THE BLOG

10 Must Have WordPress Plugins for 2014

03/19/2014 03:05 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2014

With so many websites utilizing the WordPress content management system these days it has resulted in a large number of plugins available to webmasters. They help webmasters do everything from analyzing data on the site to helping improve the SEO. The WordPress plugin directory allows webmasters to search the available plugins, and with nearly 30,000 available plugins there is one for virtually any need.

Using plugins can help improve the performance of a website, the search engine optimization, and the overall user experience. Here are ten must have plugins for 2014, in no particular order.

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WordPress is a great CMS (content management system) in terms of a great foundation for SEO, and adding this plugin helps the average webmaster learn what factors are important and impact search results. Using this isn't going to necessarily translate into top rankings, but it helps hold the website owners hand through simple optimization steps.

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Akismet is a must have plugin that prevents your blog from being filled with spam comments. It lets the website owner review all of the spam comments within the comments admin section of the WordPress dashboard. You don't like spam and your website visitors don't like spam so make sure you have this great plugin installed.

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This plugin allows webmasters to manage multiple contact forms on their website and has security features such as CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering. With over 16 million downloads this is the most popular option for those who want a simple to use contact form option.

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This plugin generates an XML sitemap for the website and helps the pages and posts get indexed by the major search engines. Every time a new post is made the plugin notifies the search engines. This is the easiest way to provide web spiders with an easy structure to crawl.

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The Digg Digg plugin provides an all-in-one social sharing tool that displays on the pages and posts that the website owner desires. Social sharing is such an important component of content marketing and as we move forward social signals are beginning to be looked at as an important part of a search engine optimization campaign. This plugin provides a nice looking social toolbar and gives website visitors an easy way to share the content across their social media profiles.

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This is a plugin that quickly eliminates any 404 errors by redirecting any error page to the homepage or another URL that the website owner specifies. So, if someone types in a URL incorrectly instead of seeing a big 404 error message they will simply be redirected to another functioning page. Also, if someone attempts to visit a site through a broken link they will land on the homepage (or any other specified page) instead of seeing an error message.

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Subscribe2 is a plugin that provides the website owner with an easy to use subscription management system as well as an email notification system. Website visitors can easily submit their email addresses to be alerted when new content is published on the site. This is great for website visitors that want to be instantly notified when there is new material to read and it is great for the website owner as it helps to bring visitors back on auto-pilot.

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This plugin provides a simple solution to those that want to quickly connect their Google Analytics to a WordPress based website. This plugin was developed by the same team that brought us the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

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This is a great plugin designed to keep your website visitors engaged with the content on your website. It allows the website owner to place a specified number of "related posts" at the end of each post. Once a visitor finishes the particular post they are reading they will see several suggested posts that are similar to the content they just read. The goal is to get them to click through to another piece of content. This is a great tool to keep the visitor on the website for a longer period of time.

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This is a great plugin that impacts the performance of the website by improving the speed. By increasing the server performance it results in a much better experience for the website visitor. Having a slow website that takes forever to load will result in visitors leaving quickly and likely not returning.

These are ten great plugins that are absolutely free to download and use on your WordPress website. You can also search the plugin directory to find thousands of other great plugins to help you improve your website and provide your visitors with a more enjoyable experience.