Although plugins can extend the functionality of your website, when it comes to Web Development, there are a number of must have WordPress Plugins you must use on your website, if you’re planning to build your project on the world’s largest content management system.
No, you’re not installing these plugins because your website cannot go live without them. Rather, you’re using them because, you want to fully enhance the functionalities of your website, achieve more success with ease and enjoy the the full benefits of owning a website.
Generally, WordPress plugins are powerful add-ons, developed to extend the capacity of your website in achieving its goals and there are tens of thousands of them.
But, getting to know the right plugins to use on your website can become quite a handful for beginners. And even mid level experts.
That’s why I’m putting this guide together, to give you a heads up as you get set to choose the best WordPress plugins for your project.
How to Choose a WordPress Plugin
The following are the top things you need to consider before choosing a WordPress Plugin for your website;
Your Goal: Whether you’re just building your website for the first time or you’ve been using it for a long time, there’s definitely a specific reason behind your decision to create a WordPress website.
It could be the fact that you want to run an ecommerce company, create a news blog, a personal portfolio for your brand, or create a corporate platform for your business etc.
Whatever it is, the major purpose for your website is going to play an important role in the must have WordPress plugins you’ll end up using on your website.
If you’re building a website for a real estate business for example, the kind of Plugins you use on that website will be different, compared to someone who is building an ecommerce website or a blog.
So, before you choose your plugins, think about what you want to achieve with the website and then allow that goal to guide your decision on the plugins you use.
Website Functionality: Another thing you have to consider before choosing a plugin for your website is the overall functionality of the website.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of WordPress Plugins out there and you really do not need all of them on your website.
So, here you want to ask yourself, what are the most important plugins that will enhance the functionality of my website?
For example, there are plugins that can help you manage your audience, create social media connections, communicate with a potential client or grow your website etc.
These are the kind of plugins you want to have to enhance the functionality of your website. Anything outside of this is not needed.
Special Features: There are websites in need of special features like; forums, learning data management, audio podcast uploads and sharing features etc.
While these things may not form part of the major goals of a website, they can still come as part of the special features needed for the website. So, you want to consider all of this before deciding on plugins to use for your website.
Things to do Before Choosing a Plugin
In as much as WordPress Plugins are great for your website, some plugins can be really harmful to your website.
To avoid installing such harmful plugins, the following are the important steps you need to take before choosing your must have plugins for WordPress…
- Check out the Reviews: Before choosing a plugin, be sure to read the reviews, ratings and what other people are saying about the plugin. Information like this will help you to know if the plugin is a good fit for you or not
- Run a test on the plugin: Some WordPress plugins are not just badly coded, there are plugins that can turn around to inhibit the functionality of your website by either slowing it down or interrupting the functions of other plugins. To be sure you don’t experience such issues, you need to run background checks on plugins before using them.
- Check for updates: To reduce vulnerabilities and ensure compatibility with WordPress and other applications, plugins are usually updated at several intervals. Be sure the plugin you intend to use meets this criteria also. Do not use plugins that have not been updated for a long while. Some of them may have been abandoned and using such can open your website to a lot of vulnerabilities.
11 Universal Plugins for WordPress Websites
Now that you’ve learned about how to choose a WordPress Plugin and the things to look out for before choosing your plugins, the following are the 11 must have WordPress plugins you need to have on your website.
Generally, these plugins you’re about to see are plugins almost anyone that’s using WordPress for Web Development would need to have on their websites, irrespective of whether you’re building a blog, an ecommerce or real estate website.
These plugins are popular because their uses are important to users across board. And they are often times used along side other plugins, based on the peculiarity of the website.
So, below is a list of the must have WordPress plugins you need on your website
Over the years, Wordfence Security has solidified its position as one of the must have WordPress plugins, for website security and performance. notable for its outstanding security performance. most downloaded plugins on WordPress.
Regarded as one of the most notable security plugin, designed for protecting websites against malicious attacks, Wordfence comes with both a free and paid option different category of users.
It is almost plug and play and also pretty easy to use for both beginners and experts, with a reasonable configuration requirements. iThemes security and Succuri are other alternative security plugins that can still be used in lieu of Wordfence.
Jetpack is not only of the must have WordPress plugins, as one of the top downloaded WordPress plugin, Jetpack is that plugin that comes with the capacity to perform multiple functions, without need for a combination of other plugins.
From social media sharing widgets to downtime monitoring, website analytics and a CRM, Jetpack is one popular WordPress plugin that can get different task done on your website without need for too many different plugins.
One thing about Jetpack you should know is that it is a resource heavy plugin that can really get to impact your website, if the functionalities are not well optimized. Additionally, it’ll need a connection to a WordPress.com account, before you can enjoy it’s full functionality.
Yoast SEO AKA WordPress SEO is another of the top must have WordPress plugins for new websites especially when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.
