There are nearly 34,000 plugins to choose from. That is a lot! Considering that you will not use more than 10 it sounds like overkill. A lot of these plugins are not updated any more by their creators so the actual number that are current is difficult to estimate.
As with any website, there are a couple of things we all do and is the same for each website, we need good SEO, spam protection, access control and protection, traffic analysis and more.
The following plugins are the basic ones that should be installed even before you start writing.
Plugins for good SEOThis is a must since they help you writing content that is focused but also understandable by Google. Don't overthink SEO, write good unique content. There are two major players:
Yoast WordPress SEO. Easy setup and quick to understand. Simple and effective.
All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert of Semper Fi Web Design. Quite complex settings that I do not understand. You can enter some keywords for your site but Google has stopped looking at keywords a while ago.
Antivirus plugins to protect your Wordpress siteSpam is a big problem on WordPress sites. Maybe it is because Wordpress is so popular and there are a lot of sites that are not updated regularly which become open to attack. After installing these plugins you will see there is much more than just malicious software checking, they can also prevent people from countries to visit your site. Two of the most popular Antivirus plugins are.
Captcha PluginsCaptcha plugins are not antivirus, they protect unwanted bots accessing your site. Bots have the ability to attack 24/7 unlike humans, so limiting them is essential. Captcha are also often called 'human tests'. Captchas are used at your login page and comments sections. The most popular are:
- Captcha by BestWebSoft
- SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
- Really Simple CAPTCHA (Must be used with other plugins)
Limiting the number of login attemptsThis is really important. If bots are allowed unlimited attempts to generate your password they will at some point in time get it right. So limiting anyone to three attempts is a good idea. There is also a limit to password recovery after which you are notified by the system and you can block that person out or block his IP address. Limiting login attempts are often part of captcha and antivirus plugins (basically security plugins).
I would recommend Limit Login Attempts. Limit rate of login attempts, including by way of cookies, for each IP. By Johan Eenfeldt for newbies.
Good old Jetpack by Wordpress.comJetpack is developed by Wordpress team and has many features that are nice to have. For instance, you get Wordpress.com stats. The next feature is Related Posts. This is great if you have a lot of posts and would like to showcase your work to visitors. Related Posts is like holding a carrot in front of your visitors in order to keep them on the website. You can also add social media to your site via Jetpack so when posts are published, your subscribed social media sites are updated automatically. This can also be done through a couple of other plugins. This is a great plugin and should be loaded to all WordPress sites.
Galleries for imagesAll sites (I hope) have images, and we love to browse through them. Galleries is one way to keep people on your site reducing the bounce rate significantly. Remember, the longer someone stays on your site, the greater the chance that they will click to the next link, product or article. There are gallery plugins that do the job, however, you want to be a little different than the others, that adds to the professional look of your website (especially if you are using Wordpress since they have relatively the same basic structure). The easiest to use with great custom features is WP Easy Gallery. It has the following great features:
NEW Display galleries as default WordPress style galleries (option is on settings page)
Enhanced social sharing for images in your gallery.
Newly added class name (wp-easy-gallery) for easy thumbnail styling.
Upload unique thumbnail image for galleries and set custom dimensions.
Include multiple galleries on a page or post.
Set the 'sort order' of images in the galleries.
Uses WordPress short code for easy content integration.
Short code button for easy content insertion.
And much more...