The Best WordPress Plugins

Hi friends!

Let’s talk about the best WordPress plugins for a minute. As a blogger, plugins can quickly become your best friend. They basically do things to make your life easier, which is great, but there are SO many to choose from!! After our Blog Smarter chat last week, I was inspired to put together a list of some of the plugins that I use and share it with you guys.

the best wordpress plugins

Remember that these are NOT the only plugins out there…just some that I like. Also remember that I’m totally tech challenged and this is not my area of expertise…so I’ll do my best to explain them, but don’t judge me! You should be able to click on the plug-in names to learn more about it. If that doesn’t work, click “plugins” on your sidebar, then “add new” and then search the name of the plugin.

Ready? Here we go:


1. Akismet: In my opinion, this is a MUST to help reduce spam. It checks all the comments that come in and keeps them from publishing if they look like spam. You can easily remove comments from the spam folder if it makes a mistake, but it generally does a great job.

all in one

2. All in One SEO Pack: This is great for helping with SEO. It optimizes your titles for SEO and generates meta tags…and probably does a lot more things that I don’t even understand. But the bottom line is, it’s easy to use and does good stuff. Even just a quick read on the basics of SEO and you should be able to put it to good use by filling in the title, description and keywords for each of your posts.


3. Alpine Phototile for Instagram: This one takes a minute to set up because you have to authorize it through Instagram, but the instructions are super easy to follow. Basically, it displays your most recent instagram photos on your blog’s sidebar. You can customize how many pictures you want to show, and play around with different displays, sizes, etc. *Note, there’s also one to display your recent pins from the same developer….called Alpine Phototile for Pinterest

4. Blogger to WordPress: If you started on Blogger (like me) and now use WordPress, this is a must. It automatically redirects all those early posts that I wrote on Blogger to the same post on WordPress.


5. CommentLuv: One of my favorites. When I comment on other blogs, this plugin displays the title of my most recent post below my comment. If other people are reading the comments on that blog, they might be interested in your post title and click over to check out your blog! *Note, another thing you can do when commenting on other blogs is include your blog name in your name…so instead of just writing Lindsay, I always write Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean. This shows people reading the commets that you’re a blogger and they might click the link to your blog! (In the pic above, you can see Christine does the same thing, and then comment luv shows her most recent post “Why I won’t give up beer”)

6. Comment Reply Notification: Please use something like this. When you respond to someone’s comment on your blog, this sends them an email letting them see your response. Most people do not come back to check and see if you responded to their comment so this is a great way to increase communication with your readers, answer questions, etc.


7. Facebook Like Box Widget:  It shows readers how many people like your blog’s Facebook Page and allows them to “like” the page right from your blog.

8. Google Analytics for WordPress: Google Analytics is one of the gold standards for tracking pageviews, etc on your site. This plugin allows you to see all that data without going to the google analytics website.

9. nRelate: This is one option for displaying links to related posts at the bottom of each post. I use Shareaholic for this feature, but a lot of people like nRelate. It will show thumbnails of related posts that can encourage readers to stick around and check out more of your blog posts. *Note- you can also check out nRelate Flyout which does something similar, but creates a pop-up box that “flies out” into the corner of your screen and shows a related post.


10. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images: If you have ever hovered over an image in one of my posts, you may have noticed the little “pin it” that shows up when you do that. That’s this plugin. It makes it super easy for people to click that button on whatever image they like and Pin it!


11. Shareaholic: Hands down one of my favorite plugins. This is what I use to make it easy for people to share my blog posts. It has several features: 1) When you scroll down on my posts, that black bar pops up at the top that allows you to easily tweet that post by clicking a button.  2) When you get to the bottom of a post it says “share and enjoy” and provides buttons for you to click to share to whatever social media site you want. You can customize what buttons show up, and you can also set it up so that when someone clicks the button, it automatically includes the title of the post AND your twitter handle. DO THIS!!!!!!! It makes it so much easier for people to share when they don’t have to dig for your twitter handle. 3) It shows the three related posts with images people may want to click on. *Note: If you want to check out some other sharing plugins, you could try Flare or Digg Digg. I haven’t use these, but they both allow you to set up a floating sidebar that show up on the side of a blog post with sharing buttons.

