2012 brought us a lot of great plugins, some premium, some free. I’ve compiled a list of 12 plugins that you should be using in 2013.
[seealso title=”12 Top WordPress Premium Themes of 2012″ link=”http://wpforce.com/12-top-wordpress-premium-themes-2012/”]
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
If you care about optimizing your WordPress site for search engines, WordPress SEO by Yoast is the single WordPress SEO plugin you need. Index, robot, and crawling control, follow and nofollow flexibility, XML sitemap options, and many more features make it the ideal plugin for sites of all sizes.
2. Gravity Forms
Many WordPress-powered sites have contact forms on them. Gravity Forms is the easiest WordPress contact form plugin on the web, and it does so much more than just contact forms. It’s very extensible and flexible to fit almost any need for UGC data collection.
GravityForms.com (Premium – $39+)
3. W3 Total Cache
Caching is important when it comes to speed. While WordPress is fast, you can make it faster. W3TC offers database, object-oriented, disk caching, and CDN utilization, all with just a few clicks. It’s dead-easy to setup and is very effective. WPForce.com uses W3TC for its caching needs.
JetPack by Automattic offers a slew of features. Its features include Jetpack Comments, Publicize, WordPress.com Stats, Subscriptions (new posts and comments), Sharing, WP.me Shortlinks, Photon (load images from the WordPress.com global CDN), and many more. The community features offered for free is more than generous. It does have a few paid options like VaultPress.
Looking for a secure way to backup your WordPress site? Look no further. Built from the ground up by the same folks that built WordPress, VaultPress offers an easy way to create, manage, and restore backups to your WordPress site with just a few clicks.
VaultPress.com (Premium – $15/mo+)
6. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
YARPP allows you to easily show related posts throughout your site. It’s easy to configure, has plenty of options, and makes it easy to customize templates in case you want to build your own view of related posts.
7. Widget Logic
One area I really feel WordPress lacks is flexibility with widgets. This is where Widget Logic steps in. This plugin allows you to easily choose which types of pages a widget is displayed on. For example, in “categories”, or “tags”, or “blog index” or only “posts,” this plugin will allow you the flexibility to show WordPress widgets only where you want them to be shown.
Sociable makes it easy to “socialize” your site. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or StumbleUpon, Socialable makes it easy to get your site ready to be socialized by users.
10. Search Everything
WordPress search is pretty bad. It’s a known fact in my mind. Search Everything helps patch that up and makes searching easier on the user and more user-friendly. I would love to see WordPress fix its search engine, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
11. NextGEN Gallery
Beautiful photo galleries? Yes please! NextGEN Gallery, which was acquired by Photocrati in mid-2012, is a powerful image gallery making it easy to display your beautiful photos. Plenty of options, easy to configure, and overall one of the best WordPress image gallery plugins available on the market.
WordPress e-commerce has never been easier than with WooCommerce. This free plugin by WooThemes lets anyone easily setup an e-commerce store to sell products. It offers plugins to integrate with many payment processors like PayPal or Authorize.net, and it’s easy to customize to fit any need.
BONUS! 13. GD Star Rating
User reviews? GD Star Rating makes it dead-simple to setup star reviews by users. It also comes with microformats making it easy for Google to pickup rich snippets for your content.
What are some of your favorite plugins that didn’t make the list? We would love to hear about them in the comments below, so let us know!