The 15 Best WordPress Plugins to Use in 2013

This list is updated each year to reflect only the best plugins. Many plugins from last year have been replaced and this is what made the cut.


One of the reasons that I’m so madly in love with WordPress is the thousands of plugins available. It doesn’t matter what you want to accomplish on your blog, there is probably a WordPress plugin that will allow you to do it.

This list will provide you with 15 of the best WordPress plugins available today. Only the 15 best WordPress plugins have made it while anything less than amazing has been kicked to the street.

Each of these WordPress plugins are used at Site Sketch 101 and I personally recommend each of them to you. The following plugins are posted in the order that I recommend them.

The 15 Best WordPress Plugins to Use in 2013

The 15 Best WordPress Plugins in 2012

  1. W3 Total Cache – This is one of the best WordPress plugins for two reasons.  First, it makes your pages load way faster.  Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
  2. WordPress SEO by Yoast – This is by far the leader of all SEO plugins for WordPress. It provides an incredibly in-depth analysis of each post as you are writing it directly on the post editor page. It provides tips, shows keyword stats, and much more. Yoast SEO is a king among plugins.
  3. Gravity Forms – This is without question the best WordPress plugin for forms. There is no competition. This form even allows for the creation of posts for guest post submissions, allows image and media uploads, allows conditional logic, and so much more. It is the all-in-one form plugin for WordPress.
  4. MaxBlog Press Affiliate Ninja – This WordPress plugin is amazing as it massively cuts down on the amount of time it takes to promote affiliate products throughout your site. It converts keywords that you identify, tracks clicks, and much more. You won’t have to keep chasing down your affiliate links when they’re all stored in your WordPress dashboard and doing the work for you.
  5. WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
  6. Thank Me Later – This plugin is great.  It sends an email to all visitors who leave a comment for the first time.  You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally.  I do both. If you make the email seem personal and stand ready to reply to emails that get sent to you, this is a great tool to initiate new friendships.
  7. WP-PageNavi – Those ‘Older Posts’ and ‘Newer Posts’ links are boring.  With WP-PaveNavi you can get page buttons so users can go directly to whichever page they want.  Plus they look a lot better than plain little links.
  8. SEO Smart Links – Do you inter-link your articles?  You should.  Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build page authority throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects.  This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you. I only recommend using this plugin with long, relavent keywords. Linking single or even double keyword phrases will spam your site with links and look very tacky.
  9. Digg Digg Social Sharing – This WordPress plugin is what used to power the floating social icons to the left of each post here at Site Sketch 101. That was until I built the custom animated share icons at the top and bottom of each post. I’ve been contemplating turning my share icons into a plugin for WordPress. If you think that’s a good idea or you think it’s something that you might use, please let me know. I’m curious to see if there is any interest. Even though I no longer use this plugin, I still highly recommend it. It makes your content very easy to share.
  10. Akistmet – No link to see here. Akismet comes installed on WordPress. Take a few minutes to get it set up or you’ll be seeing hundreds of mind-blowing spam comments forming a tsunami and flooding your posts. I receive 100 – 150 spam comments on average each day. Akismet clears them all to the spam section, and I’ve only had 1 false positive in the past week.
  11. Revision Control – With the revisions feature of WordPress, it doesn’t take long for your database to get bloated and begin slowing down your site. With the Revision Control WordPress Plugin you can limit the number of post revisions that remain in storage. I have mine set to 2.
  12. Tweet Old Post – If you’ve been engaging and building a community of friends on Twitter, then this WordPress plugin is the perfect way to sprinkle your posts into your tweets. It has options to add hashtags, leading text and more.
  13. Widget Context – With the Widget Context WordPress plugin, you’ll be able to pick and choose which pages you want sidebar widgets to appear on. You can literally create different sidebars for different pages and sections of your site with this.
  14. WordPress Editorial Calendar – This plugin provides a crisp, clean editorial calendar of your posts both past and present. You can drag and drop articles from one date to another, edit them and much more. This is an amazing organizational tool.
  15. Pop Up Domination – Popup Domination is the absolute best WordPress plugin in existence today for capturing leads. It’s loaded with different themes and theme option to match the look and feel of your site and I’m telling you that there are absolutely no popup software available that compares to the style and effectiveness of Popup Domination.
    Special Note: I don’t like popups, but I can’t argue with how incredibly effective this one is for rapidly building a massive list. If you’re going to use one then popup domination is the best WordPress plugin in the industry.

Group Discussion

WordPress plugins are amazing little creations. In a matter of just seconds you can bring new realms of possibilities to your website.

Which do you consider to be the best WordPress plugins that you use on your site and how many plugins do you use at your site?  Do you use any of these plugins?  Do you have any other WordPress plugins that you would highly recommend to the group here?


This list is updated each year to reflect only the best plugins. Many plugins from last year have been replaced and this is what made the cut.

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25 Vibrant Comments

We would love to hear yours!

  1. October 2, 2013

    Alexis said:

    Any thoughts on the best security plugin option? Thanks.

