Let’s face it, everyone you talk to will have a different opinion on the WordPress plugins you should install. I think as long as you have the basics covered (security, backups, sharing, SEO, and contact), whatever plugins you choose are fine. These are the five I always install on my WordPress blogs.
Now before we get into the list, these five aren’t necessarily better or worse that other plugins. I am just familiar with them, and they meet my needs. If you have a plugin that you are happy with that does the same function, then continue to use it. But if you do not have a plugin that serves the same function, or you are unhappy with your current plugin, give my recommendation a try.
All In One WP Security and Firewall
This one isn’t just number 1 because the list is alphabetical. Security for your blog is crucial, and I like the way AIO is laid out. All of the various settings have the option of displaying the specific changes that will be made to your system. Always install this first, and start out being secure.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 allows you to create custom contact forms with many features. You can use them for a simple “Contact Me” page, but also you can use it build custom forms where customers send you information and files. Contact Form 7 also integrates with various autoresponder integration plugins to sign people up to your list when they submit a form.
Share Buttons by AddtoAny
A great resource for adding share buttons to your posts and pages. Very easy to setup and looks fairly clean.
An easy to use plugin for performing automated backups on your blog both locally and to remote storage, such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin
This all in one WordPress SEO solution is truly an all in one plugin. You’ll get XML sitemaps, on page content analysis, and almost any other SEO analytical tool you might need. My favorite feature is the on page SEO guide for writing posts.
So those are my top 5 plugins, but there are a few more I would like to mention.
Google Analyticator makes it easy to connect your WordPress blog to Google Analytics and see a summary of report on your dashboard.
Pretty Link Lite is great for affiliate links, but also works for any kind of redirection, for example if you have renamed pages and want old links to still work. It uses less resources that the first plugin I used for this and I haven’t looked back since.
I use to recommend WP SlimStat but it is such a resource hog, it was killing my server’s performance. I removed Comet Cache from the list due to poor performance.