12. All in One Favicon: This allows you to create a little image that shows up to the left of your blog title in a tabbed browser. Mine is a little square with the stripes from my header and the letters LGB. I actually use Shockingly Simple Favicon plugin but it doesn’t look like it’s been updated for a while…the All in One Favicon should do the same thing and looks newer.


13. Tweetily: This is one that a lot of people ask me about. It’s the plugin I use to automatically and randomly tweet links to older posts throughout the day. Sometimes it chooses posts that are no longer relavent…like giveaways…but it also brings up a lot of old recipes I’ve posted and forgot about and it’s good for getting those posts more exposure on Twitter. You can choose how many you want it to tweet per day and what you want it to say before the post title.

14. Vaultpress: This one is not free, but I think it’s worth every penny. It backs up  your blog in real time and  gives you peace of mind. I learned about it from Katy Widrick. If you don’t want to pay for it, you can read her post about backing up your blog…and if you want to know if it really works, you can read about how it saved her blog. Thankfully, since I signed up over a year ago, I haven’t had to use it…but I’ll gladly pay the $15 a month to keep my blog safe!


15. WordPress Editorial Calendar: This one changed my blogging life. Seriously. It makes it so easy to layout all your post for the next several weeks and you can easily drag posts around to different days. I always have several draft posts saved and this makes it easy to lay them out and come up with a posting plan instead of just seeing them in a list.


16. Display Recent Tweets: I don’t actually use a plugin for this, I use a widget. I used this post to set it up and it was super easy. You can see how it displays recent tweets on my right-hand side bar and also allows people to follow me on twitter directly from my blog. *Note: If you’d rather have a plug-in, you could try Recent Tweets or search for others.

17. WP Automatically reduces image file sizes behind the scenes.

18. SEO Friendly Images: Adds alt and titles to your images to help improve your SEO

19. W3 Total Cache: I have no idea what this does, I just know I have it


Here are a few others that I don’t use, but that you might want to check out:

  • Recipe Card: Makes it easy to create pretty recipes that readers can print and save.
  • Easy Recipe: Another recipe plugin that makes them look pretty.
  • WordFence: A security plugin
  • Better WordPress Google XML Site maps: Helps google find your content
  • Broken Link Checker: Helps you find broken links
  • WPTouch: Transforms your site to be compatible on mobile browsers
  • WP Greet Box: Displays a greeting to visitors depending on how they got to your site (ie twitter, fb, etc and can encourage them to subscribe in a reader or follow you on twitter or whatever)
  • Fancier Author Box– A little bio about you at the bottom of each post. You can include your social media info as well to remind people to follow you.

And if you’re looking for even more, this article has tons of suggestions:
The Best WordPress Plugins 

Remember, using too many plugins can slow down your site, so don’t go overboard! Pick the ones that will help you and your site out the most and be sure to keep them up-to-date!

Let’s Chat: Do you have any favorite plugins that aren’t on this list? Share them in the comments!


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. I saw this Twitter chat going on and was SO excited to read the recap. I need serious help with plug-ins. I do use 1, 2, 6, and 8. Comment notification is a MUST, in my opinion.

    CommentLuv has been on my list to add forever – it definitely draws me to new blogs!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..The “No Shit” Diet

  2. Love this, Lindsay. I’m pinning to come back to later (cause it’s getting late and I’m tired), but I already see a couple plug ins that I just have to have (Alpine Phototile for one). I have to watch myself though, I tend to overload on the plug ins :-).

