WordPress is a great content management system but you cannot simply install and use it. To make your WP installation powerful, you should install some plugins immediately after you log in to your WP dashboard for the first time.
The WP repository gives you access to 1000s of free plugins. Should you install any extension that claims to be the best in its category? Well, the answer is no. WP allows users to rate extensions. What if you find two similar plugins with similar reviews? Even if a plugin has good ratings, it may not be ideal for your site.
Today, I’ve covered the list of best plugins for SEO, backing up your website, securing files, etc. If you’ve installed the WordPress CMS, make sure that you install the following plugins on your site before you start publishing:
- Best plugins for WordPress CMS
Best plugins for WordPress CMS
WordPress sites, for some reason, are always on the target of hackers. Although you can harden the security of your site manually by using third-party software and configuring the web server, this task is not easy. To make your site secure, all you’ve to do is install a WordPress security plugin. Here are the two best WP security extensions:
WordFence: WordFence displays traffic to your website in real-time. Thus, if your site is under attack, you can see the IPs of the attacker and block them.
iThemes Security: This plugin was earlier known as Better WP Security. It is a great alternative to Wordfence and offers similar features as Wordfence.
The above 2 plugins scan the WordPress core files to check if the code has been modified by malware or any other user. If the file has been altered, iThemes can restore its original copy automatically.
Sitemaps help search engines in finding pages on your website. The best WordPress sitemap plugin is the Google XML sitemap. GXS allows you to set the priority of pages. It lets you select the post types for which you want the plugin to create a sitemap. The plugin also enables you to disable dates on the sitemap.
A WordPress caching plugin saves a copy of the HTML page on the storage memory or RAM of the server. Instead of fetching the post data from the wp posts table of the WordPress CMS’s database and generating a page, the caching plugin/PHP will send the cached page. This reduces the page load time significantly. For those who don’t know, page speed is one of the search engine ranking factors.
Ad manager plugin
Anti-spam by Webvitaly employs a smart approach in discarding spam comments. Unlike many spam blocker plugins that focus on comment description, AS uses the hidden field in the comment form to detect spam. The plugin prevents comments that were submitted by bots from appearing in the comments section of the WordPress dashboard.
Yet another great spam blocker plugin for WordPress is Akismet. This plugin requires you to add an API key before it starts protecting your site from spam. Akismet has been developed by Automattic Inc, the company that has developed the WordPress CMS.
WordPress themes can be SEO friendly or not. Whether it is a premium theme or free, you must install and configure a good search engine optimization plugin on your site. If you don’t do this, you’ll have to install a separate extension for managing robots meta tags, overriding meta descriptions with custom descriptions, creating canonical tags, etc.
Which is the best SEO plugin?
I’ll recommend not one but four plugins. In my perspective, SEOPress, RankMath, Yoast SEO, SEO Framework are the best WordPress plugins for SEO. I’ve shared a detailed review of these four plugins on this site. Go through the reviews to know which plugin is right for you.
Non-technical users should either use the backup tool of the Cpanel to back up their site or install and use a WordPress backup plugin. The backup plugin will save your time as you have to click buttons and follow the instructions displayed on the screen to back up the files, database, etc. The plugins will either save the backup on your server or the cloud. Updraft Plus is the best WP backup plugin.
If you’ve knowledge of Linux or you’re willing to learn something new, you should back up the database manually with the mysqldump and tar Linux commands.
If you’re sharing product reviews on your site, make sure you use a plugin that generates review schema based on the guidelines shared by Google. If you don’t so, your site might be slapped with a spammy structured data penalty or the stars/ratings won’t appear in the search engine result pages. The best plugin for generating search engine friendly reviews is MyThemeShop’s WP review. SEO plugins, Rank Math, and SEOPress have schema functionality built-in. You can use one of these two plugins instead of WP Review.
Social Sharing plugin
If used correctly, social media sites can bring good traffic to the website. Some premium themes have social sharing plugins built in but most of the free themes don’t have this feature. To add Facebook, Twitter, etc buttons to the pages of your website, you can use the free Ultimately Social extension.
Ultimately Social supports most of the features premium sharing buttons supports. It provides 16 different designs. You can configure this plugin to display the number of times a post was shared. This WordPress plugin supports sticky/floating sharing buttons.
Opt-in Form plugin
Opt-in forms can increase the loyal user base of your site. Although some free plugins do a great job, they don’t support customization. Furthermore, they may or may not support popups or generate shortcodes. MC4WP is a great free plugin for basic needs. If you want a feature-rich plugin, OptinMonster or Elegant Themes Bloom are the best available options for you.
WordPress is not only the best blogging platform but it is also a great software for launching an eCommerce website, thanks to the WooCommerce WordPress plugin. Developed by Automattic Inc, WooCommerce is the best WordPress eCommerce plugin. It lets you launch an online store without writing a single line of code. WooCommerce enables you to create and manage products, manage sales, set up discounts, etc. It is free and powerful.
Amazon Affiliates plugin
Amazon Associates is one of the best affiliate programs. It enables you to monetize all types of websites. A few years back, the users used to create affiliate links with their Amazon account. Now, they can create links from the WordPress dashboard with the help of the official Amazon Associates Link Builder plugin. If you use this extension, you won’t have to log in to your Amazon account.
Companies are always looking for cheap advertising opportunities. To get in touch with the website administrator or owner, they either send an email or use the contact form on the website. Although several contact form plugins are available in the WordPress repo, the lightest and simplest extension among the lot is the Simple Basic Contact Form. SBCF is easy to use and it can display forms on the page of a website when you add a shortcode generated by it to the page.
Gutenberg is a great editor. However, if you’re unable to use it or you’re having a hard time understanding its features, install the Classic Editor plugin.
How to install a plugin in WordPress?
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Over your mouse cursor over the “Plugins” option.
- Click the “Installed Plugins” option.
- Now, click the add new option and enter the name of the plugin you want to install in the textbox.
- Once the plugin appears, click the “Install” button.
Final thoughts: The above WordPress plugins will make your website powerful, feature-rich, secure, and SEO friendly.