WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms, with an estimated 25% of all websites using it. While the popularity is partly due to its simplicity, without making important changes you lose much of the power of the platform. Aspects like permalinks, themes, and site structure will need to be considered, but plugins are where you can really supercharge your site. The following plugins should, in most cases, be used to get the most out of your WordPress installation.
The standard WordPress settings are not heavily optimized for SEO, so you will need to make some changes if you want to rank in the search engines. All in One SEO is the most established SEO plugin, with a number of options to help optimize title tags and navigational links. Some site owners prefer a similar plugin called Yoast SEO, so it is worth investigating both before you proceed.
Hackers target WordPress sites as many users forget to update themes and plugins leaving them vulnerable to attack. Wordfence adds a firewall to your site, while any unauthorized login attempts are blocked from access.
Comments can be a great way to engage with your visitors, but they can also be abused by spammers. Akismet has a large database that allows them to recognize spam comments, so these comments can be moderated or immediately deleted.
Google XML Sitemaps – A sitemap helps the search engines navigate your site, so you increase the chances of each page or post being indexed. This plugin is the most popular sitemap plugin, with the simple style proving effective for almost a decade. If you choose to use Yoast SEO, rather than All in One SEO mentioned above, a sitemap is already included.
WooCommerce is hugely popular among ecommerce site owners. If you are looking to sell anything on your site, this plugin can make the process simple and user-friendly. WooCommerce comes with a huge amount of flexibility, with options for prices, taxes, recurring subscriptions, physical goods, instant downloads, and plenty more.
A contact form looks more professional than simply listing an email address, but you can also benefit from CAPTCHA, spam filters, and easy response filing. While there are numerous contact form plugins available, Contact Form 7 is popular, reliable, and frequently updated. This plugin also allows you to create custom fields for more complex forms.
Unless you are a designer, creating an eye-catching blog post can be tricky. Shortcodes Ultimate can help overcome any design issues by adding attractive and engaging elements to your site. The shortcodes include tabs, buttons, sliders, and progress bars which can easily be added to any post.
Most older sites will feature pages that are no longer relevant. Deleting pages will be frowned upon by the search engines, but you can avoid any problems with a 301 redirect. This plugin makes redirects incredibly easy, removing any need to edit the htaccess file directly. The Redirection plugin can also help to uncover any 404 error pages which can then be cleaned up.
Backing up your website is essential, but many site owners risk losing everything by forgetting this. Updraft Plus is an easy way to save regular copies, with the ability to store the data in Google Drive, Dropbox, email, and other alternatives. Restoring the files can then be done with a single click.
There are many more plugins you could use, but these can form your list of essentials. Plugins come and go as developers lose interest and move on to new projects. However, each of these plugins have many thousands of users, are updated regularly, and have been improved countless times, so you can feel safe using them on your site.
Let me know Your thoughts,