WordPress plugins are an important part of your website. They are small pieces of software to add a certain functionality to your website, from better security to being able to share social media posts.
Every website needs at least about 5 to 10 plugins to run properly. But you should also be careful not to install too many plugins on your website, as this can make the website slower. It also happens that certain plugins cannot work together with other plugins on your website, causing error messages.
The WordPress plugin catalog contains thousands of plugins. Most plugins you can easily install yourself, but if you want to install a translation plugin or a plugin for online courses for example, it can be quite complicated and you can also hire a WordPress agency
But which plugins do you really need for your website?
I give you an overview of the best ten plugins that are indispensable (well, almost so…) for your website.
1. Yoast SEO
Here you see the scores of a page from WPjournalist. You still need to add an outgoing link to go from orange to green.
If you want to be better found in Google, you need an SEO plugin. And if you do choose one, install Yoast SEO
, one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress catalog and made by a Dutch company.
With this plugin you can optimize your website as a whole as well as an individual page or post, so you can get higher scores in Google.
Yoast SEO works with green, orange and red dots that indicate whether you are on the right track or not. The more green dots, the better optimized the page is.
You may not realize it yourself, but a website is subject to many cyber attacks on a daily basis. It is therefore a good idea to secure your website with a plugin.
There are several plugins to protect your website from external attacks, but one of the best is Wordfence
. It is a very comprehensive plugin with many features:
- The firewall blocks malicious attacks and viruses;
- two-stage authentication: an additional password provides even more security;
- it scans the website for malware and vulnerabilities;
- you can exclude people or countries from logging in;
- and much more.
TIP: If you have Wordfence installed, it is smart to turn off some email alerts in the settings by removing the checkmark. Otherwise you will get very many emails about new updates, etc.
BackWPup is a backup plugin to make a copy of your website. Often your hosting company will have a backup as well, but by installing a plugin yourself you will have an extra feature that will help you out if something goes wrong with your website or if your website is hacked.
Besides BackWPup there are other backup plugins, such as UpdraftPlus, but I find BackWPup easy to use.
me and effective. You can make a backup daily, weekly or monthly, whenever you want.
Note that such a backup is copied and put with the other files of your website. With most hosting companies you have a limited storage space, so if you have too many backups, you may get a message at some point that the capacity is full. So limit the number of backups, but that’s something you can also set with this plugin.
Akismet protects your website against spam and checks the responses that come in through your contact form. It is a plugin that is installed by default when you install WordPress. You only need to activate this plugin.
After activation it is recommended to check the box “silently remove the worst and most annoying spam so I never have to see it”. That will save a lot of uninvited spam responses.
5. Fastest cache
You can make a website load faster with a caching plugin. I use several plugins for this purpose, but I prefer Fastest cache. It is a fairly simple plugin without any bells and whistles, but it does what it is designed for: making a website perform better by loading faster.
And that’s important: because if visitors have to wait a long time for slow-loading pages, they might drop out. In any case, the performance of websites is a point of interest, because Google will also rank a slow-loading website lower in its search results. You can consider outsourcing the improvement of website performance to a professional party, such as Stuurlui.
An alternative to this caching plugin, for example, is WP Super cache, which is created by Automattic, the owner of WordPress.com.
5. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
If you launch a website, you would like to know how many visitors come to your website. For that you can create a free account with Google Analytics, which will allow you to track statistics about your website.
With the plugin Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress by MonsterInsights, you can use the tracking code of Google Analytics and view important statistics within your website .
6. Smash Balloon
When you run a website, you often combine it with your social media channels. Often ThemeForest ‘s theme does include buttons to link through to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
But you can also put a social media feed into your own website, as I did on WPjournalist:
Smash Balloon makes this possible. It’s a social feed plugin for WordPress that lets you put content on your website. You first create an account at Smash Balloon and link your social media channels, then you create a shortcode and place it on your website.
7. WP Smush
Good quality images often have a high resolution and they are often large files. When you put those on your website, it can take a while for the page to load.
It is therefore recommended to compress those images as much as possible. This means that you reduce the size of an image, without compromising the quality of the image. You reduce the size of the file, measured in kilobytes (KB) and megabytes (MB). For example, WP Smush can reduce a 5 MB image to 450 KB, making the image load a lot faster. Do it!
8. Contact Form 7
A contact form on your website is still one of the most popular ways for visitors to request information or place an order on your website.
Not always a contact form is included with the installation of a theme. So you need to download a plugin and Contact Form 7 has been the most used plugin for this for years, which is free and easy to install.
There are also many possibilities to customize the form with Contact Form 7, for example giving it another color or a different design.
Plugins are indispensable for your website. The choice is huge, so look carefully at the reviews and features before you download a plugin.
I myself often use the plugins mentioned above with which I have already built more than a hundred websites.
Want more tips for good plugins? I have made an ultimate list of the 60 best plugins: Top 60 WordPress plugins, the complete overview