Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plugins

By Daniel Scocco

There are several lists of “Top 10” WordPress plugins around the Internet. Most of them, however, refer to the best or most popular plugins. Guess what, I’ve had enough of Akismet, Adsense Deluxe, Related Entries and company!

Jokes apart, those plugins are certainly awesome, but there are many others out there that can be life savers, and people often neglect them. Below you will the Top 10 Underrated WordPress plugins; if you think there is a plugin missing on the list just post a comment.

1. Custom Querry String

WordPress is a very flexible platform, but regulating the number of posts that are supposed to be displayed on the different pages is quite difficult. Most of the times you will want to display a limited number of posts on the Homepage while displaying a larger list for the categories, archives or search results pages, and this is not possible through the control panel. The solution for this problem is the Custom Querry String plugin, which allows you to configure this number individually for each page type.

2. Head Meta Description

While the Meta Keywords Tag is no longer used by most search engines, the Meta Description Tag still has some influence. Having the same Description Tag on all your pages, however, might be inneficient and send part of your website to the supplemental hell. This plugin is extremely easy to install and it will create a dynamic Meta Description Tag for every page on your blog, based on post excerpts or on the first words of the page.

3. Clean Archives

Most blogs have a “Monthly Archives” section on their sidebar, displaying a huge list of months and wasting some precious space. A more efficient structure for your archives would be a single page where all the posts are displayed, month by month. That is exactly what this plugin will do (you can see an example here). Notice that you might need the plugin below to install this one successfully.

4. Exec-PHP

Many plugins or WordPress features require that you run some PHP code. When you need to use those features or plugins inside static pages or posts, however, WordPress will not recognize the code. The solution for this problem is the Exec-PHP plugin. Once installed the plugin will enable PHP code on virtually all the pages of your blog. There are similar plugins available, but this one is the most reliable.

5. Enforce www. Preference

If your site can be accessed through http://www.domain.com and http://domain.com you might have some problems over the long run. Most search engines treat those addresses as two different domains, spliting your backlink count. In order to solve this issue you need to setup a 301 Permanent Redirect. The are several ways to setup this redirect, but if you are not familiar with PHP or if your host is not Linux based (for the .htaccess file) this plugin represents the simplest one. You just need to activate it and all the visitors and search bots will get redirected to the address that is specified on the WordPress control panel.

6. Chunk URLs

Ever experienced someone posting a huge URL on your comment section? Those long strings are not only ugly, but they might also break the design of your website on certain browsers. This plugin will trunk those long URLs into smaller ones, and you can even specify the amount of characters that the output should contain.

7. Sig2feed

Sploggers are feed stealers are spreading out like fire. The first measure to protect your content is to add a copyright notice to your feed, possibly with a link pointing to your site. Sig2feed is a very light plugin that will do just that.

8. FeedSmith

This plugin used to be called Feedburner Feed Replacement. It was so popular and efficient that Feedburner itself decided to buy it from the developer. Basically it will forward all the requests for your WordPress feed to Feedburner. It is very useful if you started using Feedburner after having some subscribers, or if you want to make sure that your feed statistics are completely accurate.

9. Jerome’s Keywords

This plugin is very similar to the Ultimate Tag Warrior, but it is much more user friendly. Once the plugin is installed you will be able to tag individual posts and to create an internal tag system and tag clouds. Secondly you can also use it to generate a dynamic Meta Keywords Tag.

10. WP-Cache

WP-Cache is a very robust plugin that will increase the responsiveness of your website and reduce the server load. It is also very useful to handle sudden burts in traffic coming from social bookmarking sites. The plugin basically creates static versions of your pages and serves them without querrying the MySQL database.




Share

181 Responses to “Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plugins”

  • Ajay

    Based on my experience, I wouldn’t agree with some of the plugins on your list being underrated.

    e.g. WP-Cache is always on everyones list. So is CQS and Jerome’s who are dedicated users of both.

  • Daniel

    I agree that WP-Cache is the “least” overrated from the list, in fact I placed it on the last position :).

    CQS and Jerome’s? There are people recommending them, but I don’t think they are “mainstream” as some other plugins out there, despite being equally useful (the guy that developed Custom Querry String even stopped supporting it hehe).

    Examples: Subscribe to comments, ultimate tag warrior, contact form, adsense deluxe, akismet, top commentators, and so on!

