If you aren’t sure which plugins to add to your WordPress site, then maybe a quick stroll through the WordPress Plugin Directory could help. It is always interesting to see what everyone else is using and how their tastes fall in line with you own. More importantly, it also shows you where the perceived “needs” are. If everyone needs a plugin to add a customized search bar, then you would assume that it would be one of the most popular plugins. Here is a quick look at the most popular plugins in the directory and some interesting notes about what this means.
If you are looking at the top 15 most popular WordPress plugins, there are very few surprises. Towards the top of the list you have helpful tools like GTranslate, Google Analytics, WordPress Importer, All in One SEO, and SexyBookmarks. In the top 5 the only real surprise is the 3 star rating that WordPress Importer plugin received.
As you move through the rest of the Top 15, there are a number of useful plugins that every webmaster should be using anyways. These include a few galleries, spam prevention, and a handful of SEO plugins. If there is any other surprise, it would be that the number 11 plugin (ourSTATS Widget) has 2 stars. If it is a Top 15 plugin, you would think it would have more than 2 stars.
The next group of 15 seem to primarily fall into two categories: security and social networking/bookmarking. All of the plugins average a 4 star rating or above and are well known. This includes plugins like ShareThis, Smart YouTube, WP Security Scan.
As you go farther down the list the results get pretty random in terms of purpose. Although this shouldn’t be surprising because everyone has unique needs.
So What Does This Mean For You?
With only a few exceptions, the most popular list in the WordPress Plugin Directory proves that overall WordPress users know which plugins are essential to effective website management. More importantly, the priorities seem to be fairly solid as well – starting with analytics and SEO, then moving to social media and more SEO, then ending with security. Realistically, security would probably be higher if there were less first-time webmasters using WordPress. Website security is sort of like backing up your computer. Most people don’t think it will ever be an issue for them, but once it is, it is a top priority.
In this case, following the mob will lead you in the right direction.