Beneficial WordPress Plugins For Your Design Blog

There are quite a few reasons for choosing WordPress as my personal favorite Content Managment System (CMS) – simple back end interface, Search Engine friendly (SEO Friendly), open source (so it’s free!) and my personal favorite, the massive amount of plugins that are available that add extra functionality to your website or blog.

Below I explore and discuss the benefits of 13 WordPress plugins that I have personally used on The Design Cubicle that will give your site an extra boost and provide a better experience for your visitors (plus some other great additions you can add).


Saves you time and frustration with spam comments. Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service and filters them so you can easily scan them or delete them later.

BENEFIT: Stops all that nasty spam from getting to your reader comments.

All in One SEO Pack

An “out-of-the-box” SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

BENEFIT: Makes your blog “friendlier” and better seen by search engines (ie. Google, Yahoo, etc). Allows you to add a home title, home description, keywords (meta tags) and more.

Tip: try limiting your site to 10  keywords or less; this allows search engines to place importance on a few, dominate words providing better results when someone searches for your site.


CformsII offers unparalleled flexibility in deploying contact forms across your blog. Features include a comprehensive SPAM protection, Ajax support, Backup & Restore, Multi-Recipients, Role Manager support, Database tracking and many more.

BENEFIT: Easily customize contact forms for your website for your readers and contacts to get in touch with you. Fields can be added and customized to fit you and your visitors particular needs.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by, Google, MSN Search and Yahoo.

BENEFIT: Improves your sites visibility providing search engines with information about your site, in particular a list of the pages on your site, making it more discoverable and SEO friendly.

Highlight Author Comments

Automatically applies a distinctive style to comments by the post’s author.

BENEFIT: Helps your readers visually distinguish your comments from your readers.

Social Bookmarks

Adds a list of XHTML compliant graphic links at the end of your posts that allow your visitors to easily submit them to a number of social bookmarking sites.

BENEFIT: Get your articles easily submitted to various social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Delicious, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati, and a whole lot more. Assists in increasing your sites traffic!

Subscribe To Comments

Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry.

BENEFIT: Provides a way for your readers to stay engaged and connected to a conversation. Sets the ground work for a community and discussion on your blog.


This plugin adds Woopra’s real-time analytics to any WordPress installation.

Live track over 40 different statistical events and analytics through Woopra’s rich and efficient desktop application or from the WordPress Dashboard. Check out more information about the features and download the desktop application on Woopra’s site.

BENEFIT: Provides you with the information you need to strenthen your site, thus improving your results and visitor interactions.

WordPress Gravatars

Makes use of Gravatars and MyBlogLog Avatars, places Gravatars, OpenAvatar, Wavatar, Identicon, monsterID or MyBlogLog Avatars in the comments section.

BENEFIT: Puts a face to your commentors. A nice touch to add more of a community feel to your site.


Very fast cache module. It’s composed of several modules, this plugin can configure and manage the whole system.

BENEFIT: Speed up the load time of your site. Works like a charm for those high traffic days and social media spikes.

Also try WP Super Cache for even more responsive load times.


Adds a more advanced paging navigation to your WordPress blog.

BENEFIT: Adds a more advanced page navagation, instead of the standard ‘previous’ and ‘next’ links – helps your readers get around more effectively.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. A templating feature allows customization of the display.

BENEFIT: Help readers discover similar content and related posts – adds to a more enjoyable and resourceful visit.

Feedburner Counter

Display your RSS/Email subscriber count on your blog.

Google Custom Search

Harness the power of Google to create a search engine tailored to your sites needs.


The retweet button is for website and blog publishers that want to encourage their audience to retweet their content on twitter.

  • NOTE FOR ALL ABOVE PLUGINS: I have personally tested and approve all the above plugins using WordPress version 2.7.1. You can also search and download the plugins using WP 2.7′s built-in ‘Add New’ dashboard option.

Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Gadget Blog says:

    The plugins above is very useful and I alway use some of them. But I prefer using Platinum SEO Pack than All in One SEO Pack

  2. Rose says:

    nice info…thanks verymuch…keep update

  3. I came across this blog very fortunately when I was searching for some other things.I am starting my blog designing recently and needed some tips. this has solved 80% of my problems. thanks for sharing this post.

  4. Great post. Thanks for share ya :)

  5. There are several thousands of WordPress plugins in the WordPress community and new plugins are coming out everyday. However, not all plugins are useful, in fact some are very bad written that will mess up your site or harm your WordPress installation. So how do you know which plugins are right for you? Well, here is a list of plugins that I have used or played around before.

  6. daddy design says:

    good list!! we use a few of these but haven’t tried a few..we will them give a go.. thanks!!

  7. Joe Luka says:

    Thank you so much, you’re a gr8 man.

    It’s always such a gr8 thrill to find such list, designers spend so much time thinking about how they wish certain plugins existed that could do certain things.

    Then we find such a list, and pray to god that whoever wrote is successful in life, just for writing such a list.


    Anyway, i’m need a plugin to style my review pages to make them more colourful elegant, simple but stylish. Mostly what i want to chang is the subheadings, somehow style differently,
    And also special numbering, like a number to be nested in an ‘o’, filed with different color, and somehow stand out.

    I don’t want anything glaring or too much color, just simple elegant and relaxing.

    For my review pages to sort of list various aspects of a product, divided by several subheadings.

    Pleas help me out, drop me a short mail.

    All the best with the blog.

  8. Very usefull articles, this article help me for choose where important plugin must install for my wordpress blog…

    Thanks, keep good work.

  9. [...] 13 Beneficial WordPress Plugins For Your Design Blog [...]

  10. 3D animation says:

    I could never get the difference between a blog and a website… but in some respects these suggestions apply to both… like the XML site map.

  11. Nuke Search says:

    awesome plugins,.. I use some of them on my blog,.. really effective plugins,.. :)

  12. nice list of plugin wordpress. For Woopra plugin, thanks for letting me know about the plugin.

  13. Suvanwesh says:

    I’m using WP for my blog but am not aware about some of these plug ins.I think WP-Cache is a good one for WP users.Thanks to yo for informing about some new plug ins & I must try them in my blog.

  14. this blog very fortunately when I was searching for some other things.I am starting my blog designing recently and needed some tips. this has solved

  15. nicolas says:

    I use most of the plugins too, new to me was woopra which I really should check out.

  16. Great article Brian and great resources for those trying to start a new design blog and we personally use most or if not all the resources you have mentioned in this article and I can personally say it these plugins are really beneficial down at The Inside Design. Once again thank you for this amazing article.

    - Angel

  17. I am also using the one-way link building SEO plugin from IBL Builder, its doing wonders for my google rankings.

  18. [...] 13 beneficial wordpress plugins for your design blog [...]

  19. Review Specs says:

    Very usefull articles, this article help me for choose where important plugin must install for my wordpress blog…

  20. dresses says:

    I am also using the one-way link building SEO plugin from IBL Builder, its doing wonders for my google rankings.

  21. Joshua says:

    These are great. Does anyone know what The Design Cubicle uses to feed out eblasts to it’s subscribers?

  22. Brian says:


    I use Feedburner to syndicate this blogs RSS emails and “eblasts”.

  23. Joshua says:

    Thanks Brian for the response. You have an awesome blog. I would like to try and build a custom photography blog using wordpress as the cms. Do you know of a good link to a tutorial on building a custom site using wordpress? Thanks so much

  24. Brian says:


    Of course, glad I could help and thanks for the kind words on the blog. As far as learning how to build a WP theme, the WordPress website has documentation on it. You can read about it here:

  25. Nice post Brian, great plugin list. The related post plugin is our favorite its gives any blog the opportunity to build relevant internal link and retain pr. will subscribe.

  26. awareness says:

    Great list of plugins, all in seo made my site grow in search engine, i also used this xml sitemaps, this plugin integrates with google sitemaps and it has done a great job for me.

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: