While I have a favorite plugins page I thought I’d list out the essential plugins I use for every site I build.
Featured Story: There are a number slider / image slide show galleries to choose from but none of them were easy for the end user. Other alternatives did not allow you to stylize any of the options. Featured Story does all that and its super easy to implement on your WordPress site.
Google Sitemap Generator: This plugin maps out your site automatically that allows Google spiders/search robots to find you content new and updated.
GravityForms: Highly customizable form. That allows end users to receive form results by email and its recorded in WordPress’ back end. Very powerful plugin.
Search & Replace: This is a plugin I use as a developer. This plugin is extremely helpful in moving websites across domain names. If you ever need mass changes to your site you’ll find this plugin a huge time saver.
StatPress:This plug gives site stats right on the WP admin panel. In addition to giving you stats, it gives you incoming links from search engines which gives you the tools to maximize your advertising dollars (if you advertise online).
WP-DB-Backup: This is a safety measure that automatically emails a backup copy of the database. The database can be emailed daily, weekly, or monthly. Databases rarely go back but when they do. You’ll be relieved to have a viable backup.
That’s it folks. There’s over 1000′s of plugins and while some users run with over 20 plugins and some upwards of 70, I don’t like adding a bunch of code to the site. There’s a few reasons why. Additional code increases the chances of security leaks. Also slower site speed which has become a problem since Google now takes site speed in account for SEO. Lean and mean is the way to go.