Here is a list of must have plugins. Every site will have different needs for functionality, this list will get you started. Yes, there may be free plugins that do some of the same things, these are the ones I use on my own sites and client’s sites – they are dependable and the time they save far outweighs any cost.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – does the work of several plugins since it includes sitemap generation (based on your settings) and the ability to disable certain WordPress generated page types depending on your site needs. Also has premium add-ons for things like Video SEO.
BackupBuddy – create full or database only backups, schedule backups, send backups to remote locations like Dropbox, Amazon S3 or another FTP server. See my BackupBuddy Review here.
Gravity Forms – create simple or complex forms with an easy to use interface. Add the forms to your pages or sidebars easily with widgets or with the Forms button in the editor. Extendable and very flexible with lots of add ons.
Sliders, Rotating Images, etc.
DisplayBuddy – suite of 10 display related plugins that include sliders, rotating images, carousels, notification bars, rotating text, tool tips that popup, and a video showcase. Lots of options and very easy to manage.
Caching for Speed
- W3TC (caching) – add caching to your site and speed up your page load time.
- Ultimate Maintenance Mode
- See You Later (at Woothemes)
- Add This lots of choices in different sizes to include on your posts/pages.
- Simple Social Icons – very simple for sidebar or header/footer. Size choice. Icon color and hover color are configurable.
- Socialize – adds twitter and facebook likes and tweets to your posts and can add other sites like stumbleupon etc. too.
- Social Media Widget – this one adds the icons to your sidebar – so many choices!
- jQuery Pin It Button For Images Hover over an image to get a pin it button for that image
- Pinterest Image PinAdds a pin it button below images on your site
- Pretty Pinterest Pins Use to display your latest pins.
- WooCommerce Easy to set up, add-on modules for extensive options for processing, etc.
Controlling Spam Comments
- Growmap Anti Spam Plugin
- Anti Captcha
- Cookies for Comments
- Akismet ( sometimes gives false positives)
Cleaning Up Spam
- Sucuri Sitecheck Malware Scanner
- Wordfence Security
- Exploit Scanner
- Better WP Security
- Limit Login Attempts
- Login Lockdown
- Google Authenticator (adds 2 step authentication)