This post is more about personal preference than anything. It’s in response to a couple questions I got regarding “must-have” plugins, but more importantly a specific question I got from Mr Mark Collins. When it comes to WordPress I personally try not to use a lot of plugins, as all the bells and whistles can come with a price in performance. Depending on what kind of website you’re creating will determine the type of plugins you use for it.

The First list are the plugins I use for absolutely every WordPress website I develop. The second list are very useful and handy plugins that I use from time to time depending on the WordPress site i’m working on. Also, some of the plugins are alternatives, meaning the client may have a preference

Plugins I install on every WordPress website

  • Contact Form 7: Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
  • Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.
  • Shareaholic: An all-in-one content amplification and monetization platform, that includes related content recommendations, promoted content, social sharing, following, site monetization apps such as affiliate linking, and social analytics.
  • W3 Total Cache: W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
  • Akismet: Checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
  • WP-DBManager: Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up, optimizing and repairing of database.

Great Bonus Plugins I use as needed

  • Updraft Plus: Backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others).
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects.
  • Soliloquy: Allows you to create an infinite number of responsive WordPress sliders with an infinite number of images in each slider with a few clicks of the mouse. It’s hard to go wrong with this WordPress slider!
  • WPFront Notification Bar: Want to display a notification about a promotion or a news? WPFront Notification Bar plugin lets you do that easily. Easily lets you create a bar on top or bottom to display a notification.
  • TablePress: Allows you to easily create and manage beautiful tables. You can embed the tables into posts, pages, or text widgets with a simple Shortcode. Table data can be edited in a speadsheet-like interface, so no coding is necessary.
  • Envira Gallery Lite: Envira Gallery is the absolute easiest, fastest and most efficient gallery plugin for WordPress. Creating galleries is intuitive using all native WordPress features, and your galleries are responsive right out of the box.
  • ThirstyAffiliates: Will create pretty links from ugly affiliate links (aka link redirection or link cloaking) all the while giving you the double benefit of protecting your commissions from theft.
  • Display Widgets: Change your sidebar content for different pages, categories, custom taxonomies, and WPML languages. Avoid creating multiple sidebars and duplicating widgets by adding check boxes to each widget in the admin (as long as it is written in the WordPress version 2.8 format) which will either show or hide the widgets on every site page.
  • Gravity Forms: Advanced Forms for WordPress Websites Just Don’t Get Any Easier than Gravity Forms.
  • Digg Digg: you have an all in one social sharing plugin for your blog. Display all social sharing buttons nicely on your blog and make it look amazing, just like Mashable. Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog.
  • Genesis Responsive Slider: This plugin allows you to create a simple responsive slider that displays the featured image, along with the title and excerpt from each post.
  • Genesis Simple Edits: This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to modify the post-info (byline), post-meta, and footer area on any Genesis theme.
  • Related Posts: Related posts, related articles and in-text links are an easy way to make your creations feel more authoritative and credible. Related posts help your readers discover your own related content by automatically linking to it at the bottom of each post.
  • Subscribe to Comments Reloaded: Subscribe to Comments Reloaded is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries. The plugin includes a full-featured subscription manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts or suspend all notifications.

Final Thoughts!

There’s tons of useful plugins out there, it just depends on what kind of WordPress site you’re creating. The next time you’re looking for a specific plugin for your WordPress site, just visit the Plugin Directory on the WordPress.org website. Again, these are plugins I mainly use. Don’t forget, the more plugins you add, the longer it will take for your page to load.