Here is a giant list of the best WordPress plugins in my opinion…
Add Descendants As Submenu Items
This plugin has saved me from the problem WordPress has with adding too many menu items. This plugin solves that issue by adding a simple checkbox to each menu item that you can check to have all it automatically add all its descendants as submenu items.
Add Local Avatar
I don’t think many people know about this one and it hasn’t been updated in over 2 years but it doesn’t need to be because it works perfectly. I really love this plugin because it automatically generates a unique identicon profile picture for all users based on their email address. There are a bunch of different identicon options but my favorite is “Retro” because it makes everyone look like something out of an Atari game.
AddToAny Share Buttons
This one is nice for any website that you want people to know about. I activate it on almost all of my websites because it automatically adds sharing options to the bottom of all of your pages that can be turned off independently.
This is essential for keeping the trolls and the spammers at bay. It requires signing up for an Askimet account but you can use that account for as many websites as you want. They ask you choose how much you want to donate to sign up but allow you to choose $0 if you can’t afford to donate.
All-in-One Event Calendar by Time.ly
A really advanced event calendar system which allows for recurring events to be automatically created.
All you have to do is install this plugin to significantly improve your page load times, particularly on mobile devices.
This is a really nice plugin that automatically backs up all your files and your database based on daily and weekly schedules that you can customize and even have it send the backup to you via email every time it completes a backup.
This is a really powerful CDN and caching service that is a little complex if you don’t host your own server like I do.
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Custom Post Type
This is really handy when you’re trying to import content from one WordPress site to another because it lets you create any custom post types that one site has that the other doesn’t. It obviously has much more uses than that because creating custom post types allow you to add more admin panels and customize them to your liking. Best of all, it allows you to create taxonomy categories for each of your post types as well.
Just install it and it should stop the majority of spam registrations you might be experiencing. It also helps if you signed up for a projecthoneypot.org account and entered your http:BL Access Key into the Bad Behavior settings.
Essential if you want to have a forum on your site. It is by far the most popular option, I probably didn’t even have to mention it.
Booking Calendar Pro WpDevArt
It is not perfect but is a simple plugin for displaying your events on a calendar and allow visitors to book/buy tickets right from the calendar.
Another famous one that I probably don’t need to mention but it is amazing the way it turns your site into a full-fledged social media network. I should mention that it is a very particular plugin and will only work if you have your server and site setup perfectly but I finally managed to figure it out and It was worth the effort.
Duplicate / Clone Pages and Posts
I don’t know what I would do without this plugin and it actually not that well known. The name says it all, it lets you duplicate pages and posts which is such a time saver.
Perfect plugin for create FAQ’s with shortcodes that make creating pages for each category easy.
This is an amazing plugin that makes it incredibly simple to automatically pull posts from one WordPress site into another.
Follow Us Badges
This is a nice little plugin for adding social media profile follow buttons to your site.
This one cost money but it is so powerful that it is worth the money. It lets you create extremely advanced forms that with the ability to have content automatically filled in based on the user’s profile info. It also lets you add conditional logic to your fields with is incredibly handy. They also have a bunch of add-ons but the only one I currently use is “Registration Lite” which lets you choose which role you want to register users who fill out the form as.
Google Drive WP Media
This is a pain to setup because it has extremely dated instructions for setting up the Drive API but if you are good with Googles Developer Console you should have no trouble. I think it is really cool the way it creates a whole new Drive account and shares it with you and all the files you store within it can be pulled into your WordPress media library whenever you need them.
GTmetrix for WordPress
By far my favorite plugin for testing your site speed ratings and troubleshooting ways to make it run faster.
This is an excellent free drag & drop page builder if you’re like me and don’t want to pay to get visual composer for each site you want to use it on.
Log Out Shortcode
This is plugin gives you 3 different login button shortcode options. One that redirects to the current page, one that redirects to the homepage, and one that redirects to the login screen after logging out.
Amazing plugin for displaying a bunch of different logos or anything else you want. It has a shortcode generator that makes it easy to customize how you display your images and it allows you to save your settings. It has a lot of different options for how to display the title and description as well as hover effects and category filters. It has been a major time saver for me on many projects. It cost $16 but it is worth every penny.
Max Mega Menu
I wish I had discovered this one sooner, it is incredible how many styling options it gives you as well as the ability to easily add icons to each menu item and much more. The free version does everything I need it to but for even more options they offer a pro version that I’m interested in. Particularly the developers license because it lets me use it on 99 sites & comes with support and updates for life. =)
Moderation Notify Author
This is a simple but effective plugin that notifies the author of a post that a comment needs to be approved.
