10 Essential WordPress Plugins

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

With almost 40,000 plugins available to WordPress users, WordPress’ core functionality can be expanded to meet the needs of nearly anyone.  Lots of sites list their “XX Must-Have WordPress Plugins” and I’m joining the parade.  Here are the plugins I find absolutely necessary for every WordPress installation.

1. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin

W3 Total Cache speeds up your site “by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration”.

2.  Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

Yoast SEO controls all aspects of managing the SEO for your site.  You can add meta descriptions, custom page titles and run checks that tell you how well you nailed your keyword content.

3. iThemes Security

iThemes Security WordPress plugin

iThemes Security has saved several clients from brute-force attacks.  I use this to schedule backups, change the name of the admin folder and generally lock down client sites.   Login attempts can be limited, IP addresses or even countries excluded from accessing your site and it hooks into a blacklist database to automatically exclude notorious IP addresses.

4. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms isn’t free, but I use it on nearly all of my client sites. It is flexible, has conditional logic, is easy to set up and style, integrates with payment gateways and MailChimp and works!

5. Really Simple Captcha

Really Simple Captcha WordPress plugin

Really Simple Captcha works with Contact Form 7, a plugin I’m not fond of, but have used for some clients. The nice thing about this plugin is the size of the captcha – it is small and unobtrusive.  Because of this, it fits better in sidebars than reCaptcha does.

6. Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps WordPress plugin

Google XML Sitemaps is the easy way to create a sitemap that Google’s crawler and Google Analytics can easily read.

7. Widget Logic

Widget Logic WordPress plugin

Widget Logic is a little difficult for non-coders to use, but it adds extremely powerful control of what page or post you want a particular widget to appear on.

8. UpDraft Plus

Updraft Plus WordPress plugin

UpDraft Plus is a backup and restoration plugin that can save your site files and database to Dropbox, Google Drive, email or other cloud services.  I use both this and iThemes Security to run backups, just for insurance.

9. Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin

Editorial Calendar lets you easily schedule posts and keeps track of your drafts.  This plugin is essential if you want to blog ahead and makes following an editorial plan simple.

10. WP Smush

WP Smush WordPress plugin

WP Smush  strips unnecessary information from your images, reducing file size and helping them load faster.  It does not affect the quality of your images, but the images load faster, which Google loves.  One problem, though; it slows down uploading and dropping images into your posts/pages.

 

What plugins do you find essential?  Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

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Diane Ensey

Programming Diva and CEO at Beyond Paper
For more than 10 years I've been making websites work for clients world-wide using WordPress, Google Maps, forms and custom applications. You can see my work portfolio and case studies at Beyond Paper.
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