    Thanks for a really helpful post.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..(Running) Things I’m Loving Lately

  3. Ah thank you for this!! Sometimes I never know what I should install or deactivate. All that stuff can feel very overwhelming sometimes especially for someone like me who is not too computer savvy.
    So helpful!
    Lisa recently posted..Happenings Lately

  4. So you just saved me a ton of time searching through and trying to find a number of these plugins so thank you. Plugins have made blogging so much easier in many respects. I agree with Laura that comment reply is key! And thanks for the shout-out. It’s late at night and I got a kick out of seeing my picture in your post too. haha.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Why I won’t give up beer

  5. Holy cow. Thank you!!! I need to get on this quick! So many plug ins…so little time :)

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.
    Alyssa @ See This Girl Run recently posted..I went MIA

  6. Thank you so much for doing this! I have a few of them already but didn’t even know about the rest of them so I really appreciate you sharing these. I’ll be sure to check them out! :)
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted..Kendall Jackson Wine Tasting & Culinary Gardens

  7. This is so helpful! Thank you! I’ve been wanting to do the alpine photo tile for pinterest but didn’t know how. I can’t find where the plugin is though. :(
    Lauren @ Sweat The Sweet Stuff recently posted..Clean Hot Fudge Sauce ~ MMAZ #7

  8. I really need to hop on the self hosting bandwagon because all of the plugins sound so helpful. I’ve pinned this and will be sure to revisit it once I finally do.
    p.s. I’m loving these twitter chat recap posts, thanks Lindsay!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  9. Great ideas for plug-ins, thanks! I’m really new to blogging and have no idea about them haha.

  10. Thank you again for a fantastic post about blogging, I’m updating today to use the full wordpress so I can get plugins and this post is so useful as I didn’t know where to start. Thanks you so much.

    FoodNerd x
    foodnerd4life recently posted..Bristol Eats…A Whole Lot of Fried Chicken (Bristol Eats)

  11. You are awesome! I want that editorial calendar, downloading tonight!
    Jane | Not Plain So Jane recently posted..Weekend Recap & Recipe

  12. i only have a few of the very basic plugins…. whatever ryan recommends, i use it! haha i do request a few, so this post was very helpful! thanks, lindsay!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Redefining the Female Athlete – What’s Beautiful

  13. Oh my gosh! LOVE this!! I just downloaded nRelate and CommentLuv and am going to set up the Google Analytics one later today :) Thanks Lindsay!
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..“Clean” Kitchen Tips

  14. Ahhh this is a crazy awesome list! Thanks so much. It certainly helps a lot to have everything in one place, so if/when I do switch to being self-hosted I don’t have to go hunting down every little plugin!
    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles recently posted..The Versatile Blogger Award

  15. ahh i love this! i have most of these but was curious about tweetily and the fancier author box! I’m saving this post! thx lindz
    lindsay recently posted..REFILL: Dark Chocolate MMAZ and MIMM

  16. Perfect timing since I am getting home from work early today! 😉
    Coco recently posted..My First Group Run

  17. Wow! Thanks so much for all of this very helpful information. I will definitely be checking into many of these. One plug-in that I commonly use is “print this”.
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted..What’s with massaging kale?

  18. This is such a great list! I have several of these, but there are also a couple of new ones there I want to check out. Thanks for sharing!
    misszippy recently posted..The gift of a passion

  19. GREAT post! I love the editorial calendar. It changed the way I blog too. It’s funny, though, because I’ve promoted it several times and I always get so many people saying that they don’t like. I love it though!