  • Ajay

    Agreed on them being lesser rated than others, but wp-cache.. its on everyone’s list 🙂

  • francesco mapelli

    I am biased, but here are two plugins I developed:

    1) Category Cloud: show a colored tag cloud using categories as tags.
    Fully customizable with css

    2) FeedCount: shows your feedburner subscriber count without that ugly feedburner chicklet.
    Fully customizable with css

    I also find very useful iMP download, that handle and count the downloads.

  • Rich Owings

    Great post. Thanks for the tips. Now I just have to find time to implement!

  • Daniel

    Francesco, thanks for the suggestions! If we end up with lots of plugins I will update the post with a “runners up” section!

  • Ajay

    Then you have to take a look at http://ajaydsouza.com/wordpress/plugins/ 😉

  • Shawn Blanc

    Great list, Daniel.

    I am using 4 of those. I haven’t heard of the sig2feed plugin. That sounds excellent. I’ve had several posts ripped off before, it’s always a bummer.

  • Daniel Harrison

    Out of all of those plugins, the clean archives definitely works the best for my blog.

  • Dj Flush

    Ok great list Daniel 😀

    I already use 7 of them

  • Mr.Byte

    Yeah I use 5 on the list….

  • Joshua Dorkin

    Great list. I actually didn’t know about a few of these. They will soon be implemented on my blogs! Thanks.

  • Dave Butler

    WordPress recently released a wordpress.com stats plug-in. All the details are available http://wordpress.com/blog/2007/05/06/stats-plugin/

  • Daniel

    Dave, thanks for that one.

    I had seen when they released that. Are you using it? I still have to play with it to see if it is worth.

  • Brian

    Since I do a lot of series, I set up Custom Querry String to show categories in chronological order, so that new visitors can read the posts in order.

  • Dave Butler

    Daniel, installing the plug-in is on my to do list for today. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced my to do list so i’m in stuck in a productivity limbo!!! I read that its installed in over 2,700 blogs already.

  • dalez

    I have been considering WP-Cache. Is the added speed really worth the effort?
    Unique descriptions are a must have.

  • Daniel

    dalez, WordPress has a fast structure out of the box. Therefore if your web host is a top notch company maybe you will not need it.

    If your server is not that fast though or if you want to save bandwidth or CPU usage than WP-Cache is an efficient solution.

  • Phil Van Treuren

    I just installed the WP-Cache plugin and activated it, but I have to admit that I don’t really understand what it does. I’m not noticing any difference in load time or anything.

  • Daniel

    Phil, check the bottom of the “source code” of your pages. There should be a message there saying “static page served by WP-Cache in 0.123 seconds”.

    Alternatively you can use the service http://www.iwebtool.com/speed_test to measure the loading time, test it with and without the plugin and see if there is any difference.

  • Patches and hacks

    I use Jerome’s keywords because I like it’s simplicity . I have even created two other pluging one for integrating google sitemaps with jerome’s keywords so that the tag pages will be included in the sitemap generated by the google sitemap plugin and and modified another to integrate the optimal titles plugin with jerome’s keywords so that the tag pages will have nice titles

  • Mike Malone

    I recently wrote a WP stats plugin that you can use to display the number of posts, post wordcount, comments, comment wordcount, and more on your blog… Sorry for the shameless self-promotion, but I thought someone might be interested :). You can grab it at http://immike.net/blog/2007/04/10/impress-your-friends-with-your-blog-stats/

  • Dean Taplin

    Many thanks for compiling this list. I’ve been looking for the functionality offered by the Custom Query String plugin for ages.

  • Pallab

    I did a similar list about a week back. The only plugin that is common to both the lists is SRG Clean Archives.

  • Daniel

    Delez, WP-Cache does not interfere with dynamic descriptions. It will cache every page individually, so they keep their unique description.

  • Nancy

    Thanks very much for this! I just set up FeedSmith and the “www” preference plugin, and I’ll probably do a few of the others as well…

  • Rolando

    Cool, thanks for this!

  • steve

    Great post. Just installed a couple of them. Head META Description should be very useful, thanks!

    –Steve

  • vijay

    Cool list,
    By the way currently I am not using any wordpress blog and thinking to switch from Blogger to wordpress from many days, but not getting exact idea how to do it..
    I mean free hosting or own domain hosted, free blog theme or customized one ..

    Plese if you did these things and are quite comfortable in it then help me fr this switch!

    Regards,
    Vijay
    http://funny-lovely-cute.blogspot.com

  • Daniel

    Google “how to blogger wordpress” or something along those lines :). There is plenty of advice on how to do the switch.

