About once a year I try to take stock of the plugins I use on this site and others in an effort to determine which plugins I need and which I can discard (take a look at last year’s list here). Typically, with the evolution of all that is the web, I find at least a few changes from year to year as plugins are updated, newcomers arrive on the scene, developers abandon their work, etc. With that, here are the 5 plugins for 2012 that I make sure I currently use in each and every WordPress site I build.
Yes, this is my own plugin (and therefore probably a shameless plug), but I trust it, a lot. This is the first plugin I install on any site I build these days (and often the first I recommend on sites I consult on) as I would rather be safe then sorry when it comes to security. I’ve also found it an excellent tool in SEO for finding hidden 404s and, using away mode, it helps me pace myself a little and keeps me from working all night (something my wife has been very happy with).
Another quasi-security plugin Akismet has been invaluable in reducing spam comments on my sites. Without it I would have time for nothing but deleting all the spam that would build up.
This comprehensive solution to SEO just works, and works well for that matter. I use it for meta information, sitemaps, to control search-engine indexing, and for a few other functions. I’ve tried All-in-one and other products but in the end I always come back to WordPress SEO by Yoast as it just gets everything done and done well.
Another comprehensive plugin, W3 Total Cache is the only performance plugin I use anymore. It handles all the caching I need and does so with full-integration to NGINX, memcached and APC and all without requiring a 2nd or 3rd plugin as I would need with the competition.
This is a rather new addition to my toolbox but it has already made itself invaluable as I work on revising and updating pages and posts throughout my sites. Revisionary lets me make draft changes to existing content. This means I can save something to an existing page or post without publishing the changes immediately. If you have more than a few pages on your site this is an excellent way to make sure your edits are top-quality as it gives you the much-needed chance to edit and review your changes at your leisure.
Do you have a plugin you think should make this list? Tell me about it in the comments below.