When you have set up your basic new WordPress blog or website one of the things you will need is some useful WordPress Plugins. There are thousands to choose from but I am going to show you the most essential ones that are really a must-have. First I will explain what WordPress plugins are.
What are Plugins?
A plugin is a software app that you can use on your website which will extend the functionality of your website or add new features.
No matter what you are trying to do on your WordPress site, it’s possible. If the feature is not available in default WordPress, then there is certainly a plugin available. There is a popular saying in the WordPress community, “There is a plugin for that”.
There are more than 50,000 plus free plugins available right now on theWordPress.org plugin directory. Thousands more are available from third-party websites like Github. On top of that, there are also thousands of premium WordPress plugins that are sold by individual developers and companies.
Below are the 5 must have plugins for your WordPress website
1. Wordfence (Security)
It secures your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security. Firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security & more. It has a 5/5 star rating.
The WordPress security plugin provides the best protection available for your website. Powered by the constantly updated Threat Defence Feed, WordFence Firewall stops you from getting hacked. Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting you quickly about security issues or if your site is compromised. The Live Traffic view gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your website.
2. Akismet (Spam Filter)
Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against the global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen. Akismet has a 4.5/5 rating.
Major features in Akismet include:
- Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
- Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
- URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
- Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
- A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.
If you are a blogger that is doing any sort of content marketing or affiliate marketing you will definitely need one of the next two SEO plugins.
3. SEO All In One (SEO)
All in One SEO Pack is for optimizing your WordPress site for SEO. First created in 2007, see why All In One SEO is one of the all-time most downloaded plugins for WordPress. This plugin has a 4.5/5 rating
The major features:
- XML Sitemap support – submit your sitemap to Google and Bing and improve your SEO
- Image XML Sitemap submitted to Google and Bing to improve your Image SEO
- Google AMP support (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Google Analytics support
- Support for SEO on Custom Post Types
- Advanced Canonical URLs
- Redirect attachment pages to a parent post
- Automatically notifies search engines like Google and Bing about changes to your site
- Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend the functionality
- ONLY free plugin to provide SEO Integration for e-commerce sites, including WooCommerce
- Nonce Security built into All in One SEO Pack
- Automatically optimizes your titles for Google and other search engines
- Generates META tags automatically
- Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
- For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
- For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything to optimize your SEO
- You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
- Compatibility with many other plugins
- Translated into 57 languages
- PHP 7 100% Compatible
4. Yoast (SEO)
This incredibly popular plugin by Yoast helps experts with on-site SEO needs. The tool will let you:
- Add meta keywords, title, and description to your posts.
- Provide clear site navigation for crawlers and users.
- Analyze your on-page SEO. You can check your content, descriptions, and keywords.
- See what your snippets will look like.
- Create an SEO-friendly Facebook Open Graph.
Need some help with your search engine optimization? Need an SEO plugin that helps you reach for the stars? Yoast SEO is the original WordPress SEO plugin since 2008. It is the favorite tool of millions of users, ranging from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet. With Yoast SEO, you get a solid toolset that helps you aim for that number one spot in the search results. Yoast: SEO for everyone.
Yoast SEO does everything in its power to please both visitors and search engine spiders. How? Below you’ll find a small sampling of the powers of Yoast SEO: Yoast has a 5/5 star rating.
- The most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality at the push of a button.
- Full control over site breadcrumbs: add a piece of code and you’re good to go.
- Set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content. Never have to worry about Google penalties again.
- Title and meta description templating for better branding and consistent snippets in the search results.
This WordPress plugin has a very quick and easy-to-use interface.
5. EWWW Image Optimizer
The EWWW Image Optimizer will increase your page speeds by way of image optimization. Increased page speeds can result in better search engine rankings, and will also improve conversion rates (increased sales and signups). It will also save you storage space and bandwidth. While EWWW I.O. will automatically optimize new images that you upload, it can also optimize all the images that you have already uploaded, and optionally convert your images to the best file format. You can choose pixel perfect compression or high compression options that are visually lossless.
EWWW I.O. will optimize images uploaded and created by any plugin and features special integrations with many popular plugins, detailed below. This plugin has a star rating of 4.5/5.
Why use EWWW Image Optimiser?
- No Speed Limits and unlimited file size. Using automatic Background Optimisation and optional Parallel Optimisation, get rid of upload delays and get back to doing what you love.
- Smooth Handling with pixel-perfect optimization using industry-leading tools and progressive rendering.
- High Torque as they bring you the best compression/quality ratio available with our lossy options for JPG, PNG, and PDF files.
- Adaptive Steering With intelligent conversion options to get the right image format for the job (JPG, PNG, or GIF).
- Free Parking The core plugin is free and always will be. Additionally, if you choose the API, you never pay for an image we can’t compress, you are never billed for a month you do not use the API, and prepaid credits never expire. Plus, get WebP image generation at no extra cost: any JPG or PNG can be converted to Google’s next-generation image format.
- Comprehensive Coverage: No image gets left behind, optimize everything on your site, beyond just the WordPress Media Library.
- Safety First: All communications are secured with top SSL encryption.
- Roadside Assistance: Top-notch support is in our DNA. While API customers get top priority, we answer every single support question with care.
- Pack a Spare: Free image backups store your original images for 30 days.
The lossy compression uses unique algorithms to gain maximum compression while remaining visually lossless. Your images can even be converted to the most suitable file format using the appropriate options. Using the EWWW I.O. API will allow the plugin to work on any hosting platform, and can also be desirable if you cannot, or do not want to use the exec() function on your server, or prefer to offload the resource demands of optimization.
I am going to throw in another plugin as a bonus as the Yoast SEO plugin and All In One SEO plugin are not compatible and you only need one SEO plugin for your site.
Add To Any (Social Sharing Buttons)
The AddToAny Share Buttons plugin for WordPress increases traffic & engagement by helping people share your posts and pages to any service. Services include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and over 100 more sharing and social media sites & apps.
AddToAny is the home of universal sharing, and the AddToAny plugin is the most popular share plugin for WordPress, making sites social media ready since 2006.
- Standard share buttons — share each piece of content
- Floating share buttons — responsive & customizable, vertical & horizontal
- Counters — fast & official share counts in the same style
- Follow buttons** — social media links to your Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat
- Image sharing buttons – share buttons for sharing images
- Vector share buttons & follow buttons — custom color SVG icons
- Custom share icons — use your own if you prefer
- Official buttons including the Facebook Like Button, Twitter Tweet Button, Pinterest Save Button, Google+ Share Button and Google +1 Button
- Universal email sharing makes it easy to share via Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com (Hotmail), AOL Mail, and any other web or native apps.
Below is a related post with more information about plugins.
Choosing plugins can be a personal preference. Some people might like one plugin over another that do very similar things. It’s a matter of trial an error most of the time to see which particular plugin works best for you and your website.
I need to just say that having too many plugins is not good for your website as some may slow your website down. It is actually the quality of the plugin that is most important. So always choose quality plugins.
To do this you should look if the plugin has been updated recently. How many users the plugin has The star rating of the plugin. And if it is compatible with the version of WordPress you are using. (you should be using the latest version of WordPress).
I hope this article on WordPress plugins was useful to you. Please get in touch if you have any questions. You can contact me via the comments box below or the contact form.