WordPress has proven itself a popular and dependable Web publishing platform since its 2003 debut due to its ease of setup and use. In fact, it’s been downloaded over 25 million times in the past eight years. During this time a large catalog of plugins has emerged, giving the already user-friendly publishing platform the extra flexibility to tweak SEO (search engine optimization), the ability to display popular posts, welcome visitors, credit authors in new ways, and much more.
There are over 15,000 plugins available at the time of this writing, which can make it extremely difficult to discover beneficial additions to your website. If you visit WordPress’ Most Popular Plugin Directory to see the top 15 most download plugins of the moment, you’ll find some great stuff.

 

Essential WordPress Plugins for 2012
1. Akismet: This is the mother of all plugins. Almost 90% of WordPress users have installed Akismet spam blocker on their blogs. If you are getting sleepless nights due to plenty of spam comments on your blog, then, this is the right plugin for you. Just install it and kick all the spammers in to the bay. For personal use it is absolutely FREE.

2. All in One SEO Pack: The big daddy of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for WordPress blogs. It gives excellent results, if you judiciously use this plugin. The common mistake bloggers do is – after installing All in One SEO Pack plugin they just forget everything, and expect it will do everything for them. If you use it for your every blog post then the outcome is outstanding. Most interesting part is, you can control the title, meta description and meta keywords for each blog post and page very easily. Thanks Michael Torbert.

3. Personal Favicon: Favicon is considered to be the signature of the blog. And, Personal Favicon WordPress plugin is the best favicon manager. You have to just add the URL of your favicon in the URL box of the plugin, rest everything will be take care by Personal Favicon WordPress plugin.

4. WP-PageNavi: Most essential plugin for your WordPress blog, if you are a serious blogger. It adds a beautiful page navigation at the bottom of your page, just like mine (MoneyCTL.com). Moreover you can customize the look and feel of the Page Navigation according to your needs. From SEO point of view and to increase the page-views I have added Page Navigation to my  categories, archives and tags also.

5. Slick Social Share Buttons: Social sharing is the latest trend and every body are just diving in to this holy river. Slick Social Share Buttons is extremely essential plugin for your WordPress powered blog for 2012 for sure. It works  wonderfully for Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc.

6. Google XML Sitemaps: Spidering and indexing of all your articles by search engine spiders are extremely essential for appearing in the SERP ( Search Engine Result Pages). Google XML Sitamaps generate a site map so many times in a day, there by providing essential data to search engine spiders for indexing of your blog articles. One of the BEST WordPress plugins for sitemap generation for 2012 for sure.

7. iWPhone: Responsive web design is the latest craze in webdesign world. Designers are making websites which fits for all devices available to surf the web, not just the desktop or laptop. By using this essential WordPress plugin your blog will be iPhone compatible. I am personally using this plugin on my blog and it is compatible with all the smartphones available in the market, not just the iPhone. Rock your blogging career in 2012 with this awesome WordPress plugin.

8. Contact Form 7: Contact form is most essential to communicate with your subscribers and clients. Have you checked my Contact Form on MoneyCTL.com ? Isn’t it beautiful ? This plugin is updating its version frequently and definitely going to rock 2012.

9. Subscribe To Comments: If you want to engage your reader by making them visit your blog frequently, the Subscribe to Comments is the right plugin for you. Whenever a reader click the check box, she gets notification via Email about any new comments on the same article. A great way to engage your readers. Isn’t it?

10 WordPress Related Posts: This plugin display a string of related posts below each article, thereby offering your visitors to read more and more articles during each visit. You can set the number of articles you want to display by setting in the plugin.

11. Redirection: A WordPress plugin to manage all your 301 permanent redirection and also take care your 404 errors. This is a great plugin for changing permalink structure in your WordPress blog or simply changing certain URLs.

12. Really Simple CAPTCHA: It adds a captcha to your contact form to prevent spam. It is a must for all WordPress powered blog to avoid cluttering of spammy message.

13. WordPress Database Backup: Have you ever imagined – While editing your WordPress theme folder, you put some wrong codes and POOF !, everything is gone. Your all the hard work will be a big zero. Install this WordPress plugin and schedule a database backup, at least once in a week. This plugin is going great and gonna rock 2012 as well.

14. WP Super Cache: Imagine, you blog post is featured on the home page of StumbleUpon for a really witty article. 10s of thousands of visitors came to your blog. Is your blog ready to receive this huge traffic ? Certainly not. Here, WP Super Cache come to your rescue. This WordPress plugin keep a catched version of your blog in the browser and helps to load your blog very fast. A must have WordPress plugin for 2012.

15. CloudFlare: The best WordPress plugin for CDN ( Content Delivery Network). Yes, it works great for WordPress Platform. It make your blog lightning fast. Definitely essential WordPress plugin for whole 2012.

16. WP-Polls: By adding a poll question, the interaction of visitors increases on your blog. Wp-Polls is a great plugin with plenty of customization option, making it a sure sort candidate for rest of 2012.

17. WP-Forum: If you want to extend your WordPress blog by adding a forum, then this plugin is certainly for you. Run a hassel free forum right from your blog.

18. SEO Rank Reporter: When you publish an article, do you eager to know its present Google rank ? Everybody do! SEO Rank Reporter instantly tell the present Google rank of your article.

19. Google Analyticator: It displays your Google analytics on your blog dashboard itself. You don’t have to visit your Google Analytics account every time. Most essential plugin for 2012.

20. Jetpack by WordPress.com: My favorite WordPress plugin for 2012. I remember, I installed this multi-tasking plugin on Jan 1st, 2012, early morning. Its a plugin to die for due to its multi-tasking nature. Checkout this awesome and essential WordPress plugin for 2012.

Its worth trying these plugins, many of them will improve your website or blog.