Keeping your website and blog visitors engaged is paramount to success.  Check out these 50 WordPress Plugins to zoom your SEO, audience engagement and brand in 2011. I did a couple other posts with my favorite WordPress plugins and decided to update with almost all of the ones I have used in 2010.

User experience is key to all websites. It’s critical to create an experience that enables your web visitors to be easily entertained, engage and share your content with their network on the social networks as easily as possible.

Just because I include 50 wordpress plugins on this post doesn’t mean you should go off and install all 50. Installing too many widgets, gadgets, feeds and more will create a confusing experience for your audience. Focus on a balance of simplicity combined with selection of the best plug-ins to help meet your business and online marketing goals.

I included several options for social sharing as it’s important you test and select a social share plugin that best aligns with the needs of your audience.

Have fun and be sure to tweet me a link to your site once you finish your refresh! I’ll be happy to offer you some candid feedback.  You can also check out an easier to print version of this list here.

Social Sharing & Engagement

1. Digg Digg
I LOVE this plug-in! It enables you to add a nice little set of sharing buttons from 20 top social networking sites. It has some nifty features such as the ability to choose compact or normal for the size of the share buttons and the ability to float the buttons. In addition it can be set to display at the top, bottom or side of the post or page.  This plug-in increased social sharing on my site substantially. Note, I did have a few problems with this plug-in conflicting with my sub-menu navigation on pages (not posts).  I simply disabled this plug-in on pages and problem was resolved.

2. GD LinkedIN Badge
Easily installs a nifty little LinkedIn badge in a widget. Creates LinkedIn community building opportunities.

3. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms provides the ability to make custom forms for anything! Create a contact form, quote request, or even a survey.  Only takes a couple minutes and  you’re on your way.  Inserting the form on a page is as simple as copying a short line of code that correlates to the form number right into the html section of the wordpress page editor.

4. Wbiya Toolbar
Keep your readers engaged while offering them the ability to share and bookmark with this fun toolbar that displays at the the bottom of your site. It is easily customized and easily incorporates Facebook likes, Facebook recommendations, Facebook activity, Twitter feeds, retweets, and the ability to share on almost any platform.   It doesn’t add any website performance latency and I get compliments on this one everyday.  A must have in my opinion.

5. Social Slider
Just as people learn differently, people socialize differently. I believe in offering numerous ways to share and engage.  This cute lil’ plug-in includes floats on the left or right side of your page. You’ll hardly know it’s there. It supports a good majority of social platforms.

6. Billboard
Another one of my favs this plug-in lets you create a set of social share icons, bookmark icons or links to other pages in a nice little widget.  You can choose each icon, insert the url and choose the size of icon all within the widget.  Once developed you simply drag and drop it to your theme widget, select how many of the icons you want to display, if you want it centered or justified to left or right and you’re done.  I love the fact I can make unique billboards for each page if I want.  I often create one for bookmarks and one for social share icons.

7. Tweet Meme Retweet Button
A must have on any blog is an easy way to retweet.  This plugin is a no brainer and makes it easy for your visitors to show the love with a retweet!

8. Share This
With more than 850,000 implementations this plug-in enables website visitors to share your content to more than 50 social networks including Facebook and Twitter.  I really like the way this plug-in has evolved. I am in the process of testing this on my own blog and will soon be implementing.

9. Socialable
One of the most popular social sharing plug-ins. This plug-in supports the majority of networks.

10. Add to Any
Another favorite, Add to Any let’s your websites visitors share your content to majority of networks with a click of the mouse.

11. LifeStream
This nifty little plug-in enables you to stream content from your social platforms across the social waves to your website by leveraging RSS /Atom feeds. It offers more than a pretty look though as it’s also efficient and won’t bog down your website.  It also enables easy customization without a lot of PHP code modifications. This is a favorite for my developers.

