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, caching, 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.
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.
Zen Cache Plugin
Your user’s experience will be improved with this plugin. There are lots of caching plugins; I use this one because it is the one recommended by my preferred theme.
So those are my top 5 plugins, but there are a few more I would like to mention.
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.
WP SlimStat is a great tool for tracking traffic. A lot of people like to use Jetpack, but I have heard a lot of stories of Jetpack crashing blogs, so I stay away from it. WP Slimstat gives you a ton of details on the visitors of your blogs, where they came from, and what pages they viewed. Tracking is a very important part of running a profitable WordPress blog, and SlimStat does a great job.
P.S. If you need help customizing your WordPress blog, check out my video course WP Site Customization Simplified. These 17 videos will teach all the basics of setting up your blog from start to finish.