There are a lot of WordPress recommended plugin lists floating around the web. I’ve seen them and most are good and I’ve found some great plugins that way; however, most of them lack one thing – the why. The why you need that plugin and then the how to use it. If you do not understand the why and the how for any plugin, then don’t download it.
Plugins are great at extending the functions and features of WordPress, but if you have too many, they can slow down your site and if you aren’t using the plugins you do have because you don’t really understand what they’re for or how to use them – then delete them, or don’t download them in the first place.
I recommend to my clients that they only install a plugin as they find they have a need for a function or feature on their blog/site. Then search for a plugin that fills that need. That’s the best use of WordPress plugins – they work for you to help you solve a problem or make your work easier.
That said, everyone still likes lists of “recommended plugins” because it gives them a starting point and sometimes let’s them know of a need they didn’t realize they had. So here is my…
16 Recommended WordPress Plugins
- Akismet Used to fight comment spam on your blog. It comes already installed and packaged with your WordPress installation, you just need to follow the instructions when you activate to get it up and running.
- All in One SEO Pack A search engine optimization plugin for your posts and pages. Best used to create keyword optimized/search engine-friendly unique page titles for each individual blog post or page (also known as the title tag <title> on the page) – this is very important that each page have their own title tag, as well as ability to write the description tag for each post/page as well.
- Articles Allows you to feature select posts on a separate page. Useful for high-traffic posts you want to highlight, new posts you want to easily reference – helps keep posts in one location to be quickly seen at a glance, so they aren’t buried within an archives and not easily found.
- Comment Redirect Redirects all first time commenters on your blog to a specific page you create to thank them. Could also include a thank you give or incentive on that thank you page as well, remind them to join your opt-in list, etc…
- Dagon Design Form Mailer Great contact form with a captcha to prevent contact form spam. Easy to use.
- Dagon Design Sitemap An easy to use true sitemap generator, that’s also people-friendly.
- Feedburner Feedsmith “Detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.”
- Google XML Sitemaps This is a true XML sitemap that’s for the search engines. You need this one, in addition to the Dagon one above (which is for people).
- OneClick Plugin Updater “Upgrade plugins with a single click, install new plugins or themes from an URL or by uploading a file, see which plugins have update notifications enabled, control how often WordPress checks for updates, and more.”
- Sociable Places social bookmarking icons below each post/page on your site so site visitors can easily share (Tweet, Stumble, Digg, etc..) your content. You can choose which social sites are used, also includes print, email – even PDF!
- Thank Me Later “Sends a customizable “thank you” message after (a few hours, few days, weeks) a comment has been posted. This acts a reminder of your blog and can bring “one-time” readers back”
- Twitter Tools “This plugin that creates an integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account. It allows you to pull your tweets into your blog (as posts and digests) and create new tweets on blog posts and from within WordPress.” I personally use this plugin to send out a tweet automatically whenever I publish a new blog post, and also to publish my tweets in my sidebar.
- WordBook Posts your blog posts on your Facebook account.
- WordPress Automatic Upgrade This is the complete upgrade plugin that I use and recommend. There is a built-in partial upgrade now with WordPress, but it does not do all the necessary steps you need for a complete backup process; this plugin does everything you need to upgrade your blog.
- WordPress Database Backup You need this plugin and you need to use it to run daily scheduled backups of your database. Your content is stored in your database, don’t risk losing your content, because you didn’t have a backup! Backup frequently.
- WordPress Related Posts This is a handy plugin that will place a linked list of your other similar (related) posts below a post. It uses WordPress tags to determine what’s related.
These are my top 16 most used plugins on my sites. Click the links, read the details on each plugin, aside from the information I’ve given you, and then read the how to use it instructions for each one before deciding if the plugin is right for you. Just because I use it – does not mean you should too.
Hopefully this list helped you!