WordPress is the #1 CMS used to build websites for several reasons, including its ease of use and the vast array of themes that can be used to make every website built using WordPress unique. However, most users find the most helpful element of WordPress to be plugins.
Plugins are an app or software that can be added to a WordPress website that provides additional features and functionality. They can add this functionality either in the back end to make building and managing the WordPress site easier, or they can add it to the front end to benefit visitors to that website.
One slight problem, although some might say this is positive, is that there are so many plugins to choose from, and not all of them have the high levels of reliability that you want for your website. Thankfully, a core number of plugins have proved themselves, and today are some of the most installed plugins on WordPress, with many web designers considering them essential when designing a WordPress website.
To ensure you are aware of them, we have outlined fifteen essential plugins below, briefly explaining what each of them does. Note they are not necessarily in order of importance.
#1 – Yoast SEO: If you want to rank on Google and see organic traffic coming to your website, SEO is a must. However, if, like most website owners, you are not an SEO expert, it can be daunting. Thankfully, Yoast SEO can help, enabling you to optimise content and web pages with suggestions and actions to take.
#2 – Jetpack: This multi-function plugin provides WordPress website owners with tools to create content, enhance the security of their website, and, importantly, improve its performance. It also offers ways to customise your website and enhance its functionality to help it load quickly.
#3 – Akismet Anti-Spam: For WordPress website owners who have decided to include a blog on your website, you can allow comments on your blog posts to help build trust and engagement with your audience. Unfortunately, some comments will be spam, but fear not; the Akismet anti-spam plugin will filter these.
#4 – WP Super Cache: Fast website load speeds are critical for good user experience and Google rankings. This plugin will help your website to load faster as it stores cached static versions of your website in browsers.
#5 – WP-Optimize: WordPress is based upon a database; problems with this database can cause websites to malfunction or load slowly. WP-Optimize is a plugin that can overcome these issues by cleaning up your WordPress database to help your website perform better and load faster.
#6 – WP Smush: This strangely named plugin can be a huge help for websites that use a lot of images within its content. Images are often the prime cause of slow-loading pages, so you need them optimised to reverse this. This is exactly what WP Smush does by reducing the file sizes of images, but it does so without diminishing image quality.
#7 – Social Snap: Social media should play an important role in your digital marketing, and one way you want this to occur is your audience sharing your content on their social media pages. This is achieved via Social Snap which creates buttons on each page that users can click when they wish to share them to their favourite social media platforms.
#8 – WP Mail SMTP: WordPress website owners that use their domain for email rather than the likes of Gmail, will find this plugin useful as it helps to ensure that the emails you send reach the inbox of those that you are emailing.
#9 – Elementor: Those website owners that enjoy building and editing their WordPress website’s pages will love Elementor. It is a page builder that utilises drag-and-drop technology to create customised pages that most website designers would be proud to call their own.
#10 – WP Forms: It is essential that you provide a way for your website’s visitors to get in touch with you whether that be a sales enquiry, providing feedback, if they wish to ask you a question, or entering their email address to be added to your subscriber list. WP Forms provides a simple means to create these forms on your WordPress website with several templates and customisations available.
#11 – Updraft Plus: No website owner should ever leave to chance their website crashing or worse being hacked, which is why creating backups of your website are crucial. Updraft Plus will create such website backups for you automatically.
#12 – WP Security Audit Log: Another plugin that helps with the security of your website is WP Security Audit Log. As its name suggests, it creates a log of all activity on your website such as login attempts so that you can identify possible security threats and address them.
#13 – WP RSS Aggregator: If you wish to display RSS feeds from other websites, for example when wanting to curate content for a niche website so that there is always new content for your users to enjoy. This plugin will do this job for you by displaying those RRS feeds.
#14 – Gravity Forms: If the forms you need for your website are somewhat complex, such as order forms and multi-question forms for quote requests, then an awesome plugin for creating them is Gravity Forms which has multiple customisation features.
#15 – Monster Insights: Every website owner, including those that use WordPress, should be monitoring and analysing their website’s performance so that they can improve it. Monster Insights is a great tool for this as it can display page visits, bounce rates, and conversion rates, all of which are essential for measuring how well your website is performing.