It’s a question I often get asked: What plugins do I need on my WordPress site?
My answer is always the same: it depends.
Sophia at Fiction Vixen put it more eloquently than I could and listed a bunch of considerations that I suggest anyone read when deciding if they should add plugins to their self-hosted WordPress site (spoiler: you might not need every plugin under the sun).
One of my favorite points from her post which I totally agree with:
When searching out plugins there are a few things to consider before downloading and installing them on your blog. Plugins are fun and can really enhance your blog…or occasionally create some huge headaches…Before you go plugin crazy, stop and think about whether or not that plugin will really enhance your blog and/or your blogging experience.
In many cases you won’t need any or many plugins for your WP site, since it can do a lot of what you need out of the box. Taking some time to really evaluate what features you need on your site will save you some trouble in experimenting with plugins just for the glitter-factor (and probably keep the site loading faster, too).
Check out the full post at Fiction Vixen about WordPress plugins for noobs.
Also, be sure you check out Automattic’s Jetpack plugin which brings WordPress.com features and a few other plugins to all self-hosted WordPress sites, for free!