So you’ve decided to power your latest web idea with WordPress. That’s great! While WordPress offers a lot of options and functionality from the get go, there’s a good chance you will not be satisfied with all of the defaults.
Thankfully, there are tons of plugins – over 40,000 of them – available on the WordPress repository that will give you extra features and functionality on your website.
Here, we have compiled eleven of the plugins we think are essential for all new WordPress installations.
1. Updraft Plus
Updraft Plus is one of the best backup plugins out there and one of the easiest to set up, too. It allows you to back up all your data to multiple locations on a schedule with no further action required from you once the initial configuration is done.
Jetpack brings the best features from WordPress.com to your self-hosted WordPress installation. You get plenty of added features with this plugin such as a free CDN, related posts, mobile theme, widgets, enhanced commenting system and much more.
3. Yoast SEO
Ranking high on search engines is often a priority for most website owners. And if you’re running WordPress, there are a ton of plugins out there that promise to help you achieve this goal. Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO) is the pick of the bunch, though, and it is highly regarded, which is why I use it on all my WordPress installations and even here on MTE. It’s easy to set up and use and there’s a plethora of features that you can take advantage of that will hopefully get you well on the way to reaching your goals.
4. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is an important plugin that will help boost your website’s performance and speed which should make your website a delight to use for your visitors and also help with search rankings. It simply allows you to set up page and browser caching as well as set up a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve your static files and thus reduce the load on your server. WP Super Cache is a good alternative if you find the initial configuration daunting.
5. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 allows you to embed multiple contact forms on your WordPress website without having to dabble with HTML and CSS. It also supports AJAX-powered submissions, Askimet filtering and CAPTCHA to prevent spam.
6. Edit Flow
Edit Flow is a terrific plugin for multi-user WordPress websites such as a news website with several contributors. It allows you to organise your editorial flow by allowing you to view your post schedule through its built-in calender, leave editorial comments, set custom post statuses, assign topics and much more. Your content strategy will get a lot easier and automated by using this simple plugin.
7. Sucuri Security
Security should be a priority for any website admin, and the WordPress repository has a ton of security plugins. Sucuri has an excellent reputation, and their free WordPress plugin offers several useful features such as Security Activity Monitoring, Malware Scanning, Security Hardening and much more. You can even turn on email notifications to get instant messages on various actions performed on your website.
8. Floating Social Bar
Floating Social Bar allows you to add only the most important social buttons to your website without reducing page load time. You can set it up to appear on different parts of a page. Trust me, I’ve tried them all. Floating Social Bar is the best.
MailMunch is another of my favourites on this list. It enables you to increase your email subscribers by allowing you to add eye-catching opt-in forms, popups and floating bars to your WordPress website which should in turn convert your visitors into subscribers.
Askimet filters out comment spam for you by checking comments against the Askimet Web Service. It’s accurate and will make comment-moderating a whole lot easier for you. Install Askimet if you don’t want hundreds of irrelevant comments populating your WordPress website.
Fancy having an author bio at the end of your articles? StarBox is a wonderful plugin that should satisfy all your needs. You can feature your picture along with your bio and even a couple of social media buttons if you want. And it doesn’t slow down your website unlike some of the others I’ve tried in the past.
WordPress is a versatile CMS that powers over 20% of the web. With the right plugins installed, you are well on your way to getting a fresh WordPress installation to its full potential.
All the plugins mentioned in this article have been proven to work well, and they are all regularly updated (Edit Flow is the only exception), so feel free to try them out.
Let us know which other plogins you have installed on your fresh WordPress website and why.