There are over 6000 plugins in the WordPress Plugin directory. Some are broken and others are just not worth your time. However, you should at least know about these 13 as they are either the most sought after or provide much needed functionality to WordPress.

Lijit

Wouldn’t it be cool if your search page also included relevant results from your social media accounts as well as friends in your blogroll? Seems to make perfect sense which is probably why Lijit did exactly that. They have an awesome group of people working over there with a solid product. At least give it a try.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

A great way to keep people on your blog is to recommend similar blog posts when they have finished reading the current one. The plugin has a bunch of settings making it easy to customize for your blog.

WP-PageNavi

The traditional “Previous Posts” and “Next Posts” in wordpress is unintuitive and boring. This nifty little plugin makes it easier to navigate farther into ones archives by jumping to different pages. It’s standard functionality on most popular news sites so it only makes sense you would have it on your site as well.

WP-DB-Backup

This one is straight and to the point. Back up your wordpress site so if something goes wrong you don’t kill yourself.

Contact Forms 7

You would think contact forms would be built into wordpress but remember wordpress is a blogging platform and not a CMS. However, we can turn it into a CMS by adding plugins like this. It has pretty much all the functionality you would need out of a contact plugin including extensive customization capabilities and the ability to export data in multiple formats.

WP Ajax Edit Comments

I like when sites give me the opportunity to edit my comments after I’ve posted them. I don’t think not having this functionality would prevent someone from commenting but it’s a nice treat after the fact.

Subscribe to Comments

This plugin goes on my list of essentials. It’s the easiest way to get repeat visits from your commenters. It basically allows commenters to subscribe to all future comments on a post.

WordPress Blog Stats

I use this in conjunction with Google Analytics for two reasons.

  1. I like having stats integrated into my dashboard.
  2. I like being able to use that data with other plugins.

It’s not like the data is collected any faster than Google Analytics as both have a decent delay however it’s nice to see what another service has to say about my websites traffic.

Multi-Level Navigation Plugin

In my quest to turn WordPress into a proper CMS, this plugin has been crucial. It’s hard to find a customizable browser compatible dropdown menu plugin, but here you go.

Akismet

This one’s simple, it marks spam as spam for you so you don’t have to.

WP Super Cache

This cool little plugin caches your posts so traffic spiked from popular social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon won’t crash your server.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin has been around for awhile and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It’s an easy way to take control of your XML sitemaps and encourage Google to get your site listed in their index faster.

All In One Seo Pack

Although it can be argued this plugin is not as useful as it used to be because of changing SEO standards, it makes it easy to edit the meta description and keywords of individual posts as well as manipulate the metadata of your entire site from one location.

- Photo by Muffet

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  • http://www.morebettersmarts.com Rick

    Nice! I’ll check these out!

    Rick

  • http://socialmediamanagerinc.com David Mon

    Very good list I wish I found this list before did all my searches and found them one by one.

    Dave

  • http://www.wplancer.com Banago

    Woho – I didn’t know Akismet existed – it seems a promising plugin ;)

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  • http://www.rsatechnologies.in Archana

    Dear John
    You are talking about great plug-ins and your website is very slow over a slow internet connections, why do you not improve your website’s loading time.
    Though WordPress have some great plug-ins to improve search engine visibility but it does not talk about the page loading time.
    As we all know the page loading can enhance the visibility of our websites on slower connection.

  • http://www.Rentabilities.com Andy Cook

    One more thing…The link on the Ajax Edit Comments go to the WordPress Plugins directory and not the plugin itself. Just letting you know : )

  • http://www.Rentabilities.com Andy Cook

    Nice list, Jon! You hit most of my favorites and enlightened me on a few new ones, like Ajax Edit Comments. Thanks!

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  • http://www.sudhani.com/ Sudhani

    Jon,

    A very useful list. Lijit is an interesting addition to this list.

    Do we get some kind of $$ from Lijit?

    -Sudhani

    • http://www.jonbishop.org Jon Bishop

      Thanks man.

      No money. I just don’t like the default WordPress search functionality. Lijit is one of the easiest ways to modify a blogs search with more relevant content.

    • http://www.lijit.com/blog/ Tara Anderson

      Jon, thanks for including us in your list of must-have WordPress plugins. We appreciate the support!

      Also, just to clarify for Sudhani, we actually do have a revenue-sharing program in which we allow you to make money from the ads displayed in your search results. You can read more about it here, if interested.

      If there are any questions, feel free to send them my way. I’m tara [at] lijit [dot] com.

  • http://www.umcle.com Tim Baran

    Thanks much for this very useful list!

    • http://www.jonbishop.org Jon Bishop

      Thanks @uMCLE … I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. Glad you found it useful.