12. LinkedIn Share Button
Finally! LinkedIn has created a share button that can be seamlessly integrated into your WordPress blog. It provides the option of a larger button with number of shares, smaller button with number of shares or tiny button with no metrics.   You can also download the code for the button, not the plug-in for WordPress directly from the LinkedIn site  here: LinkedIn Share Button

13. Facebook Live Stream

Provides live streaming from your Facebook fan page.  This is great for events or simply to show your latest wall activity.

14. Facebook Activity Feed
If the user is logged into Facebook it will show activity by your website visitors friends.  It will show likes, shares etc.  If the user is not logged in then it will show recommendations as well as provide the ability for the visitor to login to Facebook.

15. Facebook Like Button
Make it easy for your visitors to show the Facebook love with this stimple little button.  A must have for sure!

16. Facebook Like Box
Great plugin to help you  build your Facebook community. This adds the additional functionality of letting the visitor instantly “like” your Facebook fan page, displays photos of their friends who are already a fan of your page, shows the number of fans and recent activity. A great tool to pull people to your Facebook Fan page.

17. Facebook Activity Feed
Pretty self explanatory, this plugin displays the latest Facebook activity feed for your website and blog content.

18. Sexy Bookmarks
Sharing is both sexy and fun with this sassy little plugin.  It makes it easy for your visitors to share your awesome content with beautiful, dynamic icons that you can place at the top or bottom of your blog.

19.  TwitterCounter
Creates a cute little button you can place in any widget that displays the number of Twitter followers you have right next to the friendly little blue bird.

20. Twitter Goodies
Twitter offers numerous widgets and opportunities for you to engage your visitors while also growing your Twitter community.  Create a widget with your tweets.  Or create a widget that displays a search term or hash tag.  It’s a great way to share the buzz as your community grows!

Engagement

1. Disqus Comment System
There are many comment systems out there such as CommentLuv etc.  I  like the simplicity and clean look of Disqus.  It is easy to install and is widely used across social internet land.  It provides an easy way to view where visitors have commented on other sites while also keeping track of where you comment.  It can help you build social relationships as you engage on other people’s blogs and websites.

2. Comment Luv
Although I use Discus Comment system, many do like the comment luv plug-in.    Disqus comment system has been more widely used for longer.  It seems to be more popular and widely used on the majority of sites I visit and communities I engage in.  It basically comes down to personal choice.  I know many people who use comment luv and “love” it.  I did try it and it gave me a few problems so I immediately switched back to Disqus.  I suggest you check them both out and make a decision for yourself.

3. Thank Me Later
This plug-in automatically sends an email thanking the web visitor for leaving a comment.  The time frame can be customized for sending. It’s a great way to remind the visitor about your blog or website as well as thank them for their comment.  Keeping communication going with visitors is a great way to build authentic relationships.  The person left a comment on your blog probably because they were interested.  Thanking them and inviting them back will probably be much appreciated by the commenter.

4. WP Greet Box
This is another one of my favorites.  It creates a custom gretting based on the referral url of your website visitor.  Includes support for RSS, Delicious, Digg, Twitter, Facebook and many more.  A must have for any blog or website in my opinion!

5. LinkWithin
This is one of my all time favorites.  This plug-in displays up to 5 related blog posts at the bottom of each post.  Not only does this plug-in help drive engagement, it also helps your SEO.

6. WP-Page-Navi
Adds a more advanced paging system to your WordPress site.

Design and Images Enhancements

1. Simple Image Link
This is one of my favorite image plug-ins.  It enables the ability to add any image plus text as a widget.  It supports easy modification of  image size.

2.  Drop in Image Slideshow Gallery
Insert images with ease with this nifty little plug-in.  No coding required.  Even a newbie to WordPress can figure this image feature out!

3. Dynamic Headers
Open your blog header up to new possibilities with this plug-in.  You are no longer limited by media type, or only one header for the whole site. Now you can have a unique header for each page!

