WordPress powers about 39% of all sites. The free content management system has been a favorite for bloggers since it came onto the scene. WordPress is great out-of-the-box but you can really improve your blog simply by installing WordPress Plugins.
Plugins are small applications that run on your blog and they’re becoming more popular than ever. With over 55,000 plugins available it can be hard for bloggers new to WordPress to know where to start.
We’ve put together a list of vital WordPress plugins for bloggers to install. Whether you’re looking for back-end optimization, a way to simplify your SEO strategy to get higher in the Google rankings, a tool to help improve user experience or a simple way to bump up your blog’s security, continue reading to find the perfect plugin for your blog.
Must-Have Vital WordPress Plugins for Design & Admin
WordPress is an incredible Content Management System but it was designed for people who know how to design, create and code websites – this is obvious in the native editor for pages and posts. One of the best types of WordPress plugins for bloggers to install is a visual editor. This upgrades your editor so that you can visualize how your content will look.
With its lightweight code and easy-to-use interface, Thrive Architect is one of our favorite visual editors on the market.
Jetpack – developed by WordPress – provides bloggers with plenty of powerful features and is a must-have WordPresss plugin. Jetpack is a great tool for many back-end related tasks – from site security, to site performance and content tools. Jetpack also boasts powerful traffic data and analytics – they are simple to set up and rival Google Analytics.
One of the main causes of slow websites is bloated images – if an image is too slow to load you’ll lose your visitor. ShortPixel is a useful little plugin that compresses your images to around 40- 45% of their original size, helping you to speed up your blog and keeping visitors around for longer.
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
Trusted by millions of business owners and bloggers, Updraft is one of the easiest tools on which to get started performing automatic backups of your website. Should the worst happen, your blog and all of your content will be sitting safely on Updraft’s servers.
WPForms – Form Builder
Every blog needs a good well-designed form, whether that’s a contact form, payment form or subscription form. The WPForms plugin is many bloggers go-to form builder. The tool has got you covered with a user-friendly interface and pre-built templates which allow you to get your form built and published in minutes.
Must-Have Vital WordPress Plugins for Security
Pre-installed on all WordPress websites, Akismet is a strong tool for fighting spam. The plugin uses algorithms to catch pingback and blog comment spam. The Akismet algorithm is smart – it learns from its mistakes and from the actions taken by users. This plugin can be a godsend for bloggers especially – it allows you to spend less time doing administrative tasks on your blog and more time creating brilliant content.
Websites are attacked every day. Without a strong security plugin installed you’re leaving your blog defenseless in the case of an attack. Wordfence Security is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for a reason, it has a robust firewall and malware scanner – and it’s free. What are you waiting for, download it now!
iThemes Security fixes common holes, strengthens user credentials and stops automated attacks in their tracks. This WordPress plugin comes with over 30 ways to secure and protect your WordPress blog.
Login No Captcha reCaptcha
Add an extra security element to your blog with the Login No Captcha reCaptcha WordPress plugin. The plugin adds a Google No Captcha ReCaptcha checkbox to your WordPress login screen alongside the standard user and password fields. Although it’s a simple addition, the checkbox prevents hackers from using automated scripts to hack your blog by adding a human element to the log-in page.
Must-Have Vital WordPress Plugins for User Experience
Make it easy for your visitors to join your email list and share your articles. Sumo is a powerhouse plugin and boasts many unique features that will help you grow your WordPress blog. Sumo includes a list builder, heat maps, simple social sharing – like the popular ‘click to tweet’ highlighter – and image sharer for Pinterest, amongst many other features.
Find the most effective way to design your email opt-ins with Thrive Leads. Bloggers are able to: design beautiful email opt-ins in Thrive’s easy-to-use visual editor, A/B test their forms to see what visitors respond to more, target forms by post or category, and lastly, see analytics with actionable reporting and tips.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a free plugin that allows you to increase your blogs performance and speed by using minify, leveraging browser cache and many other techniques. Bloggers with W3 Total Cache fully installed can expect to see at least 10x improvement in overall website performance.
Fast and lightweight this plugin makes it easy for readers to share your posts and has seen many a blogger’s social shares boosted dramatically. One of the best social sharing plugins around, it’s worth the miniscule investment, especially if you plan on utilizing pinterest traffic. The pinterest settings not only let you control which image is selected as default, but the tool also allows you to set a description, which is unlike any other social sharing tool.
As your blog ages and grows over the years, there are bound to be times when you change a URL or page name leaving your backlinks broken. Tackle this problem with the simple to use WordPress plugin Redirection. The tool allows you to manage 301 & 404 pages by entering your old link and pointing it to your new link so that nothing is broken – it’s that simple. Redirection also has a smart analytics tool built in so you can see where people are accessing your broken links.
Must-Have Vital WordPress Plugins for SEO
By far the most popular SEO WordPress plugin, Yoast has tonnes of features that help bloggers rise to the top of Google search results pages. The plugin has many features that will assist you when picking the best keywords to target for organic traffic.
All-in-One SEO Pack
All-in-One SEO Pack is a simple beginner friendly option for WordPress bloggers. The SEO plugin offers a range of features that’ll keep both beginners and power users happy. All-in-One SEO Pack currently has over 3 million active installs – all those people can’t be wrong!
The SEO Framework
A relative newcomer to the SEO category, The SEO Framework offers a simple interface and a promising feature list. The plugin is not quite as beginner friendly as some of the other options on the market, but it’s an exciting new option for bloggers who know the in’s and out’s of SEO.
Conclusion: Vital WordPress Plugins
WordPress is great out-of-the-box, but there are hundreds of vital WordPress plugins to install that will help to enhance your blog. Be sure to identify what actually needs to be improved on your website before you end up installing 50+ plugins that will only slow your website down.
What WordPress plugins do you use that you think should have made the list?
Need help? Our WordPress Maintenance Plans are a complete solution for new or existing WordPress websites, and we can help you install and configure the plugins reviewed in this article.
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