- Akismet – Spam is a huge problem with any blog. The amount of spam seems to grow every day. Akismet does a wonderful job of separating the good from the junk. It is a must for any blog. Akismet comes bundled with WordPress and only needs to be activated. You can get an activation key from WordPress’s site.
- Add to Any: Subscribe Button– Originally, I was looking for a widget that would allow people to subscribe to my blog by email. The Add to Any: Subscribe Button gives me that and more. This allows readers to get new posts in a bunch of different ways. It goes beyond RSS and email and updates subscribers by Twitter, Facebook and more.
- All in One SEO Pack – This is another no brainer. I bought the Thesis theme for the SEO benefits. If there is another tool out there that can help with with my Search Engine Optimization, I’m in. This plugin allows me to set tags I want per post to get the best optimization possible.
- Dandy ID Services – I want people to connect to me in as many ways as possible. Dandy ID is a plugin that puts all my social media accounts in one place. It doesn’t take up a lot of room and the icons add a bit of color to the page. The only caveat is that you need to create an account on Dandy ID. It’s worth it. One thing that I would like would be to add a title to the widget. Maybe in the next version.
- StatPress SEOlution – I like to know where my traffic comes from. StatPress SEOlution gives a wonderful breakdown of where the traffic comes from. The charts are beautiful. The metrics are understandable, which is more important than anything else. Very well done.
- Sociable – I’m a sharing kind of person. If I see something I like, I like to tell others about it. I wanted a widget that would make it easier for people to share the information that they find useful. Adding Sociable puts social media links on each post, taking away all barriers to sharing.
- Twitter Widget Pro – I am a heavy user of Twitter. Twitter is an amazing tool to connect better with people. I want people to know what I’m doing on Twitter, and Twitter Widget Pro is the best widget out there. Everything is configurable. I run multiple Twitter accounts, and this is the only widget that allowed me to install multiple accounts on the same sidebar. It looks great.
There are a ton more wonderful widgets and plugins out there. These are my favorites for now, but the best part of plugins is if there is something that you’d like, wait a while. Someone will develop it. Ask on the forums. If you come, they will build it.
Update: A couple of things that I forgot to mention is that all of these plugins are free. They also can be easily installed from inside WordPress – no ftp client need. Enjoy!