    I also really like that Instagram widget a lot better than the one I currently use (from the Instagram site). I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for this!
    Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections recently posted..New England Road Trip: Days 1 & 2

  20. I LOVED this list. I’m in the process of cleaning up my blog and re-organizing and this list will definitely help. Thanks so much for posting!
    Chelsey @ Powerhouse Fit Foodie recently posted..Get Motivated Monday

  21. I noticed that when I clicked on the links it brought me to, but I use Can I get these plugins with
    Alyssa @ Road to RD recently posted..Healthy Living Survey

  22. Thanks for this! I was just going to have to do a little work on the blog to add a preg page, so perhaps I’ll do some plugin updates while I’m at it. Two of the ones you mentioned will probably help me out!
    Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers recently posted..Bestowed Giveaway

  23. These are absolultely fabulous suggestions! Thank you! I just downloaded the Alpine IG photo cube, I’ve been meaning to get one for my blog but have been lazy :)
    Amber @ ExSoyCise recently posted..Fitness Magazine’s #FitBlogNYC Meet & Tweet is This Thursday!!

  24. Thank you so much for sharing! I just updated my blog with about 3 of these plugins. Its so hard to find a comprehensive list of the essential plugins. :)
    Patty recently posted..Motivational Monday Quote

  25. These are great tips!! Thanks Lindsay!!
    char eats greens recently to fail at returning home + randoms

  26. Thanks for the list, girl! I use a lot of these already (Akismet, All in One SEO, CommentLuv, CRN, Analytics, Pinterest, and Shareaholic), but I’ll definitely be looking into Tweetily and some of the recipe ones.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... i cheated on cereal .

  27. I love this! As a new blogger, this is all so helpful to me! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Becky recently posted..MiMM

  28. This is so helpful! I have only been blogging for three months so I will take all the help I can get!!!
    Christina @TheTinyRunner recently posted..Motivational Monday

  29. This is awesome…Im still contemplating switching to since im at .com right now. I have no awesome plug ins with this stupid thing :) I plan to switch over this summer! I will def save this page for when I do! BLEND is Friday! woohoo!
    Sara @ fitcupcaker recently posted..Nikki’s Coconut Butter & Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie

  30. Oh my gosh, this post just me so happy- I am so technology challenged and this just made me realize exactly where I need to go from here. Thank you!!

  31. I am so happy you posted this! I am new to the blogging world so any help with plugins and widgets is awesome! Looks like I’ll be looking into many of these today. Thanks!

  32. Oh my gosh, this is an amazing list!!! WILL totally update some to have more great plugins! Thanks Lindsay! <3
    Annette@FitnessPerks recently posted..18 Weeks {Pregnancy Weight Gain}

  33. These are incredibly helpful, especially for a technologically challenged girl like me :) I am definitely check them out as I start making my blog a little more reader-friendly. Thanks!
    Cait @ Dare to Move recently posted..Saturday and Sunday Snapshots: Mother’s Day in the Mountains

  34. CanNOT thank enough for this Lindsay! Retweeting immediately :)
    Annie Heiss recently posted..BEST. WEEKEND. EVER.

  35. THANK YOU for all of the awesome recs. I’ve been trying for months to find a related posts link with images, and now I’ve got a pretty cool one!
    Also, I have JetPack and it combines several of these into one…analytics, mobile browsing, secuity, etc. I love it!
    AShlee@HisnHers recently posted..Ants in my Pants

  36. YAY THE POST IS HERE!! Bookmarking this NOW so I can come back to it later and see what I need to PLUG IN!!! When ever I hear “plug in” it reminds me of that ad: “Plug it in, plug it in!” Ah ha ha

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  37. Mitch Popilchak says:

    I recommend for my clients on shared hosting

    Better WP Security or at the very least Limit Login Attempts
    But better than that, 90% of the time I recommend a dedicated WP host like (WPEngine) where security is number one for them. And all they host is WP.

    I also like Gravity Forms (paid plugin).

    Otherwise, your list is exactly what I recommend for clients every day!

    I love that you recommend VaultPress!!
    Not enough bloggers understand the importance of backing up the db and the files. I’m kinda a Security freak with WP :-)

    I also like that you mentioned that you use All In One Favicon but as it has not been updated in a long time, so offered an alternative. Outdated plugins are a security risk and can cause problems with other plugins.

