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While each website has a different function and therefore require plugins specific to their task, I have nevertheless put together of a list of plugins that I find helpful in almost every application. Here is a (growing) list of the most useful plugins I have worked with over the last couple of years.
Broken Link Checker – Broken links are a negative thing both for user experience and for SEO. This plugin will periodically search your site and report back all of the broken links in a nice, easy-to-manage screen that let’s you quickly clean these things up.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – I just made the switch to Yoast from All in One SEO a few months ago and haven’t looked back. It allows you to tweak nearly everything having to do with the optimizing of your site from the search engines and works like a champ. The only thing I don’t like about it is the sitemap generator which is why I also use…
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin allows easy manage of exclusion of posts, pages, categories, etc. so that you can create a sitemap with exactly the pages you want. You can also manually generate one whenever you make changes, but by default it has a neat weighted system for updating itself automatically.
Google Analyticator – This plugin allows you to easily integrate Analytics into your site. Just plugin your UA code and you’re off to the races. I use this plugin even when themes comes with built in Analytics since it has several options built in whereas most themes, even if they offer integration, do not.
Dynamic Widgets – Ever wish you could have a widget show up on one page but not another? This plugin allows COMPLETE control of what widgets show up on what pages – something that I think is so fundamentally necessary that I wish WP would just built it in to WordPress.
WordPress Ping Optimizer – Experimental – For the longest time I used Smart Update Pinger to make sure that I didn’t over-ping blog sites. I guess it’s not supported anymore so I found this one and just started playing around with it. I haven’t really looked at alternatives, but I figured it was worth a mention.
BulletProof Security – Is there a better security plugin for WP?
I’ll add more as I find more : ) Feel free to make suggestions