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.



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181 Responses to “Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plugins”

  • The Nerdy Nurse

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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