I can’t recall how many times I’ve been asked the question “what plugins do you use on every site?” From now on, I’ll point folks to this post. Although there are many WordPress plugins that I call on when it’s time for the big guns (like CForms II, for instance), these are my go-to plugins for almost any standard site:
There are a ton of options out there for SEO packs, and I know most people suggest Yoast, but I really like the simplicity and ease of AIO. All of the basics are covered, there are simple options for on page modification, and it offers auto-generation of post descriptions.
It was broken for a while due to a deprecated Google API, but with the two most recent updates, Analyticator is working again, and one of my absolute favorite plugins for Google Analytics. It adds the code to all site pages, allows you to add additional custom code if needed, and has a fantastic Admin dashboard widget showing you your 30 day stats.
If you’re a blogger who doesn’t know about Google Authorship, you’re missing a huge component in your SEO strategy. Google Author Link makes it super simple: install, be logged into Google, select your profile. Done.
Hands down the best sitemap plugin out there. Auto compiles on every site change, auto notifies the major search engines. If you’ve setup your Google Webmaster Tools, you’re going to see new posts appearing in search results almost immediately after they’re published.
The simplest way to prevent spam comments on your site is to use Facebook based commenting. However, if your audience isn’t particularly Facebook friendly or savvy, Spam Free WordPress uses a remarkably simple system to filter out 100% of comment spammers.
There’s never an excuse for bad typography. WP Google Fonts lets you select from any of the publicly available Google Font API’s, assign them to specific CSS selectors, and add your own custom CSS. This is one of the first plugins I install.
There are about a billion options for social plugins, but the venerable WP Socializer is among the best. They’ve kept up with the times on included social networks (including the all important +1 button), offer a wide variety of styles and placement options, and allow selective use per page/post.
This isn’t the highest performance caching engine available on WordPress, but it is the easiest to get working correctly out of the box, and offers a wide variety of options to help tune performance.
That’s my list. What are your go-to plugins?