Best WordPress PluginsEssential Plugins That Should Be Implemented In Every WordPress Site
Your blog’s features can be enriched with set of plugins. If you don’t know what the WordPress plugins are yet, don’t worry. In this article I will tell you everything you need to know. I will explain what WordPress plugins are, how to add them to your website and what are the best WordPress plugins you should be using right now. Let’s do this!
What Is Plugin?
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions extending the current functionality or adding new features to your site. Thanks to the plugins each user can tailor his site according to his specific needs without knowing a single line of code.
There are thousands of plugins available to download for free at the Official WordPress plugin directory. Aside from free plugins there also exist dozens of premium plugins, but these don’t appear directly in the WordPress directory. They can be purchased directly from developers on their own website. However, as beginner you don’t need any of those paid premium plugins so just ignore them for now. To add new feature to your website, you need to install the appropriate plugin first.
How To Install New Plugins?
The installation process of new plugins is easy and straightforward. If you already know how to change your website’s appearance, then you already know how to install the plugins as the steps are really the same. To start, navigate to the sidebar menu in your WordPress’s administration area and click on Plugins. You will be taken to the Plugin Manager.
Here you see all plugins you have installed in your system. As you can see, there are already two plugins pre-installed. Those are Akismet and Hello Dolly and they are included in every new WordPress installation. Whereas Akismet is very useful plugin you are about to use, the Hello Dolly plugin is useless so feel free to delete it by hitting the Delete link under the plugin’s name. I will tell you more about Akismet later in this post.
Please note both plugins are deactivated by default. In order to activate and start using the functions, you always need to click on the Activate link below the appropriate plugin’s name. Once the plugin is activated, you can deactivate it the same way.
To install new plugins, just click on the Add New button.
Once you hit the button, you will appear in WordPress plugin directory. Here you can search for plugins and install new ones. When there is plugin you’d like to install, just click on the Install Now button. The installation process will finish within few seconds. Once done, don’t forget to activate the plugin so you can use it.
And that’s it. Now you know how to search for new WordPress plugins and how to install them. In the next section I will show you essential plugins you should start using right now.
Best WordPress Plugins
Currently, there is about 50.000 different plugins in wordPress directory you can choose from when it comes to expanding the functionality of your blog. Even though you definitely don’t need each of them, there are few plugins you should absolutely not miss.
Installing all of the plugins specified this section is the first thing I always do after I install new WordPress site. And I recommend you the same. In my opinion they are really must for every blog out there. Let’s see what those plugins are.
Akismet is a comment spam filtering service helping you to protect your blog from spammers. The filter works by combining information about spam captured on all participating sites, and then using those spam rules to block future spam.
Blog Spam and/or comment spam is becoming a big problem on the internet. The more popular your blog becomes, the more spam it is likely to get. And there is nothing more frustrating than going through hundreds of spam comments and getting rid of them one by one. Luckily for us, this plugin will automatically handle all this dirty work by itself.
Akismet is an official plugin by WordPress parent company – Automattic. That’s why it is one of the plugins that is installed in your WordPress by default. The only thing you need to do is to activate it. The activation process is very easy. Just activate the plugin in your Plugin Manager, follow the steps and you’ll be good to go.
iThemes Security (Better WP Security)
iThemes Security is one of the most popular and highly rated security plugins giving you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. This is plugin is really a must have. If you don’t have any security plugin implemented, you are putting yourself at risk.
On average, 30,000 new websites are hacked each day. WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks because of weak passwords, obsolete software etc. WordPress is a pretty secure CMS right out of the box. It gets frequent updates to fix any bugs and plug any security holes that arise. But because it’s so popular blogging platform, it’s also one of the most targeted system by many different hackers. To keep your site secure from the hackers and other potential abusers, you will need a strong security plugin. Among all the security plugins for WordPress, iThemes Security is the most popular choice.
Link: iThemes Security
Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most complete WordPress SEO plugins out there. It helps you optimizing your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and many others.
If you have never heard about SEO, let me describe it briefly first. SEO stands for Search Optimization Engine. It is a marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. In other words, it’s the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s results. The better rank (position) in search results you have, the more people will be able to find your blog. And that’s when this plugin comes really handy. Yoast SEO plugin basically helps you to optimize your content in order to improve your rankings in search engine’s results.
TinyPNG (Compress JPEG & PNG images)
TinyPNG is a piece of software that automatically compress and optimizes images you upload to your Media Library.
In case you are not familiar with a term image compression, it can be defined as follows: Image compression is a process of minimizing the size in bytes of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unacceptable level. This means that the image compression leads to storage savings. But more importantly, it also helps to increase the overall performance of your website as it reduces the time required for your images to be sent over the Internet or downloaded from Web pages.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is one of the best caching plugins you can install. In general, caching plugin helps your site to load faster.
You are probably asking yourself what the caching means and how does it work. To put it simply, caching is the concept of intelligently storing commonly-used data in temporary storage location so that requesting that data will happen as fast as possible. So when users request the same information from your blog over and over again, the data will temporarily be stored in location called cache and the requested information will be retrieved much faster. It also helps reducing the bandwidth usage and overall server load.
Why does it matters? Well, site speed is one of the most important aspects of your website. Not only to users, but also to search engines such as Google. If a site is too slow, users will refuse reading and visiting it. Using the cache feature is one of the ways how you can make your site faster. It is a fundamental factor in determining a site’s overall performance.
Link: WP Super Cache
Nice To Have Plugins
Now you know what plugins should definitely be included in every WordPress installations. For me personally are those five plugins really must for every blog. But there are more plugins you may want to add to your website. Even though they are not as critical as the essential plugins, they still may bring you pretty high value.
TablePress is a stunning feature allowing you to easily create and manage tables.
People usually want to add some tables to their posts. But by default, it’s nearly impossible to add a table to the post in WordPress without knowing how to write a web code. That’s when TablePress comes in. TablePress is very easy to use and the interface is user friendly. If you already know how to use Excel or Google Sheets, you already know how to use this plugin. Just create the table, specify number of rows and columns, fill in the data and that’s it. And if you want change the table’s structure later, that’s not a problem. Moreover, you can also import data from multiple formats such as Excel, CSV and others.
Duplicator gives you an ability to backup your entire site. It also enables you to move and transfer your blog from one location to another.
Even though you will not need the function of moving your site to other location, you still can use this plugin to manually backup your site. You should regularly create backups to minimize the risks that can arise in the future. In case your site gets hacked or stops working from some strange reason, you will be so happy you have your site backed up. Basically this plugin zips your entire site into one file. Should face any troubles later on, you can just unzip the file on your host and restore your site.
Social Media and Share Icons
Social Media plugin adds sharing buttons to your blog so your visitors are able to share your content to social media just by hitting the Share button. You can add share icons for platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and others. Another great thing is that the plugin comes with tons of customization features so you can give it the look you want.
Social sharing is a vital part of online community building. It is a common knowledge that social media is the great place for self marketing. If you want to extend your blog/brand awareness, this plugin is a must.
Best WordPress Plugins Conclusion
You have read the article where I’ve taught you what the WordPress plugins are and how to install them. I have also described the best WordPress plugins out there. I recommend these plugins to all people I get in touch with as they are really must have. The listed plugins provide the essential functionality every blog should implement. I personally use all of them to get maximum out of my website.
Should you have any feedback to the plugins listed here or feel like I have forget some, please let me know in the comment.