    • October 4, 2013

      Frank Steiner said:


      Better WP Security and BulletProof Security are great plugins to keep your WordPress blog safe.

      • October 5, 2013

        Nicholas Cardot said:

        Thanks for helping her out there. As I don’t use any security plugins, I wasn’t aware of those. Do you not type of concerns those plugins take care of?

    • October 5, 2013

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Alexis, I’m sorry for having missed your comment until now. I don’t use any security plugins here and I’ve never been hacked. The two suggestions that I would make would be: 1. Always keep your WordPress installation as up to date as possible. Upgrade whenever it’s available. 2. Create a user account with a name other than the default Admin and create a strong password. Transfer any posts that you have under an admin username to your new account and be sure to give that account admin privileges. If you don’t do this then hackers already know one of the two fields necessary to log in to your admin account and they can run programs to randomly guess the password at a rate of tons of guesses per minute. I hope this helps.

  2. October 6, 2013

    Joseph Adediji said:

    Hey Nicholas!
    Its been a while! How you doing?
    These are indeed some cool important plugins, i will also recommend plugins like Better WP Security, Google Xml sitemap and Hybrid Connect .
    Its good to read your posts again ! 😀

    • October 7, 2013

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Thanks, Joseph. I appreciate the kind words. I’m doing great. I couldn’t be happier. How have you been doing? Oh, and thanks for recommending those plugins.

    • November 20, 2013

      Philip said:

      Hi Joseph WordPress SEO by Yoast has a built-in XML sitemap, you might want to try that. 🙂

  3. October 7, 2013

    Aqib Khan said:

    Awesome Post ..

    I hope you must given a lot of time to this Post because without giving time the Creation of this Post is Impossible.

    These all plugins are very useful to being a Successful Blogger. The more we can make our site popular with these Plugins!

    Hey Nicholas ..! I have a Problem If you can solve it!

    I had one website and on that site i activated WP-PageNavi Plugin and it was totally working well. Yesterday I activated this plugin on my website. But it wasn’t showing page numbers. I’ve done equally same setting which i did before but this time this plugin isn’t showing page numbers on my theme. So I’ve activated another plugin. How can I show page numbers with WP-PageNavi plugin ?

    Thank you for Giving us appertunity to know about that much useful Article! 🙂

    • October 7, 2013

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      With the WP-Page Navi plugin, you need to open up the editor for the theme and place the code in there that’s listed on the Wp-pagenavi plugin directory listing. You’ll need to place it right where you want the page numbers to appear. I hope this helps.

  4. October 12, 2013

    Gary Riding said:

    Thanks for the new list Nicholas. I have just swapped back to using Yoast and I love it. So easy to set and forget.

    • November 12, 2013

      Nicholas Cardot said:

      Sorry for the delay in the response here. Not sure how I missed your comment. I’m with you. I love Yoast and I’m so happy that I made the switch.

  5. October 16, 2013

    Liga sampiona said:

    Thanks for this great list. I download 3 plugins alredy

  6. November 13, 2013

    Giulio said:

    Hi Nicholas,
    I’d like to recommend a plugin that can track data from social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter), it can count likes, shares, +1s and import them into wordpress:
    It can build ranks, also embeddable with shortcodes, and draw charts to see viral posts trends. Very interesting.

  7. December 23, 2013

    Angelina said:

    aha…awesome plugins..thanks alot for that..i am really greatfull to you…!!

  8. December 25, 2013

    Doddid said:

    Thanks for your new list. I recommend to add SEO Search term tag plugin. Try it to improve our blog traffic

  9. December 26, 2013

    Angelina said:


  10. December 26, 2013

    Astro Gremlin said:

    Hi Nick, Great collection of plug-ins. For those who love plug-ins, I would add P3 from GoDaddy, a free plug-in that “tells on” your other plugins, in particular how much load time they are using. You might be interested in my review with charts on the slowest plug-ins

  11. January 24, 2014

    rosey said:

    thanks for list.

    for sharing which one you like the most?

    for Social Profiles there is new one recently added. Top 25 Social Icon Plugin.

  12. March 21, 2014

    Alvian Rahardjo said:

    Hi Nicholas, thanks for sharing a great collection of awesome WP plugin. WordPress Seo by Yoast is a great plugin, but i prefer to use AIOSP 🙂

  13. July 9, 2014

    Nassim said:

    Great list ! thank you very much for the share 😀

  14. July 22, 2016

    jasmine said:

    The incredible wordpress plugins that i use are WP chat and backup&restore dropbox. Out of all the plugins that i have tried,these plugins stood out.WP chat is for live chat while backup&restore dropbox is for website backup

  15. July 25, 2016

    flora said:

    I am currently using backup&restore amazon s3 which is going to be my last backup plugin because it is very efficient,easy and convenient.

  16. July 28, 2016

    Annie Martin said:

    For me my personal favourite is Blog2Social. It is user friendly and has no server side installation to be done.So far i have faced no issues. Not only you have a single dashboard which will help you post across platforms but also it requires no cron job done. You just have to simply install and activate it.

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