These are the top WordPress plug-in’s that we install with all of our WordPress based sites. Some of our sites may have more, but these are the plug-in’s that we make sure are installed before any work is even done on the site.
Akismet – Ok, technically this one is already installed, but it amazes me how many people don’t enable it. All you have to do is get yourself an API key, insert it into the plug-in and enable it. It’s free for personal use and business/commercial sites can get an API key for a very reasonable cost. This plug-in will save you from TONS of spammers and bots.
Better WP Security – This plug-in will help put your WordPress install on lockdown. While most of this can be done manually, this plug-in will do all the heavy lifting for you. Some of the features claim that they can cause some plug-ins to not function correctly, so enable them with caution. I’ve tested this with just about every feature enabled and never had a problem with other plug-ins, but then again, I haven’t tested it with every plug-in available. Better WP Security also offers great explanations of each feature, making it extremely easy to use, even for beginners or non-techies. It even comes with an automated backup service.
Search & Replace – Things change quickly on the ‘net and you’ll find yourself needing to change links, titles or names a lot. This plug-in makes it simple and quick. You can search the entire site or drill down to content types. This plug-in is great for fixing broken links throughout your site with one swift search.
WP User Avatar – While this doesn’t seem essential for most, if you have any form of a blog or your avatar is going to show up anywhere on your site – Use this plug-in. There’s nothing more annoying than having to stare at that lifeless gray dummy avatar because somebody was too lazy to set a proper image for themselves. Make it simple with this plug-in.
SEO Ultimate – This plug-in may seem overwhelming to some, but it can make or break your site when it comes to SEO. There are a ton of SEO plug-ins available for WordPress, but this is the one we’ve used since we started with WordPress and it hasn’t failed us yet. The major parts of the plug-in that we continue to use are 404 Monitor, Deeplink Juggernaut, Meta Description Editor, Meta Keywords Editor, and Nofollow Manager. This plug-in also offers Open Graph settings on a per content type basis, which is great for customizing the way your links look on Facebook.
AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – If you want more of your content to make it into the social media world, you must make it simple for your users to share your content. The AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget makes it easy for your readers to share your stuff with 1 click. This plug-in supports many social media outlets and allows you to customize the way your sharing links look and feel.
Captcha – As annoying as these things can be, they are a necessity if you have a front facing form. Akismet will kill most of your spammers and bots, but new ones are popping up by the minute and Akismet might not be aware of the particular bot just yet. Make sure a human is filling out your form with Captcha. Very simple to set up and administer, so no excuses!
Ultimate TinyMCE – This is one of the best editors available for WordPress. TinyMCE will make editing and creating content simple and give you every option you’ll ever need to create content fast. Make the editor feel like Word – add a little or add every button available – it’s up to you!
What are some plug-ins that you find yourself downloading after a fresh WordPress install?