There are many reasons why many freelancers choose WordPress for building their portfolio of websites: It’s easy, reliable and flexible (thanks, of course, to plugins). Okay, maybe you will occasionally be told that Tumblr or Blogger is the better choice especially for those looking for a more casual blogging experience. But for the professionals, WordPress always comes out on top — and for good reason, considering the number of features, tools and free plugins you can access to customize and monetize your content.
While the plugins you do end up getting will depend on your needs at the time (not everyone needs a mass photo uploader or video slideshow, for example), there are some that are crucial for everyone. Most of these important plugins should be installed right after launch, or even before. This is a list of those must-have WordPress plugins.
Analyze posts as you write them for better keyword saturation, and go through a step by step process to optimize your SEO. Easy for any contributor to use (even those who know nothing about SEO). It is the highest rated and most popular SEO tool for WordPress around. If you only download a single plugin, this should be it. This plugin is featured as one of the best WordPress plugins by WP Beginner as well.
These are technically two plugins, but having both will give you greater benefits. The first will enable analytics logging right from your WP blog. The second will create an analytics dashboard for you to view from your account without having to login to the actual site. Link tracking has never been so easy.
Syncs WordPress comments with the Disqus API for a seamless commenting option for users. Anyone who has been on pretty much any website in the last few years has seen this in action, and knows why it is such a great service to have. Especially for increasing visibility by engaging with a larger community of readers/commenters.
It doesn’t have as many options as competing plugins like ShareThis. But it is consistently highly rated and it allows access to all major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicio.us, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Buffer and Pinterest). It is also very easy to use and customize for your needs, and just looks better than other plugins that do the same thing. If you need a larger selection of social media sites for whatever reason (such as international social media access) then you can still check out ShareThis. But most bloggers will have better results with Slick.
Stop having to copy/paste tokens for Google verification. This plugin does it with a click, making it much faster and a lot less frustrating. It does exactly what it says, and without any problems. Just use it once then forget about it.
Don’t worry about widgets showing on pages where you don’t want it to appear. Just enable or disable them on specific pages using this plugin. Every page will have a checkbox you can select to either show or hide it, protecting the look of your site.
Quickly add a splashpage to your site when you are having technical difficulties or performing updates/upgrades. It is fully customizable and can be put up in an instant. This one is an oldie but a goodie, and will save you a lot of time and stress by not having to manually upload a splashpage in the event of a site emergency.
Make your site viewable for mobile devices with this beautiful, simple theme. You can customize the actual look without affecting the readability all while providing users of various mobile devices an easy way to view content. They also have a pro version you can check out, but most users will be fine with the standard.
While there are many other plugins you will find yourself needing over time, and there may be some you want to add to the list, these are the ones that should be in everyone’s “starter pack” of essential WP tools.
Do you have something to add to the list? Let us know in the comments.