WordPress Jetpack is great. It allows you to link your self-hosted WordPress blog to your WordPress.org account. And with it, you get all sorts of plugins that are updated and made for the latest WordPress version. When you install Jetpack on multiple sites, you will then be able to manage those sites from one interface on WordPress.org. It will allow you to post and update with ease, without having to go to the admin panel of your domain. There are all sorts of goodies that you can then integrate with your blog. WordPress Jetpack is essential, in my opinion.
Akismet blocks spammy comments to your website. It also blocks track back spam. If you don’t use Akismet, you will know, because your WordPress site will have thousands of spammy comments pile up in a short amount of time (mainly robots). You will need to register an API key for your website, but once you do, your plugin will be active and the spam will be prevented.
WordPress SEO a well-known plugin that helps you configure your articles, pages, and website for search engine optimization (SEO). There are a lot of options in this plugin. WordPress SEO is very helpful and allows you to pick good key words and configure your search engine snippet. It counts the letters for you and counts the keywords. This plugin even grades your page and tells you if there are any major issues with your SEO. WordPress SEO also helps by making an XML sitemap for your website, which is very helpful. WordPress SEO even gives you control over how your post looks on Facebook. I will stress that even if you use this plugin, there are still things one must do in order to ensure their site is SEO configured. This plugin is a great starting point.
WP Realtime Sitemap
WP Realtime Sitemap plugin is very helpful because it makes an auto sitemap for you to publish. While the WordPress SEO (above) makes an XML sitemap that only search engines see, this plugin makes a sitemap that humans see. And it does it automatically. This plugin also helps with SEO because it ensures there is a single page dedicated to sending link juice throughout your entire website.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a great caching plugin that speeds up your WordPress site. It builds static html files for all of your pages for users to use, instead of using the very resource intensive WordPress PHP scripts. It is very user friendly and you can flush your cache any time you want from the admin panel. Other people use W3 Total Cache, which is a comparable plugin or when WP Super Cache has a conflict with another plugin or theme. But I still prefer WP Super Cache when I can use it.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
If you paid good money for your website or blog, or have 20 pages or more, it is imperative that you back up your files. UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore does routine back ups off site for your WordPress website. It integrates with DropBox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and other third party cloud storage sites. UpdraftPlus is a very user friendly plugin, and best of all it is free.
404 error pages come about by old pages, tags, categories, or articles that have been deleted or the urls have been changed. Having too many 404 errors on your website is bad for SEO. The reason it is bad is because it provides a useless page when people arrive, and they end up “bouncing” off your website by hitting the back button or closing out the page. As you accumulate more of these useless pages, your domain’s overall average bounce rate rises. Any pages that link to deleted pages will also be hurt in the search rankings.
This is why using Smart 404 as a plugin is a good idea. If the old article was about WordPress plugins yet has been deleted, Smart 404 will automatically redirect it to another article about WordPress, plugins, or a page with similar words in the title.
Starbox is a free author plugin that helps spruce up the author box that is displayed under each article. It has all kinds of options to include layout, social media, and description text. I like the sleek way that everything looks, and the functionality and options.
WP Robots Txt
WP Robots Txt you edit the Robot.txt file easily within WordPress. The Robot.txt file is the file first read by the search engines when they crawl your site. It allows you to tell search engines which pages and parts of your site you want them to crawl.
Rich Text Tags
Rich Text Tags lets you edit the category and tag descriptions. It improves your SEO on those pages because it adds a custom text, image, and link buffer between the title of the page and the standard feed of WordPress blog articles.
Multi-Column Taxonomy List
Multi-Column Taxonomy List let’s you easily list categories, tags, or custom taxonomies into multiple columns on a page. This is great to do on a specific page because it acts as a site map for your page.
JM Twitter Cards
JM Twitter Cards help integrate your WordPress posts with Twitter. If you don’t use Twitter cards, many of your tweets using links from your website will just share a link. But if you use this plugin, it will display a nice image with a summary of the article on Twitter. This will help drive more traffic to your website simply because your links will catch the readers eye on Twitter better. If you use Twitter, which is highly recommended, this plugin is a must