Nav Menu Roles
A very handy plugin that adds checkboxes to nav menu items that allow you to choose who can view that item based on their user role or by if they are logged in or not.
This plugin blows all other newsletter plugins out of the water. Most importantly it uses responsive email templates & It can also track clicks and open rates and allows visitors to the site to easily subscribe to the receive newsletters. It even has the capability of targeting specific subscribers and it can even pull in content from their website to use in the newsletters.
Nextend Facebook Connect
Lets your users connect their account to Facebook so they can easily login to your website.
Nextend Google Connect
Lets your users connect their account to Google so they can easily login to your website.
OpenTickets Community Edition
This is an absolutely incredible event ticketing/event calendar for managing online ticket sales. It works with WooCommerce products to create tickets and allows you to create custom venues & event areas for your events. It displays all your events on a calendar page with multiple different view options and allows you to view reports of attendees. If you use featured images for each of the event areas, they will also appear in the calendar. For $50/year they offer an extension for displaying a list of upcoming events but I feel like there has to be a free way to do this.
This plugin is a must for adding parallax scrolling backgrounds to themes that don’t come with Visual Composer or some other way to add parallax backgrounds.
Allows you to add custom connections to the bottom of posts like “Related Posts” or whatever else you want.
Makes it incredibly easy to setup your WordPress site to be able to send out emails.
Rating-Widget: Star Review System
This is a really powerful and flexible rating system plugin for your blog with various options for both star rating systems as well as like/dislike voting systems.
ShiftNav – Responsive Mobile Menu
This is a very easy to setup slide out mobile navigation panel with a toggle button that follows you down the page.
Shortcodes Anywhere or Everywhere
This is a nice plugin that allows you to use shortcodes in titles, widgets, and more. It doesn’t let you add them to menus, but that is what the next plugin is for.
Shortcodes in Menus
The name says it all; lets you use shortcodes as menu items.
This is the only perfectly functioning invoice/time tracking that I have been able to find. It makes it really easy to add new clients as users and create projects to log hours in. You can then create invoices and have it pull all the info from your projects into the invoice. Invoices are created as pages, so they can still be edited after sending out the invoice. It also allows you to receive estimate requests in a similar fashion and much more that I know I forgot to mention. There is a free version of this plugin but I recommend upgrading to the pro version because it is worth it. Sadly, they don’t offer any unlimited licenses that you can use on as many sites as you want but they do have a deal for a 3-site license. Considering this is the type of plugin most people would only need on one website, I suppose it’s not such a big deal. Oh, and they have excellent support!
This plugin is incredible! It automatically sets up subscription lists for your blog posts based on the categories you set, so users can easily manage their own subscriptions of what categories/authors they want to be notified about via email when a new post is uploaded that matches their selections.
Tuxedo Responsive Widget Columns
Handy little plugin that makes it easy to split a widget panel into columns but placing this widget inbetween the widgets you want in separate columns.
W3 Total Cache
An incredibly popular site for improving performance by caching all the content on your pages to make them load faster. (Don’t use this if you use Cloudflare because it handles caching as well)
Website Tools by AddThis
Easiest way to add cool looking non-intrusive social media share and follow buttons to your site.
What The File
Very useful when trying to figure out what file you need to edit to mess with the code of the page you are viewing.
This is one of the most popular security apps that projects your website from hackers.
Another famous one for eCommerce websites.
WP to Buffer
If you use Buffer and post a lot of blogs, then this is the plugin for you.
This is a simple plugin that gives you a new widget that displays the users currently online.
WP Support Plus
Hands down the best support ticketing system plugin out there and it is absolutely free with incredible support. The only thing you might want to buy from them is their Email Piping Addon for $29.99 which allows you to have tickets created whenever an email is sent to the email address on your server that you specify. This way users can reply to tickets via email without having to log back into your site every time.
WP Store Locator
This plugin is packed full of features for adding a store locator to your website and it is free. Although you will probably want to purchase the CSV Manager Addon for $39 which allows you to import and export store locations.
If your picky like me it might take some tweaking of your themes template files and the breadcrumbs plugin to make it fit your needs but I think this plugin is essential for any sites with deep navigation. If you are unfamiliar with breadcrumbs they are the links at the top and bottom of posts that provide links back to all the parent pages including the home page.
This is a simple plugin that adds a button to your post & page editor that lets you embed any YouTube video and gives you a bunch of different options of how to add it.