1. Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.

  • Version
  • Updated 2014-6-23
  • Downloads 15,279,063
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

The google robots need help when crashing around the Internet. Fifteen million downloads is pretty impressive.

2. W3 Total Cache

Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.

  • Version 0.9.4
  • Updated 2014-9-19
  • Downloads 3,898,832
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

This one can be a handful to get configured. See the Net Tuts+ tutorials.

3. WordPress SEO by Yoast

Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.

  • Version 1.6.3
  • Updated 2014-10-8
  • Downloads 13,508,810
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

Mr. Yoast’s classic Search Engine Optimization plugin, used to re-craft your slugs and help Google promote your site. This can be tricky to set up and maintain, but worth the effort.

4. iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)

The easiest, most effective way to secure WordPress in seconds.

  • Version 4.4.18
  • Updated 2014-10-13
  • Downloads 3,268,739
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

WordPress has security challenges. Due to WordPress popularity, it is a wonderful target for spammers and other hackers. By and large it is up to that challenge, but this plugin is a great help.

5. Add Link to Facebook

Automatically add links to published posts or pages to your Facebook wall, pages or groups and more

  • Version 1.212
  • Updated 2014-10-6
  • Downloads 1,643,471
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

Hold your nose (if, like me you detest Facebook) and use this plugin. With the invention of OAuth, it is very difficult to post to another service.

6. Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security and performance plugin that makes your site up to 50 times faster and more secure.

  • Version 5.2.7
  • Updated 2014-10-15
  • Downloads 3,324,296
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

This security plugin works to make sure that your site has not been compromised by comparing the site to the WordPress Repository.

7. Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.

  • Version 4.0.1
  • Updated 2014-10-16
  • Downloads 20,763,331
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

A free alternative to getting started with forms on your webpage. Next step is Gravity Forms. (I have yet to make that step, my Scottish heritage rebels at the idea of using expensive plugins.)

8. MailPoet Newsletters

Send newsletters, post notifications or autoresponders from WordPress easily, and beautifully.

  • Version 2.6.11
  • Updated 2014-9-15
  • Downloads 2,869,533
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

There was a recent security scare for this plugin, which was quickly patched. I’m going to try this one on my blog sites – Canada Crop Protection and this site, WordPress Magic.

9. Shortcodes Ultimate

Supercharge your WordPress theme with mega pack of shortcodes

  • Version 4.9.2
  • Updated 2014-9-9
  • Downloads 963,202
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

Shortcodes usually look like this [shortcode_word]and are used in posts, pages and occasionally widgets to ‘bookmark’generated content. Looks like a very useful tool.

10. TablePress

TablePress enables you to create and manage tables, without having to write HTML code, and it adds valuable functions for your visitors.

  • Version 1.4
  • Updated 2014-9-5
  • Downloads 553,627
  • Average Rating

    4 stars

Tables for your WordPress site. You import comma-separated-values and it formats a table. You will just see a short code in your post or page.