WordPress is the leading content management system (CMS) on the web. It accounts for well over a quarter of all active websites in the world. What makes it so popular is the sheer number of customisation options available to take advantage of, its speed, ease of deployment and that it’s Open Source.
There are literally millions of plugins to choose from. It can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to get started, or even just someone who wants to review their current range of plugins.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO is more than a basic SEO plugin. It comes with a website optimisation package so you can make your whole website ready for Google.
It does the basics of adding meta titles and descriptions to your articles. But what it also does is give you access to things such as open graphs, advanced meta data, page analysis, and the XML sitemap. It’s a matter of a few clicks to install it on your website.
In a world where technical SEO has taken a backseat to social media popularity, this plugin will cover the few bases left to cover when it comes to appealing to Google’s crawler bots.
While WordPress is renowned for its security, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra layer. A backup and the ability to migrate your data is essential for defending your hard work should the worst happen.
This plugin allows you to establish a backup schedule. It will automatically create backups of your website as often as you want. If you wish to create a backup each week, this plugin will do it for you without any input. All backups are stored in the cloud, so it does not matter if your computer is hit by some unspecified problem.
You can also download backups if you prefer to keep hard copies on external hard drives and USB memory sticks.
3. W3 Total Cache
Speed is a performance indicator in the eyes of Google. Every page should load within at least three seconds, and that includes images and any videos. Fail to do this and your site will be penalised in the rankings.
W3 Total Cache helps optimise your website for speed. It will compress pages and install a unique delivery network for any of your static files. The plugin comes with a guide for beginners on how to make use of its features.
4. Gravity Forms
Unfortunately, WordPress does not make it easy to set up a basic ‘Contact’ page. Most people have to download a plugin to get the functionality they need.
We recommend trying out Gravity Forms. This plugin has practically every kind of contact form you could want. Other features include the ability to create surveys and web directories.
If your business relies on lead generation, try out this plugin. Some users have reported a 600% increase in email subscribers from using this plugin. It’s designed to create opt-in forms with an emphasis on converting as many visitors as possible into subscribers.
Features include page-level targeting, split testing, and analytics.
6. Edit Flow
If you are running a blog, things can get hectic pretty quickly. This editor’s plugin gives you everything you could need, from a way to assign posts, managing your author team, and creating an editorial calendar. Edit Flow enables you to plan your whole content marketing strategy from the comfort of a dashboard.
We believe that as far as WordPress sliders go you will not go far wrong with Soliloquy. It is one of the few slider plugins that does not increase page loading times. Another benefit of this epic slider plugin is that it comes with a free version to help you decide whether it’s for you.
We have already offered you a way to back your website up, but this plugin will reinforce security. Every website is a potential target, so Sucuri offers real-time alerts, complete with security scanners and malware removal. It works in conjunction with existing standard WordPress security measures.
9. Floating Social Bar
At first glance, Floating Social Bar is like any other social media plugin for WordPress. Look closer and you will see it’s the same without all the unnecessary parts. With streamlined scripts to ensure your site runs fast, it only includes the social media sites that actually matter.
WordPress comments are best handled by the default system if you have a small website. As your site increases in popularity, consider switching over to Disqus. It better handles larger volumes of comments, plus it’s a third-party service, so your servers are entirely unaffected by sudden spikes in activity. Over time, we have found Disqus to be reliable and easy to use.
So, there you have it: our top 10 must-have WordPress plugins. We know there are others out there you might have in your top ten, but we love these. Enjoy!