The Standard 12 Wordpress Plugins for Any Project

Plugins are one of the most exciting aspects of using WordPress. Right now, there are over 41,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory and the numbers continue to grow every day. Plugins give you the flexibility to accomplish just about anything you need to with your WordPress website. While they can be extremely resourceful, they can also affect performance if you’re using too many of them or you’re installing the wrong ones. You have to be sure you’re only using plugins that you need and ones that are crafted well and are updated frequently.

I know there are literally hundreds of posts out there like this one, so I was hesitant to throw another list in the mix. Having used WordPress for years with both personal and client projects, I’m familiar with and have used a majority of the plugins listed on these posts. Not only that, I’ve been through enough projects to know which ones are necessary and tride and true. Obviously, depending on how you plan to use WordPress for your specific needs, there are other plugins you’ll undoubtedly want to include in your toolset, but only after you’ve installed these fundamental ones.

The following twelve plugins provide you with a well-rounded toolset to get your website moving in the right direction. Each of the following plugins are compatible with the latest version of WordPress (4.2 at the time of this article); have a long history of development and updates (great support); and are written well, which is vital to the performance of your website.

SEO/Analytics

Yoast SEO
The standard. SEO, meta & links, XML sitemaps, RSS optimization, social integration, multi-site compatible and a slew of other helpful features.

Google Analytics for Wordpress
Track your website easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews.

Google Analytics Dashboard
This plugin pulls in and displays your Google Analytics data right from your dashboard. Disable tracking if you’re using this alongside of the plugin above.

Performance/Efficiency

W3 Total Cache
This plugin is designed to improve user experience and page speed and is trusted by a number of popular websites.

Simple Page Reordering
Order your pages and other hierarchical post types with simple drag and drop right from the standard page list.

Security

UpdraftPlus Backup
Easy and complete backups and restoration. Manual or automated backups (Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, email).

Login Lockdown
Login Lockdown prevents brute force login attacks/attempts on your WordPress installation and limits the number of login attempts from a given IP range within a certain time period.

Development

Dynamic Widgets
Dynamic Widgets gives you full control on which pages your widgets will appear. It lets you dynamically show or hide widgets on WordPress pages, making your content more dynamic.

Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom allows you to add any kind of custom fields to your pages and/or posts. These fields then output the data into your content.

Gravity Forms
The best contact form plugin for WordPress powered websites. It comes with powerful add ons which allow you to create online surveys, user-submitted posts, a web directory or almost anything where a user input is required.

Disqus
Replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus.

Page Links To
Lets you make a WordPress page (or other content type) link to an external URL of your choosing, instead of its WordPress URL.

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