With both a free and paid option for users, Yoast SEO is one of the most used Search Engine Optimization plugin of all time on WordPress.
With its easy to use interface and features; when optimized properly, Yoast enables your website to have a enhanced visibility and better search traffic from the search engine.
Some of the top alternatives to Yoast SEO are Rankmath, All in One SEO plugins etc.
Elementor Page Builder
Elementor page builder is the most popular front end drag and drop plugin for WordPress website design.
It is a must use WordPress plugin with a collection of features that works very effectively as a drag and drop page builder for WordPress Websites.
On it’s website, Elementor Page Builder claims to be the best WordPress page builder with over 2 million active installs.
Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics Dashboard by Monster Insight is one of the most downloaded WordPress Plugin on the WordPress repository.
Competing closely with its other rival Analytics Plugins, this plugin has advanced analytics figures that can help you to understand your website metrics and optimize your SEO and traffic accordingly.
It is also one of the best used Google Analytics plugin, compared to the others. Although its free version has very limited options, you can always upgrade to the paid version anytime, should you choose to start with the free version, to have a feel of the plugin and how it works.
Updraft WordPress Backup Plugin
Looking forward to a plugin that will help you back up your WordPress website just in case things get messed up?
Then Updraft WordPress Backup Plugin is one of the must have WordPress plugin for that purpose.
With this plugin you can backup your website to an external platform like Google drive, Dropbox etc. And you can always get access to the back up when ever there’s a need for that.
Contact Form 7
Everyone needs a contact page because it is one of the must have pages on a website. And Contact Form 7 is the most popular contact form plugin for building contact forms on contact pages.
Whether you’re building a new website or not, you can use the contact form 7 plugin for your simple and flexible contact forms, where your website users can get to contact you easily.
Aside from being one of the most popular free WordPress plugin out there, contact form 7 is a top must have WordPress plugin for websites. Here’s a list of other top plugins for building WordPress forms.
Litespeed Cache is a static caching plugin for WordPress websites and blogs
Upon installation and set up, Litespeed Caching plugin speeds up your website by generating static html pages of your website that’s served on your server so that whenever a user accesses your website, it serves the lighter HTML page instead of processing the entire WordPress PHP scripts all the time.
When it comes to WordPress caching, Litespeed Cache is one of the must have WordPress plugins for caching. It has both the paid and free versions. And it’s optimization features can drive instant result in improving website speed and load time.
MailChimp for WordPress
Mailchimp is another freemium plugin that will help you send mails and newsletters to your subscribers, upon customization and set up.
With over one million installations, Mailchimp is not just a must have WordPress plugin for email management, it offers an industry leading free and paid plans on email management that can work for both new businesses and established ones.
So, if you’re looking at sending Newsletters for your website subscribers, with MailChimp you can send free Newsletters for up to 2000 subscribers, free.
WooCommerce is one of the best WordPress plugins for ecommerce. It is an open source ecommerce platform which allows users to sell anything on WordPress.
While it is not a plugin that can be used on just about any kind of website, It is a free to use plugin with a lot of extensions that can give your retail website the functionalities it needs, if you’re building a retail or ecommerce website.
Beyond ecommerce, WooCommerce can also be useful for the sales and management of all kinds of merchandise and transactions, using your website.
Apart from using it for eCommerce and other transactions, you may not have need to install WooCommerce on your website.
GDPR Cookie Consent
The GDPR Cookie Consent is one of the best WordPress plugin that displays the cookie compliance banner on your website.
It is a must have WordPress plugin you will need to install on your website, to show your users compliance for GDPR, CCPA, CNIL, POPIA, LGPD on your website.
The WordPress GDPR plugin comes with advanced features that make the management of both first and third-party cookies on your website as per the guidelines put forward by the regulations.
You can create cookie notices, privacy policies, etc., from scratch using the plugin.
This is one of the best WordPress Plugins that can be useful in the management of 301 redirection, keeps track of 404 errors while improving your website.
The Redirection Plugin is very useful especially if you want to redirect a post to another link, fix and redirect a broken link or keep track of your 404 errors.
On the contrary, some SEO Plugins come with their own redirection features so if you’re using such plugins, you may not have need for the Redirection Plugin.
So, there you have a complete list of the most important WordPress plugins for your new website.
Remember this is a general list. As a beginner, other plugins could still be more useful to you based on your website goals and specific needs like i mentioned above.
But this list is what works with most beginners and even established developers for almost all kinds of WordPress websites. And you can get to start with this.
Naturally, in some cases; getting to build your website and choose the right plugins can be quite a challenge, depending on your level of experience but, we can help you get started, if you reach out to us here.
Now, it’s over to you! Which of these WordPress plugins is very important to the success of your website? Let’s hear you!