I've been using WordPress since 2004 (less than a year after it launched). I launched my own WordPress blog and wrote my very first blog post on Jan 24, 2005.
And in all those years of working with WordPress, developing WordPress plugins, building my own WordPress websites, and helping my clients build their own websites, I've found the following to be among *the very best* and "must have" WordPress plugins I use (or have used) - and highly recommend.
I've separated them loosely into multiple categories, like Making, Managing, Marketing and Monetizing. Most of these are best-of-breed plugins. But doesn't mean you should install all of them. In fact, trying to install a plugin just-because is a sure-fire way to make sure you never launch anything :-). So don't do that. Use them IF and ONLY IF you absolutely need to implement a specific feature.
And be sure to bookmark this page, as I add and remove plugins over time as plugins evolve.
Legend: * (f) Free * (p) Paid * (fr) Freemium (Free tier, Premium extras)