The world of wordpress plugins is vast and often the biggest challenge for new site owners is researching and discovering which plugins are worth installing.
Given any list of favourites is going to be subjective, I’ve listed the ones that are “MUST INSTALL” plugins for the wordpress websites I build.
If you have any others you use that you think are essential, make sure you recommend them via the comments at the end of the post.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – Yoast’s all in one SEO plugin should be one of the first plugins you install. Provides an extensive range of SEO and site management function.
- Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin generates a Google, Yahoo! and Bing friendly XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your website.
- SEO Smart Links SEO Smart Links provides automatic SEO benefits for your site in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – Tracking site performance is vital, and this plugin makes it easy to integrate Google’s great analytics package.
Security & Back Up
- Akismet – The best protect against comment spam on your blog or site.
- WordPress Database Backup – This plugin is a life saver when things go wrong! It allows on-demand backup of your WordPress database.
- LoginLockdown – Login LockDown blocks access from IPs where too many failed attempts occur.
- W3 Total Cache – The fastest and most complete WordPress performance optimization plugin.
- WP Super Cache – A static caching plugin for WordPress. It generates html files that are served directly by Apache without processing PHP scripts.
- Redirection – Redirection is a plugin to manage 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache .htaccess files.
- Exclude Pages – This plugin lets you manually exclude WordPress pages from the navigation menu.
- WP Contact form – WP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you.
Membership and Engagement
- WordPress eMember – WordPress eMember is a membership plugin that can turn your existing or new WordPress site into a membership site easily.
- FeedBurner FeedSmith – This plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.
- Add to Any: Subscribe Button – Helps readers subscribe to your blog using any feed reader.
- MailChimp Widget Adds a widget that allows your users to sign up for your MailChimp mailing list.
- Sociable – Automatically add links to your favorite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed.
- Share This – This is a very useful plugin that allows your visitors to share a post/page with others. Supports e-mail and posting to social bookmarking sites.
- Simple Facebook Connect Makes it easy for your site to use Facebook Connect, in a wholly modular way.
- Facebook Comments for WordPress Allows your visitors to comment on posts using their Facebook profile. Supports custom styles, notifications, combined comment counts, recent comments
- Simple Twitter Connect Makes it easy for your site to use Twitter, in a wholly modular way.
- WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart Very easy to use Simple WordPress Paypal Shopping Cart Plugin. Great for selling products online in one click from your WordPress site.
- WP e-Commerce WP e-Commerce is a Web 2.0 application designed with usability, aesthetics, and presentation in mind.
- AdSense Now! AdSense Now! gets you started with Google AdSense. No mess, no fuss.
- Awesome Google Adsense Awesome Google Adsense is the easiest way to show Google Adsense ads in your wordpress. It’s awesome you don’t need to copy and paste codes.
Media – Videos, Images and Audio
- All in One Video Pack Easily add full video capabilities to your blog.
- WordPress Video Plugin A filter for WordPress that displays videos from many video services.
- NextGEN Gallery NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with dozens of options and features.
- FancyBox for WordPress Seamlessly integrates FancyBox into your blog: Upload, activate, and you’re done. No further configuration needed. However, you can customize it
- Degradable HTML5 audio and video Shortcodes for HTML5 video and audio, with auto-inserted links to alternative file types, and degradable performance (lightweight Flash and download).
As I said, there’s no definitive right and wrong plugin list. It really depends on what works for you. I use the ones above as they’re simple, effective and reliable.