“What plugins should I use on my website?” – It’s one of the most frequently asked questions that I see come up when I either chat with clients or DIY business owners.
It’s a fair question, considering the WordPress repository has well over 40,000 (yep – I didn’t stutter) plugins to choose from. If you’re new to the WordPress world, that number can be both intimidating and overwhelming. Even if you manage to find some choices by searching in the WordPress repository, you still some guidance on which plugins are the best for your website.
There are good and bad plugins, and we don’t want bad (aka don’t work like their supposed to or haven’t been updated in a while) Those cause problems. I could write an entire blog post on how to choose the right plugins for your site (let me know in the comments below what you think about that!) but for now, I’ve taken care of some of the research for you and narrowed the search down to my Top Ten Recommended Plugins.
These are the core, must-have plugins that I install on every WordPress site that I setup – whether it’s my own site or a client site. There are tons of options out there depending on your website needs and functionality, but these plugins will get you off to a good start and you can build from there.
So without further ado…
Security & Speed:
Akismet helps to reduce the amount of spam comments on your website. Akismet filters out the comments that visitors submit to your site and tells you whether it’s a legitimate comment or a spammer. Even if you don’t have a blog or don’t have comments on your blog, this is a great feature to have in place.
One of the best WordPress security plugins you can have on your site. A few of the gems that Wordfence does:
- It helps to make your site faster and more secure,
- It helps to prevent your site from getting hacked and preventing potential malware ( virus) issues. One of the biggest reason why WordPress sites get hacked and riddled with malware is because of outdated plugins and themes. Wordfence notifies you via email when you’ve got some updating to do
- Tells you when someone with an invalid username tries to login to your website
For being a free plugin, Wordfence has so many great features – and it is the most downloaded WordPress security plugin. I would even recommend looking into the premium version, which offers enhanced security features like country blocking, password reviews and scheduled security scans.
– So I recently discovered this gem and OMG I am in love (yes, I am a nerd.) Here’s why I’m loving this plugin:
-It gives you an score on how secure your website is and gives suggestions on how to improve your website security score.
-Several options for security such as basic firewall, password scan and even changing the default login URL to prevent hacking.
–My absolutely favorite feature of this plugin:
That’s right! You can disable the right click feature on your site to prevent others from copying your text and images. How freaking cool is that? #happydance
4. Updraft Plus
Just like our computers, we need to have a system in place to back up our websites. We put so much time and effort into creating our WordPress sites, that it would be a darn shame to lose everything.
Updraft Plus is one of the best free options out there. You can backup your site and send the backup files to a number of places: Dropbox, Google Drive, your email, your website server and Amazon S3 to name a few.
Contact Form 7 installs a simple form that you can place on your contact page (or any other page on your site.) You can easily configure the form so that it routes directly to your email address. Much better alternative than putting your email address on your site and inviting a spam fest to your email.
If you need forms with a little bit more functionality, I highly recommend checking out Gravity Forms.
6. WP Edit
WP Edit extends the functionality of your visual editor as you are creating content for your website. You can do extra things such as embed videos from Youtube, change the font type, font size, add tables, add columns, etc. It basically helps with the formatting of your content without having to dive into code to get a specific look and layout.
–Did you find an awesome Google font but have no idea how to code it into your website? WP Google Fonts is hte allows you to integrate Google’s free fonts into your website without having to touch code.
Email & List Building
If you are just starting to work on your website, and can’t quite afford something like LeadPages, Ultimate Coming Soon is an excellent alternative. You can create an under construction or doors opening soon page so visitors don’t have to see you work behind the scenes.
The free version is great, but if you want more customization options, functionality like social sharing and email capture, check out the paid version here.
SEO & Analytics
Once you’ve got your Google Analytics accounts setup, this plugin allows you to connect your website to your GA tracking code so you can monitor your website traffic directly from your WordPress Dashboard.
I will admit that my right-brained, creative soul has a hard time with analytics in general, so being able to view this from my WordPress Dashboard is just amazeballs in my humble opinion.
10. Yoast SEO
Last, but by no means least. We all want our website to get found through the search engines, right? Any website owner should have some type of SEO ( Search Engine Optimization) strategy in place, and while WordPress already has -built in SEO capability, Yoast SEO goes the extra mile. A few of my favorite features:
-It gives your individual pages and blog posts a SEO score based on the title, URL link and the keywords used throughout.
-You can use this plugin to submit your website to the various search engines with Webmaster Tools.
-Yoast SEO gives you the ability to connect your social media profiles with Google and your website
-It automagically creates a sitemap (organized list of your website pages & posts) for you.
-Ever wondered how you could change the default image that shows up when you share a link on Facebook? Yoast SEO can help you with that.
And there you have it! Thanks for stopping by!
I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below. What are some of your go-to plugins for your WordPress site? Did I miss anything?
You may also want to check out: 4 Premium Plugins That Will Dramatically Improve Your Website