in template for optimizing each of your pages and blog posts. It’s extremely easy to use, and takes the guesswork out of SEO for your content.
Ever wonder how some blogs have a Facebook comment box in addition to their native WordPress comments? This plugin is one way to implement this feature. It will allow visitors to your site who are logged in to Facebook to use the Facebook comment box. It also pulls in comments made on Facebook, adding user-generated content to your site (which is GREAT for SEO!)
There are tons of social icon plugins available, but this is one of my favorites (you can see I’m using it on my own site). I love that you can display your share buttons above and below your posts, or have it float beside your content. It’s also customizable, so you can choose which social buttons and counters you want to display.
This plugin will allow you to automatically get Twitter cards for each of your posts. This means that when you or one of your visitors tweets a link to one of your posts, any pictures, videos or metadata attached to your post will show up within the body of the tweet.
We know that rich snippets are becoming increasingly important for search engine rankings, but unless you’re a programmer, implementing them can be difficult. This plugin makes adding rich snippets easy, giving you a ‘meta box’ that is easy to fill in when you create a new post.
If all you need is a basic, good-looking contact form, Contact Form 7 is still one of the top picks among marketers and webmasters.
Readers love quotes, and this plugin is one of the easiest ways you can insert attractive and customized pull quotes into your content. This will ensure your readers see important quotes, and it’s also great for breaking up and adding interest to large chunks of content.
If you currently accept guest posts on your blog, or if you simply want to make sure you’re credited for each piece of content on your site (both by your readers and for Google Authorship), you may want to consider installing Author Bio Box. You choose the image and blurb you want it to display, and it will insert your bio (or your guest posters’ bios) underneath each blog post or article.
Although there are free backup plugins available, none are quite as robust or reliable as Backup Buddy Premium. Priced at $80 for a lifetime license, it’s a bit of an investment, but having the assurance that both your WordPress files and database are safe and secure is priceless.
Having trouble getting visitors to stay on your site? Offering related content is one way to increase both time-on-site and overall pageviews. This plugin simply needs to be activated, and it will automatically scan your content, associating and displaying similar articles.
If you find your site takes a long time to load, the problem may be the size of your images. Rather than manually ‘shrinking’ all your images and then re-uploading them, this plugin allows you to automatically run through all the images currently on your site and compress them. It will also automatically compress all new images you upload to your site.
Want to add an ecommerce feature to your WordPress site without having to pay for a complete redesign? This plugin allows you to easily convert your existing theme into an ecommerce store.
This plugin allows you instant access to your traffic data all within the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.
It’s critical that you have a proper XML sitemap on your site so the search engines can find and index all your valuable content. This plugin automatically creates one, allowing Google, Bing and Yahoo to see the complete structure of your site.
Have you ever thought about adding a forum to your WordPress site? BuddyPress allows you to quickly and easily set up an online discussion board and allow private messaging between members.
With one click, you can add public and private chat to your website or blog. Facebook Chat gives you the ability to connect with your website visitors in real time, meaning you can dialogue with visitors about your content, or even offer live customer support.
If you frequently host events – either live or online – this plugin will save you oodles of time. It allows you to easily create and display events on your website, improve the SEO rankings of your events, and even allows visitors to search for events on your site.
If you’ve ever had visitors complain about the built-in search function on your site, this plugin may be the solution. It improves the search functionality on your site, and even gives you the ability to customize, highlight or exclude specific pages and posts from search.
Not quite ready to launch your website, but want more than just a generic ‘coming soon’ page? This plugin allows you to easily set up an attractive and customized ‘coming soon’ page, without any coding or design knowledge. You can even collect emails so you can notify visitors when the site is live!
Ever wonder how some sites get those cool little ratings stars next to their content and products? This plugin will allow you to easily add a rating system to your site, allowing visitors to rate and review your content using stars or thumb ratings.
There are so many great plugins I could have added to this list, but these are some of my favorites.
Which plugins would you add to this list? Let us know below!