WordPress Plug-Ins: The Bare Essentials

This past weekend, I was a presenter at PodCamp Cincinnati. Many talented people in social media attended from the region, so I learned quite a few things myself. My favorite session was by Daniel J. Lewis, the event organizer, who gave a snappy session on essential WordPress plug-ins. I’m going to share a few recommendations from his session, as well as add a few of my own.


  • Akismet. It should be installed for you, so don’t remove it. It blocks spam. If you don’t have it, add it.

Comment system

  • The WordPress default comment system isn’t bad, but you can do better. I currently use Disqus; after hearing Lewis’s presentation, I’m considering a switch to Intense Debate.

Social sharing

  • Social sharing plug-ins make it easy for people to tweet, “like,” or otherwise share your post on their preferred social network. I currently use AddThis, but after Lewis’s presentation, I may switch to ShareBar, which has more dynamic functionality.

Site speed


  • According to Google Analytics, about 50% of my traffic comes from iPhone users. That means the site needs to be mobile friendly. WP Touch automates this. Once installed, it just works. Love.

Broken link checker

  • When links break on your site, it’s nice to know right away. I use Broken Link Checker to automatically scan my site every week. Through its interface, I can change URLs as needed, or remove the link entirely.

Social media widget

  • This plug-in allows me to easily build those appealing & visual sidebars that tell you where else I’m found online.
What WordPress plug-ins do you find indispensable? Share in the comments!


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Posted in Digital Media.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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