    Go with your own domain, that is a must.

  • Griffin

    Man, I’m going to have to get on the ball with these, I’d never even heard of some of them before, but as soon as you said “Clean Archives” I was like YES!!!

    If you have a lot of posts that have huge chunky paragraphs before the Read More (like mine do), it’s better to deal with something like Clean Archives than to mess with the usual archive set up.

  • Ravi

    Very useful plugins

    Thanks for the post

    Ravi

  • Abhishek Kumar

    wp-cache is quite popular, most of the WP users are using this plugin..

  • el barto was here

    Rally useful post… thankz a lot!

  • tommy grub

    Thanks very much for this! I just set up FeedSmith and the “www” preference plugin, and I’ll probably do a few of the others as well…

  • Karen Bryan

    I recently installed the Stats plugin to my blogs and as a stat illiterate have found it very useful. You can read how I use the stats to improve my blog:
    http://www.businessblogboost.com/2007/07/28/how-to-use-wordpress-stats-to-improve-your-blog/

  • Vic

    Thanks for such a great list of plugins, this list are so helpful for the new guy.

    Thanks

    Vic

  • wordpress jumpstart

    I would love to use your recommended plugins but I would guess including SEO plugins would be great as well.;p

  • Peter Smythe

    One plugin that seems vastly underrated is Alex King’s Articles plugin. We installed it and now have a page of a comprehensive index of our posts under category headings. It is our most used page.

  • krizsa

    Thank you for posting this! =)

  • The Credence Dot Com

    Thanks, I was just looking for sig2feed for such a long time and always used to wonder how to do it. Any idea of how do it in Blogger feed ?

  • Trucking Nerd

    Very useful posting, will be checking some of these out!

  • Popcorn Ninja

    Thanks for the list, I’ll have to check some of these plugins out.

  • simon

    some excellent and useful plugins

  • Patrick

    Where have these been all my life? Oh, I guess I had my head in the sand. Thanks for the tips!

  • David Tan

    Custom Query String sounds lovely.
    Btw, I’ve got a top 10 wordpress plugin list too.

  • MarkB.

    Thanks for such a great list of plugins, this is very useful, thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Jimm

    Thanks for such a great list of plugins!

  • Pony

    I actually didn’t know about wp-cache – hopefully one day I’ll need it.

  • Aneesh

    Yea these plugins are real awesome and are often neglected..

  • jakes

    great ideas and comments…. installed some of them. Descriptions should be very useful, thanks!

  • Danny

    I have a pretty cool and very much underrated plugin: It allows you to post a fully customizable poll on your blog/forum for free. I’ll link it for you — SodaHead WordPress Plugin — Just thought this would be handy to you bloggers 🙂

  • snowgirl

    thanks for the list

  • raffyman

    I was just looking for sig2feed for such a long time and always used to wonder how to do it. Any idea of how do it in Blogger feed ?

  • Doc Meyer

    Plug in thread, love it! Adsense Deluxe!

  • Moshe

    Well done – there are a lot of great, obscure plug-ins out there that are well worth noting.

    This site has some great plugins: http://www.stuff.yellowswordfish.com/wordpress-plugins/ (and note, I have NO affiliation with them). One of my favorites from them is called Advanced Admin – here is his description:

    “Replace the admin menus with proper dropdowns. Save mouse clicks and page loads!”

    Also, I think with WordPress 2.3 tags have changed (and thus I’m not sure if Jerome’s Keywords is the best option anymore. I personally use Simple Tags and very much like it: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-tags/ (again, no affiliation)

  • John

    Wow so great that u can collect them all.. Ehmm which one i haven’t use?…:)

  • Moncef

    I’m pretty sure the functionality provided by the “Enforce www. preference” plugin is now built in WordPress 2.3. It automatically redirects to the site you have configured in the control panel.

    As for “Head Meta Description”, there is another SEO plugin that does that and much more: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

  • Petalac

    Thanks for the great plugins list you have a very good looking and informative site cheers maybe you could give me some advice on mine. http://petalac.blog-city.com

  • webhosting guide

    thay don’t say much to me. They are underrathed yeah. But effective? don’t think so. there better versions for every plugin mentioned…

  • Susan

    I installed Custom Querry String and followed your video blog about showing only post titles in archive search. Works great! Thanks for the great tip!

  • Emily

    DivvaFlip makes photos gallery more glamorous with a flipping engine.

