When I’m building a WordPress website there’s always a select few plugins that I always use. They might as well come bundled with WordPress for me.
Having used a few different SEO plugins years ago, I moved onto Yoast’s and have never looked further.
I no longer bother with any other forms plugin. The conditional elements and form tools inside Gravity Forms save me so much time. I bought a developer licence for it and use it whenever I can.
Having the flexibility to add widgets conditionally to pages let’s me quickly build out more complex sidebars. With Widget Logic you can use WordPress’ conditional tags to decide what widgets you want to display.
A subtle and effective enhancement to page navigation tools with very little configuration. WP-PageNavi replaces the default Newer and Older post links with a numbered system.
I don’t really like handing off a site to a client when there are a lot of Dashboard areas that are either out of bounds or stuff they wouldn’t ever use. I use Adminimize to hide all that and clean the interface up.
I like to let the site’s CSS handle the design of the pages. I found that when people can change the font size, text colour and suchlike—they do. I use TinyMCE Advanced to chop and change the tools available in the page editor to make sure the CMS doesn’t interfere in a negative way.
Login Logo is such a little lightweight plugin that lets you change the logo on the login screen. A nice little touch.