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If you’re a WordPress blogger, you can add tremendously to your blog’s appearance, functionality and ability to attract and retain readers through the use of a number of plugins. Everyone’s list of favorite WP plugins varies a bit, but the following have in my experience added tremendous value to the basic WordPress.org package. I’ve highlighted in yellow those which I feel every WP blogger MUST use:

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1. Add Meta Tags.  Automatically adds Description and Keywords XHTML meta tags to your blog’s front page, and to each post, static page and category archives.

2. Adsense or Adsense Deluxe.  Inserts Google adsense ads inside your posts wherever you prefer. Adsense Deluxe adds increased functionality; with WP version 2.6.3, however, I found it didn’t work properly.

3. Akismet. Utterly essential; spam filter for comments. Since I moved Practical Hacks to WordPress a little less than 3 months ago, it’s captured 900 spam comments…

4. Contact Form 7. There are many contact forms out there; this one was extremely simple to set up and functions great.

5. FeedBurner FeedSmith. Enables you to track every subscriber via Feedburner. Set it and forget it!

6. Google XML Sitemaps. Plugin generates a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and Yahoo.

7. Increase Sociability. This plugin is a call to action which encourages Digg and Stumbleupon visitors to vote for your posts.

8. Insights. See my post devoted to Insights. This extraordinary plugin by Vladimir Prelovac makes creating posts faster and easier. (When drafting a post you can link to old posts, insert images, insert Google maps, and do much more in seconds with Insights.)

9. NoFollow Free. Remove the nofollow tag from your blog’s comments. Enables visitors to click on commenters’ blog and website links.

10. Privacy Policy. If you’re an Adsense user, be aware that Google’s TOS require you to post a privacy policy. This plugin enables you to do so in a matter of moments.

11. Share This. Displayed at the bottom of every post on this blog. Lets readers bookmark your posts at their favorite social networking sites or email posts to friends.

12. Similar Posts.  Develops a list of well, similar posts to appear below each blog post. Encourages readers to spend more time on your site.

13. Subscribe Remind. Great plugin by Trevor Fitzgerald. Give your readers a gentle reminder to subscribe to your blog’s feed at the bottom of each post. Personal note:  I wanted to customize Subscribe Remind a bit; Trevor was amazingly accommodating, even emailing me snippets of code to enable me to make the adjustments I was looking for. Great guy, great plugin!

14. WordPress.com Popular Posts. Shows your blog’s most popular posts, using data collected by the WordPress.com stats plugin.

15. WordPress.com Stats. An easy way to see overall traffic stats, which posts are getting the most traffic, what links are being clicked on your site, and which keyword searches brought traffic to your site. If you’ve blogged using WordPress.com, you’re familiar with it.

16. WordPress Automatic Upgrade.  Allows you to upgrade your installation to the newest release by following 5 simple steps.

17. WordPress Tweaks. Adds a variety of useful options and settings.

18. WP-Download Manager. See the FREE Downloads page link at the top of this page. Download Manager makes it very easy to share files with your readers. Records how many times each file has been downloaded.

19. WP-Polls. Enables you to conduct polls with your readers. Insert polls into posts, or put a poll in a sidebar widget.

20. WP Ajax Edit Comments. Allows users and you to edit their comments inline. Enables you to edit all comments.

21. WP Super Cache. ESSENTIAL. Very fast caching module for WordPress – helps your blog load quickly for readers.

22. WP Super Edit. Feel constrained by WorPress’s standard text editor? Want to dress up your posts a bit? WP Super Edit enables you to highlight text, use different fonts, insert text anchors, create tables within posts, Find & Replace text, insert emoticons…  it’s quite powerful. Compare how your text editor looks compared to that you’ll have with Super Edit:

If you feel limited by the standard post and text editing capabilities of WordPress, definitely check out this terrific plugin!

What have I missed??

Do you have other WP plugins that you think are essential? Please share them by commenting!

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