    Blogger To WordPress is one I hadn’t seen and I am thrilled to know about as I am doing a presentation on why move from Blogger and to a self-hosted WP site.

    Have an awesome day!!

  38. so helpful! thanks for posting…i’m going to attempt to go self hosted over the summer, so these will definitely come in handy!

  39. Thank you SO much for sharing this. This is a super duper helpful post! :)
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..Vegan Bean and Sausage Cassoulet

  40. Ok now I’m thinking maybe I need to get rid of disqus and try your plugins here… I like that reply plugin option, and commentluv. So if you reply to this comment, I should receive an email about it?
    Ari @ thepaceofitall recently posted..Teacher Tuesday: So you want to go to grad school…

    • Yep! You should be reading this response in an email right now!

      • Mini fail – it went to spam!

        Okay, how come when you replied, the email looks normal. I tried to activate it on my blog and when I sent a reply back, the email had all sorts of foreign characters on it – in the title and body of the email. Do you have any idea to get rid of that? I went back to Disqus in the meantime…

        [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  41. Thank you for this awesome list!!
    Comment reply notification is exactly what I was looking for (just never found it). Pinned this list because I know there are lots of things here I want to check into!!!
    Kim recently posted..Ummm…I Don’t Jog!!!

  42. Ok I have a question. When you do your weekly eats posts, you always have your pictures tile blocked and arranged in grids of pics…how do you do that?
    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist recently posted..Browned-Butter Oatmeal Raisinet Bars

  43. What a great resource!! I have a bunch of these. It’s reassuring I’m still in the game ;).
    Ali recently posted..Finding Inspiration

  44. I’m not totally sure that I understand the difference between and but I have a feeling that switching would make me be able to do way cooler things that I envision. Now I just have to learn about this whole .org thing….? Definitely bookmarking this page for when I figure it out!
    Maggie @readysetbreathe recently posted..{Virtual Coffee Date}

  45. I am not a wordpress user but maybe in the future! :) I don’t know how to clear the cache so waiting for hubby to do that & hopefully the tweet button will work again. :)
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Gratitude Monday, Mom’s Day & Sarah

  46. I am so not techie but have had success with some plugins and not others. I swear I just follow the instructions. For example, I just installed the facebook widget and nothing is showing up in my side bar. Also added the Pin It to Images and it won’t display. Any clue on what I am doing wrong? Thanks girl!
    Melanie @ Nutritious Eats recently posted..Lemon & Garlic Rainbow Swiss Chard

  47. This is SOOO helpful! I use a lot of these already, but the majority I had no idea existed. I’m tech challenged too and get intimidated by all the widgets, plugins, etc, but this is awesome. Thanks!
    Heather @ girlyeverafter recently posted..Rain Jacket Splurge and Bestowed Box Giveaway

  48. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for posting this list of plugins! This and your Blog Smarter recaps have been immensely helpful to me as a blogger. Thank you for taking the time to put these posts together and for helping out your fellow bloggers by doing so. :)
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted..Wish Every Morning Was Like This

  49. LOVE this!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m going to install Askmet right away since I’ve been getting a TON of spam since I added CommentLuv. I appreciate the tips! You rock, girl! :)
    Karey @ Nutty About Health recently posted..MIMM: 5/13/13

  50. Thank you so much for this post! I was actually just trying to figure some of this stuff out myself, but I had no idea where to start. I only recently realized that my reply comments weren’t getting back to the original commenters — what a bummer! I’m so glad you shared an easy way to fix it. And I love commentluv – I had no idea how easy it was to install!

  51. What an awesome resource! I’ve already added a handful of these on your recommendation and love them! Thanks for sharing!
    Ashley recently posted..Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

  52. This is a great resource! Thanks for sharing!

    Another good tool is Jetpack by WordPress. It’s kind of a super plug-in that combines a lot of plug-ins/widgets in one tool, including subscribe by email, publicize (for FB and other social media), contact forms, statistics, and more.

