Better to have WordPress Plugins and why you need them.
One of the main reasons why WordPress grew to be the most popular website engine on the web is the plugin ecosystem that grew alongside. There are tens of thousands of plugins available to WordPress users. Making it extremely overwhelming and difficult to know which ones really make a difference for a user’s website. Most plugins provide services and are focused only on niche solutions, but few are truly must-have WordPress plugins for all sites.
In this roundup, we are going to see some plugins (better to have! and the ones I prefer) which you should install no matter what kind of site you’re running, or what niche it belongs to. Sit tight you are going to get introduced to nine must-have WordPress plugins and explain what makes each one stand out.
If you just want to build a website or set up free SSL for your website then you can skip this article and head over to these guides:
- How to build your own WordPress website?
- How to set up free SSL for your Website?
- How to install WordPress Plugin?
Let’s get started!
1. W3 Total Cache:
W3 Total Cache is a caching plugin. Caching helps in faster delivery of your website to your visitors and also reduces the load on the website server.
Since W3 total cache focuses on providing caching solutions, this plugging boosts the user experience of your site by improving your server performance by reducing the load of loading the entire website. You can try out this plugging in its free version and if it suits you go ahead with the paid version to enjoy the full service of the plugin.
Another viable alternative: WP Rocket.
2. Smush Image Compression:
Using optimized images on your website page and post is very essential to provide the best user experience and for your website ranking. Smush is the WordPress plugin that comes very handy for optimizing any image format on your website (Media section in your WordPress).
Optimize image loads faster thus reducing bounce rate, support in website SEO ranking and optimize image takes less storage space on the server. I personally use this plugin for the website I handle (Jeevan Gupta and DesignGig a Furniture Solution Provider).
3. Yoast SEO:
Yoast SEO is well known and one of the best SEO tools in the WordPress ecosystem. This plugin helps you improve your page and post SEO (the most important factor in ranking your website), it can even analyze your content’s readability.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Which is the whole art and science of ranking high on a search engine (organic listing in simple word unpaid section). It is a process of optimizing your pages and posts content so that it’s very easy for search engines to find and rank your page/post based on the searched keyword.
4. Sucuri Security:
WordPress is the oldest and one of the most popular website platforms, which means that, unfortunately, it’s also the most frequent target of hackers.
This is where the Sucuri Security plugin comes into play – it’s one of the known security plugins for WordPress. Sucuri is a globally recognized authority when it comes to website security. This free plugin can handle a lot of your WordPress security, and most of it happens on autopilot.
Another viable alternative: WordFence
5. UpdraftPlus – Backup/restore:
Having a backup of your website is very vital. This small step can save you from a big hassle. Hailing backup of your website saves you from server outage (server can go down), website damage by hackers and spammers, website owner mistakes (wrong files can get overwritten or deleted or SQL error) anything and everything which can harm your website and its content.
In Order to have a regular backup of your website, one of the handy plugins is UpdraftPlus. This plugin allows you to make backups of your website easily and then restore them just as smoothly. You can schedule jobs for your backups to happen automatically on a daily or weekly interval. UpdraftPlus also integrates with cloud services for storing your backup archives.
Another viable alternative: BackWPup
6. Insert header and footer:
Usually, website owners link their website with Google Analytics, Search Console, or similar tools. In order to complete the connection with such a platform, verification, inserting ad retargeting scripts, etc you need to add code snippet in your website header or footer. WordPress makes this task easier by a plugin – Insert header and footer.
Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. That eliminates the need for a developer and saves some bugs. This free plugin is extremely beneficial for website owners with or without a technical background.
7. Really Simple SSL:
You have a website and you are regular in publishing content on your website and waiting for good traffic to turn in. To be frank that’s not gonna work if your website has a strike-over lock icon in the URL or website domain/URL starts with HTTP. These things give your visitor a sense of insecurity while visiting your website.
These days, most web hosts offer free SSL certificates, which is great since it makes the web safer overall. One one of the services which offer free SSL is Cloudflare. See my guide on Setting up Cloudflare for your Website.
However, to actually be able to use that free certificate, you have to enable your site to integrate it. That’s when the Really Simple SSL plugin comes into the picture. Using it is simple and doesn’t involve any server-level work. As soon as you install the plugin, you’re going to be taken by the hand through the process of getting that SSL of yours to work.
8. Sassy Social Share:
You have a website, secured it, and regular with your useful content but still, users are not recognizing it. You should consider having some social media buttons on your site to enable your reader (traffic) to share your content much more conveniently. Sassy Social Share plugin is a simple tool that gives you that functionality.
The plugin features all of the most common and widely used social networks, displays your current share counts, and lets you pick from a handful of button styles.
Another viable alternative: Social Sharing by Danny
9. WP Forms:
Your website has thousands of visitors per month, Congratulations on that! Now it’s time to enable your reader or subscribers to reach out to you directly to build an everlasting connection. To do so the website should have a contact form.
WordPress houses hundreds of contact form plugins that offer the needed functionality, but WP Forms is one of the more modern ones.
This plugin will help you build a simple contact form with minimal setup with WPForms. However, if your requirement changes and you need a more complex form builder that can serve other purposes (like pop-up forms), WPForms got you covered there as well.
Bonus List of plugins that act as icing on the cake:
1. a3 Lazy Load:
a3 Lazy Load is a WordPress plugin dedicated exclusively to lazy loading, making it the best choice for websites that display a lot of media. This free tool not only loads your images faster, but you can also toggle it to work on iframes and videos with its wide customization options.
2. Akismet Spam Protection:
Akismet plugin is very useful for website owners receiving a huge number of spam comments. It’s very common to ignore direct/actual comments while floating through spam comments. The plugin act has a guard whose sole responsibility is to not let any spam comment through. Just install and activate this plugin and the daily filtering and spam prevention all happen on autopilot.
3. Constant Contact:
Website owners always hear that they should build an email list. But very few actually will be able to build a healthy email list with less hassle. Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world. This tool allows you to build an email list and send interactive email newsletters to your subscribers. This plugging is the best when it comes to non-techy website owners/handlers.
Install and take advantage of better to have WordPress plugins.
No matter what niche your website is targeting, there are some plugins that are always worth installing. As far as must-have plugins go, these nine are top picks since:
- W3 Total Cache: A powerful caching solution that will speed up the website and reduce the load on the server.
- Smush: You can optimize any image format for a faster load of images and a better user experience.
- Yoast SEO: Helps you improve site SEO and increase your organic traffic.
- Sucuri Security: Safeguard your website from hackers.
- UpdraftPlus: This plugin makes the website backup easy.
- Insert Header and footer: you can add a code snippet to the website header and footer.
- Really Simple SSL: Enabling your site to integrate with Free/Paid SSL.
- Sassy Social Share: Housing social media buttons on the site to share the content easily.
- WP Forms: You can create contact forms just by drag and drop.
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