I have been working with WordPress for over six years now and I’ve had the opportunity to have worked on many projects on both free and premium WordPress themes.
One of the best things about WordPress is its plugin repository. There are literally thousands of plugins available for download which you can use to extend WordPress whether it is for security, SEO optimization, analytics, caching, and security and so on. With so many to choose from at your disposal, sometimes it’s difficult to know which are the essential plugins to use for every project.
There is one caution that you need to be aware of, especially if you are just starting to use WordPress for your website projects. It’s easy to get carried away
when using plugins as there are so many that are useful, however only use those that are necessary and do your research when it comes to using these plugins.
There are certain things that you should do such as knowing the details of the plugin, who the developer is, what the user reviews are saying, the size of the plugin.
So when using plugins, only use what is necessary so your site doesn’t get bloated and slows down your website.
Here is a list of must have and essential plugins for your WordPress website. Please note that some of these plugins do have a cost associated to their usage.
With WordPress, one of the main things you will need to know protection from spam, if you have a blog set-up or have any kind of form on your site, it won’t take long for you to receive unwanted spam comments.
With the Akismet plugin, it will be able to direct spam comments into the trash where they belong.
This plugin is Free for personal use and there is a $5.00/month for commercial, business and professional sites.
W3 Total Cache
For someone who is just launching their website or project, this may not be a plugin to use immediately.
As your site receives more and more visitors, it’s important that your pages are optimized for page uploads so your visitors will not be kept waiting for your pages to be viewed. The longer the page takes to upload, the more likely your visitors are going to leave and abandon your site altogether.
The other upside is that Google will rank a site higher on its search result of an equivalent site based on page load time.
Yoast SEO Optimization
Now that you’ve labored over your content, you’ll want to make sure that it is optimized for keyword search on search engines.
Yoast SEO does a great job of providing you to the options of creating your custom keywords, title, descriptions.
I find Yoast SEO provides the best options and much more detailed with your keyword optimization.
Image Optimization – WP Smush.it
This is one area that you need to make sure that can help you increase your page load times. A longer than usual page loads will cause your visitors to abandon your website and your search ranking will also be affected to a lower ranking.
This plugin will reduce your image file size without sacrificing quality.
Contact Form 7
The one common theme that every site has is forms, whether it’s one of the methods used by your visitors to contact you or you have a newsletter subscription form.
With contact form 7, you can create and customize you form as you see fit based on its purpose. Simple and easy to use and it’s my choice of form creation for my projects or personal use.
Apply this plugin as a preventative security measure from being hacked. There are individuals out there who target WordPress so you can avoid being a victim by utilizing this plugin.
Make your content easy for sharing. Every reader that you attract to your website, blog has the opportunity to share your content with their circle of influence. The floating social plugin will allow you to easily share your content with the most popular social networks.
What makes this plugin great is that it appears unobtrusively on the side of the page and will follow the reader as they scroll down the page
Google Analytics+ by Yoast
Now you can track your site traffic within your admin dashboard without having to go into Google.
Providing great charts and graphs at your fingertips.
This is a great plugin that allows you to completely customized and brand your website or project from the front-end all the way to the admin panel.
Now you can remove any association with WordPress logos and any mention of WordPress.
With these selection of essential plugins, you can now concentrate on your marketing strategies that matter most and that is generating leads and converting them into sales.