No matter what type of website or blog you have, these plugins have something to offer. These are the plugins I find myself using over and over again on the sites I develop. Download these plugins at the URLs provided, or simply go to Plugins from your WordPress dashboard. Click on Add New and then type the names exactly into the search box. The search function isn’t that great, so if you don’t type them in exactly, they might not come up. For example, if you type “contact buddy” instead of “contactbuddy,” you won’t find it. Nothing’s perfect!
- All-in-One SEO Pack
Once your site is up, you probably want people to be able to find you when they’re browsing Google. This plugin is a good place to start. It gives you a place to enter keywords and a description of your site for search engines. Your blog posts can be optimized too, with the SEO fields that are added on the editing page for each post. All-in-One SEO Pack download
- ContactBuddy or Contact Form 7
ContactBuddy is great for whipping up a contact page in record time. There are several styles to choose from, or you can customize your own. Contact Form 7 doesn’t have as many options, but if you just need a quick contact form, it’s pretty good too. ContactBuddy download
- Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a sitemap of your site, which you can then submit to Google Webmaster Tools. It’s a good idea to do this to help search engines find and navigate your site. Google XML Sitemaps download
- WP Super Cache
Especially good for larger sites, but really, for any site, this plugin will help pages load faster. WP Super Cache download
- Remove Title Attributes
By default, WordPress adds title tags to things like menu items, category and tag lists, and images. They can be pretty annoying sometimes if you’re trying to navigate a site and they keep popping up on top of some text that you’re trying to read. This plugin strips out those title tags for a more professional look. It won’t affect your alt tags however, so no need to worry about damaging your site’s accessibility. Remove Title Attributes download
- Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades
Without this plugin, upgrading other plugins and themes is just not as easy as it should be. I keep waiting for WordPress to integrate this feature, but so far it hasn’t happened! With this, you no longer have to uninstall and delete old plugins and themes before uploading the new ones. Easy Theme and Plugin Upgrades download
This plugin is included with WordPress, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it. Please do take the time to set it up. It will save you from a lot of unwanted spam comments. Akismet download
I know I said seven free plugins, but I just couldn’t make this list without including BackupBuddy. No, it’s not free, but it is essential. This plugin is amazing. It backs up your entire WordPress installation, including plugins, themes, database, everything. And it makes it super easy to restore your site to it’s original glory if anything goes wrong. No rebuilding (or downtime) necessary. Other backup solutions may save your work, but the restoring process is not nearly as easy. For the peace of mind, it’s totally worth the $45. Think of it as “homeowner’s insurance” for your home on the web. BackupBuddy purchase and download
Let me know what you think of these plugins in the comments!