4. Next Gen Gallery
This plugin turns any website into a beautiful gallery.  It even has a flash slideshow option.

5. V-Slider
Another option for inserting an image gallery. Animate your header, posts or images with this simple and easy to use plug-in.

Search Engine Optimization

1. All in One SEO
If you want SEO to rock with little effort, this is your plugin.  I have seen great results with this plugin on both my sites as well as many client sites.

2. SEO Smart Links
Also great for SEO, this plugin helps engage your users by linking keywords within your site.  Google likes to see links within your site. This is a great way to drive engagement as well as SEO with little to no effort once it’s installed.  You can customize and select how many links you want to appear on each page.

3. XML Sitemap
This plugin creates an XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap for your WordPress blog.  It is supported by Ask.com, Google, Yahoo and MSN.

4. WP Page-Navi
This widget adds navigation from one page to the other so visitors can easily view your numerous blog posts you’ve worked so hard on.

5. SEO Slugs
This plug-in removes all the unnecessary words from post titles. This makes post titles more search engine friendly!

6. SEO Friendly Images
This nifty little plug-in automatically updates all images with ALT and TITLE attributes.

Developer’s Best Friend

1. Flexi-Pages Widget
This widget is great for fully custom WordPress sites or template themes which don’t provide an easy sub-menu via sidebar or other.  This widget provides the ability to add a sub-menu navigation via widget on sidebar.  This also helps with engagement and SEO.

2. OzH Admin Dropdown Menu
This is one of my favorite developer plug-ins! It saves me loads of time by putting the admin menu in a drop down format.

3. Permalinks moved permanently
This is the perfect plug-in if you are changing permalink structure.  Instead of old links pointing to a 404 page, this plug-in will look for a slug similar to the original on your blog and will automatically generate a 301 error and redirect request to new location. This is good to help maintain pagerank and traffic.

4. WordPress Importer
Easily import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags from a WordPress export file. This plug-in is great when switching themes, hosts or testing.

5. Exclude Pages from Navigation
You are no longer dependent on theme features or a developer to be selective in what pages are included or not included in site navigation.

6. Mass Edit Pages for WordPress
A developers best friend and massive time saver when it comes to making simple pages to a mass number of pages.

7. Maintenance Mode
A must have for those long weekends when you decide at midnight you need to switch WordPress themes – ha! It provides a splash screen to your visitors informing them your site is under maintenance while you work the midnight oil on your next creation!

8. Google Analytics & Feedburner Reports
Enables easy view of Google analytics data and Feedburner reports via WordPress admin area.

9. WordPress Stats
This nifty plug-in provides a nice and simple view of your most critical wordpress performance stats. What I like about this plug-in is that it’s simple. As a data junkie myself, I am a lover of Google Analytics and the information it provides. However, it’s nice to be able to view a simple snapshot of visitor stats, top content and more right from the WordPress admin dashboard.

10. Theme Logo
This plug-in enables the ability to add a logo to your theme without a developer.  Great for the novice using a theme that requires a  code change.

11. Simple Coming Soon & Under Construction Page
Great plug-in to easily set a temporary under construction or coming soon page.  There are several of these types of plug-ins around. This is one of my favorites  I have found. I like it because of the simplicity and the fact it is more visually appealing.  It also adds the ability to add social platform links as well as a count down.

12. WP-Super Cache
This plug-in will improve performance of your site by producing static html files of your dynamic WordPress blog.

13. Akismet
Simply  stated, stop the spam! Akismet keeps those spammer out and off your precious blog.

14. Infusionsoft Web Form
This plug-in makes it easy to embed an Infusionsoft web form using your api key.  Hoping Infusionsoft will soon provide more options and graphical enhancements to more easily develop custom Infusionsoft web forms.

p.s. Actually this post includes 51 plug-ins.  Just consider it a free New Years bonus!

What’s Your Favorite?

Share your favorite plugin or website extra!