    I also use ‘No Self Pings’ to get rid of those pesky ping backs and ‘Flickr – Pick a Picture’ which allows you to find and insert Creative Commons images in your posts.
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Division of Labor – It’s Your Turn to Cook

  53. Andreea Leau says:

    I really like your list. Some of hem I use it too, like All-in-One SEO, Facebook Like Box Widget and Google Analytics for WordPress. For SEO I use also, Squirrly SEO plugin, and for social media I use Socialise WP and Facebook Comments :)

  54. I love this, so helpful :)

  55. This helps so much, thank you! I don’t own my blog yet, but when I do this will help a lot! You can do so much more with plugins than widgets. Thanks so much!
    Leigha recently posted..Fashion Friday + track meet

  56. I have most of these, and they are all great!

    And YES – #6. Absolutely!!

    And also.. I think everyone needs to get on WordPress from Blogger— soo much more user-friendly from a visitor perspective! :)
    jennifer recently posted..Lady Lifter Spotlight: Maggie!

  57. Love these best wordpress plugin choices. Thanks Lean Green Bean.
    MySEOpractice recently posted..5 Steps To Successful Article Syndication Marketing

  58. Awesome post about plugins… a couple here I haven’t tried. The name of your blog did catch my attention, mine is similar. lol
    Marcy McManaway recently posted..Easy Tips For Living a Healthy Life

  59. Sophia Hill says:

    Thank you Lindsay for some great research and a great article! I mostly try to engage my blog readers by giving them freedom to post as much content as they want like pictures, comments, links and more, and Akismet has been useful to block spam until now. Unfortunately i’ve recently been attacked through the content posted on my blog, and have gotten some very, very bad surprises. I started using SmartFilter recently and so far it has proven to be very effective. Let me know what you think about it!

  60. Thanks for this. Plugins are a BIG topic.

    I was looking for one to notify commenter of a reply by email. SO I will check this one out.

    My favorite plugin that I can’t live without is tinyMCE for changing font and size. It should be an automatic install!
    And it looks like akismet is a paid plug in now,
    Thanks for the great blog.
    have fun, Mary

  61. I agree about Comment Reply. I love this list & have pinned so I can come back. It’s after midnight & I’m getting heavy eyed!! Thank you :)

  62. I took your advice and used some of these on my blog thank you so much. I will come back to read more of your posts. I hope to find more of interest to me. I used the blotter to wordpress plugin. Worked like a charm. And I thought all ofnmy blotter posts were gone for good!
    eddie recently posted..Do social networks destroy relationships?

  63. Thanks, Lindsay! Fabulous list! :-)

  64. Very useful list, thanks for posting it! Goes straight to the Favorites :-)
    I think I am going to spend all of the entire day upgrading my blog with many of these plugins. Tweetily will be the first one.

  65. Thanks for this great list! So helpful for starting a new blog. Cheers!

  66. Great tips!! Thanks for this!!

  67. Awesome post!!!! I love it!!!!!
    Crazy Corgi Lady recently posted..Hanging Out At Home

  68. I’ve been struggling to find a decent instagram plugin after a few fails so very happy to discover the Alpine one! :) Thanks!
    Gemma Critchley recently posted..Homemade chocolate Easter eggs

  69. CoSchedule is a BIG help for me!
    Jessica @ Words of a SAHM recently posted..5 Tips to Starting YOUR OWN Blog!


  1. […] Best WordPress Plugins – so helpful! […]

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  2. Update | says:

    […] The Best WordPress Plugins via The Lean Green Bean […]

  3. […] The Best WordPress Plug-Ins (The Lean Green Bean Blog): Lindsay has been awesome with helping fellow bloggers make their blogs better and stronger with her social media tips and blogging advice lately. This is a really neat tool for those getting started and trying to grow their blog, like myself. Thanks so much, Lindsay! […]

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