Seven Useful WordPress Plugins

With the addition of a few plugins, your WordPress blog can be transformed from a list of text articles into useful, dynamic tool. These seven plugins will help in that process.

(This article was originally published at on 31 August 2009.)

There are many blogging sites scattered around the internet, including and, which are very useful if all you want to do with them is blog. But, if you want to extend these capabilities, a small investment in a hosting package and a free download from may be the answer.

Once installed, you will be able to style your site with the use of themes and create additional static pages. There are also hundreds of plugins available that will extend the functionality of your site further. The seven described below are all used on this website, but there are many others available that do the same, or similar things. Achieving the right balance is just a matter of experimenting.


If you have future events that you would like to inform your readers about, then the Calendar plugin by Kieran O’Shea could be a useful addition to your site. Today’s events and upcoming events can be displayed as a sidebar widget, in a post or on a page. The plugin allows categorization of events, event repetition and optional timestamps and its manager panel is very easy to use.


In order to run WordPress on your hosting package it must have PHP and a MySQL database, so why not take advantage of these and allow your normally static pages to display dynamic data based on database content. The Exec-PHP plugin by Sören Weber executes PHP code in pages, posts and widgets and comes with comprehensive documentation. With this plugin, and a little imagination, you have the ability to change your WordPress blog into a fully-featured website.

All in One SEO Pack

All of your effort to develop and write your blog will be wasted of the search engines can’t find it. Some WordPress themes provide basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but the All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert allows you to take total control. Titles and meta tags can be created automatically by setting the global options but can be fine tuned by overriding the settings on any page or post.

Google XML Sitemaps

Another way to increase the visibility of your WordPress blog is to submit a sitemap to the search engines to help them crawl your site. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin by Arne Brachhold creates an XML sitemap in compressed and uncompressed formats and submits it to Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask (registration is required for Yahoo). Once the plugin is configured, a new sitemap will be created and submitted automatically every time you update your blog.

Advertising Manager

Your WordPress blog can provide an income stream with the use of carefully placed adverts. The Advertising Manager plugin by Scott Switzer and Martin Fitzpatrick will manage your advertising placement by linking to your accounts at Google Adsense and many other networks. Adverts can be placed anywhere on posts or pages and sidebar widgets are also available. The plugin will also manage network rules about how many units can be placed on a page (a maximum of three for Google Adsense).


Social bookmarking sites are an important source of internet traffic. Make it easy for your readers to bookmark your posts by providing links to a selection of social bookmarking sites by installing the Sociable plugin by Joost de Valk. Links can be placed on any post or page and 99 are available to choose from.

Random Posts by Category

With a limited amount of space available on your home page your WordPress blog posts soon disappear into your archive. The Random Posts from Category plugin by Stephanie Leary provides a widget that allows you to display random posts from a selected blog category. A great way for your old posts to attract the attention of new readers.

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