I’ve decided to recommend 5 universal, essential plugins for WordPress so that you can start the year of 2009 on the right foot with your WordPress websites. If you haven’t tried these, go ahead and put them on your WordPress website!

5 Essential WordPress Plugins for 2009

Ohz’ Admin Drop Down Menu

Have you ever felt that you spend too much unnecessary time in the WordPress dashboard? It could be because of the fact that there is a large number of menus, mostly with sub-menus. This plugin will save you loads of time as you browse through the WordPress administration panel, directly going to the specific sections you need to from drop down menus. Of course, this plugin will most likely not be needed anymore once WordPress 2.7 has been officially released.

Simple Tags

Easily and seamlessly manage your WordPress tags to drastically improve your search engine optimization (SEO). You can manage all your tags and mass edit your tags as needed. This tool has helped me to organize the tags on my site better and easily tag multiple posts with specific target keywords/phrases.

Banner Rotator Plugin

Do you have a WordPress website that provides rich content to users on a frequent basis which drives a good amount of traffic? If you do, it probably won’t hurt to make a little extra revenue from the website through advertisement publishing, correct? This WordPress banner ads plugin will give you the ability to rotate image, Flash and code (HTML, JavaScript) banner ads on your website in different sizes and spots.

Contact Form 7

Surely all website owners have the need to allow their users/visitors to contact them with questions, requests and suggestions about both the site and the content/products the site has to offer. The best way to allow customers to contact you is to construct a WordPress contact page with a contact form where they can submit their details. This plugin will allow you to do that and has an amazing level of flexibility, allowing you to create custom fields to put on your contact form.

Admin Management xTended

I really love the simplicity and power of this plugin. Today, I wrote a WordPress post on a rather busy blog and accidently clicked “Publish” when it wasn’t ready yet. This plugin helped me to quickly set the status to “Draft” before it got read, from the “Manage” > “Posts” section. So this plugin puts several buttons in the WordPress management section so that you can change a post/page publish status, publish date, post slug, etc.