A guide to must-have WordPress plugins which you must use on your WordPress blog to make it even better regarding more user experience and SEO friendly.
A newbie WordPress user can easily get confused about which plugin to use on their site because there are more than 37,400 plugins in the WordPress Plugin Repository and the premium WordPress plugins which you get in marketplaces like codecanyon and various other platforms.
You may get carried away with the number of options available for you and face a problem of plenty, but we are here to guide you about the mandatory WordPress plugins which you need to use on your WordPress site.
Can You Do Without Plugins?
Probably not, because plugins are the building blocks of your WordPress site. They bring in the important functionality to your WordPress site. In fact, plugins are the charm of WordPress, the huge repository of WordPress plugin makes the platform rich in a real sense.
Once you make up your mind to create your blog on WordPress platform, select a good quality WordPress hosting provider who provides easy WordPress installation option.
After WordPress is set on your site, install a quality WordPress theme which is close to your requirement regarding quality and features.
Now, many modern WordPress themes come with their set of recommended plugins which you must install because they bring in the required features to the theme and are part of the theme package as a whole.
However, we are not going to talk about theme-specific plugins but for all general WordPress websites.
Important WordPress Plugins for Every Blog
Before we proceed one thing which you must understand is to keep the number of plugins to a minimum as every additional plugin will slow down your site to a certain extent. So, make sure that you use only the important and good quality plugins.
Let’s check out the must have WordPress plugins which you must have on your site.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
One of the most popular and widely used WordPress plugins. WordPress SEO by Yoast brings in all the important SEO related features to your WordPress site. I like the on page SEO feature by this plugin; it’s useful for any WordPress user as it provides you a glimpse of how well your blog post is optimized.
Also, it creates the XML sitemap for your site, and you don’t need to use any other WordPress plugin for creating the sitemap for you.
Recommended Alternative: All in One SEO Pack
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress.I use this plugin for all my sites, and it does make a different regarding loading time of the site. This plugin offers some options to optimize your site, and if it is configured properly, you will see a difference regarding performance.
Newbie user may find the settings a little complicated initially. However, there is number of amazing tutorial about how to set up W3 Total Cache, check this tutorial by wpbeginner
Recommended Alternative: WP Super Cache
Jetpack is a collection of amazing features which supercharges your site with a number of really useful functionality.
Jetpack is a combination of many plugins in one, Starting from site security, optimization to user engagement it provides you all the important features.
With Jetpack, you can have social sharing feature, contact form, CDN service, email subscription form and number of other services.
Recommended Alternative: Jetpack Lite (Unofficial Alternative of the Jetpack plugin with limited functionality)
Monarch from ElegantThemes is one of the best social sharing plugins for WordPress. This plugin provides you completely modern options to show social sharing buttons on your site and increase the share count of your post dramatically.
This is one of the most comprehensive social plugins which offers you tons of options regarding design and placement of share buttons.
This plugin will bring in visually appealing buttons which you can place strategically to increase the number of social shares which will help you to get traffic from social sites and get better ranking for your blog posts in the search engine like Google because they use the social signal as one of the ranking factors.
Recommended Alternative: Easy Social Share Buttons
Google XML Sitemaps
Sitemaps make it easier for search engine crawlers to find the important pages and posts of your WordPress site retrieve it more efficiently. Google XML Sitemaps supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages and custom URLs.
Recommended Alternative: WordPress SEO by Yoast Sitemap
Security of your WordPress site is of paramount importance, and you should never ignore that. iThemes Security plugin is one of the most effective WordPress plugins for securing your WordPress setup. It gives you over 30+ ways to secure and protect your WordPress site. This plugin comes with pro version also which provides you, even more, features to secure your site.
Recommended Alternative: BulletProof Security
A very important WordPress plugin for any site. It’s an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables. It cleans up all unnecessary elements such as auto drafts, stale unapproved and spam comments and all other things which are occupying the database without adding any value to your site.
This plugin is very easy to use, you can remove all unnecessary things and clean up your database with the click of a button.
Recommended Alternative: WP-DBManager
Contact Form 7
The most popular and free contact form plugin for WordPress. Contact from 7 is undoubtedly one of the most important and must have WordPress plugins. This plugin is very easy to use and provides you all the important features which you need on your contact page.
Recommended Alternative: Usernoise
It’s really important for any site to optimizes images files to help improve site speed. And doing it manually for every image can be a real task, WP Smush.it is a plugin which comes to your rescue as it automatically runs the images through optimization process behind the scene.
Recommended Alternative: EWWW Image Optimizer
Bloom email opt-in plugin is one of the best mailing list busing plugins for WordPress, and it offers tons of options regarding design and templates.
It comes with more than 100 ready to use email subscription templates which you can use on your site, or you can customize them as per your requirement.
Not only design but Bloom offers you some options for placement of the form as well; you can show a nice looking attractive popup which you can trigger depending on many factors, you can page sidebar widget or place it below each post as per your requirement.
Recommended Alternative: Thrive Leads
WP Notification Bar Pro
We always promote this plugin wherever possible because we believe this as one of the most useful plugins for WordPress, and we use this plugin in SourceWP to showcase special offers whenever we have any.
A notification bar plugin is very important for any WordPress blog or even the business site because a nicely designed notification bar is the best way to capture the attention of your visitors. A quality notification bar plugin like this can do a lot more than just capturing the attention.
With this bar plugin you can create text link, button link, countdown to show any special offer and the timing of the offer, you can use this plugin to show the social share and follow links to encourage your users to follow your site, you can also use this bar plugin as an opt-in email form.
The plugin is extremely easy to use, once you activate it; you will get the option to set up the bar in the WordPress admin called notification bar. It works like a custom post type; you can set all the details of your bar and choose the type of bar from a variety of options such as text, button, email subscription, countdown timer, social media button, popup video, search form and a lot more.
Recommended Alternative: Hellobar
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