What WordPress Plugins Do I Need?
With so many WordPress plugins available, it can sometimes seem impossible to choose the right ones. Clients often ask us which WordPress plugins they need for their site. Luckily, several of them come free, which allows you to test them in trial and error to see which ones work best for you and your end users. Here’s a list of the top five WordPress plugins we recommend to get your blog started:
- Yoast SEO (formerly WordPress SEO by Yoast): By now, we’ve all heard a thing or two about SEO. Yes, I know that’s quite the understatement, but you might be surprised at how many websites don’t apply even basic SEO principles like unique title tags and meta descriptions. That’s why Yoast SEO has ranked supreme on our top list of plugins. Not only is this plugin the most comprehensive SEO optimization plugin out there, but it’s also extremely easy to set up and use. With features ranging from simple, page-level tagging to XML sitemap and canonical tag generation, Yoast SEO should be your go-to if you’re looking for a complete SEO package.
- UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration: Whether it’s from a careless error, a hardware issue or a corrupt database, websites do go down, content is lost and restoration is necessary. It used to be that restoration meant hoping you had a recent backup… one manually compiled from various file and database exports. Relax – that’s where our number two pick, UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration, comes in. Simple to install and even simpler to use, Updraft allows you to schedule anything from a one-time, full backup to a daily backup of content that can be restored with a simple click. With a wide variety of restoration passages, through Amazon S3, FTP or email, Updraft is a great way to ensure your essential content never goes missing in action.
- Contact Form 7: With over one thousand contact form plugins available, it might seem like a daunting task to choose the right one. In reality, most are fairly simple to use, for both you and your website visitor. Contact Form 7 is one of the most frequently downloaded plugins for contact forms, and there’s a few good reasons why. For budget conscious folks, it’s completely free and can be installed on any number of sites. There is also a decent variety of third party add-on plugins that work well with Contact Form 7. On its own, the plugin managers multiple forms that you can customize with ease. Email content that appears to subscribers can be updated just as easily.
- Akismet: You’ve created a beautiful new blog and everything is functioning as it should, but you have one very annoying problem: you’re constantly getting hit by spam comments and contact form submissions. That’s why we recommend manually activating and using Akismet, the one plugin that’s automatically installed with WordPress; it protects your blog from receiving spam comments and can be integrated into Contact Form 7 to protect those forms as well. Content marked as spam will go into a queue where it can be reviewed so, even if the plugin isn’t 100% accurate, you can still identify and whitelist authentic commenters.
- WP Super Cache: Would you like to improve user experience on your blog? Perhaps improve that Google PageSpeed score? WP Super Cache is one of the best ways to do that. To put it simply, this plugin will generate static files from what are normally “heavier” PHP pages used by WordPress. For site visitors, this means a site that loads more quickly. For brands, this means your website can handle more simultaneous visitors and do so without investment in additional server resources. Because this plugin operates more on the server level than most, we recommend talking to your webmaster before using WP Super Cache.
Each of these plugins are available for use under GNU General Public License, which means they are free to use but without direct support by the developer. For businesses who want priority plugin support or just want to show their appreciation to the plugin developers, we recommend paying for the premium or plus version, where available: Yoast SEO Premium, UpdraftPlus Premium & Akismet Plus (required for commercial use).
No website code is 100% secure from a determined hacker, so plugins can sometimes have security holes. Our best advice for any plugin is to make sure you’re always running the latest version and update to new versions as soon as they’re recommended.
Is your favorite plugin missing from our list? Be sure to comment here – we’d love to include them in the next plugins post!