Over years of creating masterpiece WordPress sites I have successfully navigated the plugin filled minefield to find you the best ones.
Don’t worry this isn’t a ten foot scroll of every possible plugin available that does something of use. These are the basic MUST HAVE plugins I use on all of my WordPress sites; efficient, easy & successful.
In fact you can read the debate on Jetpack over at WPMUDEV https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/will-jetpack-supercharge-or-superbloat-your-wordpress-site/
SO HERE’S THE TOP SECRET LIST THAT WILL TURN YOU INTO A WP ZERO TO HERO
(there’s a reason everyone of these plugins have 1million+ downloads)
All in One SEO (by Semper Plugins)
I KNOW EVERYONE THINKS YOAST WHEN IT COMES TO SEO BUT TAKE THIS EXPERT ADVICE: FORGET YOAST, FORGET YOAST, FORGET YOAST. There is a reason All in ONE SEO was the FIRST WP plugin to reach 1 MILLION downloads. I have been an ardent Yoast user for a while until I came across All in ONE and have to say it performs much better and is without a doubt THE BEST SEO PLUGIN for WordPress sites out there. Now I’m not saying Yoast is terrible by any means at all but the capacity at which All in ONE out weights Yoast is quite heavy and the fact that Yoast boasts (see what I did there) that they are #1 is simply not true..and I HATE liars. I found Yoast’s UX Design to be terrible, especially when applied to pages and posts compared to All in ONE’s easy to use interface and integration. All in ONE also has a slew of multiple paid options; $79/yr for personal, $139/yr for businesses and believe me IT IS worth it. You will get great link building tools, instant backlinks, automated SEO image optimization, access to their 24/7 SEO professional support staff, video optimization and much much more. With the free version you get a ton of features still of course, everything you need to rank a site #1 on Google such as setting any and all Google related settings, permalink structures, URL settings, sitemaps, keyword tools, title/content optimization, pagination options and various automated SEO optimization features. Remember YOAST = TOAST, use All in ONE.
Contact Form 7 (by ContactForm7.com)
Pretty self explanatory on this one. If your looking to add contat forms to your site, which if your not your losing already, Contact Form 7 does exactly what it says, creates simple effective contact forms able to integrate with ease into any theme, post, page, etc. Whether your in the affiliate marketing game or the business game itself, you need a Contact Form and CF7 is the way to go. It is basic, simple, to the point, never fails and is fully customable. Build your own contact forms with easy drag and drop features, select what fields you want, mark which ones you want required and sync it to services like MailChimp, Salesforce, Google Analytics & more. Quite simply you should be using this form a lot, ESPECIALLY if your a business that relays on online lead generation. Simply sync CF7 with your business email and have every form sent to your inbox for instant reply. Now of course there are other Contact Form plugins that are super powered and give you immortality but there is no need for them, especially just starting out developing your site.
Akismet or ‘A-kis-met’ (by Automattic)
A lot of people new to WordPress are probably wondering is this that weird plugin that pops up on my dashboard every single minute asking me to update or buy the paid version, YES it is. HOWEVER, do not be dismayed by the name this one plugin you WANT TO KEEP. Once you start gaining traction and visitors to your site you’ll soon realize the absolutely INSANE amount of SPAM comments that get sent to your posts, images, etc. Fortunetly for me and you, Akismet exists and comes with WP standard installation. Akismet is a hosted anti-spam service that aims to “thwart the underbelly of the web.” Basically Akismet efficiently processes and analyzes a TON of data from millions of sites, forums, communities in real time in order to stay up to date with the internet’s most proficient spammers (mostly Black Hat SEO’ers trying to gain backlinks on quality sites). Like Alfred the Great against the Vikings, Akismet learns and evolves from its data every second to prevent the dirtiest, nastiest and simply best spammers out there. BELIEVE ME, without this tool you will soon find yourself with 1000 comments spammed across your site in ten different languages tearing down the beautiful site architecture you had before. Akismet is most definitely a #MustHave.
WP Smush It (SMUSH IT REAL GOOD) (by Dialect.ca)
When it comes to images on WordPress they can soon before you know it start to bloat your site with their sizes, especially if your using lots of infographics, gifs and png images. Luckilly I exist and I am here to tell you about WP Smush It, the absolute best WordPress image optimizer out there. I have used EWWW in the past, which does a great job but WP Smush is simply just better, plain and simple. WP Smush uses WPMU DEV’s super servers to quickly “smush” every single one of your images and cuts all the unnecessary data without slowing down your site. Smush gives you great options when adding images into a post or page and by far outclasses all other image optimization tools when it comes to compression. Smush drastically increases the speed of your site through compressing your library of images, which you can easily do each by each or use the bulk feature and optimize up to 50 images at a time, much more with the paid option. Another great feature is the “Auto-Smush” which synchronously scales and compresses every image you upload instantaneously. As with most plugins aimed at speeding your site up, this will plugin will also increase your rankings on Search without you having to do anything.
W3 Total Cache (by w3-edge)
Cloudflare CDN (by Cloudflare)
So for those who don’t know what a CDN is (no its not a news channel), its OK don’t worry that’s why people like me exist. A CDN is a “Content Delivery Network”, a third party system of networks that deliver webpage content to a user based his or hers geographic location, the origin of the website and a content delivery server giving the “user” of your site the fastest possible route of content delivery based on their location. CDN’s can also be a HUGEEEE help in large surges of traffic, when you get to that level, but even just a simple blog a CDN is a must and the genius’ at Cloudflare created the best WordPress plugin CDN out there without any questions asked. Cloudflare offers literal “one-click” fully optimized settings, once activated just sit back and let it fly. Cloudflare also offers “Web Application Firewall” or WAF rulesets built into the plugin as to mitigate any WordPress specific threats or vulnerabilities, enabling WAF isn’t 100% security proof but you can rest easy knowing your site is in good hands. Cloudflare also has paid plans (of course every good plugin does) that greatly improve your site’s content speed however the free version is all you need, with a built in dashboard you can edit all your settings right from your admin page and view analytics such as how much bandwidth the CDN is saving you.
- Broken Link Checker (checks every inch of your site for those pesky broken links)
- iThemes Security (best FREE security plugin, easy to use, never had any issues)
- Google XML Sitemap Generator (creates a Google friendly sitemap for indexing and SEO purposes)
- All In ONE Site Migration (Backup/Migrate Sites)
- MailChimp for WordPress (Get the best free email platforms official WP plugin, integrates into almost everything)