When launching a new WordPress powered site I always find myself using the same few plugins over and over again to enhance some of WordPress’s standard features. Whilst reading some other must have WordPress plugins articles I noticed a trend of suggesting plugins which in my opinion are not needed to launch a successful WordPress site, sure they will add some blog bling but they also add server load, extra database tables and in some cases never actually see much usage. Keeping your WordPress setup as basic as possible with less plugins will make your site load faster and in most cases make it easier to maintain, in my opinion if you have 10 plugins or more activated you may just have a couple too many.
In this article I will cover a few of my must have WordPress plugins that I use when setting up a new install of WordPress and why I use these particular plugins on nearly every site I build.
WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
WordPress SEO is pretty good with simply a default install but it can always be improved upon and the only plugin I recommend that you use is the fabulous WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. The statement that this plugin changed WordPress SEO maybe a little strong but in truth it’s not far off the mark. Yoast has developed an amazing plugin that has in my opinion the best set of additional WordPress SEO tools that will help you easily optimize your WordPress site to get the most out of Organic search results.
Previously I had used the ALL In One SEO Pack plugin and at the time it did what I needed and to be honest did it pretty well, after using WordPress SEO though i guarantee you will never use or need another SEO WordPress plugin again. To cover all the options that can boost your WordPress SEO in this plugin will take a whole separate article, stay tuned for our WordPress SEO Tutorial article covering this plugin in detail.
W3 Total Cache WordPress Plugin
W3 Total Cache is a plugin with many options that take a while to fully understand if your new to WordPress, once you do understand it’s capabilities however W3 Total Cache like WordPress SEO becomes and invaluable WordPress plugin you will use over and over again.
Livefyre Realtime Comments WordPress Plugin
The default comment system in WordPress does a job but for 2012 it has no social features per say, this is why I use LiveFyre for most of my WordPress websites. Livefyre is a real-time comment solution that centralizes conversations from around the social web back to your content, while encouraging live engagement between users on your site.
- Social Sync: pulling Facebook & Twitter comments into your content in real-time
- Tagging Friends from Facebook & Twitter: anyone leaving a comment brings their entire social network with them to the conversation.
- SEO credit: Livefyre is Google crawl-able so you receive SEO credit for all comments, including those originating from Facebook & Twitter.
One of the big aspects for me when choosing LiveFyre was the fact that search engines can still view your comments and give you SEO credit for them, competitor systems like Disqus dont have this feature as yet. LiveFyre also synchronises any comments left via the LiveFyre system into your WordPress default comment system which means if you decide LiveFyre is not for you your blog still has all it’s comments intact.
So there you have it my list albeit it short of my personal must have WordPress plugins. Most of my WordPress powered sites use between 7 – 10 plugins in total but these three above are always the first ones that are installed and configured. What plugins do you install or could not do without? let me know in the comments powered by livefyre of course.