According to data reported in 2011 by W3Techs, WordPress is used by 55.0% of all websites with a known content management system. This represents 17.3% of all websites. Yoast.com reports that 72.4 million websites are built on WordPress. Besides it's SEO-friendliness and relative ease of use, perhaps the most alluring quality of WordPress as a CMS is the multitude of available plugins that can customize a website and add dynamic functionality.
Here are a few plugins that can help fill in any functionality gaps and improve the overall performance of your WordPress website.
Akismet is a spam comment filter. It's likely that you already have it installed on your WordPress site, but not activated. Akismet will not function without an API key, for which you'll have to pay at least $5 a month. It's well worth it, though.
Note: keys are free for personal blogs.
CMS Tree Page View gives you a hierarchical look at your page structure for an at-a-glance look at parent/child pages.
Fancier Author Box allows you to place an author bio with social links at the bottom of each blog post. The paid upgrade to Fanciest Author Box adds additional functionality and customization that is well worth it.
With one click, this plugin will generate an XML sitemap at www.domain.com/sitemap.xml that you can submit via Google Webmaster Tools. It also comes with a variety of customization options.
HTML Page Sitemap will generate an HTML sitemap in the form of a WordPress shortcode that you can place on a blank page to display a simple sitemap. You can see the results here: http://www.slingshotseo.com/sitemap/
This plugin adds a simple form that will let you redirect one page to another. This is perfect for those using Google Webmaster Tools who have multiple crawl errors. Simply place the broken link in the "Request" field and the live page in the "Destination" field. Easy!
Social Metrics shows how your various blog posts are performing on social networks. The dashboard shows your content in rows and their social shares in columns.
upPrev is one of my personal favorites. The plugin adds a customizable flyout to blog posts to promote a similar article on your site in the hopes of keeping a website visitor reading.
For those managing a blog that publishes multiple times a day/week and schedules posts in advance, this editorial calendar is a must. Not only can you see upcoming posts in a calendar view, but you can drag and drop posts to alter their scheduled release date.
This plugin adds a small option box to each page and post that will enable you to noindex, nofollow content. This is perfect for "Thank You" confirmation pages and other content that you don't want indexed.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the premiere SEO plugin around. It will actually grade the effectiveness of your posts as you add content and meta data, which effectively makes it a dedicated on-page SEO consultant. WordPress SEO boasts many technical features, like Facebook Open Graph meta, Twitter cards and Google Webmaster Tools verification.
Perhaps the most valuable feature of the plugin is its authorship capability. WordPress SEO adds a Google+ field to all User Profiles, enabling you to easily add a rel="author" tag to all posts. You can even designate a business Google+ page for the rel="publisher" tag.
If you're just getting started with a Google Analytics account, this plugin allows you to quickly install GA tracking code throughout your site. Simply fill in your UA code and Ultimate GA will handle the rest.
What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins? Did I miss any that you can't live without? Let me know in the comments section below.