I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 most essential plugins that came from experience of installing, testing and uninstalling dozens of plugins, and finding a small handful of plugins that make managing a WordPress site fast, easy and efficient. This list is somewhat different from most of the top 10 WordPress plugins posts you might read because apparently these bloggers are just reading and writing about plugins, and not applying them to their profession and using them for their clients’ sites as I do.
I feel like I’m giving away my trade secrets by writing about this. Most of these plugins are installed on all my WordPress sites whether I build a WordPress theme from scratch or build a website using a pre-built theme. Here’s my top 10 essential WordPress plugins and a brief description of each.
If you enable comments on your pages or posts, it’s only a matter of time before you start getting bombarded with massive amounts of spam. Akismet is a plugin that filters comments. It costs about $5/mo and well worth it! This plugin comes pre-installed in WordPress, so all you have to do is enable it and signup for an account.
This seems like it would be a native feature of WordPress. Joomla and other CMSs already have “Duplicate” or “Copy” built into the UI. With the Duplicate Post WordPress plugin, you can clone a post or page, or edit it as a new draft with one click! It’s a must have for me and is installed on all my WordPress sites.
If you like working in code view as I do, then Quicktag Extender is another must have. This plugin adds more buttons to the non-visual editor view for creating/editing posts/pages.
Whenever you change a URL, you should always set up 301 redirects, or you’ll get 404 errors from search engine spiders and browser favorites, which has a negative effect on SEO of your website. You can set up 301 redirects manually by editing your .htaccess file, but if you don’t know how to use .htaccess files or have frequent or multiple redirects to set up, manually editing the .htaccess can get tedious and time consuming. The Redirection plugin allows you to set up 301 redirects without having any knowledge of Apache .htaccess files. Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the best SEO plugin I’ve found and is a must have for all my WordPress sites. Not only does it allow you to manage keywords for pages and posts through page titles and meta descriptions, but it’s also loaded with lots of advanced features like Page Analysis that gives you the ability to measure your SEO performance and write better content.