Plugins are a simple way to easily and quickly enhance your site without the need to start delving through lines of code. There are literally thousands available in the WordPress repository (over 36k at time of writing), offering just about every customization you could imagine.
This is a list of the plugins I find essential to most of the sites I build or run, and hopefully you will find them useful too.
Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security and performance plugin that makes your site up to 50 times faster and more secure.
Taking measures to secure your site is essential. Every day, websites are compromised with a view to stealing data or hosting malware to infect visitors.
Wordfence Security is very user friendly and won’t baffle you with an array of confusing options
A powerful, user-friendly, all-in-one anti-spam plugin that eliminates comment spam & registration spam. Includes spam-blocking contact form.
Comment spam is irritating, a waste of your time, and takes up space on your server. Improve your workflow by installing a plugin like WP SpamShield.
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
Search Engine Optimization is essentially the process of crafting your content in order to appear higher up the results on search engines such as Google. There’s a lot going on in the WordPress SEO plugin but I highly recommend taking the time to read the tutorial and give the plugin a spin.
Optimizes the WordPress Database after cleaning it out.
Keeping your database free of clutter helps the performance of your website and keeps your hosting company happy. This handy plugin will delete old unwanted revisions of posts and pages and take some of the strain off your server.
Improve performance and get faster load times by optimizing image files with Smush.it for WordPress – “It’s the best plugin of its kind.”
Visual content helps engage visitors, so naturally you’ll want some pictures on your site. WP Smush.it will automatically compress those images, reducing the file size and load time.
Your WordPress, Streamlined.
Jetpack is a toolbox containing various useful plugins, far too many to list here so it’s worth having a look at the plugin page. Some nice features I particularly like are the image CDN, custom favicon, lightbox, and responsive contact form builder.
Supercharge your WordPress theme with a mega pack of shortcodes.
Shortcodes Ultimate is a toolbox offering various customizable shortcodes for easily presenting your content in different ways e.g. accordions, tab boxes, carousels, columns, rows, and tables. I personally find it indispensable, and just as amazing as the wealth of functionality in this box of tricks is that it’s completely free.