WordPress is the best CMS system, but to make it great there are a few plugins that you must have. Here’s my list of must-have plugins that every WordPress website should have.
All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert
This is the number one plugin that every WordPress site must have. Why? Because without it, your WordPress site will have no META tags and your website will be ranked much lower in SEPRs. This is (in my opinion) the best meta tag plugin available to WordPress.
Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold
If All in One SEO Pack is the number one plugin, this plugin is number 1a on the must have list 🙂 It generates and gzips an XML sitemap, which is good for SEO. Every site should have a site map to ease the addition of new blogs to search engines, but the reason I’ve put this on the must have list is because when you add a new blog, it automatically notifies major search engines!
Better WordPress Minify Does better minifying than W3 Total Cache, as the minifying (compression) on W3 Total Cache make my website not display properly.
W3 Total Cache This is a recent addition to my website. Combined with Better WordPress Minify, it has greatly increated my page load speed by a few seconds and general user experience. Required for SEO since 2010, when Google made a change to their algorithm to include page load speed.
WP Super Cache
I’ve replaced the above two plugins with WP Super Cache, due to server resources consumed… Because of course there’s no point in delivering very small pages if it takes ages to create them!
NextGen Gallery by Photocrati
NextGen Gallery is a gallery and lightbox plugin that has a number of features and additional plugins that make it the best gallery plugin available to WordPress… But why have I put this plugin on my must have list? This is because I don’t think that the presentation of images is all that great in WordPress (out of the box) and it’s fairly common functionality so people expect lightbox features when they click on images on websites.
GD Star Rating by Milan Petrovic
GD Star Rating is an interesting plugin to put on a must have list. This plugin allows visitors to rate your blogs with a marks out of 10 (or 5) system. Nice to get feedback about your posts and help you write better content, sure, but is that a must have feature? Probably not. I’ve put this on my must have list, not because of it’s rating ability, but because of the fact that the ratings are visible in Google searches. Having colourful star ratings in a potential visitors Google SEPRs is useful to make your blog stand out from the rest. GD Star Rating is on my must have WordPress plugin list because it’s good for your SEO.
Simple Social Buttons by Pawel Rabinek
Here’s another one that I’m listing as must have, for traffic reasons. Having Facebook, Twitter and other social buttons on your WordPress blog is a great way to get your blog noticed and shared amoung peers. Blogs need traffic, hence it’s on the must have list.
Must Have Plugins If…
Whilst the above plugins are must have plugins for every WordPress blog, the following list are must have plugins, but only under certain conditions 🙂
Akismet by Automattic
This plugin catches and deletes comment spam. Not very useful if you haven’t enabled comments on your WordPress site, but a must have if you have enabled comments. This plugin saves your blog from being swamped with spammy comments or (if comments only appear after being authorised) saves you lots of time by saving you reading through hundreds of spam comments to look for the real ones.
Subscribe to Comments Reloaded by Camu
Assuming that you’ve enabled comments, your probably wanting to either get visitor feedback or interact with visitors through comments on your blog; This plugin enables the latter situation. Without Subscribe to Comments Reloaded, visitors who comment on your blog won’t be able to follow any conversation or feedback resulting from their relevant comments. I actually enabled this plugin on Made In England today after a visitor asked me for information on a pizza dough recipe and I realised how useful it would be if the website would automatically inform the visitor that their question had been responded to.
Contact form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi
This is a must have if you want to put your email address on your blog so people can contact you. If you put your email address on the internet, bots that crawl the internet will see it and add it to their database for spamming. To avoid this, Contact Form 7 can be used so that people can email you directly through the site without seeing your email address 🙂
Really Simple Captcha by Takayuki Miyoshi
Really Simple Captcha is a must have if you are using Contact Form 7, I’m not sure why this wasn’t built into the Contact Form 7 plugin 😕
Really Simple Captcha adds captcha code to your contact form so that bots that are designed to spam people through contact forms are stopped.
Email Users by Mike Walsh & MarvinLabs
Email Users isn’t so much a must have, but I suppose it’s a must have for any WordPress site that wants to market a product or service. It allows you to enable user subscriptions to your WordPress website and email those subscribers when there’s a new post or as you please.
Pie Register by Johnibom
This is another one that’s not really a must have, but quite good to be aware of. It’s probably a must have if you are using Email Users because it enables you to customise the WordPress user signup screen with you own branding.