Essential WordPress Plugins
With a growing list of over 20,000 plugins, sometimes figuring out which ones to use is tricky! This is a quick overview of 12 essential WordPress plugins that every WordPress Blog should have. The good news is (at the time of writing this) they are all completely free. The below essential WordPress plugins relate to enhancing WordPress functionality, security, SEO, and Social Marketing.
#1 – Secure-WP
Security should always be your first concern when anything is reachable publicly on the internet – that is why I rank Secure-WP as one of the essential WordPress plugins out there. Don’t get me wrong – WordPress does a great job natively of securing your Blog, providing that you keep the version updated.
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However, Secure-WP bolsters that security further by removing oodles of information that hackers could use and removing some sensitive material from user accounts while preserving this information in the administrator’s account. Good stuff!
#2 – Spam Free WordPress
Spam is a HUGE problem with WordPress blogs, making an anti-spam plugin one of the essential WordPress plugins. I use Spam Free WordPress, which seems to be doing quite well. Over six months blocked over 8,000 spam comments, a number which grows exponentially. Now imagine having to go through 40-50 spam comments per day! One of the key reasons we use plugins is to save time, and Spam Free WordPress certainly accomplishes this!
Essential WordPress Plugins #3 – W3 Total Cache
After security and spam are taken care of, site speed is the next thing that comes to mind. No one will wait around 30 seconds for your web page to load, so site speed is critical. I’ll now mention a couple of essential WordPress plugins that help supercharge your website.
The first is W3 Total Cache. This plugin is massively popular, downloaded almost 1.2 million times! It helps speed up your site by improving server performance, caching every aspect of your website, reducing download times, and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. In short, it makes your WordPress Blog faster!
#4 – WP-Optimize
WordPress is database driven. The more efficient the database is, the quicker pages can be accessed from the database, and the quicker your site loads to visitors. However, over time, a WordPress database can become polluted with needless information (such as deleted content, spam comments, old page revisions, etc.). This increases the database’s overall size and access times to that database. The result – your pages take longer to open.
WP-Optimize cleans up your database automatically and keeps it streamlined by removing needless information continuously.
#5 – WP Database Backup
Regarding essential WordPress plugins, backing up your data is right up there. It’s something we all leave until it’s too late and then wish we hadn’t. WP Database Backup makes it simple to back up the core. The key thing here is that you can easily backup your site with WP DB – and, if need be, can hire a freelancer to restore your areas; I would imagine who would charge in the region of $25-50 – a lot less of a headache than rebuilding your site from scratch!WordPress tables.
The one downside to this plugin is that it’s a little tricky to restore if something does happen to your site. There are alternative plugins that are much more user-friendly, such as Backup Buddy, but this is unfortunately not a free plugin, priced at $75 for 2 WordPress sites.
#6 – Broken Link Checker
There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on a link and getting the “page not found” error. While this is frustrating for the visitor, it also generally pushes that visitor (and potential client) away from your website. The Broken Link Checker can monitor links in your posts, pages, comments, blogroll, and custom fields and report broken links to you through your WordPress dashboard or email.
Essential WordPress Plugins #7 – Google XML Sitemaps
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO-related plugins. Only a handful of these I would consider essential WordPress plugins. The first is Google XML Sitemaps. A sitemap is a road map of your website, outlining all the individual pages and how they link together – their structure. Google and other major search engines use sitemaps to crawl and index your site more efficiently.
Google XML Sitemaps automatically creates a sitemap and keeps it updated as you add new content. Besides, it notifies all major search engines every time you make and post new content.