Yesterday we talked about trimming down the number of plugins on your blogs. Today, let’s talk about what plugins are essential to running your blog efficiently.

Here are just a few of the ones I think are important:

Akismet – very useful for keeping spam away. Every once in awhile, look through the messages it marks as spam though, as it sometimes will mark as spam a comment that wasn’t really spam.

Contact Form ][ – Quick way to add a contact form to your blog, and very easy to implement.

Google XML Sitemaps – will generate a special XML sitemap, absolutely necessary if you want SE traffic.

Exclude Pages from Navigation – use it to exclude pages from the primary navigation. For example, I created a thank you page where my newsletter subscribers land on after subscribing, and I didn’t want that page on my top navigation. With this plugin, you get a small check-box that allows you to remove a page from the navigation.

WordPress Database Backup – Schedule an automatic backup for your blog’s database. Sleep easier knowing your blog is safe. You can schedule a daily/wekly backup and have it email the zipped backup to your email.

Platinum SEO Pack – excellent plugin to help you with your SEO efforts.

Depending on your specific niche, or purpose of your blog, there are many more plugins that may be essential. Are you using any other plugins you think everyone SHOULD use? Please share!