It is indeed a tough job to have filtered from thousands of plugins available on WordPress to just 15 best WordPress plugins (from my perspective) that are absolutely free.
These plugins are provided by web developers who constantly charge themselves either individually or as a group with the responsibility of improving WordPress so as to enhance the functionality and creative design structures of website built on it. This is part of the reasons why WordPress is considered as the best blogging platform.
However, each plugin have specific use and purpose. So, the proper understanding of a selected plugin for instance is imperative before installation is done in order to know how it would articulate into website structure. Apart from this, it is a prime necessity to know how to install plugin on WordPress.
There are plugins that would be needed for optimum site performance irrespective of niche focus. These plugins are must have for small business outfit and they top my list of best WordPress plugins.
They have helped tailor my creative thoughts to the realm of manifestation. You can’t believe they are free. It’s simply unbelievable. I share them so that you can tap from it because it has not been easy to trim down to this list. It has been trial and error. I couldn’t stand you going through those hassles when I have the simple answer.
1. MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer: When a blog is updated, you need to notify search engines to crawl the content with the intent of index. WordPress set a default ping system and allow the service to be updated, but it lack control.
It keep sending ping irrespective of the time of update. So, even when you correct a spelling mistake or optimize an image of a published post it would ping search engines. This move will definitely flag your site as ping spammer.
To avoid this problem, you should install this plugin. It would time your update notification and incorporate handful ping service links you can start with straight away.
2. WP-PageNavi: This plugin will replace the usual default next and previous post link on page navigation to a more compact view numerical format.
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast: If you’re looking for a comprehensive SEO for a WordPress powered site, this is what you need. It is simple to install and configure.
Sincerely, I feel it’s better than the All-in-One SEO that is more popular probably the long settings associated with WordPress SEO has made it unpopular recommendation among bloggers especially beginners.
4. Disqus Comment System: This plugin is a good replacement for WordPress default comment box. It seamlessly integrates into WordPress with lots of sharing links and commenting application that look more like a forum.
5. Google Analytics: A detailed and analytical information of website performance featuring numerous metrics upon which results are formed and recorded. Google Analytics is a must have for business oriented blogger seeking optimum user experience and engagement that truly guarantees maximum online presence.
6. Better Related Content: Thus far, I give a 5 star to this plugin. It contextually display related content base on post keyword.
7. Dagon Design Sitemap Generator: This plugin generates sitemap of all the posts and pages on your website and gives option for design structures.
8. Acurax Social Media icon: If you want a floating social media link, this is the plugin for you. Though, it has premium version, but the provisions for free package is just good enough for a social media link.
10. upPrev: Previous post animation notification would be a good replacement for Facebook related post. It shows the previous post and it’s category at a pre-determined point on post page. New York Times also use this plugin.
11. WP Super Cache: Just as WordPress SEO by Yoast may be preferred to All-in-One SEO, so also is WP Super Cache to W3Total Cache as far as this site is concern. It is a matter of choice. But if you discover conflicting responses or functionality among installed plugins, then what you need might be WP Super Cache.
12. JetPack: This brings the power of WordPress.com into self-hosted blog like the ability to create forms, on site stats, grammar checker, gravatar hover card, twitter widget, etc.
13. WP Backitup: It is certainly imperative to backup our blog from time to time because, of unseen circumstance. The process involve can be tiring if done on a daily basis.
WPBackitup takes up this stress and backup your site within the frequency set and send the backup files in compressed format to an email account specified.
14. Broken Link Checker: It is rather unfortunate that we still greet visitors with 404 error page. Broken links checker scan your blog periodically for broken links.
15. Tiny MCE Advanced: An extension for the usual built-in WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get) on WordPress.
If you want do more with post structure, Tiny MCE Advance is a must have. It also comes with other plugins you can choose from- Custom Tiny MCE.
16. NextGen Gallery: A photo gallery management plugin mostly ideal for photographic sites and image related niche.
17. Smush.it: Is a plugin that optimizes image and has the capacity to resize image by 40% while it would still maintain its original quality.
18. Contactme: A sliding contact form by contactme.com that can be accessed anywhere on website. The free version is just OK for newbie’s or personal contact link if the branded link at the bottom can be over-looked.
19. Google Custom Search Box: The default WordPress search box do not usually capture all the post links within a site. So, may be defected in presenting some files to visitors.
With Google search, you don’t have to worry if its configured rightly on Google cse platform. You can even monetize it if you wish.
The list above is not an exhaustive one because the search to get more is on-going. You may lend a helping hand by providing insights to other great plugins you know that are free, tested and regarded best in the comment box below.