One of the great things about WordPress is that you can customize it with a seemingly never-ending selection of plugins. Here is a collection of some of my favourite plugins that I install by default when creating a new WordPress site. You can download any of these plugins by visiting the Plugins > Add New link in your dashboard’s sidebar and searching for them.
Limit Login Attempts
This plugin limits the amount of login attempts on your WordPress login page. Hackers or bots usually have no trouble finding your sign-in page and will run through a series of common passwords while on their mission to crack your account. “By default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords (or hashes) to be brute-force cracked with relative ease. Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible.”
WP Super Cache
This plugin is one that my web hosts have always encouraged me to install. If your site has a tendency to receive a large amount of traffic, or is just operating at a slow rate, this plugin will be your best friend.”By using this plugin you will speed up your WordPress blog significantly.” By decreasing the load on the server, your web host will thank you and your site will have less downtime and faster load times.
WP Maintenance Mode
A simple plugin for putting your site into maintenance mode which is extremely useful if you’re updating the theme or fixing things. It will display an “under maintenance” message to visitors, while still allowing you to login as an admin and work on your site. “Adds a maintenance-page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance time.”
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Displays a handy little stat tracking widget on your dashboard page. This saves you from having to login to Analytics in a separate window. You can view all of your stats in real-time, daily, and up to the past 90 days. It’s simple and straightforward.
Contact Form 7
One of the most popular WordPress plugins for a reason! This plugin makes it super easy to add a contact form on any page. “It allows you to flexibly design the form and mail. You can manage multiple contact forms as well. In addition, it supports many features including AJAX submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering, file uploading, etc.”
All In One SEO Pack
If you need a little help with SEO, this is the best plugin for you! This plugin will help to optimize your site for Search Engine Optimization in just a few clicks. It includes everything you need to boost your SEO!
If the standard WordPress post editor toolbar just isn’t doing it for you, try the TinyMCE editor instead. “This plugin adds 16 plugins to TinyMCE, WordPress’ wysiwyg editor: Advanced hr, Advanced Image, Advanced Link, Context Menu, Emotions (Smilies), Full Screen, IESpell, Layer, Media, Nonbreaking, Print, Search and Replace, Style, Table, Visual Characters and XHTML Extras. Together these plugins can add over 40 new buttons to the toolbar, which is now two rows plus one hidden row.” Basically, if you’re looking for more options in your post editor, get this!