This post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.
What are those minimal set of WordPress plugins that you would recommend any blogger to use and which are those plugins that you actually use?
This is a question I get asked quite often, so lets take it out of the way.
First of all I don’t think there is a minimal set of WordPress plugins that I would recommend to bloggers. It depends on the blog in question, and on what features the blogger requires for it. A simple photo blogger could get away with 4 or 5 plugins, while someone building a more complex website could need 15 plugins to make it run smoothly.
Now let’s cover the plugins I am using on Daily Blog Tips (notice that this list might be different for my other blogs):
1. Akismet: Probably the first plugin I activate on any blog. It already comes with WordPress after all, and I found it to be the most reliable anti-spam plugin around.
2. All in On SEO Pack: I resisted using this plugin for a couple of years, but late in 2008 I was having a problem with duplicate meta description tags on my main content pages (homepage, page 2, 3 and so on), therefore I decided to give it a shot. I am very pleased with it, and definitely recommend to other bloggers.
3. Chunck URLs: Ever had someone leaving a comment with a really long URL that broke your site design? To prevent this problem you can use this plugin. It will break down long URLs automatically.
4. Custom Query String: This plugin is a life saver for me. It allows me to specify how many posts I want displayed on every page type of my blog. For example, it allows me to display 8 posts on the homepage, 15 posts per page on search results, and all the posts ever published on category pages.
5. SGR Clean Archives: Personally I think that all websites and blogs should have one page where all the articles and posts ever published would be available. That is what this plugin does, it creates an Archives page for you with all your posts. As the name says, the style of that page is pretty clean too.
6. Feedburner FeedSmith: I am not sure how necessary this plugin is if you point all your RSS feeds manually to the Feedburner one. I guess I use it just to be 100% that all the subscribers will be redirected to it.
7. Related Posts: This is an old “Related Posts” plugin, but it gets the job done. To be frank, lately, I am finding that it lacks in some aspects, so when I get some free time I will make the switch to the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.
8. Robots Meta: A cool plugin by friend Joost de Valk that allows you to add all the appropriate robots meta tags to your pages and feeds, disable unused archives and nofollow unnecessary links.
9. RSS Footer: This plugin allows you to add a text message or some links to your RSS footer. Additionally, it also comes with a feature to automatically add a link to the original post on the feed, which is particularly useful to combat content scrapers.
10. WP-ContactForm: A very old and rustic contact form plugin, but I love its simplicity. Somehow I also don’t get spam even without a CAPTCHA on that form, and I have been using it for years.
11. WP-SuperCache: The best cache plugin available. It has a lot of advanced features, and it gets the job done when you have sudden burst of traffic from social media.
12. GoCodes: Very light yet useful plugin. It lets you create redirects on the fly, which is useful if you want to link to affiliate programs and advertisers while keep the links pointing to your own blog. It also allows you to track the clicks on those links.
13. Subscribe to Comments: The classic plugin that allows commentators to subscribe to the comment section and receive new comments via email. Lately I also started questioning how many people actually use this feature, but for now I will leave it live on my blogs.
As you can see I just use the plugins that are essential to the running of my website. Sometimes I install new ones to test them out, but if they are not essential, I remove them right after.