guide to wordpress plugins

The Ultimate Guide to the Best WordPress Plugins

Last updated on Posted in Blogging

It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard before. Maybe one million times. There are a lot of plugins out there to help you run your blog.

What’s a Plugin?

A plugin is a piece of software that can extend functionality or add new features to your site. And you can do it all without knowing a single line of code.

(Which, if you’re anything like me, is really excellent news.)

WordPress works just fine on its own, but it’s a pretty limited platform. Adding plugins to your site gives you way more control over how your site functions and can have a huge impact on your site’s success.

(Again, without you having to know any code. Handy.)

Some plugins are awesome. Some…not so much.

Poorly made plugins can (and will) affect your site’s speed and functionality. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If you download the wrong plugins, your users could end up frustrated and clicking the back button.

Having a ton plugins, and especially a ton of bad plugins, can your site run slower.

That is, if you don’t install a caching plugin to deal with potential site speed problems.  There’s a guy out there that has over 600 plugins on his site, so if you know what you’re dealing with then you shouldn’t have to worry about having too many plugins.

If you’re picking high-quality, reliable plugins, you can pretty much have as many as you want!

Important Plugin Questions

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing a plugin:

  1. How long since its last update?
  2. Does it work the latest version of WordPress?
  3. Are users getting answers to their support questions?
  4. What kind of ratings and reviews is it getting?

The Ultimate List of the Best WordPress Plugins

VaultPress: Site backup

Price: $9/mo for basic, $29/mo for premium

VaultPress automatically backs up your site and has an easy restore option. The plugin also provides daily security scans.

Clef: Security

Price: Free

Clef is a two-factor authentication that gets rid of the need for passwords. So your site is double-protected.

Akismet: Spam protection

Price: Name your own price (which can be free)

Akismet is the ultimate in spam protection for your blog. It automatically catches spam and makes it disappear before you even see it.

WP Rocket: Caching

Price: $39 for one site

WP Rocket helps you optimize your site speed and function by setting up page and browser caching. Caching is a thing you definitely need, and WP Rocket does it best!

LinkPatrol: Keep track of your links

Price: $50 one-time fee for one site

Scan your content for links, organize and optimize outbound links, and easily get rid of bad links you don’t like.

Safe Redirect Manager: Safely manage redirects

Price: Free

Safe Redirects Manager does just what the name says: it safely and easily redirects to new URLs with the HTTP status codes of your choosing.

WooCommerce: For selling stuff

Price: Free

WooCommerce is a beautiful platform for selling literally anything. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and there are a ton of customization and extension options.

WPForms: WordPress contact form

Price: $39/yr for the basic plan, $99/yr for Plus, $199/yr for Pro.

A drag-and-drop online form builder makes it super easy to create an awesome contact form, email subscription form, payment form, and other type of online forms.

Yoast SEO: SEO optimization

Price: Free for the basic version (premium starts at $69/year)

Yoast SEO is one of the most well-known SEO WordPress plugins out there. Yoast is a great tool for automating all that technical white hat SEO stuff so you don’t have to worry about it. Talk about a load off your plate.

SumoMe: Growing your site’s traffic (list building)

Price: Free (for the basic version)

Once you install the plugin, you can download apps like the List Builder (lets your create a fancy lightbox pop-up to capture email addresses), Scroll Box (an email collection box that pops up whenever you tell it to), Heat Maps (helps you see where people are clicking on your site), and Smart Bar (among plenty others).

CoSchedule: Content marketing and social media

Price: $15/mo

CoSchedule connects your WordPress blog to your social media sites with a freaking cool drag-and-drop editorial calendar that makes scheduling your posts (across all your platforms) a breeze. You can easily move blog posts around and plan/edit your posting schedule. Then it automatically adjusts the rest of your social media to those changes.

Jetpack: Content sharing

Price: Free

Jetpack connects to multiple platforms and lets you share your posts automatically when you publish them.

Buffer: Content sharing

Price: $10/mo for the Awesome plan

Helps you share your content at the best times, without you having to think about it. You simply add your content to the queue, and Buffer will post it to social media at the best times during the day.

Featured Image Optimizer: Image optimization

Price: Free

Automatically A/B test any image on a post, page, or WooCommerce product.

RICG Responsive Images: Image optimization

Price: Free

Will automatically use the included WordPress image sizes and swap them out based on the size of the device viewing your website. This is super useful!

So there you have it…

Now you know: Plugins are awesome. And you can download as many as you want/need to make your site perform exactly how you want it to.