I think most serious WordPress bloggers have a list of plugins that they couldn’t live without. Or, at least plugins installed that would make things much more difficult for them if they didn’t have them.
I don’t really keep a physical list, but there are definitely plugins I need and that I couldn’t live without. It would certainly make things much more difficult without them.
As for rating them or ordering them by importance I don’t really get into that kind of thing. More so just a generalized list of plugins I keep in my head.
That list has changed slightly over the years and since I started using WordPress.
I do have two WordPress websites that I actively update, and the plugins on each are similar, but with some variation. I would like to change a few, but rather than risk breaking something in the process I stick to with what I have for the most part. Certainly the ones that have tons of fields to configure like seo and cache plugins.
The first one is Yoast SEO. This is a great SEO plugin with tons of features. Almost too many because it has become difficult to keep up with all the different settings available in it.
I use All In One SEO Pack along with Google XML Sitemaps on my other website. Which is pretty decent too, but I would pick Yoast SEO if I were to do it again. Yoast SEO includes a sitemap feature so Google XML Sitemaps isn’t necessary.
Yoast SEO is supposed to have an automatic update feature if you want to switch between All In One SEO Pack and Yoast SEO. I am just afraid something will get screwed up or break in the process so I leave All In One SEO Pack on the other website.
It’s kind of one of those if it ain’t broken don’t fix it scenarios.
The only drawback is, if you want to call it a drawback, to Yoast SEO is the guy updates the darn thing extremely often. I swear I am constantly needing to update this plugin whenever I login to my WordPress Administration. It can be extremely annoying. At least to me it is.
The second one is W3 Total Cache. This is another plugin with tons of settings to configure. Thankfully I only need a small portion of what’s included.
W3 Total Cache if configured right does an exceptional job at caching and making your website load faster.
The drawback is there is just too much to configure, which could be overwhelming for someone new to W3 Total Cache.
Third is Easy Digital Downloads. This is an excellent plugin for selling digital goods on your website. There is quite a bit to setup and configure, but not as much, and not as confusing as Yoast SEO or W3 Total Cache.
Fourth is AntiSpam Bee. This is an excellent comment spam protection plugin similar to Askimet, but in my opinion better. And, it’s totally free even for commercial websites unlike Askimet. It’s also pretty easy to setup and configure.
I can’t think of any drawbacks to using AntiSpam Bee. It’s just a great plugin all around.
Fifth is Yet Another Related Posts plugin (YARP). This one adds related posts to the bottom of your posts. So, if a visitor is reading your article at the bottom it will add similar posts you may have posted that might encourage the visitor to checkout as well.
The only drawback to YARP that I can’t personally confirm is I have read that it uses a little more resources than the average plugin. Whether that is true or not I can’t confirm or verify that. It seems to work fast enough to me, but what’s going on at the hosting level when using this plugin is unknown.
I like it and have never had any trouble with it in the past and up to the current date.
I could go on and on about plugins that are really helpful to me, but I would probably be here all day.
Here is a quick run down of what else I use on my 2 WordPress websites:
Comment Links New Tab (Developed by yours truly)
Comment Redirect by Yoast
Contact Form 7
Crayon Syntax Highlighter
Cloudflare Flexible SSL
Easy Fancy Box
Key4ce osTicket Bridge
Limit Login Attempts
My WP ToolTipster (My custom plugin)
Nav Menu Roles
P3 Plugin Performance Profiler
ScrollTop Fader (Developed by yours truly)
Simple Share Buttons Adder
Social Author Bio
Theme My Login
Widget CSS Classes
WP Mail SMTP
Some haven’t been updated in over 2 years. So, you will see that warning on the WordPress repository/Download page. I personally don’t believe it matters if some haven’t been updated in 2+ years. It doesn’t mean they are less secure. A brand new or newly updated plugin could have security issues just as well.
Incidentally “yours truly” has one more plugin available in the WordPress Repository that you might want to check out in your spare time called:
Fast Google Analytics
That’s a total of 3 plugins available by myself in the WordPress Repository. I don’t know that I will be adding more in the near future, but I will be maintaining the 3 that I have available.