    Just try DivvaFlip, a page flipping engine, with a very easy
    backoffice in AJAX and working with WordPress 2.3 and 2.5 ! 🙂

    Have a glance to the demo here http://www.divva-plugins.com/
    enjoy!

  • IHG

    An interesting list …. I think I need to make a ‘trial’ blog to test out new plugins, etc. Not quite brave enough to try thinks on my main site.

  • njaneardude

    FYI,Clean Archives link is dead

  • shopping

    You’re quite right about the description tag having some influence over the Search Engines. This is one thing I kept forgetting about my site and when I finally employed it my pagerank increased dramatically. Now, finally, you can find my website amongst the top players in a search for a number of keywords. It really does play an important part – plus, it allows for a neat and great description when someone conducts a search.

  • photo oil paintings

    You are right in saying those are underrated. I don’t even know some of them. I asked some blogging friends and most of them never heard about items 3 – 9.

  • yoyo

    A lot of things I do not understand.

  • Alexander Higgins

    This is a great list and definitely helped to point me in the direction of some excellent plugins to install. I have already installed a couple and plan on blogging about them as well.

    I also have uploaded a modified version of the sig2feed taking the original authors suggestions in account, so the plugin allows you to add a permalink back to the original your post or even a link back to your blog. You can read more about it here http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2008/07/add-a-permalink-signature-to-you-rss-feeds.html. Again great post.

  • InfotainmentCenter

    It is a matter of fact the plugins are developed for someones betterment.

  • funny pic

    Thanks man, great collection

  • Musab

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  • J.R. Jackson (a.k.a. MLM’s $8-Million Man)

    Thanks for this list. The exec-php is exactly what I was looking for.

    J.R.

  • klim

    Класс! Афтару респект!

  • Blu-ray Filme

    Thanks for the good article, I like that you give a short summary of each plugin. Makes it easier to decide into which one you should have a deeper look.

    Greetz Ben

  • SaranR

    Cool Post,

    very helpful post for me,

    Thanks

  • Free Gadgets

    Great article, I have just started a WordPress blog and these will come in very handy.

  • Shujaat

    Great list. I just started a new blog and i am pretty noob so this list will be useful. Thank you

  • reg_lov_reg

    Hmm. Good question.

  • all top blogs

    nice list.

  • solovisual

    Excellent essay and site. I put a link to your compassion essay on my website. Good work.

  • ozgul2

    Hmm. Good post.

  • Alex

    Thank you Daniel!

    I didn’t know that that there’s a difference between http://www.yourdomain.com and http://yourdomain.com

    Your advices are practical and there’s a feeling of “Harmony” in your blog.

    The colors, the structure, your advices…it just feel good to spend time on your blog and also very beneficial…Thank you.

    Alex.

  • Queensberry

    good articel! nice work!

  • baskale.biz

    Nice blog btw

  • youssef

    Thanks for your interesting article

  • Bang Kritikus

    Great article !! Does blogspot have top plugins ?? Please review the blogspot’s plugins.

  • usenet junkie

    Thank you for the useful list and you are right they are under-rated

  • loy

    I have my own list of plugins:

    The Best WordPress Plugins for Blogging Newbies

    http://loymeetsworld.com/2008/12/18/the-best-wordpress-plugins-for-blogging-newbies/

    Check it out!

  • edy

    big thanks for list

  • gendut

    thanks for information……..all in one seo pack is enough for me….

  • Berrie Pelser

    Nice list, Thx! 🙂

  • Berrie Pelser

    Very nice list, Thx! 🙂

  • HollywoodDream

    Sig2feed is pretty cool and simple. Excellent list.

  • Bang Kritikus

    How about blogspot ?

  • kmjamal

    Good Plugins here i like some of them there are many such top 10 plugins offered by different people i see.

  • diabetes man

    Wp very great tools….and really support seo, thanks for the posting

  • Hikari

    tnx for the tips, these plugins are nice

  • film indir

    I would love to use your recommended plugins but I would guess including SEO plugins would be great as well.;p

  • Roni

    Here’s another one you might want to check out – Kaltura’s new All-in-one Video plugin for WordPress.

    This is not just another video embed tool, bloggers can upload, import and edit videos in any blog post, and allow readers to post video comments and participate in collaborative videos. You can download it free from – http://corp.kaltura.com/download?m=wplaunch.

    You can see a sample of what it looks like on our corporate blog: http://www.kaltura.com/blog/ or read more at http://community.kaltura.org/viewforum.php?f=4

  • Dendi

    i’m only using Exec-PHP and WP-Cache, the other plugins i don’t know yet. hmm..i would prefer to use Clean Archives. thaks

  • nRnF

    Nice List !
    I have found another great plugin:
    “TargetDomain Analyzer” which is quite a compleete domain analisis tool like domaintools.com for your wordpress blog. Shows WHOIS, SE popularity and much more … (There is also a Joomla version available).
    See: http://resource.targetdomain.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=86&func=fileinfo&id=8

  • blue-ray

    I dont really agree in every point. I dont think that some of these plugins are underrated cause of my personal experience with some of these plugins. Lots of plugins look great at the first view but if you examine them you will find lots of ..lets say “seo-silly” mistakes if you know what i mean.

    Just be careful while choosing such plugins 🙂

  • lesen texte

    Thank you for the great tips…
    i agree that some are underrated but im not a friend of the Head Meta one…..the others seem to work perfect.

  • MathieuB

    Sig2feed is no longer available for download, what a bummer. Daniel, do you know of any mirror or could you put it up for download?

  • Daily Good Tips

    Hmm..very difficult to be master in wordpress, I don’t have enough knowledge in PHP

  • Csaba

    There are tons of cool plugins. It simply impossible to select the best from them.

  • sohbet

    Thanks for the theme. I will just still have to get a different header image.

  • chat

    Very nice article! Thanks for this!..

  • sohbet

    Great post. Thanks for the tips. Now I just have to find time to implement!

  • yonja

    I am using 4 of those. I haven’t heard of the sig2feed plugin. That sounds excellent. I’ve had several posts ripped off before, it’s always a bummer.

  • sohbet

    I would love to use your recommended plugins but I would guess including SEO plugins would be great as well.;p

  • yonja

    i’m only using Exec-PHP and WP-Cache, the other plugins i don’t know yet. hmm..i would prefer to use Clean Archives. thaks

  • get freaky

    I agree. Those plugins are really great. In fact right now i m about to create my own little plugin. It will be for text submissions and so on. But speaking about the other plugins: Some Seo Plugins are really amazing and most of them work great. I really got less to do since i use some plugins.

  • SVT

    Very nice list. Seen some of these before, but certainly not all! 😀

  • taschengeldtabelle

    Great plugins…all of these plugins seem to work great but i think “Head Meta Description”-olugin is not necessary if you already use “AllinOne-Seo”-plugin. But nice list anyway…

  • Altis Lo (Beaulife)

    These are gems in the deep sea… Thanks for your recommendations!

    [Delighting Lifestyle] Best Buy And Idea | Blog And Store.
    Follow me on Twitter.

  • ipage reviews

    stunning list. they are not killer, but ‘assassin’ plugins.
    just great compilation tho, thumbs up!

  • Hitesh

    the plugin is very nice, but i think there’s a problem with the “likebox” widget. If i click any link in the box it opens me it in the box itself…instead the target MUST be a new window or page…the problem doesn’t seem to be present if i click, for example, on images…

  • Mukundan Srinivasan

    Informative list. Great roundup of powerful plugins. I didn’t know about heta-meta plugin and exec php before. Thanks for sharing.

  • saver

    I am huge fan of Clean Archives and recommend it to all. Reading your post about Chunk URL I think it is definitely worth something to try. I can see how it could really save me sometime. The site is not maintained but the files are still downloadable, YEA!!!

  • tony gott

    One plugin that I use on every single one of my sites is the “exclude pages” plugin. Not every wordpress site is able to exclude pages easily (normally because of the template used) but this plugin lets you decide which ones to feature in your nav and which ones to exclude. Great little plugin and really simple too use.

  • Caleb Withers

    Caching is great, hands down one of the best way to increase the speed of a site, but to anyone considering caching, I would say that the caching plugins you should be using are Hyper Cache or W3 Cache. They both are tested to be much faster and better than WP-Cache or WP Super-Cache, with Hyper Cache being the easier to use and W3 Cache having the most features.

  • Samantha Dermot

    I am still looking for a good plugin that can do this: I add a keyword and a page, and every instance of that keyword will be linked to a given page. Is this possible?

    • Caleb Withers

      SEO Ultimate features a feature called deeplink juggernaut which does just that.

  • The Nerdy Nurse

    Always impressed with the finds you make here.
    Thanks for the WP